Sunday, October 22, 2017


October 22, 2017

Peniel’s official release day is November 17. Just now getting excited, as the numbers of things that could go wrong diminish toward zero. In its genre, this book is unanswerable. Gave my first copy to Evan in thanks for his blurb.

Yesterday evening planted tiger lilies and golden loosestrife. I always garden in the morning, so gardening in the evening seems melancholy and elegiac. One is called at by different birds.

Days of blazing autumn brilliance.

Dropped in at the Magnetic for a production meeting. Six grown people sitting around extending their energies toward the realization of your play is very exciting. Returned for a rehearsal, and was on the cusp between happy and relieved. The music is sounding very good. There is a bit of wandering about on stage– if that Is a directorial problem or a problem of nerves and an early run-through I’m not certain. Much obliteration of lines, and yet much achievement of lines. This early on I’ll look at the bright side.  M always has troubles with paraphrasing, which I don’t mind unless they’re my words. But, I was happy, and, again, amazed that people put so much labor into realizing my play. Brought vivacious Q to them, and they were happy, as I knew they would be.

Went to the studio, but there was no inspiration, and I just sat for a while. R had destroyed the window by prying it open, and then just left without repairing it or trying to close it at all. Sigh. One is ill-prepared to be the only adult all the time.

Put in a bed of yellow wake-robin, telling myself it’s the last planting of the year.

Friday, October 20, 2017


October 19, 2017

Turned on the upstairs heater with minimal struggle. Brahms beaten down in the evening. Zach ill, so no massage. Some progress on my Zoo story. Uranium down a couple of actors. Which worries are mine? Ate at Gan Shan Station, and one of the servers came up and confirmed my name, and said, “I knew that was your profile out here.” He is Dustin, my son when we did Amahl and the Night Visitors years ago, whom I went to see in Into the Woods at his high school. I was hurt because I thought we had a relationship, which simply disappeared after that. Apparently it did not disappear at all. It went to Africa. It fathered children. It started to manage a restaurant. Prototype of Peniel appears in the mail. it is perfect.

Thursday, October 19, 2017


October 18, 2017

A black-capped vireo sports in my yard.  Merry little thing, fluffing his feathers in the cool sunlight.  God thinks this makes it all OK, and it very nearly does.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


October 17, 2017

RC decided not to continue as chair, me fighting the inclination to think of the department as falling apart. It is, in way, but mostly through pressure from outside that wants educational institutions to stop being educational institutions and start being corporations. It’s ruination, but if there’s something little D can do about it, I haven’t thought of it. Such things are usually gotten through by sheer cussedness, but the portion of cussedness in our department seems to be limited to me now. I say things like “Let’s just ignore it,” or “Let’s just not do it,” which I know, absolutely, work and had worked in the past, and I get blank stares of incomprehension. Same with my classes: “What? We actually have freedom of will????” If it were only half terror and half delight it would be well, but is mostly terror. We planted Merritt’s dogwood tree in the upper Quad. I was invited to push the memorial plaque into the ground, which I did with such vehemence that it broke. Well, an anecdote for all. . . . 

Monday, October 16, 2017


October 16, 2017

In the wake of, I suppose, the latest Hollywood scandal, women started a Face Book campaign where everyone of them who has been molested or hurt or raped or diminished by a man writes in their space, “Me too.” At the end of the day I sit reeling from the sheer numbers. I never understood. Women live different lives from what we do, lives full of uncertainty and terror, sometimes buried terror, sometimes terror on the surface, that I am, or was till now, incapable fully of apprehending. They are in danger from us at every turn. It is the most shocking thing. The angrier of them hiss “You should have known,” and perhaps one should, but I didn’t. Part of my dumbfoundment is that two times I have been accused of “harassment” and it was by entitled brats who not only lied but were vague enough to keep their lies interesting until I was able to say, publicly, to their faces, “what exactly was it that I did?” and that ended it. Personal experience made me suspect a raft of mean-spirited innuendo that the light of day would not sustain. But, no, this is something completely different, cavalier brutality and collusion and inhumanity of a proportion I am still not able to comprehend. I love men. I am in the habit of defending us from what I think of as the irrational edge of self-serving Feminism. But not here, not this. I feel like Dante crying out “Who would have thought death had undone so many?” We are brutes and I can’t understand why. The hatred for men I have heard in the rhetoric of some women is not, as I had thought, insane. It is in some senses not even enough. It is the most confusing and distressing moment. It is also the fiftieth time this month I have cried out “What can I do to help?” and no answer has come back. I suppose, to begin with, find out where I too am brutish and stop it.  I think I’m innocent of this, but I probably am not. Maybe that slob Weinstein will end up as a kind of accidental angel.

Good classes, I think. My intro to creative writing class calls me “David,” as no class in 34 years has done. Have no idea what I think of it, but I hope it’s affection. Spent one class listening to presentations and staring at the beautiful neck of the man in front of me.

October 15, 2017

Purple blossoms cover the eggplant vines, which I did not have the heart to pull out just yet.

Seized by cramps mounting the stairs to the study. Could barely move up or down. Cursed all the way, clawing the wall, to the sink. If I were God I would not do those things which leave him open to such vituperation.

Sunday, October 15, 2017


October 14, 2017

Rose before the light, had coffee and began a new story at High Five. Sat on the terrace, where at first my only light was the red neon OPEN sign. A rat emerged and gleaned a little in the darkness, looking elegant, looking like a wild animal. It was still barely light when I picked up the shovel and finished planting almost all that had been left unplanted: the second sassafras, ferns, trillium, windflowers.  The day was a little poisoned by thoughts of The Boy, and the ways in which his actions are parallel to those of our President, being mitigated some by their smallness.

As for our President, the game is now to see how long he can last, how many stupidities, blunders, arrogations, cruelties (any one of which would have sunk any other politician in my lifetime) can be piled one atop the other until his rotten party is finally moved to act. Is this the most interesting time in American politics? Watergate was interesting, but somehow less riotously absurd than this.

Cantaria concert at the UU in Hendersonville. I think it went well. It felt like it went well. I was in whole voice nearly to the end. Exquisite white wine at Avenue M afterwards.