Long and anguished monologue at a dinner party from a depressed businessman from the city who thinks his wife is taking too many sleeping pills, anxiolytics, tranquillizers, seratonin-enhancers. He isn’t taking any medication on principle and prides himself on toughing out his gloomy moods. He used to worry that his wife ate too much and insisted she go to Weight Watchers. Then he thought she drank too much, locked away the liquor and complained to the family doctor and minister, tried to shame her into not drinking. After that he worried in case she was having a affair with the family doctor and insisted they find a new GP. Now he thinks the new GP is giving her far too many pills. He wants to send her to a psychiatrist (his golfing buddy) and have her meds reduced and her problems sorted out. He himself has no problems, as far as he knows.
None of us at the dinner party said anything. What could we say? One guest murmured something about wanting to offer the problem wife a lifelong holiday from her controlling husband, but nobody dared laugh.
Windy and cold weekend weather, tried to write some fiction and the library story dried up like a stony riverbed. Is resurrection possible? Some stories just shrivel up and there is nothing to be done. Tried to edit another chapter of non-fiction writing and then gave up and lay on the sofa reading The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht, a magnificent and strange narrative. Dogs snoring all around, a pot of tea at hand.
I don’t know if I dislike editing myself more than I dislike being edited. Here’s the much-missed David Foster Wallace ordering Harper’s NOT to edit his copy:
The deal is this. You’re welcome to this for READINGS if you wish. What I’d ask is that you (or Ms. Rosenbush, whom I respect but fear) not copyedit this like a freshman essay. Idiosyncracies of ital, punctuation, and syntax (“stuff,” “lightbulb” as one word, “i.e.”/”e.g.” without commas after, the colon 4 words after ellipses at the end, etc.) need to be stetted. (A big reason for this is that I want to preserve an oralish, out-loud feel to the remarks so as to protect me from people’s ire at stuff that isn’t expanded on more; for you, the big reason is that I’m not especially psyched to have this run at all, much less to take a blue-skyed 75-degree afternoon futzing with it to bring it into line with your specs, and you should feel obliged and borderline guilty, and I will find a way to harm you or cause you suffering* if you fuck with the mechanics of this piece.)
Love that last line.