I see I haven’t posted here since last May. I will spare you my ruminations about how time passes. Even those I consider young remark on it, often in sort of a vague panic. Where does all the time go, they ask. Those few people following this poor blog back then have probably pushed on to more rewarding wells in the internet desert without end. My excuse is I have been working on a book with the working title “End Times: the Novel.” It is about the period all the great religions mention when good and evil have a final reckoning and scores are settled up. They all agree good wins in the end, proving they were optimists. To judge from the great wave of dystopia in the popular culture faith in that outcome may be wavering. (Should there be a comma after “culture” like there is after “end” in the previous sentence?). I never learned grammar and wish I had. Something in me has always rebelled against authority and there was no greater authoritarian than the school teacher who diagrammed sentences in our, yes, grammar school. It only became elementary school some time after I passed on to junior high school, not middle school as it is now called. Such rules of grammar that I know I picked on an ad hoc basis. After you’ve put in four or five hours of writing, to return to the subject, you don’t feel like writing more on a blog that is one of millions and is probably thought to be abandoned as millions of others are. Writers need audiences, as is well known, and the only way you build one is by the regular creation of content for a readership that is only notional at best and might be altogether non-existent. It’s the tree falling in the forest unheard thing—why bother? Because writing muscles need regular exercise otherwise they atrophy; and there is always the chance someone will pass by to lap from your small pool and go away the better for it or at least no worse off. Writers are a strange breed. A surprising percentage are quite nasty as John Sutherland documented in his “Lives of the Writers” published a few years back by the Yale Press. The majority appear to have been unhappy, which is commonly understood to be a stimulant to literary productivity, particularly if it begins in childhood. It is not impossible to have a sunny, well-balanced childhood and become an author, but it seems to be rare. Writers seek alleviation from their unhappiness through drink, drugs, sexual immorality and other means. They are treacherous and deceitful to an uncommon degree. Fiction is their revenge on life or their way of imposing order on chaos. Successful writers are often arrogant. A couple of biographies have appeared about Gore Vidal since his unmourned death at the age of 81. He urged his friend Jay Parini to pull no punches in his book and Parini took him at his word. In his review of “Empire of Self,” Danny Heitman picked pages at random and everywhere his finger lighted Vidal was knocked, often in his own words. “I am treacherous in all things,” he says on page 117 in a letter to a friend. “I sign contracts I have no intention of fulfilling.” He was a vicious drunk and because he drank so much the result was he was cruel and venomous a good part of the day and night. His idea of conversation was a series of often witty pronouncements of a lofty sort delivered in a deep and modulated voice. I liked some of his historical novels, however, and his essays on just about anything were among the best of his time. He believed that FDR connived with Churchill to get the U.S. into World War II, a belief in a conspiracy that damaged Vidal’s reputation but one that I happen to share with a good many others. A lot of crucial evidence has been lifted from government archives. See “Day of Deceit” by Robert Stinnett for more. Speaking of chaos, a pipe in our attic sprung a leak – about the third or fourth in the past couple of years—and two holes had to be cut in walls by a plumber to find it. Then another “pinhole” leak appeared and also had to be patched. And then the dryer went out, possibly because of one of the leaks. An electrician is coming back for a look and a drywall man will be needed for the holes in the wall. And it looks like the skylight in the storeroom needs replacing. Time goes on.