Diary of a Dancer
10PM Mon 16 May 77
Finally got a reaction from agent to Secaire. I was
physically sick when I opened it but she was full of praise. I could
teach Poe, Verlaine and Mallarme a thing or two! She’s sending it
to Harcourt but telling them it’s “too fine for a paperback”. Says it’s
also readable, which is a thing more “precious than rubies”. I was
really afraid of what she would say after our literary discussions
and her poetry sneers.
So elated! Hit the library today and hit it hard – Nancy
Mitford’s novels, Hilaire Belloc’s Letters, life of Brontë. Delicious
5:35 Pm Broadcast Agency – 17 May 77 Enjoyed Helen Bevington’s The House was Quiet and
the World Was Calm. In my bloodthirsty way would have preferred
a better description of her husband’s death. Must make do with
cuckoos and thrushes and loblolly pines.
Bored to tears with this stupid job but you can’t say
it’s “hard”. I’m the last happy dodo in a world of dinosaurs – all this
equipment about to be ripped out. In 5 mins I get to disconnect
phone, walk to Church St (parking’s free in Mafia territory). Drive
to Arlington. Fish sandwich for dinner, read about Unquiet Haworth
while wearing G-string & stockings. (So appropriate.) Expanding
my house hunt to Rt 450. (Towards Annapolis; might need Dad to
co-sign.) Obviously I can handle 45 min commute. (Don’t like rain,
however.) Aware El Diablo is nothing but a hunk of junk. Future of
American literature is fragile on some of these May nights.
Broadcast Agency Thurs May 19, 77 Only $134 in my saving acct and $7 in checking, curse that
clutch. Crisis brewing with R. He is jealous and suspicious that I am out
so much in the evening. He’s the one who wants to be non-exclusive
so let him sweat. I have too many negative emotions about him – that
he’s a coward, for example. Which would make him angrier – if I was
dancing or screwing some other guy? (Which I have no desire to do and
he should know me by now.) I think he sees my privacy and aloneness
as infidelity. While he’s doubtless experimenting with “goofy chicks”
who’ve “never been touched”; I’m only “unfaithful” with Shelley & Brontë.
But that’s STILL too much for him.) After all this time if he still doesn’t
realize I’m the best, the hell with him.
Worry about the dangers of scars. They can seem to heal,
but sometimes they re-shape the life beneath. All I know, is, contempt
is the ultimate relationship killer. To love is to be happy with! Boy scout
methods won’t work with me, the sabre-toothed tiger. Our relationship
may already be fatally spoiled by resentment and revenge.
Last night audience bored and hostile, but who cares?
Bouncers won’t let them show it! We are goddesses to be revered and
if they won’t worship at the shrine they’re out. Compared to the Shalimar,
Palace is sheer joy. We are never hassled. God forbid if they try to
touch us! They are bounced on their heads in the parking lot.
If I have plain grits when I wake up at 9:30 or 10 (also coffee and
orange juice) I can last till 4. Hunger peaks at 5. Salad, then rush
to work – when I get there I’m not hungry anymore. Would like to cut
the burger habit.
Need to sew my G-strings but Merribeth can see me
through the glass and she won’t leave. Reading Robt Fish as an
antidote for poor Charlotte Brontë’s pain.
1:00 AM Plush Palace – 20 May 77 Four dancers tonight. Less work, more intellect. (!) Fred,
the cook, insists I try his potato pancakes and they are DAMN good.
Can’t say no. Long wailing phone call from Maeve this afternoon. Why
is it we can see other’s relationships so clearly? “Dump him”, I always
say. Am I telling myself something? R & I make date tomorrow night.
Now wearing black velvet, smoky eyeshadow, black stockings and
glitter I look in the mirror and am astonished by my own beauty. Take
that, Ryder, you poor bastard. Eight mins and I’m up – One more
dance and home. Front table of impressionable navy cadets eminently
11:30 AM – Sun 22 May 77 It’s all over, baby blue. Getting up my strength for our date
tonight by sunbathing in back yard – literally cooking in coconut oil.
R. complained on Fri he called me “all night long” and I wasn’t home.
Aww. Could have told him I was writing but lying just postpones the
inevitable (because next time he’ll come over.) So told him I would
explain on our date. A poem came suddenly :In the Butterfly Pavilion.
This evening you said you wished
I was more conventional.
I bowed my head. I did not speak.
Outside the animals leaned together,
Breathing lightly; waiting
For my answer.
Swelled up like swords, pushed out a stink
Occluding fields of vision while
The rabbit-bloodied lawn curled away.
Sows littered in the cyclamen
Dwarf stars broke free as
Frazzled molten ore raced across a sky
Darkening to night.
Summoning my power
My hands stay folded in my sleeves.
Nighttime is my kingdom.
Exhaustion from the violent motions of the pendulum.
I made dinner, but he refused to eat. He said, “I think
I know what you’re going to tell me. “
I said, “I bet you don’t.”
“It’s another man.”
“No. I’m dancing again. I’m living here alone. I need the
money.” (I should have said “it nourishes me UNLIKE
SOME PEOPLE” but I’m a coward too.)
He said very dismissively, ”Well, if that’s all you think you can
He who read my novel! Bastard! He said, “Well, the ball’s
in my court.” So I guess, that means “Game on!” (Was it ever
off?) And he left! Put his dinner carefully away in the freezer
(I’m not made of money) and took the dogs on an hour’s walk.
Now I lie here again in Paradise – baking, basting, trying to recall
every detail of the last time we had sex. Because that’s all I’ll ever
get from him.
Session this aft with Chloe at Pacifica and a young PBS guy
named John about writing a radio play for kids. I threw out some ideas.
Then out for dinner with Chloe who complained that her husband has a
mental illness given to him by the Army – he only wants to fuck never
kiss. He fantasizes about “swinging” with another couple. I stolidly
drink red wine and eat bad doughy pizza. She says he’s always on
the verge of suicide, but she would never leave him. Play around,
OK, but never leave.
And I think that I have problems. I reject “victim” AND “slut”. The
poet alone in her lofty palace. Feels like an abscess has been lanced.
Heard about a great apt in Takoma Pk that’s OK for dogs.
Broadcast Agency – 4:20 PM – Mon 23 May 77 Present tenant says do not mention dogs so I am out of
love with Perfect Apt. Would rather have a house. Lots of calls today.
I seem to be getting fat – but I look so good – much too good for 128.
How I hate to starve but it’s the only way. Need to be a fine-honed
Considering entering Courtney in the Saxton fellowship.
Can I get a readable copy? Lack of sex keeping me awake at night.
Now I know why people take drugs. Devon writes to say he’ll be in
Maine on the island but not at Genevieve’s wedding for “financial
reasons”. I plan to do my best to seduce him. Reading Mitford’s
Wigs on the Green – not as funny as it is sad. Pastiche, really –
Wodehouse is better. But I feel that way about E Waugh’s humor
too – that it is basically tragic – “this is all we can expect”. R. called
this AM as I was rushing to get ready – I said I was surprised to hear
from him, he said he “knew I was upset”. We could have had a little
argument about who’s more upset but I said what have you been up to?
Horseback riding out in Sperryville. (Doubtless not alone. What would
be the point of that? He is such a pain.)
Asked me when I was moving, when going to wedding.
He couldn’t be hinting for an invite – if I show up with him my family
will have me institutionalized for sure. They never could figure out
what I was doing with this hysterical little man.
We’ve said our fond goodbyes. If the ball is in his court,
it died there. Need to buy a dress for wedding. Macy’s? My mother
criticizes me for:
1) Making money
2) Caring about making money
3) Needing money AND
4) Buying inexpensive clothes. AND fake jewelry. A lady
never – etc.
You figure it out. Finished Farber’s essays – very bad book.
He seems to regard the female orgasm as some kind of personal insult –
“Now I’ve got this to contend with!” We’re not doing it to annoy you.
Hopelessness on the subject of sex a grave inadequacy in a philosopher
I would say. Merribeth sent me to the bank today – I was thrilled to get
outside – when I came back Keith called down to say he was having
lunch at the Hyatt Regency and had seen me walking and wanted to say
hi! Nothing to say after that. I thought of inviting him to the Palace
but what would be the point? Everyone would think he’s my boyfriend
and it’s a tips killer.