I reached my 60th birthday a few days ago. Sporadically over the past few years I've opened my old journals—three-ring binders going back to 1972—and posted (or "re-posted" in a sense) some of those entries to LiveJournal. I've added a few letters I wrote in my youth, all in an effort to turn "Manifestos of the Moon" into what it was meant to be—a sort of biographical record of my emotional life. This re-posting is far from complete, but I've worked on it a bit more this morning.
For example this, from a letter I wrote to Nancy Cook in October,1980 (at the time I was working on an archaeology dig in Hartsville, Tennessee):
"I think of our fireplace back in Athens and imagine how I could be sitting in front of it with you—so cosy and warm, while the fire unblossoms vividly before us, flickering and twisting like a warm, warm dream. That is all I can have here—a dream of the fire and of you, the cold night whistling outside the house as I lay against you. The nights are the best time I have here, when I can be alone with my body and forget myself, and lapse out of existence into sleep, warm with the blankets."
Or this from a little over a year later, while traveling in the Ozarks:
"When I look at these mists that separate the trees near from the trees far, I realize how much in my life are separated the things up close from the things afar. Though my heart holds steady to the things far away and my mind, like a ship guided by an unknown captain, follows closely after—the tread tread tread of my feet bring me forever back to nearness. The eyes see far, as also they see near, but feet must be always nearby, stomping at the here and now.
So we come back to the old reality, that life is now; it is what happens right about our faces. What we see far off—that we can never have. For even when the hereness of our feet manage along to the far away land we once saw—it is a changed land, once again the old familiar here and now.
And when I look behind me, at the sudden nearness of this green hill as it rises so quickly from me, how I am struck by its presence, like a clairvoyance. It almost leaps at me. Reality wanders afoot, across the short, living space.
And the stars—there are no stars tonight, as dusk disappears—but last night, stars, vivid and near at hand. For on a dark night, when one is removed from the rampage of the city, distance disappears. The sky peels back, like an orange. The stars shoot down upon us, close, close, we can almost touch them, they are so near.
So the farthest away things, stars, become here and now in our faces."
Or this from a more troubled time five years earlier:
"I know now that there is a well of anger in every man, that occasionally springs up and brims over when frustration has flooded in too secretly and collected up. It is the frustration of trying to fit ourselves into lives, with the excess trimmed off and subverted. Too much that is vital in us is trimmed to size; too much is fatally denied. We cut off our arms and hands and half our penis, so that we can be slid smoothly into our slot. We bleed. Emotionally we are cut off, and we bleed. And the blood-water of frustration, life-frustration, wells up flooding and bursts over the rim in a show of anger.
But it's no cure. There is no cure, so long as our arms are cut off and we are stuffed in our slot. We bleed and we bleed and we bleed, until we are emotionally drained and all is pus, a cold-cereal pus inside us, and we are dead, and give the last twitches.
We are dead, we are dead. Snugly fit in our slots, cold, blood all drained out. We are dead, we are dead, bloodless dead. White cold pus all inside like mush, bones all rubbery like a penis, penis all wilted like a dried-out, plucked flower. Cold dead. Dead.
But still we think. Our brain still functions, like a computer of twitching reflexes. Twitch. Twitch. Twitch. And we pass another law. Twitch. Twitch. Twitch. And we build another city."