Dec 13, 1980

Chopping wood today – a necessary discipline almost daily – I realized that the pieces held larvae, or, no, long, segmented worms who seemed to be still alive. One, I couldn’t help but see it – it had somehow survived the axe slicing through its winter burrow; it hung there blind and white and twisting slowly right where my axe would cross it. I thought of all the other worms inside and hardened my heart, I thought of all the soft earthworms in gardens, I thought again of how I would not make the world this way. I considered not using the infested wood for burning – but then, what to do with it? My yard a shelter for infested wood? My axe swung wide. … a reprieve was more than I could handle –  I looked more closely at the white, segmented being, like blown parchment, a larger head at one end and tiny dots of eyes. It was only stuck half-way down over a bit of wood. I lifted it to the ground. Wouldn’t it infest my bushes? But it was in a dead tree.

What quarrel have I with you, tiny devourer, patiently taking things back apart again, that there may be new trees. But without its home, and a cold night coming, it will freeze, anyway. I put it on a chip of wood, covered it with other chips – probably a useless gesture – and gathered my armful of firewood…

… I do want to stick around until I can be a writer, all right. I would choose to have some more years in which to do it. But sometimes I think how nice it will be when my existence is not of the sort that is bought with the suffering and death of other beings.


When I am through burning the bodies of trees to keep warm, through consuming the  flesh of plants and animals to maintain my own, through oppressing Brazilian peasants for my coffee, through driving over bugs.


Well, there,  now I’ve finally started you, new journal. It’s been a long time – much has happened and no time to write until right now –  and in the meantime, all the self-consciousness of beginning a new book. In the meantime, such a loneliness for you, my confidante, my self, my writing self. Such a reacquaintance, remembering who  am with you, what words we share, how I tell you things, what I tell you.

These last two days have been the first time in a long time I’ve had to be quiet and alone with myself – and I’ve had to spend a good deal of the time sleeping.

Even tonight I’m supposed to read some journals – a bunch, actually, and  have to, actually. Tomorrow at noon is the deadline for getting the grades turned in. well, today I came across something I’d written where I promise myself to try experiencing this year as my last year of teaching. Somehow lately I’d forgotten that precise way of looking at it. So now I can say to myself “last winter-finals week decompression.”


Two days ago, Friday evening, there was a womens art sharing event at Taia’s house, organized by her and Mary Smith. I read. There must have been forty women there. I was awfully scared – it was so much self-revelation – and I’ve kept myself so apart from the Ashland women. Partly that was why I wanted to read for them – to say ”See, this is what I’ve been doing hiding up on the hill. This is who I am.”  But also I know I need to begin to speak my writing and hear my own voice speaking, being heard.


But it was so personal. Each thing I’d think about seemed ‘too personal” – I guess that’s all I write. I finally ended up Playing them the “Fantasy letter to Deborah Kerr” – (I tried to read it through once – there was no way I could do it as well now.)  then reading  a wife Dreams of Deborah, and finally performing “School Starts and Tangren has a few Dreams” and “Oct 13 or A Theory”

It was not a totally inspired reading, and yet it reached many.

…One thing I realize reading is that though on one level my work is very personal and emotional, at the same time, much of it is rather funny. How funny!  Have never thought of myself as funny; I’ve never been any good at telling jokes, for instance. Yet we were all laughing together many times at my writing. That’s a level at which it is rather easily accessible to people, and a nice relief from all the high drama. …A surprising thing about my writing, but there it is.

The reading did help accomplish what I’d hoped – it’s enabled me to hear myself, to love my words again. Thinking them over, remembering the laughter, the speaking the enjoyment.

“I was near to tears”

“You opened my eyes about a lot of things”

“You read it so beautifully”

“It’s a new art form”

“ I loved a movie star, too, we all have”

“You were so open. Yes, why not write about those things!”


Dec 16, Tuesday

First full-flowing day of my period. Every pore of my body weeping, watery blood flowing constantly from my womb. An ache in my back, pelvis, upper thighs, reminiscent of giving birth. My muscles, too, seem turned to water, and my mind desiring only sleep, light reading. Rest.

The weather has been clear and very cold at night –  but now this last two days it has been really balmy – even last night was warm. Today I cut my hair – I wanted to wait until Solstice to do it, but it had gotten to a very funny looking stage, and if Hannah is coming tomorrow I don’t want to look too funny. Anyway, it was a nice day for it, as I could sit naked out on to deck to do it – in a small cleared place amidst the piles of lumber. Also did yoga out there in the sunshine. Past 2:30 now – the sun will soon be going down. I must close the windows, see if I can catch and put out any more of the 20 or so wasps that have materialized at the front windows, and go run some errands.

School finally over – yesterday at noon.

The Arrangement” again last night.

Errand running – saw Laurie, one of my Beach St. tenants – she had been at the reading Friday.

I wanted to say something to you about the reading,” she said. “I can’t exactly say I ‘enjoyed’ it – though I didn’t ‘not enjoy’ it. … I heard it, I guess that’s what I want to say … it reminded me to be kind. I don’t always remember about being kind.” and gave me a warm, long hug.

… I wondered about what she meant about being kind – to me? Or … in general?  I couldn’t think of anything about kindness in the writing. But now I’m thinking ….

Well, don’t I feel that I learned much about kindness from Deborah Kerr?

I’ve never actually duplicated anything she acted out on the screen … it was, as much a anything, a feeling.


Oh, how good it feels to write again!

I’ve missed you so!


Despite the above-mentioned dissolving to wateryness I did manage to run several errands yesterday in the late afternoon. Wanting to write, wanting to latihan – spacing out that this is Libré’s twenty-first birthday (wrong – it was the 16th of January)– smoking too much, feeling desperately the need for  healing – a phone call to Hannah to check in about feelings – I tell her how I am, that if she’s traumatizing or anything herself I won’t be able to give her anything, that I need so much to get centered. My way to get centered, the way that  know, is solitude. I need to experience getting centered in the presence of another person – and another person’s energy can sometimes help a lot. Anyway, that’s how I am. How are you?”

She was feeling pretty healed, she said. Having gone through a difficult decision, having had an opening experience at Fly Away Home last Friday, having just returned from the ocean. She gives good massages,

“ I could come as a healer,” she said. “It could be one way of getting to know each other.”

So I was in the middle of doing laundry, but it sounded like a good idea with what of myself I could find at the moment. Reserved the right to a blinding insight during the night that what I really need is solitude, but otherwise, tentatively, yes.

And, of all the funny things, I spent the rest of the evening, till after midnight, cleaning house, playing house. Cleaning, organizing, straightening, rearranging, even dusting, grooming plants, making the bed up fresh – what fun – what healing. Why is it so hard for me to recognize  sometimes that what I most need to do is tend to things on the material plane? Tending house can  be a form of acting out taking care of oneself, real and concrete.

Anyway, the house looks beautiful this sunshiny morning of this short day.

And now I need to do some vacuuming and then tend to things even closer to home – the body. in a couple of hours, Hannah comes.


Saturday morning:

Marcella in the bath, soon to leave for few hours Christmas-cookie making at Jessie’s  Then we’ll have our Christmas with the Sunshine family commune dolls – we’ve accumulated quite a few presents for them over the year. In fact, I’m tempted to make Dietrich a pair of overalls and a shirt this morning – it would be a good thing to do, and something where I wouldn’t be required to smoke – I meant to write ‘tempted to smoke! But I need so much to write and center. Talking with Libré before latihan yesterday, I realized the events of the past weeks could be put into words, and I’d like to try. Also, I really need to get reacquainted with myself, to asses my needs for the rest of the vacation. I’ve got almost all my free time from now till school starts again assigned to being with Hannah – two days, Mon & Tues nights next week, Thurs is Xmas up there, then again the five-day WinterBirth retreat the next weekend. That leaves me no time to recopy my article and write to Elsa Gidlow, or Ruth and Henry, or write in my journal, or to get healed. My lungs hurt – especially my right one – a kind of soreness – “soreness between the ribs” I guess. It frightens me, and makes me angry with myself, that I don’t seem to be able to stop smoking this time even though I need to. It would be  so stupid to give myself some awful disease or kill myself off just now, now when I’ve got it made, and just have to hang on for two more terms. My house is done,, my life is fairly together financially; I do think I’d just be sent back to do it again…starting all over again as a baby – and seldom does one get born into such fortunate circumstances.

Libré and I had a long good talk yesterday. Both facing our fears and thoughts about dying soon. She has several serious medical problems just now – and her scariest one is a very large cyst on her ovary that has grown a lot in the few weeks since it was discovered. The doctor says there’s one chance in five that it’s cancer. And at any rate they probably should remove it. She’s reading medical books and listening to my mother about vitamin E and to the waitress at the Truck Stop about a faith healing of a cancerous tumor that she had. But the whole thing is sapping her energy and the pain makes it hard to think and feel. She works graveyard two nights a week at the Truck Stop just now. She works entirely alone and has lots of time to think. .. last week she decided just to concentrate on the possibility of death one night, to let go of all thoughts of recovering and experience how she did feel about dying very soon. She found herself at one level quite ready… the relief of not having to plan for the future, whether to go to school or not, how to earn a living – all those problems gone, and priorities becoming clear – solitude, writing. Knowing the pain that some people would feel at her death –  Finding herself curious about what comes afterward … wondering if she would recognize Dianne’s soul, hoping she would. (That surprised me, that Dianne would be that important to her.) Wanting not to come back, hoping that if she could get things clear she could escape from the wheel of Karma.


Then she spent a night concentrating on life and healing, not letting in any thoughts about the possibility of not getting healed. Also found that that felt good. She said she lost a lot of her fear by going through those two nights.

I asked her whether she would do herself in, or just let the cancer kill her, if it came to that. She said, sensibly, that it would depend on what kind of cancer and how it killed and if she would be able to be lucid. … I’ve thought a bit about that myself… I’ve often thought I would just take Dianne’s way out – it’s very painless … only … I am really quite closely tied to existence in this body. I never have out-of-body experiences or even a sense of being ‘at one’ with everything. I would like t have those experiences, and yet I don’t.. It seems to me that it would be an awful shock to suddenly leave my life and my body behind for good… (I do remember  now Dianne saying … something about that it made a good deal of difference how you died as to how much of you survived the shock of the transition.)Libré said that, yes, in a way, going from cancer was not so bad, that she wold be grateful t have some notice, to be able to prepare for her death. She’d like to go naturally, if she could.

During latihan it had occurred to me about the reading that had come my way lately – went to the Golden Mean to get a Christmas present for Mike a couple weeks ago – picked up a book I seem to have heard of called Last Letter to the Pebble People – it was about a man dying of lung cancer. Then Mom sent over a box of things from Aunt Jean’s, among them a book on the life of Charlotte Bronte, by Mrs. Gaskell. I began reading in the middle. In rapid succession the sisters published a book of poems, then their first books, then Bramwell died from his opium addiction and the two sisters died from lung diseases. Why are these things coming my way? Warnings? Am  drawing them to me, creating this reality? It’s tempting to have a pipeful, to think it over.

Why can’t I just live like other people? They are happy to just live. I could read, go to movies, enjoy Marcella, do my chores, work at my job, why do I have to know who I am every minute? If I could live like that for three months, six months, then I would be free – healthy and free to nurture my health, my life, my creativity, my loves, my writing. Then if I smoked too much at least it would be for a good cause. Not just because I can’t remember enough self-love to take care of myself, not in a blind, groping need to know myself a little. … Still it sometimes is so good. Yesterday I only had one pipeful, while waiting for Libré – and that half hour of sitting and thinking was so good, so important.

When Hannah was here, she told me a bit about Carol, her last love-relationship, and about how what Carol really needed was a mother. Her mother had killed herself when she was thirteen.

… Well, that did make me think. When I think about dying now, I do think that it would not be right to die before my mother, that that would be too hard on her. And, in fact, when Mom was having serious stomach problems recently – it turned out to be an ulcer –  but there was a while when it was rather scary, one of the thoughts that went through my mind – one of the first thoughts, really, was that if this were cancer, then maybe I would outlive her.

But Marcella. I don’t think about her in my calculations. I am not free to leave. But yet, does that mean I am not free to smoke? Not free to know who I am? And how much does she need me?

Libré is such a good friend; we know each other so well by now, and we help each other to know about our needs for solitude and writing. It was a very good talk yesterday.

Actually, Marcella and I talked a little about it last night, about how she’d feel if I died from smoking too much. She said she’d feel sad, but not angry. “Were you angry when Pearl died? When Grandma died?” “But from smoking, that’s really my own fault.” “I don’t think it’s your fault, I wouldn’t blame you” she said, “I’d just feel sad.”

Last night I had a dream … Marcella and I were camped out, I guess, sleeping somewhere to the north of our house. A light woke me up – I looked up and saw a bright flame on the top of the hill beside us – a chip of wood had been set afire – by burning lava welling up from the hill top – the beginning of a volcanic flow. We jumped up and hurried home – where we relaxed, thinking ourselves safe. But when we looked out the north window, we realized that the lava flow was almost to our house. Jessie and Chet’s house, Mike’s, Grandma’s, 401, the whole ridge was covered in glowing lava. We had to leave immediately, no time to think what to take. We grabbed Raggedy Ann, Laura and Kitty – I realized I still had room for a bit more – I grabbed my two most recent journals, but there wasn’t really even time to think about what to take – if the lava reached Deborah’s tires they would burst and then we wouldn’t be able to get away. We were hurrying to Deborah as the dream ended, not knowing if we would be on time or not. I remember thinking that perhaps the lava wouldn’t cover all my house, then knowing that if it even touched it it would set the house on fire, that there was no hope for it.

Strange, I don’t usually remember having dreams about disasters like that – maybe it’s all this thinking about death.


I had a strange dream the night before: it’s kind of hard to write about …

My mother was showing me her cunny. She was lying on the bed wearing aqua-blue silky underpants. She asked if I’d like to see her cunny. I was rather surprised, but said yes. She slipped of her panties, lay back, opened her legs, her lips. I was surprised, it was rather like a little girl’s, the soft, simple, rounded forms. I was a little embarrassed – to cover it, I talked about the slide show Tee Corinne had done on labia – the pictures she’d had of mothers’ and daughters’ labia, the family resemblances she found.

Marcella was off down the hall, playing her own games, but staying within earshot, as children do. We told her she could join us if she wanted to, but she said no, it was fine. I remember then seeing how her own outer labia were brown at the edges, and how when they were folded back they formed a circle, a beautiful circle like an apricot mushroom.

Well, it’s an embarrassing dream t have about my mother. (Though it just occurred to me to wonder what sort of things she may dream about me.)

But it’s also so of embarrassing to dream that dream the night before Hannah was here.

Well, she said herself there was nothing wrong with mothering, that we ought not to be afraid of that word, afraid to nurture each other. The only thing that goes wrong (and even that is the wrong word) – the only thing is, that in an equal relationship, the mothering needs to go both ways. “even a 54 year old woman needs to be mothered now and then.”


The last of the light, sun breaks through just before falling into its Solstice notch in the hillside – I’d better chop some wood.


Winter Solstice Evening                     Full Moon

Tarot Reading

Afraid of the Tarot’s power to remind, I asked the gummiest question first: Tell me about the suicidal aspects of this use of marijuana, if any. Objectively looked at, I’d thought earlier, it looks suicidal possibly in the following way: If there are really, as  do believe, other alternatives, if, as I know, yogalatihanwalking solitude time sleep rest help, are also centering, why this monfocused clinging to marijuana as the only way to heal/center. Why not get massages? Why not settle for a few blah times. Temperance. Why not? If  don’t, then that does in a way seem to be a choice, and a pretty silly one. Tree doesn’t need marijuana to be open to the flow, Elsa doesn’t need dope to write. You know it’s possible – why can’t you act on that? If you would really, do your breathing exercises as magical exercises they would be just that. Why can’t you do yoga or walk each day? Too tired? Well, it’s Winter Solstice, too. Hibernating is appropriate.

So, anyway, I asked about what I was doing with marijuana and about any possible suicidal aspects, afraid of Death or The Tower or The Devil

I turned it to find

that old friend, the nine of pentacles, “solitary creativity”

Perhaps to remind me what there is to live for. Perhaps to show me that I do. And that I will. The flip side of fear is hope,

And you know how you always get scared before everything, every big change. And yet “she lives in the world as if in the sky” and so I do, more and more. The external point of view seems the only bearable on sometimes.

I break a branch from a special manzanita bush – the last, so I thought, of the broken limbs of building. But, no, the rug {reg? rey?} installer Mormon man found this other branch in his way  one day and ripped it off. I first found the scar, then saw it lying there. This evening, after reading Elsa’s piece on Winter Solstice Ritual, thought of it, brought it from where I’d vaguely saved it for something symbolic. Sat with it in my hands, the new branch. At first intended to burn it, then thought of the older, dryer one, companion inside for two or three years now. Let us let this new branch take your place, let us not put fire to leaves still green, let the leaving of life be ever so gradual, no shock of fire to limbs and leaves still vital.

Only the other shall burn, the dry, brown leaves, the limbs from which water and life and consciousness have evaporated back into the cosmos, these limbs shall be the ones for burning wishes, reminders of the return of life and light, reminders of the return of trust, these leaves shall be the ones to turn to sudden impossible glowing form, these leaves in all their subtle patterns shall for an instant be made of glowing coals, these limbs shall be fired from within, this wish shall be magically made.

So, a branch to the fire, and a wish for life and health to live till next Winter Solstice. To live till then with voice and breath intact will take me to that wonderful place of Solitary Creativity. I could wish with all my heart for that – and the ironic sense of how easily it is within my power to grant it. If only I could.


Center again. The next question that comes to mind: What about Hannah?

A rather mysterious card: the knight of rods inverted. Or is the term “reversed” – I don’t understand it. It’s hard to read it as a good omen – whether I take “indolence, inaction, unwillingness to risk, or ‘lack of revolutionary zeal’ (that’s me, in her judgment of me, in my ‘unwillingness to risk’)or is it “too much fear of danger. Well, that could be true – that I have too much fear of danger re Hannah – and she re me.

“Perhaps a sense of the need for reflection or self-criticism.” Well, yes. Reflection and even self-criticism, yes, why fear that word, it means thinking about how you’re doing and if you’re doing the right things, that’s all, and reflection, blessed reflection, do I ever need time for you. Where is the one who knew “I only need something to be happening about half the time – or even less. The rest of the time I need to think about things.’

Well, I could say that this card was reflecting back to me some of my worries about Hannah, some of my fears that have little to do with Hannah herself – though I do wonder sometimes, her search for/belief in community, the rightness of relating to others; I wonder if she does understand the radical solitude I need/know. Or do I just fail to understand the healingness of some of the finer forms of radical female friendship. Of course, I hope so. I hope this can be a source of healing for me. At any rate, I must get healed somehow.

The next question: Needing clarification. I asked: Should I be seeking healing now through the path of sexuality, sexual love? The  Strength Card. In the Aquarian deck they have not understood the card, I’ve always thought: a military male and his dog. A patriarchal interpretation of strength and power, “man” and “beast” {It does have a dog, one thing that does bother me.} But the “true” strength card is this:

A woman; hovering over her head, not a halo but an infinity sign.

Stooping to stroke the nose of the beast, a curly-maned lion who licks her hand.

And do you know what Sally Gearhart says about it?:

Healing  (also Steadfast Purpose)

The woman stroking the animal suggests that power and domination are not the issue at all – at least as conceived by the patriarchy. What’s at issue here is care and healing and inner conviction. The strength shown here is not so much a matter of “taming” the “lower nature” so much a bridging spirit (person) and body (lion);relating to non-human forms in caring ways; working with the material world; with nature; with hard economic realities.

Harmony between forces; stroking, caring, channeling healing energy. Triumph of love over strife, of concern over hate.

Courage on the querent’s part makes possible some daring move toward caring: a risk, a reaching out to some person, thing, animal, plant.

“…here strength comes from steadfast adherence to principle, inner conviction…” “
will power derived from the strength of conviction.”


The Branch for Sexual Healing


Flame touch

Whispers fiercely closely

In this golden wind

limbs begin to writhe

arching, dipping, turning

Coal-glowing body, lit from within,

winged in its own energy

surrendering up all the light

of inner beauty

every cell bright with burning

till all is spent. Then

the sleep

the fall

to no


at all.


Casting spells that night, I would lay a branch of manzanita on the fire as I asked for enlightenment about a concern that was on my mind, then watch for answers in the way things burned, the patterns in the coals. When I asked about sexual healing, this is what I saw.


The Branch for Sexual Healing

(a poem-for-the-moment)

Flame touch

whispers fiercely closely

In this gold wind limbs begin

arching dipping turning

Winged coal-glowing body

Surrendering all the light within,

each cell is bright with burning


Till all is spent. And then

the soft fall

to no body

at all.


Monday morning It was a healing Solstice. I do feel more trust in the universe today – trust, even in the morning. Well, I’d like to write, but I wonder if I should. I am leaving for Womanshare and Hannah by 1:30 – it must be 10:00 now. Much packing, bathing, housecleaning here to do. Many tremors of bodily longing.

Other things I asked the Tarot last night, other branches I burned.

“What of Libré in he life and death? The life branch flames first, the death branch not until later. The card is the King of pentacles reversed; “Economic naivete” says Gearhart “lack of undivided flare for monetary success or making the system work for one. Bafflement by money or economic principles. / the querent or one near her does not know how to make things work for her, either economically or other practical circumstances.’ … yes, I’ve wondered sometimes, yet how harsh. I think she may really be learning. And what has all this to do with life and death? Too much. Note, in the background, the bull, upside down. What s there to know about bulls?


What about my job?” I asked. “Is it the right decision to leave it. ‘The Page of swords” it reminds me. Gearhart reads it “Patriarchal youth” Need I say more?


And  the wounded world? Will there be war? Will the world last? The eight of rods. Barren mountains. A phalanx of spears bars the sky – but, no, they are not spears but wands, reminders of the spiritual aspect of life, living, flowering power. They just looked like spears


And Dianne? The proper place for her in my life for her life, her death?” “The moon.” Of course. The moonspeaker and the stars within her circle. Clouds of rippled black and white, like tonight “within”


and Caroline?”

My god, this can’t be: “The Devil” I just can’t understand that at all. I ask for clarification; the Tower, reversed. The Devil, “Bondage” “the chains on both figures are removable at will. They link the figures to the thrown {throne?} of material immediacy, that is, to the experience of life without the sense of history or association – sensation divorced from understanding.’ The Tower, reversed; Slow Change


And, one more thing, tell me about my own ego and not getting caught up in it, about seeing beyond it.’ Knight of Swords: Calculated tyranny. Not sure I understand this one… Is my ego  seeking vengeance? Is it the need to control – that’s a big one in some ways. “Deliberate, long range effective response that accounts for every factor of a situation.” The busy ego. Maybe a reminder that giving up control can also be opening oneself to the inflow of good.


Any last reminders?” The knight of pentacles. “Practicality”, (also hard work). Well, I first thought of all the work that lies ahead to become a writer. But, no, it’s about my job – maybe to remind me I have t be a teacher yet for a while. (At any rate, together, at once, they constitute an exhausting life. To say nothing of still being “building.”) “The querent … is the unrewarded workhorse of a conventional enterprise/institution which represents values antagonistic to her own best interests.”

Not for long.


Four cards I had put aside – afraid of them –

This morning, curious, I take a look at them:

My fears:

Four of rods, reversed: , The card for this house, and the purpose of this house, reversed. The new possible subdivision across the way, the end of darkness, silence, wind and creek noises, privacy?

Fear I will stew in my own juices here instead of making here the dedicated spiritual center/source/shelter it can be if rightly used.


Eight of cups, reversed: The mourning figure.

The Morning figure. Healing from violation, the healing of grief, the moon in the morning.

Reversed: ‘Giving up, mired in the present.” “A yielding to despair. Self-destructive acts. Alcoholism or excessive indulgence is suggested. Not wishing to carry on. Feeling unable to cope. Finding no real source of help. A cry for help.

Accepting the existing condition of one’s life even though one senses a need for progression and change.”


Death, reversed: The forgetting, I suppose, of the truth about death. Or is it death denied? Gearhart: Inertia, “a feeling of no growth, no activity inner or outer.”


And one new card, upright, perhaps the solution?

The Knight of Cups: The New Weapon, also the search for intuitive knowledge”: The suggestion of a new way to go forth to battle, in a very unwarlike fashion. The “weapon” is a cup, a receptacle, as if to suggest that victory lies in being filled, baptizing, giving drink. The gift of imagination, intuition, emotionality, seems held out not so much to the querent as to the world at large – to the patriarchy perhaps given by the querent. The knight is protected by mail, but except for the cup is unarmed. The wings suggest she is a bearer of information, of self-knowledge – perhaps that s the answer to patriarchal alienation. Danger lies in the fact that she rides alone.

The card also signifies the querent’s determination to fill her cup at the stream of the unconscious, an active search for intuitive knowledge.


Just now, I asked – well, I’m leaving to go see Hannah for two days. Any helpful reminders? The Queen of Swords, reversed: Late revolutionary Bloomer “the older woman who changes her life after years of supporting the system. The radical turn of events that transforms a value system or all behavior patterns is the more striking because of her age. Somehow she touches the querent’s life or is a part of the querent’s self.



Friday Morning Dec 26 {1980} the Day after Christmas

Normally Marcella would be here this morning, but she elected to go back home with John to get a chance to play with her new presents – mostly toy horses and saddles. So, anyway, I have the morning to myself. Christmas over, all but the finding-a-place-to-put-all-the-nice-things-I-got-that-I-really-didn’t-need. Visits to lovers over. One day, two nights with Marcella, then several days of unbroken solitude. Really tremendous pressures on my time then. At many different levels. As usual. Still I trust it will be healing. Where to even start writing?

A thousand thoughts and reactions from my visit with Hannah. Describe Christmas with the family? Make lists?

Eg: Really now?  How many days of solitude?

Eg.: Marcella comes at 5:00 today till Sunday morning,* {*Use the opportunity to get some rest. I know you ought to sew together, to repair doll’s faces and hands on dear ones, even. But really you will probably as usual get some rest. Anyway, tomorrow morning she’ll be “watching cartoons” at Jessie’s probably – so, solitude then, too.} then latihan with Beaver, massage for Mom in the evening – last Christmas present. So actually it starts late Sunday or early Monday  and when does Lou return with Marcella  – Friday, I think. So it will be five days. I’m not going to the Winter Birth retreat at Womanshare, but it will be the same five days. Five days of solitude. Ah, richness!


So now, what do I need to do?

Write to Ruth and Henry.

Write to Ruth and Jean.

Write to Elsa Gidlow

Write about both my “relationships” and think through what I need too (I meant to write “need    to” hmmm

Plumbing: washer on faucet, repair washing machine


Get tools from Dad, tighten M’s banister


Center. Write pages and pages of journal stuff.

Write through ‘”January 1980”

Write to Tarot card people.

Make more copies of the tape, send them.


Get deeply back in touch with myself, my religious center, my trust in the universe.


Saturday morning, Dec 27, 1981{sic; 1980}

One could not help but think, on Christmas and on the day afterwards, of the two girls’ parents. Christmas a year ago must seem lifetimes away. Amazingly, from a talk Mom had with Grace Fink (who last winter had lost a son Mike’s age) they seem to be very well. So many people reached out to them. One thing they say they learned from it all was – how much love there is in the world. How much love! One imagines just the opposite – how could you let your other children out the door? How could you ever feel trust again?

Well, there’s more to write about all that, but, another time. (That actually could make a wonderful book – well, maybe that’s not the word, but – an important book. If you can come through that, many of us would like to know how. Don’t know if the parents would feel like sharing their experiences, but one can’t assume so. Or ‘not” – meant to say. But who’s to do it, me? I’m trying to write my own book.)

Get up to put on some music.; I’d sat down to write of something entirely other – my Relationships with H & C., wanting to record some of it so I won’t be so unrealistic about what it is to have a relationship. Knowing that that is one of the major things to deal with on my journey in. (The image that came to mind was great boulders to be moved out of the path.)

Anyway, got up to put on some music, found myself sitting by the front windows watching the clouds rise out of the canyon and thinking so many thoughts that there was no way to be writing – Dianna, today, a year ago. What was happening? Was she there still in that body or had she long departed? Whatever way one tries to wring triumph out of this happening, there is a part that happened, for minutes? hours? hours and hours? one feels one dare not think about. Dianna, today. Dianna, today. Long since healed by how much love there is in the universe.

Mom said last night, talking about a group that reached out to the parents and Grace,  parents who have been through losing a child, said how fine it is the new ways people are learning to reach out to each other.


Mom – Mom and Christmas.



This house.

Elsa Gidlow.

My writing

The shape of the mist just now.



Carol. C.


I know I seem very much alone, and yet how peopled is my solitude. With more my own projections than with flesh and blood? Perhaps, held at a distance, though, I see things too – Not all of them –  who can behold another person in all their complexities? And one actually sees, sometimes, the distorting lens of one’s own perceptions at work. One’s own needs, categories. Very hard to put into words in the general.


So much to do at so many levels! M. comes at two. The scenery is so grand today – I should really try to take a walk.


Sunday Evening, December 28 {1980}

Hannah called last night – Marcella and I were in the midst of singing some song or other in funny high voices – hardly a moment for talk with Hannah… But there it was. She wanted to break off our relationship as lovers – she was hurt and angry, she said, with my priorities. Well, I like her a great deal and certainly had some feelings of loving her – and yet I am more relieved than sad. I have begun to wish myself clear from both my romantic involvements. It seems such a wonderful idea – to open up to someone, sexuality, tenderness, etc. Yet  how complicated it gets, so quickly.

Just before Christmas I went to see Hannah – she’d spent 24 hours here once the week before – this was the first time of seeing her in her environment. A dog, a tiny tall cabin, downstairs, a stove, a comfortable little rocking chair and another small chair, a table, shelves, a music stand of dark wood, a bed for her dog. Upstairs, or “up ladder”, I should say, a bed-sized loft, dark green curtains at the window, feeling like a bunk in a train.

Carol, who she had been lovers with until last summer, and who is now a friend, had left from a month-long visit, just left that morning. I thought she would need some solitude, some transiting time, but it seemed to be the only time we could work in a visit for a long time, and she seemed to want to do it. I was glad to get to see her again so soon, while my body still remembered her. But I, also, was needing solitude, still not happened for all of this vacation yet. It was the day after Solstice – I write about that – at least about the Tarot reading I did then … an interesting reading, eh? Hardly something that could come about on the basis of random chance, I think. So  must have been in a healed place to do it. Twice I have had just one day of solitude be so healing. Anyway, I was hoping that day of solitude would be enough to center me through the toboggan-ride of seeing Hannah from the 22nd to the 24th then Christmas. In a way, I’m sure it helped. But here I’m just trying to say I was also needing very much among other things to be alone, and I think it colored my perceptions. The visit was an alternation of  very positive and very negative feelings. It feels very charged and hard to remember. … Seeing that her place was lovely, interest in how to live in 8 X 10. Culture/shock    transition/shock        new land        new women  new  buildings – hard for me to be at all oriented. I alternate between extremely kind and extremely cruel perceptions of Hannah. Sometimes it is impossible to stop myself from imagining that she is a man… She seems to remind me of  a kind of man I’ve known, say, an ex-priest. And I couldn’t help asking myself “f this were a man, would I be interested?” how odd – now that I write it out. It seemed a legitimate question at the time. … Testing myself for my sexism perhaps – asking myself if I don’t fool myself about the value of what’s there if it manifests itself in a woman. I don’t know – the question still has power over me – I can remember how it felt to ask it.


But why is it wrong to care especially about something when it manifests itself in a woman? Isn’t that just what Adrienne Rich was talking about earlier tonight – that lesbianism is in a radical way an affirmation of oneself. We love what we are learning to be. We learn from each other how to live.


And why did you do that terrible take on Hannah? Seeing the ways in which she resembled a male dropped-out priest? How much of her that ignores, even the parts of her you know – her songs, her love of women. Maybe there are resemblances, though, that scare you and for which you have no words but only this image.

How much is your own fear?

I remember similar things happening even with the Greatly Beloved Dianne. There is no face more beautiful to me, no eyelid more capable of inspiring worship, and yet – sometimes – she would suddenly look to me just the opposite – I would watch her dancing and see how silly and jerky she looked. Not often … and when it happened I would admonish myself to greater kindness – but it was something I didn’t want to see.

Do I do that with other people?

I can’t remember doing it with John. In the old photographs he looks kind of funny – we all do – and I do have a hard time reconciling that with my admiring perceptions of him. I didn’t like certain things he did, ways he moved, his ‘armor’ I might have said at another period – not an exact way to put it either. I mean that when he’d sit at parties he’d sit with his body so protected, knees together, arms crossing body – and seemed so unaware of his body language – a term I also didn’t have then. I saw the muscles in his jaw clench even before we were married.

Also not exactly what I want to say. It implies I know what his body is saying. I get a feeling; he/she denies it – “I was not feeling so-and-so.” Then I am left with the question as to what is my projection and what is my perception. I would be rash to claim that I don’t have projections. I know all too well that a great deal of the world as I actually experience it is colored by my own fears . and, yes, hopes. (In one way to lay out the Tarot, the twelfth card is for hope/fear. Perhaps they are two sides of the same thing.)

Well, anyway, as I say, Dianne, not John so far as I remember. Grace, yes, quite a lot of alternating between seeing her as beautiful and seeing her as funny looking. Butterfly, yes. My mother, yes. I watch her turn into an old lady before my eyes. I wait for that moment when the daughter becomes bigger than the mother. I see your aging sometimes as I know you see it – nothing in you tells you how to be a beautiful old woman and you hate to be becoming old. Nothing in your world tells you how to be a beautiful old woman – Though Grandma was one, as you helped us all to know.

Life has many dimensions other than how you look – we both know that. As Marcella put it once ‘The eyes don’t get all the respect.” I had to learn that early. And my life now teaching sometimes feels like a battle around that – I know that I at forty am going to seem quite strange and funny looking and pretty ugly, really, to them. And I am going to go in there and stand before them in my funny clothes with my hair too short and my jowls beginning to sag and still occasional red bumps among the scars and I am going to remind us all that life has many dimensions other than how you look.  I know it. They know it. Still it’s a battle for us all to climb above it. Some days it’s part of what makes it hard to go to school. Sometimes it’s even hard to go downtown because of these feelings. Yet when I stand in line at the bank I realize I’m amongst all kinds of people with all kinds of bodies, many of which it takes more courage to go out in than it does to go out in mine. (How I wish at times for invisibility – and get it, sometimes, by pointing at something else.)


Marcella? Well, I see many many of the ways in which she is beautiful. And sometimes I have seen that she sometimes is awkward         or sullen but never with an eye that wishes her less than well. We have not had a fight for years and years, we realized this morning. When I lived at John’s we used to tangle now and then. The last one was one of our first times together after I’d moved to Eugene. I got very angry and stalked out the door – feeling guilty for leaving but needing space that I’d not explode at her – when I came back after walking a few blocks and calming down, she was not in the house. I was apprehensive till I found her outside swinging. We both remember that much – neither of us has any idea what the fight was about.

We haven’t fought since, and it’s something I feel good about. I suppose it could sound as if we are repressing a lot – possibly – and possibly the next few years will tell so – but I like our relationship. I don’t want to be in fights. I remember with John how they could clear the air sometimes (tho I also remember how hurtful he could be – more hurtful, I was sure, that I would be, was. I always was in control of what I said, always had some sense  of not wanting to really hurt him, of protecting him from the unkindest of my selves – whereas he really sometimes seemed to be willing to say anything to hurt. How much is my perception? Projection? I don’t know. I suppose that’s one reason I don’t like to write about relationships. (Or be in them, either?) because one becomes responsible to know what is perception and projection. Relationships seem to require the establishing of a common world and language. … In my writing I can just live in my world, my perceptions/projections. There’s no pressure to make judgements about what’s true and false, good and bad, other than the ones that occur naturally to me.          I imagine I get very defended when that world seems threatened. Perhaps that’s part of what Happened with Hannah.

“Hannah”: I liked to say her name. It was so symmetrical. It was the first time it’s come naturally to me to say my lover’s name sometimes as we made love. “Oh, Hannah” The sounds of her name made it easy then to tell her wit them how I feel.


Hannah: I liked it, too, because  it was a name I’ve just seen lately elsewhere. I’ve come to expect this with lovers, this interweaving of names, this play of words. (Butterfly: her name before was Karin, Karin Jean. And if she isn’t in so many ways, Karen Drabek come round again.)

So I’d just written a fantasy about Hannah Jelkes – and here came a Hannah – It all made sense somehow.

(And that’s worried me a bit about Caroline … her name rings no resonances with me. Oh, well, I’d said, perhaps it’s because she’s somehow a truly new archetype in my life. Still, I wondered about that sometimes.)


Hannah: her mother named her Anna. When she became a nun at twenty-four she took the name “Teresa” after Saint Teresa, the mystic. Her mother gave her a small, silver watch, a round watch, it hung from a chain, she has it still, we told the time with it those days. Her mother, she said, gave it to her when she became a nun. Her mother, the Christian Scientist. I wondered what it must have felt like to have a daughter join a convent – Wouldn’t it be like losing her, in a way, losing her from the world? “She said that if it was what made me happy, then that was what she wanted me to do. Though it was hard for her. “In her last two years she wanted me to come home to be with her and take care of her. I couldn’t leave the convent. I wasn’t ready yet. Two years later I left anyway. Now I think, if only I’d been able to be with her. We were so close, such good friends.”

When I was leaving the next day I was trying to remind her of the culture/shock barriers I constantly have to leap across – that I leave now to go fix oyster stew for my father and mother as the beginning of making \\Christmas// happen. Yes, it is in a way a matter for  commiseration, – no easy leap to there from WomensLand where money is scarce and Christmas is nonexistent, where beauty and revolution are both important – to a patriarchal-family-oriented highly consumptive but nevertheless not without value in its own way – \\Christmas//.

“But,” said Hannah, who won’t even eat milk and eggs because of how they treat the animals “I’d sure like to have the chance to have dinner with my mother… I’d even fix her a steak.” The thought made her sad and it didn’t even cheer her up that I said “Yes. That’s right. It is something to be thankful for. I mustn’t overlook that.” I felt judgmental about her sadness then, a flash of irritation at her refusal to ——- I can’t finish the sentence in 25 words or less. It’s just that, often – too often for me – she would catch hold of a sad or angry train of thought and ride with it with no sense of what it was doing to our relating just then.  With not the kind of striving for perspective, acquiescence, wringing wisdom from it all that I strive for in myself and treasure in my friends.

…Well, I’m letting myself play out, say out, loud some of this stuff even though I know I expose myself in all my ugly judgmental pettiness. The thing is, I don’t want to do this to other people, and my better selves don’t, but there is something about close relationships or is it other  people that brings this out in me, it seems, in self-defense.


Whew, 14 pages and that’s just beginning to say a little of it … what there is to say about Hannah and Caroline and Being in Relationships!


I began the reading the other night by saying – well, there’s monogamy and non-monogamy – non-monogamy further being divisible, (as Caroline had noticed) into polygamy and, as it were pan-ogamy. And then there’s celibacy… But there’s one form of love-relationship we haven’t paid much attention to – though it’s really a time-honored form of lesbian love, one we’ve probably all been in one time or another, “unrequited love.” So far they were with me, but I felt I lost them when I went on to recommend it as probably my favorite. “At any rate,” I said “it’s lovely because it’s so … simple, and, well, pure.”


Certainly it’s the best for writing….I hate having my writing dependent on what other people do/need/how they are affecting me. Relationships demand so much attention.

There’s so much more to say I’d fill up the whole journal with it – I got up recently to go to the bathroom and felt for a bit a stranger here, surfacing into this house as one wakes from a movie theater into the afternoon of a life momentarily unfamiliar. This house. I don’t really like to leave here – for anywhere. Though I do feel sometimes that perhaps I fume in my own vapors in this place sometime. Still from this perspective that seems only a necessary purgatory on the journey inward. Certainly not something I want to avoid by distraction. Certainly being with others can help lead one home, but it’s very unreliable. And often it’s only in the reflection on it afterwards that I truly come home to its goodness. Blah blah blah

Hannah said people tell her she is thin-skinned and she believes that is so. But thin-skinned and sensitive have something to do with each other. Still, if I am to use words to make a judgment I am not ready to make I would say she is thin-skinned. She was frightened. She said as much, at the beginning. But she was. And I am a very strange person and the truer to myself I  am and the more centered I am trying to be the stronger I am. And I need a lot of solitude and a lot of silence. And yet it’s not reassuring to someone who is afraid. How well I know this from the other side – How well I see what Dianne went through with me – who I was then – (who I am afraid I could be again). (Well, that me could surface, but she could never take over again – I know the other side too well now.) Oh, Dianne, that’s one thing I could wish to do this vacation – finish those blank pages in my last journal, write about your death.

Caroline, I seem to recall, had more of an understanding of me in this. Yet both want to talk more than I do, both are more used to company and talk and speaking of things that are there and then. If we are to talk, I need more to talk about things here and now – feelings about each other, dipping down into ourselves to find out who we are, good silences, non-anxious silences wherein we can go into ourselves. Yet, truly, if we don’t talk how will we get to know each other? Yet both want to talk more than I do.

To be brief, Hannah and I had a wonderful time lovemaking the first night and on the second one ran smack dab into our respective fears & defendedness that seem how to be quickly ending the relationship – as lovers, anyway.

Anyway, that second night when she was having her doubts about me and I about her too – alternating between feeling very open to her and caring about her and defended and even sometimes cold, I tried to explain something about why I need solitude and my own doubts about being in a lover relationship: I said that in a way I really am more self-centered than most other people. That being with another person, for example, and listening to them gets hard after a while because I need to spend a great deal of time checking in with myself to see how I’m feeling, to think about whatever it is I need to be thinking about. I spend a lot of time thinking about what I think and feel – and in a way that leaves less time for other things including seeing other people.

I think I do know myself quite well. (…Well, I suppose anyone who knows me probably sees great gaps in myself that I don’t know are there… Though what does that mean? Come to think of it?) anyway, I do feel that I know myself quite a lot better than most people ever do know themselves. To me, it’s how I want to live, but I can see how to a lover it might seem self-centered, and I can’t really say it isn’t. (But here is one place I start to feel cold because the form of this journey I am on isn’t really up for grabs. I choose this kind of self-knowledge. Choose it over knowing other people better. And tell myself that my books will speak to strengthen the core of solitude in all of us. (Who will want this double-edged gift? Most people want to find themselves in relationships, and I admit that I myself in my heart of hearts still await Her “fleshed being of long seeking” on whose bosom I can rest and be loved and understood. “In my heart of hearts”? Well, somewhere inside fairly hidden and protected. Sill, strength in aloneness is something we all need at times and maybe my writing will at least provide for some a solace between lovers. Oh, posh, I mean bosh. You’re so cynical tonight. Who has enticed you into solitude? May Sarton Thomas Merton (Carol C.) Friends and writers Elsa Gidlow – writing from solitude, of solitude, who give you the strength to trust it.

But do you trust it too much and are you dying of addiction and lack of touching? Even in our painful second night I could not help but notice how good my body felt from all the touching – though by morning Hannah’s stomach hurt and we both were threatening headaches. And, after all, isn’t one of your reservations about your present involvements that they actually lead to too much marijuana smoking – It’s hard to count the cost when something so important is involved – as a lover. One wants to be show reach one’s best, deepest most open and loving self. One wants to e other’s beauty and strengths, to treasure the other, hear her story (hmm). And opening a chance if we do it right to fall together to ecstasy and religious openings. It’s hard then to remember the cost when a few tokes can take you so much close to home.

Still, over the hours, the nights, the cost mounts. And then at home there’s that much more to process, get in touch with, think about; and nothing cuts through the confusion like marijuana, especially in the pipe.                                                                                                       ))


… That’s the fourth lightbulb that’s burned out in the last twenty four hours. A little spooky. But it cannot be the beginning of a subtle campaign of terror, which I sometimes fear here late at night feeling so vulnerable alone. No, nothing less than an evil genius could devise such a subtle pattern. – in my moments of metaphysical doubting I must admit I have no proof against such a possibility – but I’ll take the evil genius over the male terrorist any day.

I’m getting tired, it’s 12:30 yet there’s so much more to say before I get to the bottom of it…. Everything is tight and tired Tangren. How about some yoga? Or even ,if you must, sex? How about bed?

And tomorrow I need to write a letter to Elsa on her birthday. {typist’s note: therefore this date must be January 28, 1981, though the above entries have December 28, 1980, as the last indicated date.}


January 29  {Typist’s Note: This entry is dated “January 29” But the next date in the volume is unmistakably “January 1, 1981” Thus, I am thinking the author meant to write “December 29” here. Therefore, this long enrty is included in this document, in order to keep the two years, 1980 and 1981, separate.}


Today is Elsa Gidlow’s birthday. I have planned this evening to write a letter to her – but don’t seem to be in touch enough with that feeling/writing self to do it. Or maybe it’s just that on my first day of my retreat into solitude I can’t put anything out to anyone else.

Spent the day, actually, stoned – (yesterday, too) Starting in on cookies first thing in the morning makes me so tired, and I can’t smoke much or at all just now.

Anyway, slept till about nine – remembering only a fragment of a long dream – twice reaching out to touch Gaia Laughing bird, to take her hand. Once was lying in a bed with her and at least one other person, holding her hand.

Well, anyway, breakfast, bath, compost and garbage out, bills sorted through, checks made out downtown, errands to health food store, insurance company, bank, phone co., mail things, marveling at myself walking along in the world standing in line with other people, competently accomplishing things in the mundane world. Watching my feet on the sidewalk and trying to think: “I am a writer.” But I was mostly a person on the way to talk to her insurance agent, just then.

Out to Ross Johnson’s to have my tires re-balanced. Deborah vibrates at 45 till 55 or so – to much – it can’t be good for her – but they say the balance is OK. I will soon need six new tires – Mrs. Johnson figures it up – it will be $300.00. I don’t need them just yet, but as they’re going up all the time, maybe I should get them now. Deborah is an expensive ……. fill in the blank. Not “car” – other cars would not be less. ‘Item”? “Friend”? You see my problem. Anyway $300 for tires soon, $140 for repairs last month, $40 for seat repair soon, $95 for insurance twice a year. I probably out, that is ought, to figure it out. But what good would that do? Would I sell Raggedy Ann? Would I sell Marcella if she began to need some expensive medical attention?

When Caroline was here we once climbed into Deborah and were having that usual first-time-riding-in-my-car talk about seatbelts. (Deborah insists that you wear them.) “I leave it hooked up, I said “I believe in seatbelts. And I don’t want to go in a traffic accident; it’s too sudden…. …Though, actually, sometimes I think that going in a traffic accident with Deborah wouldn’t be all bad… In a way, it would be better than either of us being left to live on without the other.”

So if the cost is getting higher I’ll just drive her less and do more things for her myself.

Which is by the way my text for today, as I was in the cost of tires and in balancing the checkbook and remembering to feed John’s animals twice. It was a ways back to here and further to Elsa Gidlow and any other day I would have allowed myself a pipeful on which to do it – but tonight I first let cookies work and sorted through my desk for the E. Gidlow correspondence and other writing matters – my desk so long in disarray, the contents of its piles, mysterious to me. Saw where E. said m.j. was probably good though not as an everyday indulgence/addiction and knew she would to want me to sacrifice my health tonight even stoned on air – did induce one or two humbling rushes to equal any I ever get smoking – but the clarity didn’t stay                                        Still, for a second I’d heard with hope my voice saying “yoga” so I did some and by the end of all that what I knew was how the top of my lung was hurting some and how even too much air can tickle into a cough and how my throat gland was getting sore again and that I really can’t smoke at all tonight and that it would not be worth it.

I am right now also having my doubts about love affairs and marijuana. That is, I had hoped to myself that being with a lover, having a love (or two) might help me with this dependence on marijuana. After all, sexuality can give one some of the same things – a sense of trust, of satisfaction of joy and courage – the erotic is a pathway to the creative.

So, anyway, I thought maybe it would help me. (and, anyway, I think I would have pursued an opening with someone as promising as either Caroline or Hannah whenever it appeared.) maybe it would take a little more marijuana just at first, of course, for getting to know each other, and ourselves in each other’s presence, learning to be open….

Now I think I just didn’t think things through enough…. This whole round of seeing lovers this past while has been good for some things – my body still feels better from my time with Hannah – both of them are good women to know – Caroline sees me enough (usually) to inspire me to even more courage to b e myself (in some ways)


But still

for understanding me, no one comes close to me

and I am not really lonely with Raggedy and Deborah and Deborah and Marcella and Mom and John and Libré and Beaver

And if I am lonely it’s partly for my wife who hasn’t appeared in a while, at least, well, she still pays the bills and fixes food for me, but she hasn’t left me any loving little notes in a while.

And I am lonely  for my writing self and for my neglected children

And I am lonely for some tender touching, sexual touching

Somewhere in the back of my mind there is this fantasy going – Sandy Boucher, who I just read, mentions a rumor of a lesbian house of prostitution. She said in the same breath that a lot of lesbians were scandalized at the idea – women selling themselves – even to other women – women buying women .. against everything we stand for.

I must admit that was not my first reaction. I do, as I watch my love affairs prove impossible and fall apart, I do  keep asking the world in general why it should be so hard to come by a little touching, a little physical caring and tenderness. … Anyway, I wonder if it would have to be a bad thing, or if it wouldn’t depend on how it was approached….

I mean, we pay people these days for all kinds of things, There’s nothing wrong, we think, with paying a therapist to listen to you or give you advice, there’s nothing wrong with paying a masseuse to touch you. What would be essentially different about paying someone to be sexual with you? It’s probably in some ways better when it arises naturally in the course of a relationship – as is a massage or a listening ear. On the other hand, some people might have that to give – sexuality – might enjoy making a contribution in that way just as a therapist or a masseuse might. And everyone needs to make a living. So why not an arrangement like that if it felt good to everyone involved.

I suppose that’s the rub, to coin a phrase. Maybe there would be days you just wouldn’t feel like it. Of course the same could be said for teaching. Or carpentry. (And one might well want to switch jobs after a while.)


Well, anyway, there’s another idea, similar, but maybe better. At Mu beach I had all sorts of new thoughts about “temple prostitution” – What that might have been. Might be. So maybe that’s the answer. A temple where one could go when one felt the calling. As priestess and as worshiper? As co-creators of something fine? For fun and healing? Yes,


Anyway, what I started out to write was

That I really wonder if for the sake of taking care of myself that I don’t need to withdraw from lover-relationships, at least until school is over. I was hoping they would give me the strength to help me endure it and stayed centered.-

But there’s so much else involved – the culture shock transit change from the world of teaching and Marcella and my family to lesbian communes in the woods – and for me the huge transit of being with another person.

(The second time I went back to Sudbey (?), the last night I stayed with Dianne, in the morning we were talking – she about how she needs solitude. “I can’t really be with another person longer than about four hours.” “Even me?” I asked in dismay. “You’re … a twelve hour person.” That either put me still over the limit or gave me an hour to leave. How well  I understand that now; how hurt I was then. Somehow this tempers my guilt when Hannah tells me that she is hurt, that she does not understand. I do know so well how she is feeling; I would hug her and explain it again if I could. I do feel sorry that she’s hurt; but I do know also that there is something there to understand.

Oh, Dianne. I’ve never touched so deeply with another human being – and all the while what I was seeking, and learning, from you, was how to live alone. This house which is both your house and my house, but not a house we ever shared together. How silly that seemed when I first remembered it – “just like a dream to be so confused and hard to write down.” And yet more and more I ponder how it was such a concise and elegant symbol, slipped in, as it were, in an offhand and understated way. (So much like her.)

Anyway as I began to say, all this needing to transit and wanting to be centered and present and open and needing to keep track of myself just means an awful lot of dope-smoking – Much more, it seems, than I can afford. To say nothing of transiting back and then needing to absorb it all and write about it and then think about philosophy the next day.

It’s just too much to ask of myself to make those transits just now. It’s batter to stay home and clear off my desk and do some yoga and go for a walk and maybe just spend some weekends reading a novel and not being particularly in touch sometimes if I have to.


Then when I’m ready next summer or fall or winter or maybe sooner or maybe later – but when I’m ready I’ll doubtless know it. Of course there may as usual be nobody there, but a) trust to timing and b) you know quite well how to survive without a lover – maybe better than with one. Something is certainly missing from life – a healing you need (and what about that card?) – But you’ve done without it  for a long time and often been happy. At least you’ll be there still, next summer.

Love, your wife.


Anyway, it is heartening to know  that your writing  can have this effect on women – sometimes to open them up to you. It’s what you had hoped,


The trouble between Hannah and I really loomed up suddenly when she asked, as we lay in bed together than second night, asked for some sort of estimate of how often we would be able to see each other. I had already told her that Sunday nights were pretty much it, for reasons of how the rest of the week went. So she wanted to know how any Sunday nights a month? Two, say? I thought ‘two for Hannah and two for Caroline leaves none for me – I can’t do that. The way things are  (thinking in the present tense of celibacy) it’s a terrible struggle to just get enough time to myself. I’ve gotta have every other weekend to myself. So that works out to “Once a month.” One night a month. Well, it wasn’t at all what she had in mind, and I can see her point – that’s pretty measly rations on which to base a love affair.

But when she said “I feel like I don’t have any say about it. The power’s all with you. You just get to say how it will be.”


My first and vivid feeling was, “Well, of course. Why should you expect to “have a say” about how I spend my time? Of course I have the say about how I live.” I didn’t say that, but I was suddenly very defended about something I don’t feel was ever up for grabs – my freedom. I could feel it lent a coldness to my thoughts and feelings.


Hannah finds herself

low on my list of priorities

wanting to ask me to change that

angry and hurt; shocked, really

feeling too vulnerable, having opened to me

closing to me and wanting to fall asleep

to avoid/absorb it all

reminded me of another

similar and painful affair


I gotta admit it, it’s not much to offer –and I should have thought more about what I did have to offer, been clearer with myself and her. I feel sad for her hurt; empathizing, I want to take her into my arms to make her feel better or tell her it doesn’t mean what she thinks if she feels I don’t care much about her.

But all the while feeling that there is really absolutely no choice about compromising my freedom to be the person I am.

Of course, we had both hoped that this connection would help me with all that. ‘I don’t want to be lovers if it’s not good for your writing, your healing, yourself. But now I’m starting to feel as if I’m just another pressure on your time, something else in your life that you have to make time for, and that feels awful.”

“You aren’t just another thing to make time for. But it is true, I do need to “make time” to see you.”

“I’ve decided before, that I wouldn’t get involved with women with jobs in the straight world” she said. “I though this would be different because it’s only half time.”

How hard to begin to explain my life to her who doesn’t know it. How hard to know it myself  here in our shared world.

*                                   *                                   *


Wednesday morning

Yesterday I put together a letter to Elsa Gidlow. Went to the mailbox to find the new Sinister Wisdom – the “violence and pornography” issue. Ended up reading it all by 5:00 the next morning. Some well-done pieces, I thought – both on violence and on our own sexuality. One big disappointment was Julia Penelope’s review of A Woman’s Touch – “boring” she pronounced it and went on to offer a prolegomena to erotic lesbian art – which, I think, goes “Fantasies have no place in lesbian sexuality” –  equivocating from the concrete (even if it be true there) to the artistic. Anyway, after I’d finally let myself smoke a pipeful (I’d been eating it all day) It occurred t me to try sending in ‘Oct 13’ or ‘A Theory’ as a way of affirming the importance of lesbian sexual art. J.P. scares me a little – seeing as how she’s editing the thing I hope  ‘January 1980’ will come out in. – As often, I feel somewhat disempowered from too long an immersion in Sinister Wisdom – alienated from my own reality, my own value system. Certainly SW is not so alien to my world as the culture I face many days – I guess it’s just that  really do look to them for company along the way, for validation. What scares me even more than J.P. is the state of my lungs. When I was feeding the animals at John’s yesterday I looked up “emphysema” in the encyclopedia. Found out a little more about what it is – and the symptoms – I don’t have any except the coughing sometimes – except for one thing I have been noticing – increased mucous. Anyway, whatever it is, the tops of my lungs are in slight pain – one that doesn’t even clear up entirely with a day of abstention and one that is clearly related to smoking, clearly aggravated by the one pipeful a day I’ve still allowed myself. Last night I took the dope and put it further out of reach – a signal to myself that I do intend not to smoke for a bit – put it behind the door marked “Remember the future.” Yes.


It’s not worth it – even to get ‘Jan 1980’ published by Julia Penelope. Scarcely. Even Adrienne Rich – it was so exciting to send my MS. to her. When I have asked myself sometimes what I mean by ‘success’ as an author, what it is I want, sometimes I’ve mean to myself that Adrienne Rich would read my stuff… I suppose a desire to speak back when one has been deeply spoken to. … Funny, this morning I found myself unstoned needing to read, picking up  “Lies, Secrets and Silences” … After Sinister Wisdom it was a bit too much – the unrelenting feminism – ‘The ‘gay’ movement is still anti-woman she says. May be. Should I not support NGTF?

I don’t know … Don’t good things ever happen? What happened to happiness and humor? To the personal in the political? Well, I can’t say about A.R. – Her poem in this latest SW  of sleeping with her lover, describing how their bodies touch protectively, and the world of pornographic images they go down into each day – is a very powerful piece – “This is the what of the images” she writes. But still, A.R. is no validator – except when she is.

Wondering what I do want from writing.

… A funny day  out the windows, perched at the top edge of the fog – sometimes it falls just below me in silver billows – now it has risen again veiling the sunlight and the hills in bright silver.

Reading so much about sexuality has awakened those feelings again already roused by Caroline and by actually making love with Hannah. How wonderful that was. I remember especially at the end of the lovemaking that night lying in her loft, our heajds at opposite ends, our vulvas pressed to each other, open, our arms around the other’s legs – such peace in out moonlit limbs as we cradled towards sleep.

So much of Sinister Wisdom this time seemed written from the secure base of the actuality of sex between women… part of what made me feel left out. Julia P.’s seeming to say there’s no point in reading or writing about it – we just like to do it.