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29 August 2016 – On G’s foolscap: ‘As far as they were concerned, they didn’t have any tests to pass or fail. They disrobed themselves of greater sensibility, striding carefree among the more socially concerned. Though they didn’t look the same you could mistake one for the other in their bearing. Which said, plain as daylight, fuck it. They had nothing in their pockets. No wallets, no keys. This didn’t bother them in the slightest. They knew who and where they were. As for money, well, they didn’t have the need to buy to feel alive. There was, however, that small matter of food and water. Which neither had quite figured how to do without. The remote logic of random. How one crawls depends on their level of desperation. Mother Mayhem strikes again.’

Not his best work. But the more I read it the more I’m drawn to it. Can’t say why. Maybe it’s the mood created by switching from a loose narrative to the flux of those last three lines. Abstract impressionism in words? I don’t know, but the inclusion of Mother Mayhem rings a loud bell. It’s what he called his mother in the aftermath of her showing up a couple months ago.

Ostensibly she came to pay respects to Melville. But the way she went about it was more like an invasion. She insinuated herself into things. Paraded around the house as if Griffin and I didn’t live here. Like we were the uninvited guests. Her criticisms were excruciatingly endless. The art on the walls (almost all Liz’s), the food in the fridge, the state of the garden. You name it she had something unpleasant to say about it. Sadly, the expression of her tactless persona wasn’t limited to the confines of the house. She practically commandeered the funeral. Somehow making Melville’s passing about her. One minute playing the grieving widow to a tee (an out-and-out farce given that she hadn’t had any meaningful contact with him for nearly 20 years, to say nothing of the apparent lovelessness of their marriage or the fact that Dot was present), the next tearlessly taking to the podium as if she was on a promotional tour, relishing the spotlight and the gaze of an attentive audience. She even had the gall to mention her forthcoming book. Shockingly self-serving. Just thinking about it gives me chills. And yet the worst was still to come. A condescending verbal rampage upon learning she hadn’t been included in the will. Liz lost her shit. Griffin tried to keep the peace. Mother Mayhem threw a bamboo vase of lilies across the kitchen. It didn’t break of course but it almost hit Tammy, who’d poked her head in from the livingroom to see what all the commotion was about. That was it for Liz. She grabbed the girls and stormed out. Leaving Griffin to contend with their mother, whose maximum tirade had yet run its course. I can’t remember everything that was said. But the crux of it was Griffin standing up to her hysterics. Assertively yet calmly endeavoring to put her in her place—no easy task as she had a retaliatory bomb for everything. He eventually gave in and brought the night to a close by telling her that unless she was prepared to be halfway like a mother and not a privileged brat she wasn’t welcome here anymore. She left the next morning. I don’t think he’s heard from her since.

30 August 2016 – Couldn’t decipher Nolan’s handwriting (except the words ‘sneering engines’ in the middle of a line), some pretty cool doodling tho. Moved on to Drummond’s story. A series of observations called ‘On the Steps’. The steps a wide set of stairs and sitting area by a transit station near the stadiums downtown. For 3 successive afternoons, from 4-5, he sat off to the side of the stairs (on the edge of a waterless fountain) and counted the number of people who walked past (tallied like fences in the margins: 67, 83, 54) and made note of things that caught his attention. Like how many times he was asked for money (8) or a smoke (6). Like expensive cars that drove around the cul-de-sac at the bottom of the steps. Like skateboarders using the waterless fountains. There was a car accident, a fist fight, and a couple having sex against a window of a condo overlooking the sitting area. On two of the days people were shooting up in the bushes not far from where he sat. Almost every detail is recorded objectively. The exceptions include a scathing (and somewhat lengthy) remark on a group of ‘wannabes’ with ‘sportstar tats’ and ‘sissyboy hair’ who were ‘trying for cooler’ by ‘weeding’ and ‘downing tallboys’ (much of the remark is hard to read because it’s written so hastily and the majority of the words are hopelessly scrunched together at the bottom of the page and vertically up the margin); a shorter comment on ‘iDildos’ (being, I believe, a reference to those who ‘cant walk stairs staring at there phone’); and a more ponderous passage about an ‘old bearded loner that wears [his?] mistakes [and] makes me think [my?] dad is still alive [and] regret what [he?] done’. Thought-provoking stuff. And a little unexpected coming from Drummond, who I would describe as well-mannered and self-consciously shy.

 

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