From my previous post you know I’m working on editing my mother’s book. Today, I thought I would throw up some captions of her journals.
I started writing this book because I was mad I’m a woman, the same age as you, and yet you, as a man in our society, have it differently than me. For centuries women have dealt with this double standard. Well, my dear Mick, it is a new day. I woke up this morning having a real sense of two things. First, the finality and shortness of life. Second, a need to document my feelings before they go away or change to something different. As much as we like to think this won’t happen, it does, just as quick as leaves change color and snow turns the grass white.
These younger women want it all. But they won’t have it a lot of times because men know this truth and won’t allow it. They are afraid to be intellectual, spiritual or caring because that could be misconstrued as “not being fun”. What’s a woman if she isn’t fun? If she seems weak he can be the “knight in shining armor”. If she is equally able to take care of herself and her life, she is too much of a challenge and it will puncture his ego a little. If he wants a co-partner he will have to bow to her demands, sulking, manipulation to not only get her “way”, but to “control” him and keep him in line. That will never work.
How come famous guys my age would date a woman much younger but if we, the older chicks, dated men that age it wouldn't work? Why why don't men your age date women our age? Huh? Why, Mick, why? Do tell.
I'll tell you why. Because we do change. Women like us are no more like younger women. They know it and feed on this truth. But they hide behind diets, face creams and plastic surgery, because they know, one day, they will be like us; the castrated women. We’ve changed. We’ve become something we don’t know anymore because we didn’t document the change and find out where it occurred. But I did. I found the answer to why older men date younger women.
I finally came around again to the idea that everyone had their turn to put down on the printed page how they felt. Holden Caufield, Jesus Christ, Anais Nin, Herman Hesse, Bob Dylan and now dammit, it’s my turn. My introspective. I’m 37 and when I first got this idea I was 27. If I’ve learned nothing else I’ve learned I should have put it down and sent it away years ago.
If you want to know where I’m from it’s Indianapolis. And if you think I have a repressed need to be Kurt Vonnegut or Dan Wakefield you’re wrong except that God Bless You Mr. Rosewater is probably one of the best, most to the soul books, I have ever read. In some book Kurt Vonnegut writes, and I’ll remember always, “If nothing else, be kind”. Is this right Kurt?
Anyway, I’m in good writer’s company being from Indianapolis, lest not forget Booth Tarkington. I guess I’ve always written down my thoughts. I remember when I was eight and wrote a silly, little four line poem and kept it for a long time. It makes me somewhat sad to remember that poem. I wonder what ever happened to those four lines.
(In 1961 at the age of 18 my mother began writing a fictional book which paralleled her own life. She gave birth to a character, Jenny, who lived her exact life, which she commented on in prose.)
Anyone, she felt, could do whatever they wanted. No one else was really concerned. She knew, beyond what everyone had told her, that she could live alone and not need companionship and despite all others’ beliefs, she would have no fear. If she met a certain type of person and was with them for a very long time she would act as they thought desirable. This was not being herself and she knew it. It was really funny people thought of her as a non-stop talker because in reality, she was actually a quiet person. However, around people she hardly knew, she would talk on and on about irrelevancies. She felt she had no other way to cope. If she did not talk to prove herself they would surely think her a dunce.
And now, today, she sat in a friend’s house in the woods, about four miles from campus, drinking a beer at eleven o’clock in the morning. She did not usually drink so early if even that much at night. But today was different and she knew before the day was over she would be drunk. She hated that word too, because she felt herself quite a lady. She did not want to cry. She hardly ever did, but I guess she knew it was better for her health to let it all come out than keep it inside. This was what she always did. There was no one person which she felt so sure of anymore that she would let them know exactly how she really felt and so she kept to herself except on occasion of alcoholism. Then she would say too much and it always came out incoherent and the person being with her was confused by her personality. But this, she felt, was better than sitting and not knowing what the other person felt. It was better than being silent and trying to analyze what the other person wanted to say and felt yet could not.
And the streets were quiet. And alone no one walked that way that day. The music kept getting louder and her feelings were become insurmountable. She had to show emotion. But how could a person who had been brought up in her type of environment be such a stoic human being? She cared about nothing, she wished she did. She cared so little about people and things. Especially things. She felt they were completely unworthy of her observance or feeling. And yet things were nearly perfect. For once, she felt very free, very independent of everyone and had no stipulations.