1982

Sunday afternoon, January 3 {1982}

Marcella just gone, dishes, room just cleaned up. Snowy afternoon, white light; big icicles on the eaves – my first icicles!

Firewood covered with 6” snowy blankets, the deck, a rounded white softness.

Christmas finally over. Maybe I should go for a walk – while it’s still light, but it occurs to me that I torture myself by insisting I pay attention to every other obligation before the writing.

Had a nice time with Marcella – usually we don’t get to actually spend days together: We went for long walks into the park to see the snow and worked on wee doll clothes for a little china doll who’s been shivering in her underwear for a year now. By now she has a gibson-girl blouse and skirt complete with lavender tie and hat, a nightie, a green, lacy ball-gown, and a cozy bedroom with a rocker by the fireplace. We had to do the sewing by hand; the pieces were just too tiny for the machine – but that turned out nice because w could both work on that. … Actually, it was all fun and we enjoyed being together, working together, walking together.

Made me think how lucky I am to have a daughter.

Friday – New Year’s Eve – my parents did a repeat turkey dinner. Deirdre Starlight (Faereau) was there … afterwards, doing the dishes, we had a good talk about artistic output. She was urging me to discipline – making myself write “even just three words a day.” She  herself by now has no doubts about her continued production – she’s done so much, returned to the work so many times. “After a while,” she said “you have this whole memory stock of images of yourself taking up your work again and again, turning things out. It becomes part of how you think about your life.” Maybe. Maybe. Now is my time to start. Everything is cleared out of the way. (except … except .. the list begins in my head) Now is the time to do it.

Yesterday I got a Christmas card from Sue. She wants to come visit me in the spring. Well, if it happens, well and fine, I guess. It is hard to feel like putting out much energy to her after the years of minimal energy I’ve gotten from her.

Two images from dreams last night

I was tending a fire; then I lay back stretching my toes towards it. There at my head stood Sue. “You wouldn’t!” I said, but I knew when I said it she was going to push my feet into the fire,

Image

The husband of the house where I am visiting has been drawing on my face with a pencil, like tattoo marks. When I look into the mirror I see he has transformed my face so I look like a back woman. It’s interesting to see my features and expressions in a black woman’s face. … I suppose that came from having just been reading Sinister Wisdom … this last issue had a lot of work by black women including a dialogue with Barbara and Beverly Smith. It explained a lot to me about the black woman’s experience with the women’s movement.

…Still, as usual, how I wish it were not so, reading Sinister Wisdom leaves me feeling alienated from my own life and story. Perhaps I notice it so much just because I do look to it for reinforcement , reality-validation. Of course, reading almost anything tends to do that. Though just now I noticed a little piece in an old winter Womanspirit  about an obsession with suicide that proved to be a symbolic way of the person’s facing her own coming changes. I find myself thinking about death a fair amount … going out into the snow thinking – “I’d better take notice of this; it could be my last winter.”, or wondering who my clothes should go to.

That dream of being with Dianne has got me a little spooked, I guess, coming as it did, just in time to be a new moon seed vision. And three days after the full moon is when I see the Dr.

But it’s also true that I am poised on the brink of a long-delayed death into being a writer.

After threatening sunshine all day, the day is snowing again – small dry flakes. Last night whenever I’d close my eyes I’d see snowflakes falling their suspended slow snowy fall.

Trying to write to Trudy – early evening. Playing the Morning Program tape for the second time today – breathing in, out, a big deep breath – things went a littler dark when I stood up in the midst of it – made me remember – Marijuana’s sudden rush, that refocusing at a different level, the blessed tangible reality of that other level. How long can I exist on faith?

Oh, how I long t get stoned. How I miss that state.

The only answer is to get there again somehow another way.  Must keep believing that is possible.

 

Wednesday Morning Jan 6

Dreamed last night that I had moved in with Tee and Caroline. I remember setting up my own little corner in the room, and rather enjoying it. Feeling some relief that I could enjoy living somewhere besides in that big house.

The dream was complex – there had been a women’s event the night before: women were in and out. Also Jessie was taking Marcella t some sort of self-defense class after school. Seems to men it was done by a minister of some sort; I was dubious, yet self-defense seemed like a good idea for her to learn. I remember talking to Tee in the shower – perhaps we were working on the tacky bathroom – anyway, enjoying being with her. … Wondering if perhaps we might all three sometime make love together,,,, Went out into the living room, realizing that this was a one-bedroom apartment, and that my bed would have to be in the living room. Realized my corner had room for a mat or a desk but not both. Began to wonder what I’d do when Marcella was there – how we’d sleep on one narrow mat, wondering if there was any food she would eat in the kitchen.
…Sounds like time for a little self-defense.

 

X                                 X                                             X

 

Monday night when I could not record the Raga Dianne, I decided to try reading something more current; read some of the Tarot reading. Later, listening to it, it surprised me how much sense it made. Realized I hadn’t been smoking when I did it or wrote it. Smoking ≠ Magic. Magic is alive, I realized. Since then have been saying, whenever I think of it: “Thank You that Magic is Real.”

 

Sunday afternoon, about 4:00                   {January 10, 1982}

I feel so sad today – if only I could feel a little sadder I could have a good cry and then my heart would be opened. But that’s what I’m unhappy about, that my heart isn’t opened. I miss so much being able to smoke marijuana, the selves I knew then, the things I knew, that powerful reminder. So much of what I’ve learned was in A, and now I can’t get to A to remember it, I do eat cookies, but they seem to make me tired as much as anything. Often they do make me more cheerful – but it’s not like really getting stoned.

Last evening I went to an Indian sweat for the full moon. It was neat to sit in total darkness with the other women in the little round hut and feel the sweat pouring out, the pores opening up, singing and praying. It was amazing that afterwards (and even before) we could stand around without any clothes on even though when we went to go home we had to scrape ice from the windows of our cars.

The sweat was in a little wild valley very near town, where a few people live in teepees, absolutely graceful among the trees. When we came, coyotes were yelping, and owls who-who-ing. It really was a magical place. The moonlight was just coming into the little valley as we finished, and climbing out we turned to see the trees, the rocks, the snow-covered mountains around, the morn. It was easy to imagine oneself in the northern mountains of India. And it was good to remember, as our prayers remembered, the ones suffering, and the blind ones causing the suffering, to pray for ourselves and those who are close to us, but also the world, the planet, the stone people and the plant people, the whales, the children of war, the Indians and the political prisoners.

Afterwards I felt good; but I can’t say that at any point I felt any magic. I prayed my thanks for what marijuana has taught me, and asked for the strength to go on without it. I asked to be shown my work.

Today, too, walking around the hill I tried to use that as a mantra. “Show me my work.” I would ask, whenever I remembered. When I got home the phone rang; Tee, needing an address. She asked how things were with me; I said I was at the moment about the time going by, the work not being done. She said something someone had said once that had helped her was “Start anywhere.” If you can’t begin at the beginning, start in the middle.

Perhaps I was being shown my work.

I don’t know; I’m just scared, I guess. I feel depressed about what it really means; whether it really matters at all. My writing has meant something to a few friends … touched them for a moment before they went on to whatever other million things they had to deal with in their lives…

… I guess part of it is finally having put together the Ultimate Final Version of the Raga Dianne and then finding how few people I really could send it to. Wrote a fantasy letter to Dianne’s mother to offer to send it to her; but was stopped from actually doing so by A) worries that Dianne would not want me to, and B) feeling that it was hardly fair to send it to her mother if I can’t even show it to my own.

And then there’s Deborah Kerr. If I’m going to send her anything, this ought to be part of it… it would help her to understand why I want to reach to her…  don’t want to be again lamenting “my little fears” too late. And yet … how can I expect Deborah Kerr to read my “thoughts while taking a shit.”?

Wonder how many people would read my piece and say “Just what I’ve always suspected. Lesbians really never grew out of wanting their mothers.” How many people read it and say, “I’d never act like that, and if I did, I’d certainly never write about it.”

All these voices are strong in me just now.

 

Monday night, January 11 {1982}

Well, last night I finally did allow myself to return to writing – and to take up a project which can have some freshness, and at the same time is one of – in fact my paradigm example of – my neglected children – the Vision Quest material.

Tonight after a restful day – a few errands, yoga, latihan, as I turn to the work again I am assailed by doubts … Doubts whether it means anything to anyone but me. Womanspirit, my writers’ group – probably it would not mean much to them. It is elitist, both in the sense that it helps to have a ph.d. to understand it, but also in the more radical sense that it helps  have my frame of reference in every way to understand it.

“And yet,” I thought, crossing the street today, “How comes James Joyce got to do it. And Gertrude Stein, and not me?”

(I was relieved though when Deirdre was not there. What right have I to offer her my writing? “All those explanations … rather like explaining  a joke” I thought as I drove up the driveway.

 

So there may never be the right audience for your writing … The Vision Quest material may never be published – you didn’t think you were going to justify your writing by how it would save the world, did you?

 

Tangren. There is a story in you that wants to come out.

Tangren. If you don’t have all the time in the world, what do you most want to do?

What was wrong about trying to start “being a writer” by finishing up, sending things out, was that it was starting at the wrong end, focusing on putting it out, focusing on other people.

What you need now is to remember Vision Questing, that radical speaking of the self to herself.

Even if it never gets put out externally, if you write it, at least it will exist.

And nothing could be better for you – and more necessary at this moment – than to remember how to write to yourself.

I seem to feel more blocked when I think of “being a writer” in terms of audiences, places to publish, etc.

And least blocked when I imagine that I don’t have all the time in the world and now’s my chance to out down the story that is in me,

 

 

Why do writers write?

So it will be there.

 

 

 

Mu Circle notes

The Workshops –

The count down into the alpha state

Meditations –            of a mental screen

My favorites – the house we make for ourselves (the shelf; the mental disposer)

–          the spirit guides

The Oregon dykes – Thyme “I couldn’t be a writer until I cam e out as a lesbian. They went together.”

Her story – My Mother is a Light Housekeeper

The circle under the oak trees where they slept.

The night with Thyme –

Moonbeam    the gait of power

Thyme and Space

Silence – walking over a bridge – for a moment every sound was stopped.

Circle the last night –

Forest – 21 years ago today my youngest child was born

Seaweed – alpha – uppity women

changing their names

the body pile – smiles and eyes

 

January 12, Tuesday, early afternoon {1982}

Had my long-awaited doctor’s appointment this morning: Good news – very good news – no news at all. The pains in my chest are very localized – right at/on/in my certain ribs. She would be inclined to diagnose it as costochondritis – the most common kind of chest pain – often caused by nervous tension. It’s an inflammation in the “joint” where the cartilage that continues the curve of the rib joins some other bone in the center. The only thing that doesn’t fit is that it gets worse from smoking. Still, it’s true, the pains and twinges I feel don’t come from breathing – more from certain postures and movements. My lungs sound clear; I don’t cough.

She was very glad to hear I’d quit smoking and said that I’d been smoking a long time even after it started hurting, that a few weeks were not long enough for it to clear up. Hopefully it will all be gone in a year. Come back if it gets worse. But for now, no tests, no x-rays. It could be a bronchial thing they don’t detect.

Well, it’s nice I don’t have to face decisions about surgery and radiation at the moment when I’m trying to concentrate on writing. (And I just thought last night singing in latihan how nice it is not to be frightened for my voice, my throat and vocal chords.) Of course, it’s tempting to smoke. To say, perhaps it is costochondritis and it’s just the deep-breathing that bothers when I smoke. But I do deep breathing of air and that doesn’t seem to hurt it….

And every time I smoke I experience all over again how linked it is to that.
So, whatever is happening, my body/life seems to be telling me not to smoke.

Last night was a very big temptation … Finally listening to the vision quest night tapes … Not much great literature in them; which was something of a relief, more than a disappointment.

Still, it was fun to time travel back to spend that night with myself again – hearing the ocean and the music I used to listen to – and the rhythms of the chanting I was doing – as I sat transcribing the tapes – pages and pages. Many of the things I wanted to tell abut then I find I have written about later in one way or another.

But it did pry me loose a little from time – it did help put me in touch with some of those magical realities of then. … I’ve felt so stuck in the here-and-now for so long … That’s one of the things I miss most about marijuana and the way I used to get stoned. It’s good I didn’t get stoned last night – it’s very good to experience that happening without smoke. And it wasn’t only to that time that I was drawn – found myself having flashes now and then of other times, even earlier, and how it felt to me then.

Also here in my house now, my real, solid sanctuary, it was interesting to look back on who I was then. Some things were better: certainly I was open then to women/lesbians in a way I am not now. The taste to for solitude I’ve acquired in the interval has given me something to protect; and my trust of women is not what it was then. And I was more fluid, then, at the hinge of my life, more open to my life changing in any direction, changing and changing again. Now I have traded a vast field of possibilities for some concrete actualities. It’s a trade off, for sure.

 

Partly I feel I am a little stuck because of all these pentacles manifesting I’m still doing. First I had to build a house. Then I had to quit working. Now if have this mopping-up operation to do in all the ignored writing. …Sometimes life feels very strange these days – to have taken most of the events out of it – and most of the people, too. It’s hard to get ahold of any feelings when nothing’s happening … But that’s just what I wanted, for nothing to happen, so I could concentrate on what already has happened. And maybe when that’s finally done, I will be able to free up my life again and move on to something new. Right now my greatest need is to get it done.

 

… Listening to the tapes of the Vision Quest night, though, it also occurred to me that so much of what was then amazing discovery has become part of the daily fabric of my life… lesbianism, and woman-centered thinking … but also, even more, the reality of other worlds, other aspects.

… David had a close friend die recently. (He got lost skiing and died of exposure.) Of course, I wasn’t involved, didn’t know the man, but still it was hard to feel that the news of his death was bad. I think of death so much in terms of what lies beyond that other people’s this-worldly-based reactions seem foreign to me. No doubt when it comes closer to me, leaves a hole in the fabric of my own days I will not stay so philosophical …but I do not feel wholly of this world. I also “hold to life … lightly”

Another set of thoughts listening to the tapes: wondering how much of what happened came from the workshop we’d just attended, from spending four days concentrating on the mental screen, focusing on the inner, internal aspect of things, that “point of power”. That’s so much of what marijuana does, to focus you there. But you can focus there yourself if you work at it. I still have tapes of a few of the guided meditations – it’s good to listen.

Well, it’s nice to find that Mu night was less than the apex of my life…. Not that I remembered it all, I’m sure. The openness I felt was a kind of openness I don’t think has happened since. … But I also hear myself battling with fatigue and trying to create through one of the first of what were t be many nights of freedom.

 

After seeing the Dr. I went over to the college library for a few hours, trying to locate some information about Women in Philosophy. The Journal of Unfinished Ideas seems not to exist – Too bad. Who else would ever understand about the Coates and Clark correspondence? I thought there was a book about women philosophers in America that I’d ordered for the library – but couldn’t find it. Spent a while browsing through the section of philosophy books – my, how that took me back … Felt a little exciting, too. That sense I had when I first started college of worlds of knowledge there to be had for the reading. The titles were still exciting – it’s just that what’s inside the covers doesn’t  usually live up to the titles. … Still, it made me remember that I am a philosopher; the feel of the library even made me feel a little excited about teaching. Being at the library doing research for my classes was always something I enjoyed.

In central Hall I encountered James Bowen who asked me about my writing. He is always very friendly and has several times asked about it. I am always surprised; but it was nice to have a faculty member take an interest.

Hiked downtown to get some Neosporin for an infection on my labia (labium?), carrying my new folders and the next journal – then home, quickly in the cold, puffing and sweating and exhilarated, facing the commutation of my death sentence, feeling good and rather full of energy. Maybe it was the four hours sleep – I haven’t had a sleep-deprivation high in a long time. Feeling the strength of my body. Kissing Deborah on the nose as I passed her resting in the driveway, feeling more in touch with the parts of myself then in have in a long time.

(the queens are still uncancelled, I guess.)

 

Evening, Wed Jan 13 {1982}

At 7:00 this morning Sandra called –she was on her way north, for a week. She called at 5:00 – from here. We didn’t decide anything about getting together then – I thought and thought.

We just talked now. I decided I had to ask for space tonight. The transition would just be too much; and I cannot gracefully give up this chance to work on the vision quest stuff tonight – after three nights of immersing myself in the writing and tapes – and with the rhythms of the chanting of Mu still beating thru me – tonight I need to write. If I can. I need to let myself try.

When I was able to be clear, she took it quite well and was understanding. I said thanks. You could choose to be insulted – coming back after such  along absence and all. “What would be the point in that?” she said. “I’ll just remember that you love me.”

 

Sunday Morning before the Writers Group          Jan 17 {1982}

Had a good night Wednesday night – worked on writing for a while – was having a difficult time talking abut the meditation retreat, decided to try listening to the recording of the meditation Forest did that I taped. I was rather stoned and concentrating hard – it brought back so much – both the meditation retreat and the space it was to get you to, that internal point of power.

Afterwards, I stood for a long time looking at myself in the mirror from a different focus – looking at myself and thinking “there is a writer” etc – made me look at myself entirely differently than when I look watching for blackheads, fat, signs of aging. Wrote a lot about being a writer – good stuff.

Sandra came the next day.

The first moments we saw each other again and lay on her bed embracing and kissing I began to feel all those surgings of passion – to remember, to realize I’d forgotten.

I’ve forgotten so much. It’s been strained partly because the first couple of days I’ve been busy with other things – helping Mom with the storage, Marcella and Kirsten here particularly loud. It wasn’t until yesterday afternoon we had some time to really center in with each other. When we did, it felt good to talk with her about my writing – and harder to make love. My heart does not feel as open as it usually does to her – I feel rather defended. Partly we just haven’t had the time to get reacquainted – but partly I don’t want to lose the momentum I’ve acquired in this solitude, this knowledge of the self. Sometimes it frightens me, wondering if it betokens a wrenching readjustment in our relationship. I don’t want to hurt her who has been so loving to me and given me so much; or lose her, or make her hate my writing. … I begin to get memories from the earlier parts of our relationship – the ways in which it was difficult to mesh my solitude with being with her.

But I have to find ways to do it – to maintain myself as I know myself in solitude while being with other people. I can’t settle for being so much less than my full self.

Self     Self     Self

Well, that’s who I am right now.

Lesbian feminism is about a radical kind of self-love. It’s hard to differentiate it from love of one’s ego. To know when one is being too self-absorbed. But by the way, by whose standards do you judge that “too”? (Dear one look at your Vision Quest material.)

 

Writer’s Workshop

 

Motherroot Pub. Anne Pride

214 Dewey St.                      Looking for reviewers for Sapphic touch & other lesbian sexuality
Pittsburg                                                                                                        material

15218

 

Feminist Review: want a “non-judgmental” reviewer for lesbian sexuality materials

 

Reviews for the Blatant Image needed

Golden Saturday night

March 6: Looking for bizarre acts; ss. 0-$3 – performers are free

Zana’s birthday on the 7th

Feb 28L deadline for that

March 21 Holly Near in Ashland

 

Rogue Community College – Women’s Music Workshop

Cafeteria // Jan 30 Saturday

 

Monday Morning

During the writer’s workshop I began to notice how much my throat hurt, and to feel that tired, achy feeling that means I am fighting off a cold or some such sickness. Sandra was spending the day here at my house, using the chance to have the place to herself to do some long-overdue astrology tapes for people. I came home really tired about 7:00; we had some supper and I went right to bed – in Marcella’s loft so she could work – slept about 12 hours. My back is hurting a lot this morning – in fact, it led to a dream

I was at a hospital or some such place. Someone came in and arrested me; I had no idea why. Gradually realized it was for picking up and comforting a baby who the rules said must be left alone. I defended myself, attacked the rule, so they took me off to a place of torture. I was strung up or suspended some way in the middle of a green hospital-type room – thinking I wouldn’t give in if I could help it. They put a long jolt of electricity through my back – it hurt amazingly much – but I held out. When they paused, though, I realized they would do it over and over and knew I would probably weaken. Knew I had to find another way. When they did it again (it was as if the electricity itself made me sort of float in the middle of the room) I looked at the torturers, two women who were operating the levers. I pointed my finger at them, in an accusing way, but they continued to laugh. I realized I’d have to try something else – so I looked at them … seeing them as people in a certain point in time, thinking about them from the point of view of their life review, when they would have to see their own lives and the consequences.

Evidently it worked because that was the last of the torture.

In the next scene I was free. I was walking in the street along rows of deserted Victorian row-houses. In one house there was a fire burning in the stove – but the house was empty. I found them in the house next door, a young woman and the baby she’d rescued from the hospital. She had him wrapped in ragged blankets in her own cot, a good sized brown baby. She was keeping them both warm by heating stones in the fire next door, then bringing them to her bed. Stones don’t make any smoke.

In the last scene she (or I) was on the deck of a ship, a pleasure cruise heading north, with the baby in her arms. She planned to jump ship somewhere up here and head out through the snow with the baby. But two agents appeared from the crowd and began questioning her.

That’s all I remember.

Babies and hospitals. Yesterday I rode up with Summer – a baby had just been born there to  a 15-year-old girl and adopted by another woman who works at the hospital. Why the 1984 feeling I don’t know …. I’ve dreamed before about being tortured by making pains in my back.

Night before last I had a dream I wanted to write down: I was with a group of people, explorers, perhaps. We were trying to get to the ocean. We came to a cleft where the river we were following became steep and full of large boulders, took a turn out of sight. We knew the ocean was just beyond. It looked as if one would be dashed to pieces on those rapids, but an adventuresome young boy tried it… and came through fine – (though I don’t know how we knew that.) So I decide to try. It was actually quite easy. I came out on a steep path that led right down to the ocean. There was no real beach – it was step and there was just a little margin between the water and the vegetation. The water was very clear. (Now that I think of it it was much more like a lake than an ocean.) (But it had that eternal clear sort of feeling.) I was happy to be there – climbed back up the rive to get my clothes and my pack with my journals and bring them down to our destination, a little worried that the journals would get wet and be ruined.

When I woke up and thought about it, the shape of the river and the boulders in it was much like that of a vagina.

 

WORDS WRITTEN ON A BURNING LOG

TIRNDAG      or         TIANDANO

 

Thursday noon: Jan 21 {1982}

Sandra still here, Alternating snow and sun. feeling rather far from myself … Yesterday I felt sick again – that achy exhausted feeling – feeling depressed at the days going by and nothing accomplished – though that’s just what I’d expected for this week. Still it’s hard to be open to S. when I feel so far from myself.

Last night I dreamed – a wedding – a royal wedding – David and his cousin, a little girl – the press was calling it the Peter Pan wedding because she was so young – Lots about hassling getting the whole family  to England where it was to happen. As we walked in a long procession to where it was to take place, she began to cry, to say she didn’t want to get married, just wanted to stay at home with us for longer. I told her she should have thought of that earlier; but in the end I told her she did have a choice, that when they asked her in the ceremony she could say ‘no’. The ceremony took place in a cathedral which was actually a railway tunnel – they had to stand on the tracks. She said “no” but it was not the right time in the ceremony and no one was paying any attention.

Well, I did have a steadily increasing good day on Monday. Started out low. In the afternoon I took Sandra to Jacksonville to pick up Chia’s mail. On the way I got my mail – a return note from Sarah Hoagland – they do plan to use my piece, Jan. 1980. First official word I’d had. I was very happy, spent the rest of the day saying it over to myself, appreciating its good points.

S & I made love in the evening, then she fell asleep and I sat up for several hours staring happily into the fire.

This morning, too, I noticed a package sitting on the windowsill by the door; a gift of stationery from Joan Corbin with some kind words about The Raga Dianne. “A fantastic achievement” she called it. Well, that’s what I think, too; but it’s still nice to have someone else say so.

Now Sandra is through with her bath. It’s our last chance to be alone – in an few hours Marcella comes and tomorrow I am very busy. Sunday S. must go; I’ve only got one more week to do the vision quest writing – I have to get back to it.

So, our last chance for a while to be open and loving and making love – I’d like to open up and yet I just don’t feel open. Depression from this threatened illness no doubt; some feelings of anger or irritation at my time’s not being my own. She’s offered to go down to B. Street (her ‘home’ in the basement) and I’ve said there’s no need, we can just take space here. Still, I long for some real solitude. No use just now; even w/o S. the world is soon to impinge for a few days…. It’s just the same old problem – the external timing doesn’t match the internal. And the problem of having my feelings & decisions affecting someone else.

Wish I could find some passion.

 

Sunday evening, January 24 {1982}

FANTASY LETTER # 375

Dear Trudy,

Perhaps I ought to have let you know about the writing I’ve been doing. I did not because I was not sure what Dianne would want. at first I felt, and sometimes still feel, that if she didn’t share this with you, is it my place to do so? As you say, she was a very private person and I want to respect that. (Also, this is really about me and about Dianne as a character in my perceptions.)

I do not believe she would mind my using her real first name – so much magic would be lost in picking another – and the reader wouldn’t be anyone who would know her, except for Sue. And now, the possibility arises, you.

But at some point I’d like to put her poem in my book possibly, and ought to ask your permission. So I need to be open with you that I have done this writing.

Perhaps, too, the thought crossed my mind as I was doing dishes, perhaps this might even be a way for Diane to share with you another part of who she was. Or perhaps it will just be a good think

think before you write. You can never tell why. You seal your tongue about when she was eight, when she was a baby. How unloved by her mother she felt.

 

One night at David’s cabin, the others had floated away on clouds of marijuana smoke into the silver working room. She sat still, smoking, tapping her swinging foot in a sort of stretching motion – a gesture so like Pearl’s – and so clear here with all my brothers to see and notice, too – how uncannily at certain times she moved like Pearl…

… We’d been talking about quilts and how they stitch together pieces of time, Aunt Margaret’s blouse dances in pattern with my dress from years later, circling with all the other shreds of evidence as to the real existence of the past…

She told a stony science fiction story about a quilt.

Later, I don’t remember just how it happened, she said, “When I was eight years old, my mother sent me out one night to the grocery store. It was very cold when I got back, but it turned out I’d grabbed the wrong list and got the wrong bunch of groceries. She was so mad she locked me outside with the groceries. I was scared, it was very cold.” She speaks as if she were telling a funny story. Only because I’m stoned do I manage to hold onto my perception and look at her in moved sympathy. “Why do you look like that?” she said. “It upset me at the time, but I lived. It only seems funny to me now.” Now I think she probably meant it.

 

Dear Trudy the thought occurred to me while washing dishes … I asked myself the rhetorical question “Is it my place?” and the echo came back not so hopelessly rhetorical after all. Is it my place? Perhaps Dianne, held in whatever defenses were necessary to protect her freedom could not see some things, Dianne in her anger (or was it?) couldn’t let her mother know her. Perhaps she still would chose this privacy; my address was not found in her apartment.

Perhaps, I also say to myself, perhaps, as with my own case, she trusted too little in the reality of the human love of those around her. And perhaps, just possibly, now that we’re in this phase, perhaps this even could be her way of reaching to her mother in love.

I do not say it is so.

But I have noticed at least that it is not impossible.

 

Dear Diary, Something unusual happened last night – my planned last night with Sandra. Also at 8:57 PM the moon becoming New Moon in Aquarius. We used the hour before to latihan. A powerful latihan, wonderful to let my voice go to express whatever it needed to.

Solved several problems/accomplished several things while in latihan. Thought of an interesting opening for my vision quest material – beginning with Heaven in a State of Confusion –

Also, as we had had a notice women all over at this new moon were to gather our power to cast out spells to stop the power of the military destruction the world over. “A Woman’s Mystery” they called it. They suggested visualizing a missile for us all to have a common symbol. So during latihan I did a little work, too. I imagined the shining silver missile, so phallic in design, slowly begin to crumple and deflate, like a tired little penis.

I imagined aluminum plates of missiles being dismantled, unbolted and carried away by people to build shelters – except for a few missiles being readied to pursue space exploration, with a small part of the money we’re saving. I could not imagine it was our generation, so I made it Marcella’s. Of course, the world has to stay together till then and arching over earth my body stars I became Nuit (intuit Nuit) watching the goings-on below and willing “no” saying “no”

Earth is too precious, life is too worth while. There is too much beauty for it all to be destroyed so soon. No.

And just for good measure I imagined that all the buttons didn’t work. All the panic buttons to destruction were temporarily disconnected, the triggers had no effect.

And over and over I became the waterbearer standing on a cloud tipping my urn, pouring out the silver runnels of communication, spilling over the waters of what is and what has been.

I also thought of Sandra, wishing her the easy writing of the article it would be so good if she could write now. (She calls it “Incest in sister-Love”) Imagining the story coming clear in her, pouring out.

And myself, too, of course.

Afterwards we talked of our experiences. She said much had come clear to her of what to say for her article.

I said, “And I thought of a way to start mine. I could almost write it out now. In fact, I could….” So we decided to – both sat and wrote for several hours, finding more and more coming. Finally I had to stop, out of fatigue more than out of not seeing the next step.

We took hot soaks in the tub to calm our bodies and spent a lovely time making love, by far the most open we’ve been with each other since she’s been here. Before Latihan I had felt very defended and untouchable – not open, not wanting to be expected to make love on this our last night –

Now it may prove not even to be our last night. It made such a difference to feel my work nourished instead of neglected.

This afternoon I watched The Chalk Garden on TV; this evening now that Sandra is gone to an Aquarius party and I am alone I find it very easy to feel I am moving in Miss Madrigal’s body as I move about the house, look with her round eyes.

Miss Madrigal is an interesting character as Deborah plays her – for me it’s almost hard to reconcile that inner focus with the in some ways tough – at least, resourceful and resilient – way she encounters life. She seems awfully aware of things and events for someone who never looks at anyone directly but always seems to be looking within. But she is very reserved; much of her battle in the film being one to retain her privacy.

And though it is one of my most exquisite pleasures to inhabit the world in the body of one of the persona of Deborah Kerr nevertheless I have my doubts as to whether Miss Madrigal is the person best able to write the vision quest material.

(Sometimes I have my doubts about the diarist a well.)

If you don’t have all the time in the world, what is it you want to write down before you die?

Madrigale: wary and aware

Mixture of wish and wish fulfilled

 

 

Tuesday Early afternoon           Jan 25 or so {a982}

Just going to do a little “free hypnotic writing” not stopping for ten minutes or so just filling this page and the next. Because I just want to try and see if I can just watch the words developing themselves on the page, the tracings of my pen only making manifest what was there to be written – a tracing of the words that are already there might circumvent a lot of power-summoning you do to try to invent all the words yourself. After that inspirational night of co-creation my body spun out of control – I’ve been sick with a sore throat and a cold – yesterday a burning throat, today expulsive sneezes. Well, it does take you back to have a cold and in some ways I wouldn’t mind but the timing seems terribly inconvenient. I have twice in the last two sentences wanted to put down my pen and do something else – grab for some juniper berries, see what soups are left for lunch – because I thought I needed to think when actually I’d lost the track because my thoughts had run on so far ahead and my pen seemed so relatively slow that I lost track a little and also my hand and arm muscles definitely needed a break. How stiff and cramped they feel today – how it burns along the cord to my neck just to form the letters. I do need a place to rest my elbow, yes, that’s better … Strange how hard it is to give ourselves what we need sometimes and especially when it comes to writing. “Don’t make that a general we; you in particular.” T.C. Well, and then there’s the pause that refreshes the memory that reconnects with the right point in the flow, Eddys back into the point of power. Do you think that was what was meant to be written on this page? {} yes   {} no   {} other_________

I am feeling I ought to get on to my “real writing” and yet I seem to need to check in with myself, to center in. at least I am putting pen to paper and that usually helps the writing to eventually happen. (Hmm…It was easy to imagine D.K. saying that. “yes, um…”) Well, I’m watching these internal images and wondering what they mean….

Once during the night I woke from being on an airplane helping the stewardess serve champagne in little ceramic cups to the passengers. I dreamed it in great detail: “Here, see these trays on the backs of the seats in front of you. See, they fold down to make you each a little table.” “Oh, how nice!” “and here’s your sherry” “thank you” – all so pleasant and rather exciting to be doing a job in which I can have pleasant interactions with people, doing a job I find is so easy and pleasant. On and on, row after row of passengers. I have one group left, at the front of the plane. But this time the champagne I am to carry is in a tall, conical, fragile wine glass balanced on one pink plate (Haviland’s) sitting a little tippily on a second plate. This I must carry with one hand. Sure enough, I’m almost there when I trip slightly and the whole thing teeters forward and crashes to the floor. Luckily, no one was in the booth where the glass fell, they were all crowded into the one across the aisle. Some middle-aged ladies. I cleaned things up and went ahead with their orders, making sure I got little ceramic cups the next time.

Still, it was a blow. I’d been feeling so good about how I could do the job. (“I don’t think it was a fair test,” said Sandra.)

Well, I wonder what I am telling myself. Could be a perfect portrait of the angel of the house?

I do feel frightened, never have I been so close to the Womanspirit deadline with so little written and so much to write. It’s easy to in my mind blame Sandra’s presence for my problem, and forget about my cold, and about how we wrote together into the night.

I guess it’s just that I feel I have to give this project now every ounce of energy I’ll have between now and Feb 1. And if she takes energy from me now …but does she?

Even the energy to be polite, to smile, to hug, to admire and enjoy her – even to be polite is sometimes too much. If I said to go away she would go – understandingly. I guess one thing is it felt good to think of our having a writing retreat here – but her living her daily life here is something else – It was when she announced she was going to town this morning and I got caught into the whirl of sending energy out – groceries           money                                                                              mail

I began to feel impatient /desperate / resentful.

I feel myself feeling defended toward her – and I’m not sure I would best be spending my energies dealing with that – why I feel defended is that my energies are needed elsewhere.

Why does it all bother me so much? Her going to town and coming back? Because it breaks the flow! Because I can’t stand to be interrupted.

Think I’ll eat some lunch.

 

  1. : Dear Cynthia Housetips,

Is there any way to dust sand?

 

A: Amazingly enough, the answer to your question is “yes”! Take the sand, small amount at a time, pour it into a decorative tray and whirl and dance the grains around to the strains of Indian music. You will find little clumps forming, coalescing and gradually dancing up to bounce on the surface – Then pick off the little clouds of dust. But why do you want to dust sand?

Love,

Cynthia Ht

 

 

 

Sandra came home – I spoke my need for space… At first she felt it would be best to go immediately – but it felt so hard. I couldn’t stop crying

Now it’s Wednesday evening.

  1. left this noon after a blissful night. I recently acquired some acid and tried 1/4 of one …. It was very nice – so good to be tripping again, tuning into my body – to my imagery. It was clear right away that I couldn’t ask myself to write – my body was not in any shape to do it: a cold – a cramping from my fingers to my shoulder that became painful when I tried to write.

So I just concentrated on … healing. Stretching. (We had done a latihan earlier – I’d realize then that the muscles I hold so tight are my flying muscles.

Stretching. Listening to the story Sandra’s writing: At Love’s Own Hand: Incest in sister love. It’s very moving to hear her read it.
A long bath, laughing and laughing. Such a playmate she is. Laughing and laughing, such a releases. Her sense of humor so seeing sometimes.

We made love then until into early hours of morning … such wonderful imagery I kept having – us as 18th century women, from the twenties … women, turning to each other in all different sorts of lives….

“Well, you’ve probably been at this a while” said Sandra.

Lots of images, too, from the fifties, from the forties. So healing, it felt, to have access to these times and now.

On and on – I didn’t want to come ever, it would be such a shame to have such pleasure over. But finally we did and after some more fell asleep. It was so lovely to sleep skin to silky skin, with my arms around her.

It was a little hard to say goodbye after that – such an opening.

So now here I am I’ve done everything but get to the writing.

I’ve healed. Visualized my hand writing. Dosed up.

My cold did progress from explosive sneezing to tickling cough – I guess that’s quite a lot of progress for on night.

 

While I was in town dropping Sandra off, I sent a postcard to Ruth & Jean asking them to give me a call the next time they were near a phone. Went home, took a nap. At 400 the phone rang; it was Ruth. Quick work, no?

She said the 7th of February would be OK to get in some Vision Quest writing. When she heard about my cold she said, “Now, you take care of yourself.” “I am, “ I said, “but you know me, I’d sacrifice anything for Art.” “Yes,” she said, “but will he sacrifice anything for you?” have to admit it’s a good question.

Dosed up and prepared to center in and work –  but found I was so tired, all I could really do was go to sleep. And now here it is Thursday morning. Depressing.

 

And now it is Sunday night – 1:00 AM Monday morning in fact

Feb 1, 1982

Let Sandra off this late afternoon at her house. It was so hard to let her go –  instead of making love some more. And then – the utter confusion; no sense of the self in solitude, no sense of the importance of writing, remembering only how dear she is and how it feels to stroke her cunny or to lie with my arms around her, how her eyes are so and he cheekbones are thus, the sweet things she says.

Saturday I was going to take her home – I’d decided I needed to do closure with her then, so that Sunday morning after Marcella went home I could begin to settle into solitude. But in asking to close now I did manage to say some hard things – about how this whole time, close and beautiful as it had been, in some important ways had not been a good thing for me – that it had been a very untimely interruption of my writing rhythm just as I was building to writing and remembering, an interruption when I didn’t really have the time. Well, of course, that was hard for her to hear … she said this time had been  one of the better things that’s happened to  in weeks and that it was hard to hear me say it shouldn’t have happened. She also reiterated that her life – living behind a furnace, being out of food stamps – is not something I need save her from. She values her freedom to live as she sees fit without judgements from people. “But sometime you life cries out to me to save you,” I said.

Anyway, she was crying and I was crying because I love her and don’t want to hurt her. We were both sliding still into tears from time to time when Marcella called wanting to spend the night playing here with Kirsten. And with closure still feeling unfinished, we decide to spend that night together. Put up a blanket across the living room door and made that our own private space. Made love into the night – opening and opening and loving.

So it was extra hard even to want to say goodbye, again. And if I didn’t have this deadline I would probably be with her right now. Writing seems so far away.

I don’t really know how to explain to her how it seems to me I need a radical kind of solitude for writing. I know lots of writers are married, have lovers and relationships …. But some don’t / aren’t / can’t. Why she can’t just be here now, being quiet.

And resting ./ recovering from her cold in the comfort and nurturance of this house, why I can’t work and then come to her arms when my work is over for the night. I don’t even know. I am so superstitious about writing – trying to set up the same conditions under which I’ve done it before. Mj, coffee, solitude. I’m even writing at the kitchen table even though it’s wobbly and my desk is now cleared for writing.

But it hasn’t been, and I’ve usually had to write here, and now I’m more used to it. So superstitious. And at the moment so tempted to smoke. \

But if I can just hold on; do some other centering thing first, give them a chance to work.

Sandra will be here until Wednesday, but I don’t intend to see her again, even though when she goes she’ll be gone into March. But once I manage to alter the momentum of this great, lumbering life, I won’t dare make any turns. And it’s miserable to see  when I don’t have any real, deep feel for who she is, for who we are to each other. Right now I feel it too strongly. So strongly it would be wonderful to be with her now. But there’s the deadline, and there’s Time’sChild who would be sure to raise her head in objection before long.

I do feel like a split personality with Sandra. It’s very hard to give her a clear signal as to what she should do. When I am with her it’s so easy to give in to putting energy into the relationship – so rewarding. She is so loving and kind and knows me so well. It’s nice to share my life with someone and feel loved. And loving. Nice to have my lovingness and maturity appreciated. Nice to be seen and appreciated, to see and appreciate. I know I am lucky to have found her.

And yet how she puts me at the mercy of the Angel of the House.

 

Sandra says I need to allow myself love, to be loved. There is that about me (MIM, perhaps) that can count whether the mending ever gets done or the house finished over and against the pleasures of sharing love. (But only, it seems to me, when those same pleasures have heaped the scale like mashed potatoes, do I even begin to count the others. But at some point they must count for something, or the material world does begin to break down around you.

Last night, she said. “One thing I just want to know. Do you feel loved?” It seemed a good, loving question, and one I also wanted to ask her –

But I did find myself saying that I do have a hard time feeling that the writer in me is loved enough.

Partly it’s how little it means to the people I see all the time, especially Mom. But also, Sandra – at least I need her to counterbalance the other influences, not reinforce tem. She explored various ways of more clearly befriending the writer in me. It felt like a good beginning. I do need to begin to heal the gulf between those two selves.

But a lot it’s just obvious that the way Time’sChild needs to be loved is something that only I can do. No one else needs to be in love with my writing. I do.

To create myself as a writer takes an intense sort of concentration.

 

Did a meditation of sorts last night – one idea that occurred to me is that WIT might provide a forum for reading some of my writing – those connected with teaching. I need to experience reading the things I’ve written more soon. That is part of what there’s left to begin to do about “becoming a writer”

Some other nice things have happened about the writing recently.

The note about Jan 1980, of course! Then did I mention the note from Joan Corbin calling the Raga Dianne a fantastic achievement” which is what I think; but it’s nice to have someone else see it. Helps me know it, for sure.

Then yesterday came a note from Lesbian Herstory Archives! Yes. I finally sent them something. A copy of the Raga Dianne.

They said “Thank you for sharing your wonderful book with us!”

Their margin reads

In memory of the voices we have lost.”

And also printed on the paper

“Thank you for your contribution

Towards ending the silence.”

It was moving to get this acknowledgement,

to have my work

placed in this setting

Set in this world

Where our voices are worth

Everything to find.

 

But while for Sandra these things are causes for a few moments congratulations and celebrations – well, the phrase that comes for me, for how I need to be is: “But she kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

It was so hard to walk away from Sandra. Came home feeling a little torn and bleeding… mechanically began to do the wash, gather in the evening’s firewood… found an old song going around in my head:

“Once you said

true love must wait its turn.

You wanted fame instead….

 

So dance, ballerina, dance.

And just ignore the chair

That’s empty in the second row…

 

That’s all that will return now. I’d liked that song. At least, I thought now, it gave you a glimpse of an option some woman had actually taken.

 

Things That Would Help                       Maybe

If You Maybe Did More Teaching

At SOSC at Some Point in Time

 

Faculty Women’s Support Group …

The idea wilts in my mind when I think of who’s there.

It mightn’t hurt to do those readings at WIT (P?): to experience feeling more known to a few. Would be publicized where women faculty would see it.

Whew, whenever I start feeling slightly plugged into writing the sensual image that comes is of Sandra embracing me, touching me closely some way.

A distraction? It feels rather like an expression of what Audrey Lourde was talking about about the power of the erotic.

 

More Things That Might Help.

 

Women’s course?

 

A feeling of strength; an innate and unshakeable sense of the reality of my own point of view.

Agne’s McCarty’s Easy Authority

More of a sense that I am the teacher and they are the students.

 

Why are you writing about this now?

Is this merely another in an infinite series of preparatory steps?

Sometimes I think of how a kitten getting ready to pounce, over and over adjusting her rear paws, inching further and further back from her target.

 

Wed. morning

A puppeteer the other evening on the radio: “There is something magical about puppetry, about animating the inanimate, as we do. People love it because it points to a basic mystery of our life, that this inanimate body is brought to life by the soul within. It’s really a very magical act.”

 

I say, Tangren. About going to R & J’s. Don’t forget to check out the possibility of staying at Tee & Caroline’s.

Or Rootworks.                                                                      & Bathing there sometimes.

 

Food trip hard to assemble                                    Sandra?                     Life after

ahead of time – oh, take                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Sandra

a lot. Make soup.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  hard to assemble

 

Need someone to stay here – call Libré or leave a note.

 

Need a masterpiece in hand.

Need a new word for masterpiece.

 

Things we need new words for: Any Elegant Suggestions?

Fall guy”:

masterpiece”:

 

 

Things there could be:

An alarm clock that awakens you with a gentle voice, helps you to remember any dreams, then gradually orients you to the coming day with positive suggestions. –

 

Re {energy    priorities         higher guidance

{ productivity      joy       love

 

Feb 15, 1982 Monday evening      Moon House, Rootworks

Dear Diary,

Seems like a long time since I’ve written to you – yet I have been writing and writing. Working on the Vision Quest material. It’s been going well and I feel very happy and satisfied to be finally getting it down … After 5 1/2 years of gestation, it’s a real relief to finally get it out. and it’s coming out well. Wrote and wrote before the writers group on Sunday the 7th  – finished – more or less – the first part through to just before the hair-cutting – and also the poetry. Went to Golden to the group – prepared to stay at Rootworks and work on the magazine the next week.

But the magazine wasn’t ready for my help; and when I asked the writers group what part would be best for a WS article (on Vision Questing) Zarod (Greenbo) said “the part you haven’t written yet – about cutting your hair. Ruth thought it would be all right; so I stayed 2 days at Rootworks, mainly making blue lines on things, (so Libré could stay in my house as I’d planned)  then Tuesday went home to continue writing. It was part way there already.

… Interesting – the part that was hardest to remember was the most intense part – about what happened at the very moment I had been cutting off the hair. Not that I am not sure how it went – I remember it very clearly – but to think of it …

I’ve been taking Rosana’s Hypnosis and Writing class – I’ve probably mentioned. Anyway – I’ve been doing affirmations a little bit lately – I sure like what it does to my attitude.

The only thing is I’m afraid of getting uniformly happy – monotonously blissful.

Probably no danger.

 

It does make me very happy to be writing. Full of energy. Not that I get any physical exercise. It does feel a little strange / hard on my body to have so much intensity pouring through and still not be getting any exercise. Doubtless when I am a little more used to this being a genius I will learn better how to balance it out with the rest of living. Right now when it’s coming at last I can’t bear to stop to do anything else a longs as there’s a drop of energy left.

 

Thins to bring to Rootworks next time:

Batteries                                                     pen                                                           filters            rain gear

Kerosene lanterns               Tweezers

 

Ripening: an Almanac of Lesbian Lore and Vision

Lee Lanning and Vernette Hart     $4.95

 

Maria Sabina, Her Life and Chants

Alvalo Estrada

 

 

Feb 23, Tuesday      New Moon

Just can’t seem to get inward or centered – I’ve done everything I can think of to get internal today – done meditation, did yoga, latihan, new moon meditation, cookies and 1/8 of some acid even which mainly served to make me both restless and weak at the same time.  Think it’s the weather – so glorious out – one thinks wistfully of planting trees – tomorrow I may. But also there are some real matters to take care of – things that must be tended to, taxes, wills and so on that cannot be put off – so much I’ve ignored (God that pen is a Pain) during these last bouts of romance and creativity. Now that I’m home again they reassert themselves. Maybe I should just yield to inevitable and let myself attend to mundane matters for a few days. And plant some trees. But this was the week I’d assigned to myself to finish with the Mu writing … It’s the last thing I feel like taking up right now. Well, maybe not the last …. Partly, it just feels already finished for now – having just gone through the birthing of the haircutting piece. But also … well, I picked it up Saturday night and read thru some of it and I didn’t really understand it or found a lot of it not particularly interesting – heard the profundities sounding vacuous. Partly, I’d been reading some writing that was not particularly good writing, bringing one’s expectation level down – but also reading always throws me off – I get filled with other people’s lives and cannot remember my own.  .. Still, it was in a way a valid glimpse of one sort of reading my writing will encounter … why I should need to experience that in intimate detail I don’t know but I must have. Anyway, it was unnerving and makes me want to be very centered before I approach the material again. Which is just what I’ve spent the day maneuvering towards I guess but never have I felt able to write even in here. I guess I feel awkward and lost because it’s been so long since I’ve written in here. It’s like taking up a relationship again. I guess it’s that I have been writing a lot, before last week at Rootworks, but journal writing is it’s own thing, too. Writing masterpieces of remembrance satisfies a deep urge alright but is still not quite the same thing as that comfortable day to day visiting with the self, keeping track of time and moods, keeping the writing muscles exercised even if there’s not much to say. How inarticulate I am these days. How difficult in some ways was Sunday’s visit with Dove and Molly. I felt so little in touch with myself, with my sources of understanding and creativity, that I felt I was rather rigidly clutching to whatever I imagined the rules of propriety to be I that situation.

Have been doing a lot of body stretching today – certainly my body must be a good deal better off than when we started the day.

Anyway, I was about to record the names and natures of some sacred trees for my grove. Well, I see astrologically time it’s a good time to plant – moon beginning to wax, moon in Pisces, a water sign.

Today I was meditating when the moon became new – on the deck – a beautiful day of warm sunshine and towering clouds. Thought about the moon, still there just as much as ever, though invisible, eclipsed by the sun’s light. Asked to love the sun, too, these active parts of my self, my life. Occurred to me that the moon is so submerged into the sun’s dominion – not surprising I can’t get internal just now, in a way. Was just thinking that, when the bell rang saying it was exact new moon. Began to latihan out on the deck, kneeling, singing to the sun and moon. Blessing the valley.

I just don’t seem to have much to say here. I have a lot to do. Maybe I should just accept it … but what happens to the Mu writing? And Deborah Kerr?

Sometimes in my journal I am chagrined at how frequently I repeat myself – but if you look at it as getting reacquainted with myself, as therapy, rather than literature then I guess it doesn’t matter matte much.

Why can’t I get back to the Mu writing?

Or can I? Today’s purification must have been for something.

 

 

Wednesday Feb 24 {1982}

Today I gave into the season. Midmorning Mom and I took a pickup out to the nursery – seems to be one of the things we do together. I got nine bare-root trees; 3 birch, a hawthorn, 2 hazel trees, an ash, a mountain ash, a red maple, and a fig tree.. It was fun to get them – though it did considerably blow my budget for the month. But I also consider it in the way of an investment – barring an act of the Goddess (which is unwise) work is scheduled to start on the subdivision soon. So I need to get some trees going between me and it, also between me and David’s house. Only got two planted – the holes are pretty big and near the bottom one encounters granite. Worked until 4:00, ran errands for an hour – now feel very good. Maybe it’s a good system – physical output during the day at least nearings 4 hours a day) and writing at night…. I thought I’d be too tired – I am tired in a way –  my muscles – but I feel rather energized in some ways by the physical work. It’s nice to actually do something, make physical changes. Helps not to feel so helpless. And also then if the writing doesn’t get done the day is not a total loss. I like the four-hour idea, really – four hours a day physical work or errands or whatever…. If it would only keep to that. Projects seem to have their own momentum and fascination. Also I never know; first thing in the morning is also sometimes a good energy time… But I do feel it makes a difference tonight to have had no cookies all day.

…Sandra just called. When the phone rang I was hoping it was S., and not letting myself hope it. A part of me does miss her, knows it’s been a long time. It’s nice to have these little connections by phone, little re-affirmations. Tomorrow will be the year anniversary of when she called me and asked if she could come up to bring by Deborah Kerr’s chart, and I gave her some black bean soup and so it all began. I plan to take some time tomorrow to meditate and appreciate the love the last year has brought me, and the healings.

All things considered tonight considered a book by a woman philosopher, Alice Kohler; An Unknown Woman, a Journal of Self-Discovery or some such title. – about three months she spent getting  know herself. She said she went through 28 publishers before she found one who would do it (Holt, Reinhart & Winston). Most said it was “too personal” (Susan Stamburg remarked it was “very personal” – she asked her to explain. S.S. said “At times I was uncomfortable at how vulnerable you made yourself. And some discomfort, too, at you expecting me to hang in thru your particular story” something like that. Whereupon Alice declared she had succeeded, then. Because it was about self-discovery… which she said is the job of a philosopher. She said the best thing she’d heard people say about her book is that it took them along into their own self-discovery.

Well, is this valid writing or am I just procrastinating getting to the Mu stuff?

Hope I don’t get poison oak.

 

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It’s A Natural             Spring Festival & 1st Anniversary Fair

Heritage FoodCo     226 NW 2nd Ave

PO Box 1777 Myrtle Creek

April 9-10 Fri Sat 11:00 AM-5:00 PM

 

Send for registration form

 

De-Magnetizer – $21.00 Radio Shack

 

Promised to read Mu beach for the Talent Show –

Also – table of things to sell – tapes? Raga Dianne?

Take: tape Ruth loaned me

Tape read: Rite of Invocation thru Ode to Any Woman

Read “Intuition: Sunday if possible at Rootworks

 

The night of Feb 28 {1982} Pearl’s birthday

And tonight a lovely storm blew in – I’ve been spending the night with her. inviting her to watch thru my eyes the storm she so loved, from a cabin she would have loved.

I am sure it was raining the day she was born.

Thinking how she once said to Mom that if there’d been way to have kids without getting  married that’s what she’d have done. Thinking about how I couldn’t believe my ears at three when she suggested we get up out of bed and go downstairs in the dark and swing. Time’sChild if there ever was one. Looking closely at her – in the old oval picture just gave me of her as a very young woman  and one Roland took of her very ancient – such a beautiful old face  – eyes such jewels shining still their child like joy.

February – time to plant bare-root trees. I just spent the last week planting ten – and getting a case of poison oak – my fingers are swollen and like fire. My palms, my wrists and arms to the elbow in varying degrees of misery. However, I’m doing what I can to ignore the misery. Somehow or other I’ve got to return to and finish the Mu Beach material this week. Well, keeping watch is the best way I know how. Thank the Godess for this rain. Stormy weather keeps you internal.

 

March 1 {1982} – the middle of the night – Actually, it’s March 2 by now. Tuesday morning about 2:30

Stayed up last night until 5:00. The acid really incapacitated me for any work – for doing anything but sitting and thinking. So I turned off all the lights and watched the moon go down, the storm come in over Mt. Ashland, the rain… Went to bed at 5:00. Got up at 11:00 for breakfast, bath, getting the mail, then felt so tired decided to go back to bed, slept until nearly 5:00. Up. Dishes, supper, All Things Considered. Wrote to Carol, to Sandra, then felt really tired again – and writing seems to make my fingers rub on each other until they itch unbearably. My main desire became to lose consciousness until the poison oak was over. Slept until after 2:00, woke up with a guilty conscience. … But it is also the first day of my moon flow, which ought to be a good excuse to sleep a lot and not ask anything of myself. Still what I’d like is not a good excuse but that the work should begin to be completed. Put Silences by the toilet yesterday – been glancing around in it – as a motivation t make the best of my time. But I notice I am already a “foreground silence” and someone not use to having the time to again and again take up the work. Better get used to it while I can.

The pile of deskwork is getting too big – I really need to take care of it and find what’s in there. Maybe tomorrow after I finish the Mu writing.

 

March 3 {1982}

Dear Trudy,

Well, I’ve been rather wondering why I haven’t heard from you.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that you’ve bee involved with whatever is happening in your own life. Marcella tends to that theory. “Or” she says, “she just may not have anything more to say.” “…Or maybe it spooked her, a little, or worried her, that dream where you were talking to Dianne after you’d died.”

These all seem like possibilities me. and I could add a few more.

Or maybe, like me, you make up parts of letters in your mind now and then but you really haven’t come clear what to say. And so put off saying anything.

Well, I just wonder sometimes ….

I don’t need to ask any energy from you that you don’t have to give. Perhaps we’ve said it all for now – whatever you want.

Trudy, I just feel close to you because we both were witnesses, from distant points  view, of a life that was rare and beautiful.

Love,

Tangren

Optional P.S.

Part of why I haven’t written is that I didn’t quite know what to say about the following:

Well, I’ve written a piece of remembrance about Dianne’s death. It is excerpted from my journals. It chronicles my letting go of her, a long process that happened before she died, through getting the news of her death and a dream that came that night. I’ve hesitated telling you this because I didn’t know whether to offer it to you to read it or not. And because I wasn’t sure what you’d feel about my writing about this. I have privately given out about 13 handmade copies to friends and have published the piece in a small-circulation journal within the Women’s movement. The piece would be read only by women who would be sympathetic and understanding to the story.  Don’t say her last name. It is highly unlikely it would ever be read by anyone who knew her – And if they did and were the kind of women who read Womanspirit it would be all right too.

Anyway, I’ve felt I should tell you about this and yet I didn’t know if I should. What would Dianne want? What would you want, for that matter?

For a long time I thought I’d just send you a copy … But what would Dianne want? I really don’t know? And would you want to read it – to experience that day again? I do write rather intensely. And yet some things about it I’d like to share with you. I really don’t know what is the right thing to do. What do you want?

To give you a better idea what sort of publications Womanspirit is and also of how I write, maybe I should send along a copy of the spring Womanspirit just out. My piece in this issue is called Mu Beach. It was written about an experience I had in 1976. A year after Dianne was last here. An unusual experience by anyone’s frame of reference … I don’t know what it will mean to you, but it may give you some better idea of how I write.

Anyway, if you decide you’d just as soon not read the piece about Dianne, that would make things simple. I shouldn’t put it that way. It’s really about me and my experiences and Dianne as seen as a character in my life, my subconscious, my personal movie.

Anyway, if you feel any clear decision one way or the other or even thoughts or questions, that would help me. If you want to read it, I’d be honored, in a way, to send it to you.

Well, I must have panted myself into this corner for some good reason – There has been too much serendipity in our relationship so far for me not to trust that it was supposed to be. Hope I a doing the right thing.

Love, Tangren

 

March 3 {1982}

Now tangren you do need to give yourself credit for what you are getting done rather than panic about what you are not getting done – or at least “in addition to” panicking –

remember to give yourself credit for finally getting to the taxes even though it involved discovering some scary facts – $800 in the hole you may be and at % a month that is not $80 as you feared and thought all day but $8 – yes dear you will not sink though you may be sorely inconvenienced and have lost all chance of eg going to the Women’s Studies Conference in Arcata as Tee recommends or anywhere else.

And that at least could be all to the good though despair about money and thoughts of returning to teaching make panic which is bad for art.

But look at the shiny brown surface of your clean desk – (ignore the pile of letters above) and wasn’t that creative of you unstoned as you were today to make a little affirmation about money and when you bravely drove to Medford to the lawyer’s to take him the checkbook and savings acct book and then stopped at Radio Shack to get a demagnetizer that both they and Ruth testify costs around $20, though you’ve never needed one before but the Women’s Braille Press wants you to use one for recording their stuff as you have promised Ruth to do…. and so when you couldn’t find either kind for more than $7.00 you kind of wondered – remembering yourself a few hours earlier affirming “I will get money from an unexpected source.” (Does it count?) (Why not?) So when it came to affirming that you trusted and that second big pile on your desk – appeals: Gay Legal Defense; Amnesty International, Project Hope, Save the Wildlife, Stop James Watt, Stop Toxic Dumping in the Oceans, Planned Parenthood’s campaign to fight back n the media, National Abortion rights League, Sierra Club – and the thing that’s kept me immobilized for so long – no way to do them all, no way to choose. So you read them all, sorted through them then went eenie meenie miney mo, sent the Sierra Club $25, and tucked the rest in a pigeon hole in the desk as a sign of thanks and trust that the way will provide as needed. It’s scary when so many friends are having a hard time monetarily and some would do a lot in the way of compromise for the possibility of a job – income – survival.

 

Sunday Morning, March 6 {1982}  Tee & Caroline’s

Last night was the ‘Talent Show’ at Golden. Lots of talent – lots of women I care about and admire doing things – Tee, Ruth, Pat O’Scannel, the women from Fly Away Home, Sarah, Zana, Zarod (a play by her), Hannah laying violin and looking beautiful in frilly blouse, velvet pants. And women I didn’t know, too, revealing their talents; even girls doing things – it was nice to have the children.

But I was having a hard time enjoying it, in a way, because I was so nervous. Or maybe it was not even so much nervousness as just being keyed up – but I couldn’t relax. The reading went well, actually – much faster than when I’d practiced it, but the timing felt right – and no dogs barked – which had ruined a couple of other acts. At the end I chanted Lesbians Practice Agape – that felt really good – the energy I was feeling could really manifest itself in that song. And the whole piece felt about the right length. Don’t think I could have held them much longer.

But afterwards there was such a letdown …. Only Bethroot talked to me – and only about producing their play down there. She did say at the beginning that it was beautiful and so nice to hear about Mu Beach… “those old things” which I had a hard time not feeling bad about.

Part of the problem was that it had been a long program and a great many women had done good things and everyone was tired. Pat O’Scannel and Pat next door to Golden in the car both said it was “beautiful” but for some reason I quickly turned the subject to other things. Pat and I missed the Sunny Valley exit and had to go to Hugo and back to get here but when we did arrive both Tee and Caroline said my reading was beautiful. “It was wonderful,” said Tee. “wonderful. It was superb!” It was nice to just let myself enjoy hearing that.

No one seems to be waking up here … I can’t sleep, The energy charge from last night is just too much, I guess. I’ve written in here and read all of Zarod’s new 2nd issue of Rough Roads and some of Sarah’s book of poetry just published, in a semi-private way in a small way, on donations from some of us. We are doing things. But anyway poetry is not something I can read a lot of at once … and still no one is waking up. Though someone is awake out there. (Tee & Caroline sleep in the living room nowadays.)

… Pat referred to what I read last night as a poem – I guess it is all right. (Tee said she liked my singing – not a polished singing voice, she said, but just right for what I was doing.) (I was lucky – my voice at least pretty much hit the right notes.)

I do suffer so doing these readings. I do have to ask myself if this is really the ultimate fulfillment.

I did like it when I was reading. It’s good to feel their listening, their energy feeding into the reading, giving power to the words.

But the rest … The nervousness beforehand, the letdown feeling afterwards … I can’t really say it was a happy evening. … And last time I read, when I read The Box in December in Ashland, the same, such torture. (and several interruptions.) I wonder if it would have been better if Sandra had been there. I did feel a little forlorn and lonely at times what with the Fly Away women snuggling in foursome and Tee & Caroline holding hands. But Hannah gave me some nice energy, and so did Ruth. Ruth sang so beautifully – some of my favorite songs, ending with “Walking a Dirt Road in the Rain” ending in some lyrical, soaring singing – just breathtaking. And Hannah and theater somehow just go together … she really shines when she’s acting or playing or reading poetry … She was so lovely last night – white hair, white ruffly blouse, black velvet jacket and pants. (Her symphony playing outfit.)

But is this the be-all and end-all for which I would sacrifice everything? Even now I can’t imagine saying “No” after all I have just begun. I need to begin to imagine how such evenings could be improved. I mean a little creative visualization. OK. I am really a star. People give me support beforehand and energy and love afterwards.

But, oh, already it was fun, (Strange not to be able to see the audience, to face a sea of blackness – But I began t realize I could make out forms; then I began to be able to speak to them.) And it was fun and felt really good to say over to them so many times “Lesbians Practice Agape” as if I were letting them in on a secret, which in a way I was.

I can’t say “No” because that is not the answer. This  the direction in which my work is leading. And to go in the direction in which my work is leading is the thing I want most in life these years.

It may never mean as much to anyone as it does to me. … and yet I have already touched people – and shouldn’t judge the response by what everyone – overloaded and tired – didn’t say last night.

 

On the ride up yesterday Pat and Comfrey and I talked about famous women who were rumored to be lesbians. Bette Davis … Debby Reynolds … Doris Day … Lilly Tomlin, of course, … but Dolly Parton? Olivia NewtonJohn … Each time a name was mentioned there’d be a pause while we tried to imagine it, then a “,,,no” of disbelief. Oh, dear. What a let-down if Deborah is already a lesbian. I want to be the one who saves her.

 

Sunday night – 1:230 AM   March 7 {1982}

(See Sandra’s letter, my letter to her)

Sudden derailment into list-makings –

the calls of the pentacles world –

one must be a warrior –

as Don Juan said, act with total

responsibility and total abandon

(did that explain it?)

Well maybe I should turn off the lights because I have a secret to tell:

Well it’s several hours later and as I hold my first toke of the evening in my lungs I finally allow (or is if ‘force’) (No, it is certainly not ’force’ but simply start to do a little steering toward writing.)

It’s hard – there’s so much to say. When it piles up too much to communicate with

Sandra via letter we can have a long visit on the telephone once in a great while but there seems

______________________________________________________________________

I am woman

More than one

Living all

The truths I bear

 

I am woman more than one

Living all the truths I bear

 

 

to be  no such shortcut to you.

Or is that because of how I conceptualize you? That I need to catch you up before we can go on to where I am at the present?

Could we just start with the present?

And in the present I find an overwhelming desire to record several important facts before they flit away.

A} Tangren, you’ve got no time to be a college teacher. You need to be a writer.

 

B} Today when you expressed to Tee your worry about not being able to withstand “the social demands” of touring, she said, “Oh, Tangren, women fall in love with you. …Going outside to breathe and all.”

 

C} I am woman, more than

living all the truths I bear

Izetta

 

D} I am also a very powerful, moving writer.

 

D} I am also a very powerful moving writer (whose voice may be a comfort to some)

 

D} I am also a very powerful and moving writer

 

E} And  read very well when given some attention

 

E} And I read very well.

 

S} Sandra says she appreciates “your childlike innocence”

“and your vast sophistication.”

 

C} Tee Corinne said your performance was “Superb”

 

B} Bethroot gave you not words but smiled into your eyes. As did Eyezeta.

 

Thinking Big:

An Oregon Humanities Grant to talk about “being a success” that would bring Deborah Kerr, Lilly Tomlin, Holly Near, Tee Corinne, Katherine Hepburn etc. together to do a videotape about what it’s been like to get famous … to succeed. What happens in your head? Your life?

Do it not  a panel discussions but a circle.

 

W} what you said about long hair and all those perception shifts we go through. You explain a lot very movingly and help to lower the paranoia. You deserve to be heard by women. Lots of women & special women

 

I wonder if Holly Near would be interested in the idea….

We can’t include the ideas of every woman who needs to be heard on this subject. There ought to be lots of these movies

Wonder if this is a project you could undertake with Fly Away Home sometime. Could, even be done here. Or somewhere larger.

Elsa Gidlow

Probably definitely could get a grant to do videotape on women successes focused in Oregon.

 

 

Libré could work off some money doing research for you.

Re:

Nothing like seeing too many years into the future at once.

 

D} In fact, suddenly a possible book is coming clear as fast as I can bear to think about it.

 

D} And a way to Deborah Kerr, perhaps, through St. Martin’s Press, in case they’d want to publish yours. Or maybe it’s St. martin-in-the-Fields

Or maybe it’s just                 Fields

 

C} You could send Tee Corinne a copy of 2:00 AM Valentine’s Morning – if she doesn’t have it already? Maybe she does.

 

Tangren one of the things that worries you these days is that sometimes it actually does seem possible now that Deborah Kerr may fall in love with you and you don’t really know if that’s a crazy Idea or not but you make invocations to not invading other’s free will and still you find yourself knowing that the speaking there is within you would be healing to her.

Or she may merely feel put on the spot.

Or {X} Mu.

But speaking of crazy ideas you know that’s probably one of the things you will wind up telling about – talking to her picture and writing to Seventeen magazine asking them if they thought you were crazy for talking to a picture (‘though it seems to me I always have had a vivid imagination and often think of inanimate things as if they were alive.”) And how Seventeen wrote back “No. We don’t think you are crazy. You sound like you need someone in your life to talk to … possibly your family doctor or minister.”

 

I am woman, more than one living all the truths I bare.

 

A} Well anyway what I started to say is that AB of DK is starting to come in to focus – Not the whole but as S. said and you have said why not Mu beach for starters and then whatever you are going to write next or is it now (breathing in permission) about Deborah Kerr

And there’s so much else about Deborah Carr

Need a name for the story of “an adventure”

Carol – the adventure

The magazine ad

Looking through pictures

Gosh, it’s a long story:

One thing leads to another. But you wanted to note – include: the man who scared you {something that won’t scare you to do now, dear.

The dreams about her.

Well, it’s never ending.

Don’t worry, just tell the story in your rambling sort of way

 

I am woman, more than one

Living all the truths I bear.

 

Let all your words flow and interweave and pray that you not see further into the completed form than is necessary. Except let me note for you that JRR Tolkien  allowed himself a trilogy.

 

How about a Boxed Set  One way to sell thinnies. But then again this isn’t a thinie. Still boxed sets have some advantages. Like you can change or add to a chapter after it’s printed.

Speaking of which, Laura Ingalls Wilder wins! How many precious volumes did she allow herself? (and do you wish for less, or more from her?)

 

I am woman, more than one

writing all the truths I bear.

 

Actually, there’s a good deal more to my autobiography than I could ever tell you in one story that is one volume. The story about the adventure is very long and will get longer

Could well be it and the Vision Quest material will constitute one book.

Then if you aren’t finished but print it privately you can go on to whatever’s next.

Today I told Caroline Overman that I had my will set up in such a way that if anything happens to me there is money there to finance editing and publishing my book – (my intent is “half my estate” “or all of it but the house I built” (which goes to Marcella) – “whichever is smaller”

And that if I should die tomorrow of all the women I know I feel she would be the best able to be editor / literary executor / By the way my photographs should go with my writings. I think of books with lots of photographs.

That may look like a large amount of money – it should only be used if needed but I want this project to succeed. And then the profits can be use to finance other women writers (I think of Libré, Martha Courtot) yes I am of sound mind, I realize my actual will names Libré Cory as lit. executor – she’d be good but at this point I’d choose Caroline Overman March 8, 1982 ita

Assignment: THINK of a way to bring all this about without having to die to get it. That you make this kind of will shows you how important it is in your life.

And, perhaps, “how possible”, how near at hand.

Well, I did say “God forbid that the mess {?} should fall onto someone else. That’s the work I need to do. But if I should die tomorrow….” “Yes,” she said, “I would be honored.”

Deborah Kerr really should tour with a feminist company doing Albee’s:

Or do a film version done by women

And donate profits to anti-nuke group of her choice.

Go by Libré’s. Get Tea & Sympathy and Godess Book.

Where would one get the address of the women who did movie of Tillie Olsen’s story? Suggest Albee – or just Deborah Kerr.

Very possibly your book will do just that.

Portraits of you and Marcella re: Deborah Kerr are priceless, too.

Such wealth of ideas.

 

Don’t go back to teaching Tangren It would be silly. You could always take over 1/2 of John’s job next year while he’s on sabbatical if you hadn’t left that reality as far behind as you have left your marriage.

Probably you should publish something in the spring womanspirit – you should have no trouble coming up with a couple of pages which will suffice to continue a perhaps an awakening interest in this writer’s work. {I started to write “in Pearl Time’sChild’s life” but something held my pen with that feeling one might have on nearly walking over a cliff.}

 

Tangren: Women Fall In Love With You

The Halloween Card

You could put in your book.

 

All the pictures of Deborah Kerr are priceless.

And what you have to say – what you thought about. Eg: the pinups, wondering if it was ever her period.

What you saw – some of the pictures before the adventure – girls / piano /

 

 

The ones you showed Carol & friend.

Keeps colors brighter, gayer.”

Dentist bills

And will you ever mention the esquire photograph.

As Carol told you, these pictures are priceless.

 

Dear Deborah Kerr,

Well, well you see

you’re all part of a trilogy …

 

Dear Deborah Kerr?

May bee

 

And then there’s the dream before the morning you went down there and how – gas station – Note: in back, quote from D.K.  about the gas. Some of the time her father was a mechanic. (She likes to putter.)

And by the way by the time you had begun to imagine your book(s) you said to yourself: “My problem is in the distributor.”

Ask Dad. Could this dying at ends of long drives and tiring n long trips be a problem of the distributor? Or is that too simplistic. (Think more about what you just said.)

Or are we simply tired and loose in the joints and too wise  commit ourselves to too many hours on the freeway.

Dying at the end of long drives. OK. So. Of course that’s what she’ll do, she’ll do, I’ll do. But if we keep on getting long drives first perhaps it’s a good omen. She will still reach Golden and if sometime she will not you’ll have to consider it your good fortune to be snowed in.

Even reducing your mobility for economic reasons would be a blessing in thin disguise.

But Deborah, you do empower me so.

Still.
Deborah, sometimes you seem to me too precious to trust you to the careless highways.            (Last night after the poetry-reading as Pat and I reached the freeway at Wolf Creek a fatigue overtook me. “I’m crashing,” I said. But hearing the echo of my statement I amended it.

 

And about how you wanted to kill yourself when you read that article. How you lay awake wondering if it would do any good. ..Realizing that you just would not have the physical courage to plunge in the knife

 

And the letter you wrote her. Old ladies in our flower gardens – * What are the movies? Write it as a poem

 

This is your story Tangren and you have a right to tell it. Why do you then feel like a steamroller out of control? Or nearly?

 

It will be interesting to look over your old journal – it will take a lot of time – I mean solitude

And what she wrote about religion –

A} Dinner in Ireland

From the New Journal

B} The Real Beach Scene

 

Contrast with pictures at the time. Movie ad, etc // with what she wrote she was experiencing at that time.

Yes you could do a Deborah Kerr slide show. In fact, it’s inevitable, sooner or later. But how long can you keep her in the dark about what you are doing? Well, she never wrote back. You don’t know how to get her address. I think you can wait a while – until you write whatever it is your need to write.

Do not hold any beliefs about:

the length of time it takes  to write a whole lot. (Once you get going it’s hard to stop and the world seems to be feeding you right now)

Remember: Jane Roberts wrote The Education of Oversoul Seven (I wonder if blind lesbians have that on tape.)

IN THREE DAYS, I say, and you yourself have been known to write vast amounts in a short amount of time and best of all Tangren a large amount of time lies before you unstructured, if you insist, to do just that. To awaken again and again to the work. Daily, you cannot perhaps imagine at this point – but at least for more than one day in a row sounds like blessing nearly unimaginable.

How happy I am when I finally am connected with the writing – what good connections I have with people.

 

My good sense had me get out Tillie Olsen’s Silences, a fine book to be reading just now for me but my mind is treading water because I am wondering if it wouldn’t be a good idea to send a copy to Deborah Kerr in case she doesn’t know about it. Silences. I think the subject might touch her even though it is about writers. (Remember what Thyme said about heterosexual women’s attraction to writers.) But would that attract her attention too soon. And why do I suddenly feel like F. Scott Fitzgerald outlining her a course of study? Still, the temptation to send her Holly Near records.

Silences,

Sapphing I mean Sapphic Graffe  a title worth a poem in its honor I would hazard if that’s the word. As in roof walkers.

And speaking of pentacles

If Rootworks must have a bondslave for May what would $150.40 buy in the way of S.’s going in my stead?

A GOOD IDEA jta

Well, the hourly rate is questionable in terms of $$ but how about in terms of “experience”  “friendship”  “quality of environment” & “affirmation”

If S. did get off food stamps for a mo. earning her living “writing” or whatever – might give more credibility to her claim that that’s her work.

 

I am woman, more than one

Living all the truths I bear.

 

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had enough $ you could do that for Libré sometime is she would want to?

 

Elsa,

Do you have any interest in doing a tape or tapes of your readings? I really think such tapes ought to exist if they don’t already. If you are interested in corresponding or talking further about this, let me know.

P.S. Thank you for your lovely poem in this latest Womanspirit. It sometimes makes me glad for language to see things we so need to remember so indelibly Named.

 

Remember that Mint Denel {sp?} made that connection with you about taping and how you were wishing you had your tape recorder on then – How she acquired the use of a good tape recorder – said I should come to Eugene and learn radio or taping. As Rabbit said “I haven’t time.”

Do you think you have another journal? Or is this the approach of the brink?  Come Tangren don’t be melodramatic, there’s lots of paper. A wealth of paper to write on compared to when you had only napkins to write on, or, in extremity, a sheet.

when you had only napkins to write on, or, in extremity, a sheet.

Then, coming up to date there’s Benedictus Eggsi and the growing light of morning and the mounting suspense about the journal. Why don’t you go look? Because then you’d have to give that matter attention instead of this writing.

Give thanks for your hands.

Love, D.C.

 

Oh, tangren, you’re tired. You woke up this morning in Tee & Caroline’s house and now it is tomorrow morning again. And you have put in one of the longer days (in terms of giant steps taken. Mother May I?)

One of the longer days of your long and lengthening life (When I wrote that last line I noticed I was being Tee Corinne) Listen (or maybe lissen if you want to) tangren, Connie watched Snow White 3 1/2 times all at one sitting until her Mom and Grandma had to drag her from the theater.

 

 

TYPIST’S NOTE: the following is from a separate sheet of paper loose in the journal

Well, it wasn’t a fountain really so much a well I just thought about times when creativity has been pouring forth in me like when I wrote the box or it came through me and how that felt words pouring through me and so it felt sort of clumpish like clots of words pouring up through me. If anything I felt rather like a volcano – Pele Pele But how can I learn better how to open up that source or is it really right even to hope for that inspiration to come more often than the few times it has appeared?

Well? Do you think that the great source of all really maybe has only a few good stories in her? Or is that you think that your body couldn’t stand it? What your body can’t stand is all the  caffeine and tension you seem to think necessary to begin to hope to open up to clots of words pouring through you. I have been thinking these past few nights some about rhythm. That was part of what happened at Mu Beach – we got a little rhythm going and just let everything that came dance along that rhythm. Some of it was very silly but some of it was creative, too.  And that morning when you were doing the last creative verses in the Raga Dianne how you found yourself listening more and more to the rhythms in the words until everyone’s words had a rhythm, the radio announcer’s, John’s and Marcella’s – you would pick up the little rhythms in what they said and then mentally rewrite the words that followed to enhance that rhythm.

Interesting what happened at the end of that piece and how long it took you to notice that, how you needed to say ‘she” one more time and couldn’t let yourself. Being concise is good  but you also have to learn to listen to yourself about extra words being needed as there when it slowed the rhythm, as was needed to signal the approach of the end.

 

Homework – practicing free hypnotic writing.

 

 

{Typist’s Note: The first three pages of the volume contain six mounted black and white photographs of snow scenes as seen from the author’s house and through windows, and of the icicled eaves.}

 

{Title page:}

Palimpsests

And Mirrors

March 9

April 7

1982

 

 

Jean Tangren Pearl Time’sChild

 

 

{Typist’s Note: the next page has a mounted card, with a print of Raggedy Anne’s head. There is written:}

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY March 1982

Dianne is My Magic Sister

Whom I’ve come to know

During Raggedy Rendezvous

Within our Lovers Heart

 

Given me by Sandra

on the occasion of

Dianne’s birthday.

 

Table of Contents

 

Ways to make Money                                                                                       last pages

 

Tape Matters

children’s tape idea

Tapes You Have Made – List

AN AFFIRMATION TO REMEMBER – p 10. 11

Notes to send along with: p.

 

How to Endure Success and Creativity: Thank you                             Thank you etc.

 

Things that might be in AutoBiography of D. Carr – List

 

Things you for sure want to out in some Book or Other – List

Writing that Semi-Exists – List

More or Less Finished Pieces: List

Deborah Kerr {} checklist                       p. 34                                                     p. 14,15

Deborah Kerr (continued)

{} letters to                                                     p. 20

{} contents of Birthday Box:                                        p.12

{} Letter to St. Martin’s Press:                                      p.22

{} Echoes of Movies – Lists of things you might use.

Ideas for Tapes 36

 

Things to say / Write about for the

Auto Biography

(1) for “an adventure”

(2)                                          (2) for 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

I have the feeling I didn’t leave enough space

let’s say

(1) For “An Adventure”

 

All Things Considered Letter

(1) re: listener generated tapes … end of book

 

 

 

 

 

(3) for 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

 

 

Good children’s songs for tape anthology:

Turquoise Bathtub

Purple Dragons

How Do You Build a Barn

Mouse Song

Lavender Jane’s Bearses or is it Theirsis?

Marcella’s poem

Teddy Bear Song

Banana Boats

Other suggestions

It’s a Girl”                                                       (?) Maybe –don’t know if it would go with Carol’s focus.

 

Write Carol ask her if she has good taping equipment now.

Rounds –

Ask M & K

 

March 9, {1982} Full Moon         Tuesday forenoon

Overshot the other night – came home from Golden/Tee & Caroline/Rootworks – with not a whole lot of sleep – stayed up all night Sunday night – thoughts and ideas coming thick and  fast. Began to wind down about 9:00 in the morning – went to bed – but couldn’t really sleep – my hands and feet were cold and sweaty –  took a bath – got up again to eat – listened to Black Narcissus and the Grass is Greener. Dozed but couldn’t really sleep. Up at 5:00 to dress, eat, go to get Beaver to meet Lavinnia and Vivienne for a latihan at V’s place.

The latihan was good … I did lots of energetic jumping around and whooping…. Just what I needed to do. It’s hard on my body not to get any physical exercise. I tend to just stay here – fill up my days with errands or writing – until I’m tired again – but no physical release. Think I’ll get out for a walk soon today – I feel like it. Been cleaning house all morning – things had become rather a mess – clothes, dishes, dust.

I hope I shall soon learn better how to use my energy. I think I’m still in the now-or-never mental set of the last few years.  Need to expend some energy – not all – learn to trust I will be able to return to the work soon – that the work will return to me.

 

Evening: March 9

Spent the day until now on other matters: Got a tape and letter off to All Things Considered (anti-nuclear/hope question) and a letter sent to Sandra. Groceries, Typewriter to be repaired not there at the Taco place – home, unpack groceries, Ruth and Jean called. They’re in Medford, BLM, accept an invitation to come for supper. Nice to experience them being in my house.

Ruth and I washed dishes together. I was talking about my next work – the Auto biography of Deborah Carr – she concurred I’ll probably write the rest of the V.Q. as a biproduct (I mean by product) (or do I) of working on D.C. – I should go where my heart wants, where my creativity leads. “You just have several projects gong at once..” She always has lots – and does get things finished, too.

My fear has been that I ought to finish Mu Beach so I won’t feel discouraged about not finishing it.) I also said to her “You know, sometimes I think that Deborah Kerr may fall in love with me. Sometimes I just don’t see what else she can do.”

“Deborah Carr?” Ruth said. “She’s been in love with you for years.”
“Yes, I know, but really…”

“Oh, you mean the actress? The actress in Pearl Time’sChild? She’s doing a whole lot these days, you know. She just taped a whole bunch of stuff, and performed Mu Beach in public last weekend. Have you noticed?”

I was silent.

She told me a story that had as its point how, when you finally get something, you can find out it’s not what you want after all.”

“You think it might be like that if it did happen, with Deborah Kerr?”

“Yeah,” she said, “I think it would be. But she makes a great muse. It’s wonderful, what she is for you right now.”

 

 

what to do now. I want to start on some writing
TAPES YOU WILL MAKE SOON

TAPES YOU HAVE MADE                                                The Box

The Raga Dianne

Mu Beach

2:00 AM Valentine’s Morning

School Starts & Tangren Has Some Dreams

& Oct 13, A Theory

From The New Journal

January 1980

Fantasy Letter to Deborah Kerr

Post-Eclipse Journal

 

Note – don’t assume there has to be anything chronological about the selections from your journals. That you have to be finished with one time-period when you go on to something later.

 

Things That Might Be in The AutoBiography of Deborah Carr

Intro. 2 p.

Mu Beach 40 p.

An Adventure – 140 p.

Books can be bigger that 200 p.

Things you for sure want to put in one of the books –

Jab 1980

2:0 AM  Valentine’s Morning

Celestial Mechanics

School Starts/Dreaming of D.

Halloween Card

Fantasy letter

Raga Dianne

The Auto Biography of Deborah Carr

You are a little girl – & other Marcella /D.K. stories

Deborah Carr’s void could make the bridging explanations. If any are needed, to supply a little chronology.

 

Other writing I have done – that Semi-Exists

Mu Farm Letter –

(a little about D.K. then)

From the New Journal” – D.K. dreams and Dianne stuff

Don’t forget to notice how the whole episode with the tree fits into all this. The Good American witch, I say, and Tree and doing it unto the least of these and is the white bull there?

And then there’s the Subdivision and the Abalone Alliance writing and Al-Deborahn Alldeborahan                                                                                                               The eye of the bull

And world peace

And Schrodeinger’s cat

 

More-or-less Finished/Existing Pieces already:

 

Raga Dianne                                                                                                      hand 25 p.

Mu Beach                                              typed- 40                                                           60

2:00 AM Valentine’s Morning

Mary Pearce

Fantasy Letter                                                                                                                    1            1

Halloween Card                                           2                                                                     2

Celestial Mechanics

Carr’s Auto Parts

School Starts

Latihan”: Going Mad/Sane                        2

The Box                                                        7

 

Semi-there

Abalone Material

Carrs Auto Parts

 

Mind’s Eye Movie Tape       {} made          {} sent

2:

 

R&J

Sandra

T & C

Hannah

Carol C

Beaver

Libré

Carolee

Fly Away Home

Me

We’ll see

Lesbian Archives

West Coast L.A.

Holly (gulp)

Mint (gulp gulp)

 

An Affirmation to Remember

 

A Mind’s Eye Movie

Starring Deborah Kerr

 

With Fly Away Home, Ruth Mountaingrove, Carolee, Holly Near

And Introducing Pearl Time’sChild

 

Birthday Box

For Deborah Kerr                                                                                                           could put suggested order of opening

 

An Affirmation to Remember

(2) Raga Dianne

 

AutoBiography of Deborah Carr

Mu Beach – yes, all of it

Morning Program? Yes

January 1980

An Adventure

Celestial Mechanics

 

Letters, etc.

 

Possible

Braid

Holly Near tapes

Silences by Tillie Olsen

May Sarton’s book

 

Dear  Deborah –

When you didn’t answer I figured maybe I’d just remain unknown to you –

But there are two reasons why I’m sending you this.

A} It is happening {It seemed only courteous to let you know at some point.}

B} I see no reason to be left again with “my little fears” – (at least not much)

Tho what will happen now I cannot Guess.

 

Remember, I do know something about living with a writer.

 

Four Generations

Pearl (ring)

Mom (crush)

Me

Marcella

 

 

Dear Deborah,

Did I mention “living with”?

I doubt it.

 

{Typist’s Note: In the written journal there is the number 15 entered at the top of the page. Below it is: (15.040)}

 

Dear Tangren

{} I don’t deserve it. I don’t even want to try

{}I especially don’t want to try

Love,

Deborah

 

March 14 (1982) Sunday Morning

Marcella isn’t awake yet but I’ve slept all I can for now. A nice feeling … I was so tired yesterday.  Kept overshooting … Friday night I worked all night on the song – the Kali Lullaby – if that’s what I’m going to call it. Wanted to record it again with the improvements I’d made Friday morning but thought of some more  improvements as I went along. Anyway, did get 1 1/2 tapes that surely have a good version of each verse. Today I hope to put the song together and finish some tapes of AN AFFIRMATION TO REMEMBER. Yesterday I was getting tired by about 10:00 AM but couldn’t rest … I feel so tired and so excited at the same time.

I am assembling a little altar in preparation for writing about D.K. – the picture of her, the “signs of the goddess” are everywhere, card a picture of the doll, the crystal from Deborah (Carr) etc. – on a lower level sit two pictures of Gertrude Stein – one of her as an old woman and one, a Buddha-like statue of her on the cover of “Everybody’s Autobiography” – Somehow to compliment the pictures I set out, with them a little carved knife – it didn’t seem to have anything to do with anything but its shape and size seemed right. I thought of the sacred knives witches use in their ceremonies. Then yesterday morning sitting there I suddenly realized it was really a letter-opener, a beautiful letter-opener made of mother-of-pearl. How symbolic can you get?

In fact, it sometimes felt as if every time I turned around I hit the symbolic jackpot. Rewriting down some of the song, I went to write “anagram” and “mis-wrote” it “anna – gram.” Of course!

 

This morning I had a long dream I don’t remember except that some friends and I were at a restaurant, at the counter. After some confusion about the menu I decided to order minestrone soup. The Italian man who was cooking said he did have it, but he was a little hesitant – seems this was the first time he’d ever made it. “Well, did it turn out? I said. He said “yes,” but somehow things went on and I never got my soup. I never would have remembered it except that when I got up I was starting a fire in the kitchen stove – and reading through the newspaper before I burnt it – reading an interview with the owner of the Boticelli Gallery here in town … how his father when he first came to America from Italy became a cook. (“It was quite a surprise to my mother who had always done all the cooking.) Hmm.

How to cope with all this joy and fulfillment these days? I feel so happy, working, in the thick of ideas. So what’s to cope? Mainly how to learn to take breaks, do other things, get exercise, rest, and how to return to the work, maybe I am learning … I do all those things – somewhat.

 

4:00 PM Just getting ready to settle into the night’s work. Coffee, cookies – Mahler’s storms of musical feeling on the stereo, outside, wind, rain, wet snow blowing thought the valley in misty formations. Why the cookies? The work I have to do next is quite routine – finding and taping the best versions of each of the verses of the Kali song. Guess it’s because I’m a little afraid to approach it again, afraid the excitement won’t be there, afraid it will seem boring or trivial. … Because I never attempt any sort of creative work without cookies.

As for smoking – I have begun to let myself smoke a little now and then. When I do it too much my chest does get a little soreness. I began when I was working on Mu Beach – and I only let myself have a few puffs, and then only when I had actually gotten myself to the writing another way – and needed a puff or two only to summon up the sublimest writing.

Can’t say I use it as carefully as that just now – thought still only when I am actually doing creative work. It’s so easy to catch it as a habit… the other morning I found myself reaching for the pipe when I wasn’t launching into anything that required great creativity. Asked myself why. Found it was mainly to calm myself, to be able to stand the excitement of hearing what I’d already created. Not a good enough reason. Tried to substitute some deep breathing instead. … Thought of the old days as a student and later writing my thesis, when I used cigarettes as a focusing devise – as long as I had that cigarette going I concentrated hard on writing. – that was the only time I smoked, allowed myself to smoke; and the only reason I ‘could’ then is that I was writing, so I had to be writing. I’ve noticed lately that I’ve used m.j. the same was, of sorts. As a way to say to myself – “You are writing now.”

 

Dear Deborah,

Well, the last box I sent to you I had to send to your daughters for their birthdays because you can’t actually very well send a grown up woman a doll, can you?

This package, however, I send to you, and nobody but you, for your birthday.

As with “Mrs Anna” there are several packages in this box, these contain writings and tapes. Enjoy them at your convenience or not at all if you haven’t time, or energy. But you might lie them. I shall not expect an answer from you very soon. You may write me or not write me any time for the rest of our lives. I expect to be at this address a good long while. I only ask that you return this postcard so I will know that this got to you; otherwise I shall try again, some other way.

Happy Birthday, Deborah

Love,

Tangren

 

{Typist’s Note: The following paragraph is written in a box, as though on a postcard.}

Sept 30, 1982

I got your birthday box. Thank

You. When/if the time is right

I’ll read & listen at my leisure.

I understand I have the option

to write or not write any sort of

response to you for the next 35 years.

Thanks again,

 

 

St Martin’s Press

 

I am doing some writing that involves Deborah Kerr. I need to send it to her to clear it with her before I consider offering it for publication. Since you had published her biography I thought perhaps you might have her address. SASE enclosed.

Thanks for your help

Perhaps you also would be interested in seeing the M.S. at some point – I know you d have a feminist selection. But that’s a question for later- for now, I need her address. Thanks so much

Sincerely,

Tangren Alexander

Pt/ta

 

Somehow these days I think again of Tree and how she found Jean Carlos Menoti (Jean, Car low, Men naughty) (?) –

by following the signs.

And how I may actually be doing something similar myself.

 

*                                                                                                                                                           *                                                                                                                                                          *                                                                                               *

and how it came to me one time a few years ago that the best way to take care of Deborah Kerr was to take care of Deborah Carr. Didn’t really understand it on a rational level but it felt so right I trusted it, totally.

*                                                                                                                                                           *                                                                                                                                                          *                                                                                                                                                                       *

 

Notes to send along with the tape;

AN AFFIRMATION TO REMEMBER

(1)the closet door swinging shut behind her after her last words

(2) words to lesbian Practice Agape

and the Kali Lullaby

(is that what I should call it?)

the Kali Song

 

Write Fly Away Home women – invite them to stay with me if they want to go to the Festival.

Write Festival suggest they sell cassette tapes of their plays.

May think people will do tape instead of plays.

Some may – not everyone can afford a ticket.

But

(1)the people most likely to want one are people who have just seen the play. And it is they, who can imagine it again in their mind’s eye who will enjoy it the most.

People who haven’t seen the play but who hear it and enjoy it are very likely to want to go see it “in the flesh”. You could try a few. It could be a source of income.

How I wouldn’t enjoy having tapes of  your Waiting for Godot or Albee’s play of last year – Seascape –  or 1955’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, for that matter.

Write Oregon Typewriter for more tapes and ask about labels.

 

You know it does seem to be working – I mean, giving bits of money away in trust – seems to be returning to me in an unexpected (natch) way:

(1)I am not needing much money just now. Deborah is working, my food bill is low. Some of main costs are gasoline, tapes, paper and xeroxing. Of course there is the looming question of taxes, but

(2) it is coming clear to me that it’s important by hook or by crook to continue writing and

(3)    I do seem to be having some good ideas about money, how to make it.

 

Darn there are just so many ego things that come up when I find myself coming into this much power so fast.

Realizing that I really am a genius I mean.

A Great Writer

An Author

Shakespeare’s Sister again

I shouldn’t wonder

 

Well sometimes I do think I’m a great writer. Coming to the Raga Dianne tonight – saw it –

So full of love

So full of magic

So full of philosophy

So full of love

 

And then when I realize that maybe I am a wonderful moving awakening writer I begin to spin out on the consequences of that for my own life

until I feel very lost

It’s hard not to think about all that.

At the same time the world is not yet beating down my door and (cancel that “yet”) and hope fame will come in her own unique way to me in her own good time.

The important thing is that a body of work is beginning to exist.

No, that’s not write, (leave it)

The important thing is to remember to give thanks to the source (and keep your powder dry, so to speak)

To Give Thanks to the Source, I say.

Tangren why don’t you afford it to yourself to xerox your journals (and maybe give copies to T & C) (& copy your tapes and give copies to R & J.)

Because all that takes time. It’s easier to stay here and be very careful not to burn down the house.

To Give Thanks to the Source

Or maybe the important thing is not to try to identify the one important thing but to admit that at the moment there are a great many important things.

And to acknowledge each as she comes up – and write her down or make the tape or whatever. As you sometimes do you are sometimes not really copping to the fact that you are actually at the very moment in question in the throes of deep creativity. No matter whether you are doing what you planned to do or not. The most important thing is to flow with what’s coming – just be glad it’s all coming as thick and fast as wet snowflakes in the afternoon.

Love,

yr wife

 

Tangren

Notice how the Autobiography is writing itself constantly in your head, every now and then you think of something you want to say / write about. Soon you will start writing them in bits and pieces just however it all occurs to you. As usual it will be a vast relief to start getting it down on paper.

 

{} “Miss Kerr refused a D.K. Appreciation Society” because she didn’t have time for it and “won’t undertake a thing she doesn’t have time to do properly.”         Quote from Deborah Kerr

It’s a whole other related world: the pictures of her.

Find out from Tee just how to take pictures of the pictures.

You are also a photographer, don’t forget.

Could start a box for the Lesbian Herstory Archives tapes, photographs, slides you like

 

$150.40 rotating scholarship fund for some deserving lesbian writer / artist to work at Rootworks for 3 weeks.

Sandra

Libré

Me                                           yes, I could tithe that.

 

Now.

Or won’t until taxes if that would make you feel better.

 

Deborah Kerr’s movies

Quotable Quotes

 

And just because you haven’t worked

doesn’t mean I can’t”

No, of course not”

 

 

 

 

a good deal of The End of the Affair

 

Suggest to Varsity they have a Deborah Kerr festival sometime.

Kathryn Hepburn Festival

 

 

March 15, 1982        12:30 midnight

Went to bed about 4:00 after another night of inspiration – Still trying to record the final version of the Kali Song. Got the last two verses in the can, I think, but there’s still the singing at the end. My voice was just too tired of singing that song to be able to do it and … not have it show, so I quit without finishing again. The reason it had taken all night again was that I was busy having so many other inspirations thinking up ways to make money, writing letters to the city, and what else? Lots. I’m sure. In the end ended up trying to revive my voice by singing something totally else – ended up making a tired-voiced tape of me sort of scat singing to Joanie Mitchell and some other women – some of it I like a lot –

 

breakin’ like the waves

at Pacific Palisades

breakin like the waves, breakin like the waves

wavin like the waves, wavin like the waves

on the island of Oahu

wavin like the waves

wavin like the waves (not drowning, but waving)

at Pacific Palisades”

 

and a song about my rocking chair sung to Joanie Mitchell’s Seasalto Lane a wonderful, rocking tune. (and some new ladies of the canyon)

 

So it was a satisfactory night in terms of being plugged into the source, all right. (The kitten still seems t be backing up, though.) (But it seems the only thing to do is to go with the trust, trust in the flow. It did occur to me that it is only four weeks till Sandra plans to be back – mid-April, and this is the ides of March. (S. needs to know where to put her energies – you need to tell her that in the long run you are not up for more than one week in four for being “in relationship”) (I know you were waiting till she got back so you could be sure it was done with minimum damage and maximum understanding – but she may need that information while she’s there.)

My libido also seems to be running high these days – lately I’ve been sexual with myself often twice a day – more than I’ve ever needed. Partly it’s been in an attempt to sleep but it’s also true I am feeling a lot of sexual energy, a need to unblock the energy in my pelvis. I also did yoga last night and sometimes do dancing and moving to free up the tensions that accumulate in my back and pelvis. My fantasies have been a real step up lately. Less fantasy at all in terms of things I deliberately I imagine to myself. Lots of images – very often of Sandra. How trusting it feels to make myself that vulnerable to her. To say, as if to her, “Oh, please, oh yes, oh please, oh yes, yes.”

 

Got up round noon. … Lunch – I’d had breakfast before I went to bed. Then assembled things and walked down town. (Got a sweet letter from Sandra.)

Bought a book of cat photographs (Catwise) for Trudy and sent it off for her birthday with a note that a letter would follow when life provided a space to do it. Good thing about occasions that have a date like that – you know it’s now or never, more or less. Don’t know when I would have gotten off her letter – course, in some ways life would be simplified for just to let that relationship fade away at this point. (wish I could find my copy of my last letter to her – just after Xmas. (Did I say Yes, J”?)

However, that’s one other thing – I began last evening by reading thru The Raga Dianne, for the first time in a good long while. Wanted to read it over to see how it sounded to Sue )who said “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.”) (True.) anyway, I was in a open state and it was very moving to read it. (More so than I would stay with for long at a time.) what I saw that I had not seen as clearly before was my love shining through. Now I think it’s Great Art. But of course that immediately sweeps me  into an ego-whirlwind most of the time. Last night I called Beaver and suggested latihan. Talked that over with her – She’s just delighted that things are going so well with me – At the same time she’s clear and reminds me that it’s not coming form me, that I am being a channel for it, that it’s a sending form my higher self and that the appropriate response is

Thank you     Thank you     Thank you

 

Anyway, went to Bloomsbury Books to get the cat book, then up to the post office near Buy Rite to mail it – turns out they can only take domestic packages there, so, back towards town – a stop a the college bookstore for a new journal – you never know how fast these things can fill up – then on down – the coop Mu tea – the post office – the bank – down to the plaza for cans of yeast and lecithin, then home up the back road, seeing the trees, feeling my legs and feet walking – the day was fun – I felt very happy doing my errands – waved to John and Kirsten in their cars – and a red car honked at me – turned out it was Vivienne.

But it was something of a drain on my energy – and I a not used to that much exercise – nearly three hours of walking.

Home, put on the rice, turned on All Things Considered and lay down to rest. Woke up once for a report of avalanches in Switzerland (an interview wit a scientist stationed in Davos who is working on a way to detect them beforehand, with microphones, placed in the snow. Hmm) Woke up again  at the end – 6:30 and latihan’s at 7:00. Spinach, fry vegetables, eat a little, then off to Vivienne’s. A good latihan, a nice talk afterwards – checking in.

But afterwards when I came home I felt tired and chilly. Drank some coffee and ate two cookies, lay down to rest a bit. Woke up at 12;30. Dreams:

Woke up from the part of the dream where we were all next door form the A frame where I was living / staying. It was evening. I went back for something, hoping the dog would let me get to the house – Went out on the deck on the side, noticed that the light was on in the child’s bedroom there and that the door to it was open. Realized someone had broken in – then realized we hadn’t been gone from the house that long – that the person was probably still there.

Then we were grappling – whether he jumped me or I jumped him, I can’t remember, I think perhaps I did. Anyway, I was trying to scream or call out, to attract the attention of the people next door. But I couldn’t seem to get my breath to make any sound, of much of any – my scream and cries were helplessly soft as we struggled, tumbling and floating downhill through the air. (Towards the house in question, come to think of it.)

…I have always said to myself – well, if I’m attacked I will be sure to scream, anyway. That’s something I know I can do.”

But at the moment I’m remembering how when then the police came to the door on Beach St. about the marijuana I had stolen, how I couldn’t get my breath even to talk.

 

A bit later I remembered an earlier part of the dream. Hannah was here visiting me. We were talking and I was feeling so charmed and delighted with her … watching her talk … this radical lesbian writer and composer, thinking how she used to be a nun … her lovely white hair … and all that admiration and affection I do feel for her welling up in me. Then we were hugging and both knowing those feelings were there between us and my feeling happy about feeling free to let them be,

when she said something that sounded to me like that now we had opened up to each other like this she expected we would be spending a god deal of time together before Sandra came back … Immediately we were into the flip side of our relationship – me feeling panicky for time, air; trying not to make her feel rejected, feeling it’s impossible. … Trying to explain that I need complete solitude after this interval.

Well, it interests me that we were in the A frame… (It feels as if it were actually someone else’s house, but we were using it.)

As you may have imagined and perhaps I have already mentioned my fantasies about Deborah Kerr are running wild these days. Wondering what to make of the fact that my writing is bound to have some effect on her. …    … I suppose … Though I could have sworn my letter to her would. … Well, there is the possibility she may not react. At the other end of the scale is the possibility that she may fall in love with you.

(Don’t forget Mu)

Yikes! That was hard to write. And yet it does seem like one of the possibilities.

So anyway while part of me chides myself for unrealistic expectations and part of me makes prayers about not interfering with other people’s free will

and part of me wonders if I’d give up who I am even for Deborah Kerr (if that were the price.)

 

another part of me is living in a happy world of the future. David has gone to Australia for a bit and Deborah has rented the A frame down the hill. She plants a garden, a hedge, trees. Perhaps she stays there, or maybe she builds another house nearby, just how she’d like it. She lives there; it’s not her only home – there’s much to do in the wider world – so friends of mine house-sit for her in the months she’s gone. In her times here she explores solitude, and the nurturance of the women’s culture. She works on her autobiography and reads me chapters by the fire. I help her work with her writing, she helps me with my acting and with how to handle success. Our loving I have not presumed to imagine, and yet it’s there, part of the story.

I may add that we live into a joyous and creative old age and that I nurse her in her dying (if needed.)

 

Well, avalanches in Switzerland

and A frames abounding

What to make of it all?

 

{Just put my journal away and went into my bedroom to get my tape recorder and start the night’s work. Found it had been snowing outside while I was writing. Microphones in the snow? Detecting avalanches beforehand. Curiouser and curiouser. Wavin ‘like the waves at Pacific Palisades.”}

 

 

…It is true I could not give up my need for solitude. Being with anyone else for too long puts me out of touch with myself, sooner or later.

That’s one of the best things about our relationship as it is now (if I may so term it) How much I have to go inside to be with her.

 

(Yet the notion persists that she and I would have a good chance of falling inside together.) (As it were.)

 

Sandra writes that this full moon just past – in Virgo – was falling on (or is it dancing on) my Venus and Neptune (conjunct, or nearly, in Virgo) there. Well, it does make sense –Venus and Neptune is one of the things I understand easiest: woman love and mystical insight combining. Deborah has lots of planets in Virgo – let’s see: My – the moon’s being going over nearly every planet of hers just now.   that mysticism she lets loose in the theater, indeed (where is the lion in you to defy ‘em?) In Virgo (Also, S. reminds the hermit card is Virgo ) she has Venus, Mars, Moon, Saturn. And in Libra, just past moon-wise, she has Jupiter, Sun. nearly everything. No wonder this has been a time it’s been easy to focus on her.

Two more things to notice,

Mercury in Scorpio, as I also have. Yes … communication in terms of sexuality and depth (and death, too.)

Also Pluto in cancer is at her ascendant or nearly.

Pluto – I’m not too familiar with – even further out than Neptune in terms of spirituality (sometimes – the orbits do cross I suppose. Pluto’s orbit is highly elliptical. Ellipsis: ‘Omission , of one or more words, obviously understood but necessary to make the expression grammatically complete {“virtues I admire” instead of “virtues which I admire”} Hmm – Webster’s New College Dictionary.

 

Well anyway her Pluto is in her mid-heaven or ascendant. Pluto may be spirituality; in that case though, it surely means the subconscious – the underground, and at the mid-heaven – (in a way, the place of greatest power, greatest opportunity, manifestation) (yes, it fits) but the underground at the mid heaven, like the woman in the Tarot hanging upside down to represent enlightenment. What a series of interlayed paradoxes! And this, too, Pluto ,,, one cannot help remembering that he was the god of the underworld who kidnapped Persephone away from her mother.

{I am having a break and a toke not because I need inspiration but because it’s hard to stand the excitement. And Mu of course.}

I have often thought, esp in these last few days, how it is a mixed blessing (count your blessings) to have succeeded so fast, so early – to have what it takes to succeed so spectacularly in their world, to be very beautiful, to say nothing of talented and gracious.

It can tend to fix that world for you, with all its bad as well as its good. You can get captured by its very rewards away from knowing yourself. (How much of this, I wonder, applies to success at any age? In any realm?)

Persephone              Persephone

Posing cheesecake, saying cheese, trying to please, pleasing

 

{Typist’s Note: There is a small drawing of a female figure standing with a bicycle.}

I used to wonder if it was ever her period, too, the day she posed for this picture, or other cheesecake.

{Get some xeroxes of some Deborah Kerr pictures soon. Like here would be a good place to put one.}

 

Hmm just had a thought – perhaps the reason I am doing all this is not necessarily to try to enact any specific scenario with the worldly Deborah Kerr (as it were) but to become in my own eyes a person worthy of that love. Once I come to understand that I am worthy of her love it will be easy to leave us both free to make our own choices.

I had wondered – well, I  mean by coming to see what a loveable women I am in, among other things. How I reach to Deborah Kerr

Even more to the point, how I love her

Yes, that’s the important thing, how I love her…

Well, I have wondered in a corner of my mind if in letting myself grow so big beside my idol – this process I seem to be going through just now – I will not rob myself of the necessary muse to write what I have next to write. I see now, I don’t think I need to worry.

To repeat: It is important for me to come to understand that I am worthy of her love

And that is the key to not being keyed into what does or doesn’t {strange how hard it is to write that word }happen.

 

{Dear Tangren, One of the reasons your voice can not want to work sometimes is that it needs to be stilled so your pen can write.

Love,

Jo March}

 

So, Persephone at the mid-heaven

Persephone is ascendant

And white crocuses, perhaps, tomorrow springing up behind our footsteps?

 

(Need I remind you, as the plot thickens again, that at your mid-heaven, my dear mirror, is the image of a golden-haired goddess {woops, nearly wrote “doddess”!} of opportunity) and at your descendant*, as it’s so aptly called, the image “A Spanish gallante serenades her lady love.” No, I thought not.)

* Editor’s note: she was confused. I believe that was the image for her natal Uranus which transits her natal midheaven in Summer 1983}

 

I find myself reflecting on yet another layer of the paradox – that the more deeply I look into Deborah Kerr, the more deeply I look into myself, and that loving her, after all is a way of coming to love myself.

Not surprise to Ruth Mountaingrove. But then there are layers, too of truth. I’m not so dumb. What keeps constantly surprising me, I may say, is the levels at which the truth keeps returning, the disguises it takes.

 

Had to stop and make the cover.

Palimpsests and Mirrors in gold lettering on black.

 

It’s positively shivvery.”

 

And as to the “doddess” well I do think about that, too, if it would be, (as we both wonder, maybe) if it is not Deborah Kerr at 30 or 40 (or maybe even Lygia and Hannah themselves) that I love and that this many, if not “the first””, wrinkles “on {her} brow will not tear the veil from {my} eyes and that {my} illusions will vanish with {her} youth. Of course, you always thought it was absolute nonsense for her to fall for that line. And Deborah Kerr seemed to have a hard time getting behind it herself. Even at 15 you had the impression that Deborah secretly thought Camille was foolish to give it up so easily and that’s why she didn’t say that line so well.

Of course, wrinkles on the brow and white hair are quite one thing, perhaps, perhaps necks are another, and jowls (as Gordon Baxter said.) (But it would be Deborah Kerr, I always answer myself.) (And anyway does that bother me, ie, the dear women I do know and love?)

…Today at the coop I was coming down the aisle with my bag of Mu Tea, with Deborah Kerr I must admit not far behind. I must have been radiating an extraordinary softness. The aisle was narrow and suddenly I found myself looking up into the eyes of an older woman who was looking at me as if she’d caught my mood. For a second we were smiling into each other’s eyes before I became aware and embarrassed . (What does she think?) We ignored each other politely after that but I ended up just behind her at the checkstand. She was with her daughter. They bought lots of provisions – large amounts of grains and flour. The bill was ninety some dollars. I guessed her age as late fifties, early sixties. Her hair was shoulder length, curled and blonde, piled in two wings on the side – (she’s enjoying it, that the forties hairstyles have returned, I thought. Probably she always liked her looks that way.) I let myself look at her neck, her jawline, asked myself – “What if that were Deborah Kerr’s face?” In that moment, my fears seemed ‘little” indeed. (And anyway, She deserves to have her old face photographed by Tee, by Ruth, by Me, documenting the beauty of her aging, expressive face – How precious are the pictures of Pearly at eighty, of Gertrude Stein. How precious are the faces of all the old women whose faces are full of feeling. Even my own.

 

 

A note fund yesterday. Written many months ago (re. non-smoking, also ‘change’)

Tangren

Why deny Time the right

To make you wiser?

 

 

Dear Deborah

A} You don’t have to read all of this before you reply – In fact it might take you a long while to read it. Even forever.

B} of course, you don’t have to reply at all. Either. Or that could take you a long time.

C} And of course you don’t have to read it at all. Or all. You may decide not to.

 

I just want you to know this exists, to offer it to you in case it would be a kindness, to do so.

 

{I enclose a copy of the book in which “January 1980” was published. (By Persephone Press.)}

 

Dear Tangren:

One response you keep forgetting is this one:  Actually I feel you’re rather unfairly putting me in an embarrassing situation, spotlighting me so personally.  I feel put on the spot and there’s no two ways about it. The more widely known your writing becomes, the more personally embarrassing for me. At the same time I do not wish to be unkind. You have me in a dilemma. I’ve got my own life to tend to , and no energy to give this matter

(a)  now  (b) or ever  both of the above.

none of the above

 

So anyway we were as far as Pluto at the mid-heaven (Pluto and the Pa TREE archy or even Pay-Tree archy) In Cancer, as it seems, and the other distant planet, Uranus, the planet of change and the unexpected, in watery Pisces – where we are right now, as a matter of fact, in the yearly sun cycle.

Completing a grand water trine.

The watery depths of compassion

and emotion

not drowning but waving

waving like the waves

in the ocean of compassion

waving like the waves

on Pacific Palisades

waving like the waves

waving, from Pacific Palisades

 

But if you rescue her from the Pay Tree Archy you may have to pay Tree one year’s tithe of all your marijuana and never look back.

It won’t be hard.

 

March 16, Tuesday (1982)

All I seem to be able to do is write in here. Or, rather, it seems the best thing to do just now, (I am able to do more things than I can do.)

Life is  being so amazing these days

I said to Sandra on the phone the other day, “It feels like I hit the jackpot every time I turn around.” (Elbows akimbo in surprise, elbows bumping buttons, funny bones tingling, coins spilling at my feet, ringing and jingling, gold)

And it hasn’t stopped yet. Each day brings its flow of magic. Of signs and symbols. Of beauty and inspiration.

And sweet pentacles reward.

Last night after writing in here, found I was tired. Prepared to go to bed but when I lay down found that some things about “12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17” were writing themselves in my head, would not be denied writing down any longer. So I got back up and sat and wrote – as I had hoped: backed right into writing on the AutoBiography, hardly noticing what I was doing.

Today my plan was to get up, eat lunch, get the mail, maybe go for a walk, write Sandra a cover letter and go for a little orgy at Lightning Copy. Then send Sandra a copy of my journal so far to share with her a little more of what I am doing/thinking/feeling. But of course the first matter of writing to her about future time commitments.

The mail truck’s going by at noon had awakened me, so I knew the mail had come. All morning had been soft with the run and drip of melting snow, and rain. I took the umbrella, maneuvering it through the bushes, and walked up to get the mail. If I said I’d felt there might be a letter from Trudy that day I would also have to admit how many times I’ve had tat feeling in the last months when there was none. But today I hit the jackpot. A thick letter from Trudy! A letter from Hannah. The sweetest postcard from Sandra. I(even an extra copy of Z. Budapests’s spring newsletter – just when I’d been wishing for a copy.)

Sandra’s card – so dear! A quote

It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.” And a soft-seal cartoon of a happy bottle of milk, licking its lips and rolling its eyes.

Such understanding, knowing loving she gives me!

 

Thursday night:{March 18, 1982}

 

Dear Diary

Well, you’ll never guess what I did yesterday! I suddenly sent off a book (and a little letter) to Deborah Kerr!

Well,  got to thinking – somehow it just didn’t hardly seem fair to just suddenly send her all my writings … and there was the matter of hearing from Trudy and how all that worked. Third train of thought started tonight. After I wrote that last had a long battle with the self-hater… Guess I’ve rather blown myself away, doing that. I was afraid I would. Reading over and over what I sent her, trying to absorb what I’ve done, trying to imagine her reading it, the passages I marked with butterflies, will anything insult her or strike a defensive cord chord? in her? Am I being unseeing in some way

But, oh, so seeing, I hope. (“Lee Ashley had every right” Oh, I hope she laughs; Can imagine herself acting Virginia Woolf’s lines, “without the semblance of a suspicion that I might be busy…” of reading and enacting Virginia Woolf? I’ll bet Deborah could do it. Hmm)

I worried that I’d marked that, that it would make her leap to the defense of men. But I marked it – with a butterfly – to be a reminder of what is being lost, what is to be gained and to show her that I liked this passage and that I am certainly not “a woman of her acquaintance” who would ever presume to waste her time.

 

Well anyway see how externally focused I get, so out of here-and-now.

Anyway, after a while it did occur to me that if I had sent Deborah Kerr Silences that probably was a strong indication that I needed to read it myself.. I thought I had been – I had been, but now I read some things I hadn’t looked at recently – about the need for time and solitude.

The size of the work.

Virginia Woolf – a diary of writing

The Waves

(wavin like the waves?)

The Waves

and her struggles

evidence of vast work

 

Dear Deborah,

Well, for example, it doesn’t take anything you can’t quite easily arrange yourself to do tapes – radio readings and the like.

I’d love to hear you reading Virginia Woolf.

I admit it’s not Columbia Pictures but that has certain advantages, too, in terms of artistic control.

And anyway, it isn’t as if you haven’t done radio before. This would be a much better set  of images to put out than a woman driving alone cross country who is terrorized by a man who hid in the backseat even though she finally rather cleverly got rid of him by pretending her car was stalled and then running over him. By odd coincidence his twin brother appeared on the highway down the road and since she thought she’d already killed him she thought it was his ghost and what happened then? Did she go mad? Drive off the highway? I can’t remember. I was only ten or so and I only heard it once. That was you, though, wasn’t it?

Anyway, as I say, broadcasting seeds of Virginia Woolf, could be even more fun, I’d say, and a better use of your talents.

One night I dreamed Marcella and I found the tapes of you at 20 reading children’s stories over the BBC. Clare Bloom still does, you know.

Or there’s Senta Berger’s Tell Me Another Morning that Susan Griffin talks about.

 

and, say,

how about Susan Griffin’s Voices

Hmm … (Silences … Voices)

I wonder has she ever seen that? Maybe you should write to Susan Griffin about it, see how you can get  copy of the Play.

(Just read today: Griffin’s new book – I believe that’s what it is – the one she’s working on now – is Devastation and Light. What a name! I can hardly wait.)

Hmm – Deborah might be interested in seeing it …

Would also make a great tape.

 

Oh my dear Tangren how externally focused you get! How lost from yourself suddenly – out on a limb, your plans depending from a branch D.K,. may never take. Pull back in – to the  reality of miracle manifesting here and now in your life – pull back in to knowings of yourself and know that all the DK’s and Susan Griffins  in the world are your size, or, no, rather you are their size.

My how hard self-love is sometimes. I read through my journal earlier, just as M. was doing homework, first in bed. How I wince when I see myself write

“I am a genius”

‘I am a Great Writer”

How I expect to be dismissed with contempt by other people for those sentences.

And yet what they struggle to represent is so important – The Intrinsic value of my work

The potential power

(I do not claim that power will be actualized – but I see what it could do, in a listening world.)

 

Anyway I read in Silences tonight about the necessity for solitude and the stretches of time – and noticed it was getting on towards 11:00. After I’d sent the letter off to Sandra yesterday she’d called me last night and asked about that very matter. She was in a somewhat needy place and I had been asleep and knew it was hard for her to hear just then but I didn’t try to press for feelings-feedback just then –

– but I was worried. So I called tonight and she says it was what she expected and she is going to spend the rest of her time with her eye on her own work and separate life and be glad when we do spend quality time together. She was writing the Aries column and seemed full of plans and good ideas tonight.

So what I have to do first of all is to absorb that fact and note to myself

that now time is at hand.

 

FULLNESS OF TIME

Fullness of Time

Fullness of Time

Time Enough

Enough Time

Fullness  {Typist’s Note: there is a drawing of a cup with liquid running over.}

of Time

At hand (At Love’s own hand)

 

I am so tired, Wanted to do something tonight – either write about sending off Silences

Or finish finally –making that song so I can make the tapes and give them to the women n Sunday.

Well, it’s only 60¢ postage if it comes to that.

Worth your lungs? No

Notice that soreness – Not confined to point of rib now but all across chest – at the level of that bone – more towards center. Any yoga lately?

Preparing for the weekend:

Make cookies                       Get celery, make soup. groceries for the crowd. The gang? The group? My friends who I’ll be delighted and overwhelmed to see.

Anyway Tangren it’s 1:00 and you seem a little blown out and a big weekend ahead.
And if you remembered that story for thirty years

Surely you can hold in your memory for a few days the story of the day you sent Silences to Deborah Kerr.

On the other hand even though you’re tired is it still easier to let the pen go than to try to turn the mind to something else? I wonder. But it’s 1:00 and the alarm is for 6:45 and you’ve been up since 6;00 and a big weekend ahead. Toast and milk, sex, fairy tales all have been known to work wonders before. You are tired.

t.

 

 

Friday Morning {March 18, 1982}

Things to do when you get back to your work after the weekend

 

     Write about Deborah Kerr – sending her the book. But by then you will have so much else to write about – or do you think that a weekend filled with Hannah, Ruth and Jean, Tee and Caroline, and Holly Near is going to yield nothing remarkable? Maybe you should write today. After all, you can always tape the song another day. Yes.

 

     Write to Trudy

         Finish songs

         Finish tapes

         Continue with Deborah Kerr stories.

         Write in journal about the weekend

 

 

Can’t we just love each other from afar? That will leave you your muse and me my own life.

Love,

Deborah

 

Dear Tangren,

I know this is going to be hard for you to hear, especially as you must keep it a secret until your dying days, but the fact is I am already involved with a woman. In fact, it’s evolving as a committed, monogamous life-time affair. So, yes, I understand about woman-loving but to my dying days I must pretend not to. Please do not place me in an embarrassing situation like this.

 

Dear Tangren, As even you know, I am in a committed monogamous relationship with a man. Please do not place me in this embarrassing situation. Find another muse. Please.

 

Just now in the bath you were thinking about how your lung top is beginning to feel odd again – and asking yourself why you have gotten into allowing yourself to smoke too much again –

– and thought about “remembering A with A” (Just this morning leafing through the new book Diving Deep and Surfacing; women Writers on a Spiritual Quest – read about Doris Lessing and how her set of books (notice) {“The Children of Violence”} is partly an exploration of those luminous moments of understanding and our forgetting and remembering them.)

 

Yes. “remembering A with A”

In which case, the imagery of an A-frame should be listened to. (And think how in that dream it was, how it is in relationship, how we switch from one “take” on them to another, one self to another.)

Well, for some reason it’s easier to do everything but write about sending Silences to Deborah Kerr.

Guess at the moment I’m still inclined to quake in the shock of having done it. So impulsively. So quickly. Taking no time think it over, what have I done? and wasn’t it important to remain the distant fan, to make sure of preserving your muse, your anonymity to her – weren’t you being glad the was still six months until September 30.

But you were also a little worried about her, how she’s doing – certainly not wanting again to be left with your little fears.

 

But also, it didn’t seem fair, somehow, to just drop the baby in her lap, fresh sprung from the loins of lesbian feminist shamanism, without any sort of notice or preparation. These things do take a while to think about. I thought again of Silences and suddenly knew it would be right to send to her. Partly that was because of Trudy.  Wrote in here earlier how I had sent her that book for her birthday. Having no time to write that letter, make those decisions – wasn’t sure how it would seem to be sending a book on cats for her birthday, since the likelihood was high that there was something wrong between us –

but on the other hand it did have a sort of simple neutrality – and she would like the book. And so I sent it to her with a little note.

And the very next day there was a letter from her in the mailbox.

She thanked me more than words can say for sharing my Christmas dream with her. It had “a certain pure beauty” se said. She sent two precious pictures of Dianne – one at 17, one at 22 or so. She told me some interesting stories, made some jokes, bits from her daily life….

She mentioned again that she loves cats, especially lions and tigers and leopards

She mentioned tides.

She asked my forgiveness for not having written – It’s been dark and cold, “winter doldrums no doubt having something to do with not doing what I want and mean to do.”

Well, I felt very happy to get her letter much relieved, and clearer about what to communicate to her next.

I know, of course. That the cat book had A} nothing, B} everything, to do with it all.

 

{Typist’s Note: On this and the next page in the written journal are pasted two prints of drawings, both showing a woman in a chariot pulled by cats: ‘the Mother Frigga” and ‘The Magic Carpet”}

 

Well, thinking it over that night – while attempting to get centered to record the last of the Kali Song –  an exercise which seems by now doomed to bring on gales of inspiration about everything else

I was thinking about the cat book and Trudy’s letter and recognizing a sign when it’s flashing

 

When it began occurring to me what a good idea it would be to send Silences to Deborah Kerr.

And how, where? Simple

Deborah Kerr

“Wy her gut”                          (because…)              Why? Her Good.

Klosters, Switzerland                                                          Yes

 

Part of it is, I don’t have to be 100% sure it will get to her, the way I would need for sending a box of my writing

So I can try a very good bet and, as usual, the answer is already within you.

You just needed to be ready to see it.

 

An old envelope, one from Niad Press to Pearl Time’sChild comes to hand. Add a lovely orange cover, the address, a sticker of a luminous orange butterfly alight on something round and pink

Yes

And then the letter:

March 17, 1982

Dear Deborah,

Here’s a book that speaks to me and I feel might speak to you. Perhaps you know it, but, if not, here it is.

I feel your silence as an artist, not nearly as complete at is seems to someone who lives in Oregon, I know. Still you say you’d like to be doing good movies and I wish you were.

(At the same time I do thank you for not accepting the thankless movies roles, mostly, that are offered older actresses. I know you’ve had better things to do.)

 

This book is about writers, but

in a larger sense, it is about any kind of artistic silence, especially that of women.

…and anyway, by the way, why is there only room

for one writer in the family?

a friend

{} Gift                        Typist’s Note: there is a drawing of a butterfly}

No Reply Necessary

Read at your own convenience or not at all. I’d just like to think that this book is in your hands.

Happy Spring

 

Well and then I got to looking through Silences and ended up insetting this little card:

 

Silences p. 249

‘the attitude that ‘women’s subjects” are minor, trivial’

I think of Eric Braun in “Deborah Kerr” p. 152

 

sheer women’s magazine story” “…even on a women’s weepie level…”

 

I think there are things wrong with that movie; it was very sexist – Lee Ashley had every right not to move to New York City – probably even Howard would have hated it. But it was an interesting movie and you had some good scenes along the way. Who does E.B. think he is? (More important, who do you think he is? You could do a much better job yourself, you know, if you wanted to.)

Tangren

 

I put an orange butterfly on the title page, and on the facing page wrote, there were just no more words more full of love than these:

for Deborah Kerr

 

When I xeroxed it that day  (yes in this day there is cheap xerox and I shall use it to buy the records I so deeply want.) When I xeroxed it it came out juxtaposed to this picture.

 

{Typist’s Note: the picture is of  photo of Deborah Kerr sitting in her home in ‘Wyhergut’. Tangren notes a book on the table: Peter’s book about bull-fighting. (he’s very into it.) And a bull figurine on the shelf behind D.K. At the bottom Tangren has written: Quo Vadis Deborah?}

 

and of course now things have yet a new turn. See top of page

{Typist’s Note: at the top of the page there is a drawing: a female figure in the foreground, with a drapy costume standing in front of/bound to a column? In the background the figure of a bull and a person.}

 

Wyhergut” – the name of Deborah’s house in Switzerland

Why? Her good.

At home in

Why her good

     yes

 

Well, who am I to quarrel with the Tao?

 

Last night, I swear, I heard on the radio … I was only half listening to the news until I heard him say; “Today the Tao was up nine tenths of a percent.”

 

I Really

had to think

for a moment

but come to think

of it, I don’t think

I thought hard enough

 

I don’t want to forget to record: Well, it was so serendipitous, being sure there was something wrong with regards to Trudy – then sending off that book to her and the very next day getting the letter from her.

Well, anyway, I sent off Silences to Deborah Kerr – went to bed early that night. Wasn’t asleep yet when Suzy called – (who now rents 441 beach) “Tangren,  there’s a letter here for you.” No, it wasn’t. It could have been. Yet it was funny, huh?

 

Tee’s Yantras book

$7,000 for $4,000                       55 pages > $2-copy

Blatant Image

2,000 copies, $5,000 – 96

$4/magazine

 

Yantras sells $10/copy

 

Leila work = 773-6633

 

Genevive:

Your price to them

They add 30%

Then to stores – stores add 40%

 

Joan Balter – violinist repairer         in Bay area

 

{Typist’s Note: there is a cut out-photo of Holly Near. And the next page apparently an autograph from Holly Near, in very large letters}

 

Strong

Women

Growing

Stronger!

Holly Near

1982

 

{Typist’s Note: on the following page is a card with a drawing of Tangren done by Tee Corinne on March 21, 1982}

 

March 23 {1982}, Tuesday night – almost 11:00

How lost I feel from myself. Such a rich weekend it’s been… it’s just that I do lose track of myself – But made myself start writing in the journal instead of having a pipeful. I know that mostly what I need is a good long visit with myself, and to catch you up on all the news.

“Strong women growing stronger”. Yes. Yes. “Strong women growing stronger” Because there is stronger to get doesn’t mean you are not a strong woman already. It seems a message appropriate from Holly Near to you. She was standing at the record table after the concert – autographing records. Marcella and Kirsten grabbed pieces of paper to get her autograph – I remembered I had my journal with me …  did feel a little adolescent getting her autograph – but I really wanted it so much. She asked “is this your journal?” and then Ruth Mountaingrove came up as Holly was writing and I was jumping up and down saying ‘Look at that!” to see her writing in my journal. Afterwards I got to give her a nice smile when I said ‘thank you” and it did seem to give her a little lift.

Though I have seen Holly in a more open space with Ashland audiences still it was an opening concert. Afterwards, driving back, Ruth Mountaingrove in the seat next to me – Hannah and Summer in back and Marcella and Kirsten in the way back – I said to Ruth, “You know, when I think over the various experiences I’ve had of being touched by a woman’s art, and tried in some way to reach back, the things that have happened, from lovely to awful, I always remember to count it, that you are my friend. It makes me really happy to know that you are my friend. I groped for her hand and  gave it  little squeeze. She said that likewise she was glad that I was her friend. … In fact, she said, she oughta write me a song sometime.

 

Strong women growing stronger

 

The night was also interesting in that the dodess put in an appearance. Dana who was one of the doorkeepers said to us as we stood first in line – “Everybody getting’ older. Even Holly. She’s changed. Again. She’s wearin’ glasses now, off stage. And, well, you’ll see her.” what she had not said was that Holly had put on some weight, had a little tummy, more of a double chin, fuller cheeks – and she was wearing very tight pants and a shirt tucked in, with short small sleeves – just the kind of outfit I never wear  because it shows every bit of fat. And high-heeled boots, and hair that nearly shadowed her eyes –

Well, it took me a long time to work it all out. That if Holly Near is afraid to be fat, what does that say to fat women?

And that Holly Near is into being BIG these days – tall and wide and powerful… No brave little girl against the world, but a very big woman. Acting a little rowdy. My head worked this out before too long, but my feelings were in shock for a while. Knowing how it had felt those few moments, seeing Holly       looking a little cheap and less credible, as maybe somebody who’s losing it.

having to confront my wish for her to be “perfect” – or “as I have known her before” Knowing that perception of Deborah Kerr is lying in wait in me

 

Dear Deborah,

There is one thing. I would really love to have a current picture of you. ( I do have the “Avon” one – Mom gave it to me – but I know there’s more to you than that.)

 

Tonight the wind is blowing, flowing, wooshing and whistling, knocking the manzanita branches against the deck. It makes the house feel as if it were a ship. Well tomorrow is the first day there is a possibility the book will arrive at Deborah Kerr’s house. Probably not until Thursday though and then heaven knows where she is on this planet. Still I cannot help thinking about it. But the word for today (by the Lunar Digest) is “Letting Go”

When you plant a seed

you learn patience” RM-G

Letting Go

Letting Go

Getting Going, too.

 

Hannah was here for the weekend – we didn’t have a lot of time together but there was some good time – Especially when we connected around work – one morning she helped me notate and work on my Kali song, and one we went through the play as she’s written it so far and I gave her my reactions to the writing in a close-attention sort of way – both were enjoyable experiences. When we were just visiting I did have a hard time with her tendency to catch hold of a downward-bound train of thought with no sense of what it’s doing to the happiness of the present moment. When I try to interject a cheerful note she always counters it with something that real hardness and difficulty exist.  Never know quite how to feel – I know her life is hard, much harder than mine and I don’t want to deny that. At the time if one is going to be happy some of the time it is necessary to appreciate the goodness of present moments and take some care to protect it.

Sometimes it made me really wish for Sandra. It is pretty easy for me to be happy these days when I can spend long stretches of time alone… But this weekend reminded me again that when one is being with other people then one longs for and needs someone who loves and understands.

 

10:30 Wednesday night {Marc 24, 1982} –

Still awaiting the return of the muse. I am tired a lot … Keep expecting myself to bounce back up and into the thick of inspiration again but what I feel a lot is tired. Yesterday went to Medford on errands (the will) – picked up my taxes – less than half what I was expecting – $850 with preparer’s fee – my estimate had been closer to $2,000. What a relief! And… Well, there it is, unexpected cash. Course with $285 estimated due at the same time it will clean out your savings, but at least you won’t be also owing for many months – you may be able to build it back up some.

Anyway, you were starting to write … extra money                                        unexpected money

In an unexpected way

By now hardly unexpected

But reason                                                I say

To give Thanks

I could sure use a good latihan.

 

Anyway, Medford, taxes yesterday, and lots of sleep. Slept shortly in the morning, after supper, still didn’t stay up late. Today, too, seem too tired, and my throat hurts.

Well, of the crowd here on the weekend Marcella and Kirsten were in the late stages of strep throat and Tee, Ruth and Caroline were in various later stages of colds. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if your system were attempting to fight off either of those, and that in that case it  needed lots of rest and couldn’t supply the material/body base necessary for creative genius. Then there’s all that stuff you seem to have to learn over and over about nesting, puttering, tending to the material world. That it is a) necessary b) good for you, psychically ordering c) a way to center in with yourself again.

But so aggravating to find myself so far from myself again after a few days spent in the company of others. Frustrating not to just be able to pick up where I left off – that it should have taken the better part of a week (two days) (but tomorrow Marcella comes) and Sunday Tee wants me to come up to their place for a private showing of her new slide show and I want to go but will it take another week to recover from that? I haven’t got weeks to squander.

Though I do feel much easier about questions of time now that Sandra and I have come to this agreement. Still I do feel the necessity to prove something within this two-year period, to have some concrete accomplishment  such as a book or an alternative way to make money – or, best, both. To take a large part of the steps in Becoming a Writer in these two years. (There’s less than  year left till I have to notify the college one way or the other.) It will be hard to stick to the agreement with Sandra when we get back together, I know. A part of me doesn’t believe in making rules about time, but only flowing with the moment. And when things are being sweet it’s hard to care about rules one has set oneself, to remember the self who calls from solitude…. I miss Sandra tonight. Wonder if it’s 11:00 yet. … Almost. Poison oak on my wrists again and between my fingers. My coat sleeves? My gloves? Not nearly as bad as last time –still, getting worse. My skin also is somewhat broken out – my body is tired. From caffeine and marijuana – today, too from exercise. Walked down to the shakespeare festival to drop by one of Sandra’s Lunar Digests for Molly. (M. works in the box office there.) Then back up through the park.

The earliest trees are beginning to come into bloom – almonds, I think. Buds appearing everywhere, and tiny flowers. The rush of creek water, the good sweat of a climb taken at a lively pace up the road in shade already welcome. Such a beautiful day. stayed outside and worked till 5:00 – carrying sections of plastic pipe, bringing in firewood, pitching chunks of cement and shoveling dirt from a load Dad brought months ago into the fill area still unfilled at the back corner of the house. Simple, physical. Watching myself worry.

Sorting through thoughts, pitching cement blocks.

I’m thinking about abstaining from coffee and cookies during beautiful days and simply paying some attention to the physical, outdoors, whatever. It’s proving not very rewarding these days to try to find the internal, interior wen the weather is so beautiful. It feels much more natural to be digging in the dirt and thinking about water systems. Well, tomorrow it may rain – the wind is blowing tonight but the sky feels still clear.

These days in the evening one sees Orion/Dianna    All Deborahn                        the Pleiades

lined up along the western ridge. I shall miss her orange sparkle until the early mornings of summer return her to me.

I hope some of it finds Sandra and me sleeping together out there under the stars.

Thursday Night about 11:00 March 25 {1982}

Marcella is in bed. This is spring vacation so she will be home tomorrow and some of Saturday and maybe Sunday too if the weather is good and John goes mountain climbing. So I guess my solitude will not commence for a while. Today I stuck to my plan of no coffee or mj. – didn’t quite make it till dark – 4:00 was more like it.

But what I did. John came by to borrow a big ladder –made me remember my small one and how I wanted to get down my old diaries from early adolescence. Spent the afternoon looking through the box – freshman college notes, High School Yearbook, writings and drawings going back to age 12 or so, two old lockable diaries. Tucked in their backs, notes to and from Bob Barger, poems to Deborah Kerr. Quite a shock to see who I was then, what I put down. Why was there so much pain in rereading? Mortification for how silly and unformed I was then … but what could one expect of a sheltered 12-year-old? Depressing and a little frightening, the world I lived in.

Whatever it was, it was enough to make me smoke a pipeful before I went on a walk, just as a way to rise above or feel and deal with the pain… though that is a use of mj. totally on my “no” list. The shock of how trivial and silly my affections for Deborah Kerr seems – in these pages, how full of cliché in word and thought was my writing. I hope I’ve improved … it certainly makes one hope one is not being like that nowdays – but it’s hard not to wonder.

Walking – reminded myself – nowdays when women hear my writing sometimes they become my friends, sometimes they fall in love with me.

And Mary Vanderberg writing encouraging me to keep seeing the psychiatrist and learn to communicate with him even though he is a man … validating that I do have a problem in loving Deborah more than “real people in Ashland” … Even now it makes me feel she’s probably right.

 

Maybe she is. I certainly miss Sandra. My thoughts about Deborah Kerr show so much projection then – the glass statue, how she represents honesty and purity and all that stuff about “God above” (well, it rhymed with “love”) how she is like Mary on Christmas Eve.

Well, sometime before I sent her the letter when I was fourteen, I began to write somewhat better poetry. One I’m pretty sure I sent in the letter is about wanting to honor her in art, song and poetry … I like some of the lines (even though I cringe too): “I’d have those blind to beauty wake, discovering what fools they were to live and not love thee.” Well, maybe I haven’t changed all that much – though my writing is a little more up to date.

Oh, well, here’s the whole poem:

 

I would write a poem to thy beauty

I would make a song in thy praise

I’d re-create your face with brush or pencil

I’d do thee honor in a thousand ways

 

But I cannot, for tho are not of terra

a bit of angel lies outside and in

That’s why each note of mine, each verse, each picture

Cannot choose but be a lie, a sin.

 

I’d have those blind to beauty wake, discovering

What fools they were to live and not love thee

But if they’ve known thy face and have not loved thee

No poor interpreter can help them see.

 

Ambassador of thine, dear one, I’ll not be

For my praise can do thee but injuries

Ne’er reaching heights, on which those failing be, and

Falls back into frustration’s desperate seas

 

I can’t express thee, for thou art expression,

Thy face, the only portrait fit for thee.

Thy voice the sole music worth to praise thee.

Thy tender self thy poetry must be.

No monument can half so do thee honor

As thine own being. Slanderous is my quill.

Cannot honor thee, and yet I must try

For can a soul love so, and yet be still?

 

Evidently not.

Well, there are some things I like about that poem, and it did come from a life-experience.

 

Today probably is the day the book reached her house in Switzerland. Bob and Larry say there’s still snow on the ground in the Alps – wonder if she’s there. Or if the secretary is opening it and throwing away the envelope on which is the only copy of my address. Oh, well, that was to show that I was not attached to getting an answer and I don’t think I am. Though both times I tried to write out the second page of her letter I stumbled over the “No” in “No Reply Necessary”

Well, a reply would be reassuring that she doesn’t hate me – But I think it will take her a while to absorb what is in that book, and if she did what could she say to me about it? At any rate, I want to assign it all to “when the time is right.” I don’t feel attached to an answer or even ready for one but it is interesting to me to think that it’s possible that today the book is in her hands. And my letter.

Well, whatever. Deborah seems to be giving me some unexpected warm smiles today from her place on the wall.

 

My, it did take a lot of courage to come to know (I hope it’s “know”) that it is alright to love someone who is not in the high school in Ashland.

That it is not crazy to talk to a picture or to imagine that her expression changes

 

How hard it was to be a teenager – that life so public and so (necessarily) oriented to what was expected of one …

 

What a struggle it is after dipping into that world

To remember what I know –

That whatever makes you happy is right

Whatever fosters art and creativity and love

that love and magic are everywhere,

in cars and movie stars as well as in

my contemporaries in Ashland

that love is the truth

that Deborah Kerr loves me back

or, if that’s not true, exactly,

then something even better is.

 

Copying Photographs

Tee does with high speed ectochrome 400 ASA by a window using daylight.

Doesn’t work if you have to hold the pictures down with glass.

Traditional way – lights – dark room – camera – all exposed metal covered – even arm snapping shutter

 

Sometimes some enlargers can be used as camera stands.

 

Start with 20-roll – to check lighting – f-stops

 

A macro lens – many times better than the little screw on lens. (could possibly be rented.) With Tee’s lens she can even do 1-on-1 get a picture same size as the negatives.

 

 

Sunday Evening {March 28, 1982}           Tee and Caroline’s

Japanese music, candlelight, Sky the carpenter seeing her works in a book –

Nice to be away from my own life. Spent the last few days immersed in journals from my teenage years – photographs – souvenir scrapbooks – How the past comes back –

 

 

Typist’s Note: Inserted loose in the journal is a notecard. Tangren wrote on its back:

I found this card in my old high school journals. It was from Rosalind Foster (Coney) whom I had worshipped as a Girl Scout camp lifeguard, had as PE teacher and 8th grade homeroom teacher; and as our Girl Scout Troop leader. She and her woman friend Pat who was also a PE teacher took us camping and such.

Evidently I was 15 after I’d seen Deborah Kerr I wrote her about it.

 

The notecard has on its front: Thank You

for your

Thoughtfulness

The inside:

It isn’t hard to tell you

“thanks”

That’s just as easy as can be

What’s hard is telling you

how much

Your thoughtfulness has meant

To me!

(inside)

The inside (handwritten):

Dear Jean,

Time & again I said, “if Jean were here – but

you were with us – with {?} all the wonderful

memories of the good times we’ve had together –

memories that neither time not distance can erase.

And you know that I’d be thrilled to know that

You had gone to see Deborah err in person – didn’t you!

Thank you more than you’ll ever know for your

Note –  shall cherish it – just as I cherish your

Friendship – ALWAYS!

God Bless You!

Cony – & Pat

 

(1) “Baby’s boat’s a silver moon

Sailing o’er the sky

Sailing o’er a sea of sleep

While the clouds roll by.”

 

(2) Baby’s fishin’ for a dream

Fishin’ near and far

His line a silver moonbeam is

His bait’s silver star –

 

chorus

Sail, baby, sail, out across the sea

Only don’t forget to sail

Back again to me.

 

 

 

Tee’s good tea – Bigelow Take-A-Break

With cardamom and cinnamon

 

Winaretta Singer – Singer Sewing Machine Heiress

Married Prince – He was Gay She was Lesbian

Gave wonderful musical evenings.

 

T&C could use a timer

 

Dietrich and Garbo were both bisexual. Both involved with a woman Mercedes deAcosta who wrote “Here Lies the heart”

Albee was gay. “Who’s Afraid of V.W.” was first written as a play for four gay men.

 

Hannah Blue Heron, Helen, Jean Mountaingrove, Caroline Overman, Ruth Mountaingrove, Sarah Heslep, Time’sChild, Sky, Tee Corinne

 

After Tee’s slideshow we decided we were a historical little group ourselves and posed for some pictures. Since lovers in the slide show we saw were often found holding hands, touching shoulders, we decided to give the Archivist a workout (or a little laugh)

 

This day, as I was about to head home, Tee brought up the day “class” had surfaced as an issue. (…when I came home and wrote agonizing pages of self-justification.) she said it had brought up several things clear to her. I sat down and took off my poncho again. The upshot of it was, she is thinking about her will and she wants me to be her executor if Caroline should not be able to do it. We talked about what she would want done with things – her photographs. Wish I had gotten it down… my journal was already packed or I would have. Someone should put out a book about her place in Art History in from 10 to 30 years. As of what she has published now … The Labia Images and the solarized erotic photographs. The negatives of women making love should be sealed for 60 years. Her papers and photographs and negatives? The Smithsonian (it could be incinerated in a war, though) or the Women’s History Archives at Radcliffe or some place in Arizona or N.M.

 

Typist’s Note: There is a photograph attached here: Caroline and me lingering over breakfast (until 3:00)Photo by Tee Corinne

 

Monday Morning {March 29, 1982}                       waiting for breakfast

I guess part of it is that when I let Deborah Kerr who lives in Switzerland become too real or important then I tend to lose track of all the other manifestations of Deborah – Carr, her pictures, the characters, etc., etc.

 

Wednesday Morning March 31 {1982}

Trudy’s birthday, as well as Dianne’s, and half way round the year from Deborah’s birthday.

I’m feeling awful. And frustrated at not feeling able. Wanted to write Trudy a letter today. Wanted to write Sandra a letter. Wanted to write in here. Wanted to get back to my Writing. Unable to do any of it.

Still contesting with this cold or strep throat or whatever it is. No real symptoms except a sort of glandular achy-ness. And extreme tiredness. Lots of naps. Early to bed. Long nights. Surely it’s the best thing to do – but the days go by.

These last two days I’ve also had a tension headache (they are no longer frequent in my life, but they do happen) and the first two days of my blood flow. I feel so weak and watery. Watery. More sponge than human being. I wake up nights with my nightgown all damp, break into sweats during the day. The only environment that feel truly right for my body is the bath tub, waters to waters, warmth to cradle my head, wet to flow over the aching dryness of my eyes.

Well, my mind says I should expect a rest about now. I was flying for a while and must just accept with good grace this rest before the next flight. I know what to do. Ease off on coffee and mj., sleep as much as I can, drink teas, read to while away the time pleasantly, do yoga. I have been reading – yesterday read Ursula LeGuinn’s The Word for World is Forest – liked it a lot. Then in the mail yesterday came the first 3 issues of Common Lives / Lesbian Lives – by now I’ve read all of issue #2. Liked it. I find true stories the most interesting of all.

Last night there was a reading of a women’s play – about a group of dykes at a summer cabin spot “Bluefish Cove” – and a straight woman who comes into their midst. And one woman who dies of cancer. It was funny and moving and I liked it – but I don’t see us reflected there – anyone I know.

At the break I talked to Jean and Patricia, Ashland’s woman mechanics. We talked about our respective self-employments – it scared me a little to se how little I have done this year – and yet part of my work has been to clear my life out to where I can work. And so much of it at this point is underground, nebulous, preparatory still. Still, two articles in Womanspirit, one unfinished novella and the vague stirrings of a book – doesn’t seem like a lot for one year’s full-time output. Well, it’s not a year yet.

Think I’ll check the mail.

 

March 31, still {1982}

Trudy’s birthday.                  Dianne’s birthday.

And what presents the day has brought! In fact, what presents the week has brought. In fact, your tension headache may have been again from needing to give thanks.

Within the space of this very week:

Tee Corinne has asked me to be her estate executor  (if anything happens to Caroline)

Tee Corinne

Yes

And Ruth Mountaingrove told me she’d written me a song. Her eye twinkled and she said “I know you pretty well, you know.” I didn’t get to hear it – it was such a long night otherwise, but

Ruth Mountaingrove

has written me a song.

Yes

And today a letter came

From   Deborah Kerr.

I was writing in my journal when I heard the mail truck go by – after a bit when this intermittent weather turned nice I went out to stretch my legs and to get out under the open sky and get the mail. As I put down my journal pen, my mind computed “Today is Wednesday; it’s been just 2 weeks. Seven days there and seven days back. This is the first day in which it would be theoretically possible to hear from her.”

But I brushed the thought quickly away. I remembered that Sandra had said she’d send Dianne’s birthday chart soon. … knew that it would be just like her to send it so that arrived on Dianne’s birthday…. If her life allowed her the space to do it. I decided I’d gladly settle for that overdue check in the mailbox today. Singing to myself walking the dirt road in my ridiculously outdated bright pinks and oranges ….

When I put my hand to the mailbox door, I ha the sudden vision of how it looks when it reveals itself to be totally empty. It’s happened often enough when I’ve wished for some letter or other. Often enough that I’m quite used to it and to diving back into my own day, into the clouds and almond blossoms. But no there were several pieces of mail. Underneath was a manila envelope that could well be from Sandra, on top a largish publication of some sort – and a white a white airmail envelope. “Oh, it must be from Trudy! About the book I sent her.” For it to come to me on her birthday would be hardly unexpected, and very welcome.

But, no, the stamp. It says “Helvetia” That can only mean … Switzerland!

Indeed! On the back it says

Sender: Mrs. Peter Viertel

And there is an address.

Well, I walked about half the way back and ran the other half, holding the letter to my heart. Wondering what it would say. Trying to believe it.

After all the years of looking at my mailbox and pondering whether or not it was conceivable that it would ever hold a letter from dDeborah Kerr (Do you notice that I forget to capitalize her name? Just now. For the first time? Does it mean anything? Which?)

 

Today there was within a letter

From Deborah Kerr

 

Deborah!” I called, passing my sweet orange friend.

Deborah! She did it!

She wrote to me!

Oh, Deborah, what do you think of that?

 

I would have like to

share the reading of the letter with

her there,

but I needed to open this letter, I knew, with a certain magical letter opener carved from mother of pearl

 

it is from Deborah herself.

 

Typist’s Note: The actual letter is stuck in the pages of the journal. It reads:

7250 Klosters,

Grisons,

Switzerland.

 

March 23rd. 1982

Dear Tangren Alexander,

Thank you so much

For your charming gift.

I am moving south

next week, and will be away for several

months, but I look forward to reading

the book on my return – it appears to be

most interesting.

Again my thanks,

Yours sincerely,

{signature}

Deborah Kerr Viertel

 

7250 Klosters

Grisons,

Switzerland.

 

March 23, 1982

 

 

yes tangren

it is the address

where something sent

would reach her
note the date. “23” hmm … Six days from when you sent it. While you were writing “When you plant a seed, you learn patience” RM-G and “Letting Go” “Letting Go” from the Lunar Digest

(Remembering Caroline musing over the candlelit breakfast table – about how so often one has to let go of something in order to be able to receive it, has to stop wanting it before one can be given it.) and “1982”. Precious. Can I explain why? Do you know?

 

Dear Tangren Alexander,”

 

yes, I see, that’s what I am to her. As Tee said, when she began to be somewhat famous people began to touch her, to act as if they knew her … “But they did know you in a way, didn’t they?” “yes”, she said, “but I didn’t know them!”

 

Dear Tangren Alexander”

she saved the envelope long enough to get the address.

 

She is Alive!

 

She is Alive and Well!

Still, as of March 23,

Deborah Kerr.

Thank You!

 

Thank you so much for your charming gift.”

your charming gift”

your charming gift”

I cannot imagine Deborah Kerr saying “charming”, for some reason. I can’t think of a movie where she said it. But she said it now.

Was she charmed?

 

Today is March 31 {1982} It was by this date I dared to say to myself “by then perhaps she will have the letter. Because of Trudy and the book and all it seemed it would be good to send a book that had a good chance of getting to Deborah Kerr by Trudy’s birthday. Symbolically, somehow, it seemed right. And anyway – the last day of March, the last day of September, exactly half way around the circle from each other. Somehow it seems right.

 

I am moving south next week” she writes, “and will be away for several months,” but I look forward to reading the book on my return – it appears most interesting.”

 

I have since spent a little time trying to imagine Deborah Kerr saying some of those lines

Several versions, several Deborah often come to mind.

Nothing has come to me yet for “your charming gift.”

But “it appears to be most interesting” interestingly,  can imagine sometimes Karen Holmes or someone near her time saying that. What fun it was to watch for a minute in my mind Karen Holmes saying “It appears to be most interesting.”

On the 23rd by the way, Mercury was abreast the Moon

 

Hmm  see the Moon went into Cancer today.

Sandra Dianne’s and my Moons are in almost exactly the same point in Cancer.

Hmm Dianne has Cancer rising I see.

Yes I did before long open Sandra’s letter too. It was very nice and symbolic that Deborah’s letter was not the only birthday present I got today.

Dianne’s chart, rainbow mandala of meanings – material for musings

Libra –everything else in the third of the circle from Pisces to Leo

In form, with the houses in place echoing Deborah’s chart

Birth Place

Amherst         (echoes of Emily D.)

Nova Scotia (which happens to mean, of course, “New Scotland” Hmm.)

And a birthday card and a lovely letter in which she spends pages urging me to let myself write about Deborah Kerr.

“You have invested the very best of who you are” she writes “and entrusted it to her/you. The juxtaposition of yourselves and Herselves is uniquely your own – a story like no one else’s – and yet how we all relate to the power of the images and personalities of the film – the heroine lives in all of us.”

“You are the voice of Aldebaran” she closes,

with the eye of a pearl

Keep yourself warm and well in your world

Dear Tangren

I love you,

Sandra

 

Well and then tonight I was reading in the bathroom – Diving Deep and Surfacing – I’ve been diving in and surfacing into that book. Found it at the college bookstore when I was looking for Silences – didn’t see it anywhere and I had my own copy so I knew just what to look for.

But, oh, Diving Deep and Surfacing, Women Writers on Spiritual Quest  I’ve been wanting to read that. I pick it out, continue my search. Right there where I had looked before there it was – one copy of Silences. I put a butterfly in DD&S to remind myself.

I started in the middle, with Margaret Atwood and Doris Lessing. This morning  came to the end and started back in at the beginning.

Tonight I read:

“Women’s stories have not been told. And without stories there is no articulation of experience. Without stories a woman is lost when she comes to make the important decisions of her life. She does learn to value her struggles, to comprehend her pain. Without stories she cannot understand herself. Without stories she is alienated from those deeper experiences of self and world that have been called spiritual or religious. She is closed in silence. The expression of women’s spiritual quest is integrally related to the telling of women’s stories. If women’s stories are not told, the depth of women’s souls will not be known.

“Stories give shape to lives. As people grow up, reach plateaus, or face crises, they often turn to stories to show then how to take the next step. Women often live out inauthentic stories provided by a culture they did not create. The story most commonly told to young women is the romantic story of falling in love and living happily ever after. As they grow older some women seek to replace that story with one of free and independent womanhood.”

⒊Martha {Quest} felt her life opening before her, but she couldn’t shape it out of nothing: she needed a story of another woman whose life was rich and full to provide her with an image of what her own life might be…”

“Martha’s experience calls attention to the importance of stories in lives, something most people intuitively know. When meeting new friends or lovers people reenact the ritual of telling stories. Why? Because they sense that the meaning of their lives is revealed in the stories they tell, in their perception of the forces they contended with, in the choices they made, in their feelings about what they did or did not do. In telling their stories people speak of parents, friends, lovers, ecstasy , and death – of moments when life’s meaning seemed clear, or unfathomable. People reveal themselves telling stories. But stories also reveal the powers that provide orientation in people’s lives. When people talk about books or movies that touched them, about people they have loved or wanted to emulate, they speak of that elusive sense of meaning, power, and value that roots their mundane stories in something deeper.” P.1,2 DD&S Carol P. Christ, Beacon Press Paperback Note

 

Roots – suddenly my mind concocts a review – of the last 2 science fiction stories I read – both by women – “James Tiptree’s” story about  Delphi and Ursula LeGuinn’s The word for the World is Forest about the roots in the dream world // and then how the new window seal that came to me for Deborah is called “The Tree of Life” – On my Deborah altar is the saying that came with it “Nourish the Root of the Sacred Tree of Life that it may leaf and blossom and fill with singing birds.” Black Elk

Well, anyway, Delphi and how she forgot her subterranean roots, Ursula and the people who remembered theirs.. It would be an interesting review. (WS? NWFTR?) wouldn’t take long to write. I’m tempted.

Tempted away from finishing writing about Deborah Kerr’s letter

Tangren that’s not how you are.”

“yes, tempted. But not “’tempted away’.”

 

because I also noticed when I made some toast just now that this last Friday Marcella and I baked bread together                                              baked bread together for the very first time since before I moved out from 710. Baked whole wheat

bread and admired the

large shiny brown

fragrant loaves

and the multiformed rolls

in the muffin tin –

trined

or braided

or spiraled

in their respective cups.

 

There wasn’t enough flour so in the morning we took Deborah down to the coop and bought just enough (I was very low on money.) Turned out I’d read the recipe wrong – provided 8 cups when actually 16 or 19 were needed. Yet somehow the flour seemed to stretch and from here and there with all the white thrown in, too, there somehow was after all enough and the bread was a thumping success.

Saturday night Marcella and Kirsten and I sat at Jessie and Chet’s and watched The Wizard of Oz and then Night of the Iguana

And ate our rolls,

with spun honey,

with orange marmalade.

 

One thing that happened at that prolonged breakfast at Tee and Caroline’s (when I got home it was 10 to 5, just time to run back downtown and cover those postdated checks come current, with a savings withdrawal. Good old savings, still with me thus far.)

One thing that happened that morning is that I told Tee and Caroline that I wanted to share with them a couple of my teenage poems to Deborah Kerr. The poems felt too vulnerable (to show to just whoever came to Writers’ group) just now, and I need also a little help in dealing with them just now. so vulnerable – because they say ‘thee” and ‘thou”, because they rhyme. “One of ‘em’s even a sonnet, a real sonnet.” “I wrote sonnets, too,” said Caroline. “So did I,” said Tee. “it’s a valid response. It’s what we were given to read, so of course we answered in kind.”

First I read them the poem about trying to paint the picture, etc.

Caroline said “it’s good! It’s really good.” Well, even I didn’t think that, what with “frustration’s desperate seas” a self-referential phrase if there ever was one. (I remember going “ease” ‘bees” “seas” ‘dees” ‘fees” “freeze” etc.

(maybe I should have tried for “bees”…)

(a may bee on April 1)

( a nother self-referential)

(bit of mother wit)

But as it is, there it is, as I wrote it at fourteen or fifteen (with only the worst verse omitted) and what further alterations could I in fairness dare make?

All that raw unguarded intensity of love at fourteen

Thees and Thous

For Deborah

I’d have those blind to beauty wake,

discovering

what fools they were to live and not

love thee…”

 

Well, anyway Tee and Caroline were being kind and loving about it all so I said – “Well, and here’s another one. This is the sonnet. It’s a poem I definitely didn’t send her – one I’d entirely forgotten about. I doubt if anyone else has ever seen this poem. It’s the sonnet.”

I began to read,

embarrassed by its language,

oh, gods,” – oh, dear – no –

and even more so, non-plussed by the pain and feeling that came to my voiced even now, speaking those antiquated words written on green-lined 3-holed paper.

And meaning them

In spite of myself.

 

 

THE SONNET

Because to press her hand would such

joy stir,

To share her hopes and sorrows means so much,

For this reason only am I sure

To never share her dreams or know her touch.

To serve her is my highest wish on earth

To be her friend and love her faithfully.

Thus that must not be granted. She is worth

Supreme devotion. And because I see

Her fineness, beauty, warmth and compassion

And acknowledge with my love so deep,

For this she must be cold to me, my sun,

And, doomed to shadows, I but scorn

must reap.

Oh gods, how cruel your humor is to me;

No mirth can I find in such irony.

 

Caroline said it was “as good as what Shakespeare wrote” –  he did stuff like rhyming ‘sun” and “compassion” too, she reminded me.

I had not the wit to interject that one of the first things I learned in college that was 400 years later nowadays, we knew better, than to write in sonnets but maybe it’s just a well. I couldn’t think of that because why fight it even in jest – hearing even for your sonnets.

Tee found me a book of poetry by two women that had a sonnet in it and I read it and found it charming and that helped me see my own.

But still I was left bewildered and humbled by the pain there had been in my own voice (I know now, tho then I was just bewildered) saying, probably for the first time, those words aloud..

Then Tee asked me to read it again

which was the right thing

and I let even a little more feeling in,

a little more self-mocking out,

let myself mean the words even a little more,

saying them for Caroline

and Tee Corinne

and for Jean Fitch

who wrote them.

 

Molly Ocean on a parallel path in her universe is … “pursuing” is not the word … an actress at the Festival. She read me some of her journal the night we spent a few hours together here after the candlelight vigil for a nuclear freeze (maybe I should have investigated “freeze”) Anyway she read me a letter she’d written to the woman. She wrote “ conjure you” “I am conjuring you”  recognized what she meant – I am summoning all my magical powers to me. ‘Conjuring” a person, though … one must be careful – a person is not a sprite to be summoned like Ariel or Bealzebub

 

 

charming”

at first I though “that’s a slightly odd way to describe Silences” …  then realized she hadn’t even read the book …

what then did “charming” describe?

“Thank you so much for your charming gift”

the gift was charming but she has not read it, ergo, the giving was charming? Does she mean that she was charmed?

Charmed by the gift and the giving?

Charmed by my letter, then?

 

I feel your silence as an artist.

Not nearly so complete as it seems

to someone who lives in Oregon,

I know. Still you say you’d like to be

making good movies, and I wish

you were.”

Was that what charmed her?

Very likely.

Something she did find charming.

Could it possibly have been also my asking, “and, anyway, by the way, why is there room for only one writer in the family?”

Did she find even that charming? Well, at least she didn’t sound on the whole offended, did she now?

套 in a larger sense it is about any kind of artistic silence, especially that of women.”

This, I think, perhaps, she meant to include in ‘the book … appears to be most interesting.” Of course Margaret Atwood she may know and she may know that she herself is on of ‘those who want to understand how art is generated or subverted and {one of} … those trying to create it themselves.”

Re: “why is there only room…”

She did type underneath her signature Deborah Kerr Viertel. underlined and with a period.

But

She

Signed

her name

Deborah Kerr.”

with a period, too.

 

 

Does she know, I wonder, that I am, or may be, the same one who gave her that tape two years ago? “Tangren” is not a usual name. But I do not forget there are many names in her life  remember.

 

Dear Deborah, Vanessa, Jane, Lilly, Judith, Katherine, Holly, Dianne Varsi

I’d like to do a series of hour-long taped recordings – called “Shakespeare’s Sisters”

Etc, women actresses reading women’s writings they like

_________________________________________________________________________

 

one of the hard things when I first knew Tee after she moved here was feeling how little importance she seemed to give to our interactions compared to the importance I gave them.

Actually it wasn’t very hard (except for that first night – Martha Courtot’s poetry reading – when I was sure I’d upset her or offended her somehow by my letter or because of Caroline or something – was certain of it, miserable, afraid to ask anything so obvious as “are you upset at me?” Then she said “you can stay overnight at our house when you come up for Martha’s poetry workshop .” and I realized I had it all wrong and when I asked she was just adjusting to a new setting – was a bit spacey, but nothing personal – she was glad I’d asked.)

Otherwise it wasn’t really hard but it was an adjustment. And now she has asked me to be her alternate estate executor. And we have talked about which archives, and when the book should appear that places her in art history which she seems to believe could conceivably exist even if Washington. D.C. didn’t. She speaks of the rise of Nazism and the burning of the gay archives someone there had built. All that history all those lives

all those

Her Stories

Lost again to the flames.

Yet some bits were gotten out, some news escaped that Holocaust. By implication,

Herstory may last

Beyond any given holocaust.

Arizona might be better than Wash. D.C..

or Sunny Valley?” smiles Caroline. “It would mould!” wails Tee.

 

I like a woman who is serious about her art.

I told her about my trouble with the self-hater about writing: “I am a genius!”

She said, “can’t you just see some future biographer coming along finding that and saying

Look! She knew it there already!”

There is still some remaining disproportionality – in my head I am very conscious that her time is valuable – and surprised when she recognizes that same fact for me. even that is changing quickly though –  believe that all of us, busy though we are – Ruth & Jean, Caroline & Tee, Sandra & me. When we are together we give each other much – and I am more often than not the one to first need space. Twice at T & C’s I began to bolt saying “I’m getting overcharged. I have to go.” The first time I was lured back by the talk of class and estates and immortality in Art Herstory but the second time I really bolted.

 

I do not forget there are many names in her life to remember but does she remember “Tangren” or Ashland, Oregon” from somewhere before?

If so, still she trusts me, enough to write. If not, she trusts Tangren Alexander who sent her the book Silences  with a charming note enclosed. Trusts her at least with an address a return address not a street address to be sure but I don’t need one anyway

anyway

an address

where something sent

would reach her.

 

And Tree, in an odd kinda way did come through with her address after all.

Is it magic? Is it Mrs. Manage again doing sleight-of-hand before your very eyes?

Has she perhaps thought it over,  these two years and come to see that she is not really so afraid of a lesbian? (Does she know about Albee? Garbo?)

Charming” That was the word Tree used about the fantasy Letter to Deborah Kerr. “entirely charming” she said “but what else have you written?”

 

Wanted to share my news with someone. Called Mom. She was home and quite delighted.

 

Went for a walk then, down on dirt road and trail to the park and the plaza, zinc and lecithin – oh, dear, these light pink pants – hope I don’t meet anybody – whew, off the main st., oh, no, is that Andrea pulled up beside me  at the Shakespeare box office? Yes. She calls.

Wow! Your colors!”

Oh, they’re awful, aren’t they.”

She nods in agreement.

I just wanted to tell you,” she said. “I’m three weeks pregnant.”

I reach out to pat her belly, then stop my hand, realizing this might be an invasion. She smoothes her dress over her round belly.

Look!” “ I just wanted to tell you, since you have a little girl and all.”

Home, it’s 4:00. I call Marcella.

Guess who I got a letter from today”

Utter silence. She wants to say it, I know, and doesn’t dare in case she’s wrong.

Yes! Deborah Kerr!”

“Oh, Mommy!” she shrieks. “Really?!”

I read her the letter.

Well, you see now?” she says. “When you ask for just a little something you can get it, sometimes.” “Oh, Mommy! She sent you her address!”

 

 

Well by now it’s April Fools Day {4/1/82}

I can tell. The morning news:

1)   Regan’s news conference last night – he said he had seen two world wars in his life and he sure didn’t intend to see another. Esp. nuclear. Whew! He had me a little worried there for a while.

Item 2) president Regan has flown to a hospital to see about a problem he’s had lately – ‘a slight pain in urinating.” A while ago he had calcium deposits surgically removed from his urinary tract.

Item 3) president Bush is now laid up in a Moscow hospital with “an undisclosed illness.”

I laughed all the way through item 4): each side was refusing to freeze nuclear stockpiles, accusing the other side of being ahead or trying to get ahead.

Oh, Happy April Fools Day

Oh Mother Wit, Please

Save the World

 

It was unexpectedly moving to go to the candlelight walk and vigil. Seeing several people I know somewhat from different parts of my life.

Lighting our candles and walking down the sidewalks of town… walking and visiting, but with our candles lighted, to show that our walking here meant something more, stood for something.

When we arrived at the plaza I expected speeches or singing, but there was nothing – only all of us standing in a circle on the grass, at first visiting, waiting for things to start, then gradually quiet as we sank into a silence. Two men held high a banner calling for a freeze on nuclear arms, their faces calm and solemn, our candles burning brighter as the darkness came.

In the quiet, reflecting, simple standing there witnessing as the cars behind their headlights purred by up Main St. and babies slept in backpacks and children in strollers and held candles in their laps and the hills around this town where I grew  up, the hills above the buildings held the last light of early spring, of spring snow and blossoms, simply standing there knowing yes this life is worth saving

No we say no we will not let you

do this to our town

I say No I light a candle to stop you. Yes.

A useless helpless gesture, perhaps, or perhaps one having all the power of a prayer. I did not think this then but only suddenly unexpectedly found that I was crying. Do you have a cold? Said Vivienne. No, I whispered, I’m just very moved. Then we did sing some songs and I cried some more the and then it was over and Molly and I were walking back towards the library together.

Everyone had blown out their candles when it was over. …I didn’t really want to stop… so different it had felt to walk the streets I’ve walked for over thirty years, past t restaurants, the boutiques and drugstores, the Christian Science reading room and the theater. But this time in a sacred way witnessing finally for what I believe I love.

It felt so good, it was hard to want to stop, and here we all were still with candles. By the theater we caught to two little girls and their mother. The girls had their candles lit. Not being grownups, they could do it, could hold the magic flame still if they wanted to. I asked to light my candle again from theirs. I guarded the flame all the way from there to the library, to the

statue of a woman there

her torch held low in sorrow,

inscribed “They lighted the way”

 

 

Reading into tape

Insert:

“It’s only a six-penny candle”

(Deborah Kerr – speech from The End of the Affair)

 

charming” she said that

even after she saw

that you had signed it

a friend”

as if you were a shy 14-year-old

instead of putting your name as any slightly equal adult would do

even after she saw that you had signed it “a friend” and wondered if she was not confirmed in her guess that this is indeed the woman who gave her that tape two years ago

possibly         it is possible

and she said to herself well I don’t know for sure, but at any rate this is something I know how to reply to and actually

her gift is charming

I think.

Well Tangren what will you think in another twenty five years? – a 35-page exposition on a two-sentence letter from Deborah Kerr,

At this rate she’d better not write you very much.

And she didn’t.

 

And she did.

That she is alive. And

Well.

That she will be reading the book

That she

Doesn’t hate me.

That she is Mrs. Peter Viertel

(yes, I thought, reading again, freshly the message I have written

I am woman

More than one

Living all the

Truths I bear.

 

Oh, Deborah,

It’s hard for me to call you by his name for that has little or nothing to do with the you’s I address –

but it has much to do with the life you are living, I know.

Deborah, you can be Mrs. Viertel for as long as you want

and I can be me.

Gee. Thanks for the Permission

signed, Mrs. Viertel

 

That she is Alive, she is Well, She even wants to read the book. She was even “charmed.”

 

My, huge hard hail suddenly clattering on the stovepipe and the roof – poor Marcella is riding, I suppose..

 

Thyme says – a beautiful Dutch movie – lesbian

“A Woman Like Eve”

Maria Schneider and Monique Van der Ven

 

Tangren – Holly Near would probably like to hear 2:00 AM Valentine’s Morning –

And in general, probably, artists do not hate response, use, furthering of their art, mention,

or to know their art has meant something to people.

 

tangren, let me whisper in your ear – it’s even possible Holly would like to hear about the part she plays in your dreams and life. Women often do like finding themselves turning up as characters in your writing. It’s just a matter of giving it in a way that doesn’t ask for anything –

…Except the dilemma that to give too huge a something in a way cannot help but be an asking….

… well, she’ll probably think it’s …”charming”… at least she could.

 

So there’s – The Candlelight vigil – or “taking it with you wherever you go..

The Fantasy Letter to Deborah Kerr

And Dreams – 2 marijuana dreams

and the 4-leaf clover one.

(tell about sending it to John Thompson before you tell the dream)\

 

“and the gateways gates are falling open in me’ is better than that veil image for getting at the actual experience – the image – the gates dropping away falling with an almost physical thud one right after the other an image that has come to me very strongly at times of opening-  think of a time with David on nitrous oxide once several years ago – then was when the image came to me most strongly. That sudden transition to openness.

 

Yes, you could start putting together a tape for her. And a letter about how you appreciate being able to tape her concerts. There really is no reason to maintain an abased silence before Holly Near. So long as you can do it without asking. And you could mention Marcella, too, and how glad you are she and Kirsten have her music to listen to. Today Kirsten was singing along to Holly Near – they played the album three times last night and once this morning – they both love to sing along – Marcella likes to pantomime – esp. 9 to 5 and Feelin’ Better

This morning I could hear Kirsten’s voice – Kirsten’s voice, yes, but every inflection, every nuance of expression was Holly’s. It felt almost uncanny.

I think of “The Magical Child”(Joseph Chilton Pearce) again. How children “learn how” by seeing someone else do it – everything from galloping on horses to walking on coals in Bali. How knowledge even magical knowledge, is imprinted by beholding someone else enact it. (I would only note that I see no reason to think this ends with childhood’s ending, this ability to be imprinted – with knowledge and understanding. (and with less beneficent things as well))

 

It was ‘The magical Child” we talked about that afternoon in metaphysics class, the last class before I left for San Francisco to see Deborah Kerr.

In the morning there had been history of philosophy – science in the Renaissance. I had waxed eloquent on the topic before, but that morning I found myself strangely unable to think about the topic. Several sentences and trains of though trailed into silence – I bungled my words.

In the afternoon class, without the slightest suspicion of irony I explained Pearce’s theories about the ways children learn (and unlearn) magical power and lots else – There’s a lot a jargon.

Tangren if you want to write this maybe you should start on loose paper as otherwise you’ll try to do it in order and besides you haven’t got a lot of journal left. And no money to get another at the moment.

 

Marcella Birthday Present Ideas

The Diary of Anne Frank

That “Shakespeare” book

Mistress Malapert

by _______Watson

An Empty Book

Tape of Island of the Blue Dolphins

 

Thyme was here Friday night and Saturday morning. We had a good time talking. After I went to bed she read a lot of the Mu Circle writing – was delighted to meet herself as a character. Her one reservation was my saying “someone says they are on their way to Hawaii to find a place where the can build a matriarchal culture” – she told me some about what had happened when some women did try to act out that particular romance soon afterwards – 20 or 30 women on the remotest of the islands – I think she said Molokai – living out their fantasies with no understanding of the native culture that was already there – at least on the part of many of the women. They were finally run off the island by the Hawaiian men, she said. They offended the Hawaiians by going nude – and I imagine other such freedoms as we allowed ourselves at Mu. They roused fears of witchcraft where that can be a threateningly reality, and in general they were counted simply as another group of “crazy white people.’ “I’m sure some of the women were not like that, were in contact with the local people. I know Magic and Luna were friends with ______Mary. And Seaweed wouldn’t have been so unconscious…. Luna of course had lived among islanders before and understood a lot about respecting their culture….”

It was exciting to see Thyme with all her news of the culture of the city – The Hall of Shame tour of the Financial District, bisexual groups, women’s radio and a Dutch lesbian Film – yes, really.

And it was nice, too, to feel the upwelling of affection between us again, to know once more there were good reasons for the attraction there had been between us.

It was snowing – as it had been 2 1/2 years ago when she was here last, when Bee said it was like being in a starship.

We also shared some writing. I played for her the end of a tape I’d made earlier in the day, reading from my journal the part about the candlelight vigil for a Nuclear Freeze. And the fragments from the Deborah Kerr movie about lighting a candle. She read to me from the piece she’s working on, her venture into bisexuality. Early in the morning the weather had been clear for a while, so we went for a walk – down Glenview Drive and back along the trail above the park. It began to rain/snow again but we really didn’t mind. We found a clump of daffodils blooming in the middle of the woods. They’d been rather knocked over by the storms. Thyme stood them back up, but one had a broken stem, so it seemed all right to pick it. She gave it to me. On the way back to the house I suddenly remembered the hypnotism class last term and how when she’d said to pick an image a symbol for our writing – .. I was starting to work on Mu Beach then … and the image that came to mind was a golden daffodil – “What that had to do with Mu each I couldn’t imagine,” I told her, laughing.

Just finished reading through my old high school journal – Very interesting, all of it, to me. the letters to Deborah, poems, the sexual experimentation. I see it all with a very different eye from then… the low self-esteem I had – in some ways – so grateful for attention from males. And yet I also had such great self-respect out of that context! It’s like seeing old pictures – except that I remember myself much more – parts of this inner life I’ve remembered – parts – most – I remember now.

All my letters to Deborah are there – in their first-draft forms. Good for me for keeping them – and for keeping my journal – all of it. The sexual stuff makes me feel a little better about what Marcella will be heading into.  Basically I ran into some problems with men and their sexual trips but they didn’t really hurt me – I sense a sort of wholeness that maintained. The most painful thing, perhaps, is seeing me find “reasons” for my love for Deborah Kerr for social workers and Seventeen’s advice column… “being lonely” “being afraid of men”  And yet even there I do shine through.

 

*                       *                                   *                                   *

 

Find when I sent the doll to Deborah I sent her a long letter reiterating that I intended to be her good friend some day “even if I have to wait forty years.” Well … sixteen to go.

 

Typist’s Note: Affixed to the page here (page 187 in the hand-written journal) is a paper with a drawing of a horse’s head. The name Marcella is written beneath it.

 

April 5, 1982  Monday night, moon in Virgo

Enliven efforts: if I only knew which ones! Well, I’ll trust to the great air flow – speaking of which – the full moon Thursday night will be in Libra, S. says it’s likely to be good. Was nice to talk to her on the phone yesterday – she said moon in Virgo was a good time for clearing practical matters out of the way, which I have been doing – it helped to be given permission to do that – so often I refuse to count any work to my credit except artistic – but the place did need vacuuming, the garbage and the laundry needed attention. Today I took more out of savings – the check I’m expecting still hasn’t some. As least the savings is there for now. Sure am running short of journal. Well, Thank You that the savings is there. So now things are clean and taken care of – and I’m fresh and ready to begin the night.

 

Tangren, the more I think about it, the more I think you were probably in person one of the very people she meant when she formulated the “private icon” image. Reading over your old letters to her…

And yet you suspected that you were also one of the people she meant when she said that in that interview about the privilege of being a great actress being that of enabling people to feel things. That letters she’d received over the years had shown her that – “especially letters from young people.”

Well, perhaps both are true.

 

Besides accomplishing things I also wrote a letter to Cony which I like  lot. (Think I’ll try to mention letters when I write them – they really belong in here – in sequence.

Dear archivist

Thank You For being Interested Enough to Read All This. In fact, Bless You.)

 

Typist’s Note: There is affixed (page 190) a printed photo of Helen Gurley Brown interviewing Lucia Valeska

 

Dear NGTF –

What a great picture in the last newsletter! – Lucia  V. and Helen Gurley Brown! Some pictures are worth a thousand words – this one seems to me the equivalent of an incisive little poem.

Love, Pearl Time’sChild

 

Deborah,

One thing I think ought to exist is a tape of you reading some of the things you have written.

Eg. “First love”

The Puerta Vallarta Journal’

“A Faith For My Child”

you probably know some other good things.

If not for distribution now – at least “for the Archives.”

Love,

Tangren

 

Well, I just sent another letter to Deborah Kerr … Hope it’s not too soon, but it seems to me like  such a good idea. I think it would be good for her, too, to get a sense of herself, to enact her own writings.

Or am I getting us confused again?

 

Tonight I also wrote the piece about my dream of the ocean solution … Then wrote a letter to Deborah … which I intend to send tomorrow. Then found myself chanting a mantra from a song I’d heard for the first time today:

Oh, Mother Ocean Love

Ocean Love  Ocean Love

Oh   Mother    Ocean    Love

Ocean Love  Ocean Love

 

Yes and the movie could also be her presenting herself in whatever way she would like to – in the present, saying, enacting, things she’s written.

Oh, in fact, we could travel to Hawaii and wait for the perfect sunset and photograph Mu Oahu or she could speak it there or walk along the beach while the string section comes in or is it an organ chord. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Tee wanted to do the camera work?

Oh Mother Ocean Love

Ocean Love  Ocean Love

 

Wednesday April 7 {1982} Full Moon in Libra

Tarot spread:

2 piles – One about Developments with Deborah. The other about marijuana and work.

2 aspects of each –

Deborah,                   Deborah,

the lady                      from this

herself                                    end, as

it were.

 

for each, a significator; a card about opposing forces, things that create difficulties or delays – and two cards about what will further the matter, what helpful influences there are.

For me: Deborah from this end:    Significator    The Page of Pentacles

Opposing: Queen of Swords

Helpful influences: Queen of Wands

Four of Wands

 

Reminder? X factor  7 of swords – reversed, oh no

 

The Lady Herself: Significator: The Four of cups!

Opposing; six of Swords

Furthering: The Hermit, reversed

The Page of Cups, inverted

 

 

Work and marijuana

Marijuana      Sig: The Knight of Swords

Opposing: Five of rods

Furthering: The Star            oh my

& The Knight of Pentacles inverted

My becoming/                       Sig: The five of pentacles

being a writer,                       Opposing: temperance

my Work                    Furthering: The Magician, inverted

The Knight of Rods

X-factor; 3 of cups, inverted

 

General Card: the Chariot

P.S. How about this spring that’s arrived?

What of the next few months.

 

The Devil Reversed

The Page of cups Reversed

 

Further Questions after Study

Re: the Lady herself:

  1. How do reversed Hermit and reversed Page of Cups further her?
  2. The Tower, inverted – slow gradual change or the querent moves slowly and deliberately with reflective thought attendant on each action

Or – change in the querent is blocked through adherence to an outmoded belief system

  1. Yikes – how can I bear it if it means “no change” ever?

 

  1. The Heirophant, reversed.
  2. Rebellion – the pursuit of new ideas, alternative forms.

“At the cost of deep pain the querent may break the icons, may stand free of some long-established habit.”

“An ability to handle complexity, a tolerance for ambiguity, and a rejecting of simplistic analysis and pat solutions.”

“The card of the non-conformist.”

 

  1. Do you really mean she could stay where she is? What about her?
  2. Eight of Swords – reversed

A woman bound and blindfolded, head bowed, tied to a post. Swords planted around her.

Gearhart: reprieve

Resistance to condemnation, fighting against it. Escape from death by ingenuity  and determination. The drive to self-preservation combines with cool-headedness to allow the querent or one associated to sidestep a perilous situation. Perhaps some power-that-be has her released at the last moment  or she is rescued by friends. Freedom. (Traditional meaning: Release from restriction, from fear.)

For some reason I didn’t really take that in. I still feel despairing.

 

  1. Please tell me about the Great Love that Holds us All
  2. Ace of Pentacles – in Waite, a woman’s hand reaches from a cloud, holding the world in the palm of her hand (echoing the hand in the four of cups card extending an unnoticed cup from the sea. I mean “tree”); below, “the garden path” the birther of the world.

The Earth

Demeter

She

Who sends wealth of every kind tumbling down through time to you.

 

  1. One more question. Sandra. How does she feel about fixing Deborah Kerr’s slippers when lots of women even wonder if that’s important or if D. isn’t just being a bit too much ‘the star”? What of my love, Sandra, in all this? How is she?

 

  1. The Nine of Pentacles!

Solitary Creativity

My favorite card to get in the whole deck, I think. Yes. An important image to hold with her. An important gift, when it comes from the universe. All is Well.

 

{I see I’ve got one I missed. Can’t remember the Q., exactly. Only something shocked, pained, panicked about The Lady Herself: Along the general line of “Is it really possible my dreams won’t come true? The signs seemed so clear!”

Got the 10 of cups reversed. “Infatuation” comments Graves.

Interestingly, of the upright he writes: Romantic or earthly love. … The idea is obviously one of the meeting of the sexes and the conception of life that results therefrom.” So – inverted – looked at 180˚ around…

Reversed”, Gearhart: criticism of the Personal “Feelings or deep beliefs on the part of the querent that to spend time on herself is a non-political pastime, prompted by bourgeois motives and permitted by middle class privilege.

“Irritation and impatience with someone who disdains, rhetoric such as “internal union” and integration within the self.”

Hmmm

 

Developments w/ Deborah: Me in this Relationship

Sig: Page of Pentacles – I think this was the sig. In the Tarot reading I kept for so long that I did not long after moving back from Eugene. So …I am the same one I was then – before I built the house or gave myself to writing – Someone beginning to learn how to work the material world. Gearhart: “Increasing Powers”: a person of higher class to whom material privileges are given as a characteristic of birth and circumstance. Gifts of intellect, creativity, financial acumen, or even psychic abilities – which are in this case, however, connected with work and career… through lots of work, diligent scholarship, responsible analysis, etc., there is nothing in the economic world closed to the querent.

Powers of accomplishment not yet used or even fully developed. Particularly psychic powers.

 

Crossing: Queen of Swords – the incisive, dualistic mind … I would say. Roses and the sword

Gearhart: “Patriarchal woman. The male-identified woman who has made it in the system or who is the perfect housewife/mother/grandmother. She supports the system … “her face is chastened through suffering” (…paradoxically, she herself may be a closet lesbian). Somehow she touches the querent’s life or is a part of the querent’s self.” Dare I omit that G.:she is dangerous.”

 

Furthering: Queen of Wands Graves “A calm and stately woman of vision and great patience… her strongest virtue is her patience, born of a faithful  submission to the unknown elements of her own positive inner self.”

Gearhart: Energy Progenitor “a black cat sits at her feet while lions play on the tapestry and constitute the arms of her throne.” “She is  the mentor of the use of energy in all its forms. Dianna the huntress, protector of her sisters, avenger of their enemies; the  active and authoritative side of the Empress. … more a figure of the ‘future’ or at least of the ‘present’ than the past.
This card symbolizes the positive use of power; generosity in sharing its secrets; commitment to women who energize her gifts.

And Furthering: Four of Wands (the card I got for the outcome of building my house, I remember.) Graves: “happiness. The symbolism here is that of which has long been awaited, the arrival of one (who appears to be the reader) heralded by a garland of flowers to welcome the weary traveler. She has finally made it to where she has so long desired to be. The castle is there, and the drawbridge is across the moat, as further invitation to that which is hers at last.”

Gearhart: “Delight and Frivolity, also, Celebration” “Here is the first burst of sisterhood, the rosy glow of women’s discovery of other women … Perhaps the solidification of a relationship …” Traditional meaning: completed harvest, perfected work. Rest after labor. Work that is enjoyed.”

Well…

And then there’s The Lady Herself

Significator oh, my, The Four of Cups, that old friend. The figure gazes in discontented wistfulness past the three cups already hers, unaware of the fourth cup, spiritual gift, already being offered her.

Gearhart: “Reflection (also Re-evaluation) … “Self-touch, or grounding. In general a period of reassessment, stock-taking, the search for new values.”

Graves: “Opportunity. …requiring that we make the effort to recognize it for what it is and not concentrate all our attention on that of which we are already aware. ..We must  … be  flexible enough to leave room in our lives to include events and circumstances upon which we had not planned.

Opposing: Six of Swords Graves: Control of understanding.  …as they put all rational and preconceived thought from their minds, transport it to a distant shore, so to speak – once the mind is completely divested of its burdens, true wisdom and pure understanding can find the room to take place.

…clear the mind…

Gearhart “Retreat from Travail” “Retreat from temporary failure. Some attempt to change patriarchal structures or individuals has fallen into futility. The figure takes the child (herself) to a place of rest, having paid some boatman too high a price so she can gain quiet. …Responsibility for someone or some enterprise weaker than the querent.

Furthering: The Hermit (reversed) and The Knight of Cups (reversed) I would understand both of these perfectly if they were upright. Perhaps a reminder that she is not yet seeking within, not yet open to the emotional, intuitive knowledge she will find there. Gearhart: K.C. : Passivity “failure in the use of the new weapon perhaps because of lack of understanding of its strength. … Defeat in bringing the message of self-discovery and self-love to others, perhaps because of too much faith in the recipients, perhaps because of lack of preparation…{or her} fear in getting in touch with herself.

Well, how these are furthering influences I don’t know. Perhaps a time of preparation – of her being on her own path, perhaps as reminders to me that those things are there in her, for her, but are not being manifested at this time.

X-Factor; General Comment: Seven of Swords (reversed): Narrow Escape Yikes! “Failure to complete the plan… Some misplaced trust perhaps.’ Yikes! Letting go. Letting be.  Traditional reversed meaning: “Good advice, instruction. Surrendering when victory is almost within grasp. Well, no wonder I was a little nervous. Still, the rest of the cards in that sequence – The Tower reversed – slow change. The Heirophant reversed – breaking icons, yikes; the eight of swords reversed – finally! – reprieve – for her. rescue by friends or the powers that be – freedom.

Ten of Cups reversed don’t get fixated.

 

My Work: Significator; Five of Pentacles

Gearhart: Poverty refusal of institutions to take seriously the querent’s creativity, intellect, skills. Rejection in what the artist is, in her work or manner of self-expression. … The message of the card could read “Don’t despair, there are alternatives to explore.” Important bonds may be forged with those sharing the same plight.

Well, maybe it means I shouldn’t think of my work in terms of earning my living from it. Very likely. Yes – Graves “the attainment of true wealth comes only for those who work to accomplish a deed and not to those who work for money.”

Opposing: Temperance: possibly a reminder that times of seeming stalling are really bouts of temperance. That what opposes my work may be balancing out my life.

 

Furthering: Magician reversed and the Knight of Rods.

Magician Reversed): The magician  would understand but why reversed? “Blocked Power” may be a reminder that like Deborah I am in a time of not fully understanding how to use the gifts that come to me. Patience.

Knight of Wands: Gearhart: “Impulsive Action”  maybe those things I do impulsively, without long reflection, are also “furthering” to my work. Graves: “A young woman firmly committed to bear the symbol of spirituality and to accept her own spiritual nature.”

 

Marijuana: sig. The Knight of Swords: the wilder of the dualistic sword. “a young woman who has taken the sword in her hand and turned to face the world with the decision that is forced upon her so long as she holds the sword. She must and will defend the balance defined by the sword even if it cost her her life…”

Gearhart; “Thoughtless action, no matter what the motivation, has dangerous consequences..” Trad: Fierce in action but little staying power..”

 

Opposing: Five of Wands “Internal Strife” Gearhart

Graves “This card tells us that the direction must be applied to any action in order that it be fruitful. It also suggests that the answer to direction is within the {wand} and not within the ego of the one who brandishes it.

 

Furthering: The Star: Rhymes with Deborah Kerr. Though the last time I got it it was to remind me that I am most centered when I am the star in my own movie. Graves: “Enlightenment” Gearhart: ‘Good health”. Yes. Both excellent reasons to persevere.

And also The Knight of Pentacles (reversed)”Unearned ease” Gearhart. “No visible source of income yet never in want. Lucky investments. Wild ideas pay off. The person whose ideas are golden, whose little effort seems to pay off heavily. … often wasteful with an abundance of seemingly natural gifts. Work is not necessary for her.

The fortunate person who always has people loving her, money coming in, ideas enriching her life. To discipline or to put gifts to work in a regular job would be to destroy the luck, one feels.” Perhaps a reminder of my blessed fortune in having time to myself just now. And that time will turn the trick.

 

X-factor; 3 of Cups (reversed) Dispersal of energy. Graves

Gearhart “Collective or interdependent action inappropriate at this time.”

 

Well, we come to the end of this journal just a month from where it began. At this rate “journals” will become a significant budget item.

How fortunate though –

what riches – the time to fill them.

Thank you                             thank you                               thank you

 

Ways to Make Money

 

1)   (Hmm the way that “one” came out it looks sorta like in the book when Dorothy got her first wish. Hmm) You could, uh, get a grant from the Oregon Humanities Council for Journal readings and Workshops encouraging the documentation of present history of the Women’s Movement in Oregon. Ask Libré what she thinks. Also about the timing between preparing a proposal and doing it. See also feminist history.

 

2) Course: for WIT or SOSC (very possible)

Some women philosophers of the 20th Century

Gertrude Stein

Annie Dillard

Mary Daly

Pearl Time’sChild

 

3) Publish your writing with a paying press.

 

More General Money possibilities

(1) Well, there’s always window washing and chimney cleaning.

(2)       Carpentry

 

 

Then There’s

Making Radio Tapes –  Mint sold her tape.

Write NPR about listener-generated tapes. Chance for an audience is a big incentive. Some of the best things I’ve heard have said For a copy send $6.00 to … etc. A good inexpensive way to generate programming.

Process could be facilitated by:

(1) a radio program itself. re the matter.

(2)       An editor to filter such tapes, decide possible programs, etc..

(3)  Detailed information for would-be  produces on the necessary tape quality, etc. But remember the higher quality you demand the harder you make it for people to do it. Some very creative people are quite poor, as I’m sure you know. Fostering and finding creativity  may be more important than always insisting on the most perfect sound quality. (You play 78 records on some program because that’s all there is – the only record. I submit the same principle should apply.)

  1. n) what if you just had one listener-generated program that worked along these principles? You could try it and see what you got. Lots of tapes of lots of local creativity, I’ll bet.

 

 

Friday evening April 16 {1982}

 

I did write – about 26 pages – still just getting started about the trip. But I am amazed I could do it. No great prose but still there it is some of the story down and editing can always happen later. The first stage seems to work best as a sort of debriefing – Just writing down everything I can think of, everything I can remember. It’s really best not to censor at that stage; you never know what will be important – something I censored and then put back in in Mu Beach was one of the things one woman found the most touching. Also – the natural movement of the mind is one of the strengths of your writing.

Whew! I feel so depressed tonight. Out of my natural rhythm – John has Marcella. This morning he got a telegram: Uncle Hans had died. I offered to take his classes if he wanted to go over for the funeral … So … he is going next week. And I’m teaching Fallacies, the problem of evil, and the question of universals. I’m not too worried about fallacies or the p of e but I haven’t thought about universals in a hundred years not have I ever been able to see the charm of that question. Anyway, John said he’d pay me something. I’d certainly do it for nothing, and I do insist he discount the day he covered for me when I stayed to see Deborah Kerr one more time that trip I am writing about – but anyway I do need the money and isn’t it interesting that I affirmed that I would get some extra money from an outside source this month. I didn’t have in mind that the universe would put me back to work; but I’ll not deny the extra money would be nice.

The time, on the other hand! With Sandra arriving as son as my stint at SOSC is over, well, pen, dear, thins may be our last night together for a while.

So let’s go a little further on the D.K. piece tonight, OK.

You wanna know how depressed I was when I was chopping wood? I was pretending that it was the beginning of fall term year after next and I was looking back bitterly on lost opportunities, wasted time. I was heading back into my teaching career and going “Well, I blew it.”

I can’t say I’m not terrified of that very scenario, but doing a week stint now and then and retiring for a couple of weeks R & R with your love isn’t the worst of worlds and then you may return restored and refreshed to The Work.

But oh yuck I’m so scared. The time is going by. And then there’s the storage. Every Friday Mom and I plow through mountains of stuff, fragments from the lives of people long dead, address books, ancient photographs, old sheets and 6” rulers – every conceivable … So may old pictures. Who will keep on keeping these … these things so dear to the people who had them? What does it all really matter? Etc. etc.

I’d hoped to work last night – Thursday night , but when Marcella went to bed I had to admit I was tired too and my stomach was already objecting to the amount of coffee and mj it had already processed – So even tough I’d only gotten up at noon (after turning in at 5:00 AM) I went to bed at nine and slept happily until 6:30 this morning. I had a nice dream. I can’t really remember it, but it was about the story of the time I went to see Deborah Kerr two years ago – about the story, somehow, maybe I was watching a movie or reading it to my writers group or to myself before the fire or just being it but I remember enjoying it and appreciating some of the charming things about it. And then understanding something important like “This is your story, Tangren, it isn’t Deborah Kerr’s” maybe that’s not clear. I guess just that it is my story. Its worth is really independent of what Deborah Kerr may or may not think, may or may not “be”, for that matter. That’s a space I need to reclaim. It’s getting far too important to me what D.K. thinks what with sending these letters and all. I also feel afraid of losing touch of those parts of myself that D.K. wouldn’t understand.

 

Anyway, about the dream.

It is your story, Time’sChild.

It is your story, Time’sChild.

It is your story, Time’sChild

Time’sChild: “If women’s stories are not told, the depth of women’s souls will not be known.”

Carol P Christ

Diving Deep and Surfacing; Women Writers on Spiritual Quest

 

Well now I don’t know just what to do or to try to do. I decided to read back through my Journal of this time: “Beyond Judgement”

Found I had written a great deal about that time already. In spite of teaching I left quite a complete record. So much was happening in my life then – building the house, teaching, the eclipse, grandma’s stroke. Though I didn’t get to really write out the story of going to see Deborah in the recalled, orderly way I would like, I did write quite a bit about it. And lots about other things … teaching, Grandma. Now I don’t know. I was thinking of this drive down to see Deborah as its own piece. …But now, I don’t know, certainly the character is much richer shown in all her roles – teaching, see Grandma through a stroke, building a house, Marcella, Butterfly. So what am I doing then? Writing part of the Autobiography of Deborah Kerr? Or part of Beyond Judgement and if I’m doing that then am I doing that now and is the book I’m presently working on Beyond Judgement? Could be. Or maybe I should just note that I have yet to decide  clearly what my first point of focus will be when we speak of a “book”, think in terms of a book. That even if I do the AB of DC first, then this piece may not be going into it. Nevertheless it is what you have chosen to work on at the moment. Let us say just to get it down before you forget it. Just to fill out the New Journal”. Could also be called “Beyond Judgement” or “A House of One’s Own”. Could include a great deal about building the house.

What was that Marcella said to Libré in her dream? “When you really get down to the essence of a thing it’s unbeginnable.”

I miss Libré. Maybe I’ll see her next week at school.

 

Sunday – early evening {April 18, 1982}

Just ready to turn to preparing for classes tomorrow. Took John to the airport, got groceries, etc., came home and went back to bed for a couple  hours… Got up and read “The Grand Inquisitor” for tomorrow, smoked, went for a walk and thought about the problem of evil. Want to write down some notes before I have to start thinking about logic.

Marcela and Kirsten put in an appearance. Marcella just had her hair cut and permanented – First time she’s cut her hair since she had a say in the matter, at age 3. So – she’s experimenting with changing her image – But what an image… I had to smile to myself: She and Kirsten in their matching T-shirts, blowing on matching bubble gums, combs in their pockets, vacant looks in their eyes sometimes. Last year I said “Now you’re 13, I wonder if you’ll be a teeny bopper” – this year I don’t have to ask…. Just be thankful this is a stage they want to go through by themselves and turn to other matters.

Sop what can I say about the problem of evil?

But first: It was interesting having John up for breakfast this morning before I drove him to the airport. He was sorting over his schoolwork, doing last minute things, rushed and grouchy, talking to himself…. But the intent hostility of his voice, as it sounded to me, surprised me … Surprised me, and yet with that feeling of remembering. I think if we talked about it, or if we did sometime, then he would deny that it meant anything. That it was anything but a normal grouch. And yet the threat and the menace. I don’t mean that he is menacing, he isn’t a physically violent person, but when he feels pushed or threatened his voce becomes so threatening in return. And I think he is really not aware of it. It was so hard when we were married to know what was indeed the projection of my supersensitive ego and what was unacknowledged hostility on his part. I don’t easily think I know people better than they know themselves; I think it’s very important to listen to and honor what people say about themselves, how they see themselves.

All I can say is that it was a reminder and did make me glad I am no longer married to him and dependent on his way of perceiving things. That I can make my own judgements, go where I am called and find love where I perceive it.

By the way, I wrote 51 pages last night of the story I am trying to write. Probably the bulk of it.

 

Speaking of bulk, I think I am still gaining weight… Noticed today when I was sitting in Deborah driving – my stomach is so big it’s kind of pushing on the rest of me. Maybe these pants are a little small but they didn’t used to be. I feel I have to stop gaining weight and yet I feel rather powerless, just hoping the trend will reverse itself, as it has done before. Of course, eating all these mj cookies, trimmed down as they are, is one of the major causes – the other is this extremely sedentary life – surely that will change some with summer – though in wonder.

 

Tuesday afternoon – April 20 {1982}

Just got home from the second day of teaching.

This was the hardest as far as preparing.

Yesterday had been rather fun teaching two logic classes and one basic problems class on “the problem of evil”. I was wondering of I could do it. I have done nothing “in the world” for so long, I was getting the feeling that I couldn’t.

Logic is fairly straightforward to prepare for and after X-amount of work one can pretty well know one is prepared. I woke up early and walked down the hill before class. The walk was lovely – it is nice to walk in town, too, in the spring and to see all the garden flowers. I didn’t have either coffee or mj in the morning.

It was fun to ‘go to my office”, to feel like a grown up with a job. Got through the first class fine; the second one was even better. The room was hot and I had no hope for alert minds but there were some. Afterwards I was tired – I hadn’t eaten much lunch, I’d been so keyed up. So had more food, cookie and coffee and was beginning to return to consciousness by time for the third class – “the problem of Evil”. Talked some about the basic problem – seemed they pretty well had it down. So I spent the rest of the time talking about my own history with it – and my own emergence from atheism through to some kind of trust, via a very personal route. And what happened to “the problem of evil” along the way…. What did? Well, mostly I ignored it. It’s not a problem for me, so far, in my own life. I think my faith may be far different if I were a woman in El Salvador – Perhaps I would not be able to believe in a good God. And how about me now? Am I forbidden to give thanks on account of the horrible things that happen to other people? I really don’t know the answer to this. When I stay close-focused on my own life it’s fairly easy to believe in magic, mystery, benevolence. When I look at the world (but which world?) then often it seems there is no sense or meaning possible, that it is total hubris to think it has any importance in the scheme of things what we do or suffer.

We talked some about resignation – vs – opposing evil, etc… it was fun, the students liked it – but it seemed like a long time had gone by when there was still 10 minutes left, then I talked for another 5 and finally gave it out. It’s my style, I guess. I don’t believe in getting into things gradually, as the teacher “playing dumb” gradually descending into level of profundity. I believe the way to approach a question is to explore it with everything that is in me, trying to help the students t do the same, trying for our best guesses, the cutting edge of our thoughts. But this often takes us through the material fairly fast and leaves us exhausted before the class is over, needing to take a break, or to call it quits early. I’d forgotten about that.

Going to that class I realized that I was really looking forward to it. It’s fun to “act in the world” with the amount of power one has as a philosophy teacher – to have the say with a whole group of people as to what we will think about, to use the opportunity to present the things I care about, think about. I have the chance to show that much who I am . I always dread college partly because of the “appearance” question… I know that looking like myself even in modified college professor form is … well, I look unusual to a lot of them, I’m sure. And the ways I don’t fit the standard of “beautiful” in a world where that is obviously highly valued by lots of them – make it hard for me to sit up there before them and let them look at me for long periods of time.

But the other side of the coin is that my dread of that is really out of proportion with what I actually do … That nowhere else do I frequently show such are parts of myself that I do love and care about and am proud of to so many people. I suppose some people never get beyond the appearance level but most do very quickly.

Of course, it’s very nice to be in the position of “guest lecturer.” (John and I used to notice how thrilling “guest lecturers” were; then we took a class from one and realized he’d pretty much shot his wad right there.) It’s nice to go in and say everything I want to without worrying how things will go from here, not feeling responsible for sustaining the direction and momentum of the class.

I was very worried this morning, though. Today was to be :”contemporary philosophy” class – John had asked me to continue discussing Bertrand Russell’s The Problems of Philosophy. Today, the question of universals. Well, universals never has been one of the questions of philosophy that had a real hold on me – It’s something I never think of at all except once every few years when it’s time for Plato in History. And Russell!  Woke up at 5:30 – crawled back in bed to read the chapters in question, read and wished for some coffee, finally fell asleep. I was having a long and uncomfortable dream about being at some sort of gathering at Sylvia’s (Sylvia Goodman, the Reichian therapist I saw for years). It was coming to my turn to do something amusing and insightful. I was contemplating a broken bottle and considering doing an incarnation of a “bar dyke” to try to show them some of what’s good about her strength – but I didn’t really feel up to it – and then I remembered I was supposed to be getting ready to teach that class anyway, so I woke up. It was exactly time for the alarm.

So after Marcella left I sat and finished reading B.R. – didn’t see anything to do really except to do a close outline of his arguments. But I did so with some horrifying feelings. One, that unless John’s world is quite different from mine this is gong to lose 95% of the students no matter how good it is. And that tightness in the head from having to understand thoroughly something I don’t really believe is worth the effort. Also, Russell seems to me so slide very quickly through some crucial passages. If he, who is convinced of the truth of what he is saying, cannot explain it clearly, how am I, who am not, to make it plausible? I began to smoke – castigating myself because I knew it probably wouldn’t help me get down B.R., not really able to say why except that it’s what I do in tight spots in hopes it will show me the way out. Which it did in a way….I didn’t have enough time to go extremely closely through all two chapters – though I got mostly through – many pages of notes – wondering what it all had to do with the class I was about to face. Not wanting to go in there and lose face by doing it badly, not being able to explain certain twists of the plot very cogently.

Anyway, as I was driving down I talked to Deborah, thanking her for saving me once again (going so quickly, turning so smartly, stopping and starting, accelerating precisely as needed.) for her power, asked her to give me power. Called on Deborah and Tangren and even Bertrand Russell himself as I ran to the school –

Maybe it was Bertrand Russell who came to my rescue – Calling on him perhaps made me able to remember… the Bertrand Russell who had so inspired and delighted me. I thought quickly about all the things I knew about Russell and all the things he meant to me. Decided to pick up my book with “A Free Man’s Worship” in it at the office, sat outside the science building and made myself a few notes –

Walked into the class still wondering what I was going to say and banged into the wastepaper basket. After that it was all downhill.

The easiest thing of course was to be candid with them about my dilemma. So then I decided to do a little of both – Talked about “the problem of universals” but from a distance of sorts. Noted, even before I began, the creeping in of “the object a word refers to”, “entities”. Afterwards talked about Wittgenstein and his life and how he came to call into question the uncriticized “pictures” that can tend to warp our thinking unnoticed, and about his alternate suggestions as to how language may acquire meaning other than the “standing for” model.

Sometimes I am surprised by what I find I do know when I start talking. It’s nice to work those gears; and sometimes from my present perspective I find things I couldn’t see at the time I was learning the facts. That’s probably one of the first understanding thing I’ve ever said about Wittgenstein.

But even then we had 45 minutes to go –half the class. So then I started talking about Bertrand Russell – his personal life, political life, mental life – The Principia Mathematica – and his spirit … that zest that takes life with utmost seriousness, figuring it all out using everything he’s got, then lives it. And the charm – “Elegance” as a mathematical virtue is mentioned. His article on agnosticism for Look magazine – How when they asked him if he weren’t afraid he’d go to hell for his unbelief, how he’d said “no more than I fear that Zeus will strike me with a lightning bolt.” The lovely change of perspective that gave me at 16.

And then I talked about what he thought about religion and began reading them “A Free Man’s Worship” But it’s hard for people to listen for very long –  and I also worried that this was perhaps an answer to a question no one had – how to find meaning in a universe where we just happen to exist –  asked if this model of the universe – devoid of purpose beyond ourselves – where we are atomic accidents – is one that pulled on them, challenged them, did they feel the pull of that view, did it seem to them right? About half the class talked, one after the other – Most of them took it very seriously – as “the truth” or as a big part of it, or as possibly “the truth”. It was good to know it was a world-view that interested them, that they felt challenged by. So we read until the end of the class, leaving a bit more to read for next time. It was interesting to see how the “world of universals” appeared again – clothed in poetry this time. Coming to see what it meant to him, that universals exist.

Anyway, I think many of them really liked it. After class both the older women in the class expressed their appreciation. One, whom I happened to walk back with, said I had “really humanized” the class, she’d loved knowing more about Russell, and that she thought the whole class was going to mean a lot more to her because of today.
Well, what delightful feedback! Another impossible situation surmounted, with style and grace and (a) marijuana (b) imagination (c) both of the above.

Well, another thing about being a guest lecturer is not having to feel that I am being swallowed whole by  my college-teacher self. I know it’s only for four days; I know I can return to my writing before very long. it makes quite a difference not to be dealing with that anguish. Think I’ll go for a walk.

Last night I gave Marcella a journal for her 14th birthday. I was not at all sure what she’d think… I don’t want to seem to be pushing her to keep a journal – I know it’s what I  do. But I also know how nice it can be to keep a journal, and is a common urge among girls her age. I told her it could be a scrapbook or whatever she wanted it to be. … I also gave her some books – The Diary of Ann Frank and Heartsongs- the Diaries of Young Girls. Anyway, she really loved the journal and wrote in it that very night when we got home. She said she’d been rather looking for the right sort of book – liked this one.

Well, I should have known. After all it came to me on March 17 when I was looking for Silences for Deborah Kerr – at Bloomsburys. They didn’t have Silences but they had this beautiful, Golden embossed book, full size, that I’d been coveting for a while. And it was the last copy. I got it for myself, to make a book that was not a journal – to use for a scrapbook or is it a chapbook? Or to use to put together my AutoBiography of Deborah Carr. Anyway, when Marcella’s birthday was coming it seemed the best book I could find – though I did look at others. Well, Mothers and daughters, Deborah and Persephone. It’s all one, I tend to guess.

And I have to admit there are some universals I believe in, too, like The-Great-Essence-of-Deborah-In-the-Sky (courtesy of Universal Studios)

Tangren, go for a walk.

That night I told Marcella it might be best to write in pen – that my old journals in pencil have begun to become illegible. She showed me that she had begun hers in pencil – I didn’t try to read it, but I couldn’t help noticing it began “Dear Book,” Seems a good beginning.

 

Friday PM {April 23, 1982}

Yesterday, Thursday afternoon – Just home from teaching Contemporary Philosophy, and then drove up to Mom and Dad’s to tape the second half of Beloved Infidel. Mom came in to watch some of it with me – talked about finding an old letter from Pearl, made her remember their good talks, how much Pearl added to her life.

But also, talking about Deborah Kerr and what I wanted by sending her the book. I said “Well, anyway, I’m just trying to get her a little ready for what I’m planning to send her.” “You be careful now,” said Mom, “You don’t want to ruin it.” Good old Mom. I can’t be too close to her … she just wades in leading with her fears so often – She has such power to hurt or scare me… in the way that anyone one see a lot of and is somewhat intimate with does. Anyway, she doesn’t think I necessarily would have to show the stuff to D. just cause I’m publishing it, in the small ways I do publish.

… I don’t know. Perhaps that’s true. It does complicate things – I have a certain responsibility if she’s going to hear these things that I don’t have if she remains a far-off bit of the culture I grew up in. and that’s the only reason.  Also want to give it to her as a gift of love, because it’s possible it might make her happy to know that’s what she’s meant to someone. I want not to be left with my little fears.

I notice that I have been a bit wound out around mail time these last two days. Figuring that they were about the first in which I could hear from her if she wrote right back. Trying not to expect anything or get wound out and anxious if it’s not there. I don’t think I am basically hung up on the matter, after all, I’ve had years of vast love and creativity after that happened before. But the timing of the days just now can’t help but place a certain focus on the question of a reply. Mom did say something helpful just before that, though. She said “Well, you really didn’t send it to get a reply, did you? You sent it to get her thinking about acting her own writing.” And that is definitely right – and good to remember.  One of my hopes is that she won’t answer now but that someday will come a tape of her reading her writing.

In that context, it’s interesting to think about what did come in the mail these days. Yesterday, there was a form letter from Susan Stamberg’s secretary saying Susan couldn’t answer personally the large volume of mail she receives but she did read it all and appreciate my “thoughts and suggestions.” Then tonight when they read the mail on the radio, Susan said “We’re sorry we can’t answer it all. But don’t let that keep you from writing.”

The other item of mail was from the local radio station about a NPR program, Prairie Home Companion, that is gong to be produced in Ashland for 2 nights. At the time I pondered that for a moment. SS can’t answer (but she does read it) and NPR is coming here. Then today there was something more from NPR – a cassette tape catalogue. Hmm…

John and I were having a discussion about miracles last night – first time we’ve talked about religion in years. He was saying that a miracle” is just an odd event and that the only point in it might be to jog you into seeing everything as a miracle – Any more “wonder” he seemed to find contemptible, of no value in itself and proof of nothing.

Well, I said, it depends on the event. For instance, it seems to me good deal of the time that the Universe speaks to me through my life, sends me puns and jokes and symbols that only someone who knows me intimately could think of. That the events of my life speak to me. It seems to me that it happens much more frequently than chance would have it.  Don’t know if this was always happening and I didn’t know it, or whether it’s only lately. But it does seem to me that the more I accept that my life could be that way, the more it happens. (Of course, I am conscious of having Job’s vulnerability.)

“Well, you’re an interesting person” he said. “Well, thank you” I said. (Come to think of that, that line came straight from Sheila Graham/D.K.) I was pleased – it had been taking a frightening risk to tell him that. “We didn’t used to be able to talk about religion,” he said. ‘No,”  said. “The last time was when you said ‘You just get that angelic look on your face and then you go on and on!” I never tried to talk to you about it again.”

“Well,” he said “you musta been worse then.” “What do you mean? I’m perfect now” I joked. It was a measure of how I am too polite that I didn’t even think of saying “Who was worse? We had a good talk and I enjoyed sharing talking about the teaching I’d done – and it was nice to hear how things are in his world. But by the end we were arguing about whether the Faulkland Islands were worth war. I am awfully glad I am not trying to maintain a close relationship with him. .. really, no wonder I had tension headaches.

…His absence from the hear-and-now – I meant the “here and now” but the point is well-taken. How hard it felt to get a word in edgewise – I got to talk for an unusual length of time because I needed to tell him what had happened in the classes. …And just his lack of sensitivity in a hundred ways. The competitiveness there is between us – left from when we tried to shape a world-view together. At times I’ve wondered about the possibility of being closer with him again some day. At the moment it doesn’t strike me as at all a good idea. One never ceases to love where one has loved, perhaps, but at times at least it must be from a safe distance.

So … back to safe distances.

and the unusual nature of the mail.

Actually, another recent sign was the money that came when I affirmed for it.  …Not only the $300, but $10 extra on a payment coming in, and a red felt tip pen on the sidewalk just a few days after I’d said to myself that I was going to need one soon. “I seem to need frequent fixes of the miraculous” I’d said to John. I seem to get them, too. But today, though I affirmed for it, there was no D.K. movie next week. Well, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” I guess. {It is true that one disadvantage of this belief system is that every setback is also a crisis of faith.}

But at least I’m not trying to justify it to anyone else.

 

Well, anyway, yesterday between teaching and going to pick up John I watched Beloved Infidel” – especially watched Deborah Kerr enjoy hearing something written about her – came home – with half an hour to have to myself before Marcella/John giving them supper, etc. – and smoked. I must say I also smoked before a couple or 3 classes – and in fact am doing so again now.

It’s interesting to see it again –

The smoking before classes is the way I have used to create the teaching that I do – Though once, before logic class, I must admit did nothing for the quality of the class.

But the afterwards, the transiting.

It’s not that teaching school is so bad, really. It energizes me in certain ways to be out there acting in the world, doing something that I do well and the job in some ways is worth doing. It’s good for me to discover that I can act in the world – but I do just get so far from my creative, centered self who writes what I write and knows what I know that a kind of blind panic sets in. I asked myself when I began this evening why I couldn’t wait and trust and go plant the tomatoes I’d get in the morning – But I just said “ I have to know that everything is all right first, before I can do anything.” Whatever that means.

Anyway with that half hour between it all I smoked and stretched a little bit; and thought about everything.

Seeing Deborah Kerr play Sheila Graham had been … interesting … and a little scary. Scarcely, if ever, did she become ‘the essence of Deborah Kerr.’ (What I mean by that is that there are some roles any competent or good actress could have played, and then there are some which had  have been done by Deborah Kerr – Tea and Sympathy, Quo Vadis, I’d say – the list is disputable… But perhaps the concept is clear.
Sheila Graham was in some ways not a very strong or deeply self-knowing woman. (The minute I say that the opposite comes to mind – her strength in coming from where she did, her self-knowing in writing her Auto-Biography, in fact.) But not with Deborah Kerr’s kind of strength which (ideally) comes from an inner awareness. Well, anyway, I thought she was overly impressed with F. Scott Fitzgerald, when he didn’t write about her half as sensitively and perceptively as I do… And Sheila’s strength, maybe this is the way to say it, is a hard strength, not a gentle strength. (Except –except when she says ‘hello”)*

*And her saying ‘hello”… How many women were seeing themselves, their lives in that movie – Living with someone who becomes pugnacious, mean, even violent from drinking. Who betrays her trust. How many women screamed with her I’m not going to waste my life on you,” declared with her “I have had it, with his charm and his          and his drinking” and yet in the end she went back to him and they found happiness together for a while before he died. Well, women learned both sides of the pull from that; I‘m sure it didn’t hurt to see her self-respect and independence assert themselves for a while.

Anyway, watching lots of Deborah Kerrs, wondering if those would be the Deborah Kerrs if I met her. (She’s so wonderful doing the faked smile, the put-on smile, the uneasy smile. She makes it so clear.) perhaps if I met her I still would not meet the Deborah Kerrs who matter to me.

I picked up a pencil and the back of a piece of paper and wrote:

I take what is best in me

and offer it to what is best

in you. I can see you are

many many selves – and

with many of then I have

no essential business. But there

are selves in you that call to

what is best in me, momentary

incarnations of Deborah Kerr –

moments of strength and kindness,

fellow-feeling and self-knowing,

moments of integrity, and artistry,’

that have shown me what can be.”

 

I know I have to be prepared to be totally graceful about getting no answer if I’m going to do things like send her that letter I sent her. At the time I felt such love – having just written about that dream, pretty much understanding about perfect love and all, – saying by my sending it that I was not afraid of her not replying, saying, I hope, that I knew it was taking the risk of being sorted into her “crankcase” pile. Or maybe she has another more charitable file marked “things I can’t really take the time to deal with at all” “EXCUSED” for short.

Well the only thing is now I do feel a little worried and sorta overexposed because she knows that your kept that article all that time and you think about her quite a bit and maybe knows that you love her soul. { ()But even Perfect Love could prove embarrassing. ()& Could turn to less in short order.} {Well, she muusta known that from the tape, don’t you think? Maybe for you to love her soul is not what she feels she needs at the moment. ()Likely ()Unlikely ()Irrelevant ()Relevant}

If she discounts you, does she discount your gift, your message? Does she think you exaggerate? Are over-impressed. (She knows you can imagine her hand.)

And anyway not hearing from her now may only mean she’s taking a while to think about your suggestions. Or maybe she’s not going to the bullfight today but just walking on the beach. That would be the most wonderful result of all. And if it does happen I’ll get to watch it all in life-review. {(I can hardly wait to watch with Marcella as Deborah and her daughters unpack the doll!)}

And if for some reason it all means little or nothing to her? …. Well, then maybe sometime she and I will watch my movie for a change. … I guess the answer then must be that all that matters is what it means to me? Not well-put… “She does not have the key to assessing the significance of my love for her. That question is only for me to answer. It’s only for me to validate the importance of it.”

It’s hard to keep believing/understanding what I say even as my hand writes it out – a fear creeping in.

Hmm at the new morn {moon?} today I was running errands – most probably driving with Deborah Carr. How much I appreciate her – what a miracle she seems to me – her motor purring, her tires galloping down the miles, day after day, carrying me through my worlds, to my worlds, enabling me to live my life. Starting, Stopping. Her loose old joints rattling, her strength still so sure.

 

 

Table of Contents

 

The Boxed Set”        143, 147

 

April 10 {1982}, Saturday night

Dear diary, Well, I finished up the last journal in under a month. Didn’t want to start you today because I hate to admit what a dumb thing I did today .. Right at the top of the first page and all. But maybe I’ll call this journal “Palimpsests and Mirrors; Part II” and that way it won’t be quite so much like introducing myself afresh at the beginning of a book. Anyway maybe by now I am far enough down the page and into the complex reading to admit that it was not a good idea to do that today. But first: Audience! Out! Out! Shoo! I’m tired of writing for posterity! I’d just like to talk to Tangren privately if you don’t mind. And if you’re still reading then I warn you this is at your own risk of extreme boredom This Is Not For You. Which is by the way the title of a book by Jane Rule I certainly want to read.

 

_______                                _________                            ________                              __

 

the phone rang – Sandra.  Just hung up. A long talk – she reminding me of the depressions Charlotte Perkins Gillman went through, and what Judy Grahn said today about after having been a full time writer for five years she feels pretty integrated and that everything she does, gardening, errands, whatever, is all within the context of her writing. “it’s all process.’  (J.G. is also doing a book on the writing of true stories – as opposed to fiction. I need her address.) And then as I thought we were about to hang up she told me – she had something she wanted to share with me. Turned out when Claudette was there recently the two of them made love. She said it opened her up to me, to remembering me, too. And when she came home she found the tape from me there – found she could remember me so much better for having been opened up. I know what she means – I’ve experienced that, too.

Basically, it’s a little scary – there are some worries – but not really. She feels she wants to make the other 3/4 of her life that we don’t spend together as full of meaning and value to herself as the time we spend together. We affirmed the goodness of our separate lives – and how what we are for each other supports that goodness. Basically, there may be some awkward moments, but I’m not really afraid. Sandra said it was during “advocate agape” time and she was thinking “well, maybe she’s doing the same.”  “I do think,” she said, “that my preoccupation with Deborah Kerr this last little while does at least even things out…. And I will say, I also thought – “it could have been me” – with Thyme. With Hannah. “We are faithful to each other in our fashion.”

I could wish it weren’t someone from Ashland … That could complicate things. But I won’t borrow trouble. It was nice to get the news now … when I am sensitized to my strengths in solitude, and my other connections, rather than when we were together when I get so focused on her. Thank You for the Telephone.

Well now it’s page 4, so I guess I can tell you what I started to. It’s only that I rather foolishly took acid today. Only 1/8, which is what I like. But from such a silly, uncentered space. I was in  a hurry to get centered and creative. The weekend with Marcella and Kirsten – (we watched “The Robe” Friday night) – Mom all day Friday, before that, headache and trying to heal and to connect with Beaver for a latihan. Tomorrow the Writers’ Group meets. I wanted to dive into myself/my work today – nearly desperate to return to the work. Wanted to smoke – was so tempted … then remembered that my alternative to mj was acid – But it was dumb.  It needed to be a Virgo sort of day – letters sorted, wood in, etc.. so all I did was to incapacitate myself for all useful endeavors. Feeling … not really “sick” but that feeling of the system being under attack – the blood leaving the extremities, the skin; that fluttering of the light occasionally; and the weakness from not being able to eat, then eating anyway and being attendant then on the system’s cleansing, long spells on the toilet. A long soak in the bathtub.

Altogether I was quite put out with myself. I should have known that was not the time for it. No great inspirations. Nothing bad, but I’ve felt better, happier, more centered even straight, and probably would have.

My impatience is my own worst enemy. Or is it my patience?  Do worry about my lack of output. It’s all very well to write poems about pulling beets, as I said to Sandra. And I’ve even written great stuff about going to the lawyer – (as I have to Monday) and if journal writing and letter writing were what I considered my work – (which I do, but yet) then  I could say I’ve been working a lot lately.

But in terms of output, of things finished and out, nothing. It scares me.

Charlotte Perkins Gillman,” said Sandra, “wrote Women and Economics in forty days. She did the rewrites for the editors in 2 1/2 weeks. And yet, so much of her life was a battle with depression… she’d totally lose sight of the monumental work she’d created – and feel that she hadn’t done anything. … it interests me to read about women and recognizing their own creative processes.”

 

Well, I wanted to sing or read tonight, to make some tapes. But my voice feels so hushed and my hand so wants to write trivial things to you, Tangren, dear. I miss you.

I can write all this, but even now I am having a puff now and then. Impatience? Anxiety? At least I did make myself listen to Morning Program * and found myself beginning to awaken from breathing – remembering to trust, etc.

* This is a spot when I had to decide who I was writing for. I would not have written this if I’d been trying to communicate with the world at large – the reference is not  clear. But it is to you, Tangren. And so important for it to be you, sometimes, to whom I’m talking.

 

Well, I wonder what Deborah will make of my latest letter. In some ways I do wish I hadn’t sent it; it certainly could confirm her fear – “Give ‘em two sentences and they’ll take four pages.”

Still – it does come from a good place. I do try to remind myself that writing her was a direct outgrowth of writing the “solution” dream. And that I was quite aware of the impropriety of writing her again so soon. At the time I didn’t feel attached to that fear in either of us …. Didn’t feel afraid of that, I guess I mean. Not that I knew it wouldn’t happen but that I was not afraid even if it did.

And it was  again not an easy one to reply to and in fact no reply was needed but only to up the chances of the sky and the sea to be noticed blending. But there is no way I could say the love didn’t show. In fact it could be the most loving letter she ever got. (Save one.)  even though she’s gotten a lot of them. But anyway, I think She Knows. (That you love her.) by now. There’s not much you can do about that except to stay in solution as much as you can, and wish Her her own Ocean.

The Tarot didn’t seem to indicate things would happen in any great hurry – nor could you stand them too. Just remember her and the Ocean and “Hold the thought.”

Well, Mom agreed it was a good idea to send the letter right away, when she heard it. “You never know,” she said, “time could be important.” That’s what I think too and anyway it was such a good idea. (I hope, though, that she doesn’t feel the Autobiography movie is such a bad idea (which she may. Having been so famous does tend to foster a reticence, it seems) (That’s one of the things I’d like to know about. If I got famous, would it do that to me? Does the openness with which I write depend upon not being known?  Or for the most part even heard?)

Or is the case entirely different when one’s audience is lesbians, woman-identified-women? And, I might add, when one is Tangren Time’sChild and not Deborah Kerr? But even Tee Corinne is experiencing something similar. Being in those sex-education films seems to have been  a lot of over-exposure in some ways…. Wish I knew.

Anyway if Deborah Kerr is aghast at the idea of her hand on the screen writing “The Autobiography of Deborah Kerr” then will she overlook the brilliance of the simple suggestion that she should tape some of her writings? Or will she go home early and spend a couple of weeks alone looking over her writings and trying, just for herself, saying some of them, meaning some of them, coming to see herself as a character, coming to know that she is a writer.? Or is it still the hermit reversed?

Mutatis mutandis, you must always look at the mirror image. Are you trying to tell yourself that you are a writer, that it would not be all that hard to take a couple of weeks and experiment with enacting some of your writings … and what do you say? You plead you are not ready yet, you haven’t yet the self-love, the skills, the writing is not yet fully shaped. But of course that’s where Deborah Kerr has an advantage over you. Acting is easy for her – “easier”?

Well, anyway, she knows how to whistle her fears away and go in there and do something or other, even if it’s not her absolute best. … and usually it is not her absolute best. She is used to settling for less than perfection, and getting a lot of output that way, and many moments that shine in one way or another and sometimes even find perfection. She’s used to switching from other concerns to “enacting”, she knows how to turn on the artist in herself.

This is one of the things you want to learn from her.

On the other hand, you, my dear T., (oh, dear, was that too intimate? But there wasn’t room to put my name! “Excused”) you, Time’sChild, yoo-hoo,          you are much more used to thinking of yourself as a writer and you have the advantage of a supportive community and a life geared to solitude and artistic production – and yet you don’t feel anywhere’s near ready to be making TAPES yourself. So don’t bee too surprised if Deborah doesn’t rush home this late summer and do it. Doesn’t mean she won’t. You either.

Maybe studying patience with Deborah is also a way of learning to be patient with yourself. Oh, I wish all those people would get out of here. Deborah. Tee & Caroline, Sandra. And the wide world of archivists. Tangren, Tangren, I long to be alone together. Will we ever have a chance if you become a famous author?

Yes, my darling daughter. Never fear. It is your pathway Home. Peace. You’ve just got the jitters. Even happens to You-Know-Who on occasion. You will be happy again in sweet meadows in the sunshine and there will be daffodils still, and coming Home to Oneself in the happiness of Loving, and in the Happiness of Solitude. OK?

Once Carol Castelore was talking about a friend of hers who makes the choice,  (15,040), because of the nature of her writing, not to become famous during her own lifetime. Sometimes I think about that. It has its attractions. And in a way I live that way. That is, right now I am only working on creating the art, living the life and creating the “raw material” of art, the living and the journal – and letter – writing. I am not setting up tours or even readings at this point. I guess I do feel called above all to do the thing that only most uniquely I can do – to create my own life and writings. That way they will exist.

If “the World” never cares about them, still they will exist in the Cosmic Play; in the pattern of the Universe; it will have been enacted. Since I don’t – for a while at least – have to earn my living by my art, I can afford to concentrate on this end of things for a while; and I trust my art will be the better for it. I do have hearers, my close friends, the writer’s group, readings once in a blue moon – but that’s really as much as I can manage right now. When I have more things finished then will be the time to explore putting things out, hearing my own voice.

 

List of Questions for People at Writer’s Group

Tee: (1) Think about this 60-year-lockup business. Isn’t there an alternative?  Someone you absolutely trust to do the right thing. Is it right for those images to be locked up during the time they were created for?

(2) Good patent lawyer.

Ruth: (1) What’s on the list of tapes you are listing?

(2) Ask about: Z. Budapest:

Elizabeth the Dog:

Take her a tape of Irene?

(3) Problem: The Use of Recorded Songs – will have to be dealt with before I can offer               them for sale. Yikes!

Tangren – Things to talk to Mint about:

(1) copyright matters for doing radio programs.

(2)       Explore the possibility of doing a radio program of a NW lesbian writers reading their own writings – (and each other’s)

(3)  or – “Shakespeare’s Sisters

(4) Send her a copy of 2:00 AM Valentine’s Morning.

(5)  W.S. program

 

But anyway about the choice as to whether to “become famous’ or not – the seeming impossibility of that accomplishment can often keep one from considering its desirability – “you talk as if you had a choice about it” says the Self-Hater. “What Hubris! Of course, you know it has to be all sour grapes.” – the reaction serves to stop the internal discussion dead. My, S.H. sure is impolite, isn’t she?

 

As I was saying about choosing whether not I want to become “known”, now, or later; well, one thing I think about is that my message is for my time. It is couched in the symbols of the now and of the recent past – Barbie Dolls, Deborah Kerr, Raggedy Ann, Deborah Carr,

the whole transition to my own vision of lesbianism,

the healing it holds is for now.

Conversely, it is the Now where vast healings are needed in the world.

God, I can’t believe it – TWO wars are threatened for tomorrow night.

On channel 1, Britain-vs-Argentina.

And on channel 2, it’s Israel-vs-Lebanon

I’m glad I sent that letter to Her when I Did!

Well, I suppose my writing/creating will be a bit of both.

For instance, Mattell may stop me from showing Silene (or z. Budapest may) that something is dubiously distributable isn’t enough to keep me from doing it anyway, even if it’s only for “posterity”, or only for me and a friend or two or a few people I care about to enjoy. If it’s a good enough idea that’s reason enough to do it.

Of course, all this holds for Deborah Kerr, too.

Isn’t it funny that the first Raggedy Ann books were written here in Ashland?

Wouldn’t it be neat if Kay Atwood did a book on Rogue Valley artists and writers? Wonder if Kay would like to see a copy of Jan 1980? You need to make some copies of that. You need some money.

Thank You for the Money That Will Appear to Do That.

(If it is going to be hard to come up with the $150.40 for Sandra to work on Womanspirit.)

Tangren! I just had a great idea! If there’s a hundred or two left in savings, afterwards, why not give yourself a grant from the Health-To-All-Manifestations-of-Deborah-Kerr grant from the Research Branch of the Life-as-Art-Supply-Store for Pearl Time’sChild to assure her works a better chance of rescue from Oblivion.

 

Well, lets’ see

$1,006.70                                          $860 taxes

from Sav soon   +225. —                                           235 est taxes due

$1,231.70                                          $1,095
  1,095. –

36.70 – not quite enough to pay Sandra for next mo.

Well, it was a good idea, while it lasted. (Unless Sandra would just a soon not do it; stay in Santa Cruz?; when would  we see each other?) (Some other solution.)

  1. A) Don’t burn down the house. That should be easy. You’ve managed it so far.

And B) You can always make tapes.

  1. C) Even if you haven’t got $150.40 you could maybe treat yourself to $35 or so. Maybe.
  2. D) And as you said, the most important thing is to live it, create it.

 

Yes. If putting it out stresses you out too much, and I do mean marijuana, well, if it comes to that, it’s the enacting it in the first place which is the most important thing – and the creation of art therefrom.

On the other and I know that your secret hope is that putting it out and getting validation and hearing will lessen the stress and the need for internal fortification of the m.j. type. M.j. is needed for imaging the reality, but once it’s brought into being, you hope it will self-perpetuate.

 

Writer’s group.

Hannah says she’s setting my song – 2/3 done. 4 parts! Violin, viola, cello.

July – Tee – slide show of women photographers pre 1930.

 

Lessen the stress                 Lessen the stress

 

Arcadian nights > Bedtime stories for Lesbians Deadline: August 1, 1982

Victoria Ramstetter              lesbian-identified erotic stories, fantasies, journal entries, etc.

PO Box 20216

Cincinnati, Ohio 45220

 

May 25           Writer’s Group                      Judy Grahn

WomanSpirit Solstice Evening –

find out whether other conflicting events.

Creators of WomanSpirit” – Name? Theme? Some way to tie it together? Should have an M.C. Jean – :Introduced as “beaming founder” –Photographic exhibit – a portfolio – :

(Announce in Rough Road) History – how each performer – person – came to Womanspirit.

(Billie Jo)

 

Possible performers:            Jay?                Sacha Ashland Issue

Billie Jo                                              Bethroot – Hawk sing.

Deborah Mountain                                      Izetta –

Zarod (early – goddess with a small ‘g’)

Maybe xerox a letter – to participants

Good to have examples of the copy.

Q: What issue are you reading from? How long?

Ask Hannah – who else around here has published songs in WS.

Balopticon { Overhead projectors.

ASK TEE

(could be one week later)

When will Tee and Caroline be here?

Check with Golden re scheduling.

Chris Carol? Kay G.? Sally Gearhart – resourcement

Naomi Littlebear?

Announcement in WomanSpirit

Letters- Shelly Saraswati

 

Honoring 8 years of women’s creativity. Published maybe 1500 women

Joan   Elsa

Barbara Altar – address      Zarod?

Special invitation gave $1000 to start things

Sea anemone

 

Remember – statement of purpose – in beginning issue

In the beginning thee was R & J and the I Ching … They are at Albion, trying to decide their future, looking out the window – trees, mt. Ranges, ocean. 2 hawks fly up and sit in tree nearby. What did it mean? I Ching. “Pushing Upward” (46): 6 in the 4th place:

 

Form letters > asking abut participants.

Xerox postcards.

.36 for 10 — $8 for 50 } colored stock?

$10.00 for postage for this from R & J.

Date settled soon.

 

MAKING TAPES

Oct 13 and school starts

From the New Journal

2 AM valentine’s Morning

Coming –

Raga Dianne

Mu Beach

Price –                        $5.00 lowest feasible

Cost $2.00                                                                                                                                         $5.50

55¢ for me

75¢ for Ruth

$ for review Copies

Write Mint:

Feminist Radio Stations

I           2:00 AM Valentine’s Morning

School Starts & Tangren Has Some Dreams & Oct 13

II From the New Journal

III January 1980

❾❾projected………..                                                                                                                                                                                Where does Fantasy Letter

IV The Raga Dianne  The Box                                                                                                                                                                         to Deborah Kerr go?

V Mu Beach

 

Monday evening {April 12, 1982} – about 11:30

Why, I haven’t even checked in here since I got back –

Why do I always have to relearn this delicate process of centering in? Relearn patience? The sense of the time flying is so great on me often when I have had to spend a spell away from the work. I’m so anxious to return to it. Often so blind to …

Phone – Sandra

 

Tuesday afternoon {April 13,1982}

When the wind blows hard, as it does this afternoon I often wonder what is changing, what is happening. The day Grandpa died there was a high wind… no time to write.

 

Wed morning {April 14, 1982} 4:00 AM – Went downtown in the afternoon – sent off taxes. Forgot I’d already paid the tax accountant, so I had &168 left in savings – without the rent from Suzy – that’s $225 more. $493 will be in savings for now – that’s much better than nothing, which I had expected. Maybe I can build it back up – though how? Not quite sure I’m going to make it through the month on my income.

Last night I was starting to write in here when Sandra called … just when I was wishing she would. Saturday night she told me that on the Full Moon when Claudette had visited her, they had made love. … Ah, I see I’ve written that already … There was so much else to process – Writer’s group, R & J, T & C – in between that I hadn’t really gotten any further in my thinking or feeling. … I was surprise to hear that S. feels they have begun a relationship or at least “a friendship” – It was a jolt to think that in her one week here she might not even spend all that with me. In fact I told her I was possessive of her time that 1/4 time we were to spend together. She thought there would be spaces of time, eg. when Marcella is here – and I expect she’s right. Still it was a shock. And just all the complications of her relating to someone in Ashland. … Surprising how those old wounds are still there – those raw spots. Most of the time in my life I feel far beyond petty jealousies and resentments; yet it’s so easy in this situation to feel peeved and less than generous. Humbling, I guess.

Anyway, that is last night and tonight is tonight, in fact, almost tomorrow.  Feel impatient with my work, or lack of it. Want to take hold writing about Deborah Kerr.

Perhaps today she is getting my letter… eight days – six there and two to forward. It’s making me a little anxious; at times I wish I had not written again so soon. (…”I knew it! Send her two sentences and she dogs my doorstep!”…) Ah, well, maybe back to being the un-replied-to fan is where I need to go…. after all  I was doing quite well these past 2 years…

(Funny, when I was looking through my collection of articles for “A Faith for My Child”, my eye was caught twice by articles from the period of the breakup of her first marriage…. “Vertiel was not the cause; the marriage had not been in good shape for quite a while.” … and … “Deborah was ripe for some happiness.” …. Hmm…)

Well, who knows? Probably the very most important thing to remember is the dream that it all proceeded from, about staying here, in this, you know.

Where? In what? Where is it? How do I get centered? I wake up with this blind thirsting to write, to get on with it to write the story of Deborah Kerr, feeling how the precious time is slipping away – anguish over the responsibility I feel to those moments of insight that have come to me. That time latihaning after Prudence and the Pill. The story I could have written in the days after I returned from seeing her in the play, if there had been any time. Now there is time, and where are the stories? Or am I just going to spend this precious space of time writing in my journal and doing errands, and tired from too much coffee and marijuana. I am even smoking too much again. Why always this hours and hours battle to get centered again?

Well, for one thing, dear, just now you are beginning a stretch of real solitude. Don’t forget the unsolitudinous nature of the past few days – Molly and the theater last night (Wings), errands yesterday PM, the afternoon before, mom and the lawyer, in the evening latihan with Vivienne and Deborah Mountain. The day before, writer’s group, R & J, T & C, Hannah. So really you are just easing into solitude now – for a little over 24 hours – M. comes Thurs. Night. Well, let us say that by this coming night there is a good chance you will be more centered than you are right now. …Oh, yes,  begin to remember just a little about trusting.

I never do any yoga, meditating. Once in a while I remember to out on the breathing tape. But there’s a lot of blind clinging to the chemicals – mj and caffeine – as if they were my only chance.

P.S. You know how fast you can do it when it does start to come.

 

Wed noon {still April 14, 1982}I think one reason it’s hard to get centered these days is indeed that I can give up too much for Deborah Kerr – that I could. Whatever virtues and strengths she possesses, she is hardly a lesbian feminist witch philosopher child. Which you are at times, child. And you’ve probably written more good stuff than she has. And you know you need solitude. And will you be able to go on carrying on with your car and communing with her picture? If she materializes as a person, what happens to her as myth in your life?

Well, today it probably got to her – even now it is evening on the ocean in Spain. Remember, Tangren, this is not the sort of letter one can easily reply to. Nor was it even designed to be. The result you hope for is mainly that she should a little more come to herself.

On her wall Deborah seems to look a little more disapproving today – oh, dear, no wonder I’m having a hard time enthusing about her today.

My dreams last night were good – Though I can remember nothing but a few meaningless images. Seems I haven’t remembered a dream in a while.

Why is it being so hard to take up my work? I do remember it was hard to start Mu Beach – that once I could get started and there was a body of writing there to work on, the rest was much easier. The hard part is to believe in the thing before it exists.

I miss Sandra. Yesterday morning I was in bed masturbating – what an awful word – and yet I can’t really call it “making love to myself” … thinking what a far cry this activity is from the image of sexuality that I hold up to myself as the important thing … That deep, imaginative existential dance {“I believe you must make love as you pray, with everything that is in you” (to paraphrase Sarah, dear reader, from End of the Affair} When I came, I found myself bursting into tears… Perhaps because I had let myself think some of these things. Maybe why I have such uninspiring fantasies is just that … to think about what sexual opening can be, brings such other feelings than arousal – often just ore longing than feels good to feel. More loneliness. I also miss a sense of being connected up with the Godess. I feel I’m floundering on the surface these days. Help.

10:30 Just got back from seeing “Making Love.” Hadn’t planned on seeing it – but Vivienne told me there was a scene from An Affair to Remember; the couple watching it, saying the lines with the movie. She also said the working out of a friendship between the people who had been married was affirming and touching. Thought since Deborah would probably be seeing it in that case, I’d better go and see what she’d be seeing.

… It’s a long ways from my own life, I must say. The marriage seemed to me to be portrayed as the richest relationship. The feel for this man’s needing another man wasn’t very vivid for me. .. so I doubt if it educated her greatly. ..Seemed to me in concentrating on the gay/cruising scene, it was still in effect ,,, well, I wouldn’t say ‘homophobic’, but at least it didn’t do as much for promoting understanding as it could have.

So I am still rather far from myself – Have spent the day on and off sleeping. Called Beaver to talk and latihan. Told her I was feeling bad today because Deborah was probably getting the letter today and from the looks I’m getting today from D., I have the feeling it was The Wrong Thing To Do. She said to not worry about D.; to keep my eye on my own thoughts and feelings. We latihaned, but actually after about ten minutes I felt so tired I lay right down and slept for a while. Had the feeling a dream wanted to come through, but if there was one I don’t remember it.

Well, I feel relatively energetic and alert tonight,  a night ahead of me, the fire and candles burning. All that’s needed is the inspiration… How to touch down with it? “Magic is afoot, God is alive” sings Buffy Saint-Marie. How often have I known that so clearly? Where is my trust? The more stuck I get the more I seem to cling to c and MJ. Even smoking; I know I can’t keep doing this and yet I do. Didn’t go for a walk today, or yoga. Always only the frontal attack.

But my Work. A Wild Impatience!

I do wonder how much of myself I can/have cut off from in order to be someone D. could relate to?
{} Dear Tangren Alexander,

Thank you for your loving letter. I hadn’t looked at that piece in years; it brings back much.

You have some interesting ideas. I’ll put them in the hopper.

Again, my thanks.

Sincerely yours,

Deborah Kerr

{} P.S. Write a frequently as you like.

No.

{}P.S. who are you?

Oh forget it.

{}P.S. They were blending, just tonight. I was watching.

 

As I say, D. has been giving me some negative looks today. Which I would discount if it were not for the unexpected smiles I was getting two weeks ago. Oh why couldn’t I have left well enough alone. Just now, communing with her picture I exclaimed to her “Why you just totally catch me in the illusion! You’re supposed to be the Godess!”  And a moment later caught her looking at me as if I’d gotten the right answer.

 

After Writer’s Group Caroline said “Maybe you’re supposed to be her biographer.” And Tee said, “I’m reminded of Natalie Barney… How when Jean Chablon arrived to do her biography when she was ninety; she said “Why didn’t you come ten years earlier; I could have remembered so much more.”

I said I wanted her to write her own biography. … That I’m not sure a lesbian-feminist perspective on her life was what she would want for her biography.

But I also feel …. That I do have my own story to tell about Deborah Kerr.

Which is told from a lesbian-feminist-magical-feeling perspective. The relation between my own Deborah Kerr and that married woman who lives in Switzerland and Spain is at least problematical.

No wonder I’m having a hard time writing the story. Just as I feared, I needed to remain  the distant fan and not complicate our relationship with any here and now relating with all the attachment that brings. Deborah Kerr in Spain is all to real to me just now.

 

Just talked to Sandra. She will/may be back the end of next week – in time for the new moon. Surely will be nice to see her again… Just hearing her voice made me remember how I love her voice. I’m beginning to feel how long it’s been since I’ve had any touching.

Sandra said it’s not surprising I’m floundering sometimes, trying to learn how to stay connected with the sources of my art. She affirmed that it is important not to over-smoke. I told her I appreciated that; still I would probably smoke as soon as I hung up. “Tell me what I should do tonight” I blurted. She said “You should write. Write the thing you want to write. About Deborah Kerr.”

But I feel so far from those feelings. My pen feels paralyzed.”

“Then start with that.” She said. I do remember how hard it was to start Mu Beach. I am so frightened of starting and it’s not coming out right – but maybe that fear itself is the {typist’s note: indecipherable word} At any rate, remember, it doesn’t all come out as first-rate poetry when you first write it.

 

 

Saturday morning {April 23, 1982}

Anyway, before I finish the subject for now I do just want to get something down for myself – a memorandum – on how vulnerable I do feel having sent her that and how such a deep reaching cannot help but be an asking.

{Just read Sinister Wisdom the other day –  Sarah Hoagland decrying “wholesale vulnerability” where it’s not invited as a sort of blackmail – a forcing the other person not to criticize you/negate you where you are vulnerable. Well anyway I cringed all through the article (good old S.W., a close second to “Mom”, sometimes.)}

…How vulnerable a part of me feels having reached so deeply… without a hint of impropriety and yet when you think of what I exposed. She cannot help but know, if she thinks about it, she cannot help but know that I love her.

 

Just went to the mailbox. No letter from D. A note from NOW thanking me for some money I’d sent to advance the cause of equality.

And a postcard from Z. Budapest. I’d written asking if she did Tarot readings on tape – Heard a tape of a KPFA radio program Sandra sent me, of her doing short Tarot readings and wished I could ask her some questions. Esp. about (1) marijuana and (2) Deborah Kerr. Then decided I’d probably never be able to pay for one, so I should just do one myself. That was when I did that reading at the end of the last journal.

So anyway she says “thanks.’ She does do taped readings for $25. Which is very cheap and actually in the meantime I have acquired some money, and not, I would say, the solution to my marijuana dependency.

Which is one of the things I keep trying to write about.

It didn’t do my teaching much good to have those puffs before logic class – coupled with encountering teaching some new material I’d never taught before – feeling for the way to say it, what to do, what to emphasize, how to explain –  I probably felt my fumbling more from being a little stoned, was more candid about it. Some students take an admission of fumbling as a sign of weakness or incompetence, I know.

But on the way down the hill, walking briskly in the morning sunshine, the still-long shadows, the still-glorious warmth, I was walking and doing a lot of thinking: feeling my muscles striding, watching the tulips glowing in rows, glowing like stained glass against the shadows, walking and thinking that those puffs of smoking had been only for anxiety, only so I could bear it; to throw out a hand and get a little centered –  That is a use of marijuana which dismays many of my selves.

There are uses of marijuana I am more understanding about. A perfect example is writing most of the Raga Dianne on just cookies. (Did I? Is that possible? That’s what I remember…) and then having a few puffs to hone in on the essence of the final dream sequence. Most all of my selves agree such a use is justifiable.

I have selves all over the spectrum. Obviously some of my selves understand any use of mj. I do make, since I do make it.

Anyway, I was thinking: maybe I’ve written about this before, but I seem to need to discover it over, then.. …It’s just that the alternative course of action, the path which involves smoking too much and bringing my life to an unhealthy and early end is in a sense not really thinkable to me –

Not thinkable in terms of “unthinkable” – it seems to me I am not allowed to think  of it except as the most unacceptable alternative.

But I suspect that it also becomes unthinkable as in not-imaginable – not a logically possible alternative.

I guess my question is, if I were to find that that’s what I had done to myself, would I feel that I’d done the dumbest most bitterly regrettable thing on earth? I’m sure I’d have my moments. But no one is ever ready to go, and yet we have it within us to make our peace with death instantly (if the boy who fell from Pilot Rock can testify – and some of our dreams).

I’m sure my life-review would taunt me with “what could have been.” …

…Perhaps I came across Faust  at an overly impressionable age.

 

 

…d’rum habe Ich mich zu Magie ergaben”

 

I felt that I too would sell my soul for there to be magic – and my Helen assured in the bargain – I would sell my soul to know I had a soul.

 

If it comes to “that” unthinkable possibility, if it comes to that

will I despair of my bargain?

Didn’t I consider it worth it, day-to-day, to get to write what I have written, to shape myself into the one I have become, to think and guess what I do, to live the magic?

 

I feel less than on top of it tonight – uncentered – despairing. Oh, it helps to write it down. even as I see the words being written I remember Sandra speaking of Charlotte Perkins Gillman’s bouts of depression. It makes me remember the other side of the coin – trust. The other parts of the days and nights that are happy creativity.

Anyway, about the alternative – I was just thinking about Mom – talking to her years ago once about her feeling bad at her series of dieting and gaining, being ‘too heavy” – I said “Well, you could just make the choice to weigh more. Just not worry about that, let it be all right.” The idea startled her – that she did have that choice. She thought about it for a while and decided she didn’t want that, and went to Weight Watchers and did change her eating habits. –

Well, I’m just wondering if I’m not in her same predicament – Unable to feel the imperative to choose health over smoking as anything but categorical, a great message that comes down out of the sky: like “Be Thin”, something one can’t even think about not acquiescing to. It is a choice one can make or not make. Does make or not make. If there’s some great illumination there that will stay my hand as it fills the pipe, I have yet to see it. I don’t think I’m much further than just glimpsing my predicament –  don’t think I still can feel the choice.

But I am feeling how the extra fat in my stomach squashes things uncomfortably and I wouldn’t swear to it that I’m not feeling just a little short of breath. I’m not sure I am either. Or why, if I am .

Maybe it’s all anguish about getting to my writing. Am I procrastinating by writing in here? Or centering? Last night before I went to bed I read around in an old family book 1901:

The Last Words

                        of

            Distinguished Men & Women

By Fredric Rowland Marvin

 

An interesting collection of descriptions of people’s deaths, from George Washington to Voltaire, from Socrates to Mary Wollstonecraft.

Several stirring descriptions of the deaths of martyrs of various kinds – Then there was a soothsayer who predicted his death for a certain day, and when it didn’t come, died laughing. Blake and some others died singing … As I suspected, there is a way to just go out the top. Here’s my favorite one so far:

 

Ilitchewski (Alexander Demainowitch, the Russian poet) {LAST WORDS} “I have found at last the object of my love,” a line written by the poet just before his death, and found on a table near his bed. The poet was haunted all his life by an ideal of womanly beauty which he sought in vain among the living, and the above line would seem to indicate that he had at last found the object of his dreams. It is supposed that he died from excess of joy at the discovery.

 

 

 

Some pictures were ready yesterday – Several delightful things – And one I think is especially important for me to look at … An erotic picture Sandra took of me at bluringly slow speed, by candlelight, perhaps. The rest of the picture looks fairly sleazy to me – but my face and breasts – my face. Sometimes when I look for a while at that, I see things I’ve loved the most in other women – I see one of Marcella’s more endearing baby-faces, I see Dianne’s mouth, held still, I see much of Dianne. I have watched the faces of my lovers when they were opened to grace and love, I have never seen my own.

It feels important to me that I should know that about myself – that I, too, am beautiful then. That all those soft and sensitive things I love so much in them are there in me as well.

 

Sandra won’t be here till forever. Now she has a storage-emergency to deal with. Poor woman, there’s nothing to do but to do it.  But I certainly am getting impatient to see her.

 

 

It’s been odd to have been looking at these pictures of myself with Deborah Carr, those of me in the open-ness of passion. Esp. the ones with Carr. It surprises me that I look like that…. I don’t really feel my face looking like that – I don’t feel like I look like that – isn’t it odd? I can feel other people’s expressions in my face, and then I feel I look like them. But .. the heldness around the mouth – the heavy fold of skin above my eyes, the Scandinavian face, I never feel myself manifesting that. (Though now I have begun to.)

 

Writer’s Workshop

Arl: Oppression questions; what is one’s responsibility to write things that can be enjoyed by all lesbians.

 

Pat: Early Catholic mystic image for God: ‘The simple nudity”

Also “the wayless dark”

Review of “The Choice-Centered Tarot”

Next meeting May 23 Golden        May 29 Golden dance                     May 6 Hannah’s Birthday

 

 

3:30 AM or so Monday morning April 26 {1982}

Went to the writer’s group yesterday hoping for a shot in the arm. I didn’t have anything ready to share – just hoped that hearing the others, talking with Tee and Caroline would inspire me. Stayed afterwards a bit, as did Ruth. I showed them my photos of me and Deborah Carr – their reactions to that were helpful – But when I showed them the erotic photos – Sandra said I could – no one seemed to pay them much attention. Whether they were shocked or whether they just didn’t find them very interesting, I don’t know. Certainly Tee has seen a hundred times as many as I have – maybe what was a discovery to me was old hat to her. Or maybe they thought I was trying to get a photography lesson for free. Or maybe everyone was just tired from the day (and they had had weekend guests just before that) – but at any rate I did leave feeling vulnerable and lonely – glad, at any rate, that Sandra will appreciate them. But so lonely – Couldn’t figure out why it was all being so hard for me – then realized it’s the last few days before my moon-bleeding. It helped to have that explanation. Also, I think looking at those pictures has stirred a loneliness in me… like thinking about the kinds of love-making I really care about, when being sexual with myself, it makes me feel, not being turned-on, but lonely.

 

More or less pressing projects:

1)   Trudy – letter (or whatever)

2)         Make list of calls for material, deadlines – Esp V. Ramstetter

3)         Do some typing – send some things out

4)         Tapes ready for Ruth by June.

 

Small ones

{} Plants seeds

{} Clean chimney

 

Sat and read over the 70 some pages I’d written on “An Adventure”. Very little of it seems to be really focused – a lot,. I wondered, reading it, “who would be interested in reading it?” – nothing seems in focus. Partly it’s because I’m not clear what I’m writing – a piece of a journal, set in a context that makes clear who D.K. is for me, etc. or a piece that will stand on its own. Anyway, reading it this morning to seemed to lack drama.

Now – listening to the tape of that time – “From the New Journal” – how it is so hard make myself listen to it, hear what it says – how unmoved I feel by it all. Maybe I should just give it out for now – I feel I’m getting nowhere except fat and unhealthy hanging in here, banging my head against this. Should I give it up for now? Wouldn’t that be awfully depressing and frightening to try to so something and then find myself unequal to the task… Wouldn’t I always be too frightened to return to it then?

Of course, maybe it would be very good for me to turn to some writing that doesn’t even mention Deborah Kerr. To touch down with some other arts of myself… I do feel lost in this D.K. maze at the moment. Or maybe that would be giving it up just when I am finally ready to do it. I don’t feel ready, though.

I was having a good dream when I woke up at 2:30 – or a good something or other.   Remember only the line from a song going through my head, a line that seemed extremely comforting, at the time.

“Come and Let go and let love find a way.”

Charlie Murphy “Dear Men”

 

Wednesday night late:{April 28, 1982}

Beginning to recover from the doldrums. Went to bed early last night, slept long. Good dreams, though all I have been able to recall is some scenes of the house at the ranch etching themselves indelibly, incredibly vividly on my senses – a great intensity to the experience, though what its significance was I can’t remember. I know there was something else, another dream I awoke to remember much of during the night; but in the morning it was gone. Should sleep with my journal nearby.

Well, I have been smoking too much but at least I did really accomplish some things today.

It was the right thing to do to get in touch with some of my writing that had nothing to do with Deborah Kerr. There are two things that have been nearly polished for a long time: Aunt Sarah and Mary Pearce (since tonight, Mary Spear) Both still has a few rough places. I wrote through “Aunt Sarah” this afternoon and “Mary Spear” tonight. Next comes getting the permission from the people they are about – Sandra, Butterfly, Grace and Mary Pearce. I did read Grace and Joni that piece the day after I wrote it – both said they’d be glad for me to publish it, didn’t mind their names being used – Though I did add much of that last page since, including her childhood memory. Hope I can find her again – tho I have little doubt she’d mind. Also want to ask her about the way I spelled her name. And Butterfly has never seen the piece. That requires a letter, though I’ve been needing to write her anyway – Maybe I’ll do it yet tonight. Glad I have been accomplishing so much today because Sandra called tonight – she’s coming home a bit early – will be here tomorrow night or Friday day. Sure will be good to be with her again, and even better now that I’ve taken some concrete steps. And it’s good to remember who else I am. I was so depressed when I talked to Sandra Monday night – She said, “Don’t forget, , you’re a writer, even if you’re not writing about What’s-her-Name.”

Social interactions: Saw Summer around noon yesterday, first time in months. She showed me a secluded little green spot by a tiny creek back of her house. She strummed her new guitar and we talked about our various addictions and crushes, as usual. I might go to the ocean with her next month for 2 days.

In the afternoon I latihaned with Beaver at her place, and we talked for another hour or so. She’d read the Rage Dianne, said she’d enjoyed it a lot – thought it would be so good for me to have that to look back at later and see how I’ve changed. (?) Last night called Leila re: scheduling WomanSpirit evening and Bethroot’s play. Couldn’t write. Went to bed and read a sci fi story, slept at a reasonable hour. Wondering how I could possibly need so much sleep – wondering if I’m becoming slug-like. But my dreams have been good lately, though I haven’t been able to recall them.

Tonight Molly called: we had a good, long talk. Her actress has not contacted her in the last few days, either, after being gone for two weeks. Molly threw the I Ching: the woman is exhausted and oppressed – gentleness is advised. What a nice tool to have for keeping perspective – and Molly is doing well, though she has her vulnerable moments. We had a long, good talk about lots of things; Molly is a woman who watches magical signs in her life, too. It’s nice to hear about her life, and of course, I identify like mad with what she’s going through. Also, Libré called – she’ll come up for supper tomorrow. We seem to get to visit once or twice a year these days. It will be nice to see her.

Whew! Lots happening. Friday/Saturday Beltane (May Eve) at Rootworks with Sandra, Marcella, Kirsten, and a cast of thousands. Well, I have been saying I was lonely

Also today called Tee. Got to worrying that she hadn’t said much about the erotic pictures because she felt I should not have showed them to them until Sandra had seen them first. (Sandra had said I could; but I hadn’t told her that.) I got such a strong feeling about it, wondered if it was right, wondered if Tee still trusted me with her negatives… Maybe I was just feeling vulnerable about that much exposure – Anyway, I just called her this evening and asked her. She said  “ It never crossed my mind to think that you shouldn’t have showed them to us. (We all know you do it, Tangren.) The pictures were quite lovely, I thought.” Well, a load off my mind; I’m glad I called.

And the  soap opera proceeds apace.

Wish I knew what to do about Trudy – whether it’s right to send her the Raga Dianne or not.  And if I’ll be able to stand the vulnerable feeling if I do. Several people I’ve given the book to haven’t said anything about it – Summer, Mom, Lavinnia, Carol, though others- R& J , T & C, Sandra, Joan Corbin, even a woman I didn’t know who visited the Writer’s group at Rootworks have liked it very much. Anyway I’m not sure what could happen with Trudy – and there’s so much more to sending it to her – the various revelations – not wanting to blow her away, yet wanting to share. My “Deborah Kerr in miniature” Well, it will be interesting how I solve it.

 

Read in my journal today from Lammas last year – my single wish – to be in a right relationship to marijuana by that time next year… Three months to go. My lungs sure don’t feel good. Maybe I can quit now for a while. Though that seems to be what I always think about the next change – solitude, teaching, not teaching, Sandra coming, Sandra leaving. Well, maybe S’s coming will help in the long run. I have to stop very soon for a while – my lungs can’t take this.

 

Wishes for Beltane

(1) To leap with Sandra over the fire, hand in hand.

(2) For my Lammas wish to come true.

(3) For a better, more connected, more sustained sense of my writing. (The only way (2) will     come true?)

(4) To remember the ocean of perfect love.

5)   That her skies and seas are blending; that She is watching when they do.

 

Thursday night {April 29, 1982}

Libré was up for supper – I shared with her my letters to D.K., Hers to me, my feelings now having sent that. Libré thinks it’s important not to let my negative imaginings get carried away – she reminds me how you can create that; I played her the end of “An Affirmation to Remember” – she thought it was wonderful; reminded me of the importance of affirmations, good imaginings – “That’s where it all starts.”

She said lots of nice things about my letters, especially the second one. That She couldn’t help but be moved at some level by it; but that’s different from knowing how to respond. That it must be nice for her to come to know that she has a friend out there who  knows so much about her artistic career, who knows things that few else but she remembers.

And what a nice thing it is that I am doing in terms of creating an appreciation for what she has done. How Holly would have never known who she was – and Libré herself would only have thought of Anna in the King and I.

And how nice it is that someone is sending her Silences

About the second letter Libré said she had expected the possibility of something she could object to, but there was nothing – it was beautiful and clear and “from the heart.” “Maybe she’ll think about it and read the book when she gets home…” I reminded Libré of that dream she’d had where D.K. was enacting her own autobiography. “I love what you said in the tape about ‘Who Deborah Kerr was in someone else’s movie.’” How could she not want to know that? I said that maybe because she knows that thinking about that, coming to understand what I have to say would change her life – and she doesn’t want to change it.

But I really do wonder if she’s happy. I don’t see how Deborah Kerr could be happy going to bullfights and with the house full of surfers and saying “What do you think, dear?” And I cannot tell from her pictures whether she is happy or not.

 

{Libré thinks next door is too close.}

And I did have that dream about her swimming too far out into the ocean (and of course come to think of it, what a lovely image that is for death, in the context of D.K.) and a part of me is a little worried about her and would not like to be left again with my little fears,.

 

Or are they little? Well, Libré thinks I’m brave to have made myself that vulnerable to have reached to her like that. What would it feel like to have sent her the Raga Dianne though? Or 2:00 AM Valentine’s Morning? Am I really ready? Don’t I have to ethically? Do I?

About Trudy, Marcella and Libré suggested “Dear Trudy, do you want me to tell you that your daughter was a lesbian? {} Yes {} No

Maybe I could also try:

Dear Deborah,

Here’s a second chance. Do you want to know who Deborah Kerr has been in someone else’s movie?

{} Yes {} No   {} It depends on who I have been

{}Private Icon {}Yes   {} No

{}Mythical Essence {}Yes   {}No

{} Dream Wife           {}Yes   {}No

{} Laura Reynolds    {}Yes   {}No

{} Prudence   {}Yes   {} No

{} Muse          {}Yes   {} No

As a matter of business: I am in a small was publishing some writings some of which touch on who you are in my life. So far in small-circulation journals (2,000 or so) whose audience is feminists, and spiritually-oriented lesbian feminists in particular. Also I have made tapes of myself reading some of my writings some of which I would like to begin to distribute, in a very small way.

Now. is all this of interest to you or not? If you really would just as soon not know about it, leaving us both free to just be ourselves, then check here:

{}”Write what you want; I am busy with my own life and realize how complex a thing it would be to check anywhere else but here, so {X}.”

 

True {}                                                                                    I would feel the same if you

False {}                                                                       started to publish with a

We’ll cross that bridge when/f we come to it. {}              traditional mainstream press.

 

It’s rather a dilemma for me – I want to begin to publish my writing – and you have so often been my muse.

As far as you are concerned, the main result of women hearing my writings has been a wave of remembering and interest in you and your movies. I do believe that this would be the result of women hearing my writings –  but whether you would like having a following among spiritually-oriented lesbian feminists I admit is problematical.

“What if I just say “feminists”?

 

There are so many levels to this.

  1. A) The Legal. I am not certain whether legally/ethically I oughtn’t to offer my writings to you to see before I publish them. I certainly don’t say anything about your life beyond what is general information, so I don’t know about the legal matter.

 

But anyway

  1. B) I certainly am not concerned here with only the legal aspects but with what is right. Since you are who You are for me, I could hardly wish to do something that would not be right.

And even though I do only rite about your life what is already public knowledge, yet what I write about you as a presence in my life is very personal.

  1. a) {As the place where you have touched me (and a great many other people) is a very personal place.}
  2. b) as you know, if you remember the fantasy letter I gave you.

Which brings me to

  1. c) Which is, of course, that beyond all that, the is the level where we are two people and that I have some things to say to you, have been saying them in my writings.

It is this personal level which has kept me from sending and you from answering.

I know that everyone tends to “leave the theater wishing that in some way their live were wrapped up in yours.” I can’t imagine the kinds of responses you must have gotten in taking it on to become such a powerful symbol for so many people. (I’ve been looking over my high school diaries and letters – I’m sure it must have been a bit unnerving to hear that you represented ‘everything good and pure”) I know that hundreds of people would like to become your friend or penpal and I not least among them, if I am honest.

 

But  don’t have to say these things to you. As I indicated previously, I do trust Elizabeth Kübler-Ross. When you didn’t answer the tape I gave you, I just accepted that was how it was to be.

You are the distant actress, the cultural figure, a symbol for me of some important values in my life. Very possibly you make the best muse from just about this distance. My writing is not about that-woman-who-lives-in-Switzerland anyway. I am wise enough to know, at least when I am being wise, that it is the Deborah-Kerr-in-me who matters to my writing and to my knowing of myself. So there’s no need to trouble the-woman-who-lives-in-Switzerland if she wishes, as she seems to indicate, not to have to trouble with it all. That’s how it’s been all my life and it can be that way for the rest of it if that’s what’s meant to happen. I have no wish to impinge on another’s free will.

Nevertheless I am living out my own story too, and it seems to me my right also to move towards those things that fill my life with good, that touch my heart. And to write about it. The most important thing to me at the moment is just to write it, just to make it exist. What sort of distribution it should have and when the writings should find their readers, and how many – and whether you should be among them – are partly for you to say.

 

I’m not sure what I want myself – there has been a safety in writing what you would never read, a freedom of a kind. It might change everything to concretize that Woman-Who-Lives-In-Switzerland as Deborah Kerr

 

Well, it’s an odd situation – You don’t know me at all. In some ways I don’t know you at all, and in some ways I know you better than I’ve known most people in my life, seeing you become so many different women in so many situations…

(Once I wrote; I thank you on behalf of the characters, more real, and revealing more than any real woman I knew.)

I think we can learn how to live from people we love and admire in our lives.

 

Anyway, you don’t know me at all, but you could if you wanted to know me as I have known you – through my writing and my tapes. If you want to you can, if you don’t want to or wonder whether it’s a good idea even for me or not simply too complex to deal with you may be right.

 

I would like to say I offer my writings with “no strings attached” but with such a giving I cannot help but notice that I acquire a certain vulnerability (which at times wishes for reassurance that you don’t hate it or aren’t offended), that I do feel off-balance for a while.

I have no wish to be coercive with my vulnerability (but is such vulnerability inherently coercive? I’m not sure. Perhaps not as longs as you feel as free, as you do, not to respond if no response comes. I suppose over the years you’ve learned to protect yourself from the wholesale vulnerability that comes your way.)

But have I learned to protect myself from my own?

{} Yes                                                         {} No                                {} Both of the above

{} Dear Tangren, The Thing is, it feels like a banana peel to me that is a banana peel

 

Anyway, whatever comes of it all, it cannot help but change things that I have offered you this. I’ll not send this until I feel I’ve said what I need to say to the Deborah-Kerr-in-Me.

I do apologize for asking for your time  in thinking about this, but it seems it was time to ask you. I am now taking up the task of beginning to “be a writer”. And it is beginning to be time to gain some clarity on this matter with you.

 

So

1)At one level these are very personal communications to you and if you wish they can exist in that sphere, and/or in that sphere only.

2) Or they can exist a works of writing evoked by a Quixotic quest by someone who vastly prefers the fantastic level to the realistic one.

{} “Just two?”

 

I know I write letters that are hard to answer. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be you.

Sincerely yours,

Tangren Pearl Time’sChild

 

Well, Tangren, I like it. I don’t advise rushing to the mailbox with it tomorrow but it might make a better birthday card than the present you had in mind for Sept 30 – “wholesale vulnerability” by the box.

…Towards the end of his life, there were certain chords that Mahler could only touch on, chords and modulations that he had frequently used in his earlier writing to express/define certain emotion/spiritual states. (At first I just wrote ‘express” but then I thought, great music does more than “express” a concept already enunciated, defined – great music speaks the very name of states we have known, states it brings us to know.)

Mahler has spoken the name for me of earthly joy and the joy that passeth understanding, and of anguish and feeling a little crazy from encountering the deaths of children.
Mahler’s music is, as he once wrote on a Bruckner score, he was conducting, crossing out he wrote “For the tongues of angels, chastened hearts, and souls purified by fire.”

In his early work he speaks with such a clear, lush tongue. But certain of his late works have for me a bitter taste, an unaccustomed denseness, and of those “Mahlerian” tonalities there is only the tenderest mention, as if those notes had become so full of meaning for him that he could scarcely bear to touch on them. * This last phrase is the thought of a KPFA radio station broadcast I heard once called “Mahler Quotations”

 

This is {}  is not {}  relevant to Deborah Kerr.

 

T {}  F {}         It has at least as much to do with being and the Void: the bell and the space it rings in             the star and the night it twinkles in           the earth and the black space through which it falls down the cosmos. And with the universe proportion principle as it may apply to Deborah Kerr.

 

To anyone, as I well know. To anything; To resonate, an existence must have space in one’s life in which to be appreciated. The fine balance between having things to appreciate and taking the time to appreciate them, to let them resonate within.

 

I don ‘t know when I will be ready to come out to her with an offer of my writings. This freedom I have now, this “level to which I have to go to be with her”, this “her” I have to find; the fact that it is on the fantastic and symbolic level that she exists for me, that she is a figure in my own personal myth … I don’t want to endanger these things, these “Deborah’s”, these “manifestations of the spirit of Deborah Kerr” and then I think about a young woman I met once who was certain she was meeting with Carlos Casteñda in her dreams, was certain he was also cognizant of their meetings and was determined he should confess to meeting her in her dreams.

Hope the difference between my “dreams of Deborah” and those are crystal clear – The image of that woman has always haunted me – one of the “negative images” I can hold up to myself. But perhaps D. has also encountered such things and you sound enough like that to worry her and “the whole thing is impossible.”  {} NEGATIVE IMAGE  {} PERCEPTIVE EMPATHY  {} both of the above

Are there some writings she will never see? Probably. Some you will never show her. You have to leave both of you that option. Except of course for the goddess in her who will see everything the goddess in you writes and this is perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that if there is no Time

then the cat  is out of the bag and all the writing has been sent off now and safely received and read with amusement and love.

but if that’s the level at which you write then what right have you to send it t someone who must retain the right to be less than amused?

 

Is a puzzlement.

 

 

 

{April 29, 1982 continued}

 

It was really nice seeing Libré tonight – she is so supportive of my writing. When I began to confess to her my worries about not using my time well, my fears about not making it to become a writer

and began to tote up the meager list of what I’d accomplished this year –

The Raga Dianne

most of Mu Beach

and some stuff of dubious quality about Deborah Kerr

So little!” I said in a husky voice.

of course, I have been depressed these last few days. But I do get scared.”

“Well, I don’t think writing ‘The Raga Dianna’ was ‘little’” she said. “Don’t just look at quantity.”

Well, come to think of it, I do think that too. Even though the literary world hasn’t fallen at my feet yet – I do think it is a triumph in its own way. Deeply feminist in its woman-oriented imagery, in using the imagery of dolls, of the chain of mother/daughter, the image of the “dried edges of blood” that would not revise away – such a familiar image for women here deeply transformed by its naming in this spiritual context, its appearance in this dream-teaching.

(Likewise the continuance of the sewing images.)

Ruth Mountaingrove has used some perceptive images for my writing:

After I read the Mu Beach poetry to the writer’s group she said that while most writing unfolded linearly mine reminded her of one of those large medieval tapestries where all sorts of different worlds and activities coexist in the same picture.

And last weekend, speaking of my writing she quoted a proverb about if you

ask a Chinese person for a blade of grass they’ll give you a meadow – How I ever write about just one thing, make just one point. I may start out to, but the ramifications and associations start to create other blades of grass,

 

Friday afternoon {April 30, 1982}

Soon Marcella should be here. Kirsten here for dinner, then off to Rootworks for all of us to stay overnight there, be up at dawn for a May morning ritual. Then home – and Sandra should be here. …

So … the question is … I am headed out of this writing space –

What should I return to when I return to it in a couple of weeks?

I guess the most pressing priorities are these:

–     Forward the publishing of Mary Spear and Aunt Sarah.

–     Make the tapes for Ruth to have to distribute by June 1

 

I really have my doubts about

Sunday afternoon – May 2 {1982}

This morning I dreamed that something came from Deborah Kerr … a small manila envelope. When I opened it it was full of old costume jewelry and a few old doll clothes – the size for Barbie dolls; one was a Story Book doll. The jewelry was mostly old necklaces – One I remember was a medallion on a chain, a glowing red triangular-shaped heart-shaped piece – I remembered her wearing it in some movie or picture. I could find no note with the things, no message. I remember putting the medallion on, seeing it there on my own chest, thinking that perhaps that was what her message had been … to see myself wearing something she had worn, to understand that t was an aspect of myself I reached to.

 

Sandra is here – we’ve spent the last 24 hours mostly sleeping together – we were so tired. We went to bed in the early afternoon, then made love once and fell asleep. We intended to get up for the night but slept thru until 5:00 – then got up and got breakfast and went back to bed and to sleep again until 10:00 or so. We were both tired. Also, both needing that kind of time to absorb that only sleep can give.

It’s nice being with her again – but not confusing. On the one hand it feels as if she’s scarcely been away – I know her so well and it’s so familiar to have her around. On the other hand we literally haven’t seen each other for 3 months and some basic reflexes aren’t there – which way do we sleep in the bed? Oh, yes, and she drinks her coffee very slowly.

And I bring to it a sort of desperation at the moment. Needing something to connect me back up with my power, hoping Sandra can help – as she has before. (Yet so has solitude – before.) Knowing I need to stop smoking immediately yet just having shared a pipe with her. (Yet only the first – we waited this long.)

I also dreamed of Coney last night – (The letter I wrote to her has come back “address unknown”) But last night I saw her. In the midst of a lot of other business – Marcella, lots of other people – I was leaving the schoolroom – she was there – I managed for a minute to touch her arm and smile to her – to make a moment of real contact. I remember as I left feeling happy about having done that.

Had to go rescue Sandra for Beltane – She’d been dealing with it all for so long. Her van began to overheat with its load north of Redding – I took Dad’s pickup down to Lake Shasta to get her. She sat and cried in the van for 3 hours.

 

Sunday May 9 {1982} Noon

First time alone in a while. Marcella just left an hour ago. Called Golden and Hannah –  guess she won’t be coming here after all. (Hannah was in a traffic accident the night before her planned 56th birthday party – her brakes failed. She’s still in the hospital, seems really miserable. No broken bones but lots of cuts and bruises. She couldn’t swallow – the Dr. thought she was just being stubborn – wouldn’t give her an IV – she went the first 2 days without any water. Finally her friends convinced him. Now they’re giving her mucousy foods that cause hay-feverish reactions … I’d offered for her to come here, knowing she couldn’t go back to the yurt up that steep path right away. But Helen said this morning that it’s worked out for her to be up there … They’re vacating a room in the farmhouse and working out a schedule of caring for her. That’ll be better for her; I’m sure she’d rather be at home. … And will clear my time in the near future.

The next three days though are committed to hard labor – a backlog of Mother’s Day obligations – putting in some railroad tie steps for Mom and some other outdoor work. I begrudge the time – and yet my life has to have some balance – My body needs exercise, my psyche needs rest from the incessant demand to produce writing – Whenever I pray or latihan I always find myself pleading the same thing – please show me my work, please connect me up with the source, please show me how to continue down this road. I feel so stuck – and with summer coming creative internal work is coming to seem more and more impossible.

Sandra and I seem to have spent most of our week together sleeping and resting. Wednesday night we both came down with colds – very sore throats. This is the first day my throat has felt more or less all right. Now the sniffles.

I couldn’t understand why I should be so tired. And it’s odd we both got sick at the same time. Perhaps it is really her tiredness and cold, the thought has crossed my mind.

How has it been to see her again after so long an absence? See I’ve written about that already. We never did get to any really wonderful, open places with each other; I never did approach being “triumphantly centered”; I am appreciating solitude again just now. Yet it did give me some added strength to spend time with her. I felt I was really floundering in such a long time of aloneness. It really helped to have someone else to see my reality; and to see someone else’s. and Sandra is very affirming – One of her greatest charms is her ability to see and imagine the positive side of things. And the funny side of things; we have laughed together a lot. And I’ve done somewhat better with smoking. Still I feel so far from my work and such desperation about it. Of course I shouldn’t expect myself to be in contact with it when I haven’t been working on it or thinking about it. But how can I continue to counsel patience when the time is going by and by. Last night and this morning reading Jane Roberts’ “receiving” from William James or whatever it is – Hearing of her solid daily work as a writer, the stuff that keeps coming up as she types other writing or washes dishes or whatever. How I envy her those days so full of writing, those inspirations that seem to come so easily to her. Smoking has rapidly become impossible – the amount I crept up to doing is too hard on my lungs. Coffee and cookies drain my energy.

What I need perhaps is a good deal more discipline. I have become afraid just to sit with my thoughts – afraid of the tedious worries that crowd my head, afraid of my own small pains. And yet a part of me believes that the way out, if there is one, is meditation/yoga/latihan/tapes. Mj. by itself isn’t opening me up to much. Had a cookie this morning, felt slightly elevated for a while, now am beginning to be tired and sneezing. I feel bored at the idea of yoga, meditation. Yet how infinitely boring is all this repetitive agonizing over m.j.?

Well, I must be patient today, I guess. I’m too tired from this cold to be anything else. (yet at times – a few – I have seen myself o’er leap my physical infirmities, cure a cold with enthusiasm so to speak.)

I need to make some definite communication with Ruth – She wants tapes. I have to become clear about what I can and cannot produce before June. Listening to “From the New Journal” a couple of weeks ago made me feel it was not all ready to be put out. It just doesn’t feel ready, polished or professional enough. Is anything?

How can I do new, finished versions of The Raga Dianne? 2:00m AM Valentine’s Morning? Can I finish Mu Beach and tape it? The Box? The trouble is, my voice shows how open or closed I am. And I haven’t been open really for so long. Without that open quality, that real connection with the meaning of my words, I tend to imitate myself.

Still, I’ve said to myself, what if every night I practiced reading them? I can’t do it all by inspiration either – I must be familiar with the words, the meanings, the events within the writing. And maybe one night or two I would happen to be open, it would happen. Think how I created “the fantasy letter to Deborah Kerr” tape one night trying to work up to reading “The

Box”

And if I put out the “Tangren has Some Dreams” tape then if I am to send D.K. what I have written about her because I am publishing it, don’t I have to send her that and won’t she surely be offended?

And what about the legal matter of using music from records?

Everything changes when I think about publishing. The freedom to write and create what I want. Nothing says I can’t use D.K.’s image, explore her place in my own private myth – but to publish things …

Everything changes if I have to involve that women who lives in Switzerland.

 

Also, I feel the next task to be the bringing into form a book. But which book? What to include in it? How to organize it? It’s so much easier when my art is just for myself, or for an understanding Goddess. I feel so awfully unequal to the task, now I come to it.

 

 

Monday morning 4:30 AM or so May 10 {1982}

I’ve been up all night. Took 1/16 tab of acid early in the evening – not enough to make my body feel strange or stressed. Went for a walk down the trail above the park avoiding the poison oak and marveling at  the wild flowers – the tiny blue pistils of the pussy-ears, the delicate markings – the intricate forms and profusion of the ladies slippers. A different set of wildflowers from two weeks ago. About 8:00 after Sandra was here had a second 1/16.

Read Sandra what I’d written so far of ‘The Adventure” and “12 – 17” The work felt unfocused, unfinished, the magic did not appear – partly because S. was tired and not catching the many-leveled-ness of some of it, partly because I have just not managed to make it clear enough. At the same time some of it was there. Some of it Sandra reflected back to me – saw a few things I hadn’t thought of – Grandma’s death, the story of that … how it all fits in – The generations – and letting go – Grandma – Deborah Kerr – Me – Marcella. She liked the part about M & K & Holly Near.

 

Sense and Sensimilla

The New Journal

The Autobiography of Deborah Carr

Palimpsests and Mirrors

 

I don’t see how I can do anything but  die if I publish this. It will change life completely. I will be out to

1) The world in general

2) The cops in particular re marijuana

3) My folks

4) Deborah Kerr

 

 

Actually Sandra had a good idea – a guy she knew published a book she’d helped on the graphics on. He published 150 copies himself via Xerox doing it all, the layout, etc. – Sold it to his students in his class on the subject, then sent it out to various publishers – Prentiss Hall bought it.

Sounds just like the fantasy I had in the back of my mind – with a few changes.

But – the perfect solution – make it exist. Just as you want it.

You don’t have to make a lot of copies – It’s for friends, people who want one – and the first copy to Deborah Kerr. And some to send to publishers if:

(1) You decide that’s what you want then.

YES

The need for a book-cover thing like Arl had is getting greater.

 

I think I may be about to make another deal with the goddess – – upping the ante again – offering up – not abstinence but definite limits to the usage of marijuana – and – more important real spiritual physical discipline – exercise, yoga, meditation going cold turkey on All Things Considered. The exact form needs to be thought out. And offering it for the return of increased clarity about my writing, increased ability to be a writer, the book coming clearer, my writing beginning to flow – offering for it, asking for it, trusting it will be given. Making the  wager for a certain period of time – perhaps a month or perhaps till I first see All-Deborahn again.

 

Exact terms to be considered a while longer while I smoke a little and watch the morning in.

The feeling of it all beginning to come clear – mostly just a matter of allowing myself to do/think about it  –  the need to (a) take stock – read thru everything – lightly – just to get a sense of the contents of each volume.

(b) start compiling tables of contents – try various things

(c) Begin anywhere and start recopying, rewriting, filling in the proper boxes.

 

The Autobiography of Deborah Kerr

 

Sense & Sensimilla

Mu Beach

All Hallows Day

Letter to Dr. Stafford

Fragment – Deborah Kerr

Butterfly poem

Going Mad / Sane

Letter to Mom?

When I Married Myself?

The Day of the Black Dot?

Come-As-Yr-Own-Version-of-the-Statue-of-Liberty Party?

Vision Questing along I-5

The Box (with Introduction)

 

The New Journal

Grandma’s Death

Letting go of Dianne

An Adventure

Fantasy Letter

Dreams of Deborah

Building a House -some pictures

From the New Journal

 

The AutoBiography of Deborah Carr

Celestial Mechanics

The AutoBiography of Deborah Carr

Dreams of Deborah

January 1980

The Raga Dianne

Oct 13// School starts etc.

The White Bull

The Eclipse

Masquerade Meditation Card

Mary Spear

2:00 Valentine’s Morning

 

Palimpsests and Mirrors

Home Oh Sexuality

Aunt Sarah?

Shrodinger’s Cat & the Election

Eggs Benedict

Space ship poem

Palimpsests and Mirrors

Silences / the letter?

Letter to Cony

 

Appendixes – Ideas to make money

 

Index to the Volumes

 

My it’s hard to turn the page on that one. A sight my eyes have long longed to see. Of course I didn’t know what to do first – I needed to do it all at once. (So to speak.) Write all the books – one after the other – here and there – I know the choices will be hard about where to put your energy but you can do a lot when you get going and if you’re stuck someplace there’ll always be someplace else to put your energy. A lot of fairly straightforward  physical stuff. Lots of straightforward re-writing, too. Can always be done over. Your editors, may I add, will certainly have an easier time the more you make already exist, if it does become left to them at some point.

 

The Health-To-All-Manifestations-of-Deborah-Kerr  Research Branch         of the

Life-as-Art supply Store

Hereby grants

to

Guess Who!

The wonderful Sum of

$150.40

for Xeroxing and photographs and b&w film

 

Love, Love

Love, tangren alexander

sec’y-treas: for the Store.

 

May 11, Tuesday {1982}

After the bout of inspiration Sunday night I was so full of energy I kept going strong – stayed up the whole night. In the morning I meditated, did yoga, walked and ran around the hill, then tended to the errands of the day. Evening – Molly and a woman named Feather here for supper, Thyme appears. Sandra calls, she will be free after all, wants to go with us to the Mother/Daughter dramatic presentation that night. Thyme stops here – Molly and Feather sit elsewhere, Sandra and I sit together. When we come home Thyme has gone on to Eugene. Whew! What a mix. Sandra and I slept about 12 hours; I was still tired, in fact my eyes didn’t want to focus too much. After S. left I slept the rest of the day – Still managed meditation, yoga, walk/run. Meditating facing the sun, thinking how All-Deborahn is right there too. When all this discipline seems pointless try to remember it is all art of a Bargain, payment for clarity about my writing. Tonight. Sandra is leaving tomorrow – We decide to take a Tarot card to speak to us of the next slice of time – she at Rootworks, me here returning to my work.

I got the Knight of Pentacles reversed. I would say: practicality, the day-time world. Discipline, looked at 180˚ from how I usually do, as furthering my creative work. My bargain.

Had the feeling I’d seen that card recently, also inverted. Indeed – it was one of the “furthering” cards when I asked about coming into a right relationship to marijuana. That and the Star. The Star – “good health” and “being the star in my own movie” I understood – but had been a little puzzled about the Knight of Pentacles reversed. Its meaning comes clearer now.

I do feel a little awed at the idea of undertaking the books. It seems awfully egotistical to think of writing four books just about my life. But I don’t really see what the alternative is. It’s easier than writing one  – that’s for sure. Questions: will I work on them one at a time or what?

Also: I feel so exposed. It’s one thing to publish The Box or Aunt Sara al by itself – another to find my sexuality so expose in the context of everything else in my life – teaching, Marcella, Mom & Dad, Grandma, Deborah Kerr. I don’t know – perhaps the audience needs to be very limited. And then the question of getting permission from everyone involved. Esp. hard when women move so much.

Also – what to put it, what to leave out? What is universal, what of interest only to me? Journal writing is a different sort of writing. So much that is symbolic and important to me may not be so to others. …Just have to see, I guess. Partly it will be up to other women to tell me. Susan Griffin said she didn’t feel she lost anything by beginning to publish – that on the contrary, works of art need to be shared. But she doesn’t publish from her journal. Will I ever be able to write in here again without an audience? It is so important to be able to speak just to myself. Well, I have published pieces of my journal before. Raga Dianne, Mu Beach, Jan 1980. Sometimes my journal does provide good writing. And I still write to myself. Perhaps the differences between what is essentially journal writing and what is shaped into a work of art will become clearer to me as I proceed. The differences – and the similarities.

I do really feel exposed – but it doesn’t have  to go any further than I want it to.

And, Tangren, your writing isn’t “just about your life. It’s about magic and the nature of dreams, about women through the generations and about spiritual truth. About Deborah Kerr and Holly Near, EKR and Marcella, philosophy and courage.

Courage.

my sweet.

 

Friday Evening May 13 or so {1982}

Sandra left Wednesday about noon. I’d been up all night the night before – doing what I can’t remember – oh, yes, writing to Butterfly and taking care of some business things – taxes, etc. After S. left I spent the rest of the day running errands – fell asleep about 5:30 – slept till 7:30 the next morning. Still meditated and did yoga, began breakfast getting ready to go to Mom’s to work for Mother’s Day present. Mom called couldn’t do it. I was so glad, went back to bed, slept all day long. Still slept 11 hours that night, last night. This morning I got up feeling pretty good – meditated, ran and walked around the hill, then, since Marcella was here did some ladder work – trimmed tarpaper on edges of shed roof – a job that’s needing doing since the shed was built. Also baked 5 loaves of bread today and took Marcella to the doctor: $18 to find out her ears aren’t infected. Take a lot of bread to make that back. More meditation – almost fell asleep – the words yin-stinct and yang-stinct circling in my head when the bell rang. Still yoga to do today. Also watered 33 trees and my tomato plants. Now it is dark, having some tea and a cookie. Wonder if it will happen that I’ll get connected up with my writing. Well, it may not be tonight, M & K here.

It does feel good to be making some headway with some things in the material world. If I feel good tomorrow I may begin setting up the workshop in the shed – I need to get it set up before I go ahead with the various projects that are waiting to be done, esp. storage shifted. Marcella said a friend told her the police are especially patrolling this area up here for marijuana growing – and I have seen an unusual number of patrol cars on this road lately. Guess I’ll do my growing inside this year. I sure wouldn’t want to get busted or ripped off – sure hated all the nightmares I had last summer.

Lots of dreams with all this sleep; nothing stands out. Usual large cast of characters – include Mom & Dad, John, Pearl. Pearl seems to be asking for attention somehow in my dreams these days.

 

 

Sunday afternoon – May 16 {1982}

What a mess everything is – how useless it all seems. Yesterday I worked on the shed – for the first time in a long while – put up the workbench. Today I feel tired and achy – can’t bring myself to go back to it. Can’t quite get to sleep either. The phone rang 4 times while I was trying to sleep.

Sometimes I think – here I am in this beautiful house in this beautiful spot with my time my own – and I still manage to feel worried and discontented most of the time. I’m trying to keep on trusting but it’s hard. When will the writing reveal itself? When will I feel some energy again? I’ve gone running every morning but one when I was so sick. That does feel good. But when will it al return to me as writing?

 

At Ocean with Summer       May 19-21 {1982}

Cassettes      #3.00 S owes me

Ovaltine         $2.00 I owe S.

Groceries       13.76                                      1.29 lighter fluid

 -3.68                                       2.39 charcoal

–           10. –                                      3.68

–           Costs we split

–           Summer paid 10.00 groceries

–           I paid 10.00 camping fee

–     14,00 gasoline to split

 

May 23 {1982} Women Writers Workshop     { Hannah’s Birthday party on the Solstice

Try imagining your book on the shelf in a bookstore. taking it out, looking thru table of contents.

 

ascetically adorned”

already mentioned”

 

Mail Summer’s map to Cardan

9188 w Evans Cr Road

Rogue River 97537

 

Golden

 

Priorities:

(1) Write to possible readers – call church for WS program esp. Fly Away Home

(2)       Get tapes done for Ruth

 

Golden West 866-2539

Golden 866-2520

 

List – Semi-creative rewrite page of Raga Dianne for Trudy

 

Sunday May 30 {1982}

So much happening at once. Tangren, if the material world is demanding your immediate attention then so be it. You have to do it now. and then maybe after you finish the tapes you could give yourself a vacation from writing for a while.

You have much “electrical carpentry” to do. Money is so hard just now..

 

Monday

Memorial Day, Sandra’s Birthday.

Meet Suzy at house, talk; get keys, maybe scrub up mold, paint there. Cut weeds, do more photography if possible. Latihan Monday night. Call Sarah at Golden. Probably do lettering on poster

 

Tuesday

Call college. Ad in paper. Repair washers; outdoors (front of house, in line), indoors – get some big eye screws and some medium ones. Xerox or print poster. Make up mailing list. Get flyer to WomanSource meeting. Scrub mold and paint if possible. See to stove? OK – you may get money before the 15th to pay taxes.

 

Tonight:

Call Kreider Smith. Call Mom, Dad. Call Beaver. Get some stamps. Ask PO – are postcards forwarded?

 

Soon – sprinkler on the roof

Workroom/storage/plants

Poison oak and blackberries

Fix front window opener

Replace dimmer switches

Get what fill dirt you can for the back. Make screens. Do some sewing (pants)

So many practical matters to think about – whether to Loan Deborah to Libré to go to Portland or not. Suzy moving out with no notice. Such an angry letter from Butterfly about the money she owes me. Mary Bebee evidently left with no way to get ahold of her or my $300. On top of that I have only $15 in checking, $116 in savings, with $285 in taxes due on the 15th, bills. All have left me with a rather desperate feeling and need to pull in and take care of myself. Almost told John I wanted to teach year after next and pay him back what I owe him. He doesn’t want me to; isn’t even that keen on ever sharing the job. Perhaps a well. The thought of going back to school to teach was so depressing.
Odd how easily I get to feeling suicidal under these circumstances – well, that’s much too strong a term. More that it’s a comfort to know that that possibility is there if needed. I always think of it when I can’t see how I’m going to take care of myself in the future.

But also – well my smoking isn’t really under control just now. Life seems so hard sometimes that I reach for the pipe just not able to care that it’s not good for my body, feeling the overpowering need for the relative perspective, centering, trust, remembering, self-knowing that it can bring. And it does. It helped today. I watered the trees and notice the light and was able to feel the goodness of the present and hope about the future. What can I say? I make the choice to be me, to be the one who believes in magic, who can hold onto that other point of view.

I truly cannot say that I regret the choice to be that person. To have lived my life with my kind of perceptions, the kind of life marijuana has given me, even if it means a shorter life. I would not settle for a longer life lived in the kind of other-centeredness that most people live, that I might have lived. That is the decision I make each day by my actions, if it comes to that. And perhaps I must come to forgive myself if it does come to that.

I don’t think I would let myself suffer much. I don’t think I could waste very much money on expensive medical treatments. I think I would go into the woods and choose to die “in Deborah” so to speak. I don’t like the thought of not being able to get fresh air – I’d hate to die with a headache. But enuf sleeping pills would probably enable one. Or there’s always Dianne’s solution.

In some ways it’s the best – one could be fully awake at the transition. At any rate, there are alternatives other than leading an intolerable life. No one lives forever anyway. And no death is likely to be much fun at a certain point – beyond that, who knows? Perhaps to be shown the wonderful experiences I could have had – (to say nothing of the suffering of those who loved/needed me) if only I’d had the patience to hang on and try other ways of being high. Well, I am working at it. But none of us judge another persons’ chemistry. If my experience tells me that’s the only path to living as I see fit, who knows? Perhaps for me it is. Some other people can get their highs some other ways but nobody else has managed yet to be me.

“Oh, fastidious one. Careful – You’ll get born with a harder row to hoe next time if you don’t watch out.”

 

 

Wednesday Morning – June 2 {1982}

Just to account for the days – so much pressure just now. Made up the WomanSpirit Evening poster yesterday – several trips downtown – take poster in, pick it up, go by WomanSource meeting, meet Suzy at the house. Today I have to clean, fix on house, get Womanspirit posters labeled. Still can’t mail, didn’t get stamp from Suzy. Summer called yesterday in a bad place – has been on a sugar binge since the coast. Sandra called around 6:00, home from Rootworks. Nice she’s back; but I have so much else on my mind just now. somebody else took her out to pizza last night –

 

Monday I did spend a nice day of sorts – ran around the hill, got the weedeater from Mom & Dad, cut down dry grasses, worked outside, then put up two complicated shelves in the shed workroom and cut and made a door in the side. The words of “The Reluctant Dragon” circling in my head. It was 6:30 or 7:00 before I knew it. My energy held, I wasn’t shaky or hungry. Had some coffee, but no m.j. of any kind. After supper went to bed very tired but feeling happy and satisfied. Nice not to ask more of myself sometimes.        Yesterday I smoked a lot trying to do the WS poster – so anxious about it and the program – so fearful of making some aesthetic or political mistake … and did anyway: Forgot to credit the photo: In the last hour before the meeting wrote in “photo: Ruth Mountaingrove” 350 times.

Later met with Suzy who was barely holding it together. Had to be hard on her when I see how hard life is being for her just now.

As for all of us, in various degrees. This life I am leading at the moment seems to have nothing to do with the life I meant to lead. Quitting work does not seem to have eliminated the hassles at all. The house and yard have their own demands – minimal as I try to keep them. The Rental is unexpected emergencies. Relationships need their attention. Financial matters a steady drain and the world seemingly falling about my ears. So many financial dealings with women gone sour: I had been planning on loaning Deborah to Libré to look for a place in Portland. And then, thinking about Butterfly later found myself saying “Never loan what you can’t bear to lose” and found myself wondering if that applied to Deborah. Then when Suzy called to say she was moving out immediately – I was just getting this awful feeling that I can’t protect myself. At the time I see the other woman’s needs more than my own. And faced the fact that my intuitions were all against Deborah’s making the trip to Portland. Libré was understanding about it.

Wish I knew what I’m supposed to learn from all this hard stuff.

(1) Maybe it’s to keep me from sending Deborah to Portland.

(2)       And then I think I’m supposed to learn one of the following; but which?

(1) don’t see your own needs/difficulties as so all-important

(2)       Take better care of yourself.

 

Friday morning {June 4, 1982}

Had carpentry work (a grid floor for outside rental) planned for this morning – but it’s pouring rain and the wood is wet so I’m spending the morning inside, taking the morning off. This afternoon I work on the hearth at 441 Beach and show the place to several prospective renters. Looks as if it won’t be hard to find a good renter – I called Suzy and told her that last night. It feels good not to have that between us.

Days of hard work – yesterday yard work here and there, painting, carpentry, meeting stove repairer – nights of aching muscles. In some ways very satisfying work. I feel less like a leach doing some work on the rental – and it feels good to take care of the place, to be being responsible about keeping it up. And it’s nice to do things that have immediate, seeable results.

The only thing is – how much I am smoking. Now. Last night. – Those odd few hours snatched here and there to sit and think and take stock as to what I’m doing and why. That ultimate need for a little perspective, a little distance. That waking up to remembering – to feeling I’ve been asleep, non-existent, in my days. Days disappearing, being somebody else.

For so long now – just dealing with life as it comes along. So little creativity! The day I spent with Hannah, reading her the Raga Dianne stands out. Taping it. So wonderfully satisfying – made me so happy, so grateful for the here and now, the gift I was being given.

Slept with Sandra at Rootworks that night – had a very full and open time making love – I had been so opened.

But the next day I found myself very tired and unable to relate – In the day we went to Golden again – I visited with Hannah. (We hadn’t really gotten to visit the day before – I saw where she plans to build her yurt and she gave me a tour of the buildings on the land.) Sandra, with Laverne. At supper Jean was grumpy and critical – I was tired. Afterwards – tried to spend some time with Sandra, found myself so bumbling and apologetic – just unable to function. Had a smoke, wondering what was wrong. It cleared my head enough to at least remember

(1) when you get like this – so inept – you simply can’t function

(2)       you can’t. Why? Because you need not to.

(3)       So much has happened – you need time to process, time alone, time to sleep. There’s no use asking anything else of yourself.

So went to bed and to sleep and I left the next morning (as I had to anyway; Thursday.)

When Sandra came home Tuesday around suppertime I was glad she was home – but there was no way to see her – In fact talking to her I suddenly remembered I’d forgotten to put photo: Ruth Mountaingrove – see I already wrote this – anyway, and the mailing /meeting in an hour – I did see her the next night – after a day of working at the house and before a night of working on addressing and stamping the flyers. I didn’t dare relax, didn’t remember how to hug or really who either of us was. It was hard and I left rather abruptly, simply unable to call up any social skills at the moment. S. had been looking forward to spending time together, perhaps the night. I felt guilty and bad, but after saying “That’s just the way it is” for the third time I decided that’s just the way it was and went home.

Last night I called her. she wants to wait to get together till I’m thru being pressured and also have had time to process and am really ready to see her; which would have been my first choice. She said she misses me but also has her own stuff to concentrate on.

The truth is I barely do have time in my life for a lover – yet don’t want to lose her. But there seems to be no choice except to do what I have to do and let our relationship adjust or flounder. So far it’s adjusted. At the moment I am afraid there is a dark underside, a way it’s failing, a way it’s hurting her that we’re not acknowledging that will come out some way a anger, withdrawal of support and love – as has just happened with Butterfly. It seems I feel a lot of pain and guilt about that still, and I think it’s doing its job to make me uncentered and withdrawn.

Life coming so hard and fast right now. Sometimes I wonder why. The only answer I can think of is that maybe I like challenges.

 

How many women lead how much of their lives in depression? Wishing they could just stop?

 

Re; “why?”

Note from p. 137  “…my life has to have some balance. My body needs exercise, my psyche needs rest from the incessant demand to produce writing.’

 

Sunday     Late afternoon June 7 or so {1982} {Typist’s Note: I think it would be June 6, 1982}

Need very much to check in with myself. Feeling uncentered – very –

Pressures still on – make back wood thing for 441 Beach – dig a place for it, etc.

(3) and –

(4) pressure to get pictures taken in time to get them back in time for the WS program

 

“I AM WELL ORGANIZED IN TIME AND SPACE”

I HAVE ALL THE TIME I NEED

THERE IS ENOUGH TIME FOR WHAT I WANT TO DO

I DO ONE THING AT A TIME

 

Thursday Morning {June 7, 1982}

Made the wood thing, took photos with Sandra – it took until yesterday afternoon. We had some nice times with each other, some good times of sexuality – some very good latihans. But by about Tuesday noon or so I was beginning to get “socially inept” – a sure sign that I need to be alone, nonverbal, sleep, write, check in with myself.

Libré was here Tuesday night to say goodbye – she’s moving to Portland. She gave me some good encouragement on my writing… as she always has. She says she and Holly are both my fans. She says she thought of me when she read in Silences Tillie Olsen saying how the years of having to deny the writing, of not being able to turn to the work can take years to unlearn.

Tee had called me in the late afternoon with a list of things of hers she wanted photographed and two pieces of news – her pap smear is normal, first in over a year and her book is finished – its final form is totally set; now she has to execute the Ur-copy. She was feeling wonderful about h book being finished – but told me that the other side of it was that she had spent the week being suicidal at times and greatly berating herself for “never finishing things”. She wants to explore the possibility of dispensing with the extremes of worry and self-doubt in the process.

Anyway, it helped to know all that. I guess because for me the value of her work is so clear. It may not be a sign of the equal worth of one’s own creations that one gets equally depressed about it all, but at least it’s not a sure sign, either, of the intrinsic worthlessness of one’s work.

 

Friday  {June 8, 1982}

Wanted so much to write today – Ended up spending all day on the plumbing – it’s still not all fixed.

Had some good latihans during the week – Sunday and Monday actually. Both times found myself feeling a lot of fear around Cortez {?} and ilk and my writing – Wondering who would read a book on lesbians and violence and pornography. Finally had a long talk with Sandra about it – whether it is safe, maybe WomanSpirit would be a much safer place IF they will do it – It’s good quality, but rather long. For so long I have repressed my fears about publishing that – not feeling that I had a choice – flattered, and glad for the new exposure – the chance to be in a book – glad of what my perspective would contribute to such a book – and feeling too that I do not want to be afraid to publish my writing that I would be “more afraid than I can stand, if I must know these things and do not dare to say them.” But how afraid will I be if I do say them?

And even if I could decide to take the chance myself, what about Marcella?

“We don’t burn witches anymore.”

It doesn’t feel so different to the witch that you bombard the minds of people with such sickness that some are called to enactment. All in the name of profit.

Late at night alone.

Acting strange, taking that chance,

How inarticulate I am – “acting strange” latihan, the very openness of the sound, the non-linear non-defined quality of the activity … feels dangerous alone at night.

But anyway last night first night to sit and sort things out

thought how it’s not only that sort of fear of exposure

but all sorts I’m feeling just now. That’s one of the main things that’s making it hard to be an artist just now

Needing to tape the Raga Dianne and The Box down to the last 2 days to do it

so far from center and self love

so far from being able to feel those states

It seems impossible. Yet Ruth will begin to wonder if I don’t still have any tapes for her.

But I am so far away from it all. Listening to my tape to Hannah which is good but has a lot of tape noise and some problems with enunciation. Listening I heard the first side without feeling and without pity. Know how all that about “Mommy” would sound to unfriendly ears. How it would reinforce some awful stereotypes about lesbians. Adrienne Rich has given me the courage to put it out .. what she said about lesbians being radically unmothered or however she put it.

All women are unmothered in a society where the men are the boss. But lesbians, feminists understand what is lost, the importance of this loss.

Well my thoughts are not brilliant tonight – just an attempt to catch a few of the thoughts that circulate in my head.  How off-balance I feel, how inept and apologetic! What’s happening? I’m not remembering very much. How can I possibly be creative and deep from this state? I’m not even functioning at normal. I’ve felt barely “ept”, slightly inept, at everything I’ve tried to do the past few days – as if my whole system were refusing to function.

I have a lot of fear. Money is getting scarier. I’m afraid the slides Sandra and I took didn’t come out. I’m afraid Ruth will begin to discount me if I don’t come up with some tapes. I worry about not doing the WomanSpirit evening right. I worry about exposure of my writing and how I’ll ever make tapes for Ruth in time. And whether I’ll ever be a writer.

I seem to remember in latihan once I was understanding how it helps to make everything clear to regain my center about writing and look at my writing as if from beyond death – looking back at my life and asking “What will you want to have created?”

From that perspective of course a good deal of it is already created – eg 2:00 AM Valentine’s Morning mostly exists and as a performance before the Godess has already been done many times.

When I was getting ready to start writing on Mu Beach, the question that really helped me was this one: “Now, then, what do you want to say before you die?”

The fear as I write that … That someone will say “See how even then she was calling death to her?” Why am I so paranoid about myself? Why are all these unfriendly interpretations so real to me?

Libré gave me the feedback that she feels I take things too hard often. (Anything like Mom’s “going off the deep end”?)

Anyway, it’s good feedback to have – to hear there are ways taking things easier that I as yet know not of.

Tonight I feel inept, defensive – not really remembering who I am but only reacting to the imagined criticisms.

Sandra is coming tonight – I’m going to try reading to her perhaps.

If she can help me remember who I am. She gets rather madcap sometimes when I am being too dense and frozen. Sometimes I feel she is laughing at me.

 

Saturday afternoon June 12 {1982} {Typist’s Note: If the author’s date is correct here, then the last two dates are in error.}

Disarmament rallies in New York City and elsewhere. Why has it suddenly caught on? Maybe Reagan’s militarism has scared a few people; he’s certainly radicalized/polarized things for lots of people – And I suppose the amount of money going to the military budget isn’t lost on everyone when it’s hurting so many other things. … And perhaps the people beginning to die now from being in the military during nuclear testing – or agent orange. Still, why now? They say it may be the biggest demonstration ever. I’m so glad that’s what it’s for. Still I turned off the radio after listening to man after man talk in macho kinds of ways. How do you suppose Holly Near does it? Last night on the news heard a bit from a worship service – a child speaking for the children victims of war – it was very moving.

Just trying to keep the pen moving. Knowing how just one step ahead of despair I feel – Sandra came up last night… I’d planed one last desperate attempt to have a reading done of The Raga Dianna – but the impossibility of it became clear to me when I realized how absolutely numb and bumbling I feel attempting simple physical errands or simple social interactions. Great Art that I had to stop and give birth to – but I actually think it probably was instead the simple result of too much pressure on the physical and other planes, no time to be centered, etc. etc.

But oh the amount of fear and self-hatred I am in at the moment. I don’t know if it’s some automatic shut-off mechanism that is beginning to activate now that I am called on to actually Create my Art –  panic at the thought of exposure or trying to live up to my dreams (of pinnacles of perfection)  “all the great art I could create if only I didn’t have this job! Oh how I would not smoke and be centered and internal and turning each night to the work.” All ye teeming masses suffering in the yokes of your work, at least ye have the purity of your “if”’s , the dazzle of your dreams.

Oh why can’t I manage to be happy here? Warm, fed, shone on by sun and stars, surrounded by relative quiet and beauty. Why this panic about money? Because money holds this all together. Well, people have been saying for years that Deborah needs a new clutch – and she’s kept on working just the same as far as I can tell. It’s just that 2/3 of that $300 I’ve been waiting for is already spent and I still haven’t paid the things I have to pay for from it – bills, etc. simple, small things are suddenly unaffordable, a case of oil, copper tubing for a sprinkler on the roof, to say nothing of asking Z. Budapest’s advice on how to proceed with my art and inspiration

 

Beverly Lynch } possible reading              We are all each other’s

Lee Lynch         }Wed 23                            raw material

Euphoria {love-making – church inspired            transition needed

“gang bangs”

women under our care were more sinned against than sinning

social comment

both able to read

her stories more easily”                  scholarship – V of Minna {?}

“Jubilee magazine”

 

“The following poem”

“Juniorate”

 

                        “a few weeks late they learned…”

 

Hannah – 3 songs of hers  2-3 minutes each

Hawks – not read

 

Me: Mu Beach

 

Caroline: Adriadne’s Maze – 2 pages –  and maybe somebody else’s

 

Sarah – “Communal Garden”

 

Tee – Show slide of labia drawing

Thaw or Roots or both

 

Ruth – 3 songs         Read “Kate, Anne Sexton, Simplified Botany”

 

Sandra

Zarod

Zana?

 

Possibly – Jean’s “In the Grove” 1st issue                      Billie Jo and Carol Newhouse

Jean – piece in this month                         1st issue

 

History of the magazine – maybe interspersed

 

Format for introduction –

Name, age, where you live

 

Monday afternoon {June 14, 1982}                       a groping thought.

We write because we want to be loved? And if one has love and understanding without the writing? Why does one want the writing? It isn’t just ‘to be loved” that I want, but to be loved in and for the writing that comes through me.

All feels so poor and groping coming through a self of me just barely conscious at all (of wisdom) a self just beginning to awaken from matters of plumbing and phone calls, bills and Sandra.

I’ve been needing some separate space for a while – Just failing under the external pressures, the thought of a year gone by and so little done, money worries – riding the negative tapes round and round in my brain, only occasionally remembering to interject an affirmation, a remembrance of trust. Come to think of it, I wonder if I am often depressed in June? I should check back but I’m afraid I might find out it starts in May and lasts until October. Sandra keeps right on loving me, keeping her perspective. In a way it does help to be reminded of who I can be but then again I feel dumb and off-balance not to have remembered it. Nearly everything is an occasion for PANIC.

Just took myself outside. Though the weather is beautiful, the sun is hot. It’s nice to be outside but not in the hot sun. Luckily I can’t find any explanation of compression unions in Basic Household Repairs and my father is cutting weeds in the sun at the rentals so I can’t get him to explain it to me. Perhaps I could figure it out by myself but then I could be wrong and create very big problems. So what I think I will try to do instead is just try to keep the pen going in the hopes that I will not smoke anymore in my panic but will let what I have smoked and the connection between pen and hand as it were have a chance to reestablish the stiff joints of internal communication.

 

Because it doesn’t really help to have someone loving me if I am not in touch with love myself. Or much of anything else. I become so rigid, mechanical, groping to remember the rules of whatever situation I am in. So much of it is fear. What I say sounds so general, so liable to misinterpretation by a reader. But, dear tangren, the point of this exercise is not to create a masterpiece on the subject of depression but simply to let these thoughts run onto the paper in the hopes they will stop circling in your head, like little insects finally led from the rim of the jar where they have been following each other for days in a doomed circular march, led off finally by the fascinated scientist who had watched in horror well anyway You know what I mean and nobody else needs to so I won’t go on. Tee said yesterday about depression: A) “Breathe”, which she says about everything – and B) “Women get depressed four times as often as men. Partly it’s because men tend to go out and do something physical and active like jogging when they start to feel bad – whereas women I think tend more to sit down and think about what they are feeling. But one of the things about hard physical activity is that it does get you to breathe.”

Yes, and it’s also true that just not doing things makes you feel like you can’t. It’s all very well to cultivate silence and space in your life. But the never-ending list of things to tend to builds – poison oak, Deborah’s clutch, plumbing, sprinkler, shed, WomanSpirit Evening, money.

And then there’s always such a dual pressure to do them and to ignore them. Neither way can I win. Oh poor tangren, can’t manage to enjoy herself even when she’s got it so much easier than the rest of us. I’m sick of the Women’s Movement sometimes I think. At least when I get too involved with any outside group I lose my center. Feel too vulnerable to their judgements. Which I suppose are nothing compare to my own.

That’s just how I feel just now, so vulnerable to everyone’s judgements. Called Shelly a few minutes ago about the WomanSpirit Evening. when I said who I was she didn’t say “Well, hello” or anything – an invitation to be in the program. She was pleased ,but said she had “some feelings she wanted to share with me” when we talked next. So I’m quailing wondering what else I’ve done wrong and was it in ignorance and if so was it willful ignorance or not? I have seen myself through too much not to understand that I can fool myself into not seeing the harm I am doing sometimes, or the dubious motives behind my virtuous explanation of what I am doing. So what Tangren? Everybody fools themselves sometimes, most with a great deal less self-doubt than you. No one can be the perfect soul-searcher. Can’t you learn and go on and keep doing your best and getting better and wiser without letting your mistakes trap you in a lot of self-mistrust and fear.

 

Typist’s Note: There is a sketch of a bird, with it’s beak open, as if it were delivering the following statement:

 

Everyone makes mistakes

So why can’t you?

Your sister

and your brother

and your dad and mother too…

Big people

small people

Matter of fact all people

Everyone makes mistakes

So why can’t you?

 

Solstice          New Moon     June 21, 1982

It would be fun to take a picture of Raggedy Ann with Tee’s two movie star rag dolls.

I am determined not to repeat the material of the last four solstices and equinoxes – the thirsting need for central solitude. Yet what that means in terms of my relationship top Sandra I don’t know.

I’ve spent a long time being low and full of fears. It lightens occasionally – the night of Hannah’s “first throm ever” was somewhat opening and I felt some of the magic. And all of the time has been relieved by humor – lots of shots of loving humor to Sandra – still something is keeping me near-paralyzed. Today on top of Sun and Moon both shifting with Cancer as the Solstice turns the year – also I am flowing bleeding dripping dark blood and watery blood and bits of uterine lining. “Amniotic Affirmations” writes Sandra.

 

Amniotic Affirmations

(1) My periods are wonderful, regular, short, efficient, and painless. They remind me of the wisdom of cycles.

This is the second time it has come within hours of the new moon. Will I cycle on past, or will I now, living in the rhythms of the light, settle to the new moon for my time? (It’s so perfect because then I am in the upswing afterwards just when the moon is in the moonspeaker phase.)

(2)By Lammas, by Lammas, (only six weeks away), I will be in a right relationship with marijuana.

(3) The Expanding Search

(4)       Appreciate water

(5)       The right work comes to hand at the right time.

(6)       I do one thing at a time       step by step   stone by stone                      build your dream, go slowly

step by step         stone by stone                      heartfelt work is holy

(7) My writings will come to me to be finished as needed.

(8)       I will remember the joy of working, of polishing, of finishing, sending it out, of loving my children once more and caring for them. Like dolls bearing no ill will for their long stay in the drawer, glad of the light of day.

(9)       (I am almost afraid to make this one and yet I long for it whatever it takes:)

I have the essential solitude I need.

(10)            I will renew my vow to All Deborahn for Ramadahn

No caffeine   no marijuana

Sunup to sundown

(11)           and the rest? Running/walking? Twice a day meditating? Yoga?

 

Well for one thing something like that feels completely impossible when Sandra is in my life in the way she has been lately. I know I tend to blame externals for my own lack of discipline – “oh, if only I could quit this job then I could stop smoking and be a writer” etc.    etc.

A part of me really feels the need to withdraw from this relationship as it presently exists. I get scared of being on my own, frightened by having to do battle with the self-hater on my own. Fearful of its being hard to touch again, lonely. And most of all I know that if I withdraw much more someone else will flow in to take up the void in Sandra’s life and I am very much afraid of how much that will hurt and even worse of my ability to deal with social situations around it all. Well maybe it will be Ginny in Eugene and that won’t hurt so much; tho how hard it was to hear her say what I knew already that the feeling between them was of the romantic interest type.

It’s not really that I mind it’s just that I couldn’t be open at that moment, had to go through what I was feeling, such a letting go, such a hurt, so out of place for what it was.

So much I have cried this past week. Got up Friday morning, took Marcella and Kirsten to the stables, came home, lay down on the bed with Sandra, cried off and on all day. In the evening I was so tired it seemed impossible I could drive up to Wolf Creek, Circle, then drive back again. But the energy did come from somewhere. Driving up we were silent for the first part of the way. I was really feeling happy about Deborah – watching the thunderclouds open and close, the rain come and go while we flew in a cushion of air up the hills, down the curves, her engine throbbing and purring, her switches switching, her gears meshing, everything working, my magic car. I thought about how neat toy cars were, and even neater those cars at the carnival with the rubber bumpers all around that you could really drive; and what an incredible thing it is to have  a real grown up car that really works. (To say nothing of loving you back.) How wonderful all her mechanisms working – gas and brakes, distributor, cams, valves, carburetor, exhaust  So many things must be right all at once; and they all are. And have been for so many years. Cars are to be appreciated.

But (and here’s an example) Sandra was having a hard time. She had a problem with the Digest she needed to talk over. And I was glad to befriend her, to be able to be a little kind myself, and to listen. It felt good for a change to be the strong one, the one providing perspective and a lift and a bit of humor. It felt good to be the one giving, for a change. I‘ve been so low lately, and she’s been giving so much. And I don’t want things to be unfair. Also, I need for myself to feel my own giving, to feel my own pleasure in giving.

And perhaps I had  had enough of Deborah anyway for then. But still it was a little hard to turn from the comfortable meanders my mind has worn for itself. I felt a sense of self slipping again as it must always. I felt like a mother feels who postpones again her time of solitude.

 

Once a few days ago I said something to Sandra about her putting up with all my vapors and ineptitudes and depressions, her seeing me through all that, loving me even through all that. “I’m not a fair weather friend, Jo.” she said. It made me a little nervous. Sometimes I have thought I am a fair weather friend, that there’s nothing wrong with fair weather friendships. I feel it’s important that one’s friendships get one high, help make one happy. If they don’t, I have thought to myself, then it’s time to trim them back and find others that do, or one’s own strengths again. Is that callous?  But everyone is a fair weather friend at some level, aren’t they? How can anyone who’s ended a relationship say they aren’t a fair weather friend?

Well, but how to tell stormy weather when you see it?  How to see heavy weather when it comes? (Your life can depend upon it)?

(12)           I know heavy weather when I see it and stay home if I want to.

(13)     My life is my own.

(14)     My hours are my own.

(15)     My days are my own.

(16)     My nights are my own.

(17)     I reach to others in true feelings of caring from the depth of my own fullness. Not otherwise.

(18)     I am now in a right relationship with marijuana.

(19)     The flow of money continues, coming as I need t to carry on my work.

(20)     The ebb and flow of my writing I understand as natural.

(21)     I am able to remove all artificial impediments to the writing process.

(22)     I love my writing; My writing loves me.

(23)     I am the one who knows the true worth of my writing. I am the authority, the author. I am the one who validates.

(24)     What do you want to say before you die? What stories do you have to tell? What do you want to get down in this your lifetime? What, in the light of eternity, do you want this life to have been?

A good talk with Dierdre again today. We see each other to talk once or twice a year and always have the same conversation. The struggle to be an artists. The validity of the choice. Today she was saying how art can seem to have no real social contribution – it’s not doing something for the world the way, say, social work is. “Yet” she stopped herself “I don’t really even think that anymore. Art is really the spirit of the people. Without the spirit what are we? Art shows us our spirit, our individual spirit.”

I had to agree. Art has taught me so much of what I understand of meaning and wisdom and beauty. Artists who touch me have meant among the most of people in my life.

But then I went and became an artist. What of the people who aren’t artists? Well, well, except for those who voluntarily absent themselves from the blessings of art and turn their culture over to video games and television, computers, stock car racing and war games.

That leaves … many too tired to care, and some hypnotized by a certain hard-luck cast to life. And some manifesting art in creating their children, tuning a car, building a yurt, tending a garden. One vision I have of “primitive society” Mike says there that art is more blended with everyday. Baskets made with beauty, and ephemeral stories weaving wonders above the campfire, never caught and crystallized, changing in the breath of each new teller, changing with the dreams of every hearer. It is not my story; artists here are set apart, generally crazy, often addicted, subject to fits of depression and copyright their material word for word. Once in a great while heard and honored, once in a great while seen, appreciated, even rich; often right.

But anyway, the point is, the point about what about the non-artists is: There aren’t any.

Executives and generals at the age of nine months cooed and crowed and spoke pre-verbal poetry into the sunlight over their cribs.

Waitresses would be poets if they could; some manage it. And some are weavers weaving days and people, or threads.

Diedre is 43. This year she is taking Sarah her small curly-haired dog and heading for Paris. She has always imagined France. The place of painters. The light in Provence, the light. The country where beauty matters. Where people take the simple fact of food and perfect it into an art form. Where the buildings are beautiful and the cafes are full of artists and writers. She has made up a bunch of little prints which she hopes to use as paper money, paying for a meal with a print, now and then.

It made me think of the story Janet Belweather ? wrote about the astronaut “Tangren”  who is looking for a world where art has survived.

I don’t know if Dierdre will find her France. But if she goes looking for it and expecting to find it; she may well find it. It seems to me very brave of her. I am caught up in her adventure.

But for myself, I tend to the school of thought “if you can’t find it in your own backyard, then you ever really lost it in the first place.” Actually, I never have understood that line but still I tend to trust most in the backyard philosophy. Though a good cleansing sojourn under some new light in a new place does occasionally sound enchanting. I do tend to get awfully grim hanging in here day after day trying to get out some writing as if I were Mr. Portnoy trying to shit.

 

Making lists seems to be part of my mending process. When I begin to make lists then I know I may be on the road to mending. Why? I suppose because I’m yielding to temptation. When I make them, finally, get them out of my head and down on paper.

Sky tomorrow lunch.

Lists of tools and

materials needed

to make screens

Next week after the WomanSpirit Evening

Writers Group Day

Sunday sleep and recover.

Tomorrow/ get $ if you’re going to Wolf Creek – milk

Next week:
Cover tomatoes with nets

Cut out blight

Work on poison oak

Sky / screen?

 

When for Ruth’s tape?

 

Things to do before WomanSpirit Evening yet

Slides

Sort thru, put in some kind of order, get program of names and titles, try with some music.

Call Dot Fisher-Smith

Read over

3 articles from this WomanSpirit and from the first one

 

Read over – Elsa Gidlow’s poems, choose four

(1) Chains of Fire

(2) Hymn to Aphrodite, newborn

(3)In the blaze of love it is known

(4)

 

Find “3 Fates” piece.

Read over Mu Beach

Practice reading it

 

Practical

See church

Iron sheet, make screen / or find a screen

Get slides

Get change for $

Make sign “Donation $2.50”

Call Dot F-S, call Lavinnia

Call Golden – Laverne & Dot

Review      print and slide

Buy some suitable tape.

Someone to tape it.

Ruth? Someone? Marcella? Kirsten making shirts of “horse lover”

Make blue and orange books.

Call Mike – address – mites – Eclipse

 

Yes what is good is when the self is not noticed when it is simply that the eye is curious to know what the hand will write next. Of course the brain thought it all first but still it was the hand that wrote it all down. The price of journals is going up – at least my last one at the Mart was & $5.70 and sometimes when I fill page after page I wonder but still I think it is cheap even compared to suicide. Besides I think they put in more pages again. I can hardly wait to number them.

211 pages + 3 for intro // No – this one is longer. Tried to intuit what the mood of the pages would be – in the 150’s I was flying, in the earlier part I was honored to be doing the numbering. But in the later parts a fear and pain and sorrow and tension took over. Said to myself “I shouldn’t be trying to do this now when my body is so blocked.”

Whatsa matter? You gonna insist these pages be all bliss? Unrelieved progress at least?”

Well, I was hoping to get in some affirmations, yes. To build some good imaginings into numbering the pages. … But when I saw what was happening I let it because things aren’t always gonna be as calm as this

but in a way there’s affirmation in this at least that no matter whether you are flying or whether you are spiraling in sorrow and regret at any rate whatever is filling these pages something is filling these pages your hand is letting your brain spill over so it can take a little more in or maybe even relax

and anyway in numbering there is the point of view – the meaning of numbers 15,040 I often check out (and 150.40 too) 23, for Sandra, 39, yes 3 times 13,  when I was 3 times Marcella, 39, what Sandra is now and I am already older than, what greenbo is now, 41, me, now, 43, Dierdre, 55, Hannah, last year 59, Ruth or so? Can I imagine myself at 43? 45? 47? Yes 49. 51

65 perhaps or 63 is the year of the move to the women writers island and how many more loves have there been                     how many friendships works of art, loves and understandings. Or are we then like Martha Quest on the other side of the holocaust? But the Holocaust – the holocaust is also an excuse not to look into the future not to have to plan to live till 73.

To pick a random number. Perhaps I have mentioned the “we only live 72-73 years incident” so often I luckily need not say it again but often I wonder if I did not inadvertently pick my natural life span or was it just the insurance tables? Grandma lived so much longer. Even Pearl reached 85 I thought, passing 85. Elsa Gidlow is now 83. That’s important to know. But when I came to 99 I knew with a certainty that I was by then bones only and pieces of paper. Bones only and pieces of paper I began to look back upon it all from 123 years; perhaps the answer is saying that Time’sChild was born 123 years ago today Oct 22 and that today we are playing her tape opus 13. Or perhaps a grey and radioactive dust is circling a silent, cieled {?} world. Then through the ceiling, darlings we’re 155 today. And how well did we play that today? Spin as in spinning a story. Spinsters spinning wool finding the thread binding the thread into thread fingers following self-made thread ever into the chaos of lambswool

spinners spinning following the thread of the story as it unfolds dancing down a tightrope anchored at only one end the other end yet to be created

To the spider spinning from her own substance the threads of her sustenance, the skeins on which she weaves the world, the pentacles creator sustainer. Spiders I am told move from time to time. They eat up their web and take it along inside.

 

 

 

Things I Need Money For.

Good patent lawyer –

(Try Mint Deneb instead)

write her – get her phone #

 

Typist’s Note: at the end of the book there are 8 printed cards of drawings of women, assumedly of women at Writers Group. Artist: Tee A. Corinne

 

 

 

 

Solstice Night, Summer 1982        3:45

Well that was an interesting way to come to the end of a journal. Glad another one is to hand. ____________ says about dependencies to substitute journal writing for other dependencies. Whatever about that only tangren that it’s good for you to write especially when you begin to watch to see what the pen is going to say, what the hand is going to write.

Still I am at the moment smoking. Which indicates that my panic level at the moment may be fairly high still. But in that case it’s been high for quite a long time.

One thing you thought of tonight concerning the ever present external boring life and death matter of coffee and marijuana.

One thing I thought about tonight was: I latihaned and asked what should my relationship be to m.j. and c? and was shown only some tension in my body – becoming sensitive to the need for stretching in the neck.

And a message perhaps saying maybe just reminding you to listen to your body and what she needs. Only a reminder not exactly to do with marijuana just a little positive thing you can do for me now and then is to listen to your body. Check in – how is your breathing? Does anything need stretching? Moving? Or just stilly listen note are there some spots of heldness blind spots, tension. Are there fears you are not breathing, tears you are not letting through your throat? Just notice. Just check in at the basic sensory level.

That’s a bit of why I haven’t been doing yoga lately. I know it would put me more in touch than I want to be.

And it always seems to me that it’s when I stop smoking that I feel the little pains, the soreness in the throat. When I am smoking it does not seem to me it is hurting. Perhaps I do not let myself feel it I thought today as I was trying to wash the various diseases from the bushes round the house. It seems to be a vain effort – I spray and spray with water and still there are pockets of amniotic white powder, beastly reddish beasts within waving red legs, helplessly preying on my manzanita bushes. I may have to call the county extension agent (though no one seems to be very interested in saving manzanita). Perhaps as Mom and Dad insist I will have to spray. I missed the workshop on alternatives to pesticides because I was crying all day or maybe making love. Wouldn’t it be nice if the county extension agent had gone?

 

Affirmations              Amniotic Affirmations

  1. I will learn what I need to from the manzanita bushes. It will be another marvel of good luck.
  2. By Lammas.

By Lammas

by Ramadam , perhaps if you could stand to be helped by a Muslim custom o suspicious jumpy one.

or by a promise to

All Deborahn

Redeemed

If you like that better                                                                 redeeamed until you do.

 

By the way, to help with withdrawal symptoms I recommend sleeping outside whenever possible and in general being outside a little more.

But dreams beneath the stars and moon are not to be forgotten

And anyway remember what Vivienne said how for women without regular jobs it just turns night and day around so it could prove for you there are nights even in midsummer

many hours of night each night and you only have to give them up days

and in the days

(1) Rest when you are tired.

(2)                                                    Look to your lists.

(3) Enjoy the pentacles light of the day, cross your fingers and pretend that you have

(4) faith that soon again the days will spill away in to the northwest and the eye will open on the dark and blessed night.

The thought was I remember

that

yes that understanding “Silences” in my own case meant understanding that part of my flailing at an invisible wall, is this rather panicked tendency  to always push the body beyond optimism in this way.

Yeah, but whatever works, don’t knock it.

All right but still darling there may be more time than you think (or less) whatever about that you have no real reason why you couldn’t shoot for 63 and that’s a while. And you have to admit it begins to look like it’s pretty hard to imagine a very large number of years lived pushing the body like this using up her reserves always running her at the limit. How would Deborah feel if you always drove her with her motor at high speed?

But she also suffers when you lug her down and on these hills it’s sometimes hard not to do the one or the other.

And if you are not conscious enough of changing her gears, thinking a little ahead, she will stall altogether on the steep hill.

If she’s backed down and given another run at in low gear so far she’s always been willing to start again. Oh how much I wish I could get everyone out of my system. And be alone with you Tangren. I love you and we haven’t touched down with each other in a long time. Tangren you didn’t stay for the circle tonight. Sandra did. Sandra was very opened at Hannah’s evening, and now she was circling and you were not there to share it with her and you know that it is possible somehow it seems very possible that on this midsummer night someone else has found her opened eyes, eyes opened inward, clothes opened, body opened. She needs more than you can give her now. Tangren. Let her go. Let her find all the love she can everywhere. Let her set you free.

Tangren, Tangren

You and I

we need each other

most of all.

When I am unravelled, she has so much healing energy for me loves me so, makes me laugh, remembers me to me, even more to herself, who else I can be than this faltering one. Who else I am.

But a part of me is stamping my foot and saying

“I wanna figure it out myself.”

A part of me is quite unwilling to give away the power of knowing my name to anyone, knowing how much power it is to give to let someone say your name. You are getting obscure, you are thinking of Butterfly                                                         your right side is quite tense and your kankersore hurts.

 

Amniotic affirmations.

Tangren, from the view of a few miles away from the plane of the galaxy can you accept it gracefully if tonight her breath is in someone else’s ear? Tangren, Tangren Tangren Tangren Tangren don’t spiral down away in pain Tangren Tangren Tangren your own arms are holding you one at the table and one at the pen holding you to the page holding you to the present Tangren Tangren Tangren listen           my voice is in your ear listen I even sound sometimes like Sandra

Tangren, it’s me. Your old friend. Remember, your primary lover? Tangren. How I’ve missed you so. “yes where were you then?”

Tangren. You know you have to love yourself first. You know you can’t let her do that for you. Tangren you know you need more distance, you know you have to trust yourself enough to go where you find the love –

In loving yourself enough in your own inimitable way

When you have loved yourself enough, taken care of yourself enough, then you feel secure, then you can reach out to others from the fullness that is in you. Will there be anyone left to reach to? And can distancing be accomplished without anger, without loss of love?

Chances at love don’t come by very often. A woman like Sandra you’ll never find again. But still I cannot make it work just now. I am needed elsewhere. And even at the risk that you my love would spend the special night in other arms as yet blessedly without a face whatever

really my only thought was that I could not dare give up this chance to watch alone. Perhaps I read martha quest at too impressionable an age but I envy her her locked room – Once again I am ready almost to do battle with the self hater knowing that he is merely the gnat that guards the world within.

Q (Why would worlds within post a gnat at the doorstep?

  1. To stop the curiosity-seekers.

B  To scare away those whose attention is elsewhere while admitting those have enuf to look the gnat in the eye.

Frequently  I am worried that I am too self centered. Not that I am no not that really. For myself the only problem is to get centered in myself – then I seem to get in righter relationship with the whole world.  For myself I trust getting centered in myself. It’s just exposing it to the world that’s scary. It’s not a life-style that recommends itself to everyone. It will be less than helpful or appealing to many. Yet many hear parts many find it helpful and/or appealing now.

Oh to speak in safety

Tangren oh Tangren

Tangren oh Tangren

The sky is turning blue and if you are going to keep your promise you’d better start

but Tangren oh Tangren I wanted to hold you some tonight I wanted to visit with you, oh virgin so long away oh come into my manzanita garden

Tangren I’m so lonely for you

I’ve been waiting here so long

 

How You Can Stand It

(1) Look at your lists

(2) check out your present body.

or bodies as the case may be

(3) Say  I trust

the Night Will

Come Again

 

June 29 Tuesday Morning 8:00 or so

Well, I’m scheduled for a busy morning; but got up a little early, reached for the pipe when breakfast was done.

I let myself off the hook about my vows while getting through the WomanSpirit Evening program and aftermath … But once again you allow yourself a lapse it’s hard to return to the straight and narrow. “One more day.” “it’s raining today.” Yet how much better I do feel than I did a few minutes ago.

Anyway – preparing for this WomanSpirit Evening has come to dominate my life for this past month. Now of course my life is in disarray – clothes garden bushes finances. (The $130 that came in a couple of weeks ago to last me for the next two weeks is suddenly less than $8)

The Evening was a great deal of work and anxiety. But I think it proved to be a great experience for those of us who were there. It opened me up; the next day I was so close to tears from the fullness of it all. And feeling so rooted, solid – connected with the Earth with my body – It’s hard to explain … But one other time I can remember feeling this way was when I was waiting for Deborah Kerr outside the stage door. After everyone had left I went for a walk in the rainy, misty grey-green evening – The rain clung like jewels to the velvet leaves of the wild lilac, grey drops beaded the edges of every manzanita leaf. My heart felt do opened it ached with fullness – Only the earth, only the manifoldness of the trees and bushes seemed strong enough to absorb these feelings. Sat in the woods feeling so much love for each woman. At writer’s group instead of taking notes I had sat there writing “Thank you” over and over.

So, in summary

 

One month or so of

anxiety and work and semi-suicidal thoughts

$15.00 and about $80.00 for slides, mostly ruined (bad light meter battery)

artwork – taking the slides, making the show

Beauty, power, goodness

strength                                               intelligence

As Helen said when she left

Thanks for a peak experience.”

 

Actually, everyone hadn’t left. Sandra was sitting here in the living room corner by the window when I left for a walk – looking transformed and writing things down from time to time. It took us another day to disentangle, to realize that even though we had not touched down with each other really for a long time, still this was not the time to do it either.

It’s been hard for her lately. Since she’s been back from California we’ve tried  see each other, wanted to be together, but we both had so much else going on in our lives that we have not been able to really concentrate on our relationship, on each other. But to be together while not really putting the energy into being authentic and centered with each other has been hard on the relationship I think.

And my loneliness for myself grows.

Yesterday was the first day I spent alone in a while. It felt healing – the simple freedom to think my own thoughts, letting them bubble to the surface in whatever order, seeing what needs doing, sorting priorities, remembering,

feeling, worrying ….

worrying is the hard one. Writhing on the hook of the memories of mistakes I made that weekend – things I did wrong. It happened again – the self-hater is always the first one I meet when I’m alone again. If I hadn’t read Doris Lessing  she might scare me away from being alone – I think this happens with most people – But I have read Lessing and even though I know that victory over her is fragile and that there is never any guarantee she will go away soon yet she can go away and leave one to the riches of solitude.

I feel very troubled about Sandra. It’s easy to share my loving feelings with her, often impossible to share the needs I have to be alone. (And even to say it once, clearly and with much care and effort is not enough.) Sometimes I imagine, just let myself peek at the idea, what would it be like if she were not in my life? Something in me leaps. Something in me says “Then I would be communing with myself. Then I would be centered and disciplined and writing. I would know who I am. I would be lonely. I would long for touching. I would wonder deep underneath why all that touching went to each other and still none for me. But perhaps that longing is part of what gives the bittersweet slant to my writings….”

I am afraid to think about it.

I don’t want to lose her.

I know we have gone to some wonderful, trusting places together.

But I need myself; I don’t feel full of her when she leaves anymore. I don’t feel that open to her; that I will be swallowed whole if I am , as with Marcella, though I love, I have to defend myself from being absorbed.

I am afraid of losing her. I wish she didn’t seem to need other people. Of course our situations (living space, job) are very different. She needs contacts with people to make a living.

Sometimes I feel used, too. Used as a distraction. Seducing Tangren can be a way of putting off facing unpleasant realities that need facing. And I am so ready to cooperate.

Not that I am really on the verge of passion, but that I want to be.

But too it doesn’t feel right to make love sometimes when I don’t really feel the giving and the reaching welling up in me. Of course one always hopes those feelings will take over, but sometimes they don’t.

It’s so hard to hurt her, to do anything that will make her pull away, that will put a protective distance where there is not so much love and support. Last night I called her to check in – “This is a friendly check-in call.” I said when I called and we did just that – talked about our respective days and said goodby without once saying “I love you”, either of us. But I was not feeling an upwelling of love, nor was she. I almost called her back to tell her I loved her, to smooth over the little hurt of neither of us saying it. But I didn’t – just sat with the ache and wished her well if she was feeling the same, and let it be – let that little distancing happen.

Here comes a bit of sunshine. It’s time to go see the Extension Agent about the manzanita. More later.

Replant tomatoes, do indoor potting, hanging. Put up screen?

 

Saturday Evening {July 3 ?, 1982}

After three days of being alone – “puttering”, tending to errands, etc. I felt much more as if I “had myself to give” when Sandra came up on Wednesday. (Marcella and Kirsten came a day early and I was feeling the need for reinforcements.) I had been 3 days off and 1 day on, and the ratio felt good. We didn’t make love but had a loving time.

Then on Thursday and earlier in the day than I expected, Lavinnia came to visit and stay overnight, leaving on the plane the next day for L.A.. Her visit was … a lot of things. The best was hearing about her childhood – to be transported back to the life of a little girl on estates in East Germany. The worst part was 24 hours in my own home with someone who is not a feminist. The worst part was the pain it left in me after she left. It is over a day later and I am still in no condition at all to know who I am or what I need – down on myself, totally discouraged about my life and full of self-hatred, self-judgement. Unable to take hold and do anything today. And knowing how dumb it is to have been given such a good life and still have to worry all the time about something … Knowing how much EKR would have contempt for my weakness. Re EKR: “Pay some attention then to people in your life who think you’re wonderful.” Sandra said on the phone.

 

Tuesday July 13 {1982}

Early afternoon. I got up at six yesterday and put in a full day’s work – repotting, hanging plants, shopping in the late afternoon – for hardware etc. for the next projects – But today I can’t seem to take hold – or don’t want to. Was looking forward last night to spending a real evening by myself – but Summer was having a crisis and needed to come up. “I’ll just sit on your deck and drink a couple of beers.” But of course it didn’t work that way. However, she ended up spraying the yellow jackets’ nest under the deck for me – a job the exterminator had estimated as “at least $40” So I considered the evening well worth it. But after S. went home it was so late I just sought oblivion in a book – Read some more of Elizabeth Kübler Ross’s biography. Today it’s been inspiring a lot of self-contempt. What am I doing wasting my life away in laziness and self-indulgence and not managing to write or be happy either. Really I should rent the house (or give it away if I am to be truly cosmic, like Elizabeth) and go join the American Friends Service Committee.

Well Sandra called an hour or so ago – she said our lives were not comparable – EKR’s and mine. “They have an entirely different flavor,” she said. “Hers is like Rocky Road. And yours, well, it’s more French Vanilla.” She was at Summer’s, using her place while she’s gone in the day. She’d stayed the night – even tried unsuccessfully to interest her in Indulging Impulse. “I wished I was sleeping with you, Jo,” she said. And later, when she hung up. “Remember, it’s

not Elizabeth Kübler Ross I’m pining for.”

Besides” Sandra also said “the story isn’t over yet; and who knows where it will go?” Maybe in a few years Elizabeth Kübler Ross will be smoking dope and writing in her journal, and you’ll be out there telling the world!”

I don’t know. I don’t really feel I’m “making it” – Kellogs Cornflake floatin in a bowl of yoghurt –

One wants to escape into humor or irony, perspective, distance

But yet I also feel it’s important to let myself admit it – that I am afraid and feel impotent, feel paralyzed. Feel afraid that I can’t keep from endangering my health in this way – I am smoking at least once a day – right now I’m out of cookies – my throat feels sore, my chest hurts and I have broken two promises to myself, two attempts to control it. Why does it go on? Why am I smoking right now? Because I feel so far from myself. So unclear. So unbrave. Because it’s been so long since I’ve been in a really centered space Except for that one day after the program.

Well, it’s also hot and summer and time to be doing lots of practical things. But I can’t seem to stand it not to be more in touch with myself, my sources, than this.

But Tangren why focus solely on marijuana? Why don’t you go for walks? Do yoga? Listen to Morning Program? Meditate?

It always feels as if there’s no time for those things. That this is a day I have to A) attend to practical matters B) be with Sandra, C), D), E) etc.

But why then is there time to smoke marijuana?

Because maybe if I stop and do that it will put life in perspective. Maybe I’ll see that what I really need to do is write in my journal and I’ll begin to know what to say. What if it all is important to say. Or to do. Sometimes I find that what I really need to do is compute finances or find the No-Pest-Strip. But then I will do it with a lighter heart, knowing it is what I want to be doing next. Guess I just couldn’t want to be doing –

 

Evening. when I finally got to it I enjoyed potting and hanging plants. Now I am baking cookies. Sandra has called twice (and I, her, once) Summer once, John once.

Today is July 13. The deadline for V. Ramstetter’s  erotica book is Aug. 1. I need to get “Aunt Sarah” typed.

 

Priorities        Before Sunday

Finish work on Deborah’s interior write any letters? Trudy? Carolee?

Type “Aunt Sarah”, send off

Get workshed in order before Sunday

 

Sunday – Writer’s workshop

Monday-Tuesday Work with Hannah on reading Raga Dianne and recording song.

Second half of next week – Marcella’s room.

 

Budget this month Starting July 12

 

Spent                                                                                     Needed

7/12 bread pan $3, garden net $6,                                                                                                           bus fare – Hannah

pipe for roof sprinkler                                                                                                                      $23.50                                                                                                                                                                                                            subscriptions

other hardware, pie pans                                                                                                                                                                           Common Lives/lesbian Lives

vitamin C $5                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Eugene Women’s Press

ropes                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  6.50

Sarah’s tape

Electricity

Garbage                                             4.50

Property taxes                                              45.–

Electricity                                                                                                                                                                                                              32.50

Phone                                                                                                                                                                                                                                30.50

 

7/12 Wasp Spray                                                                                                                             4.50

7/16 Lecithin                                                                                                                                                 5.25

Garden net                                                                                                                                                    7.50

Film developed                                 6.

Sarah’s tape                                                                                                                                                  8.00

 

Now it is nearly 1:30 and I feel very good. What a pressure it is just to begin to putter. I am defrosting the little refrigerator and baking cookies. This latter activity usually does get me fairly stoned.
But what a pleasure it has been to do the dishes and listen to the radio (James Joyce reading) (and mellow music) and get the ladder and get down the book on house repair and see if you can figure out on your own how to make screens (I think so) and refile your WomanSpirits and muse over your calendar and mix the dough and bake the cookies and listen to the silence and the light wind tonight and get ready to find Aunt Sarah

 

Saturday July 17 {1982} Late Morning

Today I got what I’m often wishing for – to spend the night sleeping with Sandra and wake in the morning to solitude. Adrienne came by at 5:30 this morning to have S. drive her to the airport.

We had a hard time yesterday. Ran on the shoals trying to get a few things done before 5:00 –

I do think Sandra and I would never make it in a standard partnership – trying to do things together. When I have to turn my attention to other things the difference in our rhythms is quite apparent. I can’t seem to mesh in hugs with cleaning the refrigerator – I like to do one thing at a time and would just as soon not deal with interpersonal things simultaneously.

I am impatient at times, and can be ungraceful about it when I feel under pressure. I’m sure John suffered from that, and Marcella. And that anyone would, who tried to live full-time with me. I feel as if I’m trying to compile a list of my faults so I can warn potential lovers ahead of time. I do remember telling Caroline that I was at times painfully aware that to give myself to someone was not an unmixed gift.

Well, anyway about impatience and meshing or not – it’s also true that I have done several fairly remarkable things in my life – My PhD in philosophy, teaching, building this house… large undertakings that took a lot of planning and focus and work. Sandra has lived her life differently, and it has given her other kinds of virtues. Many of which I’m benefiting from, some of which I’m learning.

But I just want to remind you Tangren that your sometimes brusqueness and impatience stem from someone who got a PhD in philosophy was a mother, built a house, and perhaps even now is gearing up to create herself a writer.

 

Late last night – oh, 9:30 or so, Hannah called. They can’t hold the writer’s group at Golden. Sarah slit her wrists – she is psychotic and suicidal. She’s released into the custody of the Women on the land there.

Sarah. Who writes such moving,

finely crafted poems. If only I

didn’t know her in her poems

I could look at her objectively,

wonder if she wasn’t always

a little paranoid or whatever;

observe, distance myself.

 

If only I didn’t know her in her writings I might not be able to see that those wrists are my own

that those lungs coughing way too much are my own

that the money running out was my own

 

“She chose Hannah to come to when she had cut her wrists. Of all the women there she came to Hannah. That must have meant a trust of some sort. … Or was it a particular sort of revenge? To stagger up the path to where someone is building on her outdoor kitchen, to appear with blood running down your arms, to say “ ‘They’ drugged me last night, so I tried to kill myself”

“When we got in the car,” Hannah said, Sarah said ‘Grants Pass or nuthin’ “ She didn’t even trust me to take her where we’d said. Sometimes she thought we were all in on it. When someone started to talk to her she’d say “shh” and point to the wrench on the table. She thought everything was bugged.

“When she showed me her arms I started to talk to her, but she hushed me up, indicating that my yurt was bugged. So I played along, and took her to the hospital in Grants Pass which is where she wanted to go.”

 

When was the bust last year?” Sandra asked. I looked it up – nine days from now.

A year ago people were invading the land, spying on it, making ready to bust them

And for a long time afterwards they didn’t know how it had happened, who had turned them in. For a long time she had no idea who she could trust.

 

A year ago.” People who undergo extreme shock, I remember reading, the death of a mate or child, or some other loss, the after-effects, such as illness or breakdown often appear a year later.”

 

Does someone hold Sarah responsible for the visceral shock she afforded Hannah? Do we have a responsibility to the people who love us not to commit suicide? Do we owe them every possible measure to prolong our lives? May we not live the way we choose for as long as it takes?

Sandra said, “Sarah is free to perceive the world in any way she wishes. And to take whatever step seems right to her. The women around her are free to do whatever they need to do to protect themselves.’

After a while Sandra and I latihaned. (Or, rather, se went to soak in the tub while I latihaned, and she joined me from there.)

How it shook the voices from me! The power that came through in my chanting and singing – shaking my lungs, my vocal cords, powerful sounds I could never make by trying, but make easily by letting them be. Mourning – yes, mourning, though she lived, knowing the death of something, the fire of change.

If I did not know her in her writings I would not see how she is me

And when fear comes in latihan,

and grief for what may be lost

it is her voice I mourn most

if it comes to mourning

 

I cannot stop this writing from happening in two ways. I am thinking about Sarah as I write, and how I care about what she has to say, the vantage point from which she witnesses, and at the same time when I say “she is me” it can be taken quite literally. My throat is sore too much. My writing is not happening, and yet I am unable to even remember that voice that I mourn for in her – ‘Golden peaches on a tree”, paths at night lit by partial moons, periods, utter alienation in the larger world sometimes, all these images of Sarah’s poetry leap readily to mind; and her writing on the bust – a witnessing we need – recording a way of life of more-than-average interest. Think again of “Lilith” and the image of a schizophrenic as a finely tuned, sensitive person, a crystal that can shatter when too much light pours through it.

When one sees too much, it gets harder to have courage. Depending on where you look of course. For instance come to think of it it was odd that in the past 24 hours Sandra introduced me to a woman who looked very much like me (Bast, at the play the night before) and I introduced her to a woman who looks so much like her they were often mistaken for one another, but has never met (Dierdre Sartorious) (“Well, Tangren,” Dierdre said, “You are consistent.” I’d had a little crush on her years ago, near the beginning of Dianne. We’d talked about it. And for a while at that time she was lovers of sorts with Clary Sage when she was “Debbie”)

Well, anyway, that was an odd little trick of the universe I noticed in latihan last night that Sandra and I reciprocated in that way, mirrored each other to each other that way. But is it mirroring? or the fact that we showed each other someone who is like us but is not us, like in some ways but essentially a different human being with the same face? What is the important part of that symbol.

One thing hearing about Sarah’s episode has made me feel is the essential continuity between sanity and madness. Thinking about paranoia and how often insanity manifests in paranoia – Marion, my aunt, saying Pearl was poisoning her food. How clear it seems to me that what we take as literally true in madness is often a symbolic way of understanding what is true. Pearl was not poisoning her food, but it may have been poison on Marion’s life sources to try to live with her then.

 

 

{June 21, 1982 continued}

 

First of next Week

Go by Dot’s

Get shed / workshop / storage in more order

Get Aunt Sarah typed and mailed

 

End of Next Week

Work with Marcella on her room

Put up sprinkler on roof sometime

 

 

The women at Golden are not enemy agents, but “trust is a variable quality” (Sarah Miles – The End of the Affair) and none of them has an easy time trusting each other there, in ways they need to be able to.

What one cannot say directly one manifests symbolically.

What a continuum there is to daily life, to the manifold, splitting selves we all experience as we move through our worlds, to the way a small matter, a confession of impatience, for instance can acquire such force because it becomes for both of us a symbol of large and less-focused areas of unease.

Or Fareedeh and the lizards, the lizards she is afraid to see

that fear keeps her in the house

“I feel as if I’m in jail down here” she told me yesterday. And how Sandra, when I related this to her suggested immediately that the lizards may be the tangible focus of a lot of intangible fears about coming here to live in America, in the ‘wilds” of rural Ashland, to marry David.

 

So we all live out symbolic dramas every day. We all have many selves, some of whom think others of whom are crazy. In our situation, and seeing what we see, it gets hard to tell the paranoia from proper-precaution-in-a-dangerous-situation.

If we look within ourselves we know we are not strangers to Sarah and what she is doing.

“Some of us will not make it.” * Martha Courtot poem

Some of us have made it.”

“Some of us have made it, so far.”

Sometimes I muse to myself when All Things Considered considered John Hinkly, the kid who shot President Regan.

What made them decide he was crazy?

He acted on bizarre cues: For instance, he saw a movie and felt sure that it was a message for him from the universe that that was what he should do. He saw the world as full of signs and symbols planted there for him.

And he lived out this utterly impossible love affair for an actress whom he’d never even met.

He was antisocial and couldn’t seem to find a niche in society to be a productive citizen.

Well, I’m belaboring the point – it was chilling and a little eerie to see so many parallels to my own life.

“But instead of killing anyone you’re writing stories in the hope of creating understanding, love, and giving courage and ultimate joy,” I had to remind myself. Thought again of that other woman in ’76 who appeared and mirror-imaged to me some of the worst fears and self-putdowns I cold have about myself. “Maybe the point of these people appearing in my life is to make me look at my fears, and see that I am not like them.” I thought, pulling star thistle one evening. Hmm. Being introduced to someone who looks something like you, at first glance or even longer looking. But you will never find your twin, your reflection in John Hinkley or in a lover, or acquaintance.

Only you are you,

only you know how to be you.

What one feels most vulnerable to are the world’s descriptions. Before a Jury, could I be made to seem a potential John Hinkly? Is following symbols and signs by definition crazy?

“It is crazy  to think that your friends are literally art of a plot against you.” I write to you, oh, Tangren, though all this day you have been lusting in fantasy to write a letter declaring

yourself a recluse from

Equinox to Summer Solstice

no one’s anything

faithful to my friends and loves

but no one’s anything

except Marcella’s Mother and that doesn’t take a lot at the moment.

Sinking gratefully back into my own company, the woman who built this house for you, who assembled this income and quit that job, the woman who wrote and taped and was on her way to being a writer. Taking her hand, she who warned Sandra in the beginning was your primary relationship, taking her hand, saying. “Yes. Now,. …where were we?”

Do I blame Sandra for things that are not her fault? Would having less of her in my life not be helpful? Am I foundering for some deeper reason? Some fault more generic to myself? (It’s hard to read that line “knowing I smoke because of {this job}” with the proper sort of self-righteous conviction any more.)

Yet the phrase comes back “Marijuana is ‘instant solitude’” Like being hooked on instant coffee – solitude and self-remembrance in a can, when you’re in a rush and don’t have time to trust in the flow.

Hmm… Do you suppose I suffer from my own impatience? Ruth and Jean might put it that way.

Oh how good it is to write. And to try to remember as I fill the pages with mortal prose: – To say something like that first paragraph, to write it and then automatically ask oneself the question “does that communicate enough to the reader that they understand anything unambiguously? Did I say well enough what I mean?

…and then remember in a flash of relief that it doesn’t matter if anyone else would understand it, the point is that I know what I mean. What a relief that the limitations are gone, as to what one can say – limitations that are always there when you are saying things to another person, censoring what you have to say in terms of what they would understand.

Of course the flip side is the fun of how much you both do understand. The delight at her cleverness, her maturity, her humor, the possibility of how much you find you can say and even say well, with such a comprehending hearer, the energy it gives when you are heard.

But but but first I have to hear myself. Or “now” I have to hear myself.

 

I wonder if I should plan what I am planning on planning for August – One week at Fly Away Home, two weeks at Rootworks. Sandra house-sitting here with Daniel and possibly even Virginia. I wonder if I could really take it, the thought of her making love with Virginia in my house while I’m gone to Fly Away Home. Or Rootworks.

I wonder if she could be responsible about watering the trees. I wonder if I would be snippy about that and if so would it be generic or displaced resentment about Virginia.

Somehow since V. lives in Eugene I don’t mind as much. And perhaps things have changed since Chia. Though when she first directly said the possibility of romance was there with V., it hurt … made me pull away into myself until she reached across the sunlit table, said “I love you, Jo” – even then, it took a bath, an hour or two to process it before I was ready to be with her. And yet really the thought of someone else helping to care for her in all good senses  of that word doesn’t really seem threatening often. Only the transition is hard.

Perhaps I need to stay let go a little more of her so that it will not be so threatening to take that step. Sometimes the song runs through my mind when I’m watering “you gotta let her go an’ she’s gotta let you let her go … you can’t possess a woman…” (Holly Near “Golden Thread”)

We have not had such easy times together lately. We can’t always tell when we should be together and when we shouldn’t. When does one know whether this is the time to let go or to give our relationship a little more attention? Aphrodite moves in me not nearly so easily these days.

I simply have to tend to business in both practical and writing matters. I have to heal my body, my finances, my car, my connections to myself, my writing blocks. I may not have time to be anyone’s primary lover. Or the psychic space I need to be me.

So, Sarah plunges off into her own psychic purgings – let us hope them. Once I wondered and even thought with hope of what writing might emerge through her from this experience, someday.

And I dream of nine months in which I may in peace and quiet gestate in birth in quiet concentration, meditation, discipline, and never, never being diverted from the path

might I heal myself then? Might I take counsel with myself and be the one I need to be? The writer? I cannot imagine doing this and having the same form of relationship S. and I have now. But she will be in Port Orford, in Eugene, then in San Jose/Santa Cruz – perhaps it will happen naturally – a trip together to the ocean before Equinox. An affirmation of our love and caring, the mutual admiration that is there, spending even  a few good says of quality time together – probably preceded with a few spent gradually remembering each other and who we are together. Anyway, some good affirming time remembering the love there is between us and then for once to let go there, and keep my promise to myself to spend the Equinox alone watching here.
More you cannot give, Tangren. More you cannot stay graceful behind.

Still you are so afraid of causing hurts of making blankness or distrust or self-protection come into those eyes that still look with trust sometimes – and at others mirror your own self-protection.

And you are so afraid, too, of the lethargy you seemed to fall into alone last spring.

How can we keep the trust, the love and caring there is between us and see each other a great deal less? Be each other’s confidants less? Make love less? Never to make love? It feel as if that would be a catastrophe and unthinkable – it was hard to go without sexual touching for years, without long talks, without exchanges of tenderness, gestures of love.

But it is harder now to go without being a writer. To live without the time to reflect, to muse, to write in my journal.

“I only need something to happen about half the time “ I tell my lovers near the beginning. How can they hear?

How can I hear, seducible as I am, well-loved, as I am at this point. I would not find another lover like her.

But I cannot be something I am not, something she needs. “We’re not building anything together, you and me.” a kind of family. She is a motherless fatherless child – my parents are just over the hill, for better or for worse. I cannot be that woman for her; sometimes she thinks she doesn’t need that kind of person, that it’s not being free; but someday she hopes to have a partner again, she confesses. I cannot be that woman for her, I cannot wish her not to find her, or not to explore meanwhile some of the joys and benefits of her freedom. I could no more wish it than she could wish that Deborah Kerr would never love me back.

I must release her to her life and loves and know that I am among them, I must release myself from guilt and from too much giving of what I cannot just now give away – my solitude, my chance to be a writer.

It seems easier to be graceful about Virginia and maybe it is. Maybe I will feel a little freer if she has another love.

 

WRITER’S GROUP

Background on masturbation

{“got relief”                                                     Wednesday 6:00 Potluck.

8:00 Music

Womanshare Nancy Vogel

And Sharon Shoenbaum

 

Monday Morning –July 19 or so. {1982}

Got up early this morning a couple of times before the sun arrived in this slope. Could have gotten up and walked and maybe even run a little around the hill. But didn’t. Went back to bed and slept some more. The only dream I can call back is being with Mary Pierce and a woman she was with who Mary said was a wonderful “top”, though she seemed small and vaguely motherly to me. We were all in an parking lot crawling around on some cars there.

Well, if Sandra had been here I might have said to myself that the reason I didn’t get up was that – that S. likes to sleep late and get up slowly. As it was, there was no Sandra to lure me back to bed; but today I said Oh, my period will start any minute. You can’t ask yourself to run on the first day of your period. And it was true – the third time I got up, the bright red blood was there. So will my first day to get things accomplished become instead a day of sitting and writing in my journal?

All day yesterday at the Writer’s Group I felt withdrawn and distant. Pat O’Scannel’s songs made me cry. Cried at latihan when I got back, later had a phone conversation with Sandra for a long while that made me cry a lot.

…I think we are finally beginning to hear my message about needing time to myself.

It was hard. There was a strong part of both of us that wanted to say “let’s spend the night together.” Let’s comfort each other in our tears and our fears. After all this hard work of trying to talk about our separate needs, to confess the hard things we have been afraid to say, oh, let’s make the magic again let’s turn again to each other like the deep friends we are, find comfort, give caring. And yet the thought of mornings that have become dangerous and oatmeal symbolic of how again this morning I have not awakened to the quiet of aloneness, have not written in my journal, of all the tasks and errands that are calling, my basic survival feeling not taken care of, and here I am stoned again deciding to take a bath and wondering if we might make love afterwards

before we have to return to our separate lives. How long can we push it? Do I really have to do those errands today?

Well, we decided to spend the night apart and here I am stoned writing in my journal wondering how much I really have to do today, of all those projects I had planned.

But writing in my journal.

Sometimes this feels like my life-line

this thin black line appearing on the

page telling myself who I am and

what I’m thinking. I am not

afraid of writing in my journal –

it feels as essential to me as marijuana, though much more neglected. (One has, after all, to have some idea what to say – before starting in – I started to write – then though of Hannah talking of a woman (Elizabeth, a historian researching matriarchy) she’d met at Fly Away Home who does a kind of writing where for 10 minutes she just sits down and just writes whatever comes, never stopping. Yes – what Roseanne called free hypnotic writing – yes – why have I never prescribed that for myself? I can prescribe yoga and meditation and yeast drinks just fine but why have I never let myself prescribe for myself 10 minutes of free hypnotic writing in the morning. Could try first thing – maybe it would help you deal with that dread you wake up with that makes you climb back into bed preferring Narnia and Oblivion and pillows to a brisk run around the hill or any form of consciousness. Why do you wake up distrusting the universe so? So lost? In the past few days you’ve sometimes wondered if you wouldn’t be better of with a job. The alarm rings, no decisions to make, only up, eat breakfast, and off to a task that of necessity fills up your consciousness and you’re off and running without even wondering how to do it

instead of waking up each day with Total Choice, tested always to slosh the contents of possibilities for the day around in my consciousness until The Most Important Thing To Do presses to the top. Will Today be for introspection and healing? Will writing sink with fine silt to the bottom? Or will I put the sprinkler on the roof today and battle the wasps who live there? Somehow I think not. I’m not ready. Some days one should not do relatively dangerous things. Some days, carpentering, I knew I’d best not use a skill saw. Once I’d watched myself feel so dumb and fumbly I sliced my thumb as well as the tomato.

I watched myself act out how dumb and fumbly I was – in amazement. Since then I watch myself. When I get inept – in social situations or in physical tasks, I think I am learning to recognize ineptness as a sign that I need not to do this – relate now – or do carpentry now. (And if women should find that they are inept around the times of their moonflow, it is probably because they need to be doing something else entirely. Spending the day in bed perhaps, or writing in their journals, massaging in the moon-hut, crying, facing some things not so easy to look at, maybe. Or facing some wonderful things, at other times not so easy to see.)

Oh well anyway my pelvis is beginning to ache. Some yoga would be in order sometime. And, of course, a bath. But oh, can I leave you so soon after finding you again?

…Just finished Annie Dillard’s book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek: It was that book that showed me how I wanted to write, what I wanted to write. That weaving of life and pondering… that attitude determined to care, to be angry at God and to praise and give thank for gifts given. … And it was also that she seems to live alone? “You come back not quite fit for company” she says, someone too distracted by the wind and the light to pay attention socially; someone listening for the bell beneath the ribs.

Well anyway it made me want to go outdoors, made me wish for trails instead of roads to walk on – (there is one, but it’s overgrown with poison oak just now.)

 

I think there is a letting go happening with Sandra, I think there is some grieving. And yet I am so ready for it that I cannot stop it from happening.

“I’m trying to think about what it means,” she said, “that you and I will probably only have one or two times, a few days, of spending focused time together, and then I will be gone for a long time – the winter.”

It seems shocking to think about. What are my priorities that I could have let it happen? We haven’t really spent any clear, focused unhurried time together yet this summer. Isn’t love important? Why are you too busy for it? Certainly by most people’s standards you don’t have a lot you have to do. And should you think about whether you have less energy than you should because of overdoing coffee and m.j.?

And then there was last spring before she returned when I had lots of solitude and still nothing was happening except I was writing in my journal a lot. And was lonely to boot.

This is the point where I start to feel a little panic.

 

But the fact is you need solitude to connect up with that woman who began this thing in the first place. Not having a lover is not the void; not having a lover opens you up to understanding how the universe is a lover.

Oh, that little place in my chest is hurting.

Why haven’t we / aren’t we simply making time for clear, focused time together? I feel so ambivalent about it. I do not want to be swallowed whole by our common reality, I do not want to drown in her again. I cannot reach without a self to reach from.

I don’t want to lose her.

When last night in the conversation after we’d said a lot about our separate needs and our various comings to terms with a kind of distancing, and crying, too, finally there came that point in the conversation where as usual I yielded to temptation and said “Well, why don’t you just come up for the night?” and for once she didn’t fling all the rest to the winds but hesitated, said she wanted to be more discriminating in choosing our times together – how often we do get together just because it is our last chance before whatever we have to turn to next.

It helped so much to have her for once put some energy into not getting together if the time isn’t right. Always it seems I am the one saying that and she is the one wanting to be together now. Though it is a strong voice in both of us, and was crying last night in both of us as we for once let it ride, the decision to be apart.

“In the morning, I’d feel like a D.P.” she said. I know. Mornings are often hard for me to be graceful in. The need to be alone is strong, the need to be who I am with different patterns of spending money and time than she has. What seems a simple suggestion – to get an ice cream cone as we came through town – is loaded. I don’t spend money that way very often, to spend money or time right now for things that don’t feel essential threatens my survival feeling, the feeling that I can take care of myself on the physical plane.

{This prose is so mortal I never reread it.}

Perhaps part of what I am trying to do is to record some of the hard parts of our relationship so that when I have lost it I will remember and not romanticize it and feel “I was left.” But perhaps I will look back and feel myself so dumb. To have lost such a wonderful love  – which there’s no doubt she gives me.

Still I feel held back by her, held low by her low times. At check-in yesterday at the Writer’s group, Caroline (as well as many of the rest of us) said she’d had a hard week and was near to tears as she spoke about it. Then Tee, next, said, “Well, I’ve been very happy lately” and went on to talk of her creative projects. It struck me later … I tend to feel easily puled down by other people’s unhappinesses. If Sandra is glum or in a funk there’s no way I can feel free to enjoy things. It’s a sore point as I often felt this way with John. But she can be glum and slow and feel like a drag on me sometimes.

Often I think I don’t know how to do it around other people – I take on too much responsibility for their state of mind. The only way I know how to protect myself is to be alone.

And saying that about her when things are tough for her brings immediately to mind the opposite, me dumb and fumbling, and flummoxed, Sandra making tender fun, getting me to laugh, seeing my strengths, even when I don’t, seeing the inanity of the world even when I’ve swallowed it and feel that I’m crazy.

Sandra sailing with me on the heights of inspiration.

Sandra giving me her vulnerable eyes, her vulnerable, pink labia, her need and her desire.

All she asks is to love you

and you put up walls.

What kind of person are you?

 

Tangren. Keep writing. Paper is cheaper than lung tissue.

Tangren. You are the woman who always resolved not to write about relationships – But I suppose because the prose is so mortal. Mortal prose is better than early mortality. Or is it? I feel I would sell my soul.

Tangren. You are also the woman who couldn’t read ‘The Box” for years because you were so lonely, holding down so much sexual longing you couldn’t open up to the reality of these states enough to read “The Box.”

 

____________                     _____________                   _____________                   ______

 

…Did a few things that suddenly felt pressing. Why isn’t grandma’s estate closed yet?

Sarah. Often when I think about her I have thought “What is that keeps her from committing suicide. How? Not knowing how to go on financially … How hard things are for all of them (I fist wrote “us”) at Golden… If I come to that place, as I can imagine myself doing before too many more years, how will I keep from suicide? A suicide either way – to “rejoin the world,” work for a corporation and work to mesh into and further a whole way of life which has become so alien to you? Or to live it as long a it lasts, and when it’s gone to take the consequences? ‘The last act is bloody, no matter how beautiful the rest of the play” Annie Dillard quotes.

 

“No matter how long the play” one reminds oneself.

 

The thing about someone else panicking as Sarah in a way is doing is that it makes me feel scarder too. It’s important for each other’s sake not to lose our nerve. Though a good purging could always help.

 

Bethroot when she came out of the hospital said of her commitment: “I bring you this message; It is survivable.”

 

Panic Caution Fear

The editor of the local paper was busted a few days ago. A cause of which he was entirely innocent brought the Income Tax Police to his house at 7:00 AM with a search warrant for all his papers. While they were there they saw the pot he was growing and called the police. His girlfriend was there.In a way it was karmic justice the way he was hassling Jackie to show she was an unfit parent for staying overnight with David.

But the shock in me resonates: Subpoenaing all his papers. Somehow I’d thought papers were private. Might they take my journals? And Sarah. A year ago there were spies on the land. What is paranoia and what is sensible precaution? “She gets more paranoid when she smokes, “ they said of Sarah. Ruth makes a noise as if that were to be expected. (I had been hoping mj might help her with perspective.) What is paranoia and what is real?

Waiting for the lawyer to call back re Grandma’s will. Pinned to the telephone. Waiting for a call that more often than not never comes. Even dealing with their world in such a small way as talking to a lawyer seems impossible today. Impossibly frightening and painful.

Zana read a wonderful poem yesterday about a foray out from the land into the patriarchal world. How odd each world seems to the other side, how crazy.

And Sarah’s words ringing in my ears:

“Can’t I do it anymore?”

Can’t I seem enough “one of them” to get hired?

Have I forgotten too many lives,

become too strange?

“Can’t I do it anymore?”

 

Paper is cheaper than lung tissue.

 

It’s no use! Panic has me by the hackles today even though I write.

Am I strong enough to heal myself on my own? And for whom?
For those friends I had before Sandra none of whom loved me, saw me, cared for me as she does even now?

“For my reading public”? a class with at this moment nearly the same denotation a above?

What is hard? Well, yesterday for instance. For a few days I’d found myself daydreaming

Of having a motorcycle or motorbike of some kind for these perpetual trips up and down the hill because I need milk or because I’m too late to walk. So one day last week I mentioned to Sandra I was thinking of affirming a motorcycle would come into my sphere – one for say #300 or less. That being the least I could imagine and only a few times what I could afford.

Well, the next morning, she told me yesterday, when she saw Claudette, C. happened to mention that she had Agnes McCarty’s old cycle to sell – for $150. Sandra has also been wishing for such a motorcycle – and here comes the hard part – Claudette was suggesting, she said, with an uneasy little laugh, that the two of us buy it together.

Well might she have been uneasy. I didn’t want to do it. And I didn’t want to say why. Why: because I feel sure I’d end up paying for it and she’d end up using it. (Because only I have the money and she has no economical real transportation.) But then I’d just be out the money and Deborah would not be spared the work, which was the whole point in the first place, for me.

Even as much as our financial doings do mesh, which is little, I have a hard time.

When I buy all the food for the two of us – not entirely all – sometimes she contributes a treat, or now food from the garden or sometimes a couple of dollars, but the amount of food she eats is a significant financial drain sometimes –

Generally I feel happy to do it. She would not be the wonderful person she is if she were holding down a normal job, she would not have the time for me she does. She can’t pay for it, her lifestyle doesn’t bring in enough money, I accept that – but then it makes it hard not to get resentful when she spends money in ways I would not – on however small a scale; buying fruits out of season, buying a treat when one is downtown – coffee or an ice cream cone, going out to eat at a restaurant with friends.

When one of us panics, the rest have to know that there is no guarantee of solid footing or being saved.

Is she the last of my loves, I wonder?

“You’re the cream of my cup, Jo” she said once.

Financial things are hard, but we know how to work them out. When I think of losing her I cry out in loss, but when I think of winning her I am afraid of suffocating.

I never want to do anything or go anywhere – She went swimming to the Applegate  with Claudette Friday and probably swimming another place with Molly and some other women today. I didn’t want to go. Never want to go out tot the bar or to get an ice cream cone. Never think a picnic or a camping trip would be a good idea.

You’d think I was a workaholic except that I so seldom do any work physical or writing.            How can she be off doing something with another friend today? I think, she oughta be doing her mailout. (I do wish she were more disciplined about her work.) But here I am spending the whole day stoned writing pages and pages of depression.

If I can’t make it work with Sandra, I think, can I with anyone?

Will anyone else come along? You don’t exactly go out of your way to meet people.

 

But what is this “Make it work”?

Sandra said last night not to think in terms of all or nothing but in terms of what proportions of what are best for both of us. How to best be who we can be, separately and together. Our love still matters to both of us.

Perhaps I am beginning to understand more than I want to about the spiritual reasons for celibacy from relationships.

And think how hard it was with Hannah and Caroline, trying to explain how weird you had gotten – what your silences meant, for instance. Now, with Sandra, you seem to have given in and become less weird but more alienated from your sources of self-knowledge that that weirdness gave you.

If it were the end of the world Sandra would want to be with her lover. If it were the end of the world, I would want to be alone, (not bound to one place and time, one self, but, as it were, surveying them all.) I don’t know why. If what I believe is true I would be getting the survey soon enough. Perhaps the whole thought exercise is only a way of seeing what is important to oneself.

I feel so trapped. Will I spend day after day for nine months of solitudinal writing about how trapped I feel?

No one knows how to save Sarah.

No one knows how to save me.

And I certainly don’t trust anyone to know

except me / when I do know.

Which is sometimes.

All I know is I’ve got one year in which to become a writer and as far as I’m concerned that is what I have to do no matter what. Everytime when I panic I try to stop and check in with how my body is feeling and find I want to cry.

 

“Is it art – or – love?” The tragic choice.

Crying on the phone last night I laughed through my tears at how trying to choose between spending a night in the arms of my lover and taking a little solitude – how the choice of two good things was leaving me feeling so lacerated.

 

Mom was here for a few minutes last evening (a completely rare event) reminded me how I “go off the deep end” said as she left I have years and years yet to sort it all out.

“”I only have one more year to try to be a writer.” I said “I can’t go on without a job forever.” “No” she agreed. But I didn’t say – How little I believe that anymore – that there is lots of time.

 

 

Sunday Evening – {July 25?, 1982}

So Tangren you find yourself in gear engaged in finishing some things about the house

with no idea

what your writing is in essence

or who Sandra is in your life

or what your spiritual path is

but anyway it does you good to accomplish lots in a day

admit it

and give yourself permission to

DO IT

 

Spent 3 days working with Marcella on her room –

Together we:

Washed windows and scraped paint off

Touch-up painted her room

And essentially built a desk and window seat with cabinets for arms. Cute.

 

Disjointed notes after seeing Bluefish Cove.

 

Why it matters whether you are l’s or not – How safe is it?

Is answered differently.

A tiny part of the point.

I do get tired of seeing what few lesbians there are performed by straight women. When the star of the long awaited “lesbian movie” confesses:

 

And the reviewers remark on what a sudden flood of movies about gayness we’ve had – Presumably he means 3 in the last year – and we are still asking when will we be real? When will our culture show us to ourselves and to the people who know us.

And finally, finally

 

 

Then for there to finally be one and for anyone even the author to say

This is not a Lesbian play

It’s a play

Criticisms

Of course we all want the play to be the one we’ve been waiting all our lives to see.

“Nobody’s anybody’s Everything.”

We all want so much for this to be the play we’ve always wanted to see. We must write our own.

 

MY JOURNAL

RHETORICAL                       BAD

BEYOND JUDGEMENT

But that’s the trouble of course it’s not my journal – I’m trying to think of things I’d like to say to the women in and attending this play.

 

Is it something less to be a “lesbian play”?

Why is a lesbian play “just a lesbian play” We don’t say about The Diary of Anne Frank that it was “just a play about Jews”.

Marcella says it’s dumb to say it’s not a lesbian play. There isn’t a scene where that didn’t matter in the plot. Was essential to the play being what it was. Why do you feel Tangren that you have to try to raise the consciousness of the women who did the play?

It’s just that at one level I could love the play so much – do love the play so much –

And

 

 

 

It was good tonight that Marcy said

 

 

Also –  “It’s a matter of among other things who you look to for your wisdom.

 

Tee and Caroline came home at that point – And Sandra arrived too to spend the night – We ended up staying up all night talking – T & C working on a matter that has come between them. I’m not sure I can write about it even in here. But I was drawn in, turned on, opened up while trying to also facilitate and mediate between them. It’s a little hard. I love them both – It’s hard to move with that love without interposing myself between, which I do not mean to do.

Anyway, it also stirred up a lot of powerful stuff for me which I feel I can’t talk to anyone about – Sandra I could. But not anyone who’s around. The next day Marcella went to Jessie’s   while S. & I made love and dozed a little. Then S. left on the bus for Eugene to explore a romantic interest there. She’s there now. I keep wondering if I’m upset about it, but I don’t seem to be. when I think about them making love I feel a little turned on – and otherwise it seems no more of my business what happens between them than between any other two friends spending time together.

So this is Sunday. Yesterday Marcella and I got up early and put in several hours work on her room. Then I drove over here to Lavinnia’s  for a Subud women’s get-together. Feeling withdrawn needing to process, obsessing with my thoughts – and very tired. Spent the evening with the women being very withdrawn – went to bed early. Slept long, feel much better this morning.

A dream. Long, involved. Being with women of the women’s community. (can’t remember ever dreaming that before.) A large place where we were all staying together. Little rooms and apartments scrunched in here and there where we lived. I remember Zarod (Greenbo) asking me to join them to be family. Feeling some pull. Feeling too they mainly saw it as a financial solution for them, feeling relieved to be able to say I had no money other than what was sunk in my house.

Then later I was talking to Tee. There had been a “scene” of some sort – something like what we’d been through Thursday night. Tee needed to leave to go start working on a slide show. But I asked if I could talk to her for a minute – I wanted to say some of the things to her I really do – and how it’s hard to know where to be there and where not to, when I am interjecting myself, etc. anyway, she said she wanted to talk to me about myself. Told me that this way I am isolating myself seemed wrong to her – that I was choosing not so much to be a great artist but that she thought I was “deliberately choosing a ‘life of loneliness’.”

Of course, that is my fear. Perhaps I could let her say that in a dream now. It was good that night after the play for me to see her crying, flummoxed, the way one gets running up against real difficulties in relationships. I do idealize her of course – give her a great deal of power in my life because she returns it to me. But it was also good for me to see her less than powerful, not so in control, and givinging.

Just because I love her so much and think so much of her, I treasure that chance to see her with her eyes red, puzzled and stumped. Anyway, we also hit some places where she has limitations and esp. a change in me seems to be – well, that I want to show her my best selves, which she does seem to pull out of me – but now I may have shown some other things she has some hesitations about, eg. Some ways I supported Caroline that night that show real differences between us. It helps me to see those differences.

The connection with Caroline. That night. Something very powerful. She said to me she felt the love holding them all thru the night.

Good to feel my love for both of them moving me. Hard to translate that into all “right action.”
But I must say when they left I felt again transformed, rooted, happy, almost as I did after the WomanSpirit evening.

Sandra and I had a good talk and love-making session afterwards. I worried that she hadn’t been so included that night – but I guess it felt all right to her.

 

 

Monday afternoon   Aug 2 {1982}

Tangren Keep writing paper is cheaper than lung tissue.        Tangren Keep writing paper is cheaper than lung tissue.

When I was last feeling too tied to Sandra I had a dream. She – or someone like her – I’m not sure – had embroidered a lion. The mane was all made with loopy stitches, but she was trying to take it out and do it “right” according to the directions – to make the mane with chain stitches. I was realizing I liked it just as well – really better – made with the big loopy stitches – that she shouldn’t make it over.

Embroidery? Lyin’?

Chain stitches

The main?

It’s really putting me through it these days.

Life.

Tonight Sandra may return from Eugene. Or tomorrow, perhaps; I know how things get postponed with her. And then hearing what did happen. Somehow it does feel all right with me, I would say what I’m upset about is some other things. Time will tell – if it does. Tangren Tangren Tangren I feel so lost from you. A weekend with the Subud women – before that, that intense encounter with Tee & Caroline & Sandra – and all in between and around, being with Marcella. No wonder you are lost and fumbly.

Woke up this morning on the edge of a kind of panic.

Don’t even know if I can write in my journal about it all.

I thought I was pretty much convinced not to be frightened of what is within me. Now I don’t know again.

Well, other women write in their journals about it. But why are they able to? What makes it safe? ‘The truth shall set you free” – Speaking our own truths and getting a grip on sanity thereby… these are the faiths on which we build our lives these days. The topic I am afraid to write about is S & M. I don’t know if it’s something I should flee from if I value my life or if it is only another closet in my mind. The parallels with coming out as a lesbian are mockingly clear. And the differences.

At this point there’s not a whole lot to come out about in terms of my experience; there is a lot I could confess as to fantasies. Perhaps I will say more at some time; I want to reassure you they are not so terrible as all that. And yet I am afraid that if you knew them in detail you would find them horrifying and on one level they are. I don’t feel all right about having them. I do not look forward to watching it all in detail with the White Light by my side looking compassionately on, in sadness. I do not like to think of the amount of time my mind has been hanging out in those places while I could have been out seeing the beauty of the world; the blue sky, the clouds, the seasons, the gifts of color and joy to the eye – the gifts of friendship, human companionship. When I think of it in this way then it does seem to me to be “sick”, a wrong turn, a step on the road to Hell. I feel totally vulnerable to the judgement of someone who spends her time working with retarded children or any number of other useful pursuits, to her/his judgement that someone who puts in time investigating her/his SM underside deserves to be squashed underfoot like any other cockroach.

The size of the closet is enormous: I have felt so alienated in the past few days from Marcella, the Subud women, and in my mind, so many other women, and from the “homely tasks” of carpentry and housekeeping – the whole busy daylight world, my whole upstanding self in the world.

Knowing. The amount of erotic power that comes in opening up to those mages. Some of them.

‘temptation, oh, temptation

oh say were we intended

to shun, what’ere our station

your fascination splendid.

Or fall when’ere we view you

head over heels into you

head over heels

head over heels

head over heels

into you?                    (Gilbert  Sullivan

The Yeomen of the Gard)

{Why am I writing this as if it were something someone else would read?}

There’s so much to say and I am afraid to say any of it. Papers can be evidence? How do those people who do it manage to live their lives that far from the pale of society?

It’s blowing my image of myself as not controlled by what society thinks….

But I’m not sure I could live so far off the track of what society thinks and stay sane myself. It’s hard enough to be a lesbian and stay sane in a straight world.

I also feel the beginnings of a lot of anger at a society (maybe “in a society” is also true) that seems to me extremely pornographic in its approach to sex, ( and so very focused on sex at a subliminal level), and yet brings all the wrath of the hypocrite down on someone who will allow those messages to be heard at a conscious level, who will consider the possibilities of acting out.

(Even as I write that sounds hypocritical

hipocritical

hypocritical

either one

hypercritical and self-righteous which I am afraid I have been)

“society” Who? Lots of people you loathe, themselves abhor the pornographic undercurrent in the “popular culture”. The Moral Majority. & people you don’t abhor. (The swim coaches for handicapped kids.)

but aren’t.

We  are here in this Life, says E K-R to love. Nothing else matters.

I believe that. How can I then be at this moment so obsessed with this matter? Should I not flee for my life?

Is this just the month to be crazy?

The same time Sarah went into the Mental Hospital, I learn, Beaver went into the infirmary at the manor. I just found out Friday night – haven’t had a chance to go see her yet – Today is the first day I could have, but my own grip on sanity doesn’t feel strong enough today.

My own grip on love.

Do I just love the melodrama?

I thought I had learned not to love melodrama, to distrust it. No. Not when it leads to the kind of communication we have had, the heart-opening.

Or is it Love itself? Is it love to learn not to oppress those friends of ours who have not been afraid to explore the power, the erotic power, that comes to them in this way?

Safely. Lovingly. Secretly.

Safely?

Lovingly?

Always?
“I don’t like the personality changes I’ve seen in my friends who’ve gotten into it”, says Tee, her vice full of hurt.

“I liked them better before.”

They isolate themselves together, she says. She speaks of images, things she knows of actually happening with people she knows, has cared about and respected. “I’d rather not know that about them.” Which may sound like a snippy comment if I write it down, but if you could only hear the sadness in her voice.

And this s not a woman I can suspect of simple close-mindedness or prudishness in sexual matters.

The parallels to coming out so obvious – the complaints of straight people that the gays tend to group together – (knowing s clearly why we do.) The “why do they have to talk about it?” syndrome.

The Alienation. It is so hard to live this far beyond the pale. Still struggling for the courage to say the word “lesbian” to my father.

What would that be like? Knowing you could expect no understanding, no quarter, from all but a tiny few.

The parallels. The differences.
Who knows if the “women’s movement” will turn out to be able to afford lesbians? Politically.

Doesn’t it seem like an intolerable burden, though, for the lesbian movement to include S& M  within its purvey?

And what could possibly be the relative merits of crusading for S&M rights or trying to stop the nuclear arms race?

Still I feel like such a hipocrite in some things I’ve said and written and how friends of mine who may have had some experiences that fall within what’s called S & M , may be left feeling the way I feel when someone makes a remark about lesbians.

My protestations of purity in lesbian passions.

Sometimes today Sandra’s phrase comes to mind (from “By Love’s Own Hand: Incest in Sister Love”) as if it were a key “…In love between women, innocence may be entered, and power absolved.”

There are so many thoughts and sides.

And this disaster scenario staring me in the face in so many ways.

The Nuclear Holocaust

The Smoking            and

The Road to Hell.

“Going off the deep end” Is it the disaster I won’t look at, the official end of monogamy, that’s really fueling this fright? It doesn’t feel so.

 

Affirmation:

All Things Are Now

Working Together

For Good in my Life.

 

Tuesday Morning     Aug 3

Marcella is riding. Kirsten is back, so there will be a lot less of Marcella in my life again.

 

Morning Thoughts

Amazing how much sexual power the thought has of actually opening a bit to those places. It’s too much. I’m being obsessed. Coming more often than in years, feeling tumescent most of the time. But what a pleasure to again feel the power of sexuality.

Had read around a bit in Coming to Power the day before Tee and Caroline arrived. Had run into Bast, got her my fan, showed her my house, talked, borrowed the book Sandra had asked her about and spent the rest of the day masturbating and reading. Read the stories, was erotically touched but also repelled – too strong a word – it raised many doubts, thoughts, complex feelings.

Now in the past days I’ve reread a couple and saw them differently. The “Marne” story and the Orgy story especially, and one essay by a woman on her own experience which spoke of the spiritual side-by-side with the SM sexual. My, that was hard to write. I was just going to say “sexual”

So anyway I read the first half of the book straight through last night – am full of thoughts this morning.

Wondering about SM and witchcraft.

Knowing SM practitioners could no more expect mercy than witches could. From their society.

Imagining

When sexuality was a tool for spiritual teaching

When the use of the power and pull

of sexuality was an art tuned to

producing leaps of spiritual understanding.

Then were lessons taught

about surrender,

and how pain can be transformed?

And when they died did they find Her

waiting with tenderest of kisses

for all their spirit withstanding

the “ultimate humiliation” – death.

Was this dying much like a road they

had traveled once before

when kind witches took them to

the peace beyond the ego.

 

(God, after you die, revealing herself as the Ultimate Compassionate Top. And your pain consensual after all.)

 

Were people in their living more able to deal with fear?

With pain?

With humiliation?

With anger?

To have those emotions harnessed with the positive power of sexual energy and be taken to a place where opposites are reconciled, could be a form of spiritual healing, a profound sort of teaching.

In the orgy story a woman is out in a swing of some sort to be whipped. (another hard word to write in my journal) The second time I read it I felt I understood it more – The intensity of the sensation and the situation propels her into an alpha state – total calmness and awareness only of the present, linear thought almost beyond reach.

Anyway, about the swing – I don’t know what it’s like exactly, but it made me think of witch’s cradles. All I know is that there was a device called ASCID, which some researchers used to continue consciousness research after LSD was declared illegal. It was a swing of some sort in which the subject was put blindfolded, evidently was sufficiently disorienting to simulate an acid experience. They said it was patterned after an ancient device called the “witch’s cradle.”

 

All right all right but why not take acid and stick to vanilla sex?

Were people more able to deal with fear and pain? Tee said she didn’t like the personality changes she saw.

They certainly had more fear and pain to deal with. {and I haven’t heard that anyone’s found a way to sexualize alienation.}

 

One trouble with opening up to understanding this in myself is that of course when something is really beautiful and good and has been terribly misunderstood it’s hard not to tell the world. If it evokes some great writing how can I not want to put it out and how could I keep from wanting to get for it? It’s already a constant dilemma, just being a very personal lesbian writer.

 

Pain. Pain and the edge between pain and pleasure. My nipples have been sore these past few days. It reminds me of when they were growing, a soreness I didn’t find at all unpleasant. It reminds me of when I was nursing, a soreness that served to remind me of the miracle of feeding a new life happening at my breasts. It reminds me of why they are sore now, reminds me of sexual power and surrender many times a day. It reminds me, above all, of my nipples themselves, tips of vulnerability on my soft womanness.

It reminds me of when I got my teeth straightened. Sometimes other kids would complain of the pain for the day or two after the braces were tightened and the teeth were being pulled hard into new places. To me it didn’t hurt enough to be called pain; there was a sort of pulling sensation, a kind of subtle soreness that was satisfying. (Well, lots of people don’t mind their muscles being a little sore.)

It reminds me also, closer to the present, of the pain in my chest, which seems now about equal to the soreness of my nipples – not pain, only a reminder that I am here in body. I don’t enjoy this sensation in my chest because it worries me and means I have to stop smoking immediately and that my means to consciousness is threatened, my method of coping is threatened.

I am not saying smoking is a masochistic thing to do though many readers at this point might draw that conclusion. But I will note the comparison. And one other: That SM could be dangerous for the body (so can mountainclimbing … of course …) a great deal of attention is paid to safety of course. (As in mountainclimbing…) But is it really all right that my nipples are still a little sore several days after the fact? To warm the fanny with a hairbrush may do no harm at all, even good, but where does it end?

 

Wednesday Morning                       full moon day            Aug 4 {1982}

Full Moon Morning blessed cloudiness, birds squirting sounds celebrating moisture in the air, the teasing reminder of spring or fall

After a night spent mostly wakeful

swimming in moonlight                               dramas:

thoughts:

stillnesses:

My womb aching as my ovaries and tubes processed yet another seed, complaining more every year at the outdatedness of this ritual.

a small pain of sorts that made me need to double up, that made me need the room of sleeping alone

sleeping alone

“It was intense.” She said. “We became lovers”

“Well, I must have spent the week thinking about fear and pain and how they can be transformed, for some reason” I said.

And, before we began our talk, “I’m frightened. I am frightened, But it’s not really what I fear for what will happen in the long run, whatever happens. I’m just scared of the next few hours.”

It did hurt. It did scare me. It did put me through grief and letting go. It did make me want to pull away, to turn into myself. It did give me all those feelings you have when a friend is lovers with someone else, that reflex keeping intimate attraction well out of view, knowing if she’s lovers with someone else she cannot be lovers with you. I could not imagine that we would ever make love again, that she would ever want me. I could not put my arms around her. It was hard to breathe. When she reached to me I couldn’t let myself feel her touchings without a flood of tears. So I just let the pain be, let the tears come. And tried to remember if there was something I had learned about transforming pain and fear and humiliation by experiencing them while all the while being held by Love.

She was very tired having hardly slept since Bluefish Cove

And frightened herself, she said, frightened that I will pull away.

She was tired; I was very wakeful. My jealous part said “See what happens? You know how she is – how much energy she puts in a lover relationship.” It was hard to have felt so much longing this weekend and have her too tired and too over-amped already to have the kind of energy for me. We went to bed. We talked. We kissed tentatively. I talked about my weekend; and it felt very strange to feel that she couldn’t talk to me about hers. When I said that, she offered to talk about it – just not knowing what would be best, not knowing if it would hurt. I wanted to try. I told her to stop if I cried “mercy” but if I just said “oh stop!” to pay no attention, it was just me letting it all be.

So she told me about the weekend. A busy sounding one to me, and told at that level – But helping me to demystify it all – Replacing a dark blank filled with projections, with a real woman in a busy, accomplished life full of connected relationships. And how the first night they fell into bed and fell into each other’s arms and how it was so easy. But there were other large blanks of time in the days she sketched in. “Have you told me what was intense about the weekend?” I asked. “Well, we made love a lot.”

Coming to understand the different ways in which this relationship with Virginia is good for her, will be good for her. Seeing a solid kind of happiness in her eyes.

“Are you in love with her?” I asked. She thought a while. “I feel like I love her,” she said. And that changed the fear in my question, for of course I know that there is no contradiction in loving two women.

Later she said “I think you’re both terrific women.”

So it really is all right. And I really do think that what’s happening is good. And last night as we talked sometimes there would touch me the delightful feeling of my own freedom, sprouting like a little pair of feathered wings. Virginia will help me love her; we are out from under being a couple. I think this will shatter some patterns that are not good for us. And I am free to seek myself.

It certainly puts her in a different perspective. I suppose it leaves me free to value our relationship without fearing it will swallow me whole.

We talked about whether we should make love. It seemed a necessary thing to do at some point to bring the circle whole. It would be good if it could happen tonight. It would help to heal and reassure. But also it would be all right not to. That we had reaffirmed our basic friendship, and could wait to reconnect erotic energies for another time.

I look forward to cycling back together with the erotic energy we’ve been separately gleaning these days.

So she was tired and I held her as she fell asleep – feeling a little like her mother, feeling a little as if she were my daughter venturing out into the world.

But when she was asleep I wanted to be alone, to touch in with myself and process and return to the solitude who is my lover, to the moon and this house. Spent the wakeful night watching the moon and clouds and thinking. Am awake now again early. When I woke up – my diaphragm seemed paralyzed by fear. Fear of being left alone to proceed on down the Road to Hell without any touching. Tee Corinne from my dream accusing me of “deliberately choosing a life of loneliness”

So I ate breakfast but not before 1 1/2 cookies. Did the many dishes and after sorting thru various priorities sat down to write. It was the right choice.

It was also hard not to be able to share with her much of what has been on my mind this weekend, for I have also been going through something intense and something I would normally share with her as soon as possible and could use her help about. But it’s also all right to turn it back on myself and let it distill itself in me. It al depends how much I identify with the person who is going through this intense thing and how much I identify with the watcher. I can be the person who needs some help or rather who is drawn to some inner conversations etc, a participant in the mellow-drama or I can find the universe saying to me “This is not soap opera but journal writing.” “Remember your wife.” “Turn within.”

 

I do see that it’s better for us if she is happy. Even if it isn’t totally me who put her there. I’ve been wishing forever she had an independent life that pulled her and fed her as my own does.

 

Thursday noon: {Aug 5, 1982}

Well, Sandra got up at about that point, about noon. I felt the thing I needed most to do with her was just to read to her what I’d been writing in my journal over the weekend, so after breakfast and a bath and her going over to get the ticket from Jessie we sat down together on the couch and I read it to her.

She must have been really listening because I was really feeling what I was saying. Sandra said she was delighted I was writing again and I realized that yes I was, wasn’t I? That part of the pleasure I felt in reading to her was the enjoyment of interesting writing. She’d enjoyed seeing the philosopher in me, she said. And that she though I had every right to explore whatever I felt called to explore in whatever way felt right to me. She said some people have interesting thoughts and that they ought to be heard, need to be heard.

Sometimes I’ll be writing along and then I’ll realize what I’m actually talking about and it blows my mind…”

I know”

Some of the things Tee talked about that people actually do, places that actually exist – It’s taking some thinking just to process those facts.”

Yes. For me, too.”

I keep returning to

the idea of God as the

Ultimate compassionate Top

and your pain consensual

after all

and Her kisses on your tears

for undertaking to be that naked

for becoming that unique alloy

of pain and pleasure

that was the life you chose to live through

this time

embracing the suffering with the rest

for the triumphs and joys involved.

 

Sandra likes to pick my blackheads. Though it embarrassed me at first to let my lover concentrate on those unpleasant points in my skin, I was also glad and grateful. I’ve never been able to get at lots of them. And actually it’s luxuriously pleasant to lie in her lap and be groomed. She shows me the big ones and tells me which ones were hard and which like “mashed potatoes.” I am not at all embarrassed any more – they are neutral facts, as they are for me when I’m alone.

I can tolerate a large amount of digging. Over long years I have come to associate the sensation with taking care of my skin, with ridding it of little irritations – a satisfying sensation, not a pain to be avoided.

Of course, there are a few where a subtle infection is beginning, ort where the digging is deep on a sensitive area, where it hurts too much and we usually skip those.

After Sandra and I had made love yesterday, relaxing, faces close, perhaps as a final ritual of reaffirmation she, as is her way, began to look appraisingly down her nose at my skin, as if she were wearing imaginary bifocals, and then began to clean things up on my face and cheeks.

She proceeded to my chest and there she hit a painful one. Shameless with trust by now, I thought I’d try experiencing the pain another way – joking about it, I closed my eyes, experienced the touch as an erotic one, let my breathing come sharp.

I was disappointed when it came out so soon. (‘These are just little quickies, Jo” she said.) But there were more. Little sharp bites of sensation, here and there on my shoulders and neck, tapping the “power in my loins”.

“Well,” Sandra grinned, “having blackheads oughta be good for something.”

 

 

 

{8/5/82 continued}

Went by Bloomsbury Books to get tickets for Mom and me to see Bluefish Cove Sunday night (will I go to the discussion tonight?) and before I could get out the door

there swam into my hand

a fascinating book about mermaids with so much sensual, fleshly art for only $2.98 that I couldn’t resist. There was even Gustav Klimpt’s sea serpent picture I’d loved so much and lots of other fascinating art. Dipped into the book today from time to time

a timely image, the watery seductress whose element is water unless it’s air for sometimes she had wings                          Hint : (O ≈)

Wonderful erotic images of temptation, Ulysses, his dazed eyes open into his ears, open in terrible desire, in awful loss and longing – unimaginatively beautiful sirens calling from the bow; the stern, unlooking faces of the rowers at the oarlocks their ears shuttered against them.

 

 

 

Helen Draper

Ulysses and the Sirens

1909

 

Helen Draper 1890

Another picture called Water Baby

Rocks and knee-deep ocean. A young woman opening a silky shell within which curls a baby, the pearly play of light on flesh and mother-of-pearl, the woman’s raised hand. Fingers touched to inside of the shell spreading it gently open.

 

Made me decide to buy the book.

 

The text is nicely ironic but though Klimpt’s picture is labeled “erotic”, the word “lesbian” is never mentioned.

The text explains that the first mermaid was a male, Oannes.

It made me wish for a lesbian feminist book on mermaids. So far I have looked in vain for images by women; still the place of the mermaid in the popular imagination is interesting.

Another picture that struck me right away: a young Lorelei perched on a rock, her drowning victim at her feet. He looks up into her eyes with apprehension and longing.

As she leans to look back to him her fingers at her harp strings seem to pluck her own nipple

The constant gaze she returns him is intense, inward, full of compassion, yet even more so simply curious, and flushed with passion. The text mislabels it a “haughty gaze”, says, The Siren, a morbidly romantic subject painted by the High Victorian artist John William Waterhouse.”

Mahler is called “morbidly romantic” too. It always surprises me to have some of the feeling states that interest me the most be called “morbidly romantic.” Do I lack some sensibility others have that allows them to know to stay clear of such states?

Well anyway then today I found this morbidly romantic quote: From the enigmatic ending of H.G. Welle’s The Sea Lady (1902)

“Did there come a sudden horror upon him at the last, a sudden perception of infinite terror, and was he drawn down, swiftly and terrible, a bubbling repentance, into those deeps?

Or was she tender and wonderful to the last, and did she wrap her arms about him and draw him down, down until the soft waters closed above him, down into a gentle ecstasy of death?”

 

It’s a good question,

I’d say.

 

The book is Mermaids by the fortuitously named Beatrice Phillipots

Balantine paper $9.95         mine was on sale

 

Now it’s Saturday Morning Aug 7 {1982}

And I just hear the girls getting up –

A series of runners is passing on the road below cheered on by our neighbor at her gate.

 

It never cooled off tonight after a very hot day – now I see why. This morning I kept waiting and waiting for the sun to hit the ridgetops above the hill, finally decide it must be cloudy, got up. It was cloudy but it was also pretty early.

 

Is there any use trying to write?

Am I not supposed to be baking bread and washing dishes and working with Marcella on her room and doing the watering and making that sprinkler?

 

It’s hard to switch back into the “active” mode. Virginia can switch very easily from “accountant” to “lesbian witch” I hear. Probably also very easily into sexuality – not like me where a long approach and clearing out and centering in seems mandatory first. I imagine Sandra is relieved not to have to deal with that all the time … Her own sexuality is a great deal more accessible to her than mine is to me. Well, thinking about that in the bath it was hard not to feel bad about myself. After all, have I ever questioned (have you?) that it’s important to be a deeply sexual person.

My problems about opening to sexuality, when I think about it, reflect the patterns of the rest of my life

The schizophrenia – the being swallowed by one world or the other and not being able to transit quickly back and forth.

…But perhaps that’s one of the reasons I have to limit sexuality in my life – when I finally transit into that world it swallows me whole – the dishes pile up, the bills don’t get paid (even Virginia called in sick on Monday.)

That beginning intensity is so nice…

But if one is to go on living and dealing in this world one has to create some limits. But it is that intensity that’s so worth it, that heals us and brings us home. Does it have to be only in the beginning? Perhaps it can be kept if you make the spaces in your lives not to have to deal with those externals (the three-day ERA) I think it would be also important not to spend a lot of lower-quality time with each other, time where you are trying to relate while staying focused elsewhere.

I am trying t remember what it was like to be married. Sex was two or three times a week – sometimes much less. It was a lot of those short of communion but still a source of goodness: it was fun. It was a comfort. It was a centering in with each other. It was pretty easy. And there were times, for a long time, when it would still be a communion, sometimes, a making of love.

 

Why is making love not accessible to me in those easy ways anymore?

(1) Well, for one thing, though I do believe it is possible to create something good by living together, I have no desire to do so now.

(2) The same for the rest of it. “Having fun.” Having fun is torture to me now. Skiing is fun. I’m sure swimming is fun. Rock climbing. Working on a dollhouse would be fun. And I could spend my life having fun and never get to what it is I need to do.

(3) A comfort”. That’s one of the harder things to do without. There is something so basically comforting about the touch of human flesh on one’s own. When I am celibate I take a lot of baths – warm water is something of a substitute. But being known and tenderness, it’s giving and getting. These are not things one wants always to live without.

 

Still, Sandra is here, sometimes the touch of human flesh on my own is not so pulling to me as the need to sleep alone – to have myself to myself, the have the freedom of my body and my thoughts.

 

But I have left myself accused of not being deeply sexual.

And I do feel like saying a few words on my own behalf.

 

Perhaps I’m skewing it by using the words “deeply sexual”. The depth of some of my sexual experiences is not really questionable – It’s the day-to-day access to sexuality that’s more at issue – and my difficulty in making the transition in and out of being sexual.

When Sandra was in a “bisexual” group years ago, one of the men in the group said “I have to come every day. Either with somebody or by myself, but I have to come every day.” She was quoting him with evident approval; I was surprised. “The Draino theory of sexuality” I think I called it. I suppose (I know) that at first I was disappointed  after we got married that John only wanted to make love 2 or 3 times a week. But even then I wasn’t sure if it wasn’t just my ego feeling that I ought to be able to inspire more ardor than that and not my intrinsic need for more sex.

 

WRITER’S GROUP {August 8, 1982}

Elizabeth Lay – feminist agent – East Bay – may know about legal questions

Bay Area Lawyers for the Arts”

Making postcards:

Tell them to print at 101% rather than 98% to avoid lines on the sides.

 

NEXT MEETING:

Aug 29 – Summer’s

 

 

 

Sunday night 11:30 Aug 8 {1982}

Missing the super-final late night performance of Blue Fish Cove – would love to be there. Sandra called from the theater, did I want to come? And then maybe she could spend the night – and I’d love to do it all but I am alone for the first time in Eons after Marcella – writers group – taking Mom to the early performance tonight – just to mention today, and tomorrow I’m suppose to go to Rootworks. I don’t think it’s possible – I have money and car trips to tend to, a sprinkler to put on the roof and several other unignorables, not to mention

Packing

Transiting

And the fact that there’s more I need to write.

 

Not knowing whether in this writing to catch you/me up, review the day’s events or the week’s (the latest with Sandra) or try to get back to saying some of my yet-unsaid stuff about whether or not I am deeply sexual.

Just wanted to mention what sort of writing you do, my dear, and the openness both in terms of subject-matter and feeling-level at which you write (experience) it all: your art, and therein a sexuality not unlike Deborah Kerr’s

So who cares if finding your way into sexuality is such a delicate balancing maneuver

 

Truly, I’d rather go there once every month or two and have the time to write about it and have it be something worth writing about

 

Well anyway, as Gertrude would say//

you don’t seem to be too inspired about that one the other thing you feel hanging over your head to write about is some further thoughts about SM but the fact is you are not so in touch even with that anymore. The obsession is fading but leaving some thoughts I still want to write down.

But right now I want to tell you oh dear and all-patient reader (she fingers the thickness of the pages left – yes, there are enough for whatever she could write tonight) right now I want to talk about the writer’s group.  Took my journal – thought about reading them the “blackhead” piece – realized it made more sense together with our talk after she returned. Sandra said it was OK to read them anything of what she’d heard.

Zana read a touching piece of writing from her life, to a friend who is moving away, – the scene, the woman’s room when the woman is away, that intimacy of being in her space without her, seeing who she is by her environment.

Anyway it was touching and made me appreciate the friend more, and made me feel more the depth of the bonds between us even where one sees on the surface so much conflict

Well anyway it opened me up once again to the importance of journal-sharing, of showing who we are alone and with each other

And what Caroline was going to read sounded pretty self-revelatory, so I said ‘This is just a personal sharing.” I read, starting with “Full Moon Morning” – editing on the wing. Then “blackheads” with the page before. It did all hold together. I’d prefaced it with saying I’d been reading Coming to Power and maybe coming out of some closets in my own head.

Thinking about it, I like it – the explorations of the SM/daily-life interface, the fear and pain and humiliation of having Sandra take a new lover, (that part about “mercy” especially, and they did laugh at that) and the blackheads. ‘The blackheads” is such a nice touch, too. The comfortableness of old lovers. A nice full-circle.

And I enjoy the transition from “God as the Ultimate Compassionate Top and your pain consensual after all” and “the joys and triumphs”  whooshing to (pinpointing a specific:) Sandra picking your blackheads.

That’s art, Tangren. That’s the rush your writing delivers.

Well, Caroline’s sharing was wonderful too. About a sexual experience. She prefaced with a interesting remark – that there’s all kinds of things to be written about sexuality, and that so far it’s only been approached in one way – I do feel the truth of that. I write about sexuality in such a frank way that there are writings I only expect might be published by someone doing “erotica”. Yet my pieces aren’t really turn-ons in the way “she squeezed my left nipple” or whatever can be. They are more in the nature of explorations into sexuality – oh, I don’t know how to put it I hate to be general for too long. Anyway, Caroline’s was like that too. An investigation of making love and not being turned on, and a sudden startling exchange of identity with her partner.

There were many wonderful things about it – what I want to note now

for you, Tangren,

is how befriended you felt in her sharing talking about stuff like not being turned on, and looking for that key that will open you into sexuality, which happens to the best of us, from time to time.

How befriended you felt in those silent and lonely places within yourself. And people said the same about “the blackheads.’ Both of them explorations of our sexuality of other than the usual kind.

And affirming.

So that’s writing and

when you announced at the check-in

that you were going into seclusion at the Equinox for nine months in order to turn to the work at hand they all cheered you.

And you were better able to say what and why

 

Not that I will never see anyone but that I will not put the needs of maintaining any relationship (or how did I say that) before my writing. If I feel the need to reach out I will – but maybe I’ll think about it twice first. The work must be before everything. I’ve given myself two years; one is gone by. I need to build the feeling of knowing I can return to the work day after day, to give it that sustained attention it has to have to happen.

 

 

Monday Morning Aug 9 {1982}

Wanted to write more, but realized I was very tired. It was 2:30 by then so I put myself to sleep. So much I wanted still to write.

Sandra called. After Blue Fish Cove they partied on the set – she didn’t get home till almost five – was hung over. She’d been going to come up here this morning to see about the poison oak she’s supposed to do while I’m gone – but I hadn’t expected her very early. Anyway sleepy in the morning and hung over isn’t my favorite Sandra anyway and when she had problems with coming up in the evening cause of needing to be there at seven for Ginny’s phone call I didn’t say later would be long enough light which it wouldn’t and in general don’t feel inclined to save her from the consequences of her decisions at the moment. Am I pulling away? Sure – in some ways. That was part of what I wanted. Not to be so involved in her life that I have to save her from her own choices. If she doesn’t create possible times to see me I’m not going to try to fit into the impossible ones. {Tangren. Remember how she created a very possible time to see you last night and you spurned her for your journal}

I am free to take the needs of my own love seriously, to spend time with my journal and allow myself the time to process and know myself.

It’s funny how people start to change as they begin to pull apart. Sandra’s life now, to me, ludicrously overloaded with friends lovers children events meetings. Her whole social self in the world that has been more or less neglected when she spends time with me. John, as we came apart, running, mountainclimbing, climbing rocks and glaciers, achieving a level of challenge he never reached when he was trying to share doing it all with me.

And me. I can’t want to go to a potluck. And mountainclimbing is just another form of fun. I can’t dance, which I regret, and making love is often problematical but these are all forms of motion and what my life being speeds to is a single-pointed stillness. A focus and a gathering of power.

 

Do I speak of death or writing? I meant to speak of writing –

yet I hear the undercurrent

and know how far removed from the fray I need

to be now

finding not the participant but the observer

a state that has something to do with the  transition called death. (And dying. In a way we do do that all the while. Every changing is a dying, loosening our identity from old selves, letting go of who we were.)

Well anyway

the mermaid and all                                 and

The arrow-like single focus I imagine

I am taking on

like diving down into deep waters

with this dying that is writing, with this writing that is what I have to do before I die.

This one year I can give myself to it.

 

Perhaps I have said to myself too often that about the writing being what I have to do before I die. But it does put it in perspective and I do have to whatever else happens or doesn’t happen. If I have my choice.

Just to make it be, just to stand before altar juggling, creating it, making it be, a dancing for God because She loved such beauty enough to make you, to arrange the world so as to plant your life in all its magic within the events of time.

Well anyway

Still it makes me feel as if I could die when the writing is done.

I had one child” I often say.

I built one house.”

Maybe I’ll just write one book.”

(Or one trilogy) Or maybe the writing will never stop and Deborah will move in next door.

Well, Deborah will move in next door sooner or later in any case, if you know what I mean.

 

Dear Deborah,

{} My daughter looks a little bit like you in ways of moving, gestures, etc. Mom noticed seeing Beloved Infidel. Probably she was vastly rewarded whenever she hit on an alpha state of baby gracefulness tuned anywhere near Deborah Kerr.”

{} I wonder if it would interest you to know: I planted 6 Diodor cedars around this hillside. Their names are Acte, Poppeia, Eunice, Pomponia, Miriam, and, of course, Lygia. Summer evenings now I bring them water and cool them with a shower. And sometimes then I sing their names. And sometimes I think how I’ve entirely forgotten some play I was in in the fifties…. And maybe you wouldn’t even remember who they were, Acte and Pomponia; but it doesn’t really matter, because I remember and it makes me happy to have them all here with me in 1982. I like to sing their names and think how far we’ve all come. Bent Poppeia, here from Rome, where “empress to Nero” was the most power a woman could have and she did

Eunice, here from enslavement to Petronius, a civilized man who nevertheless thought it nothing strange that he should own her.

Miriam, dead in the fires of Rome and Pomponia fed to lions, Grey water droplets hang from their needles, showers trickle down branches into the pools below.

Grey water droplets hang from their needles, splash into the pools below.

Their names euphonious  on the air.

Lygia

The woman who scorned slavery

The woman accused of philosophy

Who did understand so much

Lygia

Lashed to a post in the bull ring, and one man, all that stood between her and certain goring, death. Dressed in virginal white, roses in her hair, Deborah was never lovelier but the role of sacrificial victim was perhaps uncomfortable.

tied there, wincing,

the strongest expressions she managed grimaces of disgust.

Well anyway,
that’s Deborah, who is and is not Lygia

It is to Lygia I am singing just now

planted in a place of honor

here before my house

growing fast, as Deodars will do.

 

Well anyway I wanted to write a little more about dying and writing. But maybe I should take a bath.

 

Well actually I’d like to deposit some remarks I’ve been meaning to note down for some time.

 

The meeting with the Subud women was also open in a way I didn’t record. After latihan, at Rosana’s suggestion, we each told our life stories. They were all interesting, full of suffering and searching and surprises. And it was nice for me to be able to say something about my own life in a Subud setting.

Then next morning the topic of testing came up. There was a question I very much wanted to test but was sort of afraid to ask – but I finally got up my nerve to suggest it – “What is my attitude toward my own sexuality, passion and erotic energy? “ “What should it be? What is the proper place of that energy in my life?”

Everyone was enthusiastic and wanted to test it for herself…. It was hard to stand in a circle with all these straight women and so openly experience the nature of my sexuality. I asked the first question – “What is my present attitude towards sexuality in my life?”

One of the women began with a resounding “Yuck” and we all laughed. I found myself singing strongly as I had just done in latihan. In latihan where I had been experiencing the power of the flow coming through me (“How could I possibly be singing that loud? It’s like singing and yelling together – I could never do it if I were trying to.”) Being reminded of other ways than orgasm to come through to this joyful surrendering to the power within. But now in answer to my question “What is my attitude to sexuality now?” I felt that yes I was amping-up my concentration on sexuality a little beyond what is ({}normal {}best {}sustainable) (I can’t decide) (The nice thing in latihan is you don’t have to have words for it.)

But I also understood clearly the reason I am drawn to sexuality, the very valid motivation of opening up to creativity and love, healings and breakthroughs, shamanism and religious states in such a powerful way. “what should my attitude be? what is the right place in my life of these energies?” This was hardest to test with those women and in fact the answer I received was: a form made from pink sugar come to think of it shaped rather like labia.I had to stand on my tiptoes to reach the top where my fingers dabbled playfully.

The image seems so almost sarcastic that I’m not inclined to accept it as an absolute recommendation from the universe.

 

So what else?

That the cast was nervous last night at Bluefish Cove. And Mom didn’t catch a lot of the jokes which made it harder for me to laugh. She said she felt as if they were speaking another language, that it is another world.

Last night I was glad for the presence of Eva, the straight woman encountering lesbians for the first time. I could feel Mom identifying with her.

Afterwards as we sat in the car in her driveway she said she still didn’t really understand what makes some people “like that.” “Well,” I said, “for some of us maybe having sensitivity in our relationships is the most important thing.” I felt a click of sorts. She said she really saw how they supported Lil in her dying and that if she were dying she would best like to have a group of women around her. And I said that’s the environment I prefer to be in for everything I do.

 

So what else is on that shelf?

 

Some further thoughts about SM though my access to that seduction is retreating for a while. “I’d rather write,” is I guess what it boils down to but then part of what is left over to write about is some unsaid thoughts about SM.

So – in the same file as

I “What are the relative merits of

  1. a) stopping the nuclear arms race

and b) investigating one’s SM underside?

put…….                                                         .                                                                       .            .           .                                                                        .                                                                       .            .           .                                                                        .

II How safe is it to learn to bear pain?
“God never gives you more than you can handle” says Lavinnia. “He never gives you less, either,” Rosana observes.

And what about what happened in January of 1980?

When that happened didn’t you swear never to have another fantasy that went anywhere near those places. In case thought forms can create themselves in reality

Or am I “purifying for my ancestors” as Lavinnia would say? That’s another possibility. But am I purifying?

 

And can thought forms create reality? Attract realities?

I would never in a million years want to do anything that would increase in any way the possibility of such tragedies.

The connections are not simple are not clear. We are in this life to oppose evil not to understand it. Or maybe to do both at once. Understanding, about the place beyond dualities where all of it is blessed, the whole damn story revealed as a miracle play enacted for your benefit.

 

(but wanting, too, to love the part you played, the lessons your enacting passed along.)

 

But if you live too much in that perspective of the watcher or of it all as a play issues of life and death don’t seem such life-and-death matters.

Still the writing matters. To make it be. My executors could figure out what to do with it if it existed but what’s still in my head dies with me. Why am I preparing to die? Either because I’m preparing to die or because I’m surrendering myself to my wordk (well maybe it was meant to be “word”)

And I do not know who I will be when I emerge but I hope to be a writer whatever that means and who will be born from my writings? It will change me profoundly to finally do what it is I have been meaning to do. The reason I built the house, quit my job and am teetering on the brink of an unknown future of questionable length

the lady or the tiger”?

Elsa Gidlow or Sylvia Plath”?

or simply Pearl Time’sChild

creating herself all over again?

 

But anyway about that place beyond good and evil, pleasure and pain, where all is swallowed up in one great wallow of Love

And about the advisability of keeping such knowledge in sight … or not, I see the fall from Eden as the fall from that vision into this world, eating of the apple of the knowledge of good and evil, taking up our stations for the play.

 

Actors must not remember that they are actors no more than teachers writing logic equations on the blackboard dare watch too closely their hands as they write for fear of forgetting the equation in mind. And it is all very well to speak of seeing from “beyond dualities” But what about what happened in January of 1980?

And yet tangren isn’t part of what’s important about what you wrote about that that it does give some of these same perspectives – “stepping in and out of the game” and the way in which there is after all no harm done though terrible harm was done still we are all home safe dreaming in our beds all along. Or something.

 

Anyway some purchase on spiritual perspectives that writing manages to find are what makes it safe enough to feel what happened, show how to go on feeling when something happens like that.

 

Well now it’s late Monday night.

I don’t seem to be connecting too well with what I meant to be finished talking about – the SM insights are fading and the energy to think about it.

Actually the thought of SM came to my head first recently once when S. and I were making love when for some reason I was really needing more to be alone. It was as a thought a bridge to transforming anger into sexual energy. Also felt to me like a rather desperate attempt to conjure up sexual energy. And my first reaction upon reading in the Samois book was “Well, really, what is it worth to get off?” Is an intensification of sexual energy worth that? And mightn’t there be a kind of true moral sleaziness to mix some of our negativities/angers? with sex. The top of course is the hard one to understand                  or stay clear imagining being.

 

Beginning thoughts for both of us

Then the talk with Tee and Caroline

Oh Goddess let me tell this only for you, for your ears only because if I feel I’m writing for the archives (of for Tee and Caroline) then what to write becomes problematical but Tangren I can tell you. But are you dooming this journal then to the fire? Or just to trust that there will be no insoluble problem in your freedom to tell yourself what you can about the life you are living now.

Deborah Kerr, out, out, please.

Though the celestial Deborah can stay.

 

Tangren you have something you want to tell yourself about what you have been understanding and thinking about so consider “risking reticence” in the next few days at Rootworks and T & C’s

I see I am halfway back in the closet already, unwilling to understand anything that would endanger my writing about Deborah Kerr or my relationship with Tee and Caroline. Or the self I am trying to build. Writing now seems so much more important to me – “Was that a last desperate attempt by Lust to lure me into putting sexuality before writing?

 

 

You know, it strikes me that my slant on Tee is that she is this “real artist” for me – one of the ones whose art moved my life – now a real person I know. I tend to cast myself as the worshipful fan and in a way I am

but there really is a lot more to it by now. I see ways in which we are very different, I see ways I want to be like her, ways we are alike and one of the best of those is that at our best we both can be very kind.

That night once I went through a complex realization that resulted in my doing something very kind –

Tee understood what had happened, reflected it back to me for me to notice. “Tangren, you’re a very kind lady” “Am I?” I said so she would say “Yes, you are.”

Why is it hard to write about this?
I just want to remember that what I revealed about myself was kind, that it opened the way for , Caroline to speak, though actually in the end I had to reach to her and say “if you ever want to talk about any of this, I would like the benefit of your insights, your thoughts, what you have learned, what wisdom you might have about it all.”

 

Connie I remember now use to sit and write for an hour or two at night sometimes staring at the fish and writing things on paper which she always threw away in the morning. Once she saved one for Sylvia who said it was very good writing and liked it so much she showed it to Sandy without asking Connie and I can see why Connie was mad.

Anyway then I couldn’t understand how she could bear to throw it all away (I still can’t) but she said “Why keep it?” and I can understand she may have thusly bought an enviable sort of freedom of a kind not found on pages of journals

bound in

bound in

bound in

 

Somehow I find myself thinking more about Deborah Kerr all of a sudden than about SM and about writing most of all

But should I just put down that moment when she said “The saints in the desert”? I was recalling what Huxley had said about the various ways used to obtain what he called “the luminous experience.” From what she’d been saying about her understanding of SM I was suddenly making that connection.

Oh, yes,” she said, “the saints in the desert.”

Yes Godess maybe I can tell you

since you were her, too,

and all of us there

how as she lay there in the candlelight her face looked hollow and hallowed and sainted and my breath came sharp with sudden understanding …

of what?

I can only say this. Once I saw a movie about this youth and girl who go on a crime rampage – an unappealing movie

but an image has always stayed with me… They begin by burning up the house where she’d grown up – and the sequence of the burning house was beautiful – the flames licking tablecloth and curtain, flames on the bedspread, reflected shining in the bars of the brass bedstead and all the while a children’s choir was singing a song of peace and purity and innocence.

Well anyway

what I understood was in an image that came to me then so vividly: She was on a bed in flame like that. She was not burning, she was only transfixed there, only transfigured, sainted.

 

Yeah,” said Sandra, “she was really in touch with her own sexuality when she said that.”

See.  Wasn’t quite ready to write that even now and so it didn’t totally make it but then you can see several aspects of why such things are hard to write about when you think of it. But anyway this isn’t your only chance if the dough didn’t quite rise this time                                                   oh well                           Time’sChild the truth is there’s still time, Time’sChild.

Tomorrow you switch worlds, chemically decompress and prepare to be Active in the World yet again but it’s drawing to a close, all this busy-ness.

And before that at 8:00 Dad will be here to help you with putting on the sprinkler to the roof.

 

And angels sing thee to thy sleep.

 

 

 

Thursday Aug 12 or so {1982}

First morning at Rootworks. Last night the first time I awoke I thought I was in my own bedroom at first, thought the windows were my own. I rather like that little jolt – it’s interesting to think that you can be mistaken about something so basic as where you are. Used to happen to me all the time as a child, waking up somewhere new, seldom anymore.

Later in the night woke up whimpering – one of those dreams where the emotion so in its grip that it drips through into one’s body in bed. I’d been sobbing in unbearable grief.

I was standing on a bridge of sorts with some other people looking upstream when suddenly a much large volume of water came rushing down the stream, as if someone had opened a floodgate further on up. And then there, swirling down the stream, came Raggedy Ann – I looked hard; there could be no doubt it was Raggedy – she must have been swept out by the water. Then she was gone under the bridge, but it was not a bridge really; but the beginning of a water tunnel – the water disappeared underground there. At first when I’d seen Raggedy washing down I was just trying to take it in, thinking unconsciously of course that I couldn’t risk it to go down to save her – I think – then as she was about to disappear I realized “But this is Raggedy Ann” and I simply had to try to do something to save her – I leapt over the railing and down the rocks and out a little into the water – but she was gone and all there was was the water pouring into that great dark hole. Should I plunge in and follow her? But how far did it go underground? And was there air? Also somehow I knew that it might never surface again – that the river might go to a sort of sewage treatment place, a great jug-shaped tank in the earth where all the solid waste was filtered out, turning to brown sediment. I pictured Raggedy in among the layers of yuck, I imagined trying to search through tons of this stuff to find her and knew as I thought about it how impossible it was; and that Raggedy Ann was truly lost to me so I was sobbing, shaking with sobs.

Do I ever feel such anguish in waking life? Unbearable pain, unthinkable loss, to lose her. When my own whimpers woke me it seemed like such a miracle then to find my arms around her still, her black eyes smiling peacefully in the moonlight.

Well, one more think about the content of the dream – The reason Raggedy Ann had washed away – the water system really was a flushing system of some sort – it was supposed to go through the bathroom but when they’d let loose so much water it had risen and flowed out through the bedroom and washed her from the bed.

 

Well: of course the reference to Sandra is unmistakable – the one who is there in my bed, who understands and comforts, who is always there but who has no needs of her own to intrude on my life – an exaggeration, that last, re Sandra, but there are elements of truth about our relationship as it has been.

Ruth thought of the connection with Sandra via “Raga Dianne.” I hadn’t thought of that.

Ruth saw the great increase in volume of water as a great upsurge in flow from the unconscious.

When a dream awakens me it seems often that the awaking is part of the story of the dream. (Vide: “Dreaming, Malcolm, and Nonsense”, Alexander, 1975)

So with this one.

Firstly. I still do have Raggedy Ann – that sweet cotton friend. No matter what happens with Sandra. And part of the dream was legitimately about Raggedy Ann and part of the energy came from its being Raggedy Ann, my oldest and most intimate friend. (I’ve dreamed about her being swept away by a stream before. And there was a story like that in the original book – Raggedy’s closest brush with death.)

And then, too, I have not lost Sandra, either. Though perhaps in some of her more self-effacing Raggedy Ann aspects. Still I will wake again to her face in the moonlight, I do not doubt. In a way the dream and waking encapsulate what went on the day before – maybe I can write more later – now it’s time to go to work.

 

Thursday night, Rootworks {Aug 12 or so, 1982}

It’s hard to stay feeling OK about Sandra. Or maybe it’s just hard to stay feeling OK. Hard to be around this many people this much. Or maybe just hard to put my mind into the public referent. Here, around other people, my life feels like a failure – around these people involved in couple relationships the change in my reltnshp re Sandra seems like a dumb thing to do. At breakfast I heard of a debacle involving photographs of 2 women making love being hard for the primary lover of one of them. Admitted it had crossed my mind how hard it would be if V. & S.  were to make love for the camera, when that’s what S & I had been planning to do.

When we began work Jean asked me to file some address cards. And whose card should I pull out first? I found myself looking at the address with a kind of undercover interest – knowing how special even an address can be at times – that it probably makes S’s heart leap to see it, to write it. It’s all the stuff she can’t she with me that hurts. Or can’t she? Yet I don’t like to be constantly reminded of V’s existence either.

So anyway one reason it took me so long to get up here is – whew – I want to get into it, to tell how I thought I was brave and fine – not feeling much in the way of energy or reaffirmation coming from her, but trying not to need it, deciding it was better if we didn’t try to cycle in with each other before I left for Rootworks (though knowing we would not see each other for a long time if we did that.) How then she (uncharacteristically) woke me at 7:00 AM (being up for ‘another call” and thinking I was leaving momentarily – but her voice for once was warm and though I signed off and went back to sleep – still that little note of caring had touched me and twice that day when I did talk to her I couldn’t keep from crying (like now, remembering). Our second phone call was very hard – afterwards in the bath I cried for an hour or so – was exhausted – had expected to go to Rootworks that evening but was so tired I fell asleep for 3 hours. Then S. called – things felt so hard between us we decided to try to get together after all though I doubted things could be so quickly ironed out. But something needed reaffirming – it wasn’t right for me to be in such anguish and despair. & not knowing –  V coming this weekend and then Shakinah and then S to San Jose and no time till the coast nearly a month away to check in.

Well, now can I remember what we did to heal? We made coffee. We sat outside under the stars and drank it. I said I’d like most to read to her from my journal, so we did that. That almost seemed to be the turning point. … It does interest me that that was one of the complaints I had about our relationship before, not that I complained, but I thought sometimes “I never read her my journal. Somehow our lives never have the space for that, we’re always making love or busy or something. It’s been a lack I’ve felt. And now, since V. I’ve written a lot and read it all to her. maybe it’s true that this readjustment will give us the focus to make the most of our time together (or will we always be talking about Virginia?) well, Tangren, all the negative tapes are right there in you all right. And they have a lot of power over you. Even though at times you sense how far of they are.

“I seem to flip/flop between ‘rejected lover’ and ‘woman who needs more space’ with no middle ground.”

Luckily I do have my journal and can look back to two weeks ago (and a year ago and elsewhere) to where I have sighed for time to myself and the undisturbed possession of a private self, and wished that S. had a separate life that pulled her as mine pulls me… so now when I wince at the pain that she has a whole important part of her life that she can’t share with me  sometimes I remember in the midst of the anguish that this was just what I ordered. Of course then, in the midst of the anguish it sometimes seems to me that I was crazy to ask for this …I am not unaware of the flushing metaphor the clearing out in my life – the great rush from the unconscious sweeping away even things that you think you can’t let go of, down, down, perhaps to the compost station of existence clearing out your life, washing out your house. You almost jump in the dark hole to retrieve her but some survival instinct holds you back your anguish and loss are exceeding great, you think you cannot bear it – until you wake to find she still safely in your arms, after all.

I want to believe it.

That Sandra will not be lost to me.

That even if she is I still have Raggedy Ann

And that even if I should have to leave Raggedy Ann

I will waken with her safe in my arms

She who I dreamed was a rag doll was Sandra, was Deborah Kerr; She who dreamed She was me.

 

But anyway, Tangren

About the flip/flopping and the power of those inappropriate conceptions of the situation             you might try making some affirmations about Sandra. About how this may bring about good changes in your relationship, may make it more what you wanted it to be all along. You are a little afraid of doing that because you want to be prepared to lose her. You can be; you know that. And it could happen. If the negative tapes are too powerful in you – is one way. You could be fairly impatient with her if she were to have some of the same reactions to your taking your nine-month maternity leave that you are having, to her taking another lover – though the similarities are unmistakable.

It could also happen for reasons totally beyond your control – what happens between her and Virginia. How she will change.

There are lots of pitfalls – it could happen, you could lose her. (And maybe see her again when her next love affair is over. {She does seems to be faithful to old lovers – that is one of the things you have liked about her.}) You could lose her and maybe never see her again.

You know quite well you would survive that. And you need to keep that clearly in mind.

But does that mean you need to be afraid of affirming that the outcome will be something different still – that our love will continue to nourish us both in the way it does best revitalized by this successful readjustment to more what we had in mind in the first place. {My nerve failed me in mid-sentence – it all seemed such hollow optimism for a moment.}

Well, there’s always just affirming that Whatever Happens is for the Best.

It’s a lot of power to give some stranger – to make changes in your lover of profound depth and proportion. The power to turn your lover into a stranger. But the same could as well be said of her giving me up to that jealous lover, Myself.

(For I, thy Self, am a jealous Self, and thou shalt not have no other Selves before Me.)

Though, as I have mentioned, she leaves much to be desired in the sexual arena (so to speak) (and has other drawbacks I could list)

Well anyway all this is by way of getting round to tell a little story of sometime in bed that night how after S. had told me I was special and that had made me cry a little and we talked some and came to feel again that we knew each other

Well anyway we were talking about my coming time of solitary creativity and she was saying

You need to have me on the fringes of your life  … And while I’m out here on the fringe I think I’ll have a good time, if you don’t mind.

The last thing you need is for me to be sitting down in the basement saying ‘but, Jo, what about our relationship?””

Well, I had to admit there’s no getting around that. Now if I can only remember what I had to do that was so important. … Doubtless it will come to me.

This morning we began the workday with a feelings meeting – (each woman talking about what was happening with her emotionally – ) Jean, processing her mother’s growing helplessness – me, with my dream – Caroline with Tee: Tee is just having her book (Yantras) come out – creating a great stir of events and contacts in her life, causing changes in her, that Caroline then has to deal with. Tee also processing nearly fourty – which she did not expect to live through – feeling the need to re-envision the rest of her life.

The conversation eddies around the expectation that one will die – I have become quiet, listening. Jean draws me out… Yes – it resonates with me

Tee’s trying to see what’s beyond this book – not really able to envision it. My thoughts of expectation of death at some level after this year… The symbolic level / the literal level. Jean’s concern: It’s all very well to experience it on the symbolic level; but isn’t there the danger of unconsciously acting it out on the real level – by not taking care of one’s health, suiciding, having an accident, etc. How does one explore the one – “go into” an experience of symbolic dying, the dying to an old self, an old life, go into a acceptance of this death (and accumulate learning experiences for the Big One, when it comes) But how to be sure one isn’t drawn into enactment?  With my throat hurting as much as it presently does, I am in no position to make glib reply.

 

 

Friday morning Aug 13 I suppose {1982}            maybe read insert first – pp 199-200 {journal text pagination}

Woke from the second very unhappy dream of the night about encountering Virginia. Sobbed and sobbed into my pillows when I recalled the feelings – V. is coming to Ashland today. I feel very differently about that than about S. going to Eugene – I don’t want to run into them in the grocery store. I don’t like the feel knowing that she and S. will be cuddling together before our friends – that everyone else will have seen what I am not ready to see.

I am thinking about returning Sat nite for 24 hours – when V. will be in town. I am hoping not to run into her / them (especially “them.”)

I am curious about her – I would like to meet her – But I don’t know how painful it would be or how defended I’d be

Perhaps nothing as bad as my projections, though: In my dream I have returned to town on Sat night and (for some reason beyond my conscious mind’s comprehension) I am at a party. I had expected They would not be there. But there they are standing together at the corner of a bar. Bravely I go up to them, say ‘Hello” to Sandra – she greets me but has not yet faced the task of introducing us. I touch Sandra’s arm, Virginia keeps her arm around Sandra’s hips. So I reach over to touch Virginia’s arm. “I’m Tangren” I say. And try to say something friendly and insightful about the dilemmas of being co-lovers. But she isn’t really listening, her attention is elsewhere….

The second scene in that dream blends with my second dream. In both they are at my house. I have come home from the party to be by myself and there they are sleeping in my place. (I don’t live in my real house, but in an apartment in a Victorian house) (so to speak)

In the first dream all I can recall is just not being able to be graceful about it all, not able to keep a bite out of my remarks, to keep a bitterness and anger and hurt from showing though. But once I managed to say something ironic and funny along the way. … so often this has been my way of reaching through to Sandra – when I am in a depressed or panic-ed or blank space or whatever when I don’t know what else to do I can still manage to let through little flashes of ironic distancing from the melodrama, little ways of just getting into enjoying enacting my distress, little ways that are funny and Tangren, does it ever occur to you that if this is too painful perhaps there is a reason for all that. You chose “freedom”, not a commitment to put yourself through perpetual pain.

And if it turns out that staying open to S. brings more pain than healing

Then you yourself might have to make that choice not to be lovers right now

Might make that choice. You are afraid of that possibility –

Because to fail at non-monogamy feels in your case like failing at the only possible sort of lover relationship you could have. (always unless it were Deborah Kerr, in which case all bets are off.) Anyway, it  could be that the universe might turn on the thumbscrews if you need to confess your need to be monogamous with yourself. “Do writers at the MacDowell colony have visits from their lovers? Or fall in love with each other?” asked Jean. I was of the opinion that it must happen. Ruth said not. “But think how much energy and creativity it would give their writing.’ “Yeah,” said Ruth, “but then there wouldn’t be any time to write about it.”

 

 

Sorta cute, really. They make her laugh and that makes me laugh and we can sorta rise above it all a little. I wish I had an example, but so much of it is non-verbal. Or an understanding of it depends upon access to a memory of the things we’ve lived through together, conversations we had a year ago … all that complexity of interaction, of communication that’s possible when two people have built a relationship.

 

Anyway … grief-stricken though I was …

At this point I had descended to hanging from the rafters like a monkey barely keeping from howling down all my uncivilized derision upon them as they picked up their things to leave as quickly as possible – hanging there in my misery I nevertheless managed to let a tender, ironic joke slip through. But instead of flashing me back a little love for my clearness as she usually would, Sandra is angry, ignores it, lets it fall flat unheard. “Tangren” she says as she departs, “your feelings are really out of line about this. We think it’s all that marijuana you’re using.”

The second dream was the same –  had returned to my apartment … There were lots of women sleeping on the floor, and there among them were Sandra and Virginia, nakedly entwined under blankets, asleep, in my living room. I woke them up and said I didn’t feel comfortable with them there and would they please leave as soon as they could. A few minutes later I came back into the room. V. was still in the sleeping bag, and Sandra was starting a little fire in a metal basket that I had there. It didn’t look at all safe to me, but she wanted to just cook Virginia some breakfast she said and then they’d leave.

So I was helping her build the fire – if that’s what it took to get them to leave. But then I realized the craziness of what I was doing and sometime around then began to sob and lose control. By this time some other women were awake. And Hannah was saying, understandingly: “Hey, everybody, I think we need to go. Tangren really needs to have her place to herself.”

A little later we were in the bathroom doorway together – I was telling her I appreciated her understandingness. I looked at her jaw, thinking to show my friendliness by finally picking those blackheads on her jaw-line I’d always wanted to do … But someone else had gotten there before me. Ah well, I was standing on the stairway outside watching the departure with appreciation.

Woke – somehow the pain was so with me still. Sobbed and sobbed into my pillow. How often I have wished that I could cry and now I cry so much but I really am writhing in anguish.

Perhaps at this point I might draw for myself some instructive parallels between life-and-death and Sandra.

How easily I imagine I could let go

How hard the parting really can be –

And even more, how hard the not knowing if this is the parting

I do know how to let go and turn the pain into art – but it does require a lot of suffering in the knowing when to let go. The best thing would be that Sandra and I should continue to share the best of what we have built together –
that we should (perish the thought) succeed at non-monogamy where so many have failed

and find ourselves happy with our bargain and proud of ourselves to have had the courage to try it

and that I should have the time to write about it, too.

and best would be if I should live to see what happens after I write my book. It could be good. The world could begin to reflect back to you who you are more – the writer. And you know very well that until the child is grown you can see no further ahead. You have to tend to the writing. Only then will you be free to look around and ask “What’s next?” So don’t be surprised if there’s a blank in the future now.

 

Sunday Morning Aug 15 {1982}   A day at home

When I came down to breakfast yesterday Jean asked if I had any dreams.

“Nothing horrendous, thank God. Nothing that feels very important … And I can only remember a small part…” She was still listening, so I went on. “It’s just a fragment out of a much larger dream. I had a child I was doing something with – I can’t remember what – We were on a sidewalk when a woman with a baby in a stroller was trying to negotiate a curb. The stroller tipped and the baby spilled out into the water in the gutter. There it floated, face down, arms outspread, its little red sweatsuit and hood bobbing on the water. The mother was frantically searching through the things in the stroller … maybe for a first-aid book.

So I ran down to the curb and picked the child out of the gutter. I held it upside down, then bent it over my arm, draining all the water out of it.” Did I start it breathing again? – I told Jean so – but that’s not quite right. I handed the child over to the mother at this point, who was ready now to start her breathing again. But what I had done, emptying out the water, had ensured that the child would live.

Then the people around there were commending me for my quick action, for knowing the right thing to do and just doing it.

(I can’t remember ever being so commended in a dream before – but the feeling is very familiar just now, being here at Rootworks.)

“… And I was beginning to look around again for the child that was my responsibility…”

I wouldn’t call that an insignificant dream” said Jean. “How old were these children or babies?” asked Ruth. The little girl I was with – I’m not sure – 3,4,5,6? The baby – from a child of 8 months or so floating in the water – moments later a larger child, a toddler maybe. “And how long have you known Sandra?”

I’m not sure I have it all sorted out. Jean thinks the mother is my “head” self out of touch with what needs to be done. Ruth comments on my draining out the water – how I’d written the day before about crying so much these days.

Yes. And I think of the comparison to the first set of images – Raggedy Ann being swept away – the baby just floating there. The open-air (unplumbed?) watery waste-disposal system in both – and saving the baby this time. Knowing what to do and simply doing it.

Saving the red-hooded baby, but turning it over to its own mother…
And the child who is really the one in  the one in my care – my work, of course.

      

One more thing from my metal shelf I’ve been meaning to mention: Lammas. A year ago on Lammas I wished only one wish – that by the next Lammas I would be in a right relationship with marijuana. I’ve been dreading this Lammas, knowing this is one thing that isn’t right in my life right now. But lately I’ve been thinking: what that Lammas day was like. That was Sunday morning, waking up at Lavinnia’s after a deep refreshing sleep. Had a powerful latihan with the women, a good testing – a little better feeling of who they are – and being myself a little more with them… several good contacts, esp. with Serena on the way back, centered in here when I got back, watered, think I wrote a little. Ate two cookies during the day – got quite a good lift from each of them…. The rest of the energy came from the flow of the day itself. I didn’t smoke at all. And Sunday – Sunday Sandra was having an intense time with Virginia in Eugene. Was that part of it, too? Giving me the solitude, that is, I might term it “natural, organic marijuana” (if mj. is instant solitude) Whatever it was, I was already pretty healed and enabled – and the latihan helped, too. On the way back Serena talked about her amazing experience having electric shock treatments in the ten years she was a “crazy person”. I hope she writes it up – she has such an insight on it all. And I talked to her about my fears around mj and thoughts about dying. (she and her husband have a friend staying with them who has leukemia.) She suggested other ways of working on staying healthy – working on those areas of my feet, for instance, and eating cabbage and broccoli. And I ran thru the list of things I knew would help me – It did remind me that not stopping when I need to is only part of it – if I can accentuate the positive, the smoking can take care of itself: if I can feel what’s going on in my body, I want to care for it; It’s just a matter of becoming healed enough to do that.

Well anyway, contrary to my expectations I think the Goddess did put me into a right relationship to marijuana this Lammas; I’d just forgotten to specify how long it should last.

 

 

 

 

Aug 17 {1982}           Tuesday morning     Rootworks

The day before the new moon and my blood should start flowing any time. No dreams this morning – slept 11 hours after no sleep the night before. Went home for a day to do the watering, etc. Needed to call Sandra, tried to make it a simple phone call, not getting into anything about relating, put it all off until we saw each other next weekend. But then it turned out V. wanted to come down then, too: to go to the tarot workshop and concert Sandra’s friend is doing, which I’d been planning to go to. The plan was she’d come down Friday after work, come in after the tarot workshop was already underway, then afterwards we’d all 3 spend some time together – she, of course, being the one to sleep with Sandra. “She thinks you should meet soon” Sandra says – “the longer it goes on the more charge it all acquires.” True ennui – perhaps – if this were a real reaching out to me.

“She wants to know you; she wants to know that part of me” says Sandra – Well anyway I hate to write in here a lot of pain and hassle. It hurt at the moment – awfully – to feel they could have concocted a plan taking so little care of my feelings – all my last week’s nightmares come true. Quick tears of shock and hurt and fear. Sandra: “Oh, I’m so open these days I don’t want to hurt anybody. … Maybe I can’t do non-monogamy..” Underneath – Irritation that I’m being so difficult about all this. Me (at one level one-upping with) “I know I can live through losing you. But I don’t want to” – and Sandra – not wanting to either, crying and crying – nice for it to be her crying for a change and I am comforting her – But after the phone call as I do the watering I find I am angry and hurt about the plan. Even though I’ve said it won’t work, I won’t do it that way. Still for Sandra to even think of asking me to do it shows how out-of-touch she can be with who I am. Yuck. Well she came up late that night and we talked etc until about 3:00. Then she went to sleep but I couldn’t. Tried to sleep. With her. In the living room by myself. Finally it was 6:30 so I got up, packed for Rootworks. At 9:00 woke Marcella and Sandra. Sandra and I talked again for an hour or so – then I came up here. Slept for an hour after lunch, then did corrections on the magazine. Bed at 8:30

 

Hello, Tangren. Happy new journal. And may the writing by the end be big and loopy and inspired. Too bad you didn’t have a dream last night but awoke instead with a pang in your stomach that said “what will happen Saturday.”

If only I didn’t feel like such a fool on top of it all – or rather I’m not on top of it all. I did want her to have another lover – or at least a separate life that pulled her.

In a way, I’m only confronting the same schizophrenia about her that I’ve had all the way along – the sense when I am with her – at least when we are really meshing and aware of each other and our love – the sense of her absolute value. To me. And simply as herself. We do appreciate each other.

Then the way in which I get lost in appreciating her and the world we can build together, and begin to long for my lost self in solitude. The ways then in which it comes clear she is not me and the me I have created with her cannot go on with the life I had in mind – Well anyway

I began to space out there because I began to wonder how much of this hurt is being amped up by that self that needs a psychic break from Sandra.

I’m fine when I’m by myself concentrating on my own life. Even if I am writing pages of pain in my journal at least I’m writing in my journal. And if I were with my new love just now – my house, my writing, it might all be easier than it is just now hanging out here in limbo as it were on the tail end of the public world.

I’m fine when I’m by myself – in pain but living with it – and then I call her and find I can’t stop crying. We’ve had 3 nights together since V. started and they’ve all been earnest and hard and full of tears. There is a part in both of us that is thinking “If it’s going to always be this hard when we come together, then at some point we will need to stop.” She is saying to herself – and once to me – “maybe we will not go on … even in the long run. Tangren is involved in writing the winter nine months. Summer’s when I see my kids and travel around. When will we ever connect?…”

Yet at other times she is dismayed how little I trust that she is isn’t changing, won’t forget me, won’t cease to value what we had….” Well, it’s hard to write or talk about it because of the mirror-image reflection problem.

 

She’s also afraid of losing me she cried on the phone yesterday. “I’ve only spent five days with her” she cried. ‘You’re my oldest friend.” So it goes. I think she is having some taste of schizophrenia herself these days.

 

Well, I’ve been asking God lately why this is happening? Why it’s all hurting so much. Why am I being put through this pain. What am I to learn. What did I say the other day about thumbscrews? It is possible – maybe even probable – that the one who loved Sandra so much was a woman full of the self that solitude had given her – two semi-strangers bringing each other the best we had to give.

 

Maybe if it hurts too much to have brief check-in times with Sandra, phone calls, etc. that you will do it less. That the proper place in your lives for each other will be to come together now and then to discover who each other has become and to rediscover deep heart connection.

 

If the pain of the separation isn’t so great that you aren’t enjoying your solitude or able to feel any reaching and remembering when you come back together.

 

When she came up that night she looked like a total stranger – the glimpses I could bare to take of her. Not an expression reminded me of any old friend I could remember. And then, she said, Virginia had cut her hair. Oh, great. It did change how she looks. Symbolic of her being somebody new I don’t know.

 

How all that hurt and made me angry too. Seemed another sort of thoughtlessness on their part – (Not that S. hasn’t before cut her hair – changed the way she looks.)

Why are you so wound up about all this, Tangren? Why does it have you so in its grip?

 

To quote the page opposite: Maybe if it hurts too much to have brief check-in times with Sandra you will do it less. Or is that just your anger talking? Well, maybe it takes your anger to get you to listen. …Or would it be just the wrong step – estrangement and the unnecessary pain it would cause, projections replacing understanding of what each other’s lives are like, negativities reflected to each other, all of which might be avoided by staying in touch with our friendship and appreciation for each other.

 

At one point yesterday morning Sandra said she didn’t understand why I couldn’t just trust to the basic love there is between us and all we have built up together, why we seem to have lost so much ground. I heard her as saying trust that we will cycle back together sometime. Maybe that’s possible. What’s not possible is not to be in pain right now when I think of it all – not to keep from crying when I see her.

 

Tuesday night {Aug 17, 1982}

Well, I am still obsessing about Sandra and Virginia in my spare moments – But really one begins to be able to answer “What is the point of all this pain?” (ANS: “So you will let go.” (More or less.)

 

Perhaps a part of me is very willing to let go of her in the sense of what our relationship has been – let her become Virginia’s lover and let her be a treat that comes into my life now and then. An old friend like Sue to rediscover again and again. For as long as that lasts.

 

Well anyway I do want to write about something else for a change.

 

Ruth has been taking photographs of me – She has a very old Montgomery Wards 8 X 10 camera made of wood and metal. She has been taking long exposure pictures of me – 30 seconds to 1 ½ minutes. Close-up portraits. The long exposure is nice because you have a long time to develop something to project.

Have only seen the first one, so far. Was surprised at how old I look – even with my hands. “How much pain I look to have been through.”

And yet it’s nice to see that – yes, my sufferings are truly real, not some petty little story I exaggerate in my head, or whatever ways I’ve been made to deny/discount my feelings. There they are, written upon my face.

And the age – the exposure I like best is the one which shows the most detail on the wrinkles under my eyes. The age in my hands, on my lips is unexpected, surprising, and yet exciting. I can begin to glimpse how my old face will be.

 

This morning. My first back at Rootworks remembering no dreams, worry about the encounter with Sandra and Virginia greeted me to knot my stomach.

 

So I began writing in here and found myself crying, finding the tears beneath all that angry anxiety.
Whatever about what is deepest at any rate I feel better when I can cry, at least I feel more in touch than when I’m in angry anxiety (AA). So anyway I’d promised Ruth to pose for her again this morning at 9:30. “How can I get up a suitably dignified and meditative expression this morning?” I thought, and knew I couldn’t. So I remembered about Marcella how when I was taking pictures at John’s house because I was leaving it, and she was lying on the couch watching me, looking so sad. I started to take a picture of her – and she put on a false little smile “You don’t have to smile, Marcella. Just be how you’re feeling. They are precious pictures – of the pain she was going through; they help me to remember why it was so hard to leave.

 

So anyway I remembered saying to Marcella “You don’t have to smile” and I said it to myself now. So I decided to be tragic for the camera. But the idea of that and being clever about how to make that possible was all so much fun in the doing that sometimes I thought I’d have to give up and look merry instead.
But in time I got in touch with my tragic self and emoted before the camera – so much so that I fear I shook when I breathed (or tried to) – the negative tonight looked a little blurry. Oh well – she wants to try again tomorrow.

Am having a thought – am wishing I could stay here thru Sunday and meet them here or at T & C’s  – with someone I feel more trusting of to understand my situation from inside – like Caroline or possibly Tee – yes – Women to whom Sandra’s and my relationship is more real than it is to (a) Sandra (b) me (c) Virginia. All are correct but (b) is closest to what I meant. “In the end we are all lovers” sings Sandra’s new column. Yes. I suppose it logically works out that way, doesn’t it. So V & I are lovers in some dimension. Doubtless. But it’s not a truth I care to think about at the moment, thank you.

 

Anyway about meeting – it would feel so much safer with someone I trusted there too. T & C on Sunday afternoon would be my favorite choice – and they did say when we did that for them that if any time they could do something similar for us they’d be glad to. I should ask. & my extra help on the magazine does make a difference, Caroline says.

A possibility. Tho solitude also recommends itself.

 

Q to the G: Why all that pain, rage, weakness? Why all the melodrama?

The G: Do you want me to put it in writing?

 

 

It’s strange I feel I’m sorta helplessly and automatically dancing out my part as “the older lover”.

“But Tangren, I feel Virginia and I are really reaching out to you.”

How that feels. “Virginia and I”

And yet I do know how it feels from the other side – When you’re in touch with love in a deep and reassured way, then it’s easy to see that there can be lots of love for everyone. But when you’re the one who can’t talk to her without crying and who’s needing  reassurance

when you’re the one with her panic buttons pushed And being asked do some impossible things – stay open, stay in touch, but don’t be difficult, don’t give yourself a hard time about this – don’t need too much from me right now – but stay open to me. these are the messages I get from Sandra. No more all possible at the same time for me // than to have V walk in in the middle of that Tarot Evening.

 

I do think I have to meet Virginia this weekend, to avoid the uncomfortableness of the thought of meeting at the grocery store – and if it’s not now it won’t happen – because of all our schedules and because I need a face, a voice, a person to go with this forced, intimate relationship I am suddenly in.

 

She wants to meet you, Jo. She wants to know all of me, and you’re a big part of my life.”

Yeah. Exhibit A” said Jean. My thought exactly.

 

Tangren. There are lots of ways Sandra is taking care of you, which you have a hard time remembering and appreciating sometimes.

 

but at this moment I wish to point out – just for a reality check – that there are ways in which she is doing less than her best at being thoughtful and caring because her attention is elsewhere,

 

just for a reality check ⎭ there are ways she is not being as loving as (a) before (b) sometimes before (c) as she may be again, when you have her full attention.

 

Sometimes it seems it would be much simpler if she would just go be V’s lover for a while until that sorts itself out & send me a few letters of friendship and encouragement from time to time and see me for two weeks on her way south in December.

 

But I do remember one of the last things I told her trembling – telling her the important thing was being friends but I hoped we could still be lovers in the coming year, saying, trembling, ‘If you aren’t my lover, I’ll never get any touching.”

 

Holding her pink flesh in the morning,

it seemed so impossible to bear it,

to never see her face close and open to mine,

to never touch her face.

To never be held in

her arms, never that

challenge of deep diving together

for our vulnerability –

using all our powers of play to become

brave and beautiful and needing

before each other, seeking together

the deep comfort of being loved

in all your most secret places.

 

How could I bear to go again without touching? Without her touching? Without touching her? And yet, how much has it been that, lately – what you just described? Sexuality and openness with her have not been so easy with her – because of both of you being too busy to take the time space to dive deep together, trying to keep things going in time snatched from other matters, always thinking there would be time soon.

and because – face it – partly because until you have more of a sense of yourself, tangren, you really haven’t got yourself to give.

 

In spite of these difficulties you have maintained a friendship/lovership which has still been the source of much strength for both of you.

 

You’re my oldest friend, Jo. I’ve only been with her for five nights.” she was crying. After it had hurt me so – their plan, after she had been irritated at first that I took it all so hard. “I don’t want to lose you.” Crying – in openness (from being with you know who) in confusion, in sheer over-whelmed-ness and in pain and fear over our relationship changing, too.

 

You ask me if I’m still open to you and I say ‘yes’ but the I think that soon we will have to close down to each other in any case, with you turning to your writing and all.”

 

It’s true. I am withdrawing from her to be with more primary commitments. In some ways it’s even more of a withdrawal than she’s making from me. “But, I know, Jo. It’s not the same. You’re not making love with your writing.

 

It was well said. I let it stand. But I began to wonder now about the ways in which I do make love with my writing –

Short on touching, I’ll admit. And great orgasms feel better for the body and sometimes the heart, too, than the pressure of pen and the tension in the back but on the whole I am choosing writing over this for most of my time

So maybe there are ways in which I do make love with my writing.

Tonight R & J & I listened to some tapes – one radio program I “happened” to catch Sunday before the melodrama began. May Sarton reading from “Journal of a Solitude.” About aging and being in love in one’s old age – lots of lovely stuff – but this she said, about being in love …

套what more demanding atmosphere for growth than love in any form? than any relationship which can call out, and requires of us our most secret and deepest selves.”

⒊But that’s just how I feel about writing!” I thought secretly. “Doesn’t she feel that way about hers? “Writing a novel,” she said “is like taking an examination on which your whole future depends every day for a year.”

 

{Interesting the corrections made on 2nd listening – what much crisper writing it is, what she actually said than how you remembered it/wrote it down – interesting – crispness.}

 

But she also said, of a working moment:

⒊In a period of happy and fruitful isolation such as this, any interruption any intrusion of the social any obligation breaks the thread on my loom, breaks the pattern.”*

{*But you will note she went on to turn that grain of sand into a pearl of writing, a triumphant meditation on one’s own aging. Surely some of her better writing. Very insightful.}

And also … “I am coming into the most fulfilled love of my life now”… {at 58}

So it must be possible to put it all together. Sometimes

And really if being 58 is all she says it is, maybe it would be a shame to leave the party too early.

 

Well, Tangren, your writing certainly looks better and bigger than when you started out this morning. Your life, too.

 

Well, tangren, here you are. Writing late into the night and having a great time once again.

More fun than making love with Sandra, huh?” said one of my voices to me.

Maybe .. at the moment.

I’d hate to have to choose all one way or the other. Maybe I don’t

 

All things in moderation

All things in variation

 

Sandra did say – maybe we are pulling away from each other ahead of time. Maybe it’s a better way – gradually, now, than being totally open to each other until Sept 23 and then suddenly the curtain drops between us.

That may be true. My world of writing is calling to me and if I don’t start checking in within myself via journal now I’ll be able to do nothing but that for the first month or two. But the truth is I can hardly wait. Let’s see now – meditation, latihan, 10-minutes free-flow writing – writing down your dreams. Learning how to finish things while staying connected to your sources (interesting if you look at that word –  meant to write sources – did – but also wrote sorer-ces

Yes that’s part of the key

my level of physical well-being is not what it needs to be – one of my first orders of business will be to tend to my body –

esp. do yoga

& moment to moment body checkins

 

But anyway maybe Sandra also needs a sense of what separate her life is / she is going to. (and you, too need a sense of where she is going.) so going to the coast, if we do that, will be a closure of sorts. I think we do need a closure, this is clearly the end of much, and what remains, time will tell, time and our heart connection.

We have had good reason

to love each other.

 

Saturday Night moon in Libra {Aug 21, 1982}

Come to think of it, in that song “monogamy, schmonogamy”, my favorite line always has been:

“If the price of love is pain

Then I guess I’ll stick to art.”

The pain just keeps on coming – and the chagrin of being such a spoil-sport.

I know the other side./ I know the understanding that says “The more love there is for us all, the better.” And “I don’t want anybody to look to me for everything.” (“Nobody’s anybody’s everything” as Lil said in the play.) (of course, she was changing her mind at the time.)

 

But the thing is I still do believe those things

 

When I think of seeing Sandra tomorrow I feel so afraid. Wanting to trust and yet just not knowing when to expect the next awful shock. Feeling my closedness – seeing it mirrored in her eyes. Seeing her not looking like anyone I’ve ever met before. …where so recently there was my heart-friend.

 

So what the fuck is so hard about this all.

I feel so powerless.

Suddenly in an intimate relationship with someone I don’t know, let alone like or trust. My life turned upside down. Unable to go to a cultural event in my own town that I’d been looking forward to gong to, – getting to experience Shekineh, Sandra’s friend and getting to know Sandra a little more in this way – and suddenly it was just all too impossible to do it. My whole life is changed because of decisions Virginia makes.

How much more? Will cultural events at Rootworks etc now become rendezvous for them? Will I not be able to look at Tee’s erotic art anymore for fear of seeing what I can’t bear to see? How much of life will they keep me from?

Tonight borrowed a book from the Rootworks library that I’d been wanting to see – I am My Lover – a photography and words book about masturbation I’d been meaning to look at for a long time …. But my motivation was upped – feeling I’m facing a long dry spell (so to speak) – & wishing my own sexual resources were a little more together. Labia photos by Tee – in color –  and b & w of women – nice to see faces and cunnys together (at the same time ) But all these sights just now so painful reminding me what I am losing.

 

After forty years of your mother telling you how you

go off the deep end”

do you really want Deborah Kerr telling you not to “make heavy weather” for another thirty?

 

What do I wish for? Now I knew. To carry a sense of her Sandra’s love with me into my solitude. That just as she will carry with her into her next love the ways she has grown and learned and been healed by our loving. It would only be fair if I could bring to my new/old lover the strengths I’ve learned from her; the ways of loving myself she has given me. Allow her voice in my inner ear to say all those lines she says so well,

reminding me I am good.

 

But I feel like they’re comin up here tomorrow keeping each other high behind I and I’ll just feel like pricking their little balloon.

And on the other hand I do have tons of anguish and some indignation

and if I let any of it show they’ll be irritated that I’ve pricked their balloon and brought them down when they were so high and why was I being so difficult about it all suddenly.

How I wish she would just move to Eugene and come to see me when we both really want to.

 

I wonder what will happen tomorrow. Have they come to the decision that maybe it is best that Sandra and I don’t try to be lovers for a while? Is that why Virginia is glad I’ll have Caroline there/ is tomorrow the denouement? Where I will lose what I cannot bear to lose? Or their cutting me free to my pain and my art? Will V. give S. a strength she has not had before to take seriously my gasps for time to myself? Tune in tomorrow night or maybe I’ll just be sleeping.

Does she not even want to go to Bandon with me? “It’s just too hard to be with you right now, Jo. It’s just bein’ too hard for me to do it all right. You need time, I need a lover. It has to be Virginia, Jo. It’s just bein’ too hard to know how to deal with you and what you’re having to go through, for some reason. I’m only hurting you, Jo. I’ve gotta let go.

We both know you’ll be fine on your own. Happy writing. And we’ll touch in again when we know how. Besides now I’m just starting to feel too pulled two ways – like with Diane and the kids. I can’t take that again.”

Not even our six days at the ocean?

“Well, Jo … what’s the point of opening all that up between us and then I don’t see you for nine months and who knows who you’ll be by then.”

 

But don’t we need some kind of closure? A reaffirmation of something?”

 

Jo. Realistically – do you think we could?  Do you think we’ll know how? I’ll just be back from Cindia and San Jose transiting, we’ll be at somebody else’s place, seeing them at meals, having to maintain the whole trip re them, and I’ll be babysitting half the time. Probably though we can get to your favorite beach once (on the most crowded day of the year) Labor Day

And then on Friday it’s the Ashland Women’s Festival (and guess who wants to come down for that) and then of course it’s off to Eugene for a week and more but maybe there’ll be a day or two more to see each other before you drop the curtain on the Equinox. The 23rd – hmm, my lucky number.)”

 

But actually the Equinox is not on the night of the 23rd but of the 22nd and that just happens to be my lucky number. So.

And besides this everything I am imagining Sandra handing down a decision made by both of them to a quaking powerless me.

 

 

Be reckless. Admit it. A voice in me is also trying to try on saying them: How much chance is there we can heal? But doesn’t it hurt too much to part like this and can’t we do better? And can’t we find a way before we go to affirm that our loving has happened.  …Perhaps even if it’s hard to face up to some of its difficulties and mistakes – To learn whatever it is we must to know how to go on from here with the most trust and friendship, the least pain.

It is an ending of much.

 

This morning Ruth and Jean were readying to go to a wedding down the hill. When I came back to the cabin to wash my hair I found a little waltz was playing in my head; finally I remembered the words:

 

I went to your wedding

Although I was dreading

The thought of losing youuu.”

 

When they came home from the wedding I happened to tell them that (⎡)

Oh,” said Caroline “I don’t think that’s about the wedding we went to today….”

Well, you know what the subconscious does – takes things from here and there and combines them with that certain little flair….

 

Fantasy –

Working it out photographically with T –

Being there when the thing I can’t bear to know about happens – letting her photograph them (I almost wrote ‘shoot”) But also I could set up my camera to record my face – I could do the long distance cord if she would aim it.

Pain? What would happen? Would Tee help us to disclose that to each other? Would I ever be able to work with I mean make love with Sandra under the circumstances? Well you see I meant to write make love with but then as I was writing out this fantasy I suddenly thought how much psychic effort it would all take and remembered about my 9-month’s solitude and my work. Tho one always wonders if it wouldn’t be worth the effort to heal some of the pain and estrangement we might otherwise carry around.

 

Well whatever about

all that.

 

 

{Typist’s Note: there is a simple line drawing.}

 

I wonder what I wanted to write down.

Written and drawn with eyes closed

 

#2 in the series “What Deborah Kerr might look like these days.”

Art by Tandra

 

Tangren you do need to be by yourself. How you can amuse yourself. How you can heal yourself. How you can begin to know what it is you really need to do. Do you have to go through so much pain in order to get there?

Won’t you laugh after Equinox to look back on your anguish and inability to trust even the Godess – (or maybe it’s that I’m a little too mad to talk to Her right now) Won’t you marvel how even in your anguish you were coming home all along

Do I speak of death or writing?

My inability to love myself, to take care of myself of my body self just now scares me.

 

Who holds me by the hair?”

“Who holds me by the short hairs?

“Death, is that you?”

“Not Death,” she said,

“but Writing.”

 

{Typist’s Note: there is inserted here a print of a photograph of the author’s face, very dark, with some light shining on the left cheek and eye.}

 

Sunday afternoon (Aug 22, 1982)

 

They have arrived – 2 hours late.

It was a long two hours listening for the car” I told her. “really, it was all right, I did just use the time to center in. But it doesn’t make me feel I can count on being taken care of.”

 

Ruth, Jean and I made up affirmations for me this morning. “Much love and tenderness ahead in your life”        “Someone she’ll love a much as Deborah Kerr” Ruth called in from the kitchen. “Let’s make it Deborah Kerr herself.” I said. “I affirm that you will win Deborah Kerr’s love.” Said Jean. I wouldn’t be writing this down right now except that just the moment before I heard their car something large came flying in the cabin door. At first I thought it might even be a bird, but when I turned to look it was a butterfly, a large orange butterfly. It poised on the wood in the corner opposite the door. As I looked in amazement, I heard the car drive in. The sounds of hoots and of voices echoing up through the green, Sandra’s voice among them.

The butterfly – so beautiful, so big, so … orange. She flew into the air again, sailed across in front of me and landed on the cabin wall beside me. {Typist’s Note: there is a small drawing of a triangle, showing the butterfly at both ends of the hypotenuse.} Then Sandra was coming up to see me and we were to have a hard first encounter. I forgot about the butterfly – I never saw her leave. Sailing, orange and black, back into the August sunlight, her visitation accomplished.

 

A thought I had yesterday, while I was crying in anguish, no less, I believe. About Paul Ziff the philosopher saying “There are no angels because nothing over forty pounds can fly with wings.” At the time, I’d thought – “Come on, if there are angels, the laws of physics are the least of our worries. If there are angels so much else is changed.”

 

Now I thought, also: is that really true, about the forty pounds? How about “all the butterflies”? Wouldn’t they weigh >40 lb, & don’t they fly with wings?

 

Tuesday afternoon  Aug 24 (1982)           5:00

 

Sue is coming this evening to stay for a few days – wanted to take the time to check in with you, let you know the next installment. In short, the circle with Virginia, Sandra, Caroline and I was good and since them I’ve felt much happier and not anguished. Seeing how she is so different from me – so there in the present with her big blue eyes and lovely, lively body. Active, social, accomplishing, easily integrating, needing lots of touching, which I’m sure S. finds a relief, and so much younger.

She has her witchy side, but it’s hard to see it in her. A likeable woman and I felt some affection and closeness for her after the two hours we spent circling and it was nice to touch her, hug her. “Well, there might as well be some benefits to this ‘intimate relationship’” she said.

 

Easily affectionate and needing it. Loving Sandra – Saying it’s unlike any love she’s ever experienced before. That she’d never met anybody who was like herself before. Somebody she didn’t need to feel defended or explain herself to. Who understood.

Well, it’s good to know what is happening,” I said. “Yeah,” she said, “so you’re not just sitting there wondering ‘What happened?’”

 

Caroline hardly said anything at all. She sat across from me and was just there listening. A couple of times when I really needed a friend I could look across and see her giving me encouragement and love and understanding.

 

The fair witness” she had said of my role the other night when she and Tee had it out down here.

“Tee said to tell you we’re on your side” said Caroline. It’s not a matter of sides” of course and we all know that. Still it helps wonderfully to know that they are on my side. “She wouldn’t have taken photographs of them making love” (I was surprised at that.)

Well, we got a sense of who each other is. Virginia talked about herself – And after the break Sandra said “Now I’d like for V. to have some more sense of who tangren is.” I just happened to have my journal handy so I read them last night’s and that day’s writing. From moon-in-Libra to the orange butterfly

 

Well, V. was moved, which surprised me, and cried quite a few tears to prove it. I wonder what she thought. Anyway, it was nice to have the words already written down and I enjoyed reading it.

But how she was right there with her tears and her eyes. Perhaps I am unkind if I tend to a little light mockery in my mind when I think of it – I have not lost all my defenses. But I have spent some nights pondering the pictures Ruth has been taking of  me in my pain. Such beauty she is uncovering. I have spent some hours looking at the woman’s eye, at the intense inwardness of the gaze, the sensitivity, the pain reflected there, and the gentle loving it has won, the grace it has wrung from me. I am seeing one of Dianne’s expressions that most touched my heart. I am seeing Deborah Kerr.

{Typist’s Note: affixed to the next page is another full-page photograph of the author.}

 

 

{Sept 19 (1982): Golden next writer’s group}

 

Aug 30 Late afternoon                    A few dots of snow left on Mt. Ashland. The weather is cooling – the night before last we had our first rain. This is my first day spent alone in a while. Yesterday was writer’s group, and before that I spent several days with Sue. This is also my last day alone for a while. Tomorrow Marcella and I will do work around here – and the next day is Sept 1. Mom and I will have breakfast downtown together. Then in midafternoon Sandra will arrive back from Eugene and by evening we’ll probably be together to begin our 9 days or so of being together.

“Do you think she’s just doing it out of a sense of duty?” Sue asked. Good ol’ Sue. Whenever I see her I remember her knack of putting things in a way that one constantly has to struggle not to be defensive around.  (Once when I was still married Amy said to me “I don’t like some of the things being married to John does to you.” I wasn’t sure what she meant then – I know now. And I see it with Sue. She always was somewhat that way, but years of living in a finely-honed antagonism of intimacy seems to have locked her into that way of relating, even, I think, where she doesn’t want to.

Going through this thing with Sandra myself I was not feeling very open or reaching … We talked about books, experiences, people . We seldom looked directly at each other. We slept out under the stars – the first time this summer I’ve done that.

One thing in this connection I do want to report, though. One night I surfaced from some sort of dream into being awake for a moment, still with my eyes closed, with that worry in the pit of my stomach about Sandra and Virginia. Didn’t want to stay in that miserable place, so I opened my eyes. To find myself looking right at All-Deborahn. First time I’ve seen her this summer. Even without my glasses she was unmistakable with her orange glow, and the shimmer of the Pleiades to her left. … So that put things in a different perspective right away.

Sandra came up one evening. Neither of the three of us was putting out much – the essential Sandra never met the essential Sue – perhaps they both wonder what I see in the other one. I knew it would be an impossible situation with Sandra and I so little knowing who each other is, these days. Hard encounter again when I took her home. For the first time we are undercutting each other’s sense of reality, rather than validating it – My sense that she has been tired and full after her times with V. and not really there for me – her saying that’s not true. I certainly don’t want to hang onto an interpretation of reality that is more painful than it needs to be – and yet I can’t deny my own perception without feeling a little crazy. I deny my own pain at risk of not knowing what I feel at all.

How much am I projecting? she asks. How much is it my own turning away I am reflecting back to myself in how I see her?  Can’t say “none” – a question I have asked myself is – why this is all hurting so much – I’ve looked for reasons and found some. I feel I’m becoming inarticulate. It’s one of those puzzles I really don’t know my way through. It was disappointing that she decided to go to Eugene for the days just before our getting together – that she will be coming to me straight from Virginia’s arms – so far that’s been a hard situation every time – Sandra is tired, is full, is transiting – it’s become one of those raw spots I am afraid of … yet Sandra says I’m making it up.

In general there have been by now so many unexpected things that hurt so much, that have put me through so much anguish – I don’t know how it will be to be together.  Am afraid it will be hard to trust. And I guess I am even more afraid that I will trust and then be put through anguish again. I can’t take that, and neither can my throat – It’s been sore for a few days… Really sore. I feel a little sick, too. I am hoping, I am praying, for a recovery; I am trusting it will heal, but I have been smoking too much for too long and I know it is possible that it won’t. I think it already is healing but what a fear to live with, tangren.

I wonder how much anguish it would put me through to come to a decision not to be lovers with Sandra … Which would be less. My body can’t afford much more anguish.

Sandra looks like such a strange these days.

 

Sept 6 (1982)                        The cabin at Bud & Tina’s at the coast –

Last colors of Sunset outside – one of those colorful cloudless ones where the sky modulates so amazingly from pink to gold to grey-blue – *

Have spent the day “hanging out” doing nothing in particular and bored and tired. The last thing I did in the house was to peruse a “Writer’s Market” magazine. A hundred ways to make money off of people who want to be writers. The whole slant of the magazine – what will sell, how to make money from writing…. So depressing.

Came over here to the cabin and smoked and began to think a little …. How different what I am doing it, from the “writer’s market consciousness. I’d rather teach school than do that.

How far I feel from myself, living in the world of Bud & Tina’s magazines and 3-year-old Theran and the two teenage girls. I feel like a body walking around with no one home inside and I’ve already smoked over a pipeful and my throat is sore and is my writing art or a form of therapy or what? In two weeks and two days I will be turning into a writer; it’s so hard to imagine, to remember; it all seems to insignificant from this perspective. Sandra has more sense of what that other world is she’s going to. … As usual a statement about a relationship must be qualified the moment it is spoken. The truth is also that the life she is going to in Eugene is very new. It does have the advantage of being a shared reality;  but it is new. Whereas I am returning to an older love than Sandra and one that has been my primary (if neglected at times) relationship all along.

This is therapy. But why not let writing be therapy for you?

Why not grab the pen instead of the pipe?

 

KEEPING FAITH

Forms of Lesbian Love

Deadline: Sept 21, 1984

Ed. Pearl Time’sChild

Share our experiences, decisions, feelings

Both sides

How to handle it. Problems

Singleness    “Primary relationships”

Partnership

Elsa Gidlow

I am dutiful to love,

not lovers”

Skekinah – Aphrodite

& the Women’s Movement

Time’sChild? Would you really

print that under your own name?

Well anyway if you can’t see beyond next year there’s one possibility and in solitude you begin to glimpse more

And then again as you wrote that fateful date for the first time – 1984 – well of course it wasn’t for the first time come to think of it; Remember the Life-As-Art-Supply-Store.)

 

And wondered if the World will really last till then. Sitting in the car watching the last of the sunset over Bandon beach, warming our hands around cups of coffee, I reminded her how a year ago on the Equinox we’d watched the same scene from Deborah and had “omed’ for peace. “Well, we’re still here” she said.

 

Partly I guess it’s hard to write because there’s a lot to tell again.

Basically we had a very hard night and morning when we first got together and have had quite a nice open and loving time since. Always there is that bitter-sweet quality – that little sadness – that feeling that reminds me often that there’s a good reason why “tender” means both “exquisitely loving” and “sore, not to be touched or it will hurt”

It helped to read over the journals from last year when we were over here… To see even there my need for solitude conflicting with my being open to her. Somehow the sense that she is not my responsibility is freeing. I don’t feel at all worried now that she will swallow me whole. Time with her seems more of a privilege that I am determined to make the best of. We’ve made love a lot. Yesterday we drove to Bandon and took a long walk on the beach together, laughed and talked and snuggled together out of the wind. And I haven’t really wanted time alone – though tonight a bit of it seems imperative.

 

Tuesday night: or evening rather – I think it’s Sept 6 (1982)

I am just going to keep the pen going for a while to see if I can find out that way how I feel instead of smoking, maybe a little meditation first though.

 

Colors of the sunset on a clear September evening

Pale Indigo

Violet

Lavender

Dusty Rose

Peach

Ivory

Apricot

 

Sunday Morning

Sept 12 (1982)

 

Dear Sandra ~

It’s a little hard being with you this morning knowing you are asleep (or Whatever) in someone else’s arms…

…And yet I am with you so strongly still … the sense of your presence lingering … feeling in Deborah’s seatbelt pressing my shoulder the comfort of your hand … falling asleep last night, seeing as if I were there again the ivory curve of your hip and thigh. So easy still to remember your eyes smiling so close to mine, and how flawlessly beautiful you are then…

…Do I wish you felt these things about me this morning? To know that you did would be to know the vise-versa about What’s-Er-Name and I guess I’d rather believe that you are pretty much able to be with whoever you are being with at the moment

and count myself happy that I have been left feeling full of you again instead of gasping for my own air.

But it is bitter-sweet feeling close to you this morning…

and yet I do remember on the freeway, interspersed with the loving sense of your just-presence – a sure and happy feeling of my own freedom.

It’s scary this morning to wake up to my “new life” – its form yet to be forged. So maybe it’s understandable if I should wish to linger a bit with you, have a memorial Oatmeal Breakfast, settle in with a pipe and coffee and write to you.

Libré was gone to the fall gathering when I arrived yesterday; I’ll see her this afternoon. It was nice to have the house to myself. I unpacked and settled in, got groceries and went to bed early.

Hannah writes she cannot come next week – so my solitude is beginning to begin. I can use the time… I need to get in firewood and tend to Deborah (Carr); it would be nice to get storage in order, write some letters and write in my journal, and maybe by the 22nd/23rd  I‘ll really be able to begin the Work at Hand. I would have spent the time with you if I could have; but if the Universe decrees otherwise, I can always use the time. (A fact I sometimes lose sight of entirely in the presence of my Lover, as You know.) Still at the moment these cookies are making me feel the crown of my head nuzzling into the bones of your pelvis – and it’s seeming a long time until October/December.

I miss you, Jo.

Love,

tangren

 

 

 

 

Monday Morning (Sept 13, 1982)

 

Dear Tangren Time’sChild,

Hello.  Your face close up and smiling can be beautiful, too. And you’re such a good writer. It was good talking to Libré yesterday; we spent several hours together … She’s such a good friend. Nice to see her pulling he life together financially – she’d rather write, but the choices seem to be otherwise – and rather than be the best breakfast cook around she’s learning computers and is heading into law school. She is so intelligent she seems to do excellently at whatever she does. I’d love to have her for a lawyer. And when she’s my age she’ll be financially set up to be a writer. If only the world will last. She’s living in Portland (in an excellent set-up for the city – a place found with the $15.04 I gave her for helping to rent a car for a day – cheap rent, a lovely, spacious place, old Victorian, a big, tree-filled private backyard, and lesbians, it turns out, upstairs. Deborah’s magic continues strong, she says.) she often walks the 2 ½ miles to school, to save money, and has very little time to herself. But “I’m still seeing beauty,” she says. “If I want to know whether I’m essentially all right I ask myself if I’m still seeing what’s beautiful; if I am basically OK.”

She gave me a lot of support for doing my writing, said she would be interested in reading anything I want to send her. Both she and Holly are fans of Deborah Kerr by now – and of me.

It made me feel good. Last night I listened over to the tape from Palimpsests and Mirrors – that I’d given her (Libré) when she left for Portland. It reminded me who I am; and I enjoyed it a lot. (Though I know some of it is boring … It was just journal writing.) I’d been having the urge for a while to read this current-past episode onto tape. Began last night – though the episode is long. Funny to find myself leaping at a creative project the first moment I have to myself.

 

I want to write something more in here about my time with Sandra… I wrote so much when I was in such pain – it would be good to write about some of the good time we spent together, and especially about how we managed the transition from mistrust to trust and love … Still when I think of all that I remember the mistrust again … and I don’t want to do that.

Me: You still look like a total stranger. Sandra: you don’t. You look very familiar, your eyes all puffed, your face looking like a strawberry from crying. I’ve seen a lot of you lately.

 

Libré sometimes has another lover, Carolyn. She says Holly still needs lots of reassurance – that it’s only because she gives it to her that it can work.

Libré seems so heart-understanding of why Holly would need reassurance. I wish Sandra could hear her – she’s seemed so impatient of my need for reassurance. And yet I know I’ve been impatient in the past when she’s needed reassurance because I was needing to withdraw into myself. Perceiving the irony that she needed reassurance just when I really didn’t have anything to give, wasn’t very in touch with her and our love, needed something else.

Perhaps all this has been happening with her; and she can’t say so because it’s another lover that pulls her away … and of course because she isn’t ready to let go of me as a lover so quickly.

 

But also, on the subject of reassurance, it’s been hard on the ego to be the one needing reassurance // and yet needing reassurance so terribly if I am to be able to be open with her, to continue to make our love.

 

We had a good talk one night …

She pointed out to me that she’s never been first in my heart, that she always knew she came second to Deborah Kerr. “Well, it’s a pretty different kind of relationship … totally imaginary.” “Yes, Jo. But you love her. Your folks would even approve of her” she laughed. “What can I say? I appeared that night with her chart. I knew what I was doing.”

“There have been times when it’s been hard. You wanting her to move next door. I wanted to live next door. … and she doesn’t even appreciate it the way that I do         “ Oh, I don’t know if I even want it to become real.” I said. “We’d have our problems. She likes dogs. And she’s hardly into lesbian feminist non-monogamy.”

“Maybe you can trade her. Five dogs for one Sandra (24 days a year).”

She said she was glad for the time we did spend living together here at my house – That it helped her to know me and understand who I was. To understand my need for time alone. “And, Jo, you need a lot of time alone.”

She spoke of our relationship as something real and continuing and important in her life, finding what its form is, and what it is not.

It may well be true. That’s what I always wanted our relationship to be, what it was in the beginning. …a coming together of two separate selves, focusing intensely in with each other, talking, making love, summoning our integrity, our love, our humor, and our honor.

One cannot live on that level day-to-day and still deal with the lawyers and laundry. I don’t need a wife and can’t afford one. Virginia has that sort of space in her life, that sort of need. Sandra says it seems to her a “place to rest” at last. And a quiet space during the day where she can work – something she’s not had since the TV was moved into the basement – and never in the winter, so close to the roaring furnace. And astrology is not illegal in Eugene, and Eugene, being much bigger, is probably a better place to earn money, which she very much needs to do. And then there is Virginia “my Gemini twin” she called her. “I see ways in which you aren’t the same, Jo.”

Yeah. We’ve talked about those…”

She probably feels appreciated in ways she hasn’t been with me. We do seem to her to be complimentary parts of herself. Right now most of her energy is gong to Virginia. It’s all right.

 

Really … I am lucky to have a lover who will remain my lover at all when I limit our contact to four days every other month.

Not only that, but it was she who suggested that we could consider that a commitment for this next nine months – that we will remain lovers in this time–arrangement… and when Summer Solstice comes round we can take a sense of what we want next.

It felt wonderful. I don’t need to deal with losing her while I am trying to concentrate on my writing.

“I’ll probably love you more than ever, Jo. You’ll be being some of those selves I love the most, creative and happy and writing great stuff.”

“Yes. I know I’ll be much more healed than I have been this past year – finally doing it, this thing I have to do. It’s a healing I need to let happen.”

“Remember, you’re writing for all of us, Time’sChild. Remember, I love your writer self.”

 

Tuesday Morning Sept 14 {1982}

Libré said that Sunday morning at breakfast Sylvia Goodman had been sitting next to her. She had introduce herself :”I’m Sylvia” “I’m Libré. Yes. I know who you are. I know you through Tangren.” (I didn’t tell her I’d red all your journals.)

Sylvia: “Tangren! Isn’t that odd? I was just thinking about her when you sat down next to me….”

I’ve gone through a lot of changes over the past few years” she said. “And Tangren had a lot to do with it. She helped me to understand a lot.”

⒊Yeah, at $30 an hour,” I commented.

Tangren,” Libré said, “hear it.”

Well, it’s hard to trust Sylvia’s not being homophobic. So many times I’ve heard her say she’s changed and then she’ll come out with another chunk of it, some other bad stereotype, etc. “Lesbians shouldn’t have children because it’s better to have both a man and a woman in the house.”

Lesbians really want to be hurt by the women they love”

Well, even the most recent of these remarks was several years ago – & I did see her at “Bluefish Cove” several times. The women’s gatherings now so clearly lesbian – so much good energy between the women.

{I can remember the first one – and Sylvia then – and how nearly impossible it was then to find another lesbian.}

 

Well, anyway,

Hear it, Tangren. You did reach her. You did teach her. & She’s probably rethought some things about me in the light of her current understandings…

It’s very nice. So unexpected. So many years later. Like hearing much later from a student that what they’d learned from my course mean something in their lives, which does happen sometimes.

Later, when I was talking about writing a book and what all should be put in or left out, what Libré said was, “What I’d like to read about most of all is your Life-review. Too bad you won’t be there to write about it.”

or will I? Surely in my heaven there is pen and paper?

 

Well, I may get to find out sooner than I want to if I don’t straighten up. Ate cookies, coffee, smoked once or twice yesterday … Was thinking “for nothing” but it’s true that in the morning I did write a lot I wanted to. Also did 3 loads of wash, tended the plants – a job that took a couple of hours – and did the other watering, and did exercises. I was looking forward to going back to work on the writing but after supper was so tired .. ate two cookies and lay down for an hour’s nap … ended up sleeping about 12 hours. Had had a nap in the day, too. Well, sometimes one needs lots of sleep – I had to get up very early with the kids a the coast… I shouldn’t wonder if I’m tired. But I also cannot deny that constant coffee and marijuana when I’m awake takes its toll on the energy – most definitely.

Well, that’s why I did exercises yesterday and did a 10 minute latihan this morning. Berating myself doesn’t do a lot of good, but turning to other sources of healing does. Including creative visualization, which you are also beginning to do.

 

What I need to do

 

Today                                                                                     Soon

Bake bread                                                                get grass clippings

Call Claudette                                                                       tend to Deborah

Call Molly                                                                   work around the place

Walk

Call Dick Stark

Write to Trudy?

 

Write to

4Hannah

Caroline

Trudy

4Carolee

Sylvia

 

Sept 14, evening {1982}

Got to “Trudy” on my list, still undecided what to do. Don Ransom had dropped by around noon – had mentioned he’d started doing the Tarot – almost every evening. And this being the 14th – two years ago this was D.’s last night. It seemed a good time to think about it all and maybe do a Tarot reading.

Built my first fire of the year – sat and thought about my questions

 

Dianne                       Trudy              Focus             Me                   me

in this             in this             card                in this             and my own

Matter             matter                                     matter             relationship to

Suicide/death

 

Would she                 Should I send                                   What would

Accidentally              The Raga Dianna                happen if I

Come upon it?                      To Trudy?                              Did send it?

 

5 of                 3 of Wands    ten of Pentacles 6 of Wands  nine of wands

cups               inverted          Inverted          Inverted          Inverted

 

Four of                       Eight of                                  the Fool

Swords                       Swords

Inverted

 

I think it means I would be a fool to send it.

Five of Cups – Dianne – spilt blood and birds flying free, a sorrowful figure wrapped in blankets

Gearhart “despair”   Graves: {Her} loss is greater than it needs to be. (for not seeing the cups remaining)

Trudy: 3 of Wands (inverted)

Gearhart: “obstacles to communication”

Me in this situation:  Six of wands (inverted)  Leaderlessness (also stalemate) Gearhart urges stepping forward.

One of the traditional meanings: “infinite delay (of news)”                   Graves: “pride or pomp misplaced”

Me re death/suicide, etc: Nine of Wands (inverted) Oh, yes “Dangerous fatigue”

Should I send R.D. to T.? “condemned”  trad: “energy wasted through indecision”

Will she run across it on her own?            Gearhart: “circumspect activity”     Graves: “Defeat”

What would happen if I sent it? “Fool”

Gearhart: naiveté: The querent is approaching an indiscrete beginning, a thoughtless action, possibly folly. A risk is imminent and an important choice has to be made.

Focus card: ‘Family Pressure” Internal demands on the self to serve some need of a family member, usually at the cost of the querent’s own well-being. Trad: Family misfortune, the restricting effects of long tradition. Problems with elderly family members.

 

Well, oracles are always somewhat ambiguous – but this feels fairly clear to me – she’s not ready to hear it. D’s death too early is a tragedy. / Trudy would have obstacles to hearing what I have to say. / My point of view is opposite to the patriarchal family structure Trudy supports still. / I don’t need her approval (misplaced pride) nor to trouble her as it would do to share it with her. / I need to be careful of Dangerous Fatigue. / Somebody would be martyred at the stake (T. or me? or both?) if I sent it to her. / It would be bad if she were to come across it some other way / but to send it would be a foolish beginning just now.

 

I don’t like not telling her; it’s not honest. But I don’t want to martyr other people with my honesty or myself either.

 

Should I send the R.D. to T.? 8 of Swords – at one level the figure is held prisoner by dualism. … True. Send it, don’t send it. Trudy, at your life-review you will know. Perhaps by then you will also understand.

I hope this is the right choice. It’s a hard one for me to make – I always want to opt for openness. But if D. chose not to tell her of our relationship, there may be reasons for me to be circumspect also.

I ask that if things change or if it would be more right to tell her / send it to her, that I be shown that. Thank you for the fire tonight and that this is not my last night but only the beginning

Of many long, firelit evenings.

Thank you for the phoenix birds –

Sandra

Trudy

& the other loves that have come to me in these two years.

 

Wednesday evening – Sept 15 {1982}

Spent the day sorting through the most urgent items on my desk, then paying bills.

Don’t know why I listened to “All Things Considered” all the way through – to hear their tribute to Grace Kelly, I guess. (First Ingrid Bergman, then Grace Kelly – who died in an automobile crash – so sudden – could happen to anyone … wonder if Deborah went to either of the funerals….)

Don’t know .. when I’m not awfully centered in on my own version of reality I seem crazy to me. What do I think I’m doing these next nine months? It all seems so trivial: write a book” – Do you know how many people have written books? What’s ultimate glory? A place in an anthology? A place on the Safeway shelves? A review in the New Women’s Times Feminist Book Review? “Write a book” I thought, easing Deborah onto the bumpy, step, dirt part of the road, hoping she’ll make it home on ‘empty’. You want to write a book – and then what? Lots of people have “written books” – they don’t seem to have transformed their lives thereby,”

And getting it published? the chances are slim really of anyone else wanting to do it. And – face the fact – you haven’t any money. The only way you could do it is to sell the Oriental Rugs. What’s better to have, those beautiful little rugs, or $4,000                  identical copies of thoughts you already have a copy of?”

Well, when I get practical I get down on my case – disgusted with the number of journals I’ve filled, the number of tapes I’ve made that even I never listen to.

What does it all matter anyway?

And what is ultimate glory?

Talking with Sandra and Sue I said – “Well, I guess what I’d like most of all is for women to be touched by my work – … and for some of them to fall in love with me”

Sandra: “How many does it take?”

 

She called this morning – Sandra.

The class Monday had only two –

  1. & V.’s best friend. She will do it – but maybe later. So she’ll be down Monday afternoon – We could have two days before the Equinox Evening. It seems crazy not to see her – and yet it’s hard – after having gone through a goodbye and a letting go – Two days would be nothing more than “hello” and “goodbye” – But maybe the hellos wouldn’t take long – I still feel connected to her. And it would be so nice to make love a time or two more… and I do have her plants.

 

Also thinking about going up the night before Writer’s Group to see Tee & Caroline one last time.

 

 

I’ve found myself saying to several people lately that sometime I’d like to share this place with someone who is a good gardener – (someone who can teach me how to get a decent return fro my efforts growing vegetables.)

 

Thursday Morning Sept 16 {1982} Moon in Virgo- nearly the dark of the moon.

Tonight , at 4:00 in the morning … and I am beginning to bleed. My womb aching. Think I’ll finally go see Beaver and latihan with her again. The mornings are always hard… To get going, to get over self-hatred. But I remember I went to bed last night feeling so satisfied – hadn’t done much, really.  Wrote in here after supper, built a small fire, sorted through my desk looking for Trudy’s last letter.

Finally found it, but by then it was too late to write to her; I was too tired. Still, it was good to find out what was in all those piles of paper – and among them, some references to writing. Read Adrienne Lauly’s long journal piece about “unrequited love” and wrote her a note. Then luxuriously finished the last few pages of Ducton Wood. Did yoga.

It always feels good to have life a little more organized, and I went to bed feeling happy, and satisfied.

Among the things on my desk, a couple of letters from V. Just to read them over brings up so much pain… I do wonder if seeing Sandra is the best way to spend the very last 2 days before Equinox. I do want to be awake and chemically untired and centered going into that night. I’m not sure just what I’m planning, but some kind of rededication, some sort of vision-questing, some kind of asking for understanding about the form of these next nine months.

I would be in much better shape to do all this if the two days before were spent in solitude and in low key.

Well, maybe I shouldn’t expect so much from that one night. It will probably take me some time to find my footing as a writer.  Can’t suddenly have total recall as top what I was about.

And Sandra can be inspiring too. As much a anyone else she understands the importance of your writing and reminds you of it.

…But is it ‘anyone else” you need? Or yourself?

No wonder I’m not lonely for someone to talk to –  do have conversations with myself in here….

 

Friday afternoon: {Sept 17, 1982}

Saw Deirdre this morning, Molly comes  for supper tonight. (D. is heading for France, the Land of Art, the land of her dreams – leaving on the Equinox.)

New Moon. Began bleeding yesterday … last night when I lay down I found I had the most painful cramps – worse than I can ever remember having in the recent past. I was afraid it could be an injury or some other trouble, but I found a hot water bottle felt wonderful – and brought a rush of blood whenever I was up – Guess maybe my system was very ready to let go of it. Maybe I’ve been holding it back with my desire to remain so cosmically attuned that I bleed within hours of the new moon. It’s happened since June- But my natural cycle the past few years has been shorter, making its way around the moon-phase circle. Maybe I’ve been too interested in holding it there.

Yesterday I went to see Beaver at the Manor. On the way, I had to get gas. I had just gotten cash, had another trip ahead, so told them to fill it. Then looked in my wallet – $24 _ to last a week, with groceries to get. I tried to guess how much the gas would be … she was pretty empty… “I’d sure love it,” I said to the Universe, “if it weren’t more than $14. Then I’d have ten left.” And what do you think  was? To the penny!

So who knows how much thought can affect reality? Certainly I don’t want to get too invested in my period coming at a certain time if it naturally wants to flow earlier.

Tangren… so much to do… And here you are confined for the day to your chair and hot water bottle and cups of hot tea held to the womb to soothe her. When I try to do things I fumble; coming home from Deirdre’s I didn’t see a car at an intersection when I should have. It’s one of those days where I need not to ask anything of myself. My womb aches, my back aches, even the tops of my legs ache, a little, as they did when Marcela was being born.

 

Things I need to do yet before the Equinox

 

Must

Write Trudy                                       Write Letter for Paper-

Water twice                                       will have to be tomorrow morning.

Bamboo shades down                                mail out Fly Away Home folders-

 

In Between

Deborah’s switch fixed                    (2 minutes ago I was thinking about the dream in which she gave me the braid from Quo Vadis. Switch

Indeed.) (Not to mention other witchy switches I wish

she’d make… It was discouraging to note she is a

popular Bible reader on some program or other.)

 

Nice to do

Vacumme done – old fan out. Get new one – save $9.50. I think he said the blade would be $14.00 – something like that.

 

Gutter above Marcella’s deck made?

 

Well, maybe that’s my seed image for the month – the pangs of birth.

Hmm – At Equinox the moon will be in the Moonspeaker phase. A most auspicious beginning I would say.

 

Trying to think what form my life should take. Libré recommends experimenting with discipline, at least for a while. That appeals to me, too. Undertaking to write a book, make production is hard work, immense work and needs all the time I can learn to give it.

Deirdre just spent the summer putting her art first – how hard it was, at first. Overeating, housecleaning, taking a nap, fixing dinner – soon it would be 11:00 and she would not have touched a brush yet.

She asked herself only one brush stroke a day –

She suggests I ask “one word” –

Well, that seems to me too hard –

but ten minutes a day of writing

I could reasonably ask myself

But ten minutes a day of any writing? Or of writing on the work? Those are two different matters – I write tons in my journal that 2 mo or whatever I had for writing last spring.

 

 

 

Saturday morning {September 18, 1982}

Trying not to smoke – woke up this morning with my throat tickling, catching. And it would only be from pain and lostness. There are several things I could well be doing … but even today the pain my lower back (& my sense of lostness) keeps me from caring whether I do them or not. Who wants to write a letter to the paper abut upcoming rezoning? And my body doesn’t even feel like climbing up on the ladders to do the watering.

At least my headache of last evening didn’t turn into a two or three day affair. Called Sandra just after five yesterday – wanted to settle it about our plans … she’d called a few days ago – turns out she really didn’t have 2 full days what with V’s class in Eugene Sun nite  and an Equinox circle Wed. night and needing to survey B. St. in between… And it felt it would be wrenching to me to turn to that whole other world of being with her… she agreed… Started to begin a visiting conversation – I was in a hurry – just said “We’ll be in touch.”

Molly said she admired me for taking this time, being ready to let S,’s and my relationship change when it needs to.

Spent the entire evening listening to the latest details of M’s pursuit of the Festival Actress… P. keeps telling her she loves her and sees her as a guide, but in real time at the moment has no time for her. (She’s starring in a play a well as doing her daily job at the Festival (public relations)) M and I may go to see her in the play this afternoon.

Do feel it that Molly talked and I listened – but it was interesting to me. M’s immediate writing down of every scrap of their conversation – what P. had said, what she had said – I can identify. Pondering over what each thing meant.

 

…My throat really hurts – I can feel it when I swallow – and yet I am still battling the urge to smoke… Feeling that if could do that then the world would slide into focus and I would understand and feel how everything is really all right, even spectacular.

Well, I’m being with a lot of people these days, checking in before the Equinox. Yesterday, Deirdre, later, John, Marcella, then Molly. Today Molly, then tomorrow the whole Writer’s Group and later Tee and Caroline for supper. I shouldn’t be surprised if I’m not centered. And tired. I really should take this opportunity of bodily and spiritual fatigue to rest. By now you do know that such a low period is often followed by a great release of energy. Don’t ask too much of yourself, just now. You aren’t really the least bit surprised to find yourself in a low period just now – mucking out your life to create space for a venture. A love, a transformation, a work you cannot even remember too well now.

Why can’t I just “sit it out” – when I come across a little pain? Why can’t I just be content to muck around in the confusion with all the other mortals some of the time? “How do other people stand it” I often ask myself in the mornings – “How do other people stand it to simply go through their lives with no sense of what it all means? How can they just get up and go to their jobs and buy their things and do their relationships in that impoverished way? Do they really want that kind of life?

Deirdre spoke of working on a failing piece of art, ink streaming down her forearms and tears streaming down her cheeks – going through all the fears about being no good, but keeping at it.

 

 

Caroline recommends

Xeroxing all the things

More-or-less completed

Both – Making the boxes

Tee – table of contents on top –

Flow chart

 

Music unplug phone

same side even

linear

Remember

You Aren’t Starting    Ex Nihilo    You Know

 

 

{Sunday. September 19, 1982}

To finish a piece: Getting someone to listen to it. To let go of it.

 

Important to lay it all out to see what you have to do. On my responsibility toward D.K.

Tee: Deborah Kerr worked years and years where you were irrelevant to her, creating a persona for you to fall in love with. You can work as long as you need creating a persona for D.K. to fall in love with. And if she doesn’t, somebody else will.
Strange how easy it was by now to say “Yes, that’s true, isn’t it. Somebody else will.” By now I do feel that in my mind as a real possibility.

 

Imagine yourself so hard at work that you forget to smoke or even eat cookies.

 

Explore other ways to take a break than mj. – try a five minute walk. Or a ten-minute latihan or meditation.

 

Tee says it may come together faster than I think – So much of it is already there.

 

Something I want to Remember:

Caroline says she came home from that meeting with the Four of us at Rootworks – where Sandra and Virginia and I circled – She came home and told Tee I had been “wonderful.”

 

It made me feel so good. I think I was rather wonderful; but sometimes in a way that both V. and S. had a vested interest in not seeing. It had felt worthwhile to be wonderful  because I knew there was a better chance Caroline would notice it. Of course, the only person I needed to be wonderful for was myself, but in that situation that by itself would have felt a little lonely.

How exciting for me to realize a lot of it is there, a lot of it is written already.

Tee says the first thing is not to get so centered and intuit what I have to do in such a contestless way. The first thing is to compile what I have done, see where the gaps are and what needs doing next. Then I’ll know which direction to get centered in.

 

Thank You For These Friends

 

As usual I feel happy and centered after seeing Tee and Caroline.

And so any women today giving me good energy

Good ideas!

Zana: remember, you’re doing what you want to do. It isn’t a matter of discipline as much as allowing yourself to do what you want to do.

Tee and Caroline said my “blackheads and S&M” piece was already “being quoted” – Caroline reminded me of so many pieces I’d written – she also mentioned the poem of Sandra and the space ship as something good and polished. I was delighted she had remembered it – I’d just been trying to remember earlier if I’d ever read it for the writer’s group – finally did remember playing it for them under the tree at Golden. I should try sending that out a few places.

 

I am imagining that writing this book or books will change my life. And at the same time worried that maybe it won’t.

“Of course it changes things to become famous” said Tee –

But later on she also said “Of course it will change things, just by the very fact that you will have done it.”

It’s true. I have been bending my being to this point for so long And I absolutely won’t let my life change in any major way until I do this thing. When it’s done I think it will be a great relief. And then I can open my life to whatever it brings down the line or to whatever is supposed to happen next.

Sometimes I wonder about what’s next:

Fame?            Deborah Kerr?

Possibly. Possibly also: a transition to something more witchy and wild – a further world cracking open in terms of spiritual experiences. A physical move?  I hope not soon but sometime? Death? I know for sure I’d be more ready.

 

Monday evening Sept 30 {1882}

{Typist’s Note: affixed to the page is a cartoon, clipped from a newspaper. It has two panels. In the first a woman sits beneath a tree. Behind her a group of people look at her, all bearded except one. They say: “Well, .. How’s your life as a recluse coming along?” In the second panel she responds: “I don’t know … I haven’t had a SHOT at it yet!”}

 

This cartoon has been up on my wall over the phone since Mom gave it to me a year or two ago… Tonight I took it down – I’m finally getting “a shot at it”. Perhaps I was unkind to put it up – I need to see my own unkindnesses when I get too wound out about other people’s.

Tee and Caroline staying for supper and some of the evening were the last guests to be here in the house. (Why does Sarton’s A Reckoning keep turning up?)

So many people I’ve seen lately. It felt fitting that the two of them were the last.

Today: I wrote up and delivered a letter to the paper re rezoning, saw Mom and Dad and Mike (wondering whether to go to Alaska for three months, wondering whether Irene is pregnant) and heard the latest about David and Fariudah – after saying goodbye she want to friends in Kansas en route to Australia – D. began to recover – then last night – one night before she was to take the plane home, she called – loves him, wants to get married, will live however he wants. D. is meeting her in S.F. to make the nth final decision on the matter.

“It got so I was all the time just trying to keep her happy,” David said.

What happens when your dream comes true, and you have to live with the consequences? What if Deborah Kerr doesn’t close toilet lids? I shouldn’t read around in that book “D.K.” – it depresses me. To hear how Peter can write nearly anywhere – “How he doesn’t make  “heavy weather” of things. … when Molly was here the other night, she showed me her Tarot deck … the images are collages – done by a woman. My favorite was called “The deep end” – showed a mermaid (who actually looked a little like me) heading down.

Wondering what I will do about Deborah Kerr. … I had rather fancied I would send her something for, or on, her birthday…Possibilities ranged from a purely normal birthday card through copies of the Raga Dianne and January 1980 with an explanatory letter as to my project for the next nine months. But that feels dangerous. I don’t want to be limited now by what she likes and doesn’t like. There may be a place for that – but is it now?

I’ve been wondering whether now to focus on a book “for publication” with an eye to what the audience and the characters would or would not like for me to say, etc. or whether to just create “the book I want to be”, the book to go in “the Great Lesbian Archives in the Sky.”

It was hard to admit that fantasy to T & C – that I am so little product-oriented as that with this time – but they both seemed to think it was a good idea. And I guess it is. I can make whatever changes and omissions seem indicated later – the point is to write what it is I want to write before I die. Perhaps what to do about the reactions of people like Deborah Kerr (or Mom & Dad) will become clearer when I know what needs to be there.

Both T & C felt I shouldn’t worry about Deborah Kerr’s reaction. “It’s your story, Tangren,” Caroline said. (Or did they say it in unison, as my memory prompts?) “It’s your story.”

“…But it may make her feel put on the spot. If I love her, how can I do something she wouldn’t like?”

What did they say? Maybe that was when Tee said that about personas.

What if she says she isn’t interested in seeing it if the circulation is under 10,000? Should I just send her a copy when it’s done?

What would be the best thing she could say? That she was touched by my writing, that she is honored to be my Muse. “What did you think, I’d hate it?” That she looks forward to seeing the whole book when it appears.

 

I don’t want to build up a trust with those two I’d worry about violating with Valentine’s Morning or School Starts and Tangren Has Some Dreams.

 

I am afraid of getting too much into what that woman in Switzerland thinks.

 

I have said of this time of solitude: that it will put no human relationship before the writing.

Maybe that even needs to include this one.

 

Phone call – Libré – she will look for the binders I need for books. She’s depressed, having a hard time with “the world out there” where she must spend so much time the anti-semitism, the right-ism, … Anita (an old lover of hers) is with a man now – so many lesbians she hears about going back to men – reading in OOB Thyme’s “bisexual” statement, hearing Golden is falling apart over “men on the land”) –

Well, I know that Thyme is not diving for cover, and that Golden is falling apart over boy children, not men lovers, and over a thousand other hassles. It’s nice in this case to know a little more and to be able to be a little reassuring that what appears to be a pattern doesn’t really hold in these cases at least

Anyway, Libré says, please send writing – that it makes such a difference to her state of mind. That she’d love written stuff or a tape, but please send it.

 

Re: DK

Still, is it write I mean ‘right’ to just dump the completed baby in her lap? Maybe I do mean “write” and that’s the question –

Is it write?”

Guess when it’s at a certain point – looking for a publisher or whatever – I could send it to her then. A xerox. An actual thing, finished and complete but still changeable before it goes out in 10,000 copies.

 

But it seems like that would put a lot of pressure on her then … To go through changes, make decisions. Oh, well, it may have a 6-mo hiatus while I earn the money to publish it.

 

 

Tuesday Afternoon {October 1, 1982}

Was up till 5:00 this morning – Still awake at 9:00

Breakfast, bath, lunch, back to bed – Slept a couple more hours, but not well.

Dream: I get up to make sure I haven’t slept through 4:30 (a program I want to record) actual Mike is in the kitchen. He says Tee and Elizabeth (‘De Graimont’ comes to mind, but that’s not the woman – a very pretty local woman I know slightly.) {Greenleafied.} were here. Tee had just had an abortion, Mike says. I am amazed that she could have needed one, realize that she sometimes has sexual encounters with others than Caroline, and that sometimes it is with a man. I am trying to take this in – in a way it doesn’t surprise me, and yet it does.

I ask Mike why he has the entry door and entry way lined with mats – he says it will make it a little  more secret in here – that he doesn’t feel safe smoking marijuana wondering who could so suddenly walk through the door.

But next through the door is Dad – nothing to worry about. While I am standing by the stove talking to Dad, I realize Tee has returned and is at my desk in the living room with Marcella. She comes to where Dad and I are standing. I begin to introduce them, trying to remember whether they have met before or not.

As I speak to Tee, over his head, I glimpse his thinning, whitening hair, realize again the old man others meet – so different from that ageless adult I think of ‘my father’ as being.

Then Tee is saying Hello to him and mentioning some conference she attended recently. The word “Lesbian” is in the title. She does it so naturally, it takes me a minute to realize she has said the fatal word to my father. A few more words and she is gone again back to Marcella and I am left wondering what to say. I think about something like “Well, finally that word. …so .. what do you think? Did you already know? But I really can’t summon what it takes to say anything. There is silence.

Then he asks me, a little angrily, if I think I’m paying enough attention to Marcella these days. I don’t understand. “Where is that question coming from?” I ask, sensing, as I do so, that I never ask him that sort of question –  (one that emotionally, interpersonally complex) That I have little expectation of his understanding what I have asked. Indeed – what I asked was – how did we get from ‘lesbians’ to hear.

I wrote ‘to lesbians’ from hear’ –
meant to write

Get from ‘lesbian’ to here? His answer surprises me; he says, testily, that he’s tired of having to  do everything for Marcella, that he thinks I should be doing more for her.

I say about her being fourteen and having her own life and all; but he has me a little worried. Maybe I’d better check with her about it.

At my desk, Tee and Marcella are looking through a beautiful collection of Tee’s, cutouts of old, Gibson-style women, the sort of thing that might go on a Valentine’s. Mom recognizes that they are from the New Yorker.

I am feeling confused by everything – am trying to make some coffee for Tee and me.

 

{Typist’s Note: There is a page inserted here: there are two black and white photographs glued onto it. One of Tee Corinne, the other of Caroline Overman, “taken by Sky 10/82”

 

 

Woke up. With a craving for coffee – and a smoke – and my journal and pen.

… An interesting dream – very true to the characters. I suppose it has something to  do with writing that letter coming out to Trudy last night.

The New Yorker? Tee being ‘from New York’ – before here. Connie’s mother’s assumption that there must be about six homosexuals and they all live in New York”, as Connie put it. In fact, in the dream, I was surprised by how many different women-images there were.

 

After writing this I finally wrote out a letter to Trudy – in the end coming out to her just about myself. I wanted to copy it, so had not sent it off yet, when this postcard arrived:

{Typist’s Note: There is a picture postcard affixed: “Detail of The Spring”}

 

Isn’t that strange? This card came in the mail from Trudy this afternoon. How to interpret it? The nigh-lesbian imagery of the two women on the ground – But look at the third woman; dark, ashen-skinned. Holding the middle one back.

Is she in the middle about to touch the arm of Spring? Or to dash out in front of her, naked, wearing only a zephyr of a veil? Is that me? And is Spring Dianne, and the dark, older woman Trudy? Or is Spring, as I think Adrienne Rich said, “the heterosexual woman”, and is it dark Dianne who reaches down from the air warning, angry and unhappy? If only those two were not looking so directly into each other’s eyes….
It seems like a warning, a sign. And yet it feels so right to me to send the letter I have written. Guess I’ll send it and find out whether I’m right or not – unless I get a further clarifying message soon.

 

(Idea: movie of “Oversoul Seven” – with one wonderful androgynous actress playing all four parts. Lilly Tomlin? Someone else?)

 

Sept 26 {1982}                      Sunday, Early afternoon

… I find I’m not going to send it, after all. After all, if I believe in signs, then I do. This one seems clear: I asked Diane to send me a sign as to what I should do. Then I wrote Trudy about her Europe trip: And if you wish Diane were with you, just remember, she is.” …I can just see Trudy hovering over the postcard display at the Uffizi Gallery, and Diane at her shoulder whispering in her ear… “For Tangren, yes, this one!” The sign seems so clear – even if my instincts would lead me in another direction – If I love her, I can’t deny that she has spoken to me.                  …I’m not sure how to go on conducting my relationship with Trudy, able to say so little about my own life… Won’t she at some point want to see my book if I write one?

… Not necessarily. … I finally gave John some of my writing. January, 1980, and, when he asked for it, the Raga Dianne; and I’m sorry now I did. He only ‘read around’ in them. Didn’t want to say what his impressions were. Mentioned only that Connie and Dianne were both alike in “the rejection”. I feel over-exposed. My writings have been a development of all those parts of myself I didn’t share with him – didn’t share with him for a good reason, I now remember.

It makes me wonder what I was doing, being intimates with him for almost fifteen years. No wonder I had those tension headaches. Of course, as Marge Piercy said “love cannot survive (past) the open door in the chest.” Does that explain anything?

I mean that as ex-lovers we no loner incarnate when together those best parts of ourselves, no longer remember when we did. Find we can no longer afford to treasure each other’s strengths and beauties so ultimately ….

Woke up this morning twice from unpleasant dreams, the first one of going with Sandra to Virginia’s house. (V. was not there.) There were some drawers and cupboard doors built into the kitchen floor, painted purple and blue; the doors were sagging inward from having been stepped on too much. It all seemed a bad plan to me. (Hmm. See Marge Piercy) The other dream: My house. Big, old. The women staying with me had torn out the bathtub (old, claw-foot style) and taken it outdoors. I was furious as I mustn’t get water in the plenum below. I rushed out to shut off the main valve – rushing back when half way there to get my gloves as I knew there would be a black widow. Finally pried the top off, reached down in to shut it off. When I pulled my hand out, it was trailing a long, tough thread, and, at the end, a brown, speckled spider I knew was a male black widow. I began to walk away, but it hung onto the thread and started to crawl up it towards me. I got scared and ran into a kind of swampy area nearby. I guess I did lose the spider by going into the water, but stirred up some large, salamander-like creatures that started to follow me. One followed me home – but I realized it was much like a big Great Dane puppy with large clubby feet. Hannah was there. All the while I was very angry at the women who’d ripped out my bathtub. And some part of the dream was that I was understanding this story as what had happened to me when I first moved out on my own and into the lesbian community.                                                       (?)

But what finally shook me awake later was a thought, a memory, Sandra saying, “We became lovers.”

So often I wake up thinking of Sandra and Virginia, nursing some awful hurt. Does it take that to get myself out of bed these days, to be driven out by the pain of staying there with my thoughts?

 

Well, my solitude has started, but not really. Or, rather, it is just starting now.

Took acid the night of the Equinox, had a few good moments, but mostly felt very tired. Went to bed in the morning, woke up a few hours later with a tension headache. Spent a few hours working on the Book-Boxes, went to bed at 6:00 – Woke up at 11:00 thinking “good, I’m getting on a night schedule” – made coffee but realized I was too tired to stay up. My body ached, my throat was sore, my glands hurt under my jaw, under my arms. Went to bed and finished off 14 hours sleep. Friday worked on Fly Away Home Mailout. (I am producing the play “Feathers in My Mind down here – an obligation I took on in the Spring.)

Then Marcella was here. And on the next day, Saturday, a sudden wedding – David and Fareedeh. They asked me to be the photographer. So – flash attachments and a dress and sandals with heels and all the neighbors to manage and Fareedeh beautiful in a wedding veil. It took the whole day till late at night for the whole affair. At 10:30 Marcella and Kirsten said goodnight to Jessie and Chet and came over the hill.

Now they have just left and I have just taken Sandra’s mail down to her place (she returns for a few days tomorrow) and settled down on this rainy/sunny day to try to remember what I was about, in misery, but so far managing to remember Paper is cheaper than lung tissue.

My throat has been sore for so long. I do in addition think I have a cold of sorts – everyone has one just now. It was a relief to find that out; it means some of this is temporary and not the beginning of the end. When I was just finally beginning.

 

 

I don’t know what I’ll do about a schedule. Night or day, how long, etc. I think for now, as tired as I feel, I’ll just have to sleep and get up as I need to.

I want to write a little about my Equinox vigil. It began on the night of the 22nd which is also the monthly date of the peace vigil. So at 5:30 I put ¼ tab into my mouth, found a candle and walked down to the library. The sun was going down and it turned cold –  only had on a light blouse and was thoroughly chilled by the time I got home again. At the library saw several people I knew somewhat – Elizabeth Greenleaf, Leila, Susan Berryhill, Ann Krill (who played “Lil” in Bluefish Cove), Sylvia, Sacha (Dove), Dot Fisher-Smith – But knowing this was my ‘last official act’ I couldn’t summon what it would take to greet any of them. Sylvia stood next to me, her hand on the railing … I had wanted to touch in with her – finally shyly reached out my hand to give hers a squeeze – feeling how hopelessly short that was of what I’d wanted. She smiled a lemony smile, said “I feel the quality of your touch” murmured something about “cold” and I felt suddenly how icy cold and unreaching my hands were.

Couldn’t feel anything at the vigil except cold and in the present in a very shallow way – walked home up the gathering dark, then wrapped myself in my down sleeping bag and settled on the bean bag chair on the deck, in the wind, to watch the moon go down. Trying to make a prayer to her, trying to keep watch, even. Spinning, still, from the day, from the last days and weeks. Finally her last spark tip flickered and was gone leaving only a luminous milkiness and the stars. I went inside, ate another quarter, knew the only way I could get warm was to close all the windows and take a hot bath, which I did for an hour or two.

Found myself lost and despairing – and thinking so much about suicide. I couldn’t help but think this was the perfect time to do it – having just said goodbye to everyone one in my life, and no one expecting to see me for a while.

Thought over the ways to do it. Dianne’s way, of course, seems the best, though it is a little violent – I would prefer no bloodshed. Thought about the other ways –

electrocution in the bathtub – horrors

drowning       “  “      “

exposure        “  “      “

exposure on a mountaintop

carbon monoxide: To go “in Deborah” would be appropriate – but I hate exhaust fumes.

…And those are the good ways.

The body is really set up not to want those things that will stop it from functioning. Trying to remember if I knew how Dorothy Parker had actually died.

Thought about the Exit Society – and about the letter arriving with the four uncancelled queens. Wondered what it meant – four years? (Forty?) I cannot imagine forty. Tried to think about wanting to live a lot longer, tried to grasp onto some positive pictures of the future. Could only conjure up May Sarton’s words. … But felt still mostly oppressed by hard work needed to “keep body and soul together.” … Wondered  how Virginia Woolf managed to drown herself in a pond. Do you suppose she tied herself to a heavy rock? {(Then did she have to fly carrying the rock?) +ed} (+Reference: Carlos Castaneda)

Caroline had mentioned reading “A Writers’ Diary”; it helping her, to see V.W.’s insecurities about whether what she was doing was worth anything, her need for approval from others, etc. “Yeah,” I said, “didn’t she know that she was Virginia Woolf?” “Well,” she said, “she had to create Virginia Woolf.” And she did. She created a legend, and still she only stuck it out till 52, hardly time for “Virginia at 50” to read back, to commune with her younger self. And still she only stuck it out till 52. What do I expect will happen by my writing? It saves no one’s life to come a writer, even a great writer.

{Ed: The proper conclusion is only “It doesn’t save everyone’s life….”}

why will it save my life? What will it bring me?

 

Wondering what Deborah Kerr said in those anti-suicide commercials.

Wondering if I could write to the Premonition society and find out.

 

… And a growing part of me contemplating why I am so obsessed with suicide on this night of beginnings … Knowing that when I have thought hard about suicide before was mainly when I was coming into a new freedom – (Breaking up with John, both times; and the first year of my freedom). – When I was frightened. Also managing a little ironic distancing knowing that I have intended this night to be one of death and rebirth in whatever proportions I can summon, that I have set it up this way.

 

{Present thoughts: I don’t think I would think so much about suicide if I didn’t feel that there’s some chance I will need to do it sometime. I don’t intend to abandon myself (and my checkbook) to the tender mercies of the medical establishment – or to life post-WWIII}

Along with thoughts of suicide was a kind of despair at what I am doing –my cutting myself off from all human society like this. I felt an awful loneliness for Sandra , just to put my arms around her, just to bury my face in her flesh.

It seemed a crazy, dangerous thing to do to cut myself off from everyone like this. But when it began to come into focus how crazy it seemed, I also knew that it was in some ways a brave thing to do, and knew that I must have undertaken it for some reason, though I couldn’t remember it now. And by the time I rose from the waters I felt reasonably reborn.

Lit a fire. Thought about my friends on this night in their various circles and celebrations. Sandra. Libré. Tee and Caroline. Ruth and Jean, Hannah. The Writer’s Group.

Knew there was a good chance that some of them were thinking of me, were wishing me well, that some of them, even, were knowing, as I was beginning to know, that this is a brave thing I am doing.

Thought about how much courage all of our lives take, to live them.

Thought that this is a brave thing I am doing … and felt some impatience to begin doing –

Decided to do a Tarot reading. This time, I did a semi-regular reading, shuffling the cards only once, unerringly cutting the deck, picking up the top thirteen – laying them out in my version of a reading: “Tell me about the next three months – this part of the journey.”

 

Significator: Queen of Cups

Accompanying: King of cups

Crossing: Justice

Near Past: 3 of Swords, inverted

Farther past: 9 of Swords; Death

Near Future: King of Pentacles

Farther Future: Six of Swords, inverted

 

X- Factor: 5 of Wands (inverted?)

 

Attitude

The Lovers, reversed

 

Best Opportunity

2 of Wands (inverted?)

 

Hopes/Fears

Ace of Pentacles, inverted

 

Outcome

Page of Cups

 

Queen of Cups: “her cup is decorated with a single rose.” Lines of power emanate from her head. “addresses the viewer but goes beyond her.” I take it as the Queen of water, of Emotionality of Feelings. Mother imagery, too.

Gearhart: Mother (also: Nurturant Intelligence.)

In the journey to the self this card represents the querent’s mother or some other strong female adult in the querent’s life. She is the woman in whose hands are the secrets of emotionality, imagination, bodiliness …. The qualities attributed to her are nurturance, devotion, loyalty, emotionality, intuition, physical endurance. Perhaps the nurturance of the self….

Trad … A woman with the gift of vision. “She sees, but she also acts” an intuitive woman whose instincts can be trusted.

 

Atmosphere or Covering Card

King of cups: In the journey to the self this represents the querent’s father or strong adult male figure.

Trad: willingness to assume responsibility. Power achieved through the mind, creative intelligence.

 

Crossing Card: Justice: Balance

Near Past: 3 of swords, inverted: That poor heart pierced by three swords – my card for triangular anguish. Inverted – at least I’ve been able to get past it to what it could give me, to look at it “from 180˚  out”

 

Farther past: 9 of Swords: Despair, mourning               Glad that’s in the past. And Death – Death and transformation, yes.

 

Near Future: The King of Pentacles – Gearhart – “Material success” – And there in the background the bull… If only it looked a little brighter. … Graves … The bull symbolizes the taurean character who has accomplished (her)  situation through diligence and perseverance . … the continuance of these cultural forms, the arts and literature, which are inextricably related to wealth.

 

Far Future: six of Swords inverted – Graves: “directional insecurity” … I’ll bet. That would be next. Gearhart reads it “endurance” Trad: a need for continuing struggle, etc.      Sheesh…

 

Attitude: The Lovers, inverted: yes – Graves divorce, separation. Not only from Sandra, but from everyone.

 

Best Opportunity: Two of Rods: was inverted, but I don’t know how to read that – unless – turning away from patriarchal success and privileges. But I’ve had it before upright as the proper spirit for my writing – holding the wands of the spirit in one hand, the globe of the world in the other.

 

Hopes & Fears: Ace of Pentacles, inverted – making it in the material world or not – that’s the hope, and the fear.

 

Outcome: Page of Cups: Gearhart Discovery, also Imagination. “The fish … is brought up from the depths of the unconscious for examination, understanding. (Waite describes the fish as “picture of the mind taking form.”) There is some success in work with the unknown, the unconscious… The emergence of intuitive and emotional powers within the querent… ..the sharing of some secret.

Trad: A quiet, imaginative person of artistic bent. Imagination, reflection, meditation.

 

Note in the background – two “twolips”

 

X Factor: Five of Wands, probably inverted – not sure: Gearhart – upright – internal strife.  Trad: “The prize will have to be fought for

Inverted: Temporary peace. Yes – that’s now.

Graves reads it upright: action, maybe organized, but reversed, Dissipation – yes – a possibility.

 

Well, an interesting and mostly helpful reading … Interesting trio – Q of cups. K of cups, Justice (And the outcome, Page of cups) (Knight of Cups, I’ve gotten a couple of times re Deborah Kerr. – these seem to dance around it, round out the court. Q of cups, K of cups, Balance. Access to the emotions, the nurturance, and acting out in the world in accordance, in balance. (Justice, a female figure, in my deck wears a tie; she wields a two-edged sword and the Libran scales. I seldom think about androgyny – but that seems to be the sense of it – at least in a spiritual sense: Central is the Queen of Cups – but the “masculine” capabilities must also be brought into play to accomplish what is needed. It all forwards the cups, though.

And the outcome, “the child” – the page of cups – imagination – in the suit of the feelings.

I felt quite sure when I laid out the cards. It’s taking quite a chance – all the cards are there – the tower, the devil, etc. Luckily they didn’t come up. The reading feels more-than-chance, that’s certain.

 

So then I did a latihan, and, tired, lay down before the fire and put on some music (Thomas Talle’s / Vaugn Williams) set the dinger for the equinox moment and waited for the magic moment to come around. When it dinged, I’d just been thinking of Kate Millet’s perceptive depiction of the end of a love affair in Sita (as excerpted in “Our right to Love”)

 

Yes .The ending of a love affair – as the earth slid through momentary equilibrium on her axis and I entered the next phase of my life. And just then Vaugn Wms started on that breathtaking passage of the solo violin that I have always thought of as the breakthrough into (of?) the higher realms. So there it was, death and transfiguration, just as I’d wanted.

 

But the new insights seemed few and I could see I was as unprepared  for more profound experiences as I was un-needing of them. The point is now the work. Wished I could start making my book boxes that night, or sorting through manuscripts, but I was too tired. So, impatient for my new energy, and to get to work, I went to bed.

 

And now it’s late Sunday night and I think I’ll do the same. Or get to work. After latihan tonight my work is really beginning …  meant to say “my solitude”.”

Rain on the roof – first abundant rain

Fire in the stove – back skylight dripping – ah, winter is beginning.

 

 

Monday Evening {September 26, 1982}

 

Got up this morning, did a 20 minute meditation, a 10-minute latihan, made breakfast, then settled in to work. Finished the book boxes, made covers for 3 of them, wrote out their tentative tables of contents. Had worked 5 hours – Went for a long walk downtown to drop by wedding film, walked home the long way through the park. In the depths of the canyon found a new road – followed it – came out in the gravel-pit I see across from me. (Hope the new roads don’t portend a housing development)

Anyway, it was fun to explore –

Then home, chop kindling – the winter tasks beginning. Rested, listened to The Wind in the Willows program, made supper to All Things Considered – “Greek Broccoli”

Called Sandra – she was just eating –  She’s just back for a few days V. working in Klamath Falls – sometimes commuting – She has no time to talk now – I want to get to work soon. We agree to talk tomorrow afternoon.  I pick up The Auto Bio journal and start to read it. Don (my brother) calls – wants to come by. The last thing I need. But it’s the first time he’s reached out to me in years and I say yes. Took me another hour after he left to find any sort of balance. Opened ‘Silences’ to

Then why did she mind what he said? “Women can’t write. Women can’t paint.” … Why did her whole being bow, like corn under a wind, and erect itself again from abasement only with a great and painful effort?”

–     Virginia Woolf: To the Lighthouse p. 235

 

Finally began reading in the Journal – to see what’s there, what might be in the book – A strange way to read my journals. It’s so hard to tell what would be interesting to someone else. Unable at this point to yield myself much to the feelings – Feeling frightened and critical. Still, this reading may be unavoidably in my “head” – There are things my head needs to know – what is where. What gaps. What things of interest. … what things not of interest.

Seeing my life as grist for the literary mill – Hard to throw away any of it. Yet art is in knowing what to throw away.
Well, you’re just starting. You can’t expect to know how to do it now.

All I can say is it felt mighty comfortable just to write for the-great-reader-in-the-sky compared to this.

So many worries – it’s all such a coming out. I feel nearly stopped when I think of who might read it – Mom & Dad, Deborah Kerr, the local police, anyone at the school.. etc. etc.

Seems like I’ll probably have to move away in the end … Go somewhere where I’m more anonymous, more insulated in the women’s community.

Actually, the only way I feel really free to publish this is to publish it posthumously – so I don’t have to live with all the consequences.

Well anyway I did read for two hours before I got too tired, so that means I worked 7 hours today. It is work and yet it’s also what I want to do and feels like it.

What a day, really. Lots more energy all of a sudden. And this is just the beginning.

Wish I didn’t have to call Sandra tomorrow. Unhappiness around her and V. makes me want to reach for my pipe. To have to confront that reality will throw me off kilter – I know it. I know there is a way to get through that to a good, friendly place with Sandra, but I know it takes work, thought, time, communication.

Tomorrow, dammit, I want to commune with myself, think about my book.

What a time for her to come back to town – and with Virginia in tow no less. Can’t they bear to be parted? I suppose she likes that … I can’t imagine it myself.

… I suppose V. will be here for the weekend. Well, I wasn’t planning on going out, anyway.

It’s all fine if I can just keep my distance and not have it be an interruption in the tenuous beginnings of my own flow – but I am afraid a long phone visit with Sandra would bring up all sorts of feelings I’d then have to deal with – pull me into that reality and away from my work.

Is there a way to get out of that one without making it be a further damage in Sandra’s and my relationship? To have her come to town and not to talk on the phone world feel so “estranged.”

Could one differentiate “separated” from “estranged”?

One could try.

 

*                       *                       *                       *                       *                       *                       *

 

Graves: The Queen of Cups

Description: – A fully mature and intensely pensive woman addresses the reader but gazes just beyond. Symbols of lightning surround her head on which she wears a stately crown. The cup before her is decorated with a single rose.”

Meaning: A woman living by the cup. She is dedicate to her home and family, content to influence others by her example. She is intent and powerful, having realized the full potential of her sex and proud of that acceptance. She is, in fact, a personification of the cup.

 

Well, I know how Graves meant all that, but if I re-interpret it as being about me it seems a quite amazing reminder of what could possibly be.

 

Surrounding: King of Cups: “A highly serious man… is unaware of the reader while holding firmly in his right hand the cup of office. … This man is not disposed to warring, but can and will defend his own if put to the test.

Meaning: a mature man … dedicate to the task of upholding the institution of the family and protecting it from those who would destroy it physically or intellectually, by word or deed.”

 

So – this would not be a message about androgyny at all but about who I am and what the milieu is in which I find myself – the patriarchy, to a T.

So – Graves sees the crossing card as mitigating or opposing the “surrounding” card

 

Justice ‘This is a step beyond the wheel of Fortune just as Justice symbolizes a step beyond chance where things occur as part of a plan – a plan, the scope of which is beyond human reason and understanding,

Balance – and a sword to redress it

A warrior woman

Crowned – and

Wearing a tie

 

And don’t forget the power of doing what is right

And don’t forget how much magic can help, sometimes.

 

Tuesday noon 27th September {1982}

Just reading through the journal of the AB of DC. (Strange now to have to start differentiating between my journal and the book.)

Yes. Indeed. Lots of strange feelings – How odd it seems to think of putting this out for anyone to see. Wondering what things should be put in or left out? It’s nearly all interesting to me. I am amazed again at how busy I was, under so many pressures … and Marcella .. And Libré moving in … It helps me to see that this is not a simple life.

…And, as a self-portrait, I can’t help but feel that a certain amount of reporting on the daily tasks and the busyness on the parenting and the marijuana serves to stitch the puffy silken pieces onto a solid canvass background. Yet at some point the writer cannot impose upon the reader’s continued interest. It is the puffy silks that justify the writing – and yet they are not so much stitched as interwoven.

Well, Tangren, do not be afraid of a little superfluousness here at the beginning. You can eliminate things if they need it, write some better, etc.

Still, you know I am grieving for the loss of my journal where I say whatever I want without regard for economy. And for the loss of feeling that it is that fullness of self that I was going to share with someone. Well, you always can and if some want to know you even more than the pub. ed. allows you can always share this journal with them. Probably no one will, though. We are all busy with our separate lives.

 

…One also wonders about the things that don’t make a traditional story – I mean, so much of my life does now and then fall into the rhythms of a short story. –

But then there are the times that don’t. The near-romances – Grace, Hannah and the all too necessary admixture of daily grit. Caroline. Whether to leave them out entirely – or try to tell a true story? I found Adrienne’s Lauby’s description of a crush interesting … of course, I would. But anyway, I suppose there is some point, too, in exploring the “almosts” and other forms of relationship, other than girl-meets-girl.

But then again something has to sustain the reader’s interest…

I don’t know… For the Great lesbian Archives In The Sky (GLAITS, for short) maybe nothing is right but my entire journal.

Well, you don’t have to decide on that now.
The important thing now is to begin to tell the story that is in you.

 

Begin

 

Remember: You can always

(a) try it one way and then another

(b)       learn to put your writing energy where it wants to go and see which stories you end up telling

(c)

 

Oct 3 Sunday Evening {1982}

Haven’t written in here for a while – just want to report that I have been writing madly – spent the weekdays – or rather nights – actually an admixture – writing – compiling. The AB of DC is now 186 pages and still climbing, most of it written or rewritten last week. It amazes me how much my hand can write in a day – on Sept 30, I must have used up a hundred sheets of paper, and much of it on two sides. (When one side is discarded I turn it over and use it again.) The next day went in and bought two reams.

It’s wonderful to discover the writing is already there. Recopying, improving, is a task I enjoy – I start putting it down – think of a way to say it better, see what could be left out,  what could be better said, more clearly, named more exactly.

 

It’s also been good for me to spend that much time hanging out with my better selves.

I found I had a lot of energy: did a 20-minute meditation and 10-minute latihan on arising; generally went for a walk in the middle of the “day”, often found myself running because it was easier, needing the physical release because of so much excitement; did yoga before turning in, to loosen my muscles. It was wonderful deepening my solitude, having my time my own. When I was tired I rested or slept. When I wanted to work, I did. Some days were shorter than 24 hours, more were longer.

By Friday evening I was happy to return to the world, glad of Marcella’s company. Saturday I tended to errands – patched the roof, tried another glue on Deborah’s switch, etc.etc. – all in goodwill and happiness – for once not feeling crucified by busy-ness – and finding I could gladly tithe this day to “the world”

That night Marcella and I sewed doll clothes – jeans and shirts for the lesbians who live on top of the refrigerator. Now they look warmer and decidedly dykier. \

Today errands again. I have begun to lose the thread of myself – but as soon as I’m done here I intend to return to the writing for as long as my energy holds tonight.

By this morning I had lost sight of what it is that keeps me enthusiastic. Wondered why I kidded myself that anyone would pay real money to hear me going on about my life. I’ve never heard of anyone doing such a thing. Figured up how much it would cost to publish four books – $20,000 – more money than I can manifest short of mortgaging the house, I fear. And then don’t real authors publish one book at a time and not a boxed set on their first try?

Oh, well, Tangren. You can Xerox up a few for the GLAIS and other LA’s and then you can wait there to be discovered or whatever. It’s true that the point in your life now is just to make it be.

Pure Art: the most fun of all.

 

Maybe the economic etc situation ought to be one I’m facing – But I don’t think now is the time. You never know what will happen. It’s good to remember that about Making It Be. Had forgotten, for the day. ..It’s good to read Virginia Woolf, when a new book comes out, talk in terms of 50 copies sold, 200 copies sold, printing a second 2000” contemplated/ maybe 4,000 is an inflated figure. Literary immortality may be had for less.

Before long I think it will be important to start sending out some things – Mary Pearce to Sinister Wisdom, and maybe 2:00 AM Valentine’s Morning too. What to CL/LL? 2:00 AM V.M.? Blackheads and SM? Tee thinks I should. Where else?

 

If I could only publish one book right now it would be AB of DC… But I don’t feel I can do that because I think DK would think I was trying to use her fame/name to sell my book. Somehow as one of a boxed set that seems to have a little more perspective.

On her birthday, worked on the piece “AB of DC” – loved the way it came together – the description at the end of the little vision in the shower revealing meanings I hadn’t seen till now. Sanding down the rough parts of the piece, shaping it until every line is revealing – An ideal, but some of my best writing does that, I think.

Also, seeing things all together helps me understand. That baby in the Tillie Olsen dream – I never was clear about what it represented. Reflecting on the Jan. dream where I slapped and scratched his cheek I see the echo to scraping the baby’s head. And, indeed that was exactly the baby I was having to take care of at the time of the dream. …Goes a long way toward explaining the current image of having a boy baby to take care of.

 

(…See I’ll need a new journal before long.)

 

That’s an example of my selection problem. Tell the second dream? I’d left it out. But it would help explain the T.O. dream… But would “the reader” be interested? Tonight I have to decide what to do after Mary Pearce, re: “Grace and JonI continued.”

 

…Before I quit I do want to make a memorandum re: marijuana. Smoked a lot last week while writing. No control at all. But my body didn’t seem to be suffering much. Though now I can feel how sore my chest and throat are. Anyway, this weekend had none for two days ‘ cheerfully, easily – because I didn’t feel that frantic imperative to get centered and take stock NOW. Happy in the knowledge that I had been there and would return.

 

Constantly I teeter on wondering why anyone should be interested in my life. A few tries at answers

  1. A) Lots of people won’t be. That’s fine.
  2. B) Your life is interesting. Not because you’ve climbed Mt. Everest or done some other outstanding thing:

The point is: The level at which you tell it. I find it interesting how you weave the internal and the external. And how you capture the flavor of dreams.

  1. C) And then there is the philosophical implication of the fact that such a life happened: It’s very important to note/validate the magical underside of what happens.

(Why don’t other people write so vividly about their dreams? A) You are privileged to have large amounts of time and good marijuana.)

 

Sometimes I can’t help but quaver wondering: if this is all such a good idea, why hasn’t anyone done it before? (There must be a fatal flaw.) I am in ways ahead of my time, as Marcella pointed out to me when she came home with glittery nail polish on yesterday…

I suppose it’s just possible that no one has done this before just because it took you to do it. I don’t know what to think about that idea. Guess I don’t have to know – for now; just do it.

 

Part of what’s been so good for me – aside from the sheer joy of writing (is that a cliché or merely an idiom?) – is to see myself like this. To spend large parts of the day hanging out with my better selves. I do think the pieces gain from being placed side by side. It makes me happy to see that.

 

Thursday October 7 {1982} Early afternoon

This week isn’t going as well as far as the writing goes. I am being seized by a panic – “Do you really want to put that out? Do want people to know you that way? … Is this interesting or not? Concurrently reading Sinister Wisdom and imagining their review. “…shows what’s wrong with journal-writing … self-absorbed … privileged … seldom makes it past the purely personal. … art lies in selectivity…”

It’s only by remembering that for now I am writing for the GLAIS that I can keep going. Wading through a lot of stuff I may find I won’t use in the end – a lot of marginal stuff.

But also interesting to me – not looking at it as a book but at the journal as my journal. How I tried to be a writer that summer – 1980 – and couldn’t. In retrospect it’s so easy to see why I didn’t – there was so much to do yet on the house.

To see how much it was to ask of myself to try to do it all. Yet I understand nearly as well the sense of urgency about the writing – “to do it now while we are still alive.” I don’t know how much of this process is interesting to anyone else; the book is already 229 pages.

It feels to me awfully heavy on dreams about Deborah Kerr. My actual life was full of day-to-day pressures and busy-ness; (Somehow the book in just giving the highlights makes my life feel glamorous in a way that gives little hint of day-to-day struggles.)

Torn between truth and art!

…And then there’s letting Deborah Kerr and the rest of the world in on your complete sex life. And I mean complete. Nobody ever writes about masturbating. Why do you have to be the first?

This week it’s been harder to make myself walk/meditate/do yoga/latihan and easier to reach for the pipe. The anxiety makes me rush to my desk each morning to have a pipeful in the hopes it will help me like what I wrote yesterday.

Today I feel a little lonely. Marcella isn’t coming here this weekend. Hannah was to come, but it didn’t work out. So – a long stretch ahead of solitude. And none of the northern women are coming to the writer’s group Sunday. I’d so been looking forward to sharing some of my writing with them. Nobody will be there I feel much rapport with – except Summer. It doesn’t feel too safe a place to show my vulnerable parts.

Well, I have to keep reminding myself that it’s perfectly fine not to always be writing masterpieces and that it’s all practice, and it’s all “working”, all part of learning how.

 

Friday Oct 4 {1982}

Just got home from spending the morning at Mike’s wedding. The bride’s mother was only 36 – she had Irene when she was 14, I later learned. She seemed a bit disgruntled when on meeting her I remarked how young she seemed. Oh, well…

Right now I’m having problems feeling any sense of what I’m doing writing. I can’t send that stuff to Deborah Kerr. I feel I’m just exposing all my less-than-universal frailties: lacks very particular to myself. Everyone will know they don’t want to know me.

I just feel totally at a loss as to how to take hold today.

Feel like I’m getting a