10:30 P.M. Sunday 15 December 1991
Diane is still much on my mind but a good visit from
Mike Kettner provided relief. He arrived late,
mainly due to my having forgotten that Midway is
shut down at both ends by construction. He was here
for two and a half hours, though (causing me to miss
most of the Giants' game, which was fortunate, as
they were again lousy). Lots of anecdotes, about
such things as the phone-sex business he was
involved with for a while, about his turning
pacifist during the Vietnam War as a green beret
(the subject of a novel he's trying to peddle) and
later hiding out in Canada, his onetime heroin
addiction, his meeting Curry who is a marijauna
junkie (as is--less so, he says--Mike), the literary
scene in Seattle, his job as civil service parking
lot attendant at the University of Washington in
Seattle and his troubles with his boss. I did a bit
of talking, too, about my less interesting life.
The football Giants are the Giants mentioned. I've been a fan of theirs since I was a little kid living forty miles from New York City in Fairfield County--with a family that had long rooted for both the football and baseball Giants. I was a Knick and Ranger fan, too. I still sort of root for the Rangers but not for the Knicks or baseball Giants.
I'm not sure whether this visit from Mike was his second or first. I do remember we got together at my place twice. Another good guy I'd liked to have seen more of but haven't. Dunno what he's doing now. Haven't been in touch for at least seven years.
9 P.M. Monday 16 December 1991
One big event: 52 copies of Of Manywhere-at-Once
arrived via UPS. The printer did an excellent job
as far as I could tell. Of course, I found defects,
but they were my fault, not the printer's. I was
quite satisfied with the book, overall.
6 P.M. Tuesday 17 December 1991
One other item in the mail was a form letter to "all
columnists" from a guy named Jim Knipfel who is
abruptly my new editor at Factsheet Five. Ben
Gordon "flew the coop," according to Knipfel. No
word as to whether the latest Factsheet Five has hit
the streets yet or not, but I found out that my next
deadline is 20 January, which is a relief. All in
all, I wasn't happy to hear Gordon had severed ties
with F5, for I felt I would have gotten on well with
him. I have no idea how I'll get along with the new
guy. He sounds like he wants to leave the
columnists alone to do their thing--but he also said
something about not trying to find new columnists to
write about things nobody understands as, Knipfel
says, Gordon was doing. This suggests he might not
be as keen on my far-out intellectualism as Gordon
was, or appeared to be. What a world. I just hope
the magazine keeps going, and that my last column
will be in the forthcoming issue as scheduled.
9 P.M. Wednesday 18 December 1991
A letter, with philosophical discussion, from Jeff
Hansen, who says the discussion of my work will be
in the second issue of his new magazine--and a short
review of Of Manywhere-at-Once in a later issue. He
also said nice things about my Apollo poem.
I'm still in brief on&off touch with Jeff, who is still writing first-rate poetry with visual elements, at times. He's had, and overcome, a few minor mental health problems--which I hope he doesn't mind my mentioning. I'm still not sure one can mention them as openly as one can (usually) mention physical health problems. To me, all health problems are physical health problems, the brain being a physical organ.
9:30 P.M. Tuesday 24 December 1991
I put a copy of my book in a package and sent it in
for review to the American Book Review.
A joke, of course. I wasn't at this time "nationally-known." I suspect even now the American Book Review wouldn't review my book. It does a much better job of covering literature than any other such publication I know of, but only of the infra-establishment (langpo, although it's almost full establishment now), never of the micro-establishment much less the truly non-establishment. I do think I'm now in an establishment of sorts, and may even have been back in 1991.
9:30 P.M. Friday 3 January 1992
I spent over an hour on the phone with David
Roberts, who called. We continued our metaphysical
discussion somewhat, coming to a better and more
amiable understanding of each other. The main thing
he wanted to tell me, though, was that he called the
guy who bought Factsheet Five and although Hudson
wasn't there, the guy answering the phone described
a copy of the newest issue, which he had on hand,
and it sounded good, for I was in it. I should soon
be getting my copy. David says he intends to write
a letter to Factsheet Five in praise of my column,
which would be nice.
8:30 P.M. Monday 13 January 1992
Jim Knipfel, my Factsheet Five features editor,
called. He wanted to know if I knew anything about
the current issue, or Hudson, our chief. He hadn't
gotten his copy of the January issue and said he was
hearing unsettling rumors about the magazine. I
told him what David had found out, which seemed to
reassure him. We then chatted a little about my
column. He seemed to think it fine but felt I had a
mathematical point wrong. I don't think I did but
afterwards changed my text a little for him. He
seemed an okay guy. I think I ought to get along
fine with him.
I have no idea what the mathematical point was.
7 P.M. Saturday 25 January 1992
A copy of Of Manywhere-at-Once that I decided to
send to Laurel Speer for comment and possible
review. I would be rather disappointed if she
didn't at least write back to me about it.
9 P.M. Wednesday 29 January 1992
Afterwards I wrote what I think was a good, amusing
short letter and put it in a padded envelope with my
Of Manywhere-at-Once, which I sent to James Dickey.
I had thought several times of sending him the book,
in its previous form, mainly due to its similarity
in several ways to Dickey's Self-Interviews and
Sorties, and because, what the Hell, he might turn
out to be a decent sort. Anyway, I chose now to
send him the book purely on impulse. Doing it made
me feel good, but by mid-morning the day went dead
on me, I don't know why.
As I believe I said in a previous comment I've made about these entries, I never heard back from Dickey. Geof Huth told me a story about him: when Geof and/or some Vanderbilt students editing the school literary magazine asked him, as a Vanderbilt graduate, for a contribution to some special issue, he referred them to his agent. Or something like that. A jerk. Although, on reflection, I'm not sure how I'd react if students at Cal State, Northridge, my alma mater, asked me for a poem. I've been totally ignored by CSUN since graduating. I think I'd send them a poem, though. If I didn't, I'd explain why. I certainly wouldn't ask for money.
Hudson Luce's first Factsheet Five arrived. I was
relieved to see it but a little disappointed with my
column, which appeared sans illustrations, and with
a dumb but minor typo that wasn't mine but which I
had a chance to catch when Gordon sent me a copy to
proof but missed. The magazine looked okay. Marc
Bloch, I was a bit peeved to see, ruled over seven
or eight pages. He did a pretty good job, though.
He reviewed David T. Roberts's last Streetfighting
Aesthete, but with a brief summary only that listed
the zine's contributors, including me. I got
mentioned several times throughout the issue, as a
matter of fact--and the new Poetry Reviewer
favorably but unpenetratingly discussed My
SpringPoem No. 3,719,242 as well as Geof's
Ghostlight and Karl's Charged Particles. Hudson
wrote an informative editorial that said he'd taken
over rather than bought Factsheet Five--Mike had
simply decided to stop publishing it. I get the
distinct impression that he's going to have trouble
keeping it going--he said he needed to triple (to
5000) the number of paying subscribers in the next
few months. Uhn. Meanwhile I'm musing over the
possibility of trying to get a twice-weekly column
into the local paper again, this time because
Barbara Whitcomb, one of my buddies in the writers'
club just recently gotten taken as a twice-weekly
columnist for the Englewood edition of said paper.
I feel what I'd have to do is get 50 columns done in
advance, and submit ten or so. That's probably much
too much work, but if Factsheet Five were to fold, I
should seriously consider it. Once I got into the
swing of it, I could probably do two columns in a
day without much trouble. I'd aim for 500 words or
so on a variety of cultural topics, including
reviewing local art exhibits, stage performances,
On&off over the years I've gotten semi-enthusiastic about doing a newspaper column, but never quite got samples together. The latest was just a year or so ago--in response to the editor of the weekly insert's call for columnists. I know her because she had done an interview of me when I'd done my presentation for the Peace River Writers' Center. So I e.mailed her about the possibility. She was friendly enough in response but clearly wasn't interested.