Sunday, July 08, 2018

2018 so far---January to July 8


January 2

night.  Beautiful full moon right up there out this window.  Much warmer today and next few days.  A week ago I went over to Peterborough and had a great time and found a good massage.  Today I went to Woburn.  It was ok but not as good as last week.  The aromatherapy was the best I’ve ever had---a lavender mist that seemed to have come through a mask over the nose, strong and moist and quite a pleasant addition.  And yet the whole production was all the bells and whistles of a Boston suburban place and yet none of, or very little of, the human warmth found in Peterborough.  Rafa did give me a tip on a good dermatologist in Burlington, MA, Dr Ellerin.  Just looked up his site and might look into going to see him if Dr Fagan will refer.  

The most amazing part of the trip today was the house itself in Wobun, right off 93.  Ordinary suburban street, houses all alike.  Park in the driveway and walk around to a side entrance, in through the garage, and then into a small suite with massage room.  It all looked so incredibly familiar, afterwards.  Driving up 93 after I became absolutely certain that I had been there before.  Maybe ten or twelve years ago, a year or so after Virginia’s event.  I would put money on it.  Rafa says he’s only been there under two years so he has no knowledge of the history of the house.  That small suite might have been a grandparents’ wing, a rental unit or whatever, but it definitely works well as a consulting space.  Maybe a therapist. Lots of possible uses for it.  Leaving the house I began to feel that sense that, yes, I had been there once before.  Even the corner of the two streets with names of apples--Granny Smith and Cortland.  All so familiar.  Like a perfect dream-memory.  Imagined?  Liminal?  Perhaps.  

Decided Jim’s fable is about his Parkinsons.  Twice he uses his old religious brotherhood name--Dennis Andrew.  Denis Andre the woodworker and Denise the ugly bitch who Cadeau redeems at the end and gives to her her first experience of beauty that takes her out of herself.  She is the ugly self-centered, egotistical, blind grabber who lives in all of us.  Why Jim divides his story into a battle between true and false nuns, etc, remains a puzzle.  Perhaps some French fables impressed him way back.  Is he echoing something in Les Mis?  etc  Not sure of any of that.  A teaching fable so far as grace and the monsters life invites us to live with, superb spirituality, clarity and gentle grace and gracefulness.  And yet the density of the writing and the treatment of women give me pause.  Who should I suggest read it?  Would I?  I’m really afraid it could offend people under fifty who are not familiar with Catholic spiritual and social teaching.  Would the Ebner family enjoy it?  Two generations of devout Catholics there.  Maybe three.  

Had some French culture on in the car.  A bit of Modiano later.  Deep into Énard’s novel and loving it.  France, Paris, French everything has been thrust upon me.  Slowly at first but now whole hog.  I still revert to the notion of doing only Proust for a year or more, spoken, read, wallowed in.  With Modiano too.  French prose.  Until it feels second-nature-esque, or as close as possible after a year or so.  

December 4  Thursday  

Big snow coming and day for making the Kings bread/cake.  Pressure on.  

Dec 6  Saturday evening

Fine dinner last night.  News from Mexico that Rick seems quite sick.  Roy going down tomorrow, thank goodness.  Petie flys to London on Tuesday, Ray working on Bower House.  1726 house.  “Pemberly” 

Sunday 7 Dec

Temperatures are up, sunny day.  Drove to Concord for Target and then lunch at Olive Garden.  Dozed at the Meredith exit gas station, home by barely light on the horizon, beautiful sunset over the ridge.  

note from Petr Skavaril in Prague from Dec 29  Did I already copy it out?
If not, here it is.  

Dear Bob,

Hope you and Virgina are well enjoying snowy Christmas holidays. Thank you for your kind letter and the CD of your son's music. I'm very sorry to respond only now. I kept your package on my desk waiting for a quiet moment to listen to the CD. The last weeks of the year were very busy with travel and work and I finally got my quiet evening only a few days ago.

I used to spend countless evenings and late nights at jazz clubs during my studies (a lot of my friends back home are musicians) and I even used to live right next to the best jazz bar in town when I moved to Prague. I don't get to go quite as often as I used to but your son's music (which I really enjoyed) was a very pleasant reminder. It would be great to see his band play live one day. I'll let you know if/when my travels take me to Paris next!

You're right about Nicholas. I feel very fortunate to have gotten to know him. He is one of the most inspiring and kind people I get to work with and talk to. Thank you again for your generous words about our trip. I very much enjoyed it too and often remember it. The world is indeed small enough that there is a good chance we'll see each other again. I think it's actually quite likely I may go to Boston in the next year or two. I'll let you know! And, of course, if you plan a trip to Europe or even Prague, please let me know. We'd be very happy to host you and Virginia.

My wife Klara (Greta is our daughter's name but well done remembering it!) found our connection via Vivobarefoot and her unexpected role in it amusing. And I find your story to be, in fact, very encouraging! See, I've been a very passionate mountain biker since the day I could ride a bike. And I still really love that sport. I just haven't been able to ride as regularly as I'd like to (and need to, really) and I can't bring a bike with me when I travel. So I've tried running on and off and while I enjoy it, I guess I still have many more miles to run before it becomes a passion. Let's see, maybe your story and the footwear we share will make that journey a few miles shorter.

I wish you and Virginia a wonderful end of the year. May both of you carry the incredible energy and zest for life I had a chance to experience a little bit on our trip into the New Year and beyond.

Warm regards,


recent email said he might get to Boston sometime soon.  

We went to Nashua today.  Biryani Pot restaurant not as good as we’d hoped.   Walking was good.  Back of my mind I’m composing my response letter to Aciman, send it off later in the week.  Va and Petie and Roy taking care of Rick’s return to Abq and health crisis.  He and Marci fly there on Saturday.  

Tuesday 9 January 

5pm   Trip to White River Jct today.  Splendid sky over and back.  Skies.  Changing, sun, clouds, colors, grays, blues.  Fine visit with Jt and most relaxing.  Some new techniques.  Effective.  Wonderful.  Lunch at Thyme which is new name for what used to be Tip-top.  Piecemeal Pies just closed for the week.  Town looked snowy and grungy, brilliant whites, faded clapboard, old brick.  Big new building going up though.  Countryside along Rt 5 beautiful.  Can see what Carole means when she says she still would rather live in VT.  

Thursday night  Jan 11  

Sleepy start to the day.  Much warmer and getting rainy.  We finished watching the French tv netflix show.

Friday morning  Jan 12

Talked with Anne last night for her 68th birthday.  

----to Phil 
thanks  a brilliant, brilliantly funny, searing, piece  ---- and yet, 

we can only return to our desperate wailing--how the fuck do we get
this guy into the trash bin and seal the top?  

we got into watching a French crime drama on Netflix and even after it
got worse and worse we stayed until the bitter end to see how it would 
end (the serial killer mom and her son finally smile and have a redemptive
hug).  In one scene the monster abusive father finally gets it and we 
see in the background how he goes out of the chateau into the back
yard, climbs up onto the edge of the well, takes off the heavy metal
lid and then jumps in.  It has become for us now one of the funniest
things we've ever seen on bad tv/movies.  Inadvertently so, I guess, or
just lots of dumb things going on in all these not-bad (terrible) shows
we're flooded with.  

Petri's piece is so good---but the yahoos around the prez and "his supporters"
can't get what her piece is even about and could care less.  

Arizona congressman on radio this morning defending the prez's shithole
comment.  He tells things like they is.  

Was there an alligator character in Al Capp's cartoon world?  

Really warm today and raining like crazy.  Below zero again tomorrow night!  


Yes, of course. But "in common" surely misapprehends the whole situation and the whole of everything.  
Asks the question that misunderstands everything about people before the question
even finishes hanging in the air.  (sounds like a phrase from James or something!)

Any long-term relationship seems to move far beyond the real and imaginary bonds
that might have started it eons ago.  I think aging itself moves us into these strange zones
of incomprehension.  I hear it in Leonard Cohen's later songs.  "How lonely does it get,
Hank Willaims hasn't answered yet" in "Tower of Song" I think.  At the same time
we become more and more grateful or just resigned and accepting of having someone,
anyone, "around."  Sounds like a cat or dog, maybe.  But even that is ok.  Beingness,
life with life, isn't this the gray gravel patterns of those famous Japanese zen gardens?  

You and Peg don't "have" a bucket list or a life list of "in common" anythings.  Years
of being with each other through multitude of unreal moments.  Even if we want to
ask well what does even "with" mean?  Let's go microwave a cup of soup!  

A disturbing question:  I had lunch with a guy I attended Brown with.  He and I reconnected about a year ago.  He is now a retired lawyer who lives in northern Virginia.   During lunch he asked me what I had in common with Peg.   I was hard pressed to come up with anything.  Have you had any experience like this?   it's sobering to say the least.


Jan 12. 2018

Dear André,

Back to our most important agenda item, let’s get together.  Did Dartmouth come through with the offer of a summer course on Proust?  That would be ideal for me because then we could have more than one lunch.  We will clearly need more since our topic will be both persons we each like least.  

If Dartmouth does offer, do not sign the contract until there is a clause guaranteeing you both air conditioned housing and an air conditioned seminar or class room.  In spite of appearances, Hanover can be astonishingly, miserably, hot and humid for more than a few days in the summer Quarter.  

I’m glad you didn’t invite me to the Century Club and turned it down.  The brother of a friend up here was president at one time (André Bernard), and what little I have heard about him would make me not so interested in that outfit.  

Winter snows envelope us deeply at the moment.  Getting down to the city,
your city, is not that easy for me especially in this season.  Once we survive mud season and hear rumors of flowers in locales further south, travel becomes more possible.  You might want to come north, too, as far as Middletown, CT, or even Boston, to wander the Gardner Museum.  April 15 they hang the nasturtiums in the courtyard for Isabel’s birthday and we try to get down to see them as a ritual marker for the hope of summer.

I’m re-reading Enigma V, slowly.  I should start a private glossary of those phrases and places where the prose speaks directly into my secret places no one can know about.  Poisoning minds indeed.  You mentioned you continue to work on the essays on misreading.  Yes, I look forward to those for sure.  And yet, for me, the fiction is where the teller’s inward voice entices me to admissions and unravels tangles I thought no one else could know about.  Conrad’s great story, “The Secret Sharer.”  Isn’t that reading in its greatest pleasures?   Writing too?  

I marked up heavily page after page of  Eight White Nights, when I first read it and I will go back for a much more slow reading some time.  Given the great success of Call Me right now I have to wonder if, even if no one ever finishes reading Eight, you say, has anyone yet bought the movie rights to it??  The book describes
glorious winter nights in the city so beautifully, I can see the images on screen.  


Telephone chat with Dick about their trip to France in April   

We booked the Panama trip this morning!  woo hoo 

“Secrecy, love, guilt, we could glimpse their source.  And if I wrote this grave and solemn text when I got back to Vienna it’s probably to record them in turn, as much as to rediscover, through prose, the presence of Sarah who had gone -- plunged into mourning, overwhelmed--to confront her sadness in Paris.  What a strange sensation, rereading yourself.  An aging mirror.  I am attracted and repulsed by this former self as by another.  A first souvenir, inserted between memory and me.  A diaphanous leaf of paper that light passes through to outline other images on it.  A stained-glass window.  I is in the night.  Being exists always in this distance, somewhere between an unfathomable self and the other in oneself.  In the sensation of time.  In love, which is the impossibility of fusion between self and other.  In art, the experience of otherness.     357  of Compass  

Nice passage.  Aciman might like it.  

Now we have this project to construct and execute for the spring and another for the fall.  

-------letter actually sent----
Jan 12. 2018

Dear André,

Back to our most important agenda item, let’s get together.  Did Dartmouth come through with the offer of a summer course on Proust?  That would be ideal for me because then we could have more than one lunch.  We will clearly need more since our topic will be both persons we each like least.  

If Dartmouth does offer, do not sign the contract until there is a clause guaranteeing you both air conditioned housing and an air conditioned seminar or class room.  In spite of appearances, Hanover can be astonishingly, miserably, hot and humid for more than a few days in the summer Quarter.  

I’m glad you didn’t invite me to the Century Club and turned it down.  The brother of a friend up here was president at one time (André Bernard), and what little I have heard about him would make me not so interested in that outfit.  

Winter snows envelope us deeply at the moment.  Getting down to the city is not that easy for me especially in this season.  Once we survive mud season and hear rumors of flowers, travel becomes more possible.  You might want to come north, too, as far as Middletown, CT, or even Boston, to wander the Gardner Museum.  April 15 they hang the nasturtiums in the courtyard for Isabel’s birthday and we try to get down to see them as a ritual marker for the hope of summer.

I’m re-reading Enigma V, slowly.  I should start a private glossary of those phrases and places where the prose speaks directly into my interior places no one could know about.  Poisoning minds indeed.  You mentioned you continue to work on the essays on misreading.  Yes, I look forward to those for sure.  And yet, for me, the fiction is where the teller’s inward voice entices me to admissions and unravels tangles I didn’t know could be revealed.  Conrad’s great story, “The Secret Sharer.”  Isn’t that reading in its greatest pleasures?   Writing too?  

I marked up page after page of  Eight White Nights, when I first read it and I will go back for a much more slow reading.  Has anyone bought the movie rights to it??  The book describes glorious winter nights in the city so beautifully, I can see the images on screen.  


Sunday  14 January

Roy called from Abq.  Settling in.  Rick needed lots of pain shots before and for the trip.  What are “pain shots?” 

Bright and sunny.  

Monday  Jan 15   MLK 

“in his own impasse, in that aporia, between self and other, which is identity.”  374

or between self, other and other, which is identity--according to Aciman and Garlitz

Rupert’s essay on his poetry and life has all the authority and stance of an encyclical from the vatican.  A statement of position and dogma, fragmentation as the faith of poets and writers at the turn of the millenium.  And now our 45th parodies this faith a hundred times a day.  

Bed in this room cleaned off at last.  A new day dawns.  Now that we have two cruises ahead of this year, we will sail onward with no hitches.  Sunshine today looked wonderful.  

Énard:  “Bethege, an almost motionless traveler who knew no Arabic, no Persian, no Chinese.  The original, the essence, remains between the text and his translations, in a land between languages, between worlds, somewhere in the nako-djaabad, the nowhere-place, that imagined world where music also takes its source.  There is no original.  Everything is in flux.  Between languages.  Between times, the time of Hafez and that of Hans Bethge.  Translation as metaphysical practice.  Translation as meditation.  It’s very late to be thinking of these things.  The memory of Sarah and music pushes me to these melancholies.  These wide spaces of the vacuity of time.”      398

Énard born in ’72.  So he is the generation after Loydell and in his work we see what has come, is here, after the dogmas of fragmentation.  The new school of faith in betweenness.  Aciman part of it, elder statesman for it?  The apophasis of translation.  Of shifting from language to language with no belief that an essence will be found and can never be carried from one to another.  Flux transcends fragmentation.  Flux precedes fragmentation.  Flux contains all fragments.  Fragmentation assumes flux.  Flux subsumes fragmentation.  

Tuesday  16 Jan

Hmm.  Seem to have reinvented Heraclitus up there.  With Énard’s prompting.  Day off today and nowhere to go.  Snow late this afternoon and evening but it feels like snow now.  Gray, pale white skies.  

The long history of French in my life that has brought me to the point of trying each day to read Proust and Modiano and Énard (perhaps) in French.  When and where did I first hear about French?  Probably the movies.  Gigi and on television and where else?  Ursuline sisters and sisters of Charity who took care of me in the hospital when I had the tonsilectomy.  They wore the big sail hats from Breton.  But did I even know then that they were French?  I don’t think so.  Did I hear them speak French?  No.  Somehow mother talked about the Ursuline sisters so much that I always thought her parish was a French parish, but I heard lots of Church Latin but have no clear memory of hearing anyone speak French.  In high school we had German and Latin.  Not until college did I start some study of French but in the novitiate at Ammendale, that was the immersion in Frenchness.  The history of the order, of the founder, St LaSalle, and of the spiritual reading we were given.  Old style French spiritual practices.  Perhaps the most consciously “first” notion of doing some French was the book by Dechanet about Christian Yoga.  I knew that it was a book translated from French and that he was a French monk who was promoting yoga and a desirable way to be both christian and a monk.  As an aid to prayer and the interior life.  Had I read Dickens novel about the revolution in high school?  Maybe.  Maybe I read it later in college.  In French classes we were supposed to be able to read Camus’s L’Etranger but I felt hardly conscious at that time, those two years were traumatic years, culminating in the two short spells in the mental hospital the second year.  I didn’t like trying to study French, it was like trying to study mathematics.  How did I ever pass the course on beginning calculus or the two courses on French.  I did purchase, however, the Jerusalem Bible, one copy in French and one in British translation.  That copy I think I gave to Feeny.  The French copy is still on the bookshelf downstairs!  That bible was at the time the fruit of what was considered the most advanced study of the bible in light of the most advanced studies of archaeology in that post-war period.  A scholar at La  Salle was considered one of the leading students of biblical archaeology in Catholic circles at that time.  When I got to Maryland did I buy them?  Or in Chicago?  Talismans of the previous monastic life and of the desire to be with it in advanced Catholic studies.  Énard could have put into his novel the Orientalism of the Roman church.  My experience of that was the shrine in Washington where the Eastern mosaics introduced me to the whole Orientalist world of orthodox Christianity and of Eastern art in general.  Little or no comprehension of all of that at the time, but exposure.  

Just opened his book at my bookmark and there the next paragraph to read on 405 is about the Catholic missionaries to the East.  Orientalist scholars translate and import and missionaries translate and export.  Both Orientalists creating eastern realities as they wish them to be.  He calls it, this imagined fourth volume, the encyclopaedia of the decapitated.  That resonates with our own local martyr of a few years back, our college dean’s grandson.  Foley.  Trained by the Jesuits at Marquette.  The war photographer.  

Opened Enigma to page 119 and there is one of Aciman’s bold passages and I see now I sort of missed it when I first read the book maybe a year ago, or more now.  Such a fine scene on the terrace of the Plums, Maud and Gabi and Paolo, our narrator, in a delicate and tender and sort of violent, muted, entanglement.  Just the sort Aciman loves, needs.  The three way.  If he is writing essays on misreading, he will need to make the three-way structure the key to all of it.  The not-key.  Is he conscious of the role of the trinity in Western thought?  Should I even ask him that?  He is not Leonard Cohen and yet growing up in Alexandria and Rome, oh, he has to have his christian theology tucked into one side of his belt.  

Annemarie Schwarzenbach 
That foto is funny cuz i was trying out the timer on the camera my ex gave me, alil point and shoot thingy , but nice in its own way.
When i realized how simple it was to do a selfie i took that 2nd photo, the one on the site, and just nailed it for me anyways and others seem to agree!

i think the lighting is ironic in that its so classicall rembrandt or vermeer-esque in that it lights the volume of me fr om the side and the
opposite side is dark.

It was nice to send a mssg out into the world and get a response.
Thanks for taking a look and your comments.

Sincerely, Andy!

Andy St Martin    

How many of us say that, would say that, 

Finished Énard’s novel.  Novel?  Dissertation recast as delirious lamentation-ecstatic ejaculation.  Well, longish, so nightmare-dream-hallucination.  Was he taking opium?  Probably meant to seem so.  An opium dream.  

Lunch at the new place in Bristol.  Mexican.  Stools only.  Good tortilla soup and huge piece of tres leches cake.  Good but too big.  Small group of students from New Hampton dazzled by the making by hand at their table of guacamole.  

Post office and then a nap.  Was nice to read for a long stretch.  

Alex Aciman has a piece in the Times.  Kirsten sent it thinking it was André.

my comment on it---
piece seemed ehh ok.  Invoking Dreyfus
seemed to me to be way out of scale.  But
maybe I don’t know.  Seems to me as a
30 year old raised in activist nyc jewishness
Alex wants to tell his MyStory.  Not sure his
analysis of France is that clear.  

Phil replying to

Thanks for sending that article.   For me it really gave a back-story to Aciman's book about his family in Alexandria.   It also made me realized that I should have asked myself waaaay before now  why all those Jews in British-run Alexandria dreamt of Paris and not London or Vienna or Rome.  Well now we know.   French Jews put together a big  cultural organization to attract them.  And it obviously worked on families such as Aciman's.   (I'm thinking it was less successful with rug merchants.)  As for Alex's assessment of the present.   He's probably right about some areas of France and not so right about other areas.  As you say, 'eeh okay.'   I think the closer one lives to the big urban areas with large ethnic slums filled with resentful third worlders the worse it will be, and if one's standard is perfectionism - "I should be able to go anywhere in this country I want and do whatever I want'  that ain't ever gonna be achieved in France or, likely, anywhere else.   Then again isn't the entire Jewish schtick to demand perfection of the world  and then be disappointed when it's not achieved......P  


Over an hour on speaker phone with Rick Evans about the money.  Skim the top of the bull market now and put plans into place for more conservative rebalancing to be safer for when it crashes. 

Thurs 18th

Aciman’s reply yesterday --well it was two days ago, the 16--had not noticed his noted about typos courtesy of iPhone until now.  

Dear Bob,

I'm going to disappoint you.  Dartmouth was unable to offer me a summer gig; instead they offered me a semester (or almost a semester) in one of the coming two years, and I had to turn down this offer because the salary did not match a half-year salary for my title at CUNY. So the courtship is up in the air, which is a pity since I had a terrific time during my week at Montgomery House.

Now we should find a way to meet. I wanted to write an essay on Pessoa, and i have loads of notes on the subject.  My problem is time. I am travelling almost all of February bad then in May I have to go to Australia, to say nothing of the Proust I need to reread for my seminar which starts in the coming two weeks!  I forget everything, always have.

What you say about 8 White Nights and Enigma pleases me no end.  I may have mentioned that 8WN is my favorite book, even though no one reads it.  Strange, isn't it?  

Write back soon.


On Sun, Jan 14, 2018 at 11:13 AM, Aciman, Andre <> wrote:

Typos courtesy iPhone 

So far my reply is “Well, disappointment for now, but I am sure the meeting will happen, we know not when.  Much more disappointed if you publish your Pessoa essay and the title is not “Where I Place Pessoa on the Garlitz Apophasis Scale and All the Reasons Why.”  Or something like that.  

Lots of notes on Pessoa.  Are you reading him in Portuguese, French, English, (Zenith or Jull Costa)?  Or all of these?   

Yes you had said both points about 8WN.  Why is it your favorite?  You said you wrote it for yourself and does it feel like you are having the fun with it you most enjoy writing?  Why does no one finish it?  That is curious.  Most people probably can’t say?

Indulge me here:  I harbor the notion that CMBYN sprang from a short seed passage, maybe a paragraph or two, maybe a sub-chapter, in an early draft of Egypt, and you or someone said, this experience, right here, you should take that out and save it and expand it later into its own full perfection.  ?  Good hunch or am I way off the mark?  

Maybe something similar for Harvard Square as well?  That book needs a bit more commentary, but we’ll save that for later.  My first year of grad study at Chicago I lived in International House on 59th Street and I met a handful of Kalaj’s who have long stayed in my memory.  Lost and wandering students and “students” who came from all over the globe.  1968

Stay busy

20 Jan   Sat  

Above not yet sent.  Today we decided to go ahead with the Bali to Bankok Viking trip for 2019.  2 for 1 pricing got us.  And carpe diem.  

To try to visit NYC to see Aciman?  earlier today I thought yes.  Now not so sure.  Better see Jim for his 80th this spring. ?  
21 Jan  Sunday night

sending off the reply to André.  Now I think I will make no promises about trying to get down to the city.  Could be a waste of everything.  


Dear André

Yes, disappointed but then did I expect anything other than that? 

Much more disappointed if you publish your Pessoa essay and the title is not “Where I Place Pessoa on the Garlitz Apophasis Scale and All the Reasons Why.”  Or something like that.  

"Lots of notes on Pessoa."  Are you reading him in Portuguese, French, English, (Zenith or Jull Costa)?  Or all of these?   

Yes you had said both points about 8WN.  Why is it your favorite?  You said you wrote it for yourself.  You had most pleasure in writing it? 
Why does no one finish it?  That is strange.  Most people probably can’t say?  What is the most common reason why?  

Indulge me here:  I harbor the notion that CMBYN sprang from a short passage, maybe a paragraph or two, maybe a sub-chapter, in an early draft of Egypt, and you or someone said, this experience, right here, you should take that out and save it and expand it later into its own full perfection.  ?  Good hunch or am I way off the mark?  

If I get your schedule, March and April could be open and then when you get back from Australia, late May onward?  I'll be gone first two weeks of May.

More important to write back.  Soon.  I like that as the best way to close off, for now.


Hi Jim---

Is Cadeau launched yet as a book between covers?  Looked for it on
amazon but not up there yet.  

What a pure gem it is.  Enjoyed much reading the copy you sent electronically.
Now want to spread the news a bit.  The three Denises must be the key--
the craftsman, the reclaimed Denise and that fellow mentioned in the author's
note after.  Beautifully written, intricate and intense with lots of different kinds
of flashes---wit, humor, insight, brilliance, yearning and peace.  

Am I loading it down with too many notes?  Alas, I am more Salieri to your Mozart. 



I',m leaving for Toronto tomorrow morning then coming back to a full schedule of things, especial with classes starting.  Then by Feb 16 I leave for Midwest and west coast for two weeks and am back possibly by March 5th. Here in NYC until very very late April ad early may,  when I head out to Sydney and Melbourne.  Then there's Italy in late June and possibly Brazil in August.  After which I will probably meet my maker.

CMBYN started with the first page one morning when I just wanted to stop writing 8WN.  It inspired me and I kept writing it.

As for why 8WN is still my favourite, with Enigma ranking second, that requires a single malt which I'd gladly offer you at the Hudson Hotel Bar when we find a moment..



Two more texts to add in here and then I’m done being in the admirer entourage!

I like what he says about Proust in a piece on favorite books for a Toronto wesite---
"Marcel Proust essentially told me it was OK to keep looking into your heart and your psyche because that's where we spend most of our time anyway.”

but then about five or six years ago in an interview--
What is a distinctive habit or affectation of yours?
I tolerate lots of people I have no patience or respect for. Then, as soon as I can, I rat on them.
not that I would be one of those he has no respect for---but why say that sort of thing in an interview at all---surely some other affectation or habit would have served as well for a reply and even served better.  “person I like least” also gives us a clue to how impossible he might be in person even having a friendly drink or lunch.  
Monday 22 January all of the above
In The Fugitive Albertine has just died.  Wonderful passages.  Reading very slowly, sometimes looking at the French just to see how it looks and feels.  
short note from Jim about his book ---
Launched? Almost! A single block to be knocked out, and then down the  ways she goes!

The one block: They’re still tinkering with the cover but are close to done. Looks like a maiden voyage next month,  matey!

Don’t worry about loading me down with notes! Like you, I’m an unreformed formalist and delight the  links you uncover. (Not many of us left, but too bad for the rest. I’d say “Screw ‘em!” or worse, but I’m still working at being a 

Thanks for your cherished encouragement, cherished friend.

J. Sam’l, aka Denis Andrew


better to go see him in May  

thing is, Paolo in Enigma has just said how he envies Manfred as he watches him from the stands on the court in front of him.  “I envied you.”  143

Have not yet said to André that it is this direct admission of envy that distinguishes his work beyond any other writer I’ve ever read.  And which bonds me to Paolo more closely than to any other narrator to whom I’ve felt close.  Identical.  

23 January  Tuesday

Day off.  Up and down the highway in freezing rain, near freezing rain.  Heavy rain.  Didn’t make it to Phillip the acupuncturist in Lawrence.  Texted cancel from Hooksett.  Bought a book on the paintings in Proust and the older translation of the Prisoner and Fugitive.  Big breakfast at the rest stop diner and later a small salad at the Coop.  Just realized I didn’t have an afternoon tea but now I think I’ll skip it, see how sleep goes.  Jackfruit at Whole Foods, the taqueria stand.  Vegan filler the young fellow said.  We’ll see how it goes down.  Also “grain free” tortilla chips!  Cassava. !  

Can see why Enigma is A’s second favorite book.  I can envy him his books, his writing.  But I could never write them even though I can imagine “I could have” or I resent that he has “stolen” the books I “should have” written.  But they are beyond my capacities, beyond not capacities but willingness, daringness, neediness.  They are the work of a writer much younger, much more self-assured in spite of how much he insists he is not.  He may have a hidden or not-so-hidden streak of self-hatred, but he masks it and transmutes it into something acceptably public even while it feels at times like we are reading an old-style “true confessions” book---yet it is confessional in ways not usually found in American writing. Is it an almost embarassing itimacy.  The narrator is not talking to his therapist or confidante but to himself in ways he would never want anyone else to know or hear.   Have any reviewers talked about that?  They don’t seem to have that many reviews, actually.  Maybe the success of the movie will prompt some longer, more considered assessments.  London Review?  I will search now.  Or TLS? 

Last episode of The Crown.  Wrecked lives.  Almost tragic?  

Driving all day, icy roads, ice on trees, gray.  Food.  A few pages of Proust every so often.  No visit to the acupuncturist, disappointment there.  Still raining outside, dripping.  Late.  Time for bed.  

The word “rat” in Aciman’s vocabulary.  In Enigma he uses it in the same way as in the interview.  Must be a word, an American idiom, he loved learning when he was a newcomer and trying hard to master the slang of his new New York school friends.  Or did he get caught or accused of ratting out his friends, or did someone rat out him?  “I wonder if in the universe of sleep, dreams don’t fly out and rat on one another’s dreamers and hold cloak-and-dagger meetings in the side alleys of our nights where they slip coded messages, which is perhaps exactly what we want them to do for us when we lack the courage to speak for ourselves.”  162  Enigma

152  When I thought about it, it made me feel I’d infringed on something wholesome and private and ever so chaste about you, like an instance of the holy that suddenly flares before our eyes and then leaves us speechless, humbled, and shaken.”  

This could describe the effect of A’s work.  Why it embarrasses us, shakes us up, an instance of the holy that flares suddenly before our eyes.  

24 January

TV ad for law firm uses melanoma and cialis as the hook for giving the law firm a call.  May or may not be an ethical tv ad but it got me looking around again at cialis and eczema and I am now convinced the key factor is Cialis.  Just realized too I could ask my nephew the urologist to see what he might or might not say here.  But clearly it was less than two years ago, year or so? when Fagan and the Mid-Point pharmacy shifted the Viagra prescription to Cialis and I have been taking that exclusively for maybe a little over a year.  Not that often but still.  Going to stop altogether for few months and see what happens.  I think the worst recent flare-up of the eczema was Monday evening, tonight is Wednesday, and I last took the pill on Sunday evening (maybe Saturday?).  Anyway, it takes three days to kick-in successfully it has always seemed and it has always seemed that it kicks-in and then stays in for too long---after effects seem to last two or three days after the initial punch.  And it has always felt less effective and less comfortable than Viagra.  That had its unpleasant effects but they were different.  That’s my theory for today.  Dartmouth Hitchcock actually called today to see if I wanted an appointment with my doctor there.  I sent an email to Cris to see if I could ask him
his opinion.  

25 Jan

Off to take the car for maintenance.  Repair guy for the dishwasher between 1 and 4.  Va staying home for that.  Now of course it seems silly to target Cialis.  Did ask Cris on email.  Could easily be the beer and wine.  Yeast, fungus.  Some people online say put apple cider vinegar on the nummules themselves.  Try it.  Had that cider vinegar mango drink yesterday, try more of that.  Probiotics!  Flares were all remarkably quiet last night, direct causal result of that vinegary drink no doubt.  Get a case of it and see if that is the key.  How we, not we but the logical brain, needs, needs, needs a single bullet cause and explanation.  Did not go to yoga last night.  George and Darlene sick and I would feel too conspicuous in that group without George being there.  Wanted to find a group with a few more elderly guys like me but guess not.  Maybe I’ll drop it altogether after one or two more stints.  

158 in Engima Paolo/Paul/Pauly talks about his fantasies taking over and indeed this is what the books invite, some kind of inner wild fantasy confessional intimacy.  Think of how Fitzgerald distanced all of it by having his narrator be on the frame of the supposed story in center focus.  Aciman brushes aside all of that.  His harkening back to the Princess de Cleve as a favorite source (and subject of his intense academic work) gives a fine antique burnish to his ways of telling and ways of knowingly asking, “Freud, what Freud, who was he and why should we care?”  And the place of the father in the works?  Father-son love, man to man love, man to woman love, love to love love, longing in all of its guises.  Fatherness hovering behind it all, over it all.  A Jewish sensibility?  Egyptian/Middle Eastern?
Mediterranean?  That case could certainly be made most strongly.  

And at the key moment of revelation to Manfred, Pauly shows him his photo of himself as a twelve-year old.  Adolescent hero worship-love-crush, directly invoked as a good reason for adults to keep going with the crush.  Who would do that?  What would John Cheever have had to say about that?  Or even Updike?  We know how much Bellow would have scoffed at it.  Generationalism at its worst and best here?  Is Aciman proud to be a not-grown-up eternal adolescent?  Is Pauly?  Has he never heard of the Peter Pan boy put-down by American thinkers, feminists?   Aciman can reply to any and all such question with his universal answer---“humans are a mess.”  

Twitter brings news of Aciman’s piece on the movie in Vanity Fair.  Audible channel interview with Faith Salie about Enigma Variations.  Vignettes, aperçus.  

“We are always enigmatic to ourselves.”   “What do I want?”  I don’t know.  Always in a condition of uncertainty when you want something.  

“The book is about wanting.”   Abington Square was written first.  
“We should never be bitter about what people have done, what we have done.”

every molecule of feeling, the fermentation of desire, 

writing makes you vulnerable and bold, everyone has thought and felt everything in this book---courage to write frank assessment of our sexuality is what I want to do---he’s in the closet, he’s polyamorous---we all are--what we do is another question.  Love stories are mysteries.  Always a revelation at the end (not O’Henry!!).  The other person makes us love ourselves---if they make us a person we don’t want to be, we don’t love them.  

Salie gives Aciman fifteen minutes almost and then switches to the British guy who gives out the bad literary sex award each year for the Literary Review.  Ho hum.  

So Aciman says pretty much what we know he will say.  By now.  I’ve got his number!  Ha.  But not his courage to write as he does.  Nor, I guess, do I want to have it now that we think more about it.  Venture to say his Eight is about his relationship with his wife, more or less.  And for that reason is it much less about the sex that followed (is there any in it??), and all about the courtship tennis game stretched out many readers would say for far too many pages.  He loves the book because he loved the courtship and loved recreating it and slowing it down and enjoying as a writer how much it gave him to write about, to savor and to explore. That’s what he most enjoys doing.  

I should fire off one final question to him---Envy.  You write about envy more fully and more delicately and more insightfully than any writer I’ve ever read.  Bravo
for that, thank you for that.  Why is that?  Why have so few writers written about envy or have written so poorly about envy?  Until you?  

That’s good.  I’ll fire that off and then we done with him.  Back to Proust.  Today in Fugitive Proust dazzled as he is supposed to do.  

But didn’t I do a word search and find that the word envy does not show up that many times in Eight?  Better re-check that.  But even so, the query is worth it.  
He brings up envy at all the most perfect moments in these relationships.  

26 January

Phone chat with Rick E about funds.  I like the way he talks about things, both his voice and his takes on things.  His wife is an architect, from Guatemala, and they are building their first small house on Lake Sunapee.  He bought some kind of saw today to rework something on the insulation that the builder had not done properly.  They are using a German plan for super-insulation and lowest possible heating expenses.  The thick walls will be filled with cellulose---newspaper or something similar.  I told him we were going to White River Jct tomorrow for lunch and he mentioned the British place.  I knew he meant Piecemeal Pie and told him it was not British, that is that the chef-owner hails from West Virginia.  I forget how I found that out two years ago.  Someone at the Tucker Box most likely.  

Marci called again tonight, upset.  Rick’s doctor in Abq says he has cancer, told him this a year ago, apparently.  They will stay in Abq and Marci’s daughter will pack up Rick’s things and send them up.  No clear prognosis or treatment info.  

We swam and then walked at Lowes and then lunched at BurritoMe.  Water was cold and have I felt chilled all day or just imagining that?  

Somewhere looking around the interviews I found Aciman telling us that he uses a Waterman Charleston rollerball pen.  !  Should I buy one?  $150. more or less.  Wait.  Good passage from one site about why he likes novellas---psychological focus and tension---describes perfectly the pieces in Enigma:

“I’ve always loved novellas, namely because they exhibit a degree of concentrated psychological acuity, which novels, because they need to provide so much material devoted to plot, simply end up diluting. A novella is focused on one issue—doggedly. Space is a premium, but not time. A novella can span years, months, or days—provided there is a revelation at the end, and provided the story—or is it an elegy—is about a tremulous, forbidden desire. Best of all, and unlike a short story, a novella does not need that idiotic move called a twist at the end. Revelation is one thing; twist quite another.”

Perfect.  But it does not apply to Proust very well.  It could be used pretty well, however, for Modiano.  His works are all short, novella length or just a little bit more.  Not sure if the term works even in French.  But still, and given the sense Aciman has in mind, of intensity and revelation, we can say that Modiano gets his power by using the short form but without the dogged acuity and without the revelation.  A powerful sense of displacement and lostness and nothing or very little adding up to anything.  A difference profound between the two writers, primarily of generation but also of geography and ultimately family.  Modiano had no family, at least not compared to Aciman, who had a supremely intense family experience.  

Today is now Saturday 27 January.  Poor Willow slept poorly last night, worried about Rick’s cancer.  Petie asked for the name of his doctor and we’re all hoping for more information and clarity of what’s next, if the doctor can say much.  Watching “Nurse Jackie” now in the evenings may not be helping.  

Helps to have temperatures go back to the 40s today for our big luncheon in White River.  

night  Fun and strange gathering.  Helen coming down off of a migraine.  Had been a week at the farm with her brother and older sister.  Anna is moving to Kuai to take a prosecutor’s job.  We were all sort of spacey, conversation disjointed into two ends of the table.  Food was good.  Day never that warm and sunny but ok.  

to Phil

Yes have heard of a Salt Room Spa.  I think Va's brother tried it once in Mexico.
Ask them if it is supposed to help with adult/senior eczema.  (Of course I know
what they will say, but still . . . .)  I'm going to try some accupressure/puncture
on Tuesday to see if that does anything.  Also going to look for a different
dermatologist to get another opinion.  I now later up on moisturizers all over
about once or twice a day.  we went swimming this morning and the pool water
really dries out my hide.  one's one-track mind and mind devoured by fifty years of advertising just refuses to believe there isn't a pill one can take for this crap
and/or a causal indicator one can avoid.  Stop drinking merlot and your skin will clearn up within two months.  That sort of magical thinking.

Va's brother came home from Mexico, to Abq.  His doctor here says he has a cancerous tumor behind one eye.  Waiting to hear further prognostications on that.
Meanwhile her sister and new husband have been in England, suburban London for
three weeks.  He's overseeing a remodeling of a conference center for their church.
They both find the cold and rain are not doing their asthma and overall health much good. 

Photos on the news of Paris flooded but Dave says their district is ok

Hope the Salt room does help Peg.  


Found a salt cave spa right here in Salem.  I’m going on Tuesday, after the acupressure session!  

Monday  29 January  

super special moon coming up this week.  

Listening to another version of La Prisonniere read by Andre Dussollier
and like his voice a lot.  Took and epsom salts bath, soak.  Did it do any good?   Read a short ebook about healing from eczema.  Young woman.  

Tuesday  30 Jan

Super moons next two nights.  Gray and cloudy this morning.  Off to Lawrence and acupressure treatment and then if time the salt room.  
Wholistic new age, post-new age, retro-new age searches.  Mineral salts bath might actually have helped last night.  The flare nodules look much quieter today.  

Night  Splendid day of first-time adventures.  Had I ever seen Lawrence?  Huge mill buildings.  Acupressure guy in there, urban lofts marketed I suppose to Boston commuters.  North Shore includes Lawrence according to him.  Great massage and overall experience.  After that I found the Salt Cave in Salem, paid $20. and was the only customer in the basement chamber.  Meditation music and float-back sling chairs so I had a fine nap within the forty-five minute zone.  Woke up about ten minutes before the end. Some sort of salted air is blown into the chamber as well as what radiates off from the two tons of Himalayan pink salt.  When did the pink salt craze begin here?  Ten years ago?  And why?  As with the acu-ssage,
doing this just to see what it was like was delightful.  Maybe like a sauna
without the heat?  Can see how it would feel good for respiration problems.  
Tim today confirmed and answered and embellished on so many notions and ideas I’ve had over the years.  In one session.  Will go back.  Salt room also.  

31 Jan  Weds night

Fine French movie last night, “Going Away,”  “Un beau dimanche” 2013.  

FEBRUARY 1  Thursday

Light snow this morning.  Holderness school at 2:15.  Interview with student Patrick Ault about his senior thesis project.  He and his mother are going to Spain to walk part of the road to Santiago.  Nice guy, wavy red hair, hockey star.  Only this senior year at Holderness.  Going to Bowdoin on hockey.  Short chat afterwards with Sarah Barton, neighbor.  Her daughter taking a year off to recover from bad experience at Brown.  Nasty competitive people.  Going to Jimador this evening.  Rollover taking place on TIAA site, gave me a jolt just now but I think it is ok.  

Yesterday I was convinced I wanted to try this antihimentic to help my eczema.  Stuff arrived from Amazon today.  Should I take it??  Now I wonder if I would be being foolish?  

Activity with TIAA and my complaining today.  

Talked with the guy in Colorado and then sent the team my suggestions.

Andy Knight replied right away.  

On Fri, Feb 2, 2018 at 2:28 PM, Andy Knight <> wrote:
Great idea, Dr. Garlitz!  I am actually pretty well connected with the security team, I will share your suggestion.   Bi-directional authentication makes sense in a world of phishing attacks.

Robert, Rick, and Dawn -- Dr. Garlitz was one of my favorite professors at Plymouth State a generation ago... in spite of the fact I started out as an English major under his tutelage -- or maybe because I did -- I went on to work in user interface design, and now head up digital design at TIAA.  We should also take his suggestion up the line in NCC -- it is a really good idea.


Andy Knight

Since you are the screen guy I'm going to say a bit more about this.  Glad you like my suggestion.  And I'm happy to
hear confirmation from Jon Philips, my intellectual property lawyer, that George Salmons at NCC has confirmed that
when TIAA puts the suggestion into place, my largest IRA account will receive an 18% bonus contribution "finders' fee."

From the other angle, when I saw the screen yesterday, I could have had a heart attack, had I had a tricky heart condition.
As it was I had only had too much coffee or tea yesterday and I had just a mild, very mild, yet still, panic attack.

I had logged on just to download the tax documents and had vaguely forgotten about how long the whole rollover thing
might take to take place.  So I glanced at that beautiful graph of how well we've all been doing this year and the plummet
of the line was scary and stunning.  800,000 missing from the account?  Oh, this rollover, shifting accounts thing.  Whew
but still I couldn't stop worrying and emailed my agent and then called him on the phone.  The previous day's phone call
from the guy in Colorado added a bit to my panic.  

Anyway---here's my second bonus-worthy suggestion:  On the screen, when such transactions are going on, it would
be far far far better from the client's point of view to have the Screen say back to me---in downton abbey concierge
language---we're sorry but your information is not ready at the moment.  remember, don't you, that your loyal
servants are shifting around the chips on the platter and when they are finished, in exactly three days time, your
numbers and markers will be restored fully and your money will be safe and fully displayed as always and as before.
If you have questions after that, please . . . . 

On the phone today Bob Nilson in Denver politely said, oh, I see what you mean but unfortunately there is no way
we can control that or do that.  Hmm, don't believe that for a moment.  

40 years olds are so used to screens and screen procedures that they see no problem here.  74 year old non-screen
aliens are not comfortable with any of this, especially english profs who never understood anything about money
except there is never enough of it and it is all a supreme fiction anyway.  

In today's age of neo-paranoia and super-meta-heightened terror about everything, how can we know that the
35 year old bit-coin king in Lyon, Hong Kong or Aguas Calientes hasn't just scooped our account clean?  

(I had a fun chat with a real bit-coin king from Latvia at a resort in Punta Cana two years ago.  He was about
26, there with three friends, certain his new fortune would grow and be secure).

Ok.  Two take-aways.  And two bonuses in the works.  I'll tell Philips to get back in touch with Salmons to
firm up these deposits, edeposits, into my TIAA brokerage accounts.  

Oops.  Bankable Suggestion for you #3.  The brokerage account should show instantly the same sort of 
beautiful Personal Rate of Growth graph as the retirement account shows.  

On that other trajectory, my nephew, Kevin Garlitz, partner at Loeb & Loeb in LA, tells me that yes, the 
trauma I suffered when I saw the plummeting graph is a legitimate litigation, has merit, and we
could sue for damages to personal bodily health and mental suffering.  I got drunk last night, overate nachos
and enchiladas and now my cholesterol has skyrocketed, my palpitations have returned, and I will
need extra hot chocolate, brandy and tucking in for the next week or so.  

Nice new snow for this weekend.  Enjoy the great skiing  & take it easy,  Isn't it great about Northern
Pass.  Tell Sununu when you see him, he's going down.  


Peg doesn't want to do salt room until the weather improves.   It's so cold today that even the mention of swimming makes me shiver.  I'm sure the pool is heated.   Just 80 degrees or warmer?   These day, I would probably want something closer to 90.  

Your skin condition:   Have you always had this or is it something recent?

At this point we don't know what would help Peg's breathing.   We know extremes - hot or cold or humidity - are bad, but little more than that, and doctors aren't much help.   They know what shows up on CT scans of lungs and that's about it.  They just aren't much help with day-to-day living.

Sorry about Va's brothers eyes (plural?).   Last week you mentioned a tumor behind only one eye.   But spending my entire youth listening to dad made me very aware of the sympathy between eyes.   What one gets it seems that other will, too.  Not always, but frequently.   

We swam in 78 degree water today.  They said, the staff.  Just took a hot bath to try to re-balance.  

My eczema thing is totally new.  Never had it.  Showed up about a year ago.  Doctors are no help whatsoever, for sure.  "Don't scratch the itching.  Use lots of skin creams. No one knows the cause. 
Self-doctoring I keep trying to blame something like parasites in the sands of tropical beaches.  

Best home remedy I've found on the great web so far is "peel a carrot every morning and eat it half an hour before breakfast."  I love this.  This is from the days when medicine was great and doctors cared about their tender, human patients.  And gave clear, easy directions.  

Gotten colder here today too.  Great news locally is that the Quebec power plan to put huge towers, 1800 of them, down through the White Mountains and probably down main street here in Plymouth, to carry hydro power electricity to lower New England got defeated before the board, by the board, that oversees and regulates.  Years of fighting the proposals.
Fingers now crossed that the decision will stick through the coming appeals
process.  Quebec hydro power has been throwing tons of money all over the place to buy and bribe their way.  

When we were in Switzerland those few days I did notice that the landscape where we were did have big power lines going across---no idea of how comparable in terms of power loads, but somehow the designs of the whole structure looked delicate and almost invisible, quite a good achievement.  Was that because the alps behind were so much larger?  again, 
hard to say.  


More ranting than I had realized.  Money anxiety.  Markets fell today too.  Must be the moon.  
Modiano again.  Aciman is too focused, finally, too intense and laser pointed on the twists and turns of focused desire and obsession.  Modiano is so indecisive being in his streets of Paris gives us room to wander and allow desire to be forgotten for a while.  And given space under the streets and around corners.  “Je l’imaginais livré à lui-meme.  le désordre et la confusion chez un jeune homme à la personnalité bien indécise.”

Saturday morning   3 February 2018

Now feeling chagrined and embarrassed about my ranting with the ciaa people yesterday.  Andy Knight was very nice in his last message to apologize and explain at length.  I am blaming my craziness on the three-fold full moon.  And Trump.  

Beautiful sun this morning.  Still quite cold.  Might wear socks.  

My body developed eczema as a symbolic action, to give my mind something to work on, to occupy itself.  Eczema from boredom.  Clever verbal gymnastics, literary overinterpreting, but google just threw up a much more likely discussion of eczema in elderly men.   Relax.  Slathering moisturizers on your body is not the worst of things one can have to do.  It is winter heating eczema.  Maybe it showed up when we returned from Dominican not because of a parasite I picked up there but because we returned from a moist, tropical climate back to this super-dry, artificial climate.  Could be Heat Pump Eczema.  Get a humdifier for goodness sake.  “Avoid wearing too many layers.” !  Just bought the humidifier.  Now to refill the one downstairs.  

Andy Knights long reply last night.  
Hi, Bob...

I am truly sorry for the heart-stopping moment... I had one of those a few weeks back, but since I work here, I realized that it was the result of a data feed failing.  It is still not pleasant.

I also had a similar experience when I was rolling money into TIAA a few years back.  It is frustratingly opaque where things are at, and when they'll get better.

I (we, there is no I in team) have been working on an idea for a more dynamic and interactive timeline that would include better "explanation" of events when big changes occur... that might be something we can start to incorporate sooner than later.  If you are ever inclined, I can bore you with the arcanery of why we don't do a better job of handling that kind of thing currently -- but that is not an excuse for not making it better, and not scaring the whee out of our customers (of any age).

In geek speak, what we need to do is create an "event" at the start of a rollover or internal money move that (at very least) can put a flag on your chart (or in a data table) explaining WHY there is a sudden change and WHEN you can expect it to be back to normal.  Even better would be if we could track the internal transfer money as a "phantom value" between accounts but still in your balance, like a shadow, so you know it's still there but in flux.  I am emailing this to myself as well, in case I succumb to daemon rum tonight... If we are able to implement the feature, I promise to name it after you, like PSC named the spring "bonus holiday" after Bob O'Neill back in the day.  Believe it or not, we do have customers we know by name and refer to for certain things (call them real-world personas)... you will become part of that pantheon, too.

Bankable suggestion #3 is underway... I will try to grab a screen and share it with you so you can see where it is headed.  That's another bit of corporate arcanery which I can bore you with (e.g., why the brokerage screens are uglier than a pitbull's butt)... but we are working on some significant improvements for later this year.

My son met one of said cybercurrency kings (the guy who invented Ethereum, who actually seems a decent sort).  He is very into blockchain and cybercurrency.  I am sure he thought I was a fuddy-duddy in December when I urged him to sell half his Bitcoin and take his profits.  Maybe I am not as dumb this month as I was last month.  

I really (really) appreciate the feedback, and the good-natured way you deliver it, and would love to hear any and all suggestions you have.  And I do owe you lunch, at very least.


PS:  Thrilled about Northern Pass, and Chris Sununu largely avoids me.  NHPR was desperate for anyone who would speak on the record about Sununu's impact on Waterville Valley... it's a really small town and most people have too many
Craziness of all my self-curing of eczema.  Look at all the wholesome foods and home cures I’ve bought in two days thanks to amazon craziness enabling one touch purchasing.  At least I can see it all piling up in my cupboards and tell myself to taper down and get back to reality.  

Ready to go to Portland on Tuesday.  Have not been since,? summer?  Somehow that “why not” theme just seems right for the moment.  New month.  Longer days.  

Marci called, very grateful for having had a great meeting with Louella in Abq yesterday.  Rick’s cancer is a form of lymphoma.  

Online chat tends to side with me against Vanicream/petroleum jelly and for coconut oil.  Anti-science once again???  

Wish I could frame dicta with the tranquil, assured clarity of Proust.  “One realizes that when we satisfy our curiosity about a point of human interest which we have long thought about, inquired about cautiously from those few who might be able to tell us something detailed and direct about it, our satisfaction first involves a sense of relief to have our interest fulfilled, but that this relief is then followed by a pleasure greater than we had imagined because the unknown, by becoming more known, partially or fully, exceeds what we had imagined, what had excited our curiosity at the start and what had sustained it over the extent of time in which we had entertained it, refreshed it, allowed it to become, wished it to become, a substantial topic of inquiry and pursuit,    have I completed a thought here?  I’ve
lost track myself, of myself.

5 February   This is the month of the brain bleed, the AVM break.  My sense is it was Feb 27 or 28 fifteen years ago.  15  Bonus Years  

Ok, eczema is due to genetic predisposition, aging, whatever.  Eat anything, nothing you eat, do, don’t do, etc will change much.  Don’t scratch.  Creams are nice.  But temporary.  You’ve bought about thirty different kinds in the past seven months.  Use all or any.  Deal.  Accept.  Breathe.  Do Yoga.  Meditate.  Get a massage.  Drive around.  Walk.  Row.  Type at the computer.  Write by hand in a notebook.  Read Proust.  Listen to Proust.  

“I took notes.  Without fully realizing it, I began writing my first book.  It was neither a vocation, nor a particular gift that pushed me to write, but quite simply the enigma posed by a man I had no chance of finding again, and by all those questions that would never have an answer.”  .  .  .  Why bother chasing ghosts and trying to solve insoluble mysteries, when life was there, in all its simplicity, beneath the sun. “  Fleurs de ruin / Suspended Sentences 180

Enigma  Mysteries  

I think I added this passage to my Honeymoon Enigmas copy-text once before but I will put it in again.

Tuesday  Feb 6

Portland.  Sea air and light after starting out here in a snow squall.  And interesting nothing special day trip.  Over and back, too long and yet the beauty of the moving landscape in the light makes it worthwhile.  Talked with a short fellow name Patrick at the Dobra tea room.  Neither Ray nor Ellen were there but he overheard me asking for them and struck up a conversation from there.  Wondered if we had seen each other, familiar look.  Later I thought maybe in the crowd at the summer opera.  

Larry Mauchly came and showed me how to reset the Gif.  Counter-intuitive, for me, the switch to reset must be On!  I paid him $20. then he lingered and talked, seemed to want to talk.  He’s 52.  One boy finishing at Keene, the other  at a college in London, daughter just turning thirteen.  Larry’s grandfather one of the inventors of the computer.  Ebbet and Mauchly, developed a model before Univac.  
John William Mauchly (August 30, 1907 – January 8, 1980) was an American physicist who, along with J. Presper Eckert, designed ENIAC, the first general purpose electronic digital computer, “  Wiki  
Larry’s father moved his family from Frederick, MD to Wentworth.  Five kids.  Drove them around for a summer in a remodeled school bus looking for the best place to settle.  

7 February  

Snow day.  We got a walk this morning.  Snow started around noon.  Everything quiet and canceled.  No yoga.  Willow has enjoyed sorting through some slides.
I put the slide scanner we bought in ’14 and never used up for sale on ebay.  

Then Scott Merrill phoned from the Lucky Dog.  Have not had that sort of conversation in a while.  He is now 42 and no longer a student.  And yet the talk sounds about the same.  Two years since he finished the degree and had a relationship with Karolyn Kinane.  She got herself distinguished teacher award this year, or last?  Friends wrote letters.  Scott still feels in love with her but also feels miserable about everything.  

We’re starting to sketch out the trip in April-May.  Waiting to hear what Rick’s results are like.  I told Nancy we could use a motel when we visit them.  She liked the idea even if she wanted to sound a bit reluctant.  Polite on both ends, we are trying to be, but I can tell she will feel relieved and I think we will too.  

night Snow Day  

Phone chat with Scott.  Tomorrow Eliz and Va will try the pool in the morning.
I will go to WV to try the steam room.  Good idea or terrible??

Thursday 8 Feb

Terrible sleeping last night.  One of Va’s tossing nights.  This morning we canceled Elizabeth coming for another swim.  Instead Va stayed and sorted slides and I went up to Waterville and tried the steam room.  Sweated.  Maybe for fifteen minutes.  Disliked it at first and then it felt good in its strange way.  Noise of the fans blowing the steam in worst thing about it.  Warm to cool shower after.  Felt cleansed and tired rest of the day.  Deep nap at the rest stop on the way to Tilton.  Bought more pj’s for Va at Bali.  Came back home for gouté.  
Sweet facetime visit with the kids at noon.  Davey tired.  Eliot happy with his dinosaur key chain.  Emma deep into reading aloud to herself at the table.  They had snow the other day and Cécile got a beautiful shot of the kids walking to school in the snow.  

Can look back and see how crazed I was last week at solving the eczema with lotions and foods.  What if---my walking barefoot for the past ten years (Vivobarefoot shoes etc) speeded up the decay of my blood vessels in my legs and feet.  Degeneration with age?  Genetics?

Thoughts about these experiments with massage and thinking of the body.  But first the steam room today?  Worth going to once or twice a week?  Seems it could be replicated in our jacuzzi room downstairs.  Couldn’t get the heat up to 110 to produce instant sweating, but heat and moisture followed by cool shower easy enough to do.  

Marci called.  Rick went for a spinal tap today.  Lots of pain and after much difficulty the hospital staff said they couldn’t do it after all, go to another hospital.  

Upsetting phone calls.

Friday  February 9   

Gray afternoon.  Fine swim this morning.  Luxurious.  Water perfect temperature, no one there until we had almost finished.  Gigi and Paul came in as we dressed.  Gigi looking forward to a winter camping expedition with Susan Swope and crew.  
Fed the birds.  Fixed the upstairs sink stopper.  Ready to order the duffel bag.  Looked at flights to Fr Lauderdale for April.  

Did the steam room do any good?  One time can’t tell.  And I’m not ready to claim so.  Markets still shaky after big drop and slighter rise on Thursday.  Long view.  

Wrote a note to Ray and Ellen and then found out on facebook today is his birthday!  ESP working well.  

Sunday night  11 Feb

Donald called last night around seven.  He got back the day before.  He was worried because I sounded awful in the messages I left on his phone.  Finally got him to realize I was worried about him.  I had just forgotten the range of his dates for visiting with Eloise, taking the holland america cruise with her and then celebrating her 75th birthday with her family in South Carolina.  

We had a fine swim this morning.  Rainy, warmer.  

Monday  12 Feb

Tomorrow anxiety solved!  55 min drive north to omni mt wash, hendricks gin thanks to Aciman’s final Variation tale, and an afternoon of reading by the fireplace.  Voila!  

Warmer out today, brighter, breeze shaking the cedars at the corner of the house.  

“Some philosophers argue that the external world does not exist and that it is only within ourselves that our lives evolve.  Be that as it may, love, even in its humblest beginnings, is a striking example of how little reality means for us.”  Proust, The Fugitive, 531

So perfect for reading more of Aciman.  I like knowing that the final story in the book was the first written.  Abingdon Square.  It feels like a letter Aciman writes to himself, that all of it is internal dialogue between characters not quite fully separated from his own central casting stable of characters for himself, within himself.  No wonder then that when he talks about Pessoa he does not give much attention to the heteronyms.  We’ll see 
what he says about that in his essay, if anything.  Now to read the second to last piece in the book to see how that fits in, fleshes out, what started in A Square.  

Rendevous meeting at Foster’s this evening.  Storm Rick created last night with his phone call has moved on.  Petie and Willow talked today, pleasantries.  Rick called too.  Roy not in the picture yet.  Celebrating his birthday.  

Splendid passages at end of Nicholas's piece on Berry

He is ever alert to what he encounters as a possibility to change his life - to improve and enlighten it. It is intelligence of a very practical kind but its practice runs through us whole from spiritual demand to minute particular practical act - and neither of these two 'poles' are ever separated from the other. For the good, as Blake said, is done in minute particulars.

He writes beautifully too - with leisure - that unfolds his purposes and his arguments showing you how he has arrived at them and how you might arrive at them to - never by simple acceptance but by measuring them against what you know of yourself and what you can attend to in the world around you. Ever and again, Berry returns you to the importance of attention for how can you care and, out of your care, work meaningfully and well if you do not see, witness, and be witnessed to by, the complexity of things. How can you act effectively without the humility of knowing that there is always more to see, to know such is to act with care. To know such is to act, or try to act, always with love, because there is no knowledge outside the boundary of the actually loved and known.

on his ncolloff.blogspot, Golgonooza  02/2018  review of Berry’s essays Loading the Brush

Try going to another dermatologist or not??  

Weds  Ashes and Valentines  14 February

PEO meeting day for the month.  At Marilyn’s.  “Pop Eats Out” says Willow.  Waved at Ed as we went in.  Had never heard that explanation of the letters.  What a coven of nuns.  How could a women’s group be anything other than that?  The Medieval church figured out gender differences and made a social order of them.  Anthropology surely has studied them all by now.  Spectrum studies.  Clusters analyzed.  

night  Upsetting phone calls from Marci and later Roy.  Roy was good help, he turned 68 yesterday.   All his family is now in Santa Fe and they are restoring the main house and will be in it by May.  He is going down to see Rick tomorrow.  Rick’s situation seems worse and worse but at least we, Roy and I, said the main focus is to get treatment there at the UNM cancer center as best as possible.  He does have some insurance coverage--Medicaid I guess.  I told Willow to write to Petie and get someone from her church to help Rick out on a daily basis.  

Trying to finish up turbotax.  Seems totally simplified beyond need for Turbotax.  Will that company stay in business?

15 February  5pm 

Last night’s crisis has quieted.  Willow spent the day with Elizabeth.  I drove straight north to the Mt Washington, 52 minute drive, dry highways, no traffic.  Big lunch at the pub in the basement.  Walked around the building, even took the elevator to the third floor to walk a corridor, remind myself what it all looked like.  Such a magnificent building.  All stone and wood, I think.  Is there any poured concrete in the inner structure?  Would think not.  

Read some more of Proust.  Magnificent and funny.  Dr John Richards called Puss this morning from the airport on his way to see his daughter in South Carolina.  Lot of good that did.  We sent his advice.  Rick’s reply---

“I am being seen by 3 doctors.  My PCP says I should leave ABQ if I want competent treatment.  Dr. Tong botched the spinal tap, and wants to see me again for another.  Dr. Reddy is retina doctor who believes based on an MRI and dye contrast photos of my retina that I have lymphomas in both eyes. No one has mentioned pineal.  If I go to ER locally, they would most likely say I am already under competent care. 

I found the MC Anderson in Houston is the top rated cancer center in the US.  They will not accept my insurance.”
This sounds like the diagnosis.  No spinal tap necessary.
Why can't Dr Reddy get you into treatment there?   Or somewhere?  doesn't
need to be Houston.    Lots of other cancer treatment places, two
in ABq.  How much would treatment cost without insurance? 
You could go to ER and say I have this diagnosis but my doctors won't
treat me, I'm losing my sight, I need ER to treat me now.  Get a new PCP?
that was me.  no help.  Angry.  Not helpful.  Back to Aciman.  Page 191 in Enigma.  Paul seats himself in the taxi between Chloe and Manfred.  Between.  Sorry but in old-style burkean freudianism, he’s between the father and the mother---the super-needy child who has felt abandoned by both all his life.  He also uses the phrase “hate yourself” on this page.  “I wanted to find a corner somewhere in this large apartment where I could be alone and hate myself.”  hmm  Burke would note that.  
Maybe I’m angry at myself because I ate at Mt Washington and it didn’t do any good?  But maybe it did.  Rick is the one with the lymphoma and everything else.  
Aciman’s novels feel adolescent, stuck in adolescence, compared to Proust.  But is that just the differences of a century?  But a few pages later Aciman proves me wrong once again by bringing in Nietzsche’s idea of star friendships.  

Friday  16 Feb
Big relief to talk with Petie and Ray this morning via whassap!  who knew it can make phone calls.  Clear as a bell.  Ray looking into getting Rick best treatment, needs a hematologist for lymphoma----same treatment Petie herself just had a while back.  They recognize Rick not capable of managing things and they understand how they have to navigate the labyrinths of getting legal rights to have information and make decisions.   
Willow wants to cancel the Panama trip, which could also be a big relief at this time.  We did cancel our jaunt to the Silver Fountain Tea Room in Dover for today.  Gray morning all around.  
Florida school shooting 
Phil on it followed by my comments.
The Justice Department has just announced that the FBI did not follow protocol when someone in early or mid-January called the FBI citizen-hotline to tell them about the danger posed by the kid who this week killed 17 in Florida.   The caller identified the kid as dangerous and gun happy, a killer of animals and maker of threats.  The information should have been forwarded to the FBI office in Miami for investigation, but it was not.  The information went nowhere.  FBI protocol, the DOJ admits, was not followed, and the FBI says it is trying to find out why it wasn't.

My prediction:   Republicans will jump all over this story, push it into the center of the news at every opportunity in order to sweep any discussion of gun control totally off the table.   The problem is not guns, Trump, the GOP, and even a few Dems in red states will yell.   The problem, they will endlessly repeat, is the FBI, and I'm sorry to admit  that this diversionary tactic will probably succeed in, once again, smothering any badly needed move toward gun control. 

Let's see if I prove to be right.

Of course this will play out exactly as you describe.  Only hint I've seen at a different news strategy is this piece
on Salon where you can see millenials hoping somehow that "social media" will have more power than it in 
fact has.   or will ever have

"subverting the news cycle" is one of those namby phrases that someone thinks has significance but does not.  

I don't think anything will happen in our lifetime.  Maybe civil war in pockets of the country, or some simulation, but
probably not.  It will be a replay of varieties of religious warfare known all over the world.  How many centuries did
it take for Protestants and Catholics to stop killing each other?  

Could a new MLK type speaker-leader show up somewhere and say I am gathering politicians around me who will
run for congress on a pledge to never take money from the NRA and to put the NRA out of business?  

PBS ran a factoid last night on its news---American citizens own 34% or 43% something like that, of all the guns
owned by private citizens throughout the world.  

Religious level fanaticism.  NRA could train ISIS in how to keep people loyal to the creed.  

I could tweet that----"new documents show NRA is funded by ISIS."

Would you come to visit me in federal prison?  Guantanamo?  

Oprah will shut down the NRA.  Oprah will save us.  I could tweet that. 


Thinking about Rick and his future and possibly his death weighs heavily, can feel it taking the energy out of everything.  Will we cancel the Panama
trip or not?  Remains to be seen.  This morning she wanted to.  We got the Info packet on it by email and I’ve just printed out the 46 pages.  Will that
change her mind over the weekend?  Will anything?  

sad to hear from Louise Kiger how difficult Chuck’s battle with cancer has become.  Has it been two years now they have dealt with that?  No one expects any of this to happen quite as it does.  

I’m staying at The Colonnade Hotel Back Bay for 1 night.

Check In: Saturday, March 10, 2018
Check Out: Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Colonnade Hotel Back Bay
120 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA

Book hotels, flights and view & share your itineraries.
Download the free Expedia app today

#7312838707044  Expedia Itinerary 

for the flamenco show.   
Just  quick note...we have found some places that will take R s insurance.

Talked along time with Rick today 
He  also seems to be very proactive. He sounded good today.

His rental income is around $2200 a month but utilities probably  eat up about $200 of that.  That is of course his major source of income.

Try not to worry

Time for bed...good night

Finished reading, re-reading, Aciman’s “Star Love” chapter.  I had forgotten it, of course.  Was it a year or more since I first read this book?  Wasn’t this the first book of his I read, on the kindle?  having read everything I could find by him since then, and all the rest, I can now see how perfect a summation of his whole career this Engima collection is, how well fitted-together it is, how complete.  You wonder if he’s written himself into a perfect box, a jeweled Fabergé egg of infinite beauty.  His final figure near the end of the story, that he is an ellipsis with nothing between the two parentheses, demonstrates this perfection.  A musical, mathematical, mystical apophasis.  Desire möbiusized.  I could tweet that to/about Aciman.  So in Star Love he imagines love perfected in a way that does not work in the human world.  The lovers have two final perfect days with each other and then each will return to their sworn partners.  Then in the final entry of the sequence, Abingdon Square, Paul has another affair that reaches not a perfection of realization but a perfection of conclusion, of ending.  

Could Aciman now write a novel about married, long-term, retirement love that moves through success, family, children, grandchildren, death?  He must be pondering these things himself.  

6:03 pm  Now I’m betting we will go ahead with the trip through Panama.  Tweeted the Desire Möbiusized quip.  

17 February   

Sunny morning and lazy.  Going ahead with trip.  Now I want to upgrade our cabin if possible.  Anxiety attack?  Early morning tea?  should I leave well-enough alone?  most likely.  Added one night in LA because Tour just rolled back our disembarkation one day.  Four nights in LA.  That’s fine because after twenty at sea we will welcome dry land.  Booked the Silver Fountain in Dover again for Weds next week when temperature will shoot up to 70!  flood the basement for sure.  

18 February  Sunday afternoon

Great phone call from Roy, clarifying lots of things.  Bright sunny day, super swim early, nap just now.  “Eczema behaves like a migraine of the skin.”  My tweet untweeted for the day.  Also brainstormed this stroke of genius while in the pool:  I will explore a stateroom upgrade with Road people on Tuesday or Wednesday as a way of using the voucher we have for 2400.!  Genius.  Frees us, would free us, from trying to find a trip to use it for sometime in the next year.  If they would take the offer and if there is a better stateroom available.  What a relief to hear Roy’s news and explanations of how things can proceed very clearly thanks to Patsy Duphorne.  

Adjusted gross income not as bad as I had feared.  are there documents not gathered yet?  oops  that was last year’s!  

doing taxes makes you feel like you have a project, for a short time at least.  

Renters are mistreating Marci.  We have to get them out or at least some of them.  We---there I go making a mistake like using “just.”  “We” “just” have to get them out of there.  Rick has to deal with them, and/or Roy and/or the two of them together.  

Marci and Rick called about half an hour ago.  Now 11 pm.  Such a human tangle there at 3600 with the renters, Vanessa and her boyfriend and dog, and Kim, and Antonio, and ?  not sure of all the names.  The manager
and the renters.  The legalities of the leases they have signed.  But fundamentally the chasms between cultures and genders and generations.  Such abstract words.  Human personalities, histories, idiosyncrasies. 

Monday  19 February

Short but sweet screen visit with the kids.  They were scoffing down pizzas with Agnes.  First day of their week vacation.  

Petie and Ray have clarified the Abq situation most helpfully.  Ray is having his staff figure out how to protect the house against old liens and claims and get Rick out of debt.  
Dear Willow and Bob,
1)   We agree with you that Rick should do everything possible to get treatment through the University of New Mexico Cancer Center ASAP.
2)   At this time we do not feel that we should get involved in his relationship with the tenants or Marci or her family.
3)   The following is our proposal to help Rick deal with the judgement against him and the potential hit of interest on the hearing aids since these could come back against his and our interest in the house.
Ray and I, like you, do not feel that we could cover the expense of the lost rental income.
We are concerned that Rick could be in danger of losing the house due to the old creditor who could put a lien on the house which could cause Quicken to call in the loan.   Then the house could go into foreclosure and be in danger of being auctioned off on the courthouse steps (at least in some states).
We feel that just giving Rick money would not help him in the long term.
We have this proposal however—
We could do something like a reverse mortgage.  That is you and I would give him a monthly allowance but tied to a registered lien--registered with the courthouse—against his one third interest in the house which would effectively reduce his share of the house and increase ours.  So when it is finally sold we would regain our investment and not have it lost entirely.

We do have to check to see if putting a lien on it would cause Quicken concern. But it shouldn’t because we are giving him income rather than asking for payments.  Ray is checking with a high level CPA to establish the legality and wisdom of such a plan.  So please don’t discuss this with Rick or forward this to him at this time.
I feel that I should not give away my savings but feel that I could loan some if it is legally against the house.
This would allow Rick to pay off the creditor (~$455./month) and the two hearing aids (~$600/month) in 12 months.  We would charge interest according to current rate.  We need to do the math but estimate each of our portions would be around $7000. We could  pay the creditors directly as a loan against his interest on the house. We could do it in one lump sum or monthly payments of about $700/month, with Rick supplying proof that he used it to pay off the creditors.
This may be better than giving him money or paying for lost rental income.
This would just be until these two creditors are paid off.  Which should be less than one year.
Please let me know your thoughts.
Love, PT
Week warming up.  Day off tomorrow with no plans.  Have misplaced or lost the red handle on the new shower bench so I can go to Belmont and see if they can get me one.  Or go on Thurs when we go to Refresh.  Tomorrow?  Hanover or Wht River, maybe a piecemeal pie for lunch?  Or maybe India in Manch.  

20 Tuesday  
Whole Foods won the day.  Sunny and in the now 60s.  Jackfruit taco bowl, avocado sushi, big fruit cup.  Kombucha enough to float in.  Two bottles.  
Wrote by hand, read some Énard.  His manner of flowing the story-non-story ever forward suits me and I can imagine writing like that much more easily than writing like Aciman.  Or Modiano, even though Modiano appeals more for imitation it is still in a mode I can’t commit to or find to want to do.  
“I learned how to be a monk in the same place I learned how to be a spy--my father’s butcher shop.”   The line that came sometime today while having Proust on in the car and in my earbuds all day.  

Weds  morning  21 February
All quiet on the western front.  No news is good news.  Addicted to the daily drama, so far away, close to our hearts, helpless to effect any visible help but linking cosmic rays and loving vibrations.   Off to the Tea Room in Dover and what else?  Warmer sunlight.  

Skin feels good this morning.  Big servings of fruit in past twenty-four.  Stay cool in every respect.  

22 February  
night  Chance discovery of discussion of eczema and St Johns Wort Caught My Eye.  And look at this language on a site about U Michigan research on the topic---
So, the toxin may have to do with that kind of “battle” between microscopic organisms fighting for a niche on the host body. “Perhaps the host – the human – gets involved in the middle of the war,” Nunez speculates. “And eczema is the collateral damage of the bacteria producing the delta toxin factor to cause colonization, and aggravating host mast cells.” Further research will be needed to find out.
This kind of research is what U-M’s new Host Microbiome Initiative  is all about. Nunez is one of dozens of U-M faculty from many disciplines who have come together to study the interplay between bacteria and other microscopic organisms, and different aspects of the human body and disease. With new funding from the Medical School’s Strategic Research Initiative, they will accelerate their research in coming months and years.

“between”  “in the middle of the war”     Holy Cow  My eczema is a classic Middle Brother syndrome/symptom/ condition---the In-Betweener’s 
“it’s not enough to suggest delta toxin from staph bacteria by itself causes eczema,”

eczema as collateral damage in the war between the delta toxin and mast cells.  or something like that!  
Meanwhile a call to Pershing brought the answer to the TurboTax problem.  We’ll see now.
23 Feb  Friday    Waiting for snow to arrive.  Colin & Clare and baby and grandmother coming too for piano and I suppose tea and coffee.  Rick called to assure Willow that the email that rattled her this morning was an old one from last September.  

Listening to podcast interview with Aciman by Christopher Lydon.  Showed up on twitter.  Mentions essay from ten years ago on Proust where he says feeling is the most important experience.  Aciman also explains that his upbringing was as open and free as portrayed in his work.  In Alexandria, with his parents.  Remember a few days ago in these pages when I said Aciman is too adolescent?  He says here we are the same throughout our lives as we were as teenagers.  Desire always works through us in these ways.  His father died at 92 and his mother was upset that there were still women in his life.  Alexandria was looser and permissive.  His father would never say anything he did was wrong.  Always better to feel things.  Art is a different category altogether.  Art formalizes things that happen in life so that we can touch them in ways we cannot experience in life.  
How well he understands repression. And how simple and direct that outburst of earnest grief, and how admirable his knowledge that it is always better to feel something, anything, than to feel nothing at all; that human beings should, and want to, feel things; that we are each of us heat-seeking subjects starved for feeling. Which is why, even at the risk of getting hurt, or making tremendous fools of ourselves, we will not shirk from being drawn to certain places, to certain objects, certain odors, to art, to tears, to plants, to writing, to memory, to music, to vice, and of course, to other human beings. Because by so doing, each of us finds a secret, private conduit to an inner life that is not just our new life, or our true life, but our whole life.
How magnificently—and predictably—modern Proust is. So, for the sake of argument, because I am perverse, let me overturn everything I’ve been saying and ask: What if this true inner life is nothing more than a life made to be lost? But lost before it was ever possessed, or even glimpsed, though it seems to have been lived, because it claims to be remembered. What if this true, inner life hovers on the horizon like a ghost ship that never materializes, but never vanishes either? What if this other life were an ancillary life called: paper. An unlived life made on paper, lived for paper, by a man raised and fed on paper, who has learned that life itself can be so drearily unimaginative sometimes that by a sort of miracle that justifies his life-long commitment and confinement to paper, life will mimic what could only have happened on paper. Where else but on paper does a man desperately seeking a woman among millions in Paris actually bump into her on the streets at night? Proust’s bookish eye is transfixed by those moments in life that are stunning, not because of their inherent beauty, but because they cry out to be committed, that is returned, to paper, to literature, to fiction, the ultimate seat of the inner life.
Writing is a form of music, not as good as music, but 
January 8, 2007  

The little phrase I’m about to read comes from a famous passage in Sodom and Gomorrahwhen Marcel the narrator is suddenly reminded of his grandmother. He had stayed at the same beach resort in Balbec with her once, but now, more than a year after her death, he’s back at the very same hotel. What he finds, as Proustian characters always find when they expect maximum emotion is, however, minimum sensation. He encounters, more or less, what he experienced at the time of her death, a sense of surprise at feeling so singularly numb, almost indifferent, blasé. All of it is colored by Marcel’s overloaded feeling of not feeling enough, and by the hope that this shamed admission of emotional inadequacy might itself pass for a form of genuine emotion. Now, surrounded by the indolent charm of the grand hotel, what the young adult Marcel thinks of when he arrives at Balbec is not his grandmother, but the social life awaiting him, of the band of young girls he had met there once before, and of the vague, tantalizing thing which Marcel always looks forward to: something exotic, someone new, unexpected, different, who might ultimately lure him out of his humdrum, bookish cocoon, into what Proust calls a new life.
As for his grandmother: well, if bereavement is the toll the living must pay for the loss of a loved one, then clearly Marcel, to use Jane Austen’s words, has been let off easily. But we are, of course, being set up. For as soon as Marcel is in his hotel room, and bends down to undo one of his boot buttons, something his grandmother had helped him do in that very same room, he suddenly bursts out sobbing, vehemently. What hits him is not just that he misses her terribly, but that he will never, ever, see her again. Because for the first time in his life, and in a manner that devastates him, the arch-premeditator Marcel finally understands, long after it happened, that his grandmother is in fact dead. Yet, come to think of it, this shouldn’t be surprising. Emotion, as every reader of Proust knows after about thirty pages, always comes unannounced, obliquely, inadvertently, just as it does, say, in Freud. The more unexpected, the more poignant it is.
This is how life works in Proust. Conversely, one may bump into the right people, but never when one wants to. One may get what one wants, but only after giving it up, or wanting something else instead. We reach out to seize precious moments not as they are happening to us, but once it’s clear that we’ve lost them. So far, so good. The set up is familiar enough. Proust—this cross between Freud, Woody Allen, and Murphy of Murphy’s Law—is one of us. How well we know him, and how well he knows us. How well he understands repression. And how simple and direct that outburst of earnest grief, and how admirable his knowledge that it is always better to feel something, anything, than to feel nothing at all; that human beings should, and want to, feel things; that we are each of us heat-seeking subjects starved for feeling. Which is why, even at the risk of getting hurt, or making tremendous fools of ourselves, we will not shirk from being drawn to certain places, to certain objects, certain odors, to art, to tears, to plants, to writing, to memory, to music, to vice, and of course, to other human beings. Because by so doing, each of us finds a secret, private conduit to an inner life that is not just our new life, or our true life, but our whole life.
How magnificently—and predictably—modern Proust is. So, for the sake of argument, because I am perverse, let me overturn everything I’ve been saying and ask: What if this true inner life is nothing more than a life made to be lost? But lost before it was ever possessed, or even glimpsed, though it seems to have been lived, because it claims to be remembered. What if this true, inner life hovers on the horizon like a ghost ship that never materializes, but never vanishes either? What if this other life were an ancillary life called: paper. An unlived life made on paper, lived for paper, by a man raised and fed on paper, who has learned that life itself can be so drearily unimaginative sometimes that by a sort of miracle that justifies his life-long commitment and confinement to paper, life will mimic what could only have happened on paper. Where else but on paper does a man desperately seeking a woman among millions in Paris actually bump into her on the streets at night? Proust’s bookish eye is transfixed by those moments in life that are stunning, not because of their inherent beauty, but because they cry out to be committed, that is returned, to paper, to literature, to fiction, the ultimate seat of the inner life.
Small wonder that Proust put so much stock in style. The Proustian sentence, which personifies procrastination, allows him to sink in to paper and never to come up for air, to pile up metaphors and clauses, and take all sorts of sinuous turns, the better to take sorrow and pain and spread them out like gold into cadence, just cadence, because cadence is like feeling, and cadence is like breathing, and cadence is desire, and if cadence doesn’t reinvent everything we would like our life to be, or to become, or to have been, then just the act of searching, and probing, in that particularly cadenced way, becomes a way of feeling, and of being in the world. And yet, having built such a paper world, Proust can suddenly overturn everything I’ve been suggesting, and jolt out, like someone waking from a dream, sputtering things as randomly, and inchoately, as a man who has barely learned how to speak.
No reader of Montaigne can forget that stunning moment when, after probing why he loved his deceased friend Etienne de La Boétie so much, the author of the essays, this master-stylist of baroque prose, breaks down and scrawls out one of the most beautiful sentences penned in French: “You ask me why I loved him,” Montaigne says. “I don’t know. All I can say is parce que c’était lui, parce que c’était moi.” Because it was he, because it was I. Proust too knows how to cut through layer after layer of searching and probing prose and write as brief a sentence, if only because it too, like his sudden outburst, wells up in him and erupts on something that is more than just paper now. “You ask me why I love my grandmother,” he says. “I don’t know. All I know is this”—and here is the little sentence I promised you earlier— “Elle était ma grand-mère et j’était son petit-fils.” She was my grandmother, and I was her grandson. And if that’s not enough, a few lines down, Proust will say it again, more forcefully. While staring at her photograph in his hotel room, he will say it in even more guileless terms: “C’est ma grand-mère, je suis son petit-fils.” It’s my grandma. I’m her grandson. Anyone can write this. But of course, what surrounds it makes it eloquent. More to the point: life can’t compete with this. Life doesn’t even come close. And, come to think of it, perhaps no one alive can today.
He wrote Call Me in three months in the midst of Eight White Nights. 

Art magnifies what your day was like under a microscope.  
The art of introspection---Proust is the culmination of this huge tradition of great literature.  Everything he says you’ve known and in his voice he helps you rediscover it.  
Nice interview.  Aciman sounds wonderful.  The portrait he gives us of his father is the main revelation, and how close they were without problems or tensions, at least none he found worth mentioning.  
In the piece I pasted in he has that great passage on cadence and feeling.  And then he closes with the title line from Montaigne about his friendship.  
He says Proust is the greatest writer we’ve had even though Joyce is the better writer.  
reply to Phil
Finally did read all of it.  Sullivan has been saying the same thing about politics since he emigrated here.  Forty years ago he was Catholic and
Republican and Gay.  Now he's Democratic, Christian/Episcopalian and Auden/Gay.  Interesting in the sense that for political minds such as his
it seems a world religion gives them an up-and-out stance that rivals other big -isms--communism, socialism, etc.  Christianity as a high-brow
"anthropology with social vision" or something like that.  Plus comforting ritual.  

Much more interesting and problematic is the piece on Google and gender and sexual harassment.  Boy is that going to be a thorn in our 
courts for a good while.  I guess.  Or maybe another of those organization legal footballs that get kicked all around for years while
behind the court battles people reach more commonsense ways of agreeing with and living out the gender differences that are both
scientific and commonsense.  

I did have no idea until his piece that publishing is run by women as much as he says.  Good comparison with the computer coders.  And
jives with the slant taking place in liberal arts in education at all levels--women will control curriculum in those areas for the foreseeable

The new black movie.  I was glad to have him fill me in on the basic info about how it reads as a cultural position.  I had feared otherwise,
but if it is an Obama-style let's get along then more power to it.  Won't be seeing it anyway.  

We're near of the end of watching Nurse Jackie on Netflix.  We had missed it.  I assume it will end out on pretty harsh reality view of what
happens to real addicts like Jackie.  And her daughter---I hope it is not more tragic than that.  

Meanwhile we're relieved and happy to have found a new show to enjoy--on Netflix--and highly recommend---Imposters.  Starts like a
silly, quirky con-game comedy but slowly gets a bit different with each episode.  Pretty well written, one producer worked on Mozart in
the Jungle, which we watched for about three seasons only.  

Trying to craft a tweet to Aciman---What other writer has written so well about the powers and nuances of envy in our lives?    This might be it.  Like it.  or What other writer has written so well about the powers and nuances of envy? 

Great comments about James having nothing below the heart.  No guts! 
Proust understood jealousy.  I don’t understand jealousy and I’m not interested in it.  
26 Monday
In my silly excitement last night about these interviews I wrote to Lydon and I got this response and a short one from Aciman.  I am afraid Lydon was too perky and I suspect him of faking it and being snarky.  But I guess snark is in the ears of the hearer and maybe he is being as appreciative as he sounds.  Neither fellow mentioned my point about envy.  
Lydon said
What can we safely say about the apophatic Bob Garlitz?  

That he is no ordinary radio listener.  That he is not bound by the conventional reading culture of Plymouth, NH, nor of Boston, MA.

Which is to say nothing about his wit, his impulsiveness, his generosity of spirit.

Tickled to hear from you, sir.  Gotta admit I listened to the replay today with pleasure.  

The conversation had a certain jazz quality I like.  Or, the feeling of a chance meeting with a stranger next to you on a plane or train:  “Oh, you’re André Aciman! Can we talk?” 

And wow! could he ever.  

Thank you.  Write again anytime.   

Chris Lydon

Aciman said ---

I still owe myself to write that spophatic piece.  Yet, where is the time, the time, the time.  

-----Lydon had sent my note to him---

Phil managed to hover between praise and snark---!
Glad to see you getting the kind of response that shows someone out there appreciates your wide reading and depth of knowledge of philosophy and lit.   Sincere congrats, dude!  Furthermore, I'll bet äpophatic" shows up in one of Lydon's future broadcasts pretty soon.   After that, I'll also bet that no literary discussion anywhere for the next five years will be able to complete without some discussion of apophatic aspects of the story and writer.

Whether you wanted to or not, you have become a lit-crit trendsetter.

so------note to self------This is the LAST time I write to authors or writers or media celebrities or cultural brats of any sort.  I am so ashamed and embarrassed for my sophomoricness.  Over and over.  hey, I am cool and different and beyond interesting in my own right, too.  Cool it.  Go back to writing in your notebook in longhand.   

Phil adds this postscript---
As I said, I don't think/write like Aciman.  In fact we're complete opposites.  My novels  use mainly straight-forward narrative with only one or two uses of figurative language  or literary reference.   To me any other kind of "style" distracts from story, and, my story -what happens to someone and what he or she does about it - is paramount to me. I want the reader to forget about me, the writer, and just concenrate on the central character(s).  To Aciman style is central.  So he and I differ.   That's okay.  Each is allowed his own view.   However, is Aciman playing games when he dismisses James?   If Aciman is completely into style, he should like James.   But Andre  makes a seemingly contradictory judgment.  It's true that James' writing lacks  "guts" but if Aciman is totally into style, he shouldn't be bothered by that, I think.   Then again, even if Andre seems interested only in novels about a character's style of thinking and reflection, it also seems that he is interested  only in certain kinds of erotic or semi-erotic thinking, and James' very proper English thinking just doesn't seem to appeal to this Jew from Egypt who lusts but always has second thoughts about his lusts.  At least so it seems to me. 

He does get here to the key question---why does Aciman focus so narrowly on lust, desire, love, feeling, wanting to seduce, be seduced?  Why are relationships his chosen subject like this?  

But I know why and these are the things I might discuss with Aciman and not with anyone else.  He creates the illusion of confessing our most intimate thoughts about things, about what we look for an desire most.  And it is human touch, human intimacy of all sorts, from emailing or letter writing to having sex.  That happens so rarely to most people, relatively speaking, that they love reading about it and how it happens or might happen had they been in this situation or that one.  Look at General Hospital every day.  Are any of Phil’s novels about these essentials?  His final one might be thought to be so---the girl friend gets raped and the boyfriend kills her rapist.  Their relationship continues and even grows but never do we have a glimpse into how they desire one another.  
27 Feb  Bright and sunny.  Day over to wrj.  

“Rather than enjoy what he found to enjoy, he looked for someone who could assure him he was enjoying what he had found to enjoy.” 

Nice day over in Vermont today.  Sun warm enough to keep me warm if I stayed on the sunny side of the streets.  WRJ booming with new apartment
construction, as is Hanover.  Retirement suites my guess.  Any housing for the poor and middle---doubt it.  Found a shop that makes lampshades and talked with the chief about recovering our broken mission lamp shade.  I suggested a max of $50. to do it but he didn’t nod agreement.  I’ll take it over next week or sooner.

Good talk with Joe.  Some nice surprises.  He graduated from Dartmouth as an English major.  In 1978 I think.  Thought he wanted physics and as soon as he got into the classes could see that was not it.  Struggled at Dartmouth, first in his family to go to college.  Some Vermont high school.  Family moved up when he was about five.  Italian and Irish background.  Oldest of three boys.  Does he have children?  Think so but not sure.  Lives on family farm with in-laws, now in their 80s, one from Brooklyn, the dad, wife from old Vermont family.  Homesteaders in the 60s tradition of getting away from the city.  Few farm animals left.  Hard work keeps him busy.  Has been doing this professionally for about three years, without standard training just encouragement from those who have tried his efforts and found him to be a natural.  He moved into engineering sort of work, realized he should have majored in engineering or something like it rather than physics or English.  Traveled a lot for work for years, installing equipment?  

So interesting how successfully I project onto him an image of the monastic life from so long ago.  As if we were in the same novitiate and scholasticate.  He was raised Catholic but had no schooling.  At Dartmouth he found out how rigid his either/or judgmental ideas were about everything and worked to get beyond all of that.  

Small lunch at Piecemeal.  Onion soup and salad.  Later a snack at the Coop in Hanover.  Tea driving home.  And baklava at the Tuckerbox after the walk around.  

28 Feb Weds  

Today marks 15 years by my poor memory.  Or was it the 29th? 
15 years for sure.  Whew.  

Warm and sunny today.  As it was fifteen years ago.  

1 March 

Long rant last night to Phil----
Yes, I've had all these same thoughts.  Gaming the system.  Sure.  Anyone making it in NYC as well as he has has to be, doesn't he?  isn't that
the name of the game itself if you're in New York??

I would emphasize moreso the immigrant status. Sly Jew, maybe, but he makes very little of that, Sly immigrant, yes, for sure.
  First generation here, you have to figure where can I find a point of leverage.  I've known
more first gen immigrants than I had realized right here in Plymouth.  Most of them here are British.  Four or five families who arrived
in this country in early 60s.  Most successful taught history at the college and created out of his own instincts the whole field of
the History of Skiing. E B John Allen.  Now in retirement he goes all over the world to conferences on history and winter sports etc.  
Did a darn good job of it.  Realized that recreational skiing in the US started here in NH and NE and was the first to really research
it and write about it.   Other immigrant family from Cuba.  Made a lot of noise within the small theater of our region here.  Another
Brit is a doctor, delivered David, worked himself after a successful family practice here into becoming head medical
officer or some such for the state government, was/is highest paid person on the state payroll even after he retired to 
a seaport town in Massachusetts to sail his boat.  Another Brit used his accent to rise in college administration first out
in Nebraska and then here.  Nice guy, perfect accent, smooth manners, totally brainless as a prof and incompetent as a dean.  

And, yes, Aciman does what every professor does and what every person who stands in front of an audience every day or in front
of a microphone for interview or broadcast----keep the audience awake, whatever it takes.  Or, first, wake them up and then hold 'em.  

I speak as a minor celebrity of course.  Talking to a room full of people is what many people fear the most.  Aciman surely
has various poses he uses especially now that he's more and more in various spotlights.  With the success of this book-movie.
I expect to see him in the tv coverage of the Oscars, his book is the "gay nomination."  

Consciously or unconsciously or a fluid mix of both, he had to say to himself, ok, I'm in New York, I speak and write five
languages, I've read the classics, I have more taste in my little fingernail than millions of these boobies and hey
publishing in this city is run by Women.  Ok, I'll write romance novels that are more intense than woody allen movies
and seem more truthful.  And as a sidebar I'll go a good gay novel because in this city, gays have more money than the
women who run the publishing houses.  Voila---I'm a writer of romantic, quasi-gay love stories and to set myself apart
from the mobsters in those genres I'll sprinkle in tasteful spices from Alexandria and Italy and Paris and have these
ladies buying my books and treating me as my father was treated in his day.  

Maybe I'm the total cynic here?  Yikes.  
his reply
REALLY good answer.  As you sometimes say, "nailed it."   

Am surprised at all the Brits at PSU.   Were they recruited or answered an ad or just stumbled into it.  There seems to be too many of them to just be a coincidence that so many Brits shows up in Plymouth.   Or could it be that one got to Plymouth and knew other Brits, wrote them about openings, and eventually you had a half-dozen or more?

so I guess I am in the right line of work after all.  Not a novelist.  Sigh.  But a commentator, analyst, kibbutzer, gadfly, gadabout, gadzookers.  Ahh, well.  

we watched first part of “Birdsong” last night.  I realized I had seen it five years ago when it was first out.  2012.  Anne recommended it.  We had to trial subscribe to yet another tv channel on Amazon.  It is good.  Redmayne just has to look at the camera and not move his face and that is called acting.  The girl we had seen in Tunnel, Clémence Poesy and she is wonderfully beautiful.  Where does the accent go in her name?

wow here is a blurb by Conrad for Proust!

What compels my admiration for M. Proust’s work is that it is great art based on analysis. . . . I don’t think there is in [all] creative literature an example of power of analysis such as this.
— Joseph Conrad
I had written an hour ago “so I guess I am in the right line of work after all.  Not a novelist.  Sigh.  But a commentator, analyst, kibbutzer, gadfly, gadabout, gadzookers.  Ahh, well. 
And now, here, an hour or so later, Proust explains me to myself:  “We are easily tempted to disdain an ambition which we have failed to fulfill or which we have satsified and outgrown.”    Just as Aciman says, Proust tells us nothing new about ourselves we have not already known.  
Mostly.  Perhaps.  
“Birdsong” a terrible drama, after all.  Is there a genre called “war porn?”  Must be, should be.  Two generations after WWI Faulks can write a sentimental potboiler about the noble sacrifice of the soldiers.  Blah.  

Saturday  evening  3 March
Day at Pheasant Lane.  Warmer.  Lunch at Burtons.  
 Hi, Virginia.  I just started reading, "The Secret Life of Trees," and already find it to be worthwhile reading.  Within the first few pages, it is already putting a scientific and logical perspective on some of our recent conversations which helps me accept the occurrences of some really strange experiences I've encountered in life.  In the book it explains a part of tree communication (the more obscure path for tree communication) occurs via the fungi near the root system.  (The author sites scientific studies for these statements.)  But what is really odd is in the past couple days, a friend, out of the blue, signed me up for a mushroom seminar.  And yesterday I was talking with one of my physics professor friends (a person with whom I seem to be in sync on many levels).  He told me that he has recently started working with mushrooms, and has some spores for me to start growing my own (...And thus continues the strangeness of my life!).  Anyway, I want to thank you and Bob again for lending me some very interesting books.



Reading second book by Scott Esposito--The Surrender.  Never imagined reading a book about this topic but as fascinating as his book using movies, maybe more so.  And goes right along with Proust.  

Sunday March 4
Willow decided not to go swimming today.  Good.  Took a zyrtec last night and now I am sleeping again at 11:40 am.  Too much sugar in that morning corn cereal from Canada.  Zyrtec.  feeling terribly woozy.  Can’t recall either if yesterday I took one st johns wort 300mg or two.  Today nothing but rice to reset everything.  Rice and tea.  Too much coffee yesterday too at Starbucks in Nashua?  Ready to try another dermatologist tomorrow too.  Call for a referral.  Second opinion, someone more experienced.  Will that wash?  Started using a meditation app yesterday too.  !  Yikes.  

Just watched one of the oscar movies, Lady Bird.  Not that compelling.  Social history accurately told, I guess, mother-daughter tension at the core, growing up a woman in the Hillary era.  Catholic high schools have not changed much.  Sacramento.  Fine performances but clogged story-telling and not interesting enough, the mother and daughter.  Maybe to young women between 25 and 35, the audience, it is.  Maybe it captures the millenial growing up era perfectly?  I’ll ask Anne what they thought.  
Upsetting health news from Carole about Ken---
Hello from Florida,

We are continuing to enjoy our time here in Florida.  The weather has been perfect - 23 days in February were over 80 and there was not a drop of rain.  March has been a little cooler with temps in the mid seventies.  As a beach bum, I am loving the weather.

This is just a quick note to let you know that Ken has had a health issue.  Nothing too serious, but it had to be addressed.  A couple of weeks ago he had some rectal bleeding that took him to Urgent Care.  Because he also had very high blood pressure when he arrived, they sent him to the hospital ER.  After a few hours, the ER thought he should be admitted to the hospital and he spent three days there.  While there he had a colonoscopy which showed some bleeding caused by the radiation he had 18 months ago.  The doctor cauterized the area and felt that all would be well.  The colonoscopy showed no cancer which is a great thing.  However, the bleeding continued so he was back this past Friday for another colonoscopy and cauterization.  Hopefully, this does the trick.  All records have been sent to Hanover and his doctors have been good at emailing him.

The situation has changed our plans a bit.  We have had to cancel two trips to see Christa and family, a trip to see Karen and Art and a trip to Key West to see friends.  But we are very happy here.  So that’s the story.  You know Ken is private so we have told the group essentially and Christa of course.

Our best to you all and we look forward to seeing everyone at the end of April.


The fact that she wrote at all suggests how upsetting it must be for them.  Very private is not the half of it.  Glad they did tell us and hope it has helped them just to share the news burden with us.  
Monday afternoon.  Listening to Andy Puddicombe on Netflix Tedtalk!  He’s a meditation writer, teacher, personality.  45 years old.  It all has to be reinvented over and over.  But I am welcoming his reminder to meditate and using his app, for the third day.  Now to resist paying anything.  I caved and paid Andrew Harvey something about a year ago but I have read little to nothing of his daily talks on Rumi.  

Phil and I both get that feeling that the world is just becoming crazier--sent him a piece on this huge bitcoin theft in Iceland.  

Wow, it never occurred to me before now that special computers are necessary.   You're right that the world is getting more bizarre in more more bizarre ways than we can possibly understand.  I sometimes mutter to myself "I hate this world," and I think it's because everything seems to be spinning off into some chaos that I really dislike.    P


Quiet day.  Good swim this morning and wally walk and then after goutér I managed a block walk and saw Sky Shaw in is red truck.  
Day off tomorrow and I have a mission to get the tv room lampshade fixed at that lampshade shop in WRJ.  Lovely to have a mission to shape the day.  

We watched the oscar movie “Lady Bird” and were not that impressed.  Anne said she recognized a bit of her relationship with Mimi but mostly was saddened by the motif of taking Joseph to NY for college.  That must be why they go annually now in December.  If our event was fifteen years ago now, Joseph’s death must be eight years ago, or ten?  

Keep trying to come up with something to say to Ken and Carole about Ken’s health problems.  Sorry to hear about this.  

6 March  Tuesday

from Phil
Over the weekend, Public TV had a program on Jewish migration to the US.   Most of the program was devoted to European Jewish migration, but at one point it switched to migration from the middle east and Aciman was featured several times, discussing his memories of life in Egypt, then migrating west and food.  He came across as a very pleasant man.   No sign of the supposedly obnoxiously pushy eastern European Jew that was said to be disdained by, among others, the Jews in Cumberland whose origins were mainly German and western Europe.  I remember hearing how Cumberland Jews (I can picture the Schwarzenbachs) telling new Jewish arrivals from Russia and Poland to "keep moving west.  Don't stop here.   We have a good thing and we don't want you ruining it."  I have no idea if that really happened but there were at least rumors that it had.  There were also rumors about blacks in Cumberland in the 1950s and 1960s telling other blacks to "stay out."   As I said, I don't know if either of these kinds of events really happened.

my reply  ----
I'll have to look for that show.  It would be fun to have some young revisionist cultural historian study Aciman and other Jews like him to reveal that the different strains of Jewish
identity owe more to the ancestral location rather than to "Jewishness" per se.  So we had a huge migration of Jews from Russia after the revolution and thereafter from
Eastern Europe and later the Soviet Union.  They dominated New York and gave what we take in mid-20th C to be Jewishness its personal characteristics.  And from there
to the NY support of Israel.  And on.  But looking at Aciman style Jews we could find that what became jewish stereotypicalness in this country owes much more
actually to Russian styles of behaving and being, Russian and Eastern European.  

David did research on Cuba and Cuban music for his masters.  He found out that the exiles in Miami were by and large a much meaner and more bitter group than Cubans
who left and settle on the west coast around the Bay Area.  Revenge against Castro the monster became the rallying cry for the Miamians whereas in Oakland and environs
the attitudes became, hey, it happened, it was tragic, but its past and over and let's rebuild ourselves here.  Of course maybe there was more marijuana in CA than
in Miami.  

I'm being simplistic of course.  It began by my imagining an attempt at conversation between Aciman and Philip Roth.  I don't think they could find much to enjoy talking
about. Fellow Jews perhaps, technically speaking, but aliens to each other in every other way.  


7 March  Wednesday

Rowells sewer guys in the basement working on the corroded pipe.  Got to see their snake pipe camera at work.  Just like a heart surgeon exploring the arteries or a colonoscopy camera!

Colin and Clare and babe Will here earlier.  Now off to their therapist session.  Clare anxious and nervous about not being able to breastfeed well.  Lactation dept told her she’s not giving the baby enough, need to use formula more.  She’s up and down in her moods.  Will now one month old.  

Yesterday I paid a pilgrimmage visit to Dartmouth-Hitchock around two in the afternoon.  Crowded with the blind, the halt the lame, the wheelchair bound and every other sight.  Overwhelmed with a flood of emotion as I approached the info desk.  Had to sit and cry silently into my handkerchief in a nearby chair.  Everything in that section of the building looks exactly the same.  Faded a bit more.  Heavily used.  Brand new building attached onto the long hallway at the eastern end.  Donated by a couple, Wiliiamsons?  “Translation Research” building.  Translation means here  moving drugs from trials to treatment with real patients.  Wonder if it is a big pharma thing or genuinely helpful?  
Geisel Medical school named after Dr Seuss.  Have to look up when that took place, the name change.  Au Bon Pain still there, still cramped and crowded.  

Vision of Christ/Apollo as I walked down the hall to Au Bon Pain.  Young medical resident or intern, super tall, healthy, radiant, walked so his feet landed precisely on the ball/mid-foot(“wing-footed”) springing, long legs, perfectly proportioned, smiling.  He picked up a bag he had pre-ordered, went back for a piece of fruit or a drink.  Wish I had stopped him for a chat.  He was too radiant to stop.  The rest of us were dark and old and short and lame and huddled against one another.  From there stopped over at the Co-Op, bought a few things to get us through the storm coming later today, and bought a fruit salad and sat outside to eat it in the sunshine.  Walked a little and came back and meditated for a few minutes.  That was excellent.  Then I sat in the car and napped a short while before setting off for home.  Arrived shortly after five.  

 We watched a pbs show on adventures in South America and sure enough the Road to Corico was featured.  

8 March  Thursday  late afternoon  
Visit with the Parisians at lunch time.  Emma went swimming.  School trip tomorrow to    
Jim Atwell called mid-afternoon.  Had been thinking much of him past few weeks.  He has a blood clot that has raised troubles and has lost some breathing capacity.  Spirits sound remarkable.  Anne dealing with return of some breast cancer.  She is 75, he will be 80 sometime soon.  Noted that on facebook last year.  
Sunday night  11 March  
Fine overnight Boston trip.  Brunch this morning with Jerry Chen and Sofia and Inez Garcia de la Puente.  Night before Flamenco at Berklee.  Have to put in the dancer star.  He was terrific and the troupe as well.   One of the best flamenco shows we’ve seen.  “he proved himself a master autodidact, teaching himself French just by reading.”  Olav Grinde introducing Olav Hauge in the book Nicholas raved about on Facebook last week, Luminous Spaces.  Nicholas is the link through whom we came to know Inez and Jerry.  “just by reading.”  So, there it is---another indication that I will learn French after all.  

Monday  1:25  second day of daylight savings time.  We slept in.  Way in.  Hooray.  Now I can smell jasmine throughout the house---jasmine tea, and paperwhites blooming, and a new nose rehabilitated by two days near the seashore in Boston?  What gives?  Bright sunshine outside helps.  

Jésus Carmona and his show Impetus.  Brilliant dancing.  Best ever for flamenco we’re saying to ourselves and one and all.  That means you too it seems!  

13 March  Tuesday   Snow day  Snow started about 10 am.  Very fine and not too stormy.  Luminous spaces could describe snow days.  Luminous vistas.  Headspace 10th day.  Good idea. Practice.  Craving a pastrami sandwich and chicken korma.  Go get them or not?  “Day Off” substitutes or weather comforts?  Almost fell into trap of ordering books on diet solutions by a surgeon who has found that lectins in plants are the cause of all our troubles.  Avoided doing so in light of morning.  How deeply we want an authority to issue yeses and nos.  He has a clear yes list of foods and a no list.  Video ad shows him as the alpha surgeon who has found the way and is happy to shape you to it for the correct amount of dollars.  The diet book guru.   Flim flam Americana at its finest.  Am predicting that Elizabeth and Willow will walk at Wally’s and lunch at subway and then come home.  I should go out to get one or other of my craves otherwise I will be abandoned and distraught the rest of my life.  Or day.  We may try calling around Abq later today to see if any help for Rick can be prompted.  

Finishing Esposito’s book.  It is a revelation in its own right.  About the desire to be a cross-dresser, to be a woman even if you are a man, or even as you are a man, and much else.  For one thing, the scientific cast of his mind and language becomes very clear at the end.  He does not want to be or tell a story.  So for his generation is the divide between critical, scientific thought and humanistic inquiry the divide between story and rhizomic attachments of facts and findings?  What is desire?  Freedom?  I’ll copy out one of his passages when I get back.  
Rick’s note this morning
From: ,s <>
Date: Tue, Mar 13, 2018 at 12:03 AM

Yes, Virginia Garlitz , as my sister, you have my permission to discuss my medical condition with any of my doctors and medical technicians.  Marilyn and Ray Graver, You and Bob Garlitz and Lisa and Robert Hickman and Roy Stephenson also have my permission. 

I believe you can get the most done, and prefer to work on this doctor situation through you.  You, Marilyn, and Roy and any other close family members have my permission to contact my doctors at Eye Associates through their patient portal or by any other means and with any other doctor or medical tech. Feel free to forward this to them if you wish,

I went to an ophthalmologist in San Cristobal DLC. Chiapas, Mexico, last August when I began having distortion in the vision of my right eye.   That doctor assured me that I didn’t have cancer.

I went for a refitting of that lens to Dr. Victoria Ferguson later at the Carlisle Wal-Mart Eye Clinic.  She referred me to a retinol gist at Eye Associates, Dr. Nathan Roybal.  He shot special contrast photos of my eye, and sent me for an MRI.  He wanted to send me for a spinal tap and a biopsy.  However, we left for Mexico shortly thereafter.  And before we went, I changed to Dr. Ashok Reddy who agrees with Dr. Roybal. They both believe I have lymphoma, but haven’t ruled out melanoma.  They also report I complained back then of constant back pain.

I have a friend, a retired Ophthalmologist, Dr. Mike Alt, in San Cris who thinks I probably have a parasite.  He says I should go to Bascom Palmer at the University of Miami because they have a superior eye clinic and have an equally prestigious tropical disease clinic.  He does not hold the Mexican labs in high regard, mainly for diagnosing parasites.  Mike has prostate cancer, and has been to the Issels and Mayo clinics and one in Germany.  He eats super foods and, like me, drinks Esiac tea each morning.  He says the clinics are very good, but very expensive.

There is a book I’ve read entitled Everything You Should Know About Cancer, by Ty Bollinger.  He has a video series and book called, Everything You Should Know About Autism.  The autism one is good, the cancer one less so.  He recommended alternate organizations and devices, many of which didn’t check out.  But I decided to go for treatments with a Rife machine called a Zapper and other devices recommended by a retired hospital president and friend, John Cronin, who lives in San Cris.  There were no good results that I could tell.  But I’ve continued with the tea.

Somewhere in mid to late December I took a fall backward on our tile stairs.  The next day we went running around in taxis determined to find the ELISA titer test Mike Alt recommended and a good retinol gist.  We didn’t find any place that could do the Titer.  But we went to a San Cris Retinol gist who took special contrast photos of my eye and showed me comparison photos with many that had known problems.  Mine was an exact match of one with a benign tumor.  They looked identical.  He wanted to see the clinical and MRI data from Albuquerque.  And thought I should also see a cancer doctor just in case. 

That evening I went into my first episode of bad pain.  Mike Alt came over and told me I had re-injured my sternum operation.  I took Ledum and Arnica by mouth and massage.  In a few days the pain was gone.  But it returned full force and then some in December. I don’t remember the exact day.  We went to the Emergency department of the hospital nearby the first night.  A doctor who sent my blood for tests and gave me a shot of Tramadol or Superdol saw me.  I could not function without these shots.  Pretty quickly I was getting them at a local pharmacy and sometimes at the hospital at night when the pharmacy was closed.   I needed them every 12 hours.  Often Marci wanted me to wait until she was ready before going to the pharmacy.  Wow!  What pain!

The pharmacy doctor there recommended a nurse who came the last two full days we were in San Cris to give me an hour of IV hydration with a vitamin and mineral infusion.  That cut the pain right down.  Luckily, I didn’t need a shot on the way to ABQ.  After we were here for a while the pain came back to my back, not quite as badly, but still severe.  It’s the kind that wakes one. And concentration is very difficult.  It is now centered in my middle upper back and hurts especially if I move and then it kicks into my chest, moving quickly to my sternum, my balance is not good.  Often I get tingling in my left arm.  I just had my 9th TIA.

Before the IV hydration, I went to a Mexican MD/chiropractor.  He told me I definitely don’t have cancer and did a very complete treatment, which greatly relieved the pain.  I wanted to return, but shied away from his $90 fee, and stayed on the shots.

We had asked for the ABQ data, to be sent to Mexico. But hadn’t received it or the super food we ordered.  They apparently got stuck in customs.   When we I arrived in ABQ, I found a packet of doctors data sitting on my desk.  It has pretty much everything, but the MRI photos.  I suppose I’ll have to go back to the MRI place, High Resolution, and buy another copy of the MRI DVD.  It wasn’t in the envelope I found in ABQ on my desk on our return

I saw my new PCP, Dr. Pete Tiernan, tel: 505-821-1146 Hours MTWTh and Fri 7-3. He, like Patsy, has a low opinion of Lovelace. He gave me Lyrica 150 mg, and Oxycontin 5mg samples, with an Rx for them too.

I am afraid of the Oxycontin.  Dr. Pete is a former Air Force Reserve doctor and Lieutenant Colonel.  He gave me the paperwork for a Marijuana card. 

I very much prefer Marijuana, especially the kind you can eat, but it is very expensive for me.  Smoking is abrasive, but cheaper. Roy’s been bringing edibles, and I’ve been shopping at the local dispensaries.  Sometimes it works very well and is very gentle, but lately the pain’s been so severe I turn to the Oxy. Yesterday I awoke with very little pain. But the severe pain soon returned sending me back to the Oxy. The three medicines all cloud my thinking and make it hard to think or remember clearly or do anything, especially to type.  My dyslexia has grown much much worse.  I constantly have to correct the simplest mistakes.  For example, I very often hit letters other than I intend.

I returned to Dr. Reddy at Eye Associates with Marci and told him my doubts about his suspicions.  He asked if I wanted a second opinion.  He sent me to see Dr. Chiu, an Eye Associates doctor who agrees completely with Dr. Reddy that I have most probably a Lymphoma though a melanoma cannot yet be ruled out.  Back in September they said I didn’t yet need treatment, but now it has grown and I probably also have it in my left eye.  Just recently, I discovered that there is an experienced ocular oncologist also on staff there at EA named Dr. Amid, but no one at Eye Associates has mentioned him. 

Eye Associates sent me for a spinal tap by Dr. Tong at the Albuquerque Cancer Center.  He didn’t wait for the lidocaine to kick in like dentists do, but instead started probing right away.  He hurt me a lot, but could not withdraw sufficient spinal fluid so apologized and sent me home saying he would schedule another tap by a doctor at a different hospital who would use radiology to locate the fluid. 

It was Lovelace. I canceled it, and reported Dr. Tong.  I’m still dealing with the pain, which sometimes eases up, but usually stays with me and gets severe. I don’t want to continue with those doctors.  The day after the spinal tap attempt, I went to see a chiropractor, Dr. Larry Marrich, and had a TIA in his office.  It was my 9th.  Luckily Roy could come there to drive me home.

I have had many conversations I barely remember.  But I was just told again I need to go to the UNM EMT at the UNM Cancer Center tel: 272-2336, Ears, Neck, and Throat Dept.   They can do the work up and give me a diagnosis that I can take or send along with Dr. Pete’s referral to be admitted as a cancer patient to a very good cancer hospital or clinic.   And apply for treatment as a special needs patient, which apparently I can do at each hospital or facility.   The hospitals are: Bascom Palmer at U of Miami; Dana Palmer in Boston; and AB Anderson in Houston.  My insurance is AARP MedicareComplete Choice (PPO), Health Plan (80840); Member ID is 944484339-00; Group Number 79710.  None appears to have an ongoing full coverage relationship with my company, but all have special needs programs that do provide more or full coverage.  You told me that Bascom Palmer even covers transportation, room and board sometimes.   A person in charge of special needs at AB Anderson has contacted me.  She is La Donna at 3rd Party at MD Anderson, tel: 713-563-0280, my medical record number is 2250161at Eye, Ears and Throat.  My insurance will cover: 80% of diagnosis costs.  For example, a PET scan costs more than $3K.  I would need to cover remaining costs or $800 with special needs.

To prepare for Dr. Pete’s eventual referrals I made four copies of my data that included still photos from my MRI, and left them with his secretary.  Last Monday, I went to Dr. Pete again and he gave me referrals for all the hospitals I requested.

I thought I had photos from the MRI on my desk, but don’t.  Then with one copy of the data, I went with Roy to the three doors of the UNM New Mexico Cancer Center carrying a copy of my data with me.  A woman came out of her office to see me at the third door after I spoke to a man at the desk.  She told me they would only do the work up if I were accepted as a patient.  And the only way to do that was to go for a work up at Interventional Radiology, 272-1818.  She suggested I request a fine needle biopsy.  I called Geri there and he (or she) requested my data.  The woman at the hospital, after asking repeatedly for my diagnosis, faxed the complete data set over. I called each day of the last week and was told Geri is working on it.  Then this last Friday Geri changed the tune and told me I need to have a work up at UNM Cancer Center’s EMT, Eye, Eye, and Nose Department.  The Intentional Radiology treats cancer, but does not diagnose it. So there was no appointment available there.

I called Dr. Pete’s this last Friday and asked them to fax my complete data there again.  I haven’t called again because I’m writing this, but will soon.  If he doesn’t have the MRI photos I left with him I’ll have to go buy another DVD from High Resolution. Everybody says I should treat ASAP.  I certainly agree. What was in the shot your friend’s brother got?  I’ve just called Dr. Pete’s and left a message to please send the complete data again.

Thank you for your concern and your help.  I’m hoping I can get special needs to cover all expenses.  They want to see bank accounts.  I told UNM that all of my spare money from rent goes to cover organic food and emergent repairs, along with bills to clinics, creditors, hearing aids, life, house and car insurance, utilities, grounds care and maid service.  The tenants have settled down, but still believe that because I cover utilities out of rent, they have the right to leave on the lights and the heat whenever and for as long as they wish, which also goes for leaving doors open.  Meanwhile, I have fairly big leaks and bills from front and backyard sprinklers.

I just had to buy and have installed a new toilet for the large bathroom that could not be fixed. The gate at the side of the backyard was broken by the dog.  Roy worked on it, but the repair only lasted a couple of days before the dog broke it again. I have a garbage can against the gate now.  I have leaks in the MBR and living room ceilings.  Roy says not to worry here in the desert where we’re having a drought.  But it rained all day yesterday. My tenant, Jake, complained.  When Memo was here, he fixed the fountain and was able to clean it completely.  It had been clogged with Algae for a long time before.  Now, the water heater is leaking and sections of the stucco need to be replaced.  Memo does much repair better repairs and wants to return for 10 days to work.  Roy says he can handle them when it gets a little warmer.  I’m tempted to go work on the roof myself but not with my bad balance.  I think I need to do like I’ve told Marci and stay away from physical projects, like cooking or travel, until we get much more of our health back.

Thanks again for your concern.  I definitely need and appreciate your help.

I love you, and all of you very much.å


Veronica Scott Esposito

There is no amount of existence as myself that will satisfy.  

Our most profound needs only ever end in compromise.  You will not know your longing satisfied, you will only know what the search has become, the spaces it once kept within you, those new things that will fill them with time.  
These compromises tell you that, more than anything else, you are this movement.  Its animating force is not for you to ever know.  This truth will only be grasped in other ways.  In the discernment of these facts I have at times felt its presence.  108 The Surrender

I wanted to be gazed upon with admiration and lust, to know that I was responsible for the curiosity and envy that only a woman can evoke.  102

After Nicholas mentioned his enthusiasm for Olav Hauge I was anxious to get his book and dig in.  Why, now that it is here, am I reluctant and resentful of this poet and his successful life and work?  Enthroned he is after his death as one of the great Norwegian poets of the last century---1908-1994.  He was locked up for madness off and on--what was that like and what was that about?  If I read the book I will read the journal entries first.  

To celebrate how I avoided the diet craze that avoids lectin, I had my pastrami sandwich from Chase and bought chicken ! to make Butter chicken for dinner this evening.  Will greatly help make the millet I cooked this morning more appealing.  Willow called the doctor in Abq and the young office assistant will call her in the morning.  

Why have I begun reading a spy novel by Daniel Da Silva on Kindle?  Strange.  Stupid.  Blame it on Our Birther.  

Esposito is a very different writer from Aciman.  And so to bring them together I will read Esposito’s final passages about compromise as his mind’s way of talking about being in-between as Aciman talks about that.  I will have them both agree on this---the in-betweeness, compromission as the only reality we are able to live and look back upon.  

another document for our times---
earlier in the week Jess suggested we renew our vows--
Just came from a renewal ceremony between two 70-something people. man dying, last wish to get married in a church as they had been married by J.O.P.

Can't tell you how moving it was. These people have nothing. Social Security for her and he was a soldier felled  by Agent Orange who could not collect compensation from the US Army though he had been on the ground in Vietnam. They have NO bitterness. They give all they have to to others, she is caring for handicapped brother, son/granddaughter who live with them, as gracious as a queen inviting all into her house which is held together with duct tape and wire, walls covered with drawings by 6 yr old granddaughter and family photos from long ago. I can't tell you how dirt poor these people are in money and how extremely rich they are in grace, compassion, understanding of human weakness, generosity of all they have, gentle spirits. I would venture to say these are holy people. Light shines from their eyes and they both are accepting of his coming death because they are rock solid convinced that Jesus is waiting with open arms to accept him into a better place. Never met anyone so dismissive of and accepting of his own death.

Jerry (spiritual counselor ) and I are on the same team and we worked hard to pull this wedding off. Asking for donations of church, cake, flowers was not fun but we got them all free of charge. Their rings were resized by a friend in the business, food was prepared by their children, music was iPhone and speaker, clothing was "everyone wear blue"

Had some spillover when husband teared up as he watched his bride come down the aisle with 6 yr old granddaughter tossing silken rose petals, daughter and another granddaughter holding biracial great granddaughter...couple held hands, wobbled a bit (he weak) she overcome with joy, if I could have captured their faces, if only...they were shining with love, beaming, bright-eyed, it was truly beautiful. He said after, the first time was good,very good but this time was better.

So am thinking. Have you two ever had a renewal ceremony? Would you consider it? Would be a great Garlitz family event with Emma and Elliot...just saying'

Have a good weekend. I am hoping to stay home after I take dog for a walk. 
Really do not want to. Sometimes I don't. Mostly I do.
so off we'll go.
much love to you both - Jess

14 March  Wednesday 

About time to phone Albuquerque.  Headspace a big help.  That will take care of the eczema I think.  

night  feeling bad about how Rick is doing.  Feeling guilty for getting exasperated and being impatient and insensitive.  Also feeling guilty for ruining Darlene’s yoga class.  Since I started going fifteen or so of the women have not been there.  Scared away by the monster.  Everything is always about me, right?  Snow all day, very fine and light but still the sky was dark gray.  Rumors more on the way sometime next week too.  

Proust:  “the regularity of a habit is usually a function of its absurdity.  Striking actions are usually carried out on irregular impulse.”  Prisoner 35

Thursday  15 March  

slack day. slacker day.  Va canceled swimming in the morning.  I still feel bad that I got so worked up yesterday through the phone calls with Rick and Petie.  Yoga was good in the evening.  Just did Headspace for today and really look forward to it now.  11 days.  Snow continued all day until about now and yet a superfine snow, barely visible, but sky gray.  Short visit with David, Eliot in the bathtub, Emma home from school.  David gave a private lesson to the six year old son of Marion Cotillard, Marcel.  He and his friend Sienna arrived by car and driver who took them off afterwards to where his mother and father were making a movie.  Remembered Veronica and her journey with cancer over the last few years.  Not that I knew much but it reminded me to allow Rick to have the journey he will have without my trying to control any parts of it.  Use meditation to keep a soft mind, soft focus, on where I can be of help, here at home.  How to listen rather than orchestrate.  Rick has been a mystery from childhood onward.  Whether his problems are worse or significantly different I can’t tell, really.  As we age.  And all that.  And look at me.  Am I following my doctor’s advice even with my mild new thing?  Physician heal thyself.  We enjoy Versailles and now I’m printing out Jules Harper’s review of the next episode because she shows me so much of what I miss while I’m watching.  We’re going to try reading her account first so we know what to watch for and understand it more fully.  

Biggest change in our thinking for the May trip is to come home after San Jose and skip Albuquerque altogether for now.  Based on how things are going there, which is slowly.  Maybe we will go out there for a separate trip after we can tell what’s what more clearly.  We will stay with Ermelina for two nights in Long Beach after two nights in Culver City.  Then see McDs and then come home.  Better plan.  

I’m wearing socks today.  Tilley’s.  Don’t like the feeling at all. 

Rick and Roy called. No referral yet faxed, asked them (ENT) to call Tiernan’s office and find out.  Roy excited that the Santa Fe house has been restored, will send photos.  

I’m wearing socks and I ate paleo all day.  Paleoanola and other paleo snacks from Chase and a liverwurst and onion sandwich.  Long winter.  
Shopping for tennis shoes.  For the Cruise.  
Three Virtuous additions this winter:  Massage, Yoga and Meditation, and the Greatest of these is Meditation.  

Crackpot theory of the day, discovered in the pool this morning:  the flu shot is what gives me eczema.  Look it up.  

Rick and Roy reported in this afternoon.  We bought some bras at Bali and Lane Bryant.  Lunch at Applebees.  I had Steak!  This has been my Paleo week.  

Flu shots and eczema resulted in opposite findings:  eczema can inhibit the effect of the flu shot and the shot should be given into the muscles and not the skin.  and can cause more eczema maybe “
immunisation can cause eczema or make pre-existing eczema worse, potential allergic reactions and ... Please note: This factsheet focuses on immunisations for adults and children with eczema and is not intended to be ... example, the flu vaccine for children is usually in the form of a nasal spray and the vaccine to protect.

Flu shots and eczema
What about “diet for very dry skin”?  avocadoes, coconut oil, salmon

Sunday  18 March

Already.  March moving faster than February.  Blessing is Wednesday will not have a storm after all.  Big swim today.  Sunshine wonderful.  Crazy chill wind still going though.  

We canceled our trip on to Albuquerque but now that the phone calls have been more calm and that Roy seems on the case, I suspect we will want to stop for a visit after all.  So I will make a reservation there again.  I canceled the one I had, but now it seems much more likely to be desired.  
Is that just the mood of today?  Is that the mood of today.  “Just” is forbidden us, remember?  

Monday night
sweet videos from Cécile of the birthday parties.  

Tuesday morning  

Phil got my tweet after pondering it a minute.  Have not seen yet if any tweeters have noticed it.  Clear this morning, pondering H L Gates and his African show and his career, that Cumberland gets its special identity and attitude complex by being wholly in-between, the lost valley in the middle of great storms all around it. I.E. Pennsylvania and West Virginia---big steel and big coal.   And Eastward, Big Government.   Cumberland sat on its river banks and traded and allowed passage through in all directions but didn’t give a fig about getting entangled in the big dramas just a few miles away in all directions. 

So it learned to give both a fuck you to everyone else and a oh, you think so, huh?
and sure, we can work something out and take it easy, no need to get all bothered by anything.   
I didn't know about the uncle.  I had heard that Gates was a student at Potomac State in Keyser, and the profs there decided he was too smart to stay in Keyser and helped him transfer to Yale.    As we both agree, Gates came along at just the right time to be admitted to Yale, then Cambridge in England.  And if his uncle was a Yalie, the transfer was a snap.  Yet even if it was a time in the US to give good marks to blacks, he did get his  doctoral degree in Cambridge which was probably less pro-black than schools in the US..........P

I started into one of Da Silva's recent novels on kindle.  It's got lots of 
cosmopolitan decorative bits, obviously wants to be filmed as an american
james bond sort of thriller spy thing but I've cooled on it, just too predictable
in the writing, phrasing.  

Am more curious to finish Gates series so I can opine.  Already have one 
point of note but will save it until I get to the end.  


Tuesday  20 March

Coffee with Scott at the Purple Pit this morning.  Lunch at the Coop and coffee at starbucks.  read Proust.  Ten degrees warmer made it feel like summer.  And no wind and bright sun.  At last.  Scott being wrangled-entangled by Inwood and a mutual student lady, 24.  

Nice to talk with him.  And/but it now all feels so very far away.  A good thing.  

Weds 21 March  PEO at Linda’s on Hawkins Pond Road.  Gray but warmer.  Interesting email from Petie and I have to ask her which door she is talking about.  “I've been calling Rick everyday except Sunday.  Roy is often there, he comes down on the train.  He is a great help.

As you know Rick missed a chair and fell on his bottom and then fell out of bed 2 times. His speech last night indicated that he is still in a lot of pain and he does indeed have difficulty explaining things.

I hope though that we have finally solved the mystery of becoming a patient.  I will check later when the Cancer Center opens.  But apparently Rick has been calling and going to specific parts of the cancer center without going through the "new Patient" door.  I think that he thought that the referral from the PCP was admittance.  But I believe he has to first go through the new patient process.  Then he will become a patient of record and they can know where to put the Fax that they received from Dr. Tiernan. Without going through the New Patient "portal" the people there truly don't have a record of him.  

Roy told Rick that the Meals on  Wheels food is not very good.  
So he doesn't want to get that at this time.  We offered to pay for it for a trial but he still wasn't interested.

Sounds like Marci will come back April 10.

We come back to the states for awhile April 5.  My how quickly the time has gone by.!!
21 March  Wednesday
peo wednesday feels like a retreat day every month.  

That was this morning.  Now 6pm.  We phone Abq 911 and sent an ambulance to get Rick to the ER.  This was after a distraught call from Petie and Ray.  They had talked with Rick around 3 or 4.  He could not talk and had been up all night urinating and wetting the bed.  Petie might fly home early.  Ray was upset that the two sons are not going out to Abq to help.  So I did talk with Catherine.  Max is there today and has a few days off over the weekend.  Offered to give him airfare if he wants to go out.  Told her to work through Roy.  Roy unavailable today so far.  Texted him that we sent the ambulance to 3600.  We will see what result that has.  Marci called distraught but am not clear when she spoke with Rick most recently.  

I guess we had better go out this weekend.  Or tomorrow.  Rick might die tonight?  Next week?  In two months?  We don’t know.  I don’t know if the Abq fire dept squad will call us with information on what happened when they went to the house.  

Proust’s great passage on being a weather traveler---pp 71ff
“the house had miraculously travelled”    “which brings our lives to some exceptional crisis”  

Thursday  March  22  Roy called while we were in Walmart in Concord around 3pm.  Rick said hello and that he was in the hospital, sounded a little groggy.  Roy said they knew nothing and I suggested they were waiting for a bed upstairs and he said yes, that’s what is happening.  I had called the hospital earlier and that was all they would tell me.  

We had a short and happy visit to the DMV.  Better organized than ever.  Lunch at Bgood and the other, younger Indian or Pakistani woman was there again after a short visit to North Carolina where her boy friend works in a McD’s.  Walking at Target and Wally’s.  

Friday morning  23 March
Va and Elizabeth swimming.  
Note to Phil
so, yes enjoyed the whole series very much and look forward to the next 
installments.  Tell John Miller to just watch the way he treats slavery---I
thought it was excellent.  Like Gates as a person, too, as you say, easy
to talk with, direct, witty, super smart but not out to show it off or put
anyone down.  His "hip" comments he kept descretely spare, to show the
young people he could talk their lingo without showing that off.  In
general I loved his sense of enthusiasm and grandeur, the whole sweep
of history over millenia sense of wonder.  Loved the maps.  Excellent
use of professor speakers I thought.  Highest level of credentials without,
again, superiority attitude.  Balance excellent, black, white, etc.  

Am sure scholars in each field will/could nit pick without how he maybe
glosses over big debate within the details, but as a sweeping tv
version, I think it is wonderful.  And he makes the political points very
smoothly, with nuance and subtlety---how could we not know these
things?  why has some of this been repressed, suppressed, by the
euro-centric western discourse and narrative.  etc etc  

The statistical overview of slavery alone is so instructive in terms of having
a wide historical scope on things.  

Wonder how he will deal with contemporary China and Arabia now.  

Not one mention of Israel.  Except for the few seconds of that flag.  

Bravo!!!!  what price did he have to pay for that, do you think???


Gates’s achievement is to use power, wealth and trade as the ostensible measures of civilization and deftly weaves into/onto that armature the rival topics of faith, spirituality, architecture, art, beauty, and family/tribal/racial identity.  In fact soon as I use that outdated word, I’d say Gates has shown
us how to move beyond identity politics that dominated academia from the ‘60s to 2010.   And as a media producer he makes Ken Burns look like a fine B+ sort of good solider in the trenches.  


time to read more Proust.  Today I have had more time to read Proust.  Exquisite analysis of jealousy.  And of the anxiety and sadness related to love and jealousy.  

Call from Petie and later a short text that she had talked with Roy.  Rick now in the hospital, tests done, MRI, and as of yet no discussion with any doctors.  He went in on Wednesday afternoon, so this will be night three there.  

Roy called around 7.  Can’t find a doctor to tell them anything.  Nurse last night had said tests were showing cancer was all throughout Rick’s body.  
Roy hopes he can call us later tonight.  somehow I doubt that.  Just hope the weekend doesn’t mean the doctors will not say anything until Monday.  
Rick on mild sedation for the pain he feels.  

Those who have died and the way they have died.  Gone before us.  Steve and Pedro.  

Sat morning  24  March
Willow wants to go out as soon as possible.  Tomorrow maybe?  
thank goodness we waited.  Long info call with Roy and we’ve sketched out the plan for the first few weeks.  Hospital care this coming week, set up treatment plan and then daily trips from home to the center, close to the house.  Now we are looking at the month of April to plan when to visit.  
Roy  Just called with lots of info.  He and Rick had a good long talk with a cancer doctor and they are working out care plans. Big cancer mass next to lungs, cancer spots in his head and in his spine.  Pain in the back was not from the falls but from the cancer.  

This coming week, last week of March, Rick stays at the hospital while the technicians analyze the cancers and decide which treatments will be best.
Rest and pain management and nothing to do--not much point in visiting so far as helping out goes.  Boredom, of course.  Rest and pain meds make Rick groggy.   

Week of March 25-April 1  hospital cares for him, figures out treatment plans.

April 2 forward---Rick goes home and then needs care and people to take him two miles to the cancer treatment place each day.  

This is when Roy thinks visitors could help in rotational spells to 
give care and transportation.  

We think Petie might be able to visit for a few days in early April--April 9-15?? but all of that is still fluid.  And we have to hear from her and Ray.  

Marci is due to come back April 10.  

After the treatments are chosen and scheduled, we can coordinate with Roy for how to visit and be of help.  

Marci called and says she wants to go to Abq as soon as possible.  Va told her that was a good idea.  Will we cancel the cruise or not?  Should we cancel the Portugal cruise too?  Time will tell unless money speaks first.  

Or cancer speaks first.  Or weather.  Or mood.  Or who knows what else.  

Sunday  March 25

This morning we finally decided to cancel the cruise.  Have not yet done so but I think the decision is made and it feels like a relief to me.  We watched the rest of the second season of Versaille.  Liked it.  

it is a page in a late volume of Proust---seemed like it echoed themes from our discussion a few weeks back
about why we are with someone after so many years (Peg and Virginia) --- unless I've misread it.  Proust has
these long passages where you think you are following him and nod your approval.  After a night's sleep
you wake up and ask, what was he saying, and did I understand it or not?  

Exhausted strangely today from hemming and hawing about our May cruise through the Panama Canal and
the state of Va's brother, Rick, in Albuquerque.   He is finally in the hospital after I called a 911 ambulance
for him last Wednesday.  Couldn't reach him on his phone so of course when the ambulance showed up
he said to them I don't need to go to the hospital and sent them off.  Hour later his cousin showed
up and said, listen you're in great pain and you've been in pain for weeks, let's go.  Went to the ER
he's been there four days.  Cancer in the spine, spots in his head, mainly a big mass next to one lung.
This week they will run more analysis and come up with treatment plans.  

Lots of phone calls with the cousin and the sister etc.  Finally we decided today to cancel the cruise idea.
I feel pretty relieved about that on a number of points.  Now we'll decide when to go out to Abq for a
first short visit.  

Bet you're as happy to have the snows melting rapidly as we are.  Real value of tv reports from the
white house is I get to see how far along and beautiful spring is now down there.  we bought a pot of
daffodils at Lowes today when we went to walk there for exercise.  

back to reading some of the thriller after all--mindless page turning as a relief---

Good think about watching the stock market go up and down (a little bit) is it gives you perspective on little things like canceling a trip and losing all or losing part of the price of the trip.  Road Scholar probably give us another voucher.  

Phone calls with Roy and Marci.  He will meet her at 4pm on the 27th.  

Monday night  March 26

Booked our trip to Abq for next week.  Summed up for Phil--

we just talked with him.  Doctors finally gave him the key numerics.  Stage 4 cancer.  Three to nine months to live, depending on how things go.  Treatment starts tomorrow to knock out the largest tumorous mass on the spine and lungs.  That seems to have been the source that manifested a few months ago in the eyes.  

Medical marijuana comes in many forms---including gummy bears!  Expensive in NM but cheap in Colorado, so his nephew makes runs up over the border regularly for his Dad, Cousin Roy, and now for Rick.  Rick is 70.  He actually sounded much better tonight than he did a few days ago.  

Lenin the shorty.  Must be hundreds of books on the short heroes of world history--Napoleon of course.  I gather Louis XIV was short too.  Invented high heels for men.  I've never felt I was either short or tall
but these days when I see a really tall fellow, especially if he is younger and a little euro looking I ask if he's from Netherlands.  Usually yes.  They are the tallest peoples now on the globe and scientists are
not quite sure why.  And tall people do impress me more now and I feel much shorter.  Age.  


Wednesday night  28 March

Called Road Scholar and canceled the trip.  Good walking day in Nashua.  No phone calls and we’re missing the excitement, the drama.  What is it like to hear and take in “you have three months to live” as opposed to the general and generic “we’re all going to die?”   The recent album by Dawes shows how easy that phrase is used by young people.  To hear the three-to-nine months phrase is much different and much different if you’ve been in pain and feeling terrible for months beforehand.  

So we head to Albuquerque next week.  First phase.  For us.  What are the stages of grief?  of dying?  of assisting with the dying?  

Roy just called.  Marci and Memo arrived last night.  Rick is home, scheduled for radiology for first few weeks and later chemo.  

Easter Sunday  April 1

Lunch with Don and Sarah at the Newfound Inn.  Pretty disappointing brunch there but gorgeous sunlight and chill winds.  Nice to be with D & S.  Don has eczema, had it as a kid, so bad he had to be wrapped in plastic with creams and has been anti-lotions for years but now uses some again.  Eczema as a mystery warping through the skin.  He also did yoga years ago, trained with someone famous at the time, from India, and so finds what has happened to yoga in the exercise salons of America to be ludicrous.  In our region he says the affairs of the teachers with one another has marred the scene. Not sure if he goes anywhere these days.  They are off to Sanibel Island for nine days on Tuesday.  

Milners gathering en force in Abq this week. Marilyn just called and says Rick looks terrible.  He’s going through his address book and calling everyone to say good-bye.  (Allen Gisburgh did the same, I read somewhere.)  (would I do that?  will I do that?)   Starting to pack now.  

Monday 2 April

Who should walk in to Tuckerbox as we were finishing lunch?  Don and Sarah.  And when we arrived Kate Donoghue greeted us warmly.  She was there with her mother who turns 100 in June.  Liked Dr Peraza.  New prescription for the cortisol lotion.  New theory---the eczema is the result of our house air being much more dry every winter because of the Heat Pumps!  Could test this next winter by never using them.  But I don’t know if I could do that now that I’ve become so used to them.  Good theory though.  

Packing for the trip tomorrow.  

Wednesday  April 18  

Based on the last entry here, Monday April 2, we see only 16 days have passed but it feels like a few years.  Albuquerque, family, friends, getting Rick into a care facility for the dying, few days in California and back to wintry weather full blast here.  Quite an intense two weeks.  California weather was a boost, gorgeous flowers everywhere, roses at Santa Clara.  Flowers every month of the year, Bob reminded us.  He seemed actually better than a year ago and Nancy more patient and attuned to helping him.  Fun dinner with them and Mike and Cindy.  He now works for  Should be lucrative the way things are going.

Day off yesterday and I went to Nashua and watched mainly on the iphone the movie from Aciman’s novel.  Pretty poor movie, as I suspected.  Found a good review saying so from the San Jose Mercury film critics.  Two lead actors were both wrong for the parts and the story.  Some lovely Italian countryside stuff.  James Ivory wrote it but he turned the novel into something flat and pretentious and ludicrous.  

After lunch we drove to Innisfree to pick up the two ordered books.  Then goûter at Lakeside Grill.  Decided there not to go to yoga after all and just did a session of Headspace, which I like much more than the yoga and find more helpful.  Doing a pack on Anxiety (and not Grief as begun a few days ago).  Yoga class has more anxiety surrounding it and the meditation feels like returning to home base, centering, much more.  Feels like this is what I found way back in adolescence, probably childhood, and this is what has been most solid, most expansive, most profound, most helpful, most who I long to be, how I long to be.  The sessions with jt as massage every few weeks complement the Headspace reminder sessions.  Reminders because they are a new packaging for the old meditation practices.  I might not want to call them Headspace but at the same time I enjoy seeing how they retravel familiar paths.  And I like the guy’s British voice.  It feels right and comforting in every way.  

No news from Abq, speaking of waiting for the next storm, the next anxiety weather front to show up.  Today Lisa says Rick is not as strong as he has been.  They did not go out for sushi after all.  

Waiting for more news about something from Albuquerque, and/or Marilyn and Roy.  A Milner drama unfolding.  Crazy excitement for a few days and then a down swing.  The Algernon Gene.  Not sure if I should praise Roy for his brilliance in delivering that lecture to the family in the living room at 3600.  It was the sublime moment for the whole few days of gathering.  

Somehow we sense we will go back maybe in a month or so?  Casa Contenta has a website as a place for assisted living.  

Late afternoon.  Nap.  Still so tired, what is this?  Strange getting back to normal or something like it.  Marci called all upset at not being able to reach Rick.  No idea what to tell her at this point.  Marilyn and Ray sound like they are ok and will return to Abq next month.  

The black Santa Clara pots arrived safely.  Look wonderful.  Time to get my journals into hard print from past two or three years.  Createspace I guess.  Didn’t they change to a new name?  

21 April  

Sat morning.  Sun.  Whiffenpoofs and Heusers last night.

Now seems so logical that we spend six months in Abq using “our” house there.  Or even if not 3600, any house we can rent.  Ready to look on VRBO right now.  Day at Whole Foods in Amherst, for lunch.  Va needs to catch up on her sleep cycles.  Did not sleep last night.  

Tuesday evening  April 24

A wonderful looking lemon tart escaped my clutches today at Piecemeal Pies in WRJct.  Two customers ahead of me and they bought what was left.  
Even the red-headed shop attendant gave me a sad face in compassion since I had been in earlier and joked about buying the whole thing.  He had no salad so I went over to Tuckerbox and had a wonderful Istanbul salad with bread and the garlic yogurt.  Still managed to read some fine pages of Proust back in Piecemeal for about two hours and with coffee comforted my tongue with what was billed as a Blueberry Buckle.  Ok, how does a Buckle differ from a muffin or a cobbler?  Buckle has streusel topping on a moist fruitcake, usually blueberry, the crumble topping “makes the top look buckled.”

Proust’s passages on the death of Bergotte seem perfect for Rick’s situation in the sense that the medical procedures in play may prolong what might have been a shorter wait for death.  To those thoughts we could add further that while we think “pain management” has advanced somehow, the drugs, do they also bring with them reactions that are not helpful?  Lisa says in nearly all of her updates now that Rick is pretty loopy in his thoughts these days.  “The universe is true for all of us and different for each one.”  Proust  

Set up my journals for printing into paperback copy on CreateSpace.  Another “raw vision” publication--i.e. no proofreading.  Manny called yesterday and asked me to look over his opera manuscript and I said right off I did not really have time to do this.  I was proud of myself for doing so.  My boundaries, my rights.  He said right away, ok, he would look for someone else.  Va said she was reluctant because she is sure her view would not have the “authority” he is looking for.  Not to say there would not be a lot of wrangling about phrasing and meaning.  Am I being mean to an elder statesman and noble worthy who is recovering from his stroke?  Don’t really think so.  Why pretend to want to do something, at this late date?  

Thanks to Audible bugging me too effectively I now have enough recorded books to listen to on at least six cruises.  Enough already.  

Weds 25 April  

Noon minus six minutes.  First Spa day in Ages.  Nice.  We know where we are and what works.  Rain today.  Probably go to Target and b.good.  Still want some “news” from Abq, Lisa says all things seem stable.  Rick probably in the 9 months narrative in the 3 months.  My guess now.  Chapman Roberts has been on the phone with Rick.  Marci not lately.  Somehow Lisa and Marilyn use Whatsapp phoning.  Feeling left out of the hot news now.  Yesterday in hanover and white river was fine.  But I clocked only 6k steps and Eliz and Va topped 11k.  Competition.  Good sleeping last night.  Markets down but our money situation seems ok.  Got Rick Evans to clarify what our new accounts mean.  Everybody’s name is Rick, now, not Bob.  

Reply to Phil


Yes, today we have rain with no speck of snow, so there is progress.  Warmer too and yesterday was splendid, high
70s for a few hours and sun.  

We did a whole lot scurrying about with these legal papers in Abq, trying to get the dying man to sign this and that before it was too late.  POA and Executor and Wills etc.  Lawyers disagree it seems on whether wills have any value anymore---if you don't have a family trust you're sunk, they say.  Rick has a few documents but again unless Notarized etc etc.  Now he, Rick, is in a good care place. stable and doing well.  So I think his "narrative" will be nine months or longer and not three days or three months.  So now family can begin to "have a conversation" about whether to keep splitting the cost of this facility ($3800. la month) or use his impoverished status to get him on Medicaid which would have to move him to a lower grade facility.  Or take him back to the family house.  But then we have to pay for 24 hour care.  Although we're not clear now on exactly what he needs.  Too many people "communicating" about everything and some days they use email, some days, "whatsapp" either text or phone, some days phone, some  days text messaging.  Great era of "communication" we live it.  As well as a great era of lawyer-ing.  Short visit with my financial guy yesterday too and I suspect all these drones in the financial outfits are as competent as  most lawyers.  I like this new guy assigned to us by TIAA but he said he doesn't really believe what the ceo  of the firm says about market projections.  So we had a good laugh about all things p r.  One company advertises on tv now that they (alone of course) offer "shielded" annuities.  Ha.  Ask your lawyer to give you “shielded" power of attorney.  

Hope while you're at it that you get your papers lined up too.  I'm making a note to self to do that.  I have POA for Virginia but I don't think anyone has it for me, have to check.  And the crazy drama in Abq was a good lesson
in how the family of cousins and aunts and uncles behave at the moment of presumed crisis.  "Hogarthian" and "Dickensian" were the phrases that came to mind at certain points of high comic absurdity.  So at one
point, Rick, looking as deathly thin and feeble as possible, is being lifted up out of the bed and onto the edge while he, on is cell phone, continues to talk to a dear old friend, and other cousins work under his naked butt to
change the urine-soaked bed diaper-sheet, and other cousins, or was it one son, tries to aim his penis into the big urine collecting bottle, and a few other people in the inner circle were trying to put a shirt on him and
clip his nails and get his cap back on his head and probably his Mexican girl friend was trying to ladle her latest home brew of almond-mango-kelp-carrot and flax seed health smoothie into his parched lips.  

Anyway---one of my happiest moments, I just had to burst out laughing to myself at the high drama-soap-comedy of it all.  Detached enough I could be.  Other moments of course were as sad.  we try to remind ourselves
that we too have only x time to live, but we don't believe it.  Meanwhile how to keep company with the one who has the more clearly stated sentence, while he adjusts to pain meds and anti-depressants and stool softeners
and what all else.  Pretty much the human mess of everything.  

Not that any of us want to get sucked out of a Southwest jet plane window either.  The company sent checks for $5k to each passenger but it struck me as not nearly enough either to assuage one's memory-trauma
of having been on that plane or to help the public reputation of the company.  $15k a piece would have been better.  But then corporations are not people are they?  Or are they?  

Enjoy all the flowers.  We did get to see lilacs in Abq and later in California lots and lots of flowers including gorgeous roses at one of the mission churches.  Santa Clara.

This winter has converted me.  I now want to Snowbird it out to Abq for a few weeks-months of every winter.



How are you doing?   Has spring fully arrived yet in Plymouth or are you still digging out snow banks?  

Down here Peg and I are working with a local lawyer on her will and a durable power of attorney document.   A recent Wash Post article about the cruddy lawyers around Trump noted that while the US has a lot of lawyers, there actually aren't many good ones.  I think Peg and I are discovering the truth of that claim for after supposedly sitting down and talking with us, the lawyer sent us a draft will and power of attorney documents that seem total boiler plate and don't address issues that we mentioned to the lawyer.   So we shall see what eventually gets produced.  Have you been through this depressing process?  

Meanwhile I'm reading a book that Peg's brother recommended:  "The Alphabet and The Goddess" by a San Francisco neurosurgeon.  The thesis is that prehistoric societies valued men and women equally, but the invention of writing was a major factor putting men in charge.   The author acknowledges there were other factors and claims all he is doing is describing "the dark side"of the invention of writing.   Written almost 15 years ago, it's obviously a message that is popular these days among women and staunch liberals.  Peg's brother is one such staunch liberal.   Me?   I'm more skeptical of liberal attitudes and platitudes so I ain't exactly flying through this book.   Not totally opposed to the message, but neither am I  an enthusiastic reader who is "all for it."  

Taking a dip into Nairn’s Paris  and ordered two books by the author of the Intro to it--Andrew Hussey.  

"As a person who drinks a lot and can't bear either pretensions or possessiveness, I look for a shabby but clean hotel and a restaurant where the menu is written up daily in near-illegible purple ink." 

Now I need to know if Hussey has written about Modiano.  Or Aciman.  That I doubt.  Modiano maybe.  

In 2007 he noted “The new book from Patrick Modiano, Dans le café de la jeunesse perdue, is agreeably wistful, evoking the poetic melancholy of the late situationist thinker Guy Debord.”

Henri Cole has a good essay on LitHub today (via twitter).  I like
this paragraph, especially hearing M Moore say that solitude is the cure for loneliness.  Should have heard that a long time ago.

“In French, one can say Je suis seul (I am alone) or Je me sens seul (I feel alone), but nothing as baldly distressing as “I am lonesome.” Or, even worse, “I am a loner.” My first poems were often about loneliness. My father was a military man and my brothers were athletes, so I was always looking for a different way to be a man. To look inward and explore the darker corners of the soul is one of the functions of lyric poetry. 
I think immediately of Gerard Manley Hopkins, whose poems I love. I hate having to apologize for, or defend, my inwardness. 
It was the American poet Marianne Moore who said that solitude was the cure for loneliness.  Yet, if I spend too much time alone,
I am called égoïste, or selfish. Surely it is impossible to be a good writer without being égoïste.”   from his collection Orphic Paris.

in Proust just now (9:45 pm) “. . . I had the sense of having a wife, and knew that when I returned home it would not be to the excitement, the bracing sense of solitude.” 183

Finally I have come to a passage where I am laughing out loud.  When one begins to wonder whether the neighbor with whom one always got on so well is not affected by cannibalistic urges!  186

Tuesday  May 1

Day for Lillies of the Valley in Paris.  Sunshine at last in late afternoon.  Day in Concord and Manchester.  Salmon and pilsner at the Whole Foods pub.  Noticed which streets run along the river and under that walking bridge across the river.  Near the Econo Lodge is where there is parking on that side, big stairway up.  Saw Paul Theroux’s new hardback at Gibson’s.  Bitter epigraphs, two, one from Jim Jones before they drank the suicide cool-aide and one from another source, can’t recall right now.  They didn’t make me want to read the book.  Big family story set on Cape Cod.  He’s still kicking and still writing up a storm.  

Weekend was driving Va and Jay to the PEO meeting in Rutland on Sunday.  Rain.  Friday night the campus musical performance of DanceChorus, an oratorio by a British composer that uses Anne Frank’s diary as a textual source.  Not a cheery spring festival evening.  Still marvel that the composer saw fit to insert a Kyrie into the work.  Rabbis everywhere must have been grateful.  

At Starbuck’s this afternoon Greg called at precisely the moment Sam Paul rushed over to shake my hand.  Good chat with him.  He’s still with NYLife, now thirty, getting married next week, he and his wife Christian in the First Church? in Concord and he just bought a house in Sanbornton I think.  He knew his father was Jewish but while they did ritual meal practices every year his father never tried to explain it much and he never really understood what it was supposed to mean.  He became Christian about three years ago.  Natural born salesman, great upbeat energy and drive.  I asked him his last name and he asked me my name, knew he remembered me but not sure from where.  We had last chatted a few years ago on Elm Street.  He was amazed I remembered him.  We think he was in just one English class with me, maybe Comp or Intro to Lit. 
Wore the new pair of NB spongy shoes.  Not too thick a sole.  Nice feel, I guess, easier on the feet.  Maybe.  Different stride promoted.  Like the good old way, heel and longer forward assurance, of a certain kind.  But missed the barefoot stride and mode.  Back and legs feel different now too.  Muscles unused to this spongy striding.  Maybe wear once a week?  

So we did what we had imagined as a possible thing to do.  And once again, it went well enough, and, as always, had its edges of disappointment or chastened admission that experience never quite realizes what was imagined and if the specific details of what happens are forever unmatched by any other sequence of moments past or future, they remain, even so, uncaptured, partially unrememberable, a blur in themselves, which cannot satisfy all that their imagining had attempted to promise.  

2 May

Photo from the kids ready to have pancakes for breakfast.  I made some south Indian idlis.  Jay told us about them.  Sunny day and much warmer.  We will try the black fences in Lebanon.  Marci
called and she and Willow had a tearful talk.  Lisa sent a video of Rick from last night.  He looks very thin and withdrawn.  He says he listens to his music.  His face looks like a mask, both beautiful and deathly drawn tight and thin.  He keeps his eyes closed and when he talks his voice is very deep from within him.  Reminds me of the dying Christian Brother I glimpsed one afternoon in Ammendale when I was polishing the floor with one of those huge circular buffing machines.  

We walked the Dermatology Hill rails today.  Hooray.  4k steps
maybe more.  Timberland Apartments would be more precise name, I guess.  Hot day.  Lunch at Fresh Market.  
Lisa had this email on diagnosis.  She wonders who in the family should be tested for possible similarities.  
Hi Lisa,
The only medical records we have on file for your dad is his most recent stay and UNMH, unfortunately it does not give a specific type of lung cancer. It states that he "appeared to be diagnosed with lung cancer in 9/2017, and appeared to refuse a biopsy at this time". When he was admitted to UNMH in 3/2018 they confirmed it was metastatic lung cancer and that it had spread to his brain, spine and abdomen. Since there was never a biopsy done, we do not know the exact type of lung cancer. Since Roy is the POA, I asked him if it was okay to give you those records. He is fine with you having any/all records. If you would like I can get those to you.

Ashley Tucker

Feels like summer already.  Amazing confusion with the Chiminey cleaning outfit from Gilford.  Ben let them in to our house and they gave us the estimate.  The work order was from Patsy for her house!
Seems we need a lot of work.  Better have it done.  Chimney and sewer in one spring-summer.  Symbolism of some sort could be invoked.  Burke’s old Latin phrase about ecclesia-cloacae.  

My mastery of reading French not going forward very well.  

4 May  Lunch soon with Greg and Gerri.  

From 1995 to 2010 I had a painting studio on Main Street.  South Main Street.  It gave me what is now called by some “headspace.”  It gave me touch and physical engagement.  It carried me over and through our disabling events.  In hindsight I can see such things.  

The accidental estimation of work needed on our fireplace and chimney shows us something more about long views and short crises.  

Nice long lunch.  And we could hear one another talk.  They are coming down off month-long colds.  Greg had pneumonia a few years ago.  I must have forgotten that.  Virginia sat up earlier today on her knee the wrong way and it has been bugging her.  Might spend the night downstairs to avoid the

Nice note from Chapman Roberts---I’m leaving it to Tony to call Chapman and invite him to his play.  

Hi Bob, Yes I remember and am delighted to know of the remarkable recovery though present circumstances greatly sadden us.
My Phone number is 212 868 1412 and I would live to meet TJ and See the show. Best Regards, Chapman

Hi Chapman
Latest news on Rick/Richard being sent in next email.  Virginia Milner Garlitz is
Rick’s older sister.  When we spoke with Rick a few days ago and when we visited
a few weeks ago he is very grateful for your company and encouragement and praise.  

Meanwhile scan down in this message below and then since you are in manhattan and have lots of free time (attempt at joke) we suggest you go see “Miss You Like Hell” before May 13 and meet Tony Jarvis.  Jazz musician (“Fela” ten years ago) and Virginia Milner’s Afro-Am Godson!  We saw him last for lunch up here in NH about a year ago.  

I met you once (me Bob) fifteen years ago when you came up to NH/VT with Rick to visit his sister Virginia when she was in a coma for three months with a brain-bleed injury.  She recovered and we call these 15 years our bonus years.

All bests to you & hope you’re well.  

Bob and Virginia


May 12 Saturday  

Back last night from Albuquerque.  Four days, Tuesday through Friday, three nights, taking out the two days for travel.  Super-intense add-on to the week trip a month ago.  Chapter Two of Rick’s death and dying.  Chapter Three will be news of his departure.  We all expect it to be soon, hours, few days, but we could be as mistaken on this as we were a month ago.  This was more intense and yet more calm.  Not as desperate and hysterical as last month.  Sisters decided to sell the house.  A decision thirty years in the making.  It served the family well for over sixty years.  Lisa and Robert were again the magnificent local hosts, one dinner at their place on Wednesday evening.  Thursday was the Bon Chats at Lou’s house, Barbara in town to show Nash and get him more certificates.  We moved from the first hotel to the new Hotel Chaco, beautifully designed and very enjoyable.  Rick looked worse and worse and more drawn each time we visited.  They are slowly increasing his pain meds and I don’t wonder if this is not the hospice way of death.  Experienced nurses can surely see when the next administration is most likely the last and they can make it be the last.  So we wait to hear the news.  Lisa messaged that he had another private harp concert in his room last night.  We are no longer the kind of society where we sit with the dying person until the last breath.  I suppose some are and who knows how each of us will go.  This second trip made Va feel more deeply that Albuquerque is still her home in her heart and we talk about spending more time there in the winters.  Will we?  Not beyond improbable, especially with Barbara and Ed there and Lou.  She just bought a condo in a new location and is selling her house.  I can now watch two houses on Zillow for my miniscule gaming gene.  Roy looked better, much less frazzled and less manic.  Nancy Sue flew in from Seattle to see family one more time.  I gave her the wrong advice over the phone Tuesday night and Petie called her right back and said the right thing, yes, come right now.  It is the family that needs the stages of acceptance and so on.  So Nancy and Roy were the slightly hyper voices about selling the house in the meeting for that on Thursday morning after Petie had talked with the realtor.  He dangled the options of partnering with a fine house flipper builder and getting big bucks for the house---400k or more.  Ray and I were the wise voices of skepticism on that notion.  After our final visit (is it?) to Rick, the four of us had lunch at Ray’s fave spot, Applebee’s, to confirm the plan to sell the house as fast as possible.  Va pointed out driving home last night that Ray didn’t have the two of us patriarchs have lunch away from the sisters so they could really talk alone together.  Good point!  This trip was the birthday present Willow wanted for her 74th birthday.  We hardly mentioned it until last night.  Tomorrow is Mother’s Day the helpful Mac calendar is reminding me in three screen notes.  Time to shower.  Adjust to time-travel and emotional travel.  

Hindsight is so good.  Last month it was a trip to take-in the reality of Rick’s death.  This time it was to sell the house.  

note to Phil --  
Hindsight is so good.  Last month it was a trip to take-in the reality of Rick’s death.  This time it was to sell the house.  Sartre should have read more Dante and taken note of the special place in hell for family gathered to discuss endlessly what to do about x and how to carry out y, in imitation of faculty committee meetings designed to never solve a problem or take action.  After a half an hour of this Thursday morning I retreated to a dark and quiet corner of the house.  Four hours later over lunch, the sisters decided to sell the house as soon as possible and resist the temptation to "partner" with a "quality" house-flipper for 150k investment(new mortgage) in hopes of selling the house refurbished for 400 maybe 500 k $.  Half an hour later in our rented car, Va said she thought they had made a mistake and that we two should buy out the others, remodel the house and live there in our remaining retirement.  Harder to let go of the parents' house in some ways than say goodbye to the brother.  Though of course house is symbol of all of the past that recedes more rapidly than we wish.  Have to read your earlier text on your visit to the cousins in Virginia.  Other peoples' families as alien as anything.  

Getting over these past four intense days which were still a bit more relief than a month earlier.  Brother is still lingering according to messages this morning.  

Spring must be looking great there now.  Did enjoy the 90s sunshine in spite of all my grumbling about it.  The little devils on my shoulders kept whispering--ok, what do you want, six months of air conditioning or six months of oil heat?  Blazing sun over the desert or days of gray, rainy skies.  Etc.  



 But I think silence has been my greatest teacher. And my sense is wherever you are, and whatever your religious orientation or lack of it, just to go to silence—whether it’s by taking a walk or going into a retreat house—is like going into a hospital for the soul. You come back refreshed. It’s the best travel experience I can think of.

Pico Iyer   on


I’m a great fan of the writer Graham Greene, and it’s wonderful to see that he, like Shakespeare, went through this very turbulent time in his forties, as I think many people do, raging against the universe. Shocked that things weren’t the way they seemed to be.
And of course, the plays Shakespeare wrote at the end of his life, which in his case was in his fifties, took on suffering and betrayal and seeming death and worked their way through the darkness to come out at the other end into a springtime that feels earned. So that’s the nicest thing to look forward to if any of it is coming our way. That the winter’s tale will end in cherry blossoms.
Everything he says I like and he’s only 58 it seems.  
Just before finding his interview in my Inbox I had written to Phil--
You mentioned Peg not doing as well as . . . .  Just on this
recent trip and/or in general.  Is she thinking of any plans?  

We might go back to Abq.  Realized that below the death of
one family member are all these tectonic plates in our minds
about things we never talk about  Va seems to feel more
drawn to go back to NM than ever even though for years and
years she always said she had no interest.  And I found that
a few days of terrible sunshine in this one of our worst ever
winters here has made me ready to snowbird to the west
no matter what.  I even think I could sell this house and move
somewhere if it were not for David's interest in our keeping it.

Might be part of aging to suddenly imagine that somewhere
else, something else, might be better.  Delusion and impaired
imagination.  Better than what?  What do we really want?  
No longer certain one can really know.  


Mother’s Day May 13
Note from Lisa saying Petie and Ray are arriving back in Abq this afternoon.  Hospice nurses believe Rick will die in next day or two.  Harp concert this evening for him.  

May 14 Monday

Marilyn called this morning about 9:30 to say that Rick had died an hour or so ago, earlier that morning.  She was going out to the home.  

On our drive to Concord the shuffle music on our iphone gave us in a row Renee Fleming singing Shenandoah from the Lee Ritenour Two Worlds album and then the aria from Madame Butterfly.  Felt to me like an elegaic set for Rick.  Earlier that morning Va sat on the swing for morning coffee and communed with the mosquitoes and the new flowers.  Gorgeous day all day.  Now 5 pm. 

In the final one hundred pages of Prisoner.  Remember much of it pretty well as I read it.  Most likely I wrote this sentence down five
years or so ago when I first read the book:

“... the sense of justice was absent in me , to the point of complete moral idiocy.  In the depths of my heart I was immediately on the side of the underdog, of whoever was unhappy.  I had no opinion about the extent to which right and wrong might be involved in the relations between Morel and M. de Charlus, but the idea of the suffering that was being prepared for M. de Charlus revolted me.  I wanted to prevent it, but I did not know how.”  268

Tuesday  15 May

Day off in Hanover and WRJ.  Jonathan Taylor graduated from Dartmouth in ’81.  English major then.  Later got into tech ed somehow in the VT schools.  Trying to figure if he might have known Michael Lowenthal but haven’t looked up his dates yet. We had a good lunch and chat at Piecemeal.  I’m now on Rob Stuart’s diet ideas from his Youtube videos, curing eczema.  

Finished booking the fall trip. 

17 May  Thursday

Dinner with Ann and Dick last night.  We talked and talked, closed the restaurant.  Back again for lunch with Ken and Carole shortly.  Who at the Grill will nod in recognition from last night? 
Anne and Dick had lots to tell us about their trip to France a month ago.  Great time, week in Paris, week with Naomi and Bob in Semur-en-Auxois ? and a few days in Holland.  Ann did learn to speak Dutch she said and then later said she couldn’t learn French, had no ear for language and so on.  Fun to hear all of their impressions.  Ann likes the new paint-job on Chartres, the nave, Dick is not sure or does not.  Cream colored, maybe even sprayed on.  Yuck.  But have to see.  Wonder if it is to help protect the stone, but haven’t read anything about that.  

So excited about our luxury trip in Oct but know that my imaginary traveler anticipation is making too much of it.  Still, look forward to Hotel Blomet again.  Is it a function of grief in some way??  clear things out, simplify, reduce life to the essences of a hotel room in a foreign city.  Clarify and downscale in order to wait for Death to kindly stop for me.  ?  Seeing Rick in his last days was certainly a major moment in our lives.  We see dying so rarely.  His face took on a kind of beauty that we’ve only seen in death masks in museums.  You can see why people wanted to make a mask before photography.  And yet I didn’t want to photograph him in our second visit when we were much closer to the departure.  

Somehow too the simple browns and grays of the Chaco hotel suited our mood so well.  Is it some dream, this distant hotel, that fits age itself, our age?  Now we’re really thinking of going to Abq in the winter and the image of a condo there has that allure already.  

Ken and Carole in fine form.  Va had a free dessert for her birthday and they rustled up some more Aunt Ruth’s Lemon Ice Cream.  Heusers being spontaneous and taking a JetBlue offer for three days in Bermuda, June 5.  h

Saturday  19 May

We unpacked the hall lantern and then called Jennifer in Abq UPS store to assure her she had done a wonderful job of packing it and it arrived in perfect condition.  Needs a little damp dusting.  Bert should be able to hang it when he comes to check the tv cable.  

Rain finally came.  Watched the wedding video most of the day.  

Sunday evening  20 May

Little Women on tv.  I’m going to finish The Prisoner.  In English.  And then for the rest of the year read only French.  !  Ha.  

315 Marcel is telling Albertine they should end it.  “we should separate.”  

the language of passion---vanity, resentment, jealousy--decoded by an intuitive faculty   319  

the famous rule that my answers had always to express the opposite of what I was feeling  320

Tuesday 22 May  

Whole Foods as a destination resort on a rainy day.  Talked with Jim after walking at Tanger and we have a visit sketched onto the calendar.  

Weds  23 May

Va has eczema too.  Bought flowers at Home Depot, no orange tree.  Ordered one from Amazon.  Jim called, adjusted our trip forward one day.  Has become our Anniversary week trip.  49th
Viking call guy pointed out that for the Bankok trip we can add stop-overs on the way and coming back and so we could do a few days in places like Mumbai or Beijing.  Wowza. 

Lost my little roll of the last few pages of The Prisoner.  Temporarily.  I will start J B Priestly’s novel Bright Day.  Nicholas has a wonderful blog post about it.  So we’ll see. Know absolutely nothing about the author.  Have heard his name all my life.  Was going to Google him at once but then his wry note at the bottom of the Title page no less, convinced me to read the book first.  He gives us his “solemn assurance” that there is nothing autobiographical or historical about anyone in the novel.  Pure imagination I suppose he might have added.  Could be a question to put to Jim about his fable.  Am I taking a break from Proust?  Seems so, although I am slated to begin reading only French so I guess I am avoiding my own assignment. 

24 May

Jim sent an answer to my first question and in a phone call he made clear he sees himself as a scribbler and not at all as an author.  Or even writer, I guess.  

1.  What inklings first prompted you to begin writing what has turned out to be this fable about a boy named Cadeau? 

As promised, herewith are a couple o f “Saints for Special Needs,” among whose company I once presumed my furry newborn would find his place.  But not so! Uncomfortable, perhaps, with the company I proposed for him, he began pumping, pumping those fetid depths we discussed, and so ended up with a world and set of companions of his own choosing.

Attached are a few oddballs I thought he’d be joining. There are a dozen, but Lacrimosa and Vociferous are top drawer to me. I laugh just thinking about them. (But that may be just another Parkinson’s symptom.)



25 May  Friday   Strange day.  We were up so early to be departing when Rowells showed up to do the basement work.  Went to Hanover-W. Lebanon.  Walked in BJs then drove up river for lunch at the Norwich Inn.  Over to Starbucks for gouter, back home.  Mosquitoes thick in the house so blasted the fogger around and went to Thai Smile for dinner.  

26 May Saturday

Was calculating Rick and Catherine on the timeline this morning.  Did they divorce about eight years ago?  Max is now 26 I think.  

Then came upon this line in Proust: 

 “It seems that events are larger than the moment in which they occur and cannot be entirely contained in it.  Certainly they overflow into the future through the memory that we retain of them, but they demand a place also in the time that precedes them.  One may say that we do not see them as they are to be, but in memory are they not modified too?”    old translation

new translation

“It seems that events extend further than the moments in which they happen, and cannot be completely contained within them.  Certainly, they spill over into the future through the memories we retain of them, but they also demand space in the time that precedes them.  Certainly you will say that at that time we do not see them as they will actually be, but are they not also changed in our memory of them?”  371


27 May  Memorial Day weekend.  Two quiet days in a row.  Cold and overcast today.  Va cleaned the Abq lantern with q-tips and cotton balls this morning.  Watching a lot of tv.  Short walk at Wally’s.  Grieving I’d say, quiet, low-energy days, nothing much said.  Rick’s music on the player in the kitchen when she is putting away dishes.  

Few pages to go to finish “The Prisoner.”  Final thirty or forty pages of it are just marvelous.  Intricate hemming and hawing about Albertine which I’m not exactly trying to trace to the letter, but in-between all of that, wonderful passages I’d like to copy out completely.  Too many.  But a few I’ve underlined.  


Marci gave Rick tremendous attention and comfort the last two years of his life.  She repeated many times two key lines by which he defined his relations with women in his later years.  As many as he had known, he told her that she fulfilled his lifelong search for a woman who would be kind to him.  She felt terrible guilt at going home because she had promised to stay with him until the end since every other woman he had been with during his life had abandoned him.  

That abandonment theme.  A middle child motif?  par excellence? Or a theme quite human and at the heart of all desire.  

Tuesday evening May 29

Wonderful massage visit in Bedford today.  David S.  53 I think.  Afterwards we chatted and turns out he had an AVM burst about seventeen or thirteen years ago.  No operation was possible.  He was in a coma for three months in Boston General.  Shunt was put in.  He has a slight speech slur every so often, left arm and leg can get tired before the right side.  And has headaches fairly regular basis for which there is some relief so he can live it them but they never go completely away. Whew.  Super nice guy.  Married to a guy who works in banking.  Native of Bedford, last of four sons, father left very early.  He is the only gay son and his three older brothers have not spoken to him for years.  He told his mother when he was a sophomore at BC and she took it in, cried for three days, and then totally accepted him.  

Had a breakfast sandwich at Starbucks on the way down.  Wandered Whole Foods and Merrimack Outlet stores beforehand.  Hot day, beautiful.  

note to Phil  30 May  Weds evening

Have not had my carotid arteries scanned but now that I know that is a possible thing, I'll demand it of my doctor at our next Wellness visit.  

Cousin-in-law in NM told us a therapy he had just been through for his heart to prevent problems.  For a month he went to a clinic or hospital, not sure where, and he watched movies of tv for an hour three times a week.  During this time a needle gets stuck in a vein or an artery in one leg and blood is drawn out I guess in some volume and then pumped back in.  This successfully helped his body create new networks of tiny capillaries around his heart thereby increasing blood flow capacity.  Sounded like exercise on a couch to me!  

Thank goodness for The Mechanicals.  As they are called in Shakespeare.  Two guys came today, early 20s, climbed up on the roof and cleaned and repaired the chimney and flues.  Good spirited, hard working, positive attitudes, they seemed like a kind of wonder.  Like getting dirty.  They are also snowboarders and one just landed a job he has been looking for for a while---chimney sweep for a company in Steamboat Springs, CO.  His apartment has a grand view of the mountains and he will make a good living and get to snowboard on the best slopes for it in the country.  Who knew?  

Not many women snowboarders or chimney sweeps, I suspect/gather.  

This chimney cleaning came about because they showed up a few weeks ago on order from our neighbor around the corner and examined our system by mistake.  

Nice weather too.  Sunny, warmer, breezy, flowers all out.  

Re Question 2:

I’ve read some Rabelais but remember little of it. Though I admired and enjoyed the bawdiness,  his tone struck me an arch and cool, with precious little sympathy for humans’ weaknesses. In writing, I aspire less to a Rabelaisian than a Chaucerian tone and, come to think it, probably aim in that direction by temperament. 

Oh goodness, I hesitate to ask you for examples of my “biting satire” and "savage wit;” if I produce both, I’ve blinded myself to the fact. I revel, however, in “the foibles' and "sweet failings” of all us human animals.  

Now, I love Twain, especially for his dramatic irony, though some slope heads miss its point. For example, the telling exchange between two men discussing a recent boiler explosion on a river boat: “Anybody kilt?” “Nah, just a few niggers.” 

Re Sub-textual add-on question:  

First, though I do my best to breathe life into faltering formalism among the young, I do no such thing for deconstructionism, which now strikes me as to be shelved with antidisestablishmentarianism. 

Second, I hold no animus toward France or the French. Witness the fact that all the characters in A Fable of Grace are French, admirable ones and execrable alike.  Further, when I consider the corpus of my years of writing, I can’t recall instances of anti-French bias. (I’m  uneasy for having described my past writings as a corpus, though Parkinson’s Progress does make it seem an apt term.

Oh, enough, old son!  It’s past midnight and I’m betraying myself as a shameless maunderer.  

Finally, a question about the sub-textual add-on question:

Do I get extra credit for answering it?

[Oh, boy, I’m getting steadily  more excited about your visit!] Lots more of the sort of nonsense above, I say—but out on the porch, glasses in hand!]

J. Sam’l 

A new word for you, one I just discovered today: COLPORTER. (It has nothing to do with hauling coal.)

Last day of May.  Glorious weather today.  Hanging the mosquito trappers around the yard in hopes of clearing the swing for summer enjoyments.  Just set up recurring payments for the rest of the year.  Rest easier now.  

Few more lines from Proust

“(just as, when it is the present, each of us out of self-interest, or politeness, or pity, works at spinning a web of lies between it and ourselves, lies which we take for truth)   359

and here must be the “source” of Aciman’s now reknown peach event in Call Me.  “And waking her had been simply like opening a ripe fruit, sending the thirst-quenching juice spurting into one’s mouth.”  358

I could stroke her, run my hands all over her, but just as if I had been handling a stone enclosing the salt of immemorial oceans or the light of a star, I felt that I was touching only the closed outer casing of a being which on the inside was in touch with the infinite.   357

Love is space and time made apprehensible to the heart.  356

Only from one’s own pleasure can one derive both knowledge and pain.  357

There must be something inaccessible in what we love something to pursue; we love only what we do not possess, and soon I began once moe to realize that I did not possess Albertine.  355

For example, this music seemed to me something more true than all known books.  Sometimes I thought that the reason was that the things we feel in life are not experienced in the form of ideas, and so their translation into literature, an intellectual process, may give an account of them, explain them, analyse them, but cannot recreated them as music does, its sounds seeming to take on the inflections of our being, to reproduce that inner, extreme point of sensation which is the thing that causes us the specific ecstasy we feel from time to time and which, when we say ‘What a beautiful day! What beautiful sunshine!’, is not conveyed at all to our neighbour, in whom the same sun and the same weather set off quite different vibrations.  In Vinteuil’s music there were some of these visions which it is impossible to express and almost forbidden to dwell upon, since, when at the moment of falling asleep we feel the caress of their unreal spell, at that very moment, when reason has already left us, our eyes close and before we have time to recognize not only the invisible but the ineffable, we fall asleep.  346


I thought I would read Priestly and some others to take a break from Proust but as I type up passages like these I say to myself, why on earth “take a break,” for what purpose?  

Friday morning  June 1st

After Proust, Priestly really feels so old-fashioned British.  But also modern in a Durrell sort of way.  Same age group as Burke (and my grandparents)
and Proust I guess.  Born 1894 Priestly.  

Off to Natalie’s mother’s funeral in Bristol.  Two days later Fiftieth Anniversary shindig for Ferlands at Fosters.  

Monday  June 4  Rain.  Hope Lisa and family are adapting in Annisquam after a week in DC.  We will see them on Thursday.  

5 June  Tuesday

Quiet day off today.  Cold and rainy.  Read this morning, set the timer and actually read for a solid hour. !  the new book by C D Rose with the great title, Who’s Who When Everyone is Someone Else.  Delightful, bookish book about bookness.  Nice to read almost half of it in one day.

Today the bloom is off the rose.  Again.  Birthday eve.  We go to Boston tomorrow to see Lisa and family.  artiststowatch birthday card from Greg and Gerri.  

Birthday day  June 7  Lots of nice greetings and just now a long talk with Rich.  Who called me!  First time ever?? or in a long time.  Very nice talk.  

We met Lisa and Robert, Lydia and Ryan at Copley Place at 12:30 for lunch at Legal Seafood.  Mall was coated with white marble and stone about a year ago.  Looks terrible.  

Saturday  June 9   Lupine Festival day.  Gorgeous weather, high breezes.  Drove around and walked around Littleton and Sugar Hill.  Lunch at the Miller's Wheel.  Walked a bit on the bridge.  

May is the month highest for suicides.  WaPo writer Roxanne Roberts puts it well.  “Winter is over but your life has not become any warmer.”   Two celebrity suicides this week.  

More upsetting is news Nicholas posted that he has a torn retina.  Hope the laser surgery can restore his eyesight to 100%.  Same problem Jeff has in Tokyo.  Have to ask him how he is now.  

Tuckerbox gathering today.  Too loud, crowded with Dartmouth grads and their families.  

Tomorrow we head to Cooperstown.  

18 June   Monday   

Long note to Phil 
Quick google reveals that This Epstein published at least three books---"Divorced in America", "Ambition" and "Snobbery: The American Version" and
add to that the Northwestern vs U Chicago hatred and envy and there we have it.  The Jewish community in Evanston probably has always thought Chicago excluded them etc.  And Booth had big Mormon baggage on his back---somehow having been raised in Utah by a Mormon clan was always held against him.  I guess real intellectuals felt that was not an appropriate background for a chaired professor anywhere.  Mormons may be weird but they ain't Jews by a long shot, sort of thing.   And add in further that this Joseph no doubt spent his career at cocktails parties saying way too many times, no, that's Jason, no, no family connection worth mentioning, yes, he does live in New York, no, I teach at Northwestern and my books are superior to any other books you can think of.  

Oh and now I see in the '89 piece that he was educated at Chicago so he probably had Booth as a prof at one time and from then on they've looked cross-eyed at each other because of three thing we can both imagine and #4 fucking Chicago did not hire me or give me tenure and I had to take that job at Northwestern!!   . . .  Dreiser is the greatest American novelist.  !  wow 

He ends with "Knowledge of the kind conveyed in novels may not, in any conventional sense, be useful. All that there is to recommend it is that it feels true, which, for someone educated by novels, is all the recommendation required."

Alas, he can set this particular book by Booth up as a pretty easy target/strawman and blow it over.  It is a "late" book by Booth and it is indeed way too long and bloated.  And how easy it is for the cosmopolitan Epstein to make fun of Booth's use of caring and friendship.  Pretty easy I'm afraid, especially if you are a supreme thinker.  But I am amazed that Epstein allows himself to use the word "feels" in his final sentence.  Doesn't "feels" true open a door for sad, fake news and all that we have today???  

Booth was not a great thinker, I'd agree.  His earlier book on pluralism drove me and Epstein nuts with similar troubles.  In that one he tries very hard to espouse a UN let's all get along approach to the critical warfares raging among the literary brain-throwers and comes up a bit short.  Kenneth Burke was pretty upset by how he came out looking in Booth's chapters on him.  Booth tried to be the super-nice guy by printing Burke's response and then printing his responses to Burke's response.  Booth did the same in the book with the other thinkers involved.  Liberalism at its best and worst and an attempt to demonstrate that people who disagree really can agree to disagree peacefully if they would just patiently reimagine the other guy's vision in all of its glory.  

We could use Booth's later career in Ageism and Dementia studies now.  Who knows just when his alzheimer's started to really affect his work?  But that hindsight was not available to anyone then.  

Epstein's whole piece is an attack in sum on the great books curriculum in its ways.  He loved reading the greats as an undergrad and saw it as all champagne and caviar but he really thought his truly great education came from reading novels which he loved from way back.  Fair enough, really.  

We are having lunch this Wednesday with old acquaintances from Chicago days.  Have not seen them for twenty years?  Va keeps in touch with Judy, who has taught at St Johns in Annapolis lo these many years and I for one am so glad I never had to teach only the great books for forty years.  She just gave a conference paper on Moses Maimonides.  Yikes.   Her husband is world famous, ethnomusicologist who ran Smithsonian music department for years, Pete Seeger's nephew.  They have a summer camp in Vermont, we'll meet them half-way.  I am racking my brain lamely on what we might find to talk about other than the prez and these shitty days.  
Well that surprises me.  I'll get a copy and look for myself, but I have a hard time believing his outlook is serious to any degree.  And I really do have serious doubts these days about the value of fiction.  Epstein offers his rationale.   Fiction provides truth because it offers particularity.   Okay, but then that is just particular truth.   We know the truth of, say, Tolstay's Anna K.   But so what?   That's just Tolstoy's view of the truth of one woman.


I wouldn't put my money or argument in terms of truth at all.  I'd go for pleasure.  

Cooperstown is really a rich, fine old town.  Jim said even the Indians were tourists there in their day.  Otsego lake is the start of the Susquehana river, so you can float in your birchbark from there all the way down into the Cheasapeake Bay.  Hops were the cash crops for years in the 19thC until a blight wiped them out.  After that it must have been banking and trade.  Doubleday and baseball was a myth created by NY papers and the baseball commissions. 

We found Jim and Anne on their front porch, beautiful block of old houses, tree-lined.  They moved there about four years ago from the much larger "farm" property Jim and his first wife had moved to years before in Fly Creek, a village nearby.  After a few years of teaching he became a Dean at Anne Arundel Community College, did that for about twenty years.  Had no idea the faculty even back then was so large--250 people.  

Guess I last saw him, visited there, about seven years ago.  He turns 80 in August.  Maybe the Parkinson's diagnosis is about five years old and he's diminished in powers.  Still quick and witty but alas we had very little time with them.  Chatted, went out for lunch, short visit to the beautiful Cooper museum to see a new bequest of Indian art, native American, which is totally superb and much better than what is on display in the new Mall museum.  Guessing this because we heard a few years ago in Santa Fe that the collections of the Smithsonian are deeply entangled in legal claims and potential claims.  

So not enough time to really visit with Jim.  Anne keeps close leash on him, I'm afraid.  They have a new dog and while we were driving back I asked Va if she got the sense that the dog is Anne's and her reply was on target---oh, yes, and she handles Jim like another dog.  Uncharacteristically direct for Va.   Don't know much about Anne or where they met.  She's from Edmonton, so is very much the Western woman.  Might be about 70, so ten years younger than Jim.  His first wife was an English prof at Anne Ar, died of cancer about fifteen years ago.  

Using my Chase points to send you his latest book and the Rose.  Don't be put off by Jim's title.  Not quite as wild as his lives of the saints but the wit is still there.  Whether a class of twenty-something young women would demand a Trigger warning I'll ask you to decide for yourself.  Am going to re-read it to get another take on it.  

Finishing a British novel from the late 30s---Bright Day by J B Priestly.  I've seen his name for years without knowing anything about him.  If this novel is autobio, he grew up in the wool trade area of Britain, served in
WW I, somehow got to Hollywood and wrote for years there.  The book goes back and forth from before WWI
to after, reads like a 40s movie and yet seems to be trying something a little unusual every so often and I'm curious to see how he carries it through.  

Pleasure and curiosity.  


19 May  Tues

Back to dry sunny and breezy weather today after yesterday’s wretched mugginess.  Great day off.  Wandering the grocery stores, sushi and fruit and cookies.  Wonderful visit to David and a splendid massage.  He is like an artist I decided, or all massage is, can be.  He uses repetition and rhythm and a repertoire of angles and motions that amount to a concert or work on canvas.  

Phil’s last note pretty sour.  Going to recommend watching General Hospital three times a week and a massage once every two weeks.  Paid for the Bali trip last night.  

Well, I think that's my problem.   For some reason, my curiosity has really diminished lately.  Perhaps it's just old age, but I sense something more than that is going on in my head.   Perhaps today's politics have made me exasperated with far more than just politics.  Right now it's the whole damn world that I don't like.   I keep my mouth shut about it when with others but when I'm by myself, I find myself muttering "Fuck you, I hate all of you."   And I really am talking to the whole damn world.   Yet even if I dislike the world these days, I have special antipathy for the crap I see on TV that is obviously meant to appeal to a broad audience of stupid and barely literate people, including a lot of black.  I find all that junk on TV just so tasteless in the extreme.   From music to language to portrayals of violence to "earnest" statements about "love"and "values" I find it all so dismally deficient in taste and intelligence that I turn it off and stare at the walls until I finally pick up something to read.  But as I noted before, what I have seen and heard is affecting how I perceive what I read these days.

Va's statement about the dog and Jim surprises me.  As you note, that just doesn't sound like Va.   I don't think she likes Jim's wife very much,  but still, as you say, the statement doesn't sound very "Va-like."

We’re all becoming connoisseurs of disgust, circles of disgust for Dante to describe.  I decided today what upsets me even more than the asshole and the headlines is to see that wonderful old Post Office building in DC bearing his name as “his” hotel.  Hope in ten years or less it will have new owners and new names.  

My curiosity follows my oldest patterns.  Always up for what’s next, what’s new, but half way into any book I lose interest.  Same with most movies and tv shows, one current exception.  Then I have to slog on for a while until a book re-sparks or I just plow on.  That’s why I usually have about six or seven books piled up and rotate reading in them at random through the week.  

Two prescriptions for your downness:  watch General Hospital every afternoon, half an eye and ear on something else.  And go get a massage from a guy who knows how to do a good one.  This is something I’ve discovered this winter.  Have been to a few different ones within a
fifty mile radius and have found two who know how to really release the upper and lower back tensions and find relaxation for a few hours.  Helps my mood more than anything else I’ve found.  Better than talking to a therapist or such.  


21  Summer solstice, equinox.  Beautiful day, cool, dry, wonderful breeze even still.  Impossibly lovely.  How to soak it in, let it flow through.  

23 Saturday

Annual dinner at Mt Washington.  Ate too much, drank too much.  Otherwise a good time.  Rode with Art and Karen in their new big suv.  Ermelina called this morning.  Rain today.  Gray now, more rain later.
Slept in until 10:30.  

Monday  25 June

Toss part of the night yet still feel slept at the moment.  Re-casting phrases for my Amazon review for Jim’s piece.  A Masterpiece of the Fabulistic Imagination.  A Tale of Great Spiritual Beauty.  Extraordinary warmth of voice and tone,   Don Sheehan always liked the word “extraordinary” I can see and hear him saying it now.  Donal Hall died sometime over the weekend or late last week.  89   Wonder if Lynn had been involved in helping him?  Have not seen her this year at all.  Va going to the Spa at Fosters for her nails shortly this morning.  Which is cool and sunny and breezy---perfect--if a bit too cool.  
A Boy With Unusual Gifts 

A warm, witty, biting, and wise tale for our times and the ages. Jim Atwell's writings are well known to hundreds of devoted readers of his columns in the Cooperstown Crier. In this new short tale, Atwell's insights as an observer of human foibles and virtues find full flower. With vibrant writing, rich linguistic humor, surprising characters in unusual situations, Atwell distills a heady brew which dislodges our set notions about gifts bestowed so we can see anew unexpected gifts of grace.

that’s the review posted---  I want to revise it some

A Masterpiece of Great Spiritual Beauty and Compassion

A Triumph of the Fabulistic Imagination
ok  this has just been posted

A Masterpiece of Spiritual Beauty

A warm, witty, biting, and wise tale for our times and the ages. Jim Atwell's writings are well known to hundreds of devoted readers of his columns in the Cooperstown Crier. In this new short tale, Atwell's insights as an observer of human foibles and virtues find full flower. With vibrant writing, rich linguistic humor, surprising characters in unusual situations, Atwell distills a heady brew which dislodges our set notions about gifts bestowed so we can see anew unexpected gifts of grace.

A triumph of the fabulistic imagination. A gift of compassion and true vision.


Critique----too many phrases begin with “A . . . “


26  Tues  Evening.  

Day Off.  Weather still glorious.  Walked around the Dartmouth campus, meditated with Headspace on a bench on the hill behind Rollins Chapel.  Early lunch at Boloco, good salad burrito bowl.  Great meeting with JT later in the afternoon.  Relaxed on the drive home.  Va had a good walk and swim day with Elizabeth, lunched at Docks.  Just a splendid day in every way.  Grateful for every second, trying to be.  

Using the shuffle on new Pandora account.  Includes a station of the hits of 1967.  Got me feeling that yes at last I am able to become the fellow-traveling hippie that I thought maybe I wanted to be way back then.  Talk about the fantasies of memory and imagined memory.  

Thought this morning:  27th June  If I had become an architect I would not have had to worry about reading books or keeping up with great thoughts and ideas.  I would not have tried to be an intellectual, or a professor.  I would have designed houses and buildings and looked after their construction.    

We drove over to Ogunquit today for lunch at Barnacle Billy’s.  Ate too much overlooking the little yard and garden on the cove.  Overcast and getting muggy but still a nice breeze in the cove.  We wanted to walk on Marginal Way but after too big a lunch we didn’t feel like it.  Short walk about the point and then drove to Rochester and bought a blender at Walmart.  Home around 7pm.  

Thurs evening  28 June

Touch of runs from lunch I guess at Fridays in Vegas while the Latinas lunched across the street at the wagon Mexican place.  Rains heavy off and on all day.  

Henri Cole had a piece on Don Hall for the Paris review today.  Much better than the first one they posted written by a much younger guy (I think).  He said he devoted himself to poetry and eros, praised him for the hard work of a lifetime of writing.  

Friday  June 29  

Hotter and muggier all this weekend and next week.  4the weather.  We’re hanging all of these little Chiapas weavings all over the house.  Indigenous doilies!  don’t dare call them that.  But they are added these little spots of color and texture everywhere that are kind of neat.  Again, hippie decor redivivus.  In honor of Rick, I guess.  we got such a big box full of them from Marci.  

Finally fixed the shade on the skylight.  Took forever.  Why?  Humidity outside up to 100%?  Just showered briefly.  Trying to reset password on dealing with Fort Knox.  Walmart putting massive vertical barriers in front of its doors.  Ready to stop a tank.  Tanks.  

from Cemetery in Barnes by Josipovici  

“Sometimes, in the early morning, in the summer, the light shone most gently on the earthenware teapot and, seeing it, he would feel tears come into his eyes.  I could never have experienced that light if I had not been alone, he would say.  I could never have felt as I did then that I wanted to bless the world and be blessed by it in turn.”  58  

A little more than half way through.  How do I like this book?  Mostly I do I guess.  What will turn upon the presence of the second wife?  The rhythm of the prose sections is nice, I like all of it and the repetitions.  

“Only when you do things automatically, he would say, is there a chance of being surprised.  And what is life without surprises?
I loved my solitude and my routine, he would say.”  48

“Though he loved words and the rhythms of language he had neither the desire nor the ability to make something of his own with them.  What made him happy, he realised, was the act of sitting down at his desk, the feel of the stack of empty sheets of foolscap under his hand and the lamp shining on the open book in front of him. “  42

“We walk in the labyrinth of our lives, he would say, and we do not know if we are lost or not, do not know if we are happy or not.  
Happy, unhappy, his wife--his second wife--would say.  It doesn’t mean a thing.”  
That’s true too, he would say. “   62

wow  just shifted books to Priestly and got this:
“So I lingered on, and fortunately I hadn’t too much to do, for business was quiet just then, and there was indeed a curious emptiness about those bright days in late June and early July.”  281  Exactly how the evening feels right now, 6:25 pm.  Heat over for the day.  

What to offer for dinner?  

Wish I were reading Aciman for the first time.  

Priestley :  “When you’re my age, what you thought and felt at eighteen seems rather absurd and unimportant at first--you begin by being very condescending to your young and callow self--but I see now that that won’t do, just because what happens to you when you’re eighteen or so moulds and colours you as later things don’t.  And you carry that self forward into life, Liz.  And another thing.  I know that what happened to me then is very important, much more important than I imagined it would be, because I’ve tried to re-live that time and sometimes emotions have been released that I didn’t think were there.”  289  Bright Day 

Bright Day seems to get better and better towards the end.  Both in the writing and in the narrator’s sense of himself and all that has happened to him.  When will he remember the sister, the strange archetypal, statuesque woman he met one day years ago?  She will return before the last few pages.  I suspect. Will he marry Elizabeth?  Probably but that will not be as important as what he realizes about other things.

Morning revelation from looking up some websites on Pitta dosha.  I found the old container of Ayurvedic spices and used some this morning on my cereal and fruit bowl.  Guess what!?  Fermented foods are too hot for Pitta, better to eat ghee !  and milk and butter !  wow.  cheese and salt are too heat-producing.  yes, I recognize that for sure.  So I’m now subscribing to some ayurvedic newsletters to keep me reminded of some of this.  So that’s why Depak Chopra sells so much.  

Phil and Peg have been sick.  Must be super-miserable in this heat wave.  Phil noted the style of teaching Rose describes on page 25.  Checked it out and yes, that’s me to a T.  
“I am far from being a meticulous planner, and prefer to leave things to chance, accident, trusting  the spontaneity of the instant.  I am not afraid to improvise, to follow the moment.  I need to know who my audience is, to gauge their temperament, to see their faces, to feel their concerns before I can begin to talk to them on any meaningful level.  The notes I keep are guides which may indicate the pathways without making me stick to it, fluid outline rather than rigid structure, suggestions not commands.  Such is the best teaching, I feel.”  

Yep and double-yep.  That’s me.  That was me, for years and years.  And now I wonder if that’s why the painting was doomed to fail, or doomed to become less and less satisfying.  I loved the beginnings and the middle stages, non-stages, of flow and process.  But I had a hard time being really happy with the need to abandon pieces and move on.  I’m also remembering the final few years of teaching.  It all clouded over, that interest in seeing the faces of the students, the desire to improvise and excite.  I got tired of them, tired of myself.  I had heard all my one-liners too often.  I lost touch with their vibes before I even tried to find them.  I wanted to save whatever spontaneous energy I had left or could find again for something else, somewhere else.  

Google wrangled two bucks out of me for a month’s worth of storage.  Subscription.  Have to figure out how to clear out storage, even go back to paper and delete for important things.  The infinitudes of google so blared some years ago at start-up have vanished.  

And Priestley’s novel does describe the pattern of the whole 20th century after WWI.  Decline and Fall and someone else put it.  The money people coming in to ruin the traditional family businesses and get themselves new titles.  Phil talked about the old railroads around C-land.  Now the execs want the trains to be three miles long so all the rails and equipment are under terrific stress and of course they just had a massive train wreck in Hyndman.  

I remember the name but never knew where it was.  Just looked on google maps.  Google stopped delivering my mails and said my storage was full.

I had foolishly thought years ago that google was offering infinitely free storage with gmail!  Paid two bucks for a month of bigger storage but now plan
to empty all my folders to free up space and go back to printing on paper any key documents I think i might need.  Sigh.

Gosh I'm worried about the two of you in this heat wave.  Stay inside in the ac.  I feel so lucky that we now have it in the house because we put in
three heat pumps to help lower oil fuel costs in the winter and these brilliant japanese units also cool in the summer.  Jackpot for me because I get
so miserable in this humid weather.  Looking up Ayurvedic health sites for the eczema and have decided I am a "pitta" body type.  Need cooling
cucumber soups and not gazpacho (which we always make in the summer) because according to ayurvedic principles tomatoes heat the body as well
as spices and fermented foods.  Who knew? !  

Yes, Rose's description of teaching on page 25 was me to a T for most of my teaching life.  At the best times I really enjoyed it.  When it was flat and
leaden, it was flat and leaden.  Almost like addiction, the highs and lows of dopamines.  Same for running five miles a day back in the day.  The
high that kicks in around 3.5-4.5 miles is just wonderful when you're at the peak of your conditioning.  

July 1, 2018

July 2, Monday

Long phone to Transferwise.  Nigerian named David, perfect English with an accent I took to be Indian.  He is Estonia, the home location of Transferwise.  Refund posted, we will see if it arrives.  Hmmm.  They had the funds for a few days.  Wanted me to approve a change in euro rate.  Can’t help but think that they are using this as a way to skim some extras, playing the transfer rates game once again, as money changers have been doing since, oh, Nineveh?  

Must be the expansiveness of summer, daylight, even some way that the humidity addles the brain, that I once again think “oh, I will write a novel by re-writing Joscopovici’s little thing, where’s the harm in that!?  About half way through.  Kind of missing now in hindsight Priestley’s super-confident work, so certain of it’s form and superb craftsmanship.  A fine piece of work.  But not a forgotten masterpiece that must be saved at all costs.  Twin to Brideshead in appearing in 1946 and summing up much about how England saw itself as rebuilding began.  

Melinda Johnston this morning.  Such a wonderful therapist for Va and great all-round person.  We feel so uplifted everything we see her.  Going to start icing the knees more with a bag of frozen peas.  And doing leg lifts to strengthen the quads.  

Imagined an itinerary for tomorrow’s day off.  See how it works out.  North.  
Reading about Pitta on Ayervedic sites in terms of eczema has given me permission to eat ice cream!  Just in time.  Yogurt and other such fermented things are all wrong for our types!  But butter and milk and ice cream are great!  Wow, thank you and who knew?  Cooling.  I’ll take it.  I fell into the current hype for probiotics, trying to increase every sort but lo
if Ayurveda is a better take, those fermentations are all wrong.  Tumeric, though, is “tridosic.”  But alcohol in vodka or gin form as always, always, appealed to me much more than wine and especially beer.  I’ve thought I developed a taste for beer these past ten years, and have, sort of.  But this non-fermentation angle appeals more.  

“In Paris there was the Ile des Cygnes, Swan Island, but that was an altogether staider affair, in keeping with the formal gardens and general air of symmetry which made parts of the city so elegant and so depressing at the same time.”  70  Cemetery in Barnes

Tuesday  July 3 

Heat wave continues.  George gave me a negative comment about Jim’s book based on the cover.  Wonder if he reads anything anymore?  why did I think he might read this?  The comment is in line with his generation I suppose, and his own history.  Have never heard any comments about his growing up years down south.  Lebanese family, I think.  Roanoke?  

Keep thinking I should write a reply to Don’s letter with cartoon drawing which he wrote in response to his flood of birthday cards for his sixty-fifth.  I guess as we move through these higher numbers we are all (always?) dumbfounded with wonder and resignation and some faintheartedness.  

Almost like a day off itself.  What will the day turn out to hold?  Some plans in mind, an itinerary, and yet as always with those things we hope something will turn up not expected.  And if it does not, or not to our satisfaction, what then?  

Time, anyway, mid-year, to post this much onto the blog, that ancient vehicle of self-advertisement.  

Fine day off driving around the Littleton area.  Shilling new not open.  Lunched at the little yellow lunch cafe up the hill.  Locals who used to go to the Miller’s Cafe.  Enjoyed finishing Josopivici’s book up until the very end when I didn’t know quite what happened, what we were supposed to think, decide, assume.  Nor just how we wanted to respond to the main character and his two wives.  One reviewer said there were three, but I missed that.  I wanted to underline so many passages in the final third of the book, from page 71 onward.  So the meditative, literary strains of the book I liked, but once I realized it was yet another, albeit very elegant and witty and clever, turn on Modernism, I liked it less.  I could re-read it to really savor it and get it, but that would be a waste of time, wouldn’t it?   I thought I could re-write it, take out all the schtick and Aciman-ize it and Modiano-ize it.  Or just Garlitz it.  But if I took out the clever, modernist tricks, it would just be another of my journal entries, more or less. If there’s no game, no gaminess, can there be any art of any kind?  

Drove to the Frost Place and parked in the shade and meditated.  Had ice cream earlier.  Drove up the long straight Mann Hill rode to the top, something I now think I did at least once before some years ago.  Bought things in the new-old Co-op.  Earlier went to Bethlehem and scouted the place where Dave will play.  Exactly the one I thought it would be.  Enjoyed being up in the mountains in this heat.  

“He would say,” “she would say,”  he gets that from Bernhard, and the repetition and rhythms.  You would think I would be wilder about this book.  The blurb from the Guardian says he displays deep feeling, but did I feel it?  Not as I really wanted to.  The whole thing about working as a translator.  Aciman’s notions on misreading might prove to be more interesting.  Isn’t Aciman also an end-of-the-line modernist?  Not at all in the brainy way.  Feeling really does move his thinking about things.  Enough with all this elegant, hyper-lean braininess.  We don’t need paleo literature.  

Rose’s first book about literary failures next on the stack.  Assume it will be more direct and hearty fun.  Josopivici may be witty and even funny (say some readers on Goodrds) but he’s not really any fun.  Or am I just tired?  

Willow wants to buy a new macbookpro.  What could be more American than go to the mall and buy it?  

4th of July  

A fine day in Manchester and restful.  We walked in the mall using the rented baby carriage and it worked really well.  Why did we wait so long to try them?  Interesting sales staff helped us at Mac in three stages.  New macbook purchased.  

Re-reading Don’s letter.  May not want a reply.  Also thinking more about the Josopivici novel.  And I wondered why am I not rushing back to finish reading Knausgaard’s opus?  Is he not our contemporary Proust?  Or Trollope?  Or . . . our Knausgaard.  
Lines Collected in Reverse Order, pages 101 to 80, from The Cemetery in Barnes By Gabriel Josipovici 

One sprouts so many lives.  He would talk of his fantasies of drowning.  As I sank I would feel quite relieved.  There goes another life--and know I had not finished with this one. But there is, of course, no excuse.  For it is not really his art but his life he is talking about, and for one’s life not living up to expectations there is no excuse, except the paltry one that this is true of everybody’s life.  The richness of life is living in the present with what you have.  Perhaps.  It is his favourite word.  What would we do without it? There is a kind of sorrow in solitude.  The sweetness and the sadness are conjoined.  And Monteverdi is the artist of that mood.  It is the mood of our times, for however close we are to another human being we always know, deep down, that we are alone.  When the wysteia was in flower, its strange unearthly beauty, more grey than blue, but a vibrant grey, always made him want to cry, though whether for joy or sorrow he could not tell. We all try to protect ourselves against reality. He thinks that by saying perhaps he can protect himself against reality. Perhaps I did.  Perhaps I have that propensity. He was always looking for saviours in his life.  Mysterious power.  He did not have a firm grasp of reality.  He lived his life in a dream.  He would not bother to take a book with him when he set off there, because he knew what he would do when he arrived: find his favourite bench, sit staring out into space, and let his mind go blank.  


There, now I’ve done Josipovici.  Actually you can see from this how the last third of the book has an appeal that the earlier sections did not.  At least not as I have forgotten them, so quickly.  


Today is Sunday the 8th, evening.  Glorious day.  Swim and docks walk in blazing 3pm sun---too much caffeine by then and foul mood in the heat.  Just napped in the cool a c and now feel much better.  Getting ready for Greg and Gerri on Friday and then the kids.  Rearrange things in the downstairs room in preparation.  Va has her new macbook, getting the old one fixed up once more on Tuesday.  

Jim sent this note on the 5th----along with two pieces, his most recent column and an obituary “Death of a Harmless Man.”  


Thanks so much for your wonderful visit here, and for the maple syrup, and for Bob’s splendid review. I know the last mentioned will inspire an avalanche of perchances. ( Oh dear, the poor git is losing control of spelling. Perhaps.)

And Virginia, at the risk of upsetting your spouse (so thin-skinned!), I have to say that the very best part of our visit was really coming to know you, your rich, warm personality, and your wondrous wit!  I’m so glad that I have you as a friend, and that you have Bob and he has you! You are a gift, each to the other, from Inscrutable Wyrd. 

Somewhere between here and there is a copy of A Fable of Grace, duly signed.

But herewith is a carload of love—no, two carloads, one for each of you!


Dear Virginia and Bob

Thank you for the card

Japanese people are fond of fire-fly  HOTARU in Japanese
It is a part of our culture to enjoy fire-fly in summer night

During the World War II, I was sent to the countryside to avoid  bombings
where all lights were turned off at night

I caught fire-flies and put in a bottle at night and used it as a lamp


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