Monday, August 14, 2017

August 14, 2017

Distant thunder.

Departmental retreat. Things change, and I let them flow through my hands, assuming I will not be there to be affected when the changes kick in.

The juggernaut of events rolls past the point where I feel I can have any useful thing to say, any complete understanding. Here’s a dilemma. I believe in Free Speech. I believe there is either Free Speech or there is not, and that cherry-picking– THIS free speech but not THAT free speech-- makes the light go out all at once. I do not believe Hate Speech is essentially different from Free Speech, however lamentable, however jaw-droppingly ignorant. I do not believe that hurt feelings, or even righteous outrage, is the red line that ends Free Speech. This is a conviction I barely have the courage to express, for there is dogma on the left as well as dogma on the right, and one treads carefully. When I reprehend an opinion I hear expressed publically, I assume the remedy is education– somehow to grab someone at the right time in their life and make them justify the things they believe in accordance with reason and Faith and whatever authority rules their hearts. Or, if they are lost, to save those around them by the twin powers of reason and example. I don’t think we can defeat racism– or any other ism– by telling it to shut up. Historical Nazism in Germany would not have been ended by the war, I think, if German citizens had not been dragged to the concentration camps and made to look at the end point of their leaders’ rhetoric, if they had not looked on their ruined cities and seen the outcome of racial delusion. I think our new brand of it has been dealt a blow by the baboons in Charlottesville showing off in front of the cameras and embarrassing everybody who is not lost in the morass of white supremacist rhetoric.  It could be that my leftist FaceBook feed deceives me, but it seems to me that there must be five hundred people outraged and heart-sore for every white supremacist carrying a torch in Virginia. Is this not, in its way, well? Is this not a kind of victory? I want racism to be talked and reasoned to death, to be outlived by generations untainted by it. I think for it to go underground, unheard and embittered, however satisfying to us personally in the moment, will engender something still filthier down the road.

Watched several hours of night rat shooting on You Tube. Satisfying in ways I dare not explain even to myself.

Went on line to discover what courses I am teaching this semester. Mildly disappointed.

I said in conversation about the teaching of writing that what I stand for in all my disciplines–teaching, writing, acting, painting– is CLARITY. One of my colleagues adds “but there are different kinds of clarity,” intending to excuse the opacity of academic-speak from the rigors of clarity.  Its not being the time nor the place stops me from saying, “No, there are not. Clarity is clarity, and what is obscure or muddled is in error, regardless of the excuses it want to make for itself”  I am such a Platonist. . . .

August 13, 2017

Should I really be sleeping this much?

August 12, 2017

Bestirred myself to go with DJ to a recital put on by the Hart brothers at All Souls. It was lovely, the presentation suave, the selections perfect for their voices and the space. Ives' “The Housatanic at Stockbridge” a shocking masterpiece. Constantly reminding myself that there is always something interesting to do. One doesn’t have to be in Dublin. Noticed how many artists think their art is a dying art– Lieder is a dying art, theater is dying, painting is dead. Yet we trundle on.  Refugees from Charlottesville at the studio.

Friday, August 11, 2017

August 11, 2017

The birthday of Johnny Secaur, the kid who lived across the street from me for a while on Goodview. I remember his birthday. I remember he tried to grow radishes in a box. It worked.  He made sculptures out of soap and glued them to rocks. He moved to 1117 Lower Drive in Kent. I thought we’d be friends forever.

Napped on the couch. Dreamed that I had driven a copy of Nimmo’s Quay to the Druid in Galway. I was the very first to arrive in an immense parking lot, that was sort of under water and sort of wasn’t. I delivered the script, but when I tried to find the truck I had driven, I couldn’t find it. Daunting, because I thought I’d parked it precisely where it could be found easily again. Plus, I had to find it before the sea rose and washed it away.

After Washington Place in Omaha, three directors asked to see it. Not one of them read it after it was sent. Some theater guy in Illinois begged to read the Lincoln trilogy, underlining I Promise to Read it.  He never did. JB in New York agreed– or asked, I forget which-- to read new plays, which I sent, and he has not read one of them. I do know this is the proximate cause of the Great and Everlasting Stall, but short of assassination or arson, I do not know how to hammer past it. Send periodic notes, “You promised to read. You will never regret reading”? Hold loved ones for ransom? Ignited by receiving today a rejection from a small press that took 13 months to respond to NSDL, and clearly had, in all that time, not opened the file.

Some time at the studio, mostly wasted. Flocks of people fleeing from the heat in Florida. Lost important keys.

Binchois on the CD

Half thought to audition for Montford’s Othello, till discovering it was a vanity project to show that a woman can play Othello. A woman can say the lines, of course, but beyond that, no. All the work that goes into an honest production pretty much wasted on a stunt. Do I think all gender-blind casting is a stunt? I pretty much do, but it’s because I tend to be evidence based in my thought, and I never saw such an experiment that came near working. I never saw such an experiment except that the ONLY thing you thought about was how well or ill the person was filling the part designed for someone else. Saw V Redgrave in The Tempest at the Globe, and she was a great actor but a mediocre Prospero– even ignoring the fact that she had to go to the back every now and then to have her lines whispered to her. OK, men can be a scream as Lady Bracknell, and I can imagine a killer Julia Caesar. But otherwise– Why don’t they let me play in the NBA? I can dribble; I can shoot a basket.

AG is to direct Uranium 235. Allowed to think of it as a choice, but the choice was actually that or cancel. It will be fine. I always liked AG and miss working with him.

A series of face-slaps recently. I should be used to it- and I AM, actually, but amazed, like Guildenstern at the opening of R&G Are Dead that the same damn thing can keep happening, the same wry tone be struck, with such unnatural and deadening consistency.

I look up, and it’s evening—

Binchois, like the calling of a seabird. . . .

August 10, 2017

Skin of my hand whitening and peeling off, like little bits of frost. It’s always something.

Finished Nimmo’s Quay, realizing it’s the third version of the play I pretty much always write in or coming home from Ireland– where the American meets and loses the love of his life in Ireland. Wonder where THAT comes from?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

August 9, 2017

Cool morning. Turned down (by my count for the 26th time) for a state arts grant. Two girls from downstate got them . I can hear the conversation now: “Isn’t it time for some women’s voices?” That are bad, that we will never hear from again, but at least it’s better than giving one to him.

Letter from Daniel Rakov saying that The Great Comet, which gave every indication of running forever, will close before Labor Day, torpedoed by the controversy surrounding the naming of Mandy Patinkin to play Pierre. Patinkin did something to irritate someone, I forget what, and now the producers think that the controversy will not allow them to fill key cast openings. The letter reads a little like strategy to terrify troublemakers into line, but if it tells the truth, and unless things work in ways I don’t anticipate, what I thought would be a financial triumph for me will leave me with a loss of 3/4 of my investment. On a hit show, for a while the biggest on Broadway. It could be that I don’t understand the financial process and that everything will be well. Generally the universe makes me pay for each hopeful anticipation.

Will probably finish Nimmo’s Quay today, based on notes I took for two concluding scenes while in the Racquet Club café. Each time a little bell of joy goes off at a really good line or a really profound shade of meaning, I remind myself that quality has been, by and large, irrelevant to my career as a writer, and perhaps to the art of literature as now practiced in America. Having done the best work means practically nothing. The odd thing is that when I gather the courage to say this publicly, people nod as if to say everybody but me knew this all along.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

August 7, 2017

The natural fall of these summer days is: bed late, sometimes after midnight; up early, often before 5, off to the gym, writing, errands, studio; heavy nap around noon. Up again at 3 PM, write until I can’t anymore, then some TV, then bed around midnight. Today it was the Racquet Club and then getting both cars inspected, then the making of eggplant chili. Stalled in the second act of Nimmo’s Quay.  General frustration, like a kind of heavy lace collar, chaffing and ridiculous.

August 6, 2017

Day of the atom bomb.

Spent some time in the studio, getting rid of the bad feeling that haunted me there yesterday.

If one door had been left open, if one gate–even one–had been left unlocked, one bar of the cage loosened, I would ne'er have striven as thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

August 5, 2017

Calm morning outside (after tempestuous rains) though something was going on within, for I woke breathless, agitated, and disoriented. Whatever struggle I had in dreams did not follow me out. I think the illness still affects me in ways I am failing to interpret coherently.

Harvested quantities of eggplant, began to think of ways to cook them all. Is there eggplant fudge?

Theater at the Magnetic last night. It made an odd juxtaposition with the theater I saw in Galway and Dublin, and the effort to define the differences is filling up the dark of the morning. All the theater in Ireland was excellent even when the plays were not themselves very good. The works that were not very good were still Of A Piece, everywhere the same quality, everywhere informed by the same recognizable imaginative energy-- their second-rateness an overall second-rateness, a statement achieved, a gesture fluid and complete if not transcendent. In the excellent pieces, the gesture was transcendent. “Wholeness” seemed to be the basic quality from the worst to the best. The play I saw last night– called Six Knots– was not bad, but neither was it whole. Sometimes it sailed ahead, sometimes it jerked and wobbled like a kid on training wheels. Once I lit upon this truth, I realized that was what ails most original work that does not quite succeed in Asheville, at the Magnetic and elsewhere. The limbs are not pulled together into a single body. The play was likeable–the end twist was especially satisfying– but it rambled across the stage like a hedgehog, all bristles and protuberances, sometimes flashing with wit, sometimes going a page or so without a single line that needed to be kept. Some of this may be the fact that it was still in previews. Some of it may be that the Magnetic’s generous custom is to allow works on stage when the playwright thinks they’re ready, not when they actually are. Most of it was uncertainty in the writing. Why? Is playwriting taught in some significantly different way in Ireland than it is here? I realized that if the playwright came to me for help, I would go through the piece with him, marking the lines that sag or fail to contribute, the implication being that a lovely design is just marred here and there by accidents his ear did not catch. But would that be the truth? Are lines almost automatically impeccable when the inspiration is impeccable? I will probably teach playwriting at the university one more time. I have one more time to get it right. In addition, I seem to hit shows, invariably, on the night of the Cackling Showboat, the one in the first row who shrieks piercingly, indiscriminately, often prematurely at EVERYTHING, thus commandeering the experience of the entire audience, and making it little more than a referendum on–for or against–her own. I heard her conversation afterwards, and apparently it’s quite conscious. She noted with indignation that she was getting corrective glances from her neighbors. ANYWAY, the local theater experience is especially challenging, partially because one feels responsible, in a way; partially because it is not always possible to tell what people meant, and, if they fail, whether their available resources failed or they simply meant the wrong thing. Perhaps I should have stopped the playwright last night and said, “At three or four moments, this is masterful.,” hoping he might get the full point.

Here I’ve worked myself into a lather and the cafés aren’t even open.

On this date in 1998, Ellen and I and David Wingate and a Honey whose name I have forgotten opened Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf at the green door. Oh, our ambitions then! The energy I seemed to have!

The day has become supremely bright and cool and clear. One wants simply to sit in a chair and stare.

August 4, 2017

Awoke from a dream in which I had gone downtown to apply for a grant for $2500 to start an arts magazine. “Downtown” in this case was a diaphanous, crystalline web high in the air, where people had offices like starts scattered in a silvery sky. I was aware I didn’t really need the grant, but I had not been downtown in a long while. . .

Thursday, August 3, 2017

August 3, 2017

Towhee interrogating in the morning dark.

Starting through the mass of accumulated mail, ½ of which can be tossed at the outset. Duke Energy says I used half the energy this summer as I did last. Who knows?
I sit brooding in the dark—

People ask “Did you have a wonderful time in Ireland?” and I say “YES!” But did I? I was sick, clearly or underneath, mildly or fiercely, the whole time. I did have two moments in Dublin when I wept with the old joy, danced with the old exultation. But the rest– I feel like an old bear at riverside, dipping his paw into the stream of experience, hoping as often as possible to haul in a fat memorable salmon. Maybe I’m too close to it still. Let it unbundle and spread out.

I'm treating my present almost ludicrous exhaustion as a reaction to yesterday’s immunization.

This day, weather-wise and in appearance, has been perfect for my nature. Bright but dappled, coolish-warmish. I visited Zach, did a little shopping, went to the butcher’s and bought meat which disgusted me when I got it home, lay down on the couch for a moment to absorb the perfection of the day. Hours later, after many fitful but charming dreams, I began a vast dream which stands to my waking eye now in vibrant clarity. I was dressed as I remember from my youth, white t-shirt, cut-off jeans shorts. A companion and I were high on a mountain road, the mountains very high indeed, but still covered in forest. We had stopped for a moment, after having, apparently, been riding our skateboards along the mountain road. Here and there in the distant forests were glimmers of paleness, gigantic works of art set up in almost inaccessible places.  I began telling my companion of my friend Nick, how I had followed him as had done the paintings from inspiration and almost inconceivable labor high up on the edges of the world. My companion began to grin. I said, “What?”
“We all know the story. We all know YOUR story, how you made that incredible art, crawling from crag to crag with a paintbrush in your teeth–“ as he went on, “Nick” began to vanish from memory, as if I had in fact made him up, and I began to wonder if it all had been me from the first, and I had invented Nick to shield me from the immensity of the thing I had done.

August 2, 2017

Woke feeling myself, and even better than myself, as though a great cleansing had happened in the night.

Spent yesterday morning arguing with the Obstacle Nurse at MAYHEC, who snippily informed me that I could have none of the things (such as a prescription refill) that I had by the end of the day. I want to call her back and say, “I was right all down the line, wasn’t I? You just wasted our time.” I do turn into kind of a prick pretty quick in situations like that. I start to investigate, but then I think, “Your patience in other matters earns you this.”

I knew I was sick when, on the plane watching Beauty and the Beast with no sound, I wept uncontrollably at the Prince’s restoration scene. I thought of my mother. Why couldn’t magic winds have come out and lifted her up?

First thing in the morning, the washing machine blew a gasket, or whatever caused a flood on the kitchen floor. I put my recovery and my back-homeness to the test by driving to Lowe’s to get a new one before the floor was even dry. The walk from the front door to Major Appliances was almost not doable. Bought it from a man named Nureyev. A UNCA colleague was standing by to counsel in favor of the stainless steel hoses.

Visit with the doctor, got pneumonia vaccine and a blood test. Considered the possibility that what I’ve been calling cellulities is something else, since the leg is never red or hot–though it usually was back when this round of attacks began. Dr guessed bronchitis. I didn’t think so– but who am I?

Supper with DJ. I ate about 1/4 of it.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

August 1, 2017

I don’t sleep well on the first night home, and I didn’t sleep well last night; A kind of Irish advertising film keep playing in my head, I think related to the cellulitis which I still fight, and which often, if it gets bad enough, has a hallucination phase. In some ways it’s the worse part: looped vivid hell without escape.

Of course, when my plane arrived the limo had not shown up. Even when I PAY people to take care of me it’s a fail. If I could just have slipped into a car. . . if I could just have gotten home without incident, feeling crap-like as I did. . . .Derek the redneck taxi driver rescued me for a neat $60. Texted the limo driver this AM; he had forgotten to write it down.

When the light came up I saw that the pond filter was clogged. Went out and cleaned it, and that much normal activity made me feel better.  My cosmos are seven feet tall. Something yellow is blooming behind the cosmos. That’s what I could see by the first light of morning. Pulled out some walnut saplings, by the end of which action I was exhausted and slept all afternoon. Still quite sick. Circe’s welcoming-home love is almost unendurable.

The painting I bought from Trinity Gallery is by Paul Proud and called Distant Light.

Monday, July 31, 2017

July 31, 2017

Park Hotel, at the rim of the airport. Just recovering from a severe bout of cellulitis, fever, chills, annihilation for a few hours, rocking on the train from Dublin at interesting levels of misery. Have slept memorably, though, and feel ready for the homeward effort. Cabbie who took us from Limerick took 30 euro to bring us to the wrong hotel. Forty euro to get that righted. Second cabbie told of missing a flight because he was locked in a service station toilet.  L & J kept getting messages from Delta that they didn’t have tickets. That’s not exactly what was meant, but of course Delta put it in the most terrifying way possible, I suppose to show off their power. They walked to the airport, as you can do from here, and were told three different things by three different people, but I think they are assured of actual, if wretched, seats. A snow of dead skin begins from my sunburnt scalp and face. Sigh.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

July 30, 2017

Finished Friday off in a drunken, happy stupor, in the midst of the Dublin broth I love so well. I had wandered about for a while, feeling sorry for myself, but actually walking into a bar and buying a drink solved that. Ended the day as happily as I had begun it

Went to bed last night sick and feverish with a flare-up of the phlebitis I had apparently not conquered fully in Galway. Things would have been much worse if I had not fooled myself and actually brought the spare bottle of antibiotics, which I thought I’d left at home. Things might have been better had I remembered I’d brought it and completed the cycle the first time. Miserable last night, just dim and spent this gray morning. Goodbye; goodbye Dublin with me in a bad mood and hardly able to lift my luggage. I suppose exiting this way, worrying about my next step, will keep me from being overwhelmed by the emotion of leaving Ireland again.

J&L arrived from their adventures in the North. We toured the city, notably the National Museum, the sort of place for which Jim has boundless appetite. I was getting ill, so that was the excuse for my grumpiness throughout. .

Friday, July 28, 2017

July 28, 2017

Suite 303 of the Clarence is nothing short of majestic.

Across the Street at the New Theater:
She: Did you see Confirmation Suit?
Me: Yes I did. (She sold me the ticket, but. . .)
She: What did you think?
Me: Thin material salvaged by bravura delivery.
She: Behan? Thin material? That’s . . . controversial.
Me walking away thinking, “It’s only controversial because you assume Behan, being Dublin’s darling, will be good all the time. Besides, it’s not even Behan’s in that form, but adapted from prose by somebody else.” Society selects some favorites–on the basis of personality or history-- completely without regard to their actual merit. In Ireland Behan is one.

When I was in the bar of the Project Arts I was surrounded by active and enthusiastic theater people, actors and directors, all chattering about their last roles and the gossip of present productions. It was exciting, joyful. About half of me longed to be among them. About half of that half wondered why I had not sought that energy out at the beginning.

The table where I wrote most of The Beautiful Johanna on Cow Lane is gone. I’m writing most of Nimmos’ Quay in the Clarence, which should last a little longer.

Hiked to the Hugh Lane, saw the pieces that I’ve always loved, and a few, such as “The Tipperary Hurler,” which I love now and didn’t remember.

A day of brilliant light. For the first part of it, wandering through the lively blocks north of the river, I was deeply happy.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Dublin 2

July 27, 2017

Up early to a vat of cappuccino and then to the National Gallery. It’s been long enough since my last museum jaunt that I gobbled this one up, especially old favorites that I have seen time after time, and missed in the interval. Thirty seven years ago I saw a fantastic painting of Mary Magdalene ascending to heaven gowned in her own hair. No one knew what I was talking about. Even the museum, when I asked, didn’t know what I meant, but there it was, The Assumption of Mary Magdalene by Silvestro dei Gheraducci. So many circles are closing, Liam in Sligo, the Clarence, the Assumption of Mary in the NGI.

Intermittent, quite ferocious, rain, me seeking out Loretto Maegher, who has moved and renamed her gallery again. Now it is the Trinity. I stopped by and bought a painting, which I will not describe so it’s a surprise again when it arrives in the mail in a week or so. Both she and her sister look great.

J went to Derry and apparently found a raft of relatives sitting ‘round the ancestral graves.

Dublin was to me so much the City of Sex that now that it isn’t, I don’t know what to do with my evenings. Theater, yes, but what then? The idea of dragging myself across Dame Street to the George is almost unendurable. The Dock, the Sauna of the Mysteries, is gone. There are others, and I was a hit there late into my 50's, but– it’s best for imagining now. There are dangers such as Gary the Bad Actor last night, almost certainly a pickpocket, and perhaps not as harmless as the other two to whom I fell victim through the years. Do I even want it? Only in the metaphysical sense– by which I may mean, only from an angel.

In the Norseman in Temple Bar

I will sit in the pub window until twelve beautiful men pass by.
I will measure the consumption of my pint to make this happen–
neither too fast, so the beer gives out before the beauty,
nor too slow, as to leave the intoxicants unbalanced,
the lesser enduring.
Conquer, soul says to heart, the inclination to lament.
all those who passed when nobody was watching.
This task is not suggested in the tourist books.
There is a reason. You were warned. I whisper “beware.”
Yet, one for the curl of his dark brown hair.
One for the flash of his grass-green eye.
Another for his song as he passes by.
One for the strut of a tall red stag.
One for his cock raised like a flag
(Is it the seams of his trousers at play?
a merry memory from yesterday?)
One for his sorrow, one for his mirth.
One who is, for what it’s worth,
so like me once upon a time.
I make it all go neatly in a rhyme,
except for the fragment of my heart
that gull-like haunts the Liffey water, all apart,
with his lone cry to the living and the dead,
and this summer night will not be comforted.

Mandy Patinkin is announced for The Great Comet. That show will play forever.

Saw The Water Orchard at Project Arts, as if Joe Orton and Samuel Beckett, each at the age of fifteen, had crossed swords with Chekov. Witty, enjoyable, the one farce I’ve seen from which I could come away satisfied. It’s still pointless– an absurd problem invented and then solved absurdly-- but an effervescent night of theater. Would it work with actors less dazzlingly accomplished? One last drink at the Garage Bar, which I kind of love.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


July 26, 2017

Rain on a Wednesday morning. On the two days we didn’t have rain, with me running around bareheaded, I got a sunburn unlike any other–not visibly red, but a rather handsome ruddy tan, scalp, nose, forehead and cheeks nevertheless burned and seared and would not stop. “Sun poisoning,” suggested my nurse sister. At Parke’s Castle I literally had to run from shade to shade, having neglected to bring a hat. At least it was a new sensation. Not entirely past, I discovered as I shaved this morning.

County Sligo was our study yesterday, driven about by Mr. Rooney the eager taxi man, to Drumcliffe and Mullaghmore and Glencar, of lake and falling water, and finally to Parke’s Castle, which I hate because of its history, and because it is boring to go there. But I was reminded there of one of my early attachments to Sligo, the fact that on Church Island stood the stronghold of the O’Cuinans, the hereditary bards of the O’Rourkes– and they are the Keenans and they we are what is left of them. I am what is left of them. The last poet. I wanted to blab out all the history and legend I know of the places, building like flood behind a dam, but was reluctant to usurp our kindly guide We have been eating excellently, and finished off with fine Italian in a place now called “Italian Lane.” Will try to reverse the effects of that with a vodka fast in Dublin.

Blue Raincoat is doing its Yeats play series, and of all the things on this planet which I want to see, that stands near–or at– the top, and all I can do is counsel myself to prepare for the next season, as all the ways I could think of to take advantage would be impossible to manage now. The serious-looking Yeats School students throng–or rather pepper– the cafés.  Poor sad Sligo is each time diminished from his liveliness of the time before. David Roche is gone.

L& J had a money crisis. I’ve learned to install many redundant systems to head off such crises, but I suppose I learned to do so by having them. Even a moment’s doubt about finances or lodging can destroy a day abroad. We split up today, they heading for Derry, me for Dublin. I’m not traveling well this time. I wanted to plop down somewhere and soak that one place in. I have not been able to get my energy levels up, and I must see to that, as well as renew about half a dozen prescriptions, when I get home.  I instinctively blame some disorder, but maybe it’s just age. I don’t notice when I travel alone, for then I pick my own pace. Traveling at the rate of a normal person exposes it.

The irony of Dublin is that there’s nothing playing at the Abbey.

Yesterday was mother’s birthday. I wish we could have brought her to Ireland. I came here at first because of her.

What is Sligo to me? I fantasy based on the conviction that the life of my soul–as far back as I can reach it–began along the shores of Lough Gill.

2:30: Checked in to the Clarence, where I will stay four lovely nights. The lobby looks the same as it did when I checked in 37 years ago, where they took a look at my backpack and said, “I’m afraid we’re a little above you, lad,” but took pity on my obvious tourist panic and found me a squalid room in the basement, near the food storage areas. Why my Am Ex didn’t spell equality to them I don’t know. I’ve been “upgraded” to a suite, perhaps in memory of that long ago affront– a suite with windows opening on the Liffey. It has a bidet.  It is the best accommodation I have ever had. I am happy.

Walked around Temple Bar, three minutes in full light, and my Sun Poisoning is ablaze again. Can hardly stand it, though I’ve been indoors for an hour. Who ever heard of this? Bought theater tickets for the next two nights.

9:30. Crossed the street to see Communion Suit at the New Theater, adapted from the work of Brendan Behan. It was very thin material put across by presentation bordering on frenzy. Which is not to say it wasn’t amusing in its way, and that I didn’t think about it leaving the theater, heading to the Song 66 (or something) a Gin Bar on Parliament which used to be something else, where handsome blond Gary tried to seduce me, with such extravagance I guessed he must be a whore, or a mugger, and it takes real blatancy for me to “get it.” I regret not being able to take a pass from a handsome young man at face value any more. I regret, more deeply, that the Irish theater I have seen this season has been experimental in unnecessary and I-thought-we-were-all-through-with-that ways. Gulls float on the Liffey. It is very late and there is still light in the sky.  

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

July 24, 2017

An Cruscin Lan, Sligo, where I have stayed more than anywhere else in Ireland. Different room, though, in the front overlooking the street. Geraldine had my painting out in the lobby to greet me. It was good to see it again. Two days in Sligo will be hard. It is one of my sacred places, and there will be no leisure to deal with it in that way. We were half way to the most sacred spot of all, the place along the river where I realized my long association with Ireland in lives past, but turned aside to investigate some stone work under the old mill. It’s probably for the best, to leave the holy places untouched. Drive from Galway is more forested than I remember. Lovely time in McGarrigles, which is, as I think of it, my favorite bat in Ireland, and the one with the longest association.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

July 23, 2017

J & L and I hit the town, dining at the King’s Head, eventually hearing Cois Cladaigh at St. Nicholas. Exquisite and bold singing. It’s a relief to have someone to see the sights and encounter the challenges with, if I could get over the conviction that it’s my responsibility that everyone have the right measure of fun.

Regretted turning on the news, for it was all about Trump, and his newest claim that he is able to pardon anyone, presumably even himself. His constant use of the phrase “Fake News” reminds one of Goebbels’: “repeat, repeat, repeat.” He’s a world class tyrant by pure instinct, having, surely, put no thought into it at all.

Nimmo’s Quay moves forward at a rate and in a way I recognize from those plays that turned out good.

“Andy’s Prehistoric Adventures” on morning TV, in which Andy goes back in time to get barnacles from a basilosaurus.” Blue tits thronging the trees in the close.

Wandered down to the sea, then through the town to the city walls as before. Went to NUIG to see Australia’s Casus Circus defy death and honor the gods of acrobatics. Delicious–indeed, mystically wonderful–meal at Rouge. We leave Galway tomorrow. Being in company keeps me from getting all mystical and weepy about departure, which is probably a good thing.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

July 22, 2017

Rain vanishes and the summer is back, at least for a while. L&J arrive looking like teenagers on their first trip to Europe.

What is amazing is the overflow of my imagination, rich and exploratory, as I remember from times past. I think the demon made my subconscious fearful to look into certain places, terrified of what it might see. Now those passageways are vacant. Several dream-fantasies of a giant house or castle, which had either been underwater or soaked for some reason, being restored as a residence for me, or as an art venue over which I would preside. This morning I was running a marathon, but somehow we ejected colors as we ran, and the runners were making a gigantic 3-dimensional painting.

Lost a tooth or a crown while eating a brownie this morning. It doesn’t hurt, so I think I’ll leave it until I get home. The only problem is my tongue constantly worrying the new rough edges.

Walked the route I walked daily that one summer, up the Canal Road to NUIG. If I can’t live on the Long Walk, I would settle for Canal Road. Wanted to visit the Greatest of All Toilets at NUIG, but it was closed, for summer and for Saturday. Many cats along the way.  Veered over to the cathedral, where I arrived in time to hear a homily on the Feast Day of Saint Mary Magdalene. The priest was an ass.

Friday, July 21, 2017

July 21, 2017

The Irish are addicted to poppers and make the worst porn.

Rain through the night and chill heavy rain now at morning. This is my Ireland.

Rose yesterday and walked toward the sea. Kept along the high stone walls that look into the harbor– gulls, cormorants, swans (a black swan among them, probably brought here as a novelty–though now that I think of it, there are black swans on that lake in Cork) and a gray heron. Went to the end of Nimmo’s Quay, hoping for the shoal of jellyfish I saw there once. One jellyfish was spread out like spilled molten crystal on the sea wrack. The stormy sky toward Connemara was varied and dramatic. Rain started and stopped. I crept along the margin of the sea, probing in the tidepools.  Picked up shells. I was at peace as a man seldom is. Rain, rock, moving water, the call of wild sea bird, yellow flowers in the crannies of broken stone. Having lunch in the King’s Head I hit upon the subject of my next play, began to write. In the early evening, hiked to Nun’s Island to see a piece called Yellow Moon, done by youth and community theater forces. It was sweet and affecting --a sort of Highlands Stagger Lee-- and lead by a girl of amazing fierce beauty, and a boy with remarkable expressiveness, a potentially fine actor. Again, it was not a play, but a story-theater event in which the chorus told you what was happening and what you ought to think about it. Leaving the Arts Festival I will have seen some fine theater, but only no actual play. Growing fond of weissbier. In the dark of night I went to St. Nicholas to hear Lankum, an extraordinary and original folk group, whose unusual vocal technique was abetted by the resonance of the church. Lovely. Home in the rain, to discover that my key no longer worked in the outside door. Hussein the Mauritanian tried to help, but it didn’t work for him either. It was midnight. Hussein called the landlord, who arrived with a minimum of grumpiness, and we discovered that the cows in the other apartment had flipped the clip on the lock that prevents any key from turning. Rang and rang until they roused. They could not be made to understand what they had done, and it was only when they discovered they couldn’t get out, and panicked, that one of them, during that awful flailing of hands, accidentally opened the clip. Jesus, how I hated them. But when I was inside, my coleslaw chips from the chipper were still warm and not that wet. I think, and have always thought, that I could dwell here happy.

From my bedroom window I can see the houses of the Long Walk, the place where I would live if I could magically live anywhere.

When I came to the end of Nimmo’s Quay, there was a tall stone with puddles of rain around it. The stone smelled like piss, and I realized it was the custom of men to piss on it , either for magical reasons or because it was so far from anything else. I honored the custom, for there was nobody else in sight.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

July 20, 2017

Blast of light in the window at waking deceived about the nature of this mottled, agate day.

Walking to An Taibhdhearc last night I heard myself praying, “Thank you, God, for returning me to this place I love.” I was on my way to see Dun naBan Tri Thine, my first play in Gaelic (with English subtitles projected on the wall.). Of course it was well done, but the play suffered from being a couple of brilliant ideas never quite realized by the playwright. Are the Sidhe assisting this woman or terrorizing her? If both, why and to what degree? Is liberation the elimination or the harmonization of supernatural forces? Is to reject the identity taken on, willingly, one supposes, by a wife and mother in some way to be fulfilled? As with Pumpgirl, men are seen by a female playwright as brutal obstacles to a woman’s self-fulfillment, but (perhaps I’m saying this because I’m a man) the desired fulfillment seems unearned, ill-defined, irrational, infantile. Acknowledgment of all these negative qualities does not modify the demand for fulfillment, but makes it the more urgent, based on a woman’s appetite, or self-image, rather than upon palpable truth. The man in “The Fairy Fort” is the blameless victim of his wife’s delusion; in Pumpgirl, he’s a slob who’s not allowed reformation, as that would interfere with the wife’s conviction of persecution. Female artists think of objectivity as male subjectivity. This will keep them in the second rank forever

On one side of me was a ginger lad here on an expedition from Carleton College. On the other was an elderly woman from Connemara, who has studied Yeats and more particularly Ted Hughes. She told me that Hughes had to escape to Ireland to shake off Sylvia and do his best work. Also that Assia Wevill, the woman in his life after Plath, killed herself, and their baby as well, with gas, just as Plath had done.  It amazes us both that Feminist criticism scorns whoever does not blame Ted for this. Her belief was that it was his tragedy to be attracted to gifted, unstable women, not that he caused their instability. Maybe you have to live in Connemara to have the freedom to say all that. Actually it reminds me of the last two plays, masculinity at fault because it does not (cannot) yield at every point to the feminine vision, which demands to be allowed to shimmer and backtrack and transform outside of a man’s ability to follow.

Bought my 7th or 8th copy of The Crock of Gold.

Had the best grilled cheese sandwich of my life in the Bier House. Mother’s is second.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Galway 3

July 19, 2017

The Galway Art Club’s annual show is crap. I think I remember this from before. The other art venues are moving and spectacular. Went to one on Middle Street where the attendant was having her lunch, and between bites of sandwich told me how some Asian woman wants to marry her son to get a Eurozone passport, while he wants to marry an American to get an American passport. Went to the Galway City Museum. Saw fierce spearheads dredged out of the Corrib. Walked the streets. Stopped at some of the old places, Taafee’s and the King’s Head. God-like bartenders. Napped heroic naps. In the evening went to Nun’s Island to see a play called Pumpgirl. Again, impeccable Irish acting glazes over whatever flaws there might have been. Powerful language, powerful situation– the problem is that it wasn’t actually a play, but three monologues–eventually revealed to be related-- delivered by people who sat on stage and never spoke to or acknowledged one another. I think that must be much easier for a playwright than actually to have dialog and interaction. But, I was mesmerized, and impressed with what it did accomplish. Every play I have seen out of Northern Ireland has dealt with the abject squalor of life. Sat next to the President of the Eugene O’Neill Society, and who is in town for an O’Neill conference at NUIG. At one time he was #2 attorney in the State Department (I think he said) and chief of the EPA for the western US. He and his wife are fans of Thomas Wolfe, and had been to Asheville to take in all that.  I have the best luck with theater neighbors. Drank my way back home. Lisa Hannigan at Roisin Dubh. At the bar on the corner, the name of which is not coming to me, I was propositioned by Jim, a restaurant worker having a few drinks before the last bus from Eyre Square.  Whatever else was happening, I thanked Ireland for still seeing me as a sexual being. I might have said yes but for the whole midnight bus ride into the boondocks thing. Rain last night, drizzle now. I fooled the gods by remembering to pack my big yellow slicker.

Went to inquire at the Laundrette, and found it filled with Amazons, with Valkyries, tall, strong women with blond hair to their shoulders. I don’t think it is actually a laundrette.

Ate lunch under an awning in Quay Street in the rain. Five women at the table behind me were complaining about how much Irish women complain.

I’m reminded how I know I’m Irish: they and I can find a smart retort for nearly everything that’s said. Here they appreciate it, like it; at home it’s smart-alecky.

Monday, July 17, 2017


July 17, 2017

Number 21, The Sea Road, Crescent Close, Galway. Turns out I have rented an apartment, with two bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room. The livingroom window looks out on the big gray Catholic church where Pat Jourdan used to exhibit her devotions. The bedroom window looks over a neighborhood, where a few minutes ago a brother and sister were playing basketball in a back yard. The flight from JFK was not very eventful, because I was asleep nearly every second of it. My legs were in pain–so swollen my pant legs cut into them-- and the angle of the First Class seats was blessed and soporific relief. Drowsed off nevertheless on the bus between here and Shannon. The land between Shannon and Galway is known to me. Even the shapes of trees were familiar, and the distant gray of the Burren, and the little shops in Ennis and Gort. My left foot sole is blistered for some reason, and my legs are engorged, so going around the town was hard this afternoon, but go I did, until I almost literally could not take another step. And then there were the several narrow flights of stairs leading to my room. . . but I DID make it, and napped, and think I am ready to set out again. .
10:30. Walked–not at all happily–to the Black Box Theater and saw Woyzeck in Winter , a remarkable conflation of Die Winterreise and Woyzeck. It was quite wonderful in every aspect of concept and realization, as one has come to expect from Irish participants in the Arts Festival. I kept thinking, “who would have THOUGHT of this?” Boys slept spread-eagled behind the hedges I passed on my way to the theater, at peace in their own environment.

Stopped at the bar that was the Pump House fifteen years ago, where I had joyful nights. This night was joyful enough.
Legs, hip, foot in agony. Will I make it through tis adventure?

Sunday, July 16, 2017


July 16, 2017

JFK  International, New York. An El Al jet is parked beneath the window where I write, in the Delta Sly Club, whose exclusivity is marred tonight by being crowded with travelers. Sat for a while with a distinguished Russian gentleman who hails from Archangel and who’s on his way to DC for a conference on global warming. He remarks on the variety of human faces, says, “you are a nation of many nations.” I want to say, “tell that to our leader.”  A little angling discovers that he is proud of Putin, thinks him a great man and a patriot. At one point in the flight between Atlanta and New York (after two white wines) I was overcome with gratitude at being on my way to Galway, a place which always brings me joy, and which, for some reason, I seem to have been denying myself. The Place Where I Missed Finding Love has become The Place Where I Might Have Found Love, which is, somehow, sweeter. Block long Kuwait Airlines jet. I still don’t understand how these things get into the air, or stay there once they’re launched. The man on one side of me is instructing his wife how to put air in the tires. The man on the other talks about opening the skate park he runs (or ran) at 1 in the morning for Dave Chappelle.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

July 15, 2017

Illness continues, low-grade, necessitating many naps and several pills. Preparation for travel slowed-down, but it will probably be sufficient. The kind of travel I will be doing for the next 24 hours is mostly napping, anyway. Thunderstorms, the garden afterwards glittering with afternoon light. It would be nice if somebody surprised me by saying goodbye.

July 14, 2017

Vive la France.

Gold light came at evening upon the garden, and I thought if I were asked to paint paradise, that would be it.  Most of the afternoon thunder rumbled almost constantly at the far edges of the horizon. Long, sweet rain here, with blue lightning blazing overhead.

I woke this morning for the first time in months alone in my body. Only those who have been through it understand. But, the dissolution of the demon spread toxins through my body. Have been fighting the infection with antibiotics, achy and tired, which has lost me a whole day in my preparation for departure. It just means tomorrow will be chock full.

Reading a biography of John Berryman, stalled for the same reason as I stalled with Crane. Is he good enough? What secrets, what skills could one conceivably learn?

Played La Marseilles on You Tube in honor of the day.

Friday, July 14, 2017

July 13, 2017

Z pushed toxins into my bloodstream this AM, and I have spent most of the day achy and sleepy, though I did get writing and submitting done. I wouldn’t have been able to lift a shovel. I usually get done more in a day than I record here, and think, “I should really write about that,” and then I don’t. My ancient theory is that what needs to be remembered, will be remembered.

The native hibiscus bursts into scarlet flower eight feet above the front yard. Two years ago a storm beat it down before it bloomed. Last year it was the maniac gardeners claiming to take it for a peony. But this time, all is well, scarlet stars in due time, at the eye level of giants, delights to my heart.

It is possible that the demon is defeated.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

July 12, 2017

As I write, arborists are dismantling the great sweet gum at 62, in whose shade I lived for 24 years. I went to snap a few pictures, but sadness overcame me. There is no single way in which the property will not be better for the loss of that monstrosity, and yet, turning my back and walking home, I could barely endure it.  Bereavement is not rational. I’ll let it go at that.

3 PM: re the above, astonishing hole in the tree line to the west.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

July 11, 2017

A voice called my name from the end of my drive, and it was my student L, who wanted to tell me he’s off to LSU this fall, and to thank me to the degree that my letter of recommendation may have gotten him in. I hope I did well for him, for he was the rare student actually and at every visible moment engaged in the intellectual current of the class, brows knitted, hand in air. At 8:30 in the morning. May all go well. May all be triumph.

L has a friend who lives in the apartments behind my house. L says he is a genius, who could endure only one semester at UNCA. “There was only one professor for whom I had any respect,” he said. Then he named me and showed L a copy of one of my books in his possession. One chews these bones through long famine.

Pulled In the Country of the Young out of the dead files, read it, and, lo and behold, it is good. I remember why I put it away. Ignorant criticism has done me more harm than anything but neglect. I’m vulnerable to ignorant criticism because, unlike some writers who believe each syllable of theirs to be perfect, I’ve always tried to understand and profit by criticism. Apparently even that virtue becomes a vice at a certain point.

Lone mockingbird singing in the shade under my pine at sunset. An odd song, not is own, not any I can identify.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

July 10, 2017

Princeton did a list of the 25 best universities for students who want to save the world, and UNCA was #1. You look around for the camera. . . .

Traveler’s haircut. . . the best haircut I’ve had in three years.  Reserved my airport driver (friends hauling me to and from the airport doesn’t seem to work for me, though evidently it does for others).

Intense gardening. Discovered that bamboo has TWO appearances when young, the fat purple spears which I recognize and obliterated, the frilly grass-like clumps which I let grown until I realized, today, what they are. Ferocious, exhausting hacking. Walking with the watering can between isolated new plantings. Discover the gil-over-the-ground is almost ineradicable.

Fed the fish in the pond. Lao Tzu, K’ung Fu Tsu and Siddhartha are all alive and speckled and well.

Monday, July 10, 2017

July 9, 2017

Realized I have one week until Ireland. The long, languid summer is less long, less languid than it felt. Excellent writing, even some inroads into submission of manuscripts. The hibiscus emerge in full pink and ivory moons. The real moon sails hibiscus-wise over the black hollies. Energetic gardening, afterwards come into to spend the next hour scratching mosquito bites. Ordered food from Valet Gourmet. When it arrived it could feed three.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

July 8, 2017

Good writing n the morning. Good painting in the afternoon. One of the features of life in The River Arts District is the stream (a stream in some places, a trickle for me) of gawkers and looky-loos, who sometimes are charming or inspiring and often are tolerable. Often, not. But the central attitude of the process is off-putting. I think of this when waiters are going on about how tipping is a duty and an obligation. (It’s not, but that’s another story). I think that tourists should not come to the River District, or other arts districts, unless willing and prepared to make a major art purchase, and I don’t mean a mug or another packet of pretty note cards. If waiters deserve to make a living wage, so do artists. If you shouldn’t go to a restaurant if you’re unable to tip adequately, you sure as hell shouldn’t go to a street of studios without the means and willingness to support the source of your amusement and enlightenment. We are not museums. We support ourselves. You wouldn’t expect to go to the cinema and see the movie for free. The landscaping in a “free” city park is maintained and paid for by SOMEBODY.  Of course, restaurant tipping should be replaced by an adequate wage from the restaurant owner. In the same way, the city should pay a stipend to artists who make a place like Asheville a destination it would not otherwise be. Asheville without its artists is Johnson City, and if it doesn’t know that, it should. How to convey this to travelers from Florida or New York who wander through and assume we’re a kind of folk exhibit maintained for their amusement?  Ask, understand, grow, buy, or stay home. This doesn’t always bother me. Today it did.

Major revision of Night ,Sleep.– less a revision than reading through and being satisfied that it is right.

Fed potato chips to the crows. Painted crows.

Friday, July 7, 2017

July 7, 2017

Forty-one years ago today I lay in Cleveland Clinic with my heart in somebody else’s hand. Just happened to think that maybe so much had turned out badly because that turned out so well.  I should have been allowed to choose.

Resigned that T, my first and oldest friend in Asheville, my oldest continuing friend in the world now, has put me aside for the second time. Both times he’s turned from me because he apparently can have only one friend at a time and he thought somebody else would give him fame as a screenwriter. I go to the High Five and watch him with W, huddled and whispering, and remember twenty years ago when the same thing happened with S, and both times it was because he wanted to collaborate on screenplays to make him rich and famous. I understand why he won’t collaborate with me, even though that would be his one and only shot at what he desires. I wouldn’t collaborate with me. Losing him was terrible the first time. It is all right this time. I almost don’t even care, for the caring ended the first time and it was conviviality rather than love that allowed the restoration of our relationship. All things run their course. For a while we were inseparable. For a while he was the center of my life, and I at least a part of his That memory is sweet, though the disconnect from ongoing life seems now complete. The first separation is heartbreak. The second is “huh,” and turning back to one’s notebook and coffee.

Tried the High Five by the river, on the grounds, in fact, of my office complex. Wrote and watched the turbulent life of the river which we somehow, in the macrocosm, think of as “serene.” Complained for the second time in six months about the rain coming through my ceiling. They know. “Oh, we’ve got it looked at and estimates in. The only thing left is actually to do it.” Indeed.

Good painting before noon. People from New York came to talk about how superior the Asheville scene is to the Manhattan. I tell them that the Asheville scene is passing away, killed by greed and gentrification. She nods her head. They almost buy a painting. The price is a fifth of what it’s worth, but I knew they thought it was too high. I stop myself from saying, “But it’s FRAMED already! The frame itself cost $45!" They appreciated my work. That is supposed to be the end of it.

Fed DJ’s fish, and ran into Will, who have me a tour of 62, inside and out. I was relieved. It is not so foreign. It’s just as I remember it, with more mess and different colors. I think it is happier with a family in it. Most of my outdoor planting remains, often lovingly transplanted from where I’d put it to where he wanted it. He has decided the big sweet gum must come down. The giant lily pumping fragrance into the front yard he calls “The David Lily.”

Looked in journals from 1991–1993, trying to find references to S. I find that I was involved in a dizzying array of projects, that exhaust even to name. And of those projects, dozens and perhaps, in time, hundreds, not one came to anything. Not one. A cataclysm of effortful futility.  Maybe only I remember, and I only because I wrote it down. I am dumbfounded. All came to nothing. I should not have turned the pages. No one can blame me for not trying.

Rain on and off, which I bless because of my garden.

Just learned that Francis Davis is dead. She directed me in The Weir. I remember her upright and merry heart.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

July 5, 2017

Continuation of the taming of the western terrace. One of the oddest things since the move was Will’s hauling the dirt he removed for his various construction projects and dumping it in my yard, along the streetside of the fence. I guess he figured it was my dirt and I would welcome it back. He wasn’t entirely wrong, but the dumping of it there was something which had to be redeemed. So I have been trying to do with new plantings and with allowing my old plants-- which came over, root or seed in the dirt-- to form stands, mostly lemon balm and green dragon.  So, healthy stands of echinacea, sunflower, a few red succulents, great columns of great mullein, green dragon, hawkweed., a grove of pokeweed whose fate I will decide later. A plausible wild garden to which I added pink rose-of-sharon that was half price at the hardware store by the river.. The comfrey had been languishing in the bamboo shade, so I transplanted it onto the terrace, where it can have at least afternoon light.

Sat in the High Five and wrote on Grendel. Cooked one of my eggplants.

July 4, 2017

Much weeding, then to Rich’s for an all-gay Independence Day party in their beautiful garden. For years I didn’t like parties, but endured them. More recently I have relaxed, and maybe a had a little fun. Surfeit of food. Everyone seemed to know the right moment to go home. Watched fireworks in New York and DC on TV. It's all a little hollow with that hog as President.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

July 3, 2017

Realized when the noise began that I could watch the Grove Park Inn fireworks while sitting on my sofa.

Baked my first bundt cake– “Mint Julep Cake”-- inspired, I guess, by the quarter acre of mint devouring my yard. Used part of one stalk; I’d need to throw a mojito party for the whole neighborhood. Cake’s destined for Rich’s 4th party, which I seem to have decided to attend. Maybe I just wanted to bake the cake.

B phoned and she and her mate and a lady playwright whose name I’ve forgotten had dinner at Travinia. Excellent talk, actually, and excellent food. D, the Russian tribesman of some kind (she used to call him “my Indigenous”), still can barely speak English. He was much prettier 10 years ago; she is unchanged. They have been running a sort of B&B by a lake in Guatemala. We talked about the Pretensions of H. Happy to be back in touch. B is one of those people to whom interesting things seem to happen. Arrived early for the dinner, went to the bookstore, bought a few things, sat down to browse through my purchases and drink an iced tea, when a play leapt full-blown into my head. That is the best.

Made reservations with Liam to stay with him in Sligo.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

July 2, 2017

Day of the animals. I looked out the bathroom window at the first of morning and my rabbit was sitting in the grass, grooming . He has more red in his coat than it looks at distance. I felt blessed having him. I ran over the places on the property where he can hide, but he probably already new them. Sat at High Five under my crape myrtle writing, and a weaver finch flew onto my plate and took bites out of my croissant. I said “Little brother, fortune favors the bold.”  Then the dog at the next table walked over and put his head upon my lap. Cleaned out the filter on the pond, and ladled three huge tadpoles out of the mess. They were warm--perhaps the water is warm–and felt like gelatin in the hand.  Went to the studio but turned around and came home without lifting a brush. Revised “The Forest Road.” Thought of the time in Galway when it was night and I was having sex with a Spaniard on the grass near the beach, and a night soccer game raged all around us.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

July 1, 2017

Quick and massive deluge. For a moment it was raining hard in the back yard and not at all in the front.

Excellent painting. People came into the studio from all over, including a surprising wealth of mothers and young sons. One little boy told me of seeing a water moccasin as he (the boy) was bouncing on his trampoline.

I’m fairly sure I have never used the word “trampoline” before in any writing.  

Stumbled upon “Fallen Orangemen,” the obituary page for Ellet High School. “Who would have thought that death had undone so many?”There is no page for the Class of 1950. Has no one from that year passed on? Very few and intriguing “causes of death”: one suffocated by a weightlifting bar falling on his chest, one killed while running drugs, several who died together in pairs in accidents down through the years, one at least murdered during an armed robbery. Drowning is fairly common. All the desperate ones, the hoodlums and outsiders, left us long ago, fulfilling the prophesies they must have heard around them. Ricky Rioux was acknowledged as a suicide, though he was not the only one. He was, however, the first, in my life. I remember when he did it. I could lead you to his house right now. He was snarling and extravagantly beautiful, and on the day we learned of his suicide the world changed for us, the whole concept of “inexplicable” entering in. We had one conversation, and I remember it, even the angle of the sun against the stoop of his house, me wondering why he was bothering with a dopey kid form the neighborhood. It’s 50 years later, and I am saying his name, writing his name. I hope it means something to him.

The second person I knew to commit suicide was a lively, fun-loving old man named Jim Stone, who went to our church, the grandfather of one of my friends. With Ricky as my only other exhibit, I wondered what there was about suicide that should attract the very young and the very old. I wondered also what, once you got to Jim’s age, could possibly bother you so much that you’d want to die. (Here is the sound of mordant laughter)

Sirens punctuate the deep blast of rain. A fallen tree? A fire leaping up into the rain?

My garden builds to its first climax after spring.

June 30, 2017

A day of doing all but nothing–an odd experience for me. I did paint some, and was happy doing it. It’s a bit of an illness, like flu I suppose, though I never get the flu. It may be simple exhaustion, after last night’s pitched and mortal warfare. It may be phlebitis. It’s been so long since I was hit by that I almost don’t remember. Voting for exhaustion. I had a dream of going to a carnival, but all the attractions closed just as I was approaching them. Too on-the-nose. Afternoon of watching old movie bloopers on You Tube. Too exhausted to rise up and stop doing it.  Clouds of various hurrying gray.

. . . that moment when you’re lifting your coffee to your mouth, and you catch a glimpse of your life as it is, and realize that life cannot be lived.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

June 29, 2017

Party at the Jefferson to celebrate F’s departure to Brooklyn. Saw the people from the Apothecary. All have recovered, though one was either in a bad mood or has turned into a bitch. There was meant to be music, but my bodies-per-square-foot ratio of toleration had been well exceeded when I snuck out the door. Handsome Alec-- a prodigally gifted musician, I think-- and I agreed that you can get what you need from any institution, even one not ideally suited to you. This was relative to his being an advanced composer and our school not very advanced in the fostering of composition. Anyway, all seemed calm and happy. A visiting dog and the resident cat sniffed each other and decided to be at peace.  Chestnut Street is surprisingly shady and Andy Hardy, if you’re walking on it. Finished “Corin and Dorinda.”

June 28, 2017

Weeding, watering, writing, painting. I must remark that patience and perseverance have made me a better painter than I ever expected to be. It is not in my nature to prefer patience and perseverance over headlong assault, but there it is. Bright eyed kid from Hampden-Sidney University shows up in my studio. His aunt brings him to Asheville annually. He delights in my nature paintings. I tell him where to find more at Blue Spiral. At Hampden-Sidney each student takes four full years of rhetoric and writing. I want to see if that can happen at UNCA, or why it has not happened. But, do I stir things up so close to the end? They make sure every possible innovation is so hedged about with checks and balances people die or slump into stupors. Thought how the Boy was the vanguard of Trump, for me, anyway, making things deliberately and insidiously worse and then lying about it, then eliminating whoever calls him on the lies. A says his general nickname is “penis head.” So sorry I didn’t think of that myself. I wonder if, like Trump’s cabinet, he was appointed specifically to destroy the program, and I never caught on?  Bought food the cats hated, put it out for the opossums.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

June 27, 2017

Woke urgently sick, which has continued if diminished through the day. I blame the great quantity of carrots eaten just before bed.

Great day in the garden. Weeded easily half of what needed weeding, and sufficiently mulched about a third of that. Bought three plants to fill in spaces in the back garden. Wrote well at High Five. My white crape myrtle is in bloom, the one at the café I love to sit under and write. Trevor left employment at the café the minute I learned his name. Looked at old fragments of plays, seeing if I could resurrect any of them. There’s some mighty fine writing wasted.

Monday, June 26, 2017

June 26, 2017

Yo Yo Ma’s Appalachian Waltz on Spotify.

Dream which ended in a remembrance of the moment when Mike Herhold and I won the “neatest campers” prize at summer camp in West Virginia. How deep was that buried?

When I close my eyes, image of a tulip sapling gleaming in a shaft of gold light.

Got my car washed. It was getting a little sickening inside. Contemplated the young man who was running the carwash–competent, polite, but also obviously on the edge of fury. Glad I came early.

Fairly good painting. Tried an Impressionist landscape. It looks like yellow mud. Ordered elegant papers. New studiomate, Geri, with lovely jewelry.

More weeding than I expected to do when I set to it. Close the eyes and see crabgrass.

The days, officially “free,” nevertheless get filled.

June 25, 2017

Reading a biography of Hart Crane, hesitating through it because he’s not really a very good poet and maybe I’m wasting my time.

Cantaria’s evening performance may have been the most nearly incident-free of our career. The audience seemed to like it, and I had a good time. Moments where I was learning something new musically. Must find the right shoes for singing. Lovely drinks afterward at the Wayside.

On the way to sing I auditioned for Different Strokes, Steph’s theater group. Auditioned to be a KKK Exalted Cyclops or whatever it was. Interesting audition, including games, which normally irritate me, but this time seemed useful. Will be in Ireland for a chunk of rehearsals, so it’s probably a non-starter. But I needed something meaty, even if offensive.

Knee pain replaced by back pain. One smiles ruefully.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

June 23, 2017

It has been so wet weeds pulled three days ago are still green and hopeful.

Had the expected temper tantrums setting up my new printer.

M and R’s son A was born today. He looks huge in the photo he sent, probably because he was near the camera. Impressive, expressive eyebrows.

Dress rehearsal for Cantaria that went better than any other in memory. Hope this does not hex the performance.

Knee almost useless for part of the day.

The garden rising in red and gold to a new campaign for mid-summer.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

June 22, 2017

Maud the cat rubbing her face against my toes as if she wanted to start a fire. Trying to remember what I did today. Wrote a poem to welcome Maria and Russell’s baby, to be born tomorrow. The 23rd of every month seems lucky to me. Rain, I guess from the tropical storm that came ashore in Louisiana. Drove to the studio but didn’t go in. Haven’t seen my bunny in days. Forlorn. It’s hard to know how to go forward. In private life, quality simply does not matter. In public life, lies do not bother to disguise themselves; if we want to hear it, then it must be true. I possess no powers to overcome either of these things, and unless they are overcome, all stops. Given this, life is very much too long. C posted pictures of the Hiram reunion, and I recognized two souls, she being one of the, They were so old. . . .

June 21, 2017

Much sleeping on the first day of summer. Painting. A poem in the café. Little fires on the edge of the green margin which are my flowers. Moving paintings around in the studio– too many big spiders behind them. Windhover takes a poem.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

June 20, 2017

Night coming on, a sort of pale Prussian blue silvered in some inexplicable way.  Weeded for an hour, came in to itch for an hour from the mosquito bites. Some plants planted last year and which I thought were no-shows bloom this year, Patience, patience. A red bloom appears above my waterlilies. Alex alerted me to the existence of Richmond Hill Park. I sought it our this morning on my way to the studio. I got out of the car and had walked three or four minutes, and reached the border between sun and shadow-- the open, almost wild meadow, where the thistle and the ragweed still gleamed with dew– when I felt my chest unclenching as though I had been administered some honeyed opiate. The blood ran cool in my limbs. . . I felt relaxed maybe for the first time since returning from Venice. I realized what was happening. I continued into the woods– a beautiful young woods, even if overgrown with poison ivy– and said to the spirits there, “Come into me. Come in. Come. Possess me. Leave no space for anything else. Fill me.” And they did.  I could not make the demon depart by wishing it, by willing it, by praying for it, by concentrating on fierce opposition, but I thought if I invited light to crowd out the uninvited shadow, that it may work. Small light drives away vast shadow. It did work. It has worked. The evil visions the demon imposed are replaced by a tulip tree standing in pure light, by a field of flowers, by the tangle of deep trees, by blue sky paled with morning cloud. Possession confounded by possession. Even the way my skin feels is different, not prickled constantly from the inside by the half-formed but ever-present sensations of horrible shapes and deformities. I feel as a man; I feel the way I look for the first time in months. If I can keep this up, if I can attend to the blessed spirits and starve the demon of all attention, I may crawl forever back among the living. For this day I have been blessed. Watched a man practicing Extreme Frisbee, then a young father bring his son to watch him practice. He was the most excellent father, caressing his child with his voice, never letting a teaching opportunity go by. I thought blessed. Sat at a picnic table and wrote a poem. Continued to the studio and painted well. Going to try to get to bed tonight sober and before 3 AM.

Monday, June 19, 2017

June 18, 2017

Turbulent Day. Good day. Both at the same time. Coffee with A, at which time we noticed the perfection of the day and of the atmosphere. A day, weather-wise, anyhow, of Paradise. Deep hatred of the shape of crabgrass led to and orgy and pulling and digging. Paradoxically enraged at not knowing about a rehearsal I wouldn’t have attended had I known about it. Made stupid and repeated mistakes in rehearsal, hobbled, I think, by anger. After a long phone call on the All Souls lawn with the publisher, it looks like Peniel is a go. Not what I had hoped for. Cause for a smile and then a sigh. But good enough. Ten times better than not.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

June 17, 2017

Came out of dreams into a space haunted by the demon, so the first of day was sadness and defeat. I will say it has not gotten worse.

Exceptional writing at the High Five. I may have brought the Poets play near to its end.

I think I made progress at the studio, but left things in places with which I am not pleased, and the roughness stays with me. Cute high school kids from Hendersonville chatted with me a long while, eager and open, and I was grateful. Later a family from Xenia, where they still talk about the tornado.

No call, but an email from SJ Press. We are to talk tomorrow-- just as I am in rehearsal, of course. He is serious about “working with me,” so the worst of the worst is avoided. I look online for evidence that the Press is a vanity press or odd in some way, and nothing comes up. Rather the opposite. Even evidence does not fully allay my misgivings after the experiences I’ve had. I look for rejoicing in my heart, but it is still cowering many rooms and corridors back in the Mansion of Dread.

Theater last night, C triumphant in speeches that challenged him and seemed made for him at the same time. I think a playwright’s paradise is knowing whom he is writing for, and knowing they can go wherever he leads. The question came up of audience, and how to get more without doing crap all the time, which is what “saved” ACT.  I want to say “I’ve seen no more than this in the audience for supreme productions in London and New York,” but though that may soothe the hurt artist nerve, it doesn’t help the bank balance. I need a couple of billion a year so I can finance people to do the work that needs to be done without all the time worrying about the rent.

The burnt orange of my inherited daylilies lines the drive and the back of the yard.

Friday, June 16, 2017

June 16, 2017

Bloom’s Day.

Belatedly read my faculty evaluation. Carbon copy of the last twenty years. But then, maybe I’m a carbon copy of the last 20 years. And I have dated myself using “carbon copy.” I long ago left off reading student evaluations, but some leak through into the faculty eval, reminding me of why I stopped looking at them in the first place. The “negative” comments are most often factually in error– such as “We didn’t have a syllabus. . . we never knew when exams were going to be. . .he made up the readings as we went. . “ when I can produce syllabi for every course, with every exam and assignment noted. What can be done about that, but to slap the forehead and move on?
Good work in the studio. Sold my blue-throated hummingbird to a couple from Tennessee who received, as they were standing beside my easel, word that his brother had a heart attack and was dying, in Willoughby, Ohio.

Kept phone in hand all day to receive a call from R which he had pledged for today and which, of course, never came. This leads me to assume the news is bad.

Phone call from C, who is reading Birdsongs of the Mesozoic. It took her two minutes to remind me fully of herself, though we have not met since 1983.

Dreamed that I was at a banquet receiving a prize for starring in the play Casey at the Bat., which even in the dream I didn’t remember doing.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

June 15, 2017

Dark outside of approaching storm. Blessed. The storm outside balances the storm inside, and one is for an hour at peace.

DJ and I saw Wonder Woman last night. It’s not the movie I would have made given the same material, but I liked it. Talked with a young couple in the lobby afterward. She was outraged because WW required a man’s love to complete and fully motivate her, while was hoping for a totally self-begotten, self propelled Woman Hero. He didn’t like the dialogue because– well, he was less articulate than his girlfriend, but it seemed that the men didn’t exclaim enough at the wonders Diana was performing. I found no sympathy in myself for either perspective, but nevertheless admit the two were visibly and honestly shaken by what they had seen. I think this is what an artist wants, even if the tone is antipathy.

Dinner afterward. Our waitress was one of those people who manages to enrage without ever doing anything wrong. Just the manner of the doing. Must be a pheromone.

Excellent progress at the studio, the complete resurrection of an old and important painting. Visitors from Dallas and Alpharetta, the later who knew my sister’s street. Progress on the play about poets.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

June 14, 2017

Morning at the Y, smitten by what must have been a deliberate convention of handsome men. Fairly good painting afterwards, a statue in a formal garden. My neighbor Ray is apparently in jail. Miss him. His studio will be taken by a jeweler, Steven says.

Wrote this to go in Facebook, but realized I wasn’t up for all that would follow:

I’m detaching this comment from all the places on FB where it’s being talked about, so no one feels personally attacked or challenged. Please attach “In my opinion” to everything I’m about to say. I think it’s odd– by “odd” I mean “foolish”– when people equate atheism with advanced intelligence or powers of reason. Many of the favorite people in my life are atheists, or declare themselves to be, and though this does not make me love them less, I know that there is one important destination we can never travel to together. Those of you who know me know I never proselytize– in fact some people are surprised to discover I’m a believer– but that is not because I doubt my own faith, but because the objects of faith are so palpable to me that another’s not perceiving them seems wilful and outside the realm of useful discussion. The sphere of Spirit is real and palpable, and those who do not perceive it are not advanced but rather deficient. A person who is tone deaf–or actually deaf-- is not considered to be offering a real or useful critique of music when he remains unmoved by it, or if he should asset its non-existence. My massage guy has a very slight sense of smell, and to him most tastes are fables. I myself am not very good at Math and have more than once declared, or felt like declaring, “math doesn’t matter,” but that is an expression of my limitations and has nothing to do with MATH. Some people understand abstract painting; others do not. We may think that those who claim to understand it are “making it up,” but they would not think so. You may think a believer is imagining or willing the spiritual presence guides his life, but to do so is a kind of smirking arrogance that most of us would deny ourselves in other contexts.  Not one person on this planet has the experience of the absence of God. Those who fail to experience the presence of God may be content with that (no reason NOT to be content with that) but maybe should stop short of asserting that out of their blindness arises a genuine description of the world.  I too am fed with organized religion and want it out of government, etc, etc, but that is hugely not the same thing as atheism. I want the Faultless Body of Christ to be free of all that crap; I do not misidentify the Body with the crap. So, OK, be an atheist, but stop being so proud of it. You are not advanced. You are, from other perspectives equal in wisdom and perception to your own,  wilful or deficient. And right now God is rolling His eyes and saying, “Do you really think I need you to fight for me?” sigh—

My thoughts fly westward to D, who may in fact be the man of my dreams, the one I was looking for down every alley and in every street, perfect in every way, physical, moral, spiritual. And Irish. The fact that nothing can come of it is one of God’s little jokes. The timing is off by 40 years. Even the sexuality does not matter so much, for the kind of heroic friendship I imagined might have been free of sexuality– maybe would have been better, purer free of it. But– no. Not even a spark. That I can be reasonable about it, that I can look at it and dismiss it with a “well. . . well. . . “ says something about my exhaustion after all these years.

Had to hack out new bamboo shoots brought on by the rain. Writing at a new play.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

June 13, 2017

Hard brief rain exempted me from watering the garden– which flourishes. Yellow calla in bloom; all new plantings seem to be prospering. Need at least one good day of epic weeding, one day when it’s not so hot. Rogue violets want to take over every inch of land. One loves them, but one must choose.

Accidentally poured hot oil from the frying pan onto my hand. It stung for five minutes and stopped. No redness. No swelling. I managed to pour the rest into a plastic cup, which melted instantly. I am praising Jesus.

Memorial service last night at O.Henry’s for the 49 people murdered in the Pulse club in Orlando exactly a year ago. Cantaria sang, and though I bitched about having to do it, I was glad I did, glad what was happening was happening. It was a sweet, sane event, and all around the city was blotted out and the only things visible were the green encircling hills.

I admit that I can’t quite get my head around “drag.” There were several drag queens present, in costumes which seemed to me attention-grabbing and therefore disrespectful. One adjective for the dress might be “extreme,” another “hideous.” And yet the word they want to have applied to themselves is “brave.” I know this because they say so. Aren’t we brave? Aren’t we courageous being “out there” and being ourselves? I don’t get it.  I might come closer to getting it if I believed that witch-harpy-satanic-diner waitress-Joan Crawford-flora dora girl was anybody’s authentic self. On those moments when I feel myself suppressing myself, it is to give others room to breathe, to allow space in the room for all egos. This concept is foreign to the drag queen. If someone says “too big” the impulse–never suppressed–is to go bigger. But sometimes too big is too big, merely the truth, a caution and not a tyranny. Nor can drag endure anything in its proximity that is not drag. After hearing about the fabulous deal one got on these fabulous heels for a solid twenty minutes, one mentions poetry or politics or some anecdote from real life and is met with eye-rolling and groans of “boring.” One friend valorizes his fashion sense by pointing out that he does drag, as though one thing were linked with the other. I want to say, “Drag is to fashion as video games are to adventure,” but I never think fast enough to work my wit in at the right moment. Maybe I’d think different if I didn’t look wretched in a dress.

Drinks and glad talk at the Indigo Bar. Flirting with the car valet.

June 12, 2017

Rewrote and completed The Assassins’ Garden to enter it into a contest, received a notice that the contest had received sufficient entries and is now closed– a week before the deadline. Some smirking power in the universe wants me to content with improvements to the play. No.  

Monday, June 12, 2017

June 11, 2017

Exceptionally awful night. Two rounds of muscle cramps, the first heinous. At one point I recognized that the pain was unbearable, and yet I was still required to bear it, for no other options were available. I would have taken ANY option to make the pain stop. If there had been a rooftop or a pistol there would at least have been an option. The demon rose and occupied my mind at the same second, so there was double-fronted war. I screamed so loud I thought someone on the dark street might come to my aid, but no one did. And, lacking a pistol themselves, what could they have done? The second round was much less acute, though I wondered why an entire bottle of Gatoraid had not availed. Then, of course, all that liquid upset my stomach. But now I am awake, and not too groggy to drive to Waynesville one last time.

Gatsby has been fun for me– the fun just overbalancing the tedium– because of the jollity of the dressing room. The play is not exceptional of itself, and our performance of it illustrates what happens when people do not look at acting as an art form, but as a ritual of self-actualization. I kept running in my mind the ways a scene or a speech could be better if someone had simply experimented, had done it subtly differently, had continued working rather than hitting a level of acceptability and setting up camp. I was and could be again a good director. It is one of those things I left behind because it took too much time.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

June 10, 2017

Sultry, the study fan blowing heartily against me. Painted with less pleasure and success than I have become used to. My studio neighbor, having been told several times to put nothing in the sink but water, leaves stinking pools of leafy dye debris and bit of salad from her lunch. I scour them out with a paper towel, retching repeatedly. The stomach weakens with age. Decided to fill up some holes in the garden– white hibiscus, spiderwort, buddleia, something else I have forgotten the name of. Digging the hole for the buddleia, I unearthed three feet of old maple root and a major infestation of termites. All the bits of wood were riddled with them, and the ground heaved black bodies. I wanted to leave it open for a flicker or something, but the chance of that arrival was too slim, so I washed as much as I could out with the hose.  Rabbits and chipmunks came out of the greenery as I watered. The meadow rue is seven feet tall.

Friday, June 9, 2017

June 9, 2017

Painted steadily in the morning on an old work I was trying to finish. I once prized it for its austerity, but I don’t prize anything for its austerity very long. Now it’s crowded and rather ugly–or at least odd-- though every individual passage is rather beautiful. Visitors from Florida and Venezuela.

Mockingbird singing his heart out against my studio window--

Three more performances. The boys in the dressing room are, despite the jibes and witty insults, loving and gentle with each other, allowing the most extravagant vanities and suffering purple idiosyncracies without comment. Each boy’s weaknesses are noted and ignored. Each boy’s virtues and triumphs are referenced by the others whenever possible. If each boy were as sexually triumphant as he lets on, the world would be peopled again; if he were as fine an actor, he would already be in the movies. And yet they encourage one another further and higher. I have not heard one criticism of another’s character or past or performance or anything else. Not one boy has failed to declare sexual desire for the other, and though of course it’s joking, it’s a way of getting out into the open and gone emotions which did damage in my “day” because they had to remain strictly subterranean. I used the image before of being in a room full of my grandsons. It is a mixed and unexpected blessing.  They are shallow and ignorant in some ways, deeply informed and masterful in others. In a world whose secrets are encoded in pop music and sci-fi films, they would be sages, and I would be an idiot. I’m content to be able to sit and listen, though perhaps, to some degree, they are performing for me, Whatever is going on, I am happy and grateful, and will miss them, if not the long drive and the long wait.

It would be interesting to creep next door and hear what is going on with the girls. I bet the two rooms would seem like different planets, one smelling rather better than the other.

June 8, 2017

Knee agonized, walking like an old man, the study stairs almost impossible without the rail by which to haul myself up. I think arthritis? A blood clot? Slept on it funny night after night? Then I thought, “it’s the shoes!” It’s always the shoes.  Felt some relief the instant I put new shoes on, though perfect restoration is a ways off. Terrible feeling taking a curtain call Monday morning and hardly able to make it across the stage.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

June 7, 2017

Session with K- whose secular name is revealed to be C. He talked of being a TV commercial star and a performer in Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas. He said of the Cirque du Soleil, “it’s not anything like you think,” which I contradicted in my heart, because I hadn’t any particular preconceptions. Much gentleness, much stimulation, much talk at cross purposes. He is stupid and kind. Stupid trying to be cunning is, sometimes, off-putting. As sensuality without sexuality is, after a certain point, perverse. One short play finished yesterday, the ending of another discovered at the café this morning. Relief in my heart over that like a physical truth.
June 5, 2017

Matinee for Haywood County school children. They were a good and attentive audience, and gave honest reactions to what was going on onstage– which is to say, they laughed when Myrtle was slapped and when Gatsby lay down in his swimming trunks and when everybody was shot. Spiritual upheaval leveled off by the dailiness of things . . .

Sunday, June 4, 2017

June 4, 2017

Somebody broke into the shed last night. They took whatever was on the top two rows of shelving, but, to be honest, I don’t remember what that was. All the stuff I actually use is still there.  A drill. A giant tarp.  A machete. Maybe the machete’s being in the wrong hands is a little alarming.

The music from the original Godzilla drives through my head. It is actually quite motivating.

Went downtown for the Asheville Contemporary Dance recital at BeBe. Had a rum and coke at the Vault on my way. The recital was quite good. I thought that if it were in a studio in New York, it would fit in, would be treated as a peer among the best. Asheville is lucky that way: we have some art that is the equal of any, some of it innocent of its own achievement, and some that is so undervalued by its audience that it is almost laughable. I ran through my mind how exactly it is that one enjoys modern dance. Pleasant movements of pleasant bodies? Delight in abstract patterns, or in personal bravura?  If I choreographed I would never be able to pull completely away from the narrative, as both these choreographers did. Are the movements symbolic? Not always, nor does the same person or the same gesture always represent the same thing. Is a particular gesture or expression meant to evoke or suggest a particular emotion? Does it, or is it merely the hope of the artist that it might? I think it’s probably naive to ask for meaning, but I am always looking for it. I suspect the human mind in general looks for meaning and pattern, and will never be completely satisfied without. Stopped at a place called Athena’s, which I discover two weeks before it closes to make way for an expansion of Tupelo Honey. Downtown was thronged, and there was one customer beside myself in Athena’s. Stopped at Sovereign Remedies on the way back to the car, and then, for I forget what reason, at Ingle’s. Let me advise against drunk grocery shopping, especially when you’re hungry. To summarize, a grand night like grand nights of old.  Must get out more. Must get downtown more. Meet new people. I feel better in every way than if I had not.

Matinee in a few hours.