Journal

January 5, 1970 (Monday 8 a.m.)

January 5, 1970 (Monday 8 a.m.)

So, today is my birthday . . . . and a cold snowy morning it is.

What a somber person I have been over the holidays. Winter is such a restricting time of the year at any time. But this year is especially quiet for me. Not since I can recall has the holiday period been such a somber one for me. Perhaps, after today, and with the holidays over, my mood will change.

[two crossed out – typed over – lines here]

Eh! don’t feel like writing this morning!

[apparently late that evening – handwritten, above was typed:]

Met Brownie at Winde[r]mere Station and we went to Severance Center for lunch. While wandering around the place, he bought me a current Annual Business Review of Forbes and a 1970 Capricorn horoscope, also a can of Herbal Mist spray sachet.

Bill called me about 10:30 p.m. and he and Connie sang “Happy Birthday.” Then Bill talked with me a few minutes. Somehow it was an awkward conversation. I told him about having my back door fixed, and he asked me what kind of periodical I wanted for my birthday. I told him I had suggested a subscription to Forbes Magazine when he called me on Christmas Day.

. . . I heard nothing from Nancy. Bill told me he and Connie had been to see her. From what Bill said, Nancy’s life is not going too well. Although it did not surprise me, I felt upset about it anyway. Finally concluded it is the way Nancy wants, it, and fell asleep almost 1:30 a.m.

Happy Birthday to me . . . . .

January 4 1970 (Sunday, 10: 30 a. m. )

January 4 1970 (Sunday, 10: 30 a. m. )

La de dah . . . It is very cold out today, with snow all over the place. A few minutes ago, the sun began to shine through the windows . . . always a welcome sight during the winter months. Icicles are trimming the edge of the little window above the davenport. The green leaves on the window ledge seem to be enjoying the strange sight of the icicles and viewing the occasional snowflakes drifting outside through the air.

This is no day to be outdoors tramping around. Yet, I do not want to do anything in particular indoors. My books have all been read, almost, except for a few collections of works . . . and I find no pleasure in reading any more. Books have not helped me too much, despite all the reading I have done over a lifetime. When all the chips are down in life, it ends up one must shoulder one’s individual responsibility for oneself. There are no easy roads to personal existence. Each man travels his path alone. No one or nothing can travel it for him. Oh, books sometimes help one over rough spots, or occasionally ease the individual. But when All is said and read, one still has oneself on one’s hands.

Tomorrow is my birthday. Hmmm . . . . So what . . . .

Bought a song sheet the other day while down town. The title of this song? “Someone to Watch Over Me. ” . . . . .

At this stage of my life I am completely directionless. Is it a period of a crossroad for me? time for a change? Or, is it a more or less permanent state of life for me? Hmmm . . . who knows? Nature does not like a vacuum. Life changes in many ways. My inner self tells me that nothing is static. However, I cannot possibly conceive how life can change for the better for me, at least not at present. For such a long time now I have hoped something, somehow would give me some sense of stability, some sense of happier continuity. I have hoped so long for this I have given up hoping. This is not a very satisfying or happy condition, but facts are facts. Instead of getting better, my life has become emptier and emptier. So, one learns to live with conditions.

There was a time when any number of little kindnesses would have meant so much. Now the time for such acts have been delayed so long they are almost valueless. My feelings have numbed. I don’t care anymore. Too much water has flown under the bridge. Icebergs do not melt in a day. It takes a long time to make an iceberg, and a long time to melt it away. And my personal iceberg has been a long time in the process of becoming.

24 January 1957 – The Tower of Babel

24 January 1957 – The Tower of Babel

Man speaks of a “material” world and a “spiritual” world as though these words were opposites. For every irritant there is a counter irritant. We are like “Jim” and “Joe”. “Jim” we could call the “spiritual” world and Joe the “material” world. Aren’t we actually talking about a process?

(Dictionary definition of process): an “act of going on or forward” in a continuous chain of events along the path of life? On our way, we are affected by our particular existence in a particular space and time. We are affected by the “natural” or “physical” conditions of our time of existence. The human cell lodged in its mother’s womb seems far removed from our physical world, only in the human world. It does not grow out of the ground, we think. It does not come out of the air, we think. The human cell comes from a long ancestry of “mothers”. It is a very natural phenomenon of nature – the physical world. But, we humans think there is something mysterious and glorious about the “human” growth cell. But that’s typical of the human race. We are always fascinated by our own belly buttons. We are learning though! We are learning the “secrets of creation”, we humans. We are slowly taking our eyes off our own “bellybutton”, our own umbilical cord of creation. It is slowly dawning upon us that we are not the beginning and end of creation and that we are God’s” chosen people”. And by that we mean we are the only part of creation God has made that is of any importance. As a class of humans, we are aware.

The physical scientists of the 20th century, more than any class of the human species, is aware of the fact we are monkeys holding mirrors to our faces while investigating our belly buttons when we believe we are the “chosen people” in His many creations.

Creation is a whole: containing all the parts; complete; entire; not defective or broken; intact; not fractional; all the parts of something taken together.

Perhaps over the thousands of years man had to become conscious of his own awareness. We are such a puzzle to ourselves, singly, in a group, or in a mass. Perhaps we have been concentrating so hard on the human species place in the whole of creation [that] we have lost our way, in a sense; sometimes thinking nothing existed but ourselves. Then we become conscious of others. So, then we concentrate on the other humans around us, until finally the 20th century scientists are opening the door to something else to concentrate on – other facets of creation. With this unfolding, many of our concentrations will change. All the old ones will be with us, but they will change. They are changing all the time. Religion, as we know it, will not give lip service to recognition of “all of creation” as against full concentration on human behaviors. It will tend to give more thought to all of creation, with man as a part of it. We will have to grow up to the fact that we are not the beginning and end of creation. Even if we are, there will be some serious doubts about it. The wheel will turn.

Of course, the preachers will scream God is turning his back upon us because we are wicked. Not so. We will simply concentrate less upon ourselves and our human behavior as “chosen people” – perhaps that is already taking place, while we turn to other concentrations.

As Billy quoted Preuss: “Einstein is dead, there is plenty of room at the top.”

Zell Canker at 40-odd is only now coming to realize that not only does marriage as an institution exist but also that there might be some character to it which might bear a closer scrutiny.

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Whether one is aware of it consciously or not, there is a close tie between the “spiritual” and “material” or “physical” world. In fact, when the two join – and become a straight line: we only separate one from the other so we can examine the two components more closely when we are puzzled by some aspect of the skein.

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We talk about atomic bombs, nuclear and guided missiles! These are the big material, the big physical bombs we desire to hurl at each other when we are at opposing poles. There are material expressions and ingenuities created as symbols of our differing views. Yet we are totally ignorant we are children playing with toys, cannons perhaps, lethal weapons. And we think that’s all there is to it. If we are ingenious enough, we can physically destroy our enemies.

There is a better way. I have presented it in the “Joe” and “Jim” argument. It is the unseen way – the spoken or written way – with “words”, “ideas”. This ties in with our perceptions, our ability to see and hear – and to listen closely – and to understand each other. When you threaten each other with A-bombs, and nuclear and guided missiles, posing each in his own way as though we had all God’s power on our side, we are generally making such a racket, we can’t see or hear each other very well. We are too conscious of self. In the past it had generally ended up in war. It’s “kid” stuff. We just haven’t been smart enough to develop highly enough techniques of understanding each other better on a person-to-person basis. And, one mistake keeps compounding into another until all is a confusion of recrimination, anger, hurt feelings, hatred for each other, and revenge.

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The world of music, playwriting, art and books is a mirrored expression of our condition and state of affairs: personal, community wise, national and international. We should know more about each in all the alleyways and skyways of life.

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We can only guess what the Celestial Designer will do with humans – we don’t know – until he makes a decision and sends people on their errands of life.

23 January 1957

23 January 1957

Another title for an article.

“When an argument occurs” – Certain influences are taking place. Here’s how it goes.

Opposing views concerning a subject appear, whether between two people or two dozen million people. Here is what is happening: Joe says Jim is a quote sonofabitch”. Okay. Jim says, “The hell I am, you’re the sonofabitch”.

What’s the matter? What is the problem? Why the contrariness of views? Why does Joe call Jim a “sonofabitch”? (Someone up always brings it into an open argument and this is necessary – the mounting feelings and emotions roused may have been festering with irritation or causing discomfort for a long time).

The peaceful resolving of the conflict can only be intelligently appreciated by first getting at the “cause” of the argument. The reasons given by the opponents might be most any idiotic rationalization. The argument would never have flared up if the causes were apparent. So, the constructive method toward solution is to try to pinpoint the problem. Who knows or can analyze all the causes for touchiness in man or beast? But, in practical day-to-day contact, everyday problems of this kind which can call for everyday workable solutions, the everyday surface of the argument needs to be examined.

When Joe say Jim is a sonofabitch (on the surface) what he says: I follow him up on this lathe on second shift. He leaves the machine dirty – or he never replaces what he should replace. Whatever it is. What he means is Jim is giving him a “hard time”. Jim is making it hard for him to do his job. He is not respecting him as an individual.

OKeh! Joe – Now, Jim, why do you snap back with the attack that you’re not a sonofabitch, Joe is? (Mind you, the argument cannot even get off the ground unless Jim snaps back at Joe who starts the verbal attack to the problem).

So, then you get the story out of Joe. Joe didn’t replace or do whatever Jim was accusing him of, but actually it might have started with a simple disregard of Joe’s “rights”. Jim might’ve started the process quite innocently. We are not keenly aware of the “rights of others” in our present a mass society. All I mean when I say “rights of others” is we are not particularly conscious of others – we generally are mostly conscious of ourselves.

Now the problem shapes up.

Jim, too, stated the “argument” or opposition with Joe because Joe was more conscious of the process called “rights of others”, “respect for each other” – better known as the “awareness of the fact that we are not alone in this world”. The world was not made just for us to tread upon. So, Jim just was careless about Joe’s right to be recognized as an individual.

Once the problem is analyzed, it is easy to see how it became compounded into an “explosion”.

Jim neglected to recognize Joe had some rights. Joe was goaded by these actions to become aware of himself – his rights. He decides he needs revenge. He does something he knows will irritate Jim because Joe is conscious of Jim as an individual. In that conscious look at Jim he can quickly pick out what makes Jim conscious of Jim as an individual. So, he irritates him by stepping on Jim’s toes.

This is a deliberate process, but Joe does not know consciously what is happening. He finally prods Jim enough, so Jim is aware of Jim’s identity as an individual. Then Jim starts going through the awakening identity of himself [that] Joe went through. They keep committing acts against each other until they are both conscious of each other – and blazing mad. It is quite a feat to become conscious of yourself and conscious of the other guy too! Most of us are neither very sharply or distinctly. So, an “argument” occurs. And all the whole thing is about is: respect for your own identity and consciousness and respect for the other person’s identity. It has to be both for a complete and harmonious solving of the problem. Most problems, especially everyday differences, don’t need this involved analytical process. But what I have written here is the complete problem in its most elementary, raw, real character or flavor, as I see it. It is an out of focus view between the inner world and the outer world – our personal life and the rest of creation.

“Hell” is when there is no knowledge of, or understanding of something – a feeling, an object, I need, a want, a necessity, etc. And trying to face the mixture of two opposites together when neither can change.

“Heaven” is when the knowledge and understanding is there and used as a basis of mutual cooperation.

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The dictionary says:

chastise: to correct by punishment as the parents chastise the child.

chastity is a Christian virtue.

I say: punishment, punishment; it’s all a case of knowing and doing what’s what. Our troubles come from the fact that no human being really knows what’s what, but we all think we know it all and are willing to kick anyone in the teeth if anyone asks us to prove it. We are afraid of producing proof because too often we can’t because we pretend to be what we are not. Some things we are, a lot of with things we think we are, are not at all likely imagine. There is only one perfect knowledge of all things, and that is the knowledge behind what created us in the first place, the source of our being, our existing at all. And I don’t mean being born to her physical father and mother into a physical world.

Physical: relating to nature or natural science; material as opposed to moral or spiritual. Comprehensible is against incomprehensible – fact versus fiction. Understandable as against unable to understand or grasp human mind.

And we are only given to understand what we are capable of understanding – which is a very good thing. If we try to understand what is not for us to comprehend all we can draw is a blank. “Comprehension” is “out of stock”.

We can get mad at ourselves for not understanding. We can weep, pretend we know, get neurotic, anything we like, but there are some knowledges that are “out of stock” for us. Some knowledges come sooner, some come later. But knowledges never come to us unless we are ready for them and until and only if the master creator the master designer makes them available to us human beings, collectively or separately.

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We can only do what our Creator asks us to do at the moment – even though we think it means: only doing what human beings ask us to do.

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Actually, we are not just on the “human team”, we are lots of teams perhaps and we don’t know what: the natural world about us “team”’ the “universe” around us “team”; perhaps other kinds of teams we don’t even know about. How do we know? We didn’t originate the plays and rules of living or existing as presented by the incomprehensible Master Creator – we just do what is in us to do, spending our energy in the realm of recognizable and understandable activity and so-called “facts”, “knowns”, no matter how simple or sophisticated they are or seem to be.

22 January 1957

22 January 1957 – The Closet

(She is trying to fall asleep. This when she begins to get her dreams back.)

All through her growing years – Lydia had an uneasy, sometimes panicky feeling if a closet door was ajar, especially at night.

One day she happened to think of a bubble pipe she played with for hours as a child. Her impression of pleasure in the bubble pipe seemed to fix itself into a single picture – a bubble pipe hanging stationary in the air with a stream of unhappy connected bubbles brimming over and spilling down the bowl the pipe.

She kept seeing the rather dreary bubble pipe for a while. Then in a moment, the words of the song she had not heard in years occurred to her. She was puzzled and wondered what made her think of it. Slowly she began humming the words of the song quietly to herself.

“I’m forever blowing bubbles, pretty bubbles in the air, they fly so high nearly reach the sky – then like my dreams they faded and died. Fortunes always hiding, I’ve looked everywhere. I’m forever blowing bubbles, pretty bubbles in the air.”

“Why I remember every word!” She thought to herself. “Now what made me think of that song?” Her mind hesitated over the question.

A slight panicky feeling ripped her. All she could imagine was an open closet door, shades of many a night’s dream. She began to get frightened. There seem to be a dark figure emerging from the closet. It had a black cloak over its shoulders, but in the dim darkness there appeared to be some decoration of beautiful colors, deep glowing yellows, orange, burnished gold etc. Her growing panic subsided, and curiosity enveloped her.

What was all this closet stuff lurking, always lurking as she made beds and cleaned the upstairs bedrooms?

Very slowly and answer came to her. Yes! The closets! There were two of them in the house she lived in as a child, one smaller in a bedroom at the front of the house, another quite large one off a bedroom at the back of the house.

The secret of the closet began to unravel, scene after scene: Three brothers and her parents crowded into a small two-bedroom house left her no particular place for privacy.

Go on from here: She goes to the closet to play by herself. The years passed before her mind’s eye. The time she seemed to get into a “to do” about eggs for lunch. She evidently had been slighted in some way over her share of the eggs. Crying, she had left the table with her mother close behind. She ran for the front bedroom closet, sobbing wretchedly. Her mother attempting to console her. That was the first scene.

The others followed: Exploring the closet, first the floor and the shoes. Later, when taller, the pockets of the clothes being there. Her father’s coat pockets. Sometimes she found a handkerchief. Her mother’s dresses. The “Sunday” ones fascinated her. The dress felt sleek. The other ones were of rough fiber (various feelings of cloth to the touch). A medical book with pictures she found when she was seven or eight years old. This book proved a source of many absorbed hours in the closet studying the pictures. She was in school already and could read but the book was written in German. She played over her fairy book stories in the closet – the fairy princess.

The back-bedroom closet had a window in it. It was large and filled with daylight. This was the closet of her junior high school years. Behind the door were pencil marks she had made on the white plaster wall. The various degrees of pencil marks were obtained by holding a book or ruler on her head, cooking her arm and making the pencil mark at what she thought was the appropriate height.

Here where she looked for her shoes on the floor. Hurried in to find Jim suits for a while. It was her “private” world.

The back-bedroom closet was not quite so frightening. A pair of gym bloomers made history in it. Also, a story connected with menstruation. Also, a bathing suit story.

But, the little dark front closet – that was her deepest and most significant world. In that dark little closet, she had explored her world. The world of self, a treasured and hidden world. A world she had locked away from her mother and three brothers, a place where she could be alone.

As Lydia thought it all through she remembered many bits of this private child world. There were hopes, and dreams, and fairytale characters who kept her company through many hours. Little “plays” she enacted. Putting on mother’s shoes. Searching pockets at first. Then exploring the physical world of the medical book. Her mother seemed to think there was already something very bad about this world. But it was fascinating. As the few little childhood years lengthened, into early girlhood, she went over the Sunday afternoon movies for hours in her bedroom closet. Funny men throwing pies into each other’s faces. Beautifully dressed ladies all grown up talking with other ladies and men. Scenes from singing movies with flowers and castles.

It didn’t last long, this private clothes closet. The summer sunshine, bare feet and soft mud after a rain began to beckon. And bubble pipes. Life became more involved with school teachers and children and playgrounds. The private world of the closet gave way to other matters.

Life began to push and crowd until Lydia forgot the closet entirely – the land of childhood. All she had left of it was a feeling sometimes it doesn’t matter. Sometimes when life let her down, and she knew life’s demands had to be met, she became almost panicky about closet doors left open. Particularly at night when the house was still. All her hopes, dreams, little sorrows and possibilities, little feelings of guilt were locked in that private, close closet world.

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It is when we are not sure of our values, our point of view, that opposites attract. We are attracted to the “opposite” to wrestle, learn, and try to resolve our differences – let the strongest viewpoint conquer. And conquer it will in the end if the truth we suspect is there, no matter how vehemently we fight it. Usually, opposites have something to learn from either end of the seesaw. Extreme opposites call for exquisite balance to achieve perfect balance. The less difference, the less pull and tug. Complete opposites really kick up a cloud of dust. A good deal of blood can then be shed.

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“You got to live a little, take a little, and let your poor heart heartbreak a little. That’s the story of, that’s the glory of love.”

And what is love but harmony, agreement, and balance?

Satire is accentuating the negative. “It’s easy to be a juvenile delinquent” grants permission, but still accentuates the negative.

I suppose you can also accentuate the positive when you want to give a negative result.

Ah! Algebra – I should have paid more attention. I should have learned. Tom used to say mathematical formulas could be applied to life feelings, questions and answers, not only in the material world but in the inner world of feelings and emotions.

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That nauseous feeling – those cold tremors down my back here lately as my writing hopes begin cropping up. Was the nausea due to having enough false hopes? Those cold tremors – did . . . were they physical reactions which were symptomatic of all the pain which is been wound up in my desire for self-expression? I was afraid to submit myself to what I have known in the past to be the personification of punishment and frustration, utter helplessness? Who knows.

These little dizziness’s – trying to blackout any belief in a creator who had, I thoroughly believe, failed me so miserably, and a mother who did the same thing? When she never understood?

Who knows.

21 January 1957

21 January 1957

How does one determine what goes on? What is the “outer world” all about? How do you anchor it, like paint on a sheet of paper? The answers to these questions as they kept flooding into my mind like water beginning to flow more and more smoothly as the rocks damming up the water were one by one thrown aside.

How simple! You recognize people by what they said, how they said it, the sound of their voice, the look about their face, their actions, their sitting down position, whether they were hurried or calm, where they live, how they lived, what their houses look like, how neatly or sloppily they took care of their personal possessions, who they associated with, the subjects of their conversation. When it wasn’t tribally confined to the weather. Even talk about the weather determines many things: real interest about it as the weather makes the person respond. 21 it is a “lousy day”. But he’s full of problems. To another “rainy, but very pleasant!” It still the same whether. But one of them is looking forward to seeing his girl for lunch. She’d been stalling him with excuses about a church bazaar. The suspicion was, where she still interested? He called her last night expecting the usual excuses. But no! The bazaar work was over, and she’d love to meet him. It was raining but the day was “very pleasant”.

How very simple it all is to anchor words on paper. All you have to do is compare people’s “inner world” with their “outer world”. Cause and effect. Effect and cause. Action and reaction. People against the background of land, sea, sheets, weather, air – against the created world; self-made, man-made, and “God” made.

Current Scene: Outer World.

Most of people’s troubles today, maybe at any time, is they tie the wrong causes and effects together. Now take that play we saw on TV yesterday about the gambler. His old man was a go to church on Sunday tightfisted miser who beat his kids on Monday. The “hero” decides church standards of ethics are no good. (In the outer world church standards are merely symbolic today, too often, of a decent way of life and the rock bed moralities, even though that isn’t what comes out of churches, with their damn gambling wheels etc.)

So – o o o! He decides to make a lot of money – not by respectable standards – his father was a god damn hypocrite – so: he won’t accept every day toil as a way of life – he knows of big money in horserace bookies or cards. This he sees as his “lots of money” for his family. When he doesn’t have enough to lavish upon his wife and kids, give them what they didn’t have, he turns to his “magic piano” – cards and bookies. (Wrong causes to get desired effects.) The Greek tragedy form develops. Hero starts the downward descent. Loses respective wife, even steals for money (his father would have killed him for stealing from him.”) Hero ends, a bum, furious at the suggestion his “cause-and-effect” logic is off kilter. He ends up burning his hands thrusting stolen money into a trance fire. “Money” Is the root of his degraded misery. It becomes symbolic of his destruction to him. Play ends with a whimpering infinite infant like hero – utterly defeated and prone, at last, to begging for the sake get trick help to the understanding of his disease.

“Cause” and “effect” gone astray compounded by a parent who never heard of this abstract concept.

So, successful and dramatic TV plays are formed.

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Was talking with Blanche this morning. This is the result which surged to the surface as writing material. We were talking about Robbie Silvers article on sex addiction in this a.m.’s PD – (my inner interpretation): what confuses much of our social world as we look at the lady’s dress (social customs) and say: there is no respect for elders. Blanche keeps harping on respect to “elders”. I told her in polite fashion “outer world” conversation, pure “social” customs of dutiful respect were an anachronism. The world has changed from respecting “elders” to respecting “individuals” quote even though they were children. If we bring them up on the social Emily Post concepts of yesteryear (the authoritarian parent) would bring up children unprepared for the rough-and-tumble of a very different kind of world we find ourselves in today. With all the spoiled brats around, Emily Post would be shoved down and trampled. Respect we need – inner world respect, the outside pope apparel – whether a flapper’s dress or raccoon coat in the 20s has nothing to do with the vogue of letting children express their beastly ourselves which has gripped our society like a cancer, now that the fashion is past its peak. Social standards of the day affect family standards, social customs have to be understood to be coped with. Still, this doesn’t mean that courtesy, kindness, love and understanding is out of vogue forever. It always warms the human brain heart in young and old, no matter what outward social practice is raging currently.

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With many of our changes, social, and interchanges, too often things have to get worse before they get better. Occasionally some shooting star comes along, however, that brings off a light in the heavens, without having to complete the circle around the wheel. A shooting star is a new, penetrating accidental which lights the world – sometimes in the field of science – Copernicus, Einstein, Roger Bacon. Nobody hears of them particularly, then all of a sudden like a century plant in Bloom, the earth flowers with a new flash of glory. The star fades, but the streak remains for a while in the heavens, lighting the darkness.

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The shooting star, a century plant, as I call it – can be a great scientist, a great painter, a great humanitarian, a great writer, a great philosopher. The trueness of its light depends on how brightly it illuminates the darkness of man.

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The symbol of the world for almost 3 centuries has been the crucifixion. Now just what is the symbol we have been living by lo these many hundreds of years. What does it signify? In essence, the symbol has meant that if we dare to go about our life’s work, trying to grow straight and tall, enfolding his beautiful creations as individuals, we are going to run smack into the status quo and will be defeated, bloodied and helpless, nailed to a cross. And Christianity is a “positive” religion. Militant, “yes”, but positive “no!” It symbolizes that there is an ascension into heaven after we are nailed to the cross. There is a power and glory, and a better way of life, but this heaven is a very nebulous one. The crucifixion is real and frightening. People all over the world have been crucified daily in one way or another. It’s the “power over”, the “authoritarian” way of life.

Translating this whole symbolism into an everyday way of life consists of a partnership, and mutual cooperation with the creator, not a fearful God the Greeks blood and thunder (the authoritarian image) when he is disobeyed. That is the significance of the resurrection, as the ascension into “heaven.” Not dog-eat-dog and “to hell with you”, if I don’t have my way. (Because, if we insist upon others’ acceptance of our personal status quo analysis of cause, effect and result, a lot of “Hell” can be created.) But, rather, the concept of “bring out the best in me and let me help you bring out the best in you.”

If such a notion took hold of the world, it would become transformed into that symbolic “heaven” Christians have been agonizing over these many, many years.

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If I can discover a few inner truths, the world can have its outer fictions, because then I won’t have to go like a frightened sheep with the crowd. I can walk my own way, not fearing the devil, or hell, or parent, or social taboo. Not fighting them – just not fearing them.

Those who understand “outer” worlds, cannot put much emphasis on “inner” worlds.

People who are interested in “inner” worlds can’t understand the “outer world” unless crash takes place and vice versa.

Fear and hate – cause-and-effect.

No fear and love – cause-and-effect.

Respect and respect – cause-and-effect

Love and love – cause-and-effect

Pull and tug – cause-and-effect.

Good and evil, balance and balance, – cause-and-effect.

That’s the way the wheel turns, and the axis of the “gods” grind slowly.

Sometimes opposites attract. – That’s nature trying to equalize itself. Marjorie Morningstar [and] Noel Airman.

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Asthma could be a form of self-punishment. You try to strangle yourself to death for some reason. Selfish motives so intense [that] even you want to strangle yourself – that is the victim of the disease.

Hay fever could be an expression of irritation due to wanting to do the right thing, but being exposed to contrary influences that cause serious disturbance to your inner desires for orderliness and good motives; [a] truly deeply desired wish to “do the right thing”. Sneezing and tears are the result. Sneezing to clear nostrils of the irritation, tears of helplessness. Desire not to kid oneself about the accuracy of one’s “good intentions”.

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“All comes to him awaits – and lives long enough.” J. Z.

“Selecting the right thing to wait for is what makes life so difficult.” J. Z.

To put it differently – “All things come to him awaits.

That is if he lives long enough and selects the right things to wait for.”

Wonder if Reader’s Digest could use something like that.

It’s Easy to Raise a Juvenile Delinquent.

All you have to do is:

Resent your child.

Feel he is a burden and a nuisance.

Take no interest in his comings and goings. Pay no attention to the company he keeps or where he is. Give him a lot of money or toys or clothes or car cars so he doesn’t bother you.

Feel the world owes you something. Be more interested in “keeping up with the Joneses” than [in] “keeping up with your child.”

Be sure what is important to you is more important than what is important to your child.

Don’t bring him up – “drag him along.” Scold him when he is bad – never mind the reason for his behavior. Argue with his teachers when they call you in for consultations. Decide the teachers are stupid and don’t understand children. For good measure smack your child when he brings home poor grades. Tell him he’s a good for nothing, a low-down good for nothing.

Never change your own mind about how to bring up a child. What’s good enough for you is good enough for the rest of the world. Nobody’s going to tell you anything about this fancy child psychology stuff.

If that doesn’t turn your children into a juvenile delinquent you might try fighting with your husband, your neighbor or your mother-in-law.

#

Turn down the Community Fund social agencies volunteer worker’s plea for a contribution. They’re always after money.

Leave your kids home with the TV set so you can hang over a bar with the “fellas’. If you’re another be sure to go bowling.

If you’re father go over to a bar with the “fellas”. If your mother be sure to go out bowling with the girls. The kids will be all right at home watching television.

If you’re father, be sure to spend plenty of time at boozing it up at football and baseball games with the “fellas” from the shop. If you’re mother have your bowling nights with the “girls”. A woman needs some recreation too, and the kids are all right at home watching TV

If it is a writer I am to be, everything I need will be added, unless I get off the track and get off balance between my “inner” and “outer” worlds.

Comic Plots: character studies.

Experts in one field – greenhorns in another. Housewives don’t need to be envious of career women – they have their ignorance is, too.

Combination of Blanche and Mary Anderson.

Blanche’s “invitation to dinner”. The night Kurt and I had dinner at her house – formal introduction and all – cooked by her own career girl hands.

A description of the waffles (the simplest mix to make), the creaky old waffle iron – the musty formal atmosphere while Blanche calmly serves waffles, wieners, and a few slices of packaged cheese, some imported guava jelly and her favorite hard candy and salted nuts for dessert. Give a description of Blanche – in apron very much in control of the situation sitting down to making waffles. Using powdered milk and water (the economy efficiency) and waffle mix to concoct the dough. Sitting at the table making burnt, underdone, and pasty waffles, occasionally dropping one, in the unconcern over her error, into the wastepaper basket beside her.

Then Kurt’s urgent pleas: He loves Blanche for her expertness in the field of law, exporting, what have you, but please, don’t accept any more invitations from her for dinner!

You could build a regular plot out of it. The wife’s good cooking – the picking us of her unappreciated husband – or you could approach it from the career girl is the “expert” and the know it all in every respect. Wife here could be complaining about having to work and any dummy can do that, [but] she really longs for a career, brilliant and sparkling.

#

The Mary version could center around the woman lawyer, but capable and brilliant – probate court specialist and teacher of men, women, and children on morals. The regular paradigm of “law is perfection” but who secretly is playing. She’s been wired to straight-laced morality and believes it like the Bible but doesn’t have to go into Wolf’s restaurant alone.

If she were really tempted to step alone out of her majestic castle of security, she’d be as naïve as a babe in arms. She needs moral support to go into a strange restaurant, to eat alone – some he Wolf might cross her path and she wouldn’t know what to do with him!!!

#

Other topics:

Be Glad you’re a Wife (Mother)

May be hardest job to be a mother but most useful – raising real people.

Be Glad You’re a Homemaker:

plan your own schedule – stay out of the wet and cold as the world trudges about.

“We make all our mistakes with our first baby.”

For Sale – A High Standard of Living

Young people want “everything” tsk tsk! But if they didn’t have it their parents would consider the boy “too young” to marry – or the girls marriage quote not as well as she could have done.” If young people don’t have to start out marriage what it took their parents 25 or 30 years to accumulate.

#

It’s not a question of markets to sell and get money out of for my writing. That is important – it is what magazine or writing outlet is most widely read by the people I am trying to reach?

If I do a good job writing for an audience and reach them – money is just evidence of the “medium of exchange”. It’s the toll you pay when a writer crosses from one road to another. The writer gets paid for his creative effort; the outlet gets paid for its judgment and expense; and the reader pays the price of the printed word to get another view on life, if he wants to learn something; or to pass his time away being entertained because he hasn’t anything better to do with his time.

20 January 1957

20 January 1957

This developing process in me? When did it start? Where did it start? How did it start? It doesn’t matter! – This awakening to the world of human beings and what makes them tick?

I had glimpses of it at Community Center. A couple times, I tried to imagine what I look like at the center – and very vaguely – what I look like to the people in the center – not to individuals at the center – just trying to picture myself going from one room to the other, heels tapping her hurried staccato (why do writers always use that word to describe the sound of heels on a hard surface) along the halls in my attempt to give the “Zachmann” touch to all the classes in one evening.

The family is getting up, the dog is barking, howling, reacting to first Bill, then Nancy, yelling and mouthing away to him and then next Nancy’s commands to “Shut up!” Don’t know whether I can settle down to see what I am trying to anchor here – but if it is of any tangible merit – it won’t run away. It is a dawning comprehension and I’m afraid I will lose it.

What it all amounts to is this business about being completely incognizant of the “humdrum” everyday world’s values all my life. It begins to dawn upon me I never lived in the “outer world” of people, events and happenings. I only lived in the arid world that was within myself. I never valued evaluated people by generally accepted current worldly standards, I only saw the individual acting and reacting, sensitive only to their reactions – never to what made them act or react – saw only the “effect”, never the cause. Well, I guess my whole life has been that way. Even my personal life. I never really knew the origin of the “causes” of human behavior, because I was too busy trying to understand the causes of my own “reactions”.

We have talked about Helen, Kurt and I. The general conclusion is she sees a very “real” world. All I could ever see is the “spiritual” Helen, the “psychic” Helen, the “good” in Helen, that fairness in “Helen”, the behavior of “Helen”. It seems strange I select Helen Rossman, strange and not so strange. My mother’s name was Helen too.

That day on the farm when I first saw Helen. After all these years, I recall the incident so well. Those large calculating eyes, eyebrows raised as she looked me over, deciding by some ticker system inside her, whether I was worth spending any time with, or whether she should go about her business. If the answer had been I wasn’t worth bothering with, I feel now, a curtain would’ve dropped, and I never would have had so much of farm life presented to me.

Helen and I are alike in a way – only Helen saw then, and still seems to see only the outer world values. Until fairly recently, I have only seen the inner soul values. Just as she has always found my Jesus Christness an enigma – so she has found my world values and evaluations totally hopeless. And, there is a thread of Helen’s in my life, all reacting to me as Helen does to this day, giving me up as hopeless, or various degrees or stages of hopeless dependency upon their interest about me, because they don’t know I have little knowledge of their values. Others I suppose found me baffling. Some even look up to me – the Mrs. Harding’s, the Mrs. Mahorcic’s, but even they I believe, in the inner recesses depending on the weight of “real-world” standards, must wonder why I don’t prim and make myself constantly “attractive” like Jerry, or buy furniture like Alice or Sweetie.

#

My mother deluded herself and tried to do delude me by saying I was the most important person in her world after I was born. All she wanted was a daughter.

One of my mysteries is solving itself.

I could never put my finger on it before, but this is what it was. She lied to herself and to me when she tried to peddle around such hog-wash. She was important to herself. She was ruled by whatever standards she had. I wasn’t the most important thing in the world to her, even though she dolled me up and outwardly displayed [me] to the world [as if] I was her most precious possession. So soon as I grew old enough to start establishing some values of my own the evidence of her delusions became painfully apparent. What was important to her was her own self. She tried to keep me an embryo, so she could keep her big illusion. The growing girl she called her daughter couldn’t help growing into another person. It’s like death. You can’t escape it. The process began exploding her myth – that I was the beginning and end of perfection and value for her. She never could comprehend to the day she died the natural process she had been dealing with. She never knew what defeated her.

People sell themselves all kinds of things.

I argue the Chinese have a better approach to the problems of man when they preach a Ying [sic] and a Yang. Discord results when one or the other is denied or blown out of proportion. Harmony is a proper proportion meant of duality; the right and the wrong, the kind in the firm, the coordination between the inner soul and the outer manifestations of the world, whether animal, vegetable, human or divine, land or sea, air or vacuum. If there is not enough land, water takes over. If there is not enough love, hate takes over. Nature tolerates no vacuums. If there is greed, generosity disappears. Over generosity leaves material poverty. Excessive poverty stirs the breast to greed and acquisition, or dissolution and impasse.

Even Christians recognize battle in their expectations about “good” and “evil”, but they are less concrete, more abstract about it.

#

Values for sale! We are always buying or selling each other something. Most people are aware of the exchange of material goods, it is a daily function apparent to all. The exchange of values in “ideas” is a more subtle process, hardly apparent to most people, but affecting every phase of human life just as much as the sale of observable objects. How many of us are consciously aware of the fact that we have “bought an idea”? Abstractions are pleasures of the mind. Einstein’s theories may be great, but they are of no value until they are used practically; just as a hammer is nothing until it is put to use pounding the nails into boards to build a house. Just as in the material object world so in the realm of abstract ideas. There is no value to anything until translated into practical usage.

Late: story plot boggles me. I can’t sleep. Here it is.

It is tied up this way.

Theme: promises should not be idly made. (Zel her lamps and her guile.)

Also, could be used in connection with juvenile delinquency. What creates a juvenile – patterns that shape a grown-up.

Plot: businessman (success theme) is noted for his reliability – could be a small or large business. He keeps his word. If he makes a promise – he keeps it.

Scene: shipment of some kind is due. (Catering firm?)

“Did Jefko [?] say he tried to make a delivery? Or did he say he’d try?” says manager of another business.

“No,” said the clerk, partner – what have you. “He promised to deliver the goods.”

Manager relaxes. “If Jefko said it was a “promise” I can relax.”

The whole idea is Jefko is dependable – like the rock of Gibraltar if he “promises”.

Why – when he was a kid his parents did know how the patterns they set stay with the kid way into grown years. Give a couple of illustrations or examples. My personal episode about going to the silent movies of the day. My father works me up, sells by believing soul he is going to take me to the movies. My mother gives him the business. (In this case it could be mother promises, father reneges.” Then I suddenly – for no good reason, can’t go. My first rub with parent’s strange examples. My world falls apart. My first lesson in the unreliability of parents.

Then you could add about the baseball that was promised, but never received, etc. etc.

Maybe it was because of money. Maybe it was because parents don’t know what they do to their kids. He vows he’s going to make money but never stirs any customer up to expect certain delivery unless he can deliver. It makes him a successful man.

19 January 1957

19 January 1957

More Marjorie Morningstar:

Noel wavers between his conceit and doubts – dependence and independence.

iconoclast: an image breaker; one who attacks superstitions or shams.

Reminiscent of Tom:

. . . good for nothing else . . . It takes a displaced neurotic of the worst kind, a walking ghost with no roots in the real world, to do . . . (What (Mike Eden) feels he is only good for).

. . . Therapy for me takes the form of excessively tense action, it’s a known pattern, and that’s what makes me useful . . . You’ve seen me as I been for years, not at a low point or crisis, not in the least. I am what you saw on the ship, that’s all . . . Most people can’t stand me, you know, I’m a jagged . . . supercilious, mean tempered son of a bitch. Yet you like me. I know it and it’s given me some new red corpuscles. But don’t try to come anywhere closer, darling, I’m used up, excellent for what I’m doing. Good for nothing else.

He (Mike) rested his hands lightly on her shoulders and looked earnestly into her face. “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, it might have been . . . I’ve never felt the force of that old overworked old jingle until now.

Exit Mike Eden – encyclopedia extraordinary. I used to call Tom a walking encyclopedia.

#

The thought suddenly struck me as I wrote the copying above: what makes me different is that I see people as they are – I see the inner person, most everyone else sees the outer person. I can’t quite explain it. Something about I see the core of the person and I am so busy with it, [that] what most other people see, I’m not aware of. Other people see others in relationship to the social standards, the taboo standards, whatever it is most people judge their fellow man by. I see something entirely different and it just doesn’t have anything to do with the “real world”. In fact, I just don’t exactly know what the “real world” is supposed to be. It has something to do with conforming and measuring up to the popular standards of the day or era. Something I just don’t pay any attention to – not deliberately – I just don’t know anything about these standards – and the little bit I know of them seems exceedingly nutty to me. As I see people, the individual is what matters – his pain, sorrow, joy. I guess that’s it – their feelings. It’s their feelings that interest me. The only impression I get is the particular balance, imbalance, of their feelings. It’s like being in a picture show – a movie – everyone else is watching the action on the screen – I’m watching them.

For example, it would never occur to me to cross anyone off my social register for being “unsuccessful” – whatever that is by “real-world” measurement – I guess it varies from person to person. I would cross them off my list only if they were a Sammy Glick, or Hans, or Dodi – Dodi particularly – if they failed to show sensitivity for the pain of another, the genuine need of another, the helplessness of another. If they trampled upon another person’s ego.

Insensitivity to human dignity I abhor. It hurts me as much, pains me as much, embarrasses me as much, as though it were happening to me.

#

Mike Eden is telling Marjorie about his life. He says: “Your wife’s death isn’t what’s troubling you. You’re covering your unsolved neurosis by harping on the accident. Find out what’s really bothering you and you’ll stop worrying about having (unconsciously) murdered your wife.”

“Can you tie that, Marjorie, for obsessed mumbo – jumbo? I killed my wife sure. But that’s not what’s really bothering me. (His wife is killed in an automobile accident when he fell asleep at the wheel.) Hell no! I was taken off the breast too early in infancy, that’s (the Freudians say) is what’s bothering me.” etc., etc.

Actually to me, there is a truth in the one line: Your wife’s death isn’t really what’s troubling you. You’re covering your unsolved neurosis by harping on the accident.

Mike Eden’s expression about true Freudians: Oedipus and sex and all that, is rot! Except that it ties up with taboos – man-made. But there is this, as I see it. We do obtain feelings of guilt from our life patterns due to various man-made taboos. It has nothing to do with bowel movements or the sucking instinct per se. What Mike never read was Paul Brunton. Mike senses he is serving some purpose in life, because he is alive – thereby acknowledging the presence of the great pattern of creation which is unfathomable to all of us. Actually, he is rebellion against the seeming silliness of God’s, the creator’s or, whatever you want to call its pattern for him. He imagines he created his own little self and is responsible for himself. Actually, he is in the world due to an unknown creative power behind the universe – that power, silly, inept or logical created him and is responsible for his being. Mike Eden had very little control over his own destiny due to his evolved personality, as it found itself in a world of earth, water, air, and living things.

The only part he plays in this world is to move in the orbit he finds himself to whatever capacity he finds himself capable.

He is a pinpoint in time – how shocking to the ego to learn we individual human beings are so really minute in a universal scheme of things because, after all, to ourselves we are the most important personage on earth.

If you follow guilt to its logical conclusion, you assume man-made penalties for everything. You are actually guilty every time you deny, or refuse to accept, another individual’s estimation of what your own behavior should be. Basically, there are fundamental natural laws for orderly existence – founded on natural laws: caring for the young, the mating instinct, the need to stay warm and sheltered and cared for. The rest is so much whipped cream, with or without nuts on top, or any other whimsical “necessity”. Orderly life to a great extent, as it should be lived, is more or less the essence of the 10 commandments. The natural real reasons underlying the 10 commandments in our present era have fallen into dusty unconcern. We are mostly busy fussing with a more important matter: the whipped cream of life – the contrived essentials.

Still – they are the myth and order of the day – only more so, perhaps, than they have ever been though through the panoramic history of mankind. Bread-and-butter Americans can get plenty of – but oh! For those gobs of whipped cream!

#

Marjorie Morningstar again: Mike speaking: [“]Noel is quite an iconoclast (destroyer of conventional myths) isn’t he? Probably impressed you deeply. Rightly so. He is a wonderful talker. Still Noel is very much a creature of his time, so he takes the current myths for solid facts.” The one thing in all those 20 pages that Noel takes seriously is the analytic explanation of his own conduct. He’s right proud of it. It never occurs to him that the Oedipus complex really doesn’t exist, that it is a piece of moralistic literature. He’s as Orthodox as your own father, Marjorie, in his own fashion, but he doesn’t know it. (He actually wants to be a conformist) but living up to whip cream versions of life yet knowing they are contrived, not bowing his head to the fact he is a small part of creation itself. He cannot see himself or the world around him. He is arguing with his pinpoint in the conventional time and his spot in it.

Mike Eden: on premonitions: when you’re engaged in a course of action that’s possible or dangerous, and hiding the folly or danger from yourself, the subconscious mind seizes on any gloomy fact like a broken mirror, or an ominous slip of the tongue, or a black cat in the way, to try to scare you into saving yourself.

Me –

When I was afraid, really concerned about stepping on a crack and breaking my mother’s back, I guess I really did want to break her back. When I stop to think of it, even in my late teens and early 20s I sort of picked up my toes inside my shoes on a bus at the different intervals. I felt the bus passed cracks on the sidewalk outside the bus window.

Oh God! When I think of all the pent up, hidden away hatred I had for my mother! No wonder I eventually exploded into neurosis. Well, she was not a very kinder lovable person. I don’t think she ever knew the meaning of the word “love” in the usual sense. To her it was all translated into power and position for herself, through her children.

After a conversation with Mary Anderson:

it’s easy to be sophisticated penetrating, and satirical about the whipped cream of life. That’s what’s wrong about it. According to Mary what needs to be done then is to go back to the fundamentals again, the really were the ideals of life – the brotherhood of man (E. Z. Baker), the natural goodnesses, and seed them.

Guess I better do it a bit of investigating of the “natural goodnesses and morals.”

There was one final line that stayed with me after Kurt finished the book, Marjorie Morningstar, that left me a little bleak, it was:

“However, it isn’t often that one solves an old mystery in one’s life.” I have so many I don’t know the answers to.

18 January 1957

18 January 1957

Once you are exposed to the challenges of calculus, you have very little interest in simple arithmetic, if you are a problem solver.

Herman Wouk is so right when he says, through his protagonist Noel, says:  Women estimate men by their earning power (so do men) . . . For a certain low-grade moron, a pretty girl (to their mind – pretty man to the female mind) is a Hit.

“It’s not money, but what you can buy with it. Money is power. Money is security. Money is freedom . . . “What makes Noel Ehrman purely and wholly happy? Answer: A Hit (a creative accomplishment) nothing else. A Hit is a beauty bare. And after that another Hit. And for the rest of my life, Hits.”

My comments: what we actually want is to be loved, and to feel we are worthy of love, no matter how we go about it.

Our methods for achieving this end are suggested by our parents in devious ways as we grow up. We look around us to see whether love is obtained, approval is obtained by what our parents have indicated is the way and how our estimation of how valid their ideas are in obtaining the desired end – lovableness – in the world at large.

We try out all the formulas are parents have indicated – discarding from this accumulation the ones we see our parents deny, testing those which seem to get the desired result.

i.e. My mother’s view was a writer or a doctor or lawyer or some social position due to achievement obtained approval and love. My father’s life indicated complete subjugation to one’s spouse, with no desire for one’s own achievement.

In the last analysis we want to be loved for whatever our qualities or personality are, and you have the privilege of being ourselves with another without building up a wall of requirements for approval and acceptable love.

If we concentrate on the various notions of our lovability requirements, we can never accept love without requirements from others. And I am not speaking of laws to enforce order. Order is one thing. Love is another. Rather I am speaking of social standards of the price of acceptance and lovableness which disregard the natural bent of the tree, the enforced pouring into social molds of power, esteem, and sexual attractiveness which are exhibited as the prizes which win you the cup of love from your fellow man, and especially from the ones who you want to love you – and mostly your respect and regard for yourself.

If I wrote a novel – I would use Helen Schadkowski as a model . . . The foreign-born parents. The low social cast, whether railroad worker or farmer. The “greenhorn”. Then her father who wanted her to have the “good” things in life – who wanted to make life easier for her – by giving her an education. Her mother the duller minded less imaginative well-intentioned one never did sell the cows to supply her with an education. There were four brothers. Hard work was all right for them. But, not for a girl. Her father died, and her mother never sold the cows. Her husband was a fool to her mind… Slaughtering their economic means for such foolishness as an education. Helen is attracted to the people who “count”, she is clever but not very well informed. She meets artists (she has some talent but no training), no formal education

Weave her path upward then. Jud – Rossman – her vulnerability to others who seem to make a success of life – her sneers at Janet until she discovers Janet has enough money to indulge her “talents”. Her fear of Janet and the loss of her “lovability”; her success. Her pleasure that Janet could not make the grade, but instead settled down and married.

How she becomes hard and pushes yourself on and on to achieve the top and then to stay there forfeiting the right for ever to be lovable and to receive love because she is locked in the pattern laid down for her in the mold of her childhood.

Janet is quite happy – (or some such character) – to be developed, not needing to push desperately for acceptance because she loves and is loved!

Like a cat she always landed on her feet.

That’s the general gist of it. Kind of another view of Marjorie Morningstar.

I might be able to do this if I could really remove myself from enough from the characters and play sailboat with a hunk of wood. What I mean is, if I could stop reacting emotionally to myself in my own life – stop fearing other people’s love requirements of me, whether such people are alive or dead, or the requirements I think they have for me.

I can use all the love scenes only motivate them differently around Helen’s life.

In this case – Helen is seeking approval and is trying to conform rather than denouncing the requirements as Wouk does with Noel Ehrman as protagonist.

You can bring Mary Anderson into it Helen despises her because she is a fool. Oh! And what’s her name who married whoozabobly after sloughing off a drunken socialite family’s son. Opera and all that Renginall [?] stuff. Mrs. Krohngold and Ted and Bina.

Also – Rossman in the end loses his love for her because he recognizes there isn’t a truly loving streak in her.

Her sympathy and understanding is her father’s, her belief in success is her father’s dream, but her practicality and determination of purpose is her mother’s.

Have Helen’s mother comment against Jud – and his lack of money or success. With the result that no man can supply her with all the material possessions and good things of life, position and power she wants for herself to be lovable.

Ross would give ten of Helen for one of a loving wife who let him take over. As Streeter said – there is nothing wrong with “interests”, it’s the driving yourself by some artificial standard set up for you which is wrong and gets you all fouled up. There is nothing wrong with genuine hobbies and interests – even if you get paid for them. It is the fear, the insecurity and the drive which overpowers you and twists you all out of shape which is the yardstick of whether your interest is true or false . . . on substantial ground or on quicksand

How does Wouk begin. Chapter 1 Marjorie. Customs of courtship very greatly in different times in different places, but the way the thing happens to be done here and now always seems the only natural way to do it.

Bud Schulberg? The first time I saw him (Sammy Glick) he couldn’t have been much more than 16 years old, a little ferret of a kid sharp and quick. Sammy Glick used to run copy for me. Always ran, always looked thirsty.

Kenneth Roberts – Lydia Bailey. On an autumn evening in 1800 the four of us – my uncle; Colonel Trip [?]; his wife – my aunts etc. – were sitting around the big table in the sitting room of our Gerham [?] farm when we heard a horses hooves rustling in the drifts of maple leaves on our driveway. Aunt Emily looked at me and asked, “Who’s that, Albion?” as if she suspected me of having second sight.

Then comes a description of Albion and a message from someone.

#

Seems to me, before I do any writing, I better find out what writing is all about, the types of writing, whether I am an essayist, novelist, or short story writer at least, and abstraction is, or a warm-blooded emotionalist – and whether I have talent in any direction of writing. Also, whether I will be happy with my “hobby”. Since I have a career as a wife and mother. Time will tell.

#

Well, no matter what direction of expression my new interest takes me, as a hobby it can take up the slack of my days. Knitting and crocheting are not particularly useful or fashionable in this mass production age.

#

If I ever use the “Helen” plot I can draw on Frances Sedmack for business atmosphere, although Frances at least has relatives in Europe to impress with her money.

Helen must have made quite a few compromises with herself to hire artists to make lamps instead of designing them herself.

16 January 1957

16 January 1957

Maybe the effect of “Marjorie Morningstar”, maybe not. But – once again this writing angle haunts and torments me.

The last two nights, going to bed after hearing Kurt read from the book, has found me more and more affected by what is contained in the novel. The Noel Ehrman characterization sets me off – the wasting genius. It strikes a shadowy chord in me and troublesome, hidden doors creak ajar in the cobweb be attic of my personality.

Last night was worse than the night before. The lids have been coming off of long buried ghosts – the desire to write in the various strangulations which have occurred to murder this desire. Whether it is actually a phantom desire which has been murdered, whether it has been locked and chained in jailed in that cobweb be attic of my soul – I don’t know. But, reading about Noel Ehrman stirs it into motion, whether phantom or real.

Whether this desire to write is a phantom or Prometheus bound, the Noel Ehrman characterization stirs my interest again to explore new the causes of my mysterious something in the attic. A few painful recollections, came to me last night as to this plight of mine and my quandary as to whether the desire is real or phantom.

I picked up creative fiction writing yesterday afternoon and read in the first two chapters or three – what a writer’s personality and temperament were. In the margin I wrote: “This is a writer? Then I should be one.”

I will suppose for the moment I am Prometheus bound. What bound me? The first recollection that comes to mind is my mother getting me a bright new notebook and a pencil and actually expecting me, a child of six or seven, to sit down and flood an empty note book with brilliant stories. That was the first rung on the ladder to the hidden attic. The second recollection I had concerned my piano lessons. Seemingly, at least in Wanda’s eyes, I was a talented pupil. She singled me out of all her pupils to take with her to see my first operetta – “Blossom Time”. My music, as I think back to myself at nine and 10 years old was part of my unselfconscious life. It was as much a part of it as peaceful breathing. Between my brother, his violin, and my mother it erupted into pain and injustice and a pre-dawning discomfort. Aside from the pain, I just didn’t know what disrupted my unselfconscious breathing. Why? Even later whenever the subject of music came up around my mother, when someone commented about my piano, my mother made derogatory remarks which filled me with guilt and pain, but I still did not know why, or what I had done.

The next slip, not a real rung, just a reminder, was Eva Risk’s remark in New York about something I had written. I do not recall her saying it was no good. I just remember her long explanation of her writing pieces for the “New Yorker”.

Most of the rest of the ladder steps were made up of Sid. He practically completed the process I am describing. Supposedly he loved me, yet found nothing much to praise, except my comments on shows and movies we attended. Something about me he found interesting – he must have, to give me so much of his time and thought for several years. Yet to me it seemed incredible that I was of any importance to him because there was nothing I did, said, or wore that did not displease him violently.

Another blow was the article I wrote and sent to the Atlantic, and what other magazines – I don’t remember. It was returned with “try again.” To me, even yet, it seems these comments were “policy” rejections – don’t discourage authors; our policy is a polite one. I realize at least now; my ideas may have been most analytical – but it was bad writing.

I have earned $40 writing – two winning letters to the scoop. I handle my publicity for the community center – which doesn’t count. They publish anything of news – even if it is badly written, though my copy wasn’t.

Now – the mystery is: Is my desire to write a sleeping potential yet to be awakened – or is it a phantom I turn to when I dumbly try to seek a creative expression of self to make my own particular mark in the world around me all my own. Am I an egotist that wants to be “someone,” perhaps to disprove the impression my mother, reinforced somewhat by Sid, and seared into my very soul, that I am untalented, no good, and quite impossible.

Sam Rothmore’s comment on Noel Ehrman: “h\He does things with his fingertips… I don’t know what the trouble is. I’m no psychoanalyst. Maybe he so afraid of being a failure he won’t put his back into anything, so he can always tell himself that he’s never really tried.”

Definition of a novel:

Name given in literature to sustained story which is not historically true but might easily be so; its first purpose is to entertain, but it has been used as a vehicle for satire, propaganda, instruction and religious exhortation

Encyclopedia Britannica volume 9 page 121 . . . In Don Quixote Cervantes switched the novel from talking of wholly imaginary people and bards to giving a constructive picture of contemporary life and manners, is now the usual object of the novelist.

. . . English writer Samuel Richardson and the French Jean-Jacques Rousseau created the love story and the social story. Honoré de Balzac combined the two currents. His series of novels gives a complete picture of the ways of living, and loving, and doing business in the France of his time.

. . . The American novelists have created vivid pictures of American life and character.

ESSAY: Formal literary composition, usually in prose and of moderate length, dealing in easy way with definite subject in its relation to writer. An essay is like a theme or composition but with two important differences. The term essay applies to a prose composition with some literary merit. Moreover, the treatment of an essay is extremely personal; no matter what the subject the essayist writes on, he tells a great deal about his own thoughts and emotions.