I do not feel mentally well. I’m in a bit of anguish over what I’ve posted in this blog.

I’ve written about other people. I wonder if I’ve objectified people in Morocco in a way that I would not in Cleveland. And I’ve posted candid conversations Smith and I have had about friends’ opinions. Maybe I should keep this stuff to myself.

I want to write what I perceive, but I want to be fair as well. The notion of writing openly about everything for literary truth seems a guise to me today, like having my cake and eating it too.

I don’t know what to do about this. I don’t think there is a simple solution. And I’m at odds with Smith.

On the other hand, one of the lessons I get from Smith is that only by being totally expressive can I be fully creative. To censor oneself makes writing political calculation.

When Smith and I started our relationship, he warned me. He said he doesn’t censor himself about anything and that most people can’t handle it.

At the same time, he suspects that his openness has hurt him in his art career.

* * *

I read the above to Smith to get his opinion.

“When I write, I am brutally honest about myself, my faults, my past,” he says. “When I write about others, I try to be honest but fair and kind. I do not write to get even, or to hurt. I write to reveal, to get closer to truth. Anybody who writes, pre-censoring themselves, so as not to offend another person, is dishonest, and will never write great stuff. Don’t hurt needlessly, don’t cover up heedlessly. Writing for others’ needs is currying favor, is buying respect, is a lie not worth reading.”

“Thank you,” I say. “That makes me feel better.”

“Believe me. I couldn’t feel this more. It’s like all those people who give presents to buy friends. When the presents run out, the friends will turn on you. Besides, by writing honestly, you might actually help the other person.”

“I do know that I’ve never had actual dialogues until you.”

“I’ve never seen this, you know. I mean Keraouc was good at reconstructing dialogue, but I’ve never seen dialogue that’s been captured as it’s being said. It’s good stuff you’re doing. I’m embarrassed sometimes by it.”


“But I would rather be embarrassed than lose it. Some of our conversations show my faults. Plus I twinge sometimes with your genitalia crudities.”

“You’re the king of genitals.”

“Yeah, for a small one I use it large.”

“I mean that’s what gave you notoriety. Putting your genitals with the amerikan flag and a dead fish in the Peoples’ Art Show.”

“Yeah, but the reason I use my genitalia was because of fairness. Art always shows naked women, never naked men. I really like naked women. I like to use them in my collages. To be fair, I had to use myself. So my use of my own genitalia was a moral precept. I had no idea the notoriety that would result. Plus, to set the record straight, I put three non-offensive pieces in the first Peoples’ Art Show. John Hunter, who produced it, told Masumi Hayashi, whom I was going with, that he needed some outrageousness to jumpstart the show. And he asked her to ask me to put in more offensive pieces. So I did.”

“One of the things that attracts me to Wendy is that she can talk about her cunt being a cunt.”

“Or Katie Daley, her blowjob poem. She goes back to my using my genitalia to be fair. Men can talk about sex and conquest in crude terms. So why’s it wrong for women? Give me a break. The worst part of being alive, besides my lack of inner peace, is everybody’s a fucking hypocrite.”

“I think people are put in situations that makes them hypocrites.”

“No, their brains are wired that way, according to what I’ve read. Just like vampires can’t see themselves in a mirror.”

“I love how you mix fiction with reality.”

“What do you mean, fiction? Vampires are real. But, just like vampires can’t see themselves in a mirror… folk can’t see their own weakness, shortcomings, hypocrisy, bigotry. They’re all a bunch of ethical vampires who don’t appear in their own mirrors. There should be warnings on each one of their mirrors, just like on the side mirrors of cars when they say ‘things appear closer than they are.’ Their mirrors should say, ‘this is not the way you are.’

“Ha ha.”

“There’s almost nobody I respect. But thank God for that *almost*. I’ve read what you’ve written. It is GOOD STUFF. You would be eviscerating our blog, our journey, our experience, our education if you cut it or stopped.”

“And I do admit I’m wrong.”

“I don’t think you are wrong. I think you’re right about every single thing you’ve said so far. As far as the intellectual question, that’s been going on since time began. As far as the naked greed and need we see here, ditto. We are not plastic surgeons. We don’t do reality lifts. And we’re not babysitters.”

“Thank you, I think you’ve talked me out of my depression.”

“If the people who are offended aren’t secure enough in their own identities to handle it, they need to get to work on themselves.”

“Thank you. I feel 100% better. I really do.”

“You know, I actually know what I’m talking about. I think I’m morally right about this. Of course, I could be one of those ethical vampires. I could see this golden blue-eyed guy in the mirror… who’s got all his teeth!”

“Ha ha ha. Oh dear.”

“This it is the it it is.”

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