Monday, October 4, 2010

Up in the aerie, James Brown is screeching on the radio, we just had an audible bit of downpour but it's stopped, there's a fresh coat of paint on the kitchen walls, the bedroom closet is tidied up, I've thrown away my old stained mousepad and pulled a fresh one out, one I've had in a drawer for a while, purchased at the Clark Art Museum in Williamstown, a rocky surfy Mainey (perhaps) seascape by - who? Winslow Homer? Now I'm not sure. There was a time - elementary school - when I would have known. My hobby as a young girl was to collect art postcards and other images of art (from magazines, brochures) and paste them into a large scrapbook, first one, then a second, though the first one was the best, the most inspired & creative - the second one felt more dutiful and eventually I lost interest, and in some ridiculous fit of 10-year old noblesse oblige gave the scrapbooks to the Salvation Army or Goodwill or something. Good God I was clueless.

(Hey there J.P. I liked your story about the doomed schizophrenic writer. Bummer. Thinking of you though I don't have all that much to say at the moment. Blogging looks easy.)

What else today? Went back to the Austin and Mabel book by Polly Longsworth. Their love letters are hard to read - guess you had to be there (don't I know). Hey - at least Austin wrote back. Well so did my paramour, for about three weeks until he abruptly lost interest. He kept up the correspondence after that but cut off the warmth, one day downgrading me from "darling" to "dear." Don't think I didn't notice. "Dear - suddenly I'm dear? My cat's dear. My aunt's Dear!"

He abruptly lost interest. There's a whole novel contained in the word 'abruptly'. He met someone else, most likely. Perhaps our correspondence was so hot he needed more immediate release so took up with someone in his 'hood. He'd dropped a bit of a clue at the time, something to the effect of (I'm not factchecking - but I bet I have it down accurately to the word)... "there are still other women I'm sometimes attracted to." Big clue, n'est-ce pas?

Oh silly me. It amazes me how I've been burned throughout my life by individuals who went out of their way to claim that they loved me the most. My father, certainly, springs to mind. [Insert Sylvia Plath Daddy poem here. No, I'm not linking.]

Did I mention that I could use a preceptor? No, not a teacher. An epistolary love interest. For real, though. I can't fake it. But I don't want a pen pal. Do I need to write a letter to Cary Tennis? This whole blog from jump street has basically been that.

Oh sorry, people, I'm a bit cross & grumpy I guess. Unlike the savvier players in the Facebook movie, I don't know my next move, never do. That's why I blog. Like the Elvis Costello song - Every Day I Write the Book. And there was a Pirandello teleplay that perhaps I once saw but don't recall - characters in search of an author. Where do I go next? No clue.

Dinner will be leftover chicken and something, and I wonder what I did with the matelasse duvet cover that I should put on the bed for our Brooklyn houseguests.

Oh - I did make a spinach pie this morning, with farmstand spinach, feta cheese, parmesan, eggs and sheets of filo dough. What a "party" dish, though we'll breakfast on it. Delicious stuff.

One other little shout-out, to Mark T. of The Secret Life of E.D. facebook page - I am blown away by your essay series. It's like - wow - did I ever read that novel? You have seen, and conveyed, so much in it that flew right over my head in my first, admittedly spacey, reading. Your essays are just brilliant. And it just enhances my appreciation and general blown-awayedness of the novel itself - that there is so much in it on every level, every tiny detail and the structure of the novel as a whole, ranging from always the most unexpected juxtapositions of words and images, to the trajectory of the novel - Emily's journey - itself.

I know, I know - I said to Lenore that I might join FB and still I stall, something holds me back. But I am still your Friend - in deed.

'Night, J.P. Sleep well.

U2, Mr. iPhone.


Saturday, 6 September 2008

Belle to J
Dear J, I'm sorry I snapped at you yesterday evening, with my last message. God, this is so weird - a virtual one-sided lovers quarrel. It's just that I had the hope of receiving "some messages" from you (I knew that "some" wouldn't happen - but one would have done) and my hopes were dashed. This is not easy for me. Do you not like my messages? I don't even know anymore. When I hear from you I figure that you do, or else you wouldn't write. But when I don't hear from you - then I think it's something I said. Which it was, with my last message. I am feeling torn in two, just with you. Belle
J to Belle
Dear Belle, I had forgotten that the local library was holding their annual used book sale yesterday and, after waiting in vain for returned calls from both Washington DC and Alaska, I went over there around 3:30 PM (I picked up some Heidegger, by the way, which reminded me of our earlier discussions); also picked up a copy of a book I think is fascinating, which is More's Utopia.

My wife came home early yesterday; she was preparing another PowerPoint for this morning, and so the computer was tied up for some time after I returned.

Your message was a bit jarring, but I understand how, having talked earlier about exchanging messages during an unexpected day at home, you were unpleasantly surprised not to hear from me for the rest of the day or evening.

I don't like emotional tension of any kind, even if it's an unavoidable price of romantic love. I don't think that we have any obligations to each other, including the exclusivity of our romantic interests. I don't expect you to suppress any interest you might have in others; I don't mind it at all, in fact. There are other women around that I am attracted to and I sometimes think about them.

As I wrote back in July, I have simply been enjoying the renewed contact, including the opportunity to talk sometimes about my feelings for you, kept secret for many years. I have also enjoyed discussing ideas. We have been exchanging thoughts about matters that I rarely talk about with anyone, but which are of great interest to me. This is a new aspect of our relationship; such discussions were very limited 30 years ago. In a way, your reaction to my dealings with the woman editor XXXX made sense because she was the only other person with whom I was discussing some of these matters, at least in the context of the book project.

I would like to maintain our renewed contact; I would feel sad if we were to go back into hibernation again. But I don't feel any emotional tension about the relationship - none at all. If I don't receive a message from you for an unexpectedly long period of time, I may get concerned, but I don't feel tense or angry about it. I assume that you have other things on your mind, or perhaps it's even more prosaic, such as your server is down. love, J

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