volume 9 of in america: 2005 august-december  work & days: a lifetime journal project













Part 1 roade trip back to San Diego from Alberta. Part 4 starting to transcribe Still at home journals, trip to Niland in the Imperial Valley. Part 5 transcribing and posting Still at home and planning Frank after his life. Part 6 camping in San Felipe with Luke.

Notes: Eugene Gendlin Focusing and the introduction to Experiencing and the creation of meaning, Hollinghurst's The line of beauty, Chris Alexander The nature of order vol 1, Thomas Huxley, Eva Cassidy singing Danny Boy, Wendell Berry The hidden wound, Paul Bloom "Is God an accident?", Sam Harris The end of faith.

Mentioned: Millie B, Lise Weil, Louie E, Susan M, Laiwan, David and Dorothy Beach, Luke, Rowen, Mary Epp, Lise Weil, Tom Fendler, Dr Phan, Dr Landeros in TJ, Margo MacLeod, Cynthia Perry, Mitchell Bornstein, Peter Konrad and Luisa Braun, Michael Deragon, Lisa Johns, Doug Odland, Rosalynde de Lanerolle, Julianna Borrero, Carolyn Hauck, Karen Campbell, Gabriele Weinhausen, Doris Heffron, Martyn Estall, Peter Harcourt, Frank Doerksen, Janeen Postman, Myrtle Torgerson, Lorraine Torgerson, Judy Epp, Paul Epp, Ed Epp, Mani Rao, Paul Sylvestre, Michael Duke, Frederic Peters, Jim McKellar, Louise G.

Sarducci's in Montpelier, 874 East Georgia St, Hawks Ave, Pilgrim's Market, Strathcona Park, Royal Tandoori House in New Westminster, River Drive, Nisqually WA, Mt Ranier, Bend OR, the Dalles in the Columbia Gorge, Maupin OR, Adin CA, Knight Inn Susanville, Reno, Antelope Valley, Palmdale, Pearville and Pear Blossom, Mohave, 2720 Fifth Avenue in Banker's Hill, Starbucks on Fifth, Denny's on El Cajon Boulevard, Discover Baja offices in an old mall on Clairemont Drive, Mission Bay, Mission Beach, Mission Bay Drive, 4055 Stephens at Fort Stockton, 5133 Dawne Street in Clairemont, 5562 Taft Avenue in La Jolla, Pepper Canyon at UCSD, Wind and Sea, Whole Foods in Hillcrest, St Vincent de Paul Mission, Pacific Highway, Bread & Cie, the Cortez, the library at City College, Golden Hill, Barrio Logan, the Coronado Bridge, the Silver Strand, Imperial Beach, Border State Park, Ocean Beach Pier, the Clare de Lune Coffee Shop in North Park, Newport Avenue Antiques, California Institute for Technology and Innovation, Morley Fields, Bombay Beach on the Salton Sea, Chocolate Mountains, Niland CA, the Imperial Valley, Black Canyon Road, Borrego Springs, the Hyatt Islandia, Point Loma, Cabrillo Point, Ft Rosekrans Cemetery, G Street, the Golden West, Sheraton Harbor Island, Hands On Labor, Tacos y Papas, Balboa Park, the Vet Tent, San Felipe, University Avenue, Denny's on El Cajon Boulevard, Palm Avenue, the Reiss Hotel, State 94, Tecate, Ensenada, Independencia, Valle la Trinidad, Pop's Camp.

John Greyson Proteus, Katrina the New Orleans flood, Ferron It won't take long, Caetano Veloso Te vi, the Bar-Kays, The hours, Anne Konrad, Peter Redgrove, Nico and the Velvet Underground, Goldstein The organism, Jackson Browne, BB King with Terry Gross, Julie Henderson, Charles Murray in the Wall Street Journal, LA Times, NY Times, San Diego Union Tribune, Paul Simon, Bowlby, The Sadducee printouts, Robert Duncan, Stan Brakhage, Dead poets society, Anton Lesser reading the Odyssey, The age of analysis, existentialism, Hegel, Sartre, de Beauvoir, Doris Lessing The golden notebook, Betty Friedan, the NFB's Skating rink, the Westminster Reference Library, Dorothy Richardson, Chantale Ackerman, the Family Herald and Weekly Star, XLNC, Schumann's Piano Concerto in A Minor, Paul Bloom "Is God an accident," Asolo boots, Cielo y Tierra, Tom Clancy.

 Vancouver 29th August 2005

The two of them in their leafy gate waving goodbye, bright faces, she so little. I'd given her a careful hug on the track. Thank you so, so much for having me all that time, all the evenings on the porch. It was our pleasure, she says in her quirky gravelly little voice.

I won't be able to say much of this. We were on the alley track above their kitchen, we'd just driven back from an Indian restaurant through late sun and rain, a monkey's wedding with a rainbow that had its strong south leg in the river and shifted as we drove. David pulled his red car ahead of my parked blue one that we'd packed earlier. Right there under the many-trunked cedar and next to the tangle of figs and grapes and the grassy bank below the highway seemed the place to say goodbye.

The Star of India had been closed so we'd gone down the street to the Royal Tandoori House, which was maybe a former nightclub with stained seating and a double-height ceiling with fluorescent tubes. We'd sat together in that ugly gymnasium in that dull light waiting an hour for our food, which I was going to buy. Dorothy had on a pink knitted shawl for the occasion of eating out, and under it was wearing her pink beads. David had on an unironed grey cord shirt. I my orange singlet and blue linen shirt, rather grubby. We were comfortably uncomfortable together in our corner. Dorothy was watching a curtain jerking continuously in the glass door to the kitchen. We could sometimes see a little boy with a handkerchief on a knob on his head.

Dorothy is such a girl and David such a boy. They are young together, she 92 and he 60. He has hardly any grey hair and hers is darker than mine though thin and fine. What they are is light, they're fairyfolk. When I was waiting at the register to pay I saw myself in the bar mirror looking the way I love to look, light too, taller and slighter of bone, the elf self. It's cultural with them, they're well bred, they know how to relax with people and be vigilant at the same time, they have a mode of affectionate play. I settle in with them, say whatever comes to me. We laugh.

Had come from Mary in Clearbrook, she and Art and Hilda helping me put my boxes into a stall in the parking basement. Not well bred, Hilda grabbing our heads and pulling them tight together and praying aloud, Dear Lord ... Mary's energy thick as mud, background anxiety I guess, whole dark back room thick with yelling ghosts.

Anyway, there we were on the alley track under the sky and Dorothy was saying travel safely kinds of things, and then the last thing she said was to the jeep, Go well, True Blue.

4th September

It seems violent ambivalence is my indicator of true love.

Liking some of her so much made not liking some a crisis. That's a way of saying ambivalence.

Say it another way. Liking some of her so much puts me in mortal fear of betrayal. The not liking is how I forestall. There aren't so many I like, that I can afford to be so harsh. And yet what other way can such fearful liking be lived?


Drove with Tom to Palm Ave. He drove I yelled. By the time we were on the train platform together I was putting my arms around him. You're a real prick aren't you, I'd said. That was when he pulled over next to the Reiss to let me go on alone because I didn't want to go back home and get my CD player. He changed his mind in time but then called me a squashed butterfly when my feelings were hurt. Very satisfying on both sides. After the trip to Mexico we came back here and got the CD player and drove up University Ave with the Bar-Kays cranked up - we'll get a ghetto pass for that, he said - and up around 60th turned left and came back down El Cajon Blvd and stopped at Denny's and shared a banana split. He is saying he wants to stay at the mission and write, be an artist. I like the sound of it. Half a dozen real kisses.


I have got to the part of 1960 where I am finally touching a man, not going mad in the blind froth of not touching one. The burst of sex I could get away from home. I forgot about Doug but when I read about him now it's as if he prefigures Frank - he was physical - clickers on his shoes, tight teeshirt if I am remembering right - he was after me with intent and kindness. When again has it ever been like that, straight up physical intention though I hedged and fussed. Thank you for what I didn't know was good - I knew it was good, I was determined to have it - but I didn't know it was a better good than for instance Reiner's sentiment. He was very level and clear, he could see me in my girl self quite directly.

Yes I want it again - I want a man to be after me with that sort of sane male certainty.


Am noticing something lately, a misgiving about the father fantasies. I've been going there in very easy good conscience since they work and are only fantasies, but lately I've had as if a moral uneasiness. I'm saying 'as if' because I think it's maybe the thought of someone like Auntie Anne reading about it in the journal, and something about doing that to my actual dad's memory. The way he is thought of.

What I am thinking this morning is that the father fucking fantasy is so loaded a taboo because it is so much the whole culture's unconscious fantasy. I was taught it vigorously in church and it is philosophically admirable of me to investigate and articulate it in its true form. But still, Ed Epp did not fuck his daughters though he likely wanted to, and it would have been ruinous to them if he had. He was god-fearing to the end, and should be remembered as he was and not marked with what he would have abhorred.

There are photos of Opa and Oma in their rectitude, the sweetness of their *60th wedding anniversary photo, the success of their belief. The heavenly father may be, is, infantile fantasy, but it carried them in faith steadily through catastrophe to happy marriage and social success. And here is their granddaughter taking Nietzsche's liberty and more, a science that can be joyful to very few - but must be preserved for those few.

A doubt that maybe I am corrupt, that I have been carried into corruption by degrees all of which seemed innocent to me, that the book is really the subtle devil leading me by clever mixture of truth and falsity, or maybe truth entirely, until there is one final falsity that is fatal.

15 October

To me a question mark registers a sound and so I don't use it when the sentence is grammatically a question if I don't hear the interrogative sound. and do use it when do I hear the interrogative sound. I don't know why many questions aren't interrogative - because they are more like statement, they are movements toward knowing something. I know not using the question mark is accurate transcription.

- The reason I was cryptic was that I was trying to stay out of social forms of thought. What does that mean. Explaining is for the other, I already know what I mean. But then why write at all. Because it moves something along. The way this question-and-answer form does.


Pushing to finish transcribing Still at home.

When I get home after the US trip [1958] something changes. During the trip I settled into writing. While I was away it mostly was still boys, but when I was back on the farm there's more daily life.

From one day to the next I learn to spell definitely.

I fall into pious conformity when I'm under strong influence, but I recover my secularity in a day. I revel in coming out of childhood's isolation by my own effort. There's a passage about the bomb. When I'm frothy it's always about the way people look, I take such a strong imprint of strangers' bodies. It's as if estrogen was my reprieve. It made me silly but it gave me focus and intent. Elation that carried me socially.

I love being in these pages - the daily pages where I widen out in home life - I didn't know I was well-founded there - expanding so naturally - the way as we change, my vision of the kids in my class changes. The background is so stable I can do the fourteen year old's work without interference it seems, remarkably supported and unhampered.

3rd November

Niland CA on the dusty plain of the Imperial Valley. A lot of trees. Birds. Ramshackle little houses, trailers, wide empty streets. Thick-trunked palms. Shirley encamped in a junkyard office under a big machine-shed roof. We sat an evening and a morning in the shade of that high sheet-metal roof in a graveled wire-fenced compound. A stripped truck cab. A white 70s Mercury. A couple of army trailers. A long pink industrial hose. Old electric stoves. Hubcaps. Unidentifiable bits of metal.

Shirley sat in a high-backed old armchair, pale turquoise. Big body, big tits, big pale face with small blue eyes, big gappy teeth. She would lean back her head and roar with laughter. Large sexless and self-possessed.

She had her settlement from Frank's estate and took it to New Orleans to get her MA at Notre Dame. There was a religious ed professor, ex-nun, who liked her, wanted to work with her. She said to herself, I'm not happy. Went down into the French quarter and got a room. Met Richard in a bar. Said to herself, I'll buy him if I have to. Went back to her professor and said, I've decided to work with the homeless.


There's a homeless man I've decided to live with.

Yes, get out of here, go and live, said the ex-nun.

Crack and sex and music. She sang with him. "He threw away my makeup. And my underwear." They went on the road. He was always on, he'd put on a white shirt, a Mexican hat. "If he were here right now he'd be entertaining us." (There she brought out a pile of pictures.) He'd pose. He looked very Mexican, a beard with white streaks on either side. A very energized small man.

He was at Woodstock. He was 6 years in San Quentin. Something about Timothy Leary. Into the army at 16 - he had the choice of that or juvenile detention. He liked the army. He was personal guard to a general. He liked a lot of kinds of music - the Grateful Dead. Liver failure four years ago but his liver rejuvenated itself. A cancer scare last summer. 140 degrees under the tin roof. A lot of things going wrong, bad leg, injured hand so he couldn't play music. Muscle spasms. High blood pressure. If he took the medications his peepee wouldn't work, so he'd go off it. Shirl would say, It doesn't matter, but he'd say, I know, but I like ...

Two weeks ago the spasms painful and he thought he'd take a muscle relaxant. His lip went numb. It's the muscle relaxant, they thought. Then his arm. By the time they realized it was a stroke he was paralyzed down one side. The ambulance from Brawley took 45 minutes to find the address. At the hospital in Brawley they decided to airlift him to Palm Springs. They wouldn't take Shirl in the helicopter so she had to drive the van. It was stuttering, so she had to keep jerking her foot on the gas. It took her five hours to get to Palm Springs. He was still alive when she got there. She said, You're cold aren't you, I'll get you some blankies. She thought his eyes recognized her. Then they declared him brain dead, but they wanted to harvest his organs. His kidneys were still good. So they kept him going by machine for a while. Then they let her wash him. They said, You'll have to go now. She said, Why? We have to put him in a bag. She thought, I've been here until now, I might as well go on. So she helped put him in the bag. Zipped it shut. The county cremated him. Gave her a 13-year repayment plan, $10 a month. She's trying to get him into the military cemetery at Riverside.

Years back, they were in a room somewhere. Richard sent her out to buy some Vaseline. There weren't any small sizes. She came back with the large size (demonstrates size of a large bowl). He laughed. But by the end of their time in that room it was all gone. They had Vaseline in their hair.

The first time they got together he looked at her and said, Let's see what you've got. Started taking off his clothes. I've got a small peepee but I've got big balls. Demonstrated his scars as his clothes came off. He said to her, This is the first time I've been with an ugly woman. His friends would say, Why are you with that fat old thing. He called her Swamp Mama. She said they always liked to talk to each other about everything. The thought of going back to Canada makes her want to puke. She doesn't want to be around white people anymore.

78 home. And from the Borrego Springs turn-off to the bottom of the Banner Grade it was dazzlingly beautiful to both of us. I took Black Canyon Road. Janet fell silent there and continued so. 8 to her door at the Hyatt Islandia.


Great-tailed grackles Michael said they were.


Shirley warmed up to me when I got back from the Salton Sea and backed up to the slab and unpacked a kitchen and cooked dinner. She kept saying, You're so efficient. I had the Coleman set up on the plastic box with pots and pans in it. Boiled potatoes there and fried onions and then steak in her electric fry pan. It gave me something to do while they talked about people I don't know and wouldn't like to know. Fed them on my camping plates. Brought out rice pudding afterwards. Then unpacked everything else in the back of the jeep and unfolded my clean sheets and made my cozy bed. Shirley had overhead fluorescents on. We sat and listened to stories about Richard. It was the wake, really. She did sometimes ask questions. How'd you get your bad leg? ("I don't like to call it bad. It hurts its feelings.") Were you ever a fatty like us? Were you ever married?


Tom on one end of the couch yesterday and I on the other. Paul had said to him the night before, My check came in last night, let's go downtown and have a Bloody Mary. Tom said he said, I hate to tell you this man but I haven't had a drink in ten years. I was staring at him, reached for the string. He hadn't shaved and looked seedy. The string said he was telling the truth. Tom was slightly offended. I said - a bit later - Would you be a bit nice to me, I have a sore heart. It hangs by a thread. He said what he says, I'm no good at being nice to people when they want me to be. I said, You don't have to do very much. Do you want me to be closed again? If I'm open, the cost is that I'm vulnerable to fear. He pulled me over so my head was on his knee and stroked my hair back from my forehead.

Then later I was standing on the bathroom step so I was eye to eye with him. I had been telling him about Janet's pretty woman signifiers. He said, But you're beautiful. And so on. Then he said, You're happy now. I was, but I said, I'm happy that I'm taller than you now.

A couple of twenty year olds were looking at him on the street last week and one said, Hi there, stud daddy. And then in the salad line the middle woman serving called him you beautiful man.


A beautiful day. It rained at night. I woke at three, took an aspirin, put on CD3 of Anton Lesser reading the Odyssey. Listened to the end, woke again in daylight.

I was typing January 1993 when Tom called up from downstairs. There he is. I grin. Drop him the keys. He thought he'd better get here early because I'd likely be out the door to go camping for the weekend. I laugh. Yes I was going to be out all day. Made him coffee, scrubbed the toilet with rust remover while he ran out his mission troubles. His voice is too loud for this little room. But I wanted to play him a bit of the Lesser so he can hear how well it's read. I don't know whether he'll like the archaic blank verse but he is right there. He gets a beautiful look on his face.

He can pick up his check at ten. I'll drive him. Watching the gas gauge. We wait outside Hands On, then I take him to his check cashing place, then to storage to pay his backlog, then to find gas. We're going to Ocean Beach for breakfast. I shove the seat back and give him the keys.

There were a lot of people fishing on the pier. We watched them from the counter in the café hauling fish up sometimes two at a time. A very old man directly in front of us, wool toque over his baseball cap. He's maybe Japanese. He is pulling in fish continuously. When he turns to put them away we see he takes his weight on his right leg as if it hurts.

The sky has cleared. There's sun into the green water. Tom spots an orange starfish on the fourth pillar out.

We stand by the rail looking south at sea spangles and a long strand of kelp holding to one spot but slowly sinking. Its orange-brown color in the green ocean, in that lucid winter light. Then we stand a while on the north rail watching a fat seventy year old on a longboard - covered all over with old-style thick neoprene - cap, gloves, booties - trying to catch what small waves there are. He's too slow to get up. Tom watches on until at last he manages it. We watch him in and then it's time to go.

Drive up the coast into Point Loma. A sparkling day. There is a long bank of cloud quite far out to sea, and another over the desert. The strip of coast lies washed and flowery under its high roof of palms.

We're driving up Catalina toward Cabrillo Point. Tom turns into the military cemetery. It's Veteran's Day. Quiet green sward above the sea. Ocean's blue glitter, this fresh green, sorted ranks of white marble tablets. We drive on through to Cabrillo Point and turn around. I say Let's go back to the cemetery and read. There's a naval funeral just dispersing. I say we need to be on the seaward side of the road and facing south. Just here is good. We stop and wind down the windows. Tom has been playing perfect music and continues to. He sits quiet beside me on and on. Flips through the Reader but then just sits listening and looking at the day. A woman with flowers is searching for a grave she can't find. All afternoon people quietly arrive and stand looking briefly and leave. The number of cones with flowers by the flat-markered, more recent graves along the edges of the field increases. I read and sometimes look up and see the thick-headed dark green trees stirring their leaves above the green and white and blue. The light changes gradually on the blue-white marble. Then the sun has reached the bank of cloud along the ocean's western rim. An even light, no shadows.

When the sun drops into the slot between cloud and rim, orange light on the side of Tom's face and on the white marble, strong blue shadows among the white ranks bending up the hill. I am feeling Tom's presence utterly wonderful. We watch the last edge of orange arc drop out of sight. Tom looks at the stones we can read from the road. Goodnight David Shaw, goodnight Lewis Butler, goodnight Thomas Winslow Meredith.

As we're driving north home the city we see far below is bathed in milky afterglow. By the time we're coming around the last curve from the airport toward downtown it's half dark, still a sheen on the west sides of the towers but the bands of yellow lights are strong. It's a moment of exquisite balance. We drive up G Street. There's the train station. There's the park. I'm looking for the palm I hugged. There's the palm you hugged says Tom. I was hugging the palm because I was too proud to hug you, I say. I didn't understand you, he says. You did the right thing as much as if you had understood me, I say.

We pass the Golden West and look in the door at the desk. We drive through crowds assembling for the Stones concert. Here's the mission. I come around to the driver's side. Last kiss. I love you he says quietly, quietly in the dark.

Somewhere in the afternoon he said, We've earned our quiet pleasures now. I was thinking that earlier, I said.


Last night Tom showed up at suppertime after his day setting up at the Sheraton Harbor Island. He was in his black work clothes and was a self I don't often see - the small-faced one who looks like a little Irish boy. We sat in Claire de Lune having an evening with the quiet folk all in their armchairs doing homework.

When I'd told my day's stories (Juliana's note) and he had told his and we were driving back to the mission in the misty dark, he told me how it was the night before when he'd come off work late and walked home along the bay. The water was glassed off, there were people in the boats, a strong moon. He had been thanking the cosmos for life, even going back to the squalor and embarrassment of the mission he was so glad to be alive. He was saying to himself, Ellie loves me, she has declared herself, so now I have to suit up and show up.


It was my first experience living as I'd go on living - this way - alone in a room. I worked so hard. I gave up Frank. I starved because I didn't have enough food to take me through two weeks and I didn't want to go home on weekends. I transferred my affection to anyone at all, so much affection. I gave up religion. I was heading out. And I wasn't just a slogger, though I was a slogger. I loved my clothes. I had good clothes. There are passages in the journal where I'm feeling and articulating something quite abstract and large, like the cube of darkness and the cone of light. But my letters are silly, I didn't have any sense that my actual self was interesting enough. They're forced. They're false. In the journal there are false notes but fewer than at 14.


When I read my valedictory speech yesterday there was so sharp a stroke of pain. I was surprised. Why was I suddenly feeling it so much? I was feeling how alone I was and am. I was there in my room starving because my parents weren't giving me enough money for food, slaving to make the difference between 85 and 92% in seven subjects, staring at human inadequacy all around, staring at the fact of death, mourning Frank, and having to find my own way into a completely foreign next step.


As I stood beside the coffin of my little son with my mind on anything but disputation, the minister read "If the dead rise not again ..." I cannot tell you how inexpressibly they shocked me ... I could have laughed with scorn. What! Because I am face to face with irreparable loss I am to renounce my manhood, and, howling, grovel in bestiality. Why the very apes know better.

Thomas Huxley quoted on The Sadducee Printouts


I haven't written anything about living together since he got kicked out of the mission long ago last week. At eight o'clock I make his bed on the roof and he kisses me goodnight. In the morning in the dark he comes in the door and gets out his bags and bundles from their hiding places and looks for things, like his hairbrush or glasses, that he can't find. At this moment he must be shaving, there are little clicks from behind the curtain. The coffee pot brumming on the hotplate. I'm drinking tea.

We're in a cold Santa Ana. No dew. Cold at night. Clear black sky. Brilliant stars.

I've made him coffee and there he is in his little plaid boxers, kneeling on the floor, zipping and unzipping his backpack.

He looks very glam in his construction worker boots and good haircut. Maroon short sleeved teeshirt going on over dark blue longsleeved teeshirt. Backpack being zipped again. Putting on his second sock. When he's naked he's thin and old but here comes the fifty year old construction guy. He's buckled on his jeans and now he's lacing his boots. Patting his back pockets. Oh Ellie you're still a fool for boyish boys. He's touching his forehead, looking at the floor thinking, puts spare batteries into his rear left pocket (wallet in his right). Getting his good reversible vest out of the closet. Rearranging what's in their top front pockets. Holding up his glasses examining them. Standing in the closet looking for his other glasses.

Half an hour later. He's out the door. Hoping there's work today. If he has a bad week he won't have money for a room. The vets' tent is opening at the end of the week. He can go there. We sat on the couch staring at the precariousness of his position last night, and then I opened the computer and showed him 1959-60 Edmonton and then we watched the news.

When he was packing up his bed this morning he called me out to look at the crescent moon over a desert sunrise behind Balboa Park's eucalyptus and palms. The air is very cold.

After we turned off the TV last night I praised his immediacy and he praised me back. I said, Tell me one thing you can be with me that you have never been with anyone else. He said vulnerable. He meant that he lets himself stammer out his take on things.

11 December

Sunday evening. Tom and I in a Starbucks near the vet tent. Wire fence, security at the gate, two guys in yellow sweatshirts looking at IDs. He looked drawn and ill. We sat uncomfortably in a Starbucks full of kids doing homework. I told him what it's like working on Still at home and saw he'd gotten pinker. He was interested when I said I've remembered icons and when I read the stories I wrote at the time I see the difference between them and the icon. I remembered that instant and forgot everything else.


Dreamed Frank gave me a big envelope very stuffed with bulky things. When I opened it later there was a long letter, photos, some pots and pans and a pile of folded fabrics I assumed were saris. The photos were of him and me. They were beautiful. In the photos of him he was standing naked. He had a beard. He didn't look as I remember him, better, a different person. There was a photo of me at a concert, on the floor reaching with a microphone. Others were at a steambath as if he took them when we were there together and I had my eyes closed. I look like myself but they are beautiful photos, black and white, very grainy. I look myself at my best.

There was a background feeling of a place, which was a place I've dreamed Frank before, a dream years ago. That feeling of a tone of a place.

The sense of the dream was that it was his final goodbye present. He was giving me everything he'd been protecting from me (sigh) through the years. I mean holding onto.

Don't know why I sighed there.


Tragedy is the way people die before they die, it's the spoiling of the beautiful spirit they are when they are young. Downfall.

That's what people should be learning to change. That has been my mission that I've hung onto since I was a child.

That's what the journal was for.

San Felipe 27th

Silent morning. So silent I hear a fly - no it's a very distant beach bike probably.

The trees in this wash are the color of sand.

Last night we had a hot fire Luke was proud of. He'd made the stone ring and raked up the dried twigs in our tent yard into a heap and found two thick logs of driftwood, and then later went up the hill and brought down an armful of Jim's wood.

We sat together on his bed very pleasingly warm staring at the fire and sometimes lying back and looking up at the stars, which had rotated a surprising distance between six and nine. He's relaxing. Kvetching some about how I used to be.

Two crows flew over just now, knocking.

There's the ocean a blue band so far out now that I can't hear it. I love when it comes in at night and chuckles out of sight.

What I loved most yesterday was the way, just after dusk, dewfall brought out the scent of one of these desert trees, an acrid spice, intoxicating.

One sharp little cheep.

The temperature at this moment is perfect. A subtle breeze. I'm writing in sunglasses sitting up in my bed.

Sleeping in touch with night. I don't have much to say to the stars but like to know they're there. And like the touch of the air.

The first night here I was awake a lot and tried looking at my vision, the small marks and motions, and then suddenly formed into a yellow sunset on an ocean I thought of as Greek. I am not able to sustain it. It closes with a jerk when I add attention, try as if to focus on it.


Sleeping here, I have a substantial night. Things happen. The air is eventful. It's cooler now. It's somehow warmer. There is a little cut to the stream of new breath in my nose. Orion has traveled west and now Pegasus is hanging over the ocean. That bright one is Sirius. The ocean has come nearer, or it is far away and silent.

I am in my bed drinking tea. Luke I think is sitting on this bed drinking tea too.

What did I realize at night - how much I am scorning myself for being ugly - for floundering in sand - for having grey dry hair - for having blubber at my waist. When I talk to people like Brad and Lisa I'm watching whether they are repelled. Subtly. And aware that watchfulness might be the real reason they look away at something else.

Gulls are making a racket feeding on the ocean - there I get my new binocs - no they're pelicans.


Last night when the fire was established, a deep bed of coals and some big logs flaming on them, I said carefully to Luke that when he talks about his large plan he sounds distanced and abstract, and that I thought there is probably someone else [in him] who doesn't like the plan and wants to do something else. He says yes that's probably so but he doesn't know how to find out what it wants. I said, I know four ways to do it, straight off the top, and would he like to try one. Yes. I got off the bed-foam and sat on the sand by the fire so he could have the two ends for a chair dialogue. Let him decide who the two persons are. Thinker and doer he said.

I was aware I wasn't quite ready for my role but I just moved from one thing to another as prompted. I said, Begin as thinker and ask doer what it would like to do. Doer says he just wants to do: he's exterior. He wants to just be meeting situations. Doing what he's good at. Thinker says the plan is important. He sounds so cut off, so thinky, dry, remote. When he is in the doer position he reminds me of someone, he's beautiful, open, feeling. I ask doer to look at thinker, say what he sees. He's surprised: he says, You look tired. Thinker says rationally that he will try to accommodate doer's "unique talents" but doer has to get with the mutual program. Doer says unconvincingly that he will.

I'm thinking we haven't got to what doer wants to do so I ask him what he's feeling. Sit so you can feel what you're feeling. He sits straighter. He says he feels tight. Where? In his torso. Alright put all your attention there. Breathe into it with a breath of small curiosity. He's silent, goes away into it. Did anything happen? It's less tight. Alright just go into what you're feeling and ask whether there's something you're wanting to do. He's there silent on and on ... eventually I put more logs on the fire. He turns to sit facing the flames.

After a while he says, You know, there's a third, too, it's a stone at the bottom of a well, and it has taken the fire with it. It's very black and shiny. When I say something about it being young he says, How did you know it was young? "They generally are." He said it was surprisingly young, an infant. Preverbal? No, not preverbal. Will it talk to you? No it won't talk, it's just peering out of the darkness. It absolutely won't talk. It's cold at the bottom of the well.

At this moment there is Luke writing in his red notebook.

After a while he lay down next to me, pulled his new red-blue-yellow beach blanket over him and started to breathe as if he was asleep. He said how beautiful the fire felt on his face.

When I went to bed, and this morning again, I was hearing a song. My teacher --- --- ---, carry me home. It's Paul Simon. It was the way I felt Joyce in me. Oh Joyce I am so sorry you aren't still somewhere to talk to. To tell about how it is when I become you. How it was last night was full and sharp. I was feeling this closeness to the core is what I have been missing. This is the full self. I was looking at Luke with such love and longing for the wellbeing of his spirit.