That title made me remember a very bad joke: What do Thomas Merton and John Lennon have in common? They were both killed by a fan.
Okay, now that we have that out of the way, I bury all my pride and report that NaNoWriMo ’15 tanked for me within the first two days. It is a poor worker who blames the tools, but my stopping involved preventing a possible fire and permanent damage to my laptop. I would log on, and go to Word, prepared to set the keyboard ablaze with my inimitable prose, and be caught short by a warning saying the motor was overheating. So, the laptop has been under the knife for the past week, as the repair store awaits a new fan.
The preceding paragraph sounds a lot like MTV’s first broadcast music video, The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star.” (The first MTV video I ever saw was Asia’s “Heat of the Moment,” in 1982.) When I lamented this turn of events on Facebook, many people pointed out that I could have resumed the work with my ballpoint pen or my typewriter. To those of you old enough to remember the original ZOOM on PBS, “Take your typewriter, pencil, or pen, and if you make a mistake, ya gotta do it again!” I suppose I could have, but trying to type everything back onto the laptop once it’s back would put me way behind schedule. I didn’t save it to my Cloud because I wouldn’t be able to write whenever the mood struck me, like I would at home. I would have to seek out libraries for writing, and be beholden to their hours. (I am currently typing this at Thompson Library at OSU.)
I am not a total Luddite, but it seems that technology has not helped in the progress of the printed word. I think of the “novel-writing machines” that George Orwell describes in 1984, which produce pornography for the proles. In 1977, I was a big fan of the TV series Lou Grant, and a frequent plot twist was when their new (almost futuristic at the time) VDT system (visual display terminals) malfunctioned, and they risked losing the entire content of the newspaper.
So, I was out of the race early this year. Susie, on the other hand, has been steaming ahead, despite her having some kind of flu bug and her mom recovering from a bout of pneumonia down in Brevard County. (Susie has also been doing the lights for Surfside Players’ just-closed performance of Steel Magnolias.)
In the month since Susie moved back to Florida, I’ve managed to keep myself busy. The first days after she left were rough. I copied a passage from Volume I of The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln into my diary, an excerpt from a letter he wrote to his law partner John Todd Stuart in January 1841:
I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on the earth. Whether I shall ever be better I can not tell; I awfully forebode I shall not. To remain as I am is impossible; I must die or be better, it appears to me.
I have managed to crawl out of the morass, however. Work has been busy, and I’ve forced myself to attend monthly Blockwatch meetings. (I tune out when they talk about parking issues, since I am blessed not to be able to drive.) I have been very interested in all the problems that have come from a hookah bar on N. 4th St. I have never used tobacco, so I’ve never been interested in setting foot in the place, but the fact that it seems to turn into the OK Corral in the wee hours of the night has been of concern to many homeowners nearby.
There is a certain irony to my concern about the hookah bar. One of my co-workers moonlights several nights a week at a suite hotel’s bar. It caters to executives, travelling business people, etc., and the bar (from the pictures I have seen on their Website) is very genteel, with a dress code and plush seating. Naturally, we have dubbed it the Hood Bar, and are constantly trading “information” about its nightly stabbings, shootings, drug dealing, and dogfights. (The co-worker who tends bar there thanked us–she said she had no idea that these events happen there.)
I feel virtuous right now. Colleen’s Collectables (sic) is having a record show at the Haimerl Center (next door to Ascension Lutheran Church) even as I type, but instead of spending money there–yesterday was payday–I’m bringing this blog up to date. I am down to less than 13 pages in my current holographic diary volume (one of the four $.24 composition books Susie gave me last Christmas), so there is no excuse for me to be neglecting this more public journal.