A 27-Year-Old’s Diary Entries from Mid-November, 1978

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Saturday, November 11, 1978

9 PM. These last few days have been wonderful. I feel incredibly relaxed and ready to face going back to school again.

I spent today with Ronna. It’s been difficult getting ahold of her these past few days. On Thursday night she went to a play with John, his lover Mac, and John’s drama class, and she didn’t get home until 1 AM. I told Ronna’s sister to have her call me, but I wasn’t very coherent when we spoke.

Last night she went to the movies with Brad, and then out to eat with Susan and Evan. Today she was going to meet her friend Debbie and her mother, who had taken a bus in from Harrisburg; Ronna had gotten them theater tickets and was meeting them at Radio City to give them to them. (That’s terrible sentence construction, isn’t it?)

Radio CityAnyway, I took the D train and arrived at Radio City one train ahead of Ronna. I could see her thinking as she walked up the subway steps, “That guy looks like Richie . . . it is Richie.” After we gave Debbie and Mrs. O’Hara the ticket and I was introduced, we walked down to the Smokehouse for lunch.

Debbie is a tall, gawky, very sweet girl who’s obviously close to her mother. They were very nice, unassuming people; they talked about the autumn beauty of Harrisburg and the goings-on in the area.

Mrs. O’Hara generously paid for our lunch. I tried to protest and finally she let me leave the tip. They wanted to go to Lane Bryant, so we took them to Fifth Avenue and pointed them in the right direction.

Ronna will see them next week (charter buses run from Harrisburg to New York every Saturday) and maybe on her trip to Harrisburg tomorrow. Ronna wanted to buy a blouse, a belt, a shirt and shoes for her interview with Saul Kohler, the Patriot-News editor; she already has a jacket.

So we walked to Bloomingdale’s, and there we were, Ronna and Richie, another coubloomingdalesple in the Saturday shopping crowd at The Store. Ronna found a gray flannel shirt but couldn’t find any of the other accessories. We looked in Alexander’s, Fred Braun and The Gap.

I liked being with Ronna, but the crowds were giving me a headache and finally we decided to take the train back to Brooklyn. At my house, Ronna and I relaxed, drank soda, looked over my students’ very funny – unintentionally, of course – papers and whispered in each other’s ears.

I’m very fond of that woman: in fact, I love her, and it’s hard to imagine her not being a part of my life in some way. These past few months our relationship has gone extraordinarily well, ever since we decided it couldn’t go anywhere.

I’m terribly attracted to her, but I’m terribly attracted to other people, females as well as males. Right now things are just perfect between us. Our relationship has come a long way from our first date nearly six years ago; even on that night I knew she was special.

bus disco 92 adI like to make her laugh, I like to feel the small of her back, I like her honesty. When we went to Kings Plaza, where she did buy shoes, a blouse, a belt and panty hose, she told a shopgirl she weighed 143.

Incidentally, the salesgirl at Bloomies said, “You two must be a lot of fun to be out with.” Ronna and I looked at each other and denied we were a couple. But we do have that easygoing banter that couples have – yet we don’t have the tension, usually.

I left her at her house an hour ago; she wanted me to stay for dinner, but the chicken looked unappetizing and she had to prepare for her trip. I hugged her good night and told her to have a successful interview.

One of the bright spots in my life has been my relationship with Ronna. She says she’s always had faith in me, but I think she’s amazed that I made it as a writer to the point of having a book published. Well, I am pretty amazed, too.


Sunday, November 12, 1978

1 PM. To be in the house with my family on a Sunday is a reminder of how much I need to escape and how desperately I need the book to succeed.

While I’ve been making much of the fact that ten years ago I was a complete failure at 17 – a compulsive, frightened, homebound agoraphobic – and now I am about to have a book published, I have left out the part that says I still haven’t gotten out of this room and this house.

subway station coney islandWhatever its virtues, Hitler is the book of a child: a precocious one, to be sure, but definitely a child. I am, at 27, neither a “family man” nor independent, and this must change. Perhaps now would be the best time to leave. My car is on its last wheels, and an apartment near a subway station might be what I need.

My mother told me today, “Hang up your jacket,” “Dust your room,” “When you’re in my house, you’ll do as I say.” I simply ignore her. If she doesn’t see what an absurd situation it is, I do. Or maybe she’s just being difficult in order to get me to leave.

Anyway, I’ll have about $1200 in the bank as of Friday’s paycheck, and that’s enough for me to start looking next week. My advance for the book should cover a couple of months’ rent.

The term is winding down and I’m not all that busy. I haven’t been able to write. Coautumn carrollrrection: I haven’t needed to write, and I suspect that I’ve simply run out of material. Living in my own place will probably give me a new perspective, and even if it doesn’t, I’ll still grow personally.

The book changes a lot of things. I no longer have to strive to be published in every little magazine there is. Indeed, my shelves of little magazines with my own stories will seem almost beside the point when my book comes out. What do I need eight copies of Writ with “Joe Colletti” if it will appear in my own book?

I’m no longer scared of living alone, so what better way to close the book on the ten years since my breakdown than by finally moving out? The publication of the book signifies my worth as a writer; now I need to signify my worth as an adult male.

My stomach hurts, but damn my stomach. If I don’t leave 1607 East 56th Street, Brooklyn, New York 11234, the book won’t mean a damn thing.

*

4 PM. I’ve just gotten off the phone with Mason, who’s really in a bad way. He’s so miserable at that damn school. He took off Thursday and Friday and went upstate, yet it wasn’t good enough for him.

sullivan county viewHe went to the Crystal Run School, though, and there the retarded residents immediately surrounded him with gestures of deep affection – such a contrast to the hostility and tension of the junior high in Rockaway.

Mason would like to leave, and I was encouraging him to do what’s best for himself. He can’t allow himself to get sick and depressed: the money isn’t worth it.

But of course he feels like a quitter and a failure leaving the job, and people will tell him he’s crazy for “walking out on such a great opportunity.” He says his parents have been supportive, though, and I told him to do what he wants and not let other people judge him.

I wish I was rich and famous so I could help Mason and Ronna and Avis just a little. I told Mason that thirty years from now we’ll all look back on this and say, “Thank God I’m not that age anymore.”


Monday, November 13, 1978

Ave N & E 66Today I saw a beautiful studio apartment on East 66th Street and Avenue N. It was perfect: modern, cozy, magnificently laid-out and decorated. The landlord was young and friendly and wanted no lease. The place was so beautiful I came home ready to give the landlord a $200 check for security.

Then I took out a pencil and began figuring: I’ll have $1200 in the bank as of Friday, but my only income for the following three months will be only a paycheck in January. That $1950 minus $1000 for four months’ rent plus one month’s security – that leaves me $950 for twenty weeks. Which means, taking off $50 for a phone, I’d have $45 a week to live on.

white cloud toilet paperI couldn’t get by on that now, and now I don’t have to buy groceries or toilet paper or other household supplies. I need about $75 a week to live on at present. And of course all this goes along with an assumption that I’d have eight credits of classes at Kingsborough in the spring, and that’s not likely, considering the budget cuts.

My mother looks at me in disgust and says, “When are you going to get a job? How long is this going to go on?” My father says nothing, stares at me. I don’t blame them. If I had a son my age who was doing something I didn’t understand, I’d behave the same way.

SamisdatSo why, with no money for an apartment, do I send $3 to the Bread Loaf Endowment Fund and $5 for some books by Samisdat’s Merritt Clifton, a writer who loathes my work?

Because in literature I find the home I don’t have here, perhaps. My contract with Taplinger has a clause which states that its provisions will be in effect for my heirs. I wrote Mr. Strick a letter naming Ronna as my literary executor in case I die before the book comes out.

In a way, with the book coming out, I don’t need to go on living. For months I’ve been postponing suicide until the summer session ended, until Dad’s operation, until I was sure the book was going to be published.

And now? I want to see Avis in December and Grandpa Nat in January.

phone officeWesley just called to say the manuscript had gone off to the copy editor (with a style sheet of my grammatical quirks) today at 11 AM.

Wes was very excited. “Your virgin editorial project,” I said.

“We’re losing our cherry together,” he told me. Bobs Pinkerton, the managing editor, had taken the book over the weekend and was impressed – and she looks like a hard-bitten, I’ve-seen-it-all type.

Wes said he liked my bio sheet and told me he’d sent me a package in the mail: “an early Chanukah present.”

“Thank you for everything,” I said.

“Thank you,” Wes said. “I didn’t do anything. You did it all.”


Wednesday, November 15, 1978

As The Time Flies10 PM. Walking by my parents’ bedroom just now, I overheard Mom tell Dad, “It went by so fast.”

Sticking my head in, I asked, “What went by so fast?”

“Our years together,” Mom said. “We were just teenagers going together, and our parents seemed so old, and now. . .”

I finished the thought: “And now you’re your parents.” Mom nodded.

Life does whizz by. That’s why I’m taking off tomorrow; I need to catch up with my life. There’s so much just to read and people to call and see. I never seem to get my life in order. My classes are so enervating, and it’s rare when I feel I’m stimulating my students to any thinking.

Luckily, I’ve made friends with the other adjuncts, and talking to them (mostly commiseration) helps pass the time. The best parts of my day seem to be on the telephone or in the mails.

Today I Eileen Fultongot Wesley’s “CARE package”: a copy of Taplinger’s book by As My World Turns by soap opera star Eileen Fulton and a proposal for a book on circumcision. “We need photos,” Wes wrote, “so please send them along with your facial shots.”

He’s a darling; I’m glad we get along so well. Wes has taught me a great deal. For example, I now notice things in print I didn’t used to.

For example, Carolyn Bennett sent me her Seagull Press book, The Last Detective by Richard Vetere. It was a wonderful, haunting novella (I must write Vetere), but I found many errors an editor should have spotted.

the last detectiveFor example, in one chapter, somebody goes to a bar on Sixth Avenue and then takes a cab to a whorehouse “over on Sixth Avenue.” In another section, a transatlantic flight arrives at LaGuardia Airport rather than Kennedy.

Josh phoned yesterday and invited me to a reunion of the MFA writing class that Simon has arranged for Saturday night at Henry’s End; everyone will be there and it should be fun.

I’m the most successful, of course, but I’d better not try to put on any airs. Simon wouldn’t even call me himself, so obviously, inviting me was mostly a duty. Perhaps they even hoped I had other plans.

phone wall kitchenI spoke to Alice, who’s spending Thanksgiving with a friend in Boulder. She’s flying to Colorado with Richard, who’s visiting his brother there. (Steve’s getting married to an English girl and moving to London.)

Pete Cherches phoned to tell me the West End reading has been postponed until January. We had a wonderful chat about the MFA biz; he’s so disgusted with Columbia but figures he’s “buying a name degree.” Most of his classmates in Hilma Wolitzer’s workshop are into “passionate realism. . . Redbook fiction. There’s no concern with language.”

Ronna and I spoke last night. In Harrisburg, Saul Kohler took her out to lunch and treated her like a Dutch uncle. He told wonderful reporter stories; he’s been in the business a long time, covered the White House for the Philadelphia Philly Inq 1950sInquirer, and was press secretary to Sen. Hugh Scott.

Kohler gave Ronna places and names all over the Northeast and South; he urged her not to specialize right way and to get on a medium-sized paper where she can learn to handle everything. Ronna got out a bunch of letters last night, and Kohler said he’ll give her more contacts if need be.

He’s a very sweet man; he wants to help Ronna get started because someone once did the same thing for him. It will be a struggle for Ronna, but she really wants to be a reporter.

Mississippi Mud musclesMississippi Mud arrived in today’s mail. It’s a beautifully laid-out magazine, and my “18/X/1969” read really well.

I spoke to Teresa, who told me she had a delightful lunch with Costas; they reminisced about college and were both surprised at the fun they had. So they’re friends again.

I applied for jobs at Arkansas (ugh) and Princeton (hoo-hah).


Thursday, November 16, 1978

9 PM. I didn’t catch up very much today. I can’t seem to get ahead of myself.

Dad called us all in for a conference this afternoon. He’s been drawing a 500 dollar billsalary of $500 a week from the business, and it isn’t enough to live on. He felt completely humiliated and degraded confessing that he can’t make ends meet.

“I’ve been taking tranquilizers day and night,” he said. “I don’t know whether to kill myself or what.” Dad said we must let Maud go, or if not, Mom has to get a job (which might be good for her, to get out of the house).

I immediately offered to give Dad $50 a week and told him it was the least I could do. At first he was reluctant to accept it, but it’s certainly only fair. It will make me feel better anyway. Marc can contribute something, and maybe Jonny can get an after-school job, though I doubt he will.

Help Wanted 2Jonny still doesn’t know about going to college next year, but what kind of job can he get? As Dad said, neither he nor Marc is a professional, and they’re in a terrible situation.

The trouble with Dad’s finances is that because he was always in business for himself, he got used to taking whatever money he needed. The family has never lived on a budget, and even now Mom and Dad have no idea how much they spend each week on food, insurance, clothing, etc.

I’ve been limiting myself to $75-$80 a week, although lately I’ve been spending more. I’ve got to cut down on expenses. Hopefully, I’ll begin to earn some really decent money next year. As it is, I have twice what I had last year at this time, so I can make do.

inflation fightersIn a way I’m glad I can help Dad and Mom out in a crisis. They have almost no savings left: in the past three years, Dad has eaten into almost $45,000. Inflation is partly the villain; it’s hard to comprehend when they give cost-of-living figures on the TV news, but it hit home when I looked at Dad’s pained face.

That decides it for me: I’m going commercial and I’m going to hype my work or whatever I have to do to get us out of this mess. Otherwise we’re going to go under. Everyone predicts a recession in 1979, and some say it could be worse than 1974-75.

My making it will be the best hedge against an uncertain economy we could have. I can’t let my family down. Damn Art – at least until we can afford the luxury of it.

1978 abc soapsToday I got a check from Ideal Publications: $30 for “Specialized Soaps.” And tonight at the newsstand, I found it in a two-page spread of TV Dawn to Dusk; they didn’t give me a byline, though.

I also got a new story in Waters Journal of the Arts – “Different Places” – they handled it beautifully. Too bad it’s the last issue “due to inflation.”

I’ve written almost nothing in three months and I feel almost no pressure to write. This half of the year I look on as a vacation, not a writer’s block. I have to redirect my writing goals now that I’ve reached the point of having a commercial book published. (I just got a horrible flash: What if they don’t do it? )

I went down to the Motor Vehicles and changed my plea on the summons to cometguilty. As it was my first offense, they fined me only $15. My car can’t last much longer, and when it dies, that ends my driving years.

It’s strange, my having been poor (financially) for all these years. I still don’t feel poor, yet my room and clothes are shabby, and I don’t have much tangible hope of a wealthier tomorrow.


Friday, November 17, 1978

2 PM. It’s a very rainy and chilly Friday afternoon and a good time to take a nap. Our remarkable fall weather has ended; now it’s winter-jacket time. In another monKCC campus 1th or so, it will be snowing and freezing. But I do have a reason to look forward to spring this year.

I’ve just come back from Kingsborough, where I had a pleasant session with my English 23 class. Earlier this morning I went to school to pick up my paycheck. I deposited it in the bank, but I had to withdraw $300 to give to my parents: $250 to pay the bill for the typewriter and $50 as part of my first weekly payment for household expenses.

I got my photographs back. Most came out poorly, but I sent one black-and-white head shot to Taplinger. I look very boyish, I suppose. I wrote Wesley, thanking him for the book he sent and mentioning his article on Heart in Rolling Stone Nov 78this week’s Rolling Stone.

How do I feel? All right, I suppose. I’d like to start writing again, but I don’t feel desperate about it. I feel I’ve earned the right to take this breather. Today Pat Griffith of Washington Review accepted “Super-Fab Senators” and told me to send a bio note noting “how many thousands of stories you’ve published by now.”

Maybe now I can live off my reputation for a couple of months. I don’t know. I currently have $1005 in the bank, but it will be eaten up fairly quickly now that I’m giving Dad money every week. I might take a full-time job; I think maybe now I can.

I don’t have to prove myself as a writer anymore, and I could probably take a job in publishing until I can find a full-time academic position. Yesterday I answered an ad in the Voice for an editorial assistant at a confession Help Wanted 1978magazine.

Next month and in January I can test the waters of the job market. I’ve had nearly four years’ teaching experience, and maybe it’s time to more on to something more profitable. If I loved teaching, I wouldn’t consider it, but I’m only half-satisfied with my present job.

I’ve been applying for every academic job, and if I get hired, I’ll have to go. I can’t afford to pass up any opportunities, be they in Arizona or Arkansas. I’ve applied to writers’ colonies, for grants (it’s obvious I’m not getting a CAPS award; they would have written me for extra copies of my manuscript if I were a finalist), for readings – for anything that will help.

Sooner or later all this work has to pay off, doesn’t it? Anyway, I’m reconciled to living at home for a while.

romance comic 1978Tonight I’m seeing Ronna. I was just thinking that we don’t fight anymore, so tonight we’ll probably argue for hours. But there’s not really much to argue over. I’m very fond of her, and for the first time I think that if I weren’t gay, I’d marry her.

Of course I am gay, and I’ve accepted that, even subconsciously: in a dream last night a woman accused me of being a homosexual and I said, “I am. So what’s wrong with that?”

What I like about being gay now is being able to walk down the street in this neighborhood and see an attractive guy and look at him and his earring or whatever and realize he’s gay, too.

I will probably always love women (always Ronna?), but I will always be gay.

At Brooklyn College yesterday I ran into Bruce Chadwick and then Ronna’s cousin Betty. Both had heard I was having a book published, and Bruce said, “You’re a popular guy. Everyone at LIU talks about you.” One day even more people will.


Saturday, November 18, 1978

lamppost sunset4 PM. The sun is low in the sky now, but it’s fairly mild out. I didn’t enjoy the day because I feel pretty grungy. I didn’t get to sleep until about 4 AM and woke up (just barely – I’m still not sure I fully have) at noon.

I didn’t shave today. I’m a day person, and staying up late, no matter how much I sleep, makes my eyes very tired.

Tonight I have the MFA class reunion, but I’m not sure I’m going. I’ll see how I feel. While it would be pleasant to see the class again, I’d rather not stay up late a second night in a row, especially since I told Teresa I’d come over tomorrow. I have about fifteen papers to mark and lessons to prepare, and I didn’t get very much accomplished today.

diet pepsiLast night I went over to Ronna’s at 8 PM. Her sister had a bad cold but was going out dancing anyway, much to Ronna’s dismay. Ronna and I drank Diet Pepsi in the kitchen and made out furiously in the living room; we were rougher with each other than usual.

Then we watched a bloated Liz Taylor in some dumb TV movie, and at 10 PM, when her sister left, we went into the bedroom. Susan, who has the world’s worst timing, took that occasion to phone from Evan’s house.

I was undressed in bed already, but Ronna had only her socks off and was going on and on about some office intrigue. I tried to take it casually at first, but as the minutes passed, Ronna kept chatting on and on. I began to feel ridiculous, so I put my clothes on and told Ronna I was leaving.

canarsie rachel's houseStill she didn’t bother to hang up. I walked outside, where Sue was waiting for her friends to pick her up, and finally went back in. Ronna was crying but still talking to Susan.

When she finally hung up, I told her how I angry I was; I knew she wanted to cut off the conversation and she couldn’t do it. Maybe it was childish of me, but I took it as a form of rejection. And of course now Susan has even more reason to think I’m a stinker – not that she needs any.

But we forgot about it quickly and made love – earnestly, only nothing was going quite right. Finally I suggested that Ronna and I both masturbate; she was hesitant about it, but it worked. I think we were both a little annoyed with each other and not admitting it.

Ronna said, “Just when I think I’m getting deeply involved with you, you show me why I shouldn’t.” And that’s good, as far as I’m concerned. At this point I’d almost rather be friends and forget about sex.

FriendsI’m very, very fond of Ronna, and when her mother and Billy came home from wrestling at the Nassau Coliseum, we sat around the kitchen table and talked for an hour. I loved that, but it was a mistake, because I feel so tired now.

Today I got an acceptance from The Smudge, a great little magazine. They asked me for a photo, and now I have plenty. I must now have more than 130 stories published or about to be published. And Elizabeth Janeway sent me a letter welcoming me to membership in The Authors Guild.

Every day this week the mail brought another delight. Things are going so well, I’m almost scared. Kurt Nimmo, the editor of The Smudge, says he’s going to review Disjointed Fictions – favorably, I assume. So I feel light years away from my old classmates in the MFA program. If I don’t show up, they’ll probably think I’m a snob. And maybe I am.


Sunday, November 19, 1978

bic accountant fine point7 PM. In an odd way, the more I write, the harder writing gets. It now seems less mysterious than ever, yet it seems to be more work. Most of what I write is garbage, and that realization has made me re-think my whole attitude toward writing.

Even teaching remedial composition has made me more conscious of my worst mistakes, especially misplaced modifiers; overuse of “really,” “only,” and “just”; occasional dangling participles; and a fondness for gimmickry.

Working on content is just as difficult. I attempt to sharpen my mind with reading, but there never seems to be enough time, and I end up with the merely obvious. My concerns are too narrow and too superficial. I have almost no capacity for critical theory or abstract thought of any kind.

Authors-Guild-logoYet, having accepted all of this, I have to say that I am a writer – no, I don’t need membership in The Authors Guild to confirm this – while most of those who claim to be are not.

All this is apropos of the MFA class reunion, which I dragged myself to last evening. Actually, it woke me up and made me feel alive on an otherwise dead day. I enjoyed seeing my old classmates as a group and speaking with them individually. But I’m aware now, if I wasn’t before, that I am a writer while they are not.

Simon, the most talented of them, has given up completely. He couldn’t survive the criticism of the writing workshop, so how could his ego come up against editors in The Real World?

typescriptI feel bad for Simon’s writing, the work he might have produced. But Simon is a schlep; he now tutors at NYCCC and works as a short-order cook on weekends and hasn’t written in years.

Sharon never was a writer and she admits this. She enjoyed working in advertising, could have had a future as a copywriter and potential editor at Avon Books, but she took a job teaching at Grady High School because she would have lost her license had she turned it down.

Josh will never be happy: one suspects he wishes to make a career out of being unhappy. He likes to think of himself as a rebel and a punk; wants to get into advertising; has bright ideas but always seems to defeat himself. Josh says he’s writing, and he might have commercial potential if he straightened himself out.

hemingwayTodd is of the Old School, like Hemingway: a writer of careful control, “true sentences” and outworn clichés. He doesn’t realize that the Hemingway model was obsolete even for Mailer’s generation; no one takes hard-drinking, competent, hairy-chested writing seriously anymore.

Todd has only one story – his own – and while it’s a fairly good story, it won’t set Manhattan on fire. But Todd has a working wife and baby and a house, so he doesn’t need it so badly.

Denis has little talent but the most ambition. He wanted to find out my “secrets” of “successful marketing,” etc. Denis wants to be an academic and he may make it, but he’s terribly unsophisticated. (“I don’t understand poetry,” he told me. “Not at all.”) He said he admires my single-mindedness and was heartened to know that I doubt myself at all times.

henry's end bwOf course they are all kind-spirited, friendly people: good companions I want to see again, much like the people I met at Bread Loaf. It was actually a delightful dinner, and I enjoyed it, and I even liked driving Simon and Sharon home.

But although I haven’t written a story in two months, I am a writer and they are not. This is not in the way of self-back-slapping, but to keep me from despairing in the face of my own failures, my own lack of sophistication, grace, and discipline.


Monday, November 20, 1978

5 PM. Three more weeks and I won’t have to look at my students anymore. Granted, most of them are nice kids, but a few have them ruin it for everyone.

KCC campus 2When I arrived at my English 23 class this afternoon, Rosa Cordero and John Petrowski were bickering; the other day they actually slapped each other in class. “Two-timer,” the retard John calls Rosa, and she says, “Shut up.”

“All right,” I say, “let’s try to behave like adults here.”

And Rosa yells out, “Teacher, you shut up, too!”

I said nothing but gave her an icy stare – which didn’t faze her a bit. By now I think Rosa is psychotic. She’s told me some incredible lies, which at first I believed (like her cousin drowning his four kids). I figured people she knows must be insensitive, violent, and lacking any idea of what life is about.

WhoppersBut last week she told me some whoppers. She was in an accident with her cousin, who died but whose baby was still living inside her. Then she introduced me to a girl she said was her younger sister.

“But last week you told me you were the baby of your family,” I said. She explained that she’d just met her sister that week; her mother had surprised her. Supposedly the sister had been living in Puerto Rico all these years, unbeknownst to Rosa.

“But why didn’t they ever tell you about her existence?” I asked.

The answer: “She was very sickly and not expected to live, so they didn’t want me to get my hopes up!” And it turns out this “sister” has been attending Kingsborough all along.

KCC corridor 3I hate the fact that I have to teach such scum as Rosa Cordero. I’ll pass her because she’s already threatened me if I don’t.

Anyway, I’ve got to concentrate on the well-behaved, earnest students who (even at Kingsborough) seem to constitute a slim majority. But yesterday I scanned the want ads for jobs in publishing and other fields.

Wesley phoned today. I always think he’s going to say they can’t publish the book after all. But it came back from the copy editor, who did a very good job. There were some “flags” – questions on yellow paper that the copy editor attached – we had to go over: the title of Bishop Sheen’s book, the spelling of Farshteit, etc.

Peace of SoulNow I just have to think up half-titles before we can go into production. I’ve decided to use story titles as half-titles, but that means changing one of the titles in the “Women” section. I told Wesley I’d phone him tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s the middle of the week already, and I’m going to the English Department meeting rather than teaching my 3 PM class. Thank goodness this idiocy will be over soon. I long to read good books instead of banal student paragraphs.

This morning I woke up late after a delicious ten-hour sleep. I took $100 out of my Anchor account and went to the Dime in Kings Plaza, where I paid off my loan. It was getting late and I didn’t want to wait around for my bankbook, so they’re mailing it to me.

I paid $10 for my gas this morning; I’ll have to watch how much I drive now that I’m not using Dad’s credit card.

Last night it got down to 30° and we had steam heat for the first time since jfk shot to death ny postApril. The trees are almost bare by now, and I’ve been wearing my winter jacket.

Fifteen years ago this week President Kennedy was assassinated. To my students, JFK is as distant as FDR was to me: just a figure on the front of a coin. TC mark

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