ASHLEIGH BRILLIANT DIARY 1967
© Ashleigh Brilliant 2013
WARNING: Some parts of the following material may be found offensive by some people. If you are in any way sensitive to matters concerning sex and drugs. Please read no further, and delete,
These 22 entries are not extracts. This is my entire diary for 1967.
The year began when I was completing my second 3 ½ month voyage around the world as a teacher on board the "floating campus" of Chapman College (now Chapman University) based in Orange, California, (a community south of Los Angeles) with which I had been associated since 1965. Between the 2 voyages I had worked at Chapman as an administrator for the "Seven Seas" program. I was now 33 years old. My parents and sister were living in L.A. For some years previous to the Chapman experience, my focus had been in the San Francisco Bay Area, first in San Jose, where I began what became a 4-year relationship with a girl named Barbara Jean Smith (now Barbara Weider), then as a graduate student at Berkeley, where I got a Ph.D. in History, then for a year in Oregon where I taught at a small 2-year college in Bend.
*** *** *** ***
Sunday, January 22. 1967
11:55 P.M. The voyage is now entering its final stages. We left Japan 3 days ago. We will be in Los Angeles in another 2 weeks, of which only the next 4 days are class days.
My position is remarkably similar to what it was a year ago, in that there is no clear indication at this point that I will continue, after we return, to have any connection with Chapman College or the Seven Seas program at all, but that there remains the possibility that I may still be offered a position on the next voyage or some other kind of job in Orange. I feel just as I did a year ago, that I am very glad that this voyage is coming to an end & have no desire to sail out immediately again, that I would like to have a complete change for a while, but that I would like sometime to be able to come back to it.
Saturday, February 25, 1967.
10:50 P.M. Menlo Park Calif. at the home of Tim Blaskovich.
The Ryndam returned to Los Angeles as scheduled on Feb. 4, and since then I have been primarily engaged in disentangling myself from the ship, the program, the College, and from Orange. The final step was taken yesterday, when I moved out of my apartment in Orange, having briefly re-occupied it since my return. (I had sublet it in my absence to
Daphne Anas and Nancy Cuthbertson. They moved out when I returned, but I was happily able to get Nancy to move back in again to replace me as a permanent tenant.) Other steps included writing a letter & talking to Netter Worthington explaining that I wanted to be completely free for a while, & settling nothing beyond that.
I felt the need of a complete change after 1½ years of total involvement with the Seven Seas program. With over $10,000 of savings, I feel no need or desire to work just to make money.
Today I have driven north, bringing with me in my densely-packed car everything I might need to set up housekeeping if I decide to remain in the Bay Area. It is the first time I have been up here since August 1965. Perhaps my major incentive in coming here was the possibility of establishing a closer relationship with Bonnie Miller whom I met on the ship & who is now working in Berkeley. But I also have dreams of building some kind of new life as a writer-artist-poet-performer.
One of the most interesting developments since my return concerned Dorothy Tucker, another fellow-teacher from the ship, who lives alone in an apartment in Hollywood. I took pot there one evening, had intercourse with her & discovered to my amazement that under the influence of the pot I was able to remain sexually potent practically indefinitely without coming to orgasm. The principle thought in my mind was that I was not attracted to the woman but wished to give her pleasure and satisfaction. This apparently I did in large measure & the next time I saw her we both took pot (but didn't have intercourse because she was menstruating) and she told me she was in love with me. This somehow soured me on the whole relationship & I more or less completely lost interest in her, suggesting to my old friend Marvin Maler whom I saw in L.A. recently, that he should date her.
Monday, February 27, 1967.
(Actually 1:30 A.M. Feb. 28) San Francisco - in the Haight-Ashbury district apartment of Dee Pounds & Peter King. I have more or less moved to San Francisco, and there are many possibilities open to me, but although I have temporary quarters here, they are not very satisfactory & so I again have the problem of finding a place to live. I saw Bonnie Miller Sunday & she is still one of the possibilities. But so is Diana Smith, another girl from the ship, whom I saw this evening & who is still very warmly affectionate.
As yet I have spent very little time with my hosts & didn't see them today at all. (They had given me a key when I moved in yesterday.) I feel slightly fearful & insecure - e.g. my car, in the street, still contains most of my belongings. I fear theft. Meals are a problem too. But no doubt things will smooth out. The idea of publishing my book excites me more than ever, but it still requires much work & thought, which I'm not yet in a position to give it.
This district is an amazing contrast to what I have of late been accustomed to. It is full of young weirdly-garbed people currently known as "hippies."
Friday, March 3, 1967.
7:15 P.M. I am still living on a temporary basis with Dee and Peter & am now devoting most of my time to a grand attempt to publish, one way or another, a book of my unpoemed titles. I have made an appointment to see a Houghton Mifflin representative on Monday, but am not very optimistic. My life at the moment is irregular & not very satisfying. What I need most is a place of my own and of course a woman of my own.
I have smoked pot 3 times since coming to S.F., but only once got enough to begin to enjoy it, and then had the disappointing experience of being left alone after my friends had gone to bed, with no one to share my feeling with & nothing to do but eat.
Wednesday, March 8, 1967.
11 P.M. I have moved into another apartment. The address is 625 Shrader St. Apt. 10. I have spent practically all day moving & am feeling tired & a little depressed. It is the most expensive place I have ever rented ($105 a month + gas & electricity) but I am not so far very happy with it, though it has possibilities. I was anxious to get better quarters than I had with Diane & Peter, & so chose not to spend much time apartment-hunting. It is wearisome to have so much property to move by myself from place to place.
The chief advantage of this place is its location - 1 block from Golden Gate Park & still in the "Hippie" Haight-Ashbury district. I am at the top of an old apartment building, also near markets & the public library.
My appointment with the publisher's agent Bill Hobson last Monday turned out to be more encouraging than I expected. He spent much time with me, seemed to like the book & to believe that he could as my agent (at 10 %) find a publisher for it. That hope at the moment is my chief raison d'etre. Another is that either Bonnie Miller or Diana Smith may become a sex partner of mine. Another is that I will find some rewarding outlet for my talents as an entertainer.
Sunday, March 12, 1967.
At the moment, my immediate situation and prospects appear to be much better than they have been in a long time. Having moved into my new apartment I am increasingly pleased with it and can at last be comparatively relaxed. I can also at last devote myself more seriously to such projects as attempting to seduce women. On the last 2 evenings I have tried my luck with Diana Smith and Bonnie Miller, entertaining each here to dinner and pot. It appears that I am in the process of succeeding with Diana, managing to get her, despite considerable protest, half-naked and even (for a brief period) into bed with me, but that Bonnie Miller is a dead loss, rejecting even my advances under pot more emphatically than when we were on the ship & assuring me that she had no intention of changing this policy, because of someone else in her life.
Even more important to me, however, is the prospect of getting my book published & today I am working on some enlarged pages which Hobson requested. I still am not sure how much trust it is safe for me to place in him, but if he is really what he appears to be and actually can get some of my work published, my relationship with him could become one of the most important things in my life. At present it appears he is out of town for a week or so (according to I suppose his wife who answers his home phone) which in itself is a little disconcerting, if only because I would like to feel that he would always be around.
Sunday, March 26, 1967.
2 P.M. Things in general have continued to go remarkably well with me. My attempt to seduce Diana Smith has been wholly successful, or at least much more successful than with any other girl in a long long time. We have had intimate sexual relations several times here in my apartment, each time with the assistance of pot. (I have obtained a new & apparently better supply from Peter's sister.) The most serious drawback is that she is still attending school (S.F. City College) and is very worried about her studies, & has never since I have known her been free on any occasion to spend an indeterminate amount of time with me. She lives with her mother, and has never been able to stay here with me all night. But this I suppose is also an advantage, since I don't really want to become as emotionally involved with her as she is apparently becoming with me. What I really want is to be able to feel secure with her while continuing to "look around." She is amazingly responsive sexually, but still not, it seems, without a certain guilty conscience and she insists that I use 2 rubbers.
In moving back up to the Bay Area I assumed (from previous investigations) that Barbara and George Weider were no longer living around here. Shortly after moving into this apartment, however, I was surprised & much disconcerted to learn from the telephone book that they were actually living once again at their old apartment in Berkeley where I once visited them. I have long contemplated a grand effort to try to trace Barbara (smaller efforts having failed). Now I know where she is and (through the help of a friend who called for me as a "survey taker,") I know that they are still together but have no children. I feel I should attempt to restore some contact with her but lack the courage to do so. I am deeply afraid of re-opening a wound which has not yet truly healed. If I do it at all, it may have to be when I am high on pot.
The chances of my book getting published eventually still look good, but the art work may now all be by somebody else. It was originally my idea to cooperate with some artist on the illustrations but after spending so much time doing my own, it is taking me time to appreciate the new situation, which is that my prospective agent Bill Hobson has now interested his artist friend & client Bob Gumpertz in doing the art work for my book, & Gumpertz is apparently willing to do it on a 50-50 profit basis, i.e. he & I will share equally in the "author's" profits. Gumpertz, like Bill Hobson, is somebody I find it very easy to like. He has already done some preliminary sketches, and although I have had some reservations about the "cartoon" nature of his style, I think I would be a fool not to go along with Hobson and Gumpertz as far as possible. The only real disadvantages of the arrangement, apart from the halving of my possible profits, is that the time-scale is stretched out & I have little control over how long the process of publication may now take.
Another characteristic of the present period (i.e. since I moved here on March 8) is the large number of friends & acquaintances with whom I seem now suddenly to have become involved or re-involved. It is flattering to feel that people like Allen Carrico & Gail Galant & Walt McQuesten & Paul Houghton & Bill Pounds are glad to have me around again. But my various relationships with them take up more time than I really want to spend in aimless socializing. E.g. Allen seems almost to be making a campaign of spending time with me, has talked rather insistently about moving in here with me, & is at present scheduled to sleep here 4 nights (Tuesdays & Thursdays) during the next 2 weeks.
At least life at present continues to provide me with enough incidents & episodes to keep me from becoming depressed for any length of time. One of the latest is receipt from friends in Bend, Oregon, of news & clippings which tell the amazing story of a big new crisis at Central Oregon College in which the faculty passed a resolution of no confidence in president Don Pence, & Pence in turn fired 10 of them, including several who failed to support me when I opposed Pence. Truly such vindication is sweet & I am tempted to go up there for a while just to enjoy the situation.
Tuesday, May 9 1967.
5:30 P.M. This period (the last 2 months, since I moved into an apartment on my own in San Francisco) continues to seem like one of the best & most enjoyable in my life. The only important thing it appears to lack at the moment is a sense of economic security. I still have plenty of money but seem to be spending it a quite a great rate. The only substantial amount of income I have received since leaving Orange has been $90 for 6 of the paintings I did 3 years ago, all bought at $15 each by Dorothy Tucker who twice came up from Los Angeles to visit me here, but with whom I chose not again to have sex, having shifted my sexual interest now entirely to Diana Smith.
For the past month I have been carefully dieting, and have gone down from about 164 lb to 153 (lightest daily reading) which leaves me once again with the concern as to how I can now keep myself from gaining weight again.
I have also not shaven since April 5 & thus have a beard for the first time in 7 years.
Perhaps the most important of all the things which have happened to me lately is that I have decided I am no longer in love with Barbara (Smith) Weider. My decision came after she finally made it plain to me, in a letter received May 3, that our relationship, as far as she is concerned, is definitely over. This was what I needed all along, but she never had the kindness to give it to me, or even, since 1963, to write to me at all, until I finally wrote (after many previous attempts to communicate by mail) threatening that if I received no reply I would telephone or just "arrive." Her letter seems to be from someone I don't recognize. I think I am finally at last truly and forever "over" her.
Tuesday, July 11, 1967
I still have the feeling that my life in general is better than it has ever been before. I am in good health, still do my "air force" exercises every day, and my weight seems to have stabilized at about 158 while I eat normally.
On May 21st, after much contemplation and hesitation, and after encouraging myself with some pot, which I still do frequently, I took the portable microphone I had purchased, went to the spot in Golden Gate Park at the end of Haight Street which I had previously selected, and began my career as an informal outdoor speaker. Since then, my regular afternoon appearances in the park every day, except when occasionally substituted for by a friend, Gulu Gould, have been one of the most stable features of my life. And I am convinced that this project is one of the best I have ever undertaken, both because it contains so many satisfactions within itself, and because it leads and can lead to so many others. It is intimately part and parcel of my decisions to come to San Francisco, to take this apartment in the Haight Ashbury, and to devote myself to creative pursuits.
When I began speaking in the Park, I didn't know what kind of reception to expect. Nobody else was doing it, except an evangelist who was preaching to the hippies on Hippie Hill. Yet now I feel more secure and confident there than anywhere else.
I have many other grounds for optimism. My sex life has been more full and varied than ever before. Since moving in here, I have had sexual intercourse with 5 different women. I would still have preferred that it were regularly with one, but still haven't met one with whom that seems desirable or likely. For the past week, however, I have actually had a rather attractive woman living and sleeping with me for the first time in 5 years. It is not an altogether satisfactory arrangement, however & seems unlikely to last. Her name is Louise Simmons & she is 24 & recently arrived in California from the East Coast where she was until recently a College English teacher. When I met her, she was living with a friend of mine, Vaughn Yazarian. Being attracted to her & understanding that their relationship was not very stable, I was emboldened to suggest to her that she come home with me. She actually agreed, and in fact moved in. The trouble is that she does not appear to be interested in working out any kind of relationship with me. Today she went off on a trip of indeterminate length with some friends to Yosemite. Although ostensibly willing to restrict herself sexually to me while living with me, she has continued her friendship with Vaughn, who has appeared here frequently, making me uncomfortable. But it has been good having her here. She is good-natured, willing to do her share of the housework, & even to pay for all of our groceries (since I pay the rent.) Simply having a reasonably attractive sexual partner around has been a rare delight, though our sex relationship hasn't been ideal.
Also in recent weeks I have had my first experiences as a coffee-house performer and newspaper columnist, both roles which I have long wanted to play. And now it looks as if I am about to have my first chance to turn my writing talent into real money. A collection of my songs about the Haight-Ashbury is about to be published locally at no cost to me. If it is at all successful, it could be another major milestone in my life.
Saturday, August 19, 1967.
8:30 P.M. Good things continue to happen to me. On July 20 my Haight-Ashbury Songbook was published, with the help of my partner, John Henderson, a middle-aged newspaper man, who gets 30 % of the profits. It was his idea to publish it in a newspaper tabloid form, & this has proven very advantageous, since it can thus compete financially, and be distributed in the same way, as the many "underground" newspapers now in circulation. In general, it has been very successful. So far, we have sold over 8,000 copies, & my profit to date has been about $300. But I myself have had to put a lot of work into selling it - to stores, to distributors, & to individuals on the street & in the park. To some extent I have enjoyed this, but I have also had the feeling that I shouldn't have to do it & that I should be putting my time into new creative projects, particularly into publishing my unpoemed titles, which it now appears may soon come out in postcard form.
One big piece of luck was a "plug" given me & the song-book by Herb Caen, the Bay Area's best-known newspaper columnist, to whom I had sent a copy.
Being a successful published author has greatly boosted my self-confidence. There is also a record called "Ashleigh Brilliant in the Haight Ashbury" now on sale in the Bay Area, the virtually unaided work of Dorothy Tucker, who recorded me singing & talking in the Park & invested $550 of her own money in making the record. So far it does not appear likely to approach the song-book in success & I still think Dorothy will be lucky if she gets her money back out of it.
But the Songbook and the record and my continued appearances in the Park (now restricted on a regular basis to 5 days a week, with Gulu Gould performing in my place now on Saturdays & Wednesdays) have combined to make me pretty certainly the best-known local character.
My private life, however, has not undergone much change, & at present I am keenly aware of the fact that there is no known available woman with whom I wish to have sexual intercourse. Dorothy Tucker has now moved permanently from Hollywood to an apartment a block from here but simply fails to attract me at all, though I know she wants me, & this makes me slightly uncomfortable with her.
As anticipated in my last entry, the affair with Louise Simmons proved too good to last beyond that time. Since then there has been one other, a buxom 17 year old named Amy Rose, the youngest person with whom I have ever had sexual relations. With her, it was usually quite enjoyable, especially under pot, & she was quite sensitive & intelligent. But she too has now departed for some kind of visit to Colorado, & though she may be back again, she has to return to her parents & High School in New York next month.
In general however there seem to be more grounds for satisfaction with my life than ever before. For one thing, I am at just about the point I have always dreamed of where I can actually make my living as a creative writer & artist & performer.
My beard does not seem capable of exceeding its present length, but the hair on my head keeps on & on growing, giving me an appearance I have never had before, & one which to my amazement some people actually admire.
Saturday, September 9, 1967.
Periods of joy are now alternating more frequently with periods of great discontent. Working with Henderson, I finally got 10 of my Unpoemed Titles published in the form of postcards -2000 of each one. But there is now again, as with the songbook, the problem of distribution, and I am involved much more in business than in creative activity. The postcards are more difficult to merchandise, but seem to have a much wider potential market.
My park appearances are now reduced to 4 days a week, and in general they are still probably the most significant activity in my life. But there has been no progress in format. They are still essentially "happenings," and more often than not I am high on pot.
Amy Rose returned briefly from Colorado before going home to New York, and we had one last exquisitely enjoyable evening of pot & sex together, in which for the first time with her I was able fully to control my orgasm. But now she has gone, and I have no sex companion. My relationship with Dorothy Tucker is in some ways closer now than ever - I have given her all my previous diaries to read & she is gradually taking over some of my "business" affairs. But I simply can't interest myself in her sexually.
My health in general is pretty good, but I have periods of tension & lassitude & am troubled by a numbness in my right thumb & still can't get used (in talking) to my new front-tooth bridge. The passage of air & bubbles through it is frequently annoying.
I feel the need for some kind of a vacation. Once the postcards are fairly launched, there seems no reason why I shouldn't take one.
Friday, September 15, 1967.
11 P.M. This is the first autumn since I emigrated to the U.S. 12 years ago that I have been in the country (in 1959 I was abroad) and have not been starting back to school, either as a student or as a teacher. Time and again, I hoped to find myself in such a position but so far I am not enjoying my freedom very much. I am tired of this neighborhood, tired of my apartment & simply don't have enough to do to keep me busy, & at the moment don't have enough drive to push myself into new projects. I definitely need a change of scene & am contemplating going to see Danny Miskell in Seattle.
2 days ago I bought a mimeograph machine for $300 & about $27 worth of supplies, but so far haven't even been able to bring myself to try it out.
I have now got Dorothy Tucker to take over most of the selling & business side of my songbook & postcard enterprises, but I am not confident that she will be very successful at it & so am not expecting much further income from those sources.
My physical health is good (the numb thumb has gradually cleared up by itself) but my sex problem remains. This evening I had a date with Paula Finn, an occasional sex partner of Allen Carrico, Bill Pounds, & Walt McQuesten, with whom I had once copulated very enjoyably when Bill Pounds brought her here. I felt that making the date was for me a last resort, but even then met disappointment, for, when I arrived at her place, it turned out she was tired after a first week of teaching, so we just talked for a while, & then I left.
Sunday, September 17, 1967.
1:30 P.M. I continue to feel mildly depressed and at a loose end. Once again I have run out of projects. Since February, I have been exploring personal freedom in activities here in the Haight Ashbury. I have had valuable experiences & some modest successes. But I am left now with the feeling that I have not really established any kind of foundation upon which I can build. In particular, and as usual, I am disappointed that I have not established any abiding sexual relationship. But I still believe I could think more positively about everything after having a change of scene for a while. As usual, it is taking me much time & effort to tear myself away, & as usual I have to face all the decisions about where & how to go. But I certainly need some kind of adventure, for my life has become deadly dull.
Thursday, September 21, 1967.
1:40 A.M. (Friday really). Yesterday, Sept. 20, I had my second direct experience of LSD. The first was on July 18 1965, and was for the most part so unpleasant that I had no strong desire to risk it again. This time however, apart from some very mild discomfort, there was nothing bad in it, but neither was there anything very profound.
My decision to try it again was based on many factors: (1) Over 2 years had passed during which inter alia I had had much experience of marihuana, which I had never had before my first LSD trip. (2) I had talked with many people who had had LSD, & come to believe that my negative reaction was largely the result of circumstances at the time. (3) I had seen Dorothy Tucker have a good trip on half a capsule of LSD, which she had obtained from a reliable source. (I knew nothing about the source last time.) The second half was available for my use. (4) I was again at a point in my life when it seemed I had little to lose & possibly much to gain, from some intense introspection.
I was still fearful however, but things worked out surprisingly well. Just shortly before the pre-arranged time of 12:30, when Dorothy Tucker & Grant Houston were due to join me here in my apartment, I had what was probably a very perceptive idea. I decided I would like this experience to take place, or at least to begin, out of doors, in the form of a picnic in the park. I called Rick Goldman to join us, feeling that Rick & Dorothy were 2 people I liked & could completely trust. Grant was there as a kind of Guru, but really more as a safety-device, since he has had much experience with people on LSD & could possibly be of some value if I began to have a bad trip.
We drove in Dorothy's car into the park, carefully picked a spot in Lindley Meadow away from other people, & there I took the LSD at about 1:20 P.M. I had not eaten anything since waking up. For a long time (about an hour) I did not feel any effect, & actually became hungry so that I started eating. But then I began to feel strange. Nothing very much happened, however. The most remarkable thing was that my teeth chattered and I had a desire to make strange noises like engines & sirens. I could control the chattering & noises, but only with great effort. Closing my eyes, I saw changing shapes, colors & patterns, but being with several friends made me less introspective. My body felt heavy & there was a slight sense of anxiety & discomfort, but this soon passed. I never even came near losing touch with reality. Grant & Rick were smoking pot.
When Dorothy had her trip 2 or 3 months ago, it developed into a sexual experience between her & me. And that is what happened again now on my trip. I am still not very attracted to Dorothy, but I did want sex. So we all left the park. I came back with Dorothy to my apartment, we smoked pot & then made love on my bed, I playing an almost completely passive role., letting her enjoy my penis orally & enjoying it myself of course but still not to the tremendous degree one might expect under a combination of pot & LSD, & still able to control my orgasm inside her body as well.
We spent the rest of the day together, walking around the neighborhood, going for a drive, having a late dinner out & shopping in an all-night supermarket. I was in a generally good & expansive mood & did much talking about the problem of Barbara.
Today I have been in a somewhat subdued mood & felt sleepy enough to take a pre-dinner nap. But I still made my regular appearance in the park, & found myself taking care of some tasks I had long delayed, e.g. writing a new resume. But I also had periods of the same kind of lassitude & depression which have much troubled me before yesterday.
Saturday, September 23, 1967
2:45 A.M. I am still suffering from being between projects & having not enough definitely to do with my time. I am staying up late, sleeping late, spending too much time eating, too little doing anything physical, feeling often tense & rarely relaxed. My only real "achievement" today was to decide which 10 of my unpoemed titles I want next to be made into postcards.
I had a succession of visitors - first Howard Dessent's mother & a friend from L.A. -- she like many other people became enthusiastic about marketing my songbook & postcards, but experience leads me to place little hope in this. Then Mark & Sheryl Slife, former neighbors in Orange, up for the weekend with some friends. Then Jon Showstack & Doug Pacheco, former 7 Seas (Ryndam) students, now going to S.F. State. Later Rick & Kathy Goldman & baby Max. None of this was planned but didn't interrupt anything since as usual I really had nothing to do anyway.
Having enjoyed my sexual experience with Dorothy 2 days ago I contrived another this evening which necessitated getting high on pot first. I still find her so little attractive that I prefer not to see or hear her & really don't even want to feel her very much, but don't mind her feeling me. Yet she is an amazingly congenial person & seems willing to put up with anything from me.
I haven't yet decided about the vacation from this area that I feel I need.
Sunday, September 24, 1967.
11:30 P.M. Today, as decided a week ago, I made my last appearance, at least for an indeterminate period, as a speaker in Golden Gate Park; for 4 months I have appeared regularly, at first every afternoon, then (after about 2 months) 5 times a week, & finally, for about the last month, 4 times a week. The idea was good, but I carried it on for too long without making any real improvement in what I was doing, until finally I became really tired of it. It made me a well-known character locally, motivated my successful Haight-Ashbury Songbook, helped me make some friends (the Goldmans, the Bails, Jerry Wolf) led me into the entertaining field (Just today I appeared for half an hour singing my songs in the San Francisco Arts Festival) and much enhanced my confidence in myself as a speaker & performer. But it did not lead into the development of that part of the park as a free speech area, and it did not in itself bring me any closer to a stable financial income. Nor did it (except for Amy Rose, a notable exception indeed) bring me any sexual rewards.
Possibly in doing what I did I affected many other people's lives; but I did not, as I had hoped, develop any kind of coherent "following." This and many other shortcomings I could probably have remedied, but it would have meant putting time into preparation and follow-up, and I preferred to make the thing more free and spontaneous. I felt committed to appear regularly, but I felt and wanted no commitment beyond that. It happened that Gulu Gould, to whom I loaned my speaker twice a week so that he could appear in the same spot, also wanted to terminate the engagement at the same time. It also happens that many other things in the neighborhood are closing & changing - e.g. the free clinic is closing down.
Apart from vague ideas of continuing to publicize & glorify myself & my limited talents, I am really at a loss as to what to do with my life.
One positive factor is that I am becoming increasingly aware of how lucky I am to know Dorothy Tucker. Apart from a lack of intense emotional appeal, she is not only unobjectionable but positively valuable. I know I can trust her completely. She would do practically anything for me. She is intensely devoted to and interested in me and everything about me. She is nearly always serene and cheerful. She has valuable skills - cooking, typing - has her own apartment and car, has enough money not to have to work at present, & apparently the chance of a large inheritance. We share many of the same likes & interests. She doesn't smoke, drink, or use makeup. She likes pot & LSD. She takes birth control pills & would probably have sex with me any way I wanted whenever I wanted. She actually believes that women are inherently inferior to men. She has met & likes my parents & sister & they apparently like her. She is extremely easy to get along with, demanding little & giving much. My only real fear concerning her is that she tends to stand in the way of my finding somebody more attractive.
Thursday, September 28, 1967.
10 P.M. I am continuing to have serious trouble with my life - much tension and moodiness. One reason would appear to be that at present I can see no pattern in my life at all. I don't really know where I am or where I'm going & am filled with fear & anxiety.
From a positive point of view, I have more freedom & more "going for me" now than ever before. I still have about $8000. I have a convenient apartment & since living here I have acquired a portable microphone, a television set, & a mimeograph machine, all of which enlarge my power and freedom. I still don't have a satisfactory sexual partner, but, in the shape of Dorothy Tucker, I have one of the best friends and most devoted supporters I could wish for. I am free of all but the most elementary responsibilities. The world is my oyster. I could go to Australia, buy a new car . . .
Among other newly-acquired assets, I have a local reputation of growing dimensions. Tomorrow morning I am due to appear on a radio show, the result of an appearance 2 days ago in a photograph on the Society Page of the S.F. Examiner. The picture was taken at an evening art show at the SF Museum of Art, to which Dorothy (as a member) took me as a guest. But reputation means little to me unless I can turn it to economic account.
The stage seems to be all set for me to enter upon the free creative type of life which I have always dreamed of. I have a home, facilities, friends, a public. It is now up to me to produce. There is still one major drawback, however, and that is distribution. So far my published works are reaching only a very limited market. I do seem to be making some sort of haphazard progress, however, in finding distributors & outlets. Dorothy Tucker is certainly doing her best locally to find stores that will take the postcards or the song-book, & every now & then she strikes lucky. So far however, neither she nor I have been making any profit on her efforts.
Often I feel that all I lack is energy. I have so many ideas, but waste so much time . . .
Saturday, October 7, 1967.
7:45 P.M. 4 days ago I joined the San Francisco Sexual Freedom League, and last night I attended my first SFL activity, a party in a rather small private home at 6 Winfield St. I had known about organizations of this kind for a long time, & my friend Harvey Kaplan had been a member. I had some months ago considered joining, & then decided against it, largely because of the high enrollment fee. (It finally cost me $15 to join for 6 mos. I joined at an SFL "open house" designed to recruit new members, which I happened to attend last Tuesday. It also costs $2 per person to attend a party but somehow I got into this first one without paying. To ensure an equal sex ration, people are required to attend parties in couples.)
This party last night was a most remarkable experience for me. Dorothy Tucker came as my "date," but I brought her simply so that I could get in. Never in my life had I been in a situation where a large number of people (the small place was quite crowded) were acting in a sexually free way. It was remarkable enough to see men and women naked together, but it was even more startling to see many of them having various kinds of sexual relations, and most amazing of all to be one of those taking a fairly active part in all this.
We were there from about 9:30 to 1 A.M. At first nearly everybody was fully clothed. As the evening went on, more & more people took off more & more clothing, but even when we left, it seemed to me that there was still more clothing on than off. I myself after an hour or 2 became one of those completely naked, assisted by a young woman named Judith, a psychiatric social worker, with whom I eventually progressed to one of the 2 small bedrooms which were "paved" with plastic-covered mattresses & very dimly lit. We were there naked in a room containing 4 or 5 other naked couples copulating. The atmosphere was not for me extremely conducive to sexual ardor & when I finally tried to effect an erection I couldn't make it. We finally returned to another room & the last I saw of Judith she was having sexual relations with 2 other men at the same time.
The scene in the bedroom was particularly striking to me - the sights and sounds of a number of people "making love" at once. I had never been closer to such an experience than pornography of various kinds. Here was "pornography" in the flesh. In my own experience the only precedent was an event of May 29 of this year when Bill Pounds brought Paula Finn here to my apartment & she & I had intercourse in his presence & at his encouragement. (Incidentally the last I heard or saw of Bill Pounds, it seems he "freaked out" on LSD.)
On the present occasion, as on that one, I first deliberately got high on marihuana. But that one was much more enjoyable. There was nothing very enjoyable about the party to me. It had all the features I have always disliked about parties - noise, stuffiness, smoke. In addition, being on a 1500 calorie diet, I couldn't enjoy it gastronomically, &, being naked, couldn't even go out to my car to eat some special food I had brought.
There was much that was simply very unaesthetic - men in their shabby underpants - couples grunting & sweating. But there were also some surprisingly good-looking bodies. My jacket, which I left on the floor beside a mattress, somehow got stained with semen or female fluid. There were a number of middle-aged men but the women seemed not so old. I noticed only one negro. The high membership fee obviously influences the social class of the members.
I would like the whole thing much more if the atmosphere were less congested, if it were at least partly out-of-doors, & especially if the "love-making" areas were less crowded. But I feel that the whole thing is a major discovery for me & may change my whole attitude towards sex, which has been at the bottom of some of my biggest difficulties. Here at last seems to be a way in which I can get all the sex I want with a pretty good choice of reasonably attractive partners. I still feel a little worried though about VD, & the idea of entering a vagina still wet from another man's semen is simply not very appealing. But here at least is a good way to meet possible sex partners, & in fact to my surprise, as I was leaving, a girl whom I found pretty attractive became quite seductive towards me.
I think it would be very good for me if I didn't have to worry about sex. But one way or another, I fear I always will.
Thursday, November 2, 1967
It is 6:40 A.M., and I am starting my second day in the San Marcos agricultural labor camp at Goleta, near Santa Barbara, California. The work - picking lemons - is very rough, and the pay - 50 cents a box - is too little to make the enterprise seem economically worthwhile. But the experience is a complete change from my San Francisco life, which is what I wanted, and so far, although I gave serious thought yesterday to quitting the camp, I can think of no attractive alternative scheme. My friend Rick Goldman, who came down with me from San Francisco on Tuesday (on a special free bus for workers) quit after only 2 hours of work yesterday.
I learned of this job through a newspaper notice. I had always wanted the experience of an agricultural laborer in Calif. The ad offered free transportation to the job, room and board for $2.50 a day. The food is not as good as I expected & there is no atmosphere of relaxation at mealtimes. But in general I don't think the experience can do me any harm & it might do me some good.
Meanwhile I have been thinking of Dorothy lately in a more fond & positive way. She seems capable of satisfying more of my needs than any other woman I have ever met.
Sunday, November 5, 1967.
8:55 P.M. After 4 days of strenuous work, and 4 evenings plus this Sunday of strenuous relaxation, I am quite tired this evening. I have stayed on at the lemon-picking camp, and although the 8 daily hours of work are still far from enjoyable, I am in some ways living life as I wish I could always live it. I rise with no problem at 5:45 A.M., even after less than 7 hours sleep. I eat a good breakfast and then go to sit on the toilet (a reversal of my usual sequence, but necessary here in order to be sure of getting breakfast.) I am of course getting plenty of exercise, but am still doing my regular "air force" exercises every day (usually after the evening meal.)
When we come back from work I am very dirty, which makes the shower very enjoyable. Then comes dinner and a free evening. With so much of the day consumed by work, my free time is much more valuable than time usually is with me when it is all free. So far, I have filled it all with diverse local activities, staying very little in camp, especially because I find the overheated cabins quite uncomfortable. I have done most of my traveling by hitch-hiking & get around pretty well to Santa Barbara, to the University, & today to Santa Ynez & Solvang. Last night I went to a very enjoyable comedy play, "The Odd Couple," in S.B. The previous evening I visited Dorothy's mother & aunts. If only I could make myself work as hard and regularly for myself as I do here for other people whom I don't even know, for negligible pay, my life would be much better.
If I continue my association with Dorothy, it seems we are bound to become increasingly close. But I doubt if I will ever be able to feel romantic towards her as I have towards Barbara & other women. Still it is hard to deny that on rational grounds she would seem to be a very excellent choice of mate for me.
Monday, November 13, 1967.
11:30 P.M. For the first time in many weeks I have a feeling that things are going well. My vacation seems to have done me some good. I returned home to S.F. 2 nights ago, and am now engaged in just the same kind of activities as before I left, but with renewed enthusiasm. I am closer to Dorothy, but we are still not quite like a "couple." After I had been a week at the labor-camp she came and "rescued" me. I traveled with her to L.A., then back to S.F. Twice we spent the night together in motels, the first time in Oxnard on the way to L.A. (Nov. 8), the second in Ojai coming north (Nov. 10). It was the first time we had spent entire nights together. These were also the first occasions I had had sex with her while not under the influence of pot. The absence of pot made no difference to my enjoyment or capability in the experience. As always, she was incredibly agreeable & easy to get along with, though I was in general moody.
In L.A. I stayed one night with my parents & was rapidly depressed by them & by the smog. We came from Ojai to Coalinga by Highway 33, a route across the oilfields which I had never seen before.
At the lemon camp my wages for a week's work, after deductions for food & taxes, came to less than $25. I had however enjoyed the regularity of the life, & once back in S.F. Dorothy & I decided to try & regularize our own lives. A major step was to agree to have breakfast together each morning at 8:45 here in my apartment and to spend the next 7 hours at our respective "jobs," Dorothy's being mainly distribution of my cards & songbooks, mine being creation of new material and handling of "office work." Today for the first time we tried this & both benefited from an added sense of structure, though my working time was interrupted by unexpected visitors, e.g. Dave De Vos, formerly Chapman 7 Seas Admissions Counselor, now doing similar work for some other student travel scheme. He took Dorothy & me out to dinner - "Tommy's Joint" where I had buffalo meat for the first time. Then he had to leave us. We, after a brief visit to Gale Galant & her friend Ken, went for the first time to see a film at the Straight Theater here on Haight St. - "King & Country" -- the 3rd war film or anti-war film we have seen in recent weeks. The others were "How I Won The War," & "The War Game."
Home alone at last, tired & a little depressed, knowing that I myself am simply playing a game, but with somewhat renewed interest in it.
Wednesday, December 13, 1967.
11:40 P.M. It is almost ridiculously cold here in my apartment in San Francisco.
2 factors dominate my life at present: Dorothy Tucker, and the commercial business venture on which we are both engaged of turning my talents and abilities and interests into money.
On November 17 I took the big step of discontinuing my unsatisfactory partnership with John Henderson, and of beginning to print my own postcards on my own mimeograph machine instead of having them commercially printed. This gave me much more control over the process & made my production much more flexible. I can now produce as many or as few copies of particular cards as I like, instead of having to order large numbers of just a few different cards at a time in order to save on printing costs. I buy or scrape up all my own supplies, and am an entirely independent operator, except that I depend on the downtown Rex-Rotary office to make my electronic stencils, and largely on Dorothy to distribute my cards.
I have also branched out, not very enthusiastically, into commercial mimeography (friendly Jennie Hill at the H & H Press, my former printer, keeps referring people to me) and have produced an actual book of my cards called Pot-Shots, bound with padding compound. All of these activities require of me more in the way of tedious manual labor than I bargained for, but at least it is all keeping me pretty busy, and there seems to be some fair hope, especially from the cards & books, of an eventual steady profit. Already it appears that my cards are being sold in about 80 stores.
This week I am having the fun of seeing what response I get to an advertisement I placed in the Los Angeles Free Press for my wares. So far, with only 2 responses, it appears unlikely that the ad, which cost $44.80, will even pay for itself.
My relationship with Dorothy continues so smoothly & pleasantly
that it seems almost too good to be true. She seems well capable
of satisfying more of my needs, including my sexual needs, than
anyone else I have ever known. I miss the physical attractiveness
which she lacks less and less. Yesterday she & I went to
visit Barbara Weider, who is in hospital recovering from a gall
bladder operation. Barbara seems now more beautiful than ever,
but my relationship with Dorothy enables me to face her with more
equanimity and even have hopes of building some new kind of friendship
with her. I haven't yet faced her and her husband together though,
& that still seems much harder to bear. I invited them both
to the birthday party which I held conjointly with Dorothy at
D's apartment last Saturday night, but George wrote explaining
that B was in hospital. This and the visit yesterday were the
first reasonably friendly exchanges that have passed between us
since we separated. ##