volume 8 of the golden west: 1996 september-october  work & days: a lifetime journal project  






Working on the metaphor paper, agony, bookwork. In part 2, camping at Lummi Marsh, brutal summary of my romantic history. In part 3 bright and dark is in the film festival and Tom visits for the second time.

Dennis Potter Karaoke, The piano, Breaking the waves.

12th September

Wonder whether what's wrong with my early journals and letters should be described as moral - what I would see if I searched them with that question. Why are they trivial?

The writing is the writing of someone who doesn't seem to realize how uneasy she is. She's straining. She's writing about the things that make her uneasy. Often she is writing to the people with whom she is uneasy, but she is not saying she is uneasy. She's at sea trying to assemble a raft. I read myself grieving that there was no one who could teach me.

I haven't taken account of what was taught, and I will. But first I owe myself this grief for waste.

21st October

Hello, it's Monday. It's a year later. We kept on. There were crossings. We despaired for hours but we didn't cut out. He was a man yesterday of such singularity I didn't know how to take him. This morning when he was in the bath I came in and sat on the floor and said I had been trying to understand what I was seeing and it is his power, the power he has been afraid of, that he thought people wouldn't be able to take - and also that he hasn't wanted to take responsibility for.

And what happened then: he got younger. He invited me - you invited me - to touch you. You let me see you. You came in my hand.

It turned for both of us last night when I sat up straight and spoke to your demon. You put yourself in my hands and I was tracking resourcefully, gently and remourselessly. "How does the demon see the other?" He won't say. "How would you describe the relation of the demon and the other? It seems a standoff to me." "There is a lot of energy going into this standoff."

I showed you the two sides of your face when you were a child and now. "That is the origin of your demon." Then the demon spoke to me. The demon judges, assesses, is hateful, impatient, swift, observant, intolerant. "I have enjoyed being a dangerous man. It is a rush."

This morning it occurred to me to ask the book, What should we call the demon? Love woman, it said - creative energy. That surprised us both. Not the left side. What it means is that the woman in him was powerful, intelligent, the man oppressed and sad. "You saw me and said bingo," I said. "That's exactly what happened, too" you said.

We did amazingly well. The way it was ahead of me and too much for me but I kept going. It also occurred to me to ask what is the name of the other. It said it is the work. Human skill and creative instinctive energy, that's the marriage, it said. "I look at you and I'm thinking something like this: this is what happens to a little boy. He becomes something so spectacularly particular." The face I had in front of me was indescribable - wings of hair, long pointed eyes, wide line of mouth, big nose, big ears - rough, scarred, lined, a vivid old male - so far from female - so extreme - extreme the way a gargoyle is. I kept trying to get my bearings with it. I have never seen such a thing as this face. It is so unlike his self-description, self-concern. It's a face from another planet and I am making contact of whatever kind I can with a form of life so unlike mine. I'm marveling but I am also overwhelmed.

The smell of my pussy, my beautiful ass. "I love your fat." He kept stroking my belly pad.

22nd October

Sunday when I woke I was still stunned and overwhelmed. The Havana for breakfast. His face by now was too much for me so I invited him to sit on my side of the booth. A young black man in a baseball cap came in. I caught a flash. "What was that about?" "What?" "The way that black guy looked at you." "I saw his demon and he didn't like it." "What's his demon?" "He's destructive, he hurts people and he doesn't care." (Something like that.) Interesting, I thought: it's recognition. It's erotic. Anger saw anger, there among the peaceable whites munching crepes.

Then on to the bike ride story. Tom kept describing people as nice people. I kept being surprised that he seemed to think of it as praise, or relevant in any way. Wanting us to be having a good time like the pleasant couples walking the seawall.

We came in from the cold and the last race home and walked into separate rooms. I was thinking, this is impossible, it's over. Alright, I'm willing. I don't know what's happening and I don't know how to go on, I can't figure it out. I don't like him. When I went into his room I found him sitting on the floor with his legs out straight in front of him. At the end of his rope. When he gets there I collect myself.

It was after that it came to me to ask to talk to his demon. I liked the demon. Right away I got interested. - Is it the way it has always been with my lovers, the nice person in them bores and stupefies me and I go hunting for trouble? His nice person drops the g's on his words the way Michael does too. I hear myself joining them in that tone, and then, though I'm humorous, I feel false and out of contact. When the demon says he hates that was when I was satisfied. Yes, that's what I need to hear. This is who I need to speak to. He hates lies and hypocrisy, he says. The world is dishonest. The world? I'm thinking. But there isn't time just then to follow that. I have to concentrate.

I know approximately that I'm supposed to find the opposition. "How do you see the other?" "He's empty." "What's he empty of?" "Power." "Now I want to talk to the other." "The demon just wants you to talk to him." "Demon I'll talk to you again, I just want to ask the other one a question. Do you think you are empty?" "No." "What are you full of?" "Light." "Demon, if you think the other is empty, and the other thinks he is full of light, it sounds like a standoff to me." I felt I was hearing gender opposition, religious training, his mum and dad.

"I want to show you something." The two sides of his face. He didn't want to believe there's an opposition visible in him - he didn't want that at all. I said don't worry, people only see it if they're looking for it and most of them don't want to know. I think the intervention that will matter most to him is seeing the original look of his imp side. He has feared he is possessed by an evil force. That was done to him. I said, "Demon, I believe in you. I'm on your side, I like you." When he saw the brightness, autonomy, ancestral sharpness of his child-imp set together with the sunny social availability of his mother's child, and then saw next to it the belligerence of his man-demon and the sadness and withdrawal of his love-self, he saw - I think - or will see eventually - the separating branches of a tree in which love and anger are one light which is his power.