A 27-Year-Old’s Diary Entries From Early September, 1978

california brainchild

Saturday, September 2, 1978

4 PM. Yesterday’s depression was short-lived. I feel proud that I’m learning to control my depressions. They aren’t as frequent or as deep as they used to be.

I’ll never completely eliminate depression from my life, of course, but I know more now how to lessen its effects and its duration.

Last night I was about to make a cup of tea for myself when the phone rang at 9:30 PM. It was Marc, and immediately I knew something was wrong. He and Deanna had gone shopping at Kings Plaza and when they returned to level 6 in the parking lot, his car was gone – stolen.

Kings Plaza 1978I told him to go down to the security office and I’d be right over. Dad, when he heard the news, acted true to form. He raged at everything anybody said, so much that I refused to take him with me.

Dad always has this attitude: Why me? “Of all the hundreds of cars in Kings Plaza, they had to pick Marc’s,” he moaned. I don’t see that as a very helpful attitude.

Nor is Dad’s trying to assess blame: “Deanna and her shopping! It’s her fault!” “The mall’s security! That lousy place!”

As my lenses were in the Aseptor, I put on my glasses and drove to the mall. Marc and Deanna were in the security office and they were searching all levels for the Camaro.

But the security people were swamped: a heart-attack victim had to be taken away in an ambulance, a robber resisted arrest and bit a guard (whose shirt was splattered with his own blood), a half-dozen other crises.

I went to a pay phone and called the police; then I phoned Mikey, who said he’d drive over. Meanwhile, another girl came in and said that someone had broken the lock and ignition in her car, also a blue Camaro.

As it appeared unlikely the police would get there – they were changing shifts and there would be a delay – Dad, who’d come over, drove Marc and Deanna to the 63rd Precinct.

Blue CamaroMikey and I followed them there and saw that it was all reporting bullshit, so we left and drove around the likely dumping grounds of Gerritsen Beach and Bergen Beach, spotting nothing.

Perhaps someone had ordered a blue Camaro and it was stolen for him. Maybe it’s at a neighborhood chop shop. Anyway, I thanked Mikey for driving in from Rockaway to help; it was very nice of him.

At midnight I went to bed. When I was in the mall earlier yesterday, I left my car door unlocked, as I always do. But of course no one would steal my heap of junk.

Marc treats his car royally, shining it, waxing it, take care of each little scrape – while I just let my car deteriorate. Maybe I’m not so stupid, after all, in viewing the car not as a possession but as a convenience to get me from here to there.

In a way this proves that there are no real possessions; we expect we “own” things, but we don’t – we can’t. Because of this theft, I feel less smug, and feeling less smug is always helpful.

(In his letter Bill-Dale said he hated smugness and loved “whatever its opposite is” – yet he also said he was “smug about bisexuality being the ideal state.”)

Marc is depressed, of course; he had a lot of money and a lot of himself invested in that car. Let’s hope the police find it.


Monday, September 4, 1978

8 PM. I spent the afternoon with Josh – we drove around, played pinball at Buddy’s FairBuddies Fairylandyland, chatted in the backyard. He’s just as sour on life as he always was; maybe he’s even worse.

He and Simon went to the Eighth Street Bookshop to get An ABC of Publishing Literary Magazines by R.C. Morse, which I’d told him about. Josh and Fat Ronnie want to start a literary magazine called Moron; the name expresses their general philosophy.

Josh said he saw Alice there, rummaging through magazines looking for a story by me. Laurie mentioned staying with Peter Spielberg on the Cape, and Josh and Simon made the mistake of putting Peter down in front of her; she cooled considerably after hearing their comments.

Josh’s ueighth street booksop people outsidenemployment, now $125, has only six more weeks to run, and he’d rather do anything than go back to driving an oil truck this winter. He would like to get into advertising, but even when he offers his services for free, he’s turned down.

And the fact that he’s had no sex for six months is depressing him. All the old Jewish people in his building bug him; they think he and Simon are lovers.

Simon is very confused about his future and may stay another month at Josh’s before he figures out his next move – probably back to Manhattan. Josh is very broke and needs to come up with something soon. He’s still got his “life sucks” attitude and that can’t help.

I won’t say that the condition of Josh, Simon, Harvey, et al., pleases me, but at least in some ways I am more “together” than any of them. I’m terrified about going to Albany and it’s going to take much of the next few months to adjust to the idea of going there, but I really do think it will be a good move for me.

8th street bookshop reopeningTrue, I’m making it in desperation because I cannot keep living at home and teaching part-time at LIU, but it looks as though nothing’s going to “rescue” me from moving.

I don’t think I’m going to be writing all that much this fall, but once I get to Albany, I think I’ll have time, distance and even loneliness working for me. Nothing spectacular is going to happen between now and January. I’ll be very concerned about Dad’s surgery and Grandma Ethel’s condition, too, but there’s not much I can do about those things.

I expect Ronna and I will still be seeing each other, though less often; I guess we both want it that way. And deep down I don’t really think much will come of meeting Bill-Dale although I hope that something – just a good friendship, maybe – does.

by topThere’s a briskness in the air that seems to say “get on with it”; there’s not much else I can do anyway. Tomorrow I’ll hand in my grades in The Novel course at LIU and for the next couple of weeks I don’t really know what I’ll be doing. I do think that right now living is more important to me than writing and that my major efforts will be here in this diary.

I don’t expect any “big” acceptances or stories coming out, and in a way I need that less and less. Maybe this loss of desperation will be good for me. School is in the air, and one part of me wishes I was beginning my graduate work iHong Kong streetn Albany now instead of in January.

This morning I worked on a letter of credit and bill of lading for Dad, who’s ordering 3000 pairs of new jeans; I just hope they get here from Hong Kong in time for Christmas. Marc’s car hasn’t been found yet, and I’m beginning to doubt that it ever will be.


Tuesday, September 5, 1978

9 PM. Years ago, when I was an undergraduate, my diary was mostly a collection of the doings of other people. Once I was so involved with my Brooklyn College friends, but now there are only a handful who mean anything to me. A few weeks ago Ronna told me that Ivan had gotten married, but I hadn’t thought that was important enough to record until now.

Yesterday Josh spotted Stacy walking out of a restaurant with some guy and I didn’t even look up to catch a glimpse of her. Today Elihu told me that San Francisco streetLeon has moved to San Francisco and that Jerry has moved back to New York City, but these things don’t really matter to me anymore.

I used to be obsessed with Ivan, Stacy, Jerry and Leon, but now I’m only mildly interested in their lives. I feel just about as interested as someone I know only vaguely, like Les Kravitz, who’s running for the Assembly in this district.

But I can see I’m protesting too much, and besides, I do like to tie up loose ends (that’s the novelist in me). So let’s gossip: Mikey told me that Mike is leaving Fordham for the CUNY Graduate Center because of personality conflicts and that Bobby now owns a P.R. firm in New Jersey.

Elihu mentioned that Richard Pontone is also running for the state legislature; it’s amazing how many BC people are running for office. Rhoda rhoda-obamaJacobs, whom Elihu is working for, will probably make it to the Assembly this year.

Elihu said he was in a bar – gay, of course – when someone he vaguely recognized came over to him: it was Jerry. He left Madison because he needed a change; he left with some money and hopes to get some kind of no-show job, the kind he’s always had starting with his job for Mayor Lindsay and up to his job with Mayor Soglin.

Jerry’s living just down the block from Elihu on Henry Street. He said that Leon was unhappy in Wisconsin and left flat broke for San Francisco, where he seems unable to get a job. And Shelli’s doing just fine with her TV work; she plans to stay in Madison indefinitely.

Crawdaddy Sept 78So that’s the story with people from my past. I am curious about them, after all – but I do not want them to be a part of my future.

This morning I went to LIU to hand in my grades. Terry Malley said he saw the article on me on Page Six in the Post. Margaret told me she’d let me know about courses by the end of next week.

This afternoon I got a call from a Prof. Oscar Miller at Kingsborough; the chairman had given him my résumé (I’m sure he wouldn’t have if had I not used Annette Fisher’s name).

I have an interview with Miller tomorrow although there are probably no courses available to teach. If there are, and if they let me teach them, I’ll be very pleasantly surprised. I’m a fatalist now, remember?

Act II HaircuttersI got a much-needed haircut this afternoon – the sun has bleached my hair so nicely that the woman who shampooed it asked, “Is that your natural color? Oh, you’re so lucky!” – and then I exercised, lay in the sun and swam. (I’ve begun to enjoy being in the pool so much these last few days).


Wednesday, September 6, 1978

I had an interview at Kingsborough today. It certainly is a beautiful school: the architecture of the campus is striking and it’s nice being on the ocean.

KCC sign Belt PkwyProf. Miller, the director of freshman English, questioned me about my background, philosophy of teaching and my LIU experience; I disagreed with him about several things but the only “right” answers I was interested in giving were the ones I felt.

Their remedial courses are being restructured this term and their new English 01 course is probably beyond me, as I’ve never taught reading. I can teach their English 11, a 4-hour course equivalent to English 10 at LIU – a remedial writing class – and I could also teach their standard freshman composition course, which they number English 12.

KCC entranceIf any courses are available, Miller said, he’d call me between tomorrow and Monday. Classes start on Tuesday. The only problem is that their classes meet four times a week and that might interfere with my courses at LIU.

Of course Kingsborough is a CUNY school and they pay much better than LIU does; if I got two courses there, I might not want to take two courses at LIU, as it would leave me with little time to write (or live).

The best thing to do for now is to play it by ear and see what develops. Kingsborough might not even call me, and in a way I am a bit frightened about being in a new teaching environment.

LIU sign on subwayLIU is so warm and comfortable and familiar to me by now that there’s no tension in it. But if I am to go to Albany in the spring, I’d better get used to new places; besides, community college experience couldn’t hurt.

I had trouble getting to sleep last night; I thought I felt very fatalistic, but really I don’t, and I’m still not sure I’m capable of going through life with a passive attitude. And I’m not certain I want to.

I got another letter from Bill-Dale today; he’s not bothered by my being 27, but says he can’t come in to New York and asks if I can visit him at Rutgers, especially on weekends when his roommate is away.

comet mercuryI suppose I could manage to get my battered Comet down to New Brunswick and back, but already I’m beginning to have pinpricks of doubts about Bill-Dale.

He sent me an article he’d written, an attack on the plastic America of the 1970s; he writes well, but he’s concerned with things that I stopped being concerned with years ago.

I haven’t been an idealist for a long time now, and I lived through the years 1968-1972 and don’t think of them as the kind of idyllic period Bill-Dale assumes they were.

bc strike 1970 6 boylan stepsIt’s probably a function of our ages. I was in college during the turmoil years, the protest/hippie years, and I went through rallies, demonstrations, office takeovers.

Bill-Dale arrived at Rutgers in 1974 in the midst of the post-Watergate recession, when all the students went back into conservatism, fraternities and making money, so he missed the days of what we might call the counterculture.

Bill-Dale is almost rigid in his idealism while I am a pragmatist, willing to settle for half a loaf of whole wheat bread, and I am not offended by shopping malls, McDonald’s and discos – or people who smoke pot. So I’m not sure we’re on the same wavelength, but I would still like to meet him.


Thursday, September 7, 1978

The Big Sleep5 PM. Last night I had one of the worst cases of insomnia I’ve ever had. I lay in bed sleepless until well after 6 AM.

Why couldn’t I sleep? My mind was whirring with so many different thoughts: Ronna and how we haven’t been as close as I’d hoped; Bill-Dale and his dogmatic idealism and what might come of that; despite myself, guilt over not working for Dad; worry over Dad’s surgery and Grandma Ethel’s illness; the un-September-like hot weather; the details of the House Assassination Committee testimony, on TV all day – Mrs. Connally saying she heard Jackie moan, “They’ve killed my husband. . . I’m JFK assassination carholding his brain in my hand”; of the possibility of teaching at Kingsborough and the fear that that arises within me; the wonder at how I can possibly move to Albany if I can’t cope with little changes; Andreas telling Alice and April that I’ve gone the farthest of any of them in my career; my inability or unwillingness to write any fiction in the past three weeks; the outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease in the Garment Center; Jerry being back in town; money worries; a story beginning with the sentence, “Only failures need to succeed”; and so much more.

I feel very unsettled; I am having difficulty adjusting to the changes and the forthcoming changes in my life. Formerly I had always tried to make sense of my confusion through my writing, but I don’t seem able to do that any longer. I haven’t written a first-rate story since late July, when they took my rented IBM typewriter away.

Albany sign bwAm I doing the right thing in going to Albany? What if I hate it up there? What if everyone hates me? What if I can’t write up there? What if I can’t survive on my own?

I met Alice last night and we had dinner at Shakespeare’s and brought each other up on current goings-on.

Alice and Peter have been fighting, but she proposed to him, asking him to marry her in February 1980. However, Peter said no, he doesn’t want to marry her; he wanted to live with her only for shakespearesfinancial reasons.

Peter’s comedy, Hotel Marilyn, is going into rehearsal soon; if it makes off-Broadway, Peter might be able to get out of his financial bind, which was compounded when his apartment was robbed recently.

Alice feels that her career is at a standstill; although she met her goal of making $3,000 freelancing this year, she’s beginning to feel, as April says, that they’re doing “hack work.” Andreas lectured them and told them to emulate me and do more “important” writing. I don’t think either of them can afford it.

Fifth Ave hoi polloiAfter dinner Alice and I walked among what she called the “hoi polloi” along Fifth Avenue: she confuses the word with its opposite. (I have similar problems with “nonplussed” and “enervated.”) We played Scrabble and a word game and of course Alice won.

She asked me if she’s changed since moving to Manhattan. I said no, but she has. Alice told of meeting Robert for lunch – he still hasn’t finished his dissertation – and of her desire to stir up trouble and call Scott again. She also embarrassed me by reading Disjointed Fictions aloud.


Friday, September 8, 1978

5 PM. Again I had terrible insomnia last night, not getting to sleep until 5:30 AM. With three of these difficult nights in a row, there’s no question that I’m in a state of turmoil.

Albany eggIt all concerns moving to Albany, of course. I torture myself with the question: Am I doing the right thing? I am quite terrified of being 300 miles away from all my friends, family and familiar surroundings. My doubts come in two varieties: psychological and practical.

Practically speaking, I don’t know if a Doctor of Arts degree will do me any good at this point in my career. Is it worth spending the money?

Psychologically, of course, I have doubts about my ability to function away from everyone and everything I’ve known. Secretly I’ve been hoping that something would happen – a miracle – to “save” me from going to Albany.Mao Memorial Meetings 78

Last night I got the idea that maybe I should apply to Rutgers, which is much closer, and where I might feel more comfortable. But then again, I’m not sure I want to go to graduate school at all.

Oh, I’m so confused it’s no wonder I can’t sleep. I feel myself becoming ill and I’m almost certain to come down with a cold.

Opium War

I’ve told all my friends I’m going to Albany, and I suppose I don’t want to look foolish – although I’m sure most of them couldn’t care less, or, like Alice (who said to me, “Albany is not the only way to leave home”), actively discourage me from going up there.

I just don’t know what to do. It’s only four months away. I know I have to trust my feelings, but at this point I can’t sort out my feelings to the stage where I know what’s what. There’s nobody to talk to, either; I wish I had a counselor or therapist.

Nobody called from Kingsborough so I guess that’s out – and in a way, teaching there would have provided me with the extra income to increase my options.

canarsie houseLast night Alison called and asked if I could help her look for an apartment while Ronna’s away in Pennsylvania. Now, Alison has left her own past to start a new life in a strange city, so why can’t I? Am I, unlike Ronna or Alison or Avis or others, some kind of delicate emotional cripple?

If tonight is another sleepless night, I think I will go insane. And this is supposed to be my “vacation”! I did write a little last evening, but I feel too pressured to be creative. I wish I could work this all out by myself, but maybe I need professional help.


Saturday, September 9, 1978

Buddy Holly Story11 PM. I feel considerably more cheerful now than I have been feeling. Yesterday, after writing my diary entry, I went out to dinner and a movie, the very good Buddy Holly Story.

I identified with Buddy, who was an innovative artist going his own way. And I slept well last night, breaking the insomnia cycle at last – so even if I don’t fall asleep right away tonight, I won’t feel so desperate.

See, I think I really do want to move to Albany. Today, when I read about the program in the AWP Newsletter, it excited me. It’s just that I’m terribly frightened. But I want to face that fear and move past it – think how proud and happy I’ll be then.

Disjointed FictionsThis morning the perfect-bound copies of Disjointed Fictions arrived, and they look so much nicer than the saddle-stitched ones. Despite the flaws in the book’s type, layout and design, I’m proud of the material inside.

Today’s mail also brought a book by Richard Kostelanetz on the politics of grants. He’s an egomaniac but a very engaging writer, and most of the time he’s right. The dilemma for a young writer like myself seems to be walking a narrow tightrope, trying to please the establishment (CAPS and NEA grant committees) while maintaining artistic integrity. It ain’t easy.

I long for respectability. My book’s bio notes include my “establishment” credits: Bread Loaf Scholar, LIU teacher, Fiction Collective, Texas Quarterly, Shenandoah, Epoch. And the material in Disjointed Fictions isn’t likely to please the powers that be.

Disjointed Fictions Back CoverBut what do I care, right? I haven’t been writing lately and I don’t even care that much. I refuse to keep repeating my earlier successes and must move on to newer subjects and forms. Sending out ten submissions today made me realize the paucity of first-rate material I have on hand.

And yes, really, I’d rather not write than turn out second-rate stuff. I told Louis Strick that I’m still an apprentice, and I have to believe that; I have confidence in my work, but I have a long way to go.

I visited my grandparents today; also visiting them was their remarkable neighbor Jean Grey, who read my book and said, “You are as crazy as a bedbug, but you’re intelligent, I can see that.” Jean is 80, the widow of a dentist. She drives her own car, reads voraciously, goes to museums and keeps up with current events.

dayton towers west from boardwalkWe had an interesting conversation; most people would probably think old people have nothing to say, but they’re wrong. A woman like Jean is as young in her mind as many 25-year-olds. She gave me a good line about nepotism: “His father took a liking to him and made him a partner.”

And she told about this young girl in the building who loves to do somersaults. I saw her on my way out: a scraggly-blond barefoot brat, she did a somersault on request for me. Jean had asked her how she, Jean, could learn to do somersaults and the girl said, “It’s easy. Just get young.”

Dayton Towers from oceanGrandma Ethel wondered why she hadn’t seen me lately; I felt bad that I’ve neglected her, especially now. The lotion is clearing up some of her red rash, but it’s also spreading to new places. I don’t think Grandma Ethel has any idea of how serious a condition her lymphoma is – or maybe she refuses to acknowledge it.

We had coffee and talked. Grandpa Herb repeated the same old stories I’ve heard a zillion times before – like him having to walk me on the boardwalk at 5 AM because my crying annoyed everyone in the bungalow court. Uncle Jack is in the hospital and seems to be dying: “He looks like Abe did at the end.”


Sunday, September 10, 1978

I just got off the phone with Mason, who’s back in Rockaway after landing a teaching job at the junior high school near Grandma Ethel’s house: the same junior high he and Mikey and everyone in Belle Harbor went to.

JHS 180It’s nice that Mason finally has, as he called it, “a real job,” and he’ll be doing well financially now. And maybe we can see more of each other. (I did not mention my moving to Albany.)

We gossiped a lot. Mason doesn’t know that Libby’s sleeping with Grant and he was jealous that Brendan wrote, after visiting Portland, that he’d “like to take Libby back to South Dakota with me.” Mikey thinks Mason should be over Libby by now, and perhaps he’s right, but I’m not going to be the one to tell him that she’s living with a guy.

David and Angelina visited Mason upstate and he was surprised when they slept in the same bed. But David told him that he just happened to be Sullivan County Catskillsaround when Angelina and Wayne broke up, that his relationship with her – though sexual – “is mostly a friendship: I know she’s got to grow without me.” Mason speculated that Angelina brings out the paternal instinct in all of us; I know I feel that way about her.

Mason mentioned running into Stacy, who finally went to her dreamland, California – and, as I’d expected, she returned terribly disappointed. Stacy had always set up unreasonable expectations of some kind of paradise out there. Mason says she sees her disenchantment as a kind of metaphor for her whole lCA license plate 78ife – though perhaps that was just jet lag talking.

I told Mason about Jerry’s return and Leon’s move to San Francisco; he’s been trying to reach Leon in Madison for months. Davey is still working as a carpenter, and Carl, who moved up to management in that Heights real estate firm, is thinking about buying a house in Rockaway.

I also spoke to Mikey, who made that Criminal Justice Clinic he’s been wanting to get into.LL Train in Canarsie

Last night I went over to Ronna’s house to help Alison with her apartment-hunting. She likes working at Oxford University Press – imagine a company that’s 500 years old – and I gave her the suggestion that she’ll probably be better off living in Manhattan; she doesn’t like the long commute to and from Canarsie and has been taking Dramamine before going on the subway every day.

Alison knows nothing about neighborhoods, so I told her that basically, she has the choice between Murray Hill (within walking distance of work), Chelsea and the Upper West Side. We had tea and watched The Paper Paper Chase TVChase (the TV show).

I told her she shouldn’t leave the door unlocked, as she had it when I walked in. (Sue was on a date; Billy was at his grandparents’; Mrs. C was in San Francisco on business; and Ronna, of course, is still in Pennsylvania).

This afternoon I drove into Manhattan, and at the Baronet saw Woody Allen’s Interiors. Starkly pessimistic, very Bergmanesque, the film sometimes falls victim to its own seriousness and seems rather pretentious. (Some of those lines the actors deliver about their emotional angst evoked titters in the audience.)

Interiors BaronetBy making the only vibrant character a vulgar widow, Allen seems to be saying that it’s better not to be an intellectual or a sensitive person. Though I admire his attempting a serious art film about creative, neurotic, doomed people, I think he went overboard in eliminating all traces of humor.

I have a sensibility similar to Woody Allen’s, and if I have any role model, it’s he. I think that I’d love to – that I have to – eventually write a novel akin to Allen’s films, or those of Mazursky.

But to do that, I need to experience more of life. I cannot write about the present until I have transcended it and become, in some way, a different person.


Monday, September 11, 1978

New School ad sept 785 PM. I haven’t been called by anyone at Kingsborough, so it looks as though I’ll have to hope that LIU comes up with two courses for me.

I got a letter from the chair of the English Department at SUNY Albany; apparently I misunderstood him and there will be no fellowship money available for the spring.

So unless some other scholarship comes through, I would have to take out a student loan, which is something I am afraid of doing.

It would be so much money and very difficult to pay back. Mom says I should just declare bankruptcy like so many others, but I’m not sure that makes me feel very comfortable. I might not be able to get credit or loans if Muni Bonds 1978I did that.

So, as of now, I’m up in the air about going to Albany. My parents and friends will probably see my wavering as a failure of nerve, and perhaps it is. Oh I don’t know. . . These are difficult times or me, and a good night’s sleep, like last night’s, is a blessing. I feel I’m in danger of becoming unglued.

I got this really snotty rejection letter from an editor who claimed that my type hurt his eyes – the same type I used on Disjointed Fictions. I feel like a failure sometimes.

So, to balance the scale, here’s a letter I got from Wesley Strick today: “Just a note to say that my father lent me your material. I’m now sifting through the stories, laughing knowingly (albeit nervously) and (discreetly) dropping your name to my closest friends. The moment I’ve finished, I’ll get in touch. making itIf you can manage that longest of journeys into Manhattan (vide Podhoretz, Making It), I look forward to meeting with you.”

Even if nothing comes of it – and I fully expect nothing will – I am cheered by that note and would be interested in meeting Wesley, who I am sure is more polished than I could ever be.

It’s been two weeks since I’ve seen Ronna, and I don’t know if it matters. I miss her, but I can’t keep insisting she call me, the way Susan does with her.


Tuesday, September 12, 1978

9 PM. The last day has brought so many changes. Oscar Miller from Kingsborough called at 7:30 PM last night, while I was at Carolyn’s to bring her my book and some information on the Fiction Collective she needed for Carolyn's housean article.

Mom called me at the Bennetts’, and I phoned Oscar, who gave me a course – English 11B13G, a remedial class that meets from 3 PM to 4 PM every day except Friday.

I got to Kingsborough early today, at 1 PM, wearing a sport jacket despite the warmth. Oscar – he calls me Richard, so I can call him Oscar – told me about the class and gave me a lowdown on what I am to do with them.

Essentially the class is made up of those who passed the CUNY reading test but failed the CUNY writing test. I went to Evalin, the departmental KCC office F bldgsecretary, and got a roll book, copies of the texts and a whole bunch of forms to fill out. I need my transcripts and three letters of recommendation, but I can get those.

I was having trouble finding my way around the campus, but I finally got to Personnel and filled out a W-4 form. Then I met with my class, in one of the old temporary buildings. They had just come from their mandatory lab section.

The class is all very young and mostly white; they were pretty confused for their first day of class, and I was more than a little confused myself. But the class went well except for the fact that so many of them are pissed that they KCC campus marqueehad to be in Remedial in the first place.

Back at the English Department, which had just had a meeting, I waited for over an hour, watching the chaos, until I had persevered so long that Oscar relented and gave me another course – an English 23, the second sequence of the remedial track, which meets every day but Thursday from 12:40-1:40 PM. I’ll see them tomorrow.

Exhausted after being bombarded by so many new experiences, I came home to supper and a hot bath. Kingsborough pays $22 an hour, so I’ll be making about $150-$176 a week, depending on holidays. That’s almost twice as much as I made at LIU.

Ike Dollar 1978Now comes the dilemma: Should I take a course at LIU this fall? I wouldn’t take two, but if I could get a class between 9-10 AM or 10-11 AM, I might do it.

It will mean more work than I’m used to, but I’m afraid to lose my connection with LIU. Kingsborough might not hire me next term, and then where will I be? (Not in Albany: I guess this decides that.)

Oh well, I will have time to think about it. Maybe I should work harder – but then I’m afraid I won’t have time for my writing.

desktop with typewriterThe first three days of the week I’ll be at Kingsborough from about noon until 4 PM, and I need time to write, exercise, dawdle, and be lazy.

This seems very unreal; a week ago it seemed impossible. I’ve been so comfortable at LIU and it’s difficult for me to adjust to Kingsborough – but it’s probably good for me psychologically. Everyone in the department seems fairly nice, but there are so many faces, I can’t keep their names straight. I still have to get my ID card and parking sticker. Whew!

As I said, I was at Carolyn’s last night; now, she is so incredibly busy that I’m in awe of her organization. It’s nice to have a neighbor I can discuss the small-press scene with.

Grandma Ethel and Grandpa Herb came by after going to the hospital. The doctor told Grandma Ethel that she’s improved slightly but it will take a lot of time. TC mark

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