Sunday, January 20, 2008


Two Stellar's Jays went skittering up two young firs this morning, half-heartedly pecking for insects, making dead branches bounce and spring. Their blue is iridescent, the male has a black crest.

The abalone shells I lay hollow down on the railing have been weathered until the mother-of-pearl shines through their coral pink external shell as well.

My failure is ambivalence. I fear to commit for fear of failure; I fear to commit for fear of success; I fear to risk my whole self publicly. I fear condemning eyes, electric sneers. My wife says, “Either swallow it or choke on it.” I'm definitely choking.

If you're not part of the problem, you're not part of the solution.

How Ringo's minimalist drumming so suits the Beatles.

Yes, it's Church of the Beatles Sunday.

What seeds did I plant yesterday? Dill, Creeping Dill, Italian Parsley, Thyme,
Snow Peas, Nasturtiums and Marigolds. They are now in the yard under the little white pup tent of a frost barrier with my poppy seedlings.

Why I know I'm depressed: If someone offered me ECT today I would go. One of
my depressive thoughts is always, “How can that bus driver (bartender, janitor,
waitress, cook, etc.) possibly perform her job? How did she learn to drive a bus?How does she do it?

After graduating from UCLA I took a job in a fabric warehouse schlepping fabric rolls. It was as painful as any job because of my own perfectionism, its dullness did not diminish my ambition to do a good job. Near the end of the summer they asked me to be assistant manager. I had to laugh. As depressed as I was, seeking refuge in repetitive employment, I was still singled out for advancement.

As for dwelling too much on my malady, if you had to piece reality together from past clues, as your present seems unendurable, you, too might seek your bearings on paper.

My kilorat scale is wrong, you know. Roger Dier was not too depressed to care for a thousand rats. If he were too depressed to care for any rats at all, he would be at zero rats, not ten kilorats. And as a behavioral measure it is utterly impractical. Even if well I would prefer not to care for a single rat. But how many _could_ I care for? ("Could" and "want" as rhetorical competitors are both superior to "have to.")

My main symptom now is an acute lack of confidence and a fear of filling the day.

Perhaps as a reaction to the above I sent out four submissions in the last two days, including a query for my novel. My approach to publication is completely illogical.

If someone sends me even a generic solicitation, I'll usually submit. Otherwise I can't be bothered--except when I go into a Duotrope's Digest fit and start submitting to all kinds strange zines, though for the most part I am unwilling to lick stamps, still a severe limitation. But not with The New Yorker!

If I wanted publicity, my main mistake was in closing Melic. Never believe that being an editor of a well-regarded magazine doesn't help you as a writer. People notice you. You have a certain amount of power and receive a certain amount of deference.

One reason I closed the magazine, besides the board's final destruction by the barbarians, was to focus more on my own writing. Ironic, hmm? I should have thought more about marketing.

Wait--now I remember the main reason I elected to close Melic: inadequate technical support. You may notice that many editors are also webmasters, a terrific advantage.

We can always open the magazine; it's officially on hiatus. All we need is a good and savvy webmaster! (Pay is low, job satisfaction high.) If this proposition interests anyone, write me!

When I felt better briefly two weeks ago, when I first started taking Adderall, the future appeared to me: I would expand my website to include sales and self-publish. It seemed like the right thing to do. It seemed obvious, in fact. But since my mood dipped again after the misunderstanding with Kathleen, everything appears impossible again--so I dabble and start some desultory queries in the groundless hope that someone might publish me. I have three rejections of my novel so far, the most damning being that in the Amazon "first novel" contest I didn't even make the cut of the top thousand--out of five thousand. Move over Charlie Brown, let me try to kick the football.

Just because my kilorat scale is mathematically incorrect doesn't mean that I don't still intend to use it.

At 4 kilorats but masked by Adderall,



  1. Excuse this non sequitur, but how are your cats?

  2. The cats are great. I've been trying to get a decent picture of them. I'll download the digital camera and post some pics if I can. If I were in a better frame of mind I might feel up to the task of writing about the inscrutable feline race, but as I am, I cannot do it justice. Here's a poem I wrote about them:


    Kink and snurl together, pawing and flicking,
    slink effortlessly up to the windowsill
    and pose, always unconscious of their grace,
    as if it were expected, as if it could not be otherwise.


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