Category Archives: Nonfiction

1986 vacation

Trip Down

Started at 11:00 6/7 from Ashton. Saw convoy of Army/camo vehicles. At 1:30 had a flat front left tire about 5 miles or less away from El Paso [Illinois]. Stopped down at 2 gas stations to get new tire. We got our tire at J.M.K. Tire & Wheel in Bloomington. We also had lunch at J.M.K. Tire & Wheel. Next we went to the Miller Park Zoo. 35 cents for us and 75 cents for parents. First tigers, mountain lions, snow leopard, Indian lions, which live 15–30 years. 13–15 years snow leopards live. Lemur, fox snake, tarantula, iguana. We saw spotted turtle, hognose snake, spiny mouse, screech owl, sparrow hawk, jaguar, siren[?] monitor, alligator, boa, snapping turtle, painted turtle, softshell turtle, king snake, ferret, piranhas, birds, sea lions, otters, raccoons, red fox, donkeys.

Then, we drove again, this time to a park north of Kewanee, the Johnson-Sauk Trail State Park. We decided to stay. First we registered. Then we went to site #48. We had supper at 8:00 and went to bed. It also sprinkled. We woke around 6:00. I had slept on the cushions next to the window in the camper. When we got up, we dressed and had some toast. Then we went fishing.

Our whole family went, and Nace used his new pole and a white popper to catch 5 bluegill, the largest 7 inches and the smallest 6 1/4 inches. Dan hauled a snake ashore while Mom read Deerslayer. For breakfast we had Tang[?], eggs, sausage, toast. Mom and Dad made it while I cleaned up the camp and Nace and Dan cleaned fish. 

Our stay at this park was part of Plan B. We were going to go to Kentucky and the Smokies, but burning oil and a blown front tire cancelled those plans. Instead. Plan B says that we stay one night in a state park and then go to Door County, Wisconsin, in our Suburban. I guess we’ll see if that plan turns out. 

After eating breakfast about 10:00, we packed back up. We then left camp and headed north, toward Morrison. At eleven we stopped and got 17.4 gallons of gas at a Conoco gas station in Prophetstown. Starting back at camp, I had been riding in front with Dad. At 12:00, we came to Morrison Rockwood State Park and Carlton Lake. We stopped near a bait shop and bought 1 dozen worms for $1.10. We then drove around the park looking at campsites. Mom and Dad liked #37. Next we settled down in a parking lot near a bay. Nace caught 2, 1 bass and a bluegill, and Dan got 2 bluegill. Dad and I only got bites.

Around 2:00 we stowed the fishing gear in the truck and went into Morrison to get an ice cream cone. We first went to a One Stop Store to get our cones, but their machine was busted. We then went down to a drive in-type place where we each had a medium-sized chocolate-and-vanilla-mixed ice-cream cone, except Dad, who had a medium chocolate cone. 

When we got back into the truck and started it, Dad and I drove just to the other side of the lot and bought a block of ice from a gas station. Then we were on our way back to Morrison Rockwood State Park. We drove back to the park to choose a campsite. We drove slowly and discovered #34. A little later a ranger signed us in. It was about 3:30.

From about 4:00 to 5:00, Dad and I rested and napped while Mom read and my brothers played around. After our nap, we had supper. Tacos, fruit salad, and Kool-Aid were on the menu. Then when we were doing dishes, chopping wood, and recovering from supper, we heard a sound like a truck was stuck. We heard it several times, and until we saw that it was a rainbow colored hot air balloon, we had no recollection of what it could be. 

After cleaning up, we headed down to the Lake Carlton. We got 2 dozen crawlers and a bunch of minnows. We started fishing on a dock for crappie. Two nice men over a little farther down on the dock caught some and gave them to us. Though we caught some. I had 2, Nace had 2, Dan and Dad each had 1. Mom ran the stringer while Dan ran the fish from the man [men?] to Mom. One of the men had blondish hair while the other was older and had black hair and glasses. Our family packed the truck with our gear and headed back to camp to clean fish. I used Nace’s yellow knife and scaled 3-4 fish.

After getting the fish smell away from our hands, we built the fire and had s’mores. We each had two. I tried to darken my marshmallow to a golden brown.  After that we got ready to go to bed and we got to bed about 10:00, June 8, 1986. 


This morning we awoke around 7:00. Again, I slept on the cushions around the table. We got dressed and had some cocoa. Around 7:15 we left our campsite to go fishing. Our family got down to Lake Carlton and we got minnows. After just a little fishing, the man with the blond hair named “Red” arrive[d] and caught fish which he gave to us. “Andy,” the other man, also came, but later. Nace caught a crappie and a bass. Dad caught a bass. We couldn’t have had many at all if Red hadn’t given them to us. Red and his friend caught crappie on little lead-head jigs with yellow, white, or orange color. I tried my beetle spinner like that but had no results. Before we left, I took the minnows back to the shop to take but he didn’t. Later we packed the fish and went back to camp to clean fish. Dad, Nace, and I cleaned fish while Dan stacked them up in a pile. When a fish would fall off the pile, Dan would patiently pick it up and set it back of the stack. 

About 10:00, we had breakfast. Friend bluegill and crappie went with toast and orange juice. Dad burnt some toast. After that I made toast. I got them nice and crisp, but not burnt. Following breakfast, clean up and messing around were activities performed. I rolled sleeping bags and straightened up the camper while my brother[s?] tortured baitfish. About 11:30 we finished packing and got on the road again, but before that, Dad threw the garbage in a container the ranger set out. Then we left camp. We drove on the toll road till [sic] we hit the next town, Dixon. When then drove through and out of Dixon around 12:20.

Next we rode through Franklin Grove, on our way to Ashton and Dad’s house. Maybe 5 minutes out of Franklin Grove when we reached Dad’s house. Following the stop at Dad’s, we took off to our house. We arrived around 1:30. Right away we started to clean out the Suburban, which we were to take up to Washington Island. Dad came up around 3:00 and helped us repack. Later, after repacking, we left about 5:30. I was riding next to the window in the short seat. 

We drove up to Rockford and got some gas [at] station by the airport. Dad bought us some cones there, which he made himself. After that we got on the toll road and paid the toll. The road went through Rockford. From there we drove along highways through Elkhorn and Eagle. Eagle is neat because the whole town looks older, especially the motel. Going out of town, we took the Kettle Moraine Scenic Route. Kettles are potholes formed by glaciers and a moraine is a hill with rock in it dropped by the glacier. Out of town, we came up upon the Ottawa Lake Recreation Center. We decided to camp here for the night. The campsite is #81. After arriving[?], my brothers and I set up Nace’s tent while Mom and Dad worked to set up Dad’s tent. After we got Nace’s tent up, us [sic] boys explored around in the trails. We discovered an entrance to the lake. Then we went back to camp. Right away we went back out to collect firewood, but we didn’t get much of anything. By then Mom and Dad had gotten the tent up. Mom took us for a short walk next to the woods. Then we came back to camp, but then left for the building which has restrooms, sinks, and showers, where Dad got water. We went back to camp and started the stove. Mom made ham sandwiches while Dad made cocoa. We had cookies after that. I cleaned out a space in the back of the Suburban, where I slept. Mom and Dad slept in Dad’s tent, with their blankets zipped together because the wind was blowing very cold and fast. It might have been 20–30 mph. 

We all awoke around 6:30, 6/10. Right away I helped the boys put away their tent because it was sprinkling. By the time we left it was raining. Anyway, we had cereal about 7:00. Mom made Banana Nut Bread in the shape of a pancake. We started packing the truck up and taking down Dad’s tent, and we left Kettle Moraine State Park. Ottawa Lake is one part of it. We left the park at 8:00 with it cloudy and raining. Dad was driving, Mom was in the front seat, Nace and I were in the second seat, and little Danny in the back. Around 9:30 in a Standard station in Mayville we got gas and Mom started driving with Dad next to her. We drove on Highway[s] 67 and 41 and didn’t run into any rain until we came into Fon[d] du Lac. We saw just a little part of Lake Winnebago around 10:00. Rain still came down when we went through many towns, including Algoma, Kewanee, and Manitowoc, Two Rivers, Alaska, and Pipe, all along Lake Michigan. We stopped at 2 rest stops, one in Manitowoc, the other outside Algoma. Mom and Dan [or Dad?] looked at a motel, but they didn’t like it. From there we went to the Riverside Restaurant and Drive-in for lunch. I had a Deluxe Burger with tomato, lettuce, and onion and a Dr. Pepper. We left there at 2:00. Dad got a paper on the way out.

At 2:30, we drove into Potawatomi State Park. We drove through the campsites to choose one. I liked either #42 or #48. Both were next to a cliff with rocks and were in the woods. We ended up with #42. We drove out and set up our tents. I climbed up the cliffs to the top. The climb is about 30 feet or more. Dad chopped two logs of pine. We went from there to the boat launch that goes into Sturgeon Bay. I picked up a couple of rocks, but lost them. We went back on the road and went partway up a tower. Mom stopped 2/3 of the way up because you couldn’t see much. We went to Sturgeon Bay. Roy’s Red Owl is a grocery where we bought our food. We went back to camp and had pork and beans, hot dogs, and soup. For dessert we ate s’mores.

I slept with Mom and Dad in their tent. In the night, one time it rained very hard, and another time it thundered and lightninged. We woke around 7:00 and had eggs, toast, and bacon for breakfast. Dad built a fire, but it was hard. After breakfast when Mom was doing dishes, Chipy the Chipmunk ran around rocks near our campsite. He ate from an apple core on the rocks. We let camp at 12:00. We went down to Sturgeon Lake to let Nace and Dan fish while Dad and I played catch. At 12:15, we left and got on the road home. We only stopped twice, one [stop] for gas in Appleton and one in a waystation outside Kickapoo [this location name might be incorrect]. We traveled on Highway #26 most of the way. At the waystation we had lunch. We hit a toll north of Rockford. Also, at the waystation, Mom and Dad changed positions. Mom drove the rest of the way home. We reached Stillman at 6:45, thus ending our 1986 vacation.

As a conclusion, we saw a rainbow when driving on North Cox Road. 

[From a pocket notebook entitled “’86 + ’89 Vacation Tactical Navigator Log.” I turned 12 in 1986.]

Live-to-paper performances!!

Had only a couple kids well, 5 or 6 — seniors here last hour as juniors in Rhet & Comp went to veterans’ day assembly (responding to that is the topic for today). I feel confident this morning after writing journals about how editing my writings for blog feels like work. And I also had thought on drive in today (a snowy, 45-mph hour drive — though I did pass a car on Route 72 eastbound, which car was doing only 35 mph) that I actually don’t want to be famous — not if I have to try to impress others — that would go against the whole aspect of my ideas that look not at myths or stories or extremes but at what’s here and now (though would it be OK if I got famous by being dull? Well, maybe, though maybe I still wouldn’t want to be too influenced by trying to amuse readers (as that fan letter I got at Daily Illini screwed up my process and my writing mind. That’s jeez, 23 years ago now and I still refer to it. I did write for AgriNews and WILL since then, though I never got fan letter. I did get recognized by clerk at a bookstore (Borders?) once and that was weird. 

But maybe that’s the last time I wanted to try to be clever for money/fame/attention I mean, Deadspin was clever but tediously so. Maybe I can be — can start to be — confident in my obscurity (and not bitter). That being obscure is, if not the point, then it’s adjacent, because my point is to be honest, to just be. Well, not to “be” anything but to write just what comes to mind to write when I sit down and write my journals each day, like this one here (though the pocket pages notes are more about the ideas themselves, maybe). Here I am now — I don’t want to be remembered later. 

A literature of being alive now: the Maynard Ferguson “Macarthur Park” and the students with heads down, mostly done with journals but see, even labeling what’s before me and with me isn’t the full point. It’s just nowness. It is now as I write this. I’ll be another now should I come back and read this. Of course I have hundreds of books filled with now-writings and of course none of them can be thrown away they’re not drafts but originals! Live-to-paper performances!!

[From school journal of Mon., 11 Nov. 2019, 4-5 hour., Journal 312, page 74-5]

Done with this hell-hole known as Tech! Back to civilization!


Done! Done with this hell-hole known as Tech! Back to civilization!

Just finished with phil. final … Final seemed too easy, but others finished early, too, so must not be too bad.  

Not too much else to do today. Catch up on this [journal], I guess, and laundry. Hope mom gets here early tomorrow.

I need to write when I get home.  I need to get active and forget doubts, like my ability to create a good character. I’ll never know unless I try. I need to create characters that speak, and not put words in their mouth.

Can’t believe I’m going home. In a lot of ways, it will be like regressing to high school. It’s weird to think I’ll never see most of the people I know now again, even though I despised them before. It’ll be odd to see Chris, Matt and Joe again. Living at home.  I’ll be different — it’s not that I won’t fit in, I know I can, but it’ll be weird to see these things and people in a new light after experiencing Tech. I just hope I don’t forget how much I hated it up here, in the winter, with the engineers, ’cause it already seems not as bad. I guess time heals all wounds, but I don’t want to forget this experience.  Now Tech seems really nice, but I know I couldn’t spend another winter up here.

I know I haven’t been as creative as I was in March and April — gala months for revelations. I’ve been so busy studying and worrying about going home.  Also, I just haven’t had as many new ideas — funny thing. A cyclical thing — fertile and fallow months. I expect to get a lot of new ideas with all the reading I’ll be doing this summer.

It’s funny — nothing I have to do today.  So weird. 

My hair is getting just too long. It’s in my eyes. I want to keep it long, but I don’t want it in my eyes. I look better w/ long hair, but not too long.

Drugs: there are a lot of people who are just yes-men for the “Just Say No” committee. They should change that to “Just Say No and Blindly Accept our Decree Without Thinking for Yourself” because that’s what it is. It’s fine to say no, it’s perfectly ok, that’s not what I’m saying.  But, as with anything you do, you should know why you’re saying no. You should always come from an informed position, when making any non-emotional decision.  

There are different types of people when it comes to making a drug-use decision. People who blindly say no — foolish. It’s much better (and people respect you more) when you have a reason. The person who is unsure of their wants is wishy-washy — not cool, can’t respect that person. I know it’s not always possible to have a decision, but at least be confident of not having a decision. Wishy-washy people just have no respect, aren’t cool.

While I was taking notes from my phil. notes, I realized that information can be compacted almost infinitely, ’til you get down to one word or one sentence. This is scary. This is like 1984, where Big Brother controlled the thought of the citizens by reducing the number and meaning of words. You can always take meaning out, but restoring meaning is tougher. So it is important to not overly-condense material so as to not leave out subtle meanings and nuances, which can be more important, have more meaning than blatant statements.

Rap is the only really new music form for our generation.  It’s the modern street poetry, the beat of our generation.

(Paragraph below typed 30 May)

I helped Andy move out.  I took pictures for Matt’s ASCE drawing.  Did laundry — got hot in dryer.  Ate by myself at Subway.  Went to Readmore for a few minutes.  Took nap and packed some more.  Mopped whole floor.  So quiet in dorm.  Started Dharma Bums — that book is incredibly bad! The dialog is corny and highschoolish (I think some of my dialog in “expurgators” was better) and all the other characters talk only about how great Japhy Ryder (Gary Snyder) is.  So different from the best book ever written, On The Road. If nothing else, Vonnegut was at least consistent.  Matt came back around midnight.

[From journal of Fri., 21 May 1993, typed 21 May except as noted above.]

We’re all kinda like nesting dolls. 

Just another day, really, in this stretch of 90° [F] days (one week down, one more to go). 


New life comes from crotches. OK, I don’t think that’s universally valid. But my thought about humans (and other placental mammals) is that new life comes from the inside of existing bodies — we don’t sprout children off our fingers. We’re all kinda like nesting dolls. 

9:36 a.m. phone time. I had cereal and am sleepy already. I learned last night that Rob & Laura Petrie married in or soon after the war, and she was only 17! 2 DVD show episodes were on CBS last night, in honor of Carl Reiner’s death this week, I saw somewhere. 

Ah, f*** — my body felt stiff this morning. I’ve still got chafing. I didn’t feel like doing anything active yesterday. I read online and watched Youtubes while dog shivered on our bed (because of occasional firesworks). And I don’t know if I need to change something or what. I don’t feel depressed exactly, but maybe it’s a different kind of depression. A few minutes ago, as I colored above, I thought for some reason about going to Rhinelander, Wisc. I’m not sure why that place came [to mind]. 

I read at the DVD show page that Rob’s (I think it was his) mother didn’t like that Rob & Laura got married without telling their families. And so I looked up Carl Reiner — I hadn’t realized he’d been the creator of DVD show and that he’d based the Rob character on himself — and I see he married his wife, Estelle, in 1943. Carl’s wiki page says he was drafted in 1942 at about age 20. I was watching a History Channel thing (“WW2 in H.D.”) this morn and it said there was a draft before Pearl Harbor (I’m not sure exactly when it started) but it was for 21–30-year-olds. and yesterday I heard (on some Youtube vid?) that the average age of U.S. solders in WW2 was 26 — but U.S. soldiers in Vietnam were 19.

I just (at 10:09 a.m.) pulled a beetle out of my t-shirt, from between neck and left shoulder. I’ve already been out to catch falling beetles from birch tree. I went off deck so dog would go into grass and pee. He’d wanted out to deck but hadn’t left deck and wanted back in. I went out because I thought he might pee. 

[From journal of Sat., 4 July 2020, J327, page 71]

‘Oh, man, what does toad homework look like?’

Washington Post (updated June 28 at 8:05 a.m.): World: At least 9.995M reported cases [of COVID], at least 497K deaths reported.

Illinois COVID (as of 6/27 2:30 p.m.): 141,077 positive tests confirmed, +786 in a day; 6,873 deaths; 1,521,189 total tests performed …

See previous two pages for cute [neighbor girl] Gwinny quotes. M said as she filmed that we had to stock up on Gwinny cuteness, as we soon won’t have her around [after her family moves].

[Here’s one sample from the previous page: Gwinny said to a toad: “I think you had enough time to play. Now you have to do your homework.” Me: “Oh, man, what does toad homework look like?” Gwinny: “It just means the toad has to sneak out somewhere.” M & I laughed. Gwinny: “She’s gonna be a spy when she grows up.” Me: “Sneaking out is good spy homework.” Five-year-old Gwinny gets it, though she’s never yet gone to school. She learns from her older siblings, I guess.]

Dog and I walked to park and back between 5:30 and 6:20. I think we went via M____ [street], but I could be remembering another day. I napped 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. yesterday. We made burritos late (8 p.m. hour) and ate while watching a Shakespeare & Hathaway — gardening kerfuffle. Bed 11:30 after watching SNL rerun of ‘06 with Nat Portman and some of the 2019 K-Stew SNL at 10:30.

I blogged yesterday. Got to 61 (I think) for the month of June. There was a post I liked, from 12 Aug. 2017, when M and I had gone to Chicago, and I had made an erasure from a Red Eye (paper article) and I put in pics of those pages and the erasure, and a 2010 piece, I had typed in a couple paragraphs I liked, about how I wasn’t keen on … but I took them out and ended the post earlier. I thought that I just don’t want to risk a confrontation with … over it.

[From Sun., 28 June 2020, Journal 327, page 9]

Salina, Kansas: This is a flat town.

7:24 Central Daylight time, SALINA, KANSAS — Well, here we are, halfway across Kansas. It looks like we’ve still got 10 hours and 630 miles to go, according to the MapQuest M pulled up inside the 24/7 station next door when we stopped to pee at 7:45 last night. So we drove from 1 CDT (noon MDT) ’til 7:45, took maybe half-hour for lunch at Subway in Burlington, Colorado, a quiet — eerily quiet? — town near Kansas border and then stopped for gas at WaKeeney, KS. Gas has been cheaper here in KS than elsewhere, $3.60 something at WaKeeney, where M bought her Kansas magnet for Nina, something about Dorothy and Toto, as most of the souvenirs here seem to be about — also there’s’ the Kansas weather T-shirt: changing every hour, with tornadoes twice later in day. And also the gas here is $3.59 or so — maybe that’s because of the oil produced here? We saw oil pumps somewhere near Hays. When M started driving, I was more able to look. I drove 1 til 6. M took over at WaKeeney. She found a pamphlet for some Smoky Hills Scenic drive, which might be neat. It crosses some old Butterfield Trail. But, then, we were in a goal-mode, but beyond that, how much history does a dude need, you know? F*ck, Kansas is desperate: there’s a “deepest hand-dug well” attraction marked in our Rand McNally map.

Posture — letting the head and shoulders be where it takes the least energy to maintain them. Usually it’s straight up, not my normal hunched-over post. That’s what [chiropractor] V. said, too — good posture is when your head feels balanced. What’s odd is how quick it is, how easy to forget where it feels natural and start hunching over without even noticing the extra energy it takes, in the form of tense muscles, until later, when muscles start aching, I get headache, etc.

I’m sitting here in a conference room, the Cottonwood Room, capacity 49, near the breakfast area in this Holiday Inn Express. It’s not as nice inside as outside, but this was the nicest-looking hotel I saw [while] driving around Salina (pronounced “sa-LINE-ah,” according to weather guy on KAKE, “cake” they called it, TV out of, I believe, Wichita). We actually went 9th Street through town — this is a flat town — lots of flat around here. Clerk at 24/7 advised we go south for food, so we did, ate apathetic food served apathetically at Fazoli’s, and then we went back to Candlewood (Suites?) Inn and checked out of the room we had just checked into. It was an odd sort of room, the last one she had, with double queen beds, handicap accessible bathroom (no shower tub, just floor), and a kitchenette — but it had a slightly odd smell and M was bothered by it. She was already a bit anxious, and she made a face at the room smell before recognizing, wow, that’s what my mom does — and so while we ate, M got online with her phone and got the number for Holiday Inn and called — talked to India, she said, made reservation, and we checked in here at about 9:30. So we have a ways to go yet today — to Kansas City, up to Des Moines, and home — but we couldn’t have gone much more last night, anyway.

[From journal of Mon., 11 August 2008, Journal 103, pages 385-7]

M said, why don’t you admit it hurts?

7:56 A.M., Mountain Daylight Time — Well, here I am. Walked around the ring road through this corporate office park. I say “corporate” because these aren’t factories, but mostly these are small buildings. Only DirecTV is really big. And I had to pee really bad the whole time, well, almost the whole time. But I held it in. Walking downhill was worse than flat or uphill. And anyway here I am.

I’ve read the papers this week, but very little TV or NPR and no online news. It’s been pleasant that way. At least newspaper isn’t screaming at me. But these papers are better than the [Chicago Tribune] — the Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post are both better papers than the Trib, more news, but also just more character, more personality in the features. And we went to Boulder yesterday and I bought a NYTimes on the Pearl Street Mall just because I could — because here it was, and I can’t normally buy it. So yeah, after MPs [morning page journals] yesterday, we picked up M’s dad at Marnie’s. M had cereal for breakfast; I had TicTacs [10/23/08: didn’t I also have an energy bar from Shell station?] and then got her mom at the nail store — her mom had swollen gum troubles. And M drove up to Boulder (by the way, I’m here at my table on the ground floor, looking out at the wedding tent and the concrete walk and the pond and golf course — and a staffer was outside a few minutes ago wearing a plastic glove on his left hand, taking cigarette butts out of the black sandy tray at top of garbage cannister and throwing the butts into the garbage can beneath. I didn’t know that was a job to be done, but I guess it does make it look nicer.).

So, yeah, I’ve been saying how Denver has an outdoor culture while Midwest doesn’t as much — also Chicago isn’t really as tourist-friendly. The IPass [“eye-pass”]: Having to stop to pay cash tolls is so tedious, it’s as though the state hates outsiders, or there are simply so few it doesn’t matter, but either way, it’s not a welcoming system for tourists. While out here in Denver, we drive all around the city and pay no tolls. We saw signs about the HOV lanes — high occupancy vehicle? — and how you could pay a toll there, but it was free if you had two or more people in car. Chicago doesn’t reward carpooling at all.

Anyway, M drove to Boulder. We went downtown. [Her dad] shouted to a biker, how do we get downtown? Take a left on Arapahoe (was it?), then 9th Street to downtown. M said if I gave directions, it’d be too much information (T.M.I., the saying goes). And I found my Clairefontaines — my only real quest of the trip — at Boulder Books, a neat store I didn’t have much time to explore because I was looking at various notebooks, but that’s OK. We were on Pearl Street, where [my friend D.] said he had been, but hadn’t had a good feeling at, a few weeks ago. To think that my friend lived there — anyway, lunch at Walnut Brewery, tasted their beer sampler while [M’s mom] started to cry while maintaining her tooth didn’t hurt. M said, why don’t you admit it hurts?

[From journal of Fri., 8 August 2008, Journal 103, page 353-5]

I mentioned ego

I mentioned ego — oh, in “Breakfast at Victory” essay. Mike said we need the ego or we’d get pushed around in life. But what did he say — did he add a caveat on to that? I said it sounds like my daily-life ego versus creative freewriting nonego, the value of letting go of ego at times, too.

A conversation like that — only 10 minutes or so, he sat in chair opposite me. I could’ve asked several things — how do you compare Chicago to here [Denver]? Or I could’ve given my opinion of a certain philosophy — but those, while OK, would’ve been kinda silly, too. We go to an interesting point in that conversation, and we each recommended a book to each other. He said he teaches that Huxley book [Perennial Philosophy, maybe]. I think he said he uses that text in class.

[From journal of Sat., 9 August 2008, Journal 103, page 374]

I have long struggled to figure out where my writing could fit

I have long struggled to figure out where my writing could fit among the acceptable — published — writings, and only recently have I been willing to be unique and say, f**k it, I write what I write, I’ll make my own niche. That takes some gusts, even in the arts — how I wondered why [a local artist] was willing to do her cartoony style when she could have chosen more typical representations. But she choose, at some point, at some level, to be unique, to keep her own style. … and so, yeah, here we are. And the other part of my acceptance was to say, you know, I’m just not gonna worry about comparing myself to others. I’m not gonna worry that my peers are more accomplished or make more money. I’m gonna be happy with the money I make now! As M said, we aren’t in desperate need of money, so we’re fine! What more would more money do for us, you know?

[From journal of Mon., 14 July 2008, Journal 103, page 111]

Making ink squiggles on paper

Anyway, yes, what else? So, yes, it was nice to snuggle, and it was cool enough, low-humidity enough, to do so (unlike today). That’s what I was saying yesterday — how wonderful it is to be alive, … how wonderful it is just to do those universal things — snuggle, as one of several things — kissing, etc.

It’s raining again, a bit, not a lot. Anyway, yes, and a bit of distant thunder just now (8:19 on clock that’s 5 minutes [fast?] — not quite as good as the clock-lightning strike in Back to the Future, but there ya go. Anyway, (hey, they couldn’t have known the exact second of the lightning strike, either. Anyway, don’t start picking apart the logic of a time-travel movie. But that’s a pretty obvious one — and yet, how else would he ever get home? The movie would become more of a tragedy than comedy — stuck in 1955! Anyway, so what else? The rules on these pages are keeping my handwriting size and spacing (leading) in check. What else is there to say?

Not much. Not much. Not much. Not much — the visual regularity of repeated words. You start to see patterns, the “rivers” (I think that’s the term, from graphic design) of the white space between the words in a block of text. I unfocus my eyes at times and notice that rivering. But I hadn’t done that with the “not much” line. I was just noticing the regularity of the word shape and size, how it stood out from other text because it was so regular.

Anyway, after 4 repeated words, I did find something else to say. It seems such a waste of opportunity, not to mention how tedious it seems, when my students in their Morning Pages [journals] repeat a line or a word for a whole page. No thinking is involved/required, but it’s only the thinking, the inner voice, listening to it, that makes writing interesting — else all you’re doing anytime you write is just making ink squiggles on paper.

[From journal of Mon., 7 July 2008, Journal 103, pages 30-1]