Thursday, January 30, 2014

January 29, 2014

City– the whole South– shut down for winter. People slept n their cars in Atlanta. Icicles hanging from palms. I got up my usual time and tried to go to the Y, but it was closed. Tried to go to Starbucks but it was closed. The driving didn’t seem that bad to me, except for the eeriness of the empty streets. Got coffee finally at Dunkin’ Donuts, where the barista was none too happy to be there.

It’s exciting to me, for it throws me back to my youth. Part of it is aural– the sound of your feet crunching the snow when it is very cold. Part of it is the diamond sparkle of the snow. In the sun it is glorious, but by moonlight it is miraculous.

Realized that between moving and giving stuff away, I had no pot in which to make pasta.

David Fraley’s Caryatid is the first painting in the new house.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Orphans of the Storm

Late afternoon: City whitened under snow, more than anyone expected. Death-march north up Biltmore, but even worse in the southbound lane, where people are trying to get out of town. Thought of the panhandler who often breaks in on Cantaria rehearsals. He’s skinny, disheveled (the last time quite smelly), and always has the same story, that the bike given to him by people at Trinity Church was stolen, and everything would be all right if he could just get $15, because “she” promises to rent him a room for the night for $15. He replaces the guy who just ran out of gas and who could get home if somebody would lend him gas money. I gave him a twenty several weeks ago, responding to the same story, which did not seem at the time entirely implausible. Though he is clearly a liar, I’ve no doubt that the things he mentions actually happened to him once upon a time, which his desperation makes into an ever-recycling life narrative. He has become He Whose Bike Was Stolen, and Who Could Sleep Safe for Fifteen Bucks. He came to me while my class discussed Gollum, and those classes of entities which we are not sure whether to classify as “evil” or “unfortunate.” The moral world is confused by the fact that one can be quite destructive without actually being evil. Charity is confused by the prevalence of beggars who are not actually needy, but have found the craft (whining prevarication) they’re good at and, like the rest of us, employ it. Is some particular beggar really needy, or does the repetition of a story clearly not likely to happen twice erase his worthiness by making him a liar, a whiner, an interrupter of other people’s days? He preys on churches, knowing that church people will at least feel an exquisite conflict between Christ and practicality.

January 28, 2014

Enough paint is up for me to be a little shocked by the whiteness of the white I chose for the walls. Sherwin Williams claims it’s plain, untinted white, but it’s an icy blue-white, like snow over a glacier. Decided to have no regrets.

Tolkien class. One energetic young lady admits she has no interest in–and rather dislikes- Tolkien, but wanted to take the class because she has created her own mythical world and all she really wants to do is talk about it, share it, extend it, and thought we might be an audience. She doesn’t want to do the assigned essays because they are analysis and not chapters of her own book. My first thoughts were that it must be dreadful and that kindness would be to read a little and tell her so, but, who knows? We dwelt several times on the slow and gradual accretion of Middle Earth, a lesson which passed her by. She and her friend are Mass Comm majors, and confided that regular prose irritates them because it is not like news writing, not fast and jabby and pithy. I don’t remember learning such hardened doctrine and acquiring such exclusive tastes in college.

Excellent lecture on Egypt yesterday. I’d despaired of learning anything new from the Humanities lectures– because I’d heard them all twenty times before– but this one had me sitting up with eyes wide. It moved toward not an enumeration of monuments, but a probing of the language, and hence the minds, of those who made them.

Early morning disquiet. Stomach upset, head a little achy from the drink I invented last night: prosecco and Cointreau. Overdoing it in the name of clearing the shelves before the move.

All things seem suspended, unable to move forward or to be forcibly pulled back.

Monday, January 27, 2014

January 27, 2014

A limb of the neighbors’ oak fell on my truck, an event that one could see coming but not do anything about. No damage that I could see.

Had my first libation in 51, sweet sherry I’d bought for the event, drunk out of the tea set my mother had when she was a girl. I figured sixty years without its being used was not an exaggeration. I want all forgotten things to come back into the light.

Godawful rehearsal last night. I was in a mood so close to physical violence I was glad it was overcome, at last, by lethargy.

Something made me happy just before waking.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

January 26, 2014

Ache transmutes into coughing, which may be the poison leaving my body through the throat. Don’t feel badly; not good company.

Life reduced to little forays of goods across the street to the new house. Being on everybody else’s timetable make it impossible to plan very precisely. That said, there is almost no way in which that living situation is not an improvement on this. I am glad that it turned out this way. Though it cannot be said precisely that it has “turned out” at all just yet.

The potential of the new garden makes me swoon a little. Even had the weather been bearable, I doubt I would have picked up a spade against the sheer (and delicious) immensity of the task.

Watched the J. D Salinger documentary on PBS. What’s the big deal? I disappeared even more cannily than he, in plain sight, not apparently putting forth an effort at all.

Friday, January 24, 2014

January 24, 2014

Still not feeling 100%, fill exhaustion time with taking quizzes on Facebook– what fictional city should you live in? (Atlantis) What time should you live in? (The Future) What Star Wars character are you? (Yoda). Made an appointment with arborist yesterday. We stood in the arctic blast planning the fate of my new backyard. I’ve hired many a tree guy in my time, and each has been sexier than the last. Must be some blessing derived from the trees. One thing I won’t miss about 62 is the phantom window opening. The windows here have always opened to please themselves. This morning when I woke the bedroom window was open a good two inches (I didn’t do it) and the floor was icy cold. Maybe a kind of haunting I never appreciated. Churning my way without particular enthusiasm through a play. Likely nothing will engage me fully until this typically protracted move is over. Yet this is better than to have been hurried, so I’ll endure it. Meeting about assessment yesterday informed me on several points where I had been mistaken, and perhaps I need to pull back my objections. Pull back, not purge wholly. I think of the creatures in my water gardens, hoping they are not frozen to the very bottom.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

January 23, 2014

Lit perfumed candles yesterday to get some of the dogginess out of the house. They should still be burning at this dark and morning hour. The kitchen fills up nicely. Dragged around yesterday because of not feeling well, though “not feeling well,” thank God, never advanced into outrightly sick. We had a great time in Humanities, two of the young men agreeing that the discussion left them “pumped up.” Me too, in my achy and wanting-to-go-home way. Slept most of Wednesday. No reason not to do the same today. Except we do have a meeting about “assessment”, in which I intend to cross my arms, grit my teeth, and refuse to play. Every useful  move we make ends in an outcome which cannot be objectively assessed, and yet we move forward, wasting our time and bastardizing our vocabulary so a few otherwise superfluous administrators can feel they hold sway. The only things which can be evaluated numerically are numbers. We are given the task of attaching numerical equivalents to hunches and prophecies. Teaching would be a thousand times more efficient, more honored, more productive if left to the teachers. Can anyone really doubt this?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January 22, 2014

Steam hissing in the registers.  I think I have a touch of flu. Mint tea steeping. Hours before light.

51 has a doggy smell. It was less yesterday than the day before. I suppose time, painting, and a few aromatic candles will take care of that. Moving things with wondrous slowness, not wanting to grow impatient. Painting won’t start until the weekend.

Surprisingly little chit-chat about the Chancellor’s resignation, at least in the circles in which I travel. I showed my story about it to a few. I manage to retain real affection for her as a person. She reminds me of my sister in some inexplicable way. Some hope that her departure will have a ripple effect, loosening the grip of others whom, for the sake of the university, we more urgently need to purge.

Odd catch in preparing a Humanities lecture. Evidently we cannot have an instructional or craft video made unless it fulfills the exact prejudices of our Provost. A state of censorship on a university campus should not be endured. That such things are suffered is a wonder to me.

Wind rattling the windowpanes. It’s romantic when you hear it in a movie.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

January 21, 2014

Moved things to the Riverside office in the dark of the morning, making sure to pass by 51 so the lingering presence of the trucks and vans could whip me into rage. But the last of Stewart’s moving trucks departed as Russell pulled up in the circular drive. We went through the rooms deciding what and how to paint. Bought the materials myself because Maria needed Russell to come home and wish her luck face to face before she went to auditions. Sigh. It was the first time I allowed my excitement to come to full boil, there seeming now to be no conceivable block that could prevent it from happening. The house is lovely, and satisfies me completely. Determined that I will in fact be able to see the moon rise and set just as I do here. The ground is already bulbed and seeded in my mind. Children live across the street, and I could hear them playing. We will not be painting the kitchen– which is a cool pale gray–so I began to move kitchen things in. I wanted the first thing to come over to be ceremonial. It turned out to be wine, which I suppose it ceremonial enough. In one bathroom, which is a mossy dark green and which we also will not paint, I hung the big antique mirror that Harry my Pa Kua instructor gave me fifteen years ago. Stewart is some sort of restaurant entrepreneur, and he left me stacks of pate and other elegant, never-bought-for-oneself delicacies in the fridge. He warned me that the shipments will keep on coming, and I should consider them mine. The walk across the front yard to the mailbox is considerable. I couldn’t whip up proper hatred for the black walnuts, seeing them clean and slender in the winter light.

Monday, January 20, 2014

January 20, 2014

Beethoven on Pandora. I packed seven cases of CD’s, wondering now if I’ll ever use them again. If I could have the money back for all the clothes I gave to Goodwill and all the CD’s I decided at the last moment not to, I could buy another house.

Good sermon from the Dean, on the truth that one usually finds what one is looking for. Our yearly rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”  Was in better voice for Cantaria than I expected to be. Paella for lunch: still picking bits of shell out of my teeth.

Took an online Alzheimer’s test. No fear of that yet. Except if the creation of typos were a sign of it, I’d already be hospitalized.

Though it is the dark before morning, I would have been and expected to be in my new house, at the least having a look around in my first perfect solitude there. But Stewart came over last night and reported that his movers were nine hours late and that they hadn’t brought enough padding, etc, etc, and couldn’t I give him a little more time? I said yes, of course, but this morning I’m feeling bitter about it. I’m never late, nor do I ever leave anything to the last minute. You’d think some apparatus involved with the Golden Rule would insure you some against those vices in others, but it doesn’t work that way.

Selling the House

I’m going outside now in the gray winter rain
to find the stubs of iris,
to kneel down over them and say goodbye.
I’m stealing to the peonies, their last leaves
purple with the cold, to hymn them
thank you, thank you in the harshest music that I know.

I don’t remember what god was in my heart
when I put in the grove of elderberry and paw-paw,
but I will pray whoever comes after honors him.

O! I say to the bloodroot, be in bloom
when my successors make their decisions.

O! I say to roses, I understand how hard beauty is.
Others may not: shrug off rust and aphid
and appear in perfect storybook.

O lilac! O camellia! O! thick thugs of meadow weeds
welcomed when you came homesteading,
they don’t teach you how to speak to such an hour.
I have to make it up, standing over you like Niobe
in a painting of two centuries ago, hoping
that the neighbors cannot see,
hoping to be hidden by the moon and the
ungathered stalks of you, beating the wind to whispering.

I know the world loves lawns and the mower
eat its fill, and this laborious Eden shall take on
one day the geometry of the plot next door.
So Nineveh went under desert and all those towers
foundered in the sea, and it sounds petty strung together
like that, but one’s ruin is one’s ruin,
and the flint all sink down upon to howl, the same.

I think you should be prepared. When I leave
I will not be able to turn around and took at you.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

January 18, 2014

Snow in the darkness.

Kyle’s birthday dinner at Bouchon. One forgets that food can be really, really good.

Friday, January 17, 2014

January 17, 2014

Four garbage bags stuffed with shirts to haul to the Goodwill truck. I suppose one acquires as long as one has space. If I look into the closets they still seem full, though not so crammed.

Beautiful moon, night after night.

Afternoon: Closed on 51 Lakeshore. Karen and Stewart and I did a walk-through that renewed (or ignited) my excitement about the place. For one thing, there’s room for ample flower beds in front of the house–and facing south– without my even having to set spade to turf. The great western pine seems not to shade the yard overmuch. This was full salvation. Everything that came after was flourish. Stewart will be leaving Sunday, and Monday I can roam around to my heart’s content, though I can’t actually move in until the painting’s done.

The closing was sort of idiotic. The bank had me sign every page of my last year’s tax return. I asked why and Rose said, “No reason at all. It’s just crap.” Most of it is just crap. Like the security lines at the airport: the institution makes a terrible mistake and then a great show of imposing procedures that do not address that much issue at all, but give a public impression of doing. . . something. . .  as if inconvenience were a sign of diligence.

Good class on Gilgamesh. One of the students said he’d dropped out of the Honors class to take mine because the word on campus attested mine was better.

Spent time in the early morning writing in the café, as it turned out, about the Chancellor’s resignation. I think subtler things abut that than I had imagined.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

January 16, 2014

First visit to the podiatrist. Expensive without having been particularly necessary. A plantar wart is not a wart. That is useful information. Everyone remarks on my exceedingly flat feet. How did I get them? Doctors are very keen to warn against every remedy but their own.

Dead stopped for anything of significance to say. This is the week of dragging from one side to the other.

Rooms full of eager faces. The baseball players want to miss eight Fridays. I said “Why didn’t you take a Tuesday/Thursday section where you wouldn’t be missing so many classes?” Blank stare. People will help them through. I will help them through. You do so knowing it’s unfair. Not everybody in need of help asks for it, and there you are baffled. Some people ask for so much help you begin to shrivel when they walk through the door,

Schubert on Spotify.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

January 15, 2014

Full moon last night, blue and penetrating. Was seized with the most agonizing muscle spasms, first in the legs and then in the belly. Couldn’t get off the couch to get water, which is what I knew I needed. Cursing, madly, loudly. Much exercise, not enough water.

I think I cured my garden melancholy by getting out the plant catalogues and beginning to make selections. The time I spent thinking of the reasons why a garden in the new space is impracticable is interesting to me, for THIS space was in every way less promising those years ago. The impulse to prepare oneself for struggle is good, but when that impulse exceeds evidence, the result is premature despair.

E and I are assigned to write Comprehensive Exams. I file it away for a calm moment; he gets on it instantly. I remember those days!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

January 14, 2014

First day of class passes with the conviction that whatever else my students are this semester, they are sweet and eager. I got a round of applause after the Tolkien seminar. In dreams I was writing a short story, very consciously, if consciousness applies. I think I could finish it this morning if I could just recall what it was about. Steve wants me to sing a song written by Nathan which changes key on every measure. The text is the Boy Scout pledge. The effect is, I suppose, satiric.

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 13, 2014

Class looms in a few hours. I’m prepared, even if not eager. One is always prepared.

In dreams I had an unanswerable weapon, a kind of big crossbow, but was frustrated every time as circumstances would not allow me to use it.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

January 12, 2014

Went to the studio early and painted. The heaviest rain came while I was there and as I stood and watched, water came through the wall and the shoddy window frame and flooded me. I rushed around trying to get everything off the floor. One hole in the wall was bubbling like a woodland spring. Mitch rammed something down a pipe from the roof, and the obstruction went away, but he had to do it twice, Part of the time I was on the phone with Verizon, trying to get a phony charge off my bill, one I had been hollering about since 2011. It worked this time. Lady on the phone said, “Well, why did you pay for a service you weren’t receiving for all these years?” I said, “Because I called four times and you ignored me each time.” Even as I said it I realized how fatalistic I have become, assuming after the first couple of tries that it was a burden I was meant to bear and that calling again and again was rebelling against fate, futile and pointless. But it worked this time. Let it be a lesson to me. Estimated cost: $3422.

Afternoon at Tom’s watching football to celebrate his birthday. It was a good time. I’m usually uncomfortable in such a situation– child-heavy families, all known to each other, me a virtual stranger-- but I stayed long enough this time to get used to and to like everybody. Many of the people Tom talks about, and I was able to fit faces with narrative. His brother-in-law Bill seemed perfect to me, handsome and funny and a beamingly benevolent father. His little boy said, “If you do such-and-such for me, I’ll give you a hug.”

Woke from a dream of going to work through a colossal mall. I was looking for a place in the mall to sit down and write in the diary I carry with me. I’d been to a theater performance the night before, and one of the theater staff recalled a play of mine once done there, and said, “Oh, I remember that. We regretted doing it. It had no life.” I wanted to find a place to write so I could refute him in my diary.

Threw my jaw out biting down on something wrong, and was convinced through the evening that troubled muscles were actually jaw cancer. The cancer seems miraculously healed.

Affectless morning. I might have woken in a cardboard box.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

January 11, 2014

Fine hard rain on the windows.

W pushes forward with the house, and I allow myself to be pushed, knowing it is for the best in everything but my perhaps unhealthy sentiment for the plants in my garden. Will he honor the paw-paw trees? Will he root out the camellias? The children need a yard to play in. . . but, could the cyclamen be given a shay little corner? I’m making myself miserable thinking a year ahead . . . .

Meeting at university where we received our orders concerning Title IX. No one approves of violence or coercion or being “made to feel uncomfortable”– whatever that means– but the legislation undoes itself by allowing only one road to compliance. It replaces the discretion of the wise with a checklist in the hands of bureaucrats. All programs that do so– and they multiply– are doomed to damaging unintended consequences. We are assured the matters will be handled by “trained” personnel, but one understands that so much of “training” is the systematic elimination of healthy alternatives in order to validate someone’s doctoral thesis. Personal experience inclines me to some mockery in this arena, for the one time I was accused of inappropriateness along these lines it was an absurd lie– a handful of lies– protected by two semesters in which they were discussed by everybody but unknown to me.  When I could finally speak to them they were gone in a day, but certain damage was done. It was fascinating to hear that I was denied access to the accusations against me because, “Oh, he’ll just have some explanation and then it will go away.” That self-adoring hypocrite IG pleaded that I be denied promotion, presenting a time when I corrected in a meeting an error she had made as a “incomprehensible personal attack.”  All this was believed as long and as lip-smackingly as possible until light could be shed. Yet they were following the rules as they were then. There is nothing to stop a lie or a misapprehension from complicating a person’s life now, and the young lady who was explaining her rather extraordinary power to us did not fill me with confidence. Some people would like us to become a culture of informers.

I believe power differentials should be corrected or purified, not necessarily reversed.

God abuses me. To whom should I petition?

Circe sleeps, snoring softly. Under the rain it is a comforting sound. In my next life I would be content to be a cat, but it would have to be one of my cats.

Cats bring to mind an odd passage of the other night. There was a commercial about animal abuse preceding the part in the movie Pearl Harbor when the bombs begin dropping on the boys in the ships. Maybe it was just too many images of cruelty, but I began to feel such grief for the world that it cold hardly be borne. I felt like the Madonna, or Tolkien’s Nienna, weeping inconsolably over the really appalling wrongness of the world. This is hard for a Theist, for at some point one turns inevitably to the Silence and says, “You could end this, and yet you do not.” I have never doubted God. I have often hated him.

The space into which I move my archives at Riverside Industrial Park is equipped with sprinklers. I saw that and my heat sank. I whiff of smoke in the hallway and everything’s gone. I suppose I would take that as the world simplifying my life for me. Stripping it clean, which is an extreme measure of simplification.

Friday, January 10, 2014

January 10, 2014

Pulling myself out of the morass to address the first round of meetings at school. Might attend these, as the notice implies we might actually be learning something.  The house situation depresses me, as time goes on and it becomes more rather than less complicated. Living amid a sea of boxes is more depressing than I can say. Met with W yesterday. He can’t afford the house, but I will help him afford it if it’s what he really wants. He’s like a kitten mewing at your door in a thunderstorm; he can’t possibly be turned away. I ask “why did you do this?” but if I ask myself whether I’d like it all reversed and I’d never bought 51, the answer is no. Making sure DJ is not uprooted. Making sure I can part with my garden in some way I can endure, or find away to take it with me. W says, “dig up anything you want.” I will.

The Lincoln epic passes 160 pages. Of course I think it is THE American masterpiece, but what I think has not split much thunder.  Sent it to SL, SS, and SB to find out what they think. The mass of it will probably frighten them and they won’t read it it. Maybe I wouldn’t either.

Last year the anemones were blooming now, and they aren’t. Late spring. O, peonies! Sleep until you’re in your new home!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

January 7, 2014

The picture window was frozen over with elaborate rococo patterns of ice. Odd shadows were thrown on it; the limb of a tree across the street shone in the window as though it were inches away. I thought a tree had fallen in the night, but I couldn’t think which one. The sun has obliterated the patterns now. It was a deeply cold night. Something I remember from long ago: my glasses were so fogged when I came in that I couldn’t wear them for a while. That was part of my whole youth, and it hasn’t happened for a long time.

Jolene admits she will be selling Phil Mechanic. I had imagined myself painting away there till the end of my days. I feel dispossessed.

On a related topic, I wish I had never begun the process of moving. I know why it makes me angry: sixty-five percent of it is wasted energy. I cringe looking at the boxes on my floor. Stewart is reluctant to give me a firm move-out date, and I am reluctant to be demanding or inflexible. Yet, I want to be one place or the other. Will longs for this house one day and misses an appointment to talk about it the next. I am not good at dwelling on the borderlands.

This is the firs day in my memory (since grad school) when I have been healthy and yet not left the house.

I may have finished the Lincoln cycle. The third play, in any case, is accomplished.

I am writing drunk. Hope it doesn’t show.

Monday, January 6, 2014

January 6, 2014

Epiphany. Moan of winter outside.

Packing renewed access to things I had misplaced, among them albums containing photos from my childhood and backwards to photos of my parents’ families, and beyond to photos of people I should know, but don’t. They’re lasers lighting up sectors of my brain. There is the cardboard false fireplace with the firelight made by a kind of windmill atop a Christmas light, and the china that only appeared at Christmas, a Prussian blue bowl with fruit on it–painted and raised–and two candlesticks. The livingroom carpet was deep green with cream colored shell-like shapes on it. Vivid as yesterday; it was Christmas 1956, Me looking at a candle on my first birthday, in a cake in the shape of a heart that mother made for me. It is the only time when utter bliss was recorded in a photograph of me. Where is that pan? The blue bowl with the fruit on it? I think if I could find them, have them, something would be different, something would be better.  I can follow the path back beyond that, even, but it stops, and there is a hazy darkness I know I can get beyond if I keep my mind open, one finger of it forever probing that shadowy door. If I could feel what I felt at first, if I could wear the face I wore in the photo, lit by the single light–

Afternoon: First load to Riverside Drive. They were rehearsing a play in the space across the hall. I will be able to fill a room with nothing but journals and notebooks.

Session with Cameron in person and the credit bureau person and various bankers on the phone. I was a crabby, uncooperative bitch, and I don’t know exactly why.

Kathy St. John has died of cancer.

Took down the Christmas tree, a chore less melancholy than in most years past. That is a very good sign. Water spilled from the stand when I dragged it onto the porch, and froze instantly.

Packing, I came across my old journals, including the first one of all, which began on this night in 1969. It was the beginning of my second quarter at Hiram. I’d left all my poetry at home when I went to school, and avoided writing any, thinking the serious application of college should not include poetry. That resolution went exactly three months.  I mentioned my classes, feeling my way toward some voice, some idiom, toward which I still feel my way today.

Unscrewed the hose from the outlet in preparation for the cold. A drop of water got on my glove, and when I touched the wall of the house to steady myself, the drop froze the glove to the aluminum in one second.  Atlanta is colder than Anchorage.

A day of exhaustive physical and emotional labor. Everything took an extra step. Things really do not need to be so hard. The idea of someone helping me is one I have forgotten how to entertain. But it would be nice.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

January 5, 2014

The temperature in Minneapolis is reportedly lower than the temperature on Mars.

Actually being produced professionally changes the way one approaches playwriting. For one, you’re always trying to pare down the number of equity contracts necessary. In a historical scene– such as the deathbed of Lincoln, where I am now– it requires you to think of excuses for falsification. You have someone say what the doctor said, rather than having the doctor there to say it.  You take words from the Senator and give them to the Secretary, who is already on stage. You conflate. You condense. You arrange scenes to enable doubling. If actor A playing character A could possibly be character C in the next scene, you create enough business to allow for the costume change. You know that for most people in the business saving money will be a legitimate reason for playing fast and loose. You know that most scholars will accept that with a shrug and make their notation. Edward Albee said in Valdez that one should not do that, that one should write the play one writes and let the producers worry about the rest. But that was Edward Albee. I won’t say it isn’t kind of fun: like building a house on uneven ground.

Move-in is back to January 31. Everybody but me forgot when closing day was. Call from Cameron that the mortgage empress, though approving everything, and not actually needing a couple of documents which he insisted were needed, has “a couple of questions.” This threw me into blue fury right there in the antique store, where I was looking (unsuccessfully) for a desk. Why is it that authority (especially when it’s exercising itself toward no necessary end) infuriates me so? I do recognize it as a flaw in my character, though my reaction might be less vehement had I encountered much authority that was as wise as it was arrogant, as vital as it was self-protective. The mortgage system is a special case: by greed and intentional bad practice it nearly brought the financial system to its knees. Having been saved, it pretends its saviors were the cause of its problems, that malicious borrowers had duped it into bad practice, and arrays itself in vigilance against us. Most of what we go through in a day is quite unnecessary–authority erecting a wall of baffles and busywork behind which it can work in secret. I try not to think of this too often.

Every project I touched yesterday, from moderate to minor (it was one of those days) fell immediately apart. The truck doors were frozen shut. I went looking for furniture without having measured the rooms. Bla and bla and bla. It is a very dark Sunday morning, and from now on until dawn I shall write.

The moon and Venus rise in my east window and set in my west. This is what I’ll miss most desperately. Though I am now assuming that this move will ever come to pass. My being ahead in the packing almost insures that it will not . . . .

Saturday, January 4, 2014

January 4, 2014

Took an online politics test, and the graph puts me in the extreme Left Libertarian quadrant– further in that direction than Nelson Mandela or the Dalai Lama. When people ask my politics I say “to the left of anyone I know,” which I suppose, now, is true. Would probably cancel out a political career, even if it were conceivable otherwise.

Stewart wants an extra two weeks to vacate the house after closing. I sigh and agree. That makes Valentine’s Day move-in day. It’s probably better for me, too, though the best thing would be to have the mess over. Karen is looking out for my interests with some ferocity, suggesting we charge Stewart “rent” for loitering. No, I think, anticipating wanting breaks to be cut for me in due time. Looked daily in the mailbox for confirmation from BB&T that my mortgaged was paid; finally called them. Put on hold forty minutes to discover it, of all things, had apparently been lost in the mail.  I take to my bed. Or would have had the cleaning lady not been there. . . .

One of my big fish has the whitened eyes I have come to associate with not-too-far-off death. It gives me joy to think that I have allowed some creatures–fish and cats, mostly– to live out their lives in peace and plenty.

Packing: Found a sheaf of cartoons Tommy King gave me in 1992 for safekeeping. I kept faith.

Friday, January 3, 2014

January 3, 2014

Victoria on Spotify

Arctic morning, windy and bitterly cold. Another use for my beautiful carpets is to stuff them up against the door to keep out the wind that wants to come under.

Of my two cats, I have never seen the one drink, and I have never seen the other piss. This is a wonderment. Maybe they do some sort of mystical transfer when no one’s watching. One of them pushed my checkbook into their water bowl. When I came out to see the swollen thing in the green dyed water, it was a while before I could figure what it was. I had used the last check, but I was sad for a moments that all that history was gone.  And my lovely leather checkbook with the ornate tree--

Difficult day yesterday. I heard a bird singing in a tree, and I wept because it was my tree and my bird, and I was hurrying away, and, of course, no bird will ever come into the new garden that I will never dig. Alleviated some of the panic by renting an office/storage space at the Riverside Industrial Park, where my neighbors are NC Stage and SR. I don’t know, now, how exactly that addressed the problem, but the panic subsided, and I have access to the French Broad, and there are tables down by the river.

In dream I was overseeing men building my house, and the building of my house had something to do with the completion of an entire city, one the microcosm and the other the macrocosm. It was not going well. Derek Evans advised me on a plan to speed things up and end goofing off on site, and that was to have a party where I would introduce the workers and supervisors to monsters which somehow personified their faults.

The wind makes a dull roar against the study window.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

January 2, 2014

Late start, birds already singing. Serene– even lethargic–start to the year. Met with Adam and his father. Gave Adam one of the fragments of Troy I smuggled home. I was meant to be some sort of consultant on how Mr K could expand his cosmetic business, and I hope I was of some value, though I mostly asked questions, realizing I had no idea how things like lotion or cold cream are made, or even exactly what they are, though I have of course used them. The father lives on an island of Greece, Kalamas, I think he was saying, which has a city which sank into the sea in Byzantine times, a ruined Temple of Apollo, hills covered with the herbs and flowers they used in their cosmetics. Sounds like paradise to me. Worked on the last Lincoln.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ave 2014

January 1, 2014

Hilarious time with DJ, Bill and Amy at Avenue M. Tout le monde. I was home and in bed before midnight, but it was a good way to start a year that I here and now dedicate to merrymaking. Sound of distant fireworks as I was easing into sleep.

Meeting with Adam and his father at noon. They want to talk to me about running a small business in Asheville, which is sort of funny; I have done so, but it was not a remarkable success, except in the way it lingers in peoples’ minds as being better than it was. But maybe that’s my next step: a literary café, a performance-space gallery, a psychic’s salon where I can deal tarot and give people the futures they desire.

Laundry. Plenty of liquids. Fasting. Transcribing the café-created portions of my new play onto the computer. Desultory packing. Not the worst way to start a year. When the light comes I’ll see if I’ll be doing my annual stumble around Beaver Lake.

Eric Whitacre on Pandora.