As If I Needed More Books…

I went to the 11 a.m. service at the Unitarian Church today because the children’s choir, which includes Susie, was singing.  They performed “The Glory Train” early in the service, and scattered to their respective Sunday school classes.

But the big draw for me was the book exchange.  Give up some of the books you don’t want, and go home with the ones you do… and you don’t even have to swap.  Their goal is that these books find their way onto loving shelves.

If you ever visit our house, you will note that we have enough books to stock a small-town public library.  Nonetheless, I did find a few books I was willing to lose.  One was the second of my two paperback copies of Andersonville, by MacKinley Kantor, a wonderful historical novel about the infamous Confederate POW camp in Georgia during the Civil War which had a near 50% fatality rate due to starvation, contaminated water, exposure, disease, etc.  It may have been the world’s largest Petri dish.  (I’m not saying the Union prisoner-of-war camps were Club Med, either.  Both sides were equally guilty of mistreatment–by conscious wrongdoing or neglect–of POWs.)

Sitting on the table with this computer is a shopping bag bearing Steph’s and my new treasures.  I’m most proud of obtaining Digital Fortress, which is by Dan Brown and predates The da Vinci Code.  I also now have a handsome H.P. Lovecraft anthology and The Norton Introduction to Literature, featuring literature from the U.S. and around the world.

While I was scanning its index, I found something quite by accident.  It was a brief poem by X.J. Kennedy called “Epitaph for a Postal Clerk.”  Since I was a graveyard-shift postal clerk and mail sorter at Cincinnati’s main post office 1992-1995, maybe it ought to be what is carved on my tombstone:

Here lies wrapped up in sod
Henry Harkins c/o God.
On the day of Resurrection
May be opened for inspection.

I am hoping that I will indeed be wrapping up The Sad Hospital in the next few days.  National Novel Writing Month begins Thursday, and for once in my life I would like to have one project out of the way before beginning another.  I am on the last chapter of The Sad Hospital, so it would be a shame for it to go on hiatus for a month while I devote all my time to my Novel-in-a-Month project.  But my goal is to finish it before Wednesday (Wednesday night, Steph has a Women’s Theology meeting and Pat, Tanya, and I are all going trick-or-treating together with our kids), so that I can take the finished manuscript to work, photocopy it (one of those you’re-not-supposed-to-but-we-do-it-anyway that each office has), and then let Steph go ove it mercilessly with her blue pencil.  This I want done before I begin typing a word-processed copy, which is what I will submit (either on paper, disk, or by modem) to prospective publishers.  But I am not touching The Sad Hospital until December.

Readjustment of Cynical Attitude is in Order

From time to time, I have to back down from my overall cynical and jaded attitude about my fellow inhabitants of terra firma.  This happens to be an entry where I do just that.

Yesterday, I had gotten off the bus for work, and was walking up the front steps of the building wheere I work, the William Green Building.  I was just about to walk through the revolving doors when I reached into my pocket and… no cell phone!  (I have never liked wearing them on holsters, so I just forego the case and keep cell phones in my right pants pocket–since I’m right-handed.)  I went to a pay phone (finding one was not easy), and was blessed to have $.50 in my pocket.  I called it, praying the whole time that Steph or Susie would answer the phone–that would mean I had left it at home.

No such luck.  An unfamiliar male voice answered.  He said he had found it on the seat I had just left, and had rescued it from a guy who was about to do a “finders keepers, losers weepers” by saying he knew me.  We had to speaak over 2-3 phone calls back and forth, but finally I found out he worked as a welder at Allied Fabrication way, way, way out on the east side, but reachable by bus.  I worked until 11 a.m. and then took the long bus ride out there.  He said he wanted to do the right right, since he believed in karma, the Golden Rule, etc.  I went to the fabricating place (I always expect to see Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass working there) and told the receptionist who I was.  She paged Tim (the welder’s name) over the loudspeaker.  When I saw him coming through the double doors from the workers’ area, he was holding a silver LG phone, which belonged to yours truly.  Replacing the phone would have been a big enough pain in the ass, but all the phone numbers, voice memos, notepad entries, etc. would have been even worse.

So, now I’m cell-phoned again.  The phone died while I was talking to a friend from Rhode Island, since it got plenty of mileage yesterday–all the calls back and forth, Steph’s text messages to me (followed by more text messages about why wasn’t I responding), etc.  It spent the night on the charger and seems to be okay.

Susie and I did laundry this morning at the Laundromat.  Fortunately, there is a Tim Horton almost next door to the laundry place, so once everything was spinning, we went for some breakfast sandwiches and doughnuts.  I had forgotten to bring On the Road: The Original Scroll with me, but in my backpack I had a tattered Washington Square Press paperback of Crime and Punishment that I found discarded outside someone’s apartment in Cincinnati about 12 years ago.  So I may re-read it.  (The books that are in my knapsack no matter what are On the Road, Etz Hayim (a Bible used in Conservative Jewish services, featuring the Torah and Ha’tarah plus commentary), my holographic diary, and a dictionary.)

Susie will be going to a Hallowe’en party tonight with our friend Anne.  Anne is divorcing her husband, and once she sells her condo, she’s considering moving down to Franklinton near us.  (Franklinton is the only neighborhood I can think of where you keep Dead Animal Removal on your speed-dial.)  Steph and I are probably going to a dollar movie.

I’m at the Franklinton Library.  I would sign up for another computer session, but I have a daughter who has not practiced her clarinet today, and that has to be done before she gets into her Hallowe’en costume.    So we’ll be headed home before too many moons pass.

Is This Some Type of Omen?

I’ve mentioned my Diet Pepsi jones quite a few times since I began this blog, and it continues to this day.  I rationalize it by telling myself it’s a much more benign addiction than my drinking was.  Excessive Diet Coke (or Pepsi) consumption, I told myself, has never gotten anyone fired or arrested… except possibly in Utah.  (I will never forget the morning I walked through downtown Salt Lake City, from the Greyhound station to Temple Square, with a can of Coke in my hand.  It must have been like walking through downtown Tel Aviv munching on a pork chop.)

On Monday morning, I was at work at the bright hour of 7 a.m. (predawn still) and the phone rang.  It was my co-worker Allen, saying he had been admitted to the hospital with kidney stones.  He sounded wretched, and he said he was in a lot of pain–and he sounded it.  Later on, we found out he does have a kidney stone, and one of his kidneys is in 50% failure.

With my pop consumption, that should be me–I’ve joked about it for years.  I even used to brush it off by saying that if one of my kidneys failed, I could just go to the hospital and get another one.  (“I need a renal transplant–Could I also have fries and a shake with that?  And please hurry; I have to be back at work in half an hour.”)  I know it would never be that simple, but it does give me pause.

I’m too poor this week to fully indulge in my diet cola habit, so maybe this is all a blessing not too cleverly disguised.  Allen’s scheduled to have his stones blasted by laser–not fun, but better than how it used to be done.


Steph and Susie are seeing Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix this afternoon at one of the dollar theatres with a friend of theirs.  Steph’s solo went quite well at the Unitarian Church.  The choir sang “Arise! Arise!” and Steph sang soprano, and was praised zealously by one and all.  (The closing hymn, “Raghupati,” was fun, although I didn’t think I’d like it.  It was in transliterated Sanskrit, a prayer that Gandhi and his followers chanted every morning.  Steph says that they do it often in the Dances of Universal Peace she attends, so it wasn’t alien to her at all.)

After lunch at The Happy Greek, I went back north to Ace Hardware and bought the Liquid Wrench I have heard will unstick my typewriter.  With my Pete Townshend typing technique, I can’t have a machine that can’t keep up with me.  When my dad was between high school and college, he worked as a copy boy/runner for The Daily Intelligencer, the newspaper of his home town of Wheeling, W.Va.  He said that when he was there (1946-1947), he would have to go down to the composing room to drop off copy, pick up galley proofs, etc.  The paper at that time was typeset with molten lead and Linotype machines, and the mark of a good Linotyper was that the operator had to stop and let the machine catch up to him, but not be so fast as to create a jam, which would cause molten antimony and lead to come spraying up out of the machine like Old Faithful.

I’ve been amazed by how many of my fellow State workers moonlight–all of them out of necessity.  One guy in my office works at night as part of a janitorial service, cleaning offices, etc.  My fellow transcriber worked at J.C. Penney for a long time, although the last Christmas season pretty much did her in.  As much as I have tried to avoid it the past three years I’ve been a Statie, I think–by necessity–that I will have to join their ranks.  I’m applying for a job at Andy’s, a carry-out just north of campus.  (When I first quit drinking, I was afraid a job like that would be just asking for me to relapse, but it wasn’t.  An E-mail pen pal chided me for being in a “Sam Malone” situation–a recovering alcoholic owning a bar and working there.  Two different situations–in a bar, there’s an open tap, so it’s harder to monitor how much stuff is disappearing.  At a carry-out, everything is inventoried, and it has to balance with what was sold.  So “slipping” would be more trouble than it was worth.)

Saturday Morning at the Laundromat

Steph went to a work day at the Unitarian Church this morning-afternoon, and from there to her knitting group, so Susie and I bagged up a ton of laundry we had been neglecting (about a week’s worth) and took it, by cab, to Wash Land in Franklinton Square Shopping Center (strip mall).  We have a washer that works fine, but–in one of our never-ending attempts to cut costs–we had Rent-A-Center come and get the dryer last Saturday, before Susie’s birthday party.  So we’re doing all the laundry (except things that can be washed and hung up, such as bedsheets, blankets, bras, etc.) “out.”  In the end, we’re spending less than if it were with the dryer.  On the tape “Diane…”, The Twin Peaks Tapes of Agent Dale Cooper, Cooper says that “leasing may be the fast track to an appearance of affluence, but equity will keep you warm at night.”  He’s 100% correct.  It is not a coincidence that “leasing” and “fleecing” rhyme.  I always feel that we’re entering into a Faustian pact whenever we rent something to own.

I’m exhausted and having a hard time striking the right keys, but it’s been for a good cause.  We finally stopped procrastinating and bought a new ink cartridge for the printer at home, so last night I stayed up until about 2 typing up and finalizing four poems that have only existed in my notebooks.  I have borrowed (and repeatedly renewed) the ’08 Poets’ Market from the library, and decided to actually have a method as to where I am blindly mailing my poetry.  I have limited it to states I have not visited or crossed through at least once.  That means 12 states in all, and I chose Fugue magazine first.  It’s published at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Id.  While the laundry was all in motion–either in washers or dryers, I left the Laundromat and walked over a few storefronts to the post office branch, and… drum roll and fanfare… mailed that fat envelope (still only 2 oz.!) about 11:15 in the box out front.  Now I’m going to be like I was as a kid, waiting for packages postmarked Battle Creek, Mich. after mailing in Kellogg’s box tops for toys.

Several times, I’ve boasted about my $.80 Royal Royalite typewriter.  I did even better at a rummage sale in the lobby of the building where I work yesterday.  They were champing at the bit to close up shop (it was a sale to benefit breast cancer research, I think) after I came back from the bank and lunch.  I saw a postage scale going for $.25, but everything had been marked down 50%.  So, not only was the scale $.125, but I could have anything I wanted for a quarter, if it filled the plastic grocery bag they gave me.  So I bought some VHS tapes for Steph and Susie (Miss Marple and The Addams Family, respectively), a book or two for myself (Camus, Garry Trudeau), jewelry for the wimmenfolk, and the aforementioned postage scale.  (It was sold when the rates had been $.37 for the first ounce, but I can do arithmetic well enough to still use it at the current rate.)  So I returned to my cubicle with this bulging plastic bag hanging from my wrist like a purse and two McDonald’s apple pies (dessert) in my hands.

Odd Phone Call from Steph

She asked me if Susie and I were home (this was around 5:32, per my phone’s log), and I told her that no, we weren’t.  She made a bizarre request: She had forgotten to pack a dinner with her when she left for an appointment (and from there to choir practice), so she was sure it was on the dining room table.  Please put it in the refrigerator if Diana, our springer spaniel, hasn’t gotten to it first.  I can do that.

I applied online for a package handling job at UPS’ facility in Obetz.  Many of my fellow State of Ohio employees moonlight, and I’ve delayed it as long as I could–especially since I plan to be writing a book all next month.  (The last time I moonlighted, working at Medco and at Sears, I ended up in the psychiatric unit.)  But our financial picture is dismal enough that I see no other alternative.  There’s hardly any overtime with the State–unlike Medco, where you could plan for an additional expense and work lots of overtime.  The job search–for both Steph and me–has been much more uphill than it was years ago, when you could apply for a job and probably have one within a month, if you applied in enough places.  I even managed to get Federal jobs, and this was pre-Internet.

That’s definitely not the case now.  Charles Bukowski says in “The Genius of the Crowd” to be wary of people who despise poverty or who take pride in it.  He’s right–I’m not ashamed to say I’m part of the “working poor”, but I don’t wear it like a Medal of Honor.  I am just grateful for the “working” part, since that’s hardly a given these days.

Gray and Wet Day, Autumnal Equinox

…and I’m at the library again.  Susie has today and tomorrow off from school, so she slept late and wore non-uniform clothes all day.  I had a rough morning because some files I was responsible for were mistracked at work and it was thought I had them.  I went to work on another project, because that is the best way to make something appear: stop actively looking for it.  How many vanished wallets, keys, books, and jewelry I have found that way, I’ve lost track.  But I heard no more about these files the rest of the day, so I’m assuming that all’s well that ends well.

A side benefit of this panic is my desk surface is neater than it has been for months.  I am the only one on the fifth floor who boasts a cubicle library (it runs the gamut from Tolstoi to Leaves of Grass to James A. Michener and Stephen King.  It’s not organized–The Forrestal Diaries are alongside the poetry of Charles Bukowski, which is flanked on the other side by the Bible), and I often strew my papers–work-related or not–over every flat surface.  So, while they may not have found the files (I am still not clear on that), I did do some housekeeping.

What has always frustrated my supervisors is their endless hand-wringing about the clutter in there.  Yet when they need me to give them a file or paper, I can usually locate and hand it to them in less than five seconds.  They argue they may not be able to find work in there on days I’m absent.

I’m not too sympathetic.  I am in that department 40 hours per week.  When I am there, that cubicle is my house, my sanctuary, and I take as kindly to people strolling in it and getting things as I would in my own residence.

(I thought it might become my house.  When I thought Steph and I were going to split, I was going to squat there until I found a place.  Floor is carpeted, I’m an employee (which meant I could go in and out of the building 24/7), I could shower at the Y and keep clothes there.  I’m not all that tall, so I could stretch out on the floor in relative comfort, and pray a security guard didn’t come by the fifth floor on his rounds.)

Steph has choir practice tonight, so Susie and I have Crock-Pot soup awaiting us, and after Susie hits the sack, it’ll be my ‘n’ my typewriter, I hope, until Steph returns around 11 p.m.  I’ll probably have to apply another dose of Greased Lightning to the typewriter before I start working, unless I want a night of aggravation.

I have been semi-creative today.  During break, I finished a poem in my Mead Square Deal “Marble Memo” breast-pocket notebook (4.5″ x 3.25″).  Whether I’ll type it up and try to send it to someone is another story.

Susie Has the Next Two Days Off

One for teacher conferences, the other for Columbus Day.  So, she’s visiting a friend and I’m killing time by writing this blog and doing other online surfing at the Hilltop library.  So anxious was I to get a computer and not have to wait 45-60 minutes, I left work 1.75 hours early today and came up here.  The kids from the surrounding schools hadn’t had a chance to monopolize them yet, so I had no wait when I wanted to sign up for a computer.

So, at 5:30 I pick Susie up from Rhian’s house (pronounced “Ryan”).  I applied for two part-time jobs at the OSU Medical Center, and was tearing my hair out trying to cut and paste a resume file into the application.  (There are a half dozen screens’ worth of personal and employment information they ask you, but then they still want a resume.  I thought about including a URL to this blog, but decided this wasn’t the time.)  The two jobs are both clerical, and the pay is not wonderful, but any additional income would be a blessing.  Steph put an ad in the paper announcing that she does Tarot readings, but there’s been no response–or little response–as of yet.

Earlier in this blog I crowed about Zodiac, and now the DVD is out.  After a long wait, my reserved copy was finally available at the library, so Steph and I will watch it this weekend.  I also checked out The Basketball Diaries, which I plan to watch, although I don’t know whether Steph will want to see it or not.  Tonight, we’ll probably eat dinner in front of the TV and watch Family Guy, which is the best adult cartoon on TV.  I used to think South Park was hilarious, but Family Guy is 10 times better.

Susie was riding with me on the bus when she overheard the driver and a passenger debating about Stephen King.  She asked me who he was, and she was intrigued when I told her he wrote horror novels.  I have reserved the DVD of Stephen King’s IT from the library, and she and I will watch it on some dad ‘n’ daughter day when neither of us feels like venturing from the house.  (I picked that one because of its strong emphasis on loyalty and friendship, and for the fact the gore was substantially dialed down.  Tim Curry as Pennywise the Dancing Clown, the villain of the story, is fantastic.)  The book is quite a doorstop; I read it in one day, getting up early in the morning.

There was a street person in Cincinnati who used to dress in a clown suit and a white hard hat, and carry an Igloo cooler with him at all times.  He never spoke, and he was harmless.  The woman tending bar at the Westin Hotel told me one night that he’d come in, order a Coke, drink it, and leave without saying a word.

He only creeped me out once.  It was the day I was reading It, and I had had a late breakfast at the Frisch’s on E. 6th St. in downtown Cincinnati.  I paid for my meal, left a tip for the waitress, and then stepped outside… and saw him.  It shows the power of Stephen King’s writer.  He definitely has a career with the prose.

I am getting some looks with my two-finger typing technique.  I’m >70 words per minute and I only use my index fingers.  When I was working for a Kinko’s knockoff store in Athens, one night a guy had to pass through our work area en route to the men’s room.  He stopped and stared at me, went into the bathroom, and came out.  He dragged his girlfriend and her friend back there to see me in action.  (I should have charged money!)  The other fingers get in my way–that’s the only explanation I can offer.

I’m waiting for a new ribbon for my Royal Royalite, because I am making up triple-time for the writer’s block I experienced.  I ordered a new ribbon, but it hasn’t come in the mail yet.  I’m still using my Smith-Corona Galaxie XII, but so many of its keys stick that I have to gear down substantially when I type, and that is unnatural for me.

Well, I’m heading off to pick up Susie.

Since Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue…

…I didn’t have to go to work today.  Today is when Columbus Day is observed (to make a three-day weekend), so I stayed up until almost 3 a.m.  I wrote two poems, wrote one letter and tape-recorded another, and did some corrections on The Sad Hospital, all the while listening to music and keeping the office door propped wide open.  This is the eighth of October, but the temperature in Columbus has been topping out at 91 beginning Saturday.

We met with the speech pathologist, and Susie is going to be meeting briefly with her every week.  I think it’s so that St. Mary Magdalene will continue to get the funding for their speech pathology programs.  They need as many warm bodies as they can get.

I’ve been drifting off to sleep at regular intervals during the day, and I’m sure there will be no work on the novel tonight.  I was reading in a chair here at the Hilltop branch of the public library, and I drifted off several times.  At one point, there was even a saliva stain on my shirt above the pocket.

I shouldn’t have worn dark colors today.  I have a penchant for drab colors, but in the heat and the sunlight, they’re a disadvantage, since darker colors absorb heat and light ones reflect it.

Westside Pharmacy is no more.  I tried to go there whenever possible so I could keep my money in my neighborhood and support a mom-and-pop drugstore in its David vs. Goliath struggle against the chains like Walgreen and CVS.  About two weeks ago, Susie and I were walking back from breakfast at Tim Horton and there was a big sign in Westside’s window that said all the prescriptions had been transferred to the CVS in Franklinton Square.  The “Westside Pharmacy” sign was gone from the facade, and everything inside was gone.  There were some racks and shelves, but they were devoid of any merchandise.

Truly a sad turn of events.

I’m taking Susie to a block party on Saturday morning.  It’s run by Jericho Light Club, a quasi-mission and urban ministry on West Broad St.  I’m ambivalent about it.  The theology there makes Jack T. Chick and Rod Parsley sound Unitarian, but Jericho is actually doing something, and getting past the talk stage of Christianity.  The Light Club is a hangout for kids, 100% free, supported only by donations.  There are some games, pool tables, books, etc.  Kids under 18 have to have at least one adult in tow at all times, and “no touching of the opposite sex unless married.”  The proprietor has things like Hot Pockets and two-litres of pop available for the kids to munch.  Susie’s been a few times with one of her friends; while they were playing darts and pool, the proprietor and I played a few games of chess–one of my forms of self-abasement.

He got the idea for Jericho Light Club when he was in prison on drug charges, and has made good on it in the years since he’s been out.  He also hosts Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, holds church services, and some Friday nights there are Christian youth rock bands there for free concerts.

Books for Cross-Country Bus Trips &/or Prison Sentences; Happy 10th, Susie!

Before I address the title, I want to announce that we may not be moving after all.  The reason it looked like a fait accompli is because we are so damn behind on rent, due to medical and other expenses, that the landlord had sent us a certified letter announcing that we had to be out.  But we’re paying him about $800 when I get paid on Friday (not that it’ll leave much afterwards), and that will make a small dent in what we owe him.  After we pay the cell phone bill–and that is a must with Susie taking public transportation to and from school–I’ll be rolling pennies to satisfy my caffeine habit.

Speaking of my caffeine habit, it’s caused something physical in its wake.  (I’ve built up such a tolerance that I can drink a two-litre in one sitting and still doze off right afterwards.  I’m not like Tweek on South Park at all!)  I have had an issue with my right eyelid jittering–not a real symptom, but more of an annoyance.  So I went to an ophthalmologist (am I spelling that right?) in the Arena District, and he diagnosed myokymia.  I was less than truthful about my caffeine intake, and when I told Steph about it later, I "forgot" to mention that excessive caffeination could cause it.

Here’s a definition of it from the Web:

Eyelid myokymia: Fine continuous contractions of the eyelid muscle, typically involving one of the lower eyelids, less often an upper eyelid. The condition occurs spontaneously, sometimes triggered by stress, fatigue, caffeine or alcohol. In most cases, the condition is benign and ceases of its own accord.

The only one on that list that doesn’t apply to me is alcohol.

Susie turned 10 yesterday, precisely at 1:13 p.m.  We’ve told her she could have *big* birthday parties on the multiples-of-five years.  So this year she had 12 girls over (although we mailed out many more invites, and hardly any people picked up the phone to RSVP one way or the other), and they played Blind Portraiture and Win, Lose, or Draw.  I managed to stay above much of the fray, including walking one of the girls home afterwards.  I helped set up and break down, but I would have possessed the only Y chromosome at the party.

One of the advantages of government employment is that I have tomorrow off in honor of Columbus Day.  We’re celebrating the event by meeting with Susie’s speech pathologist at St. Mary Magdalene.  (Her "pathology," to my untrained ear, is nothing more than a rather snaky S when that sound ends a word.)


Here’s my list of books I wouldn’t read except for cross-country train trips or prison sentences.  (I have read some of them already, some I have not)

Raintree County, by Ross F. Lockridge, Jr.  I read this on a train from San Francisco to Cleveland, returning from my honeymoon.  Steph tried to read some of it over my shoulder and gave up after about five pages.  I read it more thoroughly as a Book on Tape, about 36 90-minute cassettes.

The Stones of Summer, by Dow Mossman.  After I saw the movie Stone Reader, I went straight to and ordered it, thinking such a novel must be phenomenal to so intrigue the director.  Wrong.  Only got about 20 pages into it and gave up.

The Rosy Crucifixion, by Henty Miller.  All three volumes.  I borrowed my copy from the State Library of Ohio (another perk of my job, one that very few of my fellow workers take advantage of), and I have a hard time working up any enthusiasm for it.

The Book of Mormon.  This misspelling is common–the second M doesn’t belong there.  There are parts of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament that are quite dull–even the most devout people I’ve ever known readily agree with this.  The Book of Mormon cannot be divinely inspired, because no Deity could be this boring.

Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand.  This is the book that made me decide once and for all that my favorite Marx Brother was Karl.  The paperback is set in a font known in the trade as 8-point eyestrain, and that alone will lull the reader off to dreamland.

My Secret Life, by "Walter."  This is the no-holds-barred memoir of a Victorian man in the 19th century, chronicling every sexual experience he had, from toilet training up to and including middle age.  It was wild and exciting the first few pages–there was never a Classics Illustrated edition, I don’t think–but it gets old.  It was so raunchy that it had to be produced originally in The Netherlands, hiring a Dutch typesetter who didn’t know English.  The first press run was less than 10 copies–one is at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, one is in the Vatican Library, and one is at the British Museum.  Grove Press produced a complete version and an edited one.  The complete one is 14 volumes, all in one large book.  The book’s contents can be summed up as "It moved.  I fucked it.  The end."

The Golden Bough, Sir James George Frazer.  This would be more of a reference book than one you’d sit down and read cover to cover.  There is some very good information about pre-Christian forms of worship, pagan and nature-based religion and rites, etc.  The hard part is seeing past the patronizing attitude in which the book is written.  The implication of "Look what these ignorant savages believed before we Christianized them" hangs over every page.

The Inman Diary: A Public and Private Confession, by Arthur Crew Inman, edited by Daniel Aaron.  This is the diary of a recluse, bad poet, and crank who lived in Boston from 1919 until his suicide in 1963.  He left behind a 155-volume diary, whittled down to two heavy volumes by Dr. Aaron.  (Harvard University Press whittled it down even further, to a single volume called From a Darkened Room.)

Here is Inman’s bio, taken from the Wikipedia.  Would you spend time reading something from this man if you had other choices?  (I do hope to equal or surpass him in diary tonnage, though.)


Arthur Crew Inman (18951963) was a reclusive and unsuccessful American poet whose 17-million word diary, extending from 1919 to 1963, is one of the longest English language diaries on record.

Inman grew up in Atlanta and seems to have had some kind of serious breakdown at 21. He moved to Boston, where he became increasingly obsessed with his health. He lived for much of his life in dark, soundproofed apartments. Having inherited wealth meant he was able to afford his hypochondria and other eccentric ways, as well as servants and people hired specially to come and talk to him. His wife, Evelyn, appears to have accepted that he would have sex with some of these so-called ‘talkers’. He attempted suicide on several occasions, and finally succeeded with a revolver in 1963.

Inman was obsessive about his diaries which he hoped would bring him immortality. Following his death, the 155 volumes of the diary remained mostly unpublished. In 1985, Harvard professor of English and American literature Daniel Aaron painstakingly put together and published a two-volume abridged edition.

Inman’s diary is not only considered unique by some but has been called ‘the most remarkable diary ever published by an American’. Through its many volumes, Inman provides a panoramic record of people, events, and observations from more than four decades of the twentieth century.

A play based on the diary and written by Lorenzo DeStefano was produced at Seattle Repertory Theatre and at London’s Almeida Theatre, both productions helmed by Jonathan Miller. A film adaptation, "Visitations", is currently in active development.

In September 2007 an opera based on the diaries and Lorenzo’s script had its world premiere in Boston, Massachusetts. The Inman Diaries, composed by Thomas Oboe Lee on a libretto by Jesse Martin. The opera was commissioned and produced by Intermezzo – The New England Chamber Opera Series.