|December 19, 1984
I don't make New Year's resolutions. Since your letter, four people plus Johnny Carson have mentioned New Year's resolutions. I don't make them because I don't believe in New Year's. It's a Hallmark Holiday. Well, maybe not exactly. Not like Father's Day or Mother's Day or Valentine's Day. But it's a made up holiday. I just don't like 'em. People getting drunk and crazy and feeling like they must go to a party or commit suicide... And the programming on television is for the dogs! I think I'll go to a hockey game on New Year's Eve... Hockey games have become somewhat difficult to go to as well. The Islanders (my favorite team in the world) cost too much and they can't win a hockey game to save their lives. The Rangers tickets are cheap enough, but Rangers games are violent, the fans are nuts, and the Rangers can't seem to win anything either. The Devils are too far away. That exhausts the hockey repertoire of the New York metropolitan area. I could forget it — or move to Montreal.
|Wednesday, January 9, 1985
Juliet Carrie Singer was born in Brooklyn, New York. I lived in Brooklyn until I was two. My family then moved to Jamaica, Queens, New York. Jamaica is one of the more disgusting, slumlike areas of Queens. This is not to be confused with the Jamaica Estates section of Queens, which is full of posh enormous homes with large gardens, front and back. At age seven and a half, we moved to Monterey, California. We like to say that San Francisco is one hundred miles north of Paradise. Monterey is one hundred miles south of San Francisco. It is the most beautiful place I've ever seen. Just thinking about it makes me feel warm and happy. We lived there for a year or so. When we moved back to New York, we all left the heart and soul of our family one hundred miles south of San Francisco. It has never been recovered. After Monterey, we moved to Long Island. Rockville Centre. Until this past September, that is where I've been from. I suppose that is still where I'm from: Rockville Centre, New York. Now I'm in Brooklyn. A circle. Do you think it stops here or will I move on?
I can see the boats sailing on the East River and the Staten Island Ferry going out — it's 2:30 a.m. — and the Manhattan skyline as I write this letter. Hell, New York City is gorgeous.
Saturday, February 9, 1985
If I sit up and look out the window, I see the skyline of New York City. It is late and clear and cold and the sky is black so I can clearly see the tops and bottoms of all the buildings, including the World Trade Center. The Staten Island Ferry, aglow, pulls out of the dock toward Staten Island and disappears behind the St. George Hotel. The luxury and economy cars speed uptown on the East River Drive (lower), past the heliport, past the tennis court bubbles, past the South Street Seaport...and they're gone. If I stand up, I can watch them drive past the Brooklyn Bridge. Even New Jersey is lighted up and the Bayonne Bridge is a green arc linking Staten Island to New Jersey. When I was little, I thought it was the Verrazano Bridge, but I cannot really see the Verrazano from here. The lights in the windows of my favorite apartment at the St. George Hotel are on, but the curtains are closed so I can't tell whether or not anyone is inside. I sip my bourbon and water and silently toast the St. George and then the Manhattan skyline and wait for my mother to return my phonecall, thereby shattering my peace of mind and the peace and quiet as only she can.
My mother and I have been having a cold war. She wants a détente on her terms and I'd just as soon have out and out bloody warfare. So, we're at a stand-off. No shots are fired and no peace talks are attempted. In a way, it's a small victory for me because I have not yet surrendered (my only real alternative to cold war). I am not strong enough to win without guilt, so I can't win. But I am strong enough not to let her win either. If asked, she's totally unaware that a cold war exists. That's life behind the iron curtain!
The Staten Island Ferry reappears. There are three different ferries coming and going all night and day from the tip of Manhattan Island to Staten Island and back. My bourbon has run out. The flowers on my table are old and dying and I should throw them away since dying flowers are depressing and I can depress myself easily tonight without the help of dying sunflowers. The Jehovah's Witnesses' Watchtower (Brooklyn Heights is the headquarters of the Jehovah's Witnesses) says it is 24 degrees outside. Normally, I wouldn't care. I'd simply snuggle up to the radiator in my long johns. But I want to go out and purchase the Sunday New York Times and therefore the temperature is important. 24 degrees is cold and it must be less degrees what with the windchill factor and all. Fear of cold creeps into my soul.
|Saturday, March 16, 1985
I'm feeling jealous because Emily has a friend in from California and you are in New Orleans. Lisa says I should nag you to come to New York... I know you've seen New York City before, but let me tell you a little something... New York is one of the most exciting cities in the world. It has two of the tallest buildings in the USA. The most famous skyline. And the Statue of Liberty (which one is unable to visit right now). It has five boroughs (or counties) and is enormous. NYC contains more Jews than Israel, more Puerto Ricans than Puerto Rico, and more businessmen than Japan. Right now, the temperature hovers between 48 and 55 degrees during the day and may drop to as low as 33 degrees at night. The sun shines, the wind blows. Brooklyn Heights is one of those affluent neighborhoods just across the East River from Manhattan. In the shadow of the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge lies the wonderful Brooklyn Heights Esplanade, where on sunny afternoons young lovers can be seen walking to and fro holding hands and enjoying the breathtaking view of Manhattan. Just across the Bridge, on that illustrious Manhattan Island, tourists can visit such tourist traps as: the top of the World Trade Center, the Staten Island Ferry, the Broadway show, the Greenwich Village, the Wall Street, the South Street Seaport, the Columbia University (where one can fall in love with the university's charm and decide to do one's post-graduate studies), the wonderful eating establishments on expensive Columbus Avenue, the Tower Records, the Saks Fifth Avenue, the FAO Schwartz, the Doubleday Bookstore, the Rockefeller Center, and many others.
One can even, if one play's one's cards correctly, have a wonderful chicken dinner cooked for one in the apartment of a real live New Yorker (a New York Jew, no less)... There is a wonderful place to stay in the previously noted Brooklyn Heights. A lovely place, with view, at a fraction of the cost of the Milford Plaza. The service, music, and sights of this Brooklyn Heights establishment far surpass anyplace else one may think of staying. Until April 15. Until then, this place will be virtually empty. After that [AA: when Juliet's grandparents would return from Florida and she would have to share their apartment again], it is probably infinitely safer to stay at the Milford Plaza.
If you come to New York, I'll play the guitar and sing you a song or two. I'll make love with you. I'll make dinner for you. I'll make you coffee or gin and tonics. What else can I say?
How's that for nagging?
|Saturday, March 30, 1985
By the way, I had lunch with Lisa today. Then I bought her a glass of white wine at the Oak Bar at the Plaza Hotel. I've never been in the Oak Bar before and I enjoyed it very much. The waiter was nice and friendly and laughed when we asked what the carafe of water on each table was for. Most people think it's for flowers. Lisa and I figured out quite quickly that it wasn't. There were no flowers on any table. It's for your scotch and water. Trés chic, eh? We sat for 2 ½ hours and no one said anythingówe just talked and were left alone. But $16 for 2 drinks and 2 sodas is a little ridiculous. Still, I wanted to do something fun and you know Lisa never has a cent for anything amusing. So, in our blue jeans and no make-up, we were seen at the Plaza! What a place!
|Sometime in the spring of 1985
I'm not half a poet and I can barely write poetic prose. I try. My dream is to be a short story writer. Famous. You asked once what I wanted. I want to go to Paris. I told you that. I want to write for magazines. I want my stories to be good enough that yuppies who read The New Yorker will talk about my stories on the crosstown bus. I want to be able to sign fluently. I want to be able to meet any deaf person and understand them immediately and for them to understand me. I want to become a teacher for deaf children and really be important in their lives. Maybe one day, I'll become a lawyer (an old dream) and be a champion of deaf rights, rights for deaf people.
I want little things, too. I want to enjoy my job, get an apartment that I like, deal well with my mother who's a lunatic, find a decent man who treats women nicely, especially me, a man who likes children and who will attempt to convince me I'll make a good mother so I won't be so scared to have some, who'll be patient when I'm crazy but not let me get away with too much and who likes to eat tunafish and chicken (not necessarily together), and to go to the movies.
I want to live in New York or San Francisco or some place else where I am comfortable and content and loved and in love and happy. I want to have heat in the winter and at least a fan in the summer. I want to eat good food and drink good gin.
I want to be able to have what I want without the fear that someone will take it away, or destroy it, or destroy me or what I love. I want.
I want to figure out some way that two people who have two very different, very separate lives in two distant and different cities, can get together and be happy for a while.
|Friday, May 3, 1985
My grandmother whispers that I sleep late and what will I do with my life. I don't know, but it certainly has nothing to do with her. I know, I know. I'm being "hard, tough, and unfeeling." There has to be a point where I don't listen any more to anybody's complainings — not Mom's, not Grandma's — and start to work on what's good for me. If I'm hard and tough and unfeeling it's because I've listened for years and years and years and this has been going on since I can remember (and I remember a lot) and now I'm trying to preserve my sanity in a family where the women are not all playing with fifty-two cards in the deck, then okay... I'm hard, tough, and unfeeling. But nobody has any business telling me so. How long did they think I would take it all? I bought The Village Voice to see if I could afford to move out for the summer. I think I can. If not, come September you'll have an insane human on your hands. This apartment is crazy. My grandmother never stands or sits still. She's constantly jumping up and arranging, dusting, cleaning. She walks out of the room while you're talking to her so that she can clean another room. If I ever get like that, shoot me. Of course, you'll have dropped dead suddenly years before. I know you promised you wouldn't, but I don't trust you on this, so I'm trying to prepare myself. Miss me. I miss you.
I have dreams about you. I think that my memory and subconscious are very organized. I have organized, symbolic, easy-to-understand/analyze dreams and nightmares. I always have. I don't dream about trains anymore because anytime there's a train in my dreams I wake myself up. I've been in too many scary train dreams. When I was little, I had recurring nightmares. My dreams often have titles, concrete story lines, and are sometimes in French, sign language... but usually English. I've had dreams that you've died, which is a kind of dream I get whenever I care about somebody.
|Tuesday, July 30, 1985
By the way, who's playing you in my life story movie? Who's playing you in yours? Sam Shepherd? Dustin Hoffman? (Too short.) Al Pacino? (Too Italian.) William Hurt? (Too weird.) So who? Who do you want? Tom Berringer? Kevin Kline (my favorite)? Christopher Walken? Garry Trudeau? Who'll play Garry Trudeau in my life story movie? How do I get Garry Trudeau in my life story? That's where you come in. Face it. You're just a means to an end. I saw you drawing on the table in November and thought, "Here's a cartoonist who's going to get me to Garry. Like, wow!" Don't tell Lisa. It'll break her heart. Meryl Streep can play Linda W. in my life story, but only the part where I get revenge (we haven't come to that part in my life yet, but we will). Back to Garry. I'm not crazy about Garry's taste in women. Maybe I ought to find someone new.
Cindy returns mid-August. I can't wait. I miss her. Yesterday, I'd have probably gone to see her instead of Amadeus. I enjoyed the movie. I like Cindy better. What on Earth am I doing in NYC without you, without Cindy, this summer? Sick. I'm sick with responsibility.
|Friday, August 16, 1985
It's so strange. I'm feeling so awfully domestic. I think about the little silly domestic things that people do when they live together with such fondness. I've never done this before. It feels very odd. Like, wanting to come home and tell you about my day, just normal, everyday, stupid things that occur and I want to tell you. Or, like, wanting to stay home and watch TV, or read, or talk, or make love, or eat, or sit... with you... rather than go anywhere. Believe me, I've never ever had domestic fantasies. I've had thoughts, as all people do and, I think, especially girls (and later, women) of being married and how terrific being married will be, but my fantasies and thinkings never were so bloody homey. They were always me and hubby off doing some exciting fantastic thing. But, quite frankly, I like to stay home. I like staying home alone. I must really like you if I feel as if it would be comfortable staying home alone with you. There's something scary about all this damned domesticity. It's so ultra-American; so unlike me. But then, there's something rather pleasant, exciting, lovely, loving about these feelings...
My dad got tickets for the Mets for Tuesday night. August 20th. (Yes, the big day. Remember it like your own.) I was pleased.
|A life plan sketch, late 1989?
|July 4, 1991
Looked around Framingham today at the houses. We could live there! We could afford to live there, maybe. Can we really do this? America suburban dream. Andy wants this.
This is my last period before unprotected sex. This baby is all I think about. I want it so much. If you want something this much, does that mean it won't happen?