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Thursday, May 9, 2013

March 19, 1981 - thinking and writing about the present and future of writing

Thursday, March 19, 1981

I have been trying to think about my confused thinking. Some things I notice are that even though its confusing lots of practical things get done. The confusion doesn't seem to interfere with getting up, laundry, work, and similar things. What started me on this was David's criticism of not being what he called centered. Or, as best as I can figure, having some sort of goal or objective in life. Or having the
ability to get what you want. There was a time when I wanted to be a scientist. My plan was to go to MIT, study physics, gets a PhD, and from this be able to determine all things. So much for that. I got there only to discover that things needing to be talked about or have something done about, weren't getting done. My impression of such places was that everything would get considered. It turned out that an even smaller number of things were thought/talked about. Maybe they thought about a lot more. This was never very clear to me.

Here I go trying to improve my writing while writing. I often keep track of how many times I use the pronoun I. I try to write, or I find myself censoring the number of times I use it in sentences. I find that this interferes with how well I can write. Not in the sense of, backspace, delete, start over, backspace, delete again. Does it matter? Anyway.

While growing up I always had the feeling that something was not being talked about. Not many things. But just something. Maybe there were many things. But when you are standing in a supermarket line its the person being cashiered who seems to be slowing things down. That is, only one person. Even though there may be many people in the line. Maybe there were many things to talk about. But I would have settled, at least initially, for talking about one of the untalked about things. It continued. As an adult there were many things on my mind. Today there are many things on my mind. At this moment. How to get them all out? So I am confused about a goal, maybe a purpose in life. Is it possible for human beings to know? They have thought the purpose to be many things in the past. I just don't feel it. Once I thought it was to be good and get to heaven. I really believed that. I tried very hard to do it. It was easy to give the impression of being good. But inside I knew all the things that went on before, my ideas and thoughts, were still the same. I still cursed under my breath, thought evil of others, had sexual fantasies, and so on. This outside peace never settled inside me. In fact, a lot of energy went into giving this peaceful appearance. I remember myself as being quite adept at this. Some number of people from my childhood thought so also. But the truth was otherwise. So I am very suspicious of those who tell me they have a goal and purpose in life. Often a little investigation shows it to be no more than the disguised goals of their parents or social group. And this is my impression of David. He does a lot of things. Its well organized. There seems to be some sort of purpose or guiding idea at work. But the feeling I get from the person does not correspond. It is easy to poke and find resistance. I don't mean in a provocative way. I mean while trying to find out what he means I notice he resists the challenge to his ideas. The usual defense to such things is that, well, that's how you feel. So it becomes impossible to challenge the idea because he accepts it without challenge. I have done, and do the same. My old religious ideas presented me a similar problem once. It was with a high school friend. He went to a different church. I don't remember exactly what brought it up. But one day I must have asked him something like why don't you come to my church sometime and see how its the right one. But he was able to immediately challenge me in a way that made me feel very threatened and insecure. This burning sensation that I can remember still, even though I forget exactly what we talked about. He would have none of it. I didn't understand. But he probably challenged me in the same way. Why don't you come to my church for the same reason, he might have replied. He was a much brighter student than me. Did much better on everything. As a freshman in high school he won the local county math contest. He beat out all the seniors. Took first place I always envied him. It never came up again. We never talked about it. It was a separate part of our lives. Had we talked about it the problems would have destroyed our relationship. We couldn't talk about it. It would have changed everything about us. We would have been constantly coming up against our resistance to different ideas, resistance in the form powerful feelings that would come up.

This happens to Simone and I when we talk about sex. Usually it starts with her feelings threatened when I say something about it. A sort of rage overwhelms her. My defense to this is the same sort of rage. That something I've said is being challenged. This is a difficult thing. To try to understand something that automatically takes me over. I'm trying to see through it. It gets very confusing. The fingers are stuck. No words for it. She can talk about it in a much more natural way. Last night she talked about how she wanted to develop her new relationship, Steve. I don't want to bring him here the first time, she says. She had planned to meet him there. Maybe we will just go out for a drink. I want to have a free night where there is no pressure. Where I can stay with him or not, depending on how it feels, she says. It doesn't happen this way for me. It does not come out so naturally in my conversation. It is not something I've done much of. She has fucked with a lot more people, and approached a lot more. Its easier for a woman. There I go with a defense. So what if they turn me down. My friend Ron gets accepted by about half the women he asks. Of course he is usually careful about his selection. He is much better at presenting the right sort of image. The one that promises the zipless fuck. Who said that? But I seem to be excusing myself again. I'm no less horny than either of them, or any other person. Doing something about it gets excused to death.

Later in the day. Something has been on my mind most of the afternoon. It started when Simone asked me for some gas and parking money. She must see the dentist. I notice a bit of irritation. She has been going to work for me these last few days, but no time, she says. Then this fantasy about supporting my own royal family. Her. It occurs to me that this irritation has another source. She gets a call from Steve the photographer who wants to speak with her. I'd thought she'd be working some this afternoon. Its irritates me still more that she might have been with him. But then this idea did come to me as a paranoid fantasy. Its happened before. Once on FH Reggie left the room with another man. I was sure they went to fuck. But that was not possible. She was a guest and he was a regular member of the group. But it made no difference. The biggest real problem here is that these paranoid fantasies keep cropping up inside me. Even if it were true - so what! But then the internal preoccupation with this is what's really important for me. It takes over my whole body. Walking along the street, my body, but the mind is in another world. The body is just left to run on a simple program. Go to the store. Go to the post office. Go to Do this. The tensions and experiences from this other world seep and flow down into the body. Soon it is caught up in the fantasy. And then I wake up. Sometimes realizing that I've forgotten something I meant to do. Sometimes I've gone past the place I was going to. I have been thinking about three kinds of writing. The first is just a straightforward recollection of what happened. Only one thing really happened. Atoms and molecules were in only one place at any given time. From different positions or consciousnesses things may seem to be different. But only one thing actually happened. Writing about it as exactly as one can is the first kind of this writing. The second kind of writing is the expression of thoughts and feelings. In this mode time, place, and matter can be distorted in all sorts of ways. In this mode things can go backwards. In this way things can happen that would never really happen in reality. And a third kind of writing is some combination of these two, but with the whole picture in mind from the beginning of the writing to the end. It seems to me that I can do the first two and only seldom, the last type. This little bit of writing about writing is of this sort. I thought about the whole thing before writing it down. I had the idea to demonstrate something before I started. But on the other hand I don't know that this has happened. I got into this fight with Simone today. Not in reality, but in my head. It had to do with Beth and Nina, two women I am interested in. Beth is Simone's friend. The fantasy is about starting something with Beth and then having to handle Simone's difficulty with this. But at this moment it is only my imagined difficulty. I get paranoid that she would call Beth and indirectly tell her not to have anything to do with me. Or that she would be direct, no. Not direct. I do not imagine her as being direct. It is impossible, difficult for me to imagine her as being direct in this situation. Then that I will have to point out her hypocritical behavior. She will resist, and our old fight will start again.

A funny thing. The paranoia goes away a bit after writing it down. As though it has literally flowed out of my fingers and into the typewriter. Perhaps it waits to be picked up by the next typist! I have the impression of being able to do this, and then the idea that if I can manage to say even more exactly what I mean, then even more of this feeling will get out of me. I have noticed this many times while writing. Maybe I could even build a type of therapy around it. What for a course title? Can't think of anything. Stuck. Staring at the keyboard. Reading parts of this over. A fantasy about teaching a writing course. I walk into the classroom. A terminal connected to a large screen tv is in the room. I sit at the keyboard. Type the day, date, page number as is my usual custom. Then begin to write about teaching my first writing class. This is my first writing class. I don't know exactly how to begin. But I had the idea of sitting down here and having you see everything written as it comes out of me. I would imagine you took this course because you enjoy my writing and believe you can get something for yourself if you write like this. Its true, you can. But the question is, how does he do it? Have you asked yourself that? Try it. How does he do it? Good. Next, I don't know. I have just got stuck. Let me think for a moment. Yes, the people in this class. Some of you will get written about. There are some attractive women in this class. From time to time you will read something here about my thoughts about them. Perhaps something will happen between me and one of them and it will also appear here. But one thing that will definitely appear here is things that I notice about the people in this class. For example, the very laid-back guy in the 1960's hippie outfit over there. You will get some of my attention. And the gorgeous woman sitting at the back of the class with the absolutely beautiful face and body. You will get more of my attention than will be written about here. Some other things to write about. At just this moment Dana has interrupted my writing class. Normally in this class such things will not happen. But on the other hand, one of the things that could happen is little staged events, designed to evoke some feelings or ideas in you people. But its only an idea. It might not happen. But then again it might. You never know. This class will be for several things. One is to be able to write a lot. It doesn't matter about the quality. Most of you will never be as good as me. But it is a start to get you thinking and writing about all sorts of things. The other is to challenge yourself. This will help you to develop your writing and your life. And this is the most important thing. Gradually you will be able to write more and more about yourself. It will get more and more exact. You will know more and more about yourself. For a moment I thought there was an evolving theme here, but its evaporated. Anyway, this class is for writing. And now you must begin. Its getting close to the time for me to stop. One of those real world realities will soon be here. Lotti is going to do some typing for Dana. We can't both use the typewriter at the same time. I will go back to the office and work. All you imaginary people will have to fend for yourselves. And that is the end of the first, and today's class. Goodbye.

Yesterday I was afraid of not being able to write anything decent again. But the anxiety has gone away somewhat. This is not such a bad few pages. It seemed stiff and disconnected and influenced by the call from Bantam. But that seems to be going away. I will have to ask some others what they think. Everyone tells me it flows well. Often It feels like walking over the edge of a piece of jagged glass. Other times it is like molasses. At this moment it even flows for me. This whole page in only a few minutes. I got very excited about this whole writing class idea. I could hardly keep up with the ideas. Now if only I could write so quickly about the swamps I get stuck in!

Did you know that The Cambridge Chronicles, 1981 Edition, has been published on Amazon? Buy the whole thing for 99 cents and read it on a kindle (or kindle software for your Mac or PC), here:

A Memoir About Art & Sex During The Reagan Years (The Cambridge Chronicles, 1981 Edition)

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #858,938 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#39 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Arts & Photography > Art > Other Media > Conceptual (May 8, 2013)

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