Fond of So-So Writing!

Notes from Alexis: The woman is full of “doing.” I find it fascinating how full of life she was at this time in her life.


Dearest Lex,

Well you are lucky to get a letter at all this week I have been so busy. I’ll start today and work backwards on the events.

I went to my first sign language class last night and loved it! Our teacher is a young woman, and she is smart and good at signing. She has been signing for 12 years and is a really good at teaching too (not all people can teach). There are eight students ranging from a eleven year old K., to T. who is blind. You read it right – blind. His wife is also a student and he came with her.

T. interrupts the class by talking all the time. When we get quiet and are practicing our signing, it bothers him. He has some college education and he keeps trying to be smart and witty. As a student, it irritates me. As a writer, I love it. His wife is an Indian, Klamath probably, and they are both young. She seems sweet and smart and shy.

The eleven year old K. came wearing her best red dress and knee socks and backless clogs with her hair all done up pretty. I fell in love with her. She is a super nice girl and never said a word but watched like a hawk.

B. is probably an OIT student with beard. Poor boy he was born too late to be a hippie. Very sweet, very shy and laughs at himself which is fun.

R. is OIT, very college, blonde, wore tight, tight Levi’s. She is bright, cheerful and outgoing. Planning a trip to England next summer and told us about three of her boyfriends, you got to love it.

Ko. is Greek or Spanish I would guess, and about 25. She spoke up when she couldn’t hear. I don’t think you can hold Ko. down. She had lost one contact so she couldn’t focus and see our signs. We gave her a bad time and told her to get glasses, as she said she is always losing one contact. She hardly moves her fingers and it is hard to read her. Like someone who writes tiny, tiny.

M. is the unknown quantity – 22 probably and quiet. Friend of Ko. but not whatever Ko. is – she’s pale and says nothing, but signs big and alive.

It was so much fun and I was totally worn cut by the time I got home. Night school is so much fun because everybody gets to know everybody.

Enclosed is a clipping from the newspaper. I couldn’t believe my eyes and had to go to it. The first night was not about a doctor but H. J. an engineer. I have all these prejudices, and one of them is that I never met an engineer I didn’t like. H. is an engineer and was a teacher at OIT for 18 years and I learned three things from him. He said if you learn one thing from a person or a book, that is good, so H. is three times good.

First, I learned to brush my teeth with soda and rinse after with peroxide. You thought I knew that and I did, but I forgot. He said after he did, he didn’t have plaque. The second was to exhale, then inhale as many little breaths as possible and hold as long as possible. That may be the greatest thing I ever learned, it made me feel like a new woman. The third thing was to get a stick about 24”-36” long, whatever feels right, and position your hands comfortably and exercise around your body with it – around your head and back. Then one hand pushes, the other pulls. Bones were cracking all over my back. Just Lovely!

Can’t wait to hear what those doctors will say. These sessions are every other week. I am going to study the species – “doctor” for my books. I wonder why the rest are going?

Then on top of all that, two elements of my book “Webs” finally resolved themselves and the story is unrolling in front of me like a carpet, writing, writing, writing – all the time writing. Have two more short pieces. One is good and the other so – so. I have become very fond of so-so writing. I mean, for God’s sake, you can’t write great all the time. Sometimes you just want to write mediocre. Not every thought is world shaking, right?

I have started chopping weeds out of garden with pickax to get my gut down. Tell me, doctor, why I would do that when I won’t exercise. One clue is I don’t like to get down on the floor. Have you noticed how so many exercises are on the floor? Now I don’t like anything on the floor from dance to sex. Exercise – forget it! I may be forced to invent exercises for people who won’t get down on the floor.

You may find this hard to believe but I only skim the surface when I write. What you get is the cream, but the milk is something, too.

I have hours of talk, but when I sit down to write I abstract it down to sensible, sense- making stuff. I long to over-talk, elaborate, sign and mime. I might even listen. We will have to get together one of these days. I am so desperate for conversation I might even come up if you can’t get down, or what? I always feel I am imposing if I come up but I don’t feel you are imposing when you come down, so what have we got here, some kind of identity crisis?

Got to run mail this so will write later.