Norman Mailer (1923-2007)

And before National Novel-Writing Month is halfway through, one of the most prominent World War II-era writers passes from the scene.  Norman Mailer, author of The Naked and the Dead, The Executioner’s Song, Oswald’s Tale, and Harlot’s Ghost, died this weekend.  Susie and I were at the Laundromat yesterday morning when Steph texted me with the simple words Mailer dead.

It’s not because of Mailer, or because of the novel-writing project itself, but my depression seems to be worse.  On Thursday, I told Steph that I thought seriously about checking myself into the hospital that night.  Ironically, the only thing that truly stopped me was the fact that they wouldn’t let me bring my typewriter in.  (I only produced 2 pages that night, and that felt like I had just given a pint of blood.)

Friday night, I was at MoJoe’s in the Short North, meeting with three other writers on this “Novel in a Month” project.  Emily and Anne were sitting at a small table with laptop computers, and Bradley, originally from Cincinnati, came in, and he wrote in black ink on a leather-bound legal pad.  I did more socializing than writing, and produced zero when I got home.  Four of Ohio’s public colleges were represented–Ohio U., Kent State, the University of Cincinnati, and Bowling Green.  Emily and I were both in the “literary fiction” genre.

Oddly enough, I almost didn’t go.  I was snooty enough to dismiss the concept out of hand when it was posted on the NaNoWriMo Website, saying that if these people were really writers, they’d be too wedded to doing their writing to have the time or interest to socialize.  Another reason I almost didn’t go was because of past experience with writers’ or poets’ groups.  They tended to be like teenage boys talking about sex–the ones who were talking about it the most were doing it the least.

There was an interesting justaposition at MoJoe’s.  For much of the night, we shared space with kids from a national Catholic Youth Conference that was happening at the Convention Center, just a few blocks south of the restaurant, so it was a departure from MoJoe’s usual clientele.  The only odder combination I’ve seen was a bikers’ convention sharing downtown with the initiation of 200 new Freemasons.  I’m not sure who made me more uncomfortable!  (Then there’s the annual Jehovah’s Witnesses convocation that seems to happen on Gay Pride weekend.  I’ve never seen them handing out Watchtowers and Awake!s to the procession of leather men and topless lesbians as they came down High Street.

I did manage to write 1.5 pages this morning.  Susie stayed home and watched some cartoons and played some video games, while Steph went to church and I lingered in bed.  I hauled myself to the typewriter after I went out and bought some milk for breakfast.  It’s a gray day with cold rain, so it did nothing to enhance my mood.  OSU’s defeat to Illinois yesterday perked me up somewhat (“O how great have the mighty fallen” but it didn’t last.)  I have tomorrow off because of Veterans’ Day, so I’m hoping to have more productive results tonight and during the day.

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