It is a challenge writing a blog entry with Claire on the desk. But I forgive her, because she submitted to a fruitful photo session. Here she is posing next to a copy of The Journals of John Cheever, a source of endless inspiration and encouragement for me. “I dream that my face appears on a postage stamp,” he wrote in 1962. And this: “I should take advantage of my maturity and not be dismayed at the loss of my youth.”
Claire is wisely wary of the long drop from my desk to the floor. She steps carefully toward the edge and watches pedestrians on the 16th Street Mall. She perks up her ears at sirens. She scratches and licks a Tattered Cover Bookstore bookmark and stands on top of Cheever’s postage-stamp dream. I dream that she will curl up in the empty In Basket so I can turn to work on poetry. Instead she is chewing on the bookmark with her little butt next to my left hand on the keyboard. Then she stands on three legs, scratching her left cheek with her right foot. I wait to write again while she laps my left thumb with her long little tongue.
Part of why Cheever’s journal helps me in my own writing is that it provides glimpses of the backstory to his incredible fiction. His work, like anyone’s, proceeded amidst a recognizable array of hopes and fears. In fact, his work is precisely made up of the elements that he named so candidly in the journals.
The first page of a new journal, and I hope to report here soon that the midle section of the Wapshots has fallen into shape. I expect that I will continue to report here that I drink too much.