Diary of a Dancer
3:30 PM – Dumbarton Oaks – Sat 14 Apr 79 Enjoying a day of full sun. Beautiful carved stone bench
– azaleas in full bloom – peace. Woke up determined to finish taxes – offices
closed! When can people go if they work all week? Beats me. But it would take
more than a late filing to bother me – feel blissful. Approaching Plath from the question of her reputation. Determined to write and to learn to see movies alone.
Last night awful sets with Zach – I don’t like his new band.
He couldn’t seem to play guitar and sang off-key. Promises of a future have taken
his present away. My heart went out to him – ordered a bottle of champagne
to cheer him up. Late dinner – I ordered catfish in a spirit of adventure (not good) he ordered what he always has – chicken & fries. He told me about the times he’s
been mugged and his belief in magic – I didn’t believe any of it. He was
full of insecurities about Usher – I decided to act like we have a relationship
to make it easier to get rid of Z later on. He “retaliated” by describing his affair
with his friend’s 48 yr old divorced mother back on the coast. Sure, sure. Asked
to come home with me. I said no.
Plush Palace – Mon 23Apr 11PM God Malcolm Muggeridge is unpleasant (Jesus
Rediscovered) and not even Christian. Makes Waugh look like the author
of Sermon on the Mount. Trying to figure out how I would address God:
what would I say?
Beautiful note from Devon saying, “I love you dearly”.
Sweet. The silenter I am the more he adores me. Sent a copy of my Plath
essay to Usher – we’ll see what he says. Agent passed along a very flattering
rejection on Memory – I am “too much” of a poet! Since I have just concluded
(with Usher’s help) that I am no poet at all this cheered me up enormously.
Airborne today – dancing really well. It’s the fasting. Feel a shimmering force field all around me.
Starlight – 12:45 AM – Thurs 25 Apr 79 Dragging myself around this AM – my own fault for indulging
in Irish coffee and caramel ice cream last night. 2nd anniversary party at the radio station and I thought, That might be fun! It was a disaster. I took Avril and we were immediately cornered by the club bore. (I had to give him a fake phone no just to get rid of him.) Plus they charged us for our drinks! Rod was there – tight and prim – fearful I would attack him about his nonexistent dance story – I put him at his ease.
Left after an hour and Avril and I “drowned our disappointment” in the usual way
(it felt good at the time.) Ross & Tom should be required reading for egomaniacs.
Plush Palace 9 PM Mon 30 Apr 79 Had my hair cut today and dyed platinum blonde – like the
color not the cut. I wanted it all off – she asked to “try something” and if I didn’t
like it she would “fix it for free”. Of course, I don’t like it but I didn’t have the time
to stay and have it re-done. I think it’s almost too much trouble to go back – get somebody else to fix it. Everyone likes color however; I needed a boost. But it’s
not what I pictured – looks like a medieval “bowl” cut to me. Fistfight! Guy dragged
out of the club in handcuffs. Joselle says too bad; he was such a good tipper.
Feel too old tonight – I obviously need a vacation but the only
one I can take is in my own mind. I love the house but it always needs something.
I was perched on the edge of celibacy but Jervaze showed up
last night. Fabulous sex! Turned out to be worth it! 2 Hrs (I counted!) Oh, bliss. Reading very bad romantic suspense – A Relative Stranger. It’s a serious
problem that I hate everything popular.
2:30 PM Wed May 2 79 Perfect day at home. Worked on poems listening to Mozart.
Got my “medieval bowl” changed to “little boy” haircut – it’s wonderful! Do nothing
to my hair anymore! Don’t have to wash it, brush it or even look at it! Of course, I have to deal with all the sobbing men at the clubs. Turns out long hair is a powerful masculine fetish. I consider pretending I’m a different person – but I have the same
old costumes. New stage name? Wonder if “Colette” is taken. Guess I didn’t plan
this very well.
Yesterday overeating so today it’s a fast – only coffee. Phone keeps ringing I refuse to answer. It’s probably Paz begging me to come in and sub
for some dancer who had an onstage breakdown. Reading Wagenknecht’s “psychograph” of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Interesting.
Sun 6 May 79 -1:50 PM Avril and I drove to St Michaels yesterday – such a pleasure
– I remember sailing into that port. It’s so beautiful I fantasize about buying a
house and “retiring” there. I tell A, you get the country house, I’ll have the town
house we can go back and forth. She says she does not want to live with her
sister FOREVER! Why not when I’m so perfect?
Delicious lunch of soft-shelled crabs and homemade
coconut cream pie. Didn’t get to work till 6:40 and I was the only dancer till
9 PM! Apparently previous dancer unconscious in dressing room and
ambulance was called. Sorry I missed it. Eddy gave me extra $$ but told
me I can’t wear my black jade rosary on stage (too many complaints). Too
bad – it looks so good with white collar and cuffs. He says the place has
been sold again and we will be getting new management. Hope it’s not Tony.
Plush Palace – 10:10 PM – Mon May 7 – 79 Would like to break my 2 day fasting record but I got up
at 5:30 AM this morning and was just too hungry. Cucumber sandwiches
with lots of pepper on whole wheat bread…mmmmm. Here’s my latest plan
– rewrite Secaire and Blood Memory – get pregnant Sept 1 1980, have baby
May 81! Father as yet unknown. Crazy, huh? Reading The Restless
Journey of James Agee.
Tues 8 May 79 – 4:45 PM Great day’s work on Secaire. Not “done” but better.
Completely new scene showing why Hank and Nilssa are attracted to each
other. 10 P!!! Celebrated by going out to buy new notebooks. Sniff the paper
hungrily. New lighting at the Palace very bad – guess who came in to audition? Brandy! I told manager she was lying about her age so he wouldn’t hire her.
Nobody wants to work with her. She’s a grenade with the pin removed.
Interesting book by Louis Cassells about the differences between religious
faiths. So far I like Unitarianism best but want to expose my kids to as many
different ones as possible and let them choose. Joselle keeps asking me if
she’s going to be in my book. (I’m afraid she thinks I cut my hair for her.) I start
instead a poem beginning “the chaste warrior sleeps only with his prey…” Bad! Sad.
3PM Thurs 10 May 79 – Plush Palace New manager Jasper comes in. Seems nice. I curtsy
very low. Yesterday fasted till evening – wrote 7 pages – walked dogs then
Avril & I saw Truffaut’s Love on the Run and went out to dinner. White pizza
with plenty of garlic. Usher is reading at a NJ college – invites me to go with
him. Hmm. Needing a pair of hot pink pants to visit this college in.
9:30 PM Fri night 11 May 1979 No hot pink pants. Did find a nice pair of aqua polished
cotton jeans and matching high-heeled shoes. Usher phoned and we
commiserated about publishing. Avril and I went to see the movie, A Little
Romance. Very good. Long walk with dogs, further exploring our new
neighborhood. People keep their lawns very tidy around here. Since I refuse
to do ovens, windows or lawns, house-pride like this could present a problem.
Must hire out. I’m bored with my job, but it pays the bills so well I don’t think
I can make changes till July. But who knows what lies just over the horizon? Reinventing oneself could be the greatest pleasure there is.
Plush Palace – Sat night 12 May 1979 Another exhausting goodbye with Jervaze. I wore see-through
chiffon bell-bottoms and flowered Qiana shirt – gratified to see they had
their effect. He said he will always feel the same about me, always be jealous
of the person I marry. I must say I now wish he would just go away. Which he’s supposed to do – off to Alabama. Again. I am not, shall we say, invited to this on-again, off again wedding. Awww. Feeling emotionally drained – only 30 short
hours till I see Usher and I want to be witty and “on.” As opposed to slack-jawed
Queen’s Chapel – 4:30 PM Sun May 13 -79
Dragged Avril to Unitarian church. There was a woman
minister. I found the service satisfying enough and the church (River Road)
very beautiful. They seem to have a lot going on – discussion groups, plays,
theology class. I could be interested if I had the time. Unfortunately everyone
seems old. Could I overcome my misanthropy to go alone? Remains to be
seen. The church has a bookstore – I bought an interesting book
on female contemplatives. I’m contemplating a future as a single parent.
Feel a faint hormonal stirring. (Avril says it’s the house.) Who’s the lucky guy?
Jervaze would have been perfect if it wasn’t for that alcoholic gene.
And I don’t think I could hide a baby from Devon for the rest of his life. Usher
probably has some impressive genes along with the vast millions to which he
constantly alludes. On the other hand, the kid he does have sounds defective.
Need to get clear about his marital status.
Queen’s Chapel – 9:30 PM May 15 -79
Bad visit to NJ with Usher. Thank God it wasn’t an
overnight. First he showed up in a Mercedes he described as “the color of Lena
Horne’s skin”. UGH! Next – brace yourself – he wanted to hide me from his
audience!! Dumped me at an antique bookstore (that part wasn’t a total waste
– bought the diaries of Cynthia Asquith) then took me out to an apologetic dinner.
I was so annoyed I commanded everything to be set on fire – fondue, oysters,
and 2 desserts. (He chose a very good wine. It was the least he could do.)
He didn’t want to talk about his reading – said if I had attended there would
have been “too many questions”. And as artists, aren’t we SCARED TO
DEATH of questions? Aren’t we?
Castle – Wed 1:15 AM 16 May – 79
Unspeakably rotten dinner at the Cosmo Club with
Usher. Forget him and his majestic New England genes. He is simply
“collecting” me as his latest oddity. He has “so many” “warm, women artist”
friends but no dancer yet (he’s way overdosed on poets) and he drifts from
one “presence” to another, sucking wattage like some radioactive swamp
monster. He and his wife have an “understanding” which probably means she
has no idea where the hell he ever is and nobody’s had sex in eons. Can’t I
do better than this?
In spite of the fact that I’m a degraded person who doesn’t
know where her next sexual or emotional meal is coming from I think I must
insist on a note from wifey before taking this matter further. According to his
poetry he associates sexuality with evil – not that I’m physically attracted to him,
it’s just so piquant to be with a man who gets a fresh barber’s shave right before
seeing you. (It’s been awhile). I don’t think he listened to a thing I said, just
gazed at me rapturously. I tried getting him interested in helping me write a
screenplay for Faulkner’s Mosquitoes – to me a completely ignored,
obviously filmable work. He dismisses, “It’s been done.”
Well it may have been “treated” BY SOMEBODY but the
point is, it hasn’t been treated by us and it hasn’t been filmed and it would be WONDERFUL. Couldn’t ignite him. He really doesn’t want to talk about writing
with me – I guess he has other people for that. I was so happy when our “date”
ended I could have wept for joy. On the other hand I am sorry to see these
millions slip away. My children could have used them, not to mention all my
fantasies of early retirement busted. Looks like I have no one to depend on but myself. Enjoying Monica Dickens’ enchanting The Moon was Low. But had
to buy a Quaalude from Maureen to get to sleep.
Finished V. Sackville-West’s The Devil at Westease.
I can’t figure out why she wrote it. She speaks entirely in lost codes.
I really dragged myself in to work today. That’s how
you know you’re working too much. Letter from Devon – he’s off to California
to “find himself.” What he really wants is any way to figure out how to be a
minister in a state of sexual abandon and he instinctively knows if the answer
is anywhere, it is in California. On the other hand, will this really turn out to
be what he wants? Not if I know him. The only good news about him is that
his genes are impeccable. Plus, I’m very depressed about my writing.
Spreading myself too thin – thinking about one project
while working on another. My St Secaire book is starting to get ridiculous,
but I want to follow up this “satanic rites” thing to see where it goes. Why did
I come up with it? What does it mean? Who knows? Cheap and derivative
everyone would probably say at this point. Yet it holds some interest for me.
Love and sex as hostage-taking. The question is, who’s the hostage and
who’s the keeper?
Could it be hours of research, prose and bitching produce
only a single poem? Lucky if so.
The Chaste Warrior Sleeps Only With His Prey
My sutures hurt; I’m
You laced my body like a jerkin
Unsheathing your ambition;
Cut my breakfast with a corkscrew
Your secret spine
Doubled up and put away.
I’m fasting now
Bracing for the worst
I can’t eat anything that doesn’t
Look right at me
And want to know the truth;
who’s for real? And
What’s the state of play?
I know it’s a mess.
Also miserable about money and my body. Buying the
house was a great idea – I love it – however, there are constant expenses
I can’t ignore that keep me chained to this goddam stage and dressing room.
My mortgage calls for my monthly payment to increase next year – I could
worry about that if I wanted to. And then I always respond to depression and
worry with a desire to eat which of course threatens my job. (Sigh.) Tips down
(maybe I should buy a wig.) And my face is all broken out so I have to use
heavy makeup – and my skin doesn’t like that.