Diary of Distress

Diary of Distress

悶悶日記
(Monmon nikki)

by DAZAI Osamu (太宰治)
Published 1936

_______ ___th

Someone put a live snake in my mailbox. Outrageous.  Must be the work of someone mocking unpopular writers who check their mailboxes twenty times a day. Out of whack now, spent the whole day in bed.

_______ ___th

“Don’t sell your suffering” —— letter from a friend.

_______ ___th

In a bad state. Coughing up blood. Informed my folks but they didn’t believe me.

Peach tree blooming in corner of garden.

_______ ___th

Inheritance was apparently 1.5m yen. No clue how much is left now. Kicked out eight years ago. Managed to live until now thanks to my brother. But what now? Never even dreamed of having to earn own living expenses. No choice but death if this goes on. On this day, for all your impure acts, it serves you right, shitty writer of shitty books.

Dan Kazuo came to visit. Borrowed 40 yen from him.

_______ ___th

Checking proofs of short story collection The Last Years. Wonder if this will be my final work. No doubt.

_______ ___th

Number of those who haven’t talked bad about me this year: three? Fewer? Can it be?

_______ ___th

Letter from sister.

“I am enclosing 20 yen for you. Your constant requests for money are a real bother. I do not know how to tell mother, so it always comes from me and causes me real difficulty. Mother does not have much money either.  (…) You must be more careful and not waste money. You must be getting at least some money from the magazines, surely? Please try to be more frugal so you don’t have to depend on the kindness of others. Take better care of yourself. Take care of your health and don’t go out with your friends so much. Give us all fewer reasons to worry about you. (&c)”

_______ ___th

Nodded off all day. Have become insomniac. Second night now. Third night if I don’t sleep tonight.

_______ ___th

Paid visit to doctor at dawn. Recalled Tanaka’s poem:

If I forget
my weeping journey down this road
who will ever know?

Strong-armed doctor into giving me morphine.

Awoke in early afternoon. Made sad and anxious by light coming through new leaves. Decided that I must get better.

_______ ___th

Most unbearable shame and embarassment brought up without second thought by family. Leapt up. Put geta on, went straight home! Stood for a moment, rose to my full size. Kicked brazier. Sent coal bucket flying. Went into four-and-a-half tatami room, kicked kettle into sliding door. Glass in door rattled. Kicked table. Soy sauce on wall. Bowls and plates, turned into my scapegoats. Couldn’t have gone on without breaking these things. No regrets.

_______ ___th

Five and a half feet and shaggy.  Die of shame. Reminded of these phrases, I chuckle to myself.

_______ ___th

Yamagishi Gaishi came to visit. I am beset by enemies on all sides, I said. No, perhaps more like two sides, he replied. Laughed splendidly.

_______ ___th

When you’re not talking about it, you don’t look despairing at all. Please, just listen to what I’ve got to say. No, that’s more than enough. Please, just—— Argued with family over one and a half yen for three hours last night. Nothing for it.

_______ ___th

Cannot go to the toilet on my own at night.  A small-headed boy of 15 or 16 in a white yukata stands behind me. Feel like just turning around is putting life on the line lately. Definitely a small-headed boy there. Yamagishi Gaishi says it’s because of something unspeakably cruel one of my ancestors did five or six generations ago. Perhaps so.

_______ ___th

Finished writing next novel. Did it always make me this happy? Seems good when I re-read it. Have informed two or three friends. Can pay back debts to everyone now. Title is White Monkey Madness.

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