Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Monday 16 November 1998

The future is now and now is breakfast at where else, The Hurst. My favorite waitresses are here, they are all, every single one of them likely to make me fall in love with them with the slightest provocation. I was reading over what I wrote yesterday over breakfast, and I'm kind of horrified, really, but fortunately this is just a pen on paper and not going directly to the world wide web or anything crazy like that. I imagine that anyone might think I've gone pretty far around the bend, and I'm not so sure myself. I just have to straighten out my brain here a little—it's getting pretty mixed up. As much as people are really the most important thing in your life, and your friends are the most important people, the exception to that is that the cinema is the most important thing to me, and my love for the cinema is really bigger than my love for all humanity and even any individual. That's really a position contradictory to what I really feel, but any conviction without a contradiction probably is a piece of crap anyway. The truth is in the contradictions, and it's all crap, including this, but out of that is what's real and what I really care about. Someone put on Leonard Cohen, and that reminds me that music is also my biggest love of my life, even above the cinema. Well maybe not above the cinema. And then there's—well, just art in general. It's really art that is what is able to make you love people to the highest intensity possible. And I don't believe that all love is the same, or that all people are equal in that love. All people are definitely not the same in their capacity to hate, so why would they be with love? It's not a universal thing, and it's not anything to take for granted. It takes constant work, really hard work, because all the good stuff goes away without work and everything becomes dull, slightly dirty, blunt, and slow. I really want to keep everything at a sharp edge, hot and sharp and intense, and if I can do that maybe I can go on.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Sunday 15 November 1998 – Later at The Hurst

The Belmont Street Octet are playing and I actually am in the bar in the evening—actually I came here last Sunday night—they play every Sunday. I've heard them from the porch, but in the bar they're really excellent—and the most motley bunch you'll ever see. Actually, if you were to see a more motley bunch anywhere, it would be here. You could call this place the Motley Hurst, or something. Maybe I will. It just struck me, it's kind of like what Black Sparrow is to book publishing. They seem like a real good comparison in some weird way. (Though I can't really say what Black Sparrow is up to these days.)

In John Cassavetes' movie Love Streams, Gena Rowlands says something about love, that she thinks love is in a continuous stream. I don't remember it exactly, but I'm kind of interested in thinking about that concept, so I should go and re-watch the movie and try to make something out of it. Anyway, until I do, I'll have to take the risk of muddling it all up and just say that comes close to how I've been feeling lately. I mean, just the expression itself—“Love is one continuous stream”—even if I'm misquoting, is fairly intriguing as a concept. And it comes close to how I've been feeling lately. It's a similar concept as in my song, “Open Your Heart”—and now I'm quoting myself, so I'm much more comfortable about it. The basic idea is, open your heart and people come right in—everyone comes right in. So it's a bit of a warning—that you have to be careful when you open your heart to anyone, because then it becomes vulnerable to everyone and everything. That can be, and hopefully is, a good thing, but it's also dangerous. It's living dangerously, on an emotionally heightened level, and that's what Cassavetes is all about. It's also to some extent what Heather's movie is about. It's called “What You Wish For,” and it's interesting, when I wrote an intro to “Open Your Heart” it had the line, “Be careful what you wish for,” which I wrote before she named the movie, but was not aware of it. It's an old saying, and old concept, but the most notable use of it as a quote I can recall is in Willy Wonka—memorable because it's said by Gene Wilder, but hell, now I can't remember the context!

Moving along, this brings me to the very subject of being in love with two people at the same time, which seems to have been a theme in my life up to this point; every time I've fallen in love with someone, there's been another kind of mirror-image falling in love. No, that's not it. There's another “crush” to deal with, even though I don't use that word anymore. I mean, it's just probably a neurotic thing—kind of about the fear of really falling in love with someone. It's kind of really not fair to the people who I'm seemingly just using—though, you know, they don't know I'm in love with them. Well, they might. But anyway, it's neurotic, sure, but also, it's maybe a product of opening my heart to someone else, and it's inevitable, unavoidable, at least with me.

Right now I'm sitting at the bar almost right next to the girl at the bar, who I will soon think of a name for, and I am close enough to reach over and touch her. It's between sets, and they're playing recorded music. It's Elton John singing “Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting,” one of the really sexy songs from my childhood, a song that really makes me feel like I could just spontaneously kiss someone. It's really an intense moment right here as I listen to this. What the hell am I doing? Just a few hours earlier, I was laying on a prop bed with a lot of prop clothes and mess, a few inches from Jordy, close enough that I could roll over and put my arm around her. Of course I never would, never could, never will, but just laying there, in maybe what there is no more of an intense and romantic setting, well, it's just the best really good I've felt in about the last few months at least. All this love and film and art makes me feel all the more still in love with Heather, which is my way of having a broken heart, which I do, but that's not the reason my heart is open. It's open because I let it be, but it helps that it is helped open by Heather's friendship and love, and Jordy's intense luminosity, and the smile of this girl at the bar, who sits like a... I don't know what... _______ (fill in later)—night after night, over here at the bar, making my life rich and warm in the present, with no future. But what the hell.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Sunday 15 November 1998

Same place as yesterday—maybe a little more time to write. Anyway, Heather started shooting this film last weekend, and that's why we were watching that film last week. I wasn't here on the set, at this apartment last weekend, though. I went to some things at the Northwest Film Festival. I went to see John Pierson, the famous producer's rep, and his wife Janet give a talk and show excerpts from their TV show about independent filmmaking called Split-Screen. John helped us with our American Job movie—helped us get into festivals, met with companies, though we didn't ultimately sell it.

After the thing was over, I went out for coffee and drinks with them, and then to dinner, before going back to the theater for short films. John is really funny and entertaining, Janet's really nice, they're both just really into movies and great to talk to about all kinds of movie stuff. Plus, we were gossiping quite a bit, and gossip really makes the world go 'round, as you know.

After saying good-bye, I returned to the set, and they were just finished. I gave Jordy a ride home and then went over to Heather's Dad's house, as her grandparents are visiting. Sunday, I gave Jordy a ride to the set again. That's about all I did, I guess. Went home, and then went to a movie—Velvet Goldmine, which I really liked. I just got the strong sense that Todd Haynes and I had some really strong childhood responses to the glam rock era—which has led him to make this big, messy, obsessive film about it, and which led me to go into a 30 year mourning for the end of rock'n'roll as I always thought it should be, or was, or what was important about it or good about it. I wrote somewhere else that in the far future, they'll look back at the essence of rock'n'roll as men dressing up like women.

Then I took Jordy home again, and we were talking about that movie, which she hasn't seen yet, and I felt such an exhilaration about it. I've really had a good time talking to her, so much that I've been shifting from the feeling of just having a big crush on her (because, who wouldn't?—I mean, she's just so, not only beautiful, but also so open—like that Marilyn Monroe quality that puts her—at least to me, on an entirely different plane than anyone else). So anyway, I'm just increasingly liking her more and more, to the extent that it's less like a crush (which is a concept I've dispensed with anyway) and more like being just totally in love. Which is kind of sad, because I don't imagine she will feel anything about me, except maybe I'm a nice person, which just has to be enough for me, because that's the way the world is. I guess, anyway, I just kind of decided not to have any kind of normal relationship anyway—in the time since I've recovered from breaking up with Heather. I know that's what everyone says, I know, until they meet someone. But then, I'm always meeting two people at once, I mean, falling in love with two people at once, so it doesn't really even apply in a way, it's just a thing I can't trust—it's a thing I can't trust—love is—it's just an out-of-control state. This is the magic notebook—whenever I want things to move along—I start to write in it and then everything changes and I don't have time to write anymore—so that's the case now—so I'll talk about love and falling in love with two people at once all the time, and all that, later.

Saturday 14 November 1998

I'm on the set of Heather's movie now—and as long as everything takes, there's surprisingly little time for one to write in a notebook. She started shooting it, it's a short film—20, 25 minutes, last weekend. She has a fairly full crew. A bunch of really nice, really professional, hardworking people working for free.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Friday 13 November 1998

I'm at breakfast at The Hurst once again, how many days this week? I just can't seem to get it together to cook breakfast at home. Or else I just feel compelled to get out of my basement apartment. It's incredibly dark out today, but not raining yet. I have a feeling I'm going to get rained on before the day is over.

I can't seem to get caught up with the earth-shattering events crashing through my life lately—I've lost all sense of time, and all sense of proportion. It's been like a mythical giant has been stomping through my world, and his footprints have been forming lakes that were never there, and earthquakes and floods are creating hills where there were valleys and valleys were there were hills, deep ravines running with icy melted snowcap, and craggy volcanic peaks forming in front of my very eyes, time-lapse evolution shooting up into the clouds, creating a new no-man's land, unseen by human eyes. Oh, good, the food is here. Too much coffee and not enough food and I'm turning love into the Jolly Green Giant.

Oh, this kind of autobiographical writing is always such a struggle. I can't imagine anyone suffering through reading it. I guess the goal is to always have my notebook at hand and write about things as they are happening, and not have to go back to “three days ago” and like that. And stop writing about writing—god that must be boring. I could be like David Foster Wallace and make prodigious use of footnotes. But as much as I think he's cool and experimental and all, I still feel like footnotes would be just laziness in this case, anyway—they're a pain to deal with, to read, and it's not like they're hypertext—they're footnotes, goddamnit—no matter how you look at it, you have to leave the text and go somewhere else, and the worst thing is you have to make that decision whether to read them or not.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Thursday 12 November 1998

I'm at The Hurst for breakfast again, after not a good night's sleep, but some sleep. I was all exhilarated after watching Heather's film—the film she got back after the first weekend shooting, the rushes. We watched it while it was being transferred to video (for editing) at this super hi-tech editing facility downtown. I don't know what was more exciting, watching this fresh, newly unwatched film (what could be more exciting?) or watching Jordy on film, Heather's lead actress (she's the only thing I could imagine to give watching new film a run for its money as far as excitement goes). I was so wound up after that, that when I got home I had to sit out on the porch and cool off, and it was cold, and I had some hot tea and I wrote in my notebook, and I looked over at the bar. I can always see if the girl at the bar is there, because she sits in front by the window. I can see her, and who's working behind the bar, and the people coming and going. It's more interesting than any TV show ever conceived. When she's there, I always have reasons for being interested, even though it's a long way across the street, and nothing really happens and... well, more on this later.

I want to go back to the previous night—oh, hell—it's time to go to work (I always think I'm going to be able to write at work, or on my break, or at lunch, but I never do).

Monday, March 18, 2019

Thursday 12 November 1998 – 1 A.M.

I'm sitting on the front porch after a long day working, and then going to a film and video editing place with Heather to look at her film that she shot last weekend on the first weekend of shooting her movie. I all looked great. It's all very exciting. I could almost forget my own obsessions for awhile.

But now I'm back here sitting on the porch, writing in my notebook. Why? For one thing, because it just won't do to sit in my apartment and write in a notebook—I don't know why—maybe because the other writing tools are in the apartment—the computer, the typewriters. Also, there's a certain exhilaration to being out in public—even if it is just on the porch. For me, that's the way it's always been. I can write in bars, and coffee shops, diners and restaurants, laundromats and train stations—better than at home. But then also there's this other reason, which I've bean avoiding, and that's the terrible beating my heart's been taking ever since I feel in love with the girl who works at the bar, The Hurst, across the street. I say girl rather than woman, I don't know why. Because I feel like I'm in fourth grade. But I say I'm in love rather than I have a crush because I'm very serious, and it's no little thing. I think you can say you're in love with someone even if you don't tell them, and even if they're not in love with you. I think you can say that. I don't know what the rules are, but I know there aren't any rules.

It's a long story and it was easier saying I was in Portland, Maine because there wasn't any background. Now it's like I'm a complete new person. But I'm still a character. Plus, I'm kind of of afraid to talk about this stuff because it might ruin my chances ever of... Whatever—what is it that I want, anyway? I don't know. I'll just use first names, and of course this disclaimer (this is a work of fiction, etc.) and any lawyers who approach me had better do it with a pay-check and nothing like a subpoena, or you might find yourself flying (lawyers!).

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Wednesday 11 November 1998

Morning, I'm at The Hurst for breakfast, not exactly on the same bar stool I was on 12 hours earlier. (I read a review of this place somewhere, they said if they had showers here you could just live here. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, beer, music, and no TV.) It's a nice feeling, somehow. Not a bad thing, like I have no other life. What would that life be, anyway, if I had it? A wife and kids. I don't know—I haven't gotten over being a kid yet, I really haven't.

I've just eaten, I have a full cup of coffee, and Billie Holiday is playing, I couldn't be more in place. I could just sit back and appreciate the little things, but I want to get back to my New Way, telling the whole truth and all. I had an interesting experience here last night. I was sitting at the bar, drinking coffee and writing in my notebook, not talking to anyone, as usual. Perfectly happy. Listening to people at open mic night. Then a bunch of people came in—all together? I don't know—but it was that kind of a whirlwind kind of thing like when someone is returning from a long absence. Plus, they were all cold and had this freshness and vitality and outdoorness radiating off of them like they just walked here from the ocean or something. (It's a two hour drive, so that's not possible—motorcycles?) I don't even know if they were all together, but there was definitely a group of people who knew each other—a short, good-looking guy who went and hugged a few people here. There was a bunch of roses produced from somewhere. The woman who checks ID's and takes money, who sits by the door, and I'll talk about later, got a vase for the roses. Were they for her? Or the people arriving? I was trying to observe, to figure out the relationships, etc., when I noticed that one of the people who came in was a woman who used to work here as a waitress when we first moved here—she was someone I always liked, and then one day she was gone, as happens with waitresses, and well, even your own co-workers. She was actually the first person in Portland that I had a kind of crush on. More like, if there was going to be someone I would have a crush on, it would be her. I couldn't really have a real crush on anyone while I was going out with Heather—it wasn't until we broke up that the complete fury of my heart was unleashed. Now, I don't even get crushes anymore—I'm beyond that. More on that later. Later—much later.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Tuesday 10 November 1998

I've thought long and hard about the new... I don't want to say rules—orientation? Let's get this over with. I'm at the Hurst in the evening, trying to get somewhere while my coffee holds out. Before my time runs out, or the spell wears off, whatever. Okay, I'm not in Portland, Maine—that's the first thing. I never was, and I can't keep up this charade any longer. I'm now in Portland, Oregon—I was all the time, actually. That is, after the Fuel Tour was over. I came back here instead of going to Portland, Maine. Heather and I broke up shortly afterwards. I moved to a room on the other side of town for six months, and I was going crazy, so I started this journal—I mean, I already had a journal, you know, like my whole life—but I said I was in Portland, Maine, and started to call it the Lobster Bible. I had been going to a therapist for six months or a year previously, and that was really helping me a lot, but then my insurance coverage ran out and I needed to do something, so I kind of really went crazy within the framework of “The Lobster Bible,” my therapy journal. Therapy for the price of a notebook and a pen. That's what I told a waitress here yesterday at breakfast who asked me what I was writing. It's only half true. This is also part of my proposed 10,000 page novel, as yet unnamed, that I started in 1989—kind of discontinued when I was sick in the early 90s from wheat poisoning and alcohol poisoning, and then decided to continue again, I believe, in the spring of 1996 when I started the job I have presently. It was initially supposed to be a 1000 page novel, but I decided that was too limiting. Anyway, here it is in part—hopefully it will just be an organic continuous endless mess but not too much of a mess to read.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Monday 9 November 1998 – Portland

No line should be wasted, no time should be wasted, no page should be wasted, it's a good day. I saw Velvet Goldmine yesterday, and I think it was an ingenious way to present history and biography in a movie. It probably has more real history than if you did a straight bio and tried to be true to the facts, names, and places, and all that, which is, of course, impossible. Especially in a movie. So, in changing the names and making it all a fictional story, it's able to get at the truth much more effectively, I think—and avoid lawsuits!

That said, it's probably not a good time to bring this up, but I've decided to change my entire philosophy, focus, rules, locus, nexis, sexis, plexus, what-is and etc. what have you, of this project, alas with this new notebook. And I know the reader doesn't give a damn about this notebook, because if you are having the fortune or misfortune to read it, it is hopefully in a magazine format (and not furtively, without my knowledge!) all typeset with the misspellings fixed and the handwriting a bad memory. But it is a new beginning, because last night, while sitting in the bar attempting to write, finishing out my pages of the old notebook, I came to the realization that it just wasn't working anymore. I was left with nowhere to go. Rather than saying goodbye—which is one option, I made the rash decision to tell the truth. I just said that for dramatic effect—I was really telling the truth all along, but now I'm just going to stop withholding information. (This has, I want to be clear, absolutely nothing to do with Bill Clinton—and I'm sorry to even bring his name up, but it's funny to keep hearing these discussion on TV and radio about what the truth is—is it lying if you are not forthcoming with the information that you know your questioners want to hear, etc.—it seems to me it's an issue for philosophers, not Democrats and Republicans, who will no doubt make a mess of the entire thing.)

Let's begin by coming clean about a few things, and laying down the law for the new way. Not really “laying down the law,” I just like that expression, because I'll continue to change the rules as I go along because that's necessary. But just to create a new framework in which to flail around in, for myself, and also to help reorient the reader, and that's who this is all about , that is, when it's not about me.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Sunday 8 November 1998

I'm at my usual breakfast haunt, The Hurst, and I'm haunting it. Dragging chains across the attic floor and such, the attic being my mind, and the chains are those chains that keep me from moving forward to an interesting and new place.

Much later. Now I'm back at the same place as for breakfast, but it's now converted to a bar, a night club—with a live band playing—virtually no cover charge ($2.00)—almost empty—9 piece jazz band—a handful of paying customers—they're essentially playing for free. My handwriting has deteriorated beyond all recognizability—hopefully I won't have to read it later. My all-day headache is a little better.

It's really difficult for me to get to the real reason for this journal anymore. It's not so much that I'm afraid that it will fall into the wrong hands, it's that I'm afraid that I won't be able to fully explain the full expression of how I feel and it will thus be a watered-down version. That's what it is, I think—it's that I'm afraid of feeling, afraid of jinxing myself, superstitious of talking about anything because then it won't happen, that nothing will happen and all I'll be left with is a bunch of sorry-ass fiction. But it's getting to the point where I can go no further the way I am going without some major changes because I no longer know what I'm talking about. Seven patrons left at the bar to 9 musicians—that's a fraction that very well represents my life, 7/9. Don't ask me how or why. No. What I'm saying, what I'm trying to say, anyway, is that I need to do something to be able to write about. Otherwise I just write about writing (like I'm doing now)—which isn't that interesting, ultimately. Or at all, maybe. So I've got to pick a direction and reel it in. I've got to pack my bags and check my maps. I've got to create another, make it happen, get a job on a lobster boat. It's a matter of life and death. Not really. But it's a matter of the life of this stupid journal. I've come to the end of my notebook and have to get a new one now, so I'm vowing that this will be the new way—the new changed life reflected in this new fresh new notebook, and that it will be actually interesting to read.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Saturday 31 October 1998 – Renner's Grill

It's like, I don't know, a while since I wrote last. That's the thing about time—you can just leave it alone and it'll do its work without you. Very much unlike people—we can't leave anything alone. I mean, you can, but it'll go to hell. That's essentially one definition of hell—that which is neglected. To be a good Christian it takes constant, never-flagging, unrelenting, narrow-minded, psychopathic maintenance. The scriptures must be repeated endlessly; but that goes for anything—any conviction, like “art is good,” or “I'm a fine person.” Neglect of any convictions, any information, even—your own history, your past, even—and you'll lose it. Hell, if you don't keep repeating the most basic things to yourself—your phone number, your address, even your name and birthdate—you'll forget it. That's the definition of hell, maybe—not the creeping sexual and intoxication and forgetting urges, but the mold growing on even your basic convictions, the cobwebs around what you've always taken for granted, but what no longer functions, due to neglect.

I'm at a place I've never visited before—never saw it until today. Tucked into the west suburbs on a tiny commercial strip, it's an old bar that serves food, including Saturday morning breakfast—and a good breakfast, too. I don't even remember the name—I'll look when I leave and write it on the top of this entry. A good looking diner is across the street, but it was cock full of yuppies, so I came over here with the real people—like this excellent traveling salesman sitting next to me at the bar drinking a red colored cocktail and eating a bloody steak.

It's a dark place—very dark, with red lampshades on the lights over the bar, and the corners probably obscured. It's not that old, but it's as good as a place as you'll ever find in the suburbs. Too bad about the TV and the lottery machines.

It's a good time to start a completely new start completely new start completely new, without any reference to the past, 100% uninfluenced by anything that has come before—a completely severed, sterile, cauterized, lopped off—sorry! I'm just trying to get some momentum. The reason to have a fresh start is so you don't have to refer to anything in the past—because that takes work—so it's easier for me to write than it is to read and make sense of what I've written. I know that makes you think—“Well, what about the reader?!” Yeah, well, it's a good thing this is my super secret private journal, and not for publication—as if anyone would want to!

Not me—that's for sure—unless, of course, I found it somewhere—not knowing who it belonged to—then I might be intrigued. Especially if it contained “good stuff.” And just what is “good stuff?” Well, I guess it'd be anything that the person writing the journal would be mortified to have anyone read—even someone not acquainted. I wonder why that is? I guess because we're talking about sex—what else? There's plenty of private stuff—but the fascination of reading someone's bowel movement diary would wear off pretty rapidly. Oh my, now that I think of it, isn't that exactly what this is? I've been calling it The Lobster Bible, but maybe I should change the name to “The Bowel Movement Diary”—or else start writing some interesting shit. If I am going to call it anything “bible” I should at least read over my own scriptures and learn something.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Sunday 18 October 1998

It's Sunday morning and I'm at breakfast at The Hurst. The World Series is underway. Fall is underway, and this morning I am facing an extreme crisis, though one so low key that most people wouldn't identify it as a crisis, but just “the way things are,” or Reality, or that's life—the phrase “general malaise” sits itself in front of me, but I'm not sure what that is, exactly—it's not one of the 100 or so words in my vocabulary. Malaise, not general. General, I know, is one of those words that means anything you want it to. Malaise, for the longest time, I thought was something you put on sandwiches. Not really. But I don't really know what mayonnaise is, either—I mean, I know it's white and creamy, and what it tastes like, but I don't know where it comes from or what it's made from. I mean, I know it doesn't come out of a milkweed plant or anything, and I know it has eggs in it, but then there's eggless mayonnaise, so how important can the eggs be? I guess I never really cared, but now I'm interested. It can't be anything too weird—it's like oil and vinegar, maybe, and eggs sometimes—but then there must be some kind of alchemy to get it to be mayonnaise! Hellmann's Malaise. You can't get Hellmann's on the West Coast—well you can, but it's called Best Foods. It's a hell of a difference between those names. I really don't know why they just don't call it Hellmann's—Best Foods sounds like a generic brand. Our friend Despina from Conde Nast, who's an East Coast person who moved to LA, insists the Hellmann's and Best Foods aren't the same. Who am I to argue, not being a connoisseur? If mayonnaise symbolizes anything, what it it? Maybe blandness, maybe middle-class, white America—though I don't know. Mayonnaise is kind of exotic in its own way. For that matter, the middle-class is kind of exotic, too, seeing how it seems so elusive, so unreachable to me. I was driving through the suburbs yesterday morning, and I got this fleeting feeling I sometimes get—a yearning, or fantasy desire to move to the suburbs—to be married to someone I have little in common with, to have a normal-looking, personality-less apartment in a complex, a TV, etc., to eat normal meals, go out to Friday's and Tony Roma's (a Place for Ribs) and have no aspirations, or goals bigger than that next little one—buy new sheets, wash the car, go to the movie that just opened. Of course this fantasy ends with the thought of children, a reality that hangs over us the same way death does. You know, certain romantic artists, usually young people—my younger self included—used to excite themselves with their obsession with “sex and death.” The way the two where intertwined was interesting, and certain poets, etc., got a lot of milage out of this. But that was before AIDS. Now “sex and death” has an entirely new meaning.

Hey. Where the hell was I? I wanted to get back to my condition, how I felt, or feel—though now, I'd have to say felt, 'cause how I feel is all coffeed up. Anyway—anyway—you know, I used to be a good writer. I didn't get off on tangents; I was concise, to the point; I had standards. I can trace the beginning of my bad writing back to whenever it was that I started starting every sentence with the word “well,” and every transition began by “anyway.” I remember in some Kurt Vonnegut book how he says he feels like “Philboyd Studge.” (I don't remember where it is, or know if that spelling's correct, and God knows I'm not going to look it up.) I'm not sure if this is even in relation to writing, but it probably is. Anyway, that's what I feel like, about my writing these days—like “Philboyd Studge.”

To get back to mayonnaise—what a great word—I guess it's French—mayonnaise sounds French, but “Mayo” sounds totally New York. Back to mayonnaise, you know the cure for mayonnaise is simply a few drops or dashes of Tabasco sauce. I wish it was so easy for general malaise. I guess I say general malaise as opposed to a particular malaise. But if it is particular, it has to do with the feeling of blandness, not getting anywhere. I wouldn't say boredom, but ennui might be appropriate. It's probably, when it comes right down to it, just the feeling of not being in love, of having so many crushes that it becomes clear that they're all just a smokescreen, to try to keep yourself from seeing yourself actually alone. Anyway, the way to get out of this condition—which maybe I should call Hellmann's Malaise—is by drinking. Drinking was always the cure, the antidote, the smokescreen, I guess, that worked very well in conjunction with the uncontrollable crush smokescreen. Drinking was the Tabasco to the mayonnaise/malaise. Hellmann's Malaise + Tequila = equilibrium. But now, without drinking, I have nowhere to go but church. And I can't get myself to go to church. So I check in here, my own convention, my name-tag reading: “Hello, My Name is Philboyd Studge."

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Saturday 17 October 1998

I'm at the Polar King in Gresham, just outside of Portland. You don't have to get too far out of Portland to be “out of town.” There are little buildups of civilization by the side of the highway, but I don't know if you'd call it a town, unless you consider a strip mall a downtown. It's amazing how driving for a few minutes takes you to a cultural another world. It's all Middle-America—everywhere that's not the very urbanist urban. And in Portland it's just a few block area—you can walk it—and outside that little oasis where they're challenged to make good coffee, and the waitstaff can get away with unusual body piercings, you get to Middle-America—bad coffee, bad grammar, non-dairy creamer, TV culture. This is a great place—an old, probably post-war diner or hamburger joint, fixed up probably in the 80s—ruined, really, but time has done its job and put some personality back into it, with its forces of decay and the mellowness that comes from day in and out use. To everyone here it's just a restaurant, but to me it's an interesting artwork, one that changes with time, and even though it was once almost a (DQ or something?) (after the remodel)—now it's interesting again.

Like I was saying, back when I was trying to recover, and backpedal (does the word “backpedal” come from the bicycle world?—certainly it must not—as you can't backpedal a bicycle—with ten speeds, or whatever they are now—28 speeds—you can pedal backwards, but the gears are not engaged unless it's forward—you can't ride backwards anyway—maybe it's just “ped” as in walk—pedaling meaning walking, then, and backpedaling meaning retreating—look this up).

Places like this, as much as I like them, freak me out because they have all women working at them (unless there is a man owner present). Only women working, and all men customers. I mean, totally only 100% men in here. This is total, without exception. All women working. All men customers. I must admit, that kind of freaks me out.

As I'm leaving I see a big family with a couple of young women and one older one—so it's not absolutely true. And then I see the oddest thing of all (this place is quite busy). There's a woman leaving, paying at the register (she was here, somewhere, the same time I was)—a woman by herself! A middle-aged woman who looks neither to be a mess or all completely together. Someone who may be an alcoholic, or maybe a recovering alcoholic. Definitely not one of those scary perfect businesswomen from Mars. But someone who looks really self-sufficient, independent, I don't know, pretty together, but not too much, you know. I mean, her just being here, at a place where like no women come in, for breakfast, anyway, especially by themselves—that makes her essentially—I mean she was just a human being on Planet Pod, and for that reason I would have really liked to talk to her, but until I get to the interview portion of this project (which I just made up just now) I won't be able to do anything like that—and I need some kind of journalistic credibility to do that—more than just a fake press card—I need a good reputation.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Wednesday 14 October 1998

I'm at The Hurst for breakfast on a Wednesday, trying to backpedal and recover form the travesty this journal has become. Instead of an _____ for mental illness, it has become mental illness itself. [_____] [connected][by backpedal theme]

Friday, January 4, 2019

Monday 12 October 1998

I'm sitting on the front porch to continue this story, evening coffee time—a soft rain falling. It's nice not to be in it, and it slows down the world a little. What happened to me after I was smashed like a tick and scratched like a flea, and forgotten like a _____. Well, nothing. Nothing Nothing Nothing. That's the worst thing that can happen. And then... nothing happened. If I was a song, I'd be silent. If I was a book, I'd be blank pages. If I was a TV show, I'd be cancelled. If I was a movie, I'd be the trailer. If I was a marriage, I'd be divorced. If I was a painting, I'd be gesso. If I was a poem, I'd be blank verse. If I was a...