I took to the Web right away. Myspace was still cool, primarily a place for musicians and artist types to show off tattoos. In order to have an account, it seemed you needed a pair of horn-rimmed glasses or Converse All Stars. I had neither but knew a boy who did. His profile replaced TV as my primary source of entertainment. I checked it obsessively, looking for evidence of a girlfriend, of course, but mostly just wanting to immerse myself in a world that seemed more creative and exciting than my own. Eventually I got up the courage to message him on AIM.
Fanny wrote back, “My dear, all my former lovers are dead. I don’t even remember who they were.”
Struck by the completeness of New York, much of it still as it was in 1930. Today is Thanksgiving Day and the streets are emptied of humanity, Prince Street swept clean of people, every detail of the fretted fronts of warehouses clear and sharp, buildings cut up like cheese, segmented against the sky. It was like this the Thanksgiving Day after JFK’s assassination, when I walked down a totally empty Seventh Avenue with not a soul to be seen.
When, like today, I feel I have got a little way with a plot and knock off for the day, it is like a climber going up a sheer face who pitches camp on a narrow ledge. Tomorrow he may get no further; he may even roll off during the night.
I do not like knowing these hard stories, even if it is about a person I care so much for. But I would like them a lot less if I was the one telling them. I know we can’t forget what happened to us, even if a choice made now, today, projects itself backwards to change our past actions as Milosz wrote. From that vantage the past is as nebulous and alterable as the present. Taking the next logical leap, it means that the present is as fixed as what preceded it.
She would ask terrible questions all the time, e.g. “What do you think Lawrence Durrell was thinking when he wrote Justine?” or “Can I get egg whites on a flagel?” (A flagel refers to a flat bagel.) I looked up what happened to her yesterday: she does PR for Maybelline.
A friend wrote to Alfred that talking to Dorothy was like “talking to a mirror in which one didn’t see oneself but someone else. She presents no problem, no burden or personality to be dealt with. One can be with her and at the same time alone with oneself.”