It occurred to me that one might be writing about May Day—whether as International Workers' Day, or just the celebration of spring—and leave out that space, between May and Day—and you get Mayday, the universally recognized distress signal. Another example of the frailty of communication, something I've thought about a lot lately, especially in relation to social media and the often confusing and misinterpreted signals, shorthand, and constantly changing conventions of what is still a social space in its infancy (and often seems determined to stay there, or just revel in being infantile). Anyway, just to be clear, this memo isn't a cry for help, no matter how confusing it might be. In fact, I feel comforted in knowing that I can just write this and post it, and if I don't draw anyone's attention to it (via guilt-tripping, taco bribes, or cat photos), it's very likely no one will see it whatsoever.
I woke up this morning out of a dream about being at the dentist; the hygienist was poking that scary pointy thing into a sticky spot, taking way too long, and that, “uh oh, I think I found a cavity” look on her face. There has been no dentist visit recently nor is one on the horizon. The perfectly blue, fall-like sky as I walked home from the library suddenly became stormy and I was caught in a hail storm which would have been kind of funny and even entertaining if it wasn't so cold and I wasn't worried about ruining my electronic devices. My shoes ended up so wet I may as well have been wading in the lake up to my knees. Still, I love weather extremes, and if that was the worst of the day, I should be thankful, I thought.
But most of this day I felt like everything was off. Also, it was one of those days with time passing twice as fast as it should, if you know what I mean. I had a mild migraine headache. I took a nap. I read some from a book by David Foster Wallace, an article called “David Lynch Keeps His Head” about visiting the set of the David Lynch movie, Lost Highway. Kind of an absurdly long article, kind of dated, but highly entertaining and making me sad that DFW is gone. The earlier thing I read today was kind of a random chapter (Chapter 57) of my dormant novel, The Doughnuts, looking for a sign that I should either give up on it and just put it away (forever) or actually publish it as a Kindle book, if nothing else. DFW briefly described the hotel he stayed in while in LA for the David Lynch article, and from just a few brief clues, I knew that it was the Sofitel across from the Beverly Center, a hotel I stayed at a few times and therefore used as a setting for an episode in The Doughnuts: a journalist is staying there while she visits a movie set. It is so close to the DFW/David Lynch situation that I'd be certain anyone reading it would think this article influenced me directly. This kind of freaked me out for awhile, today.
Earlier this year, considering this Doughnuts novel—be it failed and hopeless, mercifully euthanized, or just ignored (by me, and everyone else by extension)—I was thinking, maybe someone will tell me, finally, that I suck and should put my energy somewhere more productive. I guess I wondered if someone told me that, it would either confirm my suspicion that I suck, or else would make me more determined; more aggressive about finding an audience, any audience. So then, when someone did essentially tell me that (not “you suck”—but something along those lines, and I'm not going to be specific, revealing, or give anyone a hard time about it) my reaction has been to waver between one extreme and another. The odd David Foster Wallace coincidence today—if that's not some kind of a sign, I don't know what is. But then, I don't believe in signs. (Do you, imaginary reader?) Maybe not a sign, as in coming from some divine place, but a sign from me—to me.