A Letter to Myself (December 1, 1967)

A Letter to Myself:
Last night we opened with The Corn Is Green.  Openings are revealing things to me.  After considerable strain from the many pressures of such a task, the point is reached where no more can be done, and one stands naked in his effort.  Judgment is made of the quilted emotional spasms of trying to create something meaningful and beautiful.  It has taken several years of such attempts to be able to accept the audiences as qualified judges, but they, of course, are.  Quality does not have to be a stranger; it can take a communicative form.  The problem in (young people’s) theatre is to surpass the entertainment level without excluding it.

In a fever of self-conscious demanding of impossible perfection likened to a religious revival, it is easy to forget the validity of the judges, and blame any restlessness on their insensitivity (or youth).

And when somehow there is a locked response of those people in the audience, there to see that demon effort, then it is easy to say to one’s self, they react to my effort.

It is probably truer to recognize that people are a warm puddle of likeness who, when opened to their deeper natural feelings, will stand revealed in the light of camaraderie, of involvement.

Sue Could Be a Lion Tamer

She doesn’t hesitate
to pick up Pele after the
little beast has been shredding
one piece of furniture or another.

She simply scoops her
onto her shoulder with a
little “now, now, you know
better than that” as her gnarly

husband quietly considers
drop kicking the cat through the
gold post of life.  Oh sure, she plays
soccer like a pro and has a kind of

psychotic sense of humor,
and does horizontal jumps off the
back of the leather sofa after approach-
ing it from the back of the house at 60 mph.

But Sue is not daunted.
“She’ll calm down; we’ve only
had her a couple of months.”  It
just seems longer to narley Charlie.

“We’ll just put her in time
out when she’s bad, and let
her know we love her, and civilize
her fury little butt.”  You can bet the

farm on it.  Sue and Job have things in common.

Working

Working productively isits own reward. Boring paint- ing allows thinking of more import- ant things than the completed job,

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A Dream of Jack

I dreamed of my
dead brother, Jack.
We were talking about
a newly purchased house
in central California somewhere

that is in need of restoration.

It was a quick dream;
very few details, and not
until I woke did it make any
sense with me filling in the de-
tails of what would be re-

quired.  He was more
into automobile repair than
house construction, so I began
thinking of how I would help him
with such a project.  My

head perked up thinking
of how I could help him after
he has done so much for all his
siblings; it was a relief from the
money business to think

of working together with
him on something I under-
stand.  Then with coffee in
hand, the reflection seemed
silly.  We will not pound

nails together.

A Dead Day

A dead day
Slept away, empty
Standing on the Hermosa Strand
wind-blown, chilly, where the youngest
ones surely stood in their formative years,
the moist air no longer mine, Strand runners
oblivious of the tourist stranger knowing we can’t
go home again

Coming back
behind a late model
Accord thinking of Mia’s
struggle to get back to her old
world, knowing I am doing little to
assist; not even driving the loved Vanagan,
having sought solace with an outing lifts my spirits
A dead day

Blood sugar
might be to blame
The readings are consistently
uncomfortable; Patrices’ dismay is
sinking in like a small craft warning with
no port in sight added to my missing imagination
Glum emptiness - like the lack of answers for Iraq
A dead day

The white cat
surveys Amapola Ave
from atop the printer after
sniffing my diet Pepsi and turning
away as I have from the day; nothing is
wrong, I tell myself; the wife is sweet; the house
is neat; San Francisco beckons, still I am shrunk  
Come night