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SF Carnaval Parade.

June 1st, 2001

Gets The Bullet
Ninety three yesterday, 72 today, currently 61 here in Oakland. I'm not sure why I need to write this down. Maybe one day I'll go back and want to know what Yahoo said about the temperature here in Oakland on June 1st, 2001. I hope not. So much for the weather, let's get to the whether, weather or not.

I'm curious to see if I do something this weekend about finding a place to live. Go by a realtor's shop and find out what sort of a place I can afford to buy and if there are any of them left here in Oakland. Can that be so hard? I guess so. Second thought: I've been talking with myself in the mornings about a major scrubbing of the bathroom. The tub needs it. I take my bath in the mornings. The tub talks to me of scouring agents and porcelain cleaners, but my replies are non committal. The floor needs it. I do not discuss things with the floor. The washbasin counter needs it. The mirror needs it. The toilet is actually in pretty good condition at the moment, but it needs it too. We all need it, come to think of it, but I'm curious to see if I do anything these next two days. I'll mention this again Monday. Visit a realtor's shop. Mind boggling.

I finished the Wonder Boys, finally, having rented the movie and heard however many public SF Carnaval Parade radio interviews in these last two months with the author, Michael Chabon, now that his most recent book, The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier & Clay has won the Pulitzer prize for fiction. I was curious. The protagonist is a writer horribly stuck seven long years into the writing of a manuscript that has passed the two thousand page typed single spaced mark that will not, cannot, shall not, come to a conclusion. His agent, needless to say, having his own job related issues (he needs a book, any old book, as long as it's a best seller), is becoming testy, which leads us to a long weekend about a fellow who has lost or maybe never had the knack of deciding anything whatsoever in his entire life: home, hearth, writing or women. And lots of thoughts on what it means to be a writer.

I liked his thoughts on being a writer. I'm not sure any of them are true, but they sound good and many of us who are not writers may find them romantic. "The midnight disease", the writer over time "taking on the life of his characters", the writing late into the cold morning light, the weasels in the shadows: watching, waiting. All good stuff. I still believe a writer is someone who writes, preferably every day, and those who don't, aren't, except for the exceptions. Chabon, of course, is a novelist who's won the Pulitzer for fiction, whereas I keep a journal, so I think maybe we have to pay attention. "The Midnight Disease", unfortunately, sounds familiar: life in a turreted room at the top of a building with naught but a bullet in the head at the end to show for it.

Chabon's protagonist does not end up with a bullet in the head, by the way, but trades in his Selectric on a new laptop and his wife on a woman with a steady income who is the mother of his child and the chancellor of a local college. It's the other guy, the other writer, the model on whom our writer is made, who gets the bullet.

The photographs were taken at the San Francisco Carnaval Parade. The quote is attributed to an English professor at Ohio University.