Notes cover_front2.jpg


" Haircut today. Another half-hour with Beth, the stylist, telling me tales of her sullen daughter, Phoebe, and her incontinent Chihuahua, Norman (a depressed and depressing little rescue dog who sleeps curled-up in a mouse-colored bed near the shampoo station). Another half-hour of struggling to make small talk—something I do not do very well at all."

A daily diary started by the narrator as a sort of orientation experiment, Notes follows a single year in the life of obscure composer, photographer, and essayist David Bacon. It offers a compact and comic look at both his world and the world around him. Here in elliptic notes is a snapshot of Bacon's wife, Emily; his perpetually fearful neighbor, Mrs. Hampton; and his continuing struggle with a recalcitrant composition tentatively titled The Coward's Quartet.  Here in black and white is the documentary evidence with which one might—if so inclined—confront a conveniently unreliable memory.




Excerpt from Notes


            This short diary (my first and last) was an experiment, an attempt to create a sort of baseline document that could be used to compare one's lived life (recorded however haphazardly in real-time) to one's remembered life—an instructive document that would corroborate or contradict certain impressions I have at the moment of the me I presently know, impressions I rely on to make daily decisions both large and small. To that end, I am afraid, it has proven only marginally helpful.

David Bacon

July 22

            Just received a note that the camera I ordered has been shipped. Very excited. Have been waiting almost two months now. It is a new sort of camera—a small one that is good for street shooting and low-light work, a camera that the mentor class of industry flacks has insisted will change my life. Am hoping it's the tool I need, the one that will help me make the sort of pictures I've been wanting to make—pictures that are related stylistically to the sort I have been making, but better.


            Heard Stephen Booker is ill and has been let go from his teaching position. I haven't seen much of him lately. Emily thinks he is a bad influence—a pessimist who encourages in me a native inclination to despair.


            Man shoots Seattle bus driver in rush hour.

            Missing Iowa border collie found stuck in tree.

July 23

            There is a new editor at The Left Coast. His name is Alan Boyle. He has been brought in to save the magazine—make it popular, profitable, efficient. He's an ambitious man. He won't be around long. He will move on, I'm sure, to something grander—something with a larger circulation; something that uses better, shinier paper; something that puts pictures of A-list Hollywooders on the cover. He has been regally indifferent to me and my work, sees music reviews (at least reviews of classical music) as filler—the sort of thing you use to keep one high-concept story from bumping into another. Wouldn't mind seeing him fail, but the magazine is not on firm ground. If he goes, it might go with him so I have to wish him well. I have the distinct feeling he would prefer me to be a little more deferential.


            Hundreds evacuated amid Idaho wildfires.

            Billboards give wrong date for Detroit election.

July 24

            Downtown for lunch. Pair of lackluster tacos. Ran into a bearded man over on Alder who looked very much like Jesus. He had a large green parrot perched on his shoulder—a parrot he talked to constantly and kissed on the beak from time to time. He wanted me to know the bird's name was Oscar.