This last full week of August promises to resemble summer to some degree, but that would be divination, I suppose, as I’m writing this a full week earlier. “Promises”; this reminds me of a blurb on a Raymond Chandler novel that may have been from Chandler himself or, if not, it was certainly meant to sound like him — and it did: “Southern California, where the sun makes a promise it breaks every night.” Pretty good, it’s up there with a classic Chandlerism from Farewell, My Lovely: “He had a face like a collapsed lung.”
My time is rarely my own these days, so I make the most of it with the fictions of others that I put on like a suit of clothes worn only for an hour or two a day. At the moment I’m living in Kingdoms of the Wall by Robert Silverberg, a majestic and mythopoeic vision of life on what could only be a Jovian planet where everything is on a scale hundreds of times larger than that of Earth. I’ve written about Silverberg here in the past, and for anyone still unprejudiced by the objectionable term “sci-fi” and who leans toward the rubric of ”Speculative Fiction,” you would likely find this writer’s stuff (written since 1970 or so) gratifying.
It is improbable that I will be commenting on, much less participating in, any kind of weekend nightlife for the immediate future — not that I was ever much good at it anyway. I reckon I could be relied upon for descriptions of the play of sporadic headlights on my ceiling at 4 a.m., though it hardly seems fertile ground for lively writing. The same could be said for any accounts of my distracted and pointless navel-gazing at that time of night, though it would, of course, enrich your life, I’m sure. Example: “I’m past the halfway point of my 60th year. How did I allow this to happen, and why wasn’t I consulted about this two weeks ago when I was 35? Don’t let this happen to you.”
A two-word phrase has crept into common usage lately: “Real quick.” I first heard this in hospitals as in, “The doctor will be in to talk to you. He just has to do this quadruple bypass real quick.” Now it is everywhere, as in, “I’m almost ready for lunch, let me just build this nuclear power plant real quick.” Or how about, “Ready for Monday morning?”
“Yeah, let me just do this weekend real quick.”
It is now up there with “No worries” and “At the end of the day.”
I just received an email from Thailand. It was from Ken Minahan, a guitarist I played with in two different bands from 1968 to 1971. He sent some pictures as well, one of them of our ’68–’69 group Faith (when Blind Faith came out we decided to drop it in favor of It Doesn’t Matter, known in the Tri-State areas of Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa as IDM). The photo is a good one, far better than I remembered: we look like Buffalo Springfield meets Traffic, and everyone except me looks like a fairly serious musician. We were, actually, it’s just that I remember the photographer told me to “look up toward the ceiling.” I did, and the result was I look like some effeminate flake composing a sensitive poem entitled “Crimson Is My Wisket.” Thanks, Kenny. That was fun. I see you’re called “Snowman” in Thailand. I get it, you kind of look like one. Just kidding. You look good, you look good.
My professional careers since the age of 15 have been musician, writer, and bartender (with several unprofitable side trips as a bookseller), so I don’t see how I could have developed such bad habits. Still, there it is. Much to undo.
Speaking of which, this trip through rehab seems to be clicking on previously clickless points along the way. Certain scales, as it were, have fallen from my eyes, and I can now see how heretofore unfathomable screwups came about. Not all of them but some of them; more, it is said, will be revealed. Still, I think I’m right about certain episodes I may have nailed. The strongest evidence of this is the feeling of thorough discomfort when I think of those periods preceding the horror. I may not be entirely clear here. Feel free to sue me.
I feel like I’m struggling NOT to channel Andy Rooney. He’s probably not even dead, for all I know, still… “Did you ever notice how movies suck in the summer? None of them have Andy Griffith in them. And by the way, where is the Matlock: The Movie we were promised?” Turn to the ads in the Movie Review and Guide section and tell me it’s not slim pickings.