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Excerpt from Notes


            This short diary (my first and last) was an experiment, an attempt to create a sort of baseline document that could be used to compare one’s lived life (recorded however haphazardly in real-time) to one’s remembered life—an instructive document that would corroborate or contradict certain impressions I have at the moment of the me I presently know, impressions I rely on to make daily decisions both large and small. To that end, I am afraid, it has proven only marginally helpful.

David Bacon



July 22

            Just received a note that the camera I ordered has been shipped. Very excited. Have been waiting almost two months now. It is a new sort of camera—a small one that is good for street shooting and low-light work, a camera that the mentor class of industry flacks has insisted will change my life. Am hoping it’s the tool I need, the one that will help me make the sort of pictures I’ve been wanting to make—pictures that are related stylistically to the sort I have been making, but better.


            Heard Stephen Booker is ill and has been let go from his teaching position. I haven’t seen much of him lately. Emily thinks he is a bad influence—a pessimist who encourages in me a native inclination to despair.


            Man shoots Seattle bus driver in rush hour.

Missing Iowa border collie found stuck in tree.

 July 23

            There is a new editor at The Left Coast. His name is Alan Boyle. He has been brought in to save the magazine—make it popular, profitable, efficient. He’s an ambitious man. He won’t be around long. He will move on, I’m sure, to something grander—something with a larger circulation; something that uses better, shinier paper; something that puts pictures of A-list Hollywooders on the cover. He has been regally indifferent to me and my work, sees music reviews (at least reviews of classical music) as filler—the sort of thing you use to keep one high-concept story from bumping into another. Wouldn’t mind seeing him fail, but the magazine is not on firm ground. If he goes, it might go with him so I have to wish him well. I have the distinct feeling he would prefer me to be a little more deferential.


            Note to Self: Clean off table in garage.


            Hundreds evacuated amid Idaho wildfires.

Billboards give wrong date for Detroit election.

 July 24

            Downtown for lunch. Pair of lackluster tacos. Ran into a bearded man over on Alder who looked very much like Jesus. He had a large green parrot perched on his shoulder—a parrot he talked to constantly and kissed on the beak from time to time. He wanted me to know the bird’s name was Oscar.


            Think I’m making a new friend: Christine Mitchell. We have been talking a lot lately. We met at a library lecture on Herman Melville. She’s part of the local literary scene. Has been for a long time. She runs with a crowd I do not—the mainstream, moneymaking crowd: people who receive advances from their publishers, people who sell their film rights to companies in California. I know her meticulous work and respect it. She looks on me and my peculiar productions, I think, as harmless, down-market exotica.


            One man stabbed in fight on MAX train near zoo.

2 Italian climbers die in Mont Blanc avalanche.

 July 25

            Had physical today. Have not had one in four years. I would not be having this one, but Emily extorted it. Doctor was new to me—Michael Lesser. (The old one was new four years ago. Remember nothing about him except that he was short, bespectacled, and socially inept.) He—Lesser—is tall, condescending, and monomaniacally dedicated to electronic record-keeping. You do not give him a medical history, you give him a data set. His diagnoses (whatever they may be) will not be the product of experience, knowledge, and intuition, but of algorithms. One senses in the painfully careful answers to even the most casual questions the spectral presence of a legal representative.


            Actor’s custody case sparks parental-rights fight.

Clashes in Cairo as political crisis drags on.


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