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Inspired Pleasure

Diary of a Dancer

Shalimar – 3:30 PM –13 Aug 76
Was sitting on a box of Lite Beer sipping coffee


reading Miss Read when Carmen warned me that the boss


might  fire me for reading. Apparently writing he doesn’t mind


so much, probably because he can’t imagine anyone keeping


it up longer than 10 mins at a time. R. will be here soon, then


we hit the bank, pick up my stuff and we’re on the road for the


Finger Lakes. Five hours alone in the car. I find I have a lot


of inhibitions against voicing boundaries in our relationship –


mainly because I don’t want to be lied to. I want to find out


how things really are. For example, he spent last night in


Gaithersburg with his wife. Now her I’m jealous of, because


he used to love her, used to think she was a “catch” and


was surprised and gratified that she “descended” into


marriage with him. 


I probably won’t ask him if they had sex because


it would be making too much of it. He’s said before he wouldn’t,


and she definitely wouldn’t. But I can’t believe a woman who


knows she’s losing a man might not change in her feelings –


just to see what power she has left. I would, if he wanted the


divorce and I didn’t. Will I be able to tell just by looking at him?


R feels the right to be jealous and possessive over me, which


I don’t grudge him since I’m naturally monogamous. He feels


no discomfort making rules for me. But he should.


6:00 PM Saturday 14 Aug 76 Finger Lakes
Lying on the bed in our tiny TINY two room cabin –


with just a curtain separating the rooms – I was going to write


here about how much I love my job (I really miss dancing so


much when I’m away from it – the ideal thing would be three


sets a day for life) – when R came in, threw himself on me,


tore my clothes off, began kissing my breasts and exploring


my tan lines and pressing his beautiful valued body hard hard


hard into mine – and you know what happened next.  If he turns


the fan on high I don’t think the other campers can hear our little


yips and screams.  At least I hope not. We spent last night in his


grandmother’s house in Binghamton, New York.


She bedded us down in separate rooms – he gave me a


long lecture about how you have to respect the house rules of


whoever you’re staying with – and then who do you think showed


up in the middle of the night saying he couldn’t sleep. It is ecstatic


to have sex almost without moving – this must be what Tantra is like.


We were directly over her and the bed creaked so we didn’t move a


muscle – absorbed and shed each other like snakes. Wonderful.


Next stop was R’s cousins who own the cabins. I don’t know


what to say about them – plastic flowers and Sonny James. My state


of deep shock probably resembled mental retardation. Some people’s


houses are frighteningly ugly. Their clock has eyes, they keep the


plastic on the lampshades. I just sat there while the ethnic and sex


jokes filtered around me.  Who could blame R’s first wife for


shunning this bunch?


I would not choose them for buddies either. And the fact


that they are renting us a cabin doesn’t appear to mean we will


also get privacy – so I have taken to wearing my glasses. Number


one – I don’t see as well – number two – it creates a kind of screen


between me and them.


The Lake is beautiful – but I don’t need to go in more than


twice a day – I also don’t have the patience for the fish-a-thons that


absorb the rest of them, dawn till dusk.


Plus one time waterskiing was plenty.  Since dinner is a


vast barbecue down at the beach every night and we only have


sandwiches for lunch and cereal for breakfast there is not that


much to do, thank God. Sadly the dinners are followed by


hours of dancing, drinking and fighting.  I go to bed early to read


but R stays and plays “peacemaker”. Tonight he says he’s going


to let them kill each other and join me. Therefore I can set up my


typewriter on the kitchen table and get right to it. People keep


coming to bring me coffee and cookies – I think they really


want to see a writer “in action” – at the end of this trip I MAY


be 20 lbs heavier. The rest of my time is spent sunning and reading. 


Unfortunately St. Secaire going VERY badly. Complete


horseshit, alas.


I’ve started it four separate times. I think at this point I just


have to keep going and hope it’s possible to clean up the mess later.


Tuesday 17 Aug 76 7:30 PM
Outside a fair number of people, all high as kites,


revving their engines and swearing they’re leaving and never


coming back. I don’t know if anybody’s actually going to GO


or not but I wish they would.  No wonder R had nothing to do


with these people for four years – he may conveniently blame


his wife but the truth is none of them can stand each other.


Pack of wolverines. I’ve been left totally alone and am well


out of it – they may have forgotten I am even here. Last night R


was so depressed he just lay on the bed exhausted by them. I


tried to explain to him about resentment and the resulting succubae


and incubi thus created. (Subject of my novel, in fact.)


He said something about “our next 25 years” that just


floored me. Even my husband didn’t talk like that.  Remember


saying to my father – I would be fine if I could only find a man who


treated me as well as I treated him. Dad – so ready to take


anybody’s part over mine, said, Has it ever occurred to you that


you might be hard to live with? Such a typical Daddy remark –


the more you think about it the worse it gets. 


Well, R treats me better than anyone else so far.


He’s almost talked me into looking for a new job when I get back –


and that’s a lot. But if he wants to introduce me around, can’t lie


about what I do, etc etc. (This group – doesn’t know about my job –


he says they’d eat me – and him – alive. I can scarcely believe


they would take the moral high ground with me but I suppose


anything’s possible.) Tried to read a Redbook someone brought


shouldn’t do it. So depressing. Could never write like that or


be like that. If that’s the standard this whole thing is hopeless.


Then I picked up a book by Grace Livingston Hill.  I’m going to


include her in my article on female pornographers.


R told me he had the impression that if I didn’t have my


novel to write I would probably go bananas. I said probably. I tried


to prepare him for the very different kind of vacation he’s going to


get in Maine – where people very deliberately leave each other alone.


If somebody sets off down the beach and you wanted also to walk


on the beach – you’d turn and go the opposite way. R says in his


family that would be grounds for a six-year grudge punctuated by


sobbing, screaming and threats of suicide.


12:10 am
Went night fishing with R because he wanted me to.


Wrote a wonderful poem about Coleridge – just came to me in


one piece. Couldn’t really share with R – he doesn’t know who


Coleridge is. So I showed him – Haunted Wedding. 

HAUNTED WEDDING
The pregnant car disgorges
Only us. It’s winter.
Drunk as silver fish
We beat our gills as light
As hummingbirds.
In an amethyst ring
Of drypoint trees
The half-built house
Gapes and swells
Its timbers stink of sap.
Windrill fields occlude
Our crossing, so you carry me
High above the thorny osiers.
We sleep aloft for safety
Locked and levitating
In this space of air
One season only,
Unseen by angry outriders;
Bloodless in our wedding robes
Like the doubled membranes
Of the frozen flowers

    This triggered a fight because he says it wasn’t written 

for him. If he jealously searches my work for other lovers


madness is assured.) He almost talked me into thinking it a


bad poem.


  I feel my mother’s disapproving stare on all of this – “


don’t ruin what you have by trying to get something else” – as


if showing R this poem would be a deliberate way of hurting him


by making him feel inferior – part of her larger accusation that I


channel so much energy into writing I’m no good with people and


that’s why my relationships suffer. All I can say is, thank God for


my diary. 


Writing now with my feet in R’s lap while he plays cards.


He strokes my toes from time to time, as if I were a cat. We came in


from fishing and he just took my pants down – such earthy


sexuality has never existed for him. He told me he’s never


been so happy.  And as for me? One side of my multi-prismed


personality is happy, but some of the other sides are complaining.


Difficult to contemplate an existence where I am not mentally alone


six hours a day.


One of the reasons I like my job is that it leaves that part


of me remarkably intact – dancing is a lot like sleepwalking. If I get


another job there’s a strong chance I’ll have to interact with humans.


Hell. And we both know how humans can be. Then I might be too


exhausted emotionally and battered psychologically to have the


energy to write – it’s a serious risk. Those architects ran roughshod


over me.

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