Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August 31, 2016

Odd and very early morning. Have been reading the big Jack Yeats biography, wallowing around in it in delight as though I had never seen it before, though of course I have.
Praying for rain.
Looking for the dates of certain events in previous years of this diary. I used to write quite beautifully here; I don’t anymore, it being now hurried and elliptical, as though I were rushing forward toward some great moment which never seems to arrive, and having time for nothing but the rush.
A memory wells up, that wells up every couple of years and each time leaves me with the same queer impression. I am very young, in bed in my bedroom on Goodview Avenue. It was the “big” bedroom before my sister came. One lamp is on, and in the light of it my father and mother stand, teaching me to pray. “Now I lay me down to sleep—“ But the stark truth is my conviction–at the moment it happened, renewed through every recollection– that they are strangers, unknown to me, that I am a little soul set down among strangers whose ways I must learn. I’m aware of my watching them studiously, aware of carefully doing what they tell me to do, so that I might secure a place in a strange and unfamiliar world. Without the indisputable witness of appearance to declare I am my father’s son, I would be certain I had been adopted. The earliest of my recollections have this as a central theme. Here I am. How did I get here? I must learn these people, learn to amuse or outwit them if I am to move on. Never for one instant did I feel belonging. I was a cub wandered into the pride, trying every way it could to be integrated. Never for one minute. I came with a full armament of morals and innate expectations, which often as not had nothing to do with the things that obtained around me. I have my mother’s hatred of bullies and my father’s sense of preparedness, but I remember actively and consciously taking those on when I saw them, as amiable and correct and things I didn’t have already on my own. I was a puzzlement to them as they were to me. Do I go around asking, “Did you feel separate? A stranger and wayfarer from the very first” Maybe everyone feels exactly the same way, and it is too intimately disappointing to speak of.

The last time I was in Sligo, walking in the dark of depression around Lough Gill, I lit upon the explanation of my life which satisfies me as being true. I remember the moment it dawned on me. I was looking away from the lake, at a dark pool in the forest haunted by one moorcock, and it was beautiful to me in a way that seemed otherworldly. But I recognized it, and it was indeed from another world, and I was, for that fraction of a second, Home. The story is this: I am an angelic being dwelling in Paradise–that Platonic world of spirits before one is called into embodiment. Beside me is my Love, and we are entwined in one another’s hearts, and I think we will live in bliss forever. But my Lover receives a summons that he is to leave. He is to go into the world and be embodied and have what we men call life. I am annihilated. I say to the Powers “Let me go too. Let s go together.” But they say, “It is not your time.” I say, “Whether it is my time or not, I will not be parted from him.” They try to counsel me. They say it will not be on the other side as it is here, and that all the powers and joys I enjoy there will be taken from me without any certainty that my lover and I will find each other, or know each other if we meet. I don’t care. I think my love is great enough to make it work. They apparently can warn but cannot actually prevent me. He departs. I follow. On this side it is exactly as the Powers warned. I am not in the life prepared for me, but one usurped out of will and longing. I remember poetry and beauty, ravels of my past life, but I cannot make them stand and stay in the new world. I am not what I was meant to be, and no one is to blame but me. Moreover, I have pursued him I love fruitlessly from the first moments of consciousness, always too soon or too late, always coming with the wrong offering to the wrong god, having lost all to gain a thing that, in my willfulness, is lost as well. Forlorn from the first hour, I spend every second trying to restore what I cannot restore, to find what cannot be found, to mean something that my life is forbidden to mean. I thought of this on the banks of the Garravogue and I said yes, then lay down in my bed in the hotel and did not stir for two days. I don’t recall writing it down until this hour. It does explain just about everything.

August 30, 2016

Watered sufficiently, so everything in the garden is assured of another day’s life.
The disasters I feared from my playwrights last night did not materialize. What I thought would be calamities were merely irritants, and that can be dealt with. The one with the unendurable voice talks most. It is practically a law. New kid, whose father’s second wife I knew quite well. I said, “I knew your mother” and he set me straight. She is recently dead, in any case. He is one of the best writers I’ve encountered here, though with his Beckett-like evasiveness it’s difficult to tell if he’s wise and good or merely skillful. Three students in two different classes said, “I’m so glad I’m taking this course.” I’m hitting my stride–or an additional stride–just as others of my generation retire.
Full of energy, not all of it directed, or even directable.  Some of the edge must come off before I can even sit down to write. Did the Mountain Xpress crossword in ink in fifteen minutes, slamming down horrible coffee . On the downside, I’m continually hoarse, and rivers of phlegm rift up from my lungs. I complain to the doctors; they listen; they all, is if in chorus, declare, “the lungs are clear.”
Delicious day off. I drink in idleness–or what in my life passes for it–like yellow wine.

Monday, August 29, 2016

August 29, 2016

City workers are grinding away in the street at the end of my drive. Was going to talk with them, but thought if they had bad news it wold be best not to hear it.
Poem accepted by Ekphrasis. Not the one I thought they’d want.
Good classes. Playwriting tonight. My special needs student emails me that she has done her assignment, and then emails asking why I didn’t respond to her. The answer: didn’t know I was supposed to; there was no question to answer. I can see how this might build into a – thing, wherein I am accused (as I have been in the past) of not responding to student emails. I do respond when response it called for. I never respond to hysteria. Response, in that case, is encouragement. The academy has had all sorts of troubles and made all sorts of wrong choices through its long history. The current one is to allow– to encourage– emotional blackmail. It doesn’t matter what IS, it matters what I FEEL. Education and Sociology departments are the breeding ground–these days–of wrong choices.
Many of my English majors are double majoring in Classics. This is brilliant. Even though it brings them within grasp of the Boy, the benefits outweigh the perils.

Started to apply for a Guggenheim, but was stalled by what has stalled me in the past. You need four recommenders. I do not know four people whom I would 1) bother or 2) trust with such a task. So, goodbye to that yet again. Twice in the past I have been torpedoed by recommendations. “Oh! I forgot! Is it too late??” Yes. Yes. It is always too late.

August 28, 2016

The streaming gave out before my play came on, of course.
Work hard and early in the mornings. I have to remind myself of that when I stagger around in the afternoons, craving sleep. Not “enjoying” church. Singing the pieces we need to sing, watching the clock. Am I supposed to enjoy it? Is it supposed to feed my soul, or am I to be indentured for years for a revelation or two that happened and passed long ago? Don’t know. Except everything makes me impatient just now, so I should wait until things settle. Cantaria made me REALLY impatient, with the impatience one has at things which never change. I say to DJ, “Is suicide really a sin?” He says, “It depends on the circumstances.”

August 27, 2016

The plays in Tacoma got a review on a blog, though, of course, my play was the one not so much as mentioned. They’re streaming tonight’s performance. Was disgusted when 7:30 came and there was nothing on the screen, until I realized Tacoma’s 7:30 is not my 7:30. For a while there was a shot of an empty stage 3000 miles away. Even that was exciting. Now a couple is rehearsing their scene, and it is terrible; that is oddly comforting. Planted swamp hibiscus I got cheap at the tailgate market. Attended the Cantaria “cook-out.”The place was so hard to find the level of enjoyment never quite caught up. Enraged every time someone sends me the notice of a new meeting, a new task. Will have to stop checking e-mail.
Brad advertises a “burning desire for authenticity.” Can’t even imagine what that is.
But the blessing is a screech owl calls in the trees above the pond in the hour just before dawn.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

August 26, 2016

What did I do today? Deeply committed napping, which was a kind of labor, which was the creation and exploration of another world. Found some plants dying, and hit the watering hard. You never know whose roots are deep enough and whose are not. Received an awful chapbook of poems, evidently selected because they’re by a Lebanese woman who grew up not too far from and in places not too unlike those which are now contorted with violence. Bad art climbing the bleeding body of history. Evil combination. We forget that quality alone is objective.

To the Magnetic in the evening to see L’s new play: witty, and funny, and well served by her actors. Regardless of internal quality, there’s little shown at that theater that's likely have a life elsewhere; I think L’s farce could. Realized that I was desperate for the show to begin after I arrived, because I didn’t want to talk to anybody. Enjoyed talking to the ones I did, nevertheless.

August 25, 2016

Set upon a straight keel, cutting the waters.
Rescued dying ostrich ferns from Lowe’s, planted them in my shade garden.
Sam came to my office yesterday before class, looking dark and handsome, the son of a rajah.
“Waiting for the Witch” has been selected for another festival:

The plays for the fourteenth annual North Park Playwright Festival have been selected. Your play, “Waiting for the Witch", was selected for inclusion in the festival. The festival is not a “contest” and plays were selected by directors who wanted to direct them. Twenty four directors chose 24 plays from over 260 submissions.

Your play will be directed by Jonathan Sturch. He may be contacting you to discuss ideas regarding the play. We would like to extend an invitation to you to come and see your play produced. “Waiting for the Witch”, is scheduled to be produced October 7 and 8, 2016, at 8 PM and October 9, 2016, at 2 PM. As a participating playwright you get one complementary admission good for one performance the weekend your play is scheduled for production. Our theater is very small and we have many people involved in the festival so unfortunately we can’t offer more free tickets. If you plan to come please make a “reservation” by calling us at 619 647 4958 or you can email me. Let us know in your call that you are one of our playwrights so we can give you your "ticket". We can’t guarantee a seat if you don’t call. The theater location is North Park Vaudeville and Candy Shoppe, 2031 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego, CA 92104.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

August 24, 2016

Was fussing in the yard when a burly worker from the sewer department crossed over and handed me a flyer announcing sewer work in the street. Look likes hell locally for the foreseeable future. There’s a manhole in the middle of my drive, and he lifted it up and revealed a huge atrium– I couldn’t see the bottom or any of the sides from where I stood–a grotto, a chasm right there under my yard. It was quite wonderful, actually. I was ashamed that I had never thought to explore. Kids beat on the side of my house last night. They were standing at the end of the drive screaming “fuck you” when I launched out the door in pursuit. They were girls. They did me the honor of fleeing in disarray. I assume it was high spirits and nothing specific to me.  Sat in the dark of the garden and strove mightily with the powers of the air. Three red stars glittered at the edge of a tree, as though set there to adorn it. I asked to be as beautiful as the thee red stars, somehow.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

August 23, 2016

A student in playwriting looked Chinese and had a Chinese name, but I realized those things could obtain and he be born in Cleveland. But after class we talked, and he is a flat-out Chinese, a Ph.D. candidate here studying for a semester. He is a novelist (or something) in China, and showed me copies of quite beautiful books he had written. The covers and layouts were beautiful, and of course the (unreadable) script was beautiful on the page. He hadn’t understood a word I said, and so we had a mini-class after class where I assured him we would “get him through” I wish I knew what I meant by that. How he is going to write drama in English? Or, if he writes it in Chinese, how we are going to help him with it? One throws up one’s hands and gives it to the gods.
This is my Golden Anniversary. Fifty years ago at twilight tonight I wrote my first poem. Though the poem came out of sadness and confusion, I was so, so happy. It has been my whole life.

August 22, 2016

At school long before the light, and rather earlier than I needed to be. Met my first two classes. Happily surprised at the coherence of what was coming out of my mouth. It feels all right so far. K made a visit. In one class there is a special needs student whose special needs look like they will become the focus of our energies. As I sat there adjusting syllabus and procedures in my head, I wondered if that was right. The institution saves itself time and administrative energies pushing this issue onto the instructors, but I don’t believe it is well pushed. Admittedly, I stand very much on the side which views education as a well from which the student may drink or not, rather than as a mendicant chasing the student down and begging for acceptance and approval. I believe there should be special instructors and special classes for special students. This is not a popular view now, but I have yet to experience a like situation in which they good of the many was not sacrificed for the good of the few. Throw out the word “segregation” and the conversation is over, fairly or not. Is it even to their good? Is it better to be taught by me in a large group or by someone specifically equipped in a small and select one? I actually don’t know the answer to that. I actually don’t know on which side kindness lies.

Monday, August 22, 2016

August 21, 2016

Sermon about righteous indignation– aimed right at me.  The hardest part is to get past but I am right. When should one hold on to indignation as upright and necessary zeal? When let it go as a lost cause, or a misapprehension?
Cantaria as it has been. Calm supper afterwards with DJ and J and L. Too much sleep and not enough sleep at once.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

August 19, 2016

Went early to school to do syllabi. Greeted by colleagues who feared that I had been ill. After assuring them that all was well, I remembered that I HAD been ill. Hubbub of students moving in, meetings, preparation. I elected not to stay for the convocation. I wonder if I’ve ever been to one? Evan looking god-like. Can’t get the Humanities bitterness quite out of my heart. I was an inspired teacher thwarted by a bad one; correct and student-concerned pedagogy overruled by a ruinous and devious one, an honest man bested by a liar and serpent. Most things in which there is SOME evening out one can get over. Can I get over this? I loved teaching Humanities and was better at it than anyone else, certainly better by levels of magnitude than the Boy. And, so far as I know, no one fought for me. A big shrug and a “well, that’s how it goes.” Wrong on every level, and, so far as I can see, incapable of redress.
It wanted to rain and did not. I worked on poems.

August 18, 2016

Foggy dim morning.

Asked for a catalpa tree at Reems Creek and was told that the tree was “out of fashion” after its heyday thirty or forty years ago.  Asked for a pawlonia and was told that I’d never find one in a nursery, because the tree is “invasive.” It is also a cloud of imperial purple, is dark wood easy to work as butter.

Giving some thought to going back to school, noting that I have been an educator now for 36 years. I can’t name another discipline that is so far off the mark and, yet somehow, doing less damage. Careering administrators and malicious legislators do their worst without, yet, actually separating the students from their source of wisdom. The people I just mention long for the profession of the professor to disappear, for then indoctrination would be swift and unchallenged. Even faculty gets into this head, wanting to replace teacher/student time with activities and online resources, vilifying the “lecture” because, they assert, it is somehow hierarchical. All education is hierarchical. Like heat pouring from a furnace into a frigid room, knowledge or experience is possessed by one person and delivered to another. That’s how it works. Some of us like to think that we maneuver the student into discovering for herself, but it is the same thing, based on the assumption–the correct assumption–that, by and large, we know better than the student does what she should learn (academically) at this point in her life. All human endeavor prized by the civilized is hierarchical. Not rigidly so, of course: one may climb the staircase up and down, but the staircase is still there. As a teacher, I know the huge contribution made by the students themselves; a good class period is one in which I learn something. But is this for the student or for me? I know students blossom when I say, “Oh My God, I never thought of that!” but is that where their “education” lies? For every hour of dazzling student discovery there is hour after hour of what would be empty if there were not someone pouring something into the void. Nor is higher education for the student. We are so close to enforcing a customer/ service provider relationship between student and university that one draws back in horror. Higher education does not serve the student, but the society, insuring that the student understand, or at least have contact with, matters that the society prizes. Of course one may critique that society (which is one of the things society does or should prize), and I myself teach things that my society does not prize very much, but it is the operation of the mind that is at issue, what we call critical thinking, which is at least as often creative thinking. What a student is buying when she matriculates is the opportunity for credentials. At the end of her course we should be able to affirm that Yes, she knows the basics of the world she lives in. Yes she can think critically when she must and creatively when she can. Yes you can hire her or vote her into office because she has done the groundwork, has made the effort to comprehend. I do not think that because she paid her money a student should necessarily enjoy, or even pass, my class. I do not think that it is profitable to wonder overmuch if I am delivering the material in the exact way the student wishes to receive it. I am the well. You come to it and drink, or you stay away. Your choice. I have never forced a student to take my class, or forced one to stay when he wanted out. But you cry, “But the class is a REQUIREMENT! He can’t graduate without it.” Yes. That’s the way the world works. Some things you can’t get around. Some things you must get through, and I, from time to time, am one of them. Every time I irritate and frustrate my student I am doing her a service. I want to say “she will thank me in time,” but even if that’s not the case, all is well. Not only is education hierarchical, it is irritating. At least at first. I love my students, and after all this time, I think I know how to show it. 

Tilly Adkins is dead, my sweet Journalism teacher and adviser for the paper I was editor in chief of until I dropped out of school to work at Goodyear. She was good and kind. I am glad to be remembering that now. 

August 17, 2016

Planted a rhododendron which, the tag says, will have purple blossoms. Planted another witch hazel, this one more in the sun. In the process dug up a number of slender, unbroken glass bottles, such as olives come in. Domestic archaeology has been less fruitful here than across the street. All other pursuits fall by the wayside in the season of the Olympics.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

August 16, 2016

Up bright and early with the thought, “it’s the week before classes; there must be meetings I should be going to,” to discover that I had already missed, the day before, the important one. One hopes befuddlement will be blamed rather than bad intentions. On the other hand, months ago I promised to do a theater-based workshop to help new students ease into their college experience. This I remembered and had prepared for, but when I inquired as to where it would be, I was told that the organizers “had no idea what the parameters of a workshop with you” would be, and so had cancelled it. I had actually avoided going away this last week in order to fulfill that responsibility. I wondered what part of “yes” had been confusing to them. Oh well. Who knows what goes through the junior administrative mind.
More planting. The size of the garden is getting a little daunting, until it is all mulched and brought under control.
Investigated Monday the ruined yellow jacket citadel, and saw one lone worker pushing a grub across the dirt. Was the grub alive? Whether or not, it was a scene out of some profound and ruinous tragedy– a mother bearing her dead baby through the ruins–and I had to look away.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

August 15, 2016

Work out, then after that the morning lost. Some planting in the afternoon. Started to write and of my garden. I might as well be living in an island in the middle of the sea.

Monday, August 15, 2016

August 14, 2016

Right hand swollen to a mitt yesterday from the most recent yellow jacket attack, from a nest about 20 feet away from the last one. Do they suffer such proximity, or did one arise after the other was quelled? I want the greater community of yellow jackets to understand that if I see you first I will avoid you. There are plenty of places to dig. But after the first sting your fate is sealed. I came out at dawn and destroyed the nest, leaving four waxy combs scattered across the dirt. Flashed back to when I was a child and unearthed a comb while digging worms, and thought that was amazing. It must have been winter, for I don’t remember being stung. 
DJ and I took in the disappointing new Star Trek movie, which replaces what wit the series had with even more explosions.
Planted mightily, combing the nurseries for summer draggled bargains.  Found a perfect sky blue buddleia.
Much watching of the Olympics, envious of the winners for their moments of perfect accomplishment and bliss.

August 13, 2016

Sweet and restorative dreams, probably sent to balance the days. I can hear a screech owl far off (or near and through the wall) just at dawn.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

August 12, 2016

The garden is almost a paradise.

Thought of the first times I had certain foods. Pizza was available at drive-in movies, but it was too “Italian,” or perhaps too expensive, for my father to allow it. But mother got one of those home-made versions, which she made. It tasted like dark sauce on cardboard. I couldn’t see the attraction. I remember sitting in the dark in the corner of the room, by the telephone, eating, thinking “so, this is pizza. It’s not the sort of thing people like us like.” I really did assume my indifference was racial.
Sherbet– at my cousin Donnie’s. He was my cousin but already grown-up and married. Couldn’t believe my taste buds. The most delicious thing in the world.

Fritos with my grandfather at one of his fishing vacations at a lake in Pennsylvania. It tasted brown and worn and exotic. I thought “this is what adults eat.” I wanted to like it because my grandfather did.

Friday, August 12, 2016

August 11, 2016

Poor Tony shows up to beg off mowing. He says, “It’s raining!” I say, “I need the grass to be cut.” He hears the frenzy in my voice. He sees the grim set of my jaw. The lawn gets mowed. Good mornings in the studio, but it goes to hell after that. Afternoons in bed, unconscious. Evenings watching the Olympics. Stand by the pond with fish food in my hand, watching Minos move in the depths. It could be the sea and he a monster of stupendous magnitude.

August 10, 2016

Rain. The grass lengthens. The cardinal flower is in bloom. Terrible days.  Watch the Olympics to see the faces of people whose lives have not sunk around them.

August 9, 2016

Long, vivid, novelistic dream before waking. I had done something in the past, which I had almost successfully concealed, but circumstance was bringing it back into the light. Some old legal case that I thought had been dropped had been re-opened, and though I wasn’t the target of that investigation, it was only because nobody suspected the true source of the trouble. I don’t know what it was (it was vague to me even in the dream), but I think it may have involved my lying to the police– heroically, over a period of time–about association with a subversive organization. Documents were involved; I didn’t know whether the documents still existed, I hoped over time that luck had gone my way. There were depositions and investigations, and though I could put on a good public face, my heart was clutched by the fear that I was going to be found out. I was SO cooperative that the investigators included me on the investigation team, on the assumption that even if I wasn’t the perp, my association with that organization at one time might yield valuable information. One of the investigators was on to me, though, and she wanted to keep me close, and maybe savor the pleasure of watching me, step by step, incriminate myself. The search led us out into a wilderness area, a great field covered with snow, surrounded by a snowy dark forest. The one who suspected me was mocking me, “Now we’re about to find out the truth. We’re close now,” smiling at me in a vicious and triumphant way. I realized that if I were quick and clever, I could murder them all and run. But how to do that without suspicion falling upon me? A white bear came out of the forest and attacked us. It hit the woman who was on to me, but then we managed to drive it back into the forest, at least temporarily. The others began to panic, but I said, “We have to build a fire, to frighten the bear, and to keep her warm while she goes into shock.” None of us looked forward to ranging the dark and bear-haunted forest for firewood, but then, in the middle of the field, we found a white wooden desk. There was enough kindling lying about that we could start the fire, and then keep it fed by tearing apart the desk. As I got to work on the desk, I discovered that it was full of documents tied in tight bundles, very flammable: We were saved. Then I noticed that the documents were all the evidence against me, subversive or hateful things I’d written, reams of it, all the proof anyone needed to send me away forever, tied up in fat, neat bundles. With a hidden smile, I began feeding the bundles into the fire. Everyone was so cold and frightened they didn’t stop me, didn’t even notice what the bundles were. They were all gone and we’d started on the desk itself when a woodsman came out of the forest and explained that the bear was a nervous father worried about his cubs, and he had calmed down, and wouldn’t attack again. The others went with the suspicious woman in an ambulance that managed to pull up to the edge of the field. I sat with the woodsman, who had a pet snake that was clinging to his arm. When I petted the snake, it turned into may brilliant colors.

Hired a new yardsman, Antonio, basically because he answered his phone and got here first. He’s a roly-poly Mexican, and not a crew of handsome rednecks like the former ones, and in my shallowness I actually hesitated over that point. But his happy kid was in their beat-up truck and he did all the work himself, and I thought providence had sent me the right one first off. I always think that. Saves a lot of time. Invited the kid to look at the pond. My Spanish is just good enough to hear him say they’d just seen a pond with a crocodile in it. Turns out it was a large pond with a rubber croc, which floats about in the wind and looks very realistic. A weight off. Curled up with the cats and slept all afternoon.

Mailed Jack Batman to see if they’re done with me or not.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

August 8, 2016

Calm dim morning, the gleam of various rains emerging on the pavements. Lotus blooming on the distant edge of the garden means there will have to be a pilgrimage.
Sunday morning holed up in my studio. Thinking of Jason. Thinking of the lessons of the Old Masters he had for me, what stuck in mind.
Drove between the deluges (the welcome deluges) to Waynesville to see Steve’s cherished All My Sons. I had never seen it before, and if I’d read it, I remembered it badly. Turns out to be the masterpiece everybody says it is. Sophoclean. Were Miller alive, I’d want to discuss with him the gunshot at the end. Is that maybe too Greek? A way of ending action without actually bringing it to a close? Not convictions on my part, but questions. The performances were what I most value on the stage– clarity, purity from mannerism and too-evident “interpretation”–the sheerest of all possible curtains through which the spirit if the drama may be glimpsed. Worth the journey several times over. The two best productions in my recent history have been MT’s The Death of Salesman and HART’s All My Sons. Fortune, or maybe Miller, whom too many over-indulged Will Lomans had, perhaps, caused me to underrate.

Monday, August 8, 2016

August 7, 2016

Inspiration allows me finally to get the opening of The Lexington Tract right. It was what I knew needed to be done, but for some reason, until a particular moment chosen by the gods, I could not figure the (quite simple) way of doing it. What was wrong? The rhythm. What was made right? The rhythm.
Will comes with the mortgage check. His younger daughter, as affected by the Olympics as the rest of us, invents a balance beam routine for the brick wall up my front steps.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

August 6, 2016

The grass is long. I went to Lowe’s to buy a mower, since nobody has replied to my requests to hire lawn care, but at the store I remembered that I hired out in the first place because of aversion to the machine itself. I rather liked to mow the lawn when it was dad’s machine and he took care of it. The idea of adjusting a spark plug. . . of setting blades. . .of attaching a handle. . . putting gasoline in a can. . .cannot face it right now.
L flew to Europe having left the window of my studio open, the fans on, needful items missing and everything in disarray so I had, once more, to spend the first part of my limited time there restoring things to working order. Steven thinks that more than photography is going on there: too many naked boys at one time. Pigeons had flown in through the open window, and had to be shooed, and their droppings cleaned up. They were right who said, “no good deed goes unpunished.” But, it looks like the toxic Celia has been rooted out, though she’s taking a scandalous long time in vacating. Did paint well and long into the afternoon, nevertheless. Surprising number of people vacationing up from Florida, who called this weather “refreshing.”
Watched the opening of the Olympics last night.
Cannot spend the rest of my life fighting just to stay afloat.
August 5, 2016

The computer is so clogged with– something-- as to be unusable. I bang the little mouse and the innards turn and turn and whole minutes later, the screen has made some progress toward what I need. Everything is too hard. All the rules get changed to make it harder. Everything must be done twice. If anyone is close enough to hear the screaming, they have not been concerned enough to check.

Friday, August 5, 2016

August 4, 2016

Have not missed a dawn at the gym this week. Came home and decided to do something about the dirt Will has been piling against my streetside fence. It’s a “gift” to me, but also keeps him from having to pay to have it hauled away. I hoed the grass and weed sprouts out, smoothed it out so it’s less of a ridge and more of a gentle mound, planted a pink hydrangea, pink anemone, and a lady fern. It can turn into the shady garden he mentions each time he dumps more dirt. While excavating, I saw movement in the grass and discovered the first toad I have seen in North Carolina. There on my land. I edged him under the fence into my garden proper. Such is the state of my life that seeing the toad is turning out to be the major blessing of my week. I do not undervalue the toad. I just call on the Powers to bear witness.

August 3, 2016

Will’s first Discernment meeting last night. My first impression the last couple times I’ve done this is of almost pathological order and systemization. How is the Holy Spirit meant to speak through all the checks and baffles and procedures? But my second thought, this time, is how well the same thing might work for other disciplines. What if we grilled someone who said they wanted to be a writer or an actor or an artist on their preparedness, motivation, spiritual readiness? Made them write essays and keep notebooks. Made them convince us. Might eliminate a lot of bad art. Most of the artists I know have little or no stringent preparation. The odd thing is, some of those who do are no better than those who don’t. Have no idea what to do with these impressions, except start my own school, for which there is, presently, no energy.

Daily showers of rain are bliss to me.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

August 2, 2016

Outflow of poems, my summer abundance.
Spectacular dreams, long, vivid, narrative, often germane to my waking situation. I was going to debate a famous rabbi on the nature of God. The synagogue seemed to be made out of snow. I asked for him to wait a moment, as I had to go to the bathroom before we began. I had to cross a plane of snow to get to the bathroom. Of course, I REALLY had to go to the bathroom, and this was my body’s intrusion upon the dream, so what the rabbi and I would say about God remains unspoken.

Monday, August 1, 2016

August 1, 2016

Jesus Christ Superstar closed yesterday afternoon in what was, probably, unmitigated triumph. I enjoyed it. I did something I didn’t think I could do–held down a lead in a musical. People thought my voice was “magnificent,” which I did not expect. Made many new friends, whom I will miss. In the photos I look old and ugly, which I suppose cannot be helped. I’m not at all sad to have it over with. I’m not at all sad not to be driving to Waynesville four times a week. Let’s see now what will give meaning to my days.
Donovan festival on You Tube. Brings back memories, though I’m not exactly sure of what. Brad R in Syracuse, I think.
Sat in High 5 writing poems, across from a man who was writing poems with a volume of Rilke open before him.
Today in my garden– I think it opened in the night– my first lotus. Deep red.