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Inspired Pleasure

Diary of a Dancer

10:30AM Sun 20 Feb 77
    R and I went on ski weekend to Massanutten.  

Didn’t work. Never felt so far from him, and he realized it.
Opal & Garrett over for dinner last night – their relationship is
boring when I’m alone and don’t have R doing all the work for me.
Drank too much out of sheer boredom and because I was
depressed over R, then I get depressed over being depressed
and drink more. Clearly he’s worthless and I must be too if I can
get depressed over him. No good work on novel. Filing, cleaning,
paying bills takes up all my time and my room still looks like a filthy hole.
Hermiting seems only option (cheaper, too). Must learn to roll
with the punches.
Fantasizing about Devon because 24th is his birthday. Bad sign.

    1:00PM 21 Feb 77
    Dizzy from dieting. Not dancing very bad for my body.

Current weight 122. (Opal says I have the perfect body. Glad
someone appreciates it.) Ryder suggested jogging – bad mistake.
Instantly attacked by colds & flu. Instead of eating go to library on
my lunch hr to take out books. Went to see The Sentinel somewhere
in the burbs with Avril and Mason, who drove like a crazy person
(“I’m not afraid of death!”) Never again. Ghastly flick. Mason moving in
– his money is good. Another secret to be kept from landlord. A guy
at work (Keith Dalrymple) is courting me. He looks all right, though
he has receding hairline. Kind of old. Asked to read my novel. I gave
him my poems instead. He needs to hit the ground running.

    Tues. 22 Feb 77
    Mason trying to talk A into moving to Calif with him. Uh oh. 

Maeve also wants to move out because I’m critical of her
“dating” her married boss (they have sex in the supply closet).
She believes his tiredest lines. “Drop him – he’s outrageous
and destructive,” I say. I’m one to talk. Will use her room for
my study. Try to live without roommates. Sent Devon a long
grey silk scarf for his birthday.

    3:40 PM Wed 23 Feb 77
    Keith Dalrymple amazingly told me he loves my 

poems. Wow. Having good literary taste definitely works with me!
Having a drink with him tonight. Had to struggle to keep myself
from hurling cash at a gorgeous $50 suit in going-out-of-business
dress shop on Dupont Circle. Slogging through Mrs Dalloway –
it’s her best book. But all this blind struggle not my thing. Require
some consciousness. I guess we were reptiles in those days just
turning amphibious.

    Thurs. 24 Feb 77
    Can’t seem to write poetry anymore. Cocktail bar buffet 

with Keith (A calls him a “dim bulb”. We are very critical of each
other’s honeys.) He’s a Woolf novel – smooth glossy surface,
violence and trauma beneath. He is intelligent – quoted Frost –
38 yrs old – divorced (was married 15 years!!!) I sat swilling
Scotch and giving him the hairy eyeball – do I have the strength
for this? He blanched when I ordered escargots chablisienne.
Wouldn’t even kiss him. I demand exceptionality and refuse to
settle for less. Whatever else you can say about Ryder, he’s
definitely one of a kind. I am in a unique position compared to
other women writers. Given the chance to rise above sexual
strictures. Bought an exquisite pair of very high-heeled boots.
I tower over Ryder – in more ways than one. Heheheh.
Fri. 25 Feb 77
I fuss, I fume. I shriek and scream. I circle my
desk warily. Cannot get into this awful novel. Stare hard at
the clutching sisters in the Victorian photo for inspiration.
None comes. Instead slapped together a first poetry collection
– In the Vein.
5:20 PM Sun 27 Feb 77
Ryder will be here any minute. Driving straight
through from Pittsburgh because he “misses me so much.”
Flank steak marinating, turnips, parsnips & parsley, tomatoes
& sour cream – everything ready but wine. Too lazy to drive
to the Tick Tock. Day of ecstasy sorting books in new study.
Sections are: crime writing, Victorians, Great Novels, the Occult,
Women Writers, Cinema, Politics, Science, Children, History &
Murder Mysteries. (Move those downstairs.) Hating Orlando.
Why did Bowen write Afterword if she didn’t like the book?

    Mon 28 Feb 77 – Broadcast Agency
    Bad sex. Sore.  Feel like I’ve been run over. Something’s 

up with him. Mauled me again in the middle of the night. Guilt?
Surprise visit from landlord – heard about “violations” from
Montgomery County. Ha ha. Obviously only two people living here –
(nothing visible of Mason’s.) Landlord calmed. Says he wants to
sell the place. Would we allow to be shown? I said sure. Everybody
happy. Sorry to lose such a beautiful house but it is too expensive
for one person anyway.

    Thurs. 3 Mar 77
    Long talk with Avril about Mason. He is a racist.  

She says how is it possible to feel superior to and inferior to someone
at the same time? Human condition, I say. Spring wind makes
me long to shed my clothes! Poor Ryder! It’ll be halter tops
and hot pants the minute temp hits 65. Finally got a V. Woolf poem –

The Membraned Sieve

O bliss to be red admiral afeast
Upon a rotten apple in the grass; she dreamed that guiltily
Woke to Leonard bringing milk
Nessa dancing bear-like on the lawn, woke
To pain; cylindrical as seasons
Burning white and burning blue like friends.
The words fell fast, the blood fell faster;
Split the membraned sieve.
She raced the whitecaps out to sea
Parting the waves with her mother’s hand.

   Keith and I still talk but he has made no moves. Relief.

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