Inspired Pleasure

Diary of a Dancer Slash Poet Slash Novelist

            10:45 AM Sat 29 May 78
            Woke up this morning muttering about betrayal and

failure. Seems my life separates into two phases: pre and post ex-husband Bruce.
Pre-Bruce I was such an innocent – I think “goober” is the descriptive
expression. Schools should not let these pathetic characters out – but
we were so eager to roam free. There is no savagery to which people
will not descend to protect their egos. On top of all this, we have to battle
M & D who, of all people, SHOULD be in our corner. They’re pissed we’re
not more successfully infantilized. Determine NOT to do this to my kids.
Reading Hodgson’s Carnacki The Ghost Hunter (1900) heartbreakingly
dull. And it could have been so good – a combination of Gerard Manley
Hopkins and Sherlock Holmes is just what the doctor ordered.

            3 PM Tues 30 May 78
            Struggled through 2 bad pages on Demon that will 

have to be rewritten, then finished Sylvia Townsend Warner’s tragic
At the Stroke of Midnight. This beautiful short story almost finished
me. Yesterday Italian food made me & Avril logy – we tried going dancing.
Horrible place, bad band. (Tramps). Predatory males (who spoke bad English)
very difficult to get rid of.
Saw Greek Tycoon instead – worse even than we’d
been led to believe. Came home and read two bad detective stories by “good”
writers. Guilt-inducing cash from M & D – makes me feel inadequate but I
need it. Means I can buy new vac clnr AND summer dresses. Call Peter
like a dutiful child – this whole affair is tinged with doom. Thank God he is
“busy” with his Secret Married Woman (who turns out to Someone Big
in the Democratic Committee)! His parents and my parents should
just date each other. Dogs need walking and I need to check on
vandalism at abandoned house.

            2 PM Sat June 2 – 78
            Trouble opening latest letter from Devon – I had 

the weirdest premonition it would a marriage proposal! It was indeed
very loving – he has hit a summit of boredom and restlessness for which
I am doubtless not the cure. Praised my novel for its “mystical sense of altered consciousness.” Wow. I like that better than “brilliant satire”. A & I went to
Dillards concert at Cellar Door – they are so charming. Reminiscences of
seeing Bruce play there. First act was Scarlet Ribera and Black Rose Band –
liked her even better. Some attractive men, but casual sex seems to raise more problems than it solves. A & I agree that after the “healing” comes the “strengthening” period. Coltsville Community College asks me to teach seminar on gothic
novel – of course I said yes. Poor misbegotten bastards. But at least I
like watching the birds stuffing themselves at my feeder.

            Plush Palace Mon 5 June 78
            Perfect day – interesting stirrings inside – feel I am on 

the edge of some sort of breakthrough. Yesterday fresh sweet corn and
turkey salad at A’s, then we watched B Stanwyck’s Double Indemnity
on TV. Classic Chandler. “Aren’t you going 75 in a 30 mph zone?”
After that I dressed up in my satin 3-piece suit to see Helmut Berger at
the Kennedy Center. (Sigh). What a honey that man is. Then sent Bruce
a letter with the Unwelcome News that I am “estopped” from filing for divorce
in the state of Maryland because he made me sign a “no contest” paper
and then dropped his suit! Paralysis!

I know he was hoping to get out of this without paying
(his last girlfriend proffered enough cash to get us this far then predictably
abandoned him as soon as his True Colors became apparent.) Maybe
I can establish residence in Virginia and start all over again.
Had an eye appt in Bethesda so went to that library
where I’ve never been and got a TON of interesting books. Treasuring
Patricia Beers’ Reader, I Married Him.

            Plush Palace Mon 12 June 78 – 7:00 PM
            Horrible experience last night at the Garland Dinner 

Theatre – we were seated with some couple where the male was obviously
severely mentally ill –she fed him 1,000 pills throughout dinner to keep
him from exploding. We could have “complained” and demanded to be
seated elsewhere but it just seemed so cruel. Avril & I used every bit of
our mother’s otherwise completely pernicious training and tried to act as if
nothing was happening.

I’m trying to muster up the discipline to unplug my
phone till six – I’m getting too involved in A’s job hunt. She told me to
Butt Out. She’s right – I should just write. What the hell am I thinking
being somebody’s “mother”? We have too much of a mother already –
for both of us. Martin Green’s Children of the Sun a survey rather
than the illumination I’d hoped for. Now I need a real Brian Howard bio.

            Fri – Day One – 16 June 78
            Phone awoke me at one am – no one there.  Got back 

to sleep by sketching out plot for novel where woman hires P I to find out
who on list of names has been sending hang-up calls. Major Names of a
Lifetime. Yesterday excellent day – haven’t known such joy since April.
Sunbathing reading Ada Leverson & Her Circle – delicious. (Unfortunately
she was a bit of an idiot.) Cleaned entire house yesterday so when I got
back from dancing it was immaculate. (The dogs – who had been outside
in the yard – messed it up again immediately.) Read Jane Rule’s excellent
Lesbian Images at work. She’s dumb about Colette and Bowen but I
agree with her that loneliness and bad experiences are the enemy, not
homosexuality. But I don’t think I’m up for a lesbian experience – women
too emotionally demanding. They do too much work (men do too little).
Hideously unsatisfactory choice – like having to choose between a ton of
salt or none. Better to go without.
Peter called to say we “ought to get together”.

Seemed very halfhearted to me. Bet he wants to tell his mother he’d made
an effort. I doubt we can surmount this fundamental lack of attraction (we both
prefer blondes) but Mom thinks just the opposite. Marry people you’re NOT
attracted to so you won’t be “swept away” by “hormones” and you can make
“reasoned decisions”! Is that pitiable or what? Avril says she’s LYING
because EVERYBODY lies about sex. Suggested Mom handed Dad her wet underpants on their very first date. (At the ballet? I don’t see it.) Mom has
also said the worse you are at sex the more likely you are to get a proposal.
Does this make sense to you? Ryder’s marriage (under these exact principles)
lasted 2 yrs and he wanted to be anywhere but home.

            Plush Palace – 22 June 78 – 3 PM
            Second double this week.  I hate them but I need 

$80 for typewriter, $300 to pay back A, $100 to quiet the utilities people,
$200 Burnside Inn and at least $200 “Mad Money”. You know, in case I go
mad. It could happen, especially the way things are going. Need extra cash for Vacation, which I approach as if it were a Sacrament. Secaire gets written
NEVER under this regime. Oh well. There’s always poetry.

SYLVIA PLATH: The Festering Weight

I know you deceived me
With the bald-headed lady
My true kin;
My mother renounced
Your swollen giblets in my name.
See? I bleed tulips.
It’s happened twice before; I seed the earth
With children, little miracles.
I give them their inheritance – a
Carriage full of baby dung
Down the coal hole
To remind me of you.
Pearly maggots bee–like
Suck my lip to
Scent the fault that clings to me:
This enemy’s face shifts cleverly;
First male, then jew, then
blurred and unfamiliar, genitalia
like narcissi.
I reserve the right to reject
This choiceless life.
See? My body’s scarred by
Your refusals.
The blackbird sings out

            Yesterday cleaned house, walked dogs, cooked fish

stew. Avril & I read family letters, then went out to see A Different Story. Both
liked it enormously.

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