My horrible autobiographical story about the mental hospital is getting shelved for now, because I can't, just can't, come up with a way to graft a profluent plot onto a sequence of events that is essentially static: in the hospital, then not in the hospital, that's all.
The telephone keeps ringing when I am asleep. The answering machine clicks on and then I hear a woman's agitated voice calling "Hello?...Hello?" In the morning there is never a message on the machine.
V.S. Naipaul cancelled. Frank suggests this is for a number of reasons, one of course being the Nobel, another being that he is so hated by so many in the developing world that he could very well be a target in the current political climate. For instance, here the New York Times talks to him about Islam. There ain't no such animal as a moderate Islamic state, he says. Also:
Q: You have described the Taliban as vermin.
A: No, that's my wife!
Frank, who gives us free books sometimes, handed out copies of Among the Believers, which I'm working on between Kavalier & Clay, Joan Didion's Salvador, the Qur'an, and Blood Meridian. Yeah, you can imagine.
Here's an account of Isaac Babel's strange life, coupled with a fairly amusing attack on the new translation of his stories:
...Constantine seems to have a tin ear: Did I mention that he actually uses the word "wimp"? Needless to say, it's not a word Babel would use, and finding it here is a bit like coming across a "gnarly" in Dante's description of the Inferno, or seeing Achilles "lose his shit" when news of a lover's death reaches him.
I have this old Meridian edition that I found years ago in a Tucson bookstore, and I'll stick with that, thanks.