On the phone last night, I came to the conclusion that I really have no idea whether I'm currently happy out here. After doing some intensive introspection/endoscopy, the best I could come up with was "dissatisfied." I'm not sure whether this is the usual dissatisfaction which is endemic in our society and which I blame on advertising, or something trickier and more personal. But I've been unable to relax in months.
I should abandon this novel for now. I need a vacation from it. I'm not sure, however, if I'm capable of taking a vacation without the constant thought of it hanging from my neck like a millstone. Damn it, America, you raise your kids to achieve and this is what happens. I'm constitutionally incapable of being a slacker, and this is sad.
By the late 1870s, Conan Doyle's father, Charles, appears to have been enduring an agonised twilight existence in the family home, as he made a spectacular decline into drunken insanity. Conan Doyle, at home thoughout his student days, would have experienced this at close quarters. But there was worse. For, during this crucial period, his mother's affections had strayed. With his sisters largely away, he may well have been the sole grown-up witness to the spectacle of his father being cuckolded in his own home, and by a man who was only five years older than Conan Doyle himself.
Mozart may have died from trichinosis. This is the latest in a series of 150 or so different diagnoses, but I like this one because it reminds me of the Mozart Club in the tiny town of Goldfield, Nevada, which one passes through driving between Reno and Vegas. They offer a "Mozart Burger" there, which is topped with greasy mounds of cheese and a fat slice of ham.