What obsesses me lately? I can see, reading scroll p. 1 of this ms. (& others of the scroll pp.), that I have been concerned alternately with religion and health, but also w/ sex ending. I mean, sex has ended. The larger cultural idea that I have yet to put in words but wh. I believe, is that sex has ended for the many not for the few, who in their pride over it, rush the rest of us in a crowd. It isn't due to being on the slender side that sex has ended. If I were on the heavy side, a TV audience would clap & laugh if I met a man w/ whom to have love and romance and sex -- they would advocate it or me -- the larger women all behaving as each other's advocates in the slow process of attracting the right men and of disliking thinner women, thinking thinner women have it made in that regard and have no worries. As if we aren't sisters. The heavy women blew out friendships, like candles after dinner, out of a love for hypothetical men they had yet to meet. To admit love for us as women seems perhaps lesbian, and that they reject. There was no middle ground -- we are in love as friends and keeping our ties -- was not proposed. So, I gave up sex. I can't say it is for good or the good, but I can't reverse it. I find sex to be unjustifiably boring and wasteful, wanton, hurtful and needless. As if I might never recover my adjusted happiness-in-sex phase (or remember how many other times seemed to be going wrong), wh. I think I ought to do, when the current phase is over. When my religious phase is over, I will have learned deep lessons about it. I can see why people might rather avoid religion in the first place, but if you have made the mistake and gone toward it, and the people have shunned and maimed in the name of religion, the antidote for it is religious. It isn't spiritual. Unless you wish to be carved by them -- the men of addiction groups who vie w/o Christianity for your achievements and may hate you as women who aren't inferior -- the church is the place to live and be. There is a harsh center conquered by love, and the love is not worldly or even kind, but is born of pain.
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The other obsession lately has been with my work as a literary panelist in a grant competition. I would love to write more openly about it here, but the context for it is missing. I learned a lot from it, and all my selves integrated, and I was in strong form within the boundaries of taste, and I realized that I had learned to critique from years of workshop and writing, and that the talent is defensible and demonstrable and pertinent and should lead to a living -- would you agree that a talent of that sort should lead to a living? We as panelists worked in defense of talent for a month, and it was invigorating. We were not publishers in this capacity; nor teachers; we were closest to being readers, or the reader, but we have the expertise of publishers and teachers, not only the reader's desire. The reader reads out of wishfulness and isn't overly critical. We were sometimes overly critical but not of talent. Talent we championed. We worked in faith over talent. Publishers and agents lose that part of faith in dealing contracts. Talent is worth less to them than marketability. The reader, who works on desire, is consulted in absentia. They assume the reader has no desire for unfinished talent, though we as panelists did; we understood and appreciated it. They assume the reader cannot appreciate it. Perhaps the main thing I realized, as a writer on a panel, is that plot matters. How many years did I pretend to the other argument? That only sound and language and mild events not united mattered? Plot matters, bec. it causes a story to enter the memory. That memory of united event provokes memory of other elements as well, of mood, atmosphere, theme, characterization, and so forth. I will not become fanatical about plot, but I will write for it in the future.
What cheers me lately? Hope. I heard in church that we have no choice in the matter but to hope. The glass is half full.