My room is dimly lit with lanterns and red Christmas lights. I have gotten rid of my mattress and I sleep on the floor now. I have a really bad haircut and in a few weeks I will have a gold tooth. It’s beginning to look like I’ll probably never get laid again.

I wonder sometimes what happened and it almost makes me sick. I mean, hell, you should see my day-to-day life . . . it is strange and dreamlike, at least from where I’m sitting. Next to the place where I sleep on the floor I have a journal, and I have been writing everything down. God, it’s all trash. I wrote a few weeks ago that I had a tiny little baby crush on a girl (hell, I have crushes all over town), but when I stop and think about it, I don’t really like anyone in that way. And I’m all right carrying on in this way, alone, and in this red flickering room. This girl is nice and I like her, but I will eventually sabotage it, and so in my head I have already stomped out that diverging path, and have decided it would be all right if we never saw each other again, even though it would be nice to see her too.

It is not so much that I have eluded reality, or that reality has eluded me . . . I can still see it shining plain, and sometimes I even reach out to it, and try to grab it and know it again. But I have gotten older, and have gotten far away from the thing. I spy on it but it cannot be mine. I feel so far removed from everyone and everything that, you know, what’s the point in trying to connect to it any longer. If I was ever going to be able to participate again, I would’ve had to turn things around some time ago. I look at pictures from Oakland, from those strange strange times, and I think: Yes, it was happening even back then—I can see the change—and now, here in this place, wherever that is, I am much further along the strange path, and I have no desire to leave it. The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run—that sort of thing.

Though hell, if you want me to be honest, I’m pretty god dang lonely these days, even though by design I have to be . . . Still: I would sure would have a good time watching a movie with someone, or walking around Hawthorne at night, now that it’s so cold out. . . .

The sun will be up in something like 16 minutes. That’s what they’ve told me, anyway, but who knows. I will wake up in the afternoon and finish building a shelf, and then I’m going to go across the street and get a cup of coffee and talk to the lady behind the counter. Last week she said to me in earnest—and it startled me, because it didn’t at all feel perfunctory—she said, in a sad little voice: “You doing all right?”

And I leaned in and I gave her the jerk answer. It was automatic. God, was it ever. I cringed as I heard myself say it. I said: “I’m alive I reckon . . . for whatever that’s worth!!!!”

I think maybe I will apologize to her for saying that. She’s so nice to me. What a big dumb jerk answer from a big dumb jerk. I’m sorry, lady. I’ll tell you that in person soon enough probably.

And now I unplug my red Christmas lights and blow out the lanterns. My room is twisted, man. This is a crazy place to sleep. I don’t think it has seen sunlight since April. What a strange dark trip. What a long heavy thing this is! I laugh like hell when I think about it—laugh because I can’t cry!