newest entry 2002-07-01 4:10 p.m.

How strange that the other huge fire of the season was also set on purpose.

Yesterday I went to my aunt’s 25th wedding anniversary party out in NJ, and it was a laboratory of learning. For the next two weeks (i.e. until my big photo shoot for the book, when I need to exude health) I’m cutting out all drug-like foods (i.e. pasta, sugar, the tawdry carbs) and cutting way back on booze and caffeine. So the prospect of attending a family get-together without those crutches was daunting. I’m happy to say that I made it through the whole day without indulging, and I maintained some poise. I just kept checking in with myself—“where are you?” Any time I was lost in thought or spaced out or nervous, I’d just reel myself in and back to earth. That worked well.

I also experimented with steadfastly refusing to take anything personally, and because of that, since I wasn’t struggling so much with personal issues, I was more mentally available to enjoy what was enjoyable in the circumstances. It was good to see the sibs and cousins with all their progeny, and my aunt and uncle were in good spirits, it bein’ their silver wedding anniversary and all.

The Dawn Powell novel is amusing. It’s written in this breathless, hyperbolic yet faintly snide tone. Reading this is like having a one-sided conversation with Dorothy Parker's flamboyantly gay uncle or somethin'. I’m not used to this style, but it reminds me a little of Max Beerbohm’s Zuleika Dobson.

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