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2:18 pm - Sunday, Sept. 05, 2004
I've Been Known To WORRY A Bit

From Time-To-Time, I've Been Known To Worry A Bit

Thurs 9/2/04 (11:22 p.m.)

Some time back, "Kookla" recommended a dvd she'd just seen called The Stone Reader.

It's a documentary by Mark Moskowitz, and having now seen it myself, I'd recommend it to anyone who loves books and reading.

Basically, the documentary is about how Moskowitz bought a book called The Stones Of Summer back in 1972 and couldn't get into it, then picked it up again some 20 years later, loved it, and went on a quixotic journey to find Dow Mossman. (The author, who after the failure of Stones to find an audience, never published another novel). That's the "story line", but in the course of his travels, and interviews with various writers and critics and whatnot, the documentary "expands" into an ode to books and reading.

If you're a "reader", I absolutely guarantee you will love it.

Afterwards, I checked to see if we had The Stones Of Summer in the bookstore, but we don't have any on hand or on order (Due to Moskowitz's efforts, the book, out of print for over 20 years, was put back into print a couple years ago by the publishing arm of Barnes and Noble). I'm not sure I'd actually like the book, to be honest–I've heard it described as "dense" and "challenging", with lots of "poetic imagery", and that's not typically my "cup of tea"–but I'd at least like to give it a look.

What I did do after seeing the movie was read one of my own favorite out-of-print books, Hard Feelings (A Catcher In The Rye-ish tale from 1977). It's at least the third time I've read it, and for my money, it holds up pretty well. I don't know that I feel the need to track the author down, or fight to get the book back in print, but I enjoyed reading it again.

The movie made me feel a touch of sadness over my minuscule personal library (Considering I've worked in a bookstore for almost 14 years now–YIKES!–I think you'd be surprised at how few books I actually own; at this writing, everything I have would fit in one tall bookcase).

Most of my books were lost to moving (In one notably traumatic case, I lost all the books I owned at the time–along with loads of journals and personal effects–when I moved with my girlfriend to Texas, and we put our stuff in her mother's storage unit in Michigan; the relationship ended, and when I went back to Michigan, I discovered the storage bill hadn't been paid for months, and everything in the unit had either been sold or thrown away).

For awhile, when I was a young adult, I didn't have money or a car, so when I moved, I never took more with me than would fit into two steamer trunks (And for quite some time, other than books, I didn't own much more than would fit into two steamer trunks).

When I moved to L.A., I convinced myself that having a personal library I was either not likely to read again, or never get around to reading at all, was a waste of energy and space. I think I even wrote something about how it was "no longer necessary for me to prove how smart I am, or what eclectic tastes I have, by having a bunch of books around" (Who was I proving myself to, after all?).

But now I kind of regret the decision to jettison most of my books. Owning books wasn't ever me "showing off", unless I was somehow trying to "show off" to myself ; books over my life have been a comfort, books have been friends, books have taken me places I couldn't go in ten lifetimes. I don't think "proving how smart I am"–whether to myself, or to some imaginary "guest" in my home–ever really factored in much.

Sat 9/4/04 (12:49 p.m.)

Feeling free-floating anxiety and sadness this morning...

Wondering when exactly I'll regain the use of the left side of my mouth. As of this writing, I still can't chew on that side (I sort of thought they'd send me home with "instructions" of some sort for after the root canal--"No peanut brittle for at least a week", "Don't poke at the area with a stick", that sort of thing).

I've got this huge gap now between the root canal tooth and the molar on that side. It feels weird; I can't stop running my tongue over the chasm in between the two teeth.

I never noticed those two teeth were so far apart (I'm wondering if that space is part of the gum they cut away).


Starting to feel a growing dread over the upcoming election.

I can't recall in my adult lifetime ever feeling such an ugliness in the country, such a high level of divisiveness and anger. And I am dreading how much worse things will get if we have four more years of the current administration.

I'm going to vote ("Vote early and often" has become a catchphrase of mine), but I'm afraid the other side is better at forming the easily-digestible, short, simple-minded argument. The other side is better at "The Big Lie". The other side has an amiable doofus that will fool a lot of people into thinking he's "on their side" when the only "side" he's on is that of rich white folk. And it pains me to say it, but it's starting to seem like political campaigning is just a matter of who's better at fighting dirty. And "They" always seem to be better at it than "We" are.

Hope I'm wrong. But I'm afraid I'm not.

It occured to me recently that the other side actually likes to fight. Liberal wimps like me are crying "Can't we all just get along", while the wacko right is waging a "holy war". They feel good when they've got something to fight against, when they have heathens like me on the run.

All I know is that I'd like to feel good about my country again. But I'm preparing myself for the possibility that it'll be another four years before that happens.


Lately, I'm back to feel like putting all my acting "eggs" in the commercial "basket" has been a mistake.

I think it's been part "sensible idea"–I could maybe make money doing commercials, get exposure and experience in front of the camera, and eventually earn my way out of Borders–and part "lazy rationale", for avoiding the frustration and fear of trying to be a real actor out here.

The reason this is coming up in my mind again is 1) I came out here to center my life around acting, and I'm acting less than I ever have in my life, and 2) The world of commercial acting is going through the kind of changes that could mean uphill odds will soon become impossible odds (The changes I'm talking about have to do with one four-letter word: T-I-V-O).

I just keep thinking "I have got to do this better...". I've got to figure out better ways to get my career, my life, going in the direction I actually want it to go in. I can't keep living like this.

My life is just too. fucking. small.


I've been feeling a nagging, ongoing insecurity ever since I got the notice about the latest yearly rent increase (Which went into effect this month).

The L.A. Housing Authority, or whatever it's called, allows apartment owners to raise their rents by 5% each year (And of course, since apartment owners are "allowed" to raise their rents 5% every year, that means go up 5% each year; I've amused myself by thinking about writing the owners of my apartment building, to say "Just because you can raise the rent, that doesn't mean you have to raise the rent". I'm sure they'd get a big kick out of that, and show the letter to all their rich, apartment-owning friends).

So my rent now stands at just under $576 a month ($575.91, to be exact). Relative to rents here, it's dirt-cheap, but unfortunately, my income from Borders barely covers "dirt cheap", especially when "dirt cheap" is going up every year.

But getting panicky won't help. I'm just going to have to keep plugging, and hope that somehow I'll figure out how to make it, no matter what.

Or else I'll end up a homeless guy, writing my little Diaryland entries from a computer at the public library, as the people around me wrinkle their noses in disgust at my pungent aroma.


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