Thursday, April 17, 2014


April 17, 2014

Chill moonlight on the brown grass. . . blue, I suppose, if I reported what I actually saw. Were I in the front yard I’d see the moonlight glittering on the mugs I set over my plants to help them endure the cold. Planted a wisteria tree yesterday, the most expensive plant I ever bought.  It was a bare stick, so I figured it wouldn’t mind the cold. Circe woke me by stepping claws out on the tender spot at the base of the thumb nail. Of course, when you shout the claw goes deeper. She disappeared in my moment of rage.

Moments of rage coming too hard upon one another. Maybe it’s the times and maybe it’s me. Too many people grabbing for more time or energy than you offered, yielding up less as a reward. Reciprocity is gone. I need new friends. . . I need to revise my personality. . . I need to find a retreat in the wilderness. . . something.

Our group has been among Avenue M’s best and loyal customers since it opened, and before that when it was the Usual, and last night we were denied seating, or rather told to wait until a table emptied. OK, but two of the three serving rooms were completely empty. I understood the impulse to close up the rooms and go home early, but you don’t tell a customer, any customer, that they can’t be seated when ten or twelve empty tables are visible. Or you do so only if you don’t care if they ever come back. The owners weren’t there or it wouldn’t have happened, I hope. I faced off with the hostess and we got our table, but I had to work too hard and there was no joy in it.

A sense of physical well-being makes a contrast with the grumpiness. I will try to bring the two in line.

Blazing cool afternoon. Starbucks coffee and gossip with TD, then to Phil Mechanic to tend the garden there. My mulching made it easy to get the weeds out, and, so far as I can tell, nothing was lost from last summer. Happy with that. Drove to Reems Creek nursery and bought a herbaceous peony and a purple baptisia and scarlet ice flowers. All went into the ground along with the hollyhocks I delayed planting because of the freeze. . .  Which also seems to have taken nothing. When I got home my housekeeper, who charges by the hour, was having a cigarette on the back porch. Now, do I mind if someone I’ve hired takes a break? Of course not. It was her own rictus of apology and excusing-making that made it look suspicious. She named a price to clean the house and I accepted it as reasonable, and if she gets it done in one hour or in three I don’t care, except that if it’s one hour I wish she’d tell me so I don’t have to think of excuses to stay away on cleaning day. Have eaten nothing and am not hungry.

Met my neighbors, Charles and Delight. They spelled “Delight” lest I should misunderstand that was really what they meant. We decided the trees that irritate me are their trees, so I’m very glad I didn’t have them cut down. Delight is the daughter of the good witch who used to live in the house when it was drowned in flowers.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


April 16, 2014

Yard flooded with moonlight. New lawn furniture tossed by the deep wind. Gardens studded with mugs where I tried to protect the new plants (lilies mostly) from the sudden cold.

Lightness in my life over the Humanities controversy; I had thought we were arguing over principles of canon and pedagogy, and that battle could not be lost. But we were turning our backs on principles altogether in order to save ourselves effort, and flatter ourselves that what we know already is sufficient. We were refusing the charge by pretending to reform it. I understand. It is an old story, but one I didn’t recognize right away in this guise. I have exceeded the mark, and whatever fate that once excellent program suffers now, I’ve done what I needed to do. Will continue so. I think this is where the lightness comes from. A battle lost but irrelevant so long as I am whole. The lightness comes from somewhere--

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


April 15, 2014

Misty dawn. One of my tree peonies is about to burst forth pinkish white. Who said transplanted peonies won’t bloom? Turbulent night. Restless. Many dreams. Calmed by strolling the yard at dawn, taking in the violets and dogwoods and the redbuds and the peonies and the one scarlet tulip.

Monday, April 14, 2014


April 14, 2014

Twittery birdy morning. Put Man and Superman to sleep yesterday afternoon with no regrets on my part. The last performance was underwhelming, full of fluffs and flubs. I could hardly move for exhaustion at the end of it. It does make me anxious for another acting project. I still have it. It’s still easy. Hazel and John Robinson were in the audience, looking incredibly old, but also, as they have always been, handsome. They must have been quite the pair. I’m hearing Hazel’s laugh now.

Palm Sunday, never my favorite, saw me giving forth St. Matthew’s Passion three times, beginning at 7:45. I know it now to the depth of my soul. I wanted a palm for my garden, but I’m not sure, in my haste, I came away with one.

Catch up time for all the things I set aside.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


April 13, 2014

Twittering of birds in the dark treetops. Palm Sunday. I face gospel-reading at three services this morning, beginning at 7:30, Matthew’s unlovely text. Then to the theater. Backstage is too giddy and tumultuous not to have an effect on the performance. Surely the din is audible in the audience. People go on stage laughing, or just having set down their cell phones. I could see the results last night. Our best crowd (loud, laugh-eager, attentive) was rewarded by what was in some ways our worst performance, lazy paraphrasing, distracted entrances, inattention, many of the actors so involved with lives off stage that they were on auto-pilot. You could see them blink into full consciousness when they realized their next line was not there. The set was set improperly and I was mid-speech in an action which involved a wastebasket, and the wastebasket wasn’t present. The one last time this afternoon is going to be a relief and a salvation. There’s a strict age separation backstage. The young people are not impolite, but their segregation from us old folks is firm and unwavering. We may break in, but we are never included in their conversation. Was it thus when I was on the other end? It wouldn’t do me good to enter their conversation, actually, for they are all fans of series of fantasy books that I never heard of, and fantasy TV shows that I’ve heard of but not followed. This seems to be their primary cultural material, and they relate incidents from them constantly. Is it just these, or are kids everywhere consuming fairies and sorcery and –apparently– nothing else? Anyway, I am weary at the hour I arose, and look a long distance to the end of the day.

Held the house last night for the late-arriving Bill Gregg. One actor from Titus Andronicus asked if I were feeling well, remembering how I dropped out of that play because of phlebitis. I said I was feeling well, but I knew my swollen leg had captured more of the audience’s attention than I wanted it to.

Saturday, April 12, 2014


April 12, 2014

First staggering day behind me. The second is tomorrow. Today I breathe.

Reading in the Grotto for UNCA’s Arts Festival. There were eleven readers (thirteen were scheduled) and that’s too many. Of those eleven, four were worth hearing. On such occasions, it’s hard to know whether to go with inclusiveness or to vet things a little, and if to vet them, by what criteria. A is in pain, and it’s sad to watch her move, but move she does, pushing the world before her as she always has.

The more comments I get about Man and Superman, the fewer anxieties I have about my performance. It seems to have worked. Not all of the performances do, but the production does. Last night people laughed heartily all through. Drinks and salad with L at Olive or Twist afterwards, where the old folks were dancing to a live band.

Everyone who asked yesterday was told I would spend today in an orgy of gardening, and that’s exactly what happened. Never was there a clearer, brighter day. The streets of town are Edenic with flowering cherry and weeping cherry and redbud. Stuart left me with two strapping redbuds overhanging the walk. I bought Adirondak chairs and bench for the back lawn. I lay down on the bench and had immediately to leap up, because I was falling instantly asleep. Will keep that for a better time. Planted a scarlet single peony, red poppies, beebalm, baptisia, several kinds of iris that the lady at the farmers’ market had to explain thoroughly, daisy, spearmint, golden ice plant. I dug up a clump of violet violets from the old yard and resettled them in the new. Then I slept and dreamed I was in an airport and our plane could not quite make it off the ground, a clear reference to my not being able to wake up and get about my labors. Golden evening now. I will sit on my porch with my toes in the sunlight. Then I will go to the theater.

Friday, April 11, 2014

April 11, 2014


After class I drove to Jesse Israel’s and bought a golden laburnum, planted it in my yard, and am happy. One discovers it is a giant pea.

Planted yellow and snow white iris. All for those hours was well.

Dead mouse on the kitchen floor this morning, with a surprising amount of blood under his snout. He was warm and pliable, so the drama had happened not long before. It’s hard to imagine why a mouse would enter a space with no food and two cats. Didn’t know whom to praise, though I suspect Maud is the mouser.

My turn to save the first act last night. Tanner goes into auto pilot and doesn’t even notice when he veers away.  You keep circling back until he recognizes a cue. J and L in the audience. Also Charlie F-M on a busman's holiday.

I stagger thinking of the day ahead.