Saturday, December 22nd–I woke about 10:30am.
There was food in the house, but nothing to snack on.
I mostly farted around online and read in that Lovecraft biography, retiring after 4am or so.
Sunday, December 23rd–I woke about 2pm. I finished the last of the soup. I spent much of the afternoon and evening in a depression.
When you realize that almost no one respects you or takes you seriously… How do you deal with that? That you know everyone privately regards you as a big fucking joke….
Eventually I got around to doing some more tutorials, but they were very dull. Later I read in the Lovecraft biography.
Monday, December 24th–I woke around 2:16pm. When taking Belle out for her first walk of the day I checked the mail, and again, for the second year in a row, I had no Christmas money. No money for special food. No money to replace my holey and threadbare clothes. No money to replace my microwave which I am sure will blow up and start a fire any day now. No money for a new toaster. No money to replace the latest in a series of about six broken desk chairs with something sturdy enough to bear my massive weight….
This non-appearance of money, as well as various things I saw online, and the fact that I’m being ignored by certain people, pushed me into another depression, and eventually I cried a little bit.
I think one of the reasons that I’ve come to hate Christmas, Thanksgiving, and most holidays in general, is that I’ve been conditioned to regard them as very special days where everything has to be perfect and wonderful. And when it becomes obvious that the day will not be perfect and wonderful, I get upset. If December 25th’s events and expectations were exactly the same as, say, the events and expectations of July 25th, then I’d have no problem. I’m prepared if July 25th turns out to be a crappy day. I’m not prepared for the same from December 25th.
I remember Christmas-time 1972. I was in Third Grade. In Music class we were singing Christmas carols. And I changed the lyrics of the opening of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer:” “You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Agnew and Nixon….”
Anyway, today was mostly devoted to depression, farting around online, and reading extensively in that Lovecraft book.
Tuesday, December 25th–I think it was almost 5pm when I finally got up.
More start-of-the-day depression.
6:39pm. 37 degrees F here….
I am suddenly aware of the presence of my nipples.
Holidays have become to me like medical/dental visits. I just want to get them over as quickly as possible so I can get to work with forgetting all about them.
Santa, please slip into my apartment through the bedroom window behind me and put two shots into the back of my skull.
Most of the evening was spent reading in the Lovecraft biography, though I did exchange some messages with an LA-based Tumbler follower, who gave a depressing and devastating report on the LA job market.
Will I ever get out of Texas?
Wednesday, December 26th–I woke around 6pm. Dinner was more microwaved Indian food over rice. Tonight’s dish looked like baby diarrhea.
Most of the night I was curled up on the living room floor under two blankets, with Belle next to me, reading the Lovecraft book. Our walks outside were brief because it was so bitterly cold.
The book made me despair more and more about my chances for a happy, fulfilling life.
I paused for a time, made and ate some pasta, then read some more, pausing only to let fly with prodigious garlic farts.
I think today was the one where one of my last acts before going to bed was to smash open a large cyst that had been building up on my lower belly for a long time (weeks? months? years?), spraying blood and pus all over my hand.
Thursday, December 27th–I dreamt I was staying at someone’s house for a party that was supposed to last several days. But it had been taken over by many of the leading figures in the American Republican Party, and they were being really obnoxious, eating all the food, drinking all the booze, and leaving none for my friends.
I remember John Boehner was getting really loud and climbing up on the kitchen island. There was also an overweight woman who was, oddly enough, supposedly really into fitness and exercise, who had the details of her fitness regimen and all these slogans about staying hydrated tattooed on one of her legs.
We were all put out and disappointed by this turn of events, but there didn’t seem to be any way to get rid of these people. Had the host invited them out of politeness or had they just crashed the party and the host couldn’t bring himself to run them off?
Whatever happened, it killed the party for us, and the rest of us spent the weekend just moping on couches or trying to sleep through the weekend in the bedrooms in the back of the house.
The day was pretty much a repeat of the last several days. I got up around 6pm or so, took Belle on the first of several walks, noted that the temperature outdoors was a little warmer by maybe ten degrees, fed Belle, ate some pasta, farted around online, showered, had coffee, read in the Lovecraft book, developed a cough from the dust and shit on the floor, got online again, ate some Indian food, blah, blah, blah.
I can’t believe it’s been a whole week since my last outing.
Friday, December 28th–I was in that state between sleeping and waking, trying to come up with a 21st-century adaptation of Orson Squire Fowler’s Octagon House, when Belle woke me up.
This was around 8pm.
For the first few hours of the day I mostly listened to sad music, since I was overcome with despair, frustration, longing….
Saturday, December 29th–Friday flowed into Saturday.
I seem to be bouncing back and forth between depression, sadness, despair, anger, frustration, hopelessness, and similar emotions.
I finished the main body of the text to the Lovecraft biography, then started in on the end notes and bibliography.
I had a dream where I was Hercule Poirot. I was vacationing in France in the 1930s, staying in a large country house for a house party. Somebody was murdered, and naturally, I investigated. I interviewed everyone who had been present, including a rather smug man who seemed the likely suspect, and a maid.
Later, when I was holding forth on the case in front of a group of people, the maid became hysterical, sank to her knees and began crying. She admitted that she’d held some information back. What upset her most was that even though she had had her doubts about this information, she had not mentioned it in her most recent confession to her priest, and had taken Communion with what she now felt was an unconfessed mortal sin on her soul and conscience, and, having taken Communion in a state of sin, was now in danger of hellfire.
She revealed that she had visited a nearby convent and seen an unfamiliar priest there. She noticed that as he left the convent, he took off his clerical collar and priestly trappings, got into a large, expensive car, and drove away. It was because she had thought this man a priest that she had said nothing to her confessor or anyone else. She assumed that if a priest was behaving suspiciously, he probably had a good reason to do so.
But when something proved to be missing from the convent and this man appeared at the house party in the house where she worked, and a person there turned up dead, she realized the man was probably not a priest at all, but someone up to no good.
I went to the convent along with the maid and a few other people. The convent had been the home of a nun who had either just been declared a saint or was in the process of it. There were only certain areas of the convent where outsiders were allowed. We came in through a very humble, run-down farm yard, through a back door, and into the dark, not very modern or clean kitchen.
Some nuns and women from the village were kneeling before a table. On it stood candles, religious pictures, and possibly a crucifix. But most of the table was taken up by two or three dozen books, all standing up on end, separated from one another. These books were relics of the saint, the tiny library that she had amassed in her lifetime. The crisis that had just befallen the convent was that someone recently had slipped in and stolen some of these books. (I theorized that the phony priest has done the job.)
I was taking all this information in politely, pondering the connection between the two crimes, when the nun that was doing all the talking explained that not only were these books of special religious significance, they also held the secrets of a vast underground espionage network, based out of convents and monasteries, designed to protect the people of Europe and indeed all of Christianity, in the event Nazi Germany mobilized for war.
Now that put a whole new perspective on this case. Seized with concern and religious fervor, I crossed myself and sank to my knees some distance behind the kneeling women, and began praying.
Later, I paced around the kitchen, as everyone else either prayed or looked at me dejectedly, wondering what I would do next. I noticed coffee brewing in a pot and suddenly felt the need to urinate. I couldn’t use the toilet that opened right off the kitchen, as my actions would be heard by the women. There was another toilet off the back hall, but again, it was so close to the kitchen that all the women would hear what I was doing and we’d all be embarrassed.
I woke, needing to urinate badly. It was 8 or 9pm or so.
I did my usual rituals.
Sunday, December 30th–Saturday flowed into Sunday.
I finally finished L. Sprague De Camp’s “Lovecraft: A Biography.”
For years a friend had told me that he saw great parallels between me and Lovecraft in terms of our lifestyles, neuroses, and biographies. I knew him to be correct to some extent, but until I read this book I had no idea just how much Lovecraft and I have in common. Indeed, there were times where I started to get bored, and ask myself, “Why am I even reading this? I know exactly what’s going to come next. This is like a biography of a life I’d never realized I’d lived before.”
I admit that I must wonder why a person, who lived only forty-seven years, spent one-fourth of his life as a total recluse and the rest as a semi-recluse, needs a biography 500-pages long. Granted, Lovecraft is hugely influential in his genre, but De Camp is one of those biographers who feels it necessary to mention in the text every single time his subject blew his nose, then back it up with extensive documentation in the end notes. This can make for slow reading.
Even stranger is the fact that De Camp doesn’t even seem to like Lovecraft as a man or a writer. Indeed, there are places in the book where he makes a point of trying to defend himself against charges that he dislikes Lovecraft, but De Camp protesteth too much, I think. He’s highly critical of Lovecraft’s writing style, gives only so-so marks for Lovecraft’s better works, and lousy marks for the rest. He takes great pains to point out Lovecraft’s faults, especially the racism that marked most of his life, and even though he mentions that Lovecraft outgrew a lot of these faults in later life, that doesn’t seem to satisfy De Camp.
Much of the book seemed to me to be an attempt by De Camp to give Lovecraft a posthumous lecturing and dressing-down, to wag his finger under Lovecraft’s nose for his shortcomings, and to prove, by comparison, De Camp’s own superiority. From start to finish the book reads as a “Here’s-what-I’d-have-done-instead.” De Camp constantly criticizes Lovecraft’s lack of professionalism, his blasé attitude towards his writing career, his preoccupation with his hobbies, his correspondence, his travels, and his friends, his silly affectations, his blustering political and social views, his fear of sex, his acquiescence to his female relatives, his low self-esteem, and his very real, crippling neuroses.
And while, yes, Lovecraft does come across to some degree as absurd, embarrassing, and a little pathetic, De Camp comes across as a snotty, bullying, pedantic prick. And there is no doubt which of the two writers will remain a major influence on science fiction, horror, and fantastic literature. Lovecraft made major contributions to popular culture, and will be remembered as long as there are readers who enjoy the weird and the uncanny. De Camp, on the other hand, spent his final years in Plano, Texas, a suburban shit-hole so hellish that not even Lovecraft at his most twisted could have come up with such an awful place.
After reading this, I puttered around and kept making myself meals to eat, since the lack of snacks to nibble on always makes me hungry. This is cutting down on my supply of available food.
I took Belle out for another walk a few hours after sunrise. She started sniffing at something on the ground, and I was surprised to see that it was her little metal name and address tag. Had it just fallen off or had it come off earlier in the night? I’m sure glad she pointed it out.
I exchanged some IMs and calls with James, who was headed out until the 6th on a road trip to Port Aransas and the Port of Houston to photograph ships.
I retired around 2pm or so.
Monday, December 31st–I woke at 11:54pm on Sunday.
I went through the usual rituals. It was drizzling most of the night.
Reluctantly I did my tutorials, which have become so much babbled words. It took something like three hours for me to get through twelve videos, each lasting between a minute-and-a-half and three minutes and fifteen seconds. But remember–I’m copying down every word said, and I have to pause the fucker every three to six words or so.
A few hours after sunrise, I took Belle out for another walk. She took interest in one particular dog. When they were within about six or seven feet of one another, the owner of the other dog said she didn’t want the dogs to get too close because hers had kennel cough.
I wish to hell she’d said something earlier! I hope Belle wasn’t close enough to catch it or that she didn’t pick it up from passing close to something that dog had infected. I hope she didn’t eat some of that dog’s poop. Christ!
Later on in the morning I saw a message online that disturbed me so much I felt as if I’d just taken a blow to the solar plexus. The problem was I wasn’t sure if it was meant for me or not. I got so upset I was crying at one point.
I spent the day puttering around. I meant to do some reading or watch a film, but I never did.
Later on in the evening, I saw something else online that disturbed me.
I eventually went to bed around 9pm.