volume 6 of the golden west: 1996 april-july  work & days: a lifetime journal project  







More work than days in this volume. The time recorded here was a time of confused restructuring, intense psychological work. I had given Tom an ultimatum, had not heard from him, and was using the resulting crisis to learn about old structures.

I have transcribed only about half the material in this volume, not for reasons of privacy but because I came to understandings about addiction and the relation between weak and real selves that I want to be visible rather than lost in material that turned out to be less relevant. I used the string to decide what to leave out.

Section on dreams in part 3.

Mentioned: Pinocchio, The water babies.

April 15th

Exasperated. It has been four months of house arrest. I just sit in my bed and chop straw. He was my connection with motion action emotion touch transcendent joy newness contact speed the waves the highway oh a man in my arms, and I HATE being without that. It has been four months of cold poverty suspension agony waiting trying failing being disappointed being mistaken being taken. I am complaining oh I am complaining of these months of straw.

This is what I have instead of a life, this sitting and muttering. I loved being with you. I was interested in every minute. I hate it that it's over. I hate the way it's endless psychology without issue. I hate it that I'm going to go on living alone tamped down. I hate it that I am not at the beginning of a new life. I hate it that you won't break through and do it with me. I wanted to go for broke and kick out the slats. I can't believe you're holding back, I can't believe you could propose that and not mean it. I hate it that I'm sitting on the road with my bags and no journey.


Coming to the edge of the water I am really on an edge. I see the new moon crescent near the horizon and am saying to my sister, Look at the moon. Then feeling my insecurity. This edge of water I am standing in is so, so high above the other water down there. Water falls over edges, I know that. I am not feeling it slip but I put my hands into it trying to get a purchase in case it does. The water gives no purchase. It is a thin shining mirror sheet flat around my feet. The moon is at the level of this water.

May 10th

At that moment I went to talk to the surge at the heart, that was spreading up my back. Her illusion that some of what she is, is wrong. I say, all the parts of you are love. What are you afraid I'll banish you for? For wanting sex with Rob, for revenge that would make sex hard to get, for wanting to love my father. I am trying to persuade my beloved to come out with me. When I take her into my arms she is my own body as I have felt it rarely - my ribs and sharp tits and satin skin and big thigh and brown sheen and animal presence.


Does it have to do with caretaker selves    
They are weak     YES
It is weak self in me who is going to die    
People feel the true self is there but they're afraid they're evil    
Does weak self have to choose real self    
Why doesn't real self just take over     enslavements
Real self is enslaved?     no prevented by the enslavements of weak self
Real self has to be shown how to work with weak self    
The tradition has identified weak self with the body     YES
They are both aspects of the body     YES
Weak self has more than one aspect    
The child    
Love woman?     no
Love woman is a bridge?     YES
Is there more?     depends on the person
Love woman is a bridge because of the sheer energy    
When people are in love they get to real self because of the energy     YES
Weak self doesn't see itself as weak     YES
Seeing itself as weak is the first step     no somebody else seeing it
That's what compassion is     NO only if it's done with love for the real self
Love for the weak self too?     depends what you mean, you want it to die

1st June

A subtle drugging I use the image of the man for. Now what? Stop lying it says. If he isn't your drug he can't withhold. I developed him as my drug by writing him up. I developed a defense against the power I give him, by writing him down.

Then the gnawing begins, tell me about the gnawing     it wants the drug
Tell me what to do with it     don't control it
Tell me what to do when it comes     persist
What else     notice your lies, your wish for lies
Please talk to me     you're close to completion
When I start to imagine him that's always the drug     YES

After so much, such months of, years of, whatever this exercise is, is there anything I can say simply. I don't know what the string/cards/Joyce/Pierrakos work is. I don't know whether it is work. It is as if it has been directing me toward some risk of act that I have evaded and not evaded and that is coming soon. I have been willing. I have often gone beyond what I understand, in my consent. I've endured hours of deep pain and months of dull suspension and I've done it in faith that I'm participating in a process that makes sense and is an expression of life making sense. The process has not been proving itself practically the way the garden work did - I am not gaining in money, good looks, health, fame, ease, action, pleasure, humor, power, freedom, sex, friendship, adventure, community, visible creation of beauty. In all of those I have less than I had five years ago. Why have I given myself to confinement? What am I trusting? Will this time soon be over? I am taking instructions from something other than what I can feel to be the center of myself. What is it? I'm on the edge of tears as I say this. Such a long endurance of privation. Will it ever be over.


There's something you want me to notice     the way you are unconscious with Louie
Unconscious of jealousy, anger, desire, something else?     winning, lying
It's a sensation of staying on top    
I'm like that with Tom     no, but revert to it
It's like a will     YES
Is that what you mean by inner patriarchy     YES
There's something you want to go on to?     writing - a crisis
Journal writing     all writing
Because it participates in that structure of being right against my mother     YES


Go on     unconsciousness can become consciousness
How     by taking responsibility for lies and drugs used by literate mind
The main lie is I'm on top    
It's an inner holding     YES
I have to release the intention to win    
It is in everything I write    
Not everything!     no, everything
Whenever it turns on I know unconscious structure is activated     YES
If I don't have to win I'll be freer     YES
Does all the journal writing have it    
A sense that I'm winning    
Always over her     no, over the threat
What I write about has a threat in it, that I win over by writing it    
Is love fantasy related to this defense?    
Are they part of the same structure     YES
Love fantasy is a drug    
Winning is a drug    
Drugs are means of lying    
Lying is separation from body and circumstance    
Separation from body and circumstance is loss of intelligence    
Separation is because of pain