A Young Writer’s Diary Entries From Mid-June, 1982

Friday, June 11, 1982

9 PM. Random Notes on This and That (because it’s Kamehameha Day and I feel like it):

I’ve gotten rashes on my underarms for the past few weeks, making it impossible for me to use deodorant, which may have caused the rashes in the first place. . .

I have a letter from Helmut that’s been sitting in my drawer unopened for weeks. I feel so guilty about not writing Helmut that I can’t bring myself to read his letter. Nor can I write him. . .

My computer seems to be on the blink. . . As is my car, which is now (finally) at Freddy’s. Dad drove me home from there. . .

I could have gone with my parents and Marc out to dinner, but I find I have little patience for Mom and Dad these days. I gather, though, that Dad’s business has been very bad. . .

Josh called last night; he thinks his contact lenses are upsetting his vision. The ophthalmologist says not to worry, but Josh is the one with blurry vision. . .

I marked all my lit class’s papers this morning while my comp class was working on their papers in the library. . .

A year ago I was miserable, with a stomach virus while at Teresa’s and scared to death of going to New Orleans for the NOCCA job interview. But it all worked out. . .

I thought I might have the start of a parotid gland tumor on my neck, but Dad looked and it and told me it was a pimple. . .

Susan Mernit writes that the movie is now done and it looks great. She wants me to meet her friend Robin, who works at Grove Press. . .

Cathy says she won’t be going to the VCCA this summer; she thinks she “played too much” last year. . .

One week after his birthday extravaganza for me, Sean is preparing one for his mom tonight. Mrs. Alving, 53, will get a chocolate chip Bundt cake with chocolate chip icing, a popcorn maker, and a chance to see the movie E.T. if she gets home from work early enough. . .

This morning I found a note on my windshield: 9 AM. I’m in the library. I just wanted to say ‘hi!’ – Sean. Said note is in my wallet now. . .

Yesterday when I phoned Sean at my parents’ house, Dad asked, “Who was that?” when I got off. “Just a friend,” I said. I think I’ve dropped enough hints so that my parents suspect. . .

What would their reaction be? Probably dismay and worry: Sean’s being 17 and my student would just make it worse. . .

But I do love the kid. I wish he were here right now so I could give him a hug. Funny: we hug more than I ever hugged with anyone else. . .

I’ve got to stop getting fat. Even my senile old neighbor noticed it. . .

How come I’m overwhelmed with mail some days, and other days – like today – there’s absolutely nothing at all? . . .

I’m reading The Fate of the Earth, Jonathan Schell’s reflections on a nuclear holocaust. It’s kind of hard to think about it because it dwarfs everything else. . .

An ad for Jane DeLynn’s In Thrall screams: “They were in love. . .  One was 16, the other 37. . . One was the teacher, the other the student. . . They were both of the same sex. . . Forbidden love.” Sean smirked when he saw it. . .

I read over the fourteen stories for the Zephyr Press book. They’re all wistful pieces, many about adolescents. It’s an unsophisticated Grayson, sweet and rather sentimental. . .

In a week I’ll be ready to leave Florida. Can it be? I’d like to stay. . . Maybe not.


Saturday, June 12, 1982

4 PM. It’s been a very surrealistic past few hours. Last night I was dizzily attempting to fall asleep when I felt something moving against my neck. It was a cockroach – I jumped ten feet when I saw it and I was unable to catch it.

During the night I found cockroaches in the bathroom and kitchen, too. I had been toying with the idea of staying here, but I feel the cockroaches are a sign that it’s time to get out. Even if I’m miserable in a new place, I’ll always remember this apartment as idyllic.

I tried to listen to a delayed reenactment of the Cooney-Holmes fight, but I fell asleep and didn’t hear that Holmes had won until 3 AM, when I turned on the Cable News Network feed now carried on a local station.

At 5:30 AM, the phone rang. “Sean?”

“Yeah.”

“What’s the matter?”

“I can’t sleep.”

“Oh, poor baby. Do you feel all right?”

“Yes.”

“Do you want me to sing you a lullaby?”

“Yes,” he said, in a strangely hoarse voice.

I told him about the cockroach and he said I should sleep with the lights on. I asked him if he’d gone out last night and he said no.

“Sean, you sound strange.”

“I’ve been drinking.”

Is this Sean?

“No, this is an obscene phone call,” he joked. “Ask me a question.”

“What’s your middle name?”

Click – and then dial tone.

I realized it hadn’t been Sean at all but a prank call. But the guy wasn’t obscene; he was quite polite, and I felt sorry for him and wondered if he was gay or straight and whether he thought I was a man or a woman.

At first I thought Sean might have mentioned me to one of his friends, but I discounted that possibility. When I called Sean at noon and told him about the call, he was amused but mystified.

He had surprised his mother with the birthday cake and the present and then they went out to see E.T. – a terrific movie, he said. Sean was planning to go to the beach or begin his term paper on Edward Albee. “I’ll call you at 5:30 AM,” he joked.

I slept heavily and feel lazy because of my sinus condition, but I did get a lot done today. I sorted and boxed many of the things I have to take to the warehouse.

My living room is filled with boxes, reminding me of how my apartment in Rockaway looked the first two weeks of last year, before I moved to Florida. It’s horrible to move, and it always seems to have to be done in a rush.

Leaving my pleasant routine here is depressing; I hope I’m not making a mistake. When I come back to Florida, I’d like to sign a one-year lease and stay put for a while.

Next year I’m not going to waste any energy applying for jobs I can’t get. I plan to concentrate on staying right here in Florida. If I don’t have a future in academia, I’m sure I could get a job teaching high school; there’s a terrible shortage of English teachers down here. That is probably the “worst case” scenario.

Florida – though maybe not Broward County – is where I want to be for the next several years. If only I didn’t have this (neurotic?) premonition that the sky is going to fall on me next year. But I’m not used to being so happy. Kinahora.

I’ve got to call Kevin, though I’ve been putting it off because I know he’ll depress me. Lincoln’s Doctor’s Dog is just about dead. Too bad I can’t look upon that as bad luck, but all I can see are the good things that came out of its publication, so I can’t use that as a marker against Fate.

What nonsense I spout!


Sunday, June 13, 1982

7 PM. After rereading my diary entries for January 1981, I decided that if I got through the hysteria of moving out of Rockaway, I can get through this week, too. I want my last week in Florida to go slowly.

Of course that’s also how I felt a year and a half ago. Doing a lot of looking back these days, I’ve decided that just about everything that happened to me was for the best.

Three years ago, when With Hitler in New York came out, I was comfortable but confused enough to feel I needed to go back into therapy. At 28, I was still an adolescent: I lived with my parents and had rarely left New York. I didn’t have adult responsibilities. Most of my stories reflect this prolonged adolescence – particularly those in the upcoming Zephyr Press book.

Reading today’s New York Times Magazine article by D. M. Thomas on literary celebrity, I realized that if Hitler had taken off and made me as “famous” and “successful” as, say, Jayne Anne Phillips, it would have been the worst thing possible.

There was no way I could have handled success. The wrenching that took place when my parents left New York and I had to give up living in their house – our house – in Brooklyn was, of course, good for me.

As terrible as life in Rockaway sometimes seemed, I’m also glad I didn’t move to Florida right away. Being on my own in the Big Apple taught me a lot: it made me less arrogant and less sure of myself. And I did learn how to handle the everyday details of adult life.

I’m also glad that I stayed long enough in New York to recover a bit of my self-confidence. Working that fall term at Brooklyn and John Jay was hard, but it toughened me up, and also importantly, it got me back on my feet financially – just as the prospect of another book helped boost my confidence in my writing.

I fell into the adjunct job at Broward Community College, and like a miracle, it led to the full-time temporary job this year. The Florida Fine Arts Council grant was another miracle. Last summer I was on my own, and I learned to live with transience and traveling.

I feel much more adaptable today; unlike Linda Lerner, I wouldn’t have a nervous breakdown if I had to move to an entirely new place. That kind of fear held me back from accepting the SUNY/Albany fellowship and the job as writer-in-residence at Texas Woman’s University. Being in Albany or Texas might have been a disaster, but it would have been good to have the chance to find out.

At least it was good for me to go to MacDowell and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts the past two summers; the time there helped me to overcome fears and compulsions.

Of all the stuff I accomplished, I think I’m proudest of being able, finally, to love a man. Of course Sean deserves more of the credit for that than I do. He made it easy. Then again, I’m not sorry I waited so long; the first time was special because it was with a guy I loved.

Now I know I’m not impotent or emotionless or abnormal sexually. I’m a gay man, but it doesn’t change who I am. Being 31, I feel somewhat differently about various things.

For one, I no longer feel a driving ambition to be famous. I think it may happen, but I know that I’m going to control it.

When I called Kevin yesterday, he was pretty upbeat and typesetting a book for printing this time next year. A “pretty good” review by Diane Donovan had appeared, and we did get a few sales from it.

Lincoln’s Doctor’s Dog is doing just what I wanted it do for me: it’s keeping my writing career alive by giving the perception of movement, of progress. Plus, it’s a tangible object, and one that can serve as a way to meet old friends again.

I sent a copy to Vito at his mother’s, and yesterday he wrote back that both of them were very excited and anxious to see me again. There were other nice letters from friends: Stacy suggested we meet in Rockaway for lunch at the Ram’s Horn.

And last night, Teresa phoned from Fire Island. She met Gary on the ferry; it turns out that he’s in a house right by hers in Fair Harbor. Little Suzi was glad to talk to me – she said Mr. O’Hanlon is in the hospital – and she wants to see me again.

Teresa said the Attorney General’s one-day announcements of his candidacy in six cities – New York, Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and White Plains – was not quite a series of horrendous plane rides but she said it depressed her to feel she’s being left out of the campaign.

Teresa now realizes that she’s just a front: a woman who’s nominally the campaign press secretary so that Bob Abrams’ regular press secretary can pretend that she’s apart from politics.

She said it was freezing – only in the 50°s – on Fire Island, though that sounded deliciously cool to me.

This morning I spoke to Alice. Peter was coming home from Wisconsin tonight. Yesterday she, June and Carl marched in the half-a-million-plus disarmament demonstration in Central Park. Alice saw Yoko Ono and said the whole event was exhilarating. I guess it will be good to be in New York again, but it’s still going to be hard to leave Florida.

This afternoon I saw E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial in Coral Springs, and I liked it a lot. Steven Spielberg understands kids in a way that I envy. I cried at the end, thinking of Sean.

Leaving him will be sad, but it will be a kind of sweet sorrow because the past seven weeks have been so idyllic and because I know we’ve got to end it so we can go forward – especially Sean, who has his whole life in front of him. Hey, and I ain’t about to kick the bucket myself, y’know.


Monday, June 14, 1982

He wasn’t home last night when I called, so it’s possible that we may not be able to be alone together (you know what I mean) before I leave. Too, too bad, but I’ll be happy just to speak with him over the phone or to see him in class.

I took the last of my books to school this morning. My 101 class was brief because the building was not air-conditioned; I marked all the papers that came in today, and I also subbed for Jacqui.

I’m all caught up on my marking now, but by Thursday I’ll have to grade about 55 term papers, plus about 40 late papers from both classes. It’s going to be tight.

I got the review Diane Donovan did for that radio show and the Midwest Book Review. She says my voice is not consistent (after rereading “Self-Reliance,” I’m not bothered by that charge) but did say I’m “humorous” (twice, although she spelled it with an e), and in general, it was a favorable review: “a mixed collection of droll and humorous works that New Yorkers, in particular, will appreciate.”

I went to the computer store and was dazzled by a word processor; I think I’m in love.


Tuesday, June 15, 1982

9 PM. Another few days left here. This afternoon Marc came over and we loaded up the station wagon with my couch and my table and dozens of boxes. Although it was hot and we sweated a lot, it was less work than I imagined, and within an hour, everything was stored safely in the mini-warehouse.

I’ve still got my dishes to pack, and my TV and barbells and some clothes and my typewriter, but it should be fairly easy to do.

I am beginning to wonder why I haven’t heard from the Maynards. Mike wanted to come over to give me back my security deposit and to check out the place. I want to ask him if he’d be interested in renting it to me again, on a one-year lease from August 1982 to August 1983.

Of course, I’d prefer a nicer place, but I’ve been so comfortable and happy here, and I wonder if I could get a better deal than this. Since the Maynards probably will not be able to sell the condo, I think they might like to have me stay on; I’m a reliable tenant who always pays his rent on time.

Sean has been accepted at the University of Florida. He received the letter yesterday and mentioned it, though off-handedly (“because I don’t want to get too excited”) when he called today. Well, I was excited.

I feel regret that Sean will not be around when I return, but I also feel proud of him and hope that Sean will have a great college experience. He’ll be a sophomore in Gainesville and get to experience all the pleasures of being away; because I missed out on that, going to a commuter school, I envy him a little.

Obviously Sean is going to change as he sees the world outside Broward County – and of course I have to allow him to grow (not that I could prevent it anyway).

This morning I went to Burdines and got him a $50 gift certificate. He needs to buy clothes; he’s got some “too-comfortable” jeans and a few shirts, but not much. I also want to give him some of the many Sasson samples I have but never wear. This is the first time I’ve spent so much money on a friend, but I have more money now, and it will make me happy to know that Sean is getting something that he needs.

I don’t expect anything of him; indeed, I hope he won’t be offended by the gift. Proportionally, the money he’s spent on me – on the Carvel cake and the $1 birthday card – are just as much out of his pocket as $50 is out of mine.

We talked on the phone both yesterday and today as Sean squirmed while writing his paper on Edward Albee. He got a haircut from his friend, the older guy, who also showed Sean his first porno movies at home.

(This I infer from pieces of Sean’s conversation. He never talks about his other lovers, and I’m not really interested in hearing about them, though I feel almost no jealousy.)

Last night I had a pleasant class, going over research material and finishing A Doll’s House; afterwards Sean and I sat around for two hours, talking, touching, fighting off the mosquitoes (who have left a dozen bites as souvenirs).

My class this morning went well. Tomorrow they go to the library, and Thursday is the last day, when they hand in term papers. The grading will be rough, but I’ll work quickly; the final grades can be handed in early Friday, when there will be departmental and college-wide faculty meetings.


Wednesday, June 16, 1982

4:30 PM. I’m very tired. Sean called at 10:30 PM last night and we talked until, before I realized it, it was nearly 1 AM. And I can’t blame Sean because I did most of the talking.

This morning’s Herald had a front-page story saying the air fare wars had resumed: Pan Am lowered their weekday fare to $99 for New York, and of course all the other airlines had to follow suit. I spoke to my parents, who said I could spend the weekend at their house; they thought it was worth it to save $100 on a round-trip fare.

So I ended up canceling my Saturday flight and making a new reservation for the same 9:30 AM flight on Delta, but for Monday instead. I phoned Grandpa Herb, who was disappointed, but who said that the money saved will be worth it.

I think I’ll feel more relaxed after spending a weekend in Florida with nothing to do. Going to New York on Saturday morning would have been right after these past few pressure-filled days. It’s no big deal missing two days in New York: How often do I get a chance to save $102?

This morning, while my class was in the library, I marked about a dozen papers. Then I helped Jacqui move some of her books out of her office, and I waited for the paychecks to come in.

At my parents’, I helped Marc play with the computer; it will be good for him to learn how to use it while I am gone. Mom is nagging me about this and that, but I suppose she means well; she gave me a new wallet, something I badly needed.

Today it turned rainy again after an odd dry spell for June, and I was grateful for the cooler weather, if not for this humidity.

After going to the bank, I went to the Book Group meeting, our last one until fall. Lee Hoffman spoke about children’s books, and the picture there seems the same as adult trade publishing: a very tough market, and an emphasis on junk genre books.

Of course, there’s also the issue of Moral Majority types banning books and calling for their absurd guidelines to be enforced; for example, they don’t want dinosaurs to appear in books because that would support the theory of evolution.

One of the women at the meeting, Betty, told me that she liked my book and that her 20-year-old daughter, a Hunter College junior, loved it.

I came home at 3 PM and got a call from Sean, who asked if he could not hand in his term paper on Edward Albee, which he said he was unable to do a good job on. I said it was okay, but I’m a little disappointed in him; also, he’s put me in an uncomfortable position ethically.

I suppose I’m just as much responsible for that as Sean is. I guess it’s no big deal, but I could tell that Sean didn’t feel good about not doing the term paper.

I’ve got to get moving soon, even though I’d like to do nothing more than fall asleep. I need to see if I can find the Glass Menagerie record to play tonight in class. Oh boy.


Thursday, June 17, 1982

10 PM. “Oh boy!” was right. The last thirty hours have been a lifetime.

Driving to school yesterday, I felt annoyed with Sean – and with all my students. Absolutely nothing went right at BCC: I didn’t find the phonograph; I was disgusted with my students for not reading the play and for handing in such sloppy papers; and I was disgusted with myself for being such a lenient and sloppy teacher.

When Ken Jones came before class to tell me he couldn’t get the term paper in tonight, I had to tell him to forget it, that it was okay, because I’d done the same thing with Sean.

I felt disgusted with my job, with myself, with life, and with all the pressures I was facing. After class, in my office, I said to Sean, “Let’s get out of here,” and he followed me home.

Back here, I did tell him that I was disappointed in him, and of course that upset him, but after I explained that it didn’t change the way I felt about him, he seemed relieved.

I was exhausted from not sleeping for two nights and it had been a bad day. But we got into dressed and got into bed and held each other, kissed, made love – and suddenly the world seemed good.

We had never been in bed at night before, so it seemed special. For one thing, Sean said “I love you” for the first time, and he said it several times during the night. We were listening to classical music instead of our usual disco, and we ended up asleep entwined in each other’s arms.

When Sean got up to leave, I watched him dress, and then he kissed me and left me to a sweet – if too short – sleep.

This morning I got my class’s term papers and spent a couple of hours grading them. I was very slipshod, and I felt guilty about that. Today was a dark, incredibly rainy day, and that just made everything more difficult.

When I got home, Mike Maynard called. He said he didn’t have a buyer or renter for the condo, so I offered to sign a one-year lease from August 1 to July 31, 1983 – and he said okay. Tomorrow he’ll come here with a lease, I hope; of course he’ll keep my security deposit.

I spent the afternoon frantically fixing up the apartment until Sean came over at about 3:45 PM. We talked, and he helped me check the apartment, and I gave him about four Sasson shirts that I don’t wear, and of course we ended up in bed.

It was good to have his arms around me, to have my arms around him, to tongue-kiss, to hold his cock, for him to hold mine (he childishly says, “I’ve got your peepee” and I almost cracked up the other night when I was teaching footnotes and had to say that “pp.” is the correct plural abbreviation for “pages”), to feel his solid shoulders, his long legs, the patch of hair in the middle of his chest, to say “I love you” and to hear it back.

I gave him the $50 Burdines gift certificate, and while he said it was too much, he agreed to accept it as my graduation gift: “No one else got me anything.”

He’s going away for the weekend, so I won’t see him again. I guess it’s with another lover, and that makes me feel a little strange, to love Sean and know that he’ll be making love with other men from now on.

But Sean says we’ll see each other again and he threatened to beat me up if I don’t write. Maybe I would feel sadder, but even though I know that the last seven weeks are over and that Sean and I will never be lovers again, I suspect we’ll be important in each other’s lives, at least for a while.

I kissed him and hugged him just before opening the door to leave the apartment – he’s so tall I have to stand on my tiptoes – he for home, I for BCC, where I handed in my final grades.

At College Avenue we stopped in our cars and I shouted out the window: “I’ll always love you!”

“I love you,” Sean said back, quietly. And we waved goodbye to one another.

This is one relationship I’ll never forget: a near-perfect love affair with a boy thirteen years younger.

Tonight I packed.


Friday, June 18, 1982

8 PM. It’s been a very rough day. Since yesterday, it’s been raining buckets, and I’ve had a bad sinus headache and feel both exhausted and uncomfortable. I’m in my parents’ house, and I no longer belong here. Mom, Dad and Marc are out to dinner; Jonathan is downstairs.

I just called Sean’s house, but his mother, who’s got a terrible cold, told me he’d gone out for the night and wished me a good trip to New York. I told Mrs. Alving that I hoped she felt better soon. She sounds like a very nice lady.

I had a scene with my own mother this afternoon when I came here at 3 PM feeling exhausted and headachy. She started nagging me about every little thing until she had me hysterical with tears.

I see now how she fucked me up emotionally; until now, I never realized how totally crazy she is. The sad part of it is that Mom does mean well, that she doesn’t realize how she nags and “picks” (to use Sean’s word).

Whatever happens, I’ll always love her but I will never really feel as warmly toward her as I once did. In a way, I feel sorry for her. She doesn’t realize her own selfishness.

It’s ironic that in this respect she most resembles Grandma Sylvia, whom she always detested for the same exact trait. Mom treats her family as if it were a unit consisting of a mother, father, and children (who are not adults), and that’s always, with some justification, what Mom accused Grandma Sylvia of doing.

And all my adult life, I’ve been closer to Mom’s parents than she has been, calling them and seeing them much more frequently than she does. Anyway, I feel constricted around her, that I can’t be myself.

I deflected her questions about my Florida friends, especially the kicker: “Who would you say is your best friend here?” I guess I’ve dropped hints about Sean, but I won’t tell Mom about him – because it would seem dirty in her mind, and I refuse to subject the relationship to that.

I don’t have to tell everyone anything or confide in them. Certainly I’ll never speak of Sean to anyone at BCC – or to anyone I don’t trust.

Looking back over the seven weeks of our relationship, I’m more certain than ever that it was a positive step forward for both me and Sean.

We gave each other what we needed; we had respect for one another; we never inflicted the cruel hurts that seem common in “love” relationships; and we had serious talks about life, silly moments, and really good lovemaking.

What I wish for Sean is an easier life than I’ve had; it took me much too long to become a man and not just remain a boy. I feel that being with Sean has helped make me more of a man, more of a complete person.

Writing all that, the hassles of this week and today seem trivial.

I got up at 7 AM (I didn’t get to sleep as early as I’d hoped because I had late-night calls from Gary and Elihu), fixed up the bed and the rest of the apartment, loaded my station wagon, handed in my grades at school, attended the full faculty meeting, met Mike Maynard at the condo, gave him the keys and a check and signed a one-year lease starting in August, went back to school to pick up my paychecks and deposited them at the bank, had lunch, went to the English Department meeting (the Gordon Rule and the competency tests will cause chaos in the fall), said goodbye to Patrick and my other colleagues, visited Jonathan at the army/navy store, and came here and ended up crying.

I did end up speaking briefly to Sean, who made me feel better. Well, it’s over: my first academic year as a full-time college instructor.


Saturday, June 19, 1982

9 PM. Today was such a terrible day that I ended up doing the only thing I could: I slept until 7 PM.

Last evening Marc and Dad put all their stuff in my car so they could take it to the flea market in Hialeah. I decided that I would try to sleep without taking a Triavil, and by the time Dad and Marc got up and left for Hialeah at 3:30 AM, I still hadn’t gone to sleep.

An hour later, the phone rang: they’d gotten a flat tire, and I didn’t have a spare. Dad wanted me to bring the other car down, but I was so exhausted I just couldn’t handle it; Mom and Jonathan went instead.

It was another dark, gloomy, rainy day – because of the weather, Dad and Marc had to come home from the flea market by 11 AM – and I just didn’t get out bed.

I feel totally disoriented and depressed. Maybe I needed to sleep all day; I’ve been so exhausted this week, and I feel I need a day of decompression before going North.


Sunday, June 20, 1982

6 PM. I slept better last night and I had a lot of dreams, which is always a good sign. I had wanted to dream about Sean, but I wasn’t able to.

After a rainy start, today became sunny, and I got the worst (or best) sunburn of the year today. This morning I called Mark Bernstein at the Cardozo Hotel on Miami Beach and he invited me to come down and meet his family on the beach.

Although the drive down was wet, it turned sunny in Miami Beach, and I spent a pleasant couple of hours talking with Mark about academia and Jewish lit as his wife and daughters sat nearby. He’s involved with Barbara Capitman in her lonely fight to save South Beach’s Art Deco buildings.

The Capitmans have bought the Cardozo and restored it to its former condition; a Columbus-Avenue-quiche-style café has been added, and the senior citizens there are being replaced by artist types. I would not mind living in the Cardozo; it must be like being at the Chelsea in New York, or as close as you can get to it in Florida.

In the afternoon I spent time out at the pool. Mom couldn’t help herself and repacked all my luggage – but I did manage to get everything into one suitcase and my faithful old shoulder bag.

I’m starting to get real nervous about tomorrow’s flight. Although this will be my seventeenth flight since I began flying again three years ago, I’ve never gotten over the fear. It’s been over four months since I’ve flown, and nearly six months since I’ve flown to New York by myself.

But this time, it isn’t just the flight; it’s knowing that I’ll be leaving a routine and a comfortable life for some rather unfocused weeks in New York and Virginia. I’ll have no privacy while I’m in New York and I expect that being with my grandparents will be frustrating and depressing.

Of course, I have to keep in mind that I won’t have them around much longer. It will be good to see them and my friends, the way it was at Christmas, and doubtless there’ll be good times mixed in with the bad.

But I do feel I’m leaving the relative safety of Fort Lauderdale for a scary summer in New York and Virginia. Part of me wishes I could stay here – and I could, actually.

I could call Dr. Grasso right now and ask to teach two classes for the second summer session, and I could get my old apartment back, and I could spend more time with Sean before he goes to Gainesville, and I could avoid the inevitable uncertainty of traveling.

Yet I’m not that scared. I know that I’ll be better off for having gone away. I’ve always feared and hated change, but I have to realize that change can be my friend as well as my enemy.

Tomorrow is the first day of summer, the longest day of the year, and it will be a new start for me, if only a temporary one.

What bullshit I’m writing. I’m scared, so it isn’t easy. I feel as scared as I was when I had to leave my parents’ house to move out on my own, and I’m more scared now than I was when I went back to New York last spring.

Oh well – I don’t know what will happen to me tomorrow or over the next eight weeks. What am I scared of? Maybe that if I leave here, I’ll lose everything I worked for.

But is that rational? Sean is leaving, to be sure, and our relationship will be over – but that would be happening even if I stayed in Florida for the summer. My job at BCC is secure for the next year. I’ve got my apartment back. No, it can’t be any of that.

Then what? I’m afraid that without a schedule of working fifteen hours a week, I’ll fall victim to boredom and depression. Funny: once I feared a full-time job and now I fear not having one.

In New York, I will be able to see Dr. Pasquale for a session if I need to, and I can talk to my friends. I still can’t define my anxiety other than as an amorphous fear of change.

Of course no one asked me to leave Florida now; a part of me really wants to go. It’s the other part that’s making my stomach do push-ups now.

Well, since I’ve got nothing else to write, this would seem to be a good time to sum up the past academic year. I learned a lot about teaching. I learned I could teach more hours a week than I ever imagined I could.

I wasn’t the best teacher, but I wasn’t bad, either. I learned to like my job, to make friends at school, and to do a decent job.

I managed to get a hell of a lot of publicity here, proving that my knack for P.R. is not just a fluke. I got good reviews for my new book. I decided to self-publish Eating at Arby’s and I got a contract for the Zephyr Press book. I also have the complete manuscript for A Version of Life circulating.

But I have to admit that I didn’t write very much this year. However, I’ve learned to be a better speaker – the Cocoa Beach speech and the library TV show went very well – and I’ve learned to program computers in BASIC.

I had another successful visit to teach creative writing in New Orleans, and I was a decent host to Miriam, Teresa, Crad, Mikey, Larry, Alice and Peter.

I learned once again to live on my own and love it. I had a good campaign for Davie Town Council, fulfilling my fantasy of becoming a genuine political candidate.

Best of all, I was able to meet Sean and find love for the first time in many years, to end an eon of cold celibacy and to enter into a homosexual affair with little guilt or pain.

Sean was a gift to me, and while I don’t expect lightning to strike twice, I know we’ll be in each other’s thoughts always, and I suspect that Sean will not be my last lover.

I rode by his house today, but his car wasn’t there. He must still be away. Of everything in Florida, Sean is definitely what I’ll miss most.TC mark

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