After months of moving from anger to exasperation, through guilt and a sense that I was holding out on him too long (and thereby being petty, etc.), I finally texted Patrick tonight, and we Moved On, which took a total of four text messages.
So utterly easy, as it always is in these things once you actually do them.
I phoned Mary Jo in New York to ask her about the tableaux at the end of Elizabeth tragedies, thinking they were a standard staging trope that would probably explain the tableau of gay activists at the end of Jarman's Edward II. It was instantly fun to talk – but we discussed another friend I've been ignoring for several years, not because I'm angry at him but because I simply can't relate to him any more. He has plenty of money, hasn't worked since 1983, works out at the gym and goes to big gay parties... she sympathized, as she feels sort of the same way (as she said, she and I have always lived "purpose-driven lives" – there are things we really want to do – so it's harder and harder to talk to people who don't, especially as we all get older and less flexible about these things).
But, having talked to Patrick, I'm thinking that a simple, friendly note – on the order of a Christmas card, as anyone would write to someone who was a friend long ago, even if they don't seem to matter much now – would be easy enough; and would still my milld guilt....
I am still (a) getting work done on the book, but (b) wasting far more time than I'm actually using. Of course (a) is far better than everything has been, for years, but (b) is still fairly ludicrous.
And all this making of sentences! They are so awful! – at least at first – at least often – at least in my doubts. Every sentence, often each phrase, is a battle with the obvious, the hackneyed, the unclear, the cumbersome... the nonsensical. A world of snaking subordinate clauses, overlong chains of adjectives, the whole oscillating between the shabby grays of scholarly prose and the shrill, clashing oranges and greens of journalistic crap.
No: I know it's not really that bad. It just feels that way, at moments.
Yesterday, I gave my current notes and drafts - about thirty pages, single-spaced and with shrunken margins to save paper – to Melinda, my therapist. She was pleased, saying – rightly – that there is more of a sense that this book actually is coming into existence, that it is becoming real. (Or Real, like the velveteen rabbit.)
I feel the book and its ideas rising around me, like dream buildings... which reminds me of this unrhymed sonnet.
But watching and hearing these things is in itself a difficult kind of work. It's like being possessed, by the spirits of these songs, books, films – by the spirits of their makers...