• 76.

    Today I think I will try to be a better guide, and we will just sit here quietly together, and let's call this place where we are sitting quietly together a clearing. We cannot get lost if we are not moving. We can be lost, but we can't get lost, and that's probably the best I can do as a guide, is to not get us further lost.  

  • 75.

    "I had better hurry up with this book, because I will not be living in Los Angeles for long, I think, and I do not think this book has room for another move. If it is a portmanteau, it has not got that many compartments! We do not use the word portmanteau anymore. (A portmanteau, by the way, into which I am putting my moves, not one I am using for my moves. Do you realize how much the language is like sticky toffee?)

     "But why did I say I would not be living in L.A. for long? I think I had just moved back to Los Angeles when I wrote, 'I had better hurry up with this book, because I will not be living in Los Angeles for long....' I don’t remember feeling that I was going to leave, except I must have, because why else would I have written that? But it's true, and I might not be living in Los Angeles if the world ends. Do you have any idea what it's like to live in a city of ten million people and no water source? We are all piled along the edge of the abyss, that's what it's like. Get out while I still can! Get out while I still can! This is the song that plays in my head. I sing it to a friend sometimes, and he concurs and tells me terrible stories, the secrets of our enemies, as we rumble along through the Valley. At least he did once, that happened once. I do not remember if it was a hot day or not. I guess it wasn't, since hot days are often memorable for the way they affect us."

    The longer the road that stretches between myself and those two paragraphs (in this instance, they are most certainly paragraphs, since they were taken from a book, or at least the spirit of a book, and books contain paragraphs—well, I suppose they could be stanzas, since books also contain stanzas, and at one rather absurd point, they were stanzas—so never mind. Nothing's certain), the more embedded I become in this city I have lived in for 20 years, yet never felt rooted to, which is a large part of its charm for those of us who like to be trees with shallow roots—regrettably palm trees, I guess, which is not the tree I'd choose to be if I could be a tree, I would choose oak. You see, I do not think get out while I still can anymore, although I will never not daydream about leaving. Oh, damn! Damn damn damn! We were really making progress, with our arrow squarely aimed at the unobstructed future! Now look at what I've done. I've looped us into loopy loops. As a guide, I cannot be trusted, I am sorry. Either you have the fortitude for that or you don't.  

  • 74.

    I like a theater with a curtain and am always excited to come into a theater and see that there is a curtain. Another kind of theater is a black box, but I prefer one with a curtain and proscenium arch. It is a particular moment, a particular grand moment in life when a curtain rises, yes? Always when a curtain rises, the small fine hairs on the back of my neck rise as well. That is how grand a moment it is. What will be revealed? The great mystery, now unfolding. So you can be sure that our theater has a curtain (lilac-colored, remember, with folds of plum?) and proscenium arch. I think the theater should be called the Old Vic, just because that is a name for a theater. If the theater is called the Old Vic, then we are in a fairly large old city, which is good, because I love large old cities. Certainly, I like large old cities better than large new cities, which is why I don’t live in Salt Lake City (which isn’t big, so that’s another reason), and which is not why I do live in L.A.

    Come along.

  • 73.

    I realize that I alone hold the compass—no one else can help me, not even you, even though you might know our exact coordinates, which I doubt very much you do. In this instance, I truly believe that it is up to me to lead us out of here. To gain my bearings, all I have to do is gain my bearings. To not be lost, I simply have to find us. So here we are. You and I. As time goes on, a lot will come to sit on our heads, but for now, there is nothing. The above-us is vast and empty, except for a few signposts that mean nothing to the road and therefore nothing to us. Here is where we are (again), and nowhere else, and it is not lost, it is theater.

  • 72.

    Look, I need to tell you that I'm lost, okay? I don't know where the hell I am! Is this a glob, or a play? I know it's not a book, because books aren't backlit! (Well, they used to not be backlit.) (I don't know how that exclamation point snuck in. Books aren't backlit really isn't that exclamatory. It's essentially a bland statement of fact. Audacious exclamation point!) (It's like an army on the march!) Where are we? I mean, I know we're in a theater, my memory isn't that bad, but.... I thought I wasn't showing you a play? So, why are we in a theater? It must mean that I'm showing you a play, because I would never ask you to sit in a theater without a play to show you—I simply wouldn't do that. A coyote would, but I wouldn't. 

  • 71.

    The play I am not going to show you, as I say, is called Alfred Returner. It has been decided that I am not going to show it to you in a theater. By which I mean, I am going to not show you Alfred Returner in a theater. At least you are not going to have to read Alfred Returner while I am fooling you with the conceit that you are actually watching it but not reading it. Or I should say trying to fool you with that conceit, since I don’t think such a conceit would work under any circumstances, even if where we find ourselves now is not a book but a glob, which glows like the stage with light. I will tell you also that it is a good thing that I have decided that I am not going to show you Alfred Returner in a theater because intermission without a theater would be even dire-er than it already is, do you not agree? Fraught with greater peril than simply what to do with one's body!

  • 70.

    Frankly, I think mulling is a better word for it. Milling sounds too pleasant, like a day in the country. Like glimmering sunshine on oilcans in long disuse. I is a far nicer vowel sound than U, though not as nice as A and E and O, although malling would be a terrible word for it, so would melling, and as for molling, well, I think that sounds like a verb (to moll): weed, specifically with the purpose of total eradication. "He molled his little strip of land to within an inch of its life. Now all that remains are several piles of his mollings." It is because I do not like the vowel sound that I have never cared much for the name Ruth, although it is true that I love it for reasons other than the way it sounds, which is not at all like glimmering sunshine on any object, it sounds more like a slug's slog.  

  • 69b.

    This word is not mulling, it is milling. I do not like milling. The way I had it, I do not like thinking. (A case could be made for that.) Because I am going to be amused by it, I am going to do this:

    I have told you why already—I don't like thinking. I don't like being amidst other people who are doing it, and I certainly don't like doing it myself. Yet here have I created a thinking situation, and I haven't even shown you a play, so you can't even make the most decent and logical use of your thinking time that can be made, which is to discuss what you've just seen! So let me show you this, so that in the time remaining before the house lights dim....

    Blah blah blah blah blah blah.

    I'm sorry—that's not what I should have shown you. I was supposed to show you something of the play so you could discuss it. Instead I showed you the weather. Well, at least weather is a good thing to talk about while thinking—it might be the only thing to talk about while thinking, so perhaps I have done you a bigger favor than I initially suspected. 

  • 69a.

    Do you really think I ought to get away with having an intermission when I've told you several times this isn't a play? Isn't that a bit like— Well, I really can't think what it's like. Nothing comes immediately to mind, and I don't feel like digging for it. Actually, now I think about it (and I really haven't done much thinking, since it's intermission), I feel terrible! I've forced an intermission on you, and there's no play to discuss! Do you know, I am always happy when I hear that the play I'm seeing does not have an intermission? I have told you why already—I don't like mulling. I don't like being amidst other people who are doing it, and I certainly don't like doing it myself. Yet here have I created a mulling situation, and I haven't even shown you a play, so you can't even make the most decent and logical use of your mulling time that can be made, which is to discuss what you've just seen! So let me show you this, so that in the time remaining before the house lights dim, you can talk about it instead of standing around looking as though you at least ought to be checking for loose threads on the visible (to you) parts of your clothing: 

    The streets outside the theater are covered with snow. Maybe three inches of snow, and it keeps falling, and the flakes are marvelous, they could cover your fingertip, even in gloves, cover it like a veil, they’re so big.

    I'm sorry—that's not what I should have shown you. I was supposed to show you something of the play so you could discuss it. Instead I showed you the weather. Well, at least weather is a good thing to talk about while mulling—it might be the only thing to talk about while mulling, so perhaps I have done you a bigger favor than I initially suspected. 

  • 68.

    People at intermission are optimists and view time bountifully. They think they can do a lot of things in 15 minutes! They are liberal perceivers of one minute following another 15 times. They seem to feel certain that they can not only wait in line to purchase concessions, but also request and then make the transaction, and then consume their concessions, all in under 15 minutes, for surely it took at least two or three minutes to file out of the theater and then a few more to decide they wanted something to drink or eat—discussions with others take whole minutes! Deciding for some takes forever! I think 15 minutes is sometimes swollen, though it always, of course, remains 15 minutes, as in the case of our own intermission. 

  • 67.

    Would you like some water, or wine?

  • 66.

    I love intermission, I don't have to do anything! Although I'm not a big fan of mulling crowds, so for that reason, I don't like intermission. 

  • 65.

    I have become a very bad globber! Please accept my apologies. I will try to be better in the future. In the meantime, let's have a little 15-minute intermission, shall we? 

  • 64.

    Act One, Scene One: 

    Oh, wait....

  • 63.

    I didn't write my glob today!

  • 62.

    The sun shines over Los Angeles—again.

  • 61.

    I think I left out an important piece of information in yesterday's glob! I will tell you how it came to be that I realized this—I can assure you, it wasn't yesterday when I was writing it, if writing is the proper term. I remember yesterday. I wasn't at all clear-headed! I even took a nap in the afternoon, and I never do that! I think it was my hike, I really do. I think I overexerted myself yesterday. But I was telling you something else. I was telling you that when I prepared myself to write today's glob, I had a look at yesterday's, in case continuity was going to be of any interest to me (as you know, it oftentimes isn't, but sometimes it wears silken gloves that make me want to grab its hand). So there I was, reading all about how I always used to see that The Fantasticks was playing everywhere, whereas original plays were next to impossible to get produced because theaters— Well, you know all that. But what I didn't read, what I so profoundly failed to convey to you, was how angry that used to make me (I remember yesterday thinking it was implied, but reading it today, I see that it was not) (how am I to know that I wasn't in fact very clear-headed yesterday and muddle-headed today, and that I am therefore telling you something you already know?), although I'm not sure angry is the right word—bitter perhaps might be better, although I'm not terribly anxious to admit to being bitter, but okay, I had bitter feelings toward all those goddamn revivals of the The Fantasticks. Not to mention Joseph's Multibillion Dollar Dreamcoat, or whatever it's called. I wasn't bitter-feeling about the plays themselves, the musicals, rather, but the world they inhabited, where money had ceased to flow and theaters no longer wanted anything to do with untested nonmusical plays. Why do people like musicals so much? Why do theaters think that theatergoers have absolutely no sense of adventure? Oh, but here I am, slipping back! Catch me, Continuity!

  • 60.

    I used to have more opinions about the theater than I do now. I used to look around me and see that The Fantasticks was playing everywhere, and I attributed this to the fact that theaters could no longer afford to be intrepid because basically money had ceased to flow. Now—happily—I no longer know if The Fantasticks is playing everywhere. Please don't tell me, because I don't want to know! It has been a happier life not knowing anything about The Fantasticks production schedule! 

  • 59.

    Sometimes I think time goes as fast as these globs, and I will soon be 59. But I do not like that statement! There will be a time—I do not like that statement because there will be a time (unless there isn't a time) when I have surpassed 59, and it will therefore be moldy and covered in cobwebs, and its only remaining value will be archeological. Oh, I wish I had not said it! I didn't even mean to say it! I meant to tell you something else! I wanted to tell you something out of the past, I wanted to excavate an old thing. But I guess it's too late, for I have made this relic instead. So now I will not tell you that old thing, I will tell you a new thing because I do not know that a single glob is as capacious as an ancient battlefield, I think it is more like a pot fragment. So this new thing I will tell you, which is not the old thing I was going to tell you, is that I think the only living creature who truly misses me writing is my friend the cat, who is not my cat, but who shadows me as though I were his person. I say that not because he was terribly interested in reading what I wrote (which unites him to almost every other living creature in a kind of loose and lazy bond) but because he enjoyed, and still enjoys, lying on my lap when I write. He enjoys it so much, in fact, that his purrs rise to a squeaky pitch. He is, or would be if life permitted him to be, a writer's cat. This cat, I will tell you, does not possess a name. But that is inaccurate, for I know for a fact that my neighbor calls him Miyake, which he is so ridiculously unsuited to, this cat is so laughably unsuited to, we shun it, he and I. It is in my house that he does not possess a name (and it is in my house that he can usually be found, so he is more nameless than named). As far as I know, he is not unhappy being a nameless (in my house) cat. It is not that I have not called him by various names, it is only that names are like clouds in the sky that never stick. My friend, I have a friend who understands this deep in his bones where the soil is still wet with the blood of Beowulf, and he is likewise always changing names for me. Now I want to tell you one more thing. It is still not the thing I had set out to tell you in the long-ago-and-faraway land of the beginning of this glob fragment. The reason I had set out to produce Alfred Returner in my book whose working title, among others, was Don Coyote, was because there is not a theater alive that will take a chance on an unknown playwright, and I am unknown (although ever-so-slightly a little less unknown than I was when a) I penned Alfred Returner and b) I unravelled in Don Coyote [working title only]). But by and large I am as unknown today as I was then and then and then. It remains true that if I am Norma I am unknown, if I am unnamed, I am unknown, if I am not Norma but Ruth, I am unknown. It is the same to be unknown with a name as it is to be unknown without a name, and the same to be unknown as Norma as it is to be unknown as Ruth. Or Lemonhead, for that matter.

  • 58.

    I do not believe in linear, I do not think it exists. When it appears to, give it time, and it will cease at some point to be linear and arrive at its true nature, which is circular. Linear therefore is not sane, it is merely the impatient mind deluding itself. Truth is a spiral.

  • 57.

    Leaving is a song I sing. Leaving is an old sad song I sometimes sing. 

  • 56.

    The play I wrote was called Alfred Returner. It is still called Alfred Returner. As far as I know, it will always be called Alfred Returner. It is a good title for that play. It is not the only play I wrote, but I think it is my best, although it is not my funniest. That is because it is not a funny play. I like, rather I used to like writing funny plays. Funny plays are called comedies. Alfred Returner was not a comedy, and to this day it is not a comedy. It will never be a comedy. Alfred Returner is a tragedy. I think events are tragic for every character in Alfred Returner, there is not a single character who escapes it. That is to say, tragedy.

  • 54.

    It's simply too hot to muck about in words, for some will stick to me and then I will be even hotter and more irritable—if such a thing is possible.

  • 53.

    Twixt anchorage and flight, eternally....

  • 52.

    In the land that is not the land of coyotes, it is less windy (long i) and circular, I think, and so I think it is more sane. I do not know what this "it" is, however, so I do not know that I can vouch for the truth of that statement. 

  • 51.

  • 50.

    My goodness, we are 50 globs old!

  • 49.

    Today's glob reads as follows:

  • 48.

    There is a black fly on my yellow shoe. 

  • 47.

    Yesterday is today, and tomorrow is also today.