Back at SFU, increasingly desperate crush on a graduate student, struggling. Part 1 a long fast, sessions with Louie's book, visualization travel. Part 3 I learn to work with my own system instead.

Notes: Louie's book notes, Michael Ignatieff, Colin Browne Father and son, Trinh Shoot for the contents, Satprem Sri Aurobindo or the adventure of consciousness, Eva Pierrakos, my own bookwork, Pylyshyn Computation and Cognition, Krishnamurti, Tarthang Tulku and other meditation notes.

Mentioned: Luke, Rowen, Louie L, Ray Jennings, David Carter, Jam Ismail, Paul Wong, Dave Sturdee, Michael Voskamp, Joyce Frazee, Laiwan, Margaret Shore, Martin Hahn, John Tietz, Damian Dooley, Peter Choy, Rob Mills.

Canaletto, Gleick Chaos, The dispossessed, Newell "Intellectual Issues in the History of Artifical Intelligence", Chomsky Manufacturing consent, Bach, Ideas on CBC.

824 E Pender St, Strathcona Community Garden, Saturna Island, Co-op Radio, Strait of Georgia, Kam Yuen Gok Restaurant, the Western Front, Kings Cross Station, Golden Horse Cafe, SFU philosophy department, Richmond sea wall, Eton Street, Harbour Tower.

Volume 15 of Aphrodite's Garden: 1992 September-November  work & days: a lifetime journal project  

Tues September 15th 1992

Feeling to touch her, a sadness came and stopped me. What is this sadness? Ellie it's a memory says the book. That she's a nice body and I'm not. Behind the sadness is fury that I have to be this shamed ugly thing. They all say - they lie and deny - that everybody has something. That leaves me furious, what do I want, Trudy's open-mouthed acknowledgement - that happened to you. Tell me about hiding. Hiding. That happened to me. She has never acknowledged it, comprehended it. She leaves it out, covers it. What did I see, a motion, an inward shrinking in the right side of the dark inside my head. It shrinks and is aware. Pulls itself close, stays watching from cover. Draws itself into a doorway while I pass.

The way the body is all warm and myself except for the limb like a grey branch, not dead, feeling, but what it feels is aching cold.

Monday 21st

A note of Louie in red yesterday, black and red. A cautious woman looking at Canaletto, her Venice, with small pink fingers tightly lightly sprung just touching the pages. Beautiful and far. And Ellie's crying because she doesn't want Louie to go away but she wants David McAra/Carter, who at Larry's party looked straight at me with black eyes and a dry line down his jaw next to his mouth.

Grad seminar. Wonderful beginning said Ray. And how is it with David - his eyes are fearless, I can't stand in front of them without wanting to sit down staring. And his mouth doesn't get pushed forward, it's practical, for definite messages and white smiles. Strength in reserve. "Oh Ellie. I won't be at your presentation, I wanted to be but I have to go ---." "Awwww" I say uncarefully. I'm in surprise, haven't got ready a way to handle talking on about something while plunked down I suppose joyfully, filled up with the white light of his face. Is that how it is? Fascinated but not troubled. Next week maybe I'll see enough to know something, so far I know not much: a light dry bright spirit. A girl man, no, more like a curled dry breeze. He didn't have to come tell me he wouldn't be there, is what's making me happy.

Bright and dark.

5 October

Sitting beside him during sad worried Mark's paper on pragmatism in non-ethics, I couldn't see him, except for his hands, with red knuckles (he's the kind of dark that has a ruddy base not a yellow-brown the way I do), a silver ring, a watch, a bracelet; his thigh, new black denim; his grandfather's dress shoes brown oxfords with scalloped seams, worn with grey work socks. He asked a question, leaned forward, his voice with its double layer like two voices superposed. Eventually I felt it and it was sadness. As if the wish can't come without its disappointment - that wish. And when I felt it he turned so he was sitting with his elbow on the back of the seat behind me. He wants to say he's making his story as he goes, there is no fact. Is there a story he's wanting to make? He's floating in a sea he knows unknown. A neon eel lighting what he lights and no more, with some phosphorescent delay. What does it wake. What does it wake? A suffering power. She said find it where it was. I say, to find it where it was I have to take it where it is. Why else would I love to be with the thought. Like holding a photograph. But you taught me the valor it costs. I've been too proud.


Colin's movie. Ignatieff says his grief for his father is the central loyalty without which his life would be empty. He's the man who says, in his daughter's hearing, that the birth of his son was the happiest moment of his life, and that anyone could die (his wife, his daughter) and he'd survive those deaths, but not the death of his son. The little girl interposing her foot in the frame, wriggling in his lap. He looks at her, holds her hand, doesn't see her, continues.


Ocean, warm ocean. I wanted to swim out toward the haze on the horizon. Keep stroking without tiring. (I'm crying about sweetness being gone.) I want the warmth and rhythm. Turn on my stomach and look below. Deep sea, sifting particles in the great weighty green. Go down, turn, drift upward lying on my back. The shaking silver, one-way mirror. I realize coming near it that I am going to approach my reflection. This is a moment of struggle of some kind, reluctant and carried forward. I see myself brown and pink and plastic and am carried through myself to the world, the sun, the horizontal extent.

Haul myself out of the water on the round rock edge, enter the rock, go down through round chambers. One after another stepping over thresholds. Down there's another sea, the black one, black and bright. I can step into it, I can lie in it, black and silent, a black mirror. I can sink through it to a tube, a pit, far down.

All uncertain. Uncertain it's there, but I'll take the prism, a flat diamond, into my palm, and bring it up with me. A basin cut in the rock. I want my hands on the black water or near it.

The water, I'm thinking, is to be a black mirror. But I don't see on it, I see instead a black mirror hung above it. It doesn't speak to me, I have to give it an image. I'll give it his, if I can form it. Now speak to it. What do you want - not you the person, you the image. Nothing. I'm the one who has to say. I'll take your image and turn you, put you into my chest so you look outward with me. (A howl of grief.) The flat diamond goes into my forehead. And then. How do I look at you when I see you in the world? Does beauty look gladly at beauty, not afraid it will see indifference or worse? Even when it sees indifference or worse? (Like crying out -)

This is where it catches - grief at liking - fear and hiding - shame - fantasy. Is that where I have to leave it for now?

Helpless in the hands of a process that may be change.

And the grief in the work, where I'm in alien mind studying the enemies of earth and women.


In Chaos and The dispossessed a quality of joy, arrival - seeing I might be able to feel my way forward to someplace where my visual work can come together with this labour in men's brains. Reading it again seeing I'm finer in the detail, intuition and expression are closer.

It is as if I see a research program that can take me to the end of my life - from this grubbing down into an academic base I can go to geometric rep - to seeing and intuition - to 'seeing' and what mind is.

2nd November

We lie alongside with our breaths close. I see the light and air of Melbourne, feel Australia. We ask for another instruction. It says put words with the breath, "Ellie-Louie" inbreath and out, imagining my consciousness going into her with my breath. There's something I'm sensing, another kind of home than ours was, more public and maybe with the smell of tobacco smoke. A brown armchair, smooth, maybe leather. Marveling at the difference there - is this her atmosphere? Then I see an image, hi-con black and white, of the heads and shoulders in a crowd. A bit of color. It jumps or flips, startles. I come to - realizing now it's Louie on the inbreath, Ellie on the out. Try that. Shift it back again, wandering though, lost concentration. We've come to with our mouths on each other's.

There were moments I noticed also where a bit of her flesh touching me had a melting quality, something tender as if it were meat but semitranslucent. That's not exactly it.


I wasn't slain, I was in balance, I wore nothing special, took off my boots and showed my feet, had no intention. I did go rigid when he showed up next to me on the sofa. Was holding onto myself in the corner. Feeling how quietly he sat. But he was connected - I noticed that first. Sitting cross-legged when I did, then opening up with his arm on the back of the seat confidingly, quite still. But then - this helped me - when Tim saw a chair empty next to me and crossed to it and I smiled at him when he sat down, Dave snapped shut like a sea-thing. Instantly. Both legs forward, arm down over his belly, shoulders forward. Ah - I thought, now I have to reassure him. I'll sit the way he was. I'll have my palm open on the seat.

Then we both got interested in the discussion. He started gnawing on his hand. Gadamer and understanding.

Dave Sturdee dismisses us. There's Mikhail leaving. I'm putting on my boots. "Mikhail, what you said about the Greek temple and Being revealed, do you mean that personally?" He takes his opportunity, stands in front of me with his legs apart and his pelvis tight, "Yass in epistemollogie I am aunti-realist but. In metaphysics or so. I am realist, I beliyve in matamatical objectss." "We'd have to know what he means by it," I say. The Greek temple on the hill and mathematical objects and Mikhail's tight pelvis have something to do with each other. And Mikhail tries to get points with the men by putting down the women. And he does get points from them, they collude, they're comfortable. He as outsider volunteers to take flak.

There I am with Dave. "Have you read this guy?" "Yes but in a different context completely." Literary criticism. 'Understanding.' That people should understand each other. "It takes years," I say. "Mostly it just goes past. Like in this room." "But sometimes tonight it was connecting, it's nice to watch," he says. I can see it too, his look of taking pleasure in the life of the room.

"But do you really think the relation between people is more important than the relation between people and things?" "Yes I couldn't last a month without people."

This is astonishing to me. "A month? I dream of a world without people." "Could you really want to live forever without love?" - He uses the word so freely, I'm thinking. What does it mean about his life so far, that he's confident of liking to be loved.

"I got thrown to the wolves very young," I say. Consideringly, what am I broaching by telling him this. "I found out I could have a relation with the world, I grew up in the country, it's different there, the world is so beautiful and responsive and it loves you back, too."


I don't know who to be now, I seem to have carried one lover to the next for years. Did I 'lose identity' the way they said? Is there such a thing?

The identity that's given when you get someone to love you is not a true one. The identity you are when you love someone is, but in you it is so halted and young that it can't manage as an adult. That's why you are careful not to show. That's why sometimes you can love when the power person has set up safety for you.

What can I do with this love-baby?

Dependent unity. It must speak and ask and write and eat, but not necessarily with Louie. Don't close your eyes with her. Keep them open to see what you may not want to see. When you lose her don't lose your baby. Let me see with you. You asked in desperation to have truth in the relation. You'll get it. The truth is she's not your lost mother, she's not your dear daughter, she's a near stranger your love-baby is too young for.

Is that all?

For the love-baby it is.

But she sometimes is really with the baby.

You're both willing to learn new things, but your baby is not her baby and she has an urgency about finding a grown-up.


Feel what dependence can feel like but find it in your own place too so your dependence doesn't depend.

Please don't go away from me and take all your love and knowledge and beauty and perception away forever because I want to feel what I feel for him and for others who look like him.

Have I been trying to force L?


Have I stopped?

You've stopped trying to get her to admire you but you still want her to take care of you and get you into emotion.

Can I get myself into emotion?

You avoid so many circumstances it must be that they've got emotion in them.

Look for emotion?

Why not.

And then what. With no one to help.

Start small, start with eating.

What's the nucleus of treasure?

Work, too. Images and feeling, like you were but softer, not at drug speed. Yes like that simple seeing. Fearless encounters. Yes! Yes!

How, when I've been so long away?

Start now, just a taste.

And to make money?

Just so long as you don't bluff you can teach.


Western Front last night, Laiwan's opening. I was sleeping I think, came into the room thoughtless, pained, dim, taking in appearances without comment, helpless. Harsh light on people looking so corrupt, decrepit.

Dear larger one and dear younger one -

That's right.

Then what?

Talk to [curly E].

Young wild one how were you in it?

[curly E] I don't want to be ugly I don't want to be old I don't want to be lame and poor I don't want to look like them I don't want to be fat like Corey or spoiled like Scott or empty and dumb like the young ones or scared like Robert, I don't want this to be the useless audience for work, I don't want art to be so vain, desolate, conventional, socially ambitious. I don't want to be awkward and visibly lonely. I was in a roomful of freaks and didn't want to accept them. Thinking I look like a freak too, hating it. Laiwan didn't look like a freak but she was trading with the freaks as if she couldn't see they were that. Louie didn't look like a freak but she looked weak and pleasant as if she couldn't see it either, they both aren't willing to see it. It's a betrayal that they aren't.

Now you, dear wide one.

Oh a lot of energy in the protest. How long has it been that at social gatherings?

From church, from school, and still.

Do you know a better way?

At the garden where there's work and Muggs's skill and a sure place. An opening is a pure form of social hardness. What can I do with them?

You don't have to go but it's an exercise. You have to take it as that or you're sunk. You have to have projects and strategies and treat it as a place to find strangers in their own lives, however they are there. And treat the work as if there's some one small present for you somewhere in it. Don't stare at it. Use your nose. Talk to me. Go somewhere and talk to your young one early on. You panic. And you have to go deeper into the look of the freaks, individually. Pick one and find a careful way.

Why was Louie hateful about it?

She had an agenda. She needed a friend to help with how she felt about Laiwan's power. She's on strike about 'supporting' you because she thinks it's that that makes her weak. When she doesn't support you you don't find where you are, and so you and she don't find your sense of contact. Then you are both frightened. You have to find where you are independently of her so you aren't covering and helpless. She can learn to track the real cause of her weakness so she doesn't confuse you with blame.


Waking with Louie's head on the next pillow, her hair streaked over her face as if she's come up from underwater, a childy sleepy swimmer, waking happy and asking if I dreamed.

She gets into the bath. I say You're so pretty - there, the way it goes there and there and there, the line from rib to thigh, in and out and out. Classic. The way it is these days, she feels her rebellions and waywardness and I keep calm household, you don't have to go away, you can have other things too, I'm not leaving, I'm steady, I don't know what's coming but I know my immediate way.

In work, in abstention, in yoga, with her, I feel my patience. It's being in an effort and saying to myself, don't bail out keep going be faithful to your intention time will unwind past this hardness and then something will be new.


You want to know whether your openness is still open to harm. When you get your longing you want to be beautiful with beauty, and you want to follow something recklessly and totally and be boiling in transformation. Very drastic. Very brave. Very unguided. You plunged into pain to give you fuel. Do you want that again?

I want to live full and passionate and deep in work.

Which work.

I've felt so long there's work on this beautiful border between science and pictures, I feel a whole stretch in there, such a stretch when I feel it, taking so long to get into - oh really it's work I want. Beautiful essential intelligent creation comprehension work. Do you hear the way I say that?

I do hear you and I like it and I'll help you but you have things to clear on the way to it and you need to see your whole picture and make your workspace. You need to be more organized than you ever have been, like someone going on a journey or getting married. A twenty year journey. What do you need for it?

Health, strength, money, time, focus, friendship, clean warm independent housing, new community, courage, organization, alright human contact, confidence, conviction.

I'll leave you with your list.

And whole feeling, whole intelligence.