Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve

December 31, 2014

 Sit down to record on the last day of the year without, truly, much of the summarizing or reminiscing impulse. Forging ahead, I tell myself. Prying myself from 62 after 24 years and coming here, a better residence in every way, is the big story. My own reaction amuses me, though, for I recognize a certain reluctance to be fully pleased, lest the universe decide I need to pay for my contentment with some unforeseen tribulation. I can barely contain the excitement I have at seeing what my first full spring will look like here, after the planting I have done. Seattle, Vienna, Budapest, less traveling than I would have liked, but I wanted time to curl up and know my new house, dig the fresh dirt. In the long passionate, agonizing affair with God, I found a way to block him, or at least the pain he causes by what appears to a mere mortal as cruelty, and betrayal. It is to trade heroic love for peace, something I spent fifty decades willing myself not to did, and yet, finally, did. One can weep only so much. One can wait only so long. If there must be faith on one side, there must be a little pity–or honor–on the other. Betrayed at love, one finds a way to render the bitter weapons of the lover harmless, and moves on. This is the core of Eastern religions, and I never recognized it until I lived it. Even now I entertain a voice back in the convolutions of the mind whispering, “it must be how He wanted it.” –having not, I suppose, utterly let go.
When I think of the faces of the year, I think of S, I think of the singers at the Kodaly whose earnestness and application were not, I understand now, American. Maybe I would say it was Magyar if I knew more. I think of B, who has the courage to call himself an asshole but doesn’t quite realize he really is one– self-recognition without the will to reform. I think– well, the images shift like the surface of waters.
    I must have written something. I can’t think now what it was.
    – writing amid the outsized bouquets in the hotel in Seattle
    – crossing the Danube bridges
    —Medea with my students
    –-watching the movers carry my possessions through the swirling snow
    ---sitting in darkness in my walled garden, weeping such tears that would have turned a heart of stone.
    –the various musics
    –the dreams after which I woke smiling
    – the big flower with white petals in starlight, which is what I see now when I close my eyes.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Sixth Day of Christmas

December 30, 2014

Walked in the dark of the morning in the neighborhood. Walked in the light first at the Bird sanctuary on Beaver Lake, the at the Botanical Garden.  People tell stories of the wonderful things they see at the Sanctuary. I saw a woodpecker, and on the lake a coot, appearing and disappearing, though he gave me great calm riding upon the calm waters like that, they white and gold with dawn.
A boy I knew before he was born came to my house to sell me cutlery, which I knew I was going to buy–without needing–before he started his spiel. The inevitably alone was so exhausting I cold barely sit through his presentation. He was very professional, though I couldn’t get my attention off the dandruff in his eyebrow. The things that throw us off! His hand was torn off in an accident, and then reattached. It seems to work fine, in this age of miracles.
Baked a failed cake, from which I learned much. It actually tasted OK, but I used the wrong sized pan (though the one I was instructed to use) and it was mean and thin.
I think I have pinkeye. The Internet says it’s viral and I should just wait it out. It also says it can be related to the respiratory infection I’ve had since Thanksgiving. Coughing and rifting, coughing and rifting. . . .
Preventing myself from feeling exultant at finishing both books I had set out to revise. How would I celebrate if I permitted myself to celebrate? Maybe in the New Year I will discover this

Fifth Day of Christmas

December 29, 2014

Z sold me some knives. I finished The Falls of the Wyona.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Fourth Day of Christmas

December 28, 2014

Holy Innocents.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Third Day of Christman

December 27, 2014

The Way turns to the left and to the right, to the east and to the west. The Way does not act, and yet everything gets done.

Yesterday was the day of fixing things. Today will be the day of not fixing things.

Returned to the gym, whereby I am energized. Energy is one of the things you must spend to acquire.

I always assume that the simple solution will not work for me. That may have been true once, but it has ruled everything after.

Hours before light. I am keeping the night’s secrets by not writing any more.

Friday, December 26, 2014

St. Stephen

December 26, 2014

The program for Christmas Eve in Marshall rendered my name as “Hoak,” and gave my address as “All Souls Crescent.”

My winter soul-coughing sometimes makes me lightheaded to the point where I almost pass out. It is especially fascinating when it happens on the road. I feel my consciousness shrink until it is a little box of everything I can still see, surrounded by wide borders of darkness. My ears ring. There is an odd taste, or sensation of taste. I feel myself willing myself to stay conscious, to hold on just long enough, hands gripping the wheel, eyes pulling themselves wide. Even the enclosed life has its little perils and adventures.

Went to see Into the Woods. I sat with elderly lesbians of my acquaintance. It is a sensational movie, a great one, with inspired casting and inspired performances. I felt as I feel about the stage play, that it goes on too long, that Sondheim goes on after he has left his depth. I cannot make that argument, though, without conceding that most things in this world go on after they have left their depth.

Too much cabbage.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

First Day of Christmas

December 25, 2014

Full morning Christmas Day. The service at Marshall Presbyterian was unexpectedly sweet and moving. I would not have thought I was in good voice,; nevertheless I sang it the best I ever had, and felt proud to have given them a gift on Christmas Eve. Dalton’s teacher came from Mars Hill to hear him, which I thought was sweet beyond belief. All the handsome redneck boys in their best flannel shirts were asleep with their mouths open and their heads tilted back. I compared that experience to All Souls, one rough and faulty, the other refined and, as far as I could tell, perfect. Would the people of Marshall prefer the floating silvery perfection? Would they come to us if they could, have us if they could, or would they find us cold and forbidding? Certainly we overflowed into the library (where there was a television showing the sanctuary) and they did not. I don’t know. My affections are mildly with Marshall at this point, for I had not stood and held twenty pounds of music to the point that my back seized up then. Plus, they handed me an envelope full of money. Enjoyed the music we did at AS this year, though I had to ration my perpetually-phlegm-ravaged voice to get through it. Sopranos on either side. Kept me on my mark. I remember being moved in soul on Christmas Eve. Would love to have that back again.
Pale blue fleeced with clouds through my tiny study window. Plans for the day, which I am determined neither to rush nor to regret.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

December 24, 2014

Dan and David and Jon took me to breakfast and then swept out toward the slopes, taking the rest of my cookies with them. Daniel remarked that my jokes changed as time went on, from funny baby ones to funny adult ones. For that I give thanks.

Sitting cozy in a house of improved coziness. The accented furnace worker phoned around 1 and said that the repair guy was on his way to the house at that very moment, and that I should hurry to met him there. Two hours ten minutes later I called the company, reining in fury, and asked what happened. “We don’t know what happened. He’ll be there within the hour.” Actually, he was there (barely) within that hour, and all got fixed (for less $$ than I expected) just in time for the drive to Marshall. Had to wait to come home to wallow in the clemency. Several problems seem to have been solved, notably the weird distribution of heat through the house, which this morning seems creamy and well mixed. Second was the tremendous sound the blower made– which now I rather miss.
The thing to contemplate is my disproportionate rage over the whole matter. I was not really uncomfortable in the places where I needed to work or sleep. At no point did I ever doubt that everything would be well in a timely manner, but I let that conviction submerge under vituperation that, at times, embarrassed even me. It’s a kind of pathology, which I see and can describe even while being apparently helpless in its grasp. My nephews were pointing out differences between my sister and me (which are more remarkable than our similarities) and one they could have added is that she sails over even quite bitter misfortune without complaint and without–visibly–breaking stride. I go to war with the universe.

Left, as I said, in time to get to Marshall for rehearsal. I was hoping that a month of rough throat and phlegm would clear in time for Christmas Eve, but I think now that hope is vain. My opera buddy Dalton with the blazing blue eyes has joined us. Both our accompanists are ill, so we rehearsed last night to the tapes made to sell the music. I’m not sure but that was a good idea, giving us confidence and a better sense of tempo. Kenny shares the common fault of choral directors, which is to over-rehearse right before the concert, insuring that their singers’ voices and their joy are ruined. The other common fault of choral directors is to talk after giving pitches, as if terrified to give their singers one moment alone with the music.
Drove home in the dark night contemplating a warm house and a wrathful character.
Little downtown Marshall blazes with Christmas trees and candy canes hoisted up on the utility poles.
In some ways my Christmas spirit is higher--if less metaphysical-- than it has been in years. I think this is because I have been more sociable. My tree is pretty. I don’t know. . . maybe I’ve just exhausted the fuel of wrath and sadness for a while.
What do I most bless at this very moment? My nephews.
What did I dream last night? That I went into the basement of some building (this is a fairly common dream for me) to swim in a pool, and found that the pool had altered itself in the night, and I could swim through corridors and rooms and out into the night, and everywhere, even in the dark, the water gleamed deep aqua.
If I let my mind go blank, what image enters? The pines visible out my eastern window.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

December 23, 2014

Lady Grey tea. Writing in the guestroom, three big boys asleep in the study upstairs. My nephews stop here on the way to ski, coming through the door like the scene from Fred’s party in A Christmas Carol. Their affection for one another is secret treasure.

The burly Hungarian–I guess--came to look at the furnace. The problem was, of course, dire and presently unfixable. The gas pan? Is that what he said? He MAY know where to find the part today, but no promises. I don’t think I called the company I meant to call, the one where I had paid for “priority” service. This may have been part of our confusion on the telephone. On one level it’s embarrassing how darkly I react to things like plumbing and furnaces. On another level, I think if I’m intractable enough maybe the universe will be moved to hurry the bitter moment along.

Adam and Steve came to visit and look at the tree and drink some Montepulciano and pick up Adam’s laptop, which I gave him out of my store because his was lost in a New York break-in. Cheerful, wide-ranging chit-chat. As usual, I have the least to offer conversationally. I don’t really do anything. Ruined an experimental cheesecake while waiting for them to arrive.

Monday, December 22, 2014

December 22, 2014

Woke with a curious sense of gaiety, The house is not so cold as it might be. Bitter weather is not soon predicted. Once I claw past the anxieties, everything seems to be on track. Last night was Longest Night, and we passed through. The second Cantaria concert was much better than the first, and as well attended. Over my sore back and sore feet, I felt exultant. Merry dinner on the brave porch of Avenue M. Burning the lights of the Christmas tree this morning because I forgot to– or was to-- glum to- last night.
What a Puritanical, Fundamentalist monster contemporary secular society is. A college president is presently in trouble for saying “all lives matter,” which apparently pulls attention from “black lives matter.” Humaneness, patience, and understanding are anathema if they seem to be aimed at people or institutions which are meant to be under an unceasing barrage of hatred. If someone mentions a grandchild or a pretty sunset, someone else– who probably thinks that he’s inspired by compassion-- must pipe up and say, “Oh, but only your privilege allows you to see that sunset or have that grandchild.” Killing joy in one place never, ever increases it in another. Nor are these things reasoned, proven, or discussed; like all Fundamentalist systems, it expects its pieties to be accepted as stated and universally applied. Failure to do so, failure to do so enthusiastically, is unappealable proof of depravity. Hearing my students’ instant, hysterical indignation when you say something as simple as “why?” in response to their Sociology 101 pieties is the single most terrifying thing I’ve encountered as a teacher. I think they might acknowledge the extremity of their response, but then say that the matter is so important that discussion or moderation is not appropriate. How this differs from religious Fundamentalism I can’t see. There are exceptions, but most people are trying to be good, trying to expel racism and sexism and intolerance from their hearts. No one on this planet, no one at all, has the right to blame them for going too slow or going slant, and it is not only because blame will not help, but because the blamers are themselves flawed, often irrational, often so prejudiced themselves they totter about like walking parodies of their own arguments. No one is righteous enough to blame the unrighteousness of another. Except by action. Only that. Doing good is the only unanswerable witness. Christ admonished those who had dared themselves to admonish. Whom does he hate as much as hypocrites? Buddha doesn’t speak of morality in the same way, but it is absurd to think of him going up in someone’s face and screaming “Glutton!” Any religious or moral view which requires the subjugation of others to it is false.

Yet, sometimes we need to know that we have strayed. I trust in circumstance to tell us, but what if we NEED admonition? I'm admitting to needing something I assert nobody has the right to give. I'll figure this out next year.

Still hours before dawn. I will have a full day.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

December 21, 2014

Arrived home from Atlanta to find the furnace was out. Typing in the unheated upstairs with surprisingly little misery. Bundled up, of course. It’s a rule that the furnace will go out on Saturday night. The trip was eventful. Two hours were added to the journey south because of two spectacular, and fatal, traffic accidents within ten miles of each other in I-85. When I got to the wreck spot, one truck lay fifty feet up in the trees, looking like it had exploded. At that spot stood a highway patrolman pumping his arms in perfect fury, red faced, trying to hurry is along and hurry us along, as though all the delay had been our faults. I was not inclined to understand his plight. How long and how hard will the police have to work to overcome the impression of recent years that they are, at best, bumblers, and at worst murdering cowards. I was sure before I saw it–and not fully convinced otherwise after–that it was some mishap the cops and bumbled, multiplying miseries unnecessarily. The incidents made the news, though the reporter somehow neglected to mention my being inconvenienced. Great time with sister and nephews. The boys, who will not be parted from one another, have an easy and heroic relationship, though their intermingled and competitive bravadoes can inspire a certain measure of mischief. Their neighborhood friend apparently moved in for the weekend to bask in it all. Much eating, much talking, my second dose of The Battle of the Five Armies. The only five seats together were in the front row, where we had an amazing perspective on everybody’s pores. I disliked it less the second time–unexpectedly– but the boys hated it. Their friend Nick tweeted, “Peter Jackson shit the bed.” Nothing has the sweetness and energy– and, I suppose, danger– of a pack of young males. They may be coming here as a leg of a ski trip. If so, the cold house will prepare them for the slopes. Trip home uneventful but very, very long. I lost patience somewhere between Greeneville and Spartanburg. Open house at Jack and Leland’s, where my 2nd cheesecake was a hit. Stayed less than an hour. Lit the space heaters.

Not that it saved me time in the end, but I left Asheville before dawn, and saw a blood sky under a fading sliver of moon in the east.

Maud has found the attic. I wouldn’t mind, except that I fear she’d fall through the ceiling in places that aren’t planked.

Picked up LeGuin’s translation of the Tao te Ching, by far the best I know, or the most useful to me. It is quite true in saying that if you focus on what you want you will see that; if you do not focus at all, you will see everything else. I have focused fiercely on what I want, but I have done so because it was denied. If this irks God, he had better allow me what is mine, so that I am able to see whatever it is he wishes me to see. I have learned all my unbelief from God. This is a paradox I would write about if I knew how.

Friday, December 19, 2014

December 19, 2014

Most definitely phlebitis. Yesterday was the Day of Alternating Fever and Chills. The chills were so devastating that my muscles began to seize up. This condition obtained throughout the Cantaria concert, my performance in which was thereby certainly affected. Drank shocking amounts of water. Feel better today, for the drive to Atlanta.
Saw the latest and last Hobbit. As an interpretation of Tolkien it gets a D, some beautiful moments annihilated by arrogant and pointless deviations from the text. In every case, Tolkien’s drama, Tolkien’s suspense is better than Jackson’s. Someone should have been there to say no. . . no. . . no. . .no. . . . What goes on in an interpreter’s mind? There may be cases in which the interpretation is richer and better than the original, but so few one should take it as miraculous. No miracle here. And it will make a zillion dollars. Good acting from Martin Freeman. Dark morning. Time to set out.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

December 18, 2014

The illness doesn’t behave like phlebitis, but like the flu, I can say in day 4. So everything I have been doing was futile. I suppose that’s good news, or at least normal news.  

Now we’re letting our cultural life be dictated by North Korea. Interesting development.

Did a little writing. Attended rehearsal. Slept, slept, slept.

Adam’s New York apartment was robbed. I’m giving him my Apple lap top when he arrives, to replace one that was stolen.

There must have been more, if I could only think of it--

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December 17, 2014

Yesterday was a long sleep. Every now and then I would get up and do chores (bought a couple of interesting houseplants, coasted around Main Street in Weaverville for a while), but would return and lie down and sleep with the cats arrayed around me. This didn’t prevent a full night’s sleep last night. I am grateful that the antibiotics cut the agony, though they don’t quite eliminate the exhaustion. Ate only Edna’s chili, which is almost supernaturally good. Must make something of this day. Must prepare for the drive. Must. . . at this late hour. . . do something. . .

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December 16, 2014

The sickness came upon me yesterday, after a spasm of baking that included a chocolate cheesecake and a batch of vanilla cookies. Someone better invite me to a party so all these baked goods can be used. As for the sickness, the pills push it back, but I slept to a shocking 7:30 this AM and look forward to a day of frequent naps. It’s cloudy enough to be a good day for writing. Troubadour songs on the CD. Missing S.

Monday, December 15, 2014

December 15, 2014

Curved moon over the quiet yard. Trying to decide whether to write first or go to the gym first, I note what effort it would take to defrost the car windows if I try to start before the sun, so writing comes first.

Irritating “dress rehearsal” last night, to which one sweet soul actually wore his tuxedo. The soli are good; maybe we should just go with soli. As every establishment closed as we walked in (before 9 PM), DJ and I finally got a drink at a Mexican restaurant, where they cheerily waited for us to gobble and go. My penalty was to throw it all up about an hour later. Irritating dreams, as though my mind were content neither asleep nor awake.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

December 14, 2014

I recollected that the Madison County Arts Council was having some sort of sale, so I took a break from writing and headed there in brilliant winter light, arriving at the exact moment of the Marshall Christmas parade. Couldn’t get into town, so parked about a half mile out along the railroad tracks. The parade was made of fire engines and beautiful horses with tinsel around their hooves and bells on their tack. It was going so slow that I joined it, walking along with the engines, heading, as it was, for Court House Square, where there was a faulty recording of Harry Connick Jr singing Christmas carols.. Behind the horses were troops of Boy Scouts jumping over hazards of horse droppings, and carts with local people and the names of churches on them. People were throwing candy from the “floats,” but someone had told them not to throw right at folks, so they were tossing candy on to the pavement for the kids to pick up and store in various sacks. It was rough and sweet, and I was grateful (and rather astonished) that I had come at exactly the right moment. Bought a box someone had made, and came home to renew my labors. Party in the evening at Merritt’s– convivial. I made myself sick on too much chili, walked it off by taking the longest path home imaginable, that did not involve circumnavigating the world.

Fighting the cough I’ve had since before New York.

Gave up the Facebook fight to show people who think of themselves as secular and above faith-based convictions that their central convictions are faith-based– things like “all white people are racist,” which, like “Jesus is the only answer,” is not verifiable, probably wrong, and only temporarily useful– but in any case, an article of faith, which seems different, somehow, because it comes from pop sociology. My students are thoroughly secular and yet almost unreachably rigid in their pop-culture faith convictions, which they will defend with the unreasoning emotional fury of a Torquemada. It is the worst of several worlds.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

December 13, 2014

Days of writing. Dryness of soul. . . a good dryness, removed and unencumbered. I feel like a Hagar who knows where all the fountains are.

Was it my grandmother’s birthday? I think so.

My anxiety is that the sidewalk men will take out my row of hollies: the feature that makes the front of the house liveable. They stand a good way from the street, and the workers’ progress has been relatively non-invasive to date, but there must be something to fill the worry vessels. I don’t see how the sidewalk can get past the giant pine, either. Ninety years untouched, and they get all motivated when I move in. Their progress is not swift, so perhaps terrible weather or bankruptcy will come upon them.

Parties tonight.

Friday, December 12, 2014

December 12, 2014

The little church in Marshall was fragrant with wreathes and a giant spruce, to the ceiling. Sang till I was hoarse, and still am.

The writing unfolds like silk.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

December 10, 2014

Days ruled by imagination– as much as I can of the daylight spent writing, spent in the midst of worlds I have created or altered. When I lie down there are the fantasies one has when one lies down, places and people and situations created to fill gaps in the world one has stopped waiting for the world to fill. I can live like this a long time. I rejoice living like this, and resent interruptions, even those I give myself, like pulling on my shoes and going downtown yesterday afternoon to hit a few galleries, just to get out of the house. Bought a wooden tree ornament carved to look like a woodpecker. Bought chocolate at the chocolate shop that was like the mud of paradise, thick and chocolatey, almost beyond even my enlarged capacity for sweetness. Watched people passing in the gray light.

Woke one morning with the Christmas tree tipping to leeward. Called Leland to help me straighten it. I had not screwed all the screws. Curious.

Finished helping a young women get her MFA at Antioch U. Part of me rebelled, for her general social incompetence and scatter-brainedness should have counted for something, but there was nowhere on the report to speak of that. “Why me?” I wondered the whole time. The reading she organized was preposterous. She was never sure what she was doing, with that or in her relations with me. She called frantically, interrupting my evening because she had neglected to mention a deadline, and then didn’t want to speak to me because I returned the call in the midst of her supper. Fortunately, her own writing is quite good, so I could swallow hard and sign the documents.
    I know the present mood is that credentials belong to those who desire them, and that earning them is a process of a disgraced hierarchical tyranny, but in this I fear I cling to the old ways. We have decided to give trophies to everyone on the team, from kindergarten stick-ball, where it doesn’t matter so much, to the arts and society, where it does. I am trying unsuccessfully to think of a problem with current society that does not at some point involve people pretending to be something they are not, and being allowed by some conspiracy of perception to do so. Carnival rides pass for theater. Hysterical self-interest masquerades as public service; murderers and cowards wear badges and call themselves keepers of the peace. Bigots pass as men of God. Ignoramuses get Ph.d’s and teach college because no one dares call them on their ignorance. Bloodthirsty vengefulness is a called the desire for closure, or for justice. Oppression is called Safety. Tyranny is called Order. Self-indulgence is art. I try to make a hierarchy here, but I don’t know what is worse than what, and suspect that mendacity in small things may be as damaging, ultimately, as mendacity in the great. None of is allowed to turn from the things we are bad at and give our energies to those things where we might do good.

Yet, I am having a fine time, holding off these matters with one hand, writing with the other.  Dark, dark morning. . . hours yet before I need to put in an appearance, true or false.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

December 7, 2014

Baked pistachio cookies.

Bought a Christmas tree from the usual place–the biggest one I ever got, having the highest ceilings I ever had–in driving rain, set it up in the dining room, got it, at this hour, almost completely decorated. Bubble lights. Other peoples’ antiques. Memories oddly clean of melancholy.
Lessons & Music at all Souls. I found it exceptionally meaningful. Didn’t know that S had walked all the way from campus to be there. I mentioned the service to him off-hand, but– Anyway, there he was, looming darkly over the crowd at the end. We left and went to Avenue M, where, rather surprisingly, the entire crowd came pouring in a few minutes later, so we had a social evening rather than an intimate one. I take him to the bus station in a few minutes. He doesn’t seem happy to be going home, but neither was I at the same point in my life.  What various and rich potential–he seems to know this, though, so the dad instincts in me can lie low for a while.

Dark morning, fierce wind. When I switched on the light, the two cats standing accusingly beside their empty, empty bowl.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

December 6, 2014

Student Heather knitted me a fine green ski cap.

Spent yesterday afternoon with S, hearing about is adventures in Europe last summer, seeing his father give a rather fatuous speech about Hollywood on You Tube. What a cosmopolitan, eventful life he has had already! I have treated him as though he were as young as his years, and he is not. He takes a magnificent picture. Entered grades, sealing the semester, as far as I’m concerned.

The crew ate at an excellent new neighborhood barbecue place (they ate: I court disaster if I eat before I sit), then headed off to Flat Rock for a version of A Christmas Carol all but annihilated by Disneyfication and over-production. Some people hate perfection and must add a chipper song or a too-long dance just to leave their mark.  I had to leash back rage. We went to support Maria, and Maria was excellent, so I suppose one might call it a success. Marley/Christmas Present was also magnificent. King James afterward, the best frittes I have ever had. I get profane when I get exhausted. DJ called me a savant of profanity, which I rather like.

Watching the two peaceful cats eating at their bowl this dark morning. Circe, when she came would hiss and spit over every morsel. Now that she has learned there is always plenty, she is impossible to provoke. This is a lesson I transmit to the world.

Disappointing cookbooks arrive from Amazon– disappointing because they all seem to have some axe to grind (one must NEVER measure, but only weigh), or call for Betty Crocker mix of this and that rather than telling you how to make it from scratch. What the hell is potato starch?

Maud sleeping in peace upon my left foot.

Friday, December 5, 2014

December 5, 2014

Early to bed ,early to rise, with my hand hovering over a multiplicity of choices. Final finals yesterday, grading one while giving the other, so my semester is largely wrapped up.  No one has given me a dilemma by disappearing at the last minute. After the Humanities exam, S and S and T hung around to talk, and we jabbered for more than an hour. They jabbered, while I looked on fascinated, delighted by them and their speech and their mannerisms, by their beauty, and also mortified by the tininess of the time I have dedicated to simply sitting and being with someone, without an activity or a reason. Eddie complained about this years ago, that I never just sat beside him on the sofa and watched TV. It never occurred to me to do so.  Even yesterday I kept trying to think of a reason for us to be together, trying to figure out why they wanted to be with me doing nothing rather than heading out for lunch at White Duck Taco, which it was their original intention to do. A day still filled with appointments, as they shall be for a time yet. In any case, grateful for a time when nothing happened.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

December 4, 2014

Final playwrights’ meeting. One superb play; another that could be superb when it’s finished. One was faked cleverness just to have the project done. Bade goodbye to R, for whom I’ve been a soundingboard and confidante for four years. I thought there would be more ceremony.

Terrible hoarseness, which destroyed rehearsal last night. It seems, I discover, to be largely curable by a drink of water.

Two finals today.

Annihilated a batch of cookies by failing to add the flour.

Longing to write. Anxious to write. Looking for a day (tomorrow?) In which I might write almost uninterruptedly. Maybe not that until next Monday. If not writing, I wish I were in London.

Foot hurts knee hurts side muscles cramping from too much weightlifting sore-ish throat. Anything else?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December 3, 2014

 Finished The Beautiful Necklaces last night.

 Choir in Marshall was actually fun last night. I can blast there in half an hour, a truth I keep forgetting, so I arrived early and sat on a chunk of cement near the church, watching the passing show, which in Marshall is very sparse and very dark, yet enough to reawaken my old hunger for adventure. Had it been an Irish town of the same size, I would have found the pub, settled in, and staggered home with some drunk Adonis on my arm. Two Adonises did pass me on the street, one dark and one fair; I decided to think of them as allegories.

 Baked cookies yesterday. I hardly recognize myself. I can’t eat them, so I’ll take them to my exams.

 Got my free Starbuck’s Christmas coffee for having drunk five orders of the same and had my card punched. It was very exciting.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

December 2, 2014

Pastel morning sky, all of the pastels.
Sang for World AIDS day and the Quilt at the Renaissance Hotel last night. It was a gala occasion, and I felt invigorated and joyful when I left to have drinks with the crew at Pack Tavern. Such events are, in Asheville, amazingly mixed, with excellent things intermingled with dreadful things, the dreadful things included because they are sincere or represent an under-honored minority perspective. My stance that bad art is never anything but bad art is not popular these days, and so, for the most part, goes unexpressed. To regard the quit is ever sobering; so many of those dead in the plague were born within two years of me. If I ever doubt that I was blessed, all I need do is ask myself how I escaped.
Have been unusually happy in recent days. Bad news has stayed away; expectations have been supportable. Knee ravaged by, I think, the wrong shoes largely healed by exercises at the Y. My body took me there half against my will, knowing it was what we needed. My thoughts are on Christmas decorations and the baking of cookies– as though I were my mother.
Huge progress on The One with the Beautiful Necklaces.