volume 23 of in america: 2011 june-october  work & days: a lifetime journal project  















Part 1 Vancouver and Amtrak. Part 2 working with Final Cut Pro, Soundtrack Pro, Motion 4. Part 3 when I get back from a college residency trying to get into my Mind & land monograph. Part 4 a sudden turn.

Notes: Mary Stolz Pray love, remember, Night of the hunter, Davis Grubb, Chandler Red wind and The big sleep, Brian Eno Drums between the bells, Greenblatt Will of the world, Space hotel, Randall Roberts Spoken Beat in the LA Times, Richard Ford A multitude of sins, Hannah Hinchman, Shakespeare in love, Emily Armour in Fauré's duet Puisqu'ici-bas toute âme, Ann Dellenbagh lecture, Richard Siegal's gallery opening, Vesselina Kasarova, Ursula Le Guin, Avaaz on Palestine, Owen Barfield, Tim Stephens Astral reflections, Diana Athill Somewhere towards the end, Brian Doyle Mink River, Sebastian Barry On Canaan's side, fibromyalgia, Santa Ysabel and the local Iipay, season festivals from Always coming home, Mesa Grande natural history, James Ellroy Brown's requiem.

Tom Fendler, Mary Epp, David Beach, Louie E, Diana Kemble, Rowen, Greg Morrison, Jerry Reznick, Frank Rys.

Mount Baker, Caffé Calabria, Zero Avenue, Tabor Court, Vivo, Executive Hotel Pacific in Seattle, Coast Starlight train, Surfliner train from LA, Balboa Theatre, Denny's on Pacific Highway, Rite-Aide, Greatwood Estate in Plainfield VT, Bassam's, the Cove, Wind an' Sea, William Heise State Park, 25245 Mesa Grande Rd.

Wolphin, Sabine Schneider, Mac Pro tower, Peter Green electric guitar, Lightning Source, Sound editing in Final Cut Studio, Brakhage, Chris and Don: a love story, Amy Winehouse, Leonard Cohen Anthem, Melanie Look what they've done to my song, Marie-Claire Blais, John Eliot Gardiner Bach Cantata Pilgrimage. James Taylor and Carly Simon singing You can close your eyes, it's alright, Steve Jobs, Emily of New Moon on Hulu.

 Vancouver 2nd June 2011

The taxi driver who picked me up at 3663 Georgia was a young black man, Ethiopian maybe. Tom was seeing me off at the curb and the driver thought we were a fond old couple saying goodbye. Maybe he was a man not long from a village. He felt our parting, as he imagined it, with us. He hesitated at the corner, crept forward, looking back, murmured "bye-bye". Then he flashed along Florida Drive which was blooming and lovely. We enjoyed it together. Yellow patches, silver willows.

It is raining here. The maples are coming into soft lime-green leaf - chartreuse - against dark grey cloud in a pale but very white light.

5 June

Driving to Abbotsford through the year's perfect moment. Radiant long grass, meadows sheeted with buttercup. As I came into Abbotsford, Baker suddenly right there, huge and near, the always startling Valley god.

My mom's rheumy eyes. Opa's were like that, pale blue red-rimmed desperate little eyes.

On the way home I took the New Westminster exit and found David reading in the garden. He was wearing a good cotton shirt - the way he does, with sleeves rolled and collar up - clean bluejeans with a heavy leather belt and good Birkenstock sandals. I looked at his boy-shape with pleasure, a light long thing. We were sitting next to a stalk of dames rocket I could pull over and sniff. Next to it was a stalk of lunaria with the same flower.

Dorothy got up from her nap and we took three chairs into the alley to sit in the last sun at 7 o'clock.

When I drove away on the lower road next to the paper plant I saw long patches of white and purple dames rocket between the tracks. Stopped and brought a big bunch into the car. They are across the room next to the peaked cullet on the bench from 824. I wanted to smell them all night.

9 June

Playing with David in the truck as he speeds like a teenager up the narrow asphalt ribbon of Zero Avenue. Arriving in the rusted little truck at the river and finding it flooded almost to the dyke. Mary gazing at the new greens everywhere, blackberry tips. Nootka roses up into the trees. A thick hedge of roses full of honey bees. Their scent from the dyke trail. David's light voice being nice to Mary everywhere.

11 June Amtrak

Bit before Olympia - the gorse in heavy flower hanging in raggy clots. Bracken's sorted parallel geometry. It's mid-late morning, grey overcast.

I love a meadow, an open field with even grass - that fine-stemmed light green silky-headed grass - in a frame of dense dark trees on the fenceline.

These sleek flat dark green rivers, one after another.

The deliberate way the maples place their large leaves, overlapped.

Look at the willows hung with gold. Seahawk nests on pilings - they're ospreys he says.

Firs drooping their bright new fingers.

Here's the Columbia faceted like hammered pewter.

We're just passing under the southbound lane of I5. Are the clouds breaking up - there's sun for a moment.

Little daisy heads floating in grass. Streaks of them.

David used the word freshet - at the Fraser with Mary he said "Do you think it's high tide or is it in freshet?"

When I go downstairs to the washroom I pass through a bachelor party, 7 or 8 thick loud young men. I'm opening the door as one of them is saying "There's someone in there." Someone else says "You can shake it for him."


Seeing down into little towns, well-kept small houses in their green, neat yards, as if ideal lives, peace and care. We're riding into bits of cottonwood fluff, celebratory.

Saturday late afternoon in the yards.
Sitting with my back against hot glass.


This little river pale green where the west sun slants into it. A hazelnut orchard. Swaths of lupins, amethyst-colored.

We're climbing into cedars. Snow on the blue heights. It's getting dark. Patch of snow next to the track.

12 June

I'm not miserable this trip, not minding that I don't have young pull.

Wild oats foaming by the track. After Sacramento the tawny hillsides come into view in the west. California light - pale white light on the sides of California buildings.

Look at the Queen Anne's lace, swaths of it with chamise along the track. Eucalyptus litter. Fresh biscuit smell from my crotch on this 3rd day in the jeans. Mustard and Queen Anne's lace tossing together.

- Here's the ocean.

In a little sleep in my seat this morning I saw Tom walking toward me on the platform where I had just arrived. He looked just right.

13 June

When I lay down last night I saw yellow spots moving right to left. Sometimes small dots, mustard, sometimes larger and darker, the flower in coastal scrub as we rode over the sea after the flats of Salinas. In the Surfliner when I closed my eyes I was seeing almost contentless motion - just even flow without something flowing. When I was watching the flower dots I was sometimes also seeing dark shrub-shapes passing, passing.

Dark still Monday at 8 o'clock.

Got home at 1:30, didn't unpack, made a perfect cup of tea and looked at two days' email. Oh a shower.

I traveled two days just to get back to my stuff!

14 June

The way I write here, now, is more confected. I don't run confidently, I ponder and erase. Energy. It's metabolic.

I loved the trip, though, the steady gentle flowing through always more world. On the far side of Klamath Falls, the livid three-quarters moon shifting continuously, hosts of tall pines hurrying past like an army we were meeting on the road. Behind them the livid afterglow.

22 June

G has been asking for a photo of my work setup so I took one this morning, blue slides up in FCP, blue workshirt on the back of the chair, cup of tea steaming. Then a poor effort at showing the FCP interface itself. Sent it with a note saying a screenshot wd've been better but I don't have a program for it. He sent back an url with a Mac command - shift command 4, draw a border and you hear a camera click.

Grateful for his company. He noticed the blue shirt, he noticed the stainless steel cup, and not only that but he says his coffee cup is the same and he has a shirt like that - those so-intimate daily choices.

26 June

The curtained afternoons are lovely. If I open the window wide there's a breeze through the slot between curtain halves, heat reflects, and the room is dimly irradiated by broad lit strips held moving in the fabric. I can work on the couch without glare, while the whole room steeps in gentle cream. I'm pleased finally to have thought what I needed and gone out and found it, and I'm still embarrassed when I see the curtains hanging there on either side of the window so completely taming the room. Meantime the pink lilies I bought in bud last Sunday more and more strongly filling the room with their candy scent. So big, so pink, so explosive in the way they open back.

I'm ignoring the evals and jumping into my free five weeks. I'll establish my own doing and then fit them in.

It has taken me almost 10 years to make this room clean and comfortable and a bit beautiful - isn't that odd?

28 June

Arguing with Greg about ethics and responsibility. What do I really think. He's old-style in his way of thinking - if someone kills another person in their sleep should they be held responsible, etc - that because I was saying a person is not the conscious self but the whole body, and responsibility goes with the whole body. We got into it because I said I was unethical about Reiner and he was making excuses for me. The little question I wasn't asking myself in his presence was whether I exaggerate my wickedness to get around feeling I've been a victim.

29 June

We drove away from Las Olindas through a series of little dank beach towns with shack-like houses built down on the sand close to the rumble of the surf and larger houses built back on the slopes behind. A yellow window shone here and there, but most of the houses were dark. A smell of kelp came in off the water and lay on the fog. The tires sang on the moist concrete of the boulevard. The world was a wet emptiness.

He reached for another of my cigarettes, placed it neatly between his lips and lit it with a match the way I do myself, missing twice with his thumbnail and then using his foot. He puffed evenly and stared at me level-eyed, a funny little hard guy I could have thrown from home plate to second base. A small man in a big man's world. There was something I liked about him.

The tumbling rain was solid white spray in the headlights. The windshield wiper could hardly keep the glass clear enough to see through. But not even the drenched darkness could hide the flawless lines of the orange trees wheeling away like endless spokes into the night.

Big sleep 1939.

The technical basis was that the scene outranked the plot, in the sense that a good plot was one that made good scenes.

[One of his intros, 1950]

30 June

"Did you trust Marriott?" Her face got a little hard. Her eyes a little watchful. "Not in some things. In others, yes. There are degrees." She had a nice way of talking, cool, half-cynical, and yet not hard-boiled. She rounded her words well.

- Ways Chandler is Tom territory. A kind of wandering out into life's possibilities, which include getting beaten up and facing down anyone who's up for it, sexually too. Physically. It's quite a large sense of life. There's a lot of social range, all the kinds of oddities. Everyone sized up, both in terms of physical type and minute momentary scan. The sense I have, with Greg reading the journal, of how much more of a traveler I've been, which is what makes journal the right medium, overall.

"She's a nice girl. Not my type."

"You don't like them nice?" He had another cigarette going. The smoke was being fanned away from his face by his hand.

"I like smooth shiny girls, hard-boiled and loaded with sin."

I laughed with pleasure there. The guys I've liked.

Diana [Kemble] said I was a flâneur. Tom is too. What it means is the self I sometimes glimpse, who takes suffering as news of the world.

What else is there beside the flâneur. Did there use to be somebody who didn't want anyone to get hurt? I'm more casual about hurt now.

Harmed is different. In Marlowe's world people get dead but they don't get harmed - he sees them at the ends of many kinds of harming but he himself comes through his binges and bruisings better in the morning and so does anyone else we meet. No one loses capacity. What I've said about my mom's intelligence about spirit harm. But do we know enough about how harm happens to understand the distinction well enough to make it important.

This week I've been relearning InDesign, it has been a year and I only remember this and that. Today my reserved copy of Sound editing in Final Cut Studio. Files loading off the disk. Am aware I'm not learning efficiently. Haven't developed a system. Flash cards?

Friday 1st July

There I went out at 7:30 into the gloaming on my bike, bought 3 stacks of colored half-size file cards at Rite-Aide, got to Ace Hardware just as it was closing and came out with a 3.5 to one quarter adapter for the headphone jack. Rode home in the dark. Plugged in the headphones and listened to the Borrego files. Then sat 'til midnight writing FCP commands on green and blue flashcards. InDesign will be on pink.

3 July

Yesterday I tried a high pass filter on the bird in 1026 and watched spectrum window strip out the bottom half of both channels. That was a beginning. Set to learning Soundtrack Pro 3 by my method of copying the manual into Word and zipping through deleting and highlighting.

Stephen Greenblatt 2004 Will of the world Norton

He had deep roots in the country He simply took them with him to London.


Watching the playhead slice through Space hotel's first track in frequency spectrum view enthralled to see the music like and much more than and in other ways less than how I seem to see-feel its spatiality. I stared with nothing to say but full of intimation. The right kind of magic. I want to know the meaning of those large rosettes dissolved in open sky. How is that done. Other marks are directly transcribed drawings, the little base ticks like rule markings that are tabla pats, the standing spears that are bigger drums, the strong parallel streaks that are sitar notes seen bending, the thicker posts with a forward-dissolved edge that are snare swats, places where there are squares of grid, long, dissolved humps of drone, quite a lot of R-L difference, quite a lot of open space, clean. It begins as visible music and as actually visible is exquisite.

- I know my ears are crude, I gape at that beauty knowing other people can look at it understanding what I don't.

I've been quite avid learning Soundtrack, which is easier, and takes me where I haven't been.

4 July

It's the 4th, and quiet in the neighbourhood under diffused sun.

Greece, the Renaissance, the Romantics, the Early Moderns.

nobility, not of blood alone but of character - has an affinity with excess

ascends me to the brain, dries me there all the foolish and dull and crudy vapours which environ it, makes it apprehensive, quick, forgetive, full of nimble, fiery, and delectable shapes.

ability to absorb vocabulary ... transformation of technical terms into the intimate registers of thoughts and feelings.

Now he's deeply in / Look how imagination blows him

5 July

Letter from OAS finally, offering me 39/40th of a full pension, which by the end of July would be $8300 into savings.

Tonight brought slides into FCP over Space hotel and learned zooms and pans properly. Also text generation ending with bridge shadow superimposed over other blue images. I learned enough last week so I'm not lost, can use the books accurately to figure out how to do something.

Hot afternoons. My face stings maybe with salt.

The better questions are outside my range at the moment. I mean questions of what's worth making - and I notice that - but want to know this tool well, this time. It makes the things that used to be hard, for instance for Brakhage, so easy that I'll have to find deeper standards if I can.

6 July

poets, as they were then called

Simply the thing I am
Shall make me live.

7 July

so I, made lame

9 July

lived above a French wig-maker's shop on the corner of Mugwell and Silver Streets in Cripplegate, at the northwest corner of the city walls.

12 July

Beginning with the wild area pan section. 10 minutes 45 seconds. I separated the clips tonight, started to mark sound points. There are motions I can do something with. The audio pans too, I saw. The footage scintillates. The motion has accelerations and decelerations that are smooth because mechanical and then sometimes a little voluntary shove. It shows its making. The sound is textural with little marks - bird cheeps, faint locomotive throb, tractor trailer growl, faint train whistle. There's quite a broad still center, the pond wrinkling delicately. The dark pans go quite unconscious, under. The sky pans end in a sort of fairyland. I don't like hearing our voices in it, will think about that.

What should be my principles - use the sync sound as much as I can. Be aware of the moments of its making, what was happening cognitively, to show the thought if it's worth showing. Sometimes touches of maker voice too, laughter for instance. - Have to think about voice over, I'm in the situation of doing opposite things again, making a documentary and making an art piece. Write about what I'm doing. It's the double sense of We made this. I would need to make that doubleness clear. It happens distinctly in the pans. First task to thoroughly see what's there. The medium, the place, the maker then, the maker now. Publish the representation chapter.

So much off-screen sound, the motors, and rarely the wild things of the neighbourhood, come in to mark or texturize what's visible. Texture of motors always there, very urban but it's grainy too in not a bad way and like the scintillation.

13 July

Keep being floored in FCP, still haven't figured out how to learn it, when I leave the exercises and try my own projects I'm almost instantly stumped by something not working the way I expect. Then I have to look at indexes and then I'm swamped. I'm oriented but I forget the fine points and can lose hours trying to figure them out.

I like Soundtrack Pro - there what I need to learn is not the system so much as the acoustic facts, which I have to learn by fooling with the parameters. I can keep doing that with all the wild area pan clips, getting to know the textures.

But learning FCP is so much learning the system, I think I'll have to go back to the beginning and comb through everything. Less than 3 weeks left and then after the res only another 3 weeks before it all starts again.

14 July

Not having internet makes me feel the function it had, like someone in the room I'd say hello to when I woke or came in from somewhere, or check in with between tasks, or say a last goodnight to. Ask questions of all day long. I feel shut in without it. It's an actual sensation, as if the walls are tighter, thicker, more opaque.

15 July

Finished an actual little .mov file today, the dark pond with wrinkles and crawling text. I'll do it again better. But found some good things, how to bring in text on top of a decisive small pan, so the one nudges the other. One minute song. Dark pond sound.mov. We made this: an album. I'm a bit thrilled.

- Oh the gate is open.

Text and voice, the same thing being said both ways at different times. Rob's hands weeding and the text crawl saying "I was thinking about what you think about when you weed."

16 July

Peaches. I pull off its skin to have it wet and naked in my hand. Bite carefully to not spill juice. It's so ripe it's as if cooked. There's more than one taste in every bite. Sweet on the outside, acid in the red next to the seed. The whole event. I immediately want to do it again.

17 July

I loved Tom today. He walked here, I gave him a glass of cold water, showed him the curtains, which I knew he'd like, and then sat him in front of the monitor and showed him Dark pond at full size. He had his glasses on, and the headphones. I was standing behind him watching it over his shoulder and I could see it working. I could see the timing allowing him to see the wrinkles on the water between phrases, the light neat way it closes on a spreading circle, like a tail tucked in. Then I played him a Space hotel track with spectrum frequency view.

We went to the YMCA for breakfast - ended up walking all the way - and sauntering back to 5th Avenue after we were nearly run into from behind by a woman on a bike who crashed into a bench next to us. Her chain came off. Tom jumped to help. She was a beauty, riding on the north sidewalk on Broadway with her children, beautiful children, two daughters and two younger sons. She was speaking Spanish but didn't seem Mexican. Her kids were all wearing the sort of canvas beach shoes worn in France.

I was gazing at the daughters but then I could see Tom needed help. He had the bike upside down and was lying on the sidewalk prying the chain with his penknife. I could see I should pull on the chain to give him slack, so I did that and rotated the pedal when he said to. Then the bike was fixed and we kept going toward 5th, where we sat in the window of the Chinese food place and looked at the odd souls assembling at the busstop until the 120 came half an hour later.

18 July

The moment I was remembering at night was the moment standing looking into the two girls' faces, and they looking back. We were just looking. It was completely natural on both sides. We weren't being social, we were just seeing each other. I was looking at them probably with wonder to find them so beautiful. We were under a tree. They were standing astride kids' bikes.

19 July

I phoned about not being able to open a program in the bundle and discovered I have a whole other program perfect for the uses I want. Motion 4. It will generate a colored box. It sets up zooms and pans and color effects with a beautiful big canvas. It has logarithmic and exponential rates of change. It will simulate a shove. It does holds, scrubs, reverses, will do a fraction stoop. A wind force. It has full ability to place, color and move text. I can animate all my slides with it, put them on a DVD - it even does particles. I had to go sit in the hillcrest Starbucks and download the manual.

20 July

I'm yearning over the thought of an own house and garden in a tiny place like Santa Ysabel. A cat. A manly man not too much in the way. Odd neighbours wd be fine. Indians if possible. This desk with its silvery machines and swift magic.

24 July

Liked what I was wearing for shopping this morning - jeans, white shirt, yellow Chucks. The white shirt is new, a bit gauzy, light.

30 July

Do I need to talk about Tom yesterday. We lay on the sand below the retaining wall at Scripps. It was overcast but a gentle heat came onto our skin through the clouds. I was drowsy, happy to be a body not hurting anywhere. The skin on my thighs was tender and white. It hadn't seen sun in maybe three years. We had been talking. He was telling me things he's thought in our two years separation. He stands in front of a mirror and sees that he doesn't look the facetious person he pretends to be. He has a couple of times looked at a woman and thought, I should get to know that woman, and then thought, I don't want to get to know that woman. He didn't like being judged all the time. I don't like moustaches so he doesn't wear a moustache, and he grows a good moustache, like a brigadier general's. I don't like brown so he doesn't wear brown. I disrespect him.

- There I said Work Woman respects almost no one and Love Woman's form of respect is trust. She couldn't trust him, he wasn't trustworthy. He agrees that he wasn't.

In this conversation it's as if the possibility of coming through is in the air. He says he's scared to death of it, but he says it in a confiding enjoying tone. I am reserving judgment. When he plunks himself - he's large and chilled - on top of me to try to kiss me I turn my head. I've been reading the last 6-7 volumes of The Golden West and seeing the liveness of my love for him - the struggle - the liveness of the coming-through times - and so I'm not completely shut down on the idea. And I'm grateful he's still there, hasn't gone away when he had the chance. I admitted my own fault, which was giving up, withdrawing. Fault-finding is part of that, I can see.

San Diego, 15 August

Tom had bent his will to improving himself and there he was, a slim straight man with a silver brushcut, silver grey jeans, black tee, sandals, quite gorgeous, as if he'd never been a toothless fat lout. It's the new job walking many miles every day, and swimming, and pushups. - That, and the sweet times I'd been reading about in GW, and his mention of a 2-bedroom craftsman with a yard, had me jumping to consider living with him. Book says no.

19 August

I open that material and don't know what to do - there's too much, too dense - too many kinds of parts - I feel it wd take whole immersion, it's an enterprise I'd have to enter with nothing else to do. And yet I want it begun, I want to be living in its opened air.

It's another kind of task than I've had, I've no one to work against. I've been assembling its bits and modes since let's say 1972? It's writing and a movie and it's psychology and philosophy. It's quotation and invention. It's many ways synoptic, it wants to be immensely contemporary. It's the appropriate task.

Isn't it? 

The crash yesterday was because I am entering it. I can expect that.

It's not called Orpheus. It's called Going under. It's a suite of lyric structures. Its methods are prosodies. It's otherworldly and stunningly direct.

It's not mind and land, it's universe and soul, soul being body dissolved in universe. Half-dissolved.

A discipline?  
2 hrs a day  
And whatever it takes to be smart enough  
And open enough  
And technical enough  

24 August

What can I make with my shreds - please. I want to live in the world they imply. Not world, but -
Given those shreds could I compose -
Begin with In English and continue
Oh do I have time. I keep edging toward it and fading back. And meantime lost for occupation.
26 August

Working on the M&L book all day. Could go into the work knowing more - for instance that it's two books. Clearer about format - more researched and settled. First two masterpages for each section. Will coordinate swatches and fonts. Am able to see pages real size, approx.

Mary phoned slow as a stone. She asked about Luke, is he still in London, and then, And your daughter?

27 August

Party with the mailman, Greg the builder, José's immigration lawyer, the three artists, Iranian Mohammed who has warehouses full of African art, a tiny creature called Maria who said she was from Taos and 93 years old, Maye in cowboy boots under a flounced black skirt, a pretty woman who looked like a lesbian and is a general contractor, José beautiful in a black suit, the nice-looking man who said he's the marketer. Many La Jolla types complacently prosperous.

28 August

Richard wasn't there for most of the party. He sat for half an hour being greeted, very frail. Hair up in tufts at the back like a man in a hospital. His gallery was opening at last, just as he is dying, it seems. I didn't know his last name until I saw it on posters in the yard, Siegal. He has been an interesting neighbour though not especially likeable. Has a thin pettish way of speaking, weakly autocratic the way someone with money may be. He keeps himself surrounded by good looking friendly people, young Mexicans. They make what he wants and it has turned out that what he wants is quite lovely - the house is. The ground floor is gallery all through, bright maple floors with stepped levels. A large back room has an opening up through the second floor to the roof lantern I saw Greg building last year. Around it, dark wood railings nicely made. Crowded up against them a lot of dark African objects.

Maye said to go up. The top of the stairs opened to an astonishing room. It's the room whose two windows I see from mine, a long room with a little sofa area at this end, tall glassed-in bookshelves on both long edges, and every surface covered thick with African art.

Later Maye introduced me to Mohammed, a small curly haired man in a flat cap, stolid. Said Richard buys all his African art from him. I asked whether he knows where everything comes from. He said would I like a tour. Took me round the tables and shelves upstairs naming tribes and countries. Cameroon, Mali, Nigeria, Gabon, Ghana. Pots with mirrors set on the sides he said are called mouse pots. The mirrors indicate divination. I lifted a lid. A high-up surface inside in which a mouse is left with little straws. The way the mouse disorders them can be read.

Mohammed sometimes would have to pause for a long while to fetch up the name of a tribe. I would look around as I waited.

I didn't like Richard's three featured artists, including Maye. The portraitist was a vain man who drinks, the satiric etcher looked alright but his etchings were collations of magazine photos. Maye had made a lot of little bronze figures very skeletal and distorted. The real show was Richard's - Richard, his singular self and life, house and garden, vast collection, rounded up as he comes to an end. A wake, I suppose. We circled through the gallery room and garden, drinks in our hands. Later on a young man with a guitar sang Halleluja under the pepper tree, against Handel from the speakers. I was sitting on the stone steps listening to them both, smiling at people climbing up past me in the light from the door. I was wearing my red silk pants and white shirt and moonstone earrings.

4 September

Big wave day with Tom on Thursday. He phoned to say a 12' swell was coming in next day from a storm in New Zealand, wd I come to the Cove to see it. I picked him up at 10:30. We sat for a while on a bench above the cliff east of the Cove. He wanted me to see through his sunglasses, as always. These were polarized and their effect was startlingly wonderful. I could see into the waves. There was more color in the water: green, mauve, milk-coffee brown patches loosely edged with black kelp.

Tom is courting me by listening - not seriously courting, but trying his luck. I told him the story of Richard's party and he listened so well I had a pressure of tears from feeling I hadn't had earlier. When I told him about Mary asking about my daughter he said, Life is beautiful and terrible, which was completely the right thing to say. When I said something about our being broken up, he said, It takes two to break up. That was charming of him, though I don't forget it's easy to say when you can trust the other person to hold out.

6 September

It's after eleven. The restaurant fan and all the air conditioners are off. There's a cricket in Richard's garden grating steadily. I've turned one of the deck chairs to face west. Was sitting in it, with the door open, light showing in a small Greek house, light at the shaded windows too, and saw a meteor streaking toward the ocean.

It has been strange weather. Rained this morning. I walked back from Starbucks feeling what a warm rain it was, the air warm and so damp it smelled of eucalyptus. Louie phoned and as we spoke it cleared. Not much later I opened my door and stepped out into an oven blast of hot wind. It was like a wet Santa Ana. This after an evening sky suffused pink over half its arc the night before.

Window sashes way up. Night traffic, the sound so visual to me, dark streaks.

7 September

Slept last night with the windows wide and so woke this morning beautifully, into warm quiet pink. Now is beginning the season I like best.

The Swan almost overhead at midnight.

Vesselina Kasarova a slight pretty girl arriving at Schippol in jeans, leather jacket, a baseball cap, replying to questions in halting German in a little girl's voice, and then in performance opening her mouth in legendary authority, full of temperament and will. The bit of rehearsal video that thrills me for the way one sees her going back and forth between little girl and mighty queen.

8 September

Thursday afternoon during a heat wave, power out from Yuma to San Clemente, "they don't know why." Won't be back before tomorrow afternoon maybe.

9 September

Tom showed up. SDG&E had said to initiate family emergency plans. He brought two little radios and was listening to someone fielding calls from people reporting on freeway jams and neighbourhoods. I said, The machines are all shut down, let's sit outside. So we were on the roof with the radio and no air conditioners but a lot of sirens as the light began to redden on the cathedral façade. We walked over to Balboa Park to have a look at the people's event. Sat with our backs to a large eucalyptus next to a little soccer game. Over by the sidewalk a group of young people was practicing tightrope walking. We could see one of the Prado towers above the treetops lit by the afterglow, and above and alongside it the white gibbous moon also lit from the west. The tower had a look of India to me. There was a dark-skinned young man who could have been Indian, who stood motionless on a path in the direction of the tower gazing steadily toward us. I kept glancing at him as Tom spoke, something I was feeling about the conjunction of three things all facing us.

And then we walked over to 4th Avenue to look down over the harbour, and back home. Got the Coleman stove out of the back of the jeep, cooked sausage stew in the little room under the pepper tree lit by my camping lantern. I went back to the jeep to get a stirring spoon and when I crossed the unlit parking lot, stepping out of black shadow into moonlight, I knew Mike was there unseen in his spot in the lawyers' back porch. We called out to each other. His gentle innocent voice saying Isn't this good. "It's wonderful! It's so quiet."

20 September

I heard myself say three things to Tom yesterday, laughing charmingly as I said them.

1. After almost ten years I've realized I'm not writing a dissertation anymore, I don't need to be spending twelve hours a day and my best brain on work. I could be doing other things more. I could be creative an hour a day.

2. I've been proofing the last ten years and I notice how much time I've spent trying to figure out whether I'm safe from being dumped. Maybe I could just stop.

3. It's more fun being with him than alone, not because he's such hot-shit fun but because I enjoy the clash and play. I don't want to spend the rest of my life alone. I want the real thing, though, I want to go for broke, and if he isn't up for that, I want to go out and find someone who is, and who can deal with money.

25 September

Email with Greg about dullness. He said why dull when there are exciting projects. I could have said isolation, etc, but said it's because there's no call.

26 September Wm Heise State Park

We were awake in the dark from about four. Talked until the stars had faded and the pink light had passed. I had been saying that to me the science story is so beautiful I don't know why anyone doesn't prefer it to religion, the so-many thousands of years of slowly working it out. He said when he was little he had understood that he would die but someone else would be conscious in his place. Like the Norse story of a vast hall a bird flies through from one side to the other. I liked that moment best I think.

27 September

25245 Mesa Grande Rd Santa Ysabel CA 92070 USA. 1940. Application fee $30, 1 yr lease negotiable. Deposit $1200. Frank Rys Progress Realty.

28 September

I dreamed Susan coming to lean the side of her face against me for a moment.

We went to have breakfast in the coffeeshop and I said let's go back to the realtor to look at the schoolhouse place. Sprague Realty. A soft pretty blond our age at the first desk, a dry shrewd old thing at the other one. Not much later the blond was on Craigslist asking for a rental in Julian or Mesa Grande. There was one - Mesa Grande, hillside, agricultural preserve, unrenovated, $1250. We drove out to look at it. Payton Rd with a gate. Asphalt ribbon up through blond hills. Just at the base of the summit trees a lane to the left over a cattle guard. Faded blue-green shingled house with a lot of little additions. Good rock terrace on the shady side. Looking southeast through the oaks next to it a vista so stunningly beautiful I'm shy to look at it, glance away.

Front door has a realtor's padlock. We walk around the side. A back door on the west end behind the garage is open. A lot of space. Wide kitchen. Wider living room with a stone fireplace fitted with a pellet stove. Bookshelves under the living room windows wide enough to sit on. A dark warm room with casement windows in the northeast.

What do I think - yesterday I came in and sat straight down with the phone. Talked to the realtor, talked to the propane seller in Santa Ysabel, talked to someone about pellet stoves, left my number with Blue Mountain cable company, added up columns, all with direct efficient energy.

Tom and I were sitting on the bookshelf. I said You aren't ready but I might be. Sitting on that bookshelf with sublime grassland behind me I felt I already lived there. I felt it's holy ground. I'll walk out with my camera and be in love. There'll be stars. There'll be silence.

2011, most significant turning point in your life ... true power, talent and personality to the fore - forever. You've held something back over the last 15 years. Not any longer. Be ambitious all year. Poor time to retreat, be overly domestic or to seek security. Take risks ... bet on your talents ... dissolve restrictive ties. Unexpected events loom in money for 8 years You are just beginning to perceive whom you really want. June 2012 - June 2013 can establish the home you'll live in for many years to come or might end one career and start another. This year do research to be ready for that.

29 September

I was telling Greg I spin my wheels because I haven't had a call. This is a call. I'm fizzing.

Contemplating it I feel heart joy like when I fell in love with Tom. Heart joy like the field above the mission.

What do I want
To be with the place
To be healthy and strong
To live in honorable love
To write Orpheus - is that okay
To make film
For good to radiate
To connect with the community
To step forward into publishing
Enough money
To serve intelligence

1st October

I can't not assume I have it, and I say I not we.

3 October

Latitude 33.18, longitude 116.769, elevation 3, 238.

6 October

Steve Jobs died yesterday.

11 October

When are you and Tom available to meet at my office in PB and exchange the keys for rent/deposit?

So I'm moving to the country. Tomorrow will sign a check for $3115.

12 October

It turns out that the lease is signed the very day, exactly 16 years after I first drove through Santa Ysabel and said this is where I should live. Oct 12 1995.

13 October

Have been thinking to sit down and write all day but then I'd jump up and do something, empty a drawer into boxes, go round the restaurant back door looking for more boxes, google cat adoption or fencing material, check email all day wanting to talk to people about the house. - There I do it again, go to add up my cost and income columns once more.

Sean said Wow! Oh wow!

Katie Soule said love eyes central.

The mesa. Is the name of something. Tableland and table.

17 October

[We take a first pickup truck load to Mesa Grande.] There is a little faucet next to the rock bowl along the wall in the terrace - when it's turned water runs out from under a rock. The rock bowl, which is under a spreading toyon, overflows into the flower bed. My collection of succulents is tucked in there till I'm back next week to live.

Last night a bit before sunset we walked a ways past the cattleguard and sat on an edge of the asphalt to look down a shallow crease toward more slopes, more oaks, more rocks. The sun went down orange behind us. As we walked up the slope again a small tribe of large birds crossed the road single file below us, headed toward a rocky outcrop. This morning a hawk slipped past the living room window. There was the iron rocking chair left by the forward oak.

18 October

Under its high canopy, from its carpet of broad, lacy shadow, the blond slopes falling away in curves and creases. On the opposite slope far away tiny cattle. On the nearer slope cattle too, and the smooth looping asphalt of new road laid grey through yellow. Behind us where we had come before dawn to see the eastern sky color was the house in its grove and beyond it uphill thick dark oak forest.

There's a thick-trunked grandmother oak up against the side of the blue-carpet room with its treehouse windows, another over the driveway in front. Small flat blue leaves, blunt-ended acorns.

There was the way when I'd walk through the house every room was a different temperature.

Behind the long kitchen cupboard's doors and drawers my books and CDs, film cans, tapes, and the Orpheus papers.

Yesterday morning while we waited for the tow truck working with the cards with Tom. He asked what would be needed for him to be good for me there. It said careful observation of shared pleasure and oppression, meaning being aware when he oppresses me and not thinking shared pleasure means he has his kind of fun and imposes it on me.

I was stern about the ways he butters me up while at the same time sabotaging by lying and not having money. Then he talked about writing. It's only in the last two years that he's been able to like what he's written, he said. And that's enough about that. When he tried to choose a room I slammed him. No Tom, you do not get to claim a room before you put money into this place. I did not like it when he called it our house. We were lying alongside on the carpet facing the window and I said I'm not at all sure we should continue. But I'll say what I liked about having him there. That he carried everything, certainly, that he drove, though without a license. But also feeling out the house together, naming the rooms, going out both dawns and Sunday sunset. His acknowledgements when I rose up. His wanting to go out and sweep. His pleasure in the tribe of birds crossing the road. And now that's really enough about that.

It's foggy this morning of my last week in this little room. Nora sat with me on the couch listening to the story of the place, the first sight and the 16 years, the ewe of god and the ecstatic grass. She gave me the table. "I have lots of surfaces." I'm leaving her the filing cabinet, the curtains, the fridge, the shelves in the closet, and this little house made lovely.


Today I signed up for power, phone and sat, bought a wireless router, bought a phone, bought floormats and a measuring cup and a mop, mailed the landlord move-in sheets.


Sore and feeble at Tom's house while he waited in a clean house for a tenant inspection. He was wearing his silver jeans and a tight long-sleeved t, thong sandals and his black specs. I had my head on his lap and he was reading me an LA noir, sometimes stroking my head. He'd tucked me into a blanket. I would drift asleep and when I woke he'd tell me what had happened while I slept. He was reading well, sometimes laughing.

21 October

How do I feel about jumping.
That I had to.
25 October
9:20 on my last night here. In the morning I'll take the bed apart and pack the fern and the lamp, the Buddha calendar, Homer and Shakespeare, and the clock, the little shrine I've left at the foot of the bed when everything else is disassembled. I wanted its company tonight. It's been the ripening of the room, the way the blue bedroom in 824 was made exquisite before I left. I'm looking at the curtain with satisfaction too. I understood the room before I left, though I began in it so crudely.
I've been thinking of the last time I moved into a house in the country, the Olson house, also in fall, though that fall began in August. Went to Up north 1, to read those pages, the edited versions. Liked them, a light-spirited person not saying too much, close to her concerns, working to stay in work. Reading them I was feeling I couldn't be that porous now, I've been solid too long, I haven't earned that sort of company. But I'd like to be something like that, there. I can feel something at heart when I think of it.
This afternoon I realized the place page is called Here. Had that title ready.

When I was closing the computer after looking at then, Greg sent a sentence from January 1963. Sexsmith the first move.

The room has more echo tonight. It's clean in all the corners. The shelves are washed.