Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Failure of the Day: 107

In case you missed it a few entries back, “the year’s Monday” is how I think of January, and this January didn’t much disappoint. Work was stressful and demanding, I was consistently hungrier than I have been in the year since I changed my eating habits, which made me a little grumpy, and there was plenty of insomnia for good measure. The first 3 weeks of 2007 were no picnic.

The clouds parted on the 20th, though, the day after the first of what will be another long string of major and majorly expensive dental procedures. Apparently nitrous oxide is out of fashion among dentists, and in its stead they offer—they insist on really—valium. 10mg a half hour before the appointment, followed by a day and a half on vicodin. Now don’t get carried away; they gave me an Rx for 10 tablets of each in July and I’m not through them all yet, so I’m not exactly headed for Betty Ford, but that’s not to say that I don’t enjoy them mightily when my fucked up mouth requires that I take them.

And on the 20th, my fucked up mouth required that I take one just before going to see David Lynch read from his very pretty and terrifically trite book on, of all things, transcendental meditation at some random San Jose mall’s Barnes and Noble. DL didn’t have anything remotely interesting to say but it was nice watching him say it. He’s completely mild and yet the air of weirdness around him is almost visible. Maybe it was just that he is a chain smoker and those 45 smoke-free minutes in the store were clearly unpleasant for him. Chris got a book and I stood with him while he got it signed, and so spent an enjoyable five seconds doing a poor job of imagining the little white-haired man having sex with Isabella Rossellini.

And a mere five days later I was listening to a distressingly pink Martin Amis read to me without moving his lips even a millimeter. During the Q&A I asked him whether he writes his prose and his plot in separate passes, and he said he did, which pleased me, because I sort of do too. I also noted again that he is an optical illusion: he actually looks larger the farther away from him you are. He brushed past me once after a reading and I had no trouble seeing the bald spot on the top of his head, and I am 5’3”. Behind a podium though, he is at least 5’7”.

January’s about done now. During my last bout of insomnia I solved the final narrative problem of draft 3 of my novel and I’ll likely finish it this spring. How about that. We built a bridge to Tuesday.


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