Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September 30, 2015

Over yesterday’s disappointment at the speed of whirlwind. Why, I won’t even ask.

Expected rehearsal last night to be an awful groping for lines, but I was actually pretty good, by far the best of the lot. Dementia? Not yet. Waited for Erin at Earth Fare until the very last moment, told when I got to the theater that she had a family emergency in Atlanta.

Energy this AM. Feel like a boy.

Lovely rain.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

September 29, 2015

Immensities of rain. Start, stop, start again harder. It’s like Ireland.

Testimonies from my two boys on how great the playwriting workshop is.

Excellent class (I thought) on Crete, Mycenae, Archaic Greece. God knows what they thought.

Five minutes online reveal that Austin Macauley is primarily a vanity publisher, and when they send me a contract, it will likely be an “author contribution” one. They do real contracts, too, but the fact that this is all hidden, that there is nothing on its website to indicate it is a vanity publisher, raises the creepiness level to near infinity. At least one immediate task is off me; I won’t put In the Country of the Young through a full rewrite for them. Well played, Lord: full points for you. Maybe not full points: I hadn’t fallen for it quite completely– hence the online search. But a great victory nevertheless. Salut.

Monday, September 28, 2015

September 28, 2015

Crashed into bed last night at 9, having already fallen asleep on the couch twice. I need to put a limit on the number and intensity of things I do in a day. Left rehearsal early, the arthritis in my shoulder and upset in my stomach having become unbearable. I thought, “You’re singing. For a stupid concert. There’s nothing in the contract which requires you to be in physical agony.” The man next to me sounded sensational, so my old, vain worry that the basses would be lost without me seemed yet vainer. Went home, took the aspirin, lay down, essentially never got up again. Feel great this AM. Ran 1.25 miles on the elliptical, before dawn, studying my lines.
The Bs’ reception went well. All the baked goods, even the experiments, seemed to work, and I’ll blame over-preparation rather than taste for the fact that dozens were left over. The congregation may be eating them after church for the next six weeks. There were probably enough pieces for every person at the event to have ten. The event itself was remarkable– who knew there would be such richness in the repertory for trumpet and organ? Interesting music, layered and contemplative. J sang some of my Baroque favorites. I was happy just sitting and listening. Take-away: sit and listen more.
Preparing the manuscript for Austin Macauley. Ocean of typos. I make new ones correcting the old. I’m sometimes a better writer than I remember myself being.
Giving up my fight in the Humanities. Not giving up the principle, exactly, but noting that the front has moved, and there I stand alone in an empty field. I was right a year ago. Now– not so much.
Glowering sky. I inquired of the garden and it is finally satisfied with regard to the rain, though there still is a way to go before there is too much.

September 27, 2015

Dream of a kind of safari which includes jungles (an inhabitant of one of which was an arrowhead-headed lizard that spoke Italian to me) and a war-zone, where the soldiers stopped and put in special bullets, that went very slowly, so you could get the sensation of bullets coming right toward you with plenty of time to get out of the way.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

September 26, 2015

Sang for J’s funeral at All Souls in the morning, for the wedding of two men I didn’t know at First Congregational in the afternoon. Two landmarks in life’s journey. I feel privileged, looking back on it. Much baking, much cramming of lines. The student who got hysterical in my class transferred, as I think she should, though staying with me would have been the greater lesson and the greater triumph. Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd in London is interested in seeing the whole of In the Country of the Young, following on the excerpt I send them. After my little joy dance I tamp it down, realizing how many barriers yet lie ahead. Invent lime drop cookies, having stared for about a week at the juice of eight limes in the fridge. You can make only so many gin and tonics. Make fudge for the first time. Start looking over Young to find it a sea of typos; they were generous in wanting to see more.  Days ahead without one empty space, one deep breath. I must have wanted it--

Friday, September 25, 2015

September 25, 2015

 In the trances of the storm hummingbirds came to my feeders, looking so small against the storm clouds and the glowering line of trees.
Bought a wheelbarrow. All my plants were in before the rain. Bless. Bless. Bless.
Look across the street and see Will has shrouded 62 in fences. I turn away, saying to myself “A broken heart is too theatrical. Besides, nobody is watching.”
Told not to come to Humanities meetings, as my input is not wanted. The fury is tamped down considerably by the shrug.
Discover that gout has made all my dress shoes unwearable. Scamper to Steinmart to get a cheap pair that will get me, at least, to the wedding tomorrow.
Orgy of baking.
Exhausted almost to staggering. Can’t judge exactly why.

September 24, 2015

Before dawn: me running on the elliptical at the Racquet Club, studying lines.
Two giant cartons of plants on the porch in the morning. Got them into the ground, anticipating rain. Shade-loving hydrangeas, ferns. Transplanted the meadow rue, that seemed unhappy where it was.
Begin a flurry of baking for the Bryants’ reception.
Getting ready to drive to Waynesville with the kids, when I realize I’m sick to my stomach and can’t stand up without leaning against a wall. Vertigo, I self-diagnose. Will phones and said, “Do you realize you left your car door open?” I did not. Call and beg out of rehearsal. Things improve through the evening, both the nausea and the vertigo gradually subsiding.
I walk out onto the porch and the rain falls, a perfect, root-delighting downpour. I bless the gods, finally.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September 23, 2015

Woke in the wee hours with a a turbulent mind and a sour stomach. Did get back to sleep, dreaming then of a play where Act II was a giant blue pool in which there were dozens of tiny seals, and you got to enter the water and play with the seals.
Useless rehearsal way out in the mountains. Who knows why?
Faced with a phenomenon in class of two students (both women) who are belligerent without apparent cause, and whose “questions” are meant to challenge and delay rather than clarify or enlarge. This has been rare in my career, and each time I have not understood it. First, I have no idea what I do to provoke it. Second, I wonder what possible profit can come out of it for the belligerents. They look foolish every time (perhaps they think they can win the wit skirmish, but they never do); the class resents them and I detest them. I detest them for wasting time and marring the shapely artifact that a class hour can be. One is an aging high school mean girl who is used to causing disruptions by playing games on the computer and then loudly lamenting that she has not understood what went on while she was doing so. This must have worked for her in the past. The other is a hard-favored lesbian who thinks there’s some sort of power realignment when you say, “So, you see how X, Y and Z–“ and she can pipe up at the end,”I don’t see that,” never a question (I learned after many moments of patient reiteration) but always a groundless contradiction. Her motives are rather clearer. She hates me because I am a man and an authority figure. She believes she is storming the walls of the patriarchy, her weapon mule-like contradiction. I should suggest the siege might go better if she were, ever, right. Maybe this is what woke me at 3. If so, they have a little victory.
Throb in the toe, which I resent because I have been good about eating nothing, let alone what might offend the gout.
Sky threatening rain. I hope it carries out its threat.    

Cantaria’s “Fascinating Rhythm” this morning’s ear worm.
The day can but improve.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

September 22, 2015

Another explosion in Humanities. Discussing the Taoist ko’an, “He who feels punctured must have been a bubble,” I aver that Lao Tse implies that we will not be disquieted by external things if we are whole and certain within ourselves, that to take offense is the signal that something is uncertain within ourselves, that the “offender” has merely–sometimes accidentally-found the point at which we are a bubble. My native American activist recites her well-rehearsed litany of white misunderstandings of native peoples and then says she is forced and expected to correct these mistakes when others make them. I say that I agree absolutely, but Lao Tse would pity her for being at the mercy of external forces. She bursts into tears, gathers up her things, dramatically leaves the room. I murmur, “Thus proving the point” as she disappears. It’s surprisingly difficult in a university to show people who are having emotional reactions that they are having emotional reactions. One’s own prejudice is pure reason. After I spent five minutes explaining why we would not be having class on Thursday, the girl who was most vehement in her condemnation of my exam came up and said, “I will not be in class on Thursday. It’s Yom Kippur.”

“I just now cancelled the Thursday class.”

 Dumbfounded, “You did??????”

 Kid behind her, sharing my incredulity, “He just spent the last five minutes explaining that.”

 She had, almost incredibly, again been surfing the Internet during class. But WHY did I do so badly on this terrible exam?

Getting tired of this. What are they teaching them in high school? So far as I can see, to blame everyone but themselves for their own failings; not to bother with the concepts of dedication or concentration; that the least effort must be taken as sufficient, that lack of application must not be noted for the following ten pseudo-psychological reasons----. How do they justify these things in their own hearts? Maybe they don’t even bother to think about them. Bring me my bow of burning gold-----

Monday, September 21, 2015

September 21, 2015

    One cyclamen blooming pink; one toad lily blooming purple and gold. The humanities students who did badly on their exam blame me. “Was there anything on the test that we hadn’t discussed in class?” says I. “No,” they answer grudgingly, but somehow that didn’t end the matter. I write to them:


    I want to thank you for your candor about the exam and my testing policies. It was both helpful and revealing. In the future I will do my best to ease test anxiety, but you must help in this by telling me what you don’t understand, so that it may be more fully illuminated. I don’t know what you’re not getting unless you tell me.
    Some other points: Several of you ask what you can do to do better in class, and my primary impulse is to suggest concentration– two of the 8-fold path we’ve just studied, right concentration and right mindfulness. Right? I know that you come from a culture (high school) which teaches to the test, but in college we don’t do that. I will tell you about some things I will not test you on. I will never test and have never tested you on something I have not prepared you for. It’s up to you to concentrate just a little bit. Going over and over your notes in a mood of frustration and resentment the night before the exam is not concentrating. My theory is that you shouldn’t study at all beyond a glance-over of your notes, if you have listened with concentration in class. It’s up to you to pick out the mainline from the diversions, which you can do if you actually pay attention. You have room in your head for near infinities of data and impressions, and if you let distraction or anxiety (monkey mind) derail this wonderful talent, I don’t know what I can, or should, do about it. Know ten things, assuming I am going to ask about five. Concentrate. Really. Put down the I-phone. Turn off the TV. Really.
    Some of you who were most indignant in class today play games on your computer or check messages in class. Did you think I don’t know it? Now, an adult is master of his own time, so I don’t scold you for doing this, but I’m amazed that it doesn’t occur to you that this interferes with comprehension of the class materials. I am here to give you as much information and wisdom as I can, and not really so much to help you take a test. The class is my job; the exams are yours. I am not here to make charts or lists or guides to make up for your not having paid attention.
    Some of you have so little historical background and are genuinely grasping for context. You have my utmost sympathy, and, again, if you’re not getting something. ASK. I don’t know what you don’t know unless you ask. I don’t know what to enlarge upon unless somebody asks.
    Many of you have found outside sources (Google) profitable. I urge this on everybody. If a name floats incomprehensibly on your note page, Google it and remind yourself of what it meant.
    Some of you find lectures (“aural learning”) taxing. One of the things we do in college is learn new skills, and one new skill it would be profitable to learn is how to listen to a lecture. Another is how to study. It is not incumbent on a professor to try to compensate for the lack of these skills, but on the student to obtain them. On the other hand, I will be happy to suggest written sources for what I’ve said in class, to address the needs of people who consider themselves to be “visual learners”
    I myself am a visual rather than an aural learner. When I went to college I taught myself how to listen to a lecture. You can too.
    “Professor, why did I do so badly on this exam?” The final answer is, “Because you didn’t know the answers.”  It has little to do with the kind of questions I asked or the arrangement of the ink on the pages or whatever, but with the fact that you didn’t know the answers. I admit that I’m baffled by this, because I told you the answers; the reading and supplemental materials told you the answers, and few people in class ever question a concept or a detail so that I suspect it was not clearly enough explained. Some people did know the answers and did beautifully. Maybe you who are disappointed should buddy up with those who are not and learn from their approach.
    Tomorrow and Wednesday in class we will study the Dao. One of the Dao ko’ans I particularly like is, “The archer who misses the mark does not blame his bow.”  When I screw up (and at that I’ve had plenty of practice) I look to myself to find out why. I have almost never had to inquire further. Lao Tze would smile sadly at the notion that I am somehow at fault for your have performed disappointingly on an exam. No, we’re not Lao Tze, but we can shorten the path to success if , failing, we look to our own behavior, habits, and beliefs first, before launching our tirades of blame.


    The humanities students who did well arrayed on my side. They’re the ones who confirmed my suspicion of in-class web surfing.
    Came home and planted two roses that had arrived in the mail.  Studied my lines. Back to school now to meet my playwrights.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

September 20, 2015

Went to bed last night with a mouthful of pills, deciding that the rest of my life would probably involve combinations of ibuprofen to dull the effects of arthritis. Rose, however, mostly without pain, electric with energy, bounding up the stairs I had dragged myself up the night before. Perhaps it was just exhaustion. The chancellor’s installation was to some degree an institutional circle-jerk–everyone thanking one another until you wanted to burst into tears–but the speeches were occasionally memorable, and to have nice people in positions of power again–at last– is worth the annihilated morning. The people beside me were playing some kind of words game, or else sending notes back and forth. Talked with Alan a long time, after a long time. Came home and dug a new garden between the plot of the hibiscus and the plot of the eggplants. This was a big undertaking, and at one point I was literally, finally, incapable of going on with it. My body was in complete shut-down. Drank copiously, rested a little, finished the job. Don’t remember feeling that unanswerably spent since those days when I had to swim length after length of the pool to get my Lifesaving merit badge. Didn’t like it either time. I haven’t had carbs (other than those in wine) for two weeks, so I set it down to that.
The installation made me sad, for reasons other than the expenditure of time. I had leisure to think of my career in academia, and its seems to have been rather. . . I don’t know. . . not what I expected. I have no idea what figure I cut in others’ eyes, and perhaps that adds to the uncertainty of the image of myself in my own eyes. I have done right by my students, and that’s what I set out to do. But that seems not to be precisely what was expected. I am in limbo, not knowing what to do if not what I was doing.
Cleaned a closet before dawn came. Linda’s wedding pictures showed me that my sports coats are ridiculous, the hems coming down nearly to my knees. How many times did I go out thinking I was looking fine? I’m not a mirror-gazer, and when I do, I do not always know what to regard. I think the gout has rendered all my dress shoes unwearable, and I had to wear electric blue sneaks to the installation. Just one thing after another.
Gray dawn now. I woke urgently needing to transplant two roses I had set in uncongenial ground.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

September 19, 2015

Marco was coming out of the Wedge as I was going in, a merry meeting after far too long.

Had a moment to sit in the garden as the magic hour of dusk alighted. Began to build an altar near the east fence, in a ring Stewart had used as a fire pit. My heart yearns for the spirit, and the news from Black Mountain Press took the weight of hatred and despair off it, at least for the while. The Spirit must yearn in return, the tiniest bit, enough to keep an ant going in the desert– or if not to yearn, to allow the yearning. Anyway, people at a certain time in their lives will not credit how good it is to wake without weeping.

Incredible dreams. Receiving a massage, I had a vivid vision of a long road through forests, where I had never been. I wanted to ask Zach if he were thinking of that, if somehow his thought was communicating to me. I was too near sleep to put it into words.
First Humanities exam. Generally a slaughterhouse, though some had perfect or near perfect scores. In my head constantly: “I said this five times. How could you not remember?”

Chancellor’s installation in a few hours. She’s the seventh at this institution, and I have known them all.

September 18, 2015

So tired I almost didn’t make it home from Waynesville last night. My passengers didn’t help, one silent and they other glued to her phone. Its white light kept making me think a car was approaching close on my right side.

 Ran into TJC at Westgate. She manages to look beautiful every single time.

Friday, September 18, 2015

September 17, 2015

Was first off book for the first scene last night–tech is four weeks away, so we might be overachieving a little–so I gave the afternoon over to, instead of memorizing, planting roses, three new ones that came from Oregon. Quiet satisfaction.

Read to honor the new Chancellor in the Whitman Room. She was not present, which I think was bad form. We were meant to understand she is buried under the duties of her installation, but, on the other hand, it might show where the arts lie in her list of priorities. I liked what I read, two sections of "The Law of Christ among the Birds." They sounded well in the air.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

September 16, 2015

Hideous drive to Waynesville last night– traffic jammed practically from the moment we turned onto the freeway, intensified by a truck that had burned to its wheels, sealing the eastbound lanes of 40 for ten miles anyway. Tried to get the rehearsals back in Asheville, but the one of us–one of five–who lives in Waynesville snapped, “I signed up to do a play in Waynesville.” The land around us was so beautiful we almost forgot the irritation. The rehearsal was pretty awful, too, I didn’t know my lines as well as I’d thought, and I felt awkward on stage. Second time through was better. Home in the darkness. Didn’t realize there were stars until I was standing in my own yard.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

September 15, 2015

Sent The Mermaid to GPTC. Showed my students Zen monks and whirling Dervishes. The Dervishes struck my soul, if not theirs. To dance in the Mind of God—, Brilliant day. Preparing for the dark drive to Waynesville and back. Injured my shoulders in the weight room. Venus, then, high in the east. God cannot salvage my life, though I give him permission to try.

Monday, September 14, 2015

September 14, 2015

A South African whose hands were blown off by a letter bomb preached in church yesterday, on forgiveness not as something given outright, but as a contract between the offender and the offended.
Note from Jolene that Black Mountain Press wants to publish Night, Sleep, and the Dreams of Lovers. Went immediately into caution mode, considering all the things that can, and almost certainly will, go wrong. I wanted to go into ecstasy mode. The gods wanted me to go into ecstasy mode, but in their case it was so the mockery would be keener when it went wrong. Of course, it may not go wrong. What will I do then?
Cool nights. Flurry of roses.

September 13, 2015

Closed the windows. Wore a jacket.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

September 12, 2015

Yesterday beatified by three visitations, each a young man coming to my office, beaming away, asking for this or that, but mostly bringing the sun. The youngest was three, Evan’s little August, who toddled in and wanted to see fire, so we got images of fire on You Tube and we watched together. His empire is full ; it just needs to be translated. One asked for academic advice, another for a critique of his poems, another if I would advise the campus quiddich club. The one who asked for academic advice looked around the office and said, “I expect I’ll be spending more time here.” It was the closest to seduction I’ve felt in a long time. One wouldn’t say I live an isolated life, but there is not that much of it one-on-one. I smiled through the afternoon. Walked to Edna’s for a glass of wine. Spectacular dreams arisen from moments ago. Invited to a party at the edge of a great lake.
The NEH professorship comes up with $700 for Washington Place.

The re-blooming white iris has rebloomed. When I saw it last night I waded to it through the garden, and I kissed it. It was cool and smooth, like being in love with a sea creature.

Grackles in my back yard. I would say at one point there were a hundred of them. I do not recall seeing a grackle there at any other time. Migrating, maybe, or some insect emerging before fall and the grackles gathered for the feast. When they flew it was like sheets of black satin in the wind. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

September 11, 2015

An anniversary.

Phlebitis was creeping upon me. No cause was discernible, so I assumed recent weight loss released toxins from the cells. Took the pills, and felt, at rehearsal, the heat and pain fading away almost miraculously. The lost hours of exhaustion recently must have been due to that. Sensational session on the elliptical at the Y, running and memorizing lines at ones.

Read four plays last night trying to decide what to send to GPTC. Each was good. Happy about that. It didn’t help me to decide, though.

Ramayana in Humanities.

Bear attack against my seed pail. I ran out to see what it was. I startled the bear so it ran into the back yard, but the back yard is surrounded by a fence, and so it stopped, turned , glared at me with the seed bag limp in its mouth.  Not wanting to come between a frightened bear and its escape route, I retreated indoors.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

September 10, 2015

Tea with Russell and Maria after choir. We talked of fondant more than anyone would expect. Drank tremendous quantities of water to combat muscle spasms just before bed, requiring me to wake and eliminate tremendous quantities of water through the night. This kept the sleep light and filled with vivid dreams. The last was of me doing a particularly wonderful one-man show on stage, and just at the most triumphant moment having the tech go out, and having to leave the stage ignominiously, deflated, in the dark.
Coffee yesterday with C. We talked about his new play and about his applying for the creative writing position at UNCA. Also inevitably chatted about the local theater scene, our perspectives and disappointments. We are amazed by the vanity or falseness of the same people, saddened or gladdened harmoniously by the changes in them. He has a talent for immediate and sincere friendship that I admire. I crashed into a profound pot hole parking at the café, but, this time, the car seems no worse for it.
Faint throb of the night voices. Still and hour before dawn.

September 9, 2015

Couperin on Pandora.

School, and then rehearsal. A few pearls of water on the windshield when I left the Woodfin Y. Loud calling of a single bird in deep night.

Dream last night of catching a plane from Dublin, except the plane was delayed and we were kept amused by an epic film that you’d have to walk to different venues to see the next part of, all through a dark and rainy Dublin. Homesick.

September 8, 2015

Second best Labor Day ever, after the one I spent in slant summer light in the garden at Koinonia. Gardened pretty energetically, studied my lines, sent out some manuscripts, studied cookbooks, sat in the twilight watching the green shadows move across my garden. Terrible weeks have not had their terribleness redressed, but merely worn out for a while. It is enough.

Saved from investing in the revival of The Worst Musical Ever by there being a $25,000 base limit to investments. Too rich for my blood.

Day cloudy bright, warmer than it looks like it should be. Good Humanities discussion on the Bhagavad Gita.

September 7, 2015

Labor Day. I don’t remember having Labor Day off since I came to Carolina, so I utter mighty blessings. Planted ferns, dug a little at new plots of garden. Studied my lines at High Five. Admired the men jogging. Overcame inertia and am feeling around for a way to get the Lincoln trilogy on stage. Bruce facebooks me an offer to invest in a revival of Carrie: the Musical. I look at the fan turning on the table, at the cat sleeping on the floor, and can scarcely contain my wonderment. I don’t even know what metaphor to use. It’s like asking the bluebird to invest in starling houses. It’s like asking a redwood to invest in chain saws. Besides, one Googles the show and sees it wins almost everybody’s prize as the worst musical ever. I think I’ll probably do it.

Monday, September 7, 2015

September 6, 2015

Church. Nap. Cantaria. Cantaria almost unbelievably irritating, the silverbacks nattering like a bunch of second graders. Every comment required a comment. Half the choristers sat texting behind their music. Driving home, seeing some of our missing brethren at the ice cream shop. Sigh. Loyal to nothing but the smart phone. But some good angel sees us through into the arms of night.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

September 5, 2015

London aflame in 1666. Olympics terrorized in Munich, and I arrived in Baltimore.

Half moon, fat Venus golden in the south. Rose long before the light–it still is not light– and tried to go to the studio, but a stopped train blocked all the ways into the River District. Was unable to eat yesterday, and the energy of the fast buzzes through my nerves. Pacing like a racehorse until something opens.

Z gave me flowers for my birthday.

Cleaned off the tiled east porch, so it is part of the house now rather than storage.

Finally set the Riverside office in order. If people are going to be there, it might as well look its best. Many pictures hung that I have not seen in two years.

Planted white acanthus, waiting for the rolling thunder to bring them rain.

Friday, September 4, 2015

September 4, 2015

 Dvorak on Pandora.  Grayish-yellowish sky. Days of great emotional volatility.
I get to rehearsal early to open the door, giving me time to read old notebooks and journals. It is all so lyrical, so Romantic. There’s a clear streak of religious fervor that splashes sometimes over into fanaticism. Mostly there is creating, creating, creating works that never see the light. It is most extraordinarily futile and sad. You’d think I’d be able–or be allowed-- to get on to another phase. Picked up the diary where, at the very end, Brad looks at me in Fort Lauderdale and says, “I know you love me and all, but, really, you kind of disgust me.” The words linger in the air like carved stone thirty seven years later.
Two girls–sisters I suppose–on their way to school got into a fight. I couldn’t see what they were doing to one another, but I heard one scream “That really hurts!” and then saw her, crying, turn away from the bus stop and head for home. What I witnessed was mischief and cruelty, if on a tiny scale. How do we learn that? Even on a tiny scale?

September 3, 2015

Bright day, dim day, a little of each.
One student claims not to know the class meets on Thursday, asks me to give her a tutorial on work missed.
One student asks for access to my notes. I say, “You may have noticed that I don’t use notes.”
She says, “I have a special disability where I lose track of what’s happening in class. It would really help if I could see everything written down.”   
I do not say, “Back in my day that was called ‘not paying attention.’” Here it is a disability. You can go to the disability office and work out ways to accommodate this. I’ll bet the ways do not include paying attention.

Weir rehearsal at my office last night. I was not behind, and feared that I might be.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

September 2, 2015

Slogged through Egypt. Made my way to the evening, and then the big party at Avenue M. I’m sorry I had to give the party to myself, but this is the kind of life where nobody throws you a party. You face the truth and go on. In the event, it was very festive. People previously unknown to one another met and talked, and it looked like a scene from a movie. Alma gave me hotplates made from the tiles that came off the mural when they demolished Hyre Junior High. I wanted some and didn’t know how to get them, so I was happy. Feel odd this morning, as though I had drunk very hard, though in fact I didn’t.  The Internet greetings have soared past 400– I am curiously attentive to and greedy for such things. Warm regards from people I do not recognize. Birthday greetings– through the magic of Facebook– from the Perolios– who attended my 6th birthday party back on Goodview Avenue.
The walk home from the restaurant, carrying my bag of cards and little presents, was curious. I resigned something, let it go, let it slip away, though I am not sure this morning exactly what it was.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September 1, 2015

Began the first day of my 65th year by going to the Y and having a good weight session. Maybe that didn’t actually begin it. Maybe the dream of memorizing the play began it, except the play I was memorizing in the dream was not the one I should be memorizing in the world. I was making progress, too.
Playwrights met here last night, with C as visiting celebrity. He was thoughtful and eloquent and insightful, and I think a perfect class would be he and I approaching the matter from our identical perspectives but very different practices. He said that my ability to tell a story awes him. To me that’s the easiest thing.  I think less about my aesthetic philosophy than any artist I know– and then only when called upon or provoked. Whether that’s good or bad I don’t know.
We spent some time regarding the cats, and one of the students said, “Which do you love better?” Before I thought about it I’d said, “the one that loves me less.”

Age means thinking constantly about the things you did wrong, the moments you were awkward or hurtful.  Even moments of triumph reverberate back as mortification, for surely you were as bad a winner as you are a loser. There must have been times when you were gracious or grand, but you can’t think of them. You can’t think of them without being the dog in the corner, lifting a leg, mocking everything.
Left last night’s leftovers out for the crows, whom I hear rejoicing in the front yard.
Vivid image of a fox crossing the night road with his eyes shining, but whether it was a dream or a sight I cannot tell.

August 31, 2015

Rode herd on the Humanities lecture: Egypt. The fly in the ointment– well, it’s not exactly ointment– is a too-bright little boy who thinks his having a dialog with me is an appropriate class procedure. I began the Egyptian creation story of Nun and Shu and Tefnut, and he raised his hand and said, “I never heard an Egyptian creation story that didn’t begin with Ra.”  I said, “Well, now you have.” Too harsh? He is sweet in a way, and reminds me a little of myself, except that I usually kept my mouth shut and noted the prof’s errors with silent scorn.
Planted a box of random iris bulbs that arrived.

Worked out after a week of gout disability. As I write the sentence I realize that the pain at long last had disappeared.
Calling of crows.