“If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time.” Marcel Proust
THE BOY FROM ENGLAND
IN HER YOUNGER DAYS: from my journals, 26 November 1988
Letter to R. in Paris: “Your letter came to me on a day when I called for you very strongly from my heart. I had been at an office doing magazine work & feeling so far from the art. I was composing a letter to you on the subway home…
‘Dear R., I feel so sad, so lonely for the art & the friends who understand me…’ And I came home to your precious letter.
This letter will seem disconnected because I am disconnected. There are stops & stops & in-between there are low points and high points. This week I will send some little presents to J. then in another week I will send D’s little painting and the photograph to you.
This week I bought a new CD [player] (because my other one died). So, I’m back to music—to the Theresa Stich-Randall. I’ve been looking for the book—Brock—but so far no luck. The problem with looking for a book is this: I go into a bookstore and looking for a new love I come across old loves and so I buy them. It’s a very expensive road to a new love. I bought these two books: Destroy, She Said, Marguerite Duras & Early Poems Of Charles Bukowski.
I’ve been doing a lot of the magazine work. I make money & I don’t know where the hell it disappears to.
In a week the boy from England* is coming to stay with me for five weeks. We have become friends. He writes to me. We talk twice a week. I’m a little afraid but the best things to happen have always had the fear.—Have I told you I want to leave this country? Well, I do. And it terrifies me, but it also gives me strength—I told you this letter would be disconnected.
Today I have for painting. And I ran 6 miles in Central Park. Now I’m listening to the Eurythmics. I think: I am not in love, but I can only think in English time. The last letter I wrote to him I included part of your last letter to me—he feels like we do. So I make one artist meet another. We are all crazy for solitude. We are all crazy.
This last magazine job I quit. I was crazy with aggravation—the work was garbage. Who the fuck cares what they pay you if it ain’t what you want. Sometimes the responsible part of me gets sick and tired of being responsible. I hate this work that keeps me from the canvas. But that’s a meager excuse. It’s easier to hate the jailor than to steal the keys and get the fuck out. Maybe someday I’ll be brave enough to escape. Do you think I can do that?
Getting very drunk is a brilliant release—suddenly the chains have exploded & I’m left free & slightly unsteady in front of the canvas. I’ve been to three lectures at the Metropolitan Museum on Frida [Kahlo]. In a week or so, I go to a performance piece on Frida. There is all this stuff on Frida & how come nobody knows her still? I feel like crying because I can’t read your book.
I have an idea to do a painting. When Frida had the accident & was naked & covered w/gold & blood, but like Marilyn I have to see her as a hero—not a martyr. So, maybe it will take me awhile.
Tonight I do some drawing. God, I want to be out of here, away from here. I want to take the space and scent of me to another place & work w/out the damned history.
I’m reading Proust again—this time very slowly. Now, I listen to my new CD—the soundtrack of Les Ailes de Desir. I’m rendered helpless R.,I always cry. I have seen the film nine times. When he [The Mister] comes here we’ll see it again. I told him: “This is a test. If you are going to love me, this is the test.” What is it about this film that pulls my insides outward? That makes me turn in the street to look for the spirit? I think of D. now, I think he really loved this film
I’ve done a gouache of the courtyard at Chartreuse, the cypress where the little cat is buried. Only I’m not happy with it. The spatial quality is lacking. I think I need to be there again. Vincent [Van Gogh] was able to bring the sketches home & turn them into paintings. I should not be thousands of miles away from what I want to paint.
Do you think there’s a little space for me in France? Can I travel, like the snail, slowly with my work atop my back & finally settle in a country & be a butterfly again?”
*The boy from England turned into The Mister. He came to stay and it will be 21 years in May.