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Inspired Pleasure

Diary of a Dancer

  Tues. 26 July 77 9:40 AM
Sitting on stonewall in full sunlight in my black bikini
waiting for pool to open. Swim and sunbathe till ll:30 when mail comes.
After 7 I can return – that way I miss the crowds.
Exercise, coffee, 3 glasses water. The Regime.
I’m down to $4. Embarrassing to be taken out last night
by Devon & his roommates. (We saw Star Wars. Childish, but they
were into it.) Sent letter to Mom & D asking for stock certificates. They
won’t like it.

Dinner should have been nice but barbecue very messy.
Wore my tightest jeans and my pink French “Trés chic” t-shirt. Devon
surprised me by talking on and on about how beautiful I am. Started
to get stoked – in fact I was horny as hell. I would have taken the three
of them on if I could have avoided the interpersonal madness that would
result. They all have beautifully athletic bodies. But I’m starting to get a
feeling that if I just sit in my deer blind a bit longer Devon will come to me.
Every now and then I get an “R – flash”, like some synaptic
slipup. What will I think of this years from now? Mirror images ache, then fade.
  Cold Comfort Farm exactly 100 pages too long (but I
think most books are). Take a long hot Jean Nate bubble bath and read The Thornbirds.

2:30 PM Wed July 27 – 77
        Masturbation is the better part of valor. Don’t make 

decisions ruled by sex. Husband my wattage (joke). Too bad sex is
such a fast way to get to know someone.

First draft of Demon so far bony and spare. Neatly
boxed “components” = “write your own novel”. Trying to exterminate
“dead” patches.  Wish I had done this with The Mass at St. Secaire –
but in those days I was in the “throw in everything you think of and
take it out later” school. I like constructing this awkward armature
better. Lean and mean superior to flagellate and winnow.
Will I let R see this new body, this new confidence?

He will hang on for dear life and I don’t want that.  I want to go back
to dancing but R prefers I have neither security NOR money.) Think
I’ll look for a sublet – easier to impress a private owner than a
credit union. I’m not afraid of living alone. Painstaking cultivation
of intense privacy in the midst of a crowd has always been my forte.

Mom and Dad called – acting all worried. Apologizing
for giving R my number. I put on a good show of being completely
”over” him but I can see they don’t want me moving back to Washington
and prefer Mrs. McManus’ ski chalet option. (My cynical side tells me
it’s just cheaper.) I act like I have connections to the literary life in DC
and they don’t know any better.

Thornbirds is teaching me the great unpleasantness of
what publishers define as “a good read”. Contrary to my belief the
Victorian period has not ended. Forced to skip the war, potted history
and scenery descriptions just to keep going.
7:30 PM Finished Thornbirds.  Neither Dane’s death nor
Justine’s love affair rang true for me. Uh oh.  Danger signs. My taste
thoroughly out of kilter with the market.

Couldn’t swim – 3,000 spectators at some sort of race
in the pool. So went to library – checked out twelve books – bio, history
murder mysteries. Alec Waugh, Somerset Maugham, Vyvyan Holland,
High Walpole. Evelyn Waugh, of course. At this very moment R is
doing his very last show of 7:30 Live. Will they have a party or wake? 
Probably go out drinking at the Shalimar, try to pick up dancers he can
hector and assault. Time for me to go walking and see how the
other (99%) live.


Don’t wake up.
I surveil by night
Your chiseled torso
Slackened with exhaustion.
Touching things that once
You touched,
Listening to your apnea –
I turn away before you turn.
Making peace with all my choices.
It’s worth everything;
Winning in divorce my
Hard-won superpower:

2:45 PM Thurs 28 July 77
        Loving myself today. I am very tan.  Hair strawberry 

blond and my stretchmarks look like silk moiré. Any sense of inadequacy
must be pounced upon and shored up – work like a beaver at his dam.
No worries, few fears. Daddy sent $ which I deposit in my acct. Since
I can’t cash a check anywhere I eat what’s here; pickled beets and plain
grits. Gallons of water to even it all out. Shake the old body out after 26

Decide two people create love – I refuse to do it alone.
Reading Ford Madox Ford and grooving on his Violet versus Elsie
problems. Schadenfreude. Years later poor Elsie says, “I should have
ignored everybody and divorced him.” Alas, Ford is a self-centered fool. 
Not simpatico character.  However the period is a favorite with me. Mail
hideously dull.  Nothing from Harcourt. Will my “Westerns” editor have the
nerve to turn down an author they’ve got 105,000 copies of? Yes. They’re
all a bunch of weenies, frankly. Bike ride.

8:45 PM Finished article for the McManus mag about
Shadowe – “Island in Common” – 750 words – sent it off with letter. 
Mission accomplished. Thinking of substituting a night ride for my walk.
Trigger fewer yearnings.
Ford’s moved to the US and I’m at the end of my tether with him. Tried
reading Jane Novak’s Razor Edge of Balance on V. Woolf – she’s no threat
– Lingo Academico virtually impenetrable.
Loved reading Fowles on the Fr Lt’s Woman – even though
he has a “tin ear” about the Victorians – their “failure” to depict “a man and
woman in bed together” ! (How about My Secret Life!!!) He’s the real thing
all right even though he launched 1st draft without any research. (It shows.)
I’m going to stop freaking out about how little I know London.
Full of joy & life & strength & immortality & pep. Now thinking
fondly of DC. Resist the impulse to call myself a turkey for even MENTIONING
living together to R. (I said in my phone message I had to have a house for dogs.)
I can see him crying over his beer at the strip club. Insisting his wussdom is independence. I feel and look mighty thin – but refuse the temptation to weigh
myself. Size seven is good enough. Took my walk looking indulgently at
couples with children thinking, “This too is within my reach.”
Mail full of dull rejections NO interest or acceptances. But
the UNITY MITFORD I’d ordered came which I’m reading now.  Must write about sisters someday. It’s a trip.
11:12 AM Sat 30 Jul 77
Going out tonight with Devon to see Annie Hall, that laff riot
he hasn’t seen. This is one of the things I love about life – it’s so fucking
unpredictable! Give these guys space to stew they will eventually DO
something. We had a nice phone conversation. I can tell he has
“traumatized” himself by “luring” me here. I tell him hardly, I’m writing
8 p. a day (of course it will all have to be thrown out) getting a tan and
reading piles of books. (All true.) Too cold & overcast today for pool
though and now its raining.
Starting to get a feeling D and I will end up in bed.
It’s inevitable. How I crave that tight young flesh…Bet you $5. Will
wear my faded cerise linen jumpsuit, high heels and Nefertiti necklace.
Stoking! Bike ride combined with cold shower doesn’t work.

4:15 PM Sun 31 July 77 Deck
        D found Annie Hall so painful it took awhile for him 

to speak.  I was surprised but patient. I couldn’t have dreamed up a
movie more likely to focus all our reservations.  The scene where
Annie tells Alvy she misses him made me think of R – the separate
fragile uniqueness of each human soul – and I could tell Devon was
“feeling” his memories too.
We sneaked a pizza (a whole pizza) into the theatre
so we could come right back here for wine and coffee and more wine –
took three hours to get to the point of making love.
In a fairly daring move D opened the buttons of my
jumpsuit and stroked my stomach pulling down first one shoulder and
then another to play with my breasts. Lovely feeling our bodies surge
together. He’s good with his hands and has the most sensitive nipples
of any man I’ve been with. At last I suggested we go to bed – the couch
was really too uncomfortable. D went down on me – his body is the
most gorgeous since the history of time – mountains, valleys, crevasses
– it’s like rock climbing making love to this man. He insisted on coming
outside me which startled me somewhat, but after asking about my
“protection” (IUD) fortunately abandoned this technique the second time.
(When he comes he makes a little crying noise).

He looks at me in a funny way like he wants to say
something but he doesn’t say it. I tried to tell him I’ve learned so much
from our 5 year friendship – he seemed unable to take it in. He obviously
fears the future and his memory is so bad – after the terrors of his
childhood he thinks the whole past is all bad news.  It’s like he’s afraid
to remember ANYTHING. That would be the worst thing for a writer.
You dare not fear the past. Rhythms can’t evolve from longing alone.
We woke up, grapenuts & coffee, went swimming, sat on
deck, watched tennis on TV. Every time I changed clothes he said
“the sight of you naked turns me on” and we made love again.
Tomorrow is the first of August – whole new beginning.
Try to see myself at 33, with a lawn and a bra and a trash compactor.
Freedom is key. No mail. Reading Geo Woodcock’s critical study of Orwell.

6:45 PM Dark as night and pouring rain. Obsessing
about D’s body – can’t get it out of my mind and our 22 hours together.
Welcome obsessions; R’s slate cleared. Did I use him? Is he “Brand X?”
Thinking of all the things I wish I’d said to Devon.  He’s so intellectual
yet so impermeable.   Strange delicate kisses – as impossible to get
inside his mouth as his mind. Loud thunder, lightning.
D. Eden’s Deadly Travelers supposed to be fun but falls
apart totally at the end. Disappointed by thoroughness of
Gavin Lambert’s Conan Doyle study – he said everything –
nothing left for me to do. (The Dangerous Edge.)
Disenchanted with suspense mode. Maybe Demon should
just be a series of short, sharp scenes. I don’t like intrusively
officious writers – sacrificing character to story “You can’t let
your characters get away from you”. Not only can you – you
must. See where they run.

Just finished scene between Fawn and Deere’s cast-off “maitresse
en titre”. Needing a scene between Jewel and Fawn, Fawn and Del. Let them
accumulate like raindrops.

Dinner rice, chicken broth, onions.  Coffee.  Shouldn’t read true
crime in bed. (Shiver.) But I will. 2 months since I’ve seen R.
10PM Black Dahlia almost did me in, too!  That poor girl!
The writing style in Infamous Murders is the most infamous thing
about it. Wm. Roughhead I adore. Soothe my insomnia with art books.


hide & seek. It’s
my game but
you started it.
you be a cop and
I’ll be a museum – a
swollen storehouse
where even the walls are open
to more than one interpretation.
that’s me in dark glasses
round the corner for
the whick of teeth on bended elbow
the fateful kiss
where the blood lies gathered. So
lies rally; scars; a wound,
a bruise – a cut – a fever
a thing to call my own.
“You imagined it, lady”
there’s no one here.
powder burn
without the bullet.

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