Friday, December 25, 2015


Christmas. Listening to a Johnny Rivers LP. Dr. Theresa making figgy pudding. A gigantic spider descends swiftly on a thread from the ceiling, straight down for the uncovered sugar bowl, providing Christmas drama. Report from Los Angeles, where my parents are visiting my brother and the grandkids: Mom says that Dad saw Larry King in a bagel shop and hugged him on Christmas morning. "I was overcome," Dad explained. I switched the record to an old compilation called "Jingle Bell Jazz" that always got on my nerves. Who can explain my complex behavior? It has rained all day. The yard is flooded. Sixty-three degrees fahrenheit. Yesterday afternoon the thawing goose was still frozen in the middle and I was unable to extract the giblets. Now some jazz flute dude is going to town on "We Three Kings." Reading Norman Mailer for Christmas. Just got out of a flashback that lasted almost 800 pages, and I can remember little of what is going on in the novel's "present." (By ominous coincidence I come to a passage about Allen Dulles falling fatally ill on Christmas Eve.) While in the shower, I recall that I dreamed about M. Emmett Walsh. He threatened someone with a pistol, then ate it and said, "It's no secret this gun was made of chocolate." Figgy pudding has come out of the oven and looks and smells spectacular. I fear that my goose could never measure up! Christmas tweeting with Hogan. She says Christmas spiders are good luck. I play an LP she gave me a long time ago, Paul Williams's "Here Comes Inspiration." His version of "Rainy Days and Mondays" (a song he wrote) sounds especially appropriate today. I see a cocktail fork that I bought from Bob Hope's estate among the drying dishes. Dr. Theresa says she used it to test the consistency of the figgy pudding. Am I upset? Far from it! Wassail is simmering. Megan Abbott suggested wassail. She was somewhat upset that I found a wassail recipe with bourbon in it. "Surely Bob Cratchit didn't have bourbon?" she objected. We switched from LPs to Bing Crosby on iPod, because it's hard to flip over records while you're cooking a goose. Chris Offutt and Melissa Ginsburg came over. Chris soon tired of Bing. He asked me to play some Frank Sinatra. Chris stood with his head respectfully bowed for several minutes, listening to Frank do a live version of "I Could Have Danced All Night." Then he compared the rhyme scheme of "Come Fly With Me" to Bob Dylan, which got us listening to Bob Dylan. Chris dramatically acted out Dylan's entire song "Isis," thrillingly grabbing me by the shoulders during some verses. He also carved the goose (as seen above).