Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May 31, 2017.

Unearthed a legless lizard as I was planting coreopsis in the back. It squirmed so frantically I covered it back up before I could examine it as I wished. In addition to the coreopsis, some radical weeding. My Mexican has not come, and the yard is a jungle. This irks me long after it would irk most people, but eventually the irk arrives.

Marathon, Trojan rewrite of The Falls of the Wyona to meet a deadline that had been changed even as I struggled.

Terrible prayers at the dim stars last night. If I were God I would obliterate me–which is, sometimes, the desperate end of the design.

Early to the gym, where I saw Brent. Excellent painting in the pale blue morning.

May 30, 2017

DJ’s birthday and Memorial Day picnic at Jack’s last night. Had more fun than I usually do, perhaps because I started drinking right away. DJ has to sit down and lever himself up the stairs. One stands helpless.

Working on fiction. One crabby, unprofitable hour at the studio.

Email from F, wanting my help in getting H’s next projects underway. It is like someone asking van Gogh to help get them into a gallery. I decide on silence, rather than a blast of fury that so much resource is expended on the daydreams of a person with little understanding of her world, and no real talent, other than the talent to persuade other people to create for her. And then, in my case anyway, to leave them not only violated but uncompensated. A fraud in any light, her one virtue is the affection of a patient and rich man, and though I don’t begrudge her that, I think she should be content with it, and not try to present herself as an artist in a world where real artists must claw their way

Monday, May 29, 2017

May 29, 2017

Review of Gatsby in Mountain Xpress:

The Roaring ’20s embodied in F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s The Great Gatsby is an era of romanticism that still resonates in pop culture nearly a century later. Perhaps it was the Prohibition era, or jazz, or the rise of strong women in society. Haywood Arts Regional Theatre’s production of the relatively new stage version of this legendary novel runs through Sunday, June 11.

Playwright Simon Levy’s script is lean and fast-paced.  There have been great film adaptations that linger in the minds of viewers — Levy’s script is cinematic itself, giving us rapid scene changes and sometimes shifting location for only a handful of lines of dialogue. Such is the case when Gatsby and his newfound companion, Nick, take flight in a small airplane. Director Steve Lloyd eschews a sense of realism and, instead, dazzles the audience with rear projections and shifting lights to accommodate the flourishes of the script.

Charlie Cannon plays the enigmatic Jay Gatsby with a boyish charm. It is easy to imagine Cannon being right at home in the 1920s with pastel suits, flappers and bootleg booze. Gatsby is a war-hero-turned-wealthy-playboy. Or is he? An air of mystery surrounds him. The lengths to which he will go to win back his lost love, Daisy, drive the story.

Kelsey Sewell’s Daisy is a fiery and independent woman trapped in a marriage to Luke Haynes’s menacing Tom Buchanan. Daisy is far from frail, but also not as independent as she would like to be. Sewell walks that delicate edge with grace and ease, making her Daisy neither victim nor heroine in this tale. Meanwhile, Haynes gives Tom equal measures of arrogance and entitlement, which allows him to indulge notions of white nationalism and haughtiness due to his wealth.

Sarah Lipham plays Myrtle — the working-class wife of George Wilson (played by David Anthony Yeates) — who has found herself lured into the lifestyle of the rich and want-to-be famous. She’s having an affair with Tom. Wilson is vaguely aware of it and is desperate to make enough money to divert Myrtle from the temptations of Tom and his wealth. Lipham is great as the petulant and indulgent Myrtle. As Wilson, Yeates gives us a deeply troubled man driven toward desperate acts to regain control of his spiraling life.

David Hopes plays Meyer Wolfsham, Gatsby’s confidant, and gives the character the perfect level of sleaze and suspicion. His machinations are never clear, but he is helping Gatsby pull strings via money and influence.

Laura Gregory shines as golf champion Jordan Baker. She enjoys the opulent lifestyle her fame brings, though there is a cheating controversy that follows her, threatening to ruin her reputation. She finds herself paired with Daisy’s cousin Nick, whom Gatsby seeks out to help him in his plan to win Daisy back. In many ways, Nick is the conduit for the audience into this world, serving as the moral compass amid the easily bent morality of most of the characters. But Silas Waugh‘s choice to play Nick in a manner that would be better suited for film builds an awkward distance between the audience and character.

In the end, it is a show of style over substance — and ultimately that works in the favor of this cautionary tale of excess and ego.

WHAT: The Great Gatsby
WHERE: HART, 250 Pigeon St., Waynesville,
WHEN: Through Sunday, June 11. Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. $25


So, it’s 8 AM and already I’ve caught up with email and made the picnic potato salad.

It’s hard listening to the radio on Memorial Day, so much of the programing is solemn and sad, memorializing those thousand thousand beautiful faces ground into the dust.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

May 27, 2017

Whenever I see “new” theater, I come away with the conviction that I am trying too hard.

C worked out hard during the day, and was excited for the pool scene, where he could show off his massive arms and be the “most jacked and juicy” Gatsby that there ever was. The hilarity in the dressing room was based on replacing each use of “old sport” or any other form of address with “dickless fat-ass.”  It was funny every time. The boys are essentially pre-literate. None of their information out of school comes from reading or what one would call “high culture,” but from popular music and movies. How often do they listen to or see these things? They can sing any song anyone of them can mention, tunefully and word for word, and quote long passages of movies, some of which I saw too, without the impulse to remember them at all. It is a verbal culture, intensely historical, in that they have taken Star Wars and Marvel Comics as their own story, and can recite the persons and chronicles by rote. In this it differs not from what one supposes the relationship of some everyday Greek to the gods of Olympus to be. I love them. I love being with them, though my quite different knowledge base puts me on the periphery of most conversations. Right now they are the only compensation for a round trip to Waynesville to blather out fifteen lines.

Friday, May 26, 2017

May 26, 2017

Yesterday I closed the windows and let the furnace come back on. Today it was back in season. Went before light to the Racquet Club, where I encountered Brent and realized that the agitation in me the last few days is at least in part sexual tension, which I hardly recognize as itself anymore. But, it is energizing, so it is welcome.  Painted well at the studio (sexual energy again?). Steve stopped me on my way out and observed that I had a huge gash in my tire. “Did you hit something?” he said. Yes indeed I had, in the darkness on the highway, but such is my nature that I didn’t check to see what damage was done, assuming that being allowed to keep moving was enough. So, unscheduled trip to Reece’s Tires. Here is the odd thing: the day was so beautiful, so perfect in peace and appearance that waiting for them to replace my tires was rather an opportunity for revery than an imposition. Watched a harvestman cross the concrete and find shelter in a crevasse. A man from Madison County struck up a conversation. I liked him immediately, as one likes someone who is, as near as is conceivable, one’s opposite. He rather looked like me–both of us blond and ruddy and small-- but his life was almost inconceivably unlike mine. If I hadn’t had context I might have misunderstood much of what he was saying– “tar” was “tire” and so on, but most of the things we discussed we could see, so it was well.  As ever, one reveled in the dramatic mountain-masculinity of the workers there. They stand very close to you, but look away so that the closeness is not off-putting. Their voices are low and calm, hardly above a growl. They move like powerful boys. They do not smile. They squat beside your car and contemplate its woes. What they do to men who like men is probably wholly unintended.

Invited to read for Best American Poetry 2017 in New York in September. I said “Yes.”

Theater last night, JC’s new play Malverse. The room was practically empty, but put it down to it being a Thursday night. The level of acting at the Magnetic approaches impeccable. JC wants to have coffee and discuss the play, so I paid morbid attention.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

May 25, 2017

Drowsy, rainy day. Did some much-needed manuscript submitting. Months had passed since I sent out a play. Painted some in an old crowded, symbolic mode, but made better by my improvements as a draughtsman. Theater tonight. I’ve grown used to falling asleep in front of a late-night TV movie. Hope I fight that off tonight. A nap of heroic dreams, in one of which I was driving a dogsled through ice storms to rescue somebody. It was a magic sled, and there were no dogs.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

May 24, 2017

The catalpas are in bloom. Catalpas mean “Ohio summer” to me. They are also unfulfilled longing, for every nursery I turn to says they’re “invasive” or “out of fashion.” Maybe I’ll travel with a spade and dig one up. Went to the studio, did more work than would seem to fit into the hour I spent there.  S was sad and so hugged me. I am his dear friend when he is sad. The days divide so that I forget I write in the morning. I open the notebook to find pages needing transcription onto the computer. Some of them are good, some to a degree I hardly recognize. Outside, the amazing rain keeps coming down in its amazing volume. A giant white rose rides the front garden like a ruffled moon.

May 23, 2017

Have almost not risen from the couch this rainy day. The rain is good for sleeping, but I usually do not take such advantage. Must have brought exhaustion with me from the week that was. Wrote in the morning, but am too tired to open the covers and see what. Moved outside to kill a few more bamboo shoots. Perhaps I pulled a weed.

May 22, 2017

Matinee well attended and talkative. When the old folks come, there’s going to be some people explaining the plot, repeating the last line, to other people, do what you will. Auto-pilot alone will get me through this.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

May 21, 2017

Nothing better than to wake to the sound of rain. Nothing harder than to stay awake through a whole day with the soporific murmur of it all around.

Spent most of Saturday at the Studio Stroll. For every ten people who came into the Phil Mechanic, one climbed the stairs. For every ten who climbed the stairs, one came into my studio. But I did sell The Last of the Giants, which the buyers referred to as “the one with the hikers.” Good enough, I thought, hikers let it be. I painted like mad in the solitude.

Thin house last night, though more tickets sold for today’s matinee. It is simply a misfire, which we must carry out now like a sigh to the guttering end. Not all of us have to drive  90 minutes to do so. Even the boy culture was off last night, subdued and wistful. I think everyone was hungover.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

May 20, 2017

Bird-cally morning.

Gave Y Spanish Arch, for his birthday, and because he was part of the blessing that freed me from the demon.

Opened Gatsby to a small house and a delicious buffet. We face four weeks of a presenting a–let’s face it– mediocre play to diminishing audiences. Glad that the backstage atmosphere is happy and brotherly. Yet I trust that nothing hits the stage without someone finding delight in it, somewhere.

Hit something in the road driving home. I didn’t see it, but I sure did hear it. Some damage to the right front of the car.  The commute between here and Waynesville becomes more and more costly.

Studio stroll today. I will buy Gatorade and figure out some prices.

Friday, May 19, 2017

May 19, 2017

Workout, writing, then more time in the studio than anticipated. Studio stroll tomorrow, and one wants to be at SOME level of preparedness. Bought a broom and GoJo.

Watched the monitors last night, listened to the show. It was boring. Maybe just final dress doldrums, maybe I was sick of hearing it, but nothing sparked, nothing surprised, though everyone’s professionalism is unimpeachable. Tonight, perhaps, we catch fire. The conversation in the dressing room was about how handsome we all are, and how we could profitably be each other’s wing men. It was actually very sweet.

Woke this morning with some joyful revelation, brought it out of the dream into the waking world for a while. I had managed to create a space where, entering it, a person could make his meaning absolutely clear, be understood utterly, love someone in a way that could not be blunted or soured or misinterpreted. I pulled the beloved to me and said “You are the one I dreamed of” and all was understood as it was meant. If only I could make it last. I made it last for an hour, at least, and that is a triumph worth writing about.

Reading The New Yorker again after several years’ hiatus, when I was supposed to be reading it on Kindle, but wasn’t. Remember the juiciness of the articles. Remember the vacuity of the fiction, as if it were a magazine for invalids and anything above the extremist quiet might cause harm. Remember the outright and downright awfulness of the poetry, the championing not merely of the worst poetry available, but the worst poetry imaginable, feelers evidently sent out into the world to find the worst beyond all worst. The message: we are so exquisite we make our meals on dust and twigs.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

May 18, 2017

Sensational Wednesday at the studio, breakthroughs and new visions.

Sensational Thursday at the studio, breakthroughs and new visions, plus the discovery of somebody’s abandoned stamp collection, affording amazing possibilities for collaging. I do not think I employ collage, until I realize that I do.  I have not had this much fun painting since I began, all those years ago, now.

The water iris came to bloom overnight. They are now my favorite flower.  Sat by the pond and drank a cocktail and watched the minnows bump against the surface.

My face aches from smiling at the boys in the dressing room. Their culture is very specific and, to me, unexpected. They love the same comic movies, the same music, the same superhero movies, and weave quotations from them and speculations about them into a tissue of alternate reality every night. I realize this is the exact equivalent of listening to the chatter of your grandsons, and I feel accidentally blessed. Male banter must be baffling to women. Tonight is “friends and family.” I’ll be mightily sick of the show and the drive to it by the time we get a break on Sunday.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

May 17, 2017

Immense wall of pink cloud at dawn in the north, visible through my tiny study window. My hollies are a din of calling birdlife. The unhacked bamboo shoots– those on the apartment house side of the fence–are fifteen feet tall, still formidable leafless spears. Planted over the last few days, columbine and lady’s mantel and spurge and hydrangea and a Carolina spice bush the clerk said would draw wood thrush.  The towhee has grown companionable, and will feed a few feet away from me as I work.

Finished “Seaside Town.” Began work on a new play–all while sitting for an hour at the High Five.

Tech week for The Great Gatsby. There’s nothing like the proximity of a small dressing room and five or six guys to give one perspective on human diversity. One of us has Marine-like efficiency (he has to, having the most costume and scene changes). One of our number has trouble dressing himself, figuring out how to button cuffs or fasten fasteners. Even putting on a shirt seems to daunt him. Everyone instinctively steps in to help him over the gaps. He has, in compensation for this, the most beautiful back I have ever seen, from the hairline to the top of the pants, Apollonian. I consider that he himself has probably never seen this asset. I am by thirty five years the oldest person in the cast, and the conversation in the dressing room can be informative. Last night the boys were challenging each other to trivia. I’m pretty good at trivia, so I thought I might shine, but they meant (and understood without having to say) the specific subset of Star Wars trivia, and left me instantly in the dust. They know the name of the captain of the star ship that glided across the screen one time. They know the home planet of. . . everybody. If attention ever turns to history or science, I hope to mop the floor with them. I’m having a good time. The drive is grueling, but if it’s the most grueling thing this summer, I am blessed.

Reserved our digs in Galway. I know it from my time on the Sea Road, thinking I might dwell there. Excited about the return to Ireland. Excited in general, though it’s hard to know by what.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

 May 14, 2017

In the actual performance, our piece turned out to be clever and engaging, its quirks becoming delights. The program was unbalanced– way too many lengthy Mexican pieces the texts to which were beautiful (the settings trivialized them) but which, musically, all sounded about the same.  The program, in fact, was overwhelmed (in the virtuous way) by Jon’s piece and Brahms’ “Wie lieblich. . .”  My sister rode down and witnessed the premiere, and said she liked it. In the car ride home (shortened by a hour by the opening of the I-85 bridge) I thought about the Atlanta Young Singers, and decided that in this time it, and things like it, are worth double their weight in gold. The kids were striving and achieving. They were becoming citizens and scholars and team players as they sang. Watching their faces would, in Whitman’s phrase, stagger sextillions of infidels, who believe that training in the arts is a luxury, or even an imposition. I think especially of Stephen, the bass in the male quartet, a high school senior, who acted out the words as he sang them in a transport of delight and empathy. People ask what we should fight for. I say this.

I fear and hate–almost above all other woes associated with traveling–not knowing how I’m going to get home. Someone saying “we’ll figure it out when we get there” makes me berserk. This is what nearly ruined the experience of Budapest for me. So I’d fixed my phone so I could call either Uber or Lyft to whisk me back to the hotel, but when the concert ended, both failed me, and in my repeated frenzied tries the phone got locked up somehow. This is exactly like saying “Well, I’m OK, barring a tsunami,” and watching a tsunami suddenly crowd the horizon. I had made the walk before, but I couldn’t again the next night, and so I stood on the sidewalk on Ponce de Leon in Atlanta and, literally, repeatedly, howled. I kept the card of the Ethiopian driver who picked me up at the Aquarium. I walked to a Mexican restaurant and they– with the customers piling up in line–phoned him for me. As I waited, the phone came back on, and the Uber screen said “looking for your ride.” I hit “Cancel.” My driver was home for the evening, but he came for me, having remembered saying that he would. I gave him a gigantic tip. As we rode the actually quite short way I thought maybe God intended this, that the Ethiopian guy really needs money right now, and I was the way to get it to him. Or I was meant to learn to swallow my pride and ask waitresses to make call for me. .  or. . . something. Or maybe God is a sovereign brat who changes the rules in order to hurt a person. Being human is not being able to find a way to bring those possibilities into balance. Sat on the hotel terrace and watched lovely people in formalwear come maybe from a Prom, maybe from the Fox. Saw the Watermans, a couple I’d met in a Peachtree bar, who were in Atlanta for a childless weekend, pass by in white, looking beautiful, looking ethereal, looking very happy. They have everything I do not. I have everything they likely never thought to desire. I wished for everyone I know that they might be the Watermans.

Saw a white winged hawk high above me as I walked.

Went to the Atlanta Young Singers on You Tube, and there were Stephen and Michelle singing their hearts out two years ago in “Hey Jude.: Felt like a little part of their lives. What a father I might have been. . . .

May 13, 2017

The Georgia Aquarium had early opening today, so I took advantage of it. I walked from the hotel. It was farther than the web page suggested, but last night’s trek got me in the footing it mood. Under the bridges of 85 is the bedroom of the homeless. They were stirring as I passed, rising up out of clusters of old cloth, either gathering or scattering the meager accouterments of the night before. One was putting on a blue dress shirt and a necktie. Maybe he had a job, or an interview. He looked around, as I would have done, for something to serve as a mirror.

Under the fish-tunnel of the Aquarium, I watched a man propose to a woman, kneeling and handing her a ring as the sharks passed over. They stopped here and there while a friend took artful shots of them against a backdrop of sea creatures. A man asked his daughter–maybe 3 years old– what color the beluga was. She said “aquamarine,” which was absolutely right, though everyone over the age of 3 would have said “white,” which is what the answer is supposed to be. The cabdriver on the way home remarked on how far I had walked to get to the Aquarium.  “You have your exercise for the whole weekend,” he said. I agreed, His amazement may explain something else I’ve noted: Atlanta is run by seriously obese black women.

What did I like most at the Aquarium? They jellies, I guess, blundering into each other like chandeliers set loose in the wind.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

May 12, 2017

Hotel Indigo, Atlanta.  The burned bridge on 85 stacked up traffic (much of it unnecessarily, it seemed to me) so that the last five miles of my journey took fully a quarter of the time.  But, here I got at last, and I discovered that chance (if chance there be) had delivered me into an old and joyful memory. Next door to the Indigo is the Georgian Terrace, where I stayed in 1981 during my erotic journey through the South. I pursued Davy Jax to New Orleans, and when that light went out, Greyhounded through Biloxi, Mobile, Pensacola, and finally Atlanta, vowing that in each place I would make erotic conquests. Atlanta was the last stop before I returned to Syracuse. It was high spring, as it is now, and I walked through slums and flowering trees from the bus station, and the Georgian Terrace was derelict then, so I could afford it. A giant basswood in front of it, now gone, was in glorious flower. They gave me a room high up, with a big window opening on a parking lot and Ponce de Leon in the distance. All the bars were in walking distance down Ponce, and night after night I went hunting and never came home alone, and often came home more than once. There is an apartment complex just a little down Ponce where you could stand on the lawn and men would beckon to you from porches and balconies, and you could choose which beckoning you would answer.  Big palmetto bugs came through the screenless windows. I remember at least one name, Robin of the radiant white shirt, but I remember them all. It is possible that all this was EXACTLY thirty six years ago, the same few days. I sat on the terrace of the Terrace today drinking sparkling water and wondering if any of them remember me. How many are even yet living? But the memory was joyful, and beamed a light on me for a long time.

Took a taxi to the Druid Hills Baptist for dress rehearsal, which was a little more turbulent than I was ready for. The young singers are very good, and reminded me of the Kodaly youths in Budapest. Jon was brilliant in rehearsal. What an ear! What gentle directness! And yet I thought of Hic Sunt Dracones, as I thought with The Birth of Color, “why is this so difficult?” The principle is layer of sound over layer of sound, but that is a principle of will rather than aesthetics, for when he rehearsed one or two layers together, they generally sounded better then when all were stacked atop each other. Can an ear hear all that is provided for it, or does the mass of sound require a lecture, or at least a program note, to unpack it, the way conceptual art does? Jon would say “what I wanted was this effect or that effect” and I would be thinking “Ought you have wanted that?” Should intention in a creative artist be modified at some point by taste? By the willingness to meet an audience half way? Has “serious” music scorned the opportunity, at any time, even by accident, to entertain? The final effect of the piece is pleasing and smile-making, but the pleasure is like rest after arduous labor. Was the labor really necessary? Jon is the sort of person with whom differences of aesthetic can be discussed, and perhaps I should take the time. It could be that our differences are differences in genre, for words cannot be stacked  like that and have any relevance or attraction. Words, which mean something however much we want to think of them as arbitrary sounds, cannot be bent to the will as, apparently, musical sounds can. As the librettist I might have reservations, for the inventiveness of the score does everything it can to conceal the words. I figure the principle is for the audience to dig around for the text in the rich layers of sound, but a poet doesn’t like that. O, give me Monteverdi, at the service of the word! But the music is brilliant even if not especially pleasant, and it is a joy to watch the children’s chorus (under the direction of magnificent, precise conductors) make their shining-eyed way.

Got into my my-god-how’m- I- going-to-get-home panic, and faced it the most absurd way of all, by leaving the rehearsal and walking from the church back to the hotel, cursing from my heart the whole way.

Friday, May 12, 2017

May 11, 2017

S and his sister drop by to see the garden on their way home. The garden is beautiful for them. He is beautiful and she is not. It must be hard for a girl to have a brother more beautiful than she. I tried to pay her extra attention.

Working on two pieces of fiction, both of them lengthy.

Handsome L chatters to me about his plans for the future. I nod and try to be encouraging. He says, “I’m talking your ear off. I’m sorry, but I’m fascinated by you–“ all he gets out before he’s due back on stage.  And I by him.

We’re using face mics, which are unnecessary, and which I hate.

Roses like clouds of fire above the long grass. Roses and poetry are nothing alike. Roses are, in comparison, effortless.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

May 10, 2017

The iris at the corner of the yard has the most purple purple I have ever seen. A folded sheet of purple fire. The roses are a many-colored firmament. The fleet inhabitant of my pond is a sizeable leopard frog, who can land in the center with one leap. Watched last night’s full moon rise over the green hills of Haywood County. There was a perfume over everything. I mentioned it, and Luke said, “It smells like Dr. Pepper,” which indeed it did. Somewhat spoiled the effect.

The demon was dreaming its dreams through me last night. Woke, and there was terrible battle. Slept sweetly for the rest of the night.

Rehearsals are going well. The play is not demanding and the actors are adept, especially the women. The drive to Waynesville, though, is hell. 90 minutes there, 35 back.

R etches images of the Crucifixion into his paintings. The paintings deserve to be–by virtue of his virtue-- much better than they are.

Prepared for the trip to Atlanta to hear the premiere of Haec Sunt Draconi. It appears I’ve spent so much with Expedia that my room at the Indigo is free.

Entered grades and put the academic year behind me. Noted the ones who, through inflated self-esteem, are likely to give me trouble.

Facing the summer with expectations of delight.
May 5, 2017

Bach on Spotify.

The rain has been long and doesn’t seem to be finished yet. Was trapped in the downpour last night, and coming home in it rammed into something in front of the theater. Whatever it was (maybe just the curb) seemed to have done no damage. Saw Stupid Fucking Bird at the Magnetic: an example of what can happen when a cast is comfortable with each other, with the script, with the director, and rolls like thunder from lights up to lights down. Impeccable direction; inspired acting. I think I was meant to like the script (a comment on The Seagull) better than I did. If it were done in alternation with the actual Chekhov, maybe? It is, in fact, just about as good as a pastiche/satire/commentary can be, yet therefore falling short of the power of a work that attempts the creation of a whole world. Most modern art is commentary on art that already exists, remakes, reboots, endless cinema series, plays made from movies, plays commenting on other plays. . . Original voices are thereby disadvantaged. The original is always more terrifying than another layer added to the known. Still, the fact is that I LIKE commentaries. . . myself adding to the sadness, I suppose.
The House passes the punitive repeal of Obamacare. It’s hard to imagine the Senate coming to its senses in time to sink this rat-infested ship, but miracles do happen. The one and only reason for the hatred of the Affordable Care Act is hatred for President Obama, a hatred so clearly racist and classist even the attempt to deny it should mortify. It is the hatred of the little for the great, of the mean and greedy for the generous, of the trifling for the far-sighted, of those born in privilege for those who seized status by their own efforts. It is the hatred of the plantation owner for the slave who did not pull his forelock at the front door. Never did I expect to see such gleeful war of the rich against the poor, of power against the powerless. Paul Ryan smirking and grinning over having done incalculable harm to incalculably many may be the most sickening image in American politics, ever. What is most terrifying is that these half-men aren’t even ashamed. They’re playing to their cronies. They’re little boys doing mischief to earn the approbation of little boys as wicked and ignorant as they. I am praying to all the gods that the attention of all the gods is upon them, now.

The attention from St Julian Press for Peniel seems genuine. I’m waiting for a shoe to drop–either one-- but at the moment, I am sanguine and, from the tip of one abyss to the another, joyful.

May 6, 2017

Bitter cold for May. The upstairs window was open, and I can scarcely sit here and type. As long as it keeps raining I shall not fear a freeze.

Cutting up my old choir robe and turning it into art. Richmond and I inhabited the studio at the same time yesterday. He is, surprisingly, a bit of a chatterbox. We laughed. It was convivial. I left smiling.

Vetting St. Julian. It seems to be as presented. One shoe, at least, will not drop.

Friday, May 5, 2017

May 4, 2017

The terrible anniversary.

The Great Comet gets twelve TONY nominations. I can walk into a room and say “I am part of that.”

Lovely slow rain on the garden. I went to the studio, and after an hour painted over or rubbed out what I had done. That, too, happens, and it is well. K phones to offer me a show at the Weizenblatt Gallery at Warren Wilson, for a year from now. Happy with that; even decided what I will make.

The toad tadpoles arrive from Ohio. So tiny. I feel tender toward them pouring them into the immense and frog-haunted pond.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

May 3, 2017

Days go by in a gray sheen, and I’m hard put to write anything here. Other days are a calliope, the tail of a peacock, an intersection of rainbows, and I despair of getting everything down even half as it was lived.

Rehearsal better last night. I think I have achieved my brief but not insignificant character. The green hills between here and Waynesville are a kind of paradise. I stand and stare into the creek that flows by the theater, in full contentment.

My session with K changed in the middle. He said he was hot and asked to take his shirt off and I said “sure.” He is beautiful. It was like being in the presence of a god. I could feel the hairs of his body on my body, feel when he pressed part of himself against my hand. It was amazingly sensual, without being–and I considered this even at the time– especially erotic. I left glowing and feeling precious.

Leaps forward in the garden. Assembled my compost bin, but considering the rate at which I produce compost, it may never be usable. Inspired to buy tomatoes and eggplants, and planted them. Bought a companion for my surviving paw-paw. The red-neck at the nursery had never heard of paw-paw and kept asking me to spell and repronounce it to make sure he got it right.

Today I assembled–with only a few mistakes–the mail-order arbor, and bought two kinds of purple clematis to twine over it, and jessamine to twine over a portion of the garden wall.  Talked with a warbler in the dead dogwood.

When I came home last evening a rabbit sat in the middle of the yard. He sat yet when I was inside turning on the lights, still, silent, as though he were waiting to worship at the rising of the moon. It was a sacred moment. I take this rabbit for the guardian spirit of my garden at least for this season. I asked that he might not eat the eggplants, but what will be shall be.

Prayed before sleep the one prayer that God seems willing to answer. For whatever reason–perhaps that– was joyful all this day.

May 2, 2017

Bought my sickeningly expensive ticket to Ireland. Did–alone of all of us–poorly at rehearsal last night, calling twice “line” in a scene where I have five lines. Steve bought beautiful flapper dresses for the girls.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May 1, 2017

Lost the actor playing George to an equity gig in Maine. Lovely Daithi takes his place, me feeling secret joy in it. Last day of classes, ramming through Modernism, reading the last of what turned out to be a disappointing season of poetry– much self-revelation, only three bothering with much skill. But those three have a future. All is well with one more semester. What, again, with the students who sat and did nothing, who appeared without so much as casting a shadow? One student wrote one poem (a fair one) and said nothing in class. What to do with her? Deep rain. The satisfying plop of a fat frog in the water when I pass the pond.  Orange and scarlet roses in bloom. Rejections one or two a day. . . . never does the rage slacken (you’d think it would after constant bombardment), never do the nerves stop shuddering.

April 30, 2017

Benefit for Loving Food at the Greek Orthodox church last night, nestled in a woody corner of Montford. We arrived very early, so I sat on a bench and stared into a sizeable bit of woods that begins at the edge of the playground. Did we do well? There was such din and distraction that doing well was mostly irrelevant. Two basses, three tenors, six baritones, and the panic belonged to the baritones. Sigh. Maud lies on my foot, squirming and rumbling.