Five Days Before Christmas

Self is having dinner alone this evening. Son dashed off to watch a movie with Kenny from UCLA, and hubby is attending an office party (Self finds it amazing that this company, which hubby assures self is “going down the tubes”, has the funds to throw an office party, but let’s not digress)

Self knows she is supposed to be thankful for this unexpected solitude: after all, writers are supposed to be anti-social. Just look at Frank Langella’s character in Starting Out in the Evening: he spent all day in his study and got very annoyed about any interruptions, even the ones from his own daughter. Now, self would have to say that Frank’s character shows truly commendable commitment to his craft. But, as far as she can make out from the movie, this disciplined regimen produced only four novels, not counting one that he left unfinished after 10 years of fruitless labor. “I got bored with my characters,” he said. Horrors! This is what happens when a writer spends too much time alone: he forgets that what he writes has to be interesting.

Self earlier sent e-mail to brother in Manila, inquiring about latest test results on sister-in-law Ying. Self also imparts information that, according to her research, UCSF had a very good program for treating leukemia. Her e-mail got sent around to various family members: aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Next thing you know, self gets a snippy e-mail from a second cousin who says: “I’ve already arranged for Ying’s transplant at Sloan Kettering. We’re just waiting for her saliva tests.”


Clearly, self is very far out of the loop.

Anyhoo, self decides that, since she doesn’t have to cook dinner for anyone, she will skip dinner altogether (well, maybe she will just have a bowl of microwave popcorn if she gets too hungry). To get herself in the mood for writing, self decides to peruse Linh Dinh’s poetry collection, All Around What Empties Out. As is her wont, she opens the book at random and comes to a poem, “Scansion” (must look up that word: it’s not one self has ever encountered, but it does have the flavor of the scientific about it), which contains the following interesting lines:

This man is not an old rifle,
coughing up buckshots

This woman is not a contraband moped
With dented mudguard.

Hmmm, very interesting thoughts, Linh. Self is particularly grateful that woman is not considered a contraband moped, as that does not sound at all exciting. Hmmm, what kind of writing can self pull out from the above thoughts/ images? Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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