Volume 12 of Aphrodite's Garden: 1991 January-June  work & days: a lifetime journal project  








TAing logic, writing papers in philosophy of mathematics, Louie in South Africa writing letters, I find out Rob is cheating on me with Catherine, am depressed without realizing why, meantime Mike and his crew are building the herb garden and vine walk structures. Part 2 Louie comes back, we get the Explorations grant, we begin working on the garden video. Luke says he would like to come.

Dullish writing.

Notes: Quine The time of my life: an autobiography, lyrics to She comes through the fair, hidden observer notes from Hilgard's Divided consciousness, Augustus de Morgan, Hegel, Bill Viola, Hebb Concerning imagery, Dewey, Zane Grey 30,000 on the Hoof, Anthony Wilden System and structure, Frege quoted by Wilden, scientific visualization, Eileen Garrett on clairvoyance, Bachelard, LM Montgomery Emily of New Moon.

Mentioned: Rob Mills, Louie E, Rowen, Rudy Voth, Ray Jennings, Mark (?) Glouberman, John Atkins, Eric Erickson, Muggs Siggurgierson, Stewart Andrade, Bradon Zrno, Andrew Irvine, Michael Voskamp, Jam Ismail, Ingrid Harris, Mike Kaiser, Martin Hahn, Philip Hanson, Karl Putnam, Steven Davis, Joyce Frazee, Verena Huber-Dyson, Karl Pribram, Robert MacLean, Cheryl S, Norman Swartz, Anne-Marie Hogue, Greg Morrison, Paul Grant, Janis Crystal Lipzin, Don Todd, Scott *, Lorna Boschman, Luke, Trudy Rubenfeld, Laiwan.

Connectionism conference at SFU, Lewis Modes of meaning, Vygotsky, Acta Mathematica, Willard Quine The time of my life: an autobiography, Penny Maddy Realism in Mathematics, Minsky, Bahram Beizai Bashu, Virgina Woolf, Nancy Cartwright, Evelyn Fox Keller, Vita Sackville West, Millennium Film Journal, Trapline, Muddy Waters, notes in origin, Rosalind Turek, Christa Wolf, Doris Lessing, Karen Jamieson.

824 E Pender St, Simon Fraser University, Pietermaritsburg, the Karoo, Kingston Ontario, Emily Carr College of Art, Granville Island, Vancouver Airport, Shaunessey, Richmond, the upper Skagit, Log Cabin Inn, Whytecliff.


 15 February 1991

The way encounters with people have been off these days. Tonight I'm at the conference bored and bludgeoned with career egos, all aft, then five minutes with nice Rudy and Glouberman comes and hauls him away. Sparks from the beginning. "Sorry to take him away from you, but my need's greater" he sez over his shoulder. Rudy jumping up to go have a cigarette with him. "How do you know that" I snap. "You could come along" sez Rudy. I do but not liking the tagging behind. And there are more missteps on both sides. Then Glouberman staring at me says "Is Epp your real name, it's not your husband's name? Because it's a joke, your name's a joke." I'm staring back with unconcealed dislike. He's waiting for us to get the joke and Rudy does, "Alley Oop," in his affectionate quiet voice. "I only hear that from older people," I say, "young people don't say it, in fact it's years since I've heard it." Rudy is gazing at him sympathetically, why shd he be gazing sympathetically at him, he's the vicious one. He's looking, how, silenced, momentarily. We get up and go to the session. The worst is that I stumble on the steps.


At the garden this aft, sitting in the greenhouse for a moment in slightly fogged light, looking at the warm dry paving, through the open door to the clear brown and blue day, soaked flattened grass, the beautiful long throw behind the vinewalk posts over the herb garden to the firehall poplars unleafed and crooky. Starlings falling and falling from the wires to the compost rubble. My loveseat the two-person bench inside the greenhouse where it should stay, looking at the warm floor and out at the little privacy of the nursery beds. That little space, owning it, worth the years - a nook of an estate - a reconstruction - I felt.

1st March

On Granville, at the third bus stop, Phil Hanson with his hood up. Sitting with him on the bus, he with his dress pant knees far apart in the manner that crowds. "We all wonder why you're doing it."


Needing to say to myself why I am doing it. It gives me a road into the world and doing. Habituates me to public managing. Small cheques every two weeks and enough extroversion to get more. A safe field for my needing to fight with men. The ability to read Maddy and Cartwright and an acquaintance with math terminology. Maybe a platform to be able to fight with the sort of theory that rules in art? A theory of perception I'd like. If I were clearer about what I'm doing there'd be a better sense of me in the department, they'd know how to help me. Perception and simulation, representation, what it does. What simulation capacities say about perception. I want backup in science and I want to back something in science. I want to talk to Evelyn Fox Keller's sort of person. I want access to academics and the better artists. What's the directest way to do this?

I'm very frightened now of the direct way, as if it betrayed me horribly into pain and starvation. They say it wasn't that, but having to get away from Jam. Then what could make me more direct and centered now? I keep thinking having perception-learning too. But perception there is very little.

Afraid I'm being led by childish need to fight with men into giving my time into sterility. That's anguish I don't know what to do with.

Sunday 10th

Digging holes for Reine des Violettes and William Lobb, slate purples, behind the west gate benches. Have to move pteracantha, saw how big it gets, into the outback where its red teeth can hold light when the sun goes down. Then I can have bushy whites flanking the north gate, Madame 'Ardy and Alba Maxima. - Just thinking I'm being Vita not Virginia, and Vita's work is adored by the wrong kind of people.

This morning - I'm off all night but in the morning I notice I'm seeing his bone chest, nice narrow shell, alright I'll do it, and he reaches round without asking and touches my clit (a bluewhite flash and the delightful crumbling of the soundness of the sky) so I'm directly into joy and out again in ten minutes.


Waiting to see how my contradictions will cash out. The adventure of his unsuitability, the downy aura of my hand on him anywhere.

18th April

With Joyce this morning. My father foaming at the mouth about his enemies. She said I'd been able to turn that passion to seeing the way I do. I said it's not completely turned. She said she was going to say that too.

She said I was afraid of being with. I rose up on a spout of indignation. "I worked so hard and with such a discipline to keep myself open with Jam! I did all the work! And then I couldn't do it anymore because she wasn't - " My face for a moment was hanging trembling, beating its wings to stay aloft. And then I let it fall. She stays close with little uh's in the back of her throat to say she's with me. I want to drop my head onto my right hand - sobbing - it's just sobbing.

She said Jam was there more than I thought and I got frightened when she was more open. I considered it. "Yes I was frightened of being left behind."

"People give away their beauty and talent - why?" Not why, she says, walk out of jail. How. "Use them so that whenever you feel yourself giving them power you come back to yourself and see how you are not giving it to yourself."

26th Friday

Her head between the other heads and shoulders in the crowd waiting for the Palm Springs flight, the London flight and the Amsterdam flight. They were pouring through and I was having to watch two exits. Turn my eyes away and back and there she is, after so many strangers. A close dark head, she's beautiful. Watching her head traveling forward and the eyes making two jumps before they find me. We make faces to say let's get out of here. Parallel passage through standing bodies to the open door, emerging together and going to find the bus.

14th May

Luke would like to come.

Louie opened her bed and said Come in here. That was brilliant and made me safe. She put her hand directly on my chest. I had to have mine on my forehead. Just to be feeling. I saw suddenly that she was bringing a cycle closed. Louie will bring Luke back to me, that they and Jam sent away. When I saw it I put my hand on her head full of gratitude. We were lying together in the right sort of goldy peace so I could have got onto her right side and given her some, but she was in her own fret from not having it and had to go on talking and then a sticky energy of the sort I want to get away from.


I'm sitting in a garden. In Rowen's six years this is what I've done.


When it's raucous, habitual, striking from the past, standing in blind self-defense, I think in both of us there's a shrinking of grief that we're using ourselves this way. It goes on with the sturdy pleasure of being allied where there was no one. But if we remain allied in that stupid way we'll be sick of each other. I'm thinking, Louie, speak against it. don't wait for me. Against what - gossip (a tone of), talking about religion (a tone), contempt, a tone of two girls with their heads together looking at the rest with nasty eyes.

Beside this to say I know any of it can be said, and your best wants what I want in my best. I don't want to take the lead though. I don't want to be stuck in the lead. I don't want either to have to give up the lead. I want you to take it when you can, and not by tricks: by allowing your whole right longing. So there'll be two wills and no riders.

Often I say something at random, wondering why I am saying something so untrue.

I don't want you in my vendettas either, though I do, because when you participate you are joining me in my ignorance of their meaning. For instance, if you can be by me unreduced, unsentimental, and still wanting to be by me though you've attained those for yourself and not in the form of my image, then I don't have to defend myself from the sight of those two.

As it is I feel (again) I have to work for her before we can stand in battle in a way that sends fire into our faces the way standing battle in my red shirt brightened me up and down last week. I was bad and laughing. I saw her feeling to laugh and stopping herself to insist on anxiety. Don't you want to side with the bubble? I had faith though - she'll come to it.


It goes on dark and cold, but the garden is changing every day. Roses that have checked in: pteracantha weeks ago, Blanc Double, Rugosa Alba, Roseraie soon after. Nevada on the fence. Three weeks later Königen struggling many days to get a crooked bud open, Sweet Briar blooming and falling fast, Reine Victoria days after, an arc of many. The leafpile pink. Those were the giving-away roses last week. This week: Ilse Krohn holds up a white tea-shape, shoulder height on the post. Kathleen Harrop a goldy frill. Horrible day-glo magenta Zephérine with her lovely name. Lordly Oberon if you count a kissy bud advanced enough to take home. Louise Odier.

Immanent: Constance Spry a gorgeous pile, rosy buds up the post where nailed, otherwise widespread and poking up amidst poppy leaves, lambs' ears, chives, the color clean enough to have egg-yellow beautiful with it. Mossy White Bath with oxblood stems upright where it leans on sweet cicely, otherwise beautifully flopped. Souvenir out in a hundred big ragged over-age buds, Celsiana sprawled and slow.

Tight fast comers: the Pender St spice rose, Lichtkönigen, Graham Thomas, Michael's rose. Slower: Général Kléber.

Much later if at all (just legs): Nuits de Young, macrantha, wild bush beside the Indian plum, r. primula.

First leaves, the new ones: Cambridgiensis, Perpetual White Moss, Reine des Violettes, William Lobb, Hyppolyte - (three mauves) - Rose de Rescht, Georg Arends, Baronne de Rothchild, Wife of Bath, Gallica officinalis, Shakespeare, the little burnet, multibracteata, Rosa Mundi, The Squire, White Cockade, r. glauca, Comptesse de Murinais.

9 June

It was a rage of irritation. She put her hand on my thigh. I was in the big chair with my hands over my eyes saying how it was seeing my face on the monitor jerking coyly, horizontal crease above the crooked mouth, gapped teeth, dull little eyes sunk in a well of globs and creases. Imagining it on the Knowledge Network show, wanting to crawl in a jar and close the lid. A deep crash. She listened, said what she had seen on her own head. "Something I'd never seen before, I saw myself loving you." Instantly I was mended. I'll hold the smile and check it through, but yes I was deeply completely fixed by that, and went along to Karen Jamieson, and saw a woman making so interesting a life. Multiple skill, writing for dancers' selves, dancing a fantastic will. If I didn't understand the intention of a passage I'd look at her.