Last week I posted two letters from the journal I kept of my odyssey during my attempt to flee reality after the death of my mother in 1971 (dear Lord, 42 years ago! 42 years! How can that be?), I thought I'd post another entry from it.
57th day. Baton Rouge, LA 9:12 a.m.
Would you believe 82 degrees yesterday? That’s just a mite warm for mid-December, even in Louisiana. Today, as a pleasant change of pace, it is raining.
Baton Rouge, as capitol of Louisiana, has no particular character of its own, with the possible exception of the narrowest main street in the United States. As in many state capitols (this one also haunted by the ghosts of the Longs), the state is buying up whole tracts of the downtown area for construction of state buildings. I’m sure there are charming sections of the city, reflecting the dear dead days of the Old South, but I have yet to come across them. Later today (I’m doing laundry at the moment) I may look up the Chamber of Commerce and get some sort of directions.
The gulf between experience and expression continues to frustrate me. I’m great on experience, every little nerve end a’tingle, aware to the 9s. But to express these experiences in the hopes of sharing or even conveying them, I find myself with a set of mental children’s blocks with most of the vowels missing.
A hard admission, but I really doubt that I will ever be the great writer I had hoped to be. One hell of a lot more self control would be great help. A longer attention span would also be an asset. As would a more extensive vocabulary, a dashing personality, a radiant smile, and several million dollars. (If you’re going to dream, dream big.)
In fact, I find it—as the admission of my inability to write grows—almost impossible to write at all. Still, I’m not happy unless I’m frustrated, I suppose, and this is as good a reason for frustration as any other.
Fascinating Revelations on the Status of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as State Capitol & Progressive Representative of the New South: the Baton Rouge main library does not have a public restroom.
2:25 p.m. Still (to no one’s surprise) raining—a very weak, fits-&-starts type rain, as though it were preoccupied and just doing it out of habit.
Wiled away the afternoon at a movie, a luxury I don’t allow myself very often (only because there has been almost nothing at all to see since I left California).
At the risk of being redundant, I’ve come to the conclusion that one reason for not writing more is that I have very little to say when it comes right down to it.
There is an old church across the way, of the simple wedding-cake variety. Beige, very angular, with a tall ornate steeple—from its bell tolls the hour (although sometimes it gets a little carried away, ringing ten times for 5:30) in a very non-melodious “Clang.” It looks like the type of church one sees in the movies, where all the natives have gathered to escape the typhoon, only to have the roof fall in on them.