Friday, February 28, 2014

Seattle 2

February 28, 2014

Thursday full up to the rim. Coffee in the Terrace Lounge, extended by my essaying a short story which–as they almost always do--presented itself full-blown. Visited the myriad tables of exhibitors, magazine and publishers, in the Convention Center. The names became a litany of places that had rejected me, depressing, but after a while quite hilarious, a farce where one must give oneself over to the absurdity of it all. Ran into former student Brian Sneedan, who was lonely and happy to see me. Downhill to the Seattle Aquarium then. Both the Art Museum and the Aquarium profited by my not having been vacationing for a while, and both experiences felt fresh and happy. My new camera takes better pictures than what appears in the viewfinder. When I got down to the water, by the seal tanks, I could see Mount Rainier gleaming in the distance in singular majesty. Petted sea creatures and had a mini lecture from one of the attendants. The sea cucumber can shoot its intestines out to distract a predator, and feels to the touch like cold wet nothing. Happy otters. Happy kids having their lunches under walls of moving fish. You can walk through an arch made of rising and descending jellyfish. Against the determination steeled by moving, I bought a T-shirt. To get back to the city you have to climb more steps than I ever want to climb again in my life.

Drinks at Loulay to fortify myself for my reading. The reading in the maze of the Sheraton was well attended, and there were excellent hors d’oeuvres.  Brian came, as did handsome Jim from Esalen, and his still more handsome brother John, who lives in town. The one drink I’d had turned out to be too much, and I didn’t feel my performance was peak, but the story sounded well to me as I heard it for the first time.. People began laughing right off. I hadn’t realized the story is funny, but it is. Thank God. More drinks with Brian at Loulay, where our discussion ranged the vastness of art and thought, and I wondered why I hadn’t appreciated him more when I saw him every day. I think his seriousness irritated me a little. I’d had the same waitress twice in a few hours, and all was very friendly.

When I woke there was a drop of blood on my sheet. Not able to find where it came from. Hope the chambermaid doesn’t see it.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Seattle 1

February 27, 2014

Here is the odd thing: I woke up at exactly the time by the clock I wake up at home, three time zones away.

Plane rides inconsequential. I slept nearly every minute of them. Studied Shaw in O’Hare.

I have a palatial room, 911, with no view, at the Fairmont Olympia. Compared to the rooms you get in New York, it is a suite, an estate. The whole place is rather royal. Seattle itself is happy and friendly, the people sweetly open and smiling. Very good vibration from the mountains or the sea. I went immediately to the Art Museum (it lies downhilll), with its modest, lively, non-exhausting collection. Miro was featured. There was a little too much Craft of the Northwest Indians for my taste. You ask a question and you get a history; I like that. Bought a green bag. Stepped out onto the street and people complimented me on my green bag. Wandered around, absorbing at least the central city.

Went to the colossal Convention Center and registered for the Conference. Had a drink in the wine bar in the Sheridan. The bartender looked like Thor, and I had a lively chat with a drop-dead gorgeous guy whose intonations made me think he was from Brooklyn. We were coming up with of outrageous ways to get Thor’s attention, which, in the end, alas, proved unnecessary. Drinks and salad at the Fairmont, in the great lobby, where I borrowed a sheet of paper from the desk clerk and wrote a poem. Of course. It is a writers’ convention.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

February 26, 2014

Dufay on the CD

Missed first read-through because of my night class. Turned in worse knots, maybe, than I need to be. The conflict was on my audition sheet, but my handwriting is so bad . . . Have been studying the script, though. Shaw leaves no space for the lucky accident, for the unanticipated flight of imagination. All is controlled, ratcheted in, exactly the way some initial plan had wanted it to be. All very brainy. The characters are automatons operated by Shaw’s brain, just the way the characters in his play are automatons operated by the brain of one unavoidable character. Not that it isn’t the same, to some degree, for all playwrights, but some (including myself) would find it difficult to write without some fantasy, at least, of an independent life for the children I had born.

Drive between classes to Mars Hill to lunch with Jonathan David, his wife and brand new son Max, who is charming. People expect me, an old bachelor, to be hesitant around babies, but I’m not at all. One of JD’s pieces was being performed at Mars Hill. Wish I could have heard it, though both he and his wife described it as “not easy listening.”

Conference with Brian. I had misinterpreted what he meant, though not what he had actually said.  In any case, most of my anxiety over the incident seems not to have been a waste of time.

Excellent poets last night.

Flight to Seattle in two hours. I have not looked at the weather, assuming it would be better to let it be a surprise. Everybody hates United, and that’s whose hands into which I have delivered myself. I have already lost track of my duties there.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February 25, 2014

Newcombe Tree Service blasted to atoms the black walnuts in the back yard, leaving behind the caterpillar tracks they swore they would not do. I don’t care: it makes the yard look like an old battlefield, a kind of texture. Their work is complete; it looks like the trees never were, which I find melancholy, even though I ordered it. The thought that I saw a bluebird fly out of one of the trees one summer torments me.

Absenteeism in the Tolkien class. You don’t expect that. People bring notes and you want to say, “Just come to class. If you wanted to be sick you shouldn’t have taken a night class.” Some think that because it’s a fun topic they needn’t be serious.

Monday, February 24, 2014

February 24, 2014

Handel on the CD.

My first visitors to this house were Dalton and Ali. We drank tea and wine and talked about poetry and the people we know at the university. You never know your colleagues the way your students do; it’s an eye-opener.

Cast as Ramsden in Man and Superman.

In a fit of determination, gathering my tax materials together.

February 23, 2014

Sunday evening sliding into Sunday night. Excellent sermon this morning on one of the parts of Leviticus that is really worth something, the part about leaving the edges and the gleanings for the poor. That’s not one the rich people cite when they’re inventing responsibilities for the poor. Sang “How Form a Foundation” to that old mountain melody I like so much. The hymn, especially the last verse, has been going through my head for days. It was good to have a full investigation.  “The soul that to Jesus has fled for repose–“ it’s comforting even if it is not my present experience.

Keep returning to the trash bin behind 62, where I dumped things which turn out to be needful.

Moved my rocking chair to the new porch. Filled the bird feeders at the old place. No reason why the birds should go wanting.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

February 22, 2014

AAA sent, as Yeats said, a large Falstaffian man to start my truck, and eventually sell me a new battery. We talked about the pretensions of his clients, how one woman was sure he wouldn’t know how to care for all wheel drive, how a man put his hand on the precious hood and said, “You do know ths is a BMW?”

Evening on the town with members of the department, first Pack’s tavern, then Cabaret at ACT. The set was perfect, and some moments for the chorus were quite good, but the whole was sunk by a grotesque (and not in the right way) Emcee. He was the poster boy for Doing Too Much. It was exactly what one would expect from a self-respecting community theater, but what will amaze is the accolades laved upon it, as though it were somehow miraculous. It’s all in the sell, and what is being sold is an idea of theater, and not theater itself– an event the conception of which is unrelated to its actual qualities. Wish I could learn how that’s done.

Friday, February 21, 2014

February 21, 2014

Rain on the roof. Though a few items remain, yesterday was the last big haul from 62, all remaining clothes in still shocking quantities. When the truck was right loaded up, I turned the key and discovered that the battery had, at that very moment, died. The urge to fly into a rage died within me, also, after a moment’s struggle, and I got the Prius, and in a state of suppressed fury loaded all that had been in the bed of the truck into the back of the car, and made the trip anyway. I said to each wayward hanger, “Let there be an end.”  Into which day a hole can be punched waiting for AAA I’m not sure.

The other side of the Humanities affair is, of course, that a tyro administrator, instead of considering legitimate concerns about questionable decisions, turned on the inquirer with resentments built up, clearly, from other times, a tyro administrator who had neither the right nor the authority to say the things he said when he said them, even if he believed them to be true. I will try not to say this if the matter comes up again. I will stick with my bewildered contrition, which is genuine, if not quite the whole story.

My poor truck, easing into the mud, his bed filling with rainwater, far away . . . .

Thursday, February 20, 2014

February 20, 2014

Mint tea and Handel before morning.

Developed a longing for the pale green dresser I’d left behind (wanting it for use in my office) and hauled it over and up the stairs by myself. I’d been convinced I could not, but I did, and there is some kind of lesson there. It was created to support the printer and contain the various office detritus needful from time to time. There was an old mitten bunched up in a corner of it, and twenty stinkbugs nestled in the creases of the mitten. God outdid Himself on that one.

Have been thinking of the situation at school. I’ve spent thirty years bewildered that my institution didn’t use my talents more (for I do have them, even of the institutional variety), all the while it was standing back resentful that I was not using my talents more on its behalf. I turned away and began my own projects, thinking to find a place in that way, a deed interpreted as my only being interested in my own projects. All so richly ironic. It would be funny if it were not the whole of my academic career. I have been, I think, a superlative teacher, though that is irrelevant on an institutional level, being invisible to anyone who had not been in my class, and obscured by the cloud of misunderstanding I’ve just outlined. I do not know what to do about this, even as I didn’t know how to break through the barriers at the very beginning except to ignore them and light our for new territory. An outcast, I made my own life, and am judged because I did so. I think there are times when it is impossible to know, or to have known, what to do.

Steve the Fish Guy came and took not only the fish, but the whole apparatus, as I probably told him he could. Thus endeth that whole episode. Of course, I am sad. Interviewed a new cleaning lady, heavily tattooed and bringing a reek of cigarettes with her into the house. Hired her because she seemed, aside from that, without nonsense.

Ran into DG at the Y. My pleasure at the meeting indicated I had missed him. He certainly is big.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

February 19, 2014

Victoria before dawn, kyrie eleison

Excellent poetry class last night. I feel we made progress, and the students are fertile soil upon which such progress may be made. I needed to end with an excellent class, for the day otherwise had been very dark.

The new Humanities chairman responded to my critique of the sudden new plan by saying, in so many words, that the observations were invalid because I was making them. There followed an ad hominem attack the foundation of which was that I was the “most disengaged” faculty member in the program, and that I had no right to an opinion about anything because I had never contributed very much or seemed to care about anything but my own designs, whatever they might be. Part of this is dismissible as defensiveness. But even as I was inhaling the attack–by far the most disrespectful I have ever experienced in professional life– I realized that part of it was not thus dismissible. I understood his perception, and could see why he had it, and could make no real defense other than “No, that is not what I meant at all.”  In my early academic days I’d seen enough time-wasting careerism that when I came to UNCA I made a series of vows. I vowed that I would never speak in a meeting if what I said was not an improvement on or correction of what had already been said. I vowed that I would not seek an office or dignity that was already filled by, or could be filled by, someone who was better at it than I. I would not argue an academic or procedural point if I could get around it in my own classes without raising a fuss. My students, I resolved, were, together with my own work as an artist, my chief concern. They were my chief concern because there I was confident I was anyone’s peer. I was sent to this particular world as a teacher, and I knew how to do that. I resolved to absent myself from situations in which I could not be particularly helpful. I did this because of the weary time-wasting I observed in those who were not helpful but, nevertheless, relentlessly present. I never ran for senate or anything like that because I assumed I wouldn’t be any good at it, and why gum up the works when there were plenty who were good at it and wanted it on their resumes. On the other hand, contrary to my reputation, I never once refused a job that was offered to me, and served faithfully in whatever capacity to which I was appointed. I have in fact stood in the way of responsibility, with my arms open, as it were, thinking that if the task were meant for me, it could come to me. I have also fought–sometimes bitterly– for jobs that I knew I was going to be better at than others, that I would somehow dignify with my labors. When I read the attack I realized that all of this had been read as haughty withdrawal, and I actually could not fault that interpretation, other than to say, as I do now. “no, that was not what I meant at all.”

The 60's are, apparently, that decade in which you realize all the choices you made were wrong, but also to wonder how the hell you could have known.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

February 18, 2014

Blind-sided by new Humanities curriculum which is being enforced without being reviewed. It is education for the TWITTER generation, who doesn’t want to hear too much of anything, for whom a glance must stand in for an exploration. The up side is that it will be much more fun to teach, having shed rigor–even the wistful longing after rigor that we used to feel-- in favor of crowd-pleasing. I sputtered like an idiot at the meeting, and was patronized by faculty whose combined experience in the program is less than my own. And so it goes.

The frustration of the meeting gave me energy, and I moved all grandma’s china and set it into place in its new abode.

Good Tolkien class.

The room is cold, and of course I didn’t understand Stewart’s instructions for turning on the gas fireplace. I will now try to move the trash cans at two domiciles into proper collection space by the power of my mind--

Monday, February 17, 2014

February 17, 2014

Strange sensation: the furnace in this house sounds exactly like  my parents’ shower in the house in Akron, and I woke this morning thinking, for a moment, that I was waking then, and my father was in the shower, and my mother was in the kitchen, and some terrible overwritten slate had been wiped clean.

Slept most of yesterday. A touch of phlebitis was almost inevitable after the stresses of last week, and though I seem to have defeated the actual sickness, the exhaustion comes and will take its course.

Not yet able to write. “Move” is the first verb that comes to mind. Why did I have so many possessions?

By the look of the clear night before the clear morning, there will be no more vacation today.

Took my achy body to the gym after taking a week and more off for the move. It was miraculous. The aches and stiffness are gone even with a fairly moderate weight set. This happens so regularly that I should no longer be surprised.

Realized the item I bought at the Cantaria silent auction was therapy sessions by a person long known to me to be an utter fraud, with fabricated PhDs in disciplines which do not exist. Teach me to be hasty, not to read the fine (or even the gross) print.

My anger has become almost an instantaneous eruption. Need to work on that.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

February 16, 2014

Unusual pastel morning, a night snow peppered on objects as in a sentimental painting. Woke with a touch of hangover. Auditioned for Man and Superman at the Masonic Lodge, wondering at what the cost of heating that cavern must be. I don’t like the play (was bored into a stupor by it at Irish Rep in New York), don’t much like Shaw, but it was something to get me out of the snowbound driveway. Had lunch and delicious wine at Strada’s afterwards, where there was a family with two tiny boys, one of whom had to be turned on his belly in the air by dad–who thought he was choking, but I saw no such thing–and pounded on the back until he threw up. The baby didn’t seem upset at all.

Cantaria’s Valentine spaghetti supper came off successfully last night. Don’t know how much money was made, but the room was full and most of the silent auction items sold. The flower arrangements were like Russian Easter eggs, voluptuous and rich. I had a better time than I expected to, but, still, I hate it, every year, and I hate it in part because it aims so low, with the yes-it’s-crappy-but-isn’t-excellence-bourgeois mentality of the drag show. Glad my long-beloved art works sold and I can begin over without them here.

Thinking how many times I will balance a mug of tea up those uncertain steps . . .

Saturday, February 15, 2014

February 15, 2014

Dark. It sounds more like winter than the snowstorm did, a stiff wind blowing, unaccustomed sounds in a new house.  My floors tilt interestingly. The cats use this when they’re batting their toys around. I’ve set up three computer stations, so I can sit down and write whenever a ghost of an idea crosses my mind. I’m waiting for that to happen. There’ll be one in the kitchen when I get a table for it. My windows face a street on ground level. My old practice of prancing around naked without the blinds down must be modified. Or not. I could become the neighborhood spectacle. It’s a wonder it hasn’t happened already.  Watched the Great Performances celebration of the anniversary of the National Theater last night. All of the performances were great; not all of the scripts were. I say these things to myself, while another part f myself figures out that the rest of the thought is “why aren’t they doing MY script, it being so much better, it being just as good?” Napped in broad daylight yesterday with the lght streaming through the south windows. Paradise. Made me think of Valdez, sleeping all the night in the blessed light.

Friday, February 14, 2014

February 14, 2014

Never thought about St. Valentine’s Day, except for one, to whom I sent greetings.

From the street what can be seen in my old house is the cold blue glare of aquarium lights, where five small fish hang on in whatever state of depression fish are capable of. The last big blue one passed last night. His body was lovely on the snow. Steve was meant to come and rescue the survivors, but the snow deflected him. The snow has given me plenty of time to move into my new life. It is not done, but it is liveable, and done so that if my old house blew up tonight I would miss nothing but the art. That I would miss indeed, my three Jack Yeatses, some of my own whose mystery I’m still plumbing. I happened to be standing in 62 when the cable guy called to see if he could come early, a window of maybe five lucky minutes that made the whole day easier. I thank the Powers for that. I watched him. I possess not one of the skills that aid him in his job. Climbing the ladder alone would eliminate me.

Writing for the first time in my study on the second floor, the clutter of which already bespeaks customary life.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

February 13, 2014

Perfect universal whiteness, though in truth I must say the upper three quarters of the world is as dark as it can be only over a blanket of snow. It was a gentle snow, and there is, so far as I can tell in my corner, only beauty.  And inconvenience, but one blushes to think of that.

Second night at 51, this time in the guest bedroom, which is essentially a wall of glass, with the snow falling and drifting all around. The sleep was deep but not dreamless, and the dream I remember (or rather, do not quite remember) was both important and unsatisfactory.

This house is more sprawling and more be-windowed than 62, and there is greater variety in the temperatures from room to room. The back rooms are quite cozy, especially the closet the cats have taken for themselves. The front can be quite brisk. The house was built for people considerably taller than I, and I can’t reach the closet shelves or the highest kitchen shelves without a stool.

Stewart removed the master bedroom closet door and took it with him. What an odd thing.

Thought I should be writing in the snow last night. All that came were lines about the quiet fall of snow in the night.

Mint tea. Someone came from the street and walked–not on the driveway but on the grass-- to my fence. Snow telleth all.

Hiked through the snow, to get DJ his mail, to reset the router that came discombobulated in the storm, to gather a few things in my arms to bring them to my new home.

Evening: assembled the desk I ordered without knowing it would come as a kit.  Only one minor tantrum. The glue they sent was dried up, so I had to slit open the tube and dig moist glue out with a nail head. The instructions were in French. Long day, ordering, and ordering. The blizzard has given me extra time to complete the move, though I don’t see any sign that it ever shall be completed. Everything is too hard. Pointless complication. The storm smashes far harder, it is told, to the south and east.

Almost too tired to depress the keys.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

February 12, 2014

First night in my house, February 11, 2014. I collapsed before 9:30 in one of the deepest caverns of exhaustion I have ever known. Moving is hideous. I intend never to do it again. Only in bad theater have a prayed so fervently, “please, God, let it be over.” The men sent by Two Men and a Trucks were handsome, personable, very tall, immensely strong, and inexhaustible. I felt foolish collapsed in a chair while they hauled my possessions through the door, but it couldn’t be helped. They talked to each other very little. Perhaps they didn’t like each other much, or perhaps their sympathy was so deep they didn’t need to speak.  They assured me that, compared to most, I have few possessions. “Easy move,” they said, while I held back tears of frustration.

Maud was difficult, and still creeps around the edges of things, finding places to hide. I don’t think she pines for the other house, but is indignant about the manner in which she was captured and hauled in a cage through the winter air.

Evidently the wireless at 62 reaches this far: an unexpected boon. The boys left the front door open all night (and I didn’t come back to check) so the house was freezing. Interesting power bills this month.

Trying to get a feel for the feel of the house. I still stumble around trying to remember where light switches are. My sleep didn’t seem quite restful, but it was a clear seven hours without stirring, so it must have been well. I heard a ghostly voice this morning, I thought, which gave me chills for quite a long time, so intimate and cold and serpentine it was. Then I heard something like it again, and it was my own stomach. Who knows?

Several days of emptying boxes and putting things in place. A great storm is predicted so maybe I have those several days.

Excellent poetry class last night.

I am ready for steady life, wishing the moving in were finished.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

February 11, 2014

Snow obliterates my Tolkien class, though it wasn’t sticking to the roads very much. The movers called and said they thought Wednesday was going to be worse, so could we make the move Tuesday, today, and I said yes, because, though I had planned for Wednesday, the surprise update was a relief, as surprise updates nearly always are. I say to the cats, “This is probably the last night we will spend together in this house,” the only one they have ever known, one I have inhabited longer than the lives of most of my students. Still surprising heaps of unpacked materials–most of it necessary for day-to-day life– to organize in a few hours. Counting on classes being cancelled today, too, and, if not, a spanner in the works, which I will have to deal with in some way. All is in the movers’ hands now, so I wait for them to wake and stir and have their coffee and make the decisions for my immediate life.

Monday, February 10, 2014

February 10, 2014

Jasmine tea in the silent dark.

The cats adjust to each new spasm of the Move. I do fear finally taking them across the street. My belief is they won’t care as long as I’m there, and will delight in the new spaces to explore. Won’t put down the rugs until they’re out of their vomiting-in-protest phase. Blizzard is threatened for moving day. I’ll carry on with it if Two Men and a Truck will.

Dreaded Valentine’s rehearsal come and gone– hated it as much as I expected, but also enjoyed it more. The balance is not quite balanced. One can abide being dragged along by other peoples’ enthusiasms, but one counts the minutes. Gave some of my best art to the auction, fearing now the pittance it may raise.

May audition for Man and Superman, which opens at the end of times when I have resolved not to leave the country or embark on anything big, settling into my new and–now that I think of it–last domicile. Energy ebbs and flows; today it flows.

A few revisions in the otherwise non-literary week

Sunday, February 9, 2014

February 9, 2014

Kyle sent me my reading for the morning. When he did so he sent me a summary of my politics, which I had not known. From First Corinthians:

When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God. Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him” — these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.

Steve cast me as Duncan in HART’s Macbeth. I’m excited about that, except that I suppose it means it’s old guys now from here on out.

Someone asked if I’ll feel nostalgia for ths house. It’s hard to know until I’m away from it, but I think not. It corresponded to no deep-seated need or desire, but, when I saw it to rent it and then when I was approached to buy it, represented the path of least resistance. I do prize that the moon rises in the east windows and sets in the west. That seems a singular and unexpected blessing. I do not know the same doesn’t happen at 51, though the house is under the hill, and the celestial sweep will be less grand.

My elderly fish are dying one by one in the tank. I’m glad I gave them peace in their last days. Many of them change their appearance in appreciable ways. Some of them linger, flopping around listlessly and not eating, for quite a while. Does this give them time to reflect and get their thought in order before the Great Journey? Their brethren in the wild would long ago have been gobbled up, so I give them the Rare and Precious Ending. I stopped renewing the population when I realized I was moving. Steve promised to come and take the survivors to retirement tanks. I do feel bad about not have a tank of fish. It was bright and fascinating. I could start again. . . .

Saturday, February 8, 2014

February 8, 2014

In the moving excavations found my Order of the Arrow certificate from, I think, 1964. Will have it framed, now. Found a cache of old correspondence: in its hopefulness, almost too sad to look upon. Took a load out to River Road. When I was done setting things up, I stood at the river for a while and felt the tension seep out of me. One duck plied the water. Geese called in the low thick clouds, but I couldn’t see them. Entered a sort of trance, which I came out of only when I started shuddering from the cold.

Put an ad to sell the cedar chest on the university listserve. I thought, “someone will pick this up from the porch and I’ll be rid of it without that much effort.” Well, the first person to commit was a secretary in Biology, and when she called, there was a litany of misfortune in her sad voice, “Well. . . I’m a widow. . . No, I can’t pick it up. . .I don’t know who I could get to help you. . . No, I can’t help even a little. . . my back is not very good. . . oh no, I don’t think I could get a student, I’m only a secretary. . . no, I live out in Reems Creek. . ,.” So what was a gesture to save time and energy (and I priced the thing at 1/4 of what I paid for it) will end up being another trip and another lift of dead weight on what will likely by the busiest week of my year. Just goes to show ya’.

Fantastically miserable last night. Watched the merry opening of the Olympics in Russia, the personal wretchedness and the public mirth intertwining strangely, a cable half of silk and half of thorn.. Two bottles of wine sat empty on the counter this morning.

Friday, February 7, 2014

February 7, 2014

Most of my energy as a writer has been dissipated in trying to force my way past ignorant and destructive gatekeepers. I will never be the writer I would have been if I hadn’t had to keep crossing and re-crossing the same ground. I have a hard time dealing with the aspect of criminal wastefulness anywhere I find it.

Interesting classes on the bible. The bible haters feel free to be vocal; the fundamentalists glower in silence. I wish I knew which to do something about. I did ask, “Who believes there really was a great flood and there really is an Ark resting somewhere on Mount Ararat?” The beautiful girl who sits in front raised her hand, and I realized I had to drop that line of discourse instantly, for mockery accomplishes nothing, in addition to being rude. Besides, do I KNOW there is no Ark upon Ararat?

The house grows barer and barer. I keep washing out and reusing the same mug. Today my cutting board is transported, and what I cook will come out of a can.  The cats widen the circles of their romps. I feed the birds on my porch, knowing there are no hooks for feeders on my new porch, and no give in the design of the facade to accommodate them.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

February 6, 2014

After heavy night rains, I assumed the deep freeze of the previous week would have yielded, and so it had. I sunk my father’s spade into the old garden and dug up the golden tree peonies and one great white heron iris. I knew and loved the peonies over many years. The iris I just planted last fall and have never seen in bloom, but the name is so intriguing I want to.  I dug them out of the east-facing yard of the old house and planed them in the south-facing yard of the new one. The soil seems rich and loamy, with a generous portion of sticks and chunks of wood from who knows what event.

In the evening I’m afflicted with terrible muscle spasms.  I don’t think it’s the gardening, solely. I’d worked out at the gym after a hiatus. Maybe it was that. Maybe I hadn’t drunk enough water. The muscles tighten in waves, from the sides, working over into the belly where it’s particularly excruciating, and difficult to breath through the pain and the tightness. My reaction is rage, fighting the cramps as though they were an adversary with cowardly tactics and a grip like iron.

I think of my old garden. I can’t take everything. Which dry stalks are the peonies I love, and which are likely survive a transplantation in the dead of winter? I cough and the spasm returns. I scream with rage, and the cough returns. I determine that this could go on all night before I yield. I do, however, yield enough to gulp down as much water as I can stand. A little more than that, actually. I sit very straight, so as not to give the spasms a curve or a bunch to work from. I regret that it is dark again, a windy winter dark, and all thoughts of the garden are purely theoretical.

Peach Moscato at Avenue M amid night wind. Bliss.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

February 5, 2014

Feeling oddly cleansed by a session of standing on my rainswept porch in the utter dark bellowing at God.

Feeling homeless, though in fact I have two homes. Shuttling between them is like a rat scuttling between bolt-holes, one over, one not yet, what I need in one lying inevitably in the other.

The director whom I did not respect did not cast me in the production for which I foresaw mediocrity. . . and somehow I am upset about it. . . .

Guest bed arrives today from Haverty’s. I could sleep in my new house if I wanted to. Hesitate to call the movers– why? When to move the cats? When to return the pile-up of phone calls? How long to charge madly forward on all fronts? A tactical retreat would have prevented numberless defeats, but I never learned how.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

February 4, 2014

Very sexual dream ended by the cuddling of Circe the cat. Maybe she was embarrassed.

Monday, February 3, 2014

February 3, 2014

Deluge on the roof, Monteverdi on Spotify.

Drove after rehearsal to Waynesville to audition for HART’s oncoming season. The drive out there by night was less daunting than the thought of it had been. My $1000 glasses are as useless for driving as they are for everything else. The throbbing cattle-call scene in the lobby was not to my taste, but it did indicate a level of interest in the community which must have been gratifying to the theater. All shows were auditioning at once. Parts of it were well organized; parts of it weren’t. I was interested in Macbeth, but auditioned for To Kill a Mockingbird as well, as there was nothing else to do until my call. Steve was, as ever, excellent and relaxed with his auditions, but the woman who’s directing Mockingbird was almost a parody of bumbling folksy community theater amateurism. I’d have bolted from the room if having done so would have been less obvious. Though I determined in two minutes to have nothing to do with that project, I was irritated when she kept by-passing me, and I finally had to raise my hand and insist on an audition I didn’t want. The level of auditions–except for that of my old friend Leah–was very low, though there is another night of auditions tonight. It’s been a while since I’ve acted. Maybe that’s what I need. D was there, trying out for Macbeth in a fully unintelligible Scottish accent. The Macbeth superstition was so deep that one was asked not to read Macbeth, but “Mackers.”

A box of CDs went missing during the move with A and his friend on Saturday. I’m going to try to put that out of my mind. M has been wanting to send me something by mail, and though I responded, somehow he didn’t get the address, and he handed me the item before church. I thought it might be a check for the return (partial, I anticipated) on my investment in his production. I sighed with relief, as moving is very expensive. It was a thank you note. A lovely thank you note, but--

Sunday, February 2, 2014

February 2, 2014

Looking forward to the day when “moving” is not the central activity. Lunch with John and his friend John. Showed 51 to Tom. Raft of rejections by email. Thought while sitting on the couch that perhaps the whole history of love in my life has already been made, and there is nothing left but to contemplate it. Another big fish dies. Maybe the aquarium will empty itself before the move and that problem will be solved. Tried to dig yesterday, but an inch below the surface was ice white as–ice. I thought that underground freeze would not be so clearly– ice. Powerful dreams before waking. Uncharacteristically, I do not remember them. One was happy and one was, if nt quite sad, grimly heroic.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

February 1, 2014

Saint Brigid’s Day.

Woke from an odd dream. I was in a town where there were many hills, and I had been trying to make it as some sort of artist, perhaps an actor. When I looked into a store window, I looked like Darrell. Nothing was happening for me, and I was a little desperate. It seems that I had once worked in a donut shop, and I went back to see if I could again get a job there, carrying with me a stool missing two of its legs. I knew I needed my own stool for the break room, but for some reason it had lost the two legs, or I had decided it showed the proper attitude (hopeful but not too confident) to appear that way. I stood in line to get an application, but then grew fearful, and fled into a dark room, like a theater lobby. In the dim light I could barely discern money on the floor, wads of it, as though someone had dropped it in haste. I began picking up the money, thinking it a windfall, but then wondering if I had dropped it myself in my distraction and confusion.

I’ve been up for ten minutes and have already plucked a stinkbug off the nozzle of the Jergens lotion bottle and off the trunk of my elephant lamp. Praying they do not follow me across the street.

The moving has become almost unendurable, one of those processes to which there is no perceivable end. I thought doing it in dibs and dabs would reduce stress, but I must not know myself very well to have thought that.

I began adding up the time and expense I accrue trying to please or help other people, then turned my thoughts aside lest disappointment with all that turn my deeds aside as well.