I'm still ill, so this will probably be brief. I don't think I will die, but I am mortal, so one never knows. I just know I am terribly uncomfortable and probably unreasonably depressed. No, that is not quite right. It may be reasonable. I ate only a can of chicken soup yesterday, so I am understandably weak, but I don't think I'll eat much more than that today. It feels like another day of bed and couch. I watched far too much t.v. yesterday, hours of YouTube videos and two movies. The first was "The Bling Ring," the 2013 Sophia Copola film about the teens who were obsessed with fame and robbed celebrity houses. Copola is as obsessed and good with producing films about teens as is James Franco. The film had no real bones to it, though. It just recreated a Vanity Fair article.
Later, I watched "Inherent Vice," the 2014 film adapted by Paul Thomas Anderson from a Thomas Pynchon novel. If you didn't know the plot was Pynchon, you might have guessed. It was very "Pynchonesque." Joaquin Phoenix was pretty good. I was glad I rented it.
But, with a bad stomach, it was an early bed. I think I may be getting better. I'm hoping. But as I said, I'll not be doing much today. Perhaps more hours of multiple movies. I might watch "Day of the Locust" again. I haven't seen that for decades.
This morning, I read a spectacular interview with Joyce Carol Oates. I think she is a wonderful writer, but I can't keep up. She puts out a book a week.
In your book “On Boxing,” you have a line about how for fighters, life is about the fight and the rest is just waiting. Do you feel that way with writing?
That’s a good question. It points to a philosophical issue of what is essential in our lives and what is existential or incidental. Thinking of my early married life, my husband whom I loved. It’s 2023, and I have to concede that I don’t remember those students. All I have left of all that happiness is my writing of that time. A book or two, some stories. I think that’s a profound fact. It’s a kind of devastating fact. Everything that you think is solid is actually fleeting and ephemeral. The only thing that is quasi-permanent would be a book or work of art or photographs or something. Anything you create that transcends time is in some ways more real than the actual reality of your life. If you set your hand on fire right now, it’s ephemeral. It would hurt, but Plato would say it’s not as real as something that transcends time. I am a person who was married, and was very happily married. Yet, that’s all gone now. Where is it?
That is the first question and answer in the published interview. It is a thing I harp on, a thing I believe in. If you have any interest in art and literature, you might want to read the entire thing (link).
I knew someone who picked Joyce up at the airport and drove her to her speaking engagement at the university, then drove her back. She said Joyce sat in the backseat and read the entire time. She never said a word. I found that fascinating. If you read the article, you might find out why.
It is tempting to agree with Arthur Miller sometimes that Willy Loman is heroic because he "sacrificed" his life for his family. I have thought that from time to time. But now I cannot believe that it is true. Loman was no more than a gut bacteria or an amoeba doing his job. He never existed outside of Miller's saying so.
I used to think Miller a great playwright, but I think Tennessee Williams overshadowed him completely. Miller WAS married to Marilyn Monroe, though, so there is that.
I guess I'll need to endure this life of a nursling at least another day. I just don't wish to give in. Another day of sleeping and not eating will probably do me good. Fingers crossed. Water and chicken soup.
Life is like this. It just is.