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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Thursday, May 7, 1981 - tell me a story

Simone has gone down the street to meet with a new friend. She met him last week while waiting to see if she would be on jury duty. He was there for the third time and hoping to get out of it. They went to lunch. He is very romantic. Bought her flowers, sang songs to her while they had lunch. He is an actor, plays the saxophone, and is a condominium developer. A nice Jewish man. The sort her mother would be proud of. She met another man at the court. He was an assistant district attorney. He's going to be in Washington for two weeks. A postcard from him says he thinks of her and can't concentrate on his work. And what does this do to me? Sometimes it makes me feel a little bit jealous. Mostly I try to make fun of the whole thing. It does not seem to be working. It becomes very serious. She says something sharp back to me and I get overwhelmed with rage. Not often. But enough to make my treatment of these situations suspect. For me it is possible to see how these things might come out and make things bad for her as she tries to develop other relationships. I notice that its not always a tight ship for me. It leaks a bit. Some little things get through. How to catch myself doing these convoluted things. They are backwards from what is best. I need to work more to put her at ease, and to make the situation better for the other person. Its getting a bit abstract. Shit. I don't want this tension from other relationships. How do I want it to go? I don't want to feel trapped or panicked when another chance comes along. I want to be free to change things to fit circumstances. Somehow it is still trapped inside me. I can't get it out. I don't really see it. More of this bullshit.

It is getting more and more difficult to write. On the one hand the pace of things here is moving a little faster. We are at least chaotically confronted with more of our inability to live together in peace. The war in us is coming out. The desire to dominate and win is becoming more obvious. We both try to control the social flow of things. She is more skilled. But it is like guiding by the numbers. I am more crude and threatening to people. I always blunder into and introduce forbidden things. Like to night with the joke about Lotti possibly being pregnant. It is obvious that most people got it. They pretended to ignore it. It's the same with most charged items that come up. But I don't really see how to guide these things. Sometimes I ask myself, what would Otto do? I can sometimes mimic what he seems to be doing but it doesn't ever lead, only rarely, to the sort of resolution he achieves with people. But I feel the need to continue to try. It is almost so hard sometimes that I wish myself back at FH so I can fall down. It is not something I can do here.

She comes back to tell me about how he has asked her to sleep with him tonight. What are you thinking, he says. About how you would look, all wet, in the shower, she answers. Fucking is the most beautiful thing people can do together, he says. He's a smoker. The first crack in his seemingly impenatrable armor. He won't give it up for her. It is all downhill from here! Its no contest. Unless, of course, he is only playing a Richard Gardner trick on her. He drinks coffee with two sugars, eats meat, and drinks a case of coke every week. He is sure of his relationship with her and knows they will sleep together within the week. Hm, what to make of this, and her playing hard-to-get. He likes this even more, and gets an erection at just the thought of it. He has started out on a good note. Saying how she is going to know she's in a relationship with him. Exactly my line. Not bad. This is a man who shows real promise. Character, fortitude, integrity, straightforward, and a bit aggressive. So she thinks. Still not able to recognize it. What will become of the new three mousketeers? Stay tuned! She stands behind me reading this and rubbing my tummy. Kissing my neck. Every now and then stopping to read what I've just written. Putting the tongue in my ear. Rubbing my crotch. Well, this has lightened up considerably from the academia of the last page. She has booze on her breath. Snookie, Richie, she whispers, in that soft way of hers, Tell me a story, she implores, as the little girl in her starts to come out.

Now a new subject. Bonnie, her therapist, thinks we play sadistic games. What they are who knows. Now she slowly gives me some old news. Bonnie wants me to separate from her. And why? Who knows. She has very little to go on. Her own failed relationships? What has she seen in other failed relationships? How can she really know about successful relationships when there are so few available. What we know about them is usually hidden. The best thing about our own is how so many things come out of it. Every day has some new volcanic eruption of long hidden tensions, repressed desires, hidden and self-thwarted longings. From this we can learn more than what we see from others. And always the crank and crackpot analysis, so little basis in reality. The things that get talked about being only the scum on the surface of a large swamp. The iceberg is no good. Its more a swamp. Teeming with life and fantastic things that everyone is capable of, but held down by this thin layer of scum. Even for me, there is an entire world of things that never see the light of day, except maybe in my writing or ideas. And the ideas don't get such a good treatment in real life. The art show being one of them. It seems to be staggering along. Last week we were going to do some art on Thursday night. Just now another chink in the singer's armor. She has told him about meeting the ADA. Are you going to date him, he asks, in a slightly defeated, deflated tone of voice. Or at least that's how I imagine he is going to sound. The ADA is more of a threat to him than me. He might be thinking something along these lines: well, if she has gotten interested in me so quickly, then maybe it is a sign that they are on the way downhill in their relationship, and I only have to wait here at the bottom of the playground slide. Into my arms she will slide. But the ADA, on the other hand, is also at the starting gate, just like me. So he's the one to watch. She wouldn't really be going out to see me this evening if things were going so well between them. This open relationship nonsense never works anyway. Its going to be one of the other of us in the end. And I think my chances are better than the ADA's. He's only got his career. I've got my boyish good looks, I'm Jewish, a very good amateur actor, a saxophone player, a darn good singer, romantic, and many other things that women go crazy over. This one's a little bold and outspoken, a little bit too upfront about sexuality, but that probably means she really likes it and wants to fuck all the time. But I can handle this. If only there was something I could do about that fucking ADA. At least he's going to be out of town for two weeks. That gives me somewhat of a head start. He will never be able to make up the difference. That turkey she's with has still got her tied down. I've got plenty of time to work on things. No lawyer type for the state can take off all the time I can to do things with her. This guy she's with is a total nothing turd. He's not romantic. He's sexually boring. He doesn't do as many interesting things as I do. He won't even take her out to a nightclub like I do. This guy is definitely on the way out. Any woman with gumption and a half-decent man would not be out carousing this time of night, just down the street from where she lives, and the man knows about it. Nah! It doesn't add up. She's going to leave him. I know it. And I'm just the one for her after its over.

I notice that a lot of the tension has left my body. My face no longer has the feeling of a sunburn. The warm feeling is going away. How does this work so often for me? I only have to write what comes out even and smooth. The part in me that fits it goes away. At the beginning of these pages I wrote in stops and starts. It was difficult to go more than one sentence without stopping to think of what's next. At the moment everything is coming out just fine. At the beginning of each sentence I have the feeling of falling. But halfway through the next sentence begins to come into my head. For a moment I thought this would be the last. But I can amble on for some time like this. It doesn't matter what I say. The feeling of falling continues. What will come out next I don't know. But on the other hand its beginning to get a little silly. Time to go on to something else.

Back to the situation with me, Simone, and Linda. She came a day early last week. It was very hard for her in NYC. She is not enjoying the apprenticeship with the guy who does restorations. She wanted to come a day early and spend some time with me and have us sleep together Thursday night. Simone was bullshit about this. An endless stream of criticisms of Linda. Everything that anyone, including Linda, ever did wrong, gets dumped on Linda. She does not like it. Everybody gets called about it. Everybody gets to hear what's wrong with me and Linda. Everybody tells her to leave me. They don't understand why she won't do it. She keeps coming into my room and trying to read this. I don't let her. Go back to work, I say. When they won't let you see it, they really want you to, she replies. The mood here has been like an earthquake, tornado, and hurricane, all at once. There is rage and counter-rage. Fight and counter-fight. We tear at each other. Tomorrow we will go to see this therapist we saw last week. It was my idea. It seems that some sort of neutral third party needs to hear what's going on. More about all this tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Friday, May 1, 1981 - a significant death

My stepfather died today. Carl, my half-brother called me about 9pm. He died in Salt Lake City. Cancer of the brain. I spoke with my mother the previous Sunday. She told me there was not much hope for him. He was 64. I first knew him when he was about 31. My mother just moved to Cody. That's where she met him.

I did not feel much at first. Carl's call was quite unexpected. He seemed like his usual self. Casual and a bit joking. He was never the serious type. We spoke for a few minutes. Then he told me. Simone says he called the house first and spoke to her for about 15 minutes. He said he thought she was sweet. The funeral will be next Tuesday. So we spoke about business and family for a few more moments. His wife, he calls her the smart one, is very interested to meet me.

We had no contact since 1974. I visited with Cody for a short time in November of that year. I walked from Ken's house, or was it the airport, to his gas station on the main street in town. He was there, doing something on a car, and recognized me right away. It had been ten years since we had seen each other. And now, seven years later, he has died.

I think about it again, just like after Carl and I talked, and the same lump comes to my throat, the same tears to my eyes. For the first time in my life, an important part of my growing up, is gone. I did not think of him often in the 17 years since leaving home. Now, for some time, I will often think back to those years, and the ways he influenced how I am today. An odd physical sensation comes over me at this moment. Bending me back to the past and its reliving. A flood of sensations of some memorable and stark moments. Something is lacking in my attempts at poetry. Better to just stick with the facts. He was like a poet. More like an old time bard. Always telling stories of everyday life and great adventures, all in one sitting. Mixing and weaving them into a hypnotic blanket that he would throw over all those in his reach. Was it really that way? Yes. He could really hold an audience spellbound. There were his friends and cronies and buddies. They all liked the same things. They all had the same sort of lives. They all liked the same sort of fun. He could retell and recreate the best moments as well as any of them.

So, there in the office, I began to think about what I knew of him, the things I remember about growing up with him. At first it was just a little tightness in my throat. A little dampness in my eyes. And thinking, wondering, just like I did when growing up, did he love me, did I love him? It always seemed uncertain, not a well answered question to me. There was never the same feeling as with my mother. The good and bad feelings about her were always more clear. She was also more definite with me.

He was not well educated. He grew up during the depression. It was in Missouri, I think. This lack of education caused him some difficulties. But there is one story he told me as a proud memory. In one of the early grades he attended the teacher had everyone cut out the silouette of a car from paper. The name of each student was placed on their car. The cars were then placed around the edge of the classroom to indicate who was the best student. An informative bit of competition. It would always be perfectly clear who was best and worst. He would describe how his car would often be the first. He would tell this story with great pride, but also to compensate for not having gone to school for many years. He compensated quite well in other ways. I did not know anyone more skilled in doing real, practical things, than him. While growing up he must have built the equivalent of three houses. It seems he was able to do everything necessary to build a complete house. All but digging a hole for a basement and pouring the foundation. But he could have done it. He bought everything and put it together. To me, as a child growing up, it always seemed that everything came out perfectly. And, indeed, the houses we lived in were not so bad. Life was always a struggle to improve our economic situation. Some of the houses had problems. The one near the airport was too close to the ground. There were sometimes problems with water getting in. Another house, the first one we lived in after moving to Cody from the ranch, didn't have an indoor toilet. I remember a little private celebration I had the last day we used this outhouse. It seems I made some sort of little speech to the last time. I have a memory of holding up some kind of commemorative flag and then letting it fall. Anyway, he built an addition to that house, and a brand new bathroom. I remember having fantasies about a snake coming out of the toilet or tub and not being able to kill it. It seems I may also have read some sort of science fiction story about such a thing.

And life on the farm! It was no Dick and Jane picnic. It was incredibly hard work. This is something he could outdo anyone at. I hardly ever remember him except for working or telling stories. Or just doing something. I don't remember him ever being depressed. He may have been. He probably had it sometimes. But it never seemed to show. Only once on the farm do I remember him not working. It was from an accident. He had caught his foot in a machine. The ankle was broken, or badly injured in some way. He was hospitalized for a short time. Then he worked on crutches, with a bolt in his foot to hold it together. It only slowed him a little, for awhile. Then back to work. How to work. The most important thing I ever learned from him. There is no substitute for it. Work, any kind of work, where I have a feeling of accomplishing something, still, always makes me feel good. It must have been a source of enormous pleasure for him. I don't know anyone who worked harder. Only my mother came close.

It was late in the Fall. I must have been 11 or 12. It was a cold day. Cloudy. Some sort of snow and rain was falling. A good day to stay inside. Stay warm and comfortable, I says to myself. But he had some other idea. Time to dig up the root vegetables and pack them in sand, says he. Complain, grumble, curse, foot dragging, and general piddling around, as he used to call it. So with considerable rancor, I help with the work. Why couldn't we have done this sooner, I says. Who care what the answer was. I don't remember now. We didn't do it earlier, so it has to be done now. The plants won't wait. They will freeze if its cold enough. The weather and the plants don't care if it could have been done earlier. And so we do it. It was what had to be done. All the things of this sort, the things that had to be done to guarantee that life would go on, always got done. I often resented having to do all this work. It seemed that I was being picked-on by him. Chalk it up to youthful paranoia. What does it matter. I learned how to work. Nobody has ever called me lazy. Not a bad thing to learn from anyone. But its something I got from him. The telling of stories is another. I can't do it in quite the same way. I think writing is a better way of doing this for me. But there is something very satisfying about getting the attention of others in this way. It is so unnecessary a thing. You don't need to tell or listen to stories to live. But work and stories seemed to be his whole life. I can't deny that I have some pleasure for myself when telling a story. It's a great pleasure to lead them along. Having them on the edge of their seats. Having them almost begging for more. Perhaps going off on some other little subject for just a moment, teasing them with little asides and irrelevant things, and then, suddenly, back to the story and a spectacular conclusion that has them rolling in the aisles or nodding their heads with understanding of some important idea.

On the one hand I was always very conscious of him being my stepfather. But I did not have a real father. Not in the way he was my father. He was there. My real father was far away. It seemed he avoided being my real father. It seemed he always gave more attention to his real sons. I remember the candy bar incident. He came home one day with two. This is all there were, he said. I will give them to the two little ones. That's not fair, I says. Why don't you divide them in half, and give a half to each of us? But he had a reason why not. I was not able to convince him. I don't remember what it was. I can't believe, in thinking about it now, that it was a good reason. But now, thinking about this incident, its really one of the worst. And can it have been so bad if this is the worst thing I can say about him? He didn't share a candy bar with me and my sister? Lots of people could wish things had been this good for them.

One of my favorite things was to go in trips with him. Several times I went to the thriving metropolis of Billings, Montana. We took pigs, as I remember, to a place where they were auctioned. Loading the truck, driving for several hours, over the Wyoming plains and around the mountains. The auction house was an enormous building. I would be free to wander around. Secret pleasure hiding away and watching people coming and going and talking and them not being able to see me.

Monday, August 26, 2013

April 17, 1981 - self and other destructions

I was thinking today about how to write a story of recent news. A short story about today. There would be an introductory paragraph to set the tone. Then would follow some other number of paragraphs about individual events. Finally, a concluding paragraph with a conclusion or moral-of-this-story ending. But a funny thing happened instead. Near the Orson Welles, on Mass Av, I am crossing a little side street. A teenaged-looking guy, with a beatup old car, is about to turn onto Mass Av. Suddenly a violent fantasy starts. He whips out a gun and points it at me. Making threats about walking so slow in front of his car. I knock it out of his hand with a quick movement of the mailbag I'm carrying, grab his arm and pull him out the window of the car. His passenger gets out, tells me they are police, and points his gun at me. I grab the first one around the neck, and stick the gun in his ribs, using him as a shield. Police cars converge from every direction. I won't let go of this guy till the other one gives up his gun. The police get him to do so and then I do the same. Suddenly the second guy grabs a policeman's gun and starts to shoot me. I do the same and shoot the gun out of his hand. The other police take their guns out. A few quick shots and the guns fly from their hands. I have a portable radio and call for help. Suddenly, overhead, Cobra gunships, filled with special forces men. They rescue me and tell the police to forget everything they saw. So much for my nice neat arrangement of the days events. The start of my organizing my writing gets blown away. I haven't had too many violent fantasies of this sort the last few days. Most of them have been about confrontations with Simone. She continues her coercive efforts to come between me and any relationship with Linda. The usual fantasy involves me getting fed up with her harping about it, exploding, and telling her to give it up or get out. She saw Michael today. He has lost weight. Probably from the stress of trying to avoid is feelings about her. He had an enormous hard-on when she got there. No agreement, she says. I'm not going to marry you till you are past childbearing age, he says. And so it goes. Simone has the feeling that they will be getting back together. This is the first time she has had a positive feeling like this, or at least expressed it so positively. For a moment there is a flash of anxiety for me. It goes away. The possibilities are that we will work things out together, or they will go off by themselves and slowly run down to ruin. This comes at the same time I am having these increasing strong confrontation fantasies about her. Some of them of turned to irrelevant fights. That is, about something at the time, mostly about the moments feeling, but never anything I can clearly remember.

A talk with Lotti about her mother getting old and not having anyplace to live. Her fear of having to take care of her. She has the idea that somehow a community will spring up to take care of her in her old age. But thinking concretely she realizes that it is not so easy. It is difficult, and getting more so, to have a have a relationship with me and Simone. She has noticed this thing about Simone. That Simone treats her in sort of a sickly sweet way. Condescending, like a constant patient and therapist relationship. Lotti has the feeling that Simone would have no interest in her if it was not for my relationship with her. She listened to our fight the other night and got sick, vomited, from it. This was on top of the things going on with John. But our fight caused everything to come up, literally. Simone is starting to have a difficult time with Lotti as she gets emotionally closer to me. I took care of her when she was sick. Went to the store to get her some ginger ale. Stayed by her side while she vomited. Stayed up and talked with her afterwards. I am going to have to talk with Sten to get some perspective on things again. The tension is making me crazy again. Lotti and I talked about how we can make a community to take care of us. It needs love. Nothing works without this. I realize how Simone tries to destroy things when someone has this feeling for me. She is always trying to end the feeling or anything, between Linda and me. Just the opposite is what's needed. When she tries to put an end to anyone's love she destroys the very community she wants to create. Linda cares for me a lot. I am the longest relationship she has ever had. It is a secure port in an almost constant storm for her. She seriously thinks about living with us. She is willing to try and overcome the problem of jealousy. She knows it will be hard, but wants to try. This feeling she has for me is very good for her. It's a sort of security she hasn't had before. It has put an end to a lot of the running away from relationships that she has done in the past. She sometimes sleeps with others but doesn't have the same feeling with them as with me. I have waited out her numerous rejections of me. She understands more about how its important not to give up. And it makes me feel good also. Not her being away in NYC so much. But that she thinks of me often and wants to spend time with me when she is here. The possibility of living with me has caused her to change all her plans about staying in NYC to study art. She will now try to get a place at Boston University. She wants to stay here for a few days in May. Simone has gone crazy over the idea. But just a few moments ago she asks if someone she hasn't seen since high school can stay for the night. Of course, I say. There is no reason for him not to stay here. Although I am a little wary of 'crazy' Mike as she calls him. Supposedly he once set himself on fire. He was dressed in a business suit. Is he a dope dealer, I ask. Not anymore, she replies, or at least I don't think so. Even though I notice a tendency to make up reasons for his not staying here, and a twinge of jealousy, it is ok. I have got to overcome this thing in me also. This expecting more of other people than I do of myself.

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

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wednesday, April 15, 1981 - sex and horniness

The Space Shuttle landed yesterday. Bonnie called me to say they had just come down. I can never resist telling everyone that I worked on the Space Shuttle Project at one time. It was for 2 years, 1974-1975, maybe a little more. It was during a very hard time in my relationship with Adele. I was also trying to get visitation rights through the courts. It still excites me, space travel. I remember some of the problems from when I was growing up. One was how to get enough fuel in the rocket so it could escape Earth's pull. The typical picture would show a rocket that would hold 10 gallons of fuel, but it was calculated to take 20 gallons to escape the pull of gravity. They solved the problem by use of rockets with stages. A big rocket would push a smaller rocket. They also worried about the space suits for the astronauts. It didn't seem possible, at the time, to be able to build something small enough, light enough, and comfortable enough, from current materials. So they invented new ones. At Intermetrics they were developing software for the onboard computers. The programs were always too big, and always ran too slow. But obviously they have solved that problem.

My stepfather always said it would not be possible to get to the moon. It was some sort of religious idea he had. Men were destined to be trapped inside the moon's orbit, like fish in a bowl. There was even a science fiction story about just such a thing.

Coming back from New Haven on Sunday I was reminded of another story about my stepfather. We stopped at a gas station to get gas, check the oil, water, etc. My hands got dirty. I went to the restroom to wash. My stepfather owned a gas station when I was in my teens. Sometimes I would have to clean the restrooms. He would tell stories about the women's room and what a mess it was. I never saw any such thing, but he was a convincing storyteller. It seems that women would somehow whip off the bloody sanitary napkins, splattering the walls inside the restroom, and generally making it look like a slaughter house and garbage dump. His stories always made the most vivid pictures in my mind, but none of this was ever available for me to see. More than 20 years later the image of this happening is still there. And so is the idea that it might have really happened. On the one hand it is a very preposterous thing from what I know now, but then was a very impressionable time for me. And he was a fantastic teller of tales. I could not tell what was so and what wasn't. Thinking about it, I realize how the same is true of me. I can't resist telling some story or other if it smells like a believer is in the room. Even my newsletter used to have phony items written in it. Even now I hesitate about saying exactly what is going on in some situation. It always occurs to me to say something else. To tell it just a little bit different. I get such a pleasure leading someone down the wrong path, and then to have them realize it, or say something that knocks them back to reality. I like it when its possible to keep someone just on the edge of believing and doubting. It is like a great challenge. And other times I like to be deadly accurate.

Simone has asked me not to give out anymore of my notes unless I change the names of everyone. She is still afraid of what Jeff or Stu might do to me if they learn what I have written. I'm beginning to think so more and more. I wish I had the benefit of 100 years later, like Mary Chestnut and her Civil War diary. It would make it possible to write even more freely. Why not, with everyone dead for so long. Another possibility would be to just hide this from everyone. But it is hard for me to resist showing my latest writing to someone.

More gossip about Jeff and Carol and their affair. It seems that they have both confided in Simone that they are not really interested in the other. They plan to end it as soon as someone better comes along. This I can only snicker and smirk at. They got together because of their loneliness and horniness. They both described how the deficits of the other person became irrelevant when they felt this way. Jeff does not like fat women, and Carol does not feel attracted to Jeff because of what she knows about his sexual difficulties. But they get to where they realize their real deep down feelings, and suddenly none of that matters. They just want someone. As soon as their intellect, or better judgment, gets control again, they reject the other person. But only a few years ago I can remember myself holding back with someone, and at the time thinking, is this person the right one? These two seem to have the same problem. Does everyone have the same problem? Even Simone has the same old second thoughts about me. I ask myself, what can be done about this? Maybe nothing, and just let them go on doing the same thing to themselves. Tell them how I see the situation? Have Simone tell them? She's the one who knows it best. She heard it directly from both of them. Just letting it go on seems like the best possible way to ruin them both. To say the truth would be devastating to both of them. Why do I have such mixed feelings about this? It seems so obvious how this should be done. But on the other hand there is some anxiety and rationalizing going on. Am I so afraid of the consequences of speaking my mind? On the other hand I have these fantasies about being a nightclub performer and telling all these little stories as part of a routine. Leaving out the names of course. There I am, up on the stage. Casually dressed, relaxed, microphone in hand. You wanna hear a funny story I heard today, this guy asks the audience. And without waiting for a reply, he tells it. Its about letting some things about me out, but on stage, so I still have a little distance from those who listen.

Last night, while taking a shower, I thought of Linda. She has been having a hard time in NYC. She wants me to call her more often. It makes her feel better to have someone like me in her life. Then this thought progressed and included Simone. It got a little tense. Somehow thinking about Linda always results in Simone being dragged in. Then it becomes confrontational. I have a fight with Simone. Every time Linda comes up in a conversation something happens to Simone. A very primitive thing takes over. She becomes hostile in voice and movement. Sharp in tone. She speaks more quickly and with nastiness. So, to go back to my fantasy, I confront her behavior. I can't let it go by this time, like usual. I point out how her acceptance of Linda is different from other people. That it shows what she is really like. Someone who is no imagined threat to her is acceptable. But not someone who causes her real feelings to come up. She has a choice, I say, to confront this thing in her and give it up, or leave. I don't want someone who is this way. Its the best reason I would have for really rejecting her. She doesn't have to imagine my doing so. For this I will really reject her. I don't want to spend the rest of my life with this tension. It is not necessary. We don't need it. I can do without her if she continues with this. Later, when I'm in bed, and can't sleep, the fantasy continues. I am in bed with Linda. But suddenly there is Simone again! Linda gets up and hides behind the door. Simone takes scissors and goes to stab her. I stop it. There are only two possibilities now. Either I report this to the police, or she must move out within 24 hours. Then I make it 2 hours, then 1 hour. A struggle over what to do. Talk to the police about how long I can wait to report the incident, second thoughts about how long Simone gets to move out. I move her furniture out into the street. And all the time fighting with her about Linda's presence. She overflows with little tricks and what's wrong with Linda, what's wrong with me, how its only my fear of being close to her, etc., etc., etc. All the old things she has said. Recently she has in fact dropped all these old complaints and come up with new ones. But the fantasy is a composite of all the old, but real fights. And then I become more conscious of what is going on inside me and ask, why am I having this fantasy? Is it really a submerged wish to be rid of her? Certainly to be rid of that part of her. An urge to do her in? My own desire to get some sort of resolution to a constantly existing, but pushed down thing? It always seems to be present in some form. Maybe not immediately there, but like a very low-level tension that one feels, but whose source is not evident. I don't know for sure. I just know something is there and it keeps coming up in this way. With these rather murderous fantasies. Sometimes it comes out in reality. I find myself censoring what I say and do so as not to offend Simone with it. But that sucks. I don't want to have to walk around on eggs all the time. I had brought up the subject of Linda visiting with us for a few days at the beginning of May. Suddenly people visiting with us is not so simple as it is when its someone Simone knows. It has to be talked about. We have to make some rules about it. Its no longer a straightforward and social thing that we will do because we like people. And she never sees what she is doing. It constantly places me on the verge of threatening to find another place for myself so I don't have to put up with this nonsense. She continues to create good reasons for me to reject her. Its impossible for me to write more about this. I will have to do something.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Monday, April 13, 1981 - the wrong chair

I have been inspired by another writer, a woman, from another time. She writes of her life and surroundings during the Civil War. It seems to be writing in my own style. Or is it that I imagine this to be so? Stuck. The last two weeks - stuck! Lots of gossip and events to write about. Stuck with the fright of life. The emotional situation with myself and Simone and caused me to be parylized. At least in the writing. I have been keeping the first word of what to write, when it, the urge, strikes again. Panic. A feeling of panic. About everything. Writing being the latest to cause panic. It seems to be another thing I have started up, blazed away at, then died without a whimper. The thing about it is that it seemed to help me make some progress. I feel so guilty about all the things that could have been written about this last two weeks. It seems I try to mimic Mrs Chestnut's style. But I am not her. Maybe its best to go back to what I did before. But there is a new feeling I have about writing. The gossip and small stuff does not interest me so much anymore. There is something new in the air. I can't quite make it out yet. Its like when trying to learn something. At one point it seems you have the thing mastered. But little things keep going wrong when you try it. It gets so bad you want to quit. It seems nothing good will ever come of trying again. But finally you master it and go to the end for the first time.

I have been sitting on the wrong chair. The other was too low and hard. This makes it lots easier and faster. But now what to say about anything. Poor Mary Chestnut and not having IBM Selectric to do her writing with. But even with just writing a little bit by hand, for over 20 years, each day, her book comes out to over 800 pages. It has made me quite excited to read about her writing. I have called the Cambridge Public Library and asked them to put me on a reserve list for this book of hers, and an autobiography. My fantasies about someone reading this a hundred years from now start to come up. Shall I talk to whoever you are? What do you think of something addressed to you, but written 100 years ago? The writer is long since gone. But I know that with Mary Chestnut's writing, what few snatches I've seen, it gives me the feeling of being there, of being inside her head. The things she writes of are so human and common. Can you say the same for this? What is your name? Are you male or female? What an interesting idea it is for me to try and conjur you up, 100 years before you exist. Quite a feat, don't you think? And is the world you live in much like mine? I mean the human world, without all the names and faces that identify it in time, the emotional world, where people are just the same as today. But maybe they have learned more and are different. Much of the world does not have Mary's few of slaves. What slaves have you managed to free in the world, and in yourself? Enough talking to you. Time to get back to myself. But it is hard to resist. More defense. Its like not writing has been for me the last two weeks. Now I write about what? Its still me. That came out of me. It was there. Why not let it come out. It frustrates me. On the other hand this page ends. I have been trying this silly thing with paragraphs. Do I ever say more than one sentence about anything? It was just a matter of hitting the tab. And there it was. A new paragraph. I'll try it again.

Now I must start off on something completely new. Not completely new. But about another idea. An idea that builds on previous paragraphs, or, if the last paragraph, a summary of all the previous paragraphs.

Do I have a new idea yet? Maybe it should be written like conversation. I will just use this as a way of talking to myself. Surely there is more than one of me in here. Mary says she writes, in response to someone's asking, "Why do you write in your diary at all, if, as you say, you have to contradict every day what you wrote yesterday?", "Because I tell the tale as it is told to me. I write current rumor. I do not vouch for anything." This is something I wish I'd said. She goes on to say, "I write daily for my own distractions. These memoirs pour servir may some future day afford dates, facts, and prove useful to more important people than I amÖIt is hard, in such a hurry as things are in, to separate wheat from chaff." And so it is for me. And I am envious of her way with words again.

Things have turned around with the art show. Simone is now very enthusiastic about it. Dana has even said he will participate. At first Simone was hesitant about the idea. She thought I would try to connect art and sexuality. Perish the thought! What a silly idea, that there is any connection between art and sexuality. Where does she dream up such ideas? Tsk, tsk. Then her complaint was that I would try to control how everything was to be. She has come up with some ideas of her own and some from other people. She was anxious to get the work of her friends in the show. It seemed as though she wanted to use it as a means of gaining favor with these friends. I have started with some publicity today. Called several papers. Simone got some people in the psychology/psychiatry world interested, having spoken to them about the idea at a recent conference where she presented. I have had the idea to contact FH about the idea, but then it always comes with some anxiety about how they will gobble up the idea and I will disappear. Anyway, we are working on it and others are interested. Perhaps we will even be able to take it to NYC. My imagination races ahead of me again, and I've had the idea to visit Linda, and try to arrange something. Neither happened this last weekend, although that was the plan. So much for my plans. This has been a problem recently. A feeling of spinning my wheels. Lots of things going on and lots of motion. But no progress. I continue to feel stuck. Shit, forgot the new paragraph.

Last night was a big thing here. Simone and Ken slept together, here, in her bed. Dana in his bed, and me in mine. There was a bit of tension at first. We were doing some drawing. Me, Simone, Dana, Tom Howard, Edwin, when he arrived. He did not participate at first, but later joined in. Stu had promised to kill and disown him if he sleeps overnight with Simone. He wants Ken and Simone to come to his house, talk about the whole thing, and for Simone to spend the night with him. Ken does not like this idea. Simone stalls for sometime before going to bed. She finally comes to kiss me goodnight and says she will be going to sleep right away. And that she wouldn't be doing this if it weren't for me. She wanted to make an agreement about not having anyone sleep over with either of us, but I would agree to it, and this is the result. I tell her that its not really my fault, the devil made you do it, I says. She had thought I was going to be gone for 5 or 6 days. Monday night, and the rest of the week, were to be spent with Michael. She only told me about Monday, but confessed about staying with him the whole week only today. But he has called to cancel their date for tonight. I want to fuck him, she says. What he mouth she has acquired since knowing me! I want the big O, she says. That's an orgasm, which she has not been able to have with me. She had fantasies of a fantastic sexual affair with Ken, like what she had with Dave Ring. But that is not destined to be right away. The fact of them being here caused much of the excitement of a new relationship to be squashed. But it didn't go so bad. For me there was a combination of jealousy and horniness. I could hear them in the next room. At one point she got up and was rumaging around for something. Birth control devices, I says to myself. And she was going right to sleep. She could find her diaphram. It was right there in her suitcase. She says I hid it. Not so. She probably did not want to find it. But she could have used condoms. She always had those around. She could have gotten one from me. She tells me she wanted to be with me, and told Ken so. But they had a good time talking. About me he said how his opinion was one way from what Stu told him, but now its quite different. He thought me to be a very big and crude person, not too smart, and other not so nice things. Simone has the idea that he is a very together person. It will go away in time, and if he continues to come around here. She had a similar opinion of me at the beginning of our relationship. Soon she got a more accurate picture.

Simone and Stu are having the same problem. An acute attack of jealousy. For Simone the problem seems to be Linda. For Stu the problem seems to be Ken, me, and Dana. Its not any of us really. Simone has been putting the screws to me so I won't do anything to make her feel insecure. She was continually telling me not to go to NYC to visit Linda. She has to constantly search for other explanations about why I do these things, and in the same breath out comes her urges about other men, like Ken and Michael. In her most lucid moments she will just admit wanting to fuck, wanting their attention, wanting to talk about things with them. This contradictory behavior will sometime cause her difficulties. For me, hypocritical behavior always gets me to thinking and rationalizing about the thing, and this always parylizes me a bit. I think to myself, soon a confession will be in order. But it often never comes. The time never seems just right, or another convenient distraction pops up. In Simone's case, she always changes the subject. Her mother is just like this. That is another story again. The dog at her parents house is not kept in the basement all the time. They have just completely re-carpeted the whole upstairs. The dog pisses on everything and chews everything. It seems they should get rid of the dog and the cats. They are not taken care of.

I am not satisfied with this. It seems to degenerate to the old style and small minded gossip of two weeks ago. Its not really about me. Always I am distracted by someone else's influence on me and what is the meaning of this little thing and how has that little thing caused me some problem here or there. How to get around these things? It's a distraction from doing something about feeling stuck. It leads me to believe that is the cause of my being stuck. Not so.

Simone and Dana have just returned from teaching their Tufts dream course. I am a little bit anxious about them coming in and reading my notes. It seems more so than in the past. I noticed something about those two yesterday. Simone wanted to do some work in the kitchen where it was quiet and she could eat something. Dana comes in and starts to do something, plus make noise. This disturbs Simone who speaks to him in a harsh voice. It makes me uncomfortable as he does not stop immediately and its obvious she holds back about criticizing him a second time. But what should I do? It makes me feel tense. Its obvious that I could say something. Not about the noise, but about their communication with each other. Dana is insensitive and Simone does not really reply to this. I see it, feel it, notice it, but do nothing. The tension in me says to do something. But I don't. I have an opinion. But it is badly formed. The words do not come out quick and sharp. I am too slow and the best moment passes. Then I say it is too late. The tension has parylized me.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Tuesday, March 31, 1981 - the art show

Yesterday I had one of my best ideas. It is to have an art show at Gallery East. The art making up the show would come from the times we are together with other people and just doing things. Often in the evening we will just sit around together and do something, such as painting, drawing, collages, different things with clay, materials, and so on. Anything produced in this situation would be in the show. Duane, who runs the gallery, likes the idea very much. So does everyone else. Simone says she likes the idea but her enthusiasm seems wrinkled with resistance, that is it seems somewhat influenced by envy or jealousy. Its hard to put a finger on it.

Otherwise yesterday was not such a good day. I couldn't get up. Extremely tired. Not really depressed but unable to get going. Walking to the office and remembering how Simone has often said she hates Reagan and even once wanted me to kill him. Two hours later I hear the news about the attempted assassination. A lot of distress and anxiety. He's the President even if I don't like all that he does.

Feeling anxiety about nuclear war the last two or three days. Fantasies about what would happen to me if I were in various places around Boston if a bomb were dropped. Sometimes its about being blinded, crushed under a building, blown away by the blast, melting, wondering where Simone was, if she survived, how I could find her.

Difficulty getting going on my various personal projects. But I do notice that something is different about what I work on by myself and things done with other people. The art show

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: #996,939 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#55 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Arts & Photography > Art > Other Media > Conceptual (August 17, 2013)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sunday, March 29, 1981 - the art of deception

It feels as though my writing career is about over. I find myself making excuses about not writing. Saying to myself, do you have anything to say? I have been thinking of ways to make it better. For example, paragraphs, as a first way to better organize material. But it only comes out that way in my head. Sitting here writing shows the folly of that idea. So then I thought, why not just begin each new subject by indenting as in a paragraph. It doesn't have to be organized as a real paragraph, I think to myself. It will help me to better organize, no, the real intent is to listen to what some people say about my writing, and write a particular, familiar way. Bob Rimmer has sent me another letter with advice and criticism. I show the letter to some others and they agree. He doesn't know what I do for a living or where I am sexually. Does it matter what I do for a living? Does anyone, including myself, know where I am sexually. The first is easy to answer. I have a business which automates and sells special purpose mailing lists. Sexually I want to have more experience. This is difficult now because of my couple relationship. To be honest with other women amounts to making them afraid. To be dishonest means too much emotional bookkeeping. Who did what, to who, and when. Then being careful that nobody knows what really happened so as not to hurt their feelings. Simone and I fuck a lot. She sleeps with a couple of other men sometimes, and I sometimes, but not as often sleep with someone else. I want to do away with all this fear and bookkeeping about who is sleeping with who. It does not seem possible that we will ever be able to enjoy ourselves with this hanging overhead. It doesn't seem possible to really love and care about other people if you can't be open to them in this way. It seems like such a simple idea. Just to be free of the fear of doing something. I'm not that way myself. Yesterday I noticed something about this in myself. The situation is that I will be with Simone, but it has happened lots of times with other women, and I will see someone who is attractive to me. The next impulse is to try and look at them in a way that doesn't seem obvious to the woman I'm with. That is, to almost pretend to be looking at someone else so she will not be jealous of my looking at another. I noticed the funny my head moves and tries to pretend something else is being looked at. A very self-conscious feeling. A little bit of anxiety and stiffness. Its as though I freeze up a bit. It worries me what she will think of my looking at another woman. Its seldom a natural and free thing for me. I try to hide what I'm doing from her. I worry what she will think. It then changes my behavior. How will it be possible to live with people and express myself freely when I can't even look at other women without anxiety? It has been a big thing the last few days. I had a date Thursday night. With Nina. We went for a long walk. At first she said that she had left a note at my door about how she didn't want to see me this evening. We took Linda's dog for a walk. Then she asks about going to Harvard Square. Ok, I says. And so we go. Through Harvard Square, down Brattle Street. Do you know what's just ahead, I ask her. No, she replies. The local Mormon Church. She is very surprised. We walk to the front door. A young woman with a baby goes inside. Its Thursday night, or Relief Society, as I remember. It has a strange magnetic pull on me. A little anxiety. Fear of being sucked into it again. She hesitates at the door, almost as though she does want to go in. She converted several years ago in NYC. It has a strong attraction for her. The sense of community and a feeling of belonging to something are what she wants. She has an odd feeling about Mormon men. That they are very held back, if I understand correctly. We talk about it for some hours over hot chocolate. She is slow to order it as her Mormon conditioning is still quite strong. It is against the doctrine. The caffeine. She has the idea that nothing will ever come of a relationship with me. Its clear from what I've said about my expectations of her. But she enjoys the evening anyway. She has a hard time making friends. My advice to her is to get out more and be a friend, in order to get some. She enjoys the way, or appreciates the way I reveal myself in the notes. This is also the kind of relationship she wants - open and honest. But it is so that she rejects me for being exactly that way. What is it about this sort of behavior. She wants people to pay attention to her, open up to her, approach her, but I have done this in some way that is wrong for her. How is it that everyone wants contact on the one hand, but is always rejecting it, not always, but most often. Everyone wants to be accepted and approached, but only by the "right people. Not you though, you're not the right ONE! How do I point such a thing out to people? I have done it often enough myself. Always this fear of making a wrong choice. But mixed up with trying to see what is going on here is resentment about being rejected. So part of this understanding is to make something wrong with what she has done. What could I do to be the right one for her. It seems obvious. Hide my real feelings. Fake a romantic interest in her and maybe reveal something about myself after she is in love with me. She seems the sort to be completely taken in by this approach. Even though what she wants is openness and honesty. Most people couldn't stand complete honesty from those around them. We all seem to turn our heads aside at a multitude of little, but common sins. I do it myself. Just little things that are destructive to another persons life and ability to make contact with others. Things they do that are counter to making their relationships better. Its one o'clock in the morning. Simone has to get up before eight to go to an interview.

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: #996,132 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#54 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Arts & Photography > Art > Other Media > Conceptual (June 2, 2013)

Click HERE to view the Premium Art Deadlines List.

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