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where is the love? (books fourteen - seventeen)

I worry that it’s self-indulgent. Writing these blogs and performing these plays that are based on my personal experience. I check myself constantly: Is this for me? Who is this for? Who needs this?


I did this Journals Project somewhat backward. I wrote a play about going through my journals before I read the journals. I am reading them now. I have been at it for months and barely cracked the surface. The play is called Diary Bonfire because that is the fate of the notebooks I am currently reading. A week ago, I did a reading of the play for a small audience of people who don’t know me. It was a new play festival at Forestburgh Playhouse in the Sullivan Catskills. It was a great experience. . . . I think.



See, this is the second time I have done a reading of this particular play, and both times I have been left with a case of Performance Amnesia (not a real thing as far as I know; I just made up that term.) People ask, “how did it go?” and I’m like, “I have no idea.”


But I do.

But I don’t.


The audience laughed when I hoped they would laugh and the audience was moved. I know this because they told me so afterward.



“I didn’t expect it to be so funny.”


“It was so moving!”


And my favorite:


“... oh, -and I mean this as a compliment- it made me nauseous.”




They experienced some feelings.

Their feelings are their feelings.

I don’t give them that.

I just have words that I put to my feelings.

I have feelings all the time. I am never not feeling.

And that adds up to a lot of words.

I am willing to say the words

that express the feelings

and to do so publicly.

More than willing. I like doing it.

It is where I most feel connected to this world and to its people.

But there is no guarantee that its people will feel connected to me.


A great director I know asks his actors: “Where is the love? You have to find the love." The direction helps us tell redeeming stories. Even our villains become relatable, sympathetic.

Basically, you the listener/viewer/reader/audience feel the love when we, the artists find the love. To weed out the self-indulgence when I am telling my own stories, I need to know Where is the love? To what end? For what good?


. . .


Inside the four journals I filled during my first year in grad school I found a sizable lack of love. I tried to tell myself that school is where I belonged, but I was at odds with the program that had accepted me. I was 26 years old and lonely. So many of my friends were getting engaged and getting married. I went to three weddings in the first year of grad school. I was a bridesmaid at two of them.



2/6/01

A wind-whistled morning

weary, I wait

one more morning

coffee and pages


the sky glows

my eyes close

I huddle under covers

five more minutes please


weary, waiting I

wait for what?

some hum-drum thing

some hum-drum one

to wake me from my sleep


waking, I walk

weary as I am

through the wind-whistled February

feigning patience


Love will come to me.



Sure, I wanted a hot twenty-something boyfriend to go out with on the weekends. But there was a deeper yearning, a deeper void. Followers of this blog already know that because I wrote them first thing in the morning, there are countless entries that describe my dreams. Books 14 - 17 are no exception: 1. Still dreaming regularly of my sister who had been dead for five years by that point 2. Still dreaming regularly of my (by-that-point married) ex-boyfriend 3. I started dreaming and daydreaming about a baby.



9/2/00 I dreamt of my sisters last night. It’s been a long time since I had this dream about Katie. The one in which she shows up unexpectedly, returning from somewhere. It’s always so good to see her. This time she visited me at work. She was wearing that big green polo sweatshirt. She called my name. She was carrying stuff, like she had a to-go cup with a straw in one hand and a bag of fast food lunch. In the other hand, she carried her keys. Typical Kate.

... My tragedy has not come and gone; my tragedy is that I must continue with the knowledge of this loss.


10/3/00 I am so confused and tortured by these crap Michael dreams! I know that he has forgotten me, or at least, forced himself to, and here I lie, night after night, bombarded with these dreams, waking too many days having to pluck the arrows out before starting my day. Am I to believe that this wounded-heart shit is my destiny? Is there no relief from this misery?? Could I be more dramatic???

Well. I just want my fucking closure. I just want him to look in my face, speak honestly to my soul, and tell me why.


1/17/01 I want a baby. I do. I wish I could spend my mornings padding around in socks or slippers, talking in soft pitches to a gurgling shiny-eyed baby. We would cozy up on the couch and watch TV while I breastfed and then I would do sit-ups while she napped and on pretty days we would go for walks. Mornings at home. Oatmeal and bottles. I would be a very organized mom. And attentive. Maybe I would write some in the afternoons. Or maybe everything would be on hold. Big sweatshirt winter days and hot bowls of chili nights. Hot cocoa for after school and apple or blueberry pancakes for weekend breakfasts. Chocolate chip cookies in the oven just around 3:00 for the smell to linger when they get home from school. Soccer practice and dance class.


* The only thing about my baby daydream that did not eventually manifest is that my daughter doesn’t like fruit in her pancakes. Absolutely every other detail has become reality.



I was right that love will come to me

Or perhaps more accurately,

I would go to love.

Choose love

Nurture love

All those years when there was no daughter, no partner to pour it into

I built it up and put it into my stories


Then I put them before you on page or stage,

And stretch an arm out from my tiny square of the universe asking,

Anyone else? Is this for you? Do you need this?


To laugh?

Or be moved?


. . . or maybe a touch of nausea?




JUST SHIT I WROTE THAT I STILL LIKE:


1/24/01 You could never make a sitcom about grad students because it would be terrible because nothing could happen because grad students are boring because all we do is our work.


9/10/00 My neck hurts and so does my life.


9/28/00 If I’m falling in love with Pennsylvania, then L.A. was just some nasty embarrassing one-night-stand.


10/2/00 I am sticking it out with State College, PA, but I see a raging love affair with New York in my future.


10/18/00 Strong coffee. Strong legs. Strong opinions.


10/25/00 Favorite words: intrinsic, eloquent, silvery, bereft, sinister


3/17/10 The “Sun Maid Raisin” slogan is “America's favorite raisin.” I wonder if America even knew that.


3/13/01 I can hear the “packaged for ignorance” CD playing upstairs. Labeled “classical music from favorite movies” or something like that, it strikes directly at dumbfucks like me who don't know enough about classical music so we must rely on marketing attempts to tell us what to experience.


3/5/01 I wish I had permanent ink on the soles of all my tennis shoes, a different color for each year of my adult life. I would love to know the pattern I have left over the different cities, the different states and their busy street or winding country roads. Every time I run a new route I think of the imprint I leave on the street and the imprint it leaves on me… tiny permanent imaginary footprints peppering the face of the Earth.


4/21/01 I wish to be slender and sophisticated but I settle for short and scrappy.






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