volume 1 of london: 1969-70 july-april  work & days: a lifetime journal project

London September 1969

 

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Part 1 begins when I'm staying with Peter at a b & b on Gower Street in London. He gives me a black eye and I arrive at Greg's door in Crouch End the night before the moon landing. Go with Greg on a motorcycle camping trip to the West Country, then decide to stay on in London. Part 2, from Mrs O'Hare's boarding house north of King's Cross, London opens. Part 3 a room on Highgate Hill, a scholarship from Bill Volk, and a beautiful boy. The Slade accepts me into its film program. Part 4 exhausting neurotic battle without end. Part 5, Ian and I move into the north-facing room in Roy Chisholm's flat at St Albans Road. At the end of this journal I don't know it yet, but I'm pregnant with my son Luke.

Mentioned: Peter Harcourt, Mike Easton, Greg Morrison, Arnold Dresser, William Berryman and David Berryman of Lower Porthmeor, Meinhard Rüdenauer, Graham Passmore, Don Carmichael, Olivia Carmichael, Brenda Firestone, Ian Brown, Bill Volk, Roodal and Sheila Kissum and their six kids, Jenny Pozzi, Roy Chisholm, Buddy Hardy, Margaret and Major Brown.

Academy Hotel, 101 Weston Park Crouch End, Stonehenge, Minehead, Somerset, Selworthy, Exmoor, Cleeve Abbey, Tintagel, Saint Ives, Hornsey College of Art, British Film Institute, Westminster Reference Library, 68 Marquis Street, Matisse room in the Tate, Dillons University Bookstore, Heal's, Market Road, 5 Makepeace Avenue N6, Duke of St Albans pub at Parliament Hill Fields, Highgate Cemetery, Portobello Road, Hampstead Heath, Academy Theatre, Jimmy's restaurant, National Gallery, the Baker Street Classic, Holland Park, Kensington Market, Saint James Park, Paddington, 73 Southwark Bridge Road, Nottage and Porthcawl, Sker House, Iffley Road in Oxford, the Elliotts' at Stour Provost, Swain's Lane, Betchworth, Edinburgh, Arthur's Seat, the Bistingo, the Place, Electric Cinema, Makaris Restaurant.

Te Reriora, Van Gogh Peach Trees in Blossom, Midnight Cowboy, Isabel, the moon landing, Read Concise History of Modern Painting, Tarmo Pasto The space-frame experience in art, Chabrol La femme infidèle, BBC Déjeuner sur l'herbe and The other side, Anna Karenina, The possessed, Penelope Mortimer My friend says it's bullet-proof, Ariel, Michael Longley Secret Marriages, Jean Rouch Moi, un noir, Margaret Mead Male and Female, Francis Flaherty on elephants' training, Yeats chapter in William Walsh Use of Imagination, DH Lawrence, 10,000 Suns, Z, An Unofficial Rose, the Slade film program, Adalen 31, Ulysses, Judy Collins concert, Kracauer Theory of film: the redemption of physical reality, The Magus, Raymond Williams, Nabokov Invitation to a Beheading, Prologue, Ballet Rambert, Marvell In the Garden, Captain Nemo and the Underground City, Susan Sontag, Hugo and Josefin, Nabokov Speak, memory, Troell Here is Your Life, film version of Women in Love, Roethke The waking, Secret Ceremony, Life against death.


Crouch End 20th July 1969

After that the night of anger, tears, explanation, self defense, accusation, tenderness, desperation, headache, fatigue, then the blurring of Isabel, Peter clamping his hand on my chin asking me why I did not believe him, my cry "Because you believe in IDEAS!", his hand across my face, my stagger to the bed seeming to imitate all the fight scenes I've seen in films, then Peter bending over me and myself struggling in both fear and rebellion - I screamed to make him stop, and to say "Take that you bastard" as my way of hitting back. His hand clamped over my mouth, "... because I'm bourgeois." In the morning, I had a little purple bruise around my eye; ever since that evening we've swung between watchful concern to comfort one another and accusation and self defense, confusion like that blurred moment of violence, probably as blurred for him as for me, when I thought "Well this is very definite and very fatal, this is a signal, something has happened," very coldly, with only a little surprise.

Last night I finally left, with Peter hurling the Sight and Sound after me, hurt and angry. Today is the moon landing; I hadn't realized until this afternoon.

Now the telly and the continuing conversation with Peter in my head; somewhere across London Peter's conversation with me, probably more anger than hurt now, but still a conversation. What a dislocation of our lives we've been - I felt, walking down Gower Street to find a cab, as if I were suddenly lighter and healthier and had somehow come out of a long tunnel that had become more and more narrow to the end, with that symbolic punch, and then caved in.

The moon coverage: images, below them a black band with white subtitles, time to touchdown, Andrin speaking, image of what looks like a large orderly office or schoolroom, static and factual voices on the soundtrack, then time measured to seconds, nothing random, the static a sound of tension, crackles with a texture like tweed, height above moon 11 miles, Armstrong speaking, white-shirted men moving calmly in the schoolroom, height above moon 9 miles, 9 nautical miles, 5 minutes to main descent burn. The surface of the moon as they see it coasting above it. Speed 4600 mph, 2 minutes to braking burn, cloud cover over the moon, 8 minutes, Greg behind me sucking his cheeks in with concentration, Huston "You sho' looking good," altimeter dropping fast, high gate, low gate, touchdown, flashing, white-shirted men in the schoolroom making restrained gestures of joy.

26 July

Whitehall on a sunny morning. Whitehall is a street, not a building - a very broad commercial avenue leading from Trafalgar Square past the Houses of Parliament on the north bank of the Thames. It is hung with very large British flags at the third floor level of the buildings - red, white and blue. Below them goes the traffic: red double-decker buses, deep blue lorries, square black taxis like patent leather boxes. Past the elegant white facades shaded out with patterns of centuries of coal dust - there I was standing in the midst of it all, waiting for a red bus to come along.

One afternoon Greg arrived on the motorcycle and said "Come explore." So we went forth and west into a part of London neither of us knew, the 'City,' or the old formerly walled part of the city. The motorcycle! Sitting behind Greg, I can't see the road, only the buildings flashing by on either side, like a very rapid film cut very abruptly as we turn corners, pass empty squares, flicker past diverging streets - all the glorious rooftops, all extravagant, all different, all ridiculous, full of chimney pots, little coy windows, gables, turrets and towers, ridgepole decorations, baroque domes - suddenly there's St Paul's Cathedral, enormous and awesomely beautiful, then, flick! It's gone by and on the right is the river, London Bridge! And then past it the rows of identical warehouse cranes lined up precisely, and then the magical towers of Tower Bridge - there's the Tower itself, with tiny windows medieval prisoners stared onto the river from. We rode across the bridge once, all flicker of ships, cables, towers, docks, cranes - then we walked back across it looking at the muddy slimy water and the docks going as far downriver as we could see.

Minehead, Somerset August 3, Sunday

We're sitting in a very large cafeteria with our egg an'chips dinner plates stacked out of the way, Greg reading my book about English houses and me trying to catch up this travelogue in my usual detailed and immediately publishable style. I am constantly being distracted by the people passing on the seaside promenade outside the big cafeteria window. Greg looked up a minute ago to ask why I was looking sad. I'd been watching the families passing by in little straggles. Minehead is a poor man's (working class) resort, with its mucky rocky beach and grey cold Bristol Channel water; the families are shabby, badly dressed even in their holiday clothes. Every sort of distortion goes by - blue lumpy fat legs, noses like shiny sausages, varicose veins. Parents are ugly; children are also ugly. Nearly everyone looks stupid, vacant, browbeaten, minimized. It made me remember the farm families in Grande Prairie, the people who came to the Auction Mart in rattling pickups, the women in shortie coats and frizzy hair, the bent-shouldered men, the spindly shy children. That made me remember how Father was ashamed of our rustic clothes and rustic manners in public; I suppose he thought we looked like these families?

It's turning dark, but people continue to pass, some of them back and forth many times. Down the road is Billy Butlin's Holiday Camp.

This morning when we got up, our fern and pine forest was full of sunlight and warm flies. We spent the day on more narrow country roads plunging down into and up out of villages. One, that we had to open a sheep pasture gate to find, was three houses big - Stoke Pero, with the tiny Stoke Pero parish church and graveyard on the hillslope.

Across a brown and gold and green moor hill called Dunkery Beacon, with view of all Exmoor and the sea, and along a road with English families on canvas chairs on all sides wherever the road widened into someone's gate and lane, we went to Exford. There we sat on the green and read the News of the World and when it was time went to have a Plain Tea - scones, thinly sliced bread and butter, muffins and cake and tea with a big dish of jam - in a Tea Room with two opulent cats and a discreet rattle of china cups and genteel conversation, a beautiful tea which made us warm and full for another cold windy drive up and down more hills to Cleeve Abbey ruins.

On the night we first found Selworthy, we saw a gate and a path leading upwards through the forest from the entrance to the village green - we followed the path, one of Exmoor's famous 'walks,' we discovered, up through a beautiful bit of forest, very dark and full of the sound of running water. Then it came out into what turned out to be our first experience with real moorland - a strange beautiful slope vividly colored in golds, yellow-greens and the purple of heather. There were sheep everywhere in the knee-deep prickles (gorse?) and we were immediately found and followed by huge sheep flies, so that we had to walk with our heads wrapped in our jackets. The ground was stony and covered with a kind of silky gold-brown grass growing out of green tufts between the gorse, the heather, the tiny yellow flowers. Our first moor - when we came down the hill again I was elated, because it was my first long walk (and uphill!) without pain in my hip. (Two miles!)

We got back down, after discovering a road along the spine of the moor, just as it began to grow dark - went back to the spruce forest and camped just out of sight behind a huge clump of fern, on the damp woody red soil.

Next day, a heavily foggy day threatening to rain (it had rained all night), we found the entrance in Minehead to the moor road we'd found the evening before - we roared through running streaks of wet white cloud, nearly blown off the road by a wind toward the sea - along the spine of the moor with the sea falling away toward the north and the moor falling away toward the cultivated valley in the south. (Nearby is Lorna Doone's valley.) All around, the wet gorse and moor grass glistening, the goldbrown grass flowing like a palomino's mane; the ride was thrilling and beautiful and cold. When we came down into Minehead again I bought a pair of Wellington boots, rubber farmer boots, very 'stout' and warm and impervious to gorse spines.

We stayed in our Selworthy forest for several days, making excursions into the moor to remote villages, often passing through beautiful, wild landscapes, high hilltops covered in flowing green and gold, muddy sheep, flying heavy clouds. Many teas and breakfasts in the Minehead tea room. Then one afternoon a late departure west again, along a hill road that nearly slid into the sea, sometimes as steep as 3:1, with a sliding sun behind cliff faces and thick yellow evening light transforming the road, a treacherous glorious stretch, with the colored sky and a sea like grey silk-velvet on the right, and green valleys suddenly diving down through the moor slopes on the left, beautiful, the watered rich green cuts in the dry gold hilltop moorland. Then a bed and breakfast, warmth on the third floor of a high old house.

August 6, Wednesday

It's sometime after six o'clock and I'm sitting in a sheep pasture, back against the stone wall, warmed by the sun straight ahead and reflected from the ocean. This is part of the Cornwall coast which is on the edge of an area of - according to our Esso map - Great Natural Beauty. Here the sheep pasture with its stone and hedge wall seems to roll down to the edge of the ocean, where stone cliffs fall almost straight down into the water. Many woolly and dirty white sheep with their ears standing out perfectly level with the tops of their heads are moving around us. A few stop and stare, but most are indifferent and go on with their noisy feeding, making a sound like chomping and tearing and snuffing, their sides shaking with greed - and then there's the pasture, every blade of grass backlit by the late evening light I like best, and the brilliant column of reflected light on the water. On either side the land slopes down in round farmed hills toward other sea cliffs. A village called --- built in the rust-lichened field rock rubble style of the area. A church tower, square and crenellated in the Norman style, on the far headland to the north, another pointed headland with islands tumbled into the sea off it miles downward to the south. Stone wall at our backs, then the road and the motorcycle and then more round hills full of oats, sheep, brown cows and of course fences.

We camped outside Saint Ives, on wild scrub land to the south, in a lonely stretch under a typical Cornish outcropping of old stones that look as though they've been sculpted and arranged. Stayed there several days, but then got so lonely that we moved down to a little pasture campsite behind a little settlement of stone houses next to the sea. The farmer owner of the pasture came to collect his two shillings, and squatted on his heels outside the tent talking to us. William Berryman, the sixth William to farm on the site and the father of a seventh. His own father and brother lived just up the road. In another house, the only whitewashed one, a Canadian sculptor had lived the year before. Another stone house which had belonged to an old woman stood empty next to the walled pasture with its scatter of tents.

William Berryman soon invited us into his warm kitchen with its huge stove. His wife, a pink and blond large plump woman who reads piles of books from the traveling library, a tow-headed David, about nine, who wouldn't go to bed as long as there were chocolate muffins and stories being passed around downstairs, three other children packed away into beds upstairs. Greg told wry Canadian stories, I told what Peace River Country stories I could remember, William went on about Cornish tin mines and about famous wrecks that had taken place just below his back fields on the very dangerous Cornish coastline.

We were invited back for the next night, and that time got the front parlour, told more stories, looked at pictures, ate Cornish saffron cakes and drank tea, while David sat curled up with round eyes on a chair in the corner where he hoped he wouldn't be seen. The children have never been to London; the dairy cows give William a decent unambitious livelihood; Lower Porthmeor is a farm with a name and ancient connections to Upper Porthmeor just up the road. The stone houses are crude grey fieldstone, built exactly like the field walls. The houses are hundreds of years old, the walls are possibly a thousand. Each field has a name, each tiny fenced enclosure - most of the names are in Cornish, a lost language. There are no trees. Houses, walls, rock outcrops, all are the same, a beautiful desolate landscape that I want to see and photograph again.

London 19 August

My plane leaves tomorrow (taking Peter with it) and I've sold my ticket to a friend of Desser's.

30 August

What comes and goes and comes back most often these days is a sense of readiness to do something. When I look at books in the BFI or the Westminster Reference Library, I begin to have a sense of valid function - here's something I can do, a short-term necessity, think out a course that will convince Mr Ian Simpson of my authority - need for authority. Little anxious thoughts about clothes and my shape, style, silly-femaleness, thoughts of young confident art students and the attention or lack of attention shown by David or Leslie: things which minimize me. I've no idea whether I'm naturally authoritative or not; usually I think not. With Greg I am, so he thinks I am. Peter thought I was; but how? Desser talks about my frightening people.

Exhilaration on Friday in the library because of a maverick book by Tarmo Pasto, a Finn who talks about space-frame perception in art, the secret of great and serenity-giving art. Makes us feel comfortable because we perceive with our whole body (and we are entirely body) - ridiculous theory, but why do I arbitrarily take to some sculpture, building, drawing, furniture very strongly and completely refuse others? It has something to do with balance and solidity, I know that. Vase shapes, pot shapes - what is it about my little Japanese pot? All the stuff I listed on the page from Cornwall? The certainty and safety on my encounters with some objects? Something I've begun to lose but need desperately. The possibility of working in that certainty, quite arbitrary certainty, makes me feel ready. Something is right, I'm on to something. I mistrust the intellectual program in the visual arts, detest surrealism and op and pop, love 'organic' shapes like rocks, am not interested in transcendental aspirations but only on the feel of what's to hand. That's something; it may be pigheaded and wrong, but it is a conviction that has grown out of my childself as a continuous strong long muscle of my self identity. Maybe it's good for something.

-

I'm like a committee in which the controlling vote, the heaviest shareholder, is a six year old child who moreover does not speak any language shared by the other adult voting members.

17 September

Someone called Meinhard Rüdenauer picked me up yesterday in the Tate, a young, plump, completely unremarkable-looking man who says he's a composer. We arranged to meet for the Contemporary Dance performance at 8 today. Our talk in the Matisse room yesterday, and even more our shiftless evening today, sharpen the feelings of strangeness of meeting a new person - because he is as aware as I am of the self conscious moments when I feel my mouth setting itself into the unnatural self conscious position and then sliding into another. The tension of image received and offered; or questioned; my stares into space, my ridiculous final "Well"s, like sentences by themselves, but pointless; his flurried accounts of his work, in which his mouth moves so little that the words are mashed between his lips - his pointed smile, with his teeth set edge to edge like Uncle Harvey's, his sudden undermining shifts into humour, which collapse my little false structures. His good humoured insistence on holding the back of my neck - my silly and coy posturings and his ability to see past them to my sincerity. The straightforwardness and honesty and modesty he has are endearing. "Ich bin ein Komponist" yesterday, but said very modestly. His ballet about Kafka, in eight "Puncts". He wanted to call it "K" but thinks that may be too vulgar. "Terrible music, depressing." He begins to be unintelligible when he talks about things that are related to his main interest but not central, about a television show he did, and groups of artists he knows.

After a struggle on the step, I said "You aren't taking me seriously." I had to shout it again - often we do not understand each other - "You aren't taking me seriously!" He beautifully, unexpectedly, said, in German, "You know, lately I don't know what I take seriously and what I don't. I don't know myself. And so -" and there he became unintelligible again. This as he was sitting on a step beside the bus stop, and I had just pushed him away, because he had sat with his heavy arm across my shoulder and his hand on my neck.

Marquis Rd, 18 September

In the mornings I telephone from the laundromat, wait for the bus beside a factory as truck drivers wink at me (purple shirt, eye makeup, the high-heeled boots), catch the red doubledeckers to cross the railway bridge and seep into the central area down past King's Cross and the Saint Pancras station. This morning I jumped off the bus opposite the Saint Pancras church caryatids and bought a stall ticket for 20s, the Sunday dance matinee. South, past Yeat's house on a cobbled mews, to Dillons University Bookstore, where I pledged myself to stay in London by buying The Possessed to read at breakfast. In the elaborate stationer's I bought a drawing pencil, and a pencil sharpener, and finally, with a careless reckless throw of my today's impulse to give myself presents, a thick, tough blue notebook with both lined and unlined pages that are meant for carbons but ideal for all the notes and sketches, learning, seeing, thinking, making I'm going to do in this free year in London, maybe.

Finding Market Road, the new way home, I found a strange desolate stretch of blue night-lit industrial landscape. On the right, an iron fence; behind it a cobbled stretch of bare grass and weeds, with an unsupported brick tower in the middle of it at the far side. On the left another iron fence beyond the road, a railroad yard, a jagged row of roofs, the unpopulated brick railway and factory area with another thin brick tower rising out of it. Ink blue sky and clear stars, pink-grey bits of cloud floating like settling cream around the near tower, which suddenly began to toll, invisible bells belonging to no church, almost a de Chirico landscape. Then the serrated horizon of York Way and my own street, my clean front door, my room waiting impersonal and perfect, the books in my bag to unpack and thus dedicate, this account to be written, wash up downstairs, with the geranium plant on the wall, Grandmother's smell of concrete, the roof patches behind the garden. Tomorrow morning a waking to Mrs O'Hare's tea and toast, some gay exchange we always manage.

21 September, Sunday

The existence of my journal from when I was twelve is evidence of my belief that I can make myself, and that what I am is strong enough and subtle enough to become something whose evolution is interesting. At its earliest, the journal was an angry assertion of my value, necessary because Father denied it. It became an expression of love and energy, fascination with boys, Janeen, the creek, fields, night, songs, times; delight in my own cleverness with those early poems in the manner of LM Montgomery. Love, delight, exuberance, successes that made me confident - I no longer wrote out of unhappiness. The climax of the year in Sexsmith, letters and journal often indistinguishable, except for the coyness and playfulness of the letters. Then I began to yield to the necessity of including sadness, defeat - although I will still not willing record my mundanity, my days when I wake knowing I am not very marvelous. Now, as the latest development, I've begun to include arguments. I've barely begun - although still in exceptional circumstances - to have opinions. I've never really wanted to have opinions; I'm suspicious of people who have opinions, worried, uneasy, sometimes jealous. Even DH Lawrence is irritating, with all his opinions. I don't want to be a critic, because being a critic is having opinions professionally, is being a person who has opinions. Now - is it better, does it mean I'm becoming a formed person, does it mean I've lost something and am becoming a robot? - I sometimes have opinions. But not consistent opinions. I believe in self-formed character, but I'm a behaviorist. I value the lyrical realist stream of art, but distrust loving exploration of methods or principles in art. I think of myself as intelligent, but am shamed and envious in intelligent conversations. I believe myself to be unique and valuable, but stared in fascination and envy at everyone at the ballet this afternoon. I believe in the preservation of my strangeness and solitariness; at the same time I'm not sure that the sort of preservation I can manage does not depend exactly on what I do not want - pride, jealousy, intolerance, desperate preservation of self definition through rejection of other people (like Desser). When I make cheerful conversation with Mrs O'Hare in the mornings, I decrease my solitude, I affirm her, I like her, I feel whole and generous and full of energy. When I avoided the stupid conversations of Miss Davis in the hospital I felt guilty, childish, uneasy, malicious, but right, because she was dead, and it would have been a waste of time.

Maybe an energy criterion of morality - it is good to be and do what I am and do when I am strongest, most exuberant, feel most myself. Easily reduced to absurdity by examples of other people. But for myself it works - because when I am healthiest and most full of energy I am most capable of doing what I believe right? I'm not sure that's it. What I am at my best is what I measure myself against; when I recover my state of grace I'm capable of believing strongly in what at other times I'm uncertain about - eg whether one should be self sufficiently alone.

[letter]

Parliament Hill Fields, Saturday in November

I've been a long time waiting to finish this and mail it, mainly because I've been so happy and disorganized. We've had a most beautiful beautiful autumn, a hot brilliant October and now a misty wet November in which the slowly slowly turning colours glow like stained glass all over this beautifully overgrown area of London. It has been too beautiful to work much, so I've had a little frenzy of happiness and energy and will begin to work now that it's wetter and colder. There is of course a man mixed up in this euphoria as well - both a cause and an effect of it.

[undated letter]

The Slade School has suddenly had a vacancy and is taking me in as a full-time regular MA-equivalent student. After one more year I'll be qualified to teach in either British or Canadian universities. In Canada, as a beginning lecturer, I'd be making about $9,000 per year, when I only need $2,000 to live on - I know, it's incredible!

We, Ian and I, woke this morning to sun and snow. Had scrambled eggs and toast and honey and good coffee, read the papers. Played the piano. Listened to Schumann and Brahms on BBC. Necked a little. Perfect Sunday contentment. Then I went out to see Prologue at the Film Festival. When I came out night had fallen, everything was beautiful, orange and gold reflections on the Thames, reaching almost across it. I took the bus instead of the Underground - sat on the top so I could see the city looking so different. Walked home across Hampstead Heath - orange sky with pale stars in it, the city massed on the south, gnarled trees, people shouting with their toboggans in the dark. Then from the top edge of the hill, Highgate Village lying toward the north across a shining black pond, a hill covered with houses and lights like sparklers, a church spire at the top, the sky deeper orange on the horizon - like a magic village, enchanted into London out of a fairy story.

Iffley Road January 5 1970

I'm in Oxford, sitting in Olivia's bedroom in my sleeping bag, both heaters on, electric and paraffin, the room beginning to warm. Beyond the frosted window are Oxfordshire hills, a clear sky, snow, red morning light on hills, bare trees, roofs, and the tangle of back gardens below. Don is in Canada for Christmas, coming back tomorrow. I'm in Oxford to see her for a few days clear of our men who distract us from each other when they're there.

On Sunday I took the 4 p.m. train - there's one every hour, this little country is all packaged together by hundreds of trains constantly running - in a state of wild-peaceful happiness that transformed everything I saw. There had been a frost in the morning which had not yet melted - no snow. Everything was beautiful - thrown-away window frames on the embankment frosted on frosted grass, cottage roofs in white rectangles in the country, the high delicate silver street lamps in Reading like stripped-down Lombardy poplars in rows along the streets, towering above the buildings.

It grew darker, a pink sky, a thin fog coming in low to the ground, the Oxfordshire hills appearing, silver canals with a thin coating of ice, our faces reflected on the inside of the train windows as it grew darker outside, the man across from me looking as happy as I was, sitting re-reading a long airmail letter someone had written in tiny square letters with drawings in the margins. My head was full of Ian, my whole body was shining.

It takes a little over an hour to go to Oxford - the hour is always a daydream - I bring a book and sit with it on my lap unlooked at as I glimmer out the window smiling vaguely outside, broadly inside.

Oxford - little country town station, a doubledecker bus that drops you in the midst of the colleges, the spires, walls, windows, spikes, peaks, points, towers, gateways, of the Oxford colleges which are built to look like castles and manor houses.

Olivia has just arrived, complaining inventively about trains and dogs and grandmothers and grandfathers and dreading her job and drinking tea.

[journal]

Sunday January 11

People when they love each other and want to make a unity in order to deal with the world more rather than less honestly should believe in each other's perception and conception because it is trusted as an extension of their own. But whose thinking have I ever trusted? Greg's in detail and in taste, but not in scope - he's too passionless and too unambitious. Peter's generally, but not where it concerned me - also in some ways I don't trust his assumptions or his objectivity - he wanted too badly at that moment to rescue his life. Frank's I did as long as it stayed within very close limits; when he went outside them he chilled me with his ignorance and prejudice. Father's not at all. Olivia's sometimes to a surprising extent but sometimes not at all: her perception delights me and then her descriptions confuse me. Patricia's within the boundaries of her chosen limits, but her limits are womanly and optimistic, she just wants to live well and kindly. Ian's - I don't trust it because it doesn't have my aims. Don's - and this is the sad, private, 'maybe' that I'd like to be rid of - by now I'd really like to be rid of it, honestly and finally - I think I believe that Don at his best has the same vague (therefore powerful?) aims I have and the ability to seek them up to and beyond my limits. I'm not sure - perhaps I'd find him too cautious, too cagey, too wary to think with me in complete good faith, perhaps he'd keep reservations with me as he does with O; but maybe, maybe he'd trust me as an equal and generously genuinely come with me, chase me, to our own frontiers so that we as one-in-two could be more than our two separate selves separately pursued. Because only that justifies giving up the lonely pursuit of ourselves separately? BUT is there any pursuit of myself, unless I'm challenged?

12 February

In the middle of February, England's begun to bloom, crocuses and snowdrops on the lawns, tiny blossoms in St James Park at the warm edge of the duck pond. On Monday I'm moving. It's a room just downhill from Makepeace Avenue - new address is: Flat 7 Heath Lodge, 4 St Alban's Road, London NW5.

[letter]

Sunday, 23 February

In the other two bedrooms on this floor are Paddy and Roy, both South African emigrées, black and battered (Paddy) and white and sad (Roy). Paddy's very quiet, we see little of him. Roy is a charming enigma: he doesn't work, only walks on the Heath, cooks, reads, listens to records, talks. He's very intelligent, intense, courteous - his house is full of books about religion, politics, philosophy, poetry, art. He gets up early, goes to bed late, seldom brings friends here, gets up in the morning looking exhausted and opaque as though he's been wrestling with angels. When we talk to him for a while his eyes clear. He talks about his childhood, about dreams, about things moving outside the window. He knows how to use silence powerfully, and when he does talk half of it is poetry. I think he has some experience with psychotic breakdown - he's the sort of person who lives right on the edge of normal structured existence. Sometimes he looks tormented, at other times he smiles his sense of harmony toward you.

Wednesday 5 March

I ride up and down so unaccountably. Yesterday in the afternoon I was physically elated so that I ran up Kentish Town's broken escalator. After Ian sawed at me last night with his eyes shining hostility like a tiger's I was eroded to the thickness of tissue paper, limp and crushed.

How could we live, what do I want? A heath with friends around it that visit but who never visit me? To be all alone? To cultivate glamorous tangential friendships that exist as possibilities only? To be both alone and with, breathing out of one into another? I'm uneasy with this journal now, Ian's reading it puts it against me, evidence for his side, and it's too explicit, stumbling, simple minded; and I'm self conscious.