Journal Entries After Grad School

Wild Woods Farm Barn Door

28 July 1981
Iowa City

Last night and this morning I read Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. It has been some time since I last turned those pages, and with the facsimile first edition I have, I felt like the years had turned back.

It is a good book today and I think a large part of my own status is derived from or related to the past readings of this book. I can’t help but say amen to every line.

For what I perceive in Whitman is that life comes only by the individual’s bringing life to otherwise lifeless things. This is what I am about. Nice job Walt.

13 August 1981
Iowa City

First entry after beginning work. This is about right. Two weeks before I get started writing in my journal again. I guess I’m starting to get to where I can do other things besides work a job. I’m beginning to settle in. There’s a ways to go yet.

18 August 1981
Iowa City

The writers I read on writing say that the best time to write is in the morning when I first wake up. That’s not the way it will be. My writing will take place after a day of work in a job with lots of people contact, in a busy part of town, in close contact with a lot of other people, while I am engaged in a myriad of activities. I think all of this is the way it should be, a return to John Donne, perhaps, but a proper state of affairs. For we are always engaged in the world with others. We must be.

It’s time to look to the future. The first step is the publishing and distribution of Institutional Writings. I pick the books up tomorrow after work and will begin writing the passages for the receivers. As I approach thirty years, I make my commitment to life. To people. I consciously leave the past in the recesses of me memory to chart a course over unmarked territory. But I am not a pioneer, in a sense, I cannot be,for I join in my every action with all those who preceeded me. With the rest of humanity. In the most familiar terms, by those who share my culture. But these too are words that belong to the past. Here I go.


Arriving Home After Military Service

October 22, 1979
Davenport, Iowa

Scott County, Iowa Map - 1894
Scott County, Iowa Map – 1894

I’ve been in Davenport for just five days and already my mind is flooded with thoughts about projects to get involved with — many different activities. My mind is coming to be awake unlike it has been through the four years I have been in the Army. The potential for doing things is tremendous.

Northwest Davenport has changed during my absence. The Spudnut Shop is now a donut shop of a different name. Don’s Sport Shop now sells only bicycles. Northwest Drug Store closed its doors permanently and will be selling its goods within the week. Schlegel’s Rexall is now HAAG Drugstore, and Swan Drug Store sells more hospital hardware than anything.

Change is part of life and I guess it is to be expected. As you were — life is change. How it differs from the rocks.

It is about time to bring the writings in this journal to an end and begin filling the pages of a new book.

~ This is the second of a series of posts based upon writing in my journal.


Changing Trains in Paris

June 4, 1977
Paris, France

Gare de l'Est
Gare de l’Est

Departed Mainz June 3, 1977 at 2322 hours in a sleeping car for Vannes. The journey was quite nice. In such luxury I seldom indulge, but this trip I didn’t really think much about it. The little compartment had all the niceties of any fine hotel, and although I was concerned mostly with getting a good night’s sleep, the indulgence will be memorable. Especially the numerous buttons for summoning the waiter and turning the lights on and off. In an earlier time I would have experimented with all these buttons to discover their functions. But now I have changed.

As I exited the train at Gare de l’ Est, I struggled with my bags for 50 meters or so. An older man with a Polish-sounding name spoke with me and offered a ride for my cumbersome duffel bag and clothing sac. He asked the usual niceties— where are you from? Iowa, of course. It seems he is good friends with Mauricio Lasansky‘s son. Small world— so he said.

We shook hands and he guided me to a taxi where I stowed my bags, heading for the connection at Montparnasse.

The ride through Paris made me recall my last trip here.

~ This is the first of a series of posts based upon writing in my journal.