Albany Journal – 7/20/12

Having recovered from my losses at the Turning Stone casino the other day, I was glad that God put me back on the road of making my life more sensible than the extravagance of losing $200 at the blackjack tables.  I don’t mourn my wasted money, as I have been wasting money all of my life.  But what I did discover was that $200 is a lot of money for me, and while people sometimes lose thousands upon thousands of dollars in just a few sittings, my $200 is still a lot of money for me to be spending.  Add this to the new earrings and bracelet set that I bought for Lisa on her Birthday while shopping at Macy’s this morning, and really I have no money left – just debt, and it is here that many Americans now find themselves – in loads and loads of debt.  The government has yet to call this a Depression yet, but I can tell that I have seen many new SUVs on the road and not many old, beaten-up Japanese-model cars on the roads, which is not usual for me.  The poor and sick, it seems, have been thrown underground, and only superficial higher class folk are swimming in the luxuries of a tame sea.  It’s really quite interesting to discover this.  The distance from the wealthy to the middle class has never been this gaping before, with the poor in Albant mysteriously vanishing, eaten up by the Great Recession – since the sluggish economy has grown somewhat, and so we can’t call it anything else that resembles an actual Depression.

It seems very interesting that women are especially succeeding at this slower pace of a once thriving economy.  It’s both good and bad, because they are very refreshing people to listen to – like a drizzle cooling down the torturous and burnt American landscape, but bad, because men should be a part of it too, no?  The two women I saw reading at the Writers Institute last night were both quite good, and they had such a poise about them, that they were easy to listen to, and they both seemed to having a good time of it – what life should be, in any case.

First up was Peg Boyers, and she grew up with residing in so many distant lands that it was hard to imagine her reading in Albany, New York of all places – but she is the refreshing part while all of the other poets die trying.  I truly enjoyed her infatuations with Venice, which is only one of the far-away lands that she’s grown up in, but she is definitely tied there emotionally.  She even made fun of her obsession with Venice, because after all, why would a woman love such a place that is now falling apart from the waves of seas that come crashing through the city?  Don’t get me wrong – Venice is a wonderful place where the streets are rivers, but I really couldn’t grasp why she is so taken aback by it.  Maybe she found the love of a life there, or at least there is something that is too deeply personal to share with an auditorium filled with writing students.

Next up was the well-known novelist Anne Beatty, and she recently published a book with all of her short stories that had been published in the New Yorker over the course of her career.  She looked quite attractive in a black dress, and yes, she is married, so I try not to think of her too much.  There are a lot of curves on her, and I dare not focus upon this here, because I’m sure I’ll be put into my proper spot beneath moist moss and rock when all of the women drop me back off there. She read a wonderful story of when a Black American woman who regularly cleans her house goes missing.  It really is a very funny piece of work, and while I’ve never heard Anne Beatty read before, I immediately found a connection and fondness for her work, because I think we share the same upper middle class background, although I wound up really poor, and she probably very rich.  Not that it matters, but she is basically the voice of the people I went to school with, and that was an additional reason why I liked her.

So this morning I went to Macy’s and made a saleswoman happy when I bought a nice jewelry set for Lisa.  I have a softball game with the recovery league this afternoon at Lincoln Park, and directly thereafter I plan to take Lisa out to the Cheesecake factory for dinner.  Hopefully, I’ll be good at all of this lovey-dovey stuff at some point in my life, but I guess this point has arrived already.  I’m also hoping that she can’t access this journal entry in any way, because she will uncover my secret plans.

Harvey Havel is the author of five novels. This past spring, Stories from the Fall of the Empire, his sixth book and his first collection of short stories, was recently released by Publish America. Later this summer, Two Tickets to Memphis, his sixth novel, is forthcoming from Publish America as well. Havel has previously taught Writing at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey and also at SUNY Albany and the College of St. Rose, both in Albany, New York. Born in Lahore, Pakistan in 1971, Havel now resides full time in Albany, New York.