Saturday, January 30, 2010


A bit of a hard night going to sleep, physically, but slept long and solid.

I dreamed I was in the second or third story of a huge, beautiful old house, shabby but in good shape, that was mostly an archives. I was working in a room with a massive library table covered with my writing and art projects. Kate Clinton had just arrived. [Note: This is because of something I read about her right before I went to sleep.] She was stuck in our town unexpectedly and a friend of mine had asked me to put her up for the night. It turns out I owned this house.

I gave Kate an upstairs empty bedroom, told her where the kitchen was, and returned to my writing project. I felt shy around her, didn't know much about her. She kept asking me questions about that I was doing that felt interrupting to me. I began to feel defensive about the fact that I wasn't famous yet for what I've done with my life, that my writing isn't very published, I have no academic credentials, my activism isn't credited out there. I wanted to argue the working class viewpoint but she had on expensive clothes and kept making clever jokes, and I didn't know if could translate.

It was dusk, and I stood, preparing to leave the house. She asked me where I was going. I knew I should be a better host, ask her out to dinner, but I was going to eat at my favorite diner and I didn't want to share it with her. Instead I lied and said I was going somewhere else to get materials for my writing project.

My large sketchbook lay open on the table, thick paper filled with handwriting and color pencil drawings. She reached for it, to read it, and I reached to take it away from her. She said "What is this, a palimpsest?" as I woke up.

After I was awake, I coudln't come up with any clue in my head as to the meaning of palimpsest. I turned on netbook and looked it up:

Etymology: Latin palimpsestus, from Greek palimpsēstos scraped again, from palin + psēn to rub, scrape; akin to Sanskrit psāti, babhasti he chews
(1) : writing material (as a parchment or tablet) used one or more times after earlier writing has been erased
(2) : something having usually diverse layers or aspects apparent beneath the surface

WTF? All yesterday evening I kept thinking about how the one writing goal I most want to accomplish before I die is a complete memoir -- not the pieces I keep writing but an organized, coherent autobiography. I also kept worrying about my disability doctor visit next week, what the exam will show, how I nearly passed out last time, and the fact that I only have enough money from donations to pay basic bills, meds, food and Barbara for 30 more days. After that, it's patchwork again, only with me less mobile and strong than ever before. I don't think I can commit to the writing I want to do while this fear hangs over me. I feel bad about it, like I should have done more before now.

Type rest of the post here

No comments: