Monday, March 30, 2015


March 30, 2015

Rain on the roof. One darkness folded into another.

Palm Sunday was taken up by the drive to Carrboro. Of course I arrived early, and had time for lunch at the Southern Rail and a short tour which, nevertheless, took in most of the sights of that compact knot of sociability. The production itself rests uneasily upon my mind, for it represented that mix of good intentions and shoddy results about which one has a hard time coming to a conclusion. I had specifically nixed the idea of re-gendering my two leads, and said I would rather cancel than do so. I was assured that everything was well in that regard. Yet when I arrived, yes, the genders had been changed. The actors were clearly–in some cases more than others–accomplished, but they kept reminding me and one another that they had not had time to rehearse. One would know that even had they not admitted it. They tripped over lines they were reading from a page. They had not looked up pronunciations or meanings of unfamiliar words. OK, time is short for everybody, but I was solicited for this event (six months ago), asked for a script and invited to see it performed, solicited to continue when I thought it best to cancel. It’s like inviting someone to dinner two 180 miles away, reminding him periodically of the importance of that dinner, and then when he arrives, serving bologna sandwiches because everything was in such turmoil. I saw no advertising, not even a poster on the door of the theater, the upshot of which was that there was ONE person in the audience not directly associated with, or related to, a person in, the production. “Oh, there are two basketball games this afternoon, and everything around here stops for basketball” was the explanation of that. I wondered what audience would be common to both. What people call “opportunities” are sometimes so meager they seem like tribulations, and yet one must smile and thank everybody for their trouble, or be gossiped about later for one’s temperament. And there was something to smile about and be thankful for. They DID put forth the effort they put forth, and the reading did accomplish the thing for which it was intended, to allow me a hearing to note what was good and what was bad. And the play is very good, and I might plunge forward there. The souls in the room whom I could count on my fingers thought so too. Had the play been bad there would be no plank to cling to in a tossing sea of disappointment.
   
Some luscious Arts Council gossip, though. We never hear the fresh gossip up here in the mountains. An account of the installation of Shelby as Poet Laureate, and the perception that his selections were chosen for him by the Arts Council to include only that work which would not offend our unspeakable governor. R said that he himself was nominated for PL, but solicited for his materials only after the deadline had passed. The current administration’s mendacity and micro-managing asininity extends even to things one would have thought below the normal political radar. R pictures Shelby as stupefied and dispirited by the degree to which that post is a cog in the machine of politics. . . and politics which are, at the moment, the most hateful in the nation.
   
Venus rode in the center of my windshield for the last leg home.

Sunday, March 29, 2015


March 29, 2015

    Palm Sunday. May we all arrive somewhere in glory.
    Cold bright morning. I will take the buckets and jars off the plants before I leave for parts eastward.
    Made progress on my American Places play.
    I hate Bertolt Brecht.
    Wish. . .  Something. . . .

Saturday, March 28, 2015



March 28, 2015

Spent $25,000 yesterday, between paying taxes and paying off the Home Equity Loan on 62. Soaringly out of dept, except for the mortgage on this place. State taxes were more than twice federal taxes, as in order to get more money to the rich, the legislature eliminated most deductions normal people counted on.

An Iliad at NC Stage last night. Extraordinarily good. The most effective one man show I ever remember seeing, Willy– as Paris says of Hector– a sharpened axe. Parts of the script bordered on the coy, but most of it was fire. It snowed as we sat in King James devouring our apres-theater snacks. Sent lamentations up.

Covered the voodoo lily, brought the unplanted plants indoors, must leave the rest to their own fate through two days of returning winter.

Thursday, March 26, 2015


March 26, 2015

Mother gone 41 years.
  
Evening– home, stupid with exhaustion.

The stock positions I sold in order to pay off 62 and buy 51 left me–and this never once crossed my mind– owing my first whopping capital gains tax to the IRS.

Swam this morning farther than I have since Boy Scouts. Perhaps this contributes to my exhaustion. It felt good. I could have swam farther, maybe. It was hours before dawn and I had the pool to myself, and the effect was rather mystical.

A wasp fluttered against the ceiling of my classroom this AM, and the 300 pound Bohemian in the back row started and flinched and kept his eyes glued on it in infantile panic.
    “Dr, there’s a wasp up against the ceiling.”
    “I see there is.”
    “I haven’t got my epi-pen.”
    “The wasp is twenty feet away and showing no interest in you at all.”
    But his anxiety captured everyone’s interest, and I couldn’t say anything about the Victorians that would get past twenty pairs of eyes glues to a creature weighing not half an ounce minding her own business on the ceiling.
    “It’s a wasp,” says I. “You’ve seen a wasp before. If this is going to fill you with dread, please leave the room.” Goliath the Fretful would not turn his attention away from the wasp, and the more fantastical his anxiety became, the angrier I became. Finally he did leave, looking pale and sick; rather than being sympathetic I was furious. He was no more likely to be stung by that wasp than I was to be bitten by a wolverine. The young have never been encouraged to get beyond their immediate perceptions, never asked to correct them, never expected to transcend them however wasteful or delusional. We are sent letters asking for accommodations to be made for people who would be incalculably better off if accommodations had stopped in the fifth grade.
    In the afternoon, one student (the one who always asks the question I just answered at length, the one who always mentions half way through the lesson that he forgot his book) interpreted the production of a scene from a play to be a halting, mumbling, almost unbelievably incompetent (and un-rehearsed) reading of a lengthy monolog from Life is a Dream. People don’t KNOW what they’re doing? He really had no idea how different (and worse) his approach was from everyone else’s? He was the LAST TO GO, and had fourteen better examples to learn from. It was past time for me to get home this evening.






Last night I became a Shaker.


Between last night and this morning the yard erupted with violets.

Talked with my warrior-saint in South Africa this morning.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


March 25, 2015

Purcell’s Diocletian on the CD. If one decided to listen to all opera still extant from the 17th and 18th centuries, would one ever come to an end?

The neighborhood kids on the way to school put empty soda bottles in my mailbox, and then put the flag up for the mailman to find. It’s been so long since I’ve been pranked.

Except for the immortal snot factory in my head, I woke with a feeling of physical well being. Zach’s ministration has all but put an end to the shoulder pain that has been with me for three years. It was chiefly due to my carrying myself like a slave.  Good work-out at the Y. The conversation in the steam room was of the bears in various neighborhoods, and how they are worked into the fabric of society.

The first peach is in full bloom, lovely with the dark of the side yard behind it.  The peaches are my favorite acquisition of the year so far.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


March 24, 2015

Another day of digging and planting under the varying sun. Everything piled up on my porch planted, the water gardens filled. Sent The Falls of the Wyona to the agent who so admired Necklaces so much and for so many reasons, and yet, inevitably, absurdly, in the end declined to take it. It’s like one rejecting a perfect garden because she discovers that the flowers are pollinated not by angels but by bees. Envy is forced upon me every day. Have ideas in my head to write now, cannot until there is some breakthrough so it doesn’t seem futile. Hungry. Am not often outright hungry. Alan left a beautiful, lyrical evaluation of the Amadeus experience on Facebook. I have to take time to appreciate all that.

Monday, March 23, 2015


March 23, 2015

In a kind of fruit tree mania, bought another peach and planted it after the show, when it was twilight and just commencing to rain. I could feel vibrations from the little tree, to be in the soil and in the rain for the first time in its life. Planted celandine, bought primroses but let them sitting in their little cartons until the light.