Excuse Me While I Disappear

December 18th, 2011

Kind of a drama-queen headline.  Who knows what song it’s from?

The first person to answer that question will receive a copy of a book, signed by me but written by someone else, chosen at complete random off my shelves.  It won’t be so random that it might be by Haruki Murakami — I’m keeping those — but it will be otherwise random.

Truth be told, I’ve gotten fat.  Since I quit smoking, about six years ago, I’ve gained something in the neighborhood of sixty pounds.  (The picture above is a computer regression of a current picture of me to the age of ten months.  I photoshopped out the beard.)   What an awakening!

Having eaten most of Mendocino and then about a third of Berkeley – thanks, Suzanna and Morgan, thanks, Corso — I came home to a very simple realization.

If I don’t lose these sixty pounds, the sixty pounds will probably lose me.

Well, I’m not that easy to get rid of, so the weight is going to go.  I’ll be writing over the next year-and-change as I dwindle.  Film it in stop motion as I pretend to walk away from the camera and boil the year down to 20 seconds, and it will look like I actually am walking away.  In fact, I’d just be getting smaller.

One of the things about writing the way I do, which is completely off the top of my head, is that I come up with crap like the paragraph above.  Then I have to talk myself out of cutting it. Often I fail and it gets deleted, but I thank you for your patience at times like this one, when it stayed in.

I wrote a funny (I think) line in the new Junior today.   He’s describing his top-secret apartment hideaway in a great building from the 1920s, the location of which he won’t reveal even to his readers.  He says, “The Wedgwood, the Lennox, and the Royal Doulton occupy a corner just north of Olympic, at the intersection of two narrow streets which, for the purpose of getting to the end of this sentence, we’ll call Courtney Lane and Baltic Way.”  Not a big laugh, but I smiled privately to myself.  Also, in the sentence, the apartment houses are given the names they bear now because of the letters that have burned out in their neon signs: The Wedgwood, the Nox, and the Royal Doult.

I also invented a great (I think) history for the apartment houses, which are decrepit and tatty from the outside but resplendent behind the apartment doors.  But you’ll have to read the book to find out what it is.

This is a digression, something else that happens when one writes off the top of his head.  The point of this blog is that I am committing publicly to getting svelte.  I’m tired of terrifying my readers.  By the end of this period, however long it is, I’ll once again look like the picture in my books.  Older, but you know.  Not fatter.

I’ve gone on record.  It’s official.  I made a spreadsheet and everything. I may weigh in from time to time, both literally and metaphorically, to update you so you can get on with your lives.

Won’t that be a relief?

17 Responses to “Excuse Me While I Disappear”

  1. EverettK Says:

    Angel Eyes, my friend, Angel Eyes.

    Damn, reCaptcha, anyway!

  2. EverettK Says:

    oh, and by the way, I’ll be glad to read the book to find out the history you invented… just finish the damn book, okay? 🙂

    And you have my most fervent wishes towards a successful conclusion to your new pogram…er..program…uh…public self-flagellating challenge.

  3. Howard Marder Says:

    A new Junior? When might we look forward to this blessed event?

    Good luck on the weight loss. Since I saw you I’m down about 55 pounds. Not easy. Not fun but necessary. About 75-100 to go.

  4. Bonnie Says:

    As someone who’s just dropped 35 of probably 80 superfluous pounds, I can only cheer you on. My method was the low carb route (recently revived by Gary Taubes after falling into obscurity on the death of Dr. Atkins), but a friend had good luck with Weight Watchers, and then there’s our old pal exercise. I’m sure you will succeed!

  5. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Everett, you win. The book I chose (eyes closed) is “Adios Hemingway” (no comma) by Leonardo Padure Fuentes. I’ll dust it and send it off in the next day or two.

    The book is progressing nicely and, so far, easily, with two cases that sort of parallel each other, one that began in the forties and ended in the fifties, and one that’s happening right now. Having a lot of fun with the Hollywood of the 40s and the LA mob of that era.

    Howard, should be within 2-3 months. I plan to have most of it written before I get my editor’s notes on the new Poke, so I can finish it up quickly and then do nothing but Poke #6 for about eight months. Congratulations on the weight loss, and don’t relax — it’s always a temptation when you’ve lost a big chunk to, um, take a short break, which usually turns into years.

    Bonnie, congratulations to you, too. I’m also on a low-carb approach, plus controlled portions (i.e., don’t eat so damn much) and enhanced exercise. I’m figuring it’ll take about 18-24 months, and I’ve set goals for each month. We shall see.

    I’ll be blogging about the new site in the next 2-3 days, Bonnie.

  6. EverettK Says:

    Just what I need, another PAPER book. It could be the one that breaks the camel’s back and brings an avalanche down on my head. If you never hear from me again, you’ll know what happened… 🙂 But thanks, anyway!

    New site? New site? Has Bonnie been BUSY? Ooh-boy!

  7. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    There actually WAS a clue, Everett, when I said I’d choose one “from my shelves” or something. But I don’t want to endanger your life, so I’ll just dust it and put it back. Or maybe toss it; it wasn’t very good anyway.

    Yes, Bonnie’s been busy.

  8. EverettK Says:

    🙂 I wasn’t impugning your offer, but honestly, I’d rather have one of YOUR books to read a day sooner than to have you spend any time packing up and shipping me a book, much as I appreciate the offer. Of course, DOING that could be consider a form of exercise, and thus help you towards your stated goal… 🙂

    I’d noticed the menu on the blog page had seemed to change recently, but hadn’t explored the rest of the site. Looking GOOD!

  9. Bonnie Says:

    @Everett: Thanks! For awhile there I was tearing hair out. Only one small thing left to fix (the you-are-here state on the last 3 nav buttons), then I’m going to find us a friendlier captcha, and then get a player for the music that you can turn on and off and that works on iOS, erm, and by that time Tim will have another couple books out!

  10. Lil Gluckstern Says:

    Congratulations to the weight losers, and good luck, Tim. The neatest thing is hearing about Junior, and, honestly, a new captcha-that one is horrible. Looking forward to the new books and the new site.

  11. John Lindquist Says:

    When WLS-AM was the Rock of Chicago into the 1980s, one of my favorite newspeople was the dynamic and powerful Catherine Johns. She went on to become a business communication consultant and is now a popular hypnotherapist in Chicago – weaning folks off overeating, smoking, stress, you name it. It is truly amazing how much weight she has lost herself. I don’t know if she’s written a book, but I bet she’d make a great interview.

    Here at work I’m on the run a lot and sometimes a bottle of Boost (or equivalent) is all the lunch I have time for. A meal in a bottle. Still, my Nurse Kellie says I could stand to lose a few pounds and get down to a size 16 whatever the heck that means. 🙂

  12. EverettK Says:

    John: size 16 would be pretty good if it’s a shirt size, not so good if it’s a dress size. No idea what it would do to a hat, but let’s not even think about shoes…

  13. John Lindquist Says:

    Everett: I forgot about the 16 neck size. I’ve just been shopping for “L” and “42” shirts since time immemorial. Kellie’s a ballgown model. I’m sure she wouldn’t be thinking about ……. (?) Nah, that’s not my style, I don’t think.

  14. Bonnie Says:

    Testing logical captcha

  15. Bonnie Says:

    Third test.

  16. Suzanna Says:

    Tim, Mindfully choosing what we eat and drink is one of the best things we can do for our health and well being. Congratulations for setting a goal to shed the pounds and eat healthier foods. I know you can do anything you set your mind to! Just remember, to me you are perfect no matter what size or shape you are.

  17. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Hi, John — I’m a size 16 in a cocktail dress, although it generally requires some letting out in the waist. Sixteen is a respectable, if somewhat thick, neck size. I think Nurse Kellie might want to clarify what she means.

    I wish you all luck and let’s mutually support one another (that’s such a feminine sentiment) across the miles. Here’s how fat I am: In my first week, I dropped five and a half pounds. That’s a sign that I put on a lot of weight recently and my body was eager to drop it. The rate will slow down now, but it WILL continue to drop until I’m at my target weight.

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