Diary of Marie Stanley: July

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Sunday, July 1

How have I earned so much misfortune? After one set-back after another, I’m here. Why? Lest I end in total breakdown, I write against the clock as fast as I can, so I might be known for what I was, and briefly — a poet and penniless.

Monday July 9th

I never feel like writing down the inane details of my ridiculous life anymore. Every day I think about killing myself. So I should write a suicide note every day. Just to keep the soliloquy in shape. Is there a certain thematic to this desire to die, or is it just about everything?

Half the time I set aside to write I spend in a slough, staring at the wall. I have memorized every flicker and crack of the wall by my desk. Distracted in my mind by the injustices that I as a young genius am forced to contend with…

“Why wasn’t all her time given to her, to be spent perfecting her craft? Why was there no-one to support her in this? Because she wasn’t actually ‘supposed to be’ doing this ‘genius work?”

“She had wealthy friends, but they were still too young to be her patrons. They were still dozing at college, taking long idle European vacations, or investigating Eastern religion in an all-expenses-paid year off. How could they understand her predicament. They didn’t need money as much as she did.

“How could she write when she was actually hungry? She couldn’t afford to buy the books she needed. She had to read and re-read and re-read those she already had.”

Wednesday July 18th

Depression in extremis. Heat & humidity make me wish I were dead. I never sleep a night through. There is a shadow on my ceiling at night I can’t stop looking at.

I saw this shadow for the first time the night I realized my papers had been burnt up. I have gotten up close to this spot, but then you don’t see the eye. It’s just a little blur, nothing. But from the vantage point of my bed it is very distinctly a death’s head looking at me. Is it a face that wishes to become more perfectly realized?

I have tried to destroy it. I went out into the courtyard and played with the light-fixture from whence shone that light. But the head soon reappeared in another form. Within the vehicle of the unalterable stream of light, that shines all night from an unreachable source.

Thursday, July 19th

My nervous irritation is such that I cannot read anything without leaping up and feeling ready to put “into action” — whatever that might mean — what I’ve just read. It makes me lose pleasure in reading. I want to sink back into reading, but I feel desperate to write something — yes that’s the action — as beautiful and inspiring as what I am perceiving.

I can see my nerves are shot, I’m taking in too much information, I cannot concentrate, the brain is firing too readily. For example I used to love reading the book reviews, now I am crazy with jealousy and longing, ‘I’ll never be in there.’ To go to a movie or a play only antagonizes me, I want to create something, not be an audience.

The world takes on a purely symbolic significance as things force their hundred-weight of intolerable meaning I am irreparably outside the divining of.

All these morbid thoughts reminded me of Nausea, by Sartre, I haven’t read it since I was sixteen, on acid, visiting a commune.

Monday July 25th, 3 AM

Death paranoia all-pervasive. Just too aware I might die at any instant.
 Taking Valiums to fall asleep and stay asleep, how much longer can that last.

“For every force emitted, an equal and opposite force is evoked.”

Went back to the shop today and copied that out from the Dion Fortune. 
The owner who looks exatly like my old psycho friend TED unbelievably said HIS name was TED, and told me I could take the book, and pay him next week. I thought that was pretty interesting, but still said No Thanks.
 I don’t want him to expect me to ‘pay’ in some other way.

I know now it was death at my door, paying a call. Ghosts of myself wandering —
- little girl, and old woman — ringing at the doorbells of total strangers.
 As in the life of an author? I become possessed by these dark things I can
 so well-elicit.

July 28th

Was turning off West 4th onto my block on the way home from work and saw Ted, my Ted look-alike come out in front of his shop. He looked at me and smiled and nodding. I turned around and saw him watching me, so I had to walk all the way down the block to Bleecker, turn and wait, so he would not see where I lived.

Started reading NAUSEA again. The isolation of Antoine Roquentin so mirrors my own.

July 29th

Came out of my apartment and the Ted-occultist was standing on his stoop, looking down Jones Street and saw me come out of my building. Great! Now I have that to worry about too. Dr. Lofft always told me I had an uncanny ability to attract psychopaths.



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