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DIARY 8366              3/14/74


What I HOPE to do is merely LIST the things that I don't find satisfactory about the relationship---which I somehow suspect John would NOT agree with:

1. He doesn't want to have sex with me anymore because I'm "boring" and "unimaginative."
2. He doesn't want to listen to my opinions on what I see, since they're only OPINIONS.
3. He's loath to take any advice I give him; I feel it's because it comes from ME.
4. He'll never get enthusiastic about any anecdotes I tell him about anything, yet
5. He expects me (and I try) to be enthusiastic about HIS anecdotes.
6. I bring him a gift of Gekkeikan plum wine and ask him to try it; he says "no."
7. Then when he DOES taste it, he asks why I bought it. Should this PLEASE me?
8. When the Joffrey changes a ballet from "Ballet I" to "Trinity" he says "I'll never order any tickets ahead of time again." That cuts me OUT.
9. I ask him where he's going. As briefly as possible he'll answer: "A concert," "A dance."
10. I ask what he thought of it, and he seems not INTERESTED in telling me, either saying he's forgotten, or that he doesn't want his memory of it sullied by my comments.
11. Anytime I suggest an insight (my liking for cities [many and quick] are like his tastes for sex, and vice versa [few and very slowly]) he dismisses it.
12. If I AGREE with what he says, the conversation is pleasant, but brief; if I DISAGREE, there's always an argument in which I end up feeling that HE is quite sure he's right and I'm to be quite sure I'M wrong. This is openness?
13. He likes it when I go with him when he sees "Persian Suite," and I bend over backward to see something nice in it; he walks out of "Zardoz" unwilling even to discuss it, and when he does, says it's totally shoddy---pandering to pornography. Where is his "Consider they're doing their best in the best way they know how"? That's OK for what HE sees and not OK for what I see.
14. If I kiss HIM, it's done; if I don't kiss him, it's NOT done. Except for that special morning when he talked with me, liked the conversation, and actually kissed me THREE times at HIS initiative! Cuddling in the morning is totally out of the question, unless I bend to his hours. He can't change to my hours because his morning hours are so valuable to him---without any possibility that my evening hours might conceivably be valuable to me.
15. He said he'd probably be going to DTW Saturday, when the Washingtons are coming over. I said I really thought he was trying to be difficult (with the particular irony that it was ME who told him Jeff said it was a good series), he said "I don't like to be criticized." Naturally he can criticize me all he likes, but I'm forbidden to criticize him. And here I'm forcibly reminded of the incredible spout of words when he was asking "What could I possible oppose to the single individual in enlightenment?" when we'd been talking---the subject had been brought UP by the discussion---about the possible liabilities of multiplicity of experience---which brings me back to the talk about a possible travel-PR job for me: he was obviously saying that the MULTIPLICITY of experiences there would militate against my lifestyle and possible personal satisfaction---which would seem to ME to put HIM on the side of the single/ enlightened one, but of course he'd never agree to THAT.
16. I mention WANTING to find a pen and FINDING a pen. His reaction? "Facts." "FACTS!"
17. He says "Think about the answer" when I've asked HIM what he thinks about the difference between seeing Jaipur and Udaipur in one day in the context of a six-week trip to India and in the context of a four-day weekend. And what does his remark do EXCEPT suggest that I'm being stupid and he knows all there is to know about it but he won't even deign to go INTO it with me?
18. There ARE some detail-improvements: he doesn't complain about cooking; the last few times he's emptied MY wastebasket; he DID finally take the slide projector off the serving table.
19. OH, the POINT of bringing up the Saturday dinner: John came back and said he WOULD be at dinner, but without one WORD of "You were right," or "I'm sorry," though these are the words I'm expected to give HIM at the least change.
20. Even the damn clock: I don't like it, he likes it. Therefore, by definition, I have to put up with it, while he has only to tolerate my STOPPING it.
21. If I use the grass, there's a shortage; if HE uses the grass, it's OK.
22. He seemed to have NO CONCEPT of why I might feel hurt if I knew HE had a joint that he wouldn't share with me, or, I suspect, WHY I would think HE would feel hurt if he knew I had a joint that I wouldn't share with him.
23. Likewise HE would ask ME what it would mean to the relationship when I would think of taking a job that would mean travel on some weekends for ME, while I never got the idea t all that he was thinking of how I might like to move to the University of Maryland, or the University of Minnesota, or the University of Washington, or any OTHER place he applied for a job.
24. Then based on the "I work to live," while "he lives to work," meaning that he gets his SATISFACTION from what he WORKS at, not what he IS, while I get MY satisfaction from what I AM, not from the details of the JOB I'm doing, I say that he fears I would BECOME a PR/travel man---that my JOB would determine my LIVING---but he says that he DOES what he IS, which is terrifying since it means if he ever takes a typing job, he would have to BE a typist FIRST---which puts him in the same spot as Bob Kelly: he wants to do EXACTLY what he wants to do and get PAID for it, which seems the least bit impractical. But he CAN'T see that I AM ME whatever I do, whereas he has to IDENTIFY (whether a priori or a posteriori) with whatever HE does.
25. Back to details: his morning hours are FAR more important than anything I would choose to communicate to him during them, so I have to save them for HIS times.
26. He looks at something and throws it back; I say look further and he throws it back; I say look into the CENTERFOLD for the Streakers, and he likes it, without any CONCEPT of how many times I had to FORCE a bit of pleasure on him.
27. He feels free to play music when he's exercising and I'm working, but if I want to play music while he's working, I have to go over to MY side to do it.
28. He likes it cold in the apartment, so of course the apartment must be cold; no CONCEPT that the apartment should be warm because I like it warm---naturally he's RIGHT in what he wants, whatever it is, and I'm WRONG.
29. If HE talks about a topic of interest to HIM, the conversation can go on forever; if I want to talk, I'd just better find someone ELSE to talk to, and he says HE identifies with the "I've got a Secret" of Jung!! But, of course, that's because what HE wants to talk about is VALUABLE and what I want to talk about ISN'T, or it's a DREAM, or it's not based on FACT---as HE sees it!
30. THIS is a RELATIONSHIP? Frankly, what's in it for ME?


DIARY 8370              3/14/74


Having lunch, I ask John how he's feeling, what with the Guggenheim, the book, and the non-registration in the class. He says that he's resigned to it all, resigned to the idea of getting a job of some kind for a year or two (based surely in part on his I Ching reading that said "Persistence is all very good, but don't push it TOO hard"), but he's wondering what there is for both of us in the RELATIONSHIP. We talk on for a bit, and he AGREES that I'm "More the same than different from what I was" and that all the change in the relationship has come from HIM, and that he now has "different needs, desires, and satisfactions." I try to tell him that his feelings are so based on what he DOES, rather than what he IS, it's hard to talk NOW about "Who he is" since three weeks AFTER he starts working on ANY new job he'll be a DIFFERENT person from what he is now BECAUSE he is working for three weeks on the new job. He rightly responds that ALL TIMES is the best time to look at a relationship: something that's clear now may be clouded later, something clouded now may be clearer later. BUT he says that if we met now we might have sex one or two times (I think he's being generous; once would be IT), but a relationship wouldn't develop. I tried to tell him that he seemed down on ALL relationships because he was down on HIMSELF, but he couldn't see that, and started talking about the CHOICE of a person, and it was quite clear he didn't want to hurt me by saying that, quite simply, he wouldn't CHOOSE me to live with now. But he kept talking about the joy and exuberance of the past, which we shared, saying that it's gone, admitting it's gone mainly on HIS part, but saying that the joy and exuberance could come BACK, but it wouldn't come back to the RELATIONSHIP. I asked what specifically he had in mind for the relationship NOW, but he said "Nothing, we'll have to think about it and see what happens." He stated quite CLEARLY that sex would NEVER come back, and I took it to mean he would NEVER respect any of my ideas or philosophies, NEVER become more open AS APPLIED TO ME---I'm sure he thinks of himself as OPENLY JUDGING ME TO BE WRONG in many ideas NOW. He keeps stressing that he's a different person now, and that's NOT the person who loved me, though he has "concern" for me now. So now I can wonder how long THAT will last.


DIARY 8378              3/22/74


My mind's in a whirl and I DON'T understand. The talk wound through labyrinths of logic and statement and counterstatement, twisting the points of view around until I stopped thinking, stopped following the tortured paths, only sat numbly and listened while it seemed to me John pointed out his ultimatum: I had to force myself to the complete understanding that life will end, that the relationship will end, but that if I did that, and was willing to support him in EVERYTHING that he did, he would suffer the relationship to continue until he was called away from the city, at which time, if I felt I didn't want to come with him, the relationship would end. He got up from the table to leave, and I stopped the clock and went to the sofa to think. Finally, as he was about to go out the door, I went to him and said, "As I see it, this is the summary: all FEELINGS have gone out of the relationship as you talk about it; of the two, YOU are undoubtedly the superior one, but in exchange for certain benefits of companionship that you get from me, you would SUFFER my presence if I did PRECISELY what you wanted me to do, and that the relationship would end the instant you would say it did." He stood up to leave: "If that's what you believe, so be it. I find it quite untrue, but it THAT'S what you want to believe, I can't change it." "Do you hear the arrogance in your voice?" "No." Whisper, "It's there" And he leaves. We started the dinner by my saying that I KNEW with one part of my mind that death was inevitable, but I still wanted to live forever. In response to those, like Jung, who say "I will die with the feeling that I have done the best that I could do," I would say "And I could have done TWICE as much if I'd lived TWICE as long." I KNEW that death was inevitable, and yet I still wanted to live forever. With THAT as a background, it was quite a knee-jerk reaction for me to be afraid when I saw something that was directed toward the breakup of the relationship. How could I be enthusiastic about his responding to an ad for a dance director in Bismark, North Dakota? My reaction would be one of "Don't go there, you won't like it there because I won't like it there" But if I WERE supposed to live up to my part of the bargain (as he said "hammered out in a contract), I'd either have to CHANGE what I've been trying to change for the past number of years without success, or I'd have to ACT like I'd change, or I have to run the risk of HIS displeasure because I was acting the way I WAS. To leap ahead again, I said "This is EXACTLY where we've ended up so many times before: I must accept YOU exactly as YOU are, you are not obliged to accept ME as I am." But now it's gone a bit deeper. He KNOWS that I act to PERPETUATE things, he KNOWS that I'd therefore act as a weight around his neck when he tried to do something (I guess he would tend to say ANYTHING) new, and he KNOWS he doesn't want that. So he's really laid it on the line: he CAN'T respect me as I am, so it's up to me to change. But I didn't tell him how "clever" of him it seemed to be that all of a sudden it was not HE who was making the decision to end the relationship, it was ME. But, now that I think of it, MIGHT that not be the way he would "choose." He mentioned BEFORE about the enormous pain of having to make the decision to end the relationship, and more than a few times this evening I had the strong feeling that he was trying to push the decision off onto ME, and in the end that's EXACTLY what he did: if I chose to change in the ways he outlined, he could open himself to me again. But when he brought up the subject of sex, I felt a repulsion: he talked again about how disappointed he was when I didn't come up with anything novel in sex when it was quite clear he wanted something novel. We started talking about the "difference" between sex and affection, and he said that "Sex was the culminating act of a close relationship." I said I thought that was not true for me, the best part of a relationship I liked was just before or just after the orgasm, when we were just feeling CLOSE to each other. He then said he thought so too, but thought that was all sex. I said I thought it was sex AND affection, and then the categorization seemed pointless to the both of us. But in shifting the DECISION to me, he also shifted the PAIN away from HIMSELF. I had previously found a strange stage director's pleasure in the thought of being able to smile ruefully and say "John wanted it that way," and suddenly the tables were reversed and it's JOHN who can say "He wanted it that way," seriously thinking that THAT would be the way to summarize something I would term: "He didn't want to change into the kind of person I WANTED him to change into." I said that I DID want to change, but he got into a strange set of locutions with phrases like "What glory do I get from that? What pay do I get? Is that something I want to do?" as if he thought I was hiring him as my psychiatrist. Could he have been looking for something like this? Something that he could focus on me and look at me with a slight pity and sigh and say "Oh, it could have been so marvelous if only he'd been a little different"? "But he didn't consider anything about me, only thought of himself, so it would never be." Without any thought that the same EXACT thought could be about HIM. But since he's right and I'm wrong it's not a parallel case. He said that I could talk to Norma if I wanted to, but HE would talk to someone of his OWN choice, IF he wanted to talk to anyone. Is it possible that I alienated him when I got home from work, kissed him, and said that I at LAST understood the degree of his loneliness? Could he have been hurt by BEING so open to me, and now be trying to cover himself up? Why do I constantly want to blame things on him---let's shift some blame onto me. OK, I AM a weight around his neck---but that seemed to be OK so long as I was GIVING him something in the relationship. When he was finished with his summary of my worthlessness, I SAID that I felt totally worthless, and he didn't bother to counter with anything, except maybe; "If that's the way you want to look at it---" The usual copout. But again I see the usual cycle: if JOHN had made the decision, I could look on myself as the wounded one in the duo, feel sorry for him for having to do without me, yet feel happy for his courage to do something that hurt him. Now it seems John wants to force the roles the other way; I refuse to change, so HE can look on himself as the wounded one: I didn't think enough of him to devote myself to him DURING THE TIME he was devoting HIMSELF totally to his own development, which he would follow out of the city if it took him there. But he even said that if I got the offer of some incredible job in Washington, and he saw nothing there at the time that interested him, HE would have the courage to stay here and break off the relationship. This is supposed to make me feel wanted? But as I started to say before [oh, yes, the paradox of his saying that promiscuity was a trivial thing, so I shouldn't even TALK about the idea of his wanting to stay out overnight or bringing in someone to stay overnight, so it might be best if we separate beds, anyway---take THAT with his "Sex is the culmination of a relationship"?] when I thought of the pressures for novelty he put on the sex act, which I thought was quite marvelous enough as it was, and then I started threading through his ways of talking: supercilious through the evening with me, degrading when talking about certain artists, unfriendly with people he didn't like, unthinking while bystanders could take offense, manic when he was jabbering on about WHAT could be on the other end of the spectrum from one person attaining Nirvana alone [which was multiplicity, what we'd been talking about the entire evening]---when I thought of all these things, I had to ask myself, DO I really want the relationship back the way it was? It's like asking someone with a wisdom tooth half wrenched from his jaw if he really wants the wisdom tooth out. The first reaction is to say "YES, dammit, and be OVER with it." But now HE can look at ME as the sinner, and HIMSELF as the sinned against, so that if I ever went back to him with the feeling of the pity that the relationship HAD split up, he could say---in all honesty---well, it was YOU who killed the relationship!! THIS IS A CORE THOUGHT OF WHAT'S BOTHERING ME!! I want to be able to say that about HIM and HE wants to be able to say that about ME. Talk about sacrifice, which he said he felt HE was doing for his precious way of live in giving me up, I'm thinking it WOULD be the sacrifice for me to LET him say "Ah, it would have been so wonderful for the next twenty-five years, but he wanted out of it, so he ended it." So I guess I DO have to get down to THAT question again: DO I WANT THE RELATIONSHIP TO END? And I think about the list of GOOD POINTS/BAD POINTS, which I wrote up so long ago and still haven't typed (Diary 8387). And the only two BAD POINTS that really matter are: separate meals and no one to kiss. But with the relationship the way it IS, the meals are torment now, and I don't get any KICK out of kissing him ANYWAY. So it DOES seem to be the end. But every time I get to the end, HE doesn't want to end, and every time HE wants to end, I don't want to end. Will he come back this evening and say he's changed his MIND again? No, my summary will probably stay with him for a long time, just as my feeling of worthlessness to him will stay with ME. So we may even part in bitterness---God I hope not---or I may have to put up with some wheedling on HIS part of let HIM have a better story "And I TRIED to get us back together." God, it DOES sound as if I'm writing from the END of the relationship. And HOW could I go to bed with him again without feeling TOTALLY self-conscious? How could I kiss him without wondering what's going on behind those marvelous blue eyes? How could I hold him again with the memory of what we've said to each other? And I remember something he said once in the past, about one person going just too far, and the other person going further, and without either realizing, ending it. It seems that might have HAPPENED. He not REALLY wanting it, I not REALLY (doesn't look much like that, does it?) wanting it, yet it ENDING. But if I DO want it, he can BLAME me. Is THAT so bad? And friends will be getting the TWO sides: he saying I wanted to end it, me saying he wanted me to change and I couldn't, so it had to end. Go in to piss and am surprised to see the Flagyl on the toilet tank top. So HE'S got some kind of intestinal troubles he hasn't told me about, and I've had this cold for three weeks and feel under it. A really fine time to have a knockdown drag-out fight to the finish about the relationship!! Just feel terribly depressed, wishing it would be over, one way or another; sad if it ends, fearful if it continues. Boxed in, depressed, depressed. What a SAD affair!


DIARY 8387              3/23/74


[And the IRONY that it's just a WEEK till my birthday, and the relationship is ACTUALLY splitting up this week---what a heartbreaking birthday present.]

[Note written 3/14]:

Good Points                               Bad Points


Separate beds (come and go without GUILT) that way


Separate meals. Lonely


But I get more READING done!


I have to cook my own meals---


But I'll get more to EAT than not


No more dinners---but


Did I REALLY like them?


The birthday party was nice




and Bowells were nice




I'll have to tell friends


But I'll be able to make NEW ones!




And can have someone sleep OVER




AND no more clock




and wash my OWN dishes when I WANT




and jerk OFF when I want with all the porno I want spread out!




and show SLIDES again!!




and watch whatever TV I want to (and what will JOHN do?)






But what about the grass?




and I have to buy a BED


But the DESK is nice under the WINDOW


I'll learn to care for PLANTS


No more KITTY


No more Village Voice [BUYit!!]


can EAT all I WANT


will he still answer the PHONE?


I can try TYPING at ANY hour!


Can't escape upstairs NOISE!


Have music ALL the time.


No one to kiss


DIARY 8390              3/23/74


Between each page I take out of the typewriter and put into the typewriter I think of something else about the relationship, then have to WRENCH myself back to the typing. Phone Norma and tell her I'll be seeing her at 5:30 this evening alone. Feel sadness when I think about John's offer for a birthday party that he's obviously done nothing about, and try to evaluate the GENERAL sadness I feel whenever I think about the relationship breaking up. [And the recurring thought that "JOHN AND BOB" would make a GREAT book!] But is the sadness RIGHT for the PRESENT relationship, or am I just being sad about the relationship factors that have ALREADY ended? It might be a lot the latter, since up till last week I had the HOPE that the relationship might return to where it was so pleasant, and during the past week I've had to ACCEPT that it can NEVER return to that. I think it's legitimate to feel sad about the end of THAT, but that IS ENDED ALREADY! So I can feel sorry for the death (that word, again) of the relationship, and the death of my HOPES for that relationship, but can I possibly feel sorry for the death of the relationship as it ACTUALLY IS, at this point? I hear an echo of Krishnamurti, and wonder how long (and HOW) I've been living actually IN the past, with the RELATIONSHIP as it was, as I would wish it to be, but not as IT IS! The relationship AS IT IS is obviously no longer good; while I could have HOPE, I could tolerate the present badness. Now that I have no hope, I DO feel that I can't tolerate the present badness. I DO have the feeling that I want to VERIFY my thoughts with someone as objective as Norma, but I don't feel that she will have any decided INSIGHTS that I haven't had already! Is it as simple as: John, as he is NOW, doesn't care for me the way I am, and I feel that I CAN'T change, or that the amount of change I would have to undergo to be what HE wants me to be I'm unwilling to undertake, so THE RELATIONSHIP (which at least from the point of the affection, the love, and the sex that I once got out of it HAS ended) SHOULD end, since the relationship AS IT IS NOW is not good for either him OR me. But, God, the sadness at the KNOWLEDGE that all that FEELING HAS actually gone!! No use crying over spilt feeling?


DIARY 8396              3/23/74


Just had lunch with John, where we sat quietly until I couldn't stand to see the time wasted, asked him about the Flagyl, and he said he thinks he may have amoebas. Then I ask him how he SAW the relationship for the last six months, and he replied quite simply "Increasingly destructive." "What do you see the relationship turning INTO?" "I guess I don't see much chance for it turning into anything---it would take too great a change on both our parts to produce a good relationships---it would be best just to stop." And so I couldn't resist giving MY conclusion, too: "I came to the insight that the sadness I felt was about the relationship that had ENDED a while back, and even I guess it would be good for the relationship that we have NOW to end." There was then a long silence, and John added that it would give us both advantages: we might be able to find new relationships that would help us both in ways we need now. Again there was a deafening silence until I asked, "What should we do about the apartments?" He said he thought it would take about five or six hours of work, and that tomorrow might be a good day because it's supposed to rain. We were both talking with quite flat voices as we sat on the sofa eating our tuna fish, and it didn't even seem like anything added to the conversation for me to say that FROM the tones of our voices it was PHYSICALLY dead as well as emotionally dead at this point. But it seemed that the boat had drawn up to the shore of our relationship, and there was only one thing left to do: both of us to get off and go our own ways, leaving that rich ocean behind us---rich even though we'd been sailing up an increasingly muddied estuary for the past couple of months. I suppose during the next few years our travels in this mythical land will take us to heights from which we can glimpse a view back over our shoulders of the sparkling ocean we've left behind, and we might futilely wish, somehow, to return to it, but it IS behind, and our lives are oriented so that there IS no going back, so that we have to search forward, hoping that other glimmering oceans yet lie before us, before the last black sea of death swallows us completely at the last. [How much more POETIC than "water under the bridge"!]


DIARY 8399              3/25/74


Blurt right out that John and I are splitting up, but like in some Bunuel comedy she starts chatting about something else, then has to get out the cheese and ginger ale, then settles into her seat and says "Now we can talk," then glances over into the hall and sees the light flickering and has to go fix that, and then there's a crash from outside that she throws her eyes upward (catch!) and sighs "57th Street!" And THEN I get into the history, saying that first we stopped having sex, and I thought it was a phase, and then the level of affection went way down and it was only the kisses that obviously only I wanted, and then it wasn't any affection at all, leading to the current crisis, which I managed to get out fully through her many interruptions, talking about her own marriage and former jobs, and bits of advice and philosophy and psychology. She came to a FIRST brilliant statement when I said that John seemed like he might be resentful of my travel offers, and that we'd gone through a list of things that we liked about each OTHER, and Norma said that we might LIKE these things in each other, but because the other HAS them and we DON'T have them, we grow to RESENT those things in the other person. I may RESENT John's easy sexuality that leads him into pain and the S/M scene. John may RESENT my being able to keep friends for a long time without alienating them. "When a relationship starts," she said, "both tend to IDEALIZE the other person, see in them everything they aren't, want them to be perfect as THEY would like to be perfect. When the relationship ENDS," she went on, "both now tend to DEGRADE the other person, and to reflect on them not what is GOOD in themselves but what is BAD in themselves, that they don't like, and they tend to project THOSE NEGATIVE IMAGES on the other person." So John in a strange way is really ACCUSING me of being non-affectionate, whereas HE is non-affectionate. I accuse HIM of being callous of my feelings, but honestly in the past few days MY feelings have been so important I have hardly ANY feeling for him at ALL---not least because I consider that he's CAUSING all these difficult times---CAUSING the split because he feels me a weight around his neck that he MIGHT feel pain in casting away, but he feels he has to do it to salvage his CAREER. Then I talked about trying to entertain him and make him feel better, and she rather surprised me by saying that undoubtedly I have been laboring under a great weight, too, thinking that I had to give him the gratification for what he was doing that he didn't get from his job or his associates. I felt compelled to keep him entertained and stimulated, even to the point of trying to think of things he should WORK on to keep his mind busy during unemployment. She said more than a FEW times that I must be exhausted from trying to carry him, and I could have wept with gratefulness for someone recognizing SOME of this, but felt that it wouldn't further the conversation. THEN she started describing him as a four-year-old: the world isn't playing the game the way HE likes it, so he gets angry and withdraws, withdrawing from someone who might HELP him in the meantime. She seemed to AGREE that he was being childish about wanting such a high-flown job without any background for it beside the dictionary, but I kept insisting and SHE kept not hearing that I AGREE with him on some level: he IS at his best time now, it IS too bad that circumstances don't afford him a greater audience, but she just kept on saying that the world is NOT fair, that it IS hard, and that one must be adaptable, that John was bulling his way through, STILL trying to get his own way, whereas I, who wanted to WRITE, realized I had to keep earning a living and would go into editing, or indexing, or travel, or WHATEVER I had to go into to earn a comfortable living, just as SHE had to go from job to job. She also said that this projection of what we WANT onto another person applies equally well to man-man, woman-woman, man-woman, even parent and child, lover-lover, and boss and employee. She said that she was projecting all HER failings onto HER BOSS at Helena Rubenstein. SHE wasn't happy with the job, but she kept thinking: if only my boss hadn't done that, hadn't taken my department away from me, hadn't made my job something that I didn't like---and one morning she woke up---two ways---to say "MY BOSS isn't doing THAT TO ME, I'm DOING THAT TO ME. I HAVE THE CONTROL OVER MY JOB. I SHOULD HAVE TOLD HIM THIS IS THE WAY I WANT IT. Or I should have said I don't LIKE this, and if it doesn't change, I'll LEAVE," and she was furious with herself (with HER great experience with that sort of projection from her marriage, where SHE envied and hated NORMAN for being able to go into a room and become friends with everyone, be the life of the party, have everyone remember HIS name, where SHE was the quiet mousy one---and HE envied and hated HER for being so determined with the housework, finishing up everything she started even though there were distractions, organized and accomplishing things) for not seeing it sooner and leaving SOONER for a new job. In much the same way I said I realized I was sad for the relationship that had ended ABOUT SIX MONTHS AGO, NOT this relationship. SHE said she quit the JOB she had now, which hadn't been the job she had WANTED for the past three or four months. Then she DID recognize that there would be pain involved with the separation, that it was just something that we both had to live through, but it would be better for both of us. She said she thought we'd overreact for the first few weeks and not see each other at all. I even told her that when I ENTERTAINED the thought of getting back together, the IDEA of having sex with John again, it suddenly seemed repulsive and impossible. Then she gave me a book to read, saying it was simplistic and poorly written, but like the saying "Love is blind," which we said was perfectly TRUE, and I was now SEEING John as he IS---he probably HADN'T changed that much, I was just SEEING him as he ALWAYS was---MANY truths are wrapped in clichés, and he's been listing some of them, among them the "if only" she kept quoting, and ended by saying that WE have to guide OUR OWN lives, and that I should read the book and maybe show it to John too. Then there seemed nothing left to talk about, it was time to go, and I thanked her for talking with me, and she said she really didn't seem to have much to say, and I said she helped a lot, and we walked out to the street for her to get down to AA and me to walk over to meet John for the Joffrey.


DIARY 8402              3/25/74


It seemed so callous to talk about various details when we were moving things back and forth: you can have all the cereal and the eggs and half the grass, but this is mine, and this we'll move later, and help me with this, and do you have a moment for that? It all seemed mechanical and shielded from emotions for the most part, or we both felt that we might continually burst into tears over some detail. He would talk gently about what plants I wanted, saying that I could keep the envelope holder he'd given me before for my desk, saying that he had no good place to hang the Tretes hanging, and I didn't even SAY anything about his keeping the wall paintings he'd sold me on March 1. I thought about my birthday every so often, but that was VERY painful and I had to leave it go. They played Mendelssohn's "Wedding March" by the Cleveland Orchestra on WNCN, and I thought THAT was ironic. Then I asked him if he wanted lunch at noon, and he did, and we sat and ate that with relative calmness in my room, and then I idly [and I thought, just this moment, that someone pushed against my locked door, but when I went I merely heard the click of his clock from the other side, no sign of his having been out] wondered aloud how long it would be before we would finally have things sorted out between the apartments totally. The most emotion-filled moments were during the final dinner (see DIARY 8403) that he was so kind to offer during lunch, knowing that I had nothing ready yet in the kitchen. True, there WERE times during the day when we seemed to be pushing each other "Can you clear that closet?" "Well, you have to clear THAT closet so I can move the stuff to it." Can you move the bicycle stuff soon? And he doesn't, so I have to move it myself. He carries over things of mine and dumps them, I carry over things of his and dump them, not trusting to say anything, not EVER looking at each other, except after dinner on the sofa, hoping the day would be over without any GREAT emotional strain, knowing that the rough time would come AFTER the move, and there was no reason why the move ITSELF couldn't be accomplished with the least amount of friction and the least tears when we really needed to WORK.


DIARY 8403              3/25/74


He'd offered to fix dinner while we were eating lunch, and I said OK. Then he came over at 6:05 saying dinner would be ready in 10 minutes, so I went over and set the table, asking to make sure he'd cleared enough space on what used to be the dining room table and what is NOW his desk, with his books and blotter and pencils and supplies loading it down, pushed slightly to one side, and he said yes. Put out the dishes, asked if he wanted wine, and he brought out the chicken while I looked at the transformation from the study back to his bedroom. We sat and he seemed not about to say a word, so I chatted about Norma for awhile, asked if he was going to the Kathak, wondered why he felt compelled to go to the class if no one signed up for it. But he only answered monosyllabically, and finally after he went to get another quarter-chicken to eat, and I was about finished, I decided that HE was eating and I was sitting, so it was up to HIM to continue the conversation for the last 1/4 meal. He said not a word, and every so often I looked over and could see his face reddening from the strain of not crying, and that of course would make ME feel full-eyed and choke-throated. He ate and ate while I sipped the wine, waiting for HIM to start saying something instead of me all the time, and he scraped the meat from the bones, dipped into the sauce, concentrated on the food, and his cold or his emotions were giving him a full nose, so he sniffed again and again, and his face seemed to get redder and redder, and then he was finished and pushed away from the table saying "That wasn't a very good idea." He went into the bathroom to close the door and blow his nose, and I sat waiting for him to come back, but he took such a long time that I began clearing the table and doing the dishes before he came out of the bathroom. "Do you want to talk?" I called to him. He came miserably into the kitchen and slumped onto the yellow stool-ladder, saying nothing. We tried stabs at saying something, but nothing really worked. "What WAS it that you meant wasn't a good idea?" Hoping, or dreading, that he'd say "the move." "Having dinner together." I swallowed a few times and said as clearly as I could, which was not entirely clearly, "I thought it was a very good idea. You knew I didn't have any food, so you offered me dinner. Thank you." [Oh, during dinner I'd even SAID "Well, at least it's a good last dinner."] And then he went into the living room. I felt very choked up as I finished dishes, and then went to stand in the doorway. "Should I stay and talk or should I go?" "What do you want to do?" "I guess at times like these it's better to have someone to talk to." "Then sit down," he said, motioning beside him on the sofa. So I sat and AGAIN he said nothing. I waited, hoping, but I had to start. "I think we're both people who are alone, and we both need someone to talk to. I'd like to feel that I could talk with you if I wanted to." "Yes," he choked out. "In fact, even if we---I had an idea, but immediately knew how impossible it would be---that even THINKING about the idea made it seem so impossible it was ridiculous to think of the idea," I staggered, hoping he was following. "And that idea was---that we could always get back together again." I thought I could feel him stiffening. Earlier, when I'd said "I think the worst time for me will be dinner," to which he responded "You always did like to eat," which I thought was not the most FEELING response, and then I said miserably, "I have the feeling that we're both saying exactly the wrong things to each other." "No," he said simply. Then I said I STILL thought we could be friends, that I could STILL offer him some of the companionship he wanted, and he sat there, wanting not to cry, and I thought with almost an inner scream that WE DON'T EVEN WANT TO GIVE EACH OTHER OUR TEARS ANYMORE, and that thought was such a wrench that tears went down my cheeks. We both sat there, not touching, totally miserable. Visions of me throwing myself on his lap and sobbing came and went. If he thought of me as a sea urchin, hardly would I wish a sea urchin to sob in my lap. He'd think I was trying a ploy, or trying to dominate, or weigh him down. So I sat for a bit, then said, "I guess I'll collect some things." Took over one load, then got into TV at 7:30 and didn't go across again. He came over with the dusty dried grasses in the big bottle, saying "I was going to throw these out. Do you want them?" "No" I said, and almost cried when he left the room. Then in a few minutes I heard his car leaving the garage, and he was gone for the evening. When he came back, I fantasized him coming in to see me, but he didn't---I jerked off and went to sleep.


DIARY 8405              3/25/74


I keep "rehearsing" our next conversation---MY next conversation with him. I think of his being even more miserable, and telling him what I think to be the two alternatives: either he RECOGNIZES, as I do, that it's best we be parted and STOP feeling miserable as soon as practicable, OR I will be forced to make him HATE me, so that he'll be convinced that it WAS the best thing for him to do. I picture myself being so cold and distant and commanding that he hates me for my unfeelingness, or I can see myself trying to kiss him and excite him sexually, saying "Well, if you DO want me back, you'll have to put up with THIS again!" And turning him off totally, as I mentioned during the last talk: everything we DID seemed to turn each other off, even to the point that one's TEARS automatically stopped the OTHER'S. If HE would be weepy, I'D say something wrong, and he'd stop. If I were feeling like crying, HE'D make some stupid statement that would distance me and dry my tears and release the choke in my throat instantly. We seemed balanced on some immutable balance, where we couldn't BOTH cry at the same time, couldn't BOTH be affectionate at the same time: more importantly, we couldn't BOTH call for help, or BOTH offer help, at the same time, but it would change the situation. So I thought to CAPITALIZE on these, and make the end of the thing MYSELF. But, paradoxically, we butt headlong when we TRY to be helpful, I have the auxiliary fantasy that if I really DID let myself go, he'd admire my strength, want to be dominated by me, and want to come crawling back on WHATEVER terms I'd care to make, and then I wouldn't want it. The perversity of the whole thing. But again Norma's "You project your worst traits onto the other," and so I probably think of HIM as being weak, which I don't want to admit in myself, and he probably thinks of ME as being dominant, whereas it's really HE who is, but doesn't CARE for it, wishing to NOT think it was so---so he tried to switch the REASON for the break from ME weighing HIM down to ME not wanting to change enough for HIM. And it goes around and around, I'm about to go in for another load and to relay the word, for the telephone, that I'll be at NC today, and there's probably going to be a page from THAT talk, too!


DIARY 8418              4/7/74


JA: I wish it didn't have to be such a painful decision, but I feel if I stayed with you I'd be holding myself back. I feel that you're a weight holding me back, that you don't encourage me. Tonight, I'm not interested in what you're seeing (I Puritani) and you're not interested in what I'm seeing (he hadn't told me, I hadn't asked). We've grown to be two entirely different people.

BZ: I've always felt that the BETTER the person felt about himself, the MORE he had to give to a relationship. I think YOU are not feeling good about YOURSELF, so the RELATIONSHIP suffers. YOU say YOU are open, but I'm quite tolerant of YOU as an individual person, why can't YOU be tolerant of ME as an individual person?

JA: I'm holding you back, you're holding me back. I wish I could be more LIKE you, and then I could ACCOMMODATE you.

BZ: Accommodations and tolerations, two similar words with VERY different overtones. I guess I DON'T want you to ACCOMMODATE me! I think it's ironic that YOU wanted to live together, YOU got me to live in the Heights, sell my bed, and now it's YOU who say we should split apartment.

JA: I feel I use people. I've used the BEST that you've given the relationship. Without you I never would have been able to change into the person I've become. And now that I don't need you anymore I feel I'm discarding you.

BZ: There's a core I don't understand. Is there anything you'd say to NORMA that you would say to ME?

JA: No. I wish it didn't have to happen, but I have to be MYSELF. You and the things I want to do aren't the same THING.

BZ: I'd hoped they'd be INDEPENDENT. I don't THINK of you when I think of my liking OPERA.

JA: (Invented): Opera is dead; talking to you is like talking to a dead man, or a person from the past. I need someone who's ALIVE.

BZ: (invented): The future is NO more alive than the past is. They're merely DIFFERENT. And NEITHER of them is NOW.

JA (Invented): But my thoughts LOOK to the future, to the future of art and humanity. I have to GIVE MYSELF to that, and if I have to give YOU up to do it, I MUST.

BZ (Invented): I'm sorry it has to happen. I'm sorry for you that you don't appreciate me. I'm sorry for me that I'm not the person you need NOW. (To myself). But, sad or not, it IS over, and I guess the pressing thought about me now is to get the DETAILS of it over FAST. GET the bed, SPLIT the apartments, It'll be sad through the doing and through the getting used to. But then it WILL be through and there'll be room for what's NEW! But THEN I remember how I felt with Bill, and Jean-Jacques, and Ralph G., and how Carl S. and Nye W. must have felt ABOUT me, and think that it IS hard to put into words---YOU JUST WANT IT TO BE OVER, AND SIGH WITH RELIEF WHEN IT IS. Maybe not logical, but there it is. I remember thinking that HIS ENDING it is really the only way I could FORESEE it ENDING! And I'm concerned about telling people: what will they say and think? During the intermission of the opera I go down with the idea that I'll use my "power" to get someone to help me. But as I scan the people there are an AWFUL lot of unpleasant looking guys around, and it occurs to me I'm excluding a bit more than HALF the human race from even a CHANCE of "helping" me, and I'm more interested in LOOKING at the people than in imploring their help, and as I go upstairs to write down the comments about Du Pre's voice (an insult to the audience, belling the cat; terrible, it's an ugly voice but I don't HATE it, she tried to carry him but he upstaged her) it dawns on me to ask myself WHAT kind of help I WANT? Help with the relationship? The only one who can help THAT is John, and he seems to be beyond that, just as I found myself BEYOND Jean-Jacques no matter HOW clear it was I was hurting him. OUTSIDE the relationship---why, I guess the help I REALLY want is SOMEONE ELSE TO LOVE me (that I would like to love. How's THAT for next intermission: from "Help me" to "Love me"? And while typing I think of the LIES I told JJ, and how I tried to make MYSELF the villain, trying to make him feel better: is John doing THIS with ME, too?


DIARY 8421              4/7/74


3/22 AM. I'm over at 7:15. John comes over at 8 and kisses me good morning. I look at him questioningly and all possibility of diary writing vanishes. I get over to clean the humidifier and shave and AGAIN feel that the TRANSITION is painful, as I try out the sofa bed and find it's NOT that bad, and go over to ask when he's going out this evening---can we change the apartments then? He says I'll take a number of hours and we need to do it during the day and anyway he'd like to wait a day or so---he might not want to split up at all! Tears come to my eyes at hope AGAIN, but say chokingly "I feel that the longer the transition goes on the more painful it is!" MY choking up stops HIS choking up, just as MINE stops HIS. [Strange? Natural? Norma?] He says he STILL wants the companionship of the relationship. So we start talking again, after I check that he wants to USE 8:45-9:45 FOR talking and not working, and things DO become clearer. I say I UNDERSTAND I've been discouraging to him, but he finally makes [oh, I SHOULD say that John and I had been talking about talking with someone else about the breakup, and we decided that Norma would be the best. Last night, when we were talking (3/21) I called Norma and asked if we could talk with her, and she suggested Saturday. At that point John and I weren't totally clear on a lot of things---sometime during the few days, maybe even on Saturday itself, John decided HE was clear, so he didn't want to talk to her---saying "If I want to talk to someone, I'll talk to someone I want to talk to WHEN I want to talk to them." Um.] it clear HOW. He'd wanted to try MANY things---mainly to see if there wasn't some way he could fit into the EXISTING musical world---in the lines of administrative jobs. But he KNEW I was against them without even asking what the job WAS. I said that the JOB would probably have been GOOD for him and GOOD for his contribution to the RELATIONSHIP, but I KNEW what these cities were like, and knew that I would be burying MY chances for development there. So it gets down to this: if HE felt I wasn't considering HIM enough by discouraging him applying for a job in a different city, why should I not feel that HE wasn't considering MY feelings when he WAS applying for the jobs? But he said it was his LIFE---and I said it was MY life. I said if HE got one of these offers, I would have to choose between burying myself or ending the relationship. He said he KNEW he overreacted, because he'd learned his lessons from home well: anything NEW he wanted to do his MOTHER instantly discouraged! But I said it was DIFFERENT in that SHE discouraged WHAT he wanted to do, and I was only discouraging WHERE I wanted him to DO it! [Right?] Then (parenthetically) I said I thought he ridiculed my travel job because he was JEALOUS [I think I missed that. I told him Steve had offered me an interview for the job of a PR man in a travel agency, and John thought the idea was disgusting because he thought the people who worked in such jobs were disgusting people, which I thought was disgusting.] of my success so "easily" while the success HE worked so HARD for ELUDED him. He said, simply, "No." THEN I got to a crux: "You say you want the COMPANIONSHIP. I want MORE than that. For ME the relationship turned downward when we stopped having sex, and then when we stopped being AFFECTIONATE WAS the crucial point." He said, "I felt withdrawn and closed to someone who was ATTACKING what I wanted to BE. It would be like opening myself to a sea urchin, to be EATEN." But I insisted I DIDN'T want to choose between killing ME or the RELATIONSHIP. I HAD to kill his APPLYING for jobs OUTSIDE the city. But he said THAT changed the relationship, and that I had to decide whether I wanted one NOW that might have to stop in a few years, or whether I wanted it to end NOW. I suddenly thought of the parallel with life and death. Of course we LIVE for only a few years, and we have to enjoy THAT, even though we KNOW we must die. CAN I enjoy our relationship UNTIL he---maybe---moves away? But I still want AFFECTION from it, which I suppose he could GIVE if I let him try. [Right?] But I said early on that I knew how it was with him, because HE discouraged ME in my writing, and whether it was he or I, I wasn't writing much. [Continued in the PM] On the way home I get the feeling he's a tiny unhappy figure, having withdrawn from both me AND the world, pained by his solitary choice, anguished at the thought of a new LEVEL of voluntary solitude, knowing he doesn't want that but not knowing how to get AWAY from it. Maybe looking to ME for some kind of help---and in response I can think only of MYSELF and MY needs, yet if I DO hear his moan from a distance [WHAT CAN I DO?] But, even MORE sadly, [what can he do?] not sell out to his needs at the expense of his "values." (That which HE might even call genius) because he can see that's what I've done with writing and sees how I get torn when I contemplate getting back to it. Surely not withdraw even further from his friends. So I feel I must apologize to him for trying to push us further apart FASTER, I should TELL him that. AT LAST. I DO understand HIS feeling and EMPATHIZE with them. And maybe what I said this morning (about my need just to cuddle for an animal and sensual warmth and closeness)---maybe I can transform myself FROM a sea urchin and at least be able to HUMANLY touch him so we can console EACH OTHER. But may he still fear I'm a sea urchin in disguise, or an incipient sea urchin, or an opportunistic sea urchin, or will see the aura of my former sea urchinness about me? And Nick talks about an apartment exorcism he did when someone in the apartment BELOW had been sick and infected the apartment UPSTAIRS, and I think of Mrs. Johnson's broken wrist and the woman in the back's rape and broken LEG, and I feel (also because of OUR trouble, the awful woman ABOVE and her cat shit sinking DOWN, and because of my three-week COLD!) that maybe OUR place could use a cleaning. END OF NOTE. But it's OVER now and I'm typing TWO WEEKS later, and I'm tired of thinking about it, tired of contemplating what's DONE. There are more FRUITFUL things to think about, even IN the relationship: why don't we TALK anymore? The sadness of his coming to the door and ringing to ask me if I wanted to see a Juilliard dance concert this afternoon and my thinking of ALL I want to do and saying NO, and then feeling guilty about it---who COULD like me when I'm so totally busy with my OWN things, too busy to SHARE my time with someone ELSE? Who can talk about death when I don't have NEARLY enough time to LIVE???


DIARY 8428              4/12/74


10:15AM. And still more. I knock on his door, he says I should use the bell, I say I thought KNOCK would mean US and BELL would be anyone ELSE. In to take stuff from supply cabinet, and he puts out ice cream scoop and my old carving knife and the TOASTER that I'd totally forgotten about. Take A&S bag/box and put stuff in, and 12 eggs in a bag. I say "Oh, the herbs" and he says I can have the limeade AND the new bottle of rum. So I load up and take it over and come back with a glass for half the Joy and he says I can have it all, and I take the clothes bag out of the closet and say "If we're still going to---" and stop with my mouth open at a clatter on the floor, and it's the pepper he's put into the bottom of the bag to absorb the mothball smells. "Well, say what you were going to say" with some asperity, as if pain were hurting him, and I say "If we're going to keep the phone, we have to have some way to telling each other where we're going," and he says, with deceptive simplicity, "We'll just knock and tell us on the way out." I say I have to have a plant-tending session and he says he won't be back until tonight. He asks if I want the butchered dracaena and when I pause he says "But it IS about ready to be thrown out," so I say no, and get over, saying "See you this evening," and he goes out quickly and when I go out the dracaena is forlornly stuck into the garbage pile, which has overflowed so it's almost lying on the sidewalk, its browning leaves crumpled under the still-shiny green, and I feel emotions rising in me that I push back as I feel that it's cold outside and I walk faster toward the subway. At a point HE came over to say he might as well take the heater and find a place for it. At another point I said "I think I had a box of long envelopes in the supply cabinet," and he gets rather huggy and says HE had ONE box of cheap envelopes and he TOOK them, so I said "OK." A bit later I asked if he remembered if he'd paid for the Joffrey, and he said curtly, as if it decided something, "They were on subscription, weren't they?" "Yes," I said, and he frowned at what he was doing so I said, "I guess you paid for them." I gave HIM a quarter and a nickel from the kitty and took a quarter and a nickel and a penny, took $6 and gave him $5 from the kitty and 504 of my own to even it up. Then I owed the kitty $62, so I gave him the $31, the kitty remains, and the paper, and he fussed with something else and said "put it down" and that was the end of THAT. I made up my first shopping list in a long time [writing on the back of it now, in fact], told myself to call the Brooklyn Union Gas today to get the gas back on, and determined I HAD to stay home from work tomorrow, Ron willing. I'll be a sort of a mess before I really get settled in, and then I DO have the BED to buy! Feel FULL UP on things to do, so there's hardly time to brood IF I DON'T WANT TO. [Current Cosmopolitan with the blond in the black plunging neckline has an article on "The Dilemma of Homosexuality." Get it---probably with a LETTER to it giving "the other" point of view.] BUT THE BREAKUP OF THE RELATIONSHIP---AND THE EMOTIONS ATTENDING IT---ARE ALL SO IMMEDIATE!!! Then, after ALL, John comes in with the dusty dried grass arrangement that had been sitting in the bedroom: "I was going to throw this out (choked voice). Do you want it?" I say "no" and after he leaves almost burst into TEARS. I later see it sitting on the table downstairs, quite forlorn, and one of these days I'm going to get RID of it, for the reminder it gives me when I pass it. But the apartment has been so TOTALLY changed around on my side it's hardly the same place. In the study only the plants and the antlers and the bookcases remain from before, and since the BOOKS are all shifted around, it's like a different setup. NOTHING that was in the storage room is still there except the bicycle (which will be a problem, I guess), while the bedroom has ONLY the green armchair and the humidifier and the plants of what was there, so it's all quite DIFFERENT. But the LOGISTICS of the move, the NEED to get back into cooking my own food QUICKLY, the pressures of three or four kinds of working arrangements, all this keeps my mind OCCUPIED, so that I don't have time to BROOD, and I STILL haven't been able to crawl into bed without fearing WEEPING about the end of the relationship with the fatigue that comes at the end of a day without John.


DIARY 8460              4/15/74


Now that the relationship is over, one of the important functions that John filled in my life is now untended: giving me the DISCIPLINE to use my time wisely. With him, I didn't lie in bed for minutes debating whether to get up; when we had glorious sex, there was no thought of not being able to fall asleep at night; when I was "between" projects, his presence helped me go from one to the other. His sense of neatness demanded that I keep my clothes and the dirty dishes and the stuff around the apartment orderly. And now all of that's gone: I wake at 7:15 and sometimes get out of bed as late as 9; I usually have to smoke and come before going to sleep at night; and I find myself staring off into space, chewing on the insides of my cheeks, and wasting hours of time as I pore over a WC Fields book, or the movie lists, or EB, or travel books, or maps, or my library, rather than DOING something. If John---or SOMEONE---were here, it would be the outside eye, watching me, making my shame at someone ELSE seeing me waste my time so great that I wouldn't waste my time! So now I have to dredge down inside and come up with my OWN discipline, get MYSELF out of bed in the morning, shut OFF the thinking---rather, brooding---switch and DO something rather than thinking about the list of things that I have to do. That should be left for times when I LEGITIMATELY have nothing better to do, like walking to and from work. Strangely, now that I think of it, I DON'T think about worries when I'm working, I'm totally absorbed in the things that I'm seeing. THAT'S good, anyway. But particularly in the total freedom of my apartment---hey, how ABOUT that---this is ONE place in which I AM most free and in which I'm NOT compulsive---so what happens?" I don't LIKE it. How SAD it all is! (See DIARY 8436) But instead of brooding I have to get out and MEET people to exchange ideas with, or HAVE sex in theaters or baths, rather than just THINKING about it. And AT LEAST the eternal discipline with the diary typing holds fast---I AM finally getting caught up with all the pages that I was behind, and AGAIN, soon, I'll have the relief (and vague displeasure) of typing only ONE page per day.


DIARY 8461              4/16/74


Again it's something to make me appreciate the relationship with John: he'd either make these things easier, do them himself, or force a framework in which these things would be easier. I wake, doze for a bit since I wake too early (7:10-7:15), turn off the electric blanket, get out of bed, raise the blinds, take the blanket and sheet off and put them into the closet, dress somewhat against the chill of the cold apartment, fill up one or two containers of water for the plants in the front (sometimes coming back to put more water into the one hanging in the french doors, which takes more water than there's room for in the pot), the tray of new ones in the to-be bedroom, and all the ones along the wall in the living room. Then if I'm staying in I have breakfast, or if I'm going out I have to open the can of tuna fish, retrieve the plastic box from the living room more often than not where I haven't had a chance to wash it from the previous day, add raisins, a piece of fruit, and a piece of Sara Lee wrapped up in Saran Wrap. That goes into the shoulder bag with whatever book I'm reading. Then there's usually a mess from last night: clothes, pornography, grass and poppers and bidis scattered around that I have to pick up and put away. Then there are the sometime activities like putting the laundry together to take out, washing socks, taking out the garbage, finishing up a grocery list, making sure there's cash in the wallet and subway tokens in the change purse, Forgot the personal care like brushing my teeth, shaving, showering, taking pills, moping about not having put up the waterpik and not having exercised. Then there might be notes to take to work from the desk, or the desk to clear off, or the papers to be taken down, or books that I've read to be put away. Then there SHOULD be the diary page to be typed, when I finally get back into a REAL "new apartment" schedule, exercising, and writing whatever letters have come in and jotting whatever phone numbers I want to dial at work THAT day, rather than a WEEK from that day. Usually it all takes about an hour, which is quite ridiculous, but they seem to be all things that DO have to be DONE.


DIARY 8479 4/18/74


Ready to eat lunch just after 12 today, and decide since I AM home today it would be a good chance to chat with John during lunch, so I ring his bell and ask "Do you want to have lunch together?" He shrugs and says he's already eating, so I say I'll get my stuff and come over, and he's just emptied his fish into a bowl and poured himself a small tumblerful of sherry. We sit on the sofa after I glance around the apartment and see towels hanging off doors, clothes on top of his dresser in the bedroom, and the dining room table just LOADED with the stuff he's working on. First we talk about his activities: the book is still selling well and he wants to publish "Essays after a Dictionary" with Dutton, comprising all the essays he's written since, about 200 pages. He works about 6-7 hours per week for Pat Wollner, who likes his advice, so he's gratified with that, and he'll be spending the first two weeks on Martha's Vineyard just as he spent the first two weeks at Geneva. Kai might not go up since Ohio State's dates for her come right in the middle of July and August. I mention my new job with Latham, but he expresses absolutely no additional interest. We chat about the Harkness and I call the whole thing decadent, and I love it, and describe the spread-crotched man viewed from below. I ask about the telephone, and he says he doesn't mind sharing it, though the phone bill is $17, and we split it, though I say "When we reach the breakeven point," though I later realize it would ALWAYS be cheaper to have one number than two from the FINANCIAL point of view. Ask how he's liking his independence, and he smiles rather constructedly and says "I like it fine," and I smile and say I do too. When I bring over the $8.50, I ask if there's anything else, and he says "No, is there?" And so I say "Well, I'd felt we would have a BIT more contact, but I can't tell how," and he said "I think it's OK the way it is, don't force it," and with that I went back to my own apartment, shutting the two doors between us. His beard, after an initial spurt, seems to be growing very slowly, and he's trimmed it rather narrowly, so he must spend ABOUT as much time shaving; it's really quite gray. But his typewriter clicks away, after a nap he's bicycling to the park, and he seems busy and content---becoming even stranger to talk to, even more different.


DIARY 8632              5/27/74


I keep thinking that I'd like to at least SEE him more often, but he's never asked ME to lunch as I've asked HIM to lunch. Then, with the Browne book, I think I really SHOULD suggest that I AM available for rides into the country, if he wants company, and I think I could suggest that without "pushing" him, as he doesn't want to be. BUT, then, it seems that HE has been coming somewhat closer: bringing up the mail, borrowing the Times, coming INTO the apartment as if he wanted to be cheerful at the PRECISE time when I wasn't feeling like being chatty. And how sad it would be if HE were trying to come closer together, but because of his personality doesn't know HOW to do it. Usually it was I who had to break into a new phase of the relationship, simply because he was so reluctant to TALK about anything. So now I figure we really SHOULD talk---yet I have the fear that when I want to talk to HIM might be the time when HE wouldn't want to talk, wouldn't have the courage to say "Let's talk later," and it'll end up AWFUL. I KNOW that it was probably best for us to stay distant for the first few months, while the inevitable feelings of loneliness invaded; but now, maybe, it's time that we CAN talk without being torn apart by the wants for the FORMER relationship? At least it can be TRIED, and if it ends up opening an old wound, well, there's always the time to retreat and let it REALLY heal before picking at it again. He brought up my passport and asked cheerily "You going someplace?" He came over to borrow the Times and I didn't even ASK what he'd done the previous evening that had taken him away from Arnie's rather nice do. He said before he has a book for me on gardens that I haven't gotten back yet, and it MIGHT be good to talk about impressions from the Browne book. Then when he gave me some of the polypores, I wanted so much to be OUT with him; and I still wonder what's going to happen to the Hemlock Hall reservations made for October---I HOPE we can go together, but we'll have to be out BEFORE that for some length of time, or we'll be like two frightened STRANGERS, not knowing what topics are taboo, afraid of wrecking a WHOLE WEEK---why not wreck a few WEEKENDS BEFOREHAND?? Got to TRY IT!!


DIARY 8881              9/5/74


Since I've been thinking of sending "John" to publishers, I've had in the back of my mind that I should sum up where we are now. I may have mentioned the continuing pangs of sadness whenever I think of how he USED to handle various things when I have to handle them: when I get the mail I think of how he used to bring me the mail; when I want to go somewhere in a car, I think of how we used to go places by car; when I disconnect his phone, I think of how we used to SHARE the phone; when I see him going out for the evening, I think how WE used to go out for the evening; when I think of the week possibly coming at Hemlock Hall, I think of our relationship when it was good. And then, from the distance of over four months, when I think of the breakup, he could obviously think of it as MY doing: I was the one who was trying to hinder his development by not encouraging his moving out of town (though he hasn't gotten a job out of town YET); I was the one who wanted too much sex (though surely at the beginning I thought it was HE who wanted too much sex); I was the one who stopped the affection (but only when it was clear he didn't want SEX, and I said that HE should initiate the affection, which he never did); and I was the one who wanted to separate the apartments (though I just couldn't take a "friends" relationship, knowing what it had been before---I wanted to undergo the pain of separation NOW, and that's what I'm doing); and now I am the one who's taking away all the commonness we'd shared: the mail, the telephone, the asking to go places. Oh, we're still neighbors: I ask him for a chicken recipe (with a pang); we water each other's plants when we go away (with pangs); we share bits of information (though he says "I can't go" rather than "That's interesting" when I say that Pilobolus is appearing at Damrosch Bandshell---more pangs). Even HIS reluctance to tell HIS friends (like the LaRues and the Bowells) we've separated implies that HE'S more hurt than I am in the affair---but then he's the one who CAN'T show emotions, who doesn't volunteer his feelings. I'VE changed so much that I'M THE ONE WHO DOES ALL THOSE THINGS. Well, I still want to see how many pages of "John" there could be extracted from the DIARY.


DIARY 8907              9/10/74


Our conversation across the bridge is good: I find out his four books: the dictionary, his "Essays after a Dictionary" which Wesleyan has refused, as well as Dutton, but someone ELSE might be publishing it; the dance book that he's still trying to do for Wesleyan; and the "Etudes panorama" that he now thinks might not be done, since they want someone experienced to do it. But Latham is working out very well for him (he'd gotten there through Gerald), and he'll be doing more for them, though it's not exactly what he wants to do: though the music book MIGHT not go out over the "author's" name. Then he's pleasant at Norma's, exclaiming about the apartment and how well she looks, but with Arnie and me in the car he gets impossible. He's suggested a good idea for Travel Dynamics: a trip of folk art and dance and music, but when Arnie starts saying the first bit of negative news, John starts saying: "Well, I won't have any of that; I'll not say anything about that; I couldn't do anything like that," and so on. He and Arnie actually get heated arguing about how something like this could be done, and John puts out all the negative points so forcefully and positively that I'm turned off him, as would anyone he was trying to sell. Then Arnie and I start talking about "Parallax View" that John saw and liked, and when Arnie and I disagree on something, I turn and ask John which side he's on, and he says "I won't say." Just like that. Arnie even excused him by saying that "He wasn't tuned into the conversation," but I think it's just plain rudeness. Also he started giving his opinions about things as if he were the absolute Word of God, allowing no discussion, and that turned me off so much I wondered how I'd managed to turn off my ANGER so much in the relationship. Thought many times about Arnie's and Norma's suggesting that maybe I might be right and JOHN might be wrong in some things, and I can see that with John's attitude, even though he MIGHT be right, he'll have so few friends in the long run that it won't MATTER if he's right. He strikes me so negatively I'm amazed that he tempered his OWN views enough at the start of our relationship to even allow it to get STARTED. Decide not to invite him to the orgy on Tuesday, though I'll feel guilty not doing it---but I just assume he won't be there. He didn't hear ANY music from Saturday!


DIARY 8971              9/26/74


I'd left him a note, asking when Bill Kirkpatrick would be over next, meaning when on Friday, and he leaves me a note back saying "Probably when we leave on Sunday," and I knock on his door to see what this Sunday bit is. He's probably having sex with someone, since it takes him a long time to get to the door, and he's wearing a towel but isn't wet from a shower. He says that his friends from Syracuse haven't written, which I'd known, and that our first night at Hemlock Hall is Sunday, not Saturday as he'd said before, and when I remind him of the "staying up there" the night before, he says there's no reason for that now. So I say I might have a dentist's appointment, and he says OK. But his appearance is so strikingly rigid---again, the fact that he might have been having sex with someone affects this---he almost looked like my mother/grandmother. His hair seems to have been newly cut, therefore shorter and closer to his head. His winter pallor seems to have come on very quickly---he was pale enough to be wearing face powder, and his unmoving face seemed almost masklike. Then his eyes were totally unsmiling, totally expressionless, and even somewhat smaller, but still that extraordinary blue, but I was forcefully reminded that blue eyes are supposed to be a sign of coldness, and his coldness was so great that I was shocked to see it in a face that had once been so warm toward me. I thought of that again, thinking of how he used to say he loved me---sort of truly at first, and then with a wrinkle of the nose and a cutsie-poo expression that seemed more expression of WANTING to be close than an actual expression of real closeness. I remembered again my amazement that someone like him would love someone like me, and I've come full circle in that I'm amazed at that very thing, now AFTER the fact. But it's a measure of how much people can change, how much John's feelings can actually change his exterior, how much my eyes can seem to affect his outward appearance, and how much the passage of five years may have actually and mentally and physically changed the both of us. If he's put up a barrier, I'll put up a barrier, and the Hemlock Hall week will be cordially cool, and possibly heartbreaking, compared with what it had been for so many years in the past.


DIARY 9035              10/28/74


He permits me to talk about my trip for about a half-hour before jumping in on his new project with such eagerness that I pictured him boiling over with the news while I was talking, listening ONLY to find a place to jump in! He'd watched Kei rehearsing her new company in Joan's loft for only a few days when he had the idea of how the whole book was to look, and he came up with a framework of writing: whatever style hit him as useful for a particular segment of the rehearsal and choreographing, that's what he'd use, and he found that he was doing brief descriptions, lyrical descriptions, play-form dialogues, segments in which he'd "go from past to present to future even in one sentence," and segments that he'd actually invent a new writing style, just as Kei was inventing a new movement style for "Light." He said he so strongly realized that she was epitomizing the creator who teaches her creatures to produce food for themselves, and then becomes a rabbit to be killed by them, and I immediately remark that that's the myth of the creator-killed-and-reborn that happened at Delphi that I'd just been through, and all through Joseph Campbell's myth books, which he said he hadn't realized. He said that he found some sections of her work so beautiful that he'd go quietly into a corner of the room and cry for five minutes, and his eyes glittered as he spoke, and for the dozenth time my heart went out to him, loving him, wishing he'd love me, so very happy for his involvement in his work that I wanted to cry with him and hold him and tell him that everything would be OK. Mal has managed to get a $1000 loan to keep John going for a couple of months, and John's looking into "other gifts from people" (meaning, I fear, me, too), and working on the book for six months with intensive effort, making it 600 pages long if need be, overlong for the ideas just as "Light" is overly long for the performance, and he said it would end just before the first performance sometime in March, at which point he would then be free to work on another book. He feels that THIS is now the unknown follow-up to the greatness of the Dictionary, and he's so glowing in his pleasure with his OWN forceful writing that I'm SURE it will be a thrill to read, and express my pleasure for HIS pleasure fully.


DIARY 9132              12/6/74


He starts with a slide of one of his questionnaires (signed by Stockhausen) on the screen, which fits in strangely with the "art-works" (junk) by Jean Dupuy on the walls (eyelets spelling out i-j in canvas blocking a door, bicycle wheels on stands, wires strung with papers) in The Kitchen. There are a lot of people there from the Greater New York Chapter of the Music Library Association, and later Ben and Lucy come in. Mal's there, but otherwise I don't know anyone. John starts back in 1966 with Jean Bernkopf of Dutton's and takes it up to his letter to Tom and Cathy Warner of March 8, 1974, where he says how much he feels that the book is HIM, privately, scattered all over the world, and consequently he feels like retreating and being alone. That surely says something about our breakup, that took place later that same month. But his slides are well-organized, his observations excellent, his interspersing of humor is almost faultless, and his touches of mortality (lists of writers and composers who died, letters from those who died a few months later) are extraordinarily heart-felt. He sadly doesn't get so much into where he's been since there, only mentioning that "A Change of Mind" will be coming out in Bucknell's Review and possibly some Musical Quarterly, but he doesn't say exactly what it is that he's found, only saying "But that's another talk," being somewhat too close-handed with that part of it. But his showing of the stamps, his examples of writings and dealings with people, his difficulties and triumphs, his good authors and his bad, make an incredibly rich offering that everyone seems so impressed with that the applause goes on for what I think is a particularly warming length of time. Everyone gathers around him later to congratulate him, someone remarks about stamps (he's shot pictures of my whole pages, which somewhat embarrasses me, but there it is), and I give him some of the "proofreading" errors that I'd recorded in "Against the Fall of Night" by Clarke, that I'm now reading, and then he goes off to a bar with some friends and I have to get back to the Heights the same way I came from the Heights: alone. But it's a fabulous talk, and I do SO wish he could get the audience his brilliance and acuity deserve so strongly.


DIARY 9205              1/24/75


Is John A. the ONLY person I ever met who was STRONG enough to TAKE CHARGE of me for considerable lengths of time?? He was the only person in quick memory who seemed to know more about something than I did: modern music, dance multimedia presentations. Also, he seemed to be quite an authority on sex, and knew where to go (like Hemlock Hall) in the country. Going through the people in my past: Bill H., Ralph G., Joe E., Jean-Jacques V.---all of them seemed to ME to be inferior to me in overall knowledge. Except Joe was friendlier and funnier, Jean-Jacques knew more about architecture and France, and Bill knew more about mysticism, though I hadn't had any of it then. So they couldn't really tell me what to do! Art, on the other hand, seems to be willing to tell me when to smoke, when to eat, when to have sex, when to drive up with him to the country, so there's a possibility of some kind of relationship there if I can just keep him from rooting around in my ass! Julian G. knew more about society, as did Ronald S., and I was willing that they teach me. Bob G. knows more about that end of things, too, and about clothing and apartment decorating, and all the things that I don't really care about, but that I could get into IF the person had an interest in me, which Bob G. doesn't. Bob R. also seemed to know more about the stoned head, and lots more about artists who specialized in pornography, than I did, so HE could get close to me. So maybe it seems that I DO want to be dominated, am TIRED of telling myself what to do and would like someone else to do that. Even Ron M. gives me the feeling of being very competent (though he might be only a puppet of his lover Bill), and I'd surely love him to order me around in a sexual way. Arnie knows more about THINGS than I do, has an even better memory for trivia than I have, but he's just not sexually attractive. So in THAT way, also John stood for something in my life, that I was willing to move in with him, travel with him, do almost whatever he wanted in the line of food or bedtimes or orgies. How I'd love to find someone who was equally superior to me. But, frankly, they're so RARE!


DIARY 9371              3/6/75


Go over to borrow EB for my masturbation research, and to tell him about the Display book that I'm going to pick up at McGraw-Hill, which I'm surprised to hear he might want something to do with. He comes in with coffee and starts talking with me as I'm looking into the EB index, and so I sit to chat with him and get filled in on where he is now. He's finished with the book on Kei, but he's still looking for a publisher. "I've decided it's not a scholarly book, so the university presses are out, but I don't know where else to take it." He then compares it with poetry, and I suggest a poetry press, and he remarks that Tom Johnson put out a book of his own, and it would only cost him about $2000 and he's thinking of doing it himself: 200 pages and about 40 drawings would be inexpensive to do. I ask what he's got coming in the line of money, and he says that he might borrow "more" from Catherine [Warner, who's been reading his manuscript of the book and doesn't care for the chain-of-circumstance idea of it, thinks it gets weak when it gets away from Kei, thinks there's a letdown at the end; all of which John agrees with, but says that that's part of the experience of "20 weeks with a group rehearsing for a dance, written in a style that combines Boswell and (I forget who he said, but someone like Byron or Stein or Shakespeare)" and he won't write anything to make it easier for the reader] or Leo Hollister. He says that Thursday's audience was dreadful---and that he didn't see me with Art, though I was sitting right next to him, and in fact TOLD Art that John was looking at HIM, but that Sunday's whole-day performance was so great that some things worked that they'd been striving to achieve for the past couple of months, and the audience sort of came and went but was much more appreciative. He said that the book will climax with the party afterward when the group essentially said goodbye to him, since the performance itself was an anticlimax, as it usually was to the performers, the height of interest coming just about Christmas, and only discipline pushing them to continue working through to the performance. Now, he said, Kei keeps calling him about things to add to the book, and he uses her technique, saying "I'm thinking about that," and then hoping she'll forget about it and go away.


DIARY 9442              3/26/75


Over at 9 to find Kenneth looking pale and fit in shorter hair, Bob Pierce looking healthy and sexy in leather pants and a neat beard, and Jose Coronado being very quiet and not too healthy looking. John serves Almaden rosé before, during, and after dinner, and I'm newly impressed about the quality of the conversations at his evenings. I bring up (after John says he doesn't know how Bob Pierce can read a copy of his book) the fact that Bob's lost his job with the Voice, and Kenneth tells me about the Soho Weekly News, which seems to be replacing the Voice as the "in" paper, and Bob goes through an elegant history of the firings and the Felkerings at the Voice/New York, memos about "interim publishers" in the elevators, and Marcia B. Siegel's firing seven years ago. He's doing nothing, Jose's quiet, and everyone then starts talking about Spanish, their trip to Mexico, and everyone's knowledge of Spanish, including Anna Sokolow's. Then to dinner, Sergio coming in at 10, and Sergio and Jose start talking in Spanish about how sad it is to be from South America, where all the Americans think nothing happens, and Sergio bemoans the fact that he's not included with Chavez, Orbon, and Ginastera at the Brooklyn Academy homage to Latin American music, and at one point he says he's American and at another he says he's Uruguayan, and everyone is so charmed by him that no one points out his "having and eating cake" syndrome. We start (I start) talking about pornography, which starts a ball rolling, and they suggest that Art look at the Studio Bookshop to see who's making films and where. Then we have some great laughs over the translations and lack thereof in John's Hungarian dictionary, where I find that "Deer Cake" is really "Deer BACK" from the speckled look of the slivered almonds on the chocolate. John's positively giddy with laughter, and I think there might be sex in the air, but everyone has to leave early for work and study. Sergio's composing for "Greenhouse," the Eric Hawkins dynasty that I can't attend, and he's doing a whole evening of work in April; Kenneth's still with Twyla Tharp, saying that it's now about "Deuce Coupe 10." Jose starts talking too, and everyone seems to have a great time, and I DO miss the nice things that John could help me have---but I helped HIM as much as he LET me, ALSO.


DIARY 12455            11/12/77


He says he loves "the first page and a half" about my emotional state, saying that it's concise, gives a good idea of the character, and sets the stage. Then he thinks that the scene in the Zodiac goes on too long, that the reactions of the character are too far out of sight behind details of the bar, which doesn't stand out in any way, trite and comparable to porno books. He kept asking me whether I wanted to call it fiction or biography, and I said, "Let's just keep calling it a book." Then he wanted to know the audience, and I said as general as "Looking for Mr. Goodbar," in which there would have had to be a lot of scenes in straight singles bars that would have appeared trite to people who knew them, but informative to those who'd never been inside one. He still said that it could have been more scatter-shot, more flash impressions, not so lengthy---"So many pectorals and cocks isn't interesting." He loved the details of John's face and body, saying that THAT was unique and felt, but that he didn't think the detail of the flashlight saying "No sex, here" was unique in the bar. He thought more of the character came through in the orgy, but he was sad that he didn't know anything more about the people involved who I kept calling by name. I insisted that this was just the first draft corrected for typos, but that readers of "Acid House" said that I edited out all the good stuff when I rewrote. He asked when I'd have the second version to him, and I said I didn't know. But I decided that I had to have the Zodiac as a FLASHBACK, surprising the reader AFTER our relationship is settled, as it would surprise people we TOLD about it. After learning from "Acid House" that an unsympathetic character can't sell the START of the book (either Goodbar or "Otherwise Engaged" or "Shadow Box") or play, I'd have to start with SYMPATHETIC people and THEN get into the sordid details AFTER the first half of the book. He thought he could keep his objectivity through many readings, but I didn't. He was glad to learn more things about me, and seemed quite interested in exactly what John and I were doing together early on. He was very noncommittal when I asked if he thought it could be published after I worked on it in the directions indicated. He just said it would have a "better" chance than it has now.


DIARY 14048            2/5/79


He starts very low key, builds to nice "three-act arias" of emotion, but I say he should vary the pitches more, be more natural, don't fear being maudlin since he's far from it. The others have comments: Brad, older, crotchier, rather reminiscent of Brad Dourif, said he wanted more variation in the front; Gary, big, cute (though John said with some satisfaction that though he might be cute, he was John's age, early 50's, which he didn't look except for the hippiness and the paunch that a tight-fitting shirt didn't improve the looks of, but he winked at me a few times and I was sort of hoping we might have a try at it, though he wears his keys on the left), said that he thought the "Drum Taps" section was too long and uniform, but I thought it would be better if he felt more compassion for the people, disregarding the distance he thought a medic should have; Byrne agreed with me, wanted to look at the JOYI stuff and recommended two people for me to send it to (see DIARY 14047), and wanted to have something to do with me, even though he talked about "Alain" who wanted to go to a movie this afternoon, and thought HE had the exclusive right to "I'm not my lover's keeper" that I brought out when John asked where Dennis was. We laughed about Mrs. Johnson's antics, particularly when she told a leather-clad Gary "John wouldn't know people like you!" and he served apple juice and bourbon, obviously from Griswolds, and it was tasty but too medicine-y for me, though the cheese and matzos were good, standing in for the lunch I didn't have, and his apartment looked as good as ever, particularly the striking greenery-and-white spots shades he had drawn down under the bamboo curtains at his windows. My apartment seemed cool and colorless in comparison to the richness of his environment. The feelings were warm, they seemed to enjoy talking about J/O, and I hoped I might have made some new friends. John took my critique well, was glad when I said HE had insisted we CRITICIZE him, but I'm sure we all LIKED it basically, and we laughed when he said he'd lost his last job because of Anais Nin, he MIGHT record his repertory taking my advice, and he thanked us all for coming and seemed really ready to change some of his readings per my suggestions.