I learned the truth at seventeen

Here’s a REAL diary entry I wrote at seventeen in a miserable little room in Oakland across from the Siddha yoga ashram at which my mother was a devotee.

The fantasy here is out of control, of course, but what’s fascinating to me is the number of things that have come some tempered version of true. Do we write our lives into being? I always wonder…

May 19, 1981

Good morning. Today is Malcom X day, and there’s no school. Isn’t that a joyous fact? Well frankly, I haven’t got anything to do. Anthony was supposed to come over last night, but he didn’t; didn’t even call, either. Very bad boy. When the time comes, I won’t be mad enough at him. Wish I’d written down my dreams. They were strange & awkward. Well, and what shall I do? Sit around and let my hair grow. I always think it’s come to a standstill. Maybe it just grows at a snail’s pace. YUK – SNAILS. I’m mad. What’s to do? I wish I was rich and lived in New York. I would go out and buy the most interesting clothing imaginable. I’d ride around in a red convertible. Yes and I’d have a beautiful house filled with food and cute boys. My closet would be a whole room. My shoes alone would take up ½ a wall. I would always have clean underwear. And about 200 sweaters – intricate, original, mohair & cashmere patterns. Leather pants and jeans in every color, almost. At least fifty gorgeous vintage dresses, all of which would fit perfectly, in taffeta, cotton, silk, etc. Plus I would have tailored tuxedos in rose and grey and gold. With the most elaborate of antique lace blouses. My hair would be twice as long as it is now – red, yellow, and brown, like fire, and in a hundred tiny braids. I would wear a lot of extreme but lovely makeup. But best of all I would always have something to do. I would give parties and invite sweet brilliant people. Lots of food and music. Here’s a typical day: upon awakening in my lace canopy bed with the satin comforter and 100% cotton sheets and fluffy perfect pillows I’d be served breakfast in bed by one of the many cute boys in my employment. I would have ordered it the night before – anything I want, from eggplant parmesan to Cream of Wheat. All the cute boys would be very cool, in bands, and this would be their way of getting extra money, which I could spare. From a list of thousands of records I’d pick one. After eating I’d bathe in my gorgeous fern-filled bathroom, which had music piped in. It’s a Jacuzzi and bubble bath, of course. When I get out of the tub and dry off with a soft plush 100% cotton towel, one of my friends, a girl, comes to help me with my hair and makeup, arranging the braids, choosing the best shade of magenta lipstick. But I don’t get dressed yet, not till the late afternoon (unless of course, I have plans), I go into my beautiful study with the comfortable chairs and couch and the antique desk and electronic typewriter and I either read or write. I have a beautiful extensive library to choose from and I read several languages. Then I’d get dressed and go out in my red convertible to have a late lunch with friends. Or else I’ll invite them over. Then we all go out to see complex foreign films or live theatre or a museum or we’ll just plain bum around (I’ll still be young, you know) and talk to people on the street and go to old bookstores and clothes stores and cafes or whatever we feel like doing. And maybe I’d go home and maybe write or sleep for a while before I dress in the height of interesting-ness to go out to some wild art party where I’d invariably have one or two (at least) romances going on. And sometimes I’d bring home a cute boy or girl, but not very often because all the time I’d be wondering about Anthony who became a gypsy before I got rich and I couldn’t contact him, although I’d traveled the world looking for him. And so although I’d be happy on the surface and content and all that I’d yearn for him, and that would be the tragedy in this life to make it realistic. I would have gotten rich from writing, of course. Novels and poetry and non-fiction and stories. And then one day Anthony would appear at my doorstep, needing a shave, and I’d support him for the rest of our lives, until the world ended or until we’d committed mutual suicide.

The end.

9 thoughts on “I learned the truth at seventeen

  1. Awwwwwww! That is so sweet. You really are living the dream, I guess. Is Gary good about the breakfast in bed thing? (he’s got the thousands of records down).I hope you’re feeling better; I was really sad to hear how sick you were. I’m hoping this surge of DELIGHTFUL poems you’ve been outputting implies health.

  2. Hey Stan, I’m still coughing, and I think maybe the poems are evidence of mental illness? So but anyway thanks for the appreciations.Gary has never made me breakfast in bed, and he’s not in a band, but yeah he does have the “records” (that really dates the entry, doesn’t it? like “electronic typewriter”!).It’s funny, but when I read this I imagine all those cute boys in my employment wearing an apron but no pants. There’s something very “Madonna” about the whole thing.Gary was laughing last night about the specificity of the clothing descriptions in this. Some things just never change. 🙂

  3. You have (almost) written your life into being! (Except for the pants, of course.) Do you have ferns in your bathroom? Oddly, you seem to have omitted the furry feral presence of your quarters which seems almost integral to your being. An interesting oversight…and Anthony, wow, it’s just like him to appear at your door one day needing a shave. I realize that I’ve known you almost since then, (give or take 5 years)?

  4. Nada, I love this!I’ve actually been attempting to write very detailed, out of control fantasies, and am finding it difficult. The precision in this is kind of crazy and astounding.

  5. Hi, fellow rabbit 🙂(1963 was a good year)Interesting, your entry from May 1981. I found it linked from Technorati.(I did not live in NY, but for a while I had actually a red convertible:))It is interesting what dreams and imaginations one has at the age of 17. Mostly about relationships… or the lack of them.I had started to write diary in 1980, and I am now in the process of putting it online. Blogger allows the “backdating” of entries (at least until 1.1.1970), so I will follow my old book from the year 1981 and put the entries up on blogger – the weekdays of 2009 and 1981 match now. Is just an experiment… maybe someone would like to follow it?http://myyear1981.blogspot.com/Many greetings, and best wishes!

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