January 1, 1968
What a way to begin the year, on the backside of the paper. Could this be an omen? I don't dare to guess.
I could write an extremely sentimental essay on "Reflections of the Passing Years". Such an old man like myself could surely donate a bit of wisdom from experience. My 17 years on this planet have not been completely devoid of happenings, but, then, they've not been packed tight with them either.
In Innocents Abroad Mark Twain makes fun of all the people on the ship who had made a point of making a journal so to preserve the memorable moments of the trip. The voyagers were almost sure to forget the journal as soon as their fascination with their own writing began to wear off. What I'm trying to say is that the same is happening to me. There's really very little to talk about, now that I'm several months out to sea. My problems make for very dull reading, and it seems that's all I'm ever thinking about. Goodnight.
January 2, 1968
Tedium. That's a marvelous word which I don't think I've ever used in this before. It's a wonder because it is a perfect description of most of my time. That is, any time other than right now. I'm busy with the homework that's due for tommorrow. I'll probably be up 'til midnight, but I deserve it.
January 3, 1968
School began today. It was a terrible day. I spent it going from class to class and worrying about a certain something. I'm going crazy. Things are to big and the Institution has a wall of lead around it. It's impossible to break into, if you know what I mean.
We've been working on a jigsaw puzzle and have finished it today. The whole family has contributed to it. It took quite a while because nobody has had time to sit down with it. We just walked by and put a piece in if we could. Its an abstract painting and doesn't mean anything, but it's colorful. Maybe I'll hang it on a wall someplace.
I'll probably end up with ulcers.
January 4, 1968
Thursday. I don't hate school all the time, just once in a while. There are times when I just can't wait to get back into the classroom, and there are others when I get sick of the thought of it. It has a lot to do with what I think the teacher thinks about me, and it changes from day to day. It might sound stupid but that's how it works. I can't honestly say that there is one teacher I don't really like. Of course, I have to rant and rave about them but that's only social garbage. I'm just talking about this because I don't have anything to say. The night is running short and so is my supply of sleep. Bon Soir.
January 5, 1968
What a hell of a day this has been! An inventory of my present situation shows that my dad is mad because I dented the car a little, you can hardly see it but its still there; the other car wasn't damaged, except for some scratched paint that I couldn't see in the darkness but I don't think there was any damage at all; (I'm getting tangled up in this sentence so I'll break a few grammar and punctuation and structure rules and start a new sentence.) The big deal about the car is that very little was damaged besides my ego.
The car is just one of my many problems. If I didn't have problems these pages would be blank. I've got to get me off the subject of me, although I've got to admit it's fascinating.
What else happened today? Well, I got hung-up, pushed down, rolled over, stepped on, and wrung out the usual amount of times. Other that that, nothing.
My sister said she visited Fr. Gerry at the hospital today. I've got to go see him myself one of these days. I owe him a lot, in many different ways. He's great. His class is usually just a bull session, but it's like a bright candle on a foggy day.
My friend, Linda from the library, turned in my name to Sr. Rochelle at St. Francis as a "possible" for the musical. It's not that I don't want to be in it; I just will not accept some little "ornamental" part. I dislike feeling like some inanimate prop, and that's what Sr. Rochelle does to me. She is the epitomé of all that I hate in nuns. My job keeps me from being in the play also, but its minor. I might say more about this tommorrow seeing that it concerns two of my favorite subjects, myself and acting. Right now it's bedtime. Goodnight Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.
January 6. 1968
Saturday. I got up, went to work, loafed around on the job, came home at five o'clock, did my homework, ate dinner, and here I am. I don't feel very inspired. I'm beginning to feel the pressure.
Sr. Rochelle is a self-righteous, patsy of a nun. Were she not dressed in her habit I'd have her turned in as a con-man because that's just what she is. She pleads and cajoles, and when you agree, she denies your existence. Thank God I'm not a woman; then the only means open to me would be to become a nun. In my thinking, there is no level of comparison between nuns and priests. Why am I beating this dog? Because I feel like it. I can't condemn people very well. The sarcasm just isn't in the right places. But I'm learning quickly. I read a poem by Langston Hughes the other day. Take it for what it's worth.
I could tell you if I wanted to/what makes me what I am/
but I don't really want to/and you don't give a damn.
January 7, 1968
Rochelle called today. She almost convinced me that I should go out for the play, but when I mentioned that my job and school keep me very busy she got snippy and that was that. I got very angry but didn't blow my cool. I just went along with her and attempted to end the conversation as soon as possible. She has a "squeeze" method on the telephone. She asks a question she knows I can't or won't answer and the barren silent period of three or four seconds forces mer victim into saying something. I said, "I'm sorry Sr., but I'm pretty busy right now. I'll think about the play." She said, "Allright but I'd better see you there." I said, "Uh-huh, goodby." and hung up. I could be arrested for what I really wanted to say. But "typical good little boy" me didn't do a thing that wasn't 100% proper. I'm ashamed of myself. I had my chance and blew it, but I'm sure there will be many more. God knows I'd like a good part in the play, but He also knows I haven't got a chance with Sr. Rochelle casting it. She uses
The only reason she called me was to find another "great damn fool" to play the fall man in her production. When I go on the stage, if I ever get there, I want to feel like a person, not a kitchen table or throw rug.
By now I could have used a billion exclamation points, but I haven't. I have an aversion in my writing to any extraordinary flash of emphasis, besides Sr. Rochelle isn't worth the extra ink.
January 8, 1968
My days are becoming very unreal. Sometimes they are nightmares and other times they are just vague caverns in the eye of abstraction. In other words they're weird. Things aren't so simple anymore. I'm playing for keeps now. I've been thinking about the seminary, wondering what it's like and if I'll ever get there.
I'm trying to catch Fr. Finian in the Careers Room but it's never open. I've got to find out about applications for Mt. Carmel. When people ask me where I've applied for college my heart shrinks inside me. I know I should have begun this at least a month ago, but I haven't really been sure of myself. I can't just sit back and think everything will fall into place because I'm the only one who could possibly know where the pieces fit. I've got to take what they call "positive action". I'm feeling very typical tonight.
Judy Collins is playing now and everything is quiet. I like it this way. It gives me time to think about things. I've written a ridiculous poem about things. It stinks but I need something to occupy my time.
After reading it a few times it becomes totally irrelevant to everything. It's junk, but I wrote it so I can't destroy it. I'm very vain. Of course I really think it has some value, and I guess that's all that matters.
"Chanson Innocente" by e.e. cummings is undoubtably one of the most beautiful poems of the twentieth century. Goodnight, mon auditeur.
January 9, 1968
Tuesday. I worked until nine at the library. Typically nothing, typical boredom.
I found out today that Central is putting on "Funny Girl". It never fails. When St. Francis finally gets a play someone has heard of, Central or West top it with some block-buster. Last year St. Francis had "Cindy" (?); Central and West pop up with "My Fair Lady" and "West Side Story" respectively. I'm listening to the record "Funny Girl" right now and I think I've discovered the reasons for all of this. 1) Lack of money - public schools naturally have more money, but that doesn't mean SFA can't attempt some "artsy" low-budget show, such as "Stop The World, I Want To Get Off". 2) Lack of talent - SFA just doesn't have it. Male leads are too hard to find because there is seldom a role which requires any extraordinary amount of talent. The character of Nick (in "Funny Girl") requires only the ability to smooth out a few notes and keep them moderately low. However, if SFA tried out every girl in the school it could not find one who could even approach the role of Fanny. It's doubtful that Central will find an equal to Barbara Streisand, but they will at least find someone who can hit a few notes. SFA will be lucky if it can find some very rough duplicate of a Judy Garland/Ethel Merman combination in one girl. (To qualify that statement I'll say now that I loathe both ladies.) A Barbara Cooke or Julienne Cienkowski is a rare occurance; both girls are bound to make it big, especially Julienne. Both girls have tremendous voices and a remarkable presence on stage.
I think I've talked enough for now. Besides I'm at the bottom of the page.
January 10, 1968
Semesters are bouncing towards me down the rosy path. I stand inert. Nothing happening. A negative statement.
Things on top right now are; 1) application for the seminary, 2) semesters, 3) SAT, 4)history abstract (haven't got the book yet), 5) the library.
After I get the application and SAT straightened out I hope to keep myself above water. I can say, without joking, the idea of death has crossed my mind, but timidity prevails and I rot inside. "Do not go gentle into that good night..." "...death shall have no domain" and all that stuff. I am becoming sick, so sick. Things are so big, so hard. Scarlet tape is hanging from the walls and is slowly devouring me. Depression is not the word, there is none, no word. I'm tired. Things might seem trivial to "outsiders" but they're mountains to me, so big, so hard, so sick. I'll have to talk to my analyst, He'll tell me all about it, maybe. He's been out of town for a while. Goodnight.
January 11, 1968
In times of boredom I can always pick up this book and tell myself all about it. When I've got problems I can always do the same. But it doesn't work very well. Plaster-white paper with horizontal lines doesn't respond very sympathetically. You tell it something and it just sits as though it doesn't really care. I don't think it does. I put some eternal question to it, and nothing happens. I prod, and scream, but I guess I'll have to be satisfied with my own ignorance, because surely this paper will add nothing.
January 12, 1968
The last day of the week. A history report is due Tuesday, haven't got the book. Someone took it from the library without checking it out. I'm in a worse position than last time, but I'm not going to say much about it. Only, this time it's not really my fault, but that doesn't help much.
I worked all night. I wish something would happen to that place; good or bad I don't really care, just something. It gets so monotonous. The old ladies come in with their bloated shopping bags and leave with fresher material, which will be stale again in one or two weeks. It's the same, the same.
I had a run-in with Wally Dimmick in gym the other day. He started getting the way he gets now and then. I tried to ignore him but...He's got the muscle. I tried to find a word that I could call him, and not lower myself to his level. I very firmly, but quietly, called him a bastard and walked away. I think it was a bit effective. The whole gym class saw it. It's one of the many things that don't bother me at all, and never happen very often anyhow. Goodnight.
January 13, 1968
"Do not go gentle into that good
These lines have entered my mind and smashed up the interior pretty well. Like a ricocheting bullet in a cave. I don't know why, maybe just because I'm down today. Maybe just because I'm on a Dylan Thomas kick. I don't know. The big triumvirate in my life right now is Dylan Thomas, the new Beatles, and Judy Collins. They have a superb ability to "tell it like it is". Depth is what they have. They get inside and knock me to pieces. They force me to think, and I've been doing a lot of it lately.
That poem about things is pretty bad, but I think it tells me what I want to say. I've written better, but they won't let me print them again. I mean, they served their purpose once, and that was all. I'm not a poet anyway. If I had my perfect wish I'd be a bum who did nothing but think all day; or I'd be a taxi cab driver. This thing about being a priest is pretty good too. If people are as confused as I am they need help. I've got to see if I can help them. But first I've got to help myself, which isn't easy. I'm looking for something to guide myself with, other than fear. I want reasons, questions, and at least partial answers. From my point of view now I don't see what I could possibly do to help anyone. I've got to find the questions before I find the answers. Right now my life is vacant, save for a few phases and traumas. At this moment I could not possibly "rage against the dying of the light". There is no light; it cannot die. I'm a naked soul, stripped down to the dangling nerves of consciousness. I'm floating in between all things. I'm like the spirit which cannot be hit by raindrops even though they are falling all around me.
This is getting bad. Tomorrow is a day of sweat. Sunday is church day. I hope my analyst has returned. I need him.
January 14, 1968
Not much today. I went to church but the Analyst was asleep. Only one ear was open and very little communicated between us. I'm beginning to see that I couldn't survive without Sunday.
I went back to the CSF library. The book wasn't there.
The rest of the day dragged by. I watched television, the Packers-Raiders game. It was a pretty lopsided game. The Packers had everything going for them, the Raiders had very little; it was that simple. I'm not that interested in football, but the game helped me to pass a dreary afternoon.
I'm not really looking forward to school tomorrow, but I guess it's got to come.
January 15, 1968
Monday. School. Suffering.
I don't hate school, just what I thought I had to do all day. it took the greater part of the morning and part of the afternoon to work up the courage to tell Fr. William that I don't have an abstract for him tommorrow. He didn't show up for class, and right now I thank God that he didn't. I found a huge article on the book and used it as a base. I've got to get to work on it now. Goodnight.