January 2, 2003
Got an E-mail from Darren Dickey who said he has been reading my journal and, “You were really in the dumps a couple of days ago, then on cloud nine yesterday. I've started to wonder if you aren't a little manic.”
Now the truth can be told. If you go back and read last week’s entries, you’ll see that I had a headache and that I felt lethargic and down. My comments were gloomy and negative. Come to find out, I was loading up the coffee maker every night with straight decaf. Ha. Carole Glenn gave me a custom bag of coffee for Christmas and I just assumed it was real coffee (the decaf was handwritten on the side). Incredible how much our attitude depends on body chemistry. Depression, elation, irritation, giddy joy (and that’s just what I do on coffee! You should have seen me in the seventies—Ay-yi-yi!).
Here’s a typical morning, actually this very morning: At 5:45, Kathy goes and gets two coffee cups and a decanter from the kitchen and brings them into the bedroom. I’m still under the covers. My wife asks me if she should pour my coffee and I mumble yes. She says, “Are you sure?” I say, “Yes. I’ve got to get going.” Ten minutes later she tells me my coffee is going to get cold. I lay there for another five minutes while she turns the light on and reads. I finally manage to sit up, reach for the coffee, take a sip of luke-warm java and ask for a refill. With my eyes stuck shut, I slowly drink the hot, fresh coffee. About 36 seconds later, I say:
“I’m reading the film noir book you got me for Christmas. Thanks. It’s great. A lot of those noir guys have something in common: they started with magazine writing. Well, actually going back further they were mostly crime beat reporters for newspapers, and they were demoted, or one of them was, because of an ink spot or something, then put on the night desk. They had to write crime stories on a deadline, then graduated to magazines, were paid a penny a word, churned out hundreds of these pulp pot boilers, then went to Hollywood, cranked out more, burned out, never made much money, and then thirty years afterwards, snobs with too much money and time on their hands start collecting the posters and the hack writers, actors and directors who couldn’t get arrested in Hollywood are suddenly revered as geniuses. But it’s too late for them, they’re dead or drunks. Or both. I got a call New Year’s Eve from a guy who’s making a new Western. He regaled me with the fact that it has no sex or dirty language, just good old fashioned violence, which reminds me of the 1960s saw: ‘kiss a breast, get an X rating, cut if off with a sword and get a G rating.’ I wonder if the culture is coming back around to a Victorian attitude, or is sex here to stay as entertainment? And how do you think this applies to me? I want to tell stories, illustrate graphic novels, publish books, run a successful magazine. What do you think? What’s your opinion? I want to know what you think.”
Kathy:”Can I go to the bathroom?”
When she comes back, she says, “What is your point?”
Me: “Actually, I can’t remember what I was saying, I’m 500 miles from there and I’ve got to go to work.”
Come to think of it, maybe Darren is dead on.
“He who sips from many bottles, drinks of none.”
—Old Vaquero Saying
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