November 3, 1967
I'm very happy about that A+, but I really can't see what's so great about this diary. I took three tests today. In all my life I never crammed as hard as I did last night. I don't dare to guess how I did on them, but the trig test was murder. When I got home on Nov. 1 I found that I had become a semi-finalist for Ill. State Scholarships. Even though I hear that these come for a dime a dozen, I'm still pretty happy about it. I wrote a great poem the other day. One of these days I might even let somebody read it, but not yet. We're beginning "Lord of the Flies" in English. It's supposed to be pretty good. I hope so. Niagara Falls is beginning to bother me. I'm not sure about anything anymore. Should I decide to go there next year? What if it's not for me? These might seem like pretty soppy questions, but they're driving me crazy. I don't know any priests well enough to talk to about it. And whenever the opportunity has come up in the past I felt so phony that I just gave up. I think that I now know what a dilema really is. That's all.
November 4, 1967
I can't really think of anything to say tonight. I worked all day and my biggest thought all day was to tell my boss where to go. She isn't really that bad, but she gets on my nerves. One of these days I'm afraid that I'll tell her what I'm thinking. It would really shock her; because to her I'm just a nice, quiet, hard-working boy. I really would like to give her a few words, but I don't have the guts and I need the job. Tommorrow's Sunday and I'm going to sleep very late in the morning. I just finished reading "The Confessions of Nat Turner" by William Styron. It's great. It's the story of a Negro uprising in Virginia around 1830. Styron comes up with the goods. If I could write prose like that my world would be much more inhabited than it is now. It would be inhabited with words and phrases which when put together will make people stop and take a look. I'm willing to admit it. I want attention, but I want to earn it in a decent way. The only path open to me now is through writing. I'd like to be an actor too, but that's got nothing to do with this. It's late.
November 5, 1967
Today's been nothing. I slept late and went to eleven o'clock Mass. I came home and read and studied and goofed around the whole afternoon. After dinner we saw some of my grandfather's films from his fifth trip to Europe. They weren't very good, but they helped to pass an evening. My grandfather is the greatest. He's the type of person who, whenever he opens his mouth, you wish you had a tape recorder. Although he's 86 he looks, acts, and feeels like 60. He's leaving for Florida sometime this week. He's driving down. That's all for today.
November 6. 1967
I've been working all night at the library. School is still there. The football team is still undefeated. So what else is new? To tell the truth, absolutely nothing. I'm still thinking about Mount Carmel. the more I think, the more appealling it seems. The people outside of me are beginning to wonder if I'm serious about it. I think I am. My big problem will be when I try to come right out and say, "Yes, I want to go to Mount Carmel.' I don't think I'm ready to say it yet.
November 7, 1967
Being a Tuesday, nothing much happened today. I found out a lot of my grades for the quarter. I'm getting a B in everything except history, which is still a mystery. I'm expecting a C, but I'm not sure because we didn't do anything that he could possibly grade us on. For this quarter he'll have to be very subjective and I'm afraid that will not agree with my academic stomach, being the lousy sort of student that I am. We're reading "Lord of the Flies" for English. It's pretty vague, but at the same time it gets the message across. The symbolism is unbelievable. I'm enjoying the book very much because I never know what's going to happen next. Looking back at my first entry, I see that at the time, I thought this diary would be pain. By the way I've been rambling on, I now see that it is beginning to grow on me.
November 8, 1967
I now find myself in the same position I was in about 2 weeks ago. A history book report is due a week from today and I haven't even gotten the book yet. Approximately 14 days ago I swore to myself that this would not happen again, but here I am. I don't know what I'm going to do if I can't get ahold of that book. I've quickly been made aware of my one big communication problem. I can't hold a decent conversation with anyone. This is because I'm so phony when I'm talking that I make myself sick. It probably sounds abnormal or something for me to be cutting myself down, but that's how I feel and I know it's the truth. There are very few people who I can really talk to. In fact, I can count them on the microscopic divisions of one finger on one hand. I'm just not a conversationalist and that's all there is to it. That's a reason why I'd like to be an actor, I could speak other people's words as if they were my own, and I'd do it well. Oh well, my beer is full of tears enough tears for tonight.
November 9, 1967
I'm going out of my mind. It's just that simple. The world is beginning to close in on me and there's not a thing I can do about it. My communication gap is growing and I'm afraid it will soon be too wide to bridge. I have a history test tommorrow that is a sure failure. I can't decide about Mount Carmel. And the history book report is jumping on my spine and smashing me into an early grave. Not to mention the trig class which I'm beginning to sink in. Aside from this, I'm just fine. If I can make it past next Wednesday I think I'll survive for another two or three weeks. I read a really great short story yesterday. It's called "Flowers for Algernon", by Daniel Keyes, It's written in the form of a diary kept by a moron of some sort with an IQ of 68. He has an operation on his brain and becomes smarter but only temporarily. The author gets his point across. He doesn't really force the point on the reader, but he does it through the gradual development of the character. It was very interesting. There hasn't been much time for me to do anything but study and work and read. No television and very little radio, which I can live without sometimes. Some of the best times I've ever had are when I'm walking home from the bus around 5:30. the sky is dark, but not as dark as midnight, and I can hear the cars swooshing by on Glenwood behind my back. I walk around the corner and look at the dark, cavern-like ceiling over the park. I can hear my footsteps, the cars, and my thoughts flopping around in my head. I walk on because I know that this can't last and that there are more imminent things to do. But, that is the only time when I can really think. It's a very overwhelming feeling with the wind blowing in my face and thoughts of nothing churning around in my brain. I can't describe it.
November 10, 1967
I'm dead. And if I'm not really, I think I'd like to be. I can't find the book for history. The report's due on Wednesday. This is one situation I can't wriggle out of. The book has been taken out of the school library and never returned. Apparently, from my searchings, our school has the only copy of the book in existence. I should have looked to see who'd taken it from the school library, but a lot of good that does me now. I can't write anymore.
November 11, 1967
This day has been hell. I slept all morning and did noting all afternoon but worry about that history book and the way my next report card will look with a big fat F on it. I went to 1984 at CSF tonight, but I still couldn't get my mind off that book. I went with my sister, my brother and Mary Kay. She's a friend. They knew what I felt like and tried hard to get my mind on something else, but they failed. I've decided that the only thing I can do is to tell Fr. Bill I won't be able to turn in a report, and I know exactly how he will react. He won't scream or yell, he'll just give a faint smile, say "To bad," and give some sick replica of a laugh. I kind of wish he would scream or something.
November 12, 1967
I didn't do anything today.
Tommorrow I'll go to school. I don't cherish waiting all day until 6th period to tell him and knowing me I'm sure to pull a Murphy special. I'm really going to get screwed up. Maybe I'll be lucky and die in my sleep or something. All this may seem ridiculous and I even can't figure myself out either, but it's really under my skin. I feel like tommorrow's a dentist appointment and I know I've got sixteen million rotten teeth. I feel sick.
November 13, 1967
I'm saved. The book has shown up in the school library. After reading over the preceding entries I see how stupid this has all been and I'm no going to mention it again.
Other than praise God all day for turning up the book, I did nothing special today. The day dragged on like any other Monday do so I don't suppose that there's anything abnormal about this week.
November 14, 1967
I can't say much tonight because I've got a history abstract to write. I'll probably be up all night.
November 15, 1967
I was up all night, until 3 A.M. anyway. I must have been in a pretty lousy mood because I only wrote two typewritten pages and they took me all night. I was really in a bad way. Despite my 4 1/2 hrs. of sleep last night I've buzzed through this day as if I'd had ten hrs. of sleep. I think I've decided for sure that I want to go to Mount Carmel next year. Now all I have to do is find out how I'm supposed to apply for admission. Do I write a formal letter of application? I don't think so. I guess that I have to work through the priests here, probably Fr. Bill. I'm not sure that this is the right way to put it or not but, I think God's beginning to grow on me in a very good way. I think we're beginning to understand each other. I can't explain what's happened to me during the past two weeks, if anything has. It's hard to decide whether or not I just think I'm changing; there's so much I have to take under consideration. Oh well, I'm starting to confuse myself. For some reason I seem to be writing a lot and saying very little. Goodnight.
November 16, 1967
I can't help feeling like a fool for making such a big deal about that history book. It was a perfect example of the molehill and the mountain, not to mention the strange way my mind works. As far as I now know, I'm going to Lewis College this Sunday to see Albee's "The American Dream" and Wilder's "Our Town". I don't particularly care for Wilder, but Albee turns me on. I've read most of his plays, with the exception of two or three, and they are really great. I can't say I understand him completely because I get lost in the deepness, like in "Tiny Alice", but I get his messages. Albee is the type of playwright who doesn't beat around the bush with lacey gloves. He says what he has to say, says it interestingly, and leaves the audience to itself. When he puts on a play he hits the viewer in the face, but not hard enough to make an enemy out of him. I could ramble on about him for quite a while, but I don't think I will. To quote myself and, undoubtably, many other people, "Nothing much happened today." I'm very lucky that I think once in a while, because if I didn't, this diary would be empty. I don't do anything. I feel like bragging a little so I think I'll mention something about my poetry. I haven't written any lately and I hope I don't loose whatever knowledge of it that I had. Now that it's Autumn, thoughts naturally turn to nature. But I can't write poetry about nature and trees and flowers and streams because it's the most boring subject in the world, next to math. When I start to write about nature I get tangled up in cliches that make me sick. What is the air? Brisk. What does a stream do? It ripples. What do the mountains look like? Towering giants. And billions more. This is starting to bore me.