11 June 1957

11 June 1957

Upon reading: How to Write and Sell Non-Fiction by Hal Borland.

How I put my children on an allowance:

going to the store – “buy me something” – Alice’s problem too. Go to the store to buy what you want. When the youngster wants “mommy” to buy something – say: “no, not in the store” – but when I finished my shopping you can do your shopping with this nickel or dime.” The prestige value of doing their own shopping, curbs their spending, whining, and gives them responsibility to shop wisely. Helps keep mother’s pocketbook intact.


How I taught my children to understand the value of numbers. Pennies, nickels, dimes. To build into pyramids five pennies worth a nickel to nickels worth a dime etc.


How my children were taught to let me know where they were going. They took off one day. They still call me or tell me when they leave the house.


Working women are letting down their children.


Take, common items maize, salt, cinnamon, spices, cooking items, and who looks into their history – rubber, for instance: how rubber was discovered, its uses, etc. The whole fascinating stories may never be known, but a dozen stories could be written, and most of them would be new to most readers.

For instance:

There was a time not too long ago when bread was only baked at home – sewing, weaving, which were done at home. Now we go to the store for these items. Most modern youngsters know nothing of this historical information, nor do they realize how recently past were these activities. Also many older folks would understand modern things better. They could also get a bit of nostalgia about the “olden” days.

Ask yourself these questions:

What does it mean?

How can it be used?

Where does this lead?

Who invented this, and why?

Has any effect on human life? If not why not?

The answers will give you leads, either to stories or to areas of research that will provide stories.

Use the who, what, where, why, when and how of journalism, but decide which W of journalism you will slant your article to, always with “why” underlying your theme. The “why” is the summing up of the writer’s own curiosity and the proof of his ability to analyze a situation or character an event or process. Without the why there would be little reason for writing – or publishing, most articles and nonfiction books.

Choose your topic with some regard for reader interest and know what you are writing about

Take any subject you wish. Poke into it, examine it, turn it inside out. Ask yourself questions about it – the answers will give you all kinds of leads, either to stories or to areas of research that will provide stories.

A writer is consumed by one question – WHY?

It is the writer’s function to find out why and tell the reader and it doesn’t matter whether he is writing fiction or nonfiction. He is an interpreter of the world to the readers. Without wanting to know the answers to why, without that basic curiosity, no matter how apt with words he is, he is not a writer. Without wanting to know the answers he has nothing to say.

You may choose any topic for writing. The two basic necessities are that you care about your subject or learn enough about it to make your story different from anything ever written about that particular subject.

A loaf of bread: Topic

History of – story of wheat – bread’s most important ingredient. How bread is baked commercially, a process story. There is a story in how bread is distributed, a sales story. Bread packaging and advertising – an advertising story. Also personal stories – Baker who became entrepreneur. Nutrition story. Varieties of breads. Why they have special appeals in certain regions. The story of the sandwich, a particular use of bread. Nostalgic story about homemade bread, bread and milk, bread and jam, bread and sugar. Story of yeast – the leavening agent of bread. Story of sourdough bread, the standby of woodsmen and pioneers. Story of toast and toasters. Byproducts story in sale of breadcrumbs and ready-made poultry stuffing.

Also on the topic of SHIRT:

“Keep your shirt on” – Where did it originate? Start with the shirt on your back and you can land way back in history, in a scientist’s laboratory, or in the middle of the Mississippi.

Start anywhere and let your imagination go. The materials for writing are all around you. Get an idea and begin to dig for facts. But first start with an idea.

The thought occurs to me – like many of the metals – new – things about companies – one could in interpret to the general public to bring the workings of Corporation closer to the public at large. This could fill a twofold purpose – get information for myself – also – bring big business closer to the public, to create a better understanding of problems of business or how they do serve the public.

Laundries – how food is shipped to cities – how people’s needs are supplied, etc.

As a writer your invaluable possession is your ability to see a story, to write a story, and to make a readers see the story you saw in the beginning.

The daily newspaper is essential – it represents all aspects of life.

The weekly magazine summarizes most of the important events and gives, in one place, the broad picture. It often fills in background perhaps lost or scattered in the daily newspaper.

Then there are general magazines which more and more fill in the background, the WHY, of the news

Getting to the story.

  1. Fill in your own background. Find out all you can about your subject.
    1. About a person – see “Who’s Who” in America.
    2. Newspaper morgue – get out clippings available on your subject.
    3. Readers guide – follow-up the references there on your subject.
    4. When you have the background material – go see for yourself and be prepared to ask intelligent questions and understand the answers.

Go to the source of possible on the scene facts: place or man. Write or telephone for an appointment. Small organization – contact man directly. Large organization – contact the public relations department. Tell what material you want. Name them man or men you wish to talk with – what kind of story you wish to write; if possible where it will be published. Suggested date and time, with an alternative.

Suppose it is a “milk” story. Recent price increase has raised more than usual attention about dairymen, milk distributors, consumer, profit.

Know the background. Read major articles in readers guide on milk published in the past two years.

Most people, including myself, do not know what is happening to them in our rapidly changing America:

  1. Family living has changed
    1. Live apart.
    2. Some like it, some don’t.
    3. Families are not close – to busy buying a house, material possessions – no time to enjoy. others – cost of entertaining to high – scramble to send their children through college is expensive.

Or: It used to be children were seen and not heard – now parents are seen and not heard – child centered world of suburbia. The toll is great – juvenile delinquency – no guidance etc.

Or: Are we becoming so enamored with scientific and material miracles, we have made them more important than people.

How about a short story based on Steve Treer.

Theme: He deludes himself into thinking he wants a place for his kids and a home with a swimming pool – goes into business – works, puts all his money into his business expansion. He makes money, and more money. The story finally shows he is really interested in business and money – not in a better life. Brought up in a tough neighborhood where the whole struggle for life teaches him to outwit, outplay the other fellow – Steve’s jokes on people. Your truck is rolling into the street – It is the game, his desire to have his own particular brand of fun which ties him to his business – not his true needs.

Or Body, the patent attorney who is anxious to make a lot of money to leave his family in luxury, while his son is without a father. Body is too busy with “business”. He meets a woman at a Bar Association meeting. She is more interested in teaching her son how to live a life rather than leave him money. It changes his outlook on life – or does it – is there only a “Point of No Return”.

14 July 1957

14 July 1957

[A clipping of an article from the Cleveland Plain Dealer issue of Sunday, July 14, 1957 by Russel Reaves with the headline “The Case of the Mother Who Works” is pinned with a dress pin to the page on which this journal entry begins.]

I still maintain women are tied up at school, taught only how to make a living economically. Advertising tantalizes them with material goods. Movies with glamorous living. Popular music with an unrealistic approach to love and marriage.

The young woman of marriageable age is afraid of marriage – she has no preparation for it. She feels inadequately prepared for the tasks of homemaking or child-rearing.

Also, since woman suffrage made the male world of business the goal to achieve for status and privilege, the race for competition with the male has continued into the modern version of women at work.

The pendulum has swung very far. It is my belief the pendulum has gone almost as far as it can swing. Women’s abdication of the feminine role in favor of the male world is not all it is cracked up to be. In some form or another perhaps as more unguided children turn to juvenile delinquency; the correlation pattern will sharpen. The pendulum will then start back. Women may once again, without giving up their truly important status gains (previously the moneymaker bullied and dominated the family) will find a better feminine road.


The era of the mannish suits for women have gone out of the business picture. Jean Wolf, as Blanche described her clothes. Women are dressed in more feminine clothes in business. Just as these clothes styles change, I believe women’s whole approach to the male economic “provider role” will change into an entirely different pattern. It is merely finding this pattern and rearranging the feminine role. In all likelihood, the change will start in the minds of older women. The schools will then pick up the educational readjustment. It is in the school zone area where changes can be made more rapidly.


I could develop this into any number of articles. All founded on the basis in fashions in women’s outlook – primarily based on what has happened since women’s suffrage.

Styles. Attitudes of women – using personalities to highlight just as Hitchcock has done in the attached article.


… a woman’s place was at her Masters carpet slippers and the hearth fire.


… brought on the changes. Industrialization – the need for workers – I’ll bet!


… In personalities brought on the changes. Who were the women that wanted to change the attitudes toward women – what abuses were directed at women which precipitated the changes – the revolt? Who led these revolts and why? What events occurred which gave women the idea of change?

There is always a cause-and-effect.

This is a broad sociological problem of human psychology. A need brings about a change. What need – What precipitated the change? It seemed to have started in America: did it? And how wide in scope was it and is it?

Women have made changes in their socio-economic status. Which of them are good, which of them are bad? Do women have, basically, differences of nature aside from the biological functions? Are there differences between men and women emotionally by nature or does the environment alone determine emotional differences? How about the animal kingdom? Are there marked differences between the male and the female of the species? (This could lead to interesting articles of animal life. Disney has done a good deal with this – his pictures of herding instincts.)

What are the natural pattern differences between male and female in unadulterated natural determinations? Women who have paved the way for great men, their sons. How did they do it? What attitudes did they take? What kind of women were they?

Abe Lincoln was inspired by his “angel mother.” Hum-m! Just what does this mean? Edison’s mother… How about her? Mme. Curie’s mother? How about the mothers of well-known women? What influence did the mothers have?

In the case of revolting women who brought about changes – was the revolt against the mother’s lot? Inspiration from the mother? Hatred for a father? Or inspiration from a father?

Might be able to do something along this line?

Cause-and-effect…. Human behavior does not grow in a vacuum.

How about a TV program based not only knowledge (plain dates and names, no!) of a subject, but a comprehension of the subject – the meaning behind changes. With questions like:

  1. What precipitated the Boston tea party? Eh! Come to think of it, it wouldn’t work – there is too much speculation of an essay type – it would not lend itself to a short program.

“You Are There” is better for this type of thing.


I was so taken by the line in the Last Angry Man where the author says something about how seldom in the successful businessman’s career, practically never – does he bring in a little old man or a little old lady and say: This is my father and mother. Yet surely, they influence the child’s life for better or for worse – they either inspired the child, made a child revolt, or they were such a failure, someone else had to fill the bill of inspiration or revolt into the pattern of the child grown adult.


My guess is when it comes to this type of thinking and research for writing material I’m going into an unexplored field.

We know of Robert Oppenheimer. What do we know of his parents.

This type of pattern writing could really be developed – not on a horizontal, flat, “at this point this how it is plain” – but three dimensionally. By this I mean a greater depth of explanation – the threads of cause-and-effect – why? What caused it to happen. How and why did a person become what he was.

The reason for such portrayals could be used as a guide, a model for thinking about human values in our material world. The influence of one human being upon another.

Without emphasis upon the present moment, with no roots, no understanding of background, cause-and-effect, our modern world is fast becoming an empty material chasing culture. There is nothing wrong with material goods. It is only wrong thinking that places so little emphasis on human values – the unmeasurables. It seems to me our urban culture needs a few guideposts, a little things or some of the important less tangible values of human existence.

And as I say again, there could be a change in thinking precipitated if some careful research was done.

Money makes a “successful man”. But, what human influences guided the first steps.

Men today are removed from families, have little influence in the family. They are too busy making riches for the family (à la Body) rather than giving of themselves to their families – that sort of thing.

15 July 1957

15 July 1957

Books are Your Best Friends

An article in [sic] books –

Books are (can be) the guidance you missed from parents, teachers. They are: companions, excitement, knowledge, thrill, guideposts to a career, help mates at your fingertips to fill in your needs.

A good library can give you almost anything you want in the printed pages of the book.

Why? A library is a clearinghouse of many people, with many outlooks, opinions, facts and entertainment.

Want to learn to work? You don’t have to wring your hands because you don’t know how or do not have money to have someone to teach you – books from the library are the answer.

Certain books you may want to buy – browse the library for your interests first. If you are planning a program of interest you – a library and can package you with the best possible choice of direction. A library is your best map of strategy.


This could be worked up into quite a good piece. Take various sections of library breakdown – literature, business, technology etc. as it is broken up into divisions to show how books from the library touch every aspect of life. Movie of the story. Book – more intimate understanding. Travel. Humor. TV and radio movies – all right in their medium. Cannot be compared with the book. No comparison – authors give you their companionship and conversation through their writings.

A man may be lonely in a crowd, but never in a book. In a book you can share a good laugh over a comical situation or you can learn what you want to on any subject.

One can be lonely in a crowd, but one will never be lonely with an interesting book.

The world of trouble and confusion can fall away with an interesting author, no matter what your interest. Keep loneliness as your subject versus absorption and companionship are your thread – do not deviate from the thread. (This one thread can make an interesting read.) Another article could be on how to make the best use of your library.

Divisions of the field of library books can be the basis of articles. Also, divisions of (how library can help you”.

Suggested by chapter 7 of How to Write and Sell Nonfiction, pages 101-102 etc.: Another article (perhaps for your life).

The art of being yourself – you think you are yourself, but you are really 10 other people whose opinions are not your own – you really don’t believe them – but you have not examined the values you accepted.

What are your usually reactions – watch yourself – do you really believe them? Have you ever examined your belief?

A “What” article or “Who” article – “Who am I?”

Be careful here to point out we are all the sum total of our past learning and experience. But when is the last time you examined your supposed beliefs?

Title: “Clean Your Personality House”.

Is your personality…?

“How is your personality attic?” (Is your personality like an old woman’s attic? idea.)

Have you accumulated other people’s notions, beliefs, which are of no use to you because you do not really believe them?

Parenthood is an assumed responsibility. What is parenthood? Why do people want children? Great force of nature to reproduce is primary. Other reasons are myriad. It’s the usual custom. It binds wife to husband. It is creation – a creative price. Then popular notions. Being a bride – social customs – having a child – but – with no knowledge of responsibility.

What do you contract for when you contract into a marriage? How many people know what they are doing when they assume the obligation of parenthood?


Parenthood means more than giving junior a bicycle – it means nurture and guidance. Too many people mistake one for the other


19 July 1957

19 July 1957

Idea for Article.

One just does not know what he is capable of doing until he tries and makes his attempt, refusing to accept discouragement for long.

How much do you want to succeed?

Have you failed because you never really tried?

Do you have personality allergies? Do certain types of people rub you the wrong way? Why?

There are times when we are much too patient for our own good.

The story of Eva – over-patient. Seemingly a doormat – but she wants her own personal security above all else. – The fearful one.

28 October 1957

28 October 1957

What is the purpose of my life?

The only way I see it at this point, is to live my life as best I can within the framework of the intelligence granted me as an individual. To fulfill my obligations as I have acquired them.

  1. To maintain my own existence as best as possible.
  2. To maintain my marriage obligation as best I know how.
  3. To fulfill my obligation to raise my children into as good an adulthood as I can within the power of my jurisdiction.

The above are my primary obligations. Beyond that?

Like a mariner, to guide my ship, with its cargo of obligations as well as I can. To try to understand my world, my environment, so that my ship does not get sunk on the reefs or get lost from my course.

Also, to do what I can to make my community a good place to live in, wherever I can see an opportunity to do so.

From: the Atlantic monthly 100th anniversary edition – 1957

Article: “God, the Devil, and the Human Soul” by Carl G. Jung.

“One would like to be assured that the man who talks of ideals is himself ideal, so that his words and deeds are more than they seem.

“To be ideal is impossible and remains an unfulfilled postulate. Since we usually have keen noses in this or respect, most of the idealism is that our preached and paraded before us sound rather hollow and only become acceptable when their opposite is openly admitted to. Without this counterweight the ideal goes beyond our human capacity, becomes incredible because of its humorlessness, and degenerates into bluff, albeit a well-meant one. Bluff is an illegitimate way of overpowering and suppressing people and leads to no good.”

Jung indicates our human society has always thought of human behavior as influenced by “outside” sources: the devil, God. Whereas his postulate is that when this attitude is taken the human rejects responsibility for behavior. It is only when human beings become fully conscious of the fact that the unconscious and above that the psyche that is part of the soul of man, rests within man himself, then only can emphasis be removed from material, or objective outside of human forces can be removed from incorrect blame for man’s behavior, only then, can man except consciously the fact that all human behavior rests with an individual! All questions of human relationship must be accepted before real cohesion and consequent strength (moral) can occur.

In other words, we cannot say: “The only reason we are making big bad bombs to kill people with, are [sic] because the Russians are doing so. When we do this, we refuse to look at or scrutinize our moral behavior, the moral concept of human relationships. If we were not scared to death the Russians would be formidable competitors economically – we would not be in the arms race, for instance. Hmm! mm! mm!

(Is it so simple? I doubt it.)

Human nature does not change so easily. Past history indicates we are as far from Jung’s “ideal.” In fact the present seems to indicate we may be further from it than ever, or perhaps closer to it than ever – who knows?

(Later in the article he says this, too, I see.) He also says he is not holding up an ideal – but only attempting to heighten the Consciousness of the psychological situation.

Hey! His comment on abstract art is the best thing I’ve seen yet in so far as understanding the purpose of it.

He says:

“Now is the striving for self-knowledge altogether without prospects, since there exists a factor which, though completely disregarded, meets our expectations halfway. This is the unconscious Zeitgeist. It compensates the attitude of the conscious mind and anticipates changes to come. An excellent example of this is Modern Art: though seemingly dealing with aesthetic problems it is really performing a work of psychological education on the public by breaking down and destroying their previous aesthetic views of what is beautiful in form and meaningful in content. The pleasingness of the artistic product is replaced by chill abstractions of the most subjective nature, which brusquely slam the door on the naïve and romantic delight in the senses in their obligatory love for the object. This tells us, in plain and universal language, that the prophetic spirit of art has turned away from the old object-relationship and toward – for the time being – the dark chaos of subjectivisms.

“Certainly art, so far as one can judge it, has not yet discovered in this darkness what it is that holds men together and could give expression to their psychic wholeness. Since reflection seems to be needed for this purpose, it may be that such discoveries are reserved for other fields of endeavor. Great art till now has always derived its fruitfulness from the myth, from the unconscious process of the symbolization which continues through the ages and, as the primordial manifestations of the human spirit, will continue to be the root of all creation in the future. The development of modern art with its seemingly nihilistic trend toward disintegration must be understood as the symptom and symbol of a mood of world destruction and world renewal that has set its mark on our age. This mood makes itself felt everywhere, politically, socially, and philosophically. We are living in what the Greeks called the right time for a metamorphosis of the gods – that is, of the fundamental principles and symbols. This peculiarity of our time, which is certainly not of our conscious choosing, is the expression of the unconscious man within us who is changing. Coming generations will have to take account of this momentous transformation if humanity is not to destroy itself, through the might of its own technology and science.”

It is a problem of moral backwardness which has not kept pace with our scientific, technical, and social developments.

(What he is actually saying is: What is material, objective good, when human good is neglected? In other words, when material goals are greater than human relationships – the material goods are of little value. This does not mean there is no good in objective material things. He is driving at this: Midas and his golden daughter. Satellites and Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles – destructive materials are carrying more weight than human relationships. If this continues – unless we have a metamorphosis of man’s material outside himself forces, instead recognizes good and evil are within himself, we shut our eyes to self-destruction.

Vis-à-vis: Colonialization [sic] for our good (Western culture) at the expense of colored peoples.

God ordains this or that – and we shut our eyes as Christians because Christianity does not give insight and responsibility for behavior to the individual – churches give the responsibility to God and the devil.

Notes from “Voss” by Patrick White.

Few people of attainments take easily to a plan of self-improvement. Some discover very early their perfection cannot endure the insult. Others find their intellectual pleasure lies in the theory, not the practice. Only a few stubborn ones will blunder on, painfully, out of the luxuriant world of their pretensions into the desert of mortification and reward.

I should probably not read this “Voss” book. I am not sure how much of what follows is influenced by the book, or how much was in me before I picked it up. This much I do know – many of the following thoughts were rooted in a thinking of mine which began before reading as much of it as I did. However, skimming through the pages helped color and paint up what was crystallizing in my mind.

This whole “God” concept of the human race, whether a tree or sun worshiper or a Christian, Moslem, or Jew or what have you, is a curious one.

Humans from time knows when – wanted help, favors, what have you. Humans search for a source outside themselves to attain their needs or desires: the formal religious aspect – medicine men, parents.

Carrying this or little further – one can go into the social relationships of humanity. For instance: what has occurred recently at the [Memorial School Community] Center. Mrs. Jaffe’s class folds up. She had a complete belief – at least so she says, that I will somehow get a class together for her. Isn’t she, in a way, putting me in the role of an “outside” source of power? She wants the class. She enjoys it. Somehow I am to materialize it.

Now what has this to do with the “God” concept?

People will say: “I have great faith in you” to do this or that. It is a blind wishful trust often, or it can be based on realistic facts.

For instance: Mrs. Jaffe senses I want to make a good enrollment at the Center. I have connections with the [International Order of} Foresters. She has called the list, although without positive results, of people who have indicated an interest. No one said they were no longer interested. By adding the whole situation up – she senses if I follow the situation up, there is a possibility for a square dance group.

Now this basis is realistic to a great extent. But it leaves out an unknown factor: People’s moods, economic situation, weather, all sorts of factors – perhaps some other interest more prevalent in their minds. There could be a multitude of factors entering this.

The point I am trying to bring out is this:

When people consider the “God” factor – are they really considering the force or energy which places them on earth as humans? Aren’t they more considering their own wishes, desires, and aspirations, petty or great? There is no true contemplation in them, only a contemplation of wants, desires, what have you. It is a close to the mirror view of a human face, a near-sighted view not a broad contemplation of life as it exists on earth. There is no realistic approach, no true wonder about human life by the majority of humans – rather a narrow tight individual approach.

Man seldom contemplates the stars in a busy urban community. Certainly seldom. Man is too busy about his daily customs. (This is the Voss influence, I see clearly.) Just of what sense is life on this planet Earth? Why was it created in the first place? Who knows?

Yet, somehow as I remove my thinking from the close daily routines, ambitions, and desires of people around me, including myself, and project myself into space as I have seen pictures of the world from way out in the atmosphere, people are not visible, only a few marks to indicate topographical differences mark on the surface of the earth.

Somehow this way of evaluating the urgent desires of humans – placing them as inhabitants of earth, as viewed from a great distance into the atmosphere, my own urgencies seem less important and the do or die urgencies of the human population looks to me as insignificant as Lilliput. I gain a certain quietness from all this – a perspective.

Bernard Baruch’s biography by Margaret L. Court.

In it is this statement in a paragraph: “What he was living through (post Civil War days) – although he did not know it – was the end of one era and the beginning of another. The war had won freedom, not only the freedom of the slaves, but also the North’s freedom from moral responsibility for the slaves. It had not freed the South from economic responsibility for the Negroes.

The impact of this paragraph suddenly brought my reading of history, sociology, and economics into focus!

But of course, the North was industrializing… Suddenly I thought of the feudal system, the slave system of Egypt – Rome. The growth of cities. The seeds of the Civil War were planted hundreds of years before!

The biography goes on: “This the southern whites were to discover, ‘The Negroes are very good riddance’ triumphed a bitter Camden woman. ‘A hired man is far cheaper than a man whose father and mother wife and 12 children have to be fed.’ But southern whites could not ignore the filthy shack towns mushrooming and rotting around virtually every city, breeding disease, despair and black progeny: pestilence and the shanties meant pestilence and death to their own children. The Negro was free, you could not make him work, and meanwhile the farms and fields were slipping back into underbrush. Ten years since the (South’s) surrender – and yet the price of cotton was still but a third of what it had been before the war. And what of the great rice plantations? Rice required daily care, and how could it be grown when the hands, drunk with the pay of two or three day’s pay, would throw down their tools and take off for a week?”

Well, this is an illuminating bit for me!! It brings the present to focus! Somewhere, recently, I read that if the migration of the less desirable negroes from the South to the northern industrial cities continues, the South will have no negro troubles – the North will have to take over the troubles of the South – the chickens have come home to roost. The North now is saddled with the problem of the less desirable elements of the South – black and white – and is now finding out for the first time what it means to have these people on relief roles, demoralizing city schools, and urban populations.

The North only in recent years is getting a taste of what the South has dealt with since the Civil War days – and these hand holding do-gooders are coddling these characters a la “Blackboard Jungle” – and “The Last Angry Man” business. Yee gods! The industrial North better take a hand and stop behaving as though these demoralized characters were nothing more than “I’se just a child!” stuff. I don’t know what the answer is, but I would not be surprised to find a Northern parallel in some Northern community to equal the terror implications of the “Georgia chain gang” prisons if it gets bad enough.

How do you integrate, reeducation [sic], and moralize peoples who have never lived like ordinary human beings? This must trouble many of our thoughtful northern Negroes.

Golly! – when in Kapers’s [?] book I’m reading he says no one can change his fate in the sense no one can change what has happened before – I can wholeheartedly believe it! One just does what one can to struggle and do one’s best with what one has. Our human past is like a massive glacier, disturbing present existence in so far as do the influences of the past has on the present: it takes a lot of understanding to know this in its fullest sense, I guess, in order to direct human destiny into future behavior, or ever to alter it to any degree. Yet, strange as it seems, changes and adaptations are made somehow – quite accidentally without conscious deliberation for the most part I guess.

How many human beings rise up through the years who can get enough of a conception of the past to consciously envision a path resolving path for human difficulties? Just as it says in the biography about Baruch – he lived through an era but was not aware of it until much later. My guess that is true of much human history! But gad! Here is a science to study! Yet I know of no particular educational system which straightens the tangled skein of human experience: social, economic, political, historical, psychological together into a whole so that human beings can be trained to understand such matters. I suppose sociology is a beginning step in this direction.


Baruch: “if you understand raw materials you understand the politics of the world.”

“Wars are won not by armies alone but by the economic resources of the people.”

War Years (World War I)

With only 200 tons of antimony on hand and the ordinance people demanding 3000 [Bernard] Baruch and Eugene Meyer halted the runaway price jump from $0.14-$0.20 a pound. They did this by slow piecemeal buying, at which the price subsided comfortably.

When the Mexican province of Yucatán attempted to “hold up” the US in its need for vital sisal fiber Baruch went into action. He got both the lower price and the product by using substitutes in the US and by a deliberate withholding of purchases until financial collapse threatened Yucatán. Equally spectacular was Leland’s Symmons’ game with the price of Indian jute – an outrageous price, in Burke’s opinion. Could not the British do something about it? It seemed not. What control did Britain have over the subcontinent? Belatedly, Britain discovered its control, upon learning that the US was about to abandon the silver exports that bolstered India’s currency. On the basis of depreciated rupees, the US could buy jute on its own terms; and the [British] Empire discovered India could be brought to terms.

21 February 1958

21 February 1958

Seltzer says his father told him to read books with two thoughts in mind: what has the writer in mind in the book and how is it written. To quote exactly: “Read the books, Son, with two things in mind – how they are written and why they are written. Each person who writes a book has something in mind. Some purposes behind it.”

How they are written… And why, the purpose of writing.

Why would I want to write?

  1. To explain or make clear some facet of life generally not known.
  2. To promulgate some theory of mine.
  3. To indicates some human inconsistencies.
  4. To tell some philosophy I have found helpful – some point of view which gave me an clearly output look upon the human drama.

For instance – how human superstitions are fostered and handed down from generation to generation.

Story of a man who has a superstition of some kind: someone tries to dissuade him from it and thinks he is succeeding. The story ends when the superstitious person shows evidence of being not at all cured. Could be a humorous story a la O. Henry – but the wrinkle would come when the superstition popped up again.

What else would one want to write for? Why would I want to write? Not what would I write, but why write in the first place?

5. Write so that others would know they are the only ones who have experiences of tragedy – or trouble. Also, that much of our grief is imposed upon us because of faulty thinking, poor personality formation and personality education – not formal but generally human education.

6. To clarify roots of heritage where false beliefs of the past affect the present. To cut away the bonds of humanity. Primarily, to help understanding of the individual in being a real person – limited by time and space, but to recognize personal worth and dignity. Eh-h-h! That could be a tough one! I remember when that gal in P.T.A. who got quite obnoxiously superior when I used this technique on her. She began to think she was the P.T.A.’s wise man – which she obviously was not! Muriel Huml [?]. How can I forget her!

That could be a story in itself! Power given to those who are ignorant, without knowledge, can’t create can create quite a ruckus: Beck – the big union racketeer! Unions seem a shining example of this. That horrid union steward at the picnic behaving as though he was personally giving something away – urging you to eat as much as you want, it was free! What the hell did Kurt pay $3.50 a person for? If he was giving away for free? Or did he and his family get in for nothing?

Why should anyone want to write?

Couldn’t good writing have “education” versus “ignorance” as a basis?

Why are books written?

If education is used as a base – it follows just as the night follows day – the writer must know what he is talking about.

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.

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 . . . . .