Summer in the Valley in July. 100 degrees among the strip malls. Carl’s Jr, my wife’s boss says: that’s what the Valley is, at its heart. In a way that’s true. Supermarket has no chard for me today so I’ll use collard green instead. I’ve been cooking insane amounts of chard recently. Wife’s probably sick of it. I’m probably sick of it. But I cook it still. Easy, delicious, goes with everything. How will the collards work? Probably not as well, but I have uncooked sausage left over from dinner last night, and they seem to pair well with greens.
Bink, newly shorn, is back to his old health. After we got back from Houston in July he had some bowel issues; we ended up taking him to a Vet ER at one in the morning the day we got back. (My wife described the situation to the nurse on the phone. She said we didn’t need to take him in. We took him in anyway. Because that’s how we are, where BinkHealth goes). After thirty minutes of having people probe his anal areas, he was pronounced okay. Apparently pets can develop mild colitis when they’re in high-stress situations. The four nights he’d spent being boarded seems to qualify. Bink’s like his parents; he doesn’t do well with change, new environments, or other people (well, dogs). Picking him up from the boarder I always think of the way my brother and I were when we were picked up from Camp. He’s dirty, he’s too thin, and he’s exhausted.
An understandably disgruntled Bink has his hindparts tended.
A few days ago I had the startling realization that the (tele)play I’ve been working on is, of all things, Pynchonesque. Pynchon meets Dante, maybe, but still (both are great makers of and would-be believers in systems). Pynchon’s not an author I thought I admired. Now, rereading Lot 49 for the third time, I grow ever more impressed. Vineland next. (I read it 10 years ago, but remember it only vaguely). Should I attempt another assault on Gravity’s Rainbow? The last one was repulsed with all malice. We’ll see. Point is, it’s a breakthrough: knowing where to go to learn to write the thing I’m writing. My thing far less paranoid and ominous than Pynchon, but the overall sense of some massive hidden order undergirding what seems chaos, as well as the way in which all my characters can seem, in some ways, to be completely insane—in those, at least, they are the same. A line somewhere involves someone commenting on the hero’s remarkable speed in going to the heart of another man’s madness. Maybe what it’s about? Everybody basically crazy, in amusing and frightening ways.
Ordered about a dozen books in the last week. Joined a book club which I’ll probably not attend (other people will be there). The book being discussed is something I’ve never read, by Yukio Mishima. Also checked out, from library, a number of books about animals. I have this vague idea that all justifications in the end, in fiction, involve metaphor, and that many of those involve animals, their behavior. In a letter I just wrote to agents I had this prolonged discussion of Emperor Penguins, comparing myself to them. Going with my usual strategy (if it is that) for writing to strangers: be completely myself, bizarre and even frightening as that may come off. Easier, in its way. Has drawbacks, of course—no one I wrote has yet responded, for example (though I’m not sure how much of that is content, how much is my status as unknown, random, vagrant). But it was this approach that convinced my wife to date me. Well, that and my ferocious, penguin-like, good looks….