Inspired Pleasure

Diary a Dancer

    11:00 AM – Tues 24 Aug 76
    Lying in the same bed where R and I made love five 

hours ago – just finished Tyler’s Clockwinder. Puzzled by the
lack of passion in her strange, sad, minor novels.  Tonight R is
picking me up and taking me “someplace” – I have my eye on
a little restaurant – where we can talk it out. I hope he’s paying
because I have exactly $177 to live on till Sept 7 and $125 of
that is rent. I’m trying to look at the future calmly – I love him,
he loves me – who knows what may happen?
2:40 PM Was feeling so much better I was going
to work on sending out poems until I looked around at this place.
A and I desperately need Maeve to live here to help out with
expenses and she is not the tidiest person.  A says she never
cleaned her other place after the party and it smells like a
dead body. I cleaned and now I feel better but not in the mood
for literature – more in the mood to take my dishpan hands to
the mall. However I won’t because it would just result in
3:40 PM Obviously R doesn’t really respect me.
Otherwise he wouldn’t manipulate me like this. I don’t think
he cares about me being a writer at all. He would actually
like it better if he could introduce me to people as “my girlfriend
the insurance agent.” That makes sense in his little world. I
could break up with him but I’d have to find another place to
work anyway – he’s ruined Shalimar for me. One can understand
and deplore and get mad, but the alternative is loneliness. All I want
is to go out and have fun, have someone to play and smooch with.
Finding and then cultivating such a person is incredibly exhausting –
and aren’t 99% of them only going to have the same (or worse)
reactions he’s having anyway?

  10:40 AM Thurs 26 Aug –76 – Club Shalimar
Yesterday morning Maeve and I lingering over coffee
and chat – no one wanting to return to their life – and the phone
rang. It was editor Ruby Jenkins at Pyramid wanting to make an
offer on my book. She says it has a lot of wit and depth and is
really extraordinary and if they don’t take it someone else will. 
Two editors on my side. Asked all about me – so I told what I was
doing, schools, what I’d had published – that Harcourt just turned
down Find Courtney.  She’d called Maine because she couldn’t
get in touch with my agent but left a message. I just put the
phone down and screamed for 20 solid minutes. Then went to
Shalimar and quit – gave them a week’s notice.
Didn’t tell them about book – Carmen guessed about
Ryder – narrowed her eyes into slits and tried to tell me a
lot of terrible stuff about him, about how he always pursued
dancers – although she admits, after me, not any more. She
said if I ever need the job again, they’d give it to me.  That
was nice. Randy the bouncer had tears in his eyes because
he says I’m so amusing and no one else can make him laugh.
R’s “celebration” was to take me to Garfinckel’s at
the Montgomery Mall to buy me underwear. He takes it
strangely personally that I don’t wear a bra or underpants
half the time. This could have been a fun, even erotic experience
but he was so weird I almost had a nervous breakdown – so
bizarrely controlling like he doesn’t know what presents are. 
The missionary purchasing fig leaves for the natives!  Felt
offensively “managed”.
  If he had bought me lingerie and given it to me
that would have been one thing.  I could take them back if I
didn’t like them. This was if he were my parent or something –
I really can’t explain why it was so insulting. I let him buy me
a pink silk robe, which I refused to try on – of course it will fit.
We should have been celebrating. Not only can I
quit dancing but they’ve put him on the eleven pm news and
now we could have mornings together. But at the Japanese
steakhouse he really acted wooden headed. I think it’s some
sort of a gender problem – men understand that their self-respect
is tied up with autonomy but they seem to think the opposite
must be true about women. I’m trying too hard not to despise
him. Anything I could say sounds hurtful.
At the very same time he’s trying to “tether” me he’s
trying to free himself. He said, what if I want to take another girl
out? And I said, well you can but you have to tell me about it
before hand. He said, I know how I’d feel if you said that to me.
I told him he probably doesn’t have to worry – I can’t imagine
wanting another man. Now he’s “scared” I’m going to become
a famous writer!   So we went back to my place and made love
for three hours and it was very satisfying. He was all over me
and it felt like the last time in some critical way. 
To me he seems less like a man getting out of a
marriage than some kind of shipwreck victim who has never
seen or imagined our society and is becoming increasingly
excited about the sexually liberated possibilities.   How can
we avoid breaking up over this?  Can’t I just get a  fat check
from  my book and be a young writer about town? I sincerely
hope that’s the way it will go. Reading Rose, my years in
about Lady Astor’s maid.

    Sat 28 Aug 76 Shalimar

    Ryder tried to pressure me not to go to work by 

saying “we shouldn’t be seeing each other”. I remind him
we have a dinner party coming up and a vacation in Maine!
Why the hysteria? Reading Henri Peyre’s The Failures of
. Last set.

    3PM Mon 30 Aug 76

    Wakened by air-conditioner going on – Ryder 

climbing in bed with me fully clothed so there would be “no sex”
– of course that didn’t work. He is very upset about my sense
of physical freedom – said wouldn’t “let” me be painted in the
nude by Andrew Wyeth! I pointed out that his wife was his
ideal woman – totally restrained and untrained and ignorant
and unavailable in every way he wanted – and he hated it.
Can’t understand why he has to be such a jackass when all
his dreams are coming true.

    3 Sept 76

    Just back from the worst vacation of my life. Both 

Avril and I took completely unacceptable men to our parents’ island –
alas, my man was the most unacceptable – doing nothing but
fighting and sulking. He finally said such unforgiveable things I had
to drive him to the ferry and push him off into space. His last
words were “I love you.”  Day late and a dollar short. The worst
things he said were that I dress like a slut, anyone looking at
me would instantly assume I was a prostitute. This was said to me
while I was wearing my gorgeous emerald scarf tied around my
breasts and my long denim skirt and Nefertiti necklace and looking
like a goddess for parents’ dinner party.
He said if I don’t start wearing a bra my breasts will
be “ruined” and he doesn’t want to wake up age 35 married to
only a “mind”. (The mind is in fact quite unimportant in his world.)
His wife, he assured me, always dressed most tastefully –
nobody desiring her ever. Didn’t cross his mind that the fact
that she was dead-on-arrival in the sack and her inability to
enjoy and celebrate her own body could be in any way connected.
He told me my poems are awful and self-indulgent and I
live entirely in my own head.  I was finally forced to tell him
that what with his long hair, leisure suits, stacked heels and
man-purse most people just assume he’s gay.
But who cares what “most people” think – and
would we even know? He really got on my bad side seemingly
justifying rape – women “ask for it” with their clothing, male
self control not an issue. I said if a crazy girl escaped from an
institution and ran down the street naked would men be “ justified”
raping her? He said yes so obviously it was over between
us from that moment. The truth, of course, is that he was
overwhelmingly jealous from the moment he arrived on the island
– possibly earlier – by the fact that I am a separate human being,
who has ever existed out of his sight.

    17 Sept 76

    It really is over with R.  My fault for going so fast. 

R leaving messages on my answering machine every day,
trying to make me jealous with “don’t call back tonight I won’t
be in”. Finally decided I owe it to him to tell him where I’m
working – I know he thinks I returned to dancing – the
scum. Sent him a card saying we should meet for dinner
in a couple of months. Appt. with Georgetown Employment
Agency 10;30 AM tomorrow.
12;25 PM
Ryder came by to pick up his jackets. He said,
“You’re the most valuable person in the world to me.” Trying not
to goad him into pyrotechnics, so, showed nothing. He was calm,
played with the dog, kissed me on the cheek and said “I love you”
and left. He is worthy of a hefty Freudian tome all to himself. I want
to send him a copy of The Intimate Enemy but he wouldn’t
(couldn’t) read it. He’s totally about not wanting what he has,
having what he doesn’t want, wanting something else and
hating himself into the bargain. I pity anyone involved with him –
mainly I pity me – still fixated on his worthlessness apparently.
Washing the dishes in floods of tears. I bragged to him that I didn’t
want to change him – that isn’t true. I don’t feel I have the right
to change people while he wants to specify every detail about me.
The worst is I know how he would exult in his power over me.
Still wearing his black coral diver’s cross as a charm. When R
says dismissively “Be free” he means “Be alone”.

    Sun. 12 Sept 76 – 12:05 PM 

    Yesterday turned down job at art gallery that would 

have been wonderful but paid dirt. They say I “might” get
commissions on sales. Have a feeling Mom and Dad would
push for it – it was very upscale – just didn’t feel right to me.
FINALLY letter from agent; Pyramid offering $2500
advance, 6% to 150,000 copies, 8% thereafter, a few minor revisions.
Always less than you think but not as bad as the gallery – I say
hells yes. Still have to find job; something that lets me write.
I called Ryder with info, left message. Have to go
to NY to sign contract so job hunt suspended for now.

    Mon 13 Sept 76

    Avril and Mike met me and Ryder at The Royal 

Warrant for drinks to celebrate my book. I wore long sexy
purple lace-up dress – nothing he’d object to however.
(Royal Warrant because their drinks are huge.) Wore
sandals with kitten heels and I was still taller than him.
I wonder if that’s what this is about. I invited him home after
and he accepted. He concentrated on making me come. Said
he can’t consider dating a girl who doesn’t wear a bra. I said I
might wear one in my first pregnancy. Gave him my copy of
Intimate Enemy when he left. Reading Brownmiller’s excellent
Against our Will.

  11:45 AM 14 Sept 76 – Tues. Boiling hot.
I need a full-time psychiatric nurse, vicious guard dog
and a secretary. Phone ringing off the hook. Agent called
reversing charges. Ryder wants to celebrate his salary bump.
How can two people who despise each other as much as we do
want to have sex all the time? Beats me. Ryder’s latest charge is
that I wrote a novel for money. Get it? I’m a prostitute! Then he
marches off to his yessir, nosir job whistling. You can’t win with him.
Cheered myself up reading old diaries about my marriage. At least
it’s not as bad as that. I used to lock myself in the bathroom to howl.
Reading Simenon’s Venice Train. He is too mannered.
Ryder forced me to look at his island pictures – I am the
ugliest beautiful woman in the world. He tries to use this against me
but of course we were fighting the whole time. No one can be lovely
under such conditions. Does “love” entail not just “sacrifice” but
loss of identity? Went out and bought a pair of six inch heels. When
I am with Ryder, I love him but when I’m away, the cloud lifts.
Attempting to seduce Devon by sending him a copy of the poem Cedarwood

Cedarwood Chest

Grandpa died young that’s why
Grandma never opened
The Cedarwood chest
Till my twelve years unlocked
The scent of dreams preserved
Like mullet in red wine.

Never used the wilting nightgowns
Featherstitched sheets
Between whose coffee-colored creases
Bay leaves crumbled
(Like my reserve when you laid hands
Upon it) how it
Comes back that mossy sad
Perfume! I want to lay
You away in darkness and tissue but
I can’t
I must use you and risk
Your wearing out

    God knows what he’ll think but I know he’ll give a better 

reaction than R. Lunch in NY 12:30 Tues – have to take the 7 AM

train to make it work!

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