Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Year 2019

2019 YEAR FORWARD 2019
5 January Saturday 2019
Ken and Carole brought us a fine lunch. Butternut soup and bacon quiche and Jan Hagel cookies. Nice to catch up with them. They leave for Florida in six days on the 11th.
Echogram yesterday at Speare. Jeannie the tech talked a lot about everything from Sodoko to Bristol school expenses. She urged me to write a letter to the CMC team about too much anesthesia. Later in the day I got fired up to do so and this is what I wrote.
14 Rogers Street Plymouth, NH 03264 December 4, 2019
Re: MRN: 712589 Visit:00065899619
New England Heart Institute at CMC 100 McGregor Street Manchester NH 03102
Dr Fahad Gilani, Dr Powen Hsu, cc Dr Eric Larson, Concord NH cc Dr Diane Arsenault, Plymouth, NH

Dear Doctors:
Today during the Echocardiogram we saw the TAVR in place, working beautifully. In two days it will have been a month since the TAVR procedure at CMC.We thought it would be a three to four day visit to CMC. Virginia had a week there in critical care and then two weeks upstairs at RMU. Back in Plymouth, we continue OT, PT and home health care through Pemi-Baker Community Health. We also hire an assistant privately for eight to ten hours a week. Virginia’s mental clarity is not the same nor her speaking ability. Our lives are not even close to the way things were before December 5, 20018. From now on I would suggest patients make a video of normal life and activity before a TAVR procedure so all involved can see exactly what “baseline” was like in experiential terms before versus after. Prior to the surgery I do not recall talking with the Anaesthesiologist. My memory might be at fault here; perhaps that doctor spoke to Virginia in the early hours before the procedure? Afterwards I wondered from very early on if the anaesthesia had been too strong, inexpertly administered? Mainly I wondered if the anaesthesiologist knew Virginia’s medical history and state of health before the procedure? Did he consult with Dr Eric Larson, Virginia’s neurologist of over twelve years? In 2003 Virginia survived an AVM burst. Two brain surgeries, three months in a coma (or asleep), two more brain surgeries and placement of a shunt,
followed by years of PT and OT. She has had as well incidents of seizure and TIAs. Is the anesthesia for a TAVR on a 74 year old woman with such a history different from the anesthesia for a TAVR on a, say, 57 year old man with no prior brain bleed or seizure disorder history? A UTI showed up very early after the procedure. Had we been able to do an MRI perhaps we would have had more definitive evidence of what exactly happened?
Yours truly,
Robert E. Garlitz
Last night I thought I would add at the end, to round off the prose poem----

I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light,

Today I think I should leave the whole thing as a prose poem and not send it. The tech lady, the chatty tech lady, has opinions on the schools and such in Bristol that lead me to question whether she is a good source for motivating such a letter. Or such a prose poem. Last night it was so clear that I had to point out to the doctors that “baseline” was such a ridiculous term. Today I will say of course it is. All terms are.
Most men lead lives of quiet exaltation.
Bali trip we can cancel up to the last minute and still get full refund. Forget worrying about that for now. Think of something else you don’t know if you want or not want, will do or not do. Wait. Watch. Let go.
Virginia slept after breakfast and then after lunch, a long time. Zyrtec may have done her in. Watching tv now, Victoria. Will she sleep tonight? I got way too nervous about getting the house neatened up for Ken and Carole. And of course they each went to the bathroom and so saw the new bedroom in the den. Oh well. Tired now. Got a lot done actually. Reading Mosley too.
Sunday Jan 6
Three Kings. Quietest one ever. Va has been very sleepy yesterday and today. Slept last night but some tossing from 3am on. Not sure whether to call anyone. Eliz and I postponed a shower until tomorrow afternoon. She’s watching tv movies now, dozing off and on. Walking not nearly as stable as it was two days ago. Feels like a few steps backwards.
January 8. Tuesday Downstairs Journal
Judith left a few moments ago. Judy due to arrive in less than twenty. Visit to Amy at Speare Cardio this morning went ok, nothing more to say than try to keep getting better. Probably maybe a TIA or a small stroke of some sort. Not a seizure. Not a UTI.
Purple Carrot arrived. All keen to try the first recipe. This gray winter day the whole thing feel like a boost of some sort.
Last night Va said will we be able to do the trip to Bali? This morning she wondered aloud if she would ever get any better at all.
Home in winter, “housebound” as legal state as defined by Medicare. So we have the lives of hermits. At last. What we’ve always wanted. Reading and eating and sleeping. Prayer goes on too in between everything and above and below. Ed has implicitly challenged me to finally read James’ Variety and so perhaps I shall.
Still can’t muster the curiosity for it. Ed’s distillations might be enough.
Weds Jan 9
Snow day all day. When life gets so simplified you don’t know what to do next because life has become so simple. Jess has her knee surgery today unless snow has changed the calendar. PB staff due to stop in today but now may change their calendar. No word yet on a Wet Signing tomorrow. Bed wet last night but deep sleep for all of us. Taking back the bed rail bought yesterday because after piecing it together realize Va couldn’t get out of the bed at all with that thing strapped to the side. Our rolling Ikea cart will have to keep working to block her knee and leg from falling over the side of the bed during the night. I see a walking postperson going in to the Barton’s house. Has our mail returned to daylight delivery? My sore right foot bothers me, heel feels bruised somehow. Decided I needed magnesium and/or potassium. Middle of the night doctoring. We didn’t make it far enough into Roma; we didn’t like The Kindergarten Teacher. Ed’s distillations of James make me wonder again what I am missing by not reading Varieties but I can’t make myself really try to find one of my copies. I used to have two. I’m still not sure I want to read it. Could use a kindle version. Ed’s distillations might save me a lot of energy I can continue to put into Mosley and Proust and Modiano. Will any other rival show up. Do have the new Enard about DaVinci and the Turks. PemiBaker called just now with emergency numbers. 1pm They had no power for an hour this morning. Fingers crossed we did not. Winds still howling outside. Heavy snow on trees. Beautiful.
Thursday Jan 10
Signed the house sale documents, Jesse the notary from Warren. Earlier Julie came for home visit and helped us shower. She had been here two weeks ago and so could see how Virginia has gotten much stronger. Seems like there was someone else, oh, Colin to play piano and that sounded great to hear. Made the tempeh recipe and we both thought the liquid smoke oil and the tamari maple glaze plus the slow cooking made the tempeh the best we had ever tasted. Also kale chips! wow, like catching up with the 21st century.
Tomorrow will be the first day off, half day, in five or six weeks and I can hardly wait. Using the doctor’s appt in Hanover as my target. Actually rowed for 3 minutes this morning, and, again, wow. Not much work on getting the decorations down. Yet. Gathered advice on what to do with the 90k and have a consensus---me and Doug Grant and Phil. Phil just lost 90k in the December market slump. Doug says he has invested something angelic that will turn his 100k into 1.4 million in 2020 and he already has his investment company in Chicago finding a strategy to reduce the tax bite. Hummer-Mower, his parents used and his sister. Lots of snow overnight. Daylight beginning to creep back into the afternoons. Much colder for a few days. Realized the other day how I would rather consult Doug than anyone else I could think of. Interesting realization. He sees us as “relatively free spending” which is sort of a revelation. “i have a company I would recommend if you want. My parents were clients of theirs and my sister and I are clients today. You've always seemed relatively free- spending so it may not matter that much.” Maybe that’s how we’ve portrayed ourselves to everyone? in the sense that we take off on trips maybe more than anyone else we know.
Now I think I will put the cash in the bank and tell TIAA to suspend the bi- weekly payments, and spend down the cash on hand and not take the RMDs until the end of the year after we see how the year’s expenses have played out. Will ask Rick this tomorrow.
Jan 11
Bright Friday. Judy working with Virginia. Anne’s birthday I think. She must be 69 now. Didn’t sleep much last night. Dark chocolate? Did decide the heel pain is not mineral deficiency but dehydration---duh. Winter heat, cold weather, heat pumps, dryness. Try to drink way too much and see.
Slowly digging into mountain of laundry. Folding, drying, folding. Upstairs deconstructed well but can gradually piece it back into place. We talked about whether to get a stair climber again. Take down the tree decorations and tree this weekend.
Jan 12 Saturday
Yesterday the house sale closed. Also had a half day off on jaunt to dermatology in Lebanon. Seemed amazing. The familiar and the new. First such offiture in six? seven? weeks? Today as bright and cold and
brilliant. Waiting for the wells fargo transfer to appear. Take two or three days I suppose. Elizabeth coming at eleven to do a shower downstairs. We started a new series called You. Cute people. About repairing old books. Sort of. Finished Roma and were unimpressed. Gorgeous black and white filming, long slow pans, elaborate scenes set up, some compelling scenes and images, but the whole felt less than compelling. Only after looking up info about it, did I get it. Roma a neighborhood in Mexico City. Nostalgia, childhood memories. May have resonated largely for the director’s immediate circles of friendship and influence. Art for the art world’s sake. Art coterie’s. Like Colette much more. In fact Colette gives me more background for understanding Proust. The whole stream about Albertine clearly borrows from all that Colette achieved and represented and Proust must have grown up with her “in the air” as he came of age in her Paris and so it was only natural that he would have used “that material” as material, as received considerations of interest and curiosity in shaping his imagined re-creation of himself as Marcel. Look at how my own imagination does similar things with all I’ve lived through. In Roma I thought the street violence was related to the student riots at the university in 1968? I had no knowledge about the other riots they were quoting. Oh, well, street violence everywhere, in all periods. Try to remember to call Greg to see about lunch on Tuesday. We are reinstating Tuesdays. Va’s walking may or may not be at a steady state. Needs much more daily stimulation and endurance. Today I’ll try to get her up to do a house loop once every hour or so. Also take down decorations on tree, take out tree. Resolutions.
Sunday 13 January
Bright again and super cold. 10:43 all the lights and decorations are off the tree. It is ready to exit the house, later when the temps outside have warmed a bit more. Sorting through the decorations some to see what to repack and save, what to toss.
Not feeling so hot. Feel all hot and warm, am I having a cold or something? No other symptoms for now. Just need to chill and rest a little bit. Maybe do twenty minutes of headspace breathing. Did do five minutes of rowing early on. Maybe too big a bowl of oatmeal.
good lines in Mosley’s “Public House” story
“Perhaps all love has to expose itself, since it exists in memory and expectation.” 85 That could be straight out of Aciman.
“Also I had this theory that only in a mixture of cynicism and romanticism was love possible. But I had not expected it in others. I did not know now if I liked it. I wondered how much from myself I projected on to them. Such processes are in the unconscious.” 87
“They gave this impression of something being constructed by artifice; which they watched unfolding passively, yet also created. I believed that all life was like this; and they were people uniquely who recognised it. I recognised it myself, and so was involved in their story. But perhaps we could never let each other know; like spies in a foreign country.” 88
We had a great short screen visit with Dave and the kids. They all got haircuts from M. Simon this week. Cécile was out at Versailles shadowing the Hamilton kids and their director. Emma confirmed that her orange post-it notes were part of her scheme to create code and be a spy. Dave says she saw something about it on the flight movies. How lucky we are to have these sweet kids in our lives, even at this distance. Such a beautiful family.
15 Jan Tues Day off. First in how long? Great massage with David in Bedford. Such a delightful set of moves and countermoves, sequences and repetitions. Artistic, symphonic. Bought lots of stuff first at Whole Foods only to arrive home and find Purple Carrot did deliver after all. Food for two weeks. Warmer day too, bright skies. Willow and Elizabeth seem to have had a good day, big lunch. Some walking for practice. See what tomorrow’s session with Judy brings. Ready to break out of “home bound.”
Mosley’s story “The Public House” wonderful. Narrator falls in love with man and woman who are having an affair over period of months, few years. Says he is in love with the woman and an improbable but perfect epilogue has them meeting again in the surf on a beach in Morocco. Nice twists about mirror images of each other. Aciman would have made the love for both more explicit. Mosley’s guy plays the straight man but it is clear the love message is to the man as well as the woman, to each of them, to the two of them, to the whole drama. They had noticed him, of course, although he thought not, and so the whole tale underlines some of the things said about needing audiences and performing as part of loving. Could hazard a thesis here about drama being the key difference between British and continental literature, but I don’t know French lit enough yet.
Still one can say the Brits live and breathe play acting so deeply that all their literature presupposes performing and seeing, audiencing, as a necessary given, whereas continental lit may not quite so much. Think Bernhard, Marías, Modiano, Proust? Then also in the surf the two guys confess that each has written a story about the other---another sure way straight guys confess to being in love with one another. Plus the tried and true worship of the one goddess by the two lovers. She does have the finale, being borne aloft over the waves of the beach as on a pyre, as on an altar, hieratic and divine.
Longer days lead to heresy. I have ordered merino wool shoes. A move away from Vivo or a temporary lapse of judgment?
16 January Wednesday
Spent most of the day in these new shoes. Feet now saying what the heck? Changed filter on the water pipe in the basement, always a major event. Stopped into the gym for a fifteen minute walk and who should say hello but old Joe M hisself. Has it been seven years since I’ve seen him? Wendy now managing a high-end restaurant on the island off of Portugal. Super rich guy, yachting crowd. Pie wanders Asia, bartending and teaching English. He just has lunch with Bisson short time ago. KK has left and gone into yoga down in Virginia. Salvatore has a two-book contract, no fixed location, girl friend, somehow makes a living, loved being in Sicily. No word of him of late. Oh, and Joe’s work is getting bigger notice in translation in Germany!!
Judy got Virginia up our full flight of stairs and after a rest then down. Helped us see where we are where we have yet to get to. I managed to clear all decorations out of the living room. Ooops just remembered the lights over the doorway---better go do those right now. Did many other important things but that is enough of an update for now. Time for contemplation. And or reading. Short note from Karolyn. She’s become Director of Contemplative Sciences Center at the University of Virginia. Most interesting. She’s slated to give a Rotunda reading in April “When we read contemplatively, we explore our deeply held values so that we can experience compassionate engagement with the Other—be it a text, person, situation, or idea. In this workshop, we will adopt a contemplative approach to poetry to provoke our own creative processes.”
18 January Friday
Talk with Rick Evans yesterday helped make some sort of mental shift and it is now clear that we will go to Bali in March. That is Va’s recovery seems moving steadily and that that will happen. Rick clarified something about my assets and it seems I need to activate a pension stream that will pay out rather well if I do and be almost worthless if I do not. Curious that this had not come up before. Seems like a good idea. Pays until I die, and then for fifteen years afterwards to my beneficiary. Crazy how the financial world can invent these “instruments” of using wealth. But they’ve been at it a good while. Judy here now and we’re planning to shift to Melinda.
Oh, guess who is in the New Yorker, two days after M and I were talking about him---Salvatore!! excerpt about marines in Okinawa. Holy cow. No wonder in spite of our three “interview” visits, we never really clicked in any meaningful way. Except I got portrayed, borrowed, for a cameo in The End. I guess that is the most I can ask for so far as fame goes.
Saturday night Jan 19 Va watching Persuasion since she started the book for her April book group meeting and is finding the reading of it slow going. I lunched with Greg today in Cornish at Phat Guys. Greg is in the first throes of having closed the door on basically his whole life--his life as a therapist. He looks good, relaxed, but from what he says it was difficult for him at the end. Still a sense too of having closed the door and finding that it is all over, finished. Not yet much sense of a new chapter or new phase of possibilities that he can move forward into. These things must after all be fixed within us a long time ago in the inner paths of our ways of experiencing life.
Just managed to upgrade our seats on the flight from Hong Kong to Bali. Five hour flight, should be a good move. Process is to “make a bid.” The graph on the site suggests how high a bid will be accepted. I moved the needle back two hundred dollars and sure enough it got accepted. I suppose the smarter move is to move it way back and see, but I’m happy with what it turned out to be. Feeling flush after our meeting with Rick.
We also booked excursions on the trip. We’ll see how they all play out.
Couldn’t get Kirsten or Phil to read Salvatore’s story and like them I lost interest as before I even finished the first page. Skimmed the interview
posted on the new yorker site (a reading also available) and sent the link to them both because you can see how well S interviews, sounds so impressive and a bit pompous. He should have become a professor of history and cultural studies. Maybe he will get great fame as a writer. Maybe he is the finest writer of his generation. It is not so important to know these things, to try to suss out these things.
Mosley character in “Suicide.” “I had always wanted everything.” “I do not know what love is like this: you want what you haven’t got and when you’ve got it you don’t want it. Perhaps it is because love is at the heart of things, like the particles that jump without reason or location.” 136
Va did fall twice today. Elizabeth went over to Drexels and got Joseph to come over to help get her up. The gait strap helped him. Elizabeth had dragged her over to the wall to have her lean on it while she left. She told me this today, Sunday. Not sure exactly where this was, in the sunroom or in the bathroom.
20 Sunday January 20
Almost 5. Just managed to get the flight home from Mumbai through Frankfurt upgraded to Business Class. Woo Hoo! Worth every penny. We’ve been looking at Youtube videos of the ship today during the snow storm outside. Did a shower in the hamam. Ready for prime Sunday night tv. Storm so far not seeming all that bad outside. Tomorrow we venture out to Refresh. Nice to have the extra flush money to do this upgrade on these two long return flights. Only the short flight, four hours, will not be business. On Jet Airways. Well, the other one is on Cathay. Guess the trip will happen. Something to motivate towards.
Mosley’s story “Suicide,” brilliant. Finished it this morning. The dialogue between the two characters feels better than Beckett because framed or set in a situation we care about. His quirky comments on things keep everything alive.
21 January Monday
“When you have done violence, there is this drug, order, that comforts you.” 152 in Impossible
23 January Wednesday
Twilight. Gray. Snow/rain on its way. Yesterday was a fine day off. Student from Bow at the rest stop ice cream shop, going to Clemson to study special new bio-med pre-med major. Earlier, lunch at Whole, whipped guacamole with fish and grains. Bought the other tea towel for PT. Started Martin’s Early Work and love it instantly. The book I was to have written forty years ago. The book Scibona was to have debuted ten years ago. As good as Ben Lerner. Maybe better, not sure yet. Nice fresh read from Mosley and Proust. Goes perfectly with the netflix series of the moment, “You.” Picture the main character in Work as being played perfectly by Penn Badgley. Is that his name?
Called Colony Bay and he returned the call. Yesterday. Our slot is #19. Finished watching You. Plot twists up to the end.
Thursday 24
Super rainy, dismal gray. Take out from Thai. Bath and leg shaving. Packed up gift for Jennifer and David. Watched lame movie made in Reston about Tango. Gofundme funding. Amateur. Yet really good dancing. Learned more about tango than ever before, not instructionally but by seeing how the bodies move, especially the torso-hip rotations as well as the more noticeable leg and feet.

Slogging through the day, heavy rain cloud bearing down upon us all the time, we have arrived at last at almost 6pm. Punched in lots of key numbers on TurboTax, see that I have to wait for more forms from Pershing until next week. Tomorrow should be better. Colder. Willow anxious to climb the stairs so when Colin is here I might let her do it. Feel secure if one more person is at least in the house. We forgot to Facetime the kids because that dumb tango movie distracted us.
25 Jan Friday
Colin and Virginia on the piano. Jim called to see if we got the Angel column. He and Anne had seen Vice and he was laughing at how good the portrait of the wicked VP was. Also that they enjoy shlurping oysters and riding rented trikes. Angelic moments there too. And I’m one of those and he too. Told him about the electric chat with Joâo in Chimera. Going to send me the Mary Oliver poem on dying that was on Chaikana the other
day. Bright and sunny today and Colin says now we’re sure we’ll make it through the winter. My filling time sequential activity goal this year is to get the 2018 createspace book out before I finish filing the taxes.
Martin gives us a perfect passage on page 79 about how much happier he would be if he had a collar around his neck attached to a leash in Leslie’s hand. Wow. Saves critics from looking up that great masochistic classic, the name of which I can’t conjure but I can see the red cover of the copy I had thirty years ago. Also clarifies for us that he, Martin, agrees with Deleuze about separating that antique word back into its two components. Sadism vs Masochism, the twain shall never meet. Is it Venus in Furs? Bingo, yes. Sacher-M himself.
26 January Saturday
Night. 6pm Just made up the upstairs bed. This morning Va showered up here. We are back to our full Upstairs Downstairs life. Went to Royal to have pedicures mid-day. Lunched at Chili’s. Tilton lives. Oh and Pelosi won. Brady after his 6th tomorrow.
Sunday afternoon 27 January
2:30 and a surprise to me snow outside. Stay home and not walk at Wally’s. Va seemed fine this morning, shower and walking downstairs. But at lunch there was a sudden feel of nausea, she thought she was going to throw up. Five or six minutes of staring and waiting and I wonder(ed) if she were having a tiny TIA again? Her right eye looked bloodshot. She had eaten (too quickly) two bowls of soup and lots of salty crackers. That passed, she didn’t have any more trouble and now quietly reading.
Short visit with the kids. On the street in twilight, going home from a birthday party where they had fun dancing to dance videos. Sent a few snaps. Emma made a point of saying she knew it was then lunch time here, was keeping track on her watch.
Monday 28 January
Marilyn W visiting Va. 10 am. Jim sent this fine mystical poem by a NYC Jewish mystic named Charles, last name forgotten for now! have to ask Ed.
Out of nothing, I became a being From being, I will be nothing But for now, I rejoice!
A mote in Your world

A spark in Your seeing!
Notice that Poetry Chaikana uses Ingramspark to publish his books so I am going to use both this time---KDP (formerly Createspace/Amazon) and try out Ingramspark. Why? Why not. What image to use on the cover? The balcony on the Blomet? Paid a lot for it. Never used it. Well, I did go out once or twice to take some snaps. Use one of those. Later. Nope, using the photo of Chimera, ceiling with wooden fruit crates. Turns out Joâo is back in the kitchen with his back to the camera. Looks great. One of the paintings looks like a burning bush.
Better proof the ms though. Don’t want emails etc in it. Tues early evening 29 January
Went to Concord to walk in Target. First time in two months. Got home before the snow which even now feels like it has not really started yet. Not due until 6:30 says the app. Feels too cold to snow. 15 outside.
Sent a photo and message to João. Hi João
This is now my name for you. (Does "Reixa" mean "lace, laced"? I'm using SayHi app!) The photo of you seems like a perfect "icon."
We met for such a short time but for me it was very intense and I found you to be amazing. Maybe a sign of what a good actor you are. I felt such great warmth and depth of feeling from you, with you. Almost as if it was a mystical experience and you were an apparition, a messenger, an angel among us. Yes, I am guilty no doubt of overdetermining what at most was an archetypal moment, strangers meeting by surprise. And yet you seemed a person of great beauty and power in your presence and person. This is how I remember you and will never forget you.
Happy too to see your acting career continues well.
Here this evening we are having a lot of snow once more. All day a very quiet feeling and low gray skies as we wait for the weather to arrive.
all best wishes to you
Bob (I can use both email addresses. above.)
still trying to figure formatting for the KDP site Way I set it last night produces over 500 pages which is too huge.
30 January
Snow day. Day off off. Until Friday maybe. Snow last night. Ben didn’t clear driveway until just now. 11:37 Canceled Elizabeth. Tried to fix dishwasher disposal outlet plug mystery but can’t figure it.
This morning at breakfast Bela said maybe we should become snowbirds to Abq. And/or move to a little house. Her heart bothered her at some point during the night after a walk to the bathroom and back. But we haven’t called the doctor this morning about it. We’re taking a snow day though. May or may not go out at all. I can do a heuser and get picked up and cleaned up in every possible way in the house. On top of the straightening and laundry. Etc. Stair climbing as exercise for the day. Plethora of shoes.
Looking up a duffel to take the bathtub plank with us to Asia and wondering if the trip will really happen. We watched a few videos over the past few days about both Bali and Hong Kong and the Cathay Pacific business class capsules. We decided this morning not to take the umbrella- chair. We have four new swim suits. Looking up appropriate dress for men and women in Asia.
Am loving the book still. Early Work. Greatest masochistic novel since Venus in Furs. Excellent and heart-breaking too. Also have come near to finishing the KDP book.
Thursday 31 January
Wonderful visit with Melinda Johnston. Bright and bitterly cold. João sent a perfect reply. We finished the last episode of Sex Education. Season two next year.

Dear Bob,
I'm touched with your words. So beautiful and poetic. The beauty of all this is that a few hours bring us and reciprocate the feelings of admiration. Do you know what I think when I remember you? Love! Without bullshits (forgive me the bad term). Pure love. My eyes have beaten you with the same poetry that exists in you. And it made me feel that it was special the moment we had together. Your words, your advice, and especially the time you spent listening to me - a rare quality in strangers; generosity.
Thank you so much for being attentive to my career and watching the TV series. Let me share with you that at this moment I am asking a lot of questions about my future. Like any human being I know nothing about what will come. We have no ability to guess, but I believe we have the power to create it, but even this is difficult for me. I've never been good at making decisions and right now I'm in a big deadlock. Last year in Turkey a lady read me the coffee grounds - very old cultural tradition in Turkey. She told me that my future was what I wanted it to be. What a beautiful and valuable thing. Maybe that's why I'm so afraid.
I want to use this power that you speak in my favor to achieve my goals. I really want. I want to potentiate this further. I believe that it is not necessary to live in anxiety and that with time I can go where I want with more certainties than now.
Once in the south of France, when I was 19, during a youth exchange I did, a young man taught us that “Sharing Is Caring”. And indeed it is. I
have lately discovered sharing and how generous it is. You can see it... we met and now we are writing to each other!

Very soon I want to share with you a project that I have in mind. One thing I really want to do, but I'm having trouble getting it. Still I think I just need to dedicate myself a bit more.
Here we are having a rainy night. A soft and gentle rain that kisses the face. No pretense of wetting. Of course it fulfills the function of its existence and its intention is frustrated.
When I think of you it is in love that I comes to my mind.
Strong hug from Lisbon, João
Dear João
Yes, you say it perfectly, as I knew you would. You understand it. Love. For sure. I really like the line you created "My eyes have beaten you with the same poetry that exists in you."
I wonder what the phrase would be in Portuguese? I speak some Spanish and a tiny bit of French, but alas nothing of your native tongue. Your line reminds me of the poetry of Rumi. Have you read any? And when we speak of uncertainty and anxiety I now think of course of Pessoa"s great book, called in English The Book of Disquiet. I first read it only

about five years ago and I so wish I had read it thirty years ago. I would have used it in all the courses I taught!
Thanks for the photos of reixa. I've never seen anything like that work. I suppose in English it is "latticed" which of course we see very often in gardens. The photos seem more like screens, the latticing very fine perhaps to shade the bright sun?
I have never been good at decisions either. So I feel with you in your situation(s). At my age I want to be able to say it gets better, our wisdom in making decisions, and with less anxiety, but I am really not so sure of these things. Decisions always are needed for new situations in our lives, always unique to ourselves, really. We will make mistakes and hope we grow from those and hope we grow from the choices that turn out to be not mistakes at
all but just right. So much depends, finally, on perspective from further away. In the present moment I can not know what to do.
We are both so happy I hope that we have been given this love in which we remember each other and hold each other. A pure gift that helps us in deciding things perhaps and embracing what is next.
strong hugs to you from central New Hampshire where we have incredibly bright sun on glaring white snow---
Just saw a mistake in my book title--have to correct that or upload all over again.

1 February Friday
Hmmm guess I can’t change it. “del Babia” should be “de Babia.” Oh well.

Got to the Hood today. Underwhelmed as I had expected. Chuckled to myself at the pride of place given in the main gallery with the great picture window out onto the green to their collection of 19thC bronzes and one Tadema painting. A masterpiece for sure. Otherwise it is bigger and a better display of a complete art historical sweep.
2 February Saturday
Good walking today. Miso eggplant meal a big hit. Is it worth time and energy to post a high praise review on goodreads for Andrew Martin’s novel? He’s already gotten way high blurbs from important folks in his writerly circles. I gave him five stars. But I want to tell the world that his delightful novel proves Deleuze correct in separating sado from maso. Maybe Julia is the lone sadist in the story. Everyone else is a masochist and they understand the realities they live in because they are all in the same worldview. “Masochistic hypnotism,” “the heady thrill of submission,” and the whole early passage where Peter describes how happy he would be with
a pit bull collar around his neck hooked to a leash leading to Leslie’s hand. Not since Venus in Furs have we had such a brilliant analysis and depiction of the masculine masochistic sublime. Just love that line. Oh why not, go ahead and post the sucker! Who cares. Who will notice? Gotta add in how effortless Martin makes it seem, the light, brilliant perfection, the airy ease and laughter with which we glide through the perfectly spun tale and come to love Peter for all of his shortcomings and faults as well as for his winsome personal beingness. “And maybe beauty’s in specificity, in the particularities of character, but probably we’re just flattering our curiosity, our desire for gossip without social consequences.” A novel so much fun and so incisive and profoundly wrought, it takes your breath away.
4 February Monday
Virginia has a whole “mask” of dark maroon bruising around both eyes from the fall around 2 am Friday morning. No symptoms showed up until Saturday evening while we were watch Graham Norton and I saw the dark blood under the skin appearing around her eyes. We went to the ER and they did a cat scan. Nothing. Bruising and blood from mild abrasion and the knock against her forehead when she slid off the side of the bed onto the floor. I thought then I would have to call 911. But then I lifted her up and we got her onto the bed. We had gone to the bathroom.
Last night the water went off in town, broken water main near Reservoir Road. Was back on this morning. Now at 6pm it is off once more. Today also the dryer stopped working. Bought new washer and dryer over the phone during GH so I missed the crucial things that happened there.
Two stretches of walking at Wallys. Before lunch and after snack. Va feels good about those, if a little more tired than she will admit.
6 Feb Wednesday
Barrons delivery guys here with new washer and dryer. Sunny. Walk and porch pretty icy. Yesterday off was terrific. Lunch early at Coop and then ran into Pat there. Quick chat. Got car washed and while there phone
hilton to reserve a room for the wedding trip. Really hope we do that. Planted the seed last evening with Willow and we’ll see what sprouts. During the night I thought well it would be so logical to go up to Asheville to see Thomas Wolfe’s house and it turns out Hickory is fairly midpoint. So going to a big and happy family gathering is going to trump the asian trip. Fingers crossed. Has to because our stability and balance and judgments are not back to “baseline.” Elizabeth said there was a fall right at the car at Walmart. Second one, third counting the 2am slide off. Willow’s face slowly clearing but still looks bad. Have to see Melinda this afternoon.
Night. New washer works fine. Dryer has lights but won’t turn on. Amazingly short and smooth installation. Juan, from Dominican Republic, fourteen years ago. Big fellow, did all the heavy moving. Other guy stayed with the white truck in the street. Security??
Heck, why should I assume going to the NC wedding would be better than going to Bali? My fantasy about that is just as delusional as our fantasies about the viking cruise. The air travel? Just lie down in the capsule and sleep for fifteen hours. Happens in lots of fairy tales, why not now? Would driving three hundred miles every day, unpacking, packing, driving stopping day after day be any more or any less stressful than doing the cruise? Stressful is what you make of it. I can make the dryer not turning on stressful. Tomorrow we have nothing slated. I could write more about the terrific visit to WRJ yesterday. Jt said more about his situation and each detail pleased and intrigued.
7 February Thursday
Rainy. No go dryer. Repair guy maybe Saturday rather than next Thurs.
Michael mentioned Blake when he was talking about Tantra and I thought the connection was brilliant. Have to look to see what books have already explored this connection. Not that Blake would have heard of Tantric thought but that if he had, he would have dug it. Deeply. Old hippie stuff I guess. Recycling. Also turns out Michael has a Catholic boyhood background and he and his wife are authors of children’s books. She about
farms and things Vermont, a native and daughter of farmers. He sci-fi stories for young adults. His blog says he got entranced by Star Trek from day one. Figure he is ISTP and now his N and F are at work in his current practices of therapy and massage. Rather brilliant at it all. Plus the life of working with farm animals (bit like Jim’s years but he was more gentleman farmer than Michael, who has been doing the real stuff it seems). And to boot, Michael’s house has not just early phase solar power but a Writers Tower! Oh, the other neat word he used is “dilettante.” Man after my own heart. Blakean Tantric Meditation Massage for Dilettantes.
Saturday 9 Feb
Repair guy from Bristol here. Says he fixed the loose wire in the control panel. wow. sure hope so. Trying the washer now. Success in booking the thai dancing night on the Orion. Short-term memory case, however. Skimmed one-third of Kaag’s book on Am Philosophy before I realized I had skim-read it three spring ago when I was prepping to be a grad professor at BU to get Scott his phd. Enjoyed this re-skim, since it is set just over the hill near Chocuroa and had Wm James et al in it. And since he says that all philosophy starts in biography and he uses all the philosophy and discovery of all books to tell his own love story with Carol, the Canadian Analytical philosopher who got the job at Lowell just when he did. Quite lucky on a number of counts. Lowell got the book collection too.
Piecemeal pies didn’t sit well on the tummy last evening though. Too heavy and rich?? Bright and windy day, colder. Skimmed enough of Grief’s big book to see what he was up to. Bellow and Ellison and O’Connor---the life I lived, we lived, before he was born. He is a few years older than Dave but only by two or three. That generation was trying to figure out what the
50s and 60s had been about. Greif very much doing a rehash of NY intellectual history, must have taken on the burden from his Columbia, Harvard profs. Now I have the two confused most likely, Greif and Kaag. They’ve done either talk on Nietzsche or a book or both. But I’ll turn back to Mosley and read his later autobiography, “Efforts at Truth,” to see what he came to on Nietzsche. 1994. This very yellowed ’96 paperback, Minerva, UK, but otherwise pretty clean copy. Still---too old and yellowed for my
current snickety taste. Will bear with it. The big novel I barely started is from ’91. Read them in tandem maybe.
If only Greif had read the Foreword Mosley gave his autobiography. “A vision of liveliness depends on seeing between and around opposites, not within the vacuum of a split.” That should have been Greif’s last line or the epigraph to his whole book.
Not going to work out to use IngramSpark. Too complicated. Back to KDP, just make another book with slight corrections and some changes.
Walked at Wally’s. Va seemed more on the key vee and did slightly longer stretches on the cart. New washer and dryer purring away. Coming to the end of Mosley’s Impossible Object and fearing the worst for the woman and the baby. Pretty brilliant novel. 1968! Ahead of its time. And in sync with the times.
10 Feb Sunday
News update yesterday on Petie’s health. She’ll have a stent procedure next week. This morning about 6:30 Va said she could decide to let go of the Viking trip. Tears at the idea. Said let’s think it over carefully. See how today goes with pondering and settling. Be a huge relief, no doubt about that. Would a trip to NC be enjoyable? Hard to say at this point but seems for now much more manageable and welcome to look forward to rather than this big thing to Asia. What about a weekend or mid-week in Tampa? Hmm. Won’t bring that up for now and not sure really interested in that right now.
Right at the end Mosley has a line about ecstasy that I want to find again but now of course cannot. “To maintain ecstasy.” is one too. So he pulls off a novel with both an unhappy and a happy ending. Super-brilliant. And he explains the title right at the end brilliantly too. The finest both/and writer of the 20th C, even including Burke himself in the list.
Paid for an isbn with Ingrahm so of course can’t use it on kindle direct. Given Ing one more try to see if I can get it to work.
4 pm ish walked and now coffee time. No further mention of Bali. Wait and watch. Silent explorations, what will bubble up. Still windy but not as much. Bright sun all day.
Heidegger it seems did have pretty ugly anti-semitic attitudes and statements. As well as party membership. Defenders said, well, he had private faults and failings, but these did not affect his true work, his great work in philosophy. Arendt, Derrida, Rorty, many others.
Should have said Mosley is finest both/and/in-between writer of the 20th Century. His whole vision is to embrace the ecstasy of the middle, to sustain that ecstasy, live within it, have it transform life, lives.
Yes, past few days, I have been thinking that I am missing Proust. Plan to pick him up soon. Return to his voice and world.
Just published Journey to Chimera on KDP, paper only, using the isbn I bought for $85. on Ingramspark. They wanted another $50. to set up and finish.
Back to Greif. Against Exercise the first essay in the collection. 2004. Wish I had read it then. But at least I can say I gave up, no, stopped, running before that. On my own, under my own lights of insight and intelligence. Still, the fact that I joined the local new 24/7 gym says I slid backwards in my senility. Will he include yoga in his againstness? Maybe not, seems he mostly is against our having sold ourselves to the machines. Just as Burke could see coming too.
Oh it would be great relief if we really do cancel the Viking expedition. Holding my breath.
Why is this form of claim---M is the greatest X of all time, of the W Century, of the Y da ta---why is that kind of phrase not seen as yet another form of bullying? One lobby foisting its claim onto others, the rest of us, the lobbyists for other lines of power, influence, claim, activity. ?
11 Feb Monday
Tape that crepe paper hibiscus onto your bald head and fasten your seatbelt! Looks like we are going to Bali after all. Breathe deeply, balance on one foot at a time, do some chair yoga.
to Phil
Heard of Greif from a prof acquaintance in CA who suggested he might be the next Big thing in big thinking. Always looking for the "leading intellectual of our times" kind of thing. Ain't impressed either. I've looked at some of the essays. He has that style and tone of the supreme cultural critic-philosopher who is given to issuing dicta about everything---wide sweeping generalizations about general truths. And he adds to that his learning to rap and doing serious thought about pop and hip-hop. I.E. as you say, a millenial. I still can't get over how much space the new yorker keeps giving to current pop music---rap etc. But I guess that is where money is.
CA guy said later that the earlier big book on the crisis of man is too dense and clotted to be worth a look. Must be the phd dissertation. Focuses on Bellow, Ellison and Flannery O'Connor as three key, competing touchstone authors grappling with the post-war crisis of man.
Now looking elsewhere. I subscribed to the N+1 lit quarterly for a year when it first started. Illusions of having access to the latest and bestests. NY urban stuff---sidebars to the NYRB which I still get emails from but which I rarely look at.
Franco---could not have watched that PBS show. I knew the war had been as bloody and bitter as hell but never heard the comparison with Cambodia in terms of scale. But not surprised really. Knew that Franco had started in Morocco and brought over his army and then got help from Hitler. Hitler had his planes try out carpet bombing in Spain or maybe just bombing in general. Hence the innocent town of Guernica totally destroyed as an experiment to see how bombing might work. Deep in the Republican region and hence "the enemy" but not a munitions manufacturing city or anything like that. Hence Picasso's relenting to paint something as a protest. The parents of our Spanish friends were the generation that grew
up at the end of the civil war and we could tell by the looks on everyone's faces in Spain in the '60s onward that surviving and forgetting grimly and turning away from memory and history was what held them together. That and Franco's long long rule of bureaucratic tyranny.
Fight right now in Spain to have his bones removed from the underground cathedral mausoleum he had prisoners build after the war as retribution and punishment.
I keep hoping Va will cancel the cruise to Bali at the end of March, but she's nearly back in energy and strength to where she was at the end of November so I guess I'd better tape that paper hibiscus to my boney skull and get ready to drift around the South China Sea on a Viking luxury ship.
I can pretend Joseph Conrad is silently standing off to my left muttering "kill the bastards, kill 'em all" in his best peak-colonialist British mumble. --------
Just realized we have to start the trip on TUESDAY afternoon, get to Logan by 9pm Tuesday night, plane leaves at 1 am Weds morning!!!!!
13 Feb
Better go buy a Valentine card before tomorrow! At Wally’s earlier after the doctor with Va but never thought of it. Scott M called last night and I was pleased to hear from him. He’s to call back tonight for a full, long talk. We were in the midst of our binge on White Dragon in Hong Kong. Not a great series but we were near the end. Now, 4 pm, Kenna is on the phone. Petie’s procedure is a good week away.
“To discover what is hidden, you have to go on a journey; what uproar, indeed, before you arrive at what is there.” Mosley in Cinco piece by Glover. “paradoxical questing Mosley posits at the center of existence”
14 February Thursday
Half-day sort of off. Car to Concord and lunch. Va and Elizabeth walked and ate carry home from Big Daddy’s out at the traffic circle. Sunny beautiful all day.
Read about a third so far of Edmund White’s Boy’s novel. Have read or skimmed some of it years before, this time have more interest in some of it, more the background rather than the foreground. He’s four years older, Rich’s age, and from upper middle class in Cincinnati and a divorce plus step-mother. Worlds apart. Whole generation ahead it seems and not just four years, as Rich has always felt to me. Mid-war vs after the war? White now seems as far from Aciman as possible and best clear espression of the pre-stonewall and post-stonewall American gender politics. Esp because he moves to Paris and has lived ever since there. His book on the flaneur is superb. Donald mentioned him the other day and I thought maybe I should see if I like his voice. So far it feels more Southern than mid-western. But then is Cincinnati further south than Cleveland? Could be it. Could be other elements. Timely piece in the Guardian online today about how for the new generation, the one, or two, after us, gender differences now held to be much more fluid. At least in Britain. The 30-40 year olds. Pansexual the term now preferred over bi-sexual. Not totally sure why. Emphasis on sliding fluidity over years. In this paragraph note the combo of physics and philsophy as Nick’s majors. Reminds me of how I realized that all English majors, or many, really have a wing on either side of their interests, veering toward the tech/math/musical or toward the visual arts. “Nick, a 22-year- old physics and philosophy masters student at the University of York, initially thought he was bisexual as a teenager, but also now feels “pansexual” better fits his view that attraction isn’t really about gender. “I just find characteristics generally about people attractive. Pan is simply easier to understand, and much closer to the truth for me. It’s not specific to any gender.” He often explains it, he says, by talking about height: a bi person might find tall guys attractive, and short girls. But he tends to fancy tall people, regardless of whether they are male or female.”
Scott gave me the full story last night on the phone. It has been four years since his dissertation defense at BU, not two or three!! Short term memory again. He and K had a relationship for maybe two years, then a painful and troubling finale. After that he let himself get entangled with a student, 23, for about a month and then tapered it off. Six months later she is seen around campus with K into the summer. Then it is clear K is leaving and the student, S, comes back to Scott wanting to rekindle, and to accuse him of giving her a disease. The one that is fairly common, starts with an H, can’t think of it now. Hepatitis C. I think it is. Scott knows he does not have it. But he also knows K does, has had for twenty some years, part of confidential knowledge from their relationship. The student S then files a
sexual harassment charge against Scott. He has to stop teaching all four courses at once, mid-semester but kept on salary. Offered payment to stay off campus for spring semester. Months, meetings, Scott has the union lawyer at his side. He takes the offer of resigning quietly and having all the info sealed so it will not follow him to other employments. Wants to stay in his campus ministry position, which campus people don’t realize is totally separate from their purviews. So now he is in Boston subletting Mark’s apartment and working landscaping. Comes up for sessions with an analyst every Monday. Mark took a job in Minnesota at a community college.
Lives. Oh, and Scott says he has a file of the emails he and K exchanged, over 800. Could be reworked into a novel. He’s debating whether to try to write a piece on harassment for something like the Chronicle. Says he can see how naive he has been about people, has learned a lot, has made lots of mistakes. He is not guilty but on campus the rumors were that he was. WH in history got into it at one point, somehow getting some confidential info out (as she is wont to do in all ways). etc etc. Campus.
“we who’ve elaborated our eccentricities with a patience, a professionalism they never knew?” 81 “Hesse’s mix of suicide, mysticism and sexual ambiguity had launched them into a thrilling void, reading him, they said, was like being in an airplane above the breathable stratosphere.” Great portrait of the giant teacher of German his friends send him to so he can read Hesse because his work was not then much in translation.
Cincinnati is indeed down on the border with Kentucky. “The complicated lives of absolutely everyone.”
Note from K and C yesterday. K had pneumonia, went to clinic for it. Photo of sunset out their window.
White has one line that amazes: he says he realized he was three different boys, the one his sister thought smelly, one I forget (pages are gone), and one who has absolute power. Never could I have felt something like that about myself. Just the opposite.
Virginia is amazing. Her regaining of strength and energy proceeds steadily and brightly. I suppose the valve really has helped everything, from the longer view. If she wants to go to Bali, why not? Of course she should.
We will go, we will have whatever befalls and opens, all that appears and expands us.
15 February Friday
Piano music downstairs this morning to go with the fresh snow outside pouring down.
Each chapter in White’s book is a set-piece. Five captures two figures of adolescent growth perfectly and it is easy to plus into them my memories. High school in the late 50s. The golden god friend Tommy our boy adores secretly and tries so hard to be best friends with in order to be popular and with whom while sailing he experiences beauty. And the goddess Helen who he takes to a dance and falls desperately in love with and then the exchange of letters and a half year of grieving. ML but more Dee Dee and Holly---the slightly older goddess beauty impossible to fully attain or fully worship. There it is that male bifurcation of women---devil is tormenting sister (is she older?) and the goddess in Helen Paper. Great name! And mother as best friend nurturere and enabler.
The book works so well you can see why writers enjoyed the set of stories loosely strung together, each piece almost a story in itself, and almost an essay. Narrator even addresses us directly in five. He is much more sophisticated than we were then. Big city, higher class, he even becomes a Buddhist. Had I even heard of that in high school? Boy goes to a prep school he calls Eton. Have to find out what was White’s model for that. Also vastly different is the father away because of divorce. Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills. Have heard about it for years and the architect must have been Alto? Nope Eliel Saarinen did it in 1928. With chapter 6, however, the gap widens and the prose seems to become forced and wrought. He is in the prep school and his longing for sex and men becomes obsessive and ultra-refined. Fine enough, he’s writing memoir now, no longer suburban high school but privileged sophistication being perfected.
Three copies of my Journey to Chimera arrived from KDP. oops, didn’t get any page numbers put in, no template of any kind, so no title page. Like the 5 x 8 size however. Could try one more time to get a template right with page numbers just for the practice. Two books of Mosley from Dalkey arrived and like the size of each.
White’s passage on meditation informed by later understanding is learned and informed, moving and convincing. New word “enisled.” Islanded,
Placed alone or apart, as if on an island. “I was being enisled, the lotus rising out of the mud . . . .” 141 second time he uses the word “fetus” on page 152 but earlier he had spelled it “foetus.” Why the change? Speaking about talking with his dad over the phone about his visits to the expensive therapist: “Certainly no real man ever discussed love or made a single move to woo it.” The segue in this chapter from meditation to analysis, is, once again, brilliantly done. And the language here is much more mature and dazzling. Yet still, so rich as to be a little, what? “gay”? Contrast with Aciman again. I can’t help but feel that in finding his themes and topics and voices, White felt that there was or needed to be created, a gay style of writing to express, embody, his embrace of gay identity and destiny. Is it in fact what he became famous for, famous with, this style of telling uniquely his and also uniquely expressive of his time and period? He’s younger than Gore Vidal by fifteen years. I would have said twenty but just checked.
This is the final chapter of the book, so we are in the full maturity of the life looked back upon, remembered, told and measured as meaningful and rich.
16 Saturday
Spring. Sunny. First swim this morning in what five months? Then Target and lunch at Bgood. Coming in to town a college boy running in the street, thin, wiry, perfect running form, footstep light on the side and ball, sleek, easy grace. Knot cap down over his ears, light jacket and tights. Went to the dump twenty minutes later and he was coming back down Merrill street so I slowed and leaned out and asked if he were high school or college and told him he had perfect form. At the pool we were delighted to see they have refurbished the pool, took off the yellow fiberglass panels and replaced them with a bright white opaque new plastic. Looks wonderful, I wish Wright’s Beth Shalom synagogue could get rid of that fiberglass and have a similar new covering. Today feels so much like spring, snows melting, lots of people out, President’s day weekend and week coming up.
17 Sunday
Pat brought salad and a quiche she made from J Child’s cookbook. Delicious and delightful to catch up with her. Sunny too. Magnum raspberry ice cream and pim’s chocolate digestive cracker/cookies. Va now sorting her parents’ slides.
I like this poem posted on Poetry Chaikana
by Ellen Grace O’Brian

Buddha points to the earth Zen master points to the moon Arjuna points to the target Mary points to her child
Jesus points to the heart
Rumi points to Shams

We all look until we see
I might say Jesus points to his heart.
Point taken. Point made. Point received. Point pierces.
Slow sunny afternoon. Rich meal. Big swim and walk yesterday. Tired in that way. Old new sense of stretching energies, opening toward flowering once more.
6 pm Finished White’s book and by the end was not a fan. Last part gets more and more clotted and hard to believe, overwrought and forced and one suspects the reputed events have been forced to fit into some molds fashioned way far beyond the years being recounted. All of it feels contrived and pretentious by the end, and not to say cruel and unlikable in the extreme. Bah. I am wondering if I read it in Buenos Aires first on our long trip. Skimmed through much of it. Gave up before the end. Anyway. Not the book to make me more of a fan. Based on this I wouldn’t trust his book on Proust. Also have lost interest in reading his book about his days in Paris. Would be better to look again at Gopnik’s if I’m interested in that. Has Gopnik written about Modiano? Has White? Again, I wouldn’t expect White to have must sympathy with Modiano, might not even get him. Neither it turns out.
The whole last part about the jazz teacher at the private school does not ring true in any way. White announces twenty pages before his themes of drama and opera, onstage and behind the stage, as though he had these big revelations at the end of high school. Don’t buy it, but even if I did the
whole amalgam of characters and scenes he claims to be inventing/ remembering seem out of other people’s tales. There were some moments earlier in the book that did feel full of life and brightness. But then somehow he felt the need to concoct unconvincing older but wiser stuff at the end that comes off as really mean and nasty. What a severe contrast with Aciman, Modiano and Mosley. Maybe he was setting up a transition to the next volume in the trilogy, but what volume came first, second and third? Now I am curious though to know if he knew of Modiano in his years in Paris.
Monday February 18
Willow sorted slides yesterday afternoon after our lunch with Pattie. She brought a delightful quiche (J Child recipe) and was horrified that it hadn’t firmed quite as it was supposed to have done. She used whipping cream instead of heavy cream, suspected that was it. We had fun reviewing our topics. Kirsten it turns out has never liked doing the copy editing she does for a living. I always thought she liked it. Jim’s daughter is fine, finishing college and spoiled. The two older boys are autistic/aspergers and P says he raised them and the mother drifted away. Lives in VT somewhere and Jim supports everyone.
Atwell sent a little poem today.
“Thou Shalt Not Speak. . .”
“Jesus Christ!” the deckhand shouts, awed by the starry sky. Then blurts, “Goddamned magnificent!”
Jesus, always near, is unoffended. He looks upward, smiles, and says, “Damn right!”
Weds Feb 20
Passage in Mosley’s Hopeful Monsters --

“My father said ‘The Jews are the most remarkable people in the world. It is difficult even to say this, because for some reason it is taken to be condescending. But they have some sort of knowingness that other people have not got. They know this themselves; other people know it. But no one quite knows what it is. Something has gone wrong. Jews should be running the world, but they are not. I think they know this, but don’t want to talk about it. . . . They won’t take the responsibility. . . . For being the children of God, for taking a chance to be the grown-ups of God: but then, howcanyougrowupifyouarethechildrenofGod? ....Isthatwhy people don’t like them? . . . Oh of course, people are envious of them. . . . Anyway, people do like them!’” 25
“Plus d'un seul seul. C'est là que nous en sommes. Jacques Derrida
More than one alone. More than a single single. No more a single single. That’s where we are.”
Nice quote from frontispiece of Our Divine Double which arrived yesterday. Stang and his bride were in the Times wedding announcements a few years ago. Met at Chicago Divinity School. Both now at Harvard.
Darling videos last night from kids, Emma playing Eleanor Rigby with her dad on bass at the Bal Blomet, maybe it was Koenig’s recital day. Will try to visit with them soon.
from Chaikana email today
Love came and emptied me of self,
every vein and every pore,
made into a container to be filled by the Beloved. Of me, only a name is left,
the rest is You my Friend, my Beloved.

Abu-Said Abil-Kheir 967-1049 Trans Vraje Abramian
Watched most of a youtube video of a talk Stang gave on his book two years ago at Harvard. He’s very personable and pleasant, makes fun of his nerdiness and speaks about the project of the book in ways that make you want to read it most carefully. Nice. Uses this line from Auden---“We are lived by powers we pretend to understand.”
Stang’s book seems exciting. Maybe it helped to see him speaking. But also his prose is extremely clear. I’ve always been interested in this motif and in twins themselves as instances of the mystery. Tom and Andy St M and just recently in Lisbon at Chimera the encounter with João, who I learned early in our talk, is a twin. And he is a twin who is an actor, so the doubling there is remarkable. His twin is not an actor. By page 13 I am excited by Stang’s understanding of what he sees himself as retrieving from the ancient texts. His simple distinction between the horizontal double and the vertical divine double seems so clear as to be brilliant. Clear, useful, productive. Expansive. The ease and confidence with which he summarizes Freud and draws distinctions between his project versus Stang’s project earns deep admiration. He also explains Corbin’s main insight beautifully.
Silly and stupid to think the divine double study relates to meeting a twin and having a flash of memorable emotion and felt sense of connection. Both imagined and real or neither-both.
23 Feb Saturday
Va fell yesterday off the chair at the Bistro, with Elizabeth. I went to Hanover to have stitches taken out. Seems it was a soft fall again. But
this morning she said she had not slept and been thinking about everything all night and that March 1st is her deadline for taking the sheet from around the hibernating plant, the Clyvia? and deciding on whether to do the trip or not. Wants to talk it over while we drive to Concord. Also wandering whether to put the stair climber back in. Joe P called about remodeling the bathroom. Coming Weds to take a look. Just found the lost airpods.

Stang sees his work as coming through Kripal’s Authors of the Impossible which I read a few years ago. Or most of it. I could cut to the chase and read Stang’s final chapter first because there we get up to date and into Bloom and Blanchot and everyone here and now so far as the mysticism of reading and writing. I could also write to Stang’s email and ask if he and other scholars would permit the use of reading to include reading other faces. Do we not read faces as well as we read writings? “skilled at reading faces” on google yields fascinating results right away. A site called The Muse has a piece: “The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley has devised a tricky body language quiz to test if you can correctly guess what emotions people are expressing.” Dang They tricked me successfully. “Your Score: 13/20 Not bad. Your score places you around the average at reading expressions. And research suggests that people can improve their emotion recognition skills with practice. So keep an eye out for our forthcoming empathy training tool, designed to boost your emotional intelligence. Sign up for our e-newsletter for updates on it.
I had expected to ace the quiz of course. Amazing that White’s memoir of his years in Paris was published as recently as 2014. “Americans were, and are, the least seductive of people.” “I’m the kind of guy who’s always wanted to be elsewhere.”
Lost the great line about corruption from Mosley but knowing how he works it will come by again, in the novel by that name if nowhere else.
Corbin’s great contribution has been to bring to the 20th C out of Sufism the idea of a person’t as a bi-unity, a dialogic unity.
Sunday 24 Feb
Feels today like the Bali trip is on, will be on. I woke yesterday morning with a strong sense of wanting that not to be so, but by evening that mist
had lifted. Snow last night and right now at noon too. Icy rains to follow. Might be a home day.
Monday Feb 25
Took another shot at formatting the kdp book, sent for a proof copy too. 2018 is most I’ve given attention to the vanity publishing process. Chimera now my twin name for Chromenos. Paired terms for something. Windy today, dangerously so say the forecast sites.
Searching this text I’ve found there have been five falls so far:
1 Jan 19 Elizabeth at Walmart--subway shop--after big walk
2 Joe Drexel came to help Elizabeth
3 Feb 1 2 am slide off bed, Sat pm ER for cat scan, bruising on face 4 Feb 6 Walmart at the car door, Elizabeth
5 Feb 22 at Bistro off chair with Elizabeth

This morning, however, just the walking seems much better. My anxiety levels have gone down a good deal about needing to hover over every move. Going to facetime Davey to see if we can snag a short visit.
27 Feb Weds
We caught Dave and sure enough they are up in the Alps skiing this week. He held the camera to the window so we could see Mont Blanc in the distance. Eliot told us they took the train.
Yesterday we saw Dr Eric and he gave us the dope report we were happy to hear. Va had no stroke in his judgment. The overall stress of the procedure gave her the setbacks and her recovery should continue to be strong and steady. He thought a trip to Asia would be wonderful for excitement and stimulation and pleasure. We came home in that glow. Eastward Ho! the watchword now. Carpenter coming today to look at the upstairs bathroom project. Eric’s appearance continues to be as striking as ever. A few strands slicked over the bald scalp, shaved sides and now the beard is black and super full and long. And, I thought later, well-cared for, probably oiled and clipped and fussed over. Unlike most beards these days this one looks really smart, photo ready. Was almost tempted to ask him if I could take a shot. Might do so next visit, for the Sartorialist on Instagram. Did a
vitamin count this morning and we’re all set there. From tomorrow until April 13 Saturday is 45 days. Va is looking up the UChicago new campus in Hong Kong, certain when we contact them that they will send a special car to our hotel to greet us and host us at a banquet. Drive up to the place on Mt Davies gives us a destination curiosity point.
28 February Friday
Kathy called this morning with news that their dear friend (with the apt in Paris) passed away in his sleep overnight. At first she asked if we could change lunch to 1pm, but within an hour as we were driving she called again and John said they would cancel altogether. Beautiful day so we went on, walked in BJs and then lunched, feasted at Tuckerbox. Napped at the Canaan church and now moving into the evening. Somehow it now feels as though we are leaving on the trip in a day or so. Change of the month.
Email yesterday brought a classic geezer blues chuckle text which I couldn’t resist sending to a few who I thought would enjoy. Jim sent the best response.
“from a dear friend who . . .
I haven't been taking any days off yet, especially during the past two weeks which had me down with this damn cold. I think I started getting over it, then caught it again. Oh joy! Constant coughing up phlegm (just like Peg). Then, in the middle of it all a short developed in Peg's car which COMPLETELY drained her battery. Felt like shit, but called roadside assistance who were able to start the car. Took it to the Acura dealer who called back to say the short in the system was the "hands free driving" connection. That's interesting, I replied, since we had that disconnected ten years ago. "Uh, we'll get back to you." Meanwhile I found that during the $3100 fix on my car in December they managed to damage the seat belt on the passenger side, which I only discovered when I took a passenger - Peg - this week to the hospital. Finally, the crown on my back tooth came off 12 days ago so I've had the pleasure of checking my poop every day to retrieve the crown. BTW haven't found it yet.
Colds that last and last, crowns that come off the tooth every two weeks, electrical shorts that are misdiagnosed, expensive car repairs that do additional damage. Is it any wonder that I sometime mutter "I hate this world."
few minutes later
I should add that after I sent you that email, I discovered the someone had stolen a hubcap off my car.
Jim’s take---
“I’m so glad the thief only took one hubcap. I believe it could have been four times worse. And, come to think of it, better to cough up phlegm than have it promote pneumonia. (In past days, they called pneumonia “the old man’s friend,” since it would carry them off so readily. And, lest we forget, we’re both old men.)
About your mining your excreta, searching for your crown, I have no comment. in fact, I’m trying hard not to think about it.(Does he use rubber gloves?) No! Stop thinking about it!
Anyway, thanks for sharing. There’s a comfort in knowing my life isn’t so bad. . .
Much love to you and Virginia ---------
Sarah called. Dennis moves into subsidized and better housing tomorrow. Pays $73. a month. She and Don are going to Bermuda at the end of March.
Friday 1 March
Blake quote showed up for the day: “Better to kill a baby in its crib than nurse an unacted desire.” A few minutes earlier Clare and William came in downstairs, Colin and Virginia on the piano. Bright, warmer day.
Sunday evening March 3
Anne replied correctly to my query about John Elkins photograph. She didn’t know who it was but thought there is a family resemblance, thinks his eyes look like mine. “The twin Mimi gave away at birth.” she joked.
We met J and K yesterday at Tuckerbox. I looked up his info and found about his father, Joe, who died in 2004 or 5 and was highly regarded in
Frederick. Jewelry store, air force pilot in WWII. Keyboard player, jazz, Rotary. So John is eldest son, brother Jeffrey. Maybe he and Kathy are two or three years younger than us. Saddened by the sudden death of their longtime friend. But they didn’t want to fell in too much of that history. Best travel story they told was about the time they didn’t realize the Paris metro closes at midnight and got stuck down under there in the pitch blackness. When lights would flash on every so often they could see big rats scurrying around. Fellow from Libyia helped them in some way to get to an exit and call for the police. Winos and drunks on the stairs.
Tuesday March 5
Day off yielded this prize passage: “I was amazed by how fluent she was in French. She explained to me that she had never studied or practiced French, that she listened to it for years, then suddenly, one day, she opened her mouth and could speak it.” This parallels exactly what Jayshree told us about how she grew up in India, hearing four or five languages around her, including English, and in her late teens or so she could speak it. Also jives with my favorite article from the Wall SJ---about learning a language by listening only. Drives Willow crazy when I spout this in polite company, but here again is an anecdote from an interesting source to reinforce the notion. I listened to Fip Culture all day.
Friday March 8
Colin has forgotten so we’ll do our errands route for the day. Taking suitcases downstairs to begin packing. The dies are cast.
Paul Monette’s book is much more to my liking than White’s. He makes it easy too, on page 130, half way through Yale as an English major he flat out says “Feeling was what I was majoring in.” Yep, in sync. Never would White say anything like that, in any of his books. He is way too cold and finally sadistic. He says at one point after years of therapy he never got to the bottom of what drove him at times to treachery. So Monette’s book conjures my growing up in rough outlines and certainly to feel of the times accurately. Exactly the same years, but much higher class in a New England mode, once he is in Phillips Academy and off to Yale. He only applied to the three, Harvard, Yale and Brown, even though his grades were so-so Bs. I applied to Harvard from wannabe jealousy but I’m not even
sure I was even conscious of Yale and had I ever heard of Brown? Never a thought to apply to those and no one suggested anything. Notre Dame was the model and paragon. Monette talks about depression and a kind of breakdown his senior year at Yale. But the whole mix was so much richer and ambitious than La Salle was for the brothers. One problem too of course is he is writing the memoir from hindsight years later and by then the curve of his story has been well-shaped and detailed. Still, it provides helpful points of contrast and if I had questioned him I could have asked where was your call to become a monk? a hermit? what about prayer itself, silence and meditation? or wasn’t he, alpha male and bit more extroverted, maybe lots more, aware of being different yes but also anxious to grow and change and find the writer’s life.
Another good passage where he contrasts sharply with White’s tales, he knows his first book described his lifelong relationship as too much like a bourgeois marriage for many in the gay lib communities (at the time we might add). “The erotic can be a window into the deepest core of feeling, but more and more doesn’t get you there.” “I learned to love myself because someone else finally loved me.” But after that there are more chapters about the painful years of teaching and therapy.
9 March Saturday
Change me became a phrase Paul took as a mantra in college, a line from a Jarrell poem. He managed to get a post-doc fellowship to summer in Cambridge!! The ivy elite whether he liked it or not. He mentions in passing the slave laws of the patriarchy and the wild circle of power exchange. Later or actually all the way through he longs for “someone to know me all the way through.” A line that could come from Aciman’s novels as much as from all the mystics. That’s what is missing in Monette, the knowledge of the mystical inner hunger literature that would show him that the hunger for ultimate love and the desire for the expression in writing, all of that, can be configured in kaleidoscopic ways by the human heart searching for the divine. His Catholicism got rejected too easily, or not transformed beyond. Here White moved toward Buddhism. Comparing two versions is not enough though. Maybe I’ll finally read James’ Varieties on this cruise through the Indian Ocean. Indonesia is between the Indian and the Pacific Oceans. Perfect. Late in his tale Monette wonders if he is a closet heterosexual when he meets Emma and Scott. Romance is the key term, the English major’s over reading of all the
romantic tales. He wants it both ways---the “soul passion of the poets” and the earthly physicality of men and women. He loves rhapsodic walks with Scott, wants to bond like Wordsworth and Coleridge. He’s sleeping with Julia, stealing secretly his friend’s girl! The secrecy, the romance! He’s sleeping with Sally too. Pip and Cesar too. “Using my bisex ambiguity as a last shield. Fifteen months of therapy, so all of this is performance for the audience of one. Two. Himself and the therapist. Final page “That much fate I believe in, the tortuous journey that brings you to love, all the twists and near misses. Somehow it’s all had a purpose, once you’re finally real.” Now that line could come out of Mosley!!! Of Modiano?? not quite. But the search for pattern, meaning, narrative, shape, curve, purpose, impossible objects, hopeful monsters. By the early 21st century, writers in the West had narrowed their work into the few key words always at the enter of drama.
Without quite knowing it, then, Monette wrote in his second memoir a bisexual story as the postscript prequel to his earlier big success of gay freedom and pure love. Almost demonstrating that if he went from one closet, he entered another. Thirty years later the whole culture looks forward and backward saying, you know, fluidity of sex and gender and indentity really makes more sense than sharp divisions. Both/and gives us more humanity than either/or ever can. As Burke tried to show. And many others.
Bright Saturday. Clocks back later tonight. Oops, ahead. Press keeps saying we will do away with this pretty soon, but not yet. Got the garage door openers to work. Moving ahead with the packing. “Be who you are, and you’ll be fabulous.” now equals “You have every right to be fluid and change how you label.” huffpo 01/28/2013 Which is pretty much an ancient and classic battle cry, prayer, and security blanket. If I sound wired, it might be the tea and coffee and packing mode. Or the change of time. Or the sunlight and longer days. Or the angels flying around this desk. What if the internet has given angels a whole new system for mucking about!!
Thursday we went to the Swallowing Disorder therapist in Laconia. Afterwards Va said I was really flirting with her. Used the question about her speech accent to get started. She was in her late twenties, blonde, big glasses, very lovely. Her speech reminded me of Tracy’s. She said she grew up in Southern Maine and had heard before that there is a distinctive sound
to the speech in that region. Kittery and environs. Studied at Emerson which has one of the oldest programs in speech disorders, outgrowth of the study of Oratory. And Emerson is not named after Ralph Waldo!!
Monday 11 March Last week. Ironing.
Weds 13 Great day off yesterday in WRJ. M in top form. Sunshine and new pink towels at the Istanbul shop. lunch at Pnom Penh.
Back to W Leb today, more rose towels at Istanbul, Tucker lunch, big. Walked in BJs, 4k steps for Willow.
Now that strange insecure feeling of being almost ready and waiting until we leave. Unsettling no matter how many times before we’ve done it. Can’t think of any bright things to say about anything. Nor any dull thing.
Friday March 15
Pattie visited yesterday and took the fern. Will, Clare, Colin and Virginia on the piano right now.
Sat March 16
Joe and Jim checked out the shower and marked all the placements. Sunshine and wind. Emma’s 8th birthday party is tomorrow! Might get a short screen visit.
Monday 18
Saw the kids briefly after the party. David said they were exhausted and had a great time. Eight girl friends. Eliot blew us a raspberry kiss as they signed off. Have to ask when his party will be.
Va has news via M Cheney on Fbk that Kathy Min died “after a long illness.” Sad to hear that. Cancer? Can’t have been older than 58?
Joe came and checked the bar design again. Bright and sunny. Rain forecast for our destinations. Go to Tanger and get me a rain slicker and
visor cap. Walk and tweak everything in the suitcases. Like the little toothbrush covers, Va clarified their placement and purpose a few moments. ago!!
Otherwise---looks like we are soon to be off.
26 April Friday
Big gap in the journal there. Lot happened. Dreary rain right now,
5:40pm. Finished Mosley’s 
Hopeful Monsters a few days ago. It was a good book for this past six months. From the TAVR procedure in December to the return from Bangkok and Bali two weeks ago. Ha, exactly two weeks ago today. April 12. We needed others to note that we had traveled around the globe. Rick Evans said that yesterday when he met for TIAA update. Nice long talk with him. He had read Shantaram a few years ago and loved it. He also had been to Thailand in the 80s (college or right after college??) Tried to rock climb near the famous beach. Other adventures. The heat he still recalls. Bonded right as he left over barefoot shoes. He had on an old version of Nikes and recognized Vivobarefoot right off. Claudia his wife from Guatemala was waiting for him (the whole time!) at Marshalls. Next time I hope we can take them to Thai Smile. They finished their modest house near Sunapee. He chose cork flooring and we approved of that and all things Portugal. Easter we hosted a potluck for Richard and Kathy, Don and Sarah. Sarah brought her “spiral ham.” I made up a carrot dish and spinach and cream mashed potatoes from Homechef and they were a hit. Kathy brought delicious lemon bars. Wednesday we went to D&M for a reception for Dick and Naomi. Quick chats with people there. Today we chatted with Davey while he was on the subway to place a gig with his two buds at an Irish bar at Place de la Republique called Corcorans. Must be Metro Lilas. Maybe he was meeting them midway on the way. Just looked at the map. Mosley lists the other Catastrophe Practice novels at the end and so I guess I will read them. Just noticed though that the publication dates are not the same as the sequence as he lists them. No matter. Maybe I’ll just jump around in his books anyway. A few places I wanted to copy out, including an unusual reference to Don Quixote that was an interesting surprise. So little mention is made of other novels in the book that this reference is surprising. Did he put it in, now that I think of it, as preparation for the finale of the book during the Spanish Civil War? Willow says she loved the whole trip so that objective
we fulfilled. Especially significant given the TAVR and the slow and wobbly recovery from that. No wonder we are both sleepy these days now that we are home. She is getting better and better at the finer points of movement, balance, walking, so that’s especially good. We threw over using the cruise excursion busses thanks to Glen M Dasher from Georgia. Going to send him a note. He put us on to ToursByLocals and we had great experiences with individual guides with car and driver in Singapore, Jakarta, Bangkok and Mumbai. Now of course I wish I had bent down more corners, made more marks, in Mosley’s Creatures because I cannot find that passage on Don Quixote and why he finds it so vexing. Wow google search found it for me. “The general who had led the uprising in Seville was called Queipo de Llano. When Walburga or Heinrich talked of Queipo de llano they usually smiled: it seemed that he was a joker, an oddity, something like Don Quixote. Out of all the characters in European mythology I have most disliked Don Quixote: he has seemd to me to epitomise the dreadful uproariousness with which Christians try to deal with their obsessions about degradation and death. When Walburga and Heinrich talked about General Franco they did not smile. I thought -- Then do I mean that I might prefer Torquemada to Don Quixote? 398 Today happens to be the Sunday of the election in Spain. The Right making a showing that has everyone nervous. What an interesting (and strange?) objection Mosley has to Don Quixote. He repeats his hobby horses so I suppose it will show up again in other books and perhaps more fully explored. Meanwhile we swam this morning, using the handicap lift to get into and out of the pool. No one else there. Worked quite well. Dinner at Thai Smile last night with Ken and Carole. Ken looks so tan and healthy. Carole radiant in her orange blouse. Good to see them again. Dave and the kids are down in San Raf for this week. Memories of the trip. Grieving for Solo, who left us on Holy Saturday. Hoping real Spring weather will get here. HG show on Medellin said it has perfect weather all year, up in the mountains at 5 thousand feet. Google search says San Diego has comparable year long weather stability. Next March there? Now we are talking vaguely about Africa. South Africa Va says she wants to visit, and safari sort of trip, thanks to short chat with John and Martha. They have done two such trips. Hoping this will make canceling the Road S trip to Hawaii much easier to activate. Do I want to dive into Shantaram for 900 pages? Why hesitate? Fantasy about reading all in French for a full year so as to move toward “mastery.” Or at least equal enjoyment. Would that happen? Could it? Well, why not? Can I give up reading things in English really? Or drastically change the proportions? Texting from Dave and Cécile now in San Raf. Not warm
enough for the kids to swim in the outdoor pool. Thinking of find a place in Malaga for next year where they might do that. Or Guadalupe. Each time we talk with others about the trip it helps us remember images and experiences. And yet it all seems so much a dream and so light and ephemeral.
29 April Monday
We went to Nashua for the day. Elizabeth is getting her car repaired. Day off won’t be until Thursday. Susan called about the safari planning idea. Now skeptical about that idea. Virginia got 5k steps today, got tired before she thought she was. Ok, we made it. napped at Hooksett.
2 May Thursday
Historic day off today. So nice to have it once more. Bummed around Concord. Lunched at Moritomo and found that the waitresses and waiters were from Indonesia and Thailand. Older woman with a head scarf very happy to mention Surabaya, her home town. Taught Elizabeth to use the chair at the pool first thing in the morning at it seems it all went well.
Friday Va and Colin at the piano. Va heard on the radio there was a year back in maybe 1815 when New England had no summer. Yikes. Given today’s grayness and rain, not a good new item. Remembering our equatorial wanderings should be a help. Who says “should?” Tonight is the Spanish chat gathering at Rosa’s. Every day a paragraph of twin theology. And a paragraph of Shantaram. And then maybe some French.
Sunday 5 May
Donald called for a review of the trip. He knows someone who nearly got killed in the Taj hotel bombing and lost her sister and husband.
Short visit with the kids. They had been to their friends for the afternoon dinner or snack. Eliot has a new Paw Patrol jungle gym device for the coffee table. Today is warmer and very humid. Devoting the day to clothes. Folding, sorting, laundry, putting away. Lunch yesterday with Jess at Tuckerbox. Daffodils in her front yard. Forsythia peak all over town.
Mirrors installed Friday. Bathroom looks great. One more grab bar and it will be perfect. Big hall mirror seems really big. Will take some getting used to. Late night strolls to the bathroom especially unnerving. And yet I like the basic lightness and depthness it gives as a sort of presence in the space.
New York Social Diary online Sep 4, 2007 - There was a party given
Patrick De Laurier and Jean-Jacques Giraud, a fancy dress ball for several hundred guests with a theme of a ...
shows up on google but then the link will not open to the page---oh well
Tantric Tuesdays. that’s what I could call the days off. Mosley’s Catastrophe Practice notions, ideas, seem to link with the Divine Double in some interesting ways I can’t quite specify just yet. For one thing, I have to be able to restate just what Mosley is talking about, exploring. The knowledge people have that they are acting according to pre-arranged scripts (in their heads), acting as in “acting” as if on a stage. And then he wants to talk about what it would be like to divide that experience into acting (for the audience) and acting for some other dimension or audience not wholly known. As though human behavior, action, is always split, divided, between what the person assumes she is doing, acting by choice to enact x, and what she is also doing by enacting simultaneoulsy q, even though x and q have not connection with each other. Wow, I’m sounding so abstract here. Surely I will find a good summation by Mosley that will clarify all of this. I’m reminded, also, however, of the biography of Lax, entitled “Pure Act.” McGregor takes that from Lax as the entitling motif of his study and I forget now why. Is it Thomist? the background? Whatever. I also think of Burke. For all of his study of dramatism and the pentad, he never contemplates this sort of dividedness in human consciousness or experience. He remained a social realist, a sociologist, really, and never took in much of existentialism or anything like its discontents. In spite of his own early loved of Nietzsche. But maybe my memory of his work is by
now far too faded. And maybe too I had no tools of seeing any of this back then.
Pasting in some text just to collect some words that will go with the Tantric motifs in mind along with all of this.
“My answer is going to involve emotions and benefits which I have experienced. Noting that you get out of something what you put into it. I acknowledge and approach . . . as a therapeutic modality. Satisfaction. Fulfillment. Stress relief. It is calming and exciting. Healing. Empowerment If I have facilitated a scenario ‘successfully’ (I could write an essay on what this means) I feel fulfilled- it is a much more involved process than some likely assume, and there’s a challenge when you don’t know people well, to hit your mark (It’s challenging when you do know them). It is a creative process, it is creativity. It is a meditation. I am doing a class/scenario WITH people not AT someone. On that platform it is personal and intimate and I enjoy that. In fact I thrive on that energy. Vocation not job. There is so much to be gained on behalf of the mind/body/spirit beyond the money aspect. I love connecting with people. My entire life my work has involved very intimate work with human beings and I truly enjoy it. I want people experiencing better communication, greater enjoyment, this makes me very happy. It is humbling to attempt these things with people Through what I do- I am constantly learning, evolving, growing, and expanding my awareness and understanding. I learn a great deal from the people I work with. My vocation has afforded me an education and insight into human behaviors of every sort, psychology- that no university ever could have. Very much including my own.”
By taking out precisely what was being discussed here, we can see the general patterns that Mosley would see, and we can see how all of this language, rhetoric, applies to so many different activities---acting, writing, painting, teaching, playing music, etc etc etc.
46 Justdoingabasicreview,Iguess,ofbasics. Not exactly sure why. Reactivating writing and thinking after having spent a month at sea. Crossing the Pacific ocean from south to north.
8 May
So sunny at last can hardly stand it!! Jim called just after I dropped Willow at the PEO meeting. He’s facing a prostate procedure this Friday and will have gen anaesthetic. Then they go to Amherst to visit Dickinson’s house. He and a fellow have been leading a group reading class on her work. He offered this one when I said he should find one that fits the prostate procedure---I think this was on his screen already--
Much Madness is divinest Sense - To a discerning Eye -
Much Sense - the starkest Madness - ’Tis the Majority

In this, as all, prevail -
Assent - and you are sane -
Demur - you’re straightway dangerous - And handled with a Chain -

Great poem and fits all my current motifs. Even the drive yesterday to Portland and not Portsmouth. A fine day over and back it was. Somehow two motifs came to mind Donne’s poem, Batter My Heart and Tobias Schneebaum’s travels in New Guinea among the Asmat. Where the Spirit Dwells.
Why does folding and putting away laundry never feel as satisfying and important as . . . writing nonsense in the journal?
Now that you know what it feels like, now that you’ve done it and understand all that is involved and how it works and how easy and perfect
it is as a pretty logical and natural thing to do, what can you tell us about its meaning? Or the meaning it might have, given contextual circumstances? Or the meanings it might have had had your life taken turns years ago that it did not take? At one basic level, curiosity is satisfied. But it is basic, isn’t it? And didn’t imagination pretty much capture it already? We can still try other, similar things, just to do them. Not unlike using red paint on that part of the canvas next to the purple, rather than using orange or green. Meaning wants to be more, be embedded in the physical, the texture and smoothing of the paint. Or we want that act to give rise to meaning. But are there always no guarantees?
Jim’s anecdote the mornings about Lukacs could serve well here. Or isn’t it that any instance, any “suddenness” can serve? In Portland yesterday, lunch with Matthew was another such instance. With everything he said I instantly interpreted, added, configured meaning.
classroom and almost shouting, “I had a good breakfast and a good shit! Now I am ready to teach!”
Thanks for word of his death, Bob. God rest a great teacher and human— larger than life, most certainly!
Matthew said hello the other day, like Sam did in Manchester a few years ago, so we had lunch. Don’t remember him specifically but he would have been in one of the last classes on campus. Now 30 years old. Dancer’s build, beard, French Canadian family background from Waterville. Did musical theater for a while, including ballet. Then got into doing body work, reiki, yoga. Reminded me much of Glenn Gurman from years back when I had him come to class to demonstrate the kind of martial art he had gotten involved with. Just watching the body move with such grace and precision. Too bad we didn’t meet Va’s student Glenn in Hong Kong who does the tango dancing and the martial arts.
todays porland trip had me remembering tobias schneebaum's nbook about the asmat where the spirits dwell and donne's poem and indeed a google search yields a yale review high blown article about all of it and throws on bataille and leo bersani and lots of other dudes---/
email I sent myself yesterday to remember these links---so, after fifty some years, with experience and perspective of all sorts, I can now see Donne’s
poem and lots else with new/renewed understanding. Meanings constantly reworked by memory and experience. More fluidly than Mosley seems to see. Catastrophe practice one way of framing it ---- that fit well with his place in history but imagine what he would have to ponder about the gender, sexuality, identity fluidities of people of Matthew’s generation. Come to think of it, our current national situation in DC, a pretty good example of chaos and catastrophe scenarios being morphed into mutant fluidities before our eyes, under our feet. Not quite the “jumps” or “breaks” Mosley’s thinkers posited but more like “slime molds” to use a phrase Mosley does use in one of his titles. Have to track down what he meant there.
Great news from Dawson. On his honeymoon in Malta right now!
Aciman is bringing out a sequel to Call Me in October. Fast work. Not going after the money, is he?? More the excitement of fame and audience. And the adulation. He’s a writer.
10 May I do Andre an injustice. He loves his two characters and their story. The great success with a wide audience is the love between the readers and the writer for the characters and one another. Naturally everyone involved wants to see that love continued and flowering more.
The pattern, no the relationships, involving the two lovers and the one father, now that pattern and reality imagined/remembered strikes chords in the wide readership perhaps especially momentous for these times, our time. A period unique in history, as are all periods. Whatever a period may be. Here we have the three men re-stating the love uniting two generations, within patriarchy as of old and within the new era beyond the “end-of- patriarchy” whatever that may mean. Timeless, ancient, new and in the present as the writer wrote it and as the reader will imagine/reimagine it, both misunderstanding and understanding, feeling the love story within his own flesh and soul as reading does for us. Bring onstage also the divine double meditations by Strang. They will all serve here.

And for today’s tweet this etymology via Nicholas Mosley: “riddle: to separate chaff from corn, ashes from cinders etc . . . , test (evidence, truth)”
He uses this in his first Catastrophe Practice book. Reading the obituaries for Lukacs (pronounced Loo-kuss one noted---never knew that), I can contrast his faith in history over our understanding of the present--which
doesn’t exist, really, with Mosley’s and other writers explorations of consciousness within the present. “If a man has the power to observe the controlling patterns of his mind it is here, and not in the patterns, that there is his freedom. The theatre has been accustomed to observe how people behave; what might now be observed is people’s observing. A riddle, a sifting, has usually entertained: and a present one, at work on a past, might even seem truthful.” Neither Lukacs nor Burke could have written this. Modiano? It is such a British observation, given the vitality of theatre as a living fiber in the flesh of the culture, unlike no other western place, really. I guess an American should try to adapt it to watching movies, and now these days to watching everything on screens of all sorts. Could we say this “riddling” of the present is what we take for granted in a much fuller state of perplexity than any one in earlier generations could have conceived? Maybe so.
Rain today. Piano session with McIvers earlier. Dinner tonight with the big group. The village. Internet repair guy yesterday says we’re fixed for better service.
11 May
Homestead dinner last night with the group. George looked good, Darlene bright, with pink egg dye in her bangs, Ken very tan, Karen smaller, Carole glowing, Keith a little older, Gloria slower, Virginia more gorgeous than ever! In spite of my sore throat I had a vodka and tonic and a dessert and lo the throat was fine by bedtime. We watched Jersey Boys at George’s suggestion, finished it today.
David is making his kisskissbangbang fund raising goal!! Bravo. This weekend to go and 700 euros remaining.
A passage from Shantaram on page 199. One that you wish Mosley had been able to read and copy into his own books: Abdullah says to Lin
“The truth is that an instant of real love, in the heart of anyone---the noblest man alive or the most wicked---has the whole purpose and process and meaning of life within the lotus-folds of its passion. The truth is that we are all, every one of us, every atom, every galaxy, and every particle of matter in the universe, moving toward God.”
15 May Wednesday
Cooler and grayer then yesterday. Chance chat with Dave Babson at Hooksett. Told me about CDB shop in Londonderry. Stopped and bought some, trying it two days now. Lunch there too at La Carretera.
Exceptional. Perfectly pitched relaxation, excitement, .... and satisfaction. Can’t think of word there that I had earlier today. It will come back, maybe tonight. So, whatever else can be said, long anticipation, curiosity, imagination, fantasy, wonderment, all of it satisfied at last. Three different ways. Technical elements all well- tuned, well used. Matter of fact, illustrative, instructional, exploratory, initiatory, practical, pragmatic, good combinations of sequences, timing, pausing, pacing. Curiosity satisfied. Not be careful what you’re curious about or be curious about what you’re careful about. Both and neither. Always both/and as Burke said. Both relaxing and strenuous, Intrusive and expansive. Impersonal and professional, considerate and detached.
David is most happy that he and Cobra made their fundraising goal. I was wrong about 5k euros being too high a goal.
Va had the book group last night at Sharon’s house out on Lower Beech Hill Road. Big group. Sue brought her home. She was disappointed in the discussion but not sure exactly why. Group always wanders around the topics and I suspect former profs like us always over prepare and over expect that the discussion can work out in ways we hope for but which never really do come about.
Almost again as with all things anticipated.
Someone in the Wilton area bought Don Hall’s house to make it into a museum. What do I think of that? Harummph of sorts and then oh why not? Write enough, live long enough, wrap yourself in the Frost poet mantle and of course you’ll get a museum.
How about “startling?” Relaxing, exciting, startling and satisfying. Those terms work. Relaxing, startling, satisfying and exciting. Tranquil elation. awakened expansiveness.
As with many, most, satisfied points of curiosity, is once enough? Not unlike going to Bali, even. And the Viking cruise. Do both again? Do another combination again? Willow wants to do the Hawaii cruise next year. Why not? All of these wants and curiosities move us along. What do we want? What do we think we want? When we experience them after long wanting, what then? The pleasures of anticipations and preparations. The pleasures of experience in the moment which cannot ever be repeated or captured.
Thinking of continuing Shantaram on the kindle/fire just to see if I can make that work. Carole suggested a book about living in France that looks like it could be fun.
End of an era. End of a chapter. Move on to what’s next. Like the new tower in Paris in the 15th. Will it be a huge mistake, for the Olynpics? After it is built we will know, too late. After anything is over, was that worth having wanted? Boredom, cynicism, age? experience? wisdom? zen? perplexity? unknowing?
“And this year we’re venturing out to the no-man’s land of the 15th.” Von Sohut They live in the 10th and take a week’s airbnb staycation once a year.
16 May Thursday
Ben finally here for the yard. Suzanne here for the massage.

Other day Shantaram kicked off a chat with a grad student in the Mexican restaurant. He noticed the book. Had not been to Mumbai but liked the book. Finishing his degree in “security studies,” didn’t know that was even a thing. I thought he was Jewish but didn’t ask. Little wire-rimmed glasses. In twenty years he will look more like Mandy Patinkin. Did crew in college. Wouldn’t say where. Whole security thing got me thinking about Whittaker Chambers and the
communist scare and that got me thinking about dad taking me to see his doctor. All that post-war fear about reds also included homophobia because of Chambers and Hiss, so maybe reading that book gave dad the creeps and he wanted the doctor to insure I wouldn’t be queer like those spies down in DC. Catholicism and its partners anti-communism and puritanism. Period psychoses as much as personal. Today’s moves to ban abortion show how this stuff simmers below the surface for a generation or two and then bursts forth when the crusaders see or imagine a chink. Anti-vaccers similar. And thanks to them we have measles back now. Crazy how so have to keep repeating and relearning. Everything. Can’t do it all at once, though.
The Divine Double book I realize has been citing a “Whittaker” scholar. So there has been that reminder without realizing it.
Using typology shorthand---having been in the upper third of the class all his life, he thought going to the bottom third for a short visit would be a worthy adventure. Not necessarily so. In fact only one third are involved and so why is it an appealing place? Opposites attract? one type in the typology wants to wonder what the sub-type might be like. For good reasons that turn out not to be that good.
Some of Von Sothen’s book. It’s ok, very snappy Vanity fair journo prose. Bresson’s tale much more warming to the heart cockles. Aciman even calls it stunning!
Maybe now I am ready to read Girard. A quote from a page Nicholas tweeted about, I think---on a Stanford site, Scott Beauchamp interview with or about Girard----
“The basic idea animating Girard’s breakout book, Deceit, Desire, and the Novel, is, as you write, that “[w]e live derivative lives. We envy and imitate others obsessively, unendingly, often ridiculously...We wish to conceal our metaphysical emptiness from others, in any case, and from ourselves most of all.” As Girard himself explained, “All desire is a desire for being.” I think most people who have heard of Girard are familiar with this basic, simple, and profound insight.
Ultimately, imitation has another dimension altogether. Virgil speaks of it in Purgatorio, and it’s worth repeating: “And the more souls there are who love on high, the more there is to love, the more of loving, for like a mirror each returns it to the other.” That is the evolution of desire, its final destination.“
So all of these exercises in desire enacted, foolish old geezer and searching, loving man of every age and station, are these evolutionary longings of desire, Mirror, twining, mutation, love expanding love.
the various ways we hide the emptiness of our desires from ourselves,” all about new biography of Girard by Cynthia Haven
Bresson’s novel is terrific.
Monday 20 May
Just finished it, 5pm. Hardback arrived from amazon just in time to read
the final page on paper instead of on kindle!! Wonder how Aciman can not
imitate it in some way in his sequel to Call Me? Have to wait until October
to find out. Good that he sent out a notification about Bresson’s book so as
to show he knows it full well and admires the writer. Maybe they are
friends. Bresson wrote a book about Macron’s campaign?! The title in
French of Lie seems to be “Stop with your lies” Arrête avec tes mensonges
Pretty Girardian title and motif. Quote for the day from someone on
twitter: from Anthony at @timesflow
“After a certain age our memories are so intertwined with one another that what we are thinking of, the book we are reading, scarcely matters any more. We have put something of ourselves everywhere, everything is fertile, everything is dangerous . . ."
― Marcel Proust
Perfect for the way things seem these days. Tomorrow promises to be the third Tuesday day off of May and the three of them will make a complete
set. Further comments after tomorrow goes as imagined and planned and as it indubitably will not as well.
Swam this morning and walked before lunch. Both of us took tiny naps after GH’s nurse’s ball. More installments to come this week.
Besson’s novel did surprise in convincing and interesting ways. Darker than Aciman makes his, so there will be that contrast at once. One assumes.
21 May
Ordinary day off. Hanover. Sushi and cupcakes. Silence and reading. Windy. Quick look into the Element and it looks like the cheapo variant like the one in Abq. Otherwise, started Besson’s first book and more of the others. Using the kindle, fire, for some reason. Might help when I turn to the French versions. Windy. Ordinary the best. No lunches, no meetings, no former students, no experiments.
PTSD Spring definitely marked by the layers, from all the way back to Elkins Park. Even to the senior year when anticipation blurred the last few weeks and months, going off immediately to Ammendale. No one told me it would be like joining the military.
Jim called this evening. They got home from Amherst ok and he got the cather taken out. They book separate motel rooms now because their sleep habits are so different. Anne has trouble sleeping in general it sounded like. She has to do all the driving. Max about two hours a day.
This December thing was a shock for us. For me. Reawakened ptsd stuff for sure. Hence the welcomeness of today’s disappearance into the ordinary. Boring, yes, maybe, but comforting too.
Doug made a quiet pitch to get us to join the UU congregation. Why did that surprise me so much??
22 May Wednesday
Va woke up chuckling this morning. She said someone offered her in a dream as a sort of retirement gesture a nice evening in which she could
have dinner or sex. But she had to choose! Woke of course before she made the choice.
Almost walked at docks. Bit too breezy but still wonderful to get out there and walk a bit. Big weekend coming up.
Lunch with Gerri and Greg today. Nice long talk.
24 May Friday
Exchange with Phil has taken up this morning’s “time off” after visiting the dump and Mt Alto.
Don't know about New Hampshire, but the weather in the DC area has been crazy: yo-yo-ing between hi 50s and low 90s.
I can't remember if I told you about reading the autobiography of Thomas Mellon, the founder of the family fortune in Pittsburgh. He was a Scotch- Irish kid whose parents brought him to western Pennsylvania. He broke away from family tradition of farming, put himself thru college at what became the U of Pittsburgh years later, then became a successful lawyer, then judge, and finally rich investor and banker. It's truly an interesting read. The man writes surprisingly well, but the main interest is in his viewpoint of the world, which is the old-fashioned Scotch-Irish Protestant (Presbyterian). Industry, probity, and success mean everything. He praises Catholic organization because it has worked to keeps the faithful in line, but for Catholic beliefs and theology he has no respect at all. Catholicism, he believes, is to be replaced by Protestantism "just as Christianity replaced Judaism." He is a highly moral and serious individual who can't stand people, especially the Irish, with their maudlin self- indulgences. Nor can he stand most politicians, nearly all of whom he thinks merely cater to the mob. In his view the history of Ireland is a story of of Irish hooligans egged on by Catholic clergy murdering law abiding, religious, moral Scotch settlers. On and on it goes. And very little of it conforms to today's opinions about history and people. One thing, in particular, struck me. I didn't watch Skip Gates' recent TV program about reconstruction in the American south, but I'm sure it was a detailed account of the disenfranchisement and killing of southern blacks. Mellon has a different view. He traveled to the south in early 1871 and, especially in Louisiana, sees thousands of greedy, rapacious carpetbaggers from the
north using politics and naive, ignorant blacks to manipulate the taxes, banking, politics, and bond-issuances to line their own pockets. In other words, he is critical of reconstructions but for very different reasons than Gates. At no point does he even mention the exploitation of blacks. But does Gates describe how northern reformers who supported black politicians in the south were often just crooks? I doubt it, but don't know for sure because I didn't watch the program. Still, it's obvious that Mellon thinks of blacks as an inferior people, although it's not clear if he thinks the cause is natural disability or perhaps just the result of their history.
I find his book fascinating. It's like entering another world, although one that I think you and I got some glimpses of as that world faded in the 1950s. Although my grandfather died before I was born, I know he didn't trust Presbyterians (northern money grubbers to my Alabama-born grandfather) I don't think his views of the world were much different from Mellon's
Change of subject:
There is an interesting article on the history psychiatry in the recent NYer. It shows how much the field has struggled to be scientific and how it has tended to lurch from one supposed solution to another with very little data supporting various views. (Freud being about the least scientific.) At one point he describes the history of anti-depressants, and mentions Prozac.
As I recall, you flirted with Prozac for a brief time back ten or more years ago. Is my memory correct? If so, was Prozac the only antidepressant drug you ever took? If you took others did any of them work? I think you once told me that you used St. John's wort. Did you take SJW for any length of time? Do you still take it? ? Did you find anything worked for you? The NYer article is quite clear that there are no miracle drugs or cures? Stuff works for some people and not for others. And I recall we both had brief episodes with psychiatrists, which didn't work for either of us. I terminated my "sessions" after only one session. This occurred when I was at Brown.
Didn't realize you had had one psy session at Brown. One seems the right number and congrats to you for that. yes I took Prozac for a little while maybe a few years
after it was introduced. No clear help in any way except making you sleepy at odd times in your natural cycles of waking and sleeping. And a general "cloudy" sense.
Same thing, by the way, with the newest craze which I just heard about last week and bought at a shop in southern part of the state---CBD---cannabis oil, you take a few drops in water. Reminds me of laudanum because I think I've seen it taken that way in historical masterpiece theater type dramas. Will take a look at the NYr aritcle, but I've read many such pieces over the years. Whole field has struggled with just what it is trying to do and they don't really know. Lunch yesterday with two now retired therapists friends from Portland. Both man and wife worked as therapists for years. As they retired I kept asking myself---could I have sat and listened to clients/patients for years and years? It would have driven me crazy. Greg told me he had some clients who had been with him for over 25 years!! Jeesus C as they say---that's not science by any measure, and is it even healing or therapy? who can say? I'd almost say its having a lover on the side in a very very cereberal, emotional way. Or something.

St Johns W did take that for a while a few years but then read stuff about side effects and have stopped, years ago. But interestingly Va has not---she takes it and has now for about ten years. She thinks it helps her keep from being depressed. She never was, to my view, prone to depression at all, so I'm skeptical that it helps her. Who can know?
I enjoy most a vodka and water or tonic every few weeks but sort of try not to indulge and "as we age" I can tell that get over one or two of those takes longer, so that's another reason to avoid it. Could almost say same things about overdoing dark chocolate!!
Mellon book sounds interesting as you say because the world he sees and takes for granted is so very different from ours. Lukacs put his faith in "history" but did he ever have any crisis of faith in such a position? One could so easily do so---in fact our whole cultural turn has been to have deconstructed whether we wanted to or not all that earlier generations assumed and took for granted about finding out the truth, about telling the true history of events.
Another piece in NYr I did read is about the huge caverns underneath Paris and other European cities. I had heard of those before but this goes into great detail and it is
fascinating and creepy----could never have done what the writer says they did in terms of exploring the whole network. Whether it is important or not?
Yeah weather wacky here. Back and forth cold and warmer. Two days in a row of sunshine feels like a minor miracle. Gray gray gray is becoming the normal. We can remember that the summer when Dave got married here it really did rain in some way every day all summer until the day of the wedding. That was about twelve years ago I think? So maybe it is all cyclical?
Keep forgetting we have this Alabama link back in the families---yours and Virginia's. Was it a major Scots settlement originally? The book on Bombay moves along slowly but it does give us that outside our assumptions details about things that feels refreshing.
All the Indian clothes fit well and look great. Gray afternoon. Actually enjoyed folding laundry, putting it away. How can that be? Everything changes. Wait.
26 Sunday
Sleepy day, Pedicures in the morning. Donald called again. He had been leaving messages on the old phone number. Do not even look at it, better start doing so. His birthday is April 28. Must enter and remember that!!
Going to take tax documents to the accountant down the street. I’m doing something wrong with my returns. Getting back tax things every spring at this time. Brokerage reports are “late” I think.
27 Monday
Article about Pico Iyer’s new book popped up this line: “His father worried that the boy might turn out to be queer; he had no other way to worry that he would become a contemplative.”
Was it Iyer or a passage from Charles Lamb’s essay on doing nothing, which I’d never read but tried to copy and send.
Wednesday 29 May
Dick and Joanna Mertens due to stop by. When? After breakfast in Lowell. Saw the email this morning. Two plants at Flowersmith. Setting up new little white HP printer, impulse purchase yesterday in W Leb. Lunch with Michael Jt another primal event. More later.
Sunday June 2
What has been going on? Oh, visit from Dick and Joanna. Very enjoyable. Now a rainy Sunday. We did get to Concord. Yesterday lunch at the pasture. Also very enjoyable.
Tuesday June 4
Today’s lunch with Alan took me to a new place---Bedford, MA, straight down Rt 3 past Nashua. Perfectly enjoyable but nothing much different from many others. No special surprises, even sort of routine. At 40 something, Alan seems a bit lonely, misplaced, successful in many ways and yet still measuring himself against younger expectations and not satisfied.
Having Dick Mertens visit last week introduced dimensions of discussion and interest these May lunches have been missing. Former students just don’t sustain one’s interest after all. Not many. Even Az, got a copy of his memoir and started it but not that interested in continuing or in seeing how he treats me and the other profs he told me he has written about.
Read further in Shantaram and listened to some of it while driving. It also is interesting and moving. And yet. Somehow I’m not loving loving it.
Only 40% in says kindle so maybe if I keep going. Full of fascinating stuff, for sure. Like he just revives an Italian junkie from overdosing by doing cpr for over ten minutes on him. No idea that was possible.

Dick’s email today
Did I mention that I found Hayden Carruth's old house, in Johnson, Vt.? The current tenant showed me the "Cowshed," a little outbuilding off to the side where Carruth did most of his work. I also talked to Midge Parkhurst, a sweet old lady down the road who knew the family. Plus, the drive across northern Vermont was lovely.
I looked up Donald Hall's late poems, especially the ones about his love affairs. They're pretty explicit, and make painful reading, to me at any rate. I wonder if your friend is there somewhere. What color are her eyes?
Also read a few of Carruth's Vermont poems, such as the Cows at Night,, and After Haying, two of my favorites. I don't know if they're better than Jane Kenyon's poems.
I notice that Hall and Carruth both wrote some long and difficult poems, maybe under the influence of Ezra Pound. Kenyon didn't. Nor did Wendell Berry, their agrarian pal. I wonder why?
I just read a NYTimes piece about an Iranian who came to the US and converted to Catholicism. What's this attraction that Catholicism holds for conservative intellectuals? Do they actually believe the doctrine or just like the ritual and hierarchical order? Is your friend from Notre Dame actually a believer?
By the way, Toronto is a beautiful, vibrant city, with a lovely waterfront park and a very diverse population. It's a city of immigrants.
Greetings to Virginia.

and the one from Thursday the 30th Bob,
It was great to see you and Virginia. I'm determined to bring the whole family East at some point.
Clemens is funny: he calls me "white man."
We're in Canada tonight so I can't text. We drove across Vermont this afternoon and found Hayden Carruth's house in Johnson--deep in the woods--and talked to an elderly neighbor who knew him. Very interesting. Stopped at smallest library in Vermont--about the size of your kitchen. We're staying in a .5 star hotel tonight west of Montreal. Our neighbors are a clan of Roma from Romania! I just finished talking with several of the men, who were outside drinking beer. The owner, or part owner, is a sweet Chinese woman I also had a conversation with. Canada is the real melting pot, it seems.
Now to bed.

5 June Weds
Nice walk at Lowe’s and Wally’s. Suddenly we are booking a week’s trip to Toronto over the 4th!! wow
note to Dick under “Blame Johanna” heading
So suddenly we have just booked a week's trip to Toronto over the 4th of July.
Ha! We should give her a finder's fee or something. We'll break up the drive by staying in Cornwall first night. So excited.

Tell us the best places to walk around. Did you see a bridge linking two neighborhoods somewhere? photo of that on tripadvisor but no specific location on a map. we'll see what we can find via toursbylocals etc.
Longer responses to your very interesting emails. So nice to have you both visit.
6 June Thursday

Colin helped me patch up the dryer vent tube with heavy foil tape. Also told me how he lost fifteen pounds recently and has had better night’s sleep: pretty much duh things but they resonate with my current thots and it helps to hear them from another: cheese---he really loves cheese, oils of every kind, and no meal after about 6pm or a very very light meal. Ha.
Holy cow. All the things I’ve been obsessing about. Let’s see if we can “activate” them and lose a few pounds.
75 Gorgeous day. What a number, eh? Marked two passages yesterday in Shantaram---the great love scene before he gets thrown into prison and all gets much more gruesome.
"Every virtuous act has some dark secret in its heart, Khaderbhai once told me, and every risk we take contains a mystery that can’t be
― from "Shantaram: A Novel”
here is the second passage noted --- at last he mentions feelings
"We kissed. Our lips made thoughts, somehow, without words: the kind of thoughts that feelings have."
― from "Shantaram: A Novel”
I had been complaining that in spite of all that is so interesting in the novel, I’m not feeling much in the way of “sync” between us.
Lined up the Toronto trip. Guess I need these carrots as much as Willow. And how will an Albuquerque winter play out?? Next Dennis’s visit.
Thanks to Stang’s book a new word: encratic--“Of or pertaining to self- control and self-denial, especially in the forms of continence and fasting or abstinence from animal food.” The two terms, didymos and syzygos, terms from this tradition Strang is studying, for double and twin. How did the brother who was brother superior when I was at Elkins Park get his name of Didymus John? That term must have become known and fashionable among the religious in the Church right after the war as part of the new biblical scholarship. If he was 60 when we were 20, he would have been born about 1924. And part of that whole post-war turn to Catholicism Gary Wills writes about in his recent piece on Merton. Blasting Merton we could say. Google makes it too easy---William Quinn, born 1917, died 1992. New House at Elkins Park
Work is progressing rapidly on the new house of studies on the Elkins Park (PA) property, to be known as St. Joseph’s Hall. Newsbriefs of Baltimore, April 1961, p. 4.
Holy cow why this topic today?? Back to Shantaram or Mosley or Besson! Waiting for Eliz and Va who must have gone to the docks after swimming. Later I find no they did not. They bought cards at Wally’s and even brought me a chocolate covered donut. Today national donut day. We went to Lebanon for dinner at Three Tomatoes. Donald phoned. We bought an orange tree at the Garden Center. Still the weather is sweet and flawless now that it is 6:30 pm. The Divine Double book I was reading earlier spooked me somehow. The old catholic language of rebirth in Christ, the interesection of the twin and the
bridegroom, the emergence of the orthodox theological language. It all still fits the reply I’m composing in my head to Dick’s emails. As K Burke would say, Yes, I know you joined the church but who or what did you join it against? And, yes, I know you consider yourself to be an intellectual, and a conservative to boot, but with both of those designations, again the question is, who are you by claiming these labels, claiming them against? The new tribes of Silicon Valley have shown us many things about all of this. Chief among them being that those we used to call “intellectuals” we now see in a new light. They were the geeks and nerds of their day, ready to parse and quibble over the texts and doctrines given to them by various traditions and thinkers. Word- mongers, phrase interpreters, context nuts, obsessed seekers among the so-called meaningful issues. Now they are happier in the Valley creating word and pattern algorithmic devices and games, imagining wild futures and activating all the new devices created to improve our lives.
9 June Sunday
beautiful evening, perfect weather again today. Slept really late, slow day, finished the Asian-American movie, Always be my Maybe. Funny, witty, lovely.
Still amazed about Greg’s clients doing therapy for over twenty-five years. But for that long it is called spiritual direction. Strikes me that the forced confession behavior we learned as children had us inventing sins to confess, and assuming that some things were sins that are not. Later in adult life for the drama of confession, therapy, etc, people will commit crimes to have something to feel guilty about (Burke liked this motif) and I wondered lately if people also commit crimes so as to keep them secret. Secrecy itself having powers and pleasures that confession does not have. What is that proverb---a secret he took to his grave. Yet another way of rejecting the tribe and placing oneself within a different tribe---however the sinner imagines that hidden tribe to be. A fantasy tribe suited more perfectly to one’s desire to belong than any church or group one has been able to find “in real life.”
10 June
Dick’s message from yesterday. “Bob,
That article is one of the most depressing things I've read lately. I hope it's not true. And what your theologian friend says is interesting and revealing. He didn't say anything about faith. I recently read a wonderful essay by Czeslaw Milosz, who was a devout Catholic and of course a brilliant mind. Do I believe in the truth of the Gospels? he asks at one point. Yes. He didn't beat around the bush. But he didn't say why. By the way, there's a published collection of correspondence between Milosz and Thomas Merton. I've not read it, but I saw it on the list of Milosz's books.
My reply this afternoon
Those two are birds of a feather and same generation. Both J-personality types and both poets (well, M a writer).
Both would say Yes to "believe in the truth of the Gospels" and who knows what either one means by that at any given time, especially in an interview/ essay for their careers? In fact I think any regular church goer
in any Catholic basilica anywhere in the world would/could say Yes and we still would not know what that means in their minds versus one's own mind/heart, which, again, who ever knows what is in there? J-types especially tend to have segments of their thoughts firewalled completely in which certain questions are wholly secure--right-- and never contested or questioned. That's the way they are. And if the interviewer asked M or M-- will you and your writings be remembered for over fifty years, they would say Yes in exactly the same way!!

I'm reading Nicholas Mosley these days, "Catastrophic Practice" and soon his book "Religion and Experience” in which he talks about his conversion to Catholicism and then beyond. He's a novelist and not a poet or essayist, born in 1923, not 1915, and neither Polish nor French-American. Booth's book (title) comes to mind also--the Company We Keep. I guess we're always looking for whoever can seem to shore up our own
inklings and wobblings.
Three wholly gorgeous days of spring-summer weather and the feeling now that, ok that's it. Rain and mugginess tomorrow and perhaps the rest of the summer.
Toronto will be magnificent, I can sense it already. Two big street festivals citywide while we're there. Thanksfor shaking our preconceptions and moving us into action!
Bob --------- 11 June
Rainy and very humid. Since Friendly Toast is in Bedford I will go there to read my Besson novel and forget about Portsmouth, yet again. A lot more of Besson on Kindle and Audible than I had realized, so pourquoi pas, this is the year of reading French. Un homme accidental.
note to Phil got nothing to say these days, so forwarding stuff---never quite sure if anything is of interest to whom. . . two gorgeous days here and
now today we are back to rain---friend coming for a visit tomorrow for a week. June opens up and out into summer. Flowers in bloom in

the backyard does help. 250,000 fans of Motorcycle Week (10 days) now everywhere in the area. Getting away from the cycle noise becomes a high art of knowing which hollows and hillsides they ignore. In short, all's quiet and well here. Glad you're not a chess player.
Va and Elizabeth had a big laugh downstairs over something. Now they’ve gone, time to hit the road as well. Mosley will set me straight on religion. Going in to Phat Fish last evening I chatted with a biker all in leather from Minnesota. Only going home did I lament that I had missed my chance to say I had been once to Bemidji and regale him with a half-true tall-tale I invented right there in my mind as I drove up the hill. Oh well.
Lunch at Friendly Toast in Bedford, right behind the big new Trader Joe’s. Food and groceries as entertainment. Original place in Portsmouth sold to two young biz guys so it’s now franchise and the food not that special. If it ever really was. Breakfast menu easy and hard to mess up. Zippy everything. Otherwise random day with some French in the background. Rain at first and then cleared and now super windy. Text messages with George about his atheists group and their star guy who went to the Philly Jesuit high school, St Joe’s, and then Harvard. Five or so years younger than me. Chess players.
14 June
50 years ago today. Willow fell in the drive way on the way to swimming. Miraculously nothing broken. Xrays at the ER for both finger and knee. Got the rings off without cutting them too.
Today also Dave’s Planet 9 record release and gig right now at Alimentation Generale----
Dennis off to Wolfeboro to see Bob. Warmer but rain coming. 16 June Sunday
Party a great success last night.

17 June Monday Bright sun this morning. Recital a big success yesterday too. Clips posted on facebk. Cécile sent videos of Emma’s dance recital yesterday too. Dave’s gig on Saturday night. Music weekend around the world.
20 June Thursday
Thought the article on harrowing delirium after surgery was going to explain what happened to Va in December but when I read it I had a different take on it.
well now I have many second thoughts about this piece and my rushed enthusiasm for it---I over reacted to the title alone.
I could agree with your skepticism and to it I will add my skepticism which is sort of from the opposite angle. Virginia has experienced all of these things over the past years. Trouble is the incidents have been spread over years and have had different triggering events and conditions. So I think this writer has used the headline phrase to scoop up too much under a too neat "new disease" not yet fully recognized and taken seriously by medical authorities. She's combined her recent "my story" with an old journalistic classic tale, maybe a variant or sub-theme of muckraking in general--- revelation of secret or as yet hidden new thing that needs proper attention. I was very critical of the doctors back in January when I thought they were not attending to Va's signs of relapse and stepping backwards, but now this article helps me be more sympathetic and in admiration of the doctors in
general who are constantly dealing with the idiosyncracies of each patient and still trying to identify and figure out real patterns and illnesses. Ultimately no one can really tell how a person is going to respond to a given surgery or regimen. Back to the art of medicine along with the science.
Car yesterday needed repair for $2500. Transmission. Tuesday they gave me a loaner. Drove Dennis to WRJ in that and then down to Concord to get our car. Put my name on list to lease a 2020 this fall.
Super rainy and gray. Drove to Concord after BJs. Brought lunch home and ate while re-watching Mrs Dalloway, Va Redgrave. Dennis had mentioned it and had the book with him. Wonder if I would like the book again? Likely. Still prefer The Waves but don’t want to re-read it.
“the power to move between poles” Mosley again, the language of paradox as central to all discussion of the human. Small book from 1964 on experience and religion. Applies to all the lunches in May this year. Paradoxes, between poles, explorations of the primal. Could apply to this whole past year, spring to spring, with the illness and death of Rick until now.
No one would believe me anyway. Or they would be incredulous. I can think of one or two who would listen with interest and ask a few questions. Mosley begins his discussion of religion by discussing what Freud and Jung offered to the modern world. So he frames religion first within psychology. As anyone in mid-century would. And so secrecy, confession, therapeutic discussion of one’s inner life and history, suspicion about what one is denying and blind to, would be the themes of this line of questioning. And within that context, those contexts, again, the explorations in primal wonder would stand out to most anyone I know as pretty incredible. And maybe for that very reasons these things did take place. A kind of ultimate search for an ultimate companion (just read some passages in Stang p. 139). And in Mosley’s terms, enactments of dramas, in which the acting is a form of acting as if one is acting so as to reveal more clearly the paradoxes of living. “A person has to trust, in fact, that there is a scheme of things both in the unconscious and in the material world that has within it what is working towards his own proper functioning and health.” Experience 34 That we can choose to do something for the feeling of freedom and meaning is the realm of art and religion. Sometime in the past few weeks I thought of Donn’es Holy Sonnet Batter My Heart and I recalled how I had
memorized it years ago. Then once you remember that, you can see how well it has taken care of you over the long stretch of years even though you did not consciously recall it. But a good example of watching and waiting, because once it came back into active memory you could say to yourself well yes of course that is what this has been all about, all over again, finding enactments of the drama which reaffirm in old and new ways the meaning of so much that has happened. And that one chooses, has chosen, to have happen.
Friday 21 June
First official day of summer? Va now napping after breakfast. Canceled swim with Elizabeth. Wise. Apparently didn’t sleep well last night. We had one of those late lunches again---not until 3 here at home. Always disrupts our schedule. Rain heavy last night, gray skies now but clearing later.
23 June Sunday
Yesterday and today perfect weather, strong breeze all day until about now. 6pm. Docks yesterday and today. No--yesterday Weirs. Wonderful lazy summer sleepiness. Not yet hot, just perfect.
“For this is the point: first, one part of oneself can change (allow to change) another part; the consciousness, if it has the courage, has the freedom to change the unconscious: and secondly, that by doing so, it is not only this idea that changed but there comes about the change of the things outside that could not be changed otherwise.” 45
What I enjoy in this first part of the book is seeing how neatly and well Mosley sums up the two approaches--Freud and Jung. Now against those will he sketch what religions do in similar ways?
Monday 24 June
Third gorgeous day in a row. Something must be wrong. Maybe some rain tomorrow to alleviate this glorious weather-joy. Felt a wee hotter mid-day at the docks. Twilight air still sweet and unbelievable.

Randall said last week he wanted to meet, but since then of course no further word. Dislike having this sort of thing “ruin” my day off in advance
just because I give it too much attention. Oh well. Lunch at Cantarina’s or something else.
Tuesday June 25
Rambling around funky Manch was ok. Prodigy kid on the piano at the hooksett stop. Jameson from Newport, RI, only thirteen. Driving toward Elm Street I saw people with large umbrellas and thought, yes, it is like that. He had always wondered what walking in the rain under one of those super big umbrellas would be like. When he had the chance he bought one and when it rained he went out for a walk. So, this is what it is like, and this is what it is like when you cross the street and go around that corner with this umbrella. The rain sounds like this, the colors and space of the umbrella feel like this, look like this. Then, after it was over, he said, ok, now I know. Now I can remember that experience and consider it as time goes by and think about the first time and see how it will affect future walks with that umbrella and other umbrellas. Writers weight history and memory way much more than anticipation and satisfaction in the moment.
Pretty much it. Only leftover is whether anyone needs to read a story about it, or would enjoy a story about it. Maybe the right persons. But only them. Is any story fit for any ears? Most stories remain untold to anyone. To anyone other than oneself, and we are always changing the story and changing who we want to have listen to it within ourselves. Each time we retell it, we search for who wants to hear it, needs to hear it, we reinvent both the story and the listener and of course I suppose the teller. Tellers, stories, listeners, all in flux.
“He both has the choice; is chosen. The language becomes unmanageable.” 59
26 Juine
Getting ready for the big week coming. Barb and Ed after Wentworth. First driving day is Montreal, four hours. Bob, you’re a genius. Today lunch with Randall and Va with PEO. Bright again and beautiful air.
yesterday ---
If Va/Peg were to die in a day or two years what would we do with our lives? assumed you run this through your minds. I come up with nothing
satisfactory or interesting.
Have you talked about assisted living? we paid a thousand bucks a few years back to be on a list at a place near us. I think you did something similar.
Rainy day thoughts here. That dementia delirium piece got me thinking about the one very clear black-out experience I had fifteen years ago. Few months into Va's crisis, before we knew if she would respond to the final brain surgery.
I took a weekend trip to New Bedford, two nights at an inn, lunch with friend scheduled for Sunday before I headed home with stop at the hospital in Boston first. Saturday I looked around "Melville's town" and the new whaling museum.
Sunday I sat in my car around 11 am and said to myself I have no idea where I am. I went back into the restaurant and walked around, then I looked in the car and found my overnight bag. I must have had breakfast and checked out.
Had a cell phone then, 2003. I called David's number and told him I didn't know where I was. He talked me through recalling the few days and week. I remembered the lunch date and was able to get through it ok.
Back home late that day I felt pretty scared and thought I could lose my mind if I weren't careful. Tried to really sleep a lot and rest a lot next few days but could not, at least it seemed, felt, impossible to really sink into. Somehow the experience drifted away and I was able to simply remember it.
So----cheery greetings from starbucks on my day off. Hope I didn't pull you too far down if you've read this far! Is Miller essentially your best friend there so far as confidences go in a periodic get-together?
Wow. Your blackout was far more extreme than any of the confusions I've experienced. I get disoriented, but only for about 10 seconds before I am
able to re-orient myself. I can well understand how your experience would really leave you shaken for days. I'm sure it was caused by the new stress on you caused by Va's sudden, near catastrophic illness. It had to have been a whole wave of uncertainty and stress that your body had never experienced before, at least not to that degree. You were probably like someone who was used to walking in some minor, shallow surf but suddenly got hit by a tidal wave.
My initial reaction to Peg's illness was not nearly so stressful because neither she nor I really realized what would be coming. Instead it has taken me time to find out how disorienting her constant loud hacking, spitting up mucus, and coughing is, especially when we're confined in a car. Frankly I get very angry and wish she would just shut the fuck up, but of course she can't help it so I say nothing. But I seethe in silence, and when we get home I have to go downstairs and get away from her and the hacking and coughing as best I can. (Thank god, she can sleep at night without coughing. If she were to start coughing throughout the night I don't know what I would do. Currently she coughs a lot at night, but I can close a door to the bedroom and get away from it, and it's all over when she comes upstairs to bed.
What will I do when she dies? Truthfully, I haven't really thought about it other than I know I would have a huge hassle trying to get rid of all her stuff in this overstuffed house. And because we're not married, I might have to pay some heavy inheritance/estate taxes. Would I sell this house and move somewhere? I think so. I'd like to have a small apartment in a nice building in an urban environment, but I don't know where that would be. Overall, I just dread all the hassles and hope I can survive them without going crazy.
Once I relocated what would I do with my life? Probably go to the movies more often and eat more frozen dinners. Other than that, I can't think of anything. I doubt that I would take up writing or any other "art" in any meaningful way. I also doubt that I would get involved in any "senior activities." So I guess I would probably just exist until I croaked.
Paul Sloan: Like so many people he's good at some events, but not so good at many others. He is also better at the shallow end of the pool than in deeper water, although he's certainly not an idiot and does a fairly good job at staying well informed about politics and current events. In fact I'm
going to have lunch with him tomorrow. He wants to show me some art work that he has framed for the artist, a woman who lives in Domenica. John met her several years ago and, for some reason, sends her money and does things for her. I'm not sure why and, as often with John, I don't inquire too deeply about things he does. In fact when we get together, I usually just agree with whatever he says. Since he's a pretty reasonable guy and never says anything too outrageous, it's easy to just tell him he's right and keep any additional thoughts to myself. In fact, I actually agree with him more than I do with some of my friends from Peace Corps days. They are far more politically correct than I am. In fact, like most people, I never agree completely with anyone. Is that alienation? Perhaps.
BTW. Because I can't stand reading contemporary news or fiction, I've started re-reading stuff I read years ago. I've started with Susan Sontag's "Illness as Metaphor," and, I did 30 years ago, find her both intelligent and well informed. I particularly like her point that in the late 18th and early 19th century in Europe and America invadalism became a virtue, a sign of higher sensibility. Have you read her book? I read it when it was first published in the '70s. I also read her book about photography, and about ten years ago I read her novel about 18th century Naples which was more like a historical lecture than a novel.
P --------------
Interesting how with Dennis there has been no similar exchange, either in email or live. I am curious to read Sontag now. He’s mentioned her a couple of times. She is born in ’33, Mosley in ’23.
Randy the same. Doing well. Went through classic alcoholic crash and burn just as he was leaving UConn to look for a job at Keene. Week in psych ward and then a month in a rehab village. Wife Holly of five years left him then. Mother of his children not dealing with him well these days, twins at psu in art, other daughter a junior here in high school. He’s on sabbatical, plans to ride his motocycle up through Nova Scotia. Doing a project on the designer, unknown perhaps, of the font for the interstate highway system signs. Something of a historian it would seem. Folder through of stuff I had given him over the years. Wanted forgiveness (not that word) for having run away from our friendship, wants to reconnect. Looks good, keeps fit riding his trail bikes. 51 years old. Mentioned the
young woman who brought the harassment charges. This would have been in the early ‘90s. I think he said he graduated in ’94 (’95 officially). Made clothes in Campton for four years before applying to Yale and getting in. Forgot to ask him if he has any news about Naomi. He likes the AA support system, way of life, “cult” experience as he himself joked. Six years dry and now more intensive about really doing the steps deeply. Hence the practice of amends. As an old confessional type myself, wonder if the temptation is great to invent amends that need to be made? Would seem logical, given the history of confessional practices through the ages. Saw me as being pretty crazy in my ways, a master “grazer” of all things cultural. We both had light salads. It was good talking with him and I think we both enjoyed that feeling of warmth renewed in a personal way. He’s been on treatment (lithium) for bi-polar disorder since he was 38. Jenn Ott got him a consulting project for the Guggenheim; she was with them somehow then. Not sure what year. Her name shows up with a design website. LLC in San Francisco. Randy’s site I’ve not looked at yet.
This visit would resonate well with the divine double book. I guess. Not sure yet. Just finished the chapter on syzygies and mirrors.
Ironed clothes for tomorrow’s overnight in Portsmouth. Sunday 30 June
Barb and Ed left around 11. Thurs and Friday at Wentworth lovely. Willow’s heel bugging her, icing it while watching Grand Hotel. Packing for T. Barb gave us her take on priestly pedophilia and I think this time I got it. Will explain later. Ed gave me his ms on the Wm James rewrite. Also later. Lots of rain past few days. Fan on in the basement.
------------ week in Toronto, to and fro -------
evening July 11
Penned a letter to the manager at The Equinox. See if any results result.

Comment on Jung Nicholas posted which I liked and got me to order the book on Jung’s art. “Methinks as my lunch companion said today the psychologist doth protest too much - beautiful book on Jung’s practice as an artist. A thing he denied being but palpably was. His continued search
for ‘respectability’ as a scientist created an ‘institutional shadow’ that percolates on down through Jungians to this day crimping them.
The artistic, disreputable, spooky shamanistic Jung is much more fun (and I expect wiser)!”
More thoughts later on the whole shadow in one’s life. Heavy rains now. Fans in the basement still drying out rains from two weeks ago. Anne says New Orleans will flood but they went to see baseball with the grandchildren playing in Gulf Shores, AL and so are stuck there for a day or so more.
Concert tonight. Walking in Wally’s we had a short talk about whether we want to look further into assisted living set-ups. Maybe looking for a stay in Abq for this winter is a stage of that. We really can’t decide on how to proceed or if we even want to. At this point.
What about this impulsive trip to Toronto? It came right after a rush of visits and get-togethers with people. Both planned and spontaneous. The trip was a test of some sort, various sorts. I wanted to see what driving would be like, were we to undertake other trips via driving. Found out what that is like. And how tiring it is, just like all other forms of travel. We got back home on Monday afternoon but it feels like today we are finally settling into being back full force. Yesterday Va had the PEO meeting and I did errandy things, mailing off Dave’s merchandise. Just now I hung up five pairs of devas and a few shirts. Progress on straightening the house before the kids get here in maybe three weeks.
Beautiful weather yesterday and today. Breezy too. Glorious. 7:30 pm Sunday July 14 Text from Davey saying they are packing their bags. Nice almost high tea yesterday here with K and C.
16th night “Il se laisse faire.” He lets himself be done. Besson in Paul Darrigrand Location 475 After today’s email from Phil about how our lives have sputtered along through the years, I could use this line about my story, maybe about his story. In one re-writing I am imagining a chain of “what-ifs” with which to torment myself. Worry beads. Did I want to become an English teacher? What I wanted so vaguely first was to be an architect---or somehow to enter the world of Wright’s beautiful drawings and photographs, and of his talk about transcendentalism and architetural vision. I encountered him in books from the library. I had no idea what it
all was but that was the awakening of wanting to become like that. The world around me had no idea of what that was, had no way to encourage that or help me to find it. And I had no notion of how to find a path in that direction, apart from asking Taliesin if you could study there and still be Catholic. Mother and Bro R “wanted” me to become a phd in English and an English teacher. “That’s too bad, he would make a fine teacher.” Bro R said that to John S and he passed it on to me and I was stupified that he had given it thought, had given me notice, and cared or pretended to care. What if I had written to Carnegie Mellon and said hey how do I become an architect?
18 July
Booked a place in Abq last night. Va and Eliz had a bad time Tuesday, forgot to put on the brace after swimming and Va walked all over the place and Eliz had to get wheelchairs and they were upset but managed and finally realized the error and all was ok. But Willow was shaken by the experience.
So yesterday it was raining in the morning and we took a s/no day off as Mrs Sloth and Mr Slug. Went to Lebanon looking for a plant, hibiscus, didn’t find it. Had a fine lunch at 3 Tomatoes.
Having the place booked in Abq feels good. See if anyone shows us anything about it that we hadn’t noticed or thought of. I think I like the location, up in the heights closer to the mountain rather than down on the valley or the west mesa. We’ll see. Quick view of other places once more convinces me (for now) that what we found (in a vision last night!) is good. Has the right look and vibe and address---Oso Grande!
19 July Friday
Willow swimming with E and her grands. Quite a visit yesterday with Michael, Jamie and their eleven year old twins, Sammy and Noah. Thirty years since M was here, he’s fifty-two. Very vibrant and fascinating still. Jamie five or so years older, pure California like Sylvelin. Long gray hair, thin, also energized and wonderful. Lunch at Chase after talking for about two hours. They went off to float on the river up around Mad River.
Still feels good to have booked the winter place. Can run wild with imagined events there. Explorations. Hook the mind needs to do the every day. In summer it always feels like a miracle to read one or two paragraphs of a book. Just read two pages of Stang: beginning chapter on Mani. Surely Jung “got” his notion of shadow from knowing these ancient texts about the divine double. Or is it just another basic pattern of our minds. Here’s Besson pulling into his story “man in the mirror.” Double double, fire burn and cauldron bubble. Toil and trouble too, but better as well. C posted on facebook that the crew spent a day at the Phila museum of art. Having fun. I guess Dave’s Grape Room gig will be on this super-hot weekend, terrible heat dome over the whole East. Yes funkabopulation happens Saturday night in Manayunk.
His talent manifest from an early age was not for a specific focus of activity or art. He did not become a writer or musician from the age of ten or twelve. Rather around that time of awakening his genius was to embrace in nascent terms the unknowing of the mystic without having any training or teaching that led him forward in this direction. It was a pure flowering of gift, mirror to those more usual developments of passion for art, for machinery, for saving lives, for singing or exceling at sports, but it was the opposite of those focused vocations, it was a realization without conscious realization that anything he experienced or chose to pursue would be a temporary phase, a satisfying pursuit, but only for a while. Perhaps some would call it an inborn tragic sense of life. Much later in his life he could see by looking backwards that it had drawn him along through a number of ephemeral chapters of interest. He had been interested in so many things over the years and had undertaken any number of projects. But his underlying comprehension had always been that none of them would do, none of them were the primary experience. The unknowingness was what held it all together, the paradoxical sense of yes-no, this-that, not this-not that, the gain-loss, the fugitive-search at the heart of all human desire.
Monday July 22
Breakfast at Plain Jane’s yesterday morning with Richard and Kathy and group. Sam working there this summer. Dave just texted that they are going to the shore for two nights this week. We can expect them here August 3rd. Rain coming here soon for overnight. Bed in this room almost clear, everything folded and put away. May lunch with Chris C in St Johnsbury tomorrow. If so, he will clear up everything!! Have been
listening to the Platters singing Smoke Gets in Your Eyes. That song hit me when I was 12-14?
Jerome Kern’s lyrics and the feeling of the song expressed captured the awakenings as mingled with religiosities. Still like Dawe’s lyric
“true lovers always end up lonely because they know how good it could be.”

Otto Harbach---Danish origin, wrote the lyrics for Jerome Kern’s song--1933---Baby,
They asked me how I knew

My true love was true
I of course replied, "Something here inside Cannot be denied"
They said someday you'll find All who love are blind

When your heart's on fire
You must realize
Smoke gets in your eyes
So I chaffed them and I gaily laughed To think they could doubt my love Yet today, my love has flown away

I am without my love
Now laughing friends deride Tears I cannot hide
So I smile and say,
"When a lovely flame dies, Smoke gets in your eyes" Smoke gets in your eyes 
I played that song over and over until one evening Dad came to my room and said play another record. Also played Johnny Mathis’s Misty and a few others of his hits.
24 July Weds St Johnsbury yesterday. Sort of dreamlike, surreal, fascinating, lunch with Chris and chat with Andy beforehand by surprise in the bookstore. Off to Manchester now to look into wheelchairs and walkers. Sunny and nice. Not hot.
26 July Friday
Still beautiful weather. Late afternoon.

When Chris and I walked into the Thai restaurant there was the golden Buddha in a large photo on the wall, next to a shrine arrangement of vessels on a shelf, flowers, decorations in gold paper, maybe an electric candle. I should have taken a photo. I had run into his son Andy about a hour before in the bookstore and that was perfect because I said a bunch of random things about Paris and gay friends and time passing and asked Andy about his plans now. He had worked as a nanny for a family on rue Martyrs.
Soon as I sat upstairs in the Octagon House outside Chris’s office it all took on a more dreamlike quality. Had I been there before, to see Chris ten years ago or someone else? He looked a calm and happy 57 years old. 15 years younger. Graduated in 1984 or 6? Two key tales struck me as totally familiar in vague ways---that at the spring fling drunken event at Bear Brook Camp site his roomate had killed his friend by hitting a bunch of cyclists on the road. The main trauma of Chris’s years at that age. Before that had been getting an old friend from high school pregnant in a one- night surprise hook-up that never was going to have happened until it just did. The three of them talked it out and agreed that the woman and her boyfriend would raise the child and Chris would disappear. Eighteen years later the daughter found him and they hit it off, recognized similarities in genetic heritage at once, hair color, skin and sense of humor. He introduced her to his wife and three sons and they all now have good extended family relationships. After lunch we were in Chris’s car back at the office parking lot and he showed me a clip of Andy’s strip-tease act. The proud dad of a show-biz star-to-be, maybe. I loved looking around St J’s briefly before and after lunch. Such a magnificent geographical setting with a great collection of buildings. On the way home I stopped at Gordi’s to see Dawson. All the waiter guys were resting, getting ready for the 4pm opening. Dawson bar tending. He had arrived a week ago. Appendicitis a month ago in Barça. Photo of his bride, few lines about how weird Malta is, they took a short trip there to celebrate. Real i.e. family and friends ceremony will be next year after his doctorate is secured. Showed me the app he’s licensing as an offshoot of it---a mapping of languages. Been asked to a linguistics conference in Lisbon for the fall. Had I been in Octagon house before just to see it as a tourist? Or had I indeed waited in the upstairs circular hall for a door to open and then met with Chris or someone else there? All very dreamlike. The golden Buddha of Bangkok
now the key image shaping the story of the past five months---end of March to end of July. The Bali trip was a sort of spiritual retreat to prepare us for the meetings with all the people who have come through our lives since. Glenn the sculptor in Georgia started things off the day we visited the Hindu temples in Denpasar and later he told us about Toursbylocals. Saved the trip. Once we were back let’s see---Dennis’s visit for a week but before him the angels of May, Adam and Matthew and Michael, then Dennis, and Dick Mertens and Johanna, who sent us to Toronto. Michale Keller and Jamie and Sammy and Noah. Helen just a night ago. Now I know I’m forgetting someone. Well, the two groups---anniversary group for Wentworth-by-the-sea and artsy group for breakfast at Plain Jane’s last Sunday. K and C for high tea, Pattie for similar a few weeks earlier. Barb and Ed and the dogs for the overnight just before Toronto. There our guide the Dutchman, Leon, who met his Canadian bride in Puna, Peru, she was the traveler, he the guide. Channelings of all sorts over these five months. Michael K is fifty-two. Chris is 57. Dawson is 37. He sold his house in Holderness. Chris is retired from the Annie E Casey foundation as a social worker and now works three days a week on his own. He didn’t get his masters until he was forty. Right after Plymouth he had a rough ten years because of the death of his friend, also had other issues and problems from before that, including recovering from Catholcism. Grew up in Bedford, Quebec on his mother’s side and English on his father’s. Landed gentry from Durham who came in the 1700s, had money because the land had Coal pits!! His oldest, Nathan, and his wife, live in the big house with Chris and Becky, works as a blacksmith. Middle son Nathan is an artist and tattooist. Oh, Randy’s visit. Of course. His stood out because of the Amends issue. He posted photos later of his motorcycle and his solo trip up through Nova Scotia. “Our Divine Double” has been one text behind all of this, inching my way through it and yet not able to summarize it very well for Helen the other morning. No matter. Now in the chapter on Mani.
That book, by Stang, and the novels of Besson. Dinner with Patsy and Doug next week in Randolph/Gorham will complete the Spring Season and Dave and family arrive next weekend. The chapters, the chapters, the years, the years.
Tuesday 30 July
Quietest day off yet this year. Read for a few hours and chilled. Nice. May prove this is still the best May have finished with Mosley or at least for a while. His book in religion and experience is pretty dated in parts---the
Freud and Jung influences. Took note of a few phrases -- what is best about his overall arc is that he moves through his focus on paradox and either-or and comes out at the end, in the later works, with
discovering listening learning exp 145 mystics felt immensity
ascetics cut-off to partake wider

m vs w carrier of paradoxes 88
in self-hatred and asceticism when he felt despair. rel and experience 83

his division of the roles of men and women would not fly now (but should it, still? men must be solitary and committed to be the carrier of paradoxes in order to effect change and women must be free enough to accept and honor this in their partners (about marriage as the sacred place where real change, growth can happen in the christian hope of redemption. vs
same old world imprisonments of order and tribe.

found one negative review that marveled that Catastrophe Practice had ever found a publisher, so impossible to comprehend is it.
Finished Besson’s Paul Darrigrand and found it usual and disappointing. Oh well, so he is not my new big favorite writer. Might still try another. Could go back to Shantaram, and back to Sodom and Gomorrah. On page 165 of that one and could load it onto the kindle.
2 August night
Kids arrived last night, their anniversary, ten years from the Conway wedding. Had a great time in Philly, the shore and NYC where they saw Wicked. Stayed with Lindsay and Ian in Kingston, others before that.
Last night the concert series ended with Misha Dicter playing Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody. Wild audience approval. Night before we met Doug and Patsy at their cabin and then had a fabulous dinner at Salt in Gorham. We spent the night at the Coos Motor Inn in Lancaster. I slept badly because I had eaten so much during the whole day.
Today we lunched around 2 at Docks. Hot but dry and the air is really pleasant now. Fam is off to meet Micah’s crew early in the morning at the beach. They all leave for Hermit Island and our crew is not going this year. [yay!] We slept downstairs last night but I moved us back up here for the rest of the visit. Everyone watching Pocohantas 2 right now.
Jim called around noon. He had a bad fall about five weeks ago, Anne was in Toronto. {!} He did about a week in the hospital and another week or two at a care home. Back together now and better. His fifth book is going to press in a few weeks. Jesus’s Dog.
Sunday 11 August
Great gig yesterday at Mt Alto. Emma helped sing the last song. Videos posted. Loading dock evening went well. Dinner with Kathy and John. Chris brought his family to the gig and I was sorry we were late because we chatted at the break and then they went on. Music was quite painful to my years even with fresh silicone plugs. Reverberations in the old concrete warehouse. Emma at lunch the other day: If Voltaire and Napoleon could have a conversation what would they talk about? Hmm, she pondered briefly. Napoleon has armies. Then light-bulb. “Justice!” she proclaimed. They would talk about justice! We were all super-proud and in marvel mode with big smiles. A few months back she had watched a long documentary on tv about Voltaire at Annie’s place. Here she drew from a photo on Bela’s desk a copy of David’s portrait of Napoleon.
First week has been a delightful blur. Story Land a big hit once again, day after the Littleton gig and over night. We were really tired, me by the sun and heat too, so we dozed through the day pretty much and left a little early. Poor Bela sat in the rented wheelchair most of the day too.
Yesterday the weather was great and after the mid-day gig we walked on the pemi bridge. It works so well we have to do it more often.

15 August
Tomorrow the Finale of theater camp. Kids have been excited and exhausted all week by it. Last evening we dined at Gypsy Cafe. Today we lazed, went to the dump, lunched here, walked the Pemi bridge and caught up on tv. Fam this evening with Micky’s fam at a campground in Campton.
Printed out the May Itinerary to scan that and line up the spring calendar.A month between Albuquerque and Athens. Paris after Athens or before Istanbul? Much more to work out about Abq too.
Kids are so darling and cute. Can’t bottle them, can’t capture them. Photos a weak technique, videos even weaker even though live action. Not enough time actually spent with them, overhearing them play on their own.
Talking about anything, nothing. Harder and harder to manage that with anyone.

18 August evening Sunday
Kids out all day boating on Squam and then birthday for Leif. Yesterday a birthday party at Eatons. Dinner last night at Catrina’s, in Ashland, which turns out to be owned by the guy who has El Centennario in Wolfeboro and El Charro in Lincoln. Food was not as good as it should have been. We’ve eaten out quite a number of times the past two weeks.
Everything seems blurred and ennervated. Doesn’t help that humidity returned today after a beautiful stretch of perfect summer weather. To get some balance back I’m about to pick up Proust again and resume reading him. Not even sure where I dropped out but I think it was in the early pages of the Sodom and Gomorrah volume. Tired of Mosley for a while but did want to copy his sentence on Sade because it is the clearest comment that made sense I’ve run across: “Pornography often contains a philosophy of life in which the world is described as logically deceptive and brutal; even the theory (and this is important) that brutality is the only way to make real the concepts of order, single-mindedness and consistency (de Sade).” 110 The show called Fleabag could use this line. We finished it last night, the second season, and it is quite good. Also watched a lot of other shows.
That helps de-center the whole sense of things too. Va woke up having composed the opening paragraphs of the paper on Valle and Ruskin she’s been stewing for over two years. Getting back to books burned into our cells by the drawing close of summer and preparing for school.
Another former student message via facebook after I re-posted a thing on men and depression. Greg Shelton. Summer for former students saying hello. Now if only Ryan would really show up at Rek-lis on Monday evening. Not counting on it. Just interesting what one thinks one wants.
Kids have also begun final laundry and begun packing, so that marks the beginning of the farewells. That empty feeling anticipates its arrival. I read the intro to James’ Portrait of a Lady thinking I might read it (because Greg likes it so much. Can I read James again? do I want to? why? why not?). And I read the first passage about high tea on the kindle. That’s as far as I’ve gotten. When did I read the book, was it at Anselm Hall? Was it in grad school at Chicago? or at Maryland? If I did get into it, would it remind me of those years and how depressed I was off and on?
Have to retell what Dave has told us--this morning for instance about the gender reveal parties. And before that about other indicators of the world now. Also other former student tales gathered over the past few months. Paul Moran and Sean Gagnon got in touch, both from the sex and death course years and each with surprising or not so surprising discussions. Who else will come forward? Some sense that someone else is about to show, if not Ryan, but who? Greg S a surprise. He said he struggled with mental illness over the years. Now has a new fiancé who is wonderful.
Monday 19 Aug
Quiet home day. Beautiful outside but hot. C is packing, D prepping for the gig tonight. Willow reading, kids playing. Do I dare read for a few minutes? When four people live with you the miracles seem to be running water, indoor septic, unlimited electrical power, hot and cold settings, food.
C went to a gender reveal party where the cake is cut and the color of the jelly beans inside tell everyone, including the parents, what gender the baby will be. So the hospital sends the message to the baker! Second such party was more of a surprise because instead of jelly beans they had candles on the cake which were to be red or blue. The flame looked to everyone to be purple, videos show their astonished and agast faces and the irritation of the mother, who already has two sons, looking with disgust and assuring everyone that the flame is blue, can’t they see. Her hopes for a girl dashed. In front of everyone and on video too. Can I find Temple Mogra soap on Amazon? Yes, of course, there it is, the precise bar that Pryana gave us in Mumbai as a token on our tour with her. Why am I not more compelled to finish reading Shantaram? As detailed and interesting as it is at one level, it doesn’t have somehow an overarching promise that yet appeals. But meanwhile I will pick up the tale of Mani and the search for the divine double. The back stories of the revelations of the surviving codices is an
adventure tale in its own right. The Cologne Mani discovered in 1969, “no bigger than a matchbox.” The intense care and unfolding of it, the scholarly translation and interpretations of it. And the ways Stang finds it indispensable for his whole argument. Talk about conspiracy theories or something like them----glimpses and researches into historical sources and intricates waves of thought and belief which nevertheless got written down and rediscovered centuries later. As Proustean as possible, to some tenth power. Or something. Including Mani’s “conversion of a hermit covered entirely in hair.” 165 And the darn invention of monasticism over and over again in history all over the place: “Alchasai was a Christian who assumed the title “Hidden Power” and established in Mesopotamia an exclusively male, celibate community centered around repeated ritual baptism. Mani was probably raised in a third -century community descended from Alchasai’s original [first-century] community.” 166 In other words, scholars revel in the knowledge that behind any given slogan being used in today’s church sermonizing, lies a vast grand canyon of ancient and modern meanderings of human invention about what words to use next to truly reveal the nature of God and man, man and God, man as non-believer, man as lost in the cosmos creature who had no clue whither the cosmos or himself before or after consciousness.
21 August Wednesday 12:47 Thunderstorm. C is detangling Emma’s hair. Plan is to have nails done, lunch at Uno’s and bid our farewells. Their Icelandic flight at 9 tonight. Travelers in high anticipatory elational-frazzle. We will feel abaondoned once more. Last night we dined well at Ledge Water and the skies were perfect Maxfield Parrish over the lake.
24 August Saturday night
Va watching Cable Girls. I took a forty minute walk this morning and my calves later said, hey, you’ve ot walked hills much in the past year! Yesterday the dermatologist in Hanover. He lanced and numbed the boil. Scraped a spot on my cheek too for testing. Go back in three weeks.
Found a great passage on Proust that I will post in hopes of obliquely convincing Nicholas that he should read Proust after all. Also aligns with my desire to use/find such language and permission about Proust.
Ann Tukey The French Review Vol XLII No.3 February 1969 “Notes on Involuntary Memory in Proust”
“In the search for comparisons and analogies to explain Proust, critics have sometimes used the word “mystic” or “mystical” to evaluate actions by Marcel the protagonist, by other characters in A la recherche du temps perdu, or by Proust the author René Girard writes of the character Marcel that he “yearns after a kind of mystical union with a pseudo divinity,” and the author Proust himself is pursuing a “mystical goal.” Girard describes the primary experiences of the novel in terms of “vision,” “transcendence,” “ecstatic moments of peace,” “spritual emptiness and ennui,” and “reseurrection” (in memory).”
Albert Thibaudet labels Marcel Proust as a “mystic of ‘society,’”, as compared with Valéry, the “mystic of pure poetry,” and he continues Yet it was a veritable transport of love, analogous to the mystic’s transport, that made Proust yearn with his whole being, body and soul, toward the God of ‘society’ life, the God desired in the ardor of youth, and finally embraced by passionate arms reaching out, one from Swann’s way, the other from the Guermantes way.
For Eliott Coleman, involuntary memory is “a religious experience which the narrator cannot consciously or intellectually realize but which becomes real in his art.” Coleman sees the novel as an effort toward the “recreation of a religious impulse.”
What a great passage for my purposes as well. Perhaps I should find and read the whole article. Looks like I can read it for free online. Jstor
Unfortunately, as suspected, Ann Tukey sets up her essay as as to conclude that using the term “mystical” is not quite right, does not align sufficiently with all that William James says it needs to involve. Like any critical analogy this one has its limits. “Involuntary memory” is not accurately described as “mystic” because this term does not “definitively summarize the intellectual nature and aesthetic value of involuntary memory in Proust”
Ok, she has her thesis, her pubishable article and then got her degree. But oh they do, Dr Tukey, the do. Proust is indeed a mystic and in many more ways that outline here. For my purposes (Nicholas) the quote from Girard is the one I needed most, so thank you very much.
29 August
Thursday afternoon. Gorgeous and breezy. We walked at docks. Willow napping, I’m digging out stuff for the yard sale.
Two book suggestions over the past two days. Nicholas listed White’s Riders in the Chariot on twitter, so I got it and have started it. Have a copy from years before somewhere, cover looks familiar. Phil Hart texted the suggestion of Memory by Douglas Westlake. Says he’s read over a hundred of his books, writes under two other names also---Cole and Stark. Started Memory last night. Noir and funny. Like it so far.
One epigraph in White strikes a note: passage from Blake where he talks about dining with Isaiah and Ezekiel. “I then asked Ezekiel why he ate dung, & lay so long on his right & left side? he answer’d, ‘The desire of raising other men into a perception of the infinite: this the North American tribes practise, & is he honest who resists his genius or conscience only for the sake of present ease or gratification?””
Has me wondering all over about days off notions and ventures. Maybe the Polish Princess was closed for a reason? I can look up a decent bakery in Boarding House Square too.
Friday the 30th
Email from Nate, he says he forgot an earlier post from months ago. Lunch over next few weeks? What year did he graduate? Maybe Randy’s generation?
Bright morning. Willow swimming, on the dump run and walk. Labor Day weekend. Really good Spanish movie last night had us up late. Cruz and Bardem in a traditional family revenge melodrama, famous Iranian director, tightly controlled, beautiful, filmed just outside of Madrid, Torrelaguna, which we must have visited, for sure. All looks so familiar. Great use of the old house. Liking Westlake’s tightly controlled noir mystery tale. Picture book on Modiano’s Paris arrived. Timed myself, managed to walk a full 35-37 minutes in the hot morning sunshine up and down Main Street. Picked up a sandwich and nice chat with Sky about his days as a painter, painting major, graduated from PSU after having started in Maine (I think). He had both Annette and Chris. Degree in 2006 or 2008. George in the cafe with a buddy in a big white beard. Gave him a poke in the ribs. He had his hospital scare last weekend, night in
Dartmouth, Pattie drove him home. Sure he’s scared now. Moved his yard sale to the town-wide date. Same as we will do for PEO sale. This weather, at least a few hours earlier, feels like “mystical weather” in the sense that when it is so dry and gorgeous there is more oxygen in the air than we can absorb and so we feel high in some way inexplicable. Or maybe it is just something else running through us in imagination, thoughts, emotions, encounters. As soon as it seems there might be a visit or a lunch, I am a goner. Nate the next example. Oh well. Mystical timing to his message this morning, so there it is. I so often mistake coincidence or any sort for the mystical. Must show up as a flaw in someone’s novel. “It would be a disappointment, he told himself. Another disappointment.” Westlake at 29% on the kindle. Seems foolish to note it like that. Cole, the character, is depressed and alone and has lost most of his memory. Just like Drew and Franco on GH!!! The ladies are still out, 12:17 and it feels like too much luxury to keep reading and reading. Threw some white into the washer, did a little of this and that. Gradually straightening, cleaning, remembering how delightful it was to have the kids here such a short time yet such a tiring and intense time too. But the best tiring and now I miss it. Reading is nice but it is not everything. Because of Stang’s book I am looking at everything through mirrored glasses. (I thought of Inchausti as looking at everything through rose-window-tinted glasses because he gives Tarantino’s new movie such a redemptive interpretation.) “It is precisely by encountering a mirror in which one learns that the image (appearance) one perceives is itself the archetyype (reality) that one begins to know oneself at all, that is, to know oneself as two. Such a mirror does more than reflect: it reverses the priority between image and archetype.” Stang 169 So talking with Sky this morning, was that a “mirror experience” if such a thing exists? Is there some mystical angle whereby one develops mirror- tinted glasses and so experiences other people as this mirroring exploration of knowing and unknowing? Could we develop or be given syzygos-tinted vision/glasses?
Saturday August 31
Memory is brilliant, creepy, mysterious. Just half way and relieved as heck that Cole has made it to NY.
Sunday night September 1 Let the New Year begin!! Sure does feel good to be walking every morning for over twenty minutes. We got most of the yard sale designated. Found a painting of Marcelo Iván Wielikosieleki had
brought to us. I photographed it and posted it on Instagram. Looked him up and found he had published a selected poetry volume not too many years ago. Also on YouTube doing a series on movies for a Sabatini Museum. Should I sell his painting? Have gone back and forth about that. Neither of us really like the painting that much but it might qualify as “raw vision.” For some reason thinking about Iván a lot today I also thought of João. Wonder why?
2 Sept Listening to Memory. Explicit imagery of Cole now feeling he is Double.!!!!
Highway south gridlock around 1pm from Tilton to Ashland as we headed back home from having a manicure for Va. Rain all day.
Great passage in Memory: “The days passed glacially, and slowly a routine of living emerged, a pattern of movement and rest within which waiting was bearable, though sometimes he startled himself out of reverie with the realization that he had been forgetting what he was waiting for. Rebirthm, it was, nothing less. He thought of himself sometimes as a kind of double image as seen through binoculars, two Paul Coles somewhat overlapping but neither substantial, so that a watcher could see through him. When the binoculars were adjusted, when the two images were brought together and matched, he would be himself again. In the meantime, what else was there to do but wait, and what else could he do while waiting but mark out the perimeter of the small circle he trod?”
This goes so well with Stang and also the whole book goes so well with Mosley. Cole is an actor of course. Catastrophe Practice.
5 September Thursday We got to Tracy’s and found we had the wrong day. We though today was tomorrow! Walked a little at the docks.
Falling deeply into the Westlake rabbit hole. Listening to Hot Rock on earphones most of the day and laughing a lot. Reading some of The Ax. Giving myself permission to go ahead and read him, Westlake. Found out easily enough last night that yes he did for sure have a catholic childhood and high school, Vincennes brothers in Albany. Hart scoffed his laughter on text that gee he just enjoys the books. Doesn’t need to go digging into the bio. Phil is the one who put two and two together and speculated correctly about the catholicism. Paul, Westlake’s son, and someone else,
maintain two blogs about him. Plus there is the editor at Chicago press who I have been following before finding out he is a Westlake fan and backer, bringing out a collection at Chicago this year.
quote from Memory (gave me pause)
“What sort of a useless stupid appendix of the emotions is desire, what has desire ever done for anybody but turn him into an embarrassing fool? How can you want to be an actor? You are or you aren’t, and ninety-nine percent of them coming through the door are not. But then there’s the one who is.””
— Memory (Hard Case Crime Book 64) by Donald E. Westlake
“I keep them on all my birds, on all the rare ones with wings; I have one for you. I’m a midwife, Paul, I’m a teacher. What do you think a teacher is?””
Can’t find copy of that passage I think I sent to Phil---strange email seems to disappear at times.
Significant to have Hart move from assigning Dennis Cooper and Genet to Westlake. If only . . . .
6 September Friday, the Friday before the yard sale !
Advice on Slate today---style and tone so different from x number of years ago, and meaning of terms also fluid. “Rich: Totally. And it really doesn’t have to be a huge life shift here—you can subscribe as much or as little to the hallmarks of queer culture as you want and still pursue same-sex experiences or just enjoy them from afar.”
Refresh salon today. Gave Louis, JL, bag of Cobra swag at BurritoMe. Told him to look into The performance venue in Littleton. The Loading Dock. Loaded the wagon with big items for tomorrow’s big event. Fingers crossed rain won’t amount to much at 7:30 am. More all day on and off on Audible with Westlake’s Hot Rock. Accept the notion that he is our Proust and enjoy him as much as possible? Definitely funny. And consummate wordsmith in his own self-discovered ways. Fresh even while using all the memes and gimmicks of the genres he borrows so blatantly from.
Can I get into as much and enjoy Patrick White’s big novel?? Chariot. Give it a try also.
At the end of Dave’s gig at Rek-lis few weeks back I saw a flirtation that could have been in Proust. Least that’s how I interpreted it. Young man all in black with heavy black hair and beard had been seated on the deck with the band all by himself. Had a beer or two. Greeted both Brendan and Jared with friendly hugs and shakes when he arrived, so they knew him well. After the gig, I was back down on the ground where the whole group had been seated, everyone now scattered and waiting to see how departures were to play out. The fellow in black came up to Dave who was by himself sorting through equipment at the rail of the deck. They chatted and then Dave held up some t-shirts and Doug (his name as I found out later) pulled off his black t-shirt and put on one of the Cobra shirts. They laughed and agreed it was too small, probably a medium. So Doug pulls off the shirt and jokes “being shirtless for a minute is not going to be any more strange than lots of other things that have happened here tonight.” He and Dave chuckled and Dave gave him the larger shirt, which he tried on and kept on. I was struck by how close he stood and how head-on the display of his chest, no slight turn of modesty or shyness. Later I asked Dave what all they had said (so I could record the comments accurately here) and who he was. He didn’t know. Local, from Plymouth. Knew Jared. Later found out he’s a rock climber, and hiker, climber. Now my sense of the whole thing might be entirely my (mis-)reading, and a generationalist mis-reading. I thought Dave’s chuckle had a slight edge of discomfort to it. But again, we had all had a few beers, so perceptions wobbly by the general excitement of the evening. Why not just a fan’s high excitement, scenes common at rock concerts worldwide, my own lack of experience in general. That’s how I saw it thought. Thought of Jupien and the baron right off. There I am again, forcing real events, to conform to literary templates.
Watched some videos on eczema on youtube while waiting in the salon and wonder now if I’m ready to flip over wholly into Keto!!!!!???? Years ago in overeaters anonymous there were those who swore the only way to recovery was to eat only protein! I balked. And yet here we are, the whole segment of the population crazed enough now to say Keto is the Only Way to go!! Even Rob Stuart on youtube has gone over to keto after his eight or nine year journey of health to rid himself of eczema. Now is that his food obsessiveness finding “the next way to change & reboot” or is his inner bodily wisdom now so finely attuned that he has found what is right for him? His videos do say this and say x or y is not necessarily the way for everyone.
Reading some of The Ax. So good at that voice, compelling, driving, convincing and yet anxious and dissheveled if a voice can be like that.
Sat up early for the yard sale. Almost over now. Nice day. What is it with the Wizard of Oz? everywhere it seems. Anniversary of it or what? Same with the topic on my mood past few months. “He was in nearly perfect tune with the algorithms that governed the age.” Or something. That obsessive worry-interest-concern now shows up on slate in a silly q&a and they point out cnn did a similar piece ten years ago. So, if the pop sites do it every ten years or so the lower levels are talking about it much much more and it is as common as apple pie as well. Everyone knows this and no one talks much about it. Cause what is there to say? Now the apps and phones make it all easier perhaps. Or pretend to. Meanwhile how much looking into it should I do with my foot, my toe with the corn under it? After a walk like right now it does throb and hurt. But any more or less so than? Now I’m going keto just to keep up with everyone. But ain’t gonna do blood testing or urine testing or such. Too old for that. For everything. Dortmunder my new guide to all the silliness of the times. If I read back and forth between White and Westlake I can hover in between them, as I do best.
Blessed nap. Big party over at Bucklands this evening. Hordes of freshies looking for it. Yard sale over and successful. Better socializing for Willow ths year. Did not put out my old canvases but digging them out of the attic felt like some achievement. Found three to hang on to and possibly hang somewhere around the manse.
Monday Sept 9
Spa day yesterday morning. Walked the bridge in Littleton and lunched at Miller’s Tavern. Walk this morning, gorgeous sun, but feet bothering me. Ordering ortho shoes to see how they might work!! gasp Nice phone call with Donald yesterday. Newman being canonized and old acquaintance from div school being cardinalized. Czerny. Docks walk this morning after Randy showed to tune the piano. Got a little cold and windy, by the time we headed home it was warmer. Movie Ken recommended we didn’t like, even though Mindy Kalin wrote it. My feet really hurt early this morning on the walk, using the Vivos. Wore the Allbirds rest of the day and welcoming the cushioning. Hate to give up dogmas.
Tuesday Sept 10
Walked mainly around Centera’s parking lots after sushi lunch. Still got up over 6k for the whole day. Wonderful massage with Jt in White River. He is a true master magician, creative artist, intuitive genius of touch. Willow and Gigi at book group where they choose the list. She doesn’t like Westlake’s The Ax. Didn’t expect her to.
Weds Sept 11
Concord for the brace. Lunch at Panera, chatted with a couple about Spain. He said he is Spanish, later says he was born here, has citizenship through his grandfather. I joked “that doesn’t count” and he didn’t like that but said that’s what my son says too. They live year-round in Ronda, have for four years. Back to take care of her mother for a while. Said you get a health care coverage at the bank, the Caja. Half-regret I didn’t exchange emails with him. They rent and don’t want to buy, same reasons we’ve always had.

Self-analyzing my toe pain, am even ready to concede that a sock might help cut-down the rubbing!! more dogma dying. Finished Westlake’s The Ax, brilliant all the way to the end! Another feature of his Wit and brilliance is how the books end. Too soon in one sense and yet perfectly you see immediately and laugh once again, big, delightful, hearty laugh.
Ordering a few more Westlake books. Is my new fave? How many will I read? Worth it or a craze, competition with PhilH? See how long this lasts. I do love my fazes, phases, crazes, I am nothing if not episodic. Good line in White’s book about even disappointments having meaning and importance. “Even one’s disappointments in the end have a kind of meaning.” Nancy brought to my attention that some hollywood guy has done a remake of the Danish movie I loved so much, “After the Wedding.” Showing for two days in Hanover but no where else. Can’t believe it will be any good but Nancy loved it without having known about the original. Hope she finds the original to watch.
12 September
Night. Willow finishing up the Spanish series 45 RPM. Good day for walking for both of us. Beautiful late afternoon at the docks. Lake as calm as a mirror, liquid with gentle wind ripples. Beautiful sky and clouds.
14 Ha managed to not post anything on the 13th!! I had been thinking that Westlake could be “our Bernhard” and made a tweet to Mitchelmore not very successfully trying to get him interested in Westlake. Haughty Brit he said he didn’t read genre stuff and the “E” put him off. Fuck you, eminent blogger! Today I’m thinking--you know EuroLit would not have needed a Bernhard had they had a deep tradition of hard-boiled mystery pulp. So there!! Bernhard was trying to find a way to write hard-boiled stuff because he hadn’t been able to read much American mystery writing. There’s a new influence theory worth posting. Rainy day. Looking for one of those damned photo file lanyards with the Milner wedding images on it. Maybe I just found it by digging further under the pile of crap on my desk, under this screen! one of those tiny USB gizmos. Supid IT idiots. Put them on a little “wrist bracelet.” How handy. Spent two hours or more just trying to find these wedding photos on a usb key to no avail. Ahh, they will show up some time. Meanwhile we wait patiently and look for another project. Westlake did read some of Proust at least and enjoyed it. Dipped into the Stahl volume and used the Index. He took his hints from his wife. Now I want to read this instead of the novels for a while. Still hold to the enthusiasm of the moment that The Ax is equal to a work by Beckett or Bernhard. Or perhaps just suits me at the moment much more than they can.
Sunday night 15 September
Big day in Manch. Walked the footbridge over the highway and river. Half of it, wisely. Then a big meal at Republic, quite a good one we were happy to say. Said hello to Peter the psc alum manager. Got us home (two beers) and fell into bed for a fine nap. Va watching rest of the spy series. Israeli. Going to be a grim ending for the hero and aready a grim piece, all pale, old photo vintage nostalgia for the hero of the 6 day war. Sent a pensee to Burgo and Phil last evening, no reply from Donald but JP did agree with me.
I wrote: After such a long, tragic, sublime and noble history the Jewish people made the mistake of founding the state of Israel to show that they too could demean themselves enough to become just another Arab nation.
My twisted thoughts in an anti-zionist mood after watching two episodes of Spy on Netflix. written and directed by the Israeli who brought us Homeland. Who has already argued all of this before me??
Phil replied: Great way to describe Israel: just another Arab country. When I was there in '68, it was a different country. I visited a kibbutz and it was very obvious that I was dealing with about 250 cultured, social- minded European Jews who were happy about winning the '67 war but not interested in more territory or in humiliating Arabs. But they were all Western European. Since then the country has filled up with Soviet empire Jews who, like all real Soviets, believe in nothing but power and "realpolitick." Then came a lot more Jews from Moslem countries who resent/fear Moslems and love practicing payback revenge. The final ingredient is a few American Jews like Netanyahu who know that "money talks and bullshit walks." Presto, just another arab/middle eastern

However, tomorrow, Tunisia will have another presidential election - the only Arab country that is actually democratic. Yet there are problems: 26 candidates, none of whom seem particularly suitable. Furthermore, the Tunisian parliament has gotten nothing done for nearly three years, and the country's debt-level keeps climbing precipitously. What does that sound like? Why just another non-European democracy, the US of A of course.
These days I'm trying to figure out if there is a difference between total pessimism about the future and depression.
20 September Friday
After his friend left he found himself going to typology sites to figure out how they could both be INFPs and yet enjoy differences in so many fine points of discernment which grew even more pronounced over the years and more pleasant to realize. One site calls them “the creative seeker” while another site uses no overall title but gives a quotation from Camus to set the tone: ““The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” --Albert Camus, and INFP. [Not sure I’m savy with that, but no matter.]
PersonalityJunkie suggests the distinction between type 9s and type 4s on the Enneagram overlay: The Nine’s concern for inner peace and oneness is to some extent at odds with the incessant “search for self” we find in the Enneagram type 4. As mystics have long recognized, oneness cannot be achieved if the self and its identifications continue to inhabit the center stage of consciousness. This distinction between the Enneagram Nine and Four is an interesting one, especially when we consider data suggesting that the INFP is equally likely to test as either of these personality types.”
Both sites had articles on the rare INFP male, saying Male INFPs are even rarer, making up only 1-1.5% of the population. These value-driven, imaginative individuals often feel like the definitive square pegs in round holes. In a culture and society that perpetrates the idea that males are normally domineering, assertive, and blunt, the male INFP can feel that there is something innately wrong with them or unacceptable to others. This struggle isn’t limited to males in the U.S. either. This seems to be a worldwide dilemma.” psychjunkie
Another super gorgeous day. Who knew Nicholas had spent a good spell in Bali in the ‘90s? Not sure how long. Few weeks? What other surprises? A two year training course in Oxford to become a spiritual director. And in past few years he has had people ask him to serve as such for them. He has three people seeking guidance right now. Meets with them every month or so. He may join us in Albuquerque in late March, has pencilled it into his calendar, and we ours. A fine visit, enjoyable conversations at each lunch and dinner, spells of wandering and lazying in between. Our drama of the thumb splinter and greatly bruised left hand took up most of Monday afternoon and Tuesday for us. Tuesday at the ER the nurses, after having cut the finger badly, finally called in the fire department to bring their superior cutting tools into play and very good-looking Brian managed to get the rings cut off and had his in-training assistant help him ply them off. They now look rather forlorn in the little blue plastic cup with lid. The finger we could see last night has clotted well and by this morning the hand looks much less blue and terrible and is gradually returning to looking healthy again. We have no idea how it got banged so badly, perhaps knocking into a door frame when we didn’t realize it.
Cécile sent a beautiful photo of Eliot having Goûter with her the other day. Still want to sent a written note to each grandchild and make a practice of sending one every so often. Took Nicholas to see Don’s studio and work
and Richard’s. There he bought a nice blue square plate for Adrei. He is desolate having completed and been awarded his doctorate at Free Univ of Berlin only to have his director tell him he would not be able to hire him any further for post-doc research. So now Andrei must find employment somewhere to avoid returning at all costs to Belarus. His sister is doing pretty well there teaching English. Andrei would rather go to Moscow if he can’t find a way to stay in Berlin. Is he about 34? Jōao just turned 28 I saw on Instagram. Always have to double check where that tilde goes. Got it wrong. It goes on the A, dummy. João. accent on the a #6. N off to a conference in DC, Aspen something at a Marriott there. He joked about saying at a meeting I’m an INFP I don’t do scrips or prior planning. Feels too many others expect some sort of pre-determined playbook rather than discovery (via Intuition) on the spot, in the process. He also joked on another day is completely different contextual conversation about retiring to “smoke, booze it up and watch youtube porn.” Could tell how relaxed he was feeling!!
Monday Sept 23
Heavy wet weather, waiting for rain to develop overnight. Equinox today. Left a message on James’s phone but already a few days ago I knew nothing would transpire with this connection. Maybe knew it a few weeks ago.
Fine. Nicholas being here was a wonderful experience and helped me get distance and realign my aura and remember key things. Also this week, thanks to Audible, I listened to much of William James’s Varieties---at last. Paid most attention of course to the chapter on mysticism. Also gathered the main lines of thought in the other chapters. A masterpiece of lucidity and clarity and why had I resisted it for so long? A relief actually to have listened to it as lectures and I liked the voice and manner of the reader. Sounded perfect. James’ sense of the importance of feeling suits all my INFP sensibilities as does all else about the way he deals with his topics. Now do I still like what Ed has done in his prose-poem distillations? Why not? They are as Ed-ish as all that he does and you can see the playful ways he responds to James and draws from him.

Hovering between Virginia’s saintliness and Nicholas’s saintliness (James’ chapter on this), I feel as though I have experence a week’s spiritual retreat of the highest order. And yet here we go, trying to keep up with N’s reading list.
Today we drove north to walk on the Littleton bridge. Gray skies. Nice lunch on the tavern deck and chat with the owner who says she is sixty- three and has had the place for sale, is ready to retire soon. Nice to be in this zone of possibility---one thing doesn’t work out another one will.
Yesterday we went to the piano recital by the new piano teacher, Adam Mayon. All Schuman. Magnificent. Nice young guy with eleven month old daughter named Zinnia, his beautiful Chinese wife and a pianist there too. Colin and Clare and Will. The music itself felt in tune with James’s ideas about things.
Got most of the things folded off the spare bed. Big achievement. Also got the box of legos put away, the alcove pretty cleared, other things stashed into the attice. Wow.
Nicholas one evening gave us a full recounting of White’s novel, Riders, and so I am now going back into to that determined to see it and enjoy it as much as he does, or at least to get it at some level. He has read it four times, something I’m sure I will never do. Once will be fine, if I can do it. He also had read a short way into Shantaram and gave up on it. We searched to explain why, much to Virginia’s dismay, she liked it so much. She finished The Ax but didn’t seem to like it much.
Inchausti recommended Lazaro and we watched half of it and we both felt it would be very sad and stopped watching it. Have to read Larry’s review and see if we were right. In spite of all my earlier sermonizing to myself, and as disappointed as I was that James wasn’t coming through for a lunch tomorrow, I’m now delighted Guy has stepped into the breach after a spontaneous query. The timing seems to have been right and to be working. Hoping so for the morning. And then.
24 Sept Tuesday
Colin here to play Debussy and help Virginia play. I rushed into Hundelrut to get some photos of the Wagnerian helmets and a few others. Sarah got upset that I was going to post images on facebook or elsewhere and risk having them stolen. Assured her I would not. Sent two to Davey as birthday greetings.
Yesterday in Lowell and environs. Gorgeous day, especially the huge white clouds high in the sky on the drive home.
Patsy said how much orthotics helped her, Nicholas showed me his carbon fiber ones. So I’m ready to give them a try now that I’ve had the big corn removed and my neuroma pain keeps coming and going and now even after wearing these cushy shoes pain is showing up on the right foot as well.
Garth yesterday another glimpse into a whole set of worlds. Surfing the Archetypes is something I thought of as I rode down in the exhilaration of anticipation. Is this a thing INFPs do so well? Strange that I’m back on that hobby horse. Listening to Hunter by Westlake on the walk this morning has me wondering if I could really keep reading him all that much. Oh, and Marguerite last night not the wonderful movie Alma wanted us to think it was. European director remaking the Florence Foster Jenkins story and piling on every cinematic cliché he could to make it look like a grand operatic Fellini masterwork. Didn’t work. Even left a bad taste in the mouth.
Guidance from the net “With their tendency to enjoy serving, they may value others’ satisfaction above their own.” Guess altar boy training was ok after all???
personalityjunkie says Elizabeth Warren is an INFP !!!!
surfing the anticipation-disappointment wave is what I do---yesterday right on key---Portuguese bakery notwithstanding and three pastries from ther this afternoon----By Dr. A.J. Drenth
The INFP personality type is creative, quirky, humane, and individualistic. Like the INFJ, INFPs want to understand who they are and their purpose in the world. Curious and restless, they enjoy entertaining new ideas and possibilities. They are rarely content with “what is,” preferring instead to focus their sights on “what could be.” This, combined with their strong idealism, can engender a sort of “grass is greener” mentality.
26 September Thursday
Going to the Judge Batchelder memorial shortly. At the Barn. Listened to two small booklets in type on Audible. Basic coverage. Reminds me of who I am or was. Listened to some of Modiano’s Missing Persons on the morning walk. That’s my interior milieu much more than Westlake’s, no matter how good he is, and he is of course and yet I will take him in smaller doses.
Long service. A bit more churchy than I’d expected. Immersion in the legal mind and vision. Honor, integrity, judgment, wit, service. Long life of a good and happy man, influenced many. US supreme court finally starting to agree with Batch forty years later on issues of privacy and the telephone.
27 Sept Friday
Va and Elizabeth swimming. Bright, light breeze. Dump and short walk on Main street, listening to Patrick White’s first novel. Excellent introduction to it, Audible. So now that I’m juggling White’s Riders, Westlake, Modiano and maybe Proust, maybe not, I’m throwing in White on Audible. Juggling, that’s what I would have been good at, not with real balls or those elongated bowling pin things, but with conceptual trajectories. Hence the listening and reading on the MBTI these past few days and reading small booklets about INFP in Kindle. Found a nice set of videos on INFP by a guy who has a site called geekpsychology. He’s now been in Japan for over ten years, wonder if one parent is Japanese.
He could tell when a major phase was coming near to its end. Like seeing the fold line in a map while you’re tracing a route. This spring-summer phase reached its end on Tuesday with the lunch with Garth in Lowell. James had said he wanted to visit but at the last moment he didn’t check in to finalize and no surprise there. Former students think they want to visit but then back out because do either of us want to consider how much time has passed while trying to chat with each other? So he emailed Garth to see if he was available and he pinged back and they met and that made the drive down feel like archetype surfing even as he felt the closure of this whole chapter or sub-chapter he was calling the three angels, Garth taking the position of the third without knowing it himself. Revelations which matched each other on the basic theme, variations and perfect as musical arrangements. Garth’s life, the short glimpse into it, reminded him of the story of Kathy M from Greenwich from many years ago. She had been set up as a mistress in an apartment in Manhattan by her Danish neighbor,
almost old enough to be her father. She told him all of this years after she had graduated. He had been shocked a bit but not surprised, remembering details she had revealed years before about her father’s alcoholism, the dysfunction of the whole family, the love she and the neighbor had felt for years without knowing how to clarify it. Let’s say the affair was over after five years. She moved out west to rebuild her life and according to photos on facebook that had worked out ok. If Garth was in his early forties, Kathy must be in her early fifties, about Randell’s generation. Garth seemed like a classic millenial, rugby player, tall, muscled, trim, bright face, happy, still boyish and financially very comfortable. Says he manages accounts for a few families. Business major at Duke. Lifestyle companion or Assistant or some such euphonious name for what he now does in addition to financial management. Lots of travel. He didn’t ask and he never said but sexual companion seemed very clear from intimations. BFWB? or HiredFWB? who knows how he talks about it. But his house in the photos looked very nice, nearby, pool, furniture, dogs, cat, poshy, bohemian decor. Wonder if his partner is a corporate bigwig of some sort and Garth keeps the home front and travels as necessary. No matter. Fun to talk to, lots of interesting things on his mind, no clouds on the horizon. So he completed the trio of this season most aptly and successfully.
Just now, 12:15, short face visit with Davey. He is in Defense looking for the location of a new site for Corcoran’s Irish Pub where he and the rocker boys will blast away the night. Rory and I forget the other fellow’s name, aren’t they all teaching at Koenig? Va had a great swim, ten laps with the noodles on top of the circles around the pool. Perfect since we sat for such a long stretch yesterday at the barn memorial.
Found the school calendar for France. Now to plot the Turkey trip calendar and book flights and hotels.
spent what felt like two hours and finally booked the flight out on Turkish air. !
Garth wore a hairpiece! brown, curly. Says he has hair but enjoys different looks, has about thirty. What a strange surprise, detail, never imagined a forty-year old but then, again, a life and world only glimpsed. Long way from PSC, it seemed. But maybe someone like Josh W could fill out similar unexpected details from his world travels for biz too. We’ve lived in our village bubble a long time now and our travels keep us comfy and distant.
28 Sept Dave’s 41st. Nice set of photos from them, birthday candles on two fancy donuts and gift drawings and gummy bears. We sent him a singing video from the gazebo after the morning walk there. Perfec day, beautiful air. Hooked on youtube advice videos for INFPs by young Matt Sherman, he has another site called INowFeelPositive, going to look that up now.
Also listened to some of White’s novel. Aussie accent is fun to listen to.
Both these patterns come back to the same central theme: INFPs have a powerful imagination and a tendency to lose themselves in their own thoughts. This gives the INFP incredible imaginative abilities, but also makes it easy for them to slip into a “dark place.” It’s important for an INFP to monitor their thoughts and find outlets to express themselves with people who understand them.”
— INFP Inspired: Embrace your true self and Thrive as an INFP by Dan Johnston
Johnston is an ENFP and I like his video less than Sherman’s. Enjoying his videos reviewing all the topics. He’s very good at talking about them. On one he shows how the INFP hovers between the Enneagram 4 and 9.
Sunday evening the 29th
Nice lunch with Jess today at Tuckerbox. I tried to ask the Turkish man who I thought was the owner about hotels in Istanbul. Waiter told me he was the chef and had about four words of English! At Cold Mountain with K and C Saturday night who should be the bartender but Greg, the beared rock climber who bought the Cobra shirt from Dave back in August. I said hello to him and told him I’d seen him at the Rek-lis gig. Only INFPs love any circles and arcs and pathways we can see or create? Awake on coffee in the middle of the night I was straining to see the lunches of this summer as going all the way back to Elkins Park and before. Desperate for patterns and/or gifted for imagining patterns. Elkins Park, dad taking me to his doctor for fear I would be queer, Chabon’s novel on the Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Eric Gill’s autobiography. Everything, anything, becomes grist for the patterning-making mill. Throw it all in, all together. And now even the novel Jonathan Scrivener. The character is told early on that he is queer so I am waiting to see what exactly that means in that context. Novel first published in 1930 in UK.
note from Nicholas Dear Bob,
I am afraid my colleague had equally forgotten the name of the hotel we stayed in Istanbul. I saw her at the Aspen conference that went very well (and, thankfully, neither Trump nor Brexit featured greatly apart from occasional references accompanied by appropriate grimaces)!
I was very much drawn by the angels and thought that Purple Pig (aka Andrei) would welcome spiritual company. I should have asked about transportation as I was concerned that they might not have survived the journey had I been responsible! Next time ... The Viking helmets are very fitting - we may all have to find some suitable warrior spirit before we emerge from our 'interesting' times! Certainly the desire to see Boris kidnapped and put to doing something useful for the first time his life - keeping pigs at the fjord's end say - is very strong!
I hope you enjoy Jonathan Scrivener. I think, having read I was Ivor Trent, it is probably his strongest novel. Thinking about the two, it suggested to me how many people were, and continue to, trying to figure it out - how to be spiritually incisive without being captured by religion - with more or less success. I too confess to liking the fact that people have turned up for direction - there was a time when I would have thought that most unwise - my 40s - but both before and after, it makes a kind of sense. Amongst the obviousness messiness of life, some things are strikingly clear, and if it helps people navigate, so much the better - and it is a clarity that simply appears, it does not belong to me!
Love, Nicholas -----------
30 September Monday

Holy cow! 30th of September already. 5:20pm Just discovered I haven’t even made up the Albuquerque Winter travel info sheet yet. Delta sent a change of flights and that has prompted focused activity!! VRBO is on the App and the flights too. Have to get them only screen-paper or they are not real. Working on the Turkey trip instead. Probably decided on Hotel Arcadia Blue and give them a call. How can we go wrong with a name like
that? Passing up Radisson Blu etc. Krista and Karim suggested staying in the Sultanhet area which is where the Arcadia is. A remodeled building, says it has good views of the Blue Mosque and the site and photos suggest to me the Hotel Blomet.
1 October
“And I haven’t heard of Lars Iyer.” That was André Bernard last night, postscript to this reply: “Hi Bob, yes, I’ve met Aciman a number of times. He is a familiar presence at New York publishing parties. Salvatore is a friend and I’ve read his books, helped Vintage acquire Hopeful Monsters for paperback and hosted a dinner for Nicholas Mosley to celebrate, and have read all of Patrick White. I haven’t read I Am Jonathan Scrivener and haven’t read any Modiano. Best—André”
Give him a B+-A- for not knowing Iyer and not having read Any? of Modiano. Just goes to show you what he’s really like, must be like. But I know too much about him from Jess already. Was interested to see that Salvatore “is a friend and I’ve read his books” as in “not many have” or and we are friends still because I’ve read his books, or “yes, reading his books is not something everyone wants to do these days, but as a true friend I have.” I doth project too much, I know.
Fine rambling day off. Lunch at Republic. Peter told me he was up here last week, dirt or trail bike riding up in Dorchester where Bill Green has developed over sixty acres into a free trail riding mecca. Next to D-Acres. Coffee at Whole Foods and some shopping there and Trader Joes. Listened to a lot more of Sherman on being INFP. Some delight in hearing the language in which it is all discussed and described now. And two websites in UK Sherman has read, one about Clean Language and another about Movements in Metaphors. Both therapy things I think. Looked cursorily.
Ate beef today, confession. Hamburger. Am not saving the planet. It was ok, liked the salty potatoes more. One beer. Later a carrot cake thingy at WF which was not as great as it looked to be and I think I’ve made exactly that mistake before. Big latte at 2pm and still feeling wired. Ready to call the Arcadia Blue tomorrow morning and reserve the room for May. Then Blomet. Va had a good session at the pool and a Thai lunch.
Phil had suggested the lunch guys, some months ago. Thought it was a good idea. Tried it out. Listening to the NF videos of Sherman I’ve reconsidered. Trying too hard to take on other people’s suggestions. Look within. How different the influence and effect of Nicholas visiting. Follow that energy, that example. Consider the intuitive resonances, unspoken. Well, tried and experienced and now shelved for memory to forget and remember some time further on. Or not. Watching the young teacher on youtube does make me consider what if---if teaching had not materialized, been sought and found, how many other sorts of jobs might I have undertaken? Oh, yeah, and what was my passion? Did I ever feel that? That is the primary theme of the younger generations---find your passion, your one true thing, and follow that. Not unlike finding your one true love. Would it have been being an architect? Doing design work? art in some form? Many forms? experimentation constant? looking here and looking there. Had anything (other than exploring silence, exploring wandering) really felt like a passion of some sort? Church? churchiness? not really. Right outside Mt Alto this morning one of Feeney’s friends said hello. Forget this guy’s name. Nice guy. Now 31 he said. Wants Feeney to come up from Quincy for a visit. See if that happens. He has a two-year stint at the wealthy congo parish in Wellesley. See how that will go for him. I’ve beenn listening to White’s Happy Valley. Not getting the plot or story but enjoying the phrases and passages as they rise and fall in consciousness. Hearing the music of the language.
3 October
Burrell is strange, funny, maybe a little aspergy? Says I have some of the flatest feet he’s seen. Made a video mold for the orthotics, showed me the foot xrays. the flat part is not where I thought---under the ankle. We’ll see if they work. He wants me to shift to shoes like those made by Keen and Oboz, stronger uppers than the Vivos have. Never realized that was the difference that mattered. Five, seven years, I’ve been dogmatizing myself into these barefoot shoes. Funny videos on youtube by f james making fun of the sixteen types. Nails them too.
4 October
In other words, not only do you have to stay true to yourself, you have to stay true to your type. Guess that’s why my fascination with hearing younger people present the mbti-jungian wisdom anew. However
interesting and temporarily exciting the three angels of spring and summer may have been, they were outside my type and my inner self. And now in autumn we re-balance energies, auras, molecules, vibrations and graces.
Friday afternoon. Winds have picked up. Nails done in Tilton. Va had a good swim. Bought some pies this mornning for tomorrow night’s Bourgeois soiree. First phone call to TIAA in quite a while to withdraw enough to cover next bill, reservations on delta etc for January. Arsenault had no new ideas about what made the left hand swell so badly. Still looking for the Milner wedding photos. Too much trust in the Cloud!
Using personalityjunkie I might say Nicholas is INFP 9 Enneagram-- empath and peacemaker whereas I am E 4 artist, “more self-absorbed, introspective and restless than empaths. Empaths cultivate inner peace and harmony, artists hope to cultivate passion, inspiration and self- expression. (Three terms, three angels!!) Empath is directed toward being, the artist toward becoming. Seekers, work-in-progress, plagued by sense that something is missing from their lives! Sherman talks about that even though in one video he sees himself as a 9. But he didn’t know the Egram well. Authenticity against the world.
October 6 Sunday
Crisp and cold, gray, foggy. Year ago we were on the riverboat in Portugal, or soon to land in Porto and go back to Lisbon where Francisco and Ava? showed us Sintra.
My memory is not bad. On my walk around town just now I thought, “this time a year ago we were in Portugal, touring the Mateus estate and lo according to the photos on the mac that is exactly where we were!!!
“Listening” to White’s Valley while I do stuff, dishes, Va on the piano. Read a page of two of Chariot this morning. Given Nicholas’s enthusiasm am I on the verge of taking on White big time, going in full steam? Back to Modiano, yes, ease away from Westlake after all, and put Proust back on the shelf for a while longer, and try White more fully. His language is certainly enticing and rich. Joycean, yes, but much else, distinctive. Same age as mother and dad. But Australian and gay. And a genius I guess, or some such. Great writer. Last night a fine ritual dinner at Karen’s, the core
ten. Nice talk about typology and spirituality with Darlene. She is a life coach now. Just turning seventy. George is eight-five.
Digging in the attic for one framed photo from twenty years ago Willow wants to see. No luck. Found David’s book, so that will count for something. At loose ends all day. Too much sweet stuff last night and today, pie and coffee cake bought on Friday for last night’s gathering.
Phil sent a piece from WaPo, a journalist who has been in Afghanistan for years, coming back and not recognizing her own country because it has changed so much, got so broken. Again, just as in the ‘60s, I don’t buy it. Won’t tell him that, he’s developed some conspiratorial notions of his own which surprises me a bit and suggests he’s more depressed than he realizes. Phil---“Since 2017 I have believed that Trump is just one aspect of a worldwide phenomenon: a malevolence among people that has been spreading all over the world in recent years. But now I'm starting to think that this open malevolence may be impossible to control again. The malevolent genie, if you will, has escaped confinement and may prove impossible to stuff back in the bottle. Why did it get loose now? I think the internet and social media are major reasons, but of course there are other reasons, especially in other parts of the world, and, of course, this kind of malevolence is not new. It's just gotten loose all over the world now, and this article captures how it affects someone from "the way it used to be, at least in this country" better - and more depressingly - than any I've read recently.” He’s bought into some metaphor about illness--cancern, malevolent gene or virus. Has he read too much Sontag?
Maybe using Audible irritates me more than I’d realized, that and the listening to youtube videos on personality.
8 October Tuesday night Burst of anger this morning jolted us both. Hadn’t realized how stressed I was, or salted by umboshi from days before, or just tired from too much audio input. Whatever. Chill day. Drove north to sell the Mercury dime I had found in the attic. 1941. Found the Littleton Coin place and surprised by how big and fine it is. New building in 1999? Dime is worth about ninety cents. Spent it on an ice cream cone later on in Lincoln. Willow at book group at the Faheys.
Reconsidering enneagram and mbti after listening to the young gurus on the topics. Most profound admission (other than that I’m ready to try
custom orthotics for my feet) is that I am probably not a 4 at all but a 9. The newer ways of presenting it seem much more comprehensible and resonant, especially the notion that the seeking of peace and avoidance of conflict is the avoidance of doing what others set for you to do and yet at the same time the hollowness within that makes you grasp for some narcotizing activity or substance to fill it up with. Also been pondering the last paintings of that chapter and again they can be read as perfect expressions of nine-ness. So in fact the notion of “being the artist, the romantic and the emotional 4” has been a misleading self-blindedness all these years. I was never meant to be an artist, where on earth did I get that idea? or a writer!!! Have to copy some text on 9 from one of the psychologyjunkie websites. Anyway, all part of the re-structuring of long- held opinions and positions.
enjoying Jonathan Scrivener “Finished” Westlake’s Hunter on audio today. Do I have the taste for much more?? is he really that enjoyable? of course my attention was not full.
from psychologyjunkie
Easy-going and grounded in the spiritual and natural world, you crave inner and outer peace. You want to establish harmony in the world around you, and you try to be patient and level-headed in all that you do. As a Nine you crave inner harmony so strongly that you risk overlooking conflicts, going along with others even when you don’t want to, or downplaying the importance of problems in your life. You may “check out” when there is conflict within yourself or in the environment around you. You tend to repress anger, feeling that if you were to engage in the conflict or express your frustration you’d lose that inner harmony you so desperately want. 
What to Do:Whenever you feel yourself “checking out” of your surroundings, think about what triggered your need to do this. What threat did you perceive? Is this a threat you need to deal with? What are the pros and cons of “checking out” versus tuning in? Simply thinking about these things can help you to be more aware when you need to stand up for something or engage rather than retreat. You tend to repress your anger, feeling that it’s not okay to state your needs or wants if it might destroy harmony. Learn that it’s okay to be angry sometimes. Practice saying no to the things that you don’t want to do. Remind yourself that people won’t instantly hate you or reject you if you stand up for yourself – in fact, they may respect you more in the long run.
-------today the points about anger feel right on. Especially since I let that out so rarely and yet when it comes I recall the instances of that happening in the past. And it feels like it has been held in for so long.
“And it is in many respects the more passive, conflict-avoidant personality (e.g., the IFP) that Riso and Hudson use as their template for the Nine.” personalityjunkie
So that old inner mantra of wanting to be special (a 4) has been a blinder, a confusion-maker. It is the inner peace we seek most of all---
“ their foremost concern, according to Riso and Hudson, is the preservation of 
inner peace. The procurement of external peace is thus only of secondary importance, or perhaps more of a “means to an end,” for this type. All told, it may be more accurate to describe Nines as “peace lovers” rather than peacemakers. Riso and Hudson also highlight the Nine’s experience of, and desire for, a sense of oneness:
The inner landscape of the Nine resembles someone riding a bicycle on a beautiful day, enjoying everything about the flow of the experience. The whole picture, the entire situation, is what is pleasant and identified with rather than any particular part. The inner world of the Nine is this experience of oneness.”
--------This is what goes way back into childhood. Remember climbing up into the apple tree and staying there for hours? Remember swinging on that one great swing behind someone’s house with trees on either sides and swinging there is silent bliss for hours. Prayer, riding the bike by myself for hours, ha he even using that bike riding and I just now remember it, how totally wonderful and crucal it was for me.
These memories and insights matching up so powerfully feel like great, deep revelations. After all these years. Right or wrong not the point---but the inner truthfulness of the resonances.
11 October Friday
Yesterday lunch with Anne and Basile at Pica-Pica in St Js. Color beautiful. Walked the Littleton bridge. Today Marilyn and Ray arrive from Boston around 10 am! Now 8:32! Back to back sisters. Historic.
Kids are coming for Christmas!! Yesterday morning texts from Cécile and we managed to pay for the air france tix in time, so they are all set.
Petie and Ray arrived about 10:30. Did the loop up to Tripoli Road and back through Ellsworth Hill and Rumney. Leaves look fine and Peite had some good wow views and vistas. Dinner at 6 Burner. She is baking apple dumplings now---for Ray and me, childhood comfort dish. He’s from Kellys Ford, VA. Someone had committed suicide there in the house and no one would live in it so his parents could rent it cheap. His mother taught the eight kids to be proud of being poor. Father an itinerant Baptist preacher. Showed him Walker Evans’ book, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, and he said they were not poor like that but they saw people who looked like those faces. Kelly’s Ford not nearly as boonies as area Porter Dawson was from---much more way over toward the Kentuckey border. Just looked him up and seems he lives on Nantucket or at least owns a place there. !
Read this great post on Nicholas’s blog this morning---original post date June 29. Maybe we were in Toronto and I missed it.
Surprisingly it has taken me a while to read this memorial volume for Kathleen Raine with particular regard to Temenos both as the journal and the Academy she was instrumental in founding temenos academy. It leaped into my hand, nudged by the bookshelf angel, one morning having woken, bathed in gratitude, from a dream where I had been taking tea with the four most influential women in my life: one of whom was Kathleen.
Both book and dream brought back those memories that ripple through you capturing precisely how you felt at the time and challenging you to recapture their implicit challenge now that they carried then - to live towards your best self, the self that dwells in but is greater than the productions of time. carrying the face you had 'before' you were born.
As a teenager, I found myself reading William Blake. I read unknowingly in T.S. Eliot's manner for sense before meaning! The meaning was continually
elusive, baffling. I needed help so I went to my public library and on the shelf found Kathleen's 'Blake and the New Age'. It granted me the 'key' I needed and a door was opened to Blake's fourfold vision that has remained ajar ever since.
As 'synchronicity' would have it, one of my two closest friends at school was reading at the same time, but unbeknownst to me, concurrently Kathleen's three volumes of autobiography and her poems. We brought to each other our mutual enthusiasms laughing at the 'coincidence'. I still have Simon's handwritten list of the poems that I should read first tucked into the volume of her Collected Poems I bought soon thereafter.
I never imagined then that Kathleen would become a friend. When I was at university in London, one Saturday afternoon, I visited the Watkins Bookshop in Cecil Court, off the Charing Cross Road in London. I knew of it because it features in the second volume of Raine's autobiography, 'The Land Unknown'. Watkins, which still exists, is a bookshop devoted to the 'alternative', the spiritual, the esoteric. That afternoon I found a copy of the second edition of 'Temenos: A Review devoted to the Arts of the Imagination' (published then by Watkins) and edited primarily by Kathleen (and three others). I bought it and life was never the same.
Now, having devoured Temenos, I wrote to her, speaking of an experience that I had at the age of eleven which, to that date, I had told no one. She wrote back with grace and sympathy and left a door open for further correspondence which I took. Four years and many letters later, I found myself, young, introverted and scared, hovering to speak to her at the First Temenos Conference at Dartington Hall.
She was talking to another participant and finishing turned to me saying, "And you must be Nicholas! I have been carrying your last letter to me around in my handbag as a talisman"!
What does one say? I have forgotten but for the remaining days of
the conference, she would come up to me and ask, "And how do you think our conference is going?" as if I were her most intimate collaborator! A young man, insecure, could only flower in that beam of light. I will remain always grateful for the attention paid that continued afterward in frequent invitations to lunch and tea and the most wonderful of conversations.
The substance of which, as many of the contributors to the above volume make clear, was the Imagination as the primary faculty through which the world was to be understood and lived. The fundamental reality was Spirit or Consciousness and it unfolded through archetypal images manifesting, when seen aright, in the everyday patterns of the world. The task was to align one's being and seeing with those patterns that by their very nature led back to the unitary world of Spirit.
Everything could be an offering of that grace whether it was Dante's Divine Comedy or the sumptuous cake, always homemade, that accompanied Kathleen's teas. Or not if you chose to live out of either fantasy or ignorance, wrapped in believing this world was simply material, closed in upon itself, and driven by natural causes alone - Blake's 'Newtonian single vision and sleepiness'.
Whatever imperfections of a life, Kathleen's continuing gift was to lay the imaginative option before you and invite you in. Most obviously in her poetry that just now has received a belated recognition. When Eliot was asked were there any poets, he regretted never having published in that most influential of Faber and Faber lists, he always referenced two: David Gascoyne and Kathleen Raine. Faber has made amends on one of those scores just now:
The Wilderness is the first poem that Simon suggested I read - and though the countryside into which I was born was gentler I read it with immediate recognition being the child, who waking early, would slip into neighbouring fields to watch the sunrise and catch the glimpsing of the world's patterning story streaming from light as if from a fountain.
I came too late to the hills: they were swept bare Winters before I was born of songs and story,
Of spell or speech with power of oracle or invocation,

The great ash long dead by a roofless house, its branches rotten, The voice of the crows an inarticulate cry,
And from the wells and springs the holy water ebbed away.

A child I ran in the wind on a withered moor
Crying out after those great presences who were not there
Long lost in the forgetfulness of the forgotten.
Only the archaic forms themselves could tell!
In sacred speech of hoodie on grey stone, or hawk in air, Of Eden where the lonely rowan bends over the dark pool.

Yet I have glimpsed the bright mountain behind the mountain, Knowledge under the leaves, tasted the bitter berries red,
Drunk water cold and clear from an inexhaustible hidden fountain.

I think Nicholas and I met at the second Temenos conference. Have to ask him.
note from Jim --
Hey, Bob,,
I suddenly need back-cover appreciative quote for Jesus’ Dog, a book you haven’t read but will surely like. Outrageously presuming that, I’ve also presumed to pirate part of your appreciation of A Fable of Grace, and would really love to put that on the back of Jesus’ Dog.
Would that be a truly wicked and unprofessional thing to do, even with your foreknowledge? Or would in simply entangle you in my own shamelessness?
Please send me a quick yea or nay so that I know whether, alternatively, I should just slit my wrists. ( No pressure, of course.)
Here’s the quote:
“With vibrant writing [and] rich linguistic humor, Atwell distills a heady brew which dislodges our set notions about gifts bestowed, and so we can see anew unexpected gifts of grace. A triumph of fabulist imagination.”
Ever in your debt, Jim
(Sorry, but that background static is my groveling. ..)
15 October night Just booked remaining flights for the Turkey jaunt.

16 October Bob and Sarah announced on facebook today, separate postings, their friendly and loving divorce. Millenials!!! can’t get used to the ways they use social media to do these things! public and not public. Both texts back to back would give us an exercise in close reading:
Sarah’s “The past 13 years of my life have been the best ones yet, largely because Bob Feeny has been by my side. We’ve had adventures in new cities, we raised two cats, we’ve made new friends and we’ve been each other’s biggest supporters. We’ve gone through many ups and downs. We’ve both changed a lot. And through all of that we’ve loved each other. However, in order for us to continue to love authentically, we’ve decided to divorce. This word has a lot of negative feelings and sentiments behind it and I want to make sure you all know that this is not a negative decision for us. Yes, it is a loss and it is very sad. We, in many ways, are very good for each other. Which is why this is hard, but necessary. We both want different things, but we still want to maintain the friendship that was the catalyst to this beautiful relationship. It is important to us that people know that we are parting ways, as our friends and family have invested so much in us over the years. I personally would like anyone who has questions to just message me. I’m an open book and I don’t want rumors flying. Because the truth is we still love each other and will continue to love each other throughout this process. 
[heart emoji]Bob will be continuing his residency in MA and I will be moving back to Chicago sometime in November/December.
If you’re wondering what you can do for us right now, just be there. Send a text. Give us a call. Send us gifs or funny memes on Instagram. With that said, please extend some grace if we’re slow at responding. It’s been an exhausting few weeks and processing this takes time.
And now Bob’s: “On June 21, 2014, Sarah Feeny and I joined our lives together in marriage. We promised to love and respect one another, and to take care of each other through thick and thin, for better or for worse. I promised that I would be the best friend she ever had. I believe that we
have both been faithful to the vows we took, and that we will continue to honor them as we move forward.Over the past several months, we have been putting in a lot of thought. We’ve done a lot of hard work, and thought through countless possibilities. Sadly, however, we have reached the heartrending decision to end our marriage in divorce. This harsh legal terminology does not capture the fullness of this experience, but in the interest of transparency, we’ll call it what it is.
Our story together began in Pemi Hall, during our first year of college, as best friends. While we will be releasing one another from our marriage vows, our story does not end here. We will continue to love and respect one another as we always have—albeit in a new context. We have left a mark on each other that will never be erased, and I believe I speak for both of us when I say that I do not regret a single moment that we’ve spent together over the past thirteen years. We have always loved each other, and we always will.
Still, this process has been painful, and I know that there is a lot of healing to come. I thank those of you who have been there for us. So many of you have invested in us as people and as a family. I want you all to know that your love, hopes, and dreams were not in vain—we have grown together and learned more about loving in the five years of our marriage than many could hope to learn in a lifetime. For that, I will be forever grateful.
Thank you all. Your support has meant the world. Please continue to be there, and reach out, and be gracious if it takes a while for me to respond.
Practically speaking, Sarah plans to return to Chicago to continue her growth as a person and as a professional. I will remain in Massachusetts, fulfilling the commitment I have made to my pastoral residency, and discerning where and what is next.”
Meanwhile, we had a fine day yesterday and dined at Campo. Hair appointment shortly.
18 Oct Woke to power out yesterday morning. Got car oiled and Larson visit anyway. Colin had soup with us and played Debussy’s Pagoda.
New brace from Gerard. Lunch at Panera. Nap. Walk. Colder from Poetry Chaikana
English version by Sam Hamill Buson (1716 - 1784)
This cold winter night,
that old wooden-head Buddha would make a nice fire

23 October
Wednesday Catching up on everything day. Quote from Jung from Matt Sherman’s INowFeelPositive page: “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” – Carl Jung
Three chats yesterday: fellow in the Holderness store who asked me how happy I was with my Outback. Summered on Squam in his childhood, heading back to northern Virginia, also likes the rusty afterglow colors of the woods. Beautiful drive up to Fryeburg. Chat with Ed about his books and Albq. He did not draw from Wm James at all, simply used the title as the notion for gathering together his writings of a religious character, into a Kaleidoscope. It works and I told him it was his masterpiece. Why not? He’s go two more works brewing: one a series of jottings in diary-like format where he records an observation and then observes the observation. Told him that resonated perfectly with what ol Pessoa was saying in the car as I drove from a recording of Disquiet via Audible. Don’t like the voice and tone of the reader so much---he gives it too much american-new york-hint of snark and so misreads P. But as A says all reading misreads. Third chat at night with the youtube entrepreneur of INFP motivational videos, Matt Sherman. Studied film and psychology at Mich State. Now thirty-five. Interested in taking online courses to further his work---variety of how to win friends an influence people, isn’t it? He mentioned a course on hypnosis and just took a look. For his generation everything online is the air they breathe. Six years younger than Dave. So Dave worked through dungeons and dragons right before the computer arrived in our lives. Matt teaches full-time as a kindergarten or grade school English teacher in Japan. Has been there and married with child for ten-plus years. Likes the beach, would move to Okinawa if he could, Japan’s Hawaii. Or move to Hawaii. Would love to have his online work become lucrative enough that he could quite the school job.
Now to fold some laundry and catch up on the house. We went to Paco de Lucia Project over the weekend in Boston. Monday afternoon Va went to Manny’s opera course at Pease. I have the new orthotics and bought some shoes yesterday, now trying them out in all my varieties of shoes. Colin due for the piano at 1 pm. Have shifted to Pessoa to replace Proust. So clear that Pessoa is my patron saint among writers so much more than Proust can ever be. No matter what Aciman says. But Aciman has yet to publish his essay on Pessoa that he promised. He’s been devoted to writing this sequel to Call Me. It might be out now. No, not until next Tuesday, the 29th but then on all three formats. Pessoa and Modiano.
Ordered the airport shuttles for upcoming trips. Oh, enjoying much Jonathan Scrivener even though by now, over half way, we clearly have six characters mystified by the writer who has created them because they do not yet know what their whole story is about and just where they fit. Clever version of A Christie and Pirandello, which is to say the ancient meme itself. Pirandello’s play performed in 1921 so he seems to have been first.
’21 ! would have have guessed that. Once again---those bloody ‘20s!! everything happened but they all didn’t know just how much at the time.
Can I write more like Pessoa? Now that I have the new Jull-Costa translation arranged chronologically I will read backwards from age back toward youth.
Clear sense the other night (after the book group drop-off and pick-up) that for the other Types, we INFPs present to them someone who carries in their bodily manifestation an interior chasm, a bottomless abyss, an infinitely expanded vertical chamber-like hollow of feeling, empathy, emotional presence. Not unlike those perilous cliffsides and dropoffs on the road to Coroico. A spiritual opening up into which. That is our calling, the genius of the Type. Being an artist or whatever else from that in a secondary way is secondary, added-on, afterthought. Such a relief of late to feel for sure that I was not supposed to have been an artist nor an architect. Every end was a dead end and was meant to be. Work-in-progress now a popular phrase and it fits all of this. Pilgrimage. Journey. Wander.
24 Oct
Review up already on something called the Washington Blade, headline says Aciman’s sequel novel lacks the power of the original. “Too much time is spent on rabbit trails.” Reviewer for the Globe has mixed feelings and finds a bit of mysogyny in the images of women. The guardian gives it a generic sort of puff praise. From the Blade piece I suspect I will find it disappointing. In the Globe Clea Simon did allow herself to say the prose is at times either Proustian or pretentious. Hmm. She says too that his subject/theme is Time more than love, really. Only in Eight White Nights, then, did he allow himself to pursue unknowing as the main thing. He has allowed Proust’s time obsession to possess him too much. Typical INFP failure of boundary making. If he is that, not sure of that really. He may have too much of the T or the S? Wouldn’t real writers be S? Long interview piece in an Israeli site called Haaretz in which Aciman explains how Jewishness comes to the fore in his novels even though he is not religious or concerned with identifying as Jewish. One paragraph: “At present, Aciman is working on a new book of essays about what he calls “the life that could have been,” and includes interviews with a painter, a filmmaker and a musician. It’s about dealing with a life that one didn’t have and perhaps wished to have, but which disappeared or never happened and cannot happen now. We live all of these lives all of the time, in parallel, Aciman observes.” And the fluidity of sexuality and identity, gender, these days is a topic explored. I will be disappointed mildly when I find that this new book of essays will not have the Pessoa essay I tried to persuade him to write. But it will show us more of what we already know. He laughs here about how Eight White was such a big flop. Call Me he wrote in the midst of finishing that one. He hates Gide and has no truck with the usual gay American canon writers. Of recent writers he only admires Sebald. He wants philosophy not information. Good point. And he most likely dismisses Modiano on that point without having read him enough to see that Modiano philosophizes without making a big deal out of it. Both Modiano and late Mosley dismiss philosophizing in the public way of doing it and actually do it better by waiting, watching, being silent. Aciman is too easily led astray by his idea of trying to philosophize, to be philosophical. There maybe he is being too much the good Jewish student, bright and superb at the podium.
25 October
Matt Sherman as gamesman INFP is just like Steffan O’Sullivan! of course. Gaming must be a structure within which the NF feels safe and open to exploration. Feeling can discern and act within the rules and lines. Not unlike what Aciman is now doing with the musical structures he is using to shape this new novel and did with Enigma Variations. Some reviewers will complain the characters are not developed, etc. No, not in the tedious journalistic ways of ordinary novel writing. In true NF fashion Aciman is going for the larger sweep of pattern and emotional shape. Short walk around town with Sebald’s Emmigrants in my ear from Audible. Still not sure if that is a good idea or not. Do I really like that or does it interfere with the walk?
Message from João Sunday Oct 20
Hello Bob,
As I promised here I am writing you in order to give you some tips about your travel to Istambul. I am absolutely sure you're going to love it. Specially because it is an amazing City and the turks are full of humanity. Not in business. Be careful! Selling strategies are very aggressive and invasive. They always try to sell something at all costs. It is important to discuss the price. It's normal and they want it. But be aware because they might not give you all the informations and then the bill is going to be a surprise. Not in every places. That's why I am telling you to be aware.
To eat, any place is good and super cheap, but visit Varuna. You'll love it! This last time I stayed at Tunel Residence Hotel. It was very good. I slept very well and comfortable. All the staff are very kind and amazing and the localization is very good. Close to Galata Tower that you should visit, just like Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazar, Topkapı
Palace, Yerebatan Saray, Palácio Dolmabahçe (where you should ask for audio guide), make a boat trip around Bosphorus and finish one of the days in one of the Salacak Mahallesi bars close to the road and enjoy the sunset. If you need some more tips, just ask.
Enjoy the tea and try the coffee - ask someone to read you the coffee grounds.
Strong hug, João
Saturday noon 26 Oct
Mixbook saved my life. Just ordered the photo book, Milner wedding and travels. Tedious process but got it done. So S-T triumphant for a slothful NF like moi.
Sunday 27 Now working on Asian trip album. Slept way in this morning. rain all day. Concert at 4 of piano alumni.
Three hours plus yesterday of piano performances. Most of them quite superb and lots of variety. Carlene pleased to have to many grateful students return to honor her.
What to do with tomorrow’s day? Portland for French lunch or Ashland or Campton for reading all day? Toss and turn last night to decide. Toss and turn tonight. All that music, though, sent me into a spin about how all is pulsation, rhythm, vibration, humming, every creature, molecule, of the cosmos cosntributing to the great hum-hymn of life and consciousness. How could we ever deny this, lose sight of it, fail to keep us singing?
30 October Weds
Colin and Va on the keyboard. Yesterday I drover to Portland. Gray and misty. Listened on Audible to Aciman’s new work, the great sequel to Call Me. By the time I got to the city I was disappointed and even disgusted by the long opening piece about the father and Miranda. Poor immigrant Aciman, he has hugged the tar baby of fame and fortune and sold his soul to hollywood. death of a salesman all over again. One reader on Amazon gives the book five stars even after lamenting that the opening story is way too long and boring. Failed to add that it is just distasteful and gross. But it does demostrate how similar Aciman is after all to Bellow. The “prettified” way of dressing---the silk scarves and ties, the exquisite suit, turned out in high euro dress style that I first noticed on Bellow when I saw him walking down 59th street one day. The successful dandy. Must be ISTJs, both he
and Aciman. Keep reviewing the INFP stuff on youtube and now in a little book on kindle that a Canadian young woman published. Catherine Chea. A great review of the basics. Why does it all appeal to be once again? A way of re-balancing, getting back to core experiences, finding out all over again who I am, who am I meant to be, why am I even “worried” about such things at this ripe old age? Somehow our lives now feel like a neo- adolescence. Even wearing heavier shoes with orthotics makes me feel thrown-back once more to the way things used to be a long, long time ago. And are now. So, through with Aciman, wish him luck now that he has hit his jackpots. Enough money now to live out his years in Italy. Will not bother to read the rest of this new book. He rushed it into print to please his fans, the thrill of the high buzz. I don’t want to know how he has treated his characters, for the sequel itself shows he doesn’t care for them at all. He somehow wrote a quiet timeless, classic love story and it has all the power of restraint and taste at every turn. All the NFness of it must have come from the fact that these powers within him are not primary but secondary and tertiary. Same with Eight White. In the other books, like Enigma, his dominant modes are the writers and those books give everyone over to the large patterns and concepts that his TJness prefers.
Back to Modiano and Pessoa. Granted Modiano must be an S. Sherman gave me this short key last night: TJs and FPs are concerned with Time Extraverted Thinking always aware of Time. “Introverted Sensing looks to the past to see how things were and how they compare to now. [so there is Modiano over and over.] “Introverted Intuition looks to the future to see how things will be. Extraverted Sensing is now. Extraverted Intuition is kind of unconnected to time.” Had Proust in mind with the question. So Proust and Aciman would be TJs, Ss or Ns? Getting lost here now.
Enjoyed most walking around Portland, few blocks up from the wharves. So-so lunch at the virtual French bistro. Enjoyed the drive both ways but convinced again to forget audio books. Take my mind off of paying attention to the driving for one thing. Still get irritated by the vocie. Stay with text no matter how little I can manage. Phil sent a rant about how fed up he is with books and tv and movies. Part of his stress but also part of our aging itself.
1 November
Dave sent photos of the kids in costume from San Raf---they were there on Tuesday, or maybe over the weekend, for Tout Saint. We had a fair number of treaters last night. Spent the day going for lunch in Mason at Little Red Riding Hood’s house on a hill. House from 1782. Think the McD’s on Stagecoach might be older. ReWorking the Asian album to make it all big photos. Still can’t believe we did it this year, just a few months ago!
This computer keeps shutting down! why? Obsessed I’ve been with doing Chicken Korma or Butter Chicken so bought some, marinating now.
Modiano admitted to sometimes being anti-Semitic . . . perhaps it is nostalgia for assimilation.” this in a footnote in the Yale book. What a strange phrase, to my ears, and perhaps it sounds different in French.
2 Nov
““We must become so alone, so utterly alone, that we withdraw into our innermost self. It is a way of bitter suffering. But then our solitude is overcome, we are no longer alone, for we find that our innermost self is the spirit, that it is God, the indivisible. And suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of the world, yet undisturbed by its multiplicity, for our innermost soul we know ourselves to be one with all being.” ― Hermann Hesse”
— The INFP Book: The Perks, Challenges, and Self-Discovery of an INFP by Catherine Chea
night Finished the Asia Trip album about 6 pm. Ordered. Virginia on the piano. Binging on the Aussie or New Zealand series, 800 words.
Found some good rants against Aciman. Fatima on Goodreads and Eric Newman in LARB. As soon as you read these you realize Aci is playing a perverse trick on the masses and enjoying the scandal. Even the new title tips off the joke---“find me” as if you can. He knows a real work of art cannot have a copy or a sequel---hence the museum visit to the great classical statue of Antinoos. He knows now that he is wealthy beyond his dreams he owes the craving and craven masses nothing and his hollywood
advisors have said look the book is a rough draft fro the movie script. Give Michael a much bigger part because the movie audience ranges from 45 to 64 and what they want as hallmark and lifetime know well is a happy ending and some kisses and especially older people having younger, adoring lovers.
Now Sunday morning in Standard Time. Nov 3 Getting more into White at last, Part Two. Himmelfarb the Jew and his childhood blonde friend. We know where this is headed but still it is well done. And the other theme, of Jews hating themselves and other Jews, that will play as well, as it continues to do in life and history. See Modiano’s remark. See the current white house staffer wreaking havoc on immigrants of every ilk and color, not just the mexicans he hates from his southern california childhood. Realized I have to read White as closely as reading a book of theology like Stang. Have misplaced that book for the moment.
Regret in the photo album not getting in that image of the huge vase of lillies standing in the black marble staircase landing in the Oberoi. Maybe post it on Instagram.
Feeny says Sarah’s not sure of who she is and what she wants and those things can’t be discovered within the structure of the marriage. As I suspected, more or less, without knowing more detail. He can’t show for lunch tomorrow, needs an xray for a possible stress fracture in his leg. That darned Hartford marathon, and a divorce!! Suggested a book on an early stage of Buddhism I’d never heard about. One of his profs at Chicago.
Keep looking at the one star reviews on amazon! A hurt lover who has taken this new novel as a personal affront. Aci even had the gall to make Oliver a middling lit prof at a college in New Hampshire!!! Dartmouth of course and yet what about moi!!???
from a Bio on HuffPost in 2017 about Brook Ziporyn----“He is currently working on a cross-cultural inquiry into the themes of death, time and perception, tentatively entitled Against Being Here Now, as well as a book- length exposition of atheism as a form of religious and mystical experience in the intellectual histories of Europe, India and China. He’s mental for unexpected chord progressions, counterintuitive philosophical ideas, and at
least one other thing.” Love the “atheism as a form of religious and mystical experience”---of course it is.
Monday Nov 4 Visit to Podiatrist the one thing. My right foot hasn’t been happy for these past two weeks. Not clear which shoe is good either.
Lot of energy going in to imagining what to do with tomorrow’s day On. going to be rainy. Read books. November today bright and dry and stark, no leaves on trees. Impeachment season. Underlying anxiety about the Dems messing it all up and Hilary charging in on her white horse to save everything. Oh dear god save us.
Comfort in scholarship, dense and intense: Stang’s labyrinthine explorations of how we are ourselves because we have been doubled. Is that an accurate summation?
chat about INFPs --- this caught my eye!
“The INFP, on the other hand, is much more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-their- pants type of creature. So, when they do things spontaneously or act silly or “crazy,” it doesn’t actually seem crazy. It just seems like them, because that is pretty typical for them. Where the INFP actually IS crazy (sometimes) is in making large life decisions that can be considerably risky. Like quitting their job to become a Tibetan monk or something like that. INFPs so fear living a life devoid of meaning, they can get into philosophical modes where they feel like life is passing them by and they haven’t made a “difference” yet. So they are prone to taking big life risks like that, seemingly out of left field.” ----Margie Lorenzo-Strekal To which Eric Wilson said “what’s crazy about leaving your job and joining a Buddhist monastery?”
Taking big risks out of left field. Hmm. Haven’t done much of that but the three angelic visitors in late May could be seen in that light of the risky crazy. But then again not. Who is to say, at this late date. Bob does have a stress leg fracture that is apparently not that new although new to him. Have to wonder for how long the divorce stress has been at work. Most likely for longer than either of them realized. Podiatrist set me straight once again and fiddled with the shoes---the Allbees--in just the way I would have, could have. Seavees arrived and look promising. Must make them work. Shoe obsession be silenced by orthotic prescriptiveness. Have to
stop looking at the one star reviews of Aci’s book but the one I saw this morning was right on: ends with “ Perhaps the author wants us to identify that character with him? Who knows? It's impossible to say, but the telling of this tale is not merely something badly done, it's an actively ugly thing.” Agree there. And another reader says “This book is essentially 260 pages of being slapped in the face for wanting more to begin with. And I’m angry. And I’m upset.” Again I hit the “Helpful” button.
Back to Jonathan Scrivener and Riders in the Chariot. And the Yale essays on Modiano. Best so far is the long explanation of the humor and wit in M’s first novel. Susan Ruben Sulieman’s. Maybe best explanation of many things Jewish I’ve read. Why goys can’t re-tell a Jewish joke without risking sounding anti-Semitic. And more.
5 Nov Portsmouth won out. Drizzly mist but still good to look around. So much big change. Money. Nepalese restaurant upstairs, G Willikers! across the street. Jewelry stores every six feet. Chat with the owner of Nahoma. Genius stroke was to listen to Lar Iyer on Youtube, interview and reading from about five years ago. Funny. Helped me say goodbye to the Assi funk. Oh, here he is in the times interview today about his high-level reading and who does he suggest most---Pessoa!! Does he credit telling him to read P?? no, of course not. Anyway happy to be back with real writer like Iyer. Waiting for his December release of Nietzsche. Picked up the Sontag bio in Gibson’s and found a good line after skimming the paragraph about Burke: . . . Sontag on the life of the socially estranged, the Jew. “Homosexuality and Judaism are intertwined with theatricality and aristocracy in a dreamworld in which nothing is what it seems.” Benjamin Moser’s book. He also did Lispector’s life. Hard worker!! Think of how theatricality fits so well Ed’s late career with the scripts and theater. But I was also thinking of how his latest work looks on the page a lot like Lax.
And I thought I could/should try to divide this stuff up into two or three different draft-boxes, potential works under different titles. Instead of just smushing everything into the same trunk of loose slips of paper.
Two philosophers, Lars and W, walk into a bar. Five spiritual teachers seated at a table in the corner ask them to joing them. You two really look like you need a drink, says the Christian minister. And, says the rabbi, we’ll give you free advice and answers to any question you ask to make the price of our drinks worth your while. Lars and W agree. First question, Paul
says. What will it be? Lars looks at W and says, ok, who suggests what right away, just as soon as you saw us walk in. Oh, that’s easy, says Paul. You guys need find some ladies of the night and celebrate the mysteries and glories of the flesh. Yeah, before it gets to be too late, chimes in the Buddhist. W looks and Lars and says, ok, noted. Next point I’ll ask: how should we write our next book? Ahh, replies the higher consciousness writer, Ned, I always suggest you have three boxes to collect your fragments: phrases of five words or less in one, observations made in five sentences or less, and in the third, words yoked together in strange and quirky and impossible collaborations that may or may not make much sense. Sort of a rejects bin. Oh, no no, pipes up the priest. What you guys really need is a long monastic style retreat. I know just the place. Another fellow raised his head and said, look, I’m a Swiss psychologist and I suggest a short cut to all of these other suggestions. Or we could call it a long way around but much more inclusive and in depth---start reading well and deeply the novels of Patrick White! Lars and W looked at all the fellows around the table. A waiter came over to take their orders.
6 November So my efforts to write a bar room joke yielded that unyieldy tome. But today Nicholas has a post on twitter leading to this wonderful long essay on White and it toally convinces me to keep going with him. And I just ordered his last book, Memoir, for which this article will be the introduction when it comes back into print. Glancing over my shallow acquaintance with Aussie culture (even though we are steadily moving through the tv series 800 words right now), I did eureka to myself at one point---given the theme of camp and gay theatricality in the piece---of course White belongs to the Aussie era of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert! Can check later on whether that linking means much at all. It does help give me a little contextual space. Va is reading Hanging Gardens and we talked while walking in Wallys in Concord this morning about how difficult White is to read. Satisfying challenge, then.
Here is one neat passage from Sophie Cunningham’s piece: “White’s earlier writings on the body, its possibilities for debasement, are more explicitly related to something that is present throughout (the body of ) his work: an exploration of the sacred. Absurdity and transcendence; shit and the spirit.”
And “Great writing does this. It resonates with what we bring to our reading, which is a bit like saying that the novel’s concerns are universal – but that would be oversimplifying the point. Perhaps it is more accurate to
say that the novel is polymorphous, perverse. It can be penetrated from many angles. This availability is one of the reasons I have always found reading White to be an inspirational experience. “Reading White becomes – for all of us – an act which is at once personal and social, individualistic and political, devotional and subversive, sacred and profane,” Ian Henderson writes in his introduction to Patrick White Beyond the Grave.”
And then the influence of abstract painting on him----Gotta love that!!
“White’s capacity to write out from the collapse of meaning which is the experience of dementia, to refute the importance of literal meaning, is glorious, and is something he’d been doing since his first novel. “I began to write from the inside out when Roy de Maistre introduced me to abstract painting,” White told Geoffrey Dutton. “Before that I had only approached writing as an exercise in naturalism ... As far as I was concerned, it was like jumping into space, and finding nothing there at first (the same thing when one plunges into Zen).”
Many in One is such a great INFP title anyway. Great youtube video on how to seduce an INFP by a guy who calls himself Love Who. Nathan Glass. INFPs are always enthused about something and move from one thing to the next. Contradictory impulses and phases---one week free love hippies, next week zen monks. There we are, the failed bar joke above.
7 Nov A cold and rainy day that feels like snow must be in the mountains.
New Seavees stiff but feeling great. Just as I long suspected the sneaker might be best. Minimal heel but good base cushioning. Took the insert out of these and use the orthotics. Will use orthotics in the desert boot tomorrow morning and see how that works. Then cut the insert if it seems desirable. Sent back the Clarks and the cobalt shirt.
Levi Stahl posting lines from Westlake and praising agin the Parker novels. he put up this one ====
“I guess I just felt I had to confess something to somebody.”
“That’s a bad feeling. Don’t get it anymore.”
—Richard Stark, The Rare Coin Score Hear hear! seconds to that.
Forgot to pull out this passage which especially resonates because I keep listening to Matt Sherman and others on youtube about INFP stuff.
Sophie Cunningham says “ Alex Gray is an irritable, contrary woman and her memoirs are, similarly, irritable and contrary. They shake off any attempt to make sense of, or contain, meaning. Time collapses, narrative collapses, gender boundaries collapse. The novel responds better if you try and intuit what it’s on about. Certainly logic isn’t a useful tool, unless what you’re bringing to your reading the logic of dreams.” Nicholas must have liked this passage too, since dreams have been such a big part of his search, analysis and spirituality.

page 187 in Jonathan Scrivener---Wrexham rides a bus on the upper level around London to sort out his thoughts and enter into the realm of Mystery. “speculate” is the correct term. from the text.
Suleiman’s essay on Modiano’s Jewishness suggests I could try to criticize Aciman in some way---call him a schlemiel for taking the hollywood money train, or such. But I wouldn’t dare. Have no sense of what the “correct” joking term would be (could ask Ed) and have no sense of what it might be understood as meaning. Way too many possibilities could fly out of that Pandora’s carboard carton.
Dreary day. Baking frozen pot pies at 4:15 pm and Va has declared it is now ok to watch hallmark movies. No word from the former student about lunch tomorrow and I know it will not happen. Our west leb river group will meet Sunday and be the happier for it anyway.
9 Nov Saturday
Big social scene dominatiing this weekend!! First a walk at Wallys.

10 Nov Monday late afternoon Snow light and heavy pale, dim blue-gray sky. Someone out scraping a snow shovel already. Only 4:13pm. Jeff. Happy that his spinal surgery was so successful. coffee Saturday with Tim and Lana was genuine fun. Lunch yesterday in W Leb was ok, various geezer tensions seemed in the air but we chuckled through. Painted the marks on the wall left by the cat perch. Salmon for lunch. Day off tomorrow and maybe snow will be over. Lunch with Greg on Wednesday. checking the lists, all’s well. Not a very sublime entry, this. Well. Reading Westlake’s first novel, Apprentice Virgin. Old paperback with red edges,
yellowed pages, spine breaks with each page turn. Much different really from Aciman? Desire, encounters, sex, set against summer stock. Feels like my adolescence in terms of tone and mood. Can picture Phil as the hero because he did do summer stock at the lake where his parents had a cabin and a beautiful cris craft boat. Walked at Tanger while Va had her nails done. Felt good to walk, wider, longer strides, the orthotics felt comfortable and even welcome to the feet which felt more bouncy and ready to land and push off. So, the orthotics are conquering my proud heart after I rejected them seven years ago. How little I know myself after all. Iama9itseemsontheEnneagramandnotatalla4asIhadalways thought. Now I can see that is what I wanted to see myself as and not as I truly am, a slothful get-along-er, or peacemaker if you want to put a face on it.
13 Nov Weds
Yesterday I finished Westlake’s first novel, Apprentice Virgin, early 20 somethings working in summer theater. Written for the pulp fiction market, for sure, but it has an energy, style and promise, and at times the zing of phrasing, of the emergence of an important writer. Certainly lasts after fifty some years. Even the sleaze now seems pretty tame and unsleazy and the tastefulness of the tastelessness helps the book age rather well. Memorable character sketches, clichés of the summer stock coming-of-age novel for sure but halos of potential that makes them not just clichés. If that is possible. Today in the drive over to Ossippee for lunch with Greg, I caved and listened to more of Aciman’s novel. Disgusted all over again by the schlockiness of it all. Disgust too strong I guess, but turned off. If Westlake wrote pulp that broke those bounds toward literature, Aciman writes now (or has he always, except for the memoir) literary kitsch that is tasteless pulp. So much fine embroidery about music and culture and now Jewishness and fathers and aging and lost youth and large patterns of love fulfilled, ehhh.
14 Thursday
Colin reminds us that last year the first snow fell on Nov 10. This year it was Nov 11. This morning’s reading, in Scrivener, commented perfectly on my continuing disappointment with Aciman’s latest. You see an eminent actor in the theatre and then years later go to see him again and you find that “his performance to-day is only a plagarism of himself.” His work is
now “no longer indispensable and inevitable, because the inspiration which once fused them [their component elements] into organic unity has vanished.” “The actor has ceased to be an artist and is now a box of tricks.”
According to Goodreads last year in February I read a novel by Andrew Martin and posted a glowing review of it. I have no memory of that book! so now I’m going to listen to some of it on audible and see if memory can be jogged! Maybe I was in the after-shock of the heart valve replacement procedure!?
Nice lunch with Greg yesterday. Year since he retired. He is much more relaxed and actually talked a good deal, about his family and things. They had a sort of reunion in September, only his sister missing. Older brother Dave and younger brother Kevin. Greg and Dave only a year apart, were inseparable as kids. Grew apart, way apart, after, and Dave had years of alcoholism. Picturing Greg as the second born, middle son, had me wondering later if he might be an INFP?? I asked him if MBTI was regarded in psychology but he hadn’t thought of it for years. He did say at one point that now that he’s been wholly away from it, it seems as if psychology, counseling, is too narrow because it rules out any talk of spirituality. This surprised me but heartened me too. Glad to hear him say that. Listening to more of the book ruined the day for me, really. Today is gray and feels like more snow.
The way Aciman uses this latest work to bring fatherhood onto center stage seems to reveal how provincial his outlook really is, how old world, Egyptian, Jewish, familial, even clannish. I even wonder if any gay reviewers of the book will object to it on the grounds than it subsumes desire into the large arc of patriarchy. Fleeting desires are fine but what lasts and gives meaning to any of them, all of them, is, after all, progeny, and progeny through the fathers, not the mothers.
“the ystery n whch y fe
20 Nov Wednesday. Few days of glitch and crash and here we are on a new MacBook. Big screen handed in for recycle at Best Buy in West Leb yesterday. Now waiting for Plymouth Furniture window blind installer.
Paul did not want to move the piano. Got it installed in ten minutes.
Michael’s father-in-law, Bob, died suddenly two weeks ago at 89 on the farm in Vermont. Neighbor found his body under the loader. They assume it was a heart attack. Two months earlier their dog had to be put down. His own dad died two years ago. Troubled relationship for years.
If Lax were living this life, my life, how would he do it? Silence. Far beyond what I am capable of maintaining.
We know their names, at last, those horsemen, the four. Michael, Matthew, Guy and Adam.
Are they horsemen or angels? Apocalypse or Revelation?
Already pasted this in but will do it again. Can’t find the snippet of jottings from the first of this year that I was going to plug into here. Happy to have the old mac gone but getting used to this new one will take a while.
“I guess I just felt I had to confess something to somebody.” “That’s a bad feeling. Don’t get it anymore.”
—Richard Stark, The Rare Coin Score
so proud she couldn’t walk straight

notebooks blossomed they had all blossomed out with notebooks — this is Westlake I think—-didn’t note who.
Diaries of Judith Malina—-1947-1957. will I read much of this book? Grove Press 1984. Beautiful. book physically. Reminds you of the old world gone. Small font too. Great diaries as diaries go. From the era.
22 Nov. Friday. rain rain gray rain. Sarah showed me her photographs of the lights and mists in which you can see the ghost of a dinosaur from our local swamplands. Bogs.
When I got into bed last night I realized that years ago, how many? I looked at Judith Malina’s diaries for all that she had on Agee and his torments. So strange. What is my repetitive compulsion for this? Must now read Kierkegaard at last. She is 27 on June 5, 1957. A Gemini also! Maybe that is our link! Agee is 44, born in 1909. “He makes love with all the skill with which Marlowe turns a line.” . . . “Knowing he is vulnerable , he has developed a hardness that is more real to him than the vulnerability.” (285) Julian says “You would not care for him if he were not James Agee.” “But of course. Who else should he be? And he is beautiful and loves me as a man should do, all certainty and ease. With a single stick of marijuana, he rattles a blue streak of intelligent nonsense. When I leave him him he lies sprawled like a great dead Greek hero. All day I am happy.” I took out her paragraph breaks. Let Us Now was published in 1941! Mother and Dad were 38 & 39 in 1953!!!???
Morning Watch he started in 47 and completed in 1950. Malina: August 14, 1953 “All morning Jim reads in a painfully pure voice his beatific, “The Morning Watch.”
“I am transported, not only by the story, but by the grace of the writer who senses the proximity of God to little boys and the funny inability of little boys to know they are so proximate. Then he, the little boy, and I, who magically become the little boy, come nearer to our honor and falseness and precious striving, and our holy self-deception.
“Then I love deeply this deep-feeling lover. (290)
“I would rather dance with Cocteau than with Sartre.” Jim

Jonathan Yardley reviewing Bergreen’s biography in WaPo 1984: He also managed to make a noteworthy mess of his private life and thus, it goes without saying, the lives of others. Bergreen gives all the details, some of which are pretty ugly; Agee's manipulation of a sexual relationship between his first wife and Walker Evans is an especially distasteful episode, one that "brought pain to those he loved most."
Didn’t find the passage in Malina. May have to look at Bergreen but what a waste of time that would be too. Strange backward moves to dig into Agee as if his story, stories, are essential to me. Or if they once were sixty years ago, they are not now so today. November drears.
Saturday 23. Lax worked at Life for a few months in 1946 as an understudy to the great film critic James Agee. McGregor. Merton not listed in Malina’s index. Paul Goodman part of her crowd along with Ginsburg. She asks Agee how he can portray people so lovingly since he talks about how they disgust him. “No, it is not really people I care about”—-we had discarded ideas, concepts, and atmospheres—-“I’m interested in them, but I don’t really care about the deeply. It’s more the sense of smell and touch and , and” —-here his hands reached out, each feeling for, blindly and sensitively, the other—-“that’s what I care about.” (311).
I’ve wasted time past two days poring back over Malina to find the one key sentence I think I saw and neglected to write down. May be a total illusion, mistaken memory, but of course I can’t find it. And now I put the book down and forget about it. It was a sentence about how their love making went and it could have been right out of Westlake, plus it had more poetry and elegance in its indirection than Aciman could have mustered. And it was part of the age, that age, the early 50s.
On to Agee’s Watch and the other books piled up. I’m embarrassing to myself that I am repeating my search into Agee and his time as though they had something I really needed. I mean that I’ve done it all years before.
Pulled Middelmarch off the shelf earlier today. Nicholas loves it. Could I bear to even try it? Such a bad memory of it from sophomore year at Elkins Park. But then I was not in good shape then. What if I try it and love it? After Riders or along with it.
24 Nov. Sunday
“He was a mirror in which she saw herself magnified.” Houghton Scrivener 242. The theme or meme of the year, the summer, the past eight months. Our Divine Double. Morning Watch plays into this too. Reading it is I guess my version of doing the high school reunions fifty-five years on. I do recall that I have read it at least once as an adult, since 1960 or so. But what a strange and twisted text it is. It would not get out of an Iowa workshop these days. thank goodness. Belongs wholly to that 1950 era. Merton got the Catholic revival off to a start good and early with Seven Storey in 1948? Agee’s success in that afterglow. His writing is exquisitely beautiful in passages, joycean, wolfean, as drunken sublime as oneill, dylan
thomas. The whole romantic stream contra the triumph in poetry of pound and eliot. And the last high gasp of the patriarchy in letters and culture!! How’s that for a jacket blurb. The one line about falling asleep as readily as a negro or dog would. get deleted for sure. Or redacted as they insist on saying. Part too of that whole collection of novels about young boys in prep schools—Catcher, Separate Peace, Death in the Family, another one I can’t recall right now. And manliness, virility, the holiness of being a soldier priest. We won the war and now we go back to the altar to watch and be knighted in the Lady Chapel. If I were to do the Burkean study now I could do it on Watch rather than Nostromo. The old German soldier Willard Rivenburg in the chapel. Richard says of himself in comparison (mirror) “He himself was accustomed to feel a good deal of complacency because with Father Fish’s help he had learned several hundred words of French, but now he felt ashamed of himself, and resolved to learn German, which seemed to him a much more virile language.” 23.
Fish is such a suspect name for the father. In the sense that the sensitivityis so refined that the book could be parodied so easily and the hidden allegorical freudian sub-texts skinned and filleted out with the skill of a KB with pencil. Using the later biography and even Malina’s diaries we can find in the text the darkness in which Agee tormented himself with drunkeness as substitute for eating and fucking. Or was it sleeping and fucking? In Malina. I still want to find that one sentence she writes so well.
And there in the text is that suggestion that two of the older boys might have a Vocation. Source! of what I envied at once and wanted at once. I must have read this book my sophomore year, for sure. “But how can you say things when you only ought to mean them and don’t really mean them at all?” 37. The terrible inner twistings of sin and intention and impulse and hidden powers. And going to Confession, sinfulness ready at every turn and if not noticed then invented for the necessary playbook of making a good confession rather than a bad one. “Nobody’s got any business even hoping he can be a saint, he told himself.” 38. Neither Merton nor Lax would ever have written that. In fact the record shows that they took for granted just the opposite. What a chasm between generations. Agee born in 1909 and Lax born in 1915. Ok, not generations but worlds.
Richard is now aware of being twelve and a year ago was a child at eleven. For him the desire to be a saint is intertwined with lust: “he himself had cherished , more secretly even than his lust, exactly this inordinate
ambition. Good golly, he whispered within his soul, feeling the back of his neck and his cheeks go hot; and with a cold and marveling, compassionate contempt for the child he had so recently been, he lost himself in reflective remembrance, unaware that it was for the first time in his life.” 39. Didn’t I take this book more than Portrait and all the others as the book of mirroring? How could this book have seen so deeply into my own life, the layers of guilt and shame and longing and secrecy being built up within, layered down, silted? Long sentence on 38 into 39 so intricately composed that links the language of the church and prayer with the desire to suffer with Christ—-language and feeling, vocation and longing—-all tangled —“and, entering upon his desolation of loneliness, had made of suffering a springing garden, an Eden in which to walk, enjoying the cool of the evening. It had become a secret kind of good to be punished, especially if the punishmen was exorbitant or unjust; better to be ignored by others, than accepted; better still to be humiliated, than ignored. He remembered how on mornings when he had waked up and found his bed dry, had felt as much regret as relief.” (39).
Surely today this would be thought a dangerous book to give to adolescents!! And in hindsight I can see that this is the book, the kind of book, that had helped spark the vocations in all of my teachers in that era, the whole crew of young brothers in Cumberland who had had their calling and training only five or six or seven years before showing up to teach us.
Agee wrote this and his earlier hit to analyze himself, to put into art just as Joyce and Dylan Thomas had done, their lives.
Synchronicity wow: Va downstairs has just watched the video of the Milner Family reunion Christmas at our house in 1989-90. Thirty years ago.
David was eleven. 11 Just like Richard in this book. Holy Cow!

“The leaden melodies of the Lenten hymns had appealed to him as never before; lines in certain hymns seemed, during that time, to have been written especially for him.” 40. Ha! this is basically the way I have read everything since then, in my “solitary wanderings in the woods” “for all their solitude and melancholy.” So could be I have never grown at all, never grown up. November dreary morning, freezing rain, light crust of ice and snow on the dead leaves in the yard outside. Might be dangerous and abusive or something for me to keep reading this old near-classic text which so led me astray fifty-five years ago.
If you weren’t an athlete, you might be queer. If you weren’t a soldier, you might be queer. If you were called to holiness you might not be a man, if you were a real man, you might need forgiveness for your sins and sinfulness. The inner logics twisted into catholicism and the age. And of course themes I’ve honed and polished in my imagination and memory over these years. According to DrB the family/church/culture grooms a child for a role, M feared vocation and failure to realize vocation, D had not gone to war and athletics were the ticket, without which oddness of any sort possible.
More heavy wet snow all afternoon. Dark grey blue outside at 4:07. Va sorting slides.
“whereas his own ambitions were prompted (or so it seemed) by true religious feeling and by nothing else.” !! 44
In Scrivener Middleton is the Agee figure: “They [Francesca and Pauline] are to him what drink is to me.” 243. Scrivener is Middleton magnified. Scrivener is a magnifying mirror to everyone who encounters him.
“We are as many persons as we have friends.” “Friendship is the fusion of two enthusiasms.”
“A man is expected to do exactly what the herd does of which he is a member. . . . If you persist in your refusal, it is either assumed that you have a secret vice, or that you are a Bolshevik in close touch with Moscow.”
“Your refusal is regarded by members of your family as a criticism of them.” And so you step into paradox if you have a vocation: you may join the priesthood so long as you continue your passion, the family passion, for golf.
“Our desire, like a butterfly, is alluring only while it eludes. Captured, it is a dead thing through which we stick a pin. We multiply our wants because each possession in turn disappoints us, yet we lack the courage to admit the futility of the chase.” 249
Finished Jonathan Scrivener. Ending was not a surprise surprise. Wholly logical. Brilliant psychological investigation or rather meditation. So well written. Were there passages repeating earlier passages? Think so. So
many ways this anticipates many later novels, modernist and post- modernist. Ahead of its time. Love how calm and assured it is too. Explores torment without being tormented or imitating it. Remarkable in lots of ways. Feels like a British stage play is many ways. Or could have been one, could be one. Could be a fine movie. Do I want to read another of Houghton’s books? Nicholas said this one was the best or the better of the two he had read.
Phil just asked about the Watch photo I put on Facebook—-What got you reading this? My answer: I don't know. Do you remember it? did we read it first or second year or did we read A Death in the Family? I've not finished it yet. Guess it is. my version of going to the 50-55th reunions.
Like Miller says a week or so I was thinking and got confused. Suddenly thought about it—part of the November drears. Ishmael weather, time to go to sea. Some chain of memories or associations. Parts of it beautifully written, dense, imitative of Joyce and Thomas Wolfe. Other parts dated and forced or flat. Strange piece. Would serve psychoanalytic lit critics if any one did that any more.
We had fresh pomegranate after dinner. Virginia says she learned to love them when she was about eight, she and Peggy Burrows would climb the tree behind her house and eat pomegranates.
25 Nov. Monday.
Jim called this evening for a short chat. His dog book is now up on amazon, great cover drawing. He’s completed his ms on unusual saints and recalls Don’s drawings for it and wants six or eight more. Mostly we talked about the best martini which has anchovy stuffed olives. They are having thanksgiving dinner with some friends who don’t drink.
Morning Watch now dazzling me much less than I’d expected. Of course. Middle passages feel flat and even fusty. He’s imitating, echoing the high prose style of the book of common prayer, the other church texts of the English church, and it mostly works but when it doesn’t it goes leaden. Richard’s torment about how to suffer properly and how to not be a hypocrite grow tiresome because which a twelve-year old might agonize in these ways (I did) it becomes tedious. Or have I just gotten past the glow. And if I project onto this book the discovery of my vocation I might just as well accuse it and find it guilty of provoking the mild nervous breakdown
that ended the monastery days. Age of Anxiety, wasn’t that a play Malina talked about? Or just a book she was reading. The Anxiety of the Age. I suppose the whole decade after the war was a severe cultural PTSD era for the world. The victorious West would have been even more clueless about its ramifications and manifestations.
Did Merton ever write anything about Agee’s books? When I first read Agee I must have been naive enough to take it as a depiction of spiritual life without any idea that it was a critique of religiosity, of that other term which now escapes me, for excessive devotional behavior.
Mirroring passage—-on page 79:
“as if he were trapped between them, good and evil, as if they were mirrors laid face to face as he had often wished he could see mirrors, truly reflecting and extending each other forever upon the darkness their meeting, their facing, created, and he in the dark middle between them, . . . .”
could use it to gloss my painting from 2008 that I like so much—-just posted on Insta and Fbk.
26 November
10:51. just finished Watch. Busy Wayfarer cafe, noisy. Holiday on its way. From the mirror passage onward Agee gets his breath back and finishes the book, long short story, prose poem, really, is flashes of perfect sublimity.
and he in the dark middle between them, . . . .” “, and there was no true good and no true safety in any effort he might ever make to realize or repent a wrong but only a new temptation which his very soul itself seemed powerless to resist; for was not this sense of peace, of strength, of well- being, itself a sin? yet how else could a forgiven or forgivable soul possibly feel, or a soul in true contrition or self-punishment? I’m a fool to even try, he groaned to himself, and he felt contempt for every moment of well-being he could recall, which had come of the goodness of a thought or word or deed. Everything goes wrong, he realized. Everything anyone can ever do for himself goes wrong.” 79
Two uses of the word knobbled. Did Agee make it up?
“He looked at all the lights, spearing, aspiring, among the dying flowers. Knobbled and fluted with their own spillings, the candles stood like sheaves; some, bent by the heat, bowed over like winter saplings. Almost all the flowers hung their exhausted faces.” 86
They visit the hogpen at the start of Part III, their watch in adoration finished. Then walk through the woods and swim in the quarry cut and then kill a snake. In the woods, the trunks of the near by trees “were no longer black. Some were blackish, some were brownish, some were gray and gray green and silver brown and silver green and now the forms and varieties of the bark, rugged, mosaic, deeply ribbed and satin sleek, knobbled like lepers and fluted like columns of a temple, became entirely distinct. Some of the twigs looked still as dark and fragile as the middle of winter, many were knobbled and pimpled and swollen as if they were the color of bronze and some were the color of blood; on some there were little buds like the nubbins of young deer and on others new leaves as neatly fledged as the feathering ought to be for the arrows Richard had never been able to make perfectly.” 97
Could keep quoting key phrases for remainin 23 pages. Final sentence “When the boys turned from the sty he followed them towards the Main Building carrying, step by step with less difficulty, the diminishing weight in his soul and body, his right hand hanging with a feeling of subtle enlargement at his thigh, his left hand sustaining, in exquisite protectiveness, the bodiless shell which rested against his heart.” 120
Blubs came to mind earlier this morning, some joking of course. Never before in literature had anyone captured so perfectly the twelve year old boy’s discovery of masturbation as the fulcrum which moves him from childhood to manhood. Agee frames the moment within the perfection of the Christian masochistic drama of sin, guilt and redemption.
Opening line: “In hidden vainglory he had vowed that he would stay awake straight through the night, . . . .”
“a triumph of the Catholic masochistic literary tradition” the masochistic Catholic literary imagination.
ok such a hard morning’s work but now I think I should come to the Wayfarer all the time!! Learn at last to savor the intricacies of Laconia,
which I have denied and forsaken oh so many years. Time now for a salty martini, under Jim’s blessing, and some seafood or fish under Ishmael’s. On Google “knobbled” yields photos of a million dollar cowboy bar in Jackson WY. Maybe the word is a southern and western one. Spell check here underlines it as not standard but then maybe the mac’s still learning since it still such a young welk. I’ve been thinking of oysters since the middle of the night. Melville’s call to the sea
my post on facebook earlier today. —-
Call me Ishmael. Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off - then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.
Try three different ms pages? quotations fragments croppings.
new to me French writer via twitter. Quaglin? ordered some of his books Pascal Quignard
Agee our humble author, has Richard be embarassed when they are all naked before diving into the quarry pool but he gives him the biggest cock —“He suspected, however, that his was really the biggest because
Jimmy . . .” (101). Is this consolation for having been so tormented by childish religiosity in the middle part of the tale??

was going to copy more passages of super wording but another time. Posted this tweet earlier in the day—while in the martini lunch at the Grill.
once you’ve had a sort of breakdown in university
you learn how to expect you will find
ways to repeat yourself in milder and
slower ways over the remaining fifty or sixty years

repeat yourself or it will repeat itself ? and every now and then it will repeat itself in milder and slower ways over the remaining fifty or more years
from Poetry Chaikana —- Basho. d. 1494
Come, let's go snow-viewing till we're buried.
In Agee’s piece Richard goes from childhood through machochistic religiosity to stronger adolescent new identity by being the one to kill the snake, dive deepest and longest in the freezing water (another baptism) and emerges the hero anointed with snake slime and blood. Killing happens after the long, deep dive. Nakedness no longer shameful either. They expect punishment when they return to the school for breaking rules.
Patrick White will get me away from all of this retro-1950s Catholic guilt and devotion. His last book, Memoirs of Many in One. but oops already on page 26 “The hibiscus had shed its spangles, the trumpets are wilted phalluses.” And masochism invoked twice so far. Ahh well.
Phil’s reply to the Guardian article on the Bad Sex writing of 2019 award finalists.
My favorite phrase here: "It brought back the early experiments at the photographic society in Paris...." Right! That's what sex so often produces in my mind!!!!!!
It's really hard to decide if these examples are bad writing or bad imagination or bad sexual experience. Oooooh, that praying mantis!!!
I tend to think that women don't often enjoy sex very much and seldom really get an orgasmic experience. But our culture places so much emphasis on "good sex" that they convince themselves that they do. Males do get an orgasm, and use that to imagine what women experience.
However most writers, male and female, in my opinion, just make shit up about both male and female orgasms 'cause that's what writers do.
Finally, I think "love" is mainly a feminine verb, meaning it's employed by women far more than by men. The reason, I think, is that in the past women generally needed men (mainly for protection and money) far more than men needed women for more than sex . So the concept of "love" got created (by a woman, I"ll bet) to glorify the self sacrifice that was usually involved on both sides but more by women than men. And today I hear women all the time stressing "togetherness." Don't hear many men stressing that concept.
PS Do you do crossword puzzles? Sudoko? ————
Cécile sent photos of the kids sending their letters to Pere Noel and Emma’s in handwriting with precise code links to Amazon. I’m making touches to add to tomorrow’s meal, most of which we got prepared today from Fosters. Extra gravy and stuffing and the pie I bought at Holderness yesterday. Two of the new books by French writers arrived, so the reading pile not wanting.
Bingeing through season three of Good Karma Hospital.
28 November Thanksgiving. morning.
Sunny and windy. No snow last night. Rain but streets look dryer now.

Sweet short chat on screen with Dave and the kids. Eliot tired from circus arts after school. Emma showed us the big toy catalog from which they chose what Pere Noel could bring them. Dave has a slight cold. New, younger bass player with his band had gotten them a gig in March at the famous jazz club, same small one featured in La La Land. Club Oubliette?? not sure of the name. Le Caveau de la Huchette
Finished Stang’s book on Double. Only in last two pages does he link to reading and writing as ecstatic practices bound into the theory/theology of the divine double. Bloom’s autobiographical sense of discovering reading as discovery, gnosis, of how one is searching in reading for a mutual
knowing, and of being known, of and by God and here is the gloss for remembering when I read The Morning Watch. Kripal’s line “Realization is finally the insight that we are being written.” Reading. And writing or Authorization is the insight that we take on writing as the authorship of our own “I” and “Not-I,” to become in Kripal’s phrase and author of the Impossible who knows that the Human is Two and One.” Writing is a mystical practice seeking ecstatic union with the unknown God.
Kripal’s book is somewhere here and I read it a while back but now I can’t locate it. Ahh, on my own blog I might find discussion of it!! Brilliant. Well, quick look didn’t yield but no matter. Stang’s book a superb one but from that other world I once a long time ago thought I might join, the scholarly teams, but found I didn’t have the calling for that.
Big turkey meal and finished Good Karma Hospital. Dozy nap and some reading. Patrick White’s Many in One.
29 Nov Friday
Neither of us can remember the name of the Spanish lit professor who took us out to his weekend house in Soria about five or six years ago right at the start of August vacations. Driving Va crazy not to remember. He is not a Valle scholar but a scholar of another main Spanish writer. She can’t recall how she met him. I remember that he came into a box of letters or diaries and somehow that made his career. He drove us around Soria and we ended up at Santo Domingo de Silos and found the monks were not very good at chanting evening prayer. Compline? Their singing was not at all like the angelic sounds that had made them famous in the 60s recordings. He took us to see the corridors in the ground along which the bulls used to run all across much of Spain to get them to market.
just now “I was proud of my purple eggplant and emerald peppers” our memoirist Alex p. 75 in Memoirs. Hey, we have an eggplant and a pepper, miniatures in our sunporch, gift of Patsy a few months ago.
30 Nov
I had been saying his name is Jesus Rubio and finally Va agrees and we just found a photo of him online linked to Zaragoza and university of Z. He is a scholar of Bequer’s works.
2 December
Photos from Dave, Emma helping to clean the dishes. Snow last night, looks mild enough on the streets. Off to doctors and dentists.

Birkerts posted this on twitter—-
“Without madness what is man
But a wholesome beast, Postponed corpse that begets?”
seems a perfect way to review White’s Memoirs of Many in One. Few pages more to go but I like it fine.
3 December. Tues
Most of the snow storm was south of us, about two inches here overnight. Headed west this morning and sky was clear before I got to Enfield. Bounced around there. Panera lunch, various shopping, grocery, stops. No excitement. Walked around the big new hilton garden place. Gray business convention center. Huge for Hanover but just the few people walking through the lobby you can see how it will get used. Maine women’s hockey team there according to a sign in the lobby. Ended up listening to the Andrew Martin novel on Audible that apparently I listened to a year or so ago. Fresh enough to get some good laughs. Martin has a sharp eye and ear for his milieu. Va had a good swim even though the pool was cold. And a walk in wallys where the lights were on low setting. saving money? Colin’s mother thinks so. Phone call from Ben, poor guy, he cut off part of one of his hands yesterday. Oh, rain into Paul and Judy going into King Arthur. All of us surprised and nearly speechless. Veirs son is going through a messy divorce—-kids must be about 12-14 and ? Other messages from Va’s jacquie lawson mailings for the holiday. Richard W having hip replacement.
4 December Weds
Kids already have their tree up, just sent a photo! We, I, got the mantel cleared at last. Earlier walked at Wallys. did lots of other stuff too.
Laundry I guess and stuff. Now have two versions of this document—- Pages and a Microsoft Word version. which to keep using??
5 December Thursday
Morning Watch gets slight mention in Bergreen’s biography of Agee. Minor piece given all the drama of Agee’s life and much larger and more spectacular projects (hollywood etc). Bergreen describes the sleeping with your best friend event is the most bland journalistic facts only please manner. “Agee finally goaded to consummation the long-delayed liason between Alma and Evans. As always, Alma was willing to go along with her husband’s desires, no matter how extreme. If Agee wanted her to sleep with his best friend, she was willing, even though she was pregnant and did not find Evans particularly appealing.” 238 “Consumed by love for the two of them and by curiosity, Agee remained blind to her reservations. Nor was it enough that Alma and Evans make love—he proposed to watch them in the act. In doing so, he expected to learn more about the truth of sex and in particular the revelation of the male orgasm.” Whooaaa
What?? or as we say these days WTF?? but I thought of the hippie days and how these people then were the bohemian crowd in nyc. And a quick google reminded me that such voyeurism is pretty common garden variety kink. Still—-interesting how Bergreen describes Agee’s delusional rationalizations. The age of Freud indeed.
“Instead of scientific detachment, he was overcome by spasms of pain, love, and jealousy. The conflicting emotions the sight aroused in his breast were so strong that he had no recourse but to cry.” Maybe B is quoting A’s words? “Breast” and “no recourse” sound so old southern genteel.
Why did Bergreen write the biography? Born in 1950. Harvard ’72. Published this in 1984—-his first big book, first biography, after having worked in journalism, academia and broadcasting. Power, proving himself, stretching himself into greatness, proving he is greater than his subject, Agee. Like mountain climbing and everything else. The career was there, the life there, and Agee was a father figure/grandfather figure for him. No his first book was on broadcasting in 1980 when he hit thirty years old. Look Now, Pay Later: The Rise of Network Broadcasting, published in 1980. He went to the Taft School in CT. Parents lawyers, New York. praise from two critics for the Agee book—-“Melvin Maddocks pointed out in Time
that Bergreen "spent three years in research and interviews amassing the minute data of Agee's life," and the reviewer asserted that the book is a "solid, unassuming biography." Jonathan Yardley stated in the Washington Post Book World, "It is a terribly familiar story, and a terribly sad one, and it is told exceptionally well by Laurence Bergreen in what is, rather surprisingly, the first full Agee biography." Yardley also praised Bergreen for not "succumb[ing] to the literary biographer's temptation to overrate his subject's work.” Yes, thank God he didn’t overrate Agee’s work. No wonder Agee’s son, Joel, wrote such a long letter to the Time pointing out erroneous and dull and dim-witted the book is.
“It is of course permissible for a biographer to speculate about the motives and behavior of his subject, but it is surely not allowable to present one's imaginations as if they were verified facts. Throughout the book, Mr. Bergreen supplies James Agee with thoughts, feelings and motives for which no documentation is offered, probably because none exists. It strikes me as scandalous that a ''biography'' replete with errors, distortions and outright fabrications - not to mention its cliche-infested English - should be treated as though it were the product of careful research and serious reflection. JOEL AGEEBrooklyn “
I was going to take some books to the dump tomorrow, to winnow the shelves. As soon as I pull some off I find I can’t do it. Not that easily, not that fast, not even with the obvious ones ready to be trashed. If secrets are as valuable as confessions, even more so, hanging on to these books piled up over the years is also valuable. To me if to no one else. Not claiming that that analogy works.
Lunch with Bob F tomorrow. See how div school was, why the marriage hit the skids.
Disappointed right off with Iyer’s book on Nietzsche. Not giving it a chance. Being shallow about it too. Perhaps.
Sunday Dec 8
Lunch with Bob Friday went well. Great fun for me to talk about his courses and books and grad school. Less so about the divorce. My hunch proved to be correct. Sarah has fallen in love with a woman and has moved back to Chicago to be with her and co-parent her two children. On
facebook they look like they might be ten years old. Boy and a girl. The woman is a student or was a student in Bob’s program at the Div school. He seems sad about it all and much else but he’s not showing much except the stoic attitude of moving through and moving on. He says he is a 5 on the enneagram. He’s tried therapy recently but only twice. His residency goes for another year. He loved grad school and can see himself going back into academia. Could see him becoming the absent-minded professor. Never quite saw that years ago. Watchers, #5.
9 December. night rain started while we were in Wally’s late morning.
Jim’s book arrived. Reading it now. 5pm. Send a copy to Bob. Listening to a fine tape on Youtube by an Asian woman on Enneagram 9. Much better than a video by the former priest, richard rohr? Is that his name?
He is speaking to a catholic audience and using a kind of sarcastic humor to discuss the shameful aspects of the slothful 9. Seven deadly sins heavy in the version. Which I used to think was an accurate and helpful angle on the Enneagram. But the Asian woman’s presentation—-maybe “new age” in some views?——is so much more helpful and encouraging and not colored by the tinges of guilt and shame from the old catholic approaches.

Found David’s brown bears. Final mission of the day after we packed the gift bags, got up some more decorations. Still pondering my comprehension of seventy years of living as a 9 on the enneagram. And not the 4 I had been so sure of for so many years. Good illustration of how we decide our blindnesses and denials for ourselves.
We enjoyed much the superb new movie on Netflix last night with Scarlet Johansson and Adam Driver. Norah Baumbach wrote and directed it from his own novel. Just terrific in every way. Critics already remarking that the Sondheim song Driver sings may be one of the best performances of this whole year. It was his movie, as excellent as Johansson was too. Wonder even if Baumbach tailored it for Driver from his novel. Driver has been “everywhere” of late, lots of starring roles. A great new acting talent coming into his own.
11 December Wednesday
Yesterday a fine day of primal wonder off, wonder of. Today the car maintenance while Elizabeth and Virginia did the cookie exchange and
Yankee swap tea at Heather’s. Last night a Rendevous with three new-ish ladies and Lance, who left after about twenty minutes.
Various emails from earlier have disappeared into the ether, including this attempt at a Lax-ish verse, if I can recall it now.
This is just
to say
what can not be said nor needs be said
and can find really no way
to say
but wants
to say
any way every way always

hmm somehow that’s not quite it.
Egram Schmegram, typology, schmipeology, enough already with that. All “psychology” is game theory, the study of role playing.
“My spirit, praise the Lord! Rejoice in One who saves me!” Mary’s prayer in Jim’s book. From the Magnificat no doubt. My soul magnifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
Read some of Iyer today and loved it. Brilliant and witty. Stole some lines to tweet. Also stunned by White’s prose, deep into the Krystalnacht episode where Himmelfarb runs away and betrays, he feels, his wife, returning to their place to find her gone. The prose in these five or six pages just exalts, or spirals, or intertwines itself so strangely and astonishingly it seems no longer English but almost a foreign tongue.
newer version of “this is just” on email earlier today, 12 Dec Thurs
Colin and Va at the piano right now. Gorgeous full moon last night—or rising moon but not yet full. Bright today, very chilly though.
13 Friday heavy gray skies, feels like snow
texting with Dave about their gifts. ransacking the attic to find the brown bears but no luck. Lots of other things and some organization. Next to be thrown out will be my perfect office file box (grey camo design which was standard law office I guess) with 5x8 cards which I had custom printed!!! on heavy paper so they would take up less space than the card stock 5x8s. Guess there is all that #9 procrastination I never noticed!! can’t write the diss until the printer delivers my custom note cards and I take ten years to fill them up with handwritten notes. Gosh what an idiot!! Azevedo in his one paragraph portrait of me (in his memoir) says I was crazy and maybe so. Crazy lazy.
Last night I invented “empathetic sleeping,” an ancient sacred practice of the Yokananjdo peoples of the, hmm, Himalayas or Andes or arctic fjords? or Amazon, hidden from western eyes for centuries.
Boris won in UK. Sullivan says first Dem to replicate the brew wins—- nationalist anti-pc rhetoric with leftist economics. We’ll see.
Eliabeth said Va almost drowned in the pool this morning! Somehow slid off the noodle while swimming on her back and turned sideways into the water. Hard to know just how to interpret this comment at this distance. Va has seemed a little quiet, sleepy almost last few days. Finally joked with E about too many cookies from the peo gift exchange tea and cookie swap. Then too there is the stunning full moon.
Rob’s book a delight. Final column-chapter about his second trip to see Bruce and he blows it by stepping out one too many times to smoke a joint and the new doorman refuses to let them back in. Column about his mother’s death, the prize winner, in there but the one about pizza with the homeless guy is not. Have to look that up and read it.
Willow watching the Nutcracker. Dave said earlier today “Guess what? Emma asked about the ballet today. Told her we weren’t going but that maybe we could find a version of it on tv. She liked that idea.”
Sweet. Actually took a whole section of books to the dump today along with the older desk chair. Going to Abq seems to give permission for such things. Or a boost. Didn’t find the brown bears.
14 Dec Saturday
So Va said it was Dec 6 last year for her procedure. No wonder past two weeks been wobbly. PTSD from that. Now feels like there is lots of time and I wonder why and then recall last year I was driving back and forth to Manchester for three weeks until Va came home just when the kids arrived, was that the 23rd? Feels nice and tranquil today instead. Slept way in. Foggy and misty all day, rains during the night, up into the mid-40s.
Loving Riders in the Chariot now. Stunning and want to drink in every sentence because he writes in such a unique way and “embeds” the mysticism deep into the text, every so many lines.
16 Dec. Monday
Half a day off of sorts. Lunch with Greg at the Yankee BarBQ. He’s reading the Mill on the Floss. Back in town by 1:40—-no traffic on the roads!! Picked up Ken and drove to Thornton, exit 29, bought a nice little tree and brought it home and put it up. Silk. He knew just how to give my car roof and set the tree into the holder. Fun to chat with him too. Snow tomorrow so may not get all the way to Bedford. Cécile gave me her shopping list this morning!
Started Joel Agee’s memoir last night and found him on Twitter. He posted a piece published in some socialist paper. Phil found out it is a Trotskyite group, centered in Michigan.
Jim and I are the only guys from college Greg is in touch with. Ditto for me but Jim I think has a much wider and more active network.
18 Dec Wednesday
Yesterday’s day off was snowy and foggy. BurritoMe and Wayfarer. Today we went to Bedford to get “everything” at Whole and Trader. No mashed potatoes, can you believe it?? Read yesterday lots more in Riders. Splendid. Got a little lost around the section where we first meet Blue.
Easy to get back into it. Sugar high from coffee and sugary waffle and that scrumptious bar at burrito. Can never resist getting it, especially if I’m on my own. Printing out the Road Scholar packet now.
19 Thursday
Bitter winds, gorgeous sun on snow. Colin and Va playing carols. Will and Clare jingling the bells. Eye doctor earlier, wind up the mountain blew us away. The Speare building must have been designed in Arizona.
23 December Monday

Got the rental car. Baked my mince “tart.” experimental tweaking of recipes. We walked at Wallys. Watching Argonauts now. Kids at Jon Wixson’s. They had a great snowman making outing yesterday. Mister Christmas had a great face. with side hair, leaves, nose of peppermint cane, black fedora, purple scarf and expressive acorn eyes and buttons. Warmish today even though the thermometer said only 31-34 at midday. Sun really strong though. We’ve passed the solstice.
High Holy Days of Butter, Cream, sugar and eggs. Kids as sweet as possible. Everyone in good. spirits. Fine feeling. So nice from a year ago.
Bought the GenoPalate hype and we will see what DNA can say about food!! Such a sucker for a foolish notion. Once again. David confirmed my assumption that dna test does not interest him. [now?]. And that he is a Dutchman in his DNA. He said in his one visit to the Hague (who knew?) everyone looked like him and he like everyone else.
24 Dec Christmas Eve
Bright and windy. Dave and Bela doing the songs all morning. Perfecting the chipmunks song right now.
I asked Emma why she asked me the other day where I got the book I was reading—(Nietzsche and the Burbs). Today I asked her why. She wants a book that size rather than a large format picture book. The one on Gods Men and Monsters she has almost finished. She read a big chunk the other
day, Cécile says. She said today if she had a book like mine she would always have something to read. Would not run out of things to read so fast.
Sweet!! so exciting to see.
Chandra is the narrator. Had not gotten that. Google gives me this from nyt review: Not much happens in “Nietzsche and the Burbs,” a peculiar new novel by Lars Iyer. The final 10 weeks of high school go by. There are house parties and bicycle rides and exams. Only one member of the group, Chandra, serves as narrator, but the novel's voice is a collective one: an angsty adolescent Greek chorus. Dec 3 NYT
Darkness again, almost 5pm. Crew went sledding, we visited with Wally. Jim replied to my poem quite sharply and slyly—-
Neat, but thought I recall this included a weak apology for a raid on the food supply. . .
But nemmind. . .
to which —-

you true scholars with long memories!! yes indeed ol W C Williams!
let my biographer know tho
this written to you in its originarial impulsion

before it became perfected into public art that is
love your dog epic and cogitating a reviewy blurb tx for it.
merry sherry and or nog to you both ————-
Christmas evening
Kids visiting with Hannah and Nick and baby ? McLane. A fine and lovely day here. L&M woke around 7, David said, and stayed in bed for half an hour before finally insisting on coming down. Santa brought everything plus surprises. The pork fillet mignons cooked up perfectly, sweet potato fries baked, pecan tart.
Petie called from El Paso, a truck stop. They had headed for Anaheim but turned around when they heard a dear friend of Ray’s suddenly became ill. They are heading to Houston. Texts and photos from Anne and family.
Three-fourths through his seventy-fifth year, a few days past the winter solstice, he noticed he had developed a reading tic. He would underline the word between any time, every time, it showed up in a book. As in this example from N and the Burbs: “Nietzsche, talking, though not really talking. Singing, though not really singing. Something suspended between the two.” 109
Between had become his God. The name he gave to God or the name he imagined God had given him. (Imitating Iyer). Between said it all, summed up everything. At seventy-five.
UTI confirmed with Dr Diane. Va resting now. Kids at McL’s with Elsie. Sunny, not too cold. Rumors of snow. We checked on the book at the printers. Dave will have to look at the sequence. Now I’m deep into Riders, page 361, and have lost that sense of excitement and discovery. Now it feels too much like a Dickens out- take, or something. Imitation of the English realistic gentle satire. Feel a bit lost in it. Waiting in the twilight to see what the kids have planned for this evening. But we may have to fend for ourselves. Caught General Hospital at 2. Postcard from Phil arrived today. Exclamation about the FX version of Christmas Carol.
Spoke too soon about Riders. Page or two later and we are in Beckett and post- Ionesco and onward. With the abo and the Fixer.
Willow was up every twenty minutes 28 Dec. Saturday night
Mick fixed us a fine dinner. Brendan indeed a terrible two. Earlier we walked at Wallys. Dave and I straightened the house and fixed up the spare room. Kids went to play at the school. Eliot fighting a fever. Last night a great 85th party at George and Darlene’s. Especially after some left and the remainder talked about important silly stuff like walking in Wallys and the social drama of the workers.
Iyer teaching me British terms, slang, like just now on page 125 “uphill gardener” and “shirt lifter.” And then the whole group, are there six characters? go on to decry the homophobia and ask what has happened to pansexuality and tolerance. The ways Iyer finds to mimic the voices and the thinking styles of late teenagers becomes one of the chief delights of the book.
Art, Merv, Paula, Chandra, Bill Trim, Nietzsche, 29 December. Sunday
Mick and Dave did some music playing after breakfast. Might take the kids sledding even though it is warm outside. Va felt bad during the night, concerned the antibio not working but now she’s up and watching the spectacle. We got up a number of times during the night. Kathy said the kids ended up in their bed during the night after some noise but we heard nothing. Brendan had about twenty minutes of quiet while eating apple slices. We were all amazed. Otherwise he is total energy movement.
Back from sledding. We had a marvelous late morning nap, thank goodness. Watched GH. Now around 2. Thai take-out arrived.