Journal Entries (July 21–27, 2012).

Saturday, July 21st–I finished Francis L. and Roberta B. Fugate’s “Secrets of the World’s Best-Selling Writer: The Storytelling Techniques of Erle Stanley Gardner,” and started Nabokov’s “The Annotated Lolita.”

Sunday, July 22nd–I scanned books that I’m taking back to the library tomorrow….

Monday, July 23rd–
I got up between 2 and 3pm, I think, got ready quickly, and took the bus downtown….

At the library I dropped off the books and DVDs that were due, checked out five more DVDs, grabbed a novel from the Non-Fiction section, and took the elevator upstairs.

As soon as I emerged from the elevator I was almost knocked down by the stench. It was the stench of filthy human flesh–especially human flesh that hadn’t been exposed to deodorant–mixed with hot water. In other words, the homeless guys who hang out in the library all day had been taking whore’s baths in the restroom. The stench pervaded the entire floor.

I grabbed the books I wanted quickly, as the library now closes at 8pm, rather than 9pm, checked myself out, and on exiting, passed a guy who was sitting on a bench out front, who used to be a co-worker when I worked at the library for five months from 2004 to 2005. I nodded, but he didn’t recognize me.

On the bus home I was stuck behind a career girl whose hair reeked of chlorine. I was quite pleased to get home, since as of right now, I have no appointments for the rest of the week.

Tuesday, June 24th–I forget much of the early events of the day. I later got into a bit of a political argument with my old friend D___, but then he called me, and we had quite a fun and pleasant talk about other matters, for at least an hour, I should think.

I finished my tutorials for Photoshop CS 6, but I may go back and re-watch certain videos I didn’t quite follow. I didn’t watch any movies, but I read more in “Lolita.” I fear the extensive notes are really going to make the reading experience unpleasant. I retired after noon.

Wednesday, June 25th–The last of my dreams from today, and the only one I remember, involved a man–presumably Charles Addams–who with his mind re-imagined the various people he encountered transforming into the members of “The Addams Family.” In the last scene this man was standing in an attic, and a disapproving man approached him, scowling, before turning into Uncle Fester.


I woke after 7pm, I think. I took Belle out just in time for us to come face-to-face with that asshole from upstairs with the two dogs. He scowled at me and impatiently waited for us to pass. I was mad at myself for looking away and not staring back at him.

Dinner consisted of baked beans on toast.


I wish that earlier in my life I’d owned a really good camera and that I’d photographed all the places and locations that were important to me.

I have a sense of nostalgia that would put Charles Foster Kane to shame, and I am always thinking about those places in my past, and wishing I had good photos of them—even photos as detailed as those a restoration architect might take. The places are almost always more important to me than the people I associate with those places.

I think this problem has been occupying my attention more and more lately because of all the buildings of my past that have been demolished or drastically altered recently. Two of the places I lived in here in Austin have been demolished, and of the many places I considered renting when I was apartment-hunting in 2004, two have been demolished, and one has been remodeled and stripped of all the features that attracted me to it.

I think there is in many people this vague notion—be it a hunch or a hope—that the planets and stars will one day re-align in such a way that we will get to re-live the favorite periods of our past, and we await the moment, bags already half-packed, in a sense, when the Great Train Conductor of Time will come and announce to us that our pasts are ready for us, and that we must drop the unsatisfying duties, pastimes, and occupations of the present, and immediately go back to those pasts as if nothing has changed.

I often have recurring dreams that I move back to the college dorm where I lived, more or less happily, off and on from 1983 to 1989. I go by the front office, to find my mailbox jam-packed with twenty-three years worth of mail that no one had the sense to forward to me. Then I set myself to the task of settling in to my dorm room, and I try to figure out how to cram a lifetime’s worth of possessions, 10,000 books, and a large Basset Hound into half of a dorm room measuring thirteen feet by thirteen feet. And how will I manage to live with a room-mate again, when I hate room-mates and living with other people? (This dorm was demolished four weeks ago.)

I have other recurring dreams where I go back to my grandmother’s house, which was sold around 1977. Of course, even if I bought the house today I couldn’t make it what it was. Much of the furniture is gone. The huge magnolia tree in the front lawn has been chopped down, along with the even larger tree that once stood in the direct center of the back yard, and which had a spigot alongside it from which the water barrel for the dogs was filled. The house, once painted a creamy white with a touch of pink, is now the sharp yellow of early morning urine. But the dreams persist.


I went back and re-watched two tutorials on Photoshop, then started a new group of tutorials for Photoshop Elements. Later on I began Paul Strathern’s “Borges in 90 Minutes” and continued with “Lolita.” I think I will just go ahead and read the text to “Lolita” first, and then tackle the notes afterwards. I didn’t retire until after 1pm on Thursday.

Thursday, July 26th–
Most of this day took place on Friday.

Friday, July 27th–I woke around 10pm Thursday, and got up about thirty minutes later. I did the usual things–walking Belle, eating, showering. At one point I went into the bedroom and found Belle had left atop a newspaper on the floor a small collection of turds, as well-shaped and thoughtfully-arranged as the pieces of fruit in a Cezanne still-life.

I had to fight another fire ant infestation around 1am. This was the third in about a week, thanks to all the kibble Belle strews around the place.

I fear I will soon be facing a content problem with my Word Press blog. I am running out of material to post. I recycled much from my old blog, I’ve posted several years of journal entries, and two almost-complete books. I really should have parceled out “Withholding” in smaller doses–it would’ve lasted longer and probably been less of a burden on my readers–not that I have all that many, according to my site stats.

What I have left are seven months of journal entries, and my largely unpopular Paris book. After that, I may have to go back to posting abstract photos.

I have something of a love/hate relationship to the books I’ve written. Sometimes I’ll look one of them over and find it amusing and clever, bordering even on the erudite. Then I’ll finish reading some truly great book, and feel I am even less than an amateur. For all the pessimistic, cynical, misanthropic, bitter, angry, vulgar, profane material in my writing, I still think I too often sound naive, childish, wide-eyed, clueless, unsophisticated, provincial, and cloyingly sentimental.

Of course, some of this is due to the unsophisticated society in which I live and the rather plodding, incurious people who have always surrounded me. I live in a place where people would rather kill a deer or go to a high school football game than look in on an art exhibition or attend a foreign film. I’ve always felt out of place in this culture, or, as the most perceptive of my therapists once pegged me, “a stranger in a strange land.”

I try to fill up my mind with only the finest of intellectual nutriments, but even this has failed to bring my work up to the level I desire. It doesn’t help that poverty and madness have caused my world to shrink, and my journal entries are devoid of all adventure, and include only monotonous lists of my daily routines, films watched, and books read, as well as the trivial fears that seem to me so enormous, and the feuds and squabbles that I’ve turned into conflicts of a truly Miltonian scale.


I continued with my tutorials and reading.

In the morning I went to the UPS Store and got another IRS form printed out, then went to Petsmart for dog food. I was one of the first customers of the day. The clerk tried to engage me in conversation with the usual bullshit about, “How’s the day been so far?,” and I admitted that I was not starting the day, but rather was about to finish it.

An Assistant Manager who was standing at the end of the register console brightly asked, “So where do you stock?” I didn’t understand him, and he explained that he meant if I worked all night then I must be a stocker. I smiled with relief and explained that I was not a stocker, and that I was in fact unemployed. I didn’t bother to add that I would rather be unemployed than work as a stocker anywhere.

After this I went to the dollar store, where the clerks, sad to say, are just as chatty.

I got home, and eventually went to bed and read.


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