You don’t want a little old lady in tennis shoes running naked down the street !

Notes from Alexis: Worried about the “thinking brain cells” drying up, and writing like a crazy woman.


Dearest Lex,

I was so glad to get your letter, and also glad to hear the house is progressing so well. You won’t know what to do with yourself when all you have to worry about is the daily routine.

J. and P. went back to her folks in Utah for a week, and I kept their dog, Lady. She is a sweetheart but she never took her eyes off me the whole week. It finally got so funny we just laughed. Mercy what do you suppose dogs see when they look at me? Then she was so bored – no cats, no kid, no TV and nobody doing nothing. The last day before they came back she just gave up and sort of despaired of them ever coming home, and it was pitiful. I have never seen a happier dog in my life than Lady when I took her home.

Well, sign language is progressing like mad and I can now do humpty-dumpty. You aren’t impressed? I have such a hard time impressing anyone. This class has turned out to be a weird one. I am the only one who has been to every class, and I’m the only one who works at it, and therefore I’m the only one who has learned.

It always amazes me that grown up people are surprised that they have to work to learn. Everyone wants the easy out, and they complain and they moan. I saw it with my students and you with yours. How in the world teachers teach anyone anything against such a log jam of resistance is beyond me. I am a learn-aholic as we both know, so it is outside my ken, but one does ponder.

Well, I’ve started another book. I haven’t stopped Webs, I am working on both at the same time. One of the real advantages of not being published (and I’m sincere) is that I am free to write whatever I want. No one is saying, write this or don’t write that, or that it isn’t sale-able, etc.

I can see now that I write strangely. Well what would you expect from someone as strange as I?

Here is my newest thing, the “Book Report.” I get a chance to write witty, creative things about other peoples’ books. I have three or four other books in mind to review, but they may all be old, or horrendous, or something, and all out of print. I chortled when I got the idea of reviewing, and have been snickering to myself ever since.

Here is my first “Book Report.” I found a dear little book called “Courts and Criminals” written in 1912 and suddenly there was my new book to review.

I have read so many dear and peculiar, weird and wonderful books, so I decided to write book reports about them, not so much with an eye to having them read as much as to hang a story on, don’t you know?

“Phase I” of writing is still just so much damn hard work: wedge, wedge, wedge. I like it, but it tires me out, and there is nothing creative about it at all. I am kept towing the line by the pictures hanging there before me (in my mind) and my great desire to get it all down.

I have been living in Benton, Texas for the last month (again in my mind) and I can see everything, every bush, every grain of sand, and every building, so I am haunted, anxious to get it all down. But it tires me and I need something creative to keep me from running amok. You don’t want a little old lady in tennis shoes running naked down the street (as in me), not a pretty sight.

Dad, of course, is non-plussed. The idea of three books on the shelf and two in the hopper, boggles his mind. Once again my modus operandi overwhelms him. It seems a pathetic output for 51 years to me, and I’m not impressed with the fact that it all has come together since April. (It’s the 51 years that stick in my craw).

I have a terrible feeling of urgency: a certain knowledge that I have to get all the mind parts down now, while I am still functioning. Later, after all the thinking cells have dried up I can sit around and needlepoint, I suppose. I think that is why I am not uptight about Frameworks (the needlepoint project). Time enough for that later.

You may have to insulate your pottery studio with my unpublished manuscripts. I cannot explain why I haven’t any urgency to publish, and God knows if I don’t, then who? It will probably all work out some way, somewhere, but I can’t divide my mind at this point and worry about it.

I go again tonight to the doctor seminars, and if I tell you they are beginning to pall, will you be surprised? I have enjoyed them and I’ve learned a lot, so how come I’m not thrilled? There is something there that worries at the back of my mind.

The funny part is that I met H. J. who is putting them on, and now for some reason I feel committed, as if I would be letting down the team if I didn’t go. How I ever get myself into these mind sets is a puzzler. Nobody gives a damn, and it is all in my own mind, but what else is there?

This last week I have eaten so much junk food and haven’t walked, plus went to town three times, and I feel like a true sinner – like a drunk who has fallen off the wagon, and it isn’t wonderful. I don’t like it at all! The straight and narrow, food-wise, suits me better.

The cacti are feeling sexy and are all a-bloom. I haven’t figured out their timetable or cycle or whatever, but I enjoy them when they are amorous.

Well a bit of soap opera. M. across street finally told R.(her son) that his girlfriend wasn’t allowed over there, so now he hangs at her house all day, which seems only fair. L, M’s father, has split with his wife of less than a year, and is now in his trailer tootling around the country. It would take more time and energy and interest than I have to write all the gory details, but will fill you in if you are interested when you come down.

I will try to locate the controls that switch off ‘writing’ and turn on ‘cooking’. Oh, I can see you snort, but when I get deep within a book I need a map to get out. I’ve always needed a ‘keeper’ of my life anyway, and when I’m writing it’s even worse.

It’s been weather, weather, weather, until I am wearied with it all. Hope you laughed. Private jokes are such fun.

My washing machine call-eth me, so better quit and get some work done around here. Weekends are enforced leisure time, and they are killing me. I’m just too hyper for Dad and he pouts if I don’t do normal things like, talk and visit and watch TV. I am beginning to see why people go places on weekends. It is just too difficult to reverse the gears and stop working all at once.

Well write when you have time and energy, and will see you Turkey Day.