If you ask me, a man's diary should be left alone. They tell me people write in diaries to keep their thoughts straight. Sort of mental warm ups for the writing to come. Verbal pukage. The literary detritus we all must spew to remain alive.

A man writes a diary presuming the existence of the etherial, spirit reader which due to an extra corporeal nature, can never report what's been read. So the world inside a man's diary is one nobody sees. They couldn't. And judging it should be a sin, meaning, god should come down and strike dead the person who flashes a thumb up or down at someone's personal written utterance.

Beaches are millions of years old, or thousands, or some just days after big storms. And there are fish and mammals in the ocean. Those between fish and animal jellyfish. Volcanos and big rocks. Dark and light. If you stand in one place in California, they tell me, you can see all the way to Japan. Look in another direction, you can see all the way to M31, two million light years.

Kinda makes Japan seem close.

"... Hemingway's stories are EMOTIONALLY IMMATURE...and full of hairy chested bravado...Why don't you write something good?"

Anonymous reader from Iowa

"...Iowa bitch...why not stop addressing people you don't know about things you know nothing about? I have already done it, you bitch."

-Ernest Hemingway
True at First Light

The sea rolls in gray waves that turn upside down green. Crashes in white thunder.

A couple pages of Hemingway, and a couple blasts of foggy Aptos air. Sip some coffee. The dolphins arc. The otters bash clams on rocks they place on their stomachs. A couple miles from here in Cannery Row is Doc Rickett's lab, and the train tracks he tried to cross but failed.

People like the beach. Seawater is pretty close to the composition of amniotic fluid. From whence we came to where we'd like to go.

There are dolphins in this water. Dorsal fins cut the surface in an arc so close to shore the spray from their exhalations wafts onto you on land. Feet in the sand. If you dig down at night you can still feel the sun trapped in a layer of sand.

Seals and otters.

Yesterday I watched the world's largest flock of birds fly by. It took hours. A river of birds going from somewhere to somewhere for some reason that people haven't discovered but hypothesize answers to like the meaning of radiation of whether the eye of god is blue or brown.

I grew up on the beach and so for it I am filled with the contempt of familiarity. I grew up tying off boats to docks. I grew up priming Mercury outboard engines hanging off the transom with rainbow pools of 2-stroke oil forming around me. I grew up tearing hooks from the mouths of doormat fluke with needle nosed pilers.

In this rental house there were a lot of books. Not that I didn't bring with me a lot of my own books, but there's something about finding one and reading it while you can that makes the "it" of it so much better. The book I'm reading is True at First Light by Ernest Hemingway. Published posthumously by his son Patrick Hemingway for reasons that probably had to do with money. Had Ernest wanted it published, he probably would have. But his son did, and so now on the market is a bunch of shit Papa didn't want anyone to see, and I'm thinking there's good reason for it. This is a Hemingway book, and because it's the utterance of the great Nobel-Pulitzer master it's probably better than anything I could puke out of my feeble fingers. But still, it just doesn't seem all that great to me.

If this book is to believed, and it's not because it's supposed to be fiction even though all the real names are used, Ernest Hemingway killed a couple of African animals every day for years while he was in Africa, camping out, acting as a sort of Game Warden for the world-famous big game hunter he calls Pop. If it is to be believed, he drank a whole lot, which is probably true. Campari and Gin. Beer. Drinking and shooting and womanizing. He writes his wife Mary as being somewhat tweaked but finding a private peace with the fact girls from all over the dark continent wanted him. And because polygamy is legal in their societies, he's sort of okay with it. Granted, he's only as okay with it as he can be and not seem lecherous. But on the other hand, it's his diary and a man's diary is the way a man sees the world.

Seriously, when I went to Paris I sat in Les Deux Magots where Hemingway was supposed to have hung out writing. I drank my kir. My gin and campari.

"Hemingway--il prendre un kir ici?" I muddled through my French with a waiter.

"Hell no," he replied in English. "He was too busy writing. Never left the loft. We brought his drinks up to him."

Did Ernie kill all those animals? Did he really bed all those babes and never once get into one of their heads?

Was he too busy writing to live?

Never judge a man's diary, my brain tells me. It's too full of bare chested bravado and two-dimensional women to be real.