This month's book selection from my library was Martin Eden, a novel that closely resembles Jack London's life. I had a month to read it.
Came home from our daytime support group meeting at the Giant - I put in a supporting role and leave the rest to Helen - ate some lunch and then got down to the business of finishing Martin Eden.
I had 100 pages - of the 500-page book - to read and two hours to accomplish it. Piece of cake, I thought.
The book was so engrossing I lingered over every word. At times, tho, like a person who talks too much, London goes over and over the same material he's covered a thousand times.
Still, I view it as a superb book. Might I say one of the 100 best novels I've ever read? The ending is a shock. I was lying down on my living room couch, and had to sit up, I was so shocked by the ending.
Martin Eden is an aspiring writer. Takes forever to get published. He goes hungry, pawns his bicycle (which he refers to as 'wheel') goes without food for as long as three days straight, gets manuscript after manuscript returned in the mail, nearly gives up, and then - tada! - his luck changes.
He's been discovered. Now everyone wants him. As a writer myself, I can relate! I myself am waiting to be discovered. That Haggard and Halloo published my short story online sustained me and I'm in a mania of emailing out short stories and poems. May my novel be taken! (And ripped into shreds?)
Then something changes for Martin at the end. It's all bluff and buggery, he says, (not those words but some other ones) and he has no respect for the publishing world or for any human beings. He believes everyone is hypocritical and universally flawed.
So what does he do? He buys a ticket on a cruise ship to sail across the Pacific. He's in his stateroom and shatters the porthole with a chair and dives into the waters.
Dyou wanna know what it feels like to drown? Read the shocking end of the book.
Good Lord, readers, I was shaken!
Then I drove off to the library, 10 minutes late for the book discussion group. I needed to finish the book before I left.
As I walked in the library, I saw that the room where we meet was dark.
Where was my group? Adam, the librarian, Margie, Elaine, Kullie, Jean, Mary, and six others whose names I can't remember.
I was ONE WEEK LATE! You can't imagine how terrible I felt. I had even taken notes on the book for the very first time. Thank you, Dear Reader, for letting me share my sorrow with you.
I hunted up Adam, the librarian, and we briefly discussed the book. As I drove off I knew I needed to console myself by doing something that made me feel good.
What did I do? I talked on the phone to one of the women at the Giant meeting. She doesn't like her name used, so I'll call her "Anna," a nice short name. Like I had once experienced, Anna is losing kidney function and I wanted to review the kidney-healthy diet with her. Her nephrologist Dr Stein, who I credit w/saving my life, by prescribing Hytrin to me, gave her a list of foods, and she's doing very well.
I did tell her about missing my book club - that's called "processing your emotions" - and she told me about living in Hatboro for her whole life. Shockingly, she told me they're gonna construct a frigging Wawa down by the Old Mill Inn. They'll raze the White Billet Nursing Home and a spa someone owns.
The last thing this town needs is a g'dam Wawa. I think I'll go jump thru the porthole.
Or, maybe not. Maybe I can write a Letter to the Editor to the Inquirer. Helen Kirschner gave me last week's Phila. Inquirer w/an article called "Penn finds no plagiarism in ghostwriting case."
As soon as you read the headline, you know: PLAGIARISM and PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT. Read the article here.
At this point Scott came over to fetch me for our nap. I asked him to stick around while I composed the letter so he could listen to it.
Not surprisingly, the Psychiatry Department Chair, Dwight Evans, got off scot-free from charges of plagiarism and professional misconduct. [“Penn finds no plagiarism in ghostwriting case, March 2.] He was investigated by his colleagues, who didn’t want to defame him. Good for psychiatrist Jay Amsterdam who called for an independent federal investigation.
These findings have a direct result on people with bipolar disorder, such as myself and the members of my bipolar support group, New Directions. How can we trust our psychiatrists to properly medicate us when their egregious behavior defines them as corrupt, greedy, and willing to lie for the bottom line.
Hopefully, having been chastened and shamed by all the publicity, these Ivy League professionals will change their disgraceful behavior and become a credit to their profession.
Then I forwarded it to a bunch of people including Stephen Weinstein who wrote me:
It is an excellent response to a pathetic situation – especially at an “esteemed” university. I have said for many years that some day science will get to innermost core of a molecule and find pure, unadulterated bullshit. Welcome to the 21st century.
The only solution is for people like you and I to continue chasing windmills.
I wrote back thanking him, Senor Quixote, from his pal Sancho Panza.
Ever been in the mood for a good cup of coffee? Of course you have. I drove over in the dark to Dunkin Donuts and got me a small cuppa Decaf. I could smell it right away.....stale, but I trusted the guy to give me fresh coffee.
I passed by the chiropractor's office where I used to go. I wasn't surprised to see he's no longer there, only the sign. "Ray" used to spend five minutes with me - me! - the Belle of Cowbell Road - and then retreat into his smoky den where he would bid for Star Trek figures on eBay. That was his whole life. He was an addict!
And the guy was really smart. They study anatomy in kiro school and he could answer all my questions. I used to drive by and honk when I saw him outside, but he probly didn't recognize me. I wished I had stopped in and told him my back is all better, thanks to surgery. I spent several thousand dollars on chiropractic from him and a woman I met at LA Fitness, a very aggressive woman who had her secretaries call me all the time to return.
Is this interesting? To me, it is.
Oh! Almost forgot. So I get home w/the coffee, put it on the kitchen table, and take a sip. It's absolutely horrible.
Nothing as bad as old coffee. Thing is, fresh-brewed coffee smells delicious. Stale coffee smells awful.
I call them up - Yogi himself answers - and he tells me to come over for a fresh cup. That's what I've been drinking while talking to all you people - how many? - one? two? none?
In the grand tradition I've established, I will look thru the literally 10 piles of poems I have around the house and print something.
Wait a minute! I almost forget. This morning, for the very first time, I saw an OWL on my backyard maple. He was grey and white and turned his head halfway round on his neck. Carolyn told me it was probly a screech owl.
Ever see the movie Sunday Bloody Sunday with Glenda Jackson? The only thing I remember about this English film is that she was in a hurry one morning to go to work.
But she needed her cup of coffee.
She spooned some jarred coffee into a cup - Taster's Choice used to be my favorite - and then she ran hot tap water over it.
The audience groaned.