Friday, July 27, 2007

I am typing this from my sister Emily's house in Northfield, population 2,000. C has earned good boyfriend of the century points by tirelessly playing frizbee, carting my nephew Eli around on his shoulders in the 90-degree heat, bringing my nephew Theo into Harvard Square to a bookstore and an art museum, letting the kids crawl all over him, letting Lucy, age 3, decorate him with Mardi Gras necklaces, playing restaurant with Anna, age 3 (she wanted to charge him $23.00 for coffee, cereal, and strawberries,)preventing Eli and Noah from throwing a little rubber ball up into the ceiling fan of a toy store, and other acts of heroism too numerous to mention.

I asked him if hanging out with the kids so much made him glad or sorry he'd had a vasectomy years ago, and he said, "I think I want another one." The truth is, he's great with children, much better than he knew back then. The other truth is that they're exhausting, they vacuum the marrow out of your bones, they demand every last ounce of energy and attention available, even from three attentive adults.

After lunch, C and I both passed out and were dead to the world, and only a 90 minute nap and a cup of iced coffee revived us. And we're just filling in around the edges, while my sister does the grunt work of parenting. I don't know how she does it, lifting, bending, feeding, disciplining, cleaning, driving, dressing, combing, straightening, soothing, scolding, and all the logistics. Plus, she works. I don't know how any parent does it.

Back at my brother's house, there was good news about my little niece Anna's health; she was given an all-clear, thank God and all the angels. And Theo is preternaturally precocious and well-behaved. After a very hot day shlepping through Harvard Square and the Fogg Museum, he said "My tootsies are barking." Anna has this very cute habit of saying "Helloo-o?" whenever she wants to get a word into the adult conversation. We have been up to our eyeballs in family since we got here and so far so good.

My sister bought me a haircut at a place renowned for their treatment of curly hair--it has become something of a religion among curly girls. Okay, now Noah wants to play cards, so I have to go.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Yesterday, amid packing and cleaning, and reading my student's thesis, I took myself to see A Mighty Heart, the film about Mariane Pearl, starring Angelina Jolie. I find myself completely haunted by the movie.

Jolie is restrained, anguished--all the pain is in her eyes. I read one reviewer who said he couldn't shake the thought that he was watching Angelina Jolie--he couldn't lose himself in the movie. I could. Her over-the-top beauty is distracting in a few scenes--they try to tone her down a little, but you just can't--and that's a handicap. But she balances it by finding the core of the character--her serious love, in which joy and grief are inextricable and (for a change) sanely entangled.

To see real Jewish journalists on screen--Pearl and his Wall Street Journal colleagues are all played by Jewish actors--was unexpectedly moving for me. Maybe because they looked, talked, and moved like the Jewish suburban guys I grew up with: eager, curious, articulate, with a mix of naivete and worldliness. I've rarely felt such complete and complex identification with characters onscreen. I knew these guys--I knew what it felt like to hug them, I could smell them.

And seeing that gives me empathy for those people who would like to have seen Mariane portrayed by an actor with real Afro-Cuban heritage. Much as Jolie does a beautiful job with the heart of the character, there is something inimitable and culturally specific and satisfying about seeing one of your own portrayed by one of your own that choosing a less-known actress might have accomplished. Thandie Newton springs to mind--she certainly has gravitas, and she is the right age and build for the part.

I was fighting a headache when I went into the theatre and as the movie progressed the pain in my head and body grew more and more acute. While the closing credits rolled a wave of nausea swept over me and I stumbled to the Ladies' Room and hung over a toilet bowl. I don't know if it was a stress-related migraine, or the grim conclusion of Pearl's life--seeing him in his last photos, hearing the character onscreen softly admit: I'm Jewish, knowing that that admission sealed his fate. Right after the movie ended I had to go teach my essay class. I wondered how I would make it, but a couple of cups of tea restored me, and the class went great.

Back at C's house I couldn't get to sleep early enough because he needed to stay awake and read past midnight, and then his cat was yowling at 5:30 a.m. Finally I got up and left around 6. We're both a little scared and stressed about this upcoming trip--excited, yes, but also nervous. And now I haven't had nearly enough sleep to deal with all the last-minute details. I hope napping will help.

Later: I'm supposed to be writing the comments on Storm's thesis, and I am, I am, but meanwhile I keep researching Mariane Pearl. She has based her life on the idea that she will fight to be happy, to create happiness in her own life, by any means necessary, and she does so. It reminds me of the title of Ellen Bass' book, The Courage to Heal; it takes enormous courage to risk feeling happy, to risk loving and feeling at all, especially when one has been grievously betrayed. She does this through little actions, like turning on the radio and dancing, and big actions, like parenting her child, or doing the work she loves.

I keep meditating on the lesson of her life, in between writing sentences that alternately praise Storm's work and point out what still needs to be done. Meanwhile, my own room is still messy and there are dozens of things I've still not finished.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Sun published my third poem in three months; Willing, which I wrote, oh, four years ago (although I only found the final lines this year.) I feel like it could make a good art song; I hope C sets it to music.

I'm glad for the publication because left, right, and center, I'm getting rejected. All the essays I wrote this spring with airy confidence that they would finance the Malawi trip, are languishing, "not quite right" for whatever editors I sent them to. "Not quite right," the dating equivalent of "Not enough chemistry," or "It's not you, it's me."

Today, C and I played basketball in the blazing sun, guarding each other hard (alright: fouling,) using elbows, pinching, tickling, jostling. (Honesty compels me to admit that I may have fouled him a few more times than he fouled me, however this was justified because his arms are two feet longer than mine are, plus he's taller.)

We both shoot about the same I think, that is, okay. No one in the NBA need lose any sleep; their jobs are safe from us. But C took more shots than me, and thus had more misses, but also made more baskets. I tell myself that's what's happening now with sending out and publishing. I'm taking more shots, thus getting rejected more.

And, as with everything, so much depends on timing. A few days ago I showed C some new lyrics I'd developed; he was preoccupied and didn't have a very enthusiastic response. Today he read them carefully and now he thinks they're great and has started writing great music to go with them.

I sent my friend Suzanne My Hot Tub With Andrea, She's a good director who directed a reading of Kaddish back in '04 or '05. She didn't like Andrea at all--in fact, she didn't like either of the characters, the set-up, the dialogue, or anything about the play.

On the other hand, Carla loves the play. Ellen loves the play. Nike loves the play--and all of them are pretty sharp critics who would not lie to me. So I'm thinking maybe Suzanne was preoccupied when she read it--maybe she didn't give it enough of her attention. Or maybe it's just not for her. Or maybe the play does suck--that is always a possibility. At any rate, my mantra remains the same: just keep going.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Okay, it's summer, it's really summer. I finally went boogie boarding with Marci, finally finally, in Bolinas. And of course, it wasn't the same ecstatic adventure it had been two years ago, can't boogie board in the same ocean twice. But it was good to paddle ourselves out there, and catch up and giggle, and my pecs were nice and sore for two days afterwards, which made me feel like I had actually done something.

And I had tea with Alan's widow, Sharon, a good, healing talk, long overdue. I'm also thinking of a new play, something about the three widows of X--because I was wife number 2, and there was one before me and one after me. We're like the three blind women with our hands on different parts of the unknowable elephant that was this very complicated man.

That's one more project for the hopper. Meanwhile Carla likes the first scene of the musical--which means a lot to me, she knows tons about musicals, having been in a bunch of them and directed a bunch of them. She says it has a realistic feel which is hard to achieve in that form.

And C and I went to see his mortgage broker, to discuss the financial ins and outs of him buying into my house, and us living together. When you're in your twneties, you just talk about getting married. I remember many conversations about the food we would serve and who would sit next to whom at our wedding.

In our almost and just over fifties, we are talking about life insurance and interest rates and capitol investments. And to me that's no less romantic, and actually more absorbing, because it's the business of real life. I embrace it. But it's a big deal, and we both felt tired after the meeting, winded, as though we had covered an enormous amount of ground in one hour, which we had.

We went toy shopping for my nephews and nieces at Mr. Mopps toy store, a wonderful emporium in Berkeley that has everything from fake plastic cockroaches for fifty cents to sophisticated educational toys. Spent too much money and enjoyed every minute of it.

It's been a consumerist couple of days, collecting supplies for the Malawi trip: malaria tablets, lethal amounts of mosquito repellant, SPF 45 sunscreen, a shirt from Wilderness Exchange that has special sun resisting properties and cost $22.00. I wonder if I should be bringing supplies to the Malawians, but that will have to wait until the East Coast as my suitcase will be full of gifts for the family.

Now I'm trying to clean my room, get papers off the floor and filed, clear out stuff. I'll try to get a swim in today as well. I perform with Wing It! this evening at the Sacred Dance Guild in Berkeley.

Meanwhile, the NY Times Modern Love section rejected my piece about Wing It!, so am trying to publish it elsewhere. The SF Chronicle also can't use it. Elizabeth is sending it to the East Bay Express for me. I'll also try to send it to More, after my editor there gets back to me about the essay I sent her last week. I'd really like to see some of these essays get published, they are supposed to be the money-makers and I can't seem to place them.

I read Shopgirl, by Steve Martin, a sweet little novella, about the consequences of the erotic in both men's and women's lives, filtered through the experiences of one lost young woman who is working at Neiman Marcus in the glove department. He has an omniscient narrator who is truly omniscient, indulges in a lot more telling than current MFA students would be allowed to get away with--and it works. He gets away with it. Perhaps because it is obviously and painfully the voice of intimate experience talking.

And C is reading Autobiography of a Yogi, a book I gave him when we had just started dating, my favorite spiritual autobiography ever. We saw Paris Je T'Aime the other night--one of my writing students had raved about it. It was okay, a little bon bon, not enough protein to satisfy me, just a bunch of appetizers. I kept waiting to get to the main meal and it never really happened although some of the vignettes were very poignant. I'd like to try to see A Mighty Heart before we leave.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Yesterday C and I set out to find Bolinas. It only took us three hours, a detour in Pt. Reyes, discovery (by me) that he has a built-in compass on his rear-view mirror, and by both of us that we can get lost without losing our tempers. Good thing to know. The woods and mountains and ocean were dazzling--we had all three. By the time we actually got to Bolinas it was too late to rent a wetsuit and the tide was all wrong, there weren't any waves anyway, but we had a romantic walk on the beach and more talking talking talking, flirting, teasing, splashing and just wallowing in the unbelievable luxury of free time.

I had started feeling stress yesterday because my work life keeps intruding--got to prepare for a one-day workshop I'm teaching on Saturday, there are still details from last year's New College advising, student work to read, essays to send out, the house s a mess, I should be preparing for Malawi, I'm 12 pounds overweight and it never ends. I was longing for the pure freedom of my twenties when I ate all the peanut M&Ms out of the gorp and stayed skinny, when I ditched all responsibilities and took off for three months at a time with nothing to think about but the next meal.

But I was free then at a cost--I hadn't yet built a life. Now I have and it needs tending. So even though I want to lose myself deliciously in C, and this new love, I broke away and slept in my own house last night, because I knew I needed to face what I faced this morning--a pile of papers that need sorting, emails and phone calls to return, lessons to plan.

There's pleasure in coming apart and coming back together--that rhythm. It's a dance, it will always be a dance, his life, my life, our life. Always moving, like the tides, sometimes even seeming to cross each other.

I let go of the goal of completing a rough draft of the musical before I leave--that would make me crazy. Meanwhile, I know that there's an essay/memoir about Alan lurking in the shadows of my subconscious, waiting to be written. I've tried and failed to write about our time together before. Or rather, I've written bits of it--the light-hearted parts, and only touched on the shadows. I don't know how to hold the whole of it in one piece, but perhaps the time has come for me to do that. the other day a line ran through my head about how restless my dead people are--my mother and Alan. How they died with so much unresolved and unfinished between us.

I am going to have tea with Alan's widow tomorrow, the woman he was married to when he died, the woman who took care of him for the last four years of his life while he battled leukemia. I'm trying to organize a meeting of all three of us, his first wife, me, and his third wife--maybe for September.

Yesterday would have been my twentieth wedding anniversary. I don't feel envy of the bride I was--well, maybe envy for my own slenderness--but I was so nervous and ungrounded about getting married. I didn't know how to connect with my partner the way I needed to before we took such a huge leap. So we took it anyway, we leaped, and flew, and fell. And now I get the best gift of all; a second chance.

Monday, July 09, 2007

My Dad called at eight this morning to tell me he liked the pages of the musical which I had sent him. It meant a lot to me, as I am on that artist's see-saw right now of giddiness with how easily the process is coming, balanced by the sobriety of knowing how much I don't know about how to write a musical. Plus, the subject matter.

C and I are researching as fast and as hard as our middle-aged brains can stand, watching DVDs of musicals, reading musical theatre, and in his case, finding soldier's blogs and videos on the Internet and looking into song-writing software. There's so much to this project it's mind-boggling.

I took a walk in the redwoods today and prayed continuously, "Dear God, help me be present, help me be present, let me be present." I feel so speedy and a little heady with all that needs to be done before leaving for the East Coast and then Malawi in two weeks--and there's some demon spirit in me that keeps wanting to pile on more, even while I know that the best thing would be to go to the ocean and take deep breaths.

We saw La Vie en Rose, the Edith Piaf movie today. The performance of the lead actress Marion Cotillard was incredible. I've never seen such a complete physical and psychic transformation except perhaps, Charlize Theron in Monster. Usually, with other actors, some bits of separate ego shone through. In this case, I felt like the actress completely disappeared into the part, and I understood the core of what she was giving us: Piaf--someone so raw, so essential and childlike and damaged that you could only respond to her with full humanity.

C liked the script better than I did--for me it was about half a dozen flashbacks too many, all the jump cutting made me feel confused as to time and place and era and trauma, but he found himself completely engaged throughout. It opened up a discussion between us about flashbacks in general, just as watching Rent last night opened up a discussion about the uses of counterpoint and themes and when songs do and don't advance the narrative. I feel like we're in an intensive two-person self-designed tutorial about musical theatre, where we are attempting to teach ourselves and each other by absorbing and discussing as much curriculum as we can stand.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

I half-assedly tried to organize a group of friends to go boogie-boarding in Bolinas today, but plans fell through as half-assed, ill-conceived plans are wont to do. Mercury is still retrograde.

I spent all day yesterday hunched over my laptop--six hours of it sitting on C's bed while he brought me coffee and breakfast and read the paper and commented on my drafts--writing the second scene of the musical.

I got ten pages, plus the beginnings of lyrics for two songs which could be a duet between husband and wife. But I haven't even gotten to the most interesting ideas, about service and sacrifice and the military and change.

I'm excited by this project--it's by far the most ambitious thing I've ever worked on. C ordered books from Amazon about how to write a musical, which he says are helpful. He says he feels like a do-it-yourself-er with the instruction manual in one hand and the tools in the other. That's how we're approaching this thing. He asked me if I ever worked on a big project before that failed. I answered: my novel.

I wrote a novel about Haiti called Where Spirits Walk in the late eighties. it took me two years, during which time I planned a big do-it-yourself wedding, got married, made a couple of quilts, wrote and published a lot of journalism, and struggled with depression.

I did not know how to write a novel. I never took a class on how to write a novel, or even read a book about how to do it. I just started. I wrote it from all different viewpoints, American, Haitian, male, female, in little pieces, like a patchwork. I even wrote a chapter from the point of view of Baby Doc Duvalier. Some of the pieces were good; a couple of them were published in The Sun during the nineties.

It was hard sledding. I worked in the little basement study I shared with Alan, who was cheerful and manic and ate pizza and talked and whistled and sang while he worked on his computer programming. It was just a hole in the wall with barred windows set high up, at street level, through which a little wan daylight filtered on summer afternoons. I worked on a Commodore 64 computer that we had bought at K-mart for one hundred and fifty dollars.

We also had a daisy-wheel printer that Alan had scavenged at a yard sale; it took up a whole wall and sounded like an airplane taking off. Very technologically cutting-edge. I wrote my first feature articles for the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe Magazines and the Boston Phoenix on that thing.

I worked on a desk made out of an old door that was propped up on crates and filing cabinets. Alan had a similar arrangement against the other wall. It was cozy; it was claustrophobic. I spent most of my time procrastinating and wallowing in feelings of worthlessness and meaninglessness and loneliness and isolation. Towards the very end of the novel I could not stand to sit at my desk at all. I remember asking Alan to tie me to my seat, which he did symbolically, with a loose bathrobe cord so that I could finish the book on April 28, 1988. Afterwards we went out to dinner. Kostly what I felt was a dull sense of relief and a desire to get out into the woods.

It wasn't a good book, although as a document of a time and place and experience it's vauble to me now. I needed to write in order to come to terms with everything I had experienced during my VISTA year; Haiti and Haitians and trying to come of age into this crumbling society. Poverty, injustice, mystery, spirituality, love, squalor and despair. And cockroaches.

I sent it out haphazardly to a few publishers and got no nibbles. I'm glad of the pieces that were published, and glad that I finished it, because no doubt it built character, but it's no big loss to the world of literature that the novel as is is not in print. I used to think about resurrecting it with all I've learned in the intervening years about structure and character development, and God help us, plot, but I haven't even had courage to reread it. C asked for, and received, a very dusty copy of the thing that I retrieved from my basement.

Am I scared that that will happen again? Another failure, another deeply-felt but poorly planned project that comes to naught? On a deeper level, am I scared that this partnership with C, which has begun with such generosity and imagination and willingness and cooperation, could founder the same way that my marriage to Alan did?

Well, yes. Hell, yes. My novel failed, my marriage failed, and here I am again, back at square one, with another hugely ambitious project, another sensitive creative man to negotiate and collaborate with...except it's decades later, and I find myself a little dented and lumpy and smarter and more scarred--and still willing. Willing and wary at the same time, because I know more this time around: I know that the musical is a long shot, I know that both C and I are complicated people and partnering is no walk in the park, I know that marriages always end in death or divorce, and that creative projects either never see the light of day or else go through so much blood, sweat, tears and change along the road to production that by the time they actually do come out you are often beaten down and wrung out and already engaged with the next thing.

I know that I'm signing up for a process with no guarantee of a product. So I'm trying to build in little rewards, little safety nets: I'm going to keep writing and publishing poetry and essays and other plays while writing the musical, I'm trying to keep my friendships and my independence front and center even as C and I spend more time together. But in the end, there's not much of a choice for me. I'm already signed up for this ride--I paid for my ticket ages ago.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Waaa...I want more poems! I want longer poems to come through! Instead I keep writing these fairly short things, and then my good friend Ruth shows me where I can cut the last seven lines, and they end up being miniscule. Microscopic. Ah, Ruth. She's an amazing writer and a very good friend and she's ruthless.

I tried to combat this tendency by writing a long acrostic poem, using the title line as a runner all along the left margin. She cut three-quarters of it and informed me that I had a witty little sixteen-line poem buried in the middle of all that.

Shambhala Sun rejected the essay I sent them, saying it wasn't quite right for them but they'd like to see more of my stuff, and Beloit Poetry Journal rejected the last batch of five poems, also with an encouraging note. I know those notes are a sign I'm on the right track--hell, I knew I was on the right track before the notes even, but it would be nice to get an acceptance plus some cold hard cash right around now.

Meanwhile, I've got the musical to work on, so I shouldn't even be whining about poetry, or publishing, but just immersing myself in the joy and pain of creating new stuff. Thank God the heat broke and big breezes wafter through the bedroom windows all night, blowing the curtains against the shades and making the room feel like a ship at sea. The homemade fireworks were a little less, and I think--I hope--people's supplies of gunpowder and/or their patriotic fervor may be dwindling. Possibly we'll be able to sleep before 2 a.m. tonight...

C is downstairs hammering, fixing a window that got broken during the 4th of July festivities. I had a delicious breakfast of a cold barbecued spare rib and hot coffee. On with it...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Last night sounded like Beirut in my neighborhood. Illegal personal firecrackers exploding into the wee hours--cannons and bomb blast noises which set the car alarms off and made panicked dogs bark all night.

Inside my house it was peace, it was friendship and family as C and I brought some of our intimates together--C met G--finally!--and I met C's ex-girlfriend, J, who is like family to him, as G is to me. I revelled in the new connections and the old, the intermingling of our different circles, teenagers with dyed blue and purple hair, old-timers discussing jazz, Theron and the other guys out by the grill, discussing the merits of soaking corn cobs in water with their husks on versus wrapping them in tinfoil.

Meanwhile, C has made a rough, tentative outline of our musical, with fourteen scenes for me to write--don't worry about lyrics, he said, he can cull them from the dialogue. I am so excited to get going on it, and yet I have done nothing today except work on poems and finish cleaning the kitchen from last night's wreckage. A lot of dead soldiers (empty beer bottles,) spoiled guacamole, broken bottle of ginger beer that exploded in the freezer.

I emailed the Revelations essay to Shambhala Sun. The Wing It! essay to NY Times Modern Love. The Barack Obama piece I sent to Newsweek's My Turn. All of those publications have a don't call us we'll call you policy, so it's just wait and see to see if any of the essays get taken (and if I make any $!)

I went to my tax guy Tuesday and finally got my taxes done. The good news is that I am contributing a minimal amount to pay for the war in Iraq. The bad news is I am making hardly any money, despite working hard and having a fair bit of success publishing. Last night, at the party, my friend Carla asked her date, and G and C, and me "What was the moment when you fell in love with your discipline?" Music for them, poetry for me.

G remembered hearing his elementary school band play and wanting to play so badly, but he was only in third grade and had to wait until fifth when his mother bought him a horn in a second hand store. C remembered growing up on Motown, figuring out the bass line, how that made everything fit together. Later, he taught himself how to work through two Beethoven sonatas. Carla remembered her first performance as an eight-year-old at a talent show. I remembered the book of poetry I had as a child, A Child's International Treasury of Poems, edited by Louis Untermeyer. I read it until it was in tatters.

And here I am, forty-some years later, with Carla, my friend of over twenty years, minus the husbands we married in 1987, still writing poems and singing and playing...

Monday, July 02, 2007

Summer is here, the air is sparkling, birds are chirping, smells of jasmine and fig are wafting, and I am jonesing for physical adventure...a camping trip, going caving, windsailing, river rafting, boogie boarding, be outdoors, to use my body fully, to be wild and reckless and abandoned.

Instead I am still at my desk at my computer, typing, typing. Another one-act play idea has occurred to me. Don't want to over-talk it now, while it's still just a twinkle in my eye, but maybe I can get it written quickly. And lesson plans for tomorrow night's poetry class, including new poem of my own, and copy and send out the new revised improved hot tub play.

Meanwhile C and I continue to deepen intimacy. And the paradox is that sometimes deepening intimacy looks like pulling apart for a minute to get some breath and some perspective. Sometimes things deepening feels like slowing down. Sometimes it feels scary in a different way than the first heady rush of "I've met somebody!" feels scary. Sometimes it feels awkward, like "I want to just clean my own room, is that okay?" and sometimes it feels lonely and sometimes it feels clear and good.

I see how far I've come. When I was younger, I depended on men to expand my world for me. I wanted to have a big life, but I didn't know how to go after it myself within the context of a relationship. (That is still a conundrum.) Alan taught me to drive and use a computer and he showed me the country. Years later, when I saw the animated Disney film Alladin, I related to princess jasmine, who had been shut up in a castle. With Aladdin she goes flying on a magic carpet and sees the world.

I had not been shut up in a castle--not by any means. I had been to Europe, on my own, and to Haiti, with a girlfriend. I had hitchhiked across Canada with another man. But with Alan I felt like the world was my oyster, like I could finally get out and touch all my dreams. The irony is that by the end of our nine years together I had used marriage as a way to shut myself away from the world. I had to become single again in order to fully participate.

In the past I was always attracted to people who seemed to have something I lacked, some passion or competence that I felt was missing from my own life. It's not that way for me with C. I don't covet his life; I'm not trying to steal his energy or his time the way in the past I wanted to do with other men. I love his gentleness, his tenderness, his care for me, and his sly, goofy sense of humor.

In the past I called that coveting and projecting "love"; I wouldn't do so now. I would call it poverty. Out of the poverty of my own sense of lack, I'd become fixated on what I imagined another had and could give me, the happy and beneficial transfer of their vital energy into my own coffers. Men with children, fathers, were my especial targets; I imagined I could hitch-hike, or even hijack their hard-won family. It never even came close to working, but that was my fantasy.

C has a family, but they're not a big part of his life. If I am to help fill that gap, I'll have to do it from the ground up, as everyone does. I'll have to face whether or not I want to do that enough to do it, or if I want to spend the time banging out this new play I'm incubating. Or volunteering, or meditating, or wherever my deepest passions lead me.

Meanwhile C has been playing a lot of his own piano and organ music lately, coming up with bits and pieces of things that may become part of the musical. He has his own process, more private than mine. I have the most public process in the world--every time I write anything, I immediately email it to my whole family and about a dozen of my closest friends. C is quieter, slower, more thoughtful. That's good. It just leaves space for me to feel some of the insecurity and fear that drives my whole frantic process.

Last night I watched Brokeback Mountain again with G, who had rented it under extreme pressure from me and all of his other female friends, what I call his "harem." He liked it more than he thought he would. The cinematography is pure poetry. The second time around I caught a lot of tender subtext that I had missed on first viewing.