The situation is that I have been waiting the last three weeks. Waiting for this, waiting for that.
Today I took issue 164 of Smith’s Report to the printer. I’m a week ahead of last month, two weeks behind where I should be. Still, it's to the printer, and that’s something.
I’m reading Last Call at Elaine’s. My friend Bob sent it to me from Queens. I’d never heard of it. There’s no need to read it. I’m liking it. Published by St. Martin’s Press, I’m surprised at how carelessly it was proofed. The story of an alcoholic bartender turned writer. A simple tale. My sort of thing.
I may have to change the way I sleep. Give up trying to sleep through a night. More than three, four hours at a stretch. Can’t do it. I've always done it, now I can't. Result—I’m tired. First it was the cancer. That’s over for the time being. Then it was the neuropathic pain, the twisted sciatica nerve where I used so many pain meds that for seven weeks I couldn’t wake up. The worst of that is over.
Now it’s three to four hours awake, then I need to sleep. Trying to fight it, can’t. Why fight it? Change the routine. Do what’s necessary to get the work done. Need to start walking again. Osteoporosis in the left knee, left hip. It’s the knee that will keep me from walking. My primary care doctor, Mrs. Singh, tells me the osteoporosis is “everywhere.” Hasn’t hit the brain yet. But then, if it had, how would the brain know?
On the one hand I want to let it be known what the situation is, that’s what I do, on the other I am afraid it will discourage readers from supporting me, the work. Still, it’s what I do. I spill the beans. That’s pretty much what I have done from the beginning. Spill the beans.
Two Saturdays ago in the evening I was at the bar at Vince’s fish restaurant watching the boxing. It was my first night out in two months. I was alone, very weak, could not walk well, but after a couple dark beers I felt pretty good. In the middle of a good light-weight fight between two Hispanics I do not know, the brain remembered Truman Capote. Don’t ask. No idea. I met Capote one night at the Bodley Gallery on East 60th in New York. Late 1950s. I was an employee there, it was a very small gallery, but I don’t recall that we chatted.
But there at the bar in Vince’s it was not Capote in person that the brain had recalled, but an image of him that has been reproduced many times. I think he’s reclining on a couch, holding a pencil, a paper pad, and a drink. He’s writing. He used to drink to write. It helped him. There I was at Vince’s bar. I had not been writing for several weeks. Now I was drinking. The next thing might be that I would be writing. I suppose that was what the brain was trying to organize for me. We'll see.