[The idea of appearing to a certain young woman as I see myself forced me to come up with a plan to circulate some of my written material to selected individuals on an occasion where I knew she would be present. The opportunity that would serve this goal best turned out to be Christmas dinner at a friend’s house.
I had known by this time that the target of my attention would go to my friend’s apartment early on Christmas morning to help with preparations. I offered to meet them during the course of the morning with a delivery of fresh junk food.
The evil plan I had already devised the previous week was to hand each of the ladies a neatly stapled booklet as “just something to read” with their Kentucky Fried Chicken and delicious Portuguese egg tarts. I would then patiently wait for a response – perfectly aware of the possibility that it could be negative. (I suspected that I would be able to have a conversation about the material at the New Year’s party a week later.)
The initial plan was to compile excerpts from all three volumes of “The Personal Agenda”. This process began on Wednesday, 15 December 2004 with revisions and improvements being made at a feverish pace.
By Friday, 24 December, however, I threw my arms in the direction of the ceiling and at 01:45 wrote in my notebook: Compromise – appear as the author of … excerpts from the FINAL CHAPTER.
And so it happened that three women each received on Christmas morning 2004 as provisions for the day a Kentucky Zinger, a fresh pastry, and a freshly printed copy of “Excerpts from the FINAL CHAPTER” (with tables of contents of the three volumes).
The review process has, as usual, led to new insights.]
THURSDAY, 23 DECEMBER 2004
I am going through old material at the moment. Two things are abundantly clear:
1. I have been most miserable in the past ten-plus years at times when I did not write, and the happiest at times when I did write.
2. Times when I had to make a social appearance were periods of intense self-examination and uncertainty about who and what I am, and as who and what I appear to the community.
You cannot appear as a writer if you do not have a book in your hand, or on a public bookshelf. Book on the computer? Not good enough. Printed manuscript on your desk? Not good enough …