Dear Mick; or Waiting on a Friend…

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.

December 2007

Dear Mick,
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.

May 1981

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.

Summer 1964
(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.

Change…

My mother died four years ago at the age of 64. I was the sole heir of her fortune, which if you follow my writing, you know by now is the sum of over forty years of journals, pictures and an entire completed book entitled, Dear Mick; or Waiting on a Friend(Thoughts on Life and Love). The book is told through letters she wrote to Mick Jagger through the years. Upon finding the journals, I was completely overwhelmed, especially since in the last year I have found many secrets of her life begging the question, how well do we really know even our closest friends and family members? A simple Post-it note dated August 16th, 1996 explains the purpose of her journals.

“Peter, I take for granted sometimes that I can pick up a telephone and call you anytime I want. I hate calling people long distance because it validates the space in between. As for calling you, if its when you’re gone and I leave you a long message, especially if it pertains to a beautiful snow or old movie, you get very angry. I think of things to tell you every day, but afraid I will cause anger and combustion of the answering machine. Therefore, my journals. Allow them someday to serve as a telephone call. Not long distance though, because as my son, you will forever be in my heart every second of whatever we find defines eternity. Mamamutra!”

I have spent the last year consolidating these journals with hundreds of scraps of paper littering her basement with jotted little notes such as “The spirit of man is cruel if he forgets the wonder of being a child and experiencing Santa Claus for the first time.” I will never know what occasions inspired her to write some of these notes or thoughts, but hopefully, by weaving together the journals and thoughts together into a book, readers will be able to learn a secret she unearthed only at the very end through her own writings. “The human experience, especially woman’s, is lonely and alone, independent from others needs but undefinable and definitely unexplainable to any man. But of course, as they are quick to tell you, their experience is independent from definition too. Probably true, but I still think Eve made a grave mistake for the rest of us. Then why do we need people? Ahh…because the memories are ten times worth the experience itself.”

I have retitled her book Press Conference; Thoughts on Life and Love, a reference to my mother’s years in therapy, which in person she advocated but in her journals secretly unveiled, “Therapy is a waste of my time. No real life questions are answered. It is all just a press conference of my actions.” In the next few weeks, as I finalize construction of the book, I will be posting segments for my readers to enjoy. By spending hours upon hours, sitting in my dark basement late at night, reading these journals, I have learned a very important lesson. Maybe the most important lesson…Life is but a mystery. And we are on borrowed time as it is…

Change

To My Only True Love…

The apartments on Fall Creek and the near 52nd
where we came and went on weekends
are the same.

The old, drab rooms in yours are still there,
perhaps occupied by other lovers now
and someone sits on my old balcony
with champagne and Robert Frost

The rooms and balconies are still the same
but we have changed.

No more the winning smiles,
Your happy whistling as you exit from a small, blue car
with a bottle of Scotch in your hand
and a hope for an evening in your heart.

The hasty song or listening,
The happy stare of love,
The young heart leaping in the dark room.

And no more the wild young man
who talked too quickly and too loud
of love and life,
ideals he wished to give away.

Seldom the morning sun catches you
lying in bed late anymore.
Seldom the birds in Holcomb Gardens
or any grass
see you stretched out upon the grass.

I pace unfamiliar streets now
attempting new solutions to old problems
and the answers seldom come.

But there was a time in the Fall and Winter
of the year when our problems seemed small,
money and things were nothing
and wine, poems, nights together
and the streets in Indianapolis
were our whole world.

Sometimes I’m sorry for feelings once known,
it doesn’t justify the years you spend remembering.
I was always shy about you loving me.

But I am happy still
that even for a moment
you were thrilled in my direction
and dreamed of my in the daytime.

For maybe six months of love
is worth the lifetime you spend looking.

And White Castles.
And wine in vistas in Brown County.
And knowing you love me.
Is enough.

Barbara Joan Sconce