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The Best Bits of: Leonardo Da Vinci  by Walter Isaacson  Simon & Schuster 2017

Vision without execution is hallucination (4).

[Disciple of Experience] Leonardo was mainly self-taught. He often seemed defensive about being an “unlettered man,” as he dubbed himself with some irony. But he also took pride that his lack of formal schooling led him to be a disciple of experience and experiment… His lack of reverence for authority and his willingness to challenge received wisdom would lead him to craft an empirical approach for understanding nature that foreshadowed the scientific method developed more than a cent later by Bacon and Galileo. His method was rooted in experiment, curiosity, and the ability to marvel at (17) phenomena that the rest of us rarely pause to ponder after we’ve outgrown our wonder years. 

To that was added an intense desire and ability to observe the wonders of nature. He pushed himself to perceive shapes and shadows with wondrous precision. He was particularly good at apprehending movement, from the motions of a flapping wing to the emotions flickering across a face. On this foundation he built experiments, some conducted in his mind, others with drawings, and a few with physical objects. “First I shall do some experiments before I proceed further,” he announced, “because my intention is to consult experience first and then with reasoning show why such experience is bound to operate in such a way (18).

[Childhood Memories]  And it does not take a Freud to understand that sexual drives can be sublimated into ambition and other passions. Leonardo said so himself. “Intellectual passion drives out sensuality,” he wrote in one of his notebooks (20). 

[Education]  One skill that was emphasized was how to draw analogies between cases, a method that Leonardo would use repeatedly in his later science. Analogies and spotting patterns became for him a rudimentary method of theorizing (31).

Being left-handed also affected Leonardo’s method of drawing. As with his writing, he drew from right to left so as not to smudge the lines with his hand. Most artists draw hatching strokes that slope upward to the right, like this: ////. But Leonardo’s hatching was distinctive because his lines started on the lower right and moved upward to the left, like this: \\. Today this style has an added advantage: the left-handed hatching in a drawing is evidence that it was made by Leonardo (32).

[Verrocchio]  Piero gave the task to Leonardo, who decided to create a terrifying image of a dragon-like monster breathing fire and belching poison. To make it naturalistic, he assembled parts from real lizards, crickets, snakes, butterflies, grasshoppers, and bats. “He labored over it so long that the stench of the dead animals was past bearing, but Leonardo did not notice it, so great was the love that he bore towards art,” Vasari wrote. When Piero finally came to get it, he recoiled in shock from what in the dim light appeared at first to be a real monster. Piero decided to keep his son’s creation and buy another shield for the peasant. “Later, Ser Piero sold the buckler of Leonardo secretly to some merchants in Florence, for a hundred ducats; and in a short time it came into the hands of the Duke of Milan, having been sold to him by the merchants for three hundred ducats.”

The shield, perhaps Leonardo’s first recorded piece of art, displayed his lifelong talent for combining fantasy with observation. In the notes for his proposed treatise on painting, he would later write, “If you wish to make an imaginary animal invented by you appear natural, let us say a dragon, take for the head that of a mastiff or hound, for the eyes a cat, and for the ears a porcupine, and for the nose a greyhound, and the brows of a lion, the temple of an old cock, the neck of a terrapin” (39).

[Draperies, Chiaroscuro, and Sfumato]  “The first intention of the painter,” Leonardo later wrote, “is to make a flat surface display a body as if modeled and separated from this plane, and he who surpass others in this skill deserves most praise. This accomplishment, with which the science of painting is crowned, arises from light and shade, or we may say chiaroscuro.” That statement could stand as his artistic manifesto, or at least a key element of it (40-1). 

When mastering drapery drawings in Vercocchio’s studio, Leonardo also pioneered sfumato, the technique of blurring contours and edges. It is a way for artists to render objects as they appear to our eye rather than with sharp contours. This advance caused Vasari to proclaim Leonardo the inventor of the “modern manner” in painting, and the art historian Ernst Gombrich called sfumato “Leonardo’s famous invention, the blurred outline and mellowed colors that allow one form to merge with another and always leave something to our imagination.

The term sfumato derives from the Italian word for “smoke,” or more precisely the dissipation and gradual vanishing of smoke into the air. “Your shadows and lights should be blended without lines or borders in the manner of smoke losing itself in the air,” he wrote in a series of maxims for young painters. From the eyes of his angel in the Baptism of Christ to the smile of the Mona Lisa, the blurred and smoke-veiled edges allow a role for our own imagination. With no sharp lines, enigmatic glances and smiles can flicker mysteriously (41).

[The Arno Landscape]  The glory of being an artist, he realized, was that reality should inform but not constrain (47). 

…doing something different: depicting nature for its own sake. That makes his Arno Valley drawing a contender for the first such landscape in European art. The geological realism is striking: the craggy rock outcroppings eroded by the river reveal accurately rendered layers of stratified rock, a subject that was to fascinate Leonardo for the rest of his life. So, too, is the near-precision of linear perspective and the way the atmosphere blurs the distant horizon, an optical phenomenon that he would later call “aerial perspective.”

Even more arresting is the young artist’s ability to convey motion. The leaves of the trees and even their shadows are drawn with quick curved lines that make them seem to tremble in the breeze. The water falling into a pool is made vibrant with flutters of luck stokes. The result is a delightful display of the wart of observing movement (48).

[Baptism of Christ]  An X-ray analysis of the painting confirms that the angel on the left and much of the background landscape and the body of Jesus were painted with multiple thin layers of oil paint, the pigments highly diluted, stroked on with great delicacy and sometimes dabbed and smoothed by fingertips, a style that Leonardo was developing in the 1470s. Oil painting had come to Italy from the Netherlands…(54).

This use of sfumato, the smokiness that blurs sharp contours, was by now a hallmark of Leonardo’s art. Alberti in his treatise on painting had advised that lines should be drawn to delineate edges, and Vercocchio did just that. Leonardo took care to observe the real world, and he noticed the opposite: when we look at three-dimensional objects, we don’t see sharp lines. “Paint so that a smoky finish can be seen, rather than contours and profiles that are distinct and crude,” he wrote. “When you paint shadows and their edges, which cannot be perceived except indistinctly, do not make them sharp or clearly defined, otherwise your work will have a wooden appearance.” Vercocchio’s angel has this wooden appearance. Leonardo’s does not (55).

In these acutely observed vortexes and scientifically accurate ripples, Leonardo delights in what will become his favorite pattern: nature’s spirals. The curls flowing down his angel’s neck look like cascades of water, as if the river had flowed over his head and transformed into hair (56).

[Motions of the Mind]  Alberti, in On Painting…”Movements of the soul are made known by movements of the body” (87).

[Despair]  From Dante’s Inferno: “Put off this sloth,” the master said, “for shame! Sitting on feather-pillows, lying reclined Beneath the blanket is no way to fame—Fame, without which man’s life wastes out of mind, Leaving on earth no more memorial Than foam in water or smoke upon the wind” (89).

[Plays and Pageants]  The steed was followed by the horde of cavemen and savages. It was typical of Leonardo’s desire to indulge in the scary and exotic; he had an affinity for bizarre demons and dragons (115). 

[Literary Amusements]  Many of the prophecy-riddles select Leonardo’s love for animals. “Countless numbers will have their little children taken away and their throats shall be cut,” is one prophecy, as if describing a brutal act of war and genocide. But then Leonardo, who had become a vegetarian, reveals that this prophecy refers to the sheep and cows that humans eat. “Winged creatures will support people with their feathers,” he wrote in another example, and then revealed that he was not referring to flying machines but “the feathers used to stuff mattresses.” As they say in show business, you had to be there” (126). 

[Outstanding Beauty and Infinite Grace]  The horses brought him “much delight,” Vasari wrote, as did all animals. “Often when passing the places where birds were sold, he would take them with his own hand out of their cages, and having paid to those who sold them the price that was asked, he let them fly away into the air, restoring to them their lost liberty.”

Because of his love for animals, Leonardo was a vegetarian fo much of his life, although his shopping lists show that he often bought meat for others in his household. “He would not kill a flea for any reason whatsoever,” a friend wrote. “He preferred to dress in linen, so as not to war something dead.” A Florentine traveler to India recorded that the people there “do not feed on anything that has blood, nor will they allow anyone to hurt any living thing, like our Leonardo da Vinci.

In addition to his prophecy tales that include dire descriptions of the practice of slaying animals for food, Leonardo’s notebooks contain other literary passages assailing meant eating. “If you are, as you have described yourself, the king of the animals,” he wrote of humans, “why do you help other animals only so that they may be able to give you their young in order to gratify your palate?” He referred to a vegetable diet as “simple” food and urged its adoption. “Does not nature bring forth enough simple food things to satisfy your hunger? Or if you cannot content yourself with simple things can you not do so by blending these simple foods together to make an infinite number of compounds?”

His rationale for avoiding meat derived from a morality based on science. Unlike plants, animals could feel pain, Leonardo realized. Hi studies led him to believe that this was because animals had the ability to move their bodies. “Nature has given sensibility to pain to living organisms that have the power of movement, in order to preserve those parts which might be destroyed by movement,” he surmised. “Pain is not necessary in plants (130-1). 

[Collaboration and Vitruvian Man]  Ideas are often generated in physical gathering, places where people with diverse interests encounter one another serendipitously. That is why Steve Jobs liked his buildings to have a central atrium and why the young Benjamin Franklin founded a club where the most interesting people of Philadelphia would gather every Friday. At the court of Ludovico Sforza, Leonardo found friends who could spark new ideas by rubbing together their diverse passions (159).

[Love this chapter: Chapter 10; Scientist; Teaching Himself]  Leonardo da Vinci liked to boast that, because he was not formally educated, he had to learn from his own experiences instead. It was around 1490 when he wrote his screed about being “a man without letters” and a “disciple of experience,” with its swipe against those who would cite ancient wisdom rather than make observations on their own. “Though I have no power to quote from authors as they have,” he proclaimed almost proudly, “I shall rely on a far more worthy thing—on experience.” Throughout his life, he would repeat this claim to prefer experience over received scholarship. “He who has access to the fountain does not go to the water-jar,” he wrote. This made him different from the archetypal Renaissance Man, who embraced the rebirth of wisdom that came from rediscovered works of classical antiquity (170).

A goldsmith from Gutenberg’s hometown of Mainz named Johannes de Spira (or Speyer) moved to Venice and started Italy’s first major commercial publishing house in 1469; it printed many of the classics, starting with Cicero’s letters and Pliny’s encyclopedic Natural History, which Leonardo bought. By 1471 there were printing shops also in Milan, Florence, Naples, Bologna, Ferrara, Padua, and Genoa. Venice became the center of Europe’s publishing industry, and by the time Leonardo visited in 1500, there were close to a hundred printing houses there, and two million volumes had come off their presses. Leonardo thus was able to become the first major European thinker to acquire a serious knowledge of science without being formally schooled in Latin or Greek” (172).

Thus Leonardo became a disciple of both experience and received wisdom. More important, he came to see that the progress of science came from a dialogue between the two. That in turn helped him realize that knowledge also came from a related dialogue: that between experiment and theory (173).

[Connecting Experiment to Theory]    As with so many things, this empirical approach put him ahead of his time. Scholastic theologians of the Middle Ages had fused Aristotle’s science with Christianity to create an authorized creed that left little room for skeptical inquiry or experimentation. Even the humanists of the early Renaissance preferred to repeat the wisdom of classical texts rather than test it.

Leonardo broke with this tradition by basing his science primarily on observations, then discerning patterns, and then testing their validity through more observations and experiments. Dozens of times in his notebook he wrote some variation of the phrase “this can be proved by experiment” and then proceeded to describe a real-world demonstration of his thinking. Foreshadowing what would become the scientific method, he even prescribed how experiments must be repeated and varied to assure their validity: “Before you make a general rule of this case, test it two or three times and observe whether the tests produce the same effects” (174). 

As a result, Leonardo became one of the major Western thinkers, more than a century before Galileo, to pursue in a persistent hands-on fashion the dialogue between experiment and theory that would lead to the modern Scientific Revolution. Aristotle had laid the foundations, in ancient Greece, for the method of partnering inductions and deductions: using observations to formulate general principles, then using these principles to predict outcomes. While Europe was mired in its dark years of medieval superstition, the work of combining theory and experiment was advanced primarily in the Islamic world. Muslim scientists often also worked as scientific instrument makers, which made them experts at measurements and applying theories (175). 

Meanwhile, Aristotle’s science was being revived in Europe during the thirteenth century by scholars such as Robert Grosseteste and Roger Bacon. The empirical method used by Bacon emphasized a cycle: observations should lead to a hypothesis, which should then be tested by precise experiments, which would then be used to refine the original hypothesis. Bacon also recorded and reported his experiments in precise detail so that others could independently replicate and verify them.

[Patterns and Analogies]  …he was able to see patterns in nature, and he theorized by making analogies…discerned recurring themes…based on similarities and analogies (176-7).

[Curiosity and Observation]  Kenneth Clark referred to Leonardo’s “inhumanly sharp eye.” It’s a nice phrase, but misleading. Leonardo was human. The acuteness of his observational skill was not some superpower he possessed. Instead, it was a product of his own effort. That’s important, because it means that we can, if we wish, not just marvel at him but try to learn from him by pushing ourselves to look at things more curiously and intensely (179). 

[Bird-Watching]  He not only got the basic principles of fluid dynamics correct, but he was able to turn his insights into rudimentary theories that foreshadowed those of Newton, Galileo, and Bernoulli (184). 

[The Skull Drawings]  “The originality of the skull drawings of 1489 is so fundamentally different and superior to all other extant illustrations of the time that they are completely out of character with the age,” according to Francis Wells, a surgeon and an expert on the anatomical drawings. …as far as is now known, he became the first person in history to describe fully the human dental elements, including a depiction of the roots that is almost perfect (216). …it was not until 1739 that this pithing experiment would again be illustrated and described correctly (218).

[Head of a Young Woman]  The angel, like the one he painted for Vercocchio’s Baptism of Christ, is an example of Leonardo’s proclivity for gender fluidity. Some nineteenth-century critics saw it as a mark of his homosexuality, especially since the positioning and outward gaze of the disturbingly alluring angel make him seem a proxy for the artist (233).

[Fantasia and Reality]  Take, for example, his advice about looking at a wall that is “spotted with stains or has a mix of stones.” Leonardo could stare at such a wall and observe with precision the striations of each stone and other factual details. But he also knew how to use the wall as a springboard for his imagination and as a “way to stimulate and arouse the mind to various inventions.” He wrote in his advice for young artists: “You may discover in the patterns on the wall a resemblance to various landscapes, adorned with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, plains, wide valleys and hills in varied arrangement; or again you may see battles and figures in action; or strange faces and costumes, and an endless variety of objects, which you could turn int complete and well-drawn forms. The effect produced by these mottled walls is like that of the sound of bells, in which you may recognize any name or word you choose to imagine…It should not be hard for you to look at stains on walls, or the ashes of a fire, or the clouds, or mud, and if you consider them well you will find marvelous new ideas, because the mind is stimulated to new inventions by obscure things” (263-4).

[Shapes Without Lines]  Nothing in nature, he realized, has precise mathematical lines or boundaries or borders. “Lines are not part of any quantity of an object’s surface, not are they part of the air which surrounds this surface,” he wrote. He realized that points and lines are mathematical constructs. They do not have a physical presence. They are infinitely small. “The line has in itself neither matter nor substance and may rather be called an imaginary idea than a real object; and this being its nature it occupies no space” (269). Leonardo’s insistence that all boundaries, both in nature and in art, are blurred led him to become the pioneer of sfumato, the technique of using hazy and smoky outlines such as those so notable in the Mona Lisa. Sfumato is not merely a technique for modeling reality more accurately in a painting. It is an analogy for the blurry distinction between the known and the mysterious, one of the core themes of Leonardo’s life. Just as he blurred the boundaries between art and science, he did so to the boundaries between reality and fantasy, between experience and mystery, between objects and their surroundings (269-70).

[The Return]  When Leonardo reached Florence in late March 1500, he found a city that had just lived through a reactionary spasm that threatened to destroy its role in the vanguard of Renaissance culture. In 1494 a radical friar named Girolamo Savonarola had led a religious rebellion against the ruling Medici and instituted a fundamentalist regime that imposed strict new laws against homosexuality, sodomy, and adultery. Some transgressions were punished by stoning and burning. A militia of young boys was organized to patrol the streets and enforce morals. On Mardi Gras of 1497 Savonarola led what became known as the “Bonfire of the Vanities,” in which books, art, clothing, and cosmetics were set aflame. The following year, popular opinion turned on him, and he was hanged and burned in the central square of Florence. By Leonardo’s return, the city had again become a republic that celebrated the classics and art, but its confidence was shaken, its exuberance dampened, and the finances of its government and guilds drained (300).

[Diverting the Arno]  Milan’s waterworks had existed for centuries, even before the Romans built their famed aqueducts in the Po Valley around 200 BC (347). Just before Pisa broke away, a major world event made Florence even more eager to control a sea outlet. In March 1493 Christopher Columbus returned safely from his first voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, and the report of his discoveries quickly spread throughout Europe. This was soon followed by a flurry of other accounts of amazing explorations. America Vespucci, whose cousin Agostina worked with Machiavelli in the Florentine chancery, helped puppy Columbus’s third voyage in 1498, and the following year he made his own voyage across the Atlantic, landing in what is now Brazil. Unlike Columbus, who thought he was finding a route to India, Vespucci correctly reported to his Florentine patrons that he had “arrived at a new land which for many reasons…we observed to be a continent.” His correct surmise led to its being named America, after him. The excitement over what portended to be a new age of exploration made Florence’s desire to regain Pisa more urgent. [verruca means “wart”] (348). This would require moving a million tons of earth, and Leonardo calculated the man-hours necessary by doing a detailed time-and-motion study, one of the first in history. He figured out everything from the weight of one shovel-load of dirt (twenty-five pounds) to how many shovel-loads would fill a wheelbarrow (twenty). His answer: it would take approximately 1.3 million man-hours, or 540 men working 100 days, to dig the Arno diversion ditch (349).

[Draining the Piombino Marshes]  This inability to ground his fantasies in reality has generally been regarded as one of Leonardo’s major failings. Yet in order to be a true visionary, one has to be willing to overreach and to fail some of the time. Innovation requires a reality distortion field. The things he envisioned for the future often came to pass, even if it took a few centuries. Scuba gear, flying machines, and helicopters now exist. Suction pumps now drain swamps. Along the route of the canal that Leonardo drew there is now a major highway. Sometimes fantasies are paths to reality (353-4).

[Analogies]  “Though human ingenuity may make various inventions,” he wrote, “it will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple, more direct than does Nature; because in her inventions nothing is lacking and nothing is superfluous” (403). 

[Floods and Fossils]  Leonardo thus became a pioneer of ichnology, the study of fossil traces, a field that did not come into full existence for another three hundred years (440).

[The End]  [The final words written by Leonardo de Vinci:] “perche la minestra si fredda,” he writes. Because the soup is getting cold.

1982 (Age 15)

Jan. 1, 1982
This past New Year’s Eve was the best ever! Brent and I went to the ZZ Top Concert with Gogo and Gail. Brent is a really nice kisser.
Jan. 2
The other night I went to Brent’s house for a date. We had innocent fun the way I like it you know. But when we got to my house and he started kissing me good-bye it got kind of serious. He started feeling my chest. We’ve been dating for a little over three months, but I don’t know if I’m ready for that yet. When he started tugging at my pant button I said good night!
Jan. 8
Tonight at our basketball game I got called for a technical. God, I got sooo mad it is beyond words. We won by only 1 point. If we hadn’t, I would have cried to no end. But tonight I cried because we won!
Jan. 10
Tonight I watched The Elephant Man. It was absolutely an excellent movie. It was so very sad. I think it changed me a little. I’ve been thinking of this a lot. I want to be a person that will never ask anything of anybody. I am happy with everything I have now. I need no more. That is my new resolution: never to ask for anything. Unwanting. Perfectly content.
[Little did I know I was so early a Buddhist.]
My first cheerleading clinic to teach was Saturday. It was a long day. My group (for the most part) was a little less than eager to learn. Kay and I mostly taught gymnastics together.
I love the thought of romance. I think a boy brushing his girlfriend’s hair is very romantic. Kissing on a hilltop under a tree on a warm summer night by moonlight is romantic. Walking arm in arm at night through a windy park is romantic. I think a guy taking a girl in his arms and lightly kissing her on the forehead is really romantic.
[We can see how age + added journal space = more specific detail regarding ideas and feelings.]
Jan. 17
I called Mike R. the other night just because I had been thinking about him. But I also am well aware that every time we call each other we always want to give love another try. He called me back tonight. But I also still like Brent. The Kinks concert was cancelled so tonight we went to get our refunds. It went perfect. He is really sweet, clean, and cute. So why am I always longing for more? You know, I believe full well I could cheat on him, keep it a secret and not feel guilty. I’m not trying to invite this situation but if it does occur, so be it.
Jan. 18
I had the craziest dreams last night. Two I can remember. One, I was back at First Christian school and some people from Auburndale also went there. But the people from Auburndale (including me) played sports for Auburndale even though we went to school at First Christian. When the bell rang for each break between classes nobody said a word because everyone there hated each other. I kept telling everyone, “This is a lot different from Auburndale!” I was the only happy person there! I was singing and smiling. I wonder why I had that dream? My other one was “Wow!” Vicki R. was with David H. (of course) and there was another couple with us. I’m not sure who. There had been a mix up. We had to go pick up a guy at the airport and we were going to bring him a girl. That was the mix up; there was no girl. So we decided once I saw him, if I liked him, I could be his date and vice versa. Well, the moment we saw each other we just said “Yes!” This guy was a fox! I think it was Mark F. but I can’t be sure. In my dream he wasn’t Mark, but he looked like him. He had long brown hair in fly backs. Not much taller than me. We all sat down at a table in the airport. Right then and there we wanted to see how good the other could kiss. So we kissed a few short times and liked it. Then he told me he wanted me to blow in his ear. He said that really turned him on. Not too much to ask for I thought, so I did. He acted like he was in heaven, sighing and holding me close. He told me to blow in his other ear so I did. It was so easy to turn him on this way, you know? Then his hand slid down on my knee and slowly he was drawing it upward. Inch by inch. The higher his hand went, the more turned on I got. By the time his hand was three inches from my underwear I had a long climax. I told him he didn’t even have to do anything more because I had just gotten off. He didn’t proceed and the dream ended. Man, we were in love. All in an airport too. It was a very fascinating dream. I can’t explain it either, except I know Vicki and David were there because Mike R. had mentioned them on the phone. I probably dreamed about a hippie guy turning me on because they do! Just by looking. But why in an airport? I can’t understand! Dreams are just that way.
Jan. 21
Ever since I talked to Mike I have been thinking about him. It seems every time we talk we fall head over heels again. It was really intense right after I talked to him. Then I didn’t talk to him for a couple of days and the thought kind of faded away. But I called him back today. He said he had been trying to reach me. He didn’t seem to be that talkative at first, but when he relaxed we talked forever. But at the same time I’m having these feelings for Mike, Brent has been treating me better than ever. Marci S. passed the word on to Brent that if he didn’t look out he would lose me. So he has been smiling and touching me more. He and Vic J. stopped by after the game tonight. Alison M. is seriously dating Vic. Brent really likes them both which is very unusual, but good. I think the more Vic gets to know me the more he will like me. He’s just kind of shy, ya know? Going out on a double date with Alison and Vic would be great. The opportunity would be coming up tomorrow had it not been for stupid basketball practice.
Jan. 24
Right before I walked out the door the other day Mike R. and Randy G. paid me a surprise visit. Randy G. is a big dog. Mike is still a couple inches shorter than me. He has acne really bad. His hair was pretty short and not as blonde as it used to be. In other words, his looks weren’t in that good a shape, if you know what I mean. I didn’t look that hot myself at the time. So now I know I won’t be thinking about him as much.
I just remembered a dream I had last night. It was so bizarre and spectacular. I dreamed I was jogging home from the park and I got this light kind of feeling, like my feet were hardly touching the ground. I was all of a sudden light. I thought “If I start running and lift my feet up behind me, I know I will fly.” I tried it and I was flying down my street just like Superman. I was only about five feet off the ground and just by straightening up I put my feet back on the ground. I couldn’t believe it, so I started running down Zelda to see if I could do it again. I did. This time going farther. I kept thinking I was going to fall, but I just kept floating! I tried to turn by turning my body, but I did a complete roll in the air and landed in Penny B.’s front yard. I wasn’t hurt. I got up and knocked on Penny’s door telling her that I could fly. Of course, she didn’t believe me, but at least she watched me try to take off again. I started flying again. I just flew back into the park and my dream ended. It was great!
Feb. 4
A good while ago, back in January, I met this guy at the flea market. He was working there with his dad and they lived in Arkansas. I didn’t even find out his name but this dude was super good looking! Anyway, the other night right out of the blue, I had a dream about him. It was so mysterious and weird, but wonderful at the same time. This guy and I were sitting in a dimly lit room. We weren’t sitting close to each other at all and my back was to him. I don’t know for sure, but I got the feeling we had just had a disagreement. So we both just sat there in silence for a long while. Then I could feel him looking at me. I wanted him so bad, but I wouldn’t say anything. I got the feeling he wanted me too, but both of us were too stubborn to make a move. Finally, when the tension had gotten to be unbearable, he stood up and walked over to me. I stared at his shoes for a couple of seconds then he lightly lifted my chin with his hand. Then, he spoke the only words he said in the whole dream, “Whenever you need me…” then we kissed a short kiss and I moved toward him as if I wanted more and he kissed me again. Then he left. It was such a simple move, such a simple thing to do, yet so dramatic, ya know? I was speechless. I wanted to call to him to come back, but no words would come out of my mouth. I went outside to look for him, but I never could find him. It seemed this dream started and ended in the wrong places. It was weird, but those four words are stuck in my mind. “Whenever you need me.” I’ll have to use that sometime in real life.
Last night after the game Brent was supposed to take me home. I looked for him and waited on him for I don’t know how long in the freezing cold. So finally he came strolling out with Alan R. You know, not a care in the world. So, we got in the car. I had expected to go to McDonald’s with the rest of the school, but no. He doesn’t ask me or anything. He just took me straight home without question. It really pissed me off, but you know me, uncomplaining, not a word. So when we got to my house he turned on his silent bit like he does all the time. I asked him if I was just wasting his gas. He said no, but I swear to God if he said yes or even maybe I just would have went inside without a word. I told him to stop giving me the silent treatment and to stop acting so hateful all the time. So after a while he straightened up rather nicely. It turned out good. Marci S. hates Brent, but so do a lot of other girls because he is so mean to them. Marci is trying to get me to date other guys. Do you know that Brent B. is in eleventh grade and has never had a girlfriend? Look at all I’ve been through and I’m just a lowly freshman! I could tell from the beginning he’d never had a girl. I can tell by the way he kisses. The way he sometimes doesn’t know how to hold me. The way he suddenly becomes quiet when we’re alone. The way he begins to breath and shake uncontrollably hard when he tries to get in my shirt. I mean, we’ve been dating almost 5 months, maybe more, and that’s all he’s done. Brent is so different from all my other boyfriends. I don’t know if Marci is changing my mind for me, or if she is just encouraging my inner thoughts. Mark R. wants to date me and I heard some other guy would like to go out with me. The homecoming dance is Friday. Brent hasn’t asked me yet. I don’t know if he just assumes we will go together or he’s not going. But either way, Marci told me Mark R. is going to ask me to the dance tomorrow. And if Brent doesn’t ask me before Mark, that’s it, no question, Mark wins this date! And I’ll just tell Brent sorry, buster. First come, first served! I’ll tell you how it goes next write in.
Brent finally called and asked me to the dance two days before it. I told him that Mark had already asked me and that he should have asked me sooner. He said he didn’t think of it before then. Anyway, he was super mad. I asked him if he thought it would be a good idea to date other people. He gave me a straight out no! He said he wanted all or none. I thought that was pretty selfish myself, but that’s what he wants. I told him if we were going to keep our relationship going he had to start talking to me and there had to be compromise. He at least agreed to that.
I still went to the dance with Mark. Everything worked out fine. It was a real blast as a matter of fact. I still got it when it comes to dancing! Mark even danced with me. Brent was there with some girl but she was being completely ignored. Brent didn’t even care enough about her to look at her. I really had a great time. The next day Brent called me just to talk like nothing had ever happened. I couldn’t stand him being mean to me. We talked for about two hours. It took us a few days of school to start touching again. Holding hands and stuff. Mark is upset now though. He feels he was used. He really wasn’t because I really do like him and I enjoyed myself. Mark and I will never be that close again. Brent has straightened up. He talks to me more now.
Feb. 26
Alison, Vic, Brent and I went over to Gogo’s house tonight. Gogo’s whole family is out of town so we had the house to ourselves. We were going to watch a movie on the Betamax but we couldn’t figure it out. The guys played quarters for a while then they put on some music and turned off the lights. Brent felt real loose then. I felt so in love with him, it just enveloped me and I couldn’t get out. I didn’t want to!! He asked me if I wanted to go to the bedroom. I said yes, but the clock changed our minds. (I don’t think he could have handled it anyway.) Brent was so drunk I had to drag him out to the car. Half the time he was driving with his eyes closed. I had to help him drive a couple of times, but we made it.
The date before that I told Brent that I loved him. He didn’t say anything back. He acted like he was stunned, like he couldn’t believe it. That made me feel like a mad fool when there was no reply, but I think he’s just scared.
There is this guy I met through Marci S. named David J. When I first saw him he was really cute, but he had a girlfriend. David has fallen in love with me and I don’t know what to do. He’s a nice guy, I guess. I’ve talked to him for hours although I haven’t known him that long. He’s really interesting, but now he’s becoming a pest, ya know? He told me to call him back and I never did and he got 7 kinds of pissed. I don’t know what he expects. I’m someone else’s girl. But he really is getting to be a pest. The other night after our game, Alan, Karin, Brent, and I went to McDonald’s and guess who invited himself? Last night Brent and I went to a party. Guess who was there? He actually kissed me on the cheek in front of Karin. Brent was just in the other room. I was so humiliated! I don’t know if I should tell Brent about him or get rid of him by myself. I believe I’ll ask Karin tomorrow.
Brent played quarters again at that party last night and go wasted! Before I went in I said I love you again. This time he said it back. I don’t know if he said it because he means it, or because he was drunk! I guess I’ll find out in the future!
Feb. 28
I called Kathy M. the other day. We planned to meet each other at the mall. I went to the mall with Sherry today. I spotted Kathy and Jody in Learner’s. Jody has changed a little, but Kathy is the same. They both stared at me a lot because they haven’t seen me. I want to be friends with them again. Kathy’s mom acted a little cold towards me. Sherry doesn’t like them either. Sherry is going back to being friends with Missy! Oh no, tell me where Sherry went wrong! She’s gonna get in trouble, I know it. Sherry is engaged to Steve E. He is such a dog! She will be engaged for 2 years and something. I’ll bet you money the engagement doesn’t last that long. She just wants to feel mature and grown up. Fuck that, man. You can feel mature in truer ways I think!
Mar. 9
Guess who called me? As usual–out of the blue. Randy S. He had been working in Texas until he got fired, so he moved back. Now he’s got his own house. He explained to me that the last time he left me the very next day he went to Texas. I knew his voice right off the bat. He said he had been thinking about me for 11 months. He actually counted months! He sure did sound good. If he sounds that good, no telling what he looks like! He said he wants to see me–maybe sometime next week during spring break. God, I know I’m a fool, but I’d go back with him in a minute! Brent and I are doing just perfect. The other day I went over to his house after school. It was pretty cool, ya know? He was in his bedroom and I went in there. Everything was perfect, you know? He didn’t try anything and we kept our clothes on. We just laid in the bed and held each other, pressing our bodies against each other. All that was between us were two pairs of jeans, you know? It was pretty beautiful though. He really said he loved me. This time he said it first. I said it back and I was so happy!
Mar. 11
Randy called me yesterday telling me that he had to go to Mississippi for a funeral. He left yesterday and he’ll be back tomorrow. It’s only been one day and I miss that guy like hell! I may get to see him during spring break hopefully. But I wish I could see him this weekend, but I’m just booked! I’m spending the night with Alison and we’re going to double date Friday to the movies. Then Saturday Paul is going to come over then Saturday night I’m going over to Brent’s. Sunday I’m going over to Kathy and Jodie’s house! So after all that, maybe I’ll have a chance to see him. Hope I can wait that long!
Mar. 17
Brent and I went to the Police concert. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts opened for them. It was really a good concert. I had lots of fun. I saw a few people from Auburndale there. David J. also went. We met kind of by accident for a few minutes. Brent wasn’t around, thank goodness! This morning when I woke up David had put flowers on my front porch. Brent did the same thing a couple of days ago. I’m being invaded by yellow buttercups! It’s very flattering though.
I did see Randy. My god, he is still good looking. He got his hair thinned out some. It’s sorta long. I didn’t tell my mom I went out with him because she doesn’t like him. She remembers how hard he was on me at one time. Anyway, we went straight to his house. He hasn’t got any furniture there yet. Only a few little things. He said we were just going to talk about old times, but of course we didn’t talk at all! We did all the things we used to do, but this time in a house! He wanted me to give him head, but I wouldn’t because he wouldn’t do me. That’s how it’s gonna be this time. He tried to make love to me, but I said no. He said he couldn’t get me pregnant and all that bullshit, but he doesn’t know what he’s talking about! I suppose he thought he could control ejaculating, but he can’t. No one can. Anyway, he kept telling me over and over he loved me. He said he still loves me even if we don’t make love. I told him I love him too. I swear I do. He said I was the best thing that’s ever happened to him. Deep inside these have been my feelings too. I’m so glad he’s back, but I feel guilty because of Brent. I should feel guilty! The day before yesterday Randy called me and we started talking about Brent. All of a sudden Randy said, “You’re going to have to make a decision. Me or him.” It scared me shitless. I said, “If I have to make a decision it will have to be Brent. Brent hasn’t deserved anything. He hasn’t done anything to hurt me. He’s done nothing wrong.” Randy said he understood. I asked him if we could still be friends. He gave me a not-so-friendly “sure.” It ended pretty badly and I hung up without saying bye. Two people called right after that. One of them was Brent asking me out. I said yes so as maybe to boost my spirits. I hung up and pouted. My new love had ended in two days. Why did I always screw things up? The phone rang again. I was getting mad! I couldn’t pout in peace! It was Randy this time. He sounded like he had been crying. I thought I was about to! He said he was sorry and that he wasn’t going to lose me again. I told him I wanted him to stay with me no matter what happens. He said he would always be there. We said we loved each other. Then I said “That’s what’s causing all this trouble. It’s that we love each other so much. But I’d rather love you and be in trouble than not love you and stay out of trouble.” Man, it was really beautiful. I mean it. We really do mean a lot to each other and he’s gonna stay by me. Yesterday he came over and we went to his house again. At one point he just laid there and looked at me for a long, long time. I said “What are you thinking about?” He gave me the saddest answer. He said, “You’re not mine.” I told him not to think about that. That I was his for that little space of time we had together. Man, I felt awful. His kisses are so heavenly. When I got home Brent came over. When I kissed him it hit me hard. Brent’s kiss was so boring now! I mean the difference is incomparable! It was like night and day; rain to shine; hell to heaven. You wouldn’t believe! Brent’s kiss seemed too plain, sloppy, useless, no excitement. But Randy’s kisses are different every time. He’s a lot more experienced though. Now I feel sorry for Brent’s kisses. They are pitiful! Now that Randy’s back I find myself pointing out little things about Brent that bug me. He gets on my nerves a lot more easily now. The way he plays around with my hand. How he pokes me and pushes me all the time. These things started out as flirting gadgets, but now they extremely get on my nerves. And every time Brent does one of these things I think of how I’d much rather be with Randy. When I kiss Brent I get the feeling he knows I’ve been kissing someone else by the way I pucker. I pucker up for a Randy kiss, but all I get is a boring Brent kiss. Brent’s kiss is so innocent and juvenile while Randy’s kiss is fiery, adult and persuasive. I hope I can live through this double life romance!
Mar. 22
Randy and I talked it out tonight! We talked from 10:30p to 1:30a. He told me he hated me going with someone, but loving him. We fought and fought! So finally I said, “If it will make you happy, I will just break up with Brent. I will give away a piece of myself for you. Then will you be happy?” He said yes. I said, Fine, that’s what I’ll do then. Tomorrow I will just break up with Brent so you will be happy.” Now I know he is only interested in selfish love. He only wants self happiness. If he didn’t he would only want me to be happy, not himself. Anyway, of course I’m not going to break up with Brent. I love him! But I also love Randy. So the next day I called Randy back and fed him a big lie about how I broke up with Brent and all. I know I’m getting myself in deeper as I talk. But I want to keep both sides happy and since I have a chance to have both I’m going for the gusto! Even though I will have to lie to one of the other every once in awhile. Probably too soon after this write-in you will be hearing about how I broke up with one or how the other found out. I hope not. But all good things must come to an end!
Mar. 27
I just got finished watching The Wizard of Oz. Even though I’m 15 I still cried at the end. That is still my favorite movie of all time. After it, Brent called me. It sounded like he was at a really good party. It made me very mad that I wasn’t with him. I acted pretty cold to him, but it serves him right. Last night we both went to the Queen of Clubs Pageant. It was so much fun! Kim F., Liz D. and Geannie T. were the three finalists. In the end, Geannie won. I was so glad! She also won a 200.00 scholarship to a modeling school! Talk about being a winner! I think I got some great pictures. Earlier that day Maureen and I went over to Karen W.’s house for her birthday. We went to the mall and ate pizza. We also played video games. I finally made it to the second building in Crazy Climber. That’s my favorite game! I called up Randy the other day; (a day later than I was supposed to). He was so pissed at me. We just fought the whole convo. If he was the only thing I had I would be dying now. But since I still have Brent, I can afford to fight with Randy.
April 11
Happy Easter! Listen–Ken S. has been spreading lies about me. He’s been telling everyone he’s been to bed with me lots of times and shit like that. Well, when I found out I got so mad. I went to school and told Tommy T. to whoop up on him. Tommy said he’s gonna get Willam and some bikers after Ken’s ass and I hope they kill him. Paul B. is hot on his ass too. They might have gotten him this past weekend. I hope so. I’ll find out tomorrow I suppose. I’m devising a plan to get Randy on his ass good too. That is, if Randy loves me. See, this is a drastic plan, but I hope it works. 1) to tell mom that I’m spending the night at a friend’s house. 2) walk far from my house to a telephone booth and call Randy acting like I’m crying and really needing help. 3) He will come take me to his house. 4) I will tell him that Ken S. drugged and raped me, hoping that this will infuriate Randy and he will go find Ken and kill him. I think this is a very good way to test my acting abilities.
[This makes me wince to even read it, but that was my fleeting plan. Never even got close to pulling it off. Luckily, it only appeared as a passing fancy in my diary. It does, though, give me insight to the type of desperation and anger that could lead to such a lie.]
April 25
Today Grandma, Momma and me went to visit Great Granddaddy Pops. I hadn’t visited him in so long. I remember not too long ago when I was feeling soft-hearted I promised myself I would visit my grandparents if I had a chance. So when mom asked me to go today I said yes. It’s amazing how much just a short visit and a little time can cheer up an old person. I don’t believe Pops is lonely, but he loves for us to come visit. Pops is so full of life. It surprised me! I mean, this man is 84 and he drinks beer and carries a gun! He cracks a joke almost every time he opens his mouth. Not corny ones like some old folks, but good ones, ya know? He is so sweet too. He gave me 10.00 just for coming to visit him. He gave mom and grandma 300.00 for our hotel money when we go to the World’s Fair. He is just so generous. It makes me sad to think that we young people won’t even give old people our time of day, but they will be happy to do anything for us, even though it hurts them to get up and around. While Pops was talking to us I took a close look at him. He looked beautiful to me with those long, gray, dusty eyelashes, two chins and a pot belly. I wonder if he would look beautiful to anybody else except his kin. I think he really is. I guess everybody looks at their own differently. I think, if everyone knew Pops, all would think he’s beautiful.
I had a dream last night that was unusual, but I like it. I dreamed that I had a baby boy. He was so cute! I held him all the time ‘cause I just couldn’t let go! Then, by the end of the dream I had 4 baby boys! Just before the dream ended I remember thinking maybe if I try again I’ll have a girl!
[Undated note stuck inside the journal]
Yesterday Brent and I were talking and he said something about he had a feeling he wasn’t going to live long. He wouldn’t tell me why he said it, although I did ask. So I had a dream last night that a girlfriend of mine, Brent and I went swimming. There was water only in a certain small area and all around the water there were sharp, big, gravely rocks. My girlfriend got up on the high dive and she dove too far out and hit the ground and killed herself. She landed flat out, but before Brent knew her mistake, he did the same and landed flat on his head, instantly killing him. Of course I had been watching all of this and I flew into hysterics. I rushed into the house to call an ambulance, but I was so much in shock I just couldn’t do it. So I ran down to Ray’s house. I ran right in and told him someone had been killed. He was the first person who acted slightly concerned. Then my dream faded out.
I had another dream right after that one where Ray got killed. I don’t know how…I just know he was dead. I was in his house and my parents came over there. I was going insane. All of a sudden I saw Ray walk into the room. I asked all the parents, “Can you see him?” Nobody could see Ray except me. I knew he was dead and I was afraid if I hugged him he would disappear or I wouldn’t be able to feel him, but I took the chance. I hugged him and he was there! He hugged back. But everyone else saw me hugging thin air.
May 1, 1982
I have just had the best night of my life. Brent took me to the Junior/Senior prom. He came to pick me up. He was in a black tux with tails. He looked so handsome. I kept thinking he looked like one of those men in a cologne or perfume commercial. You know, really romantic. He gave me the prettiest corsage I have ever seen! It had three red rose buds on it. I loved it! We drove to the Hyatt to pick up Alison and Vic. On the way there Brent told me he liked my dress, but I think he would have said that even if I were wearing a garbage bag! He told me that he liked it again later! Anyway, we got in Vic’s car to go to dinner at Windows on the River. I had never heard of the place, but everyone had been talking about how great it was. With all the Memphis in May things going on some of the roads were blocked, so Vic asked a policeman how to get to the Rivermont. So we followed his directions, but we missed our turn and ended up in Arkansas! We finally got a chance to turn around. We had reservations and we were an hour late. We met Alan R. and his date, Teresa, there. She goes to Auburndale too. So, I checked out the place and it was the most! I’ve never been to a place where you make reservations and you can’t wear jeans and tennis shoes before! We all sat down. There were a lot of people there from other schools having a prom that night too. You should have seen all the beautiful dresses! There was a Chinese lady working there and she did everything for you. She gave you fresh plates for everything. She lit your cigarette, she told you the time, brought your food, and cleaned your tablecloth after your main meal! Alan ordered wine! (He used his fake i.d.) It was pretty good too. I got just a little drunk off of one glass. The dinner was great. We watched fireworks out the window. Besides when we were eating, Brent and I held hands all the time. Once we caught eyes for a long while and he winked at me for the first time ever! I couldn’t believe it. But he did. God, I love him! Anyway, by the time we left it was at least 10p. So, we left for the prom. We walked in. Everyone was looking at us who didn’t know we were heading for our prom. Brent asked me twice if I liked the food. He really wanted to please me. We walked into the little crowded room with all my friends dancing to the live band. They were pretty good too. We sat and watched them dance a while. I was waiting for a slow one. Finally they did and we danced. It was wonderful dancing with Brent. We kissed at first. Then I just closed my eyes and I felt like I was just floating in another world. On cloud nine. I wished it would have stayed that way forever. But the music ended much too soon. Pretty soon after that we decided to leave. It was around 12:30a. Brent was drunk. We were walking out to the car. He got a little ahead of me and I was walking behind him just looking at him. He had his hands in his pockets and he was walking real slow. The moon was out and I swear he could have been a picture in a book or a magazine. Then he looked back and I caught up with him. Halfway to the car we stopped right in the middle of the parking lot and kissed. We were kissing for a good time and I knew we made a pretty sight for people driving by with our best clothes on in the moonlight holding each other, but I don’t believe anyone saw us. We got in the car and kissed some more. He was driving down the drive and trying to unclip his tie at the same time, so I volunteered to do it for him. Then I unbuttoned his top button and he saw me struggling to undo it with just one hand, so he said, “If you don’t want to do that, just stop, okay?” So he stopped at a stop sign and I undid all of his buttons just to prove I wanted to do this deed for him. He has such a handsome chest! So we kissed at the stop sign for a long time.
We finally got to my house at about 1:15a. My parents were asleep, so I asked him to come in. We took off our shoes and sneaked into the living room. At first I turned on the tv, but then I thought it would be safer (and funner) just to turn it off. I closed my bedroom door in case dad got up he would see I was asleep. So Brent and I were in the living room in the dark. Well, not really. The shades were open and the moonlight was streaming in. God, talk about beautiful. We kissed and he laid me down and put his hand where it’s never gone before. He was unsure of himself I most likely believe. He felt me so lightly it tickled. I was hoping he would finger me, but he didn’t know to. I almost had an orgasm just lying there. He started to undo his pants but I said no. Of course, I wasn’t gonna do that there; no protection, no bed, and his pants still on! Anyway, I just said, “No. Just stay like we are. Don’t you like it this way?” He said, “Yeah, but…”
“But what?”
“Nothing. Just anything you want. I just want you to be happy. Are you sure this is all you want to do?”
“Yes.”
So we stayed that way. Perfect. We had to talk in whispers, sometimes not breathing because we heard a creak. But Dad didn’t awake and I had the most beautiful time. We laid on the couch tickling, talking, kissing and joking with each other. About 3a I told him he better be on his way because I didn’t want us to be caught. I walked him to the back door, both on tiptoes. I told him I had had the best night of my life and he said the same. “I love you.”
“I love you too.”
“Don’t close the door loud. Bye.”
“Bye.”
April 30
Cheerleading tryouts. Talk about some nerves being on edge! I did my best. Smiled. I didn’t mess up at all. Finally the new squad was announced. Surprises indeed. Rebekah A. did not make it. Everyone was shocked and sad. Karin, Jill, Jana, Jayna, Kay, Vicki B. (yeah!), Karen R., Karen C., Liz D., Kim and one other…oh yeah…Tammy (a freshman). That’s the new line up. And oh yeah, me! I’m so glad Vicki B. made it. She is a nice Freshman. She is so cute! I hope we become great friends. Ditto for Karen R. I’m also very glad that Liz made it. I told her (before it was announced) that she did so good. She was overwhelmed that I said that to her. She couldn’t believe that I actually told her she was good. She must have been; she made it!
Something got thrown on me quite suddenly today. Brent told me his parents were getting a divorce. I almost started crying. He said he found out sometime last week. Of course, he told Alison and Vic before he told me. I was a little upset about that, but I told him I wasn’t mad at him. That’s the last thing he needs. I wouldn’t have suspected it for the world because he always seems so happy. He was telling me he was going to look at apartments for his dad. And yesterday he looked at one for his mom. I said, “Wait. You’re going to have two apartments?” He said, “No. My parents are getting a divorce.” Then I just sat silent for a long while. Man, I should be extra nice to him in the near future.
May 5
My day didn’t start out too good, but once school was out it was terrific! I went down to the park and low and behold guess who I met? Finally! The guy that lives down the street (who I suppose is married) that looks like Nigel Olson! Man, I’ve had a fantasy of him for so long! His name is RAY. Oh, lovely the sound. He was lookin’ me over good. I only said about 2 words to him. I wish we could of talked more, but that means from now on we can talk to each other. Hopefully!
May 12
You’ll never believe what I found on my back doorstep when I got home from school yesterday. A big, beautiful bouquet of flowers! Brent and I had kind of been getting on each other’s nerves, you know? I was a little mad at him. He had to go out of town yesterday and today, so I guess he sent them to kind of make up. It worked very well! I love him so much. Momma says she’s jealous. No one has ever sent me a true live “bokay” of flowers before!
[dated May 12]
It finally happened! Oh I just can’t stand it. He finally spoke to me, of rather I spoke first but he did the rest of the time. We actually finally talked. Me and the Nigel Olson look alike down the street. Oh baby! His real name is RAY D. Oh God! He is NOT married. He is 28 years old and says he doesn’t care. He lives with his mother. He goes to MSU night classes and is studying to be a DOCTOR! A radiologist to be exact. Man, man, man! He talked for over an hour. He thinks drugs are stupid and he doesn’t drink. He has the most gorgeous eyes. Oh! HIs hair. He’s got a hairy chest. Lifts weights. Runs. Believes in being healthy. Works at Target. Goes to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Studies all the time and gets out in 3 weeks! Praise the Lord! When we parted (sweet sorrow) he said, “See you later.” God, please make that true!
[dated May 12]
Tonight Leigh P. and I went to Musicfest. LaRouxe played tonight. Right when we got there we met Tommy T. and his girlfriend, Willam and Sherman. I walked around with Leigh for a while and we rode some rides. I saw Christi E. there and I was real nice to her. We rode a ride together. Then Leigh and I split up and I walked around with Willam. Nobody messes with ya when you walk with big Willow! Then, after a while we met Tommy and Leigh and them again. The music was about to start so we all headed for the stage, but Tommy’s girlfriend had run off with some other guy, so Tommy and I put our arms around each other and went to the first row. All through the concert we had a hold on each other. He kissed my forehead a couple of times. We yelled and screamed. It was the best time I ever had! It made me want to go with Tommy so bad, but I know I can’t. I never did kiss him because I think I would feel guilty. I can’t get over the feeling I had when I was with him. So comfortable. So perfect. But, after it was over we saw his girlfriend again so we didn’t touch anymore. We hardly spoke. But I never will forget that perfect night.
May 13 [Finally…the next day!]
Guess what? Last night I had a dream about Tommy! We were at the fair in the place where his girlfriend had been. We were holding each other. I was completely in love with him. But he was kind of looking past me. He had a far off look in his eyes. Like he was making sure his girlfriend wouldn’t see us. His mouth was still and his lips were slightly apart. I kissed his top lip first, then his bottom lip, but he didn’t move. Like he was frozen. I didn’t understand it, but then my dream ended.
May 20
I just got back from my vacation. Grandma, Aunt Carolyn, Mark, Mom and I all went to the World’s Fair. Personally, I didn’t like it. It was really a rip off. All it was were different buildings for each country. You know, you’d think they had some interesting stuff in there, but all they had were posters. Can you believe you stand in line for two hours to see posters? I hated it. But the different gift shops from each country were interesting. Mom bought me a ring on account of she was examining my contact lens when we were outside and she dropped it. Of course it was never found again. I was furious and she was sorry. But it cost her a 16$ ring! We also went to Opryland which was great fun! Then after Knoxville we went to Gatlinburg which I really enjoyed. So other than the fair itself, it was fun!
May 22
I haven’t seen Ray in so long, but I’ve been thinking about him a lot! The other night I even had a dream about him. I dreamed we went out on a date and we went somewhere where there were a lot of people. We had our arms around each other. Of course you know who we ran into…Brent! I started to run ‘cause I thought Brent was going to beat my butt and Ray said, “You didn’t tell me about this!” And my dream ended. Oh! You might call that a nightmare!
June 2
Yesterday Brent had a basketball game at 5:30. He wanted me to come and see him, plus I wanted to come myself. Of course we won! After that we went to Brent’s house so he could take a shower. While we were there his mom fixed us a pizza. Brent’s dad and I ended up eating it because Brent wanted to eat strawberries instead! After we ate we planned to go see a movie. But it turned out different. We went into the game room and turned on the tv and we also turned on the kisses. So we said we better go if we’re gonna make the movie, but all we did was move to the couch! After a while we just said forget the movie! He said, “Let’s just go somewhere.” I agreed. We went parking the same place we did the very first time. The moon was bright and the sky was covered with stars. I picked out a really bright star and gave it to Brent. We walked around and leaned against the car and just kissed the night away. It was so perfect. So beautiful. He took his shirt off. He felt so warm and good! We didn’t do anything more than kiss. Can you believe two teenage kids parking on a pretty summer night and all they do is kiss? I am so positive I’m in love with him. I’m aware of it all the time.
June 13
Last night Brent and I went to the movies. We saw a real scary one. I love those! I told myself whatever mood he is in or whatever happens, I’m going to be super nice. So, he was in a good mood and so was I. We were super friendly to each other the whole time. After the movie we went to his house and talked to his mom a while. Okay, I already knew they were getting a divorce, but Brent’s dad had ran off somewhere the day before. In order to sell their house they need the owner’s consent, but the owner wasn’t around. They didn’t know where he had gone and if he wasn’t back by 9:30 this morning they couldn’t sell the house. Brent and his mom are going through a lot of troubles. I noticed after they started talking about it how Brent’s mood changed. But it only took a few minutes of being alone to change it back. Boy, that was fun. We went into the game room and played! He sure as hell has improved on his kissing. Tonight he really proved that! I’m talking 100%. When we first started kissing he kissed like a dog. But now since he’s gotten a lot of practice in he is so much better. I’m glad I stuck with him through dog kisses and all. Right now I think he needs me. Someone to hug him. But now he’s talking about moving away. Maybe with his dad or going on alone with his sister. That scares me, ya know? ‘Cause I’m really in love with this dude. For real love. I don’t want him to leave, even for a short time. Last night when we were fixing to leave I walked into the bathroom to fix my hair and my fantasy (one of them) came true. I was looking in the mirror and Brent came up behind me and said, “You’re beautiful.” And while he was standing behind me he put his arms around me and started kissing my neck. The best part was watching this perfect position in the mirror! After I got my hair done I turned to him and we kissed.
Before, when we were driving to his house, I was kissing on his neck all the way there! I was doing some wicked things with my tongue and hopefully it was driving him crazy. After a while he said, “You’re making this very difficult, you know.” So I hope I accomplished that goal!
Our date before our last one was a bummer. He was in a bad mood because of his dad and all, but he hadn’t made this known to me. I was in an untalkative mood and was planning on him babbling on instead of me. So all through our whole date nobody said a word. He took me straight home after the movie and before I got out of the car he grabbed me. I said, “How come you only grab me when I’m going out the door? I’ve often wondered.” He said, “Oh, excuse me.” Then I got out of the car with his yelling, “What? Wait! Come back!” But I kept on walking. I went in the house and slammed the door as he squealed out of the driveway. I watched him speed down the street. I just stood there. I couldn’t move. I just kept saying, “I’ve never done that before. He’s not gonna come back.” But five minutes later guess who was back at my doorstep! Then finally he told me he was in a bad mood, but I got him laughing before he left. I’m so glad he’s not as bone headed as me! That was a pretty big fight, but it didn’t last long at all. Thank goodness!
June 13
When I was out on my front porch today Brent drove by. He was going to play some basketball so he came back and got me. Then, after he got all hot and sweaty we went to his house so he could take a shower before we went to eat. He was just about to go in the bathroom and he asked me if I wanted to take a show with him. You know, I almost said yes! But I held back on account of his mom or sister waltzing in we wouldn’t have a chance!
June 24
Last night I had a whole bunch of short dreams but I only remember one. Karen, Keith, Marty, and I were riding 10 speed bikes to run away on. We didn’t know where we were going, we just wanted to be far away. The land was just a series of hills. They were all the same size and all spaced perfectly apart. It was very hard to go over these hills on bikes, especially for me because I was riding Karen on my bike. We crossed on a bridge over a big river. This could have been the Mississippi. Not long after we crossed the bridge when we got to the top of the hill I looked up ahead and I saw a huge beautiful castle. It was several stories high, but it was mostly long. It didn’t have many silo shaped cones; it just had a long broad front wall. It was embedded in evergreen trees against the blue sky and looked absolutely fabulous. I love castles; I’ve never dreamed of one though. It was truly a “dream.”
July 19
I had a dream last night that I was shopping with a couple of friends and I ran into these two girls who wanted to fight with me. I took them both on, one at a time and beat the shit out of them!
Cheerleading camp was great. The night before camp everyone spent the night at Kim W.’s house. Of course most of us did not go to sleep. We snuck out during the night and rolled somebody’s house only in the morning to discover nobody lived there! The first day of camp was so easy compared to the rest. All day everyday we learned cheers. In the end, we made it to the finals. We got 16 ribbons, one of which was a blue ribbon. The instructors were the most. Two guys and two girls. The guys were gorgeous! Russ and Bill. God, you wouldn’t believe their bodies! Bill could do a standing back flip. The girls were Melanie and Vicki. Vicki was nice, but Melanie was a bitch. On talent night Rebekah and I did a skit we had made up the day before. It turned out to be hilarious. I now know I am definitely going to be a stand up comedian. Two ladies said I should be on Johnny Carson. They said they would have paid to have seen me! Russ said he could fall in love with me I was so funny. I was just eating it up. It’s like a dream come true. They were rolling out there!
I roomed with Karin. We got along very good. We didn’t fight once. One night we stayed up ‘til 2a just talking. She’s an early bird like me. Thank goodness! While I was there I wrote Karen, Craig, and Brent. I bought a t-shirt that says “Cheerleader” on it and I ordered a t-shirt that says ICF Grand Champ Finalist. I bought a cheer book too. As you can tell, I also ran out of money. When I got home a couple hours later, Karin called me and said, “I miss you.” That was so sweet. I was so glad to be home. During camp I had a falling out with Tammy. She’s one of the new freshman. She was yelling at me and kind of hitting me, so I told her in front of everybody never to hit me. She did get the message! Karen R. got on my nerves too. Vicki B. got on everybody’s nerves! I just don’t know if I can handle all these freshman!
I don’t know if I told you about this guy, but his name is Randy Sanders. [I am keeping his full name in here because he is a date rapist.] It was kind of deep like at first sight if you know what I mean. We met at the park. Exchanged numbers and we talked a long time. We have a lot of the same interests. He plays on a softball team and I went to two of his games. On the second one we went to the woods afterwards. It was pretty romantic. We were naked. We had oral sex and I really liked it. The main thing about him I liked was he kept asking me questions. He asked what I liked. Was that okay? Did this feel good? I liked him caring about what I liked. He wanted to make love, but I didn’t. He pushed in anyway and he knew that my cherry had still not been busted. I kept trying to get away, but he was on top of me saying, “Let it penetrate” over and over. I kept saying, “No, no, stop Randy.” But instead of stopping him it just turned him on more! Once he said, “Keep saying ‘no.’ just keep saying it.” Then I realized. I told him it hurt and he said, “It hurts, but if feels good, don’t it?” And I knew he was right. He said after your cherry is broken in it doesn’t hurt any more. I believe that, but mine is not broken yet. He finally stopped when he wanted to and he said, “See, I got out before I came so I wouldn’t get you pregnant.” I’ve read that you mustn’t trust that method. When he finally stopped I felt sore. This time he asked to do it again and I said no. He tried to finger me again, but I said to quit because it hurt. I liked everything except him getting in me and then not getting out. I said no even before he went in. It got me really scared and you could have considered it rape if he would have really hurt me and done it again. But, after that we heard a tractor coming in the distance. Some kids were playing with it and it was headed our way! We got our clothes on real fast and instead of putting on my shirt I put on his jacket and left it unbuttoned. It was really sexy and he told me so. I had only known this guy for two weeks, but it seemed like two years. Other than that brief moment, he was so sweet. We had so much in common. On our first date we walked to the park in the darkness and laid under a tree and he kissed my nose, neck, breasts, and he kissed me lower and lower. He kissed my jeans as if I didn’t have any on and every time I think of the way he did it, it gives me chills. But, after our second date, he had to move away. Somewhere near Nashville I believe. I felt so sad leaving him. I wish he could have stayed. We would have a good thing going. [I don’t remember much from this time in my life, but I remember this. And look how this 15 year old girl reacted to being date raped. How twisted is that? It’s totally fucked up is what it is.]
Brent and I had a big fight not too long ago and I talked him into both of us seeing other people. After the initial madness, he took it quite well. So well that I was surprised! It was a big weight lifted off my shoulders when he grudingly agreed. He said he will still love me and I told him he was the greatest and that I’ve never loved anyone as much as him. So after we date other people for a while maybe our love will either fade away or get stronger. I hope get stronger, but we’ll just have to see.
He came over last night to watch tv. We had a really good time. When he was about to leave I gave him the stars (for an early Christmas present I said). He said, “When Christmas comes you might not want to give them to me.” I said, “Oh, yes I will.” Then he said, “I’ve got to ask you a question. Are we still going to date other people?” I said yes and he looked kind of disappointed, but then again, he could just be making sure so he can ask someone out. You never know!
Aug. 13
Today, Mom just sprung it on me that we may be moving! Not far away, only to Bartlett. That’s prep country. We’re not for sure yet, but mom sounds pretty serious. It is a three story old beautiful house. It was built 120 years ago and it is in desperate need of repair. Dad could restore it to a charm. It sits on 6 acres of land which we could put a couple horses and a built-in swimming pool. God, I’d love it. Each room has a fireplace! I’ve always dreamed of that. It has five rooms and three bathrooms. It has a wide front porch and a small side porch. It doesn’t look that sharp now, but I know if Dad gets a hold of it, it will become a dream house. I will have a bigger room! There are a lot of new houses around, and probably a lot of people my age. There is Skateland, stores, restaurants, and an arcade close by. Karen is close and Brent is closer! If any details crop up I’ll be sure to write!
I have been seeing this guy named Steve for maybe a month now and just yesterday he told me, “Oh, did I ever tell you that once I was married and had two kids?” No, you didn’t tell me that. What. Did it slip your mind? He is 23, but I never suspected and he never gave any indication. But all his friends that I have met are married. At first I didn’t know what to think, but now that I’ve had the night to ponder the thought I’ve figured that I just can’t handle that. I mean, a divorced man with two kids? Ray is older, but at least he is more or less innocent. I’m supposed to see Steve Sunday. When I do I’m gonna tell him that it’s best not to continue this relationship.
I took my snake down the street to show Ray yesterday and he was absolutely fascinated! He just loved Oz. We were both looking at her and his face was so close to mine. I could hardly stand not to bend over a couple inches and peck him on the cheek! I met his mom and her boyfriend. His mom freaked out. Bad, I’m talkin’! In the face she is pretty, but her hair leaves a lot to be desired. Once, Ray dropped his keys and I picked them up for him and when I handed it to him we touched hands. I loved it. Just for that fleeting second. I wish it could have lasted forever. Then he and his friend went running and so I left. But after I went home and put Oz up, I went down and caught him again. We talked for a long while and every once in awhile I would reach over and punch him, just to touch him really. I was so reluctant to leave and he didn’t want me to either. I would have suggested that I sneak out later, but he had to get up early and go to work. I probably would be too embarrassed to ask anyway. That is my innermost fantasy. Is to sneak out about 1a and meet Ray in the park and spend all night with him. I wonder if it will ever come true.
Aug. 20
A few days ago, maybe a week, Brent sent me a beautiful bunch of flowers. There was a message with them saying “Just a reminder of how much I love you.” It was the sweetest thing. Then the other night I invited him over and it didn’t take long until we were back together. Now I am so positive I love him. There is no doubt any more, but then again, was there ever? I can tell he loves me too. We told each other over and over again. I gave him the letter I had written saying that I wanted to get back together, although it was of no use then! I am so happy now. Some guy asked for my number last night and I said no!
Aug. 23
Last Friday night Brent and I went out. We went to the movies, but I don’t know why. We just could have went parking and not paid anything! Next time maybe we will! Anyway, we left the movie and went parking in the woods (which I’m scared to death of at night). He told me the sweetest thing that night that no other guy has ever told me before. He said, “I never want to lose you.” I replied, “You never will!” and I’m so glad I meant it! Yesterday was our year anniversary. I hope there’s a lot more to come. It’s getting to where now I can’t even go to sleep for a long time because I’m thinking of him constantly. He’s an obsession.
Aug. 24
The second day of school was better than the first. Thank goodness. But later in the afternoon Brent acted sort of cool to me, as he does from time to time. Sorry, but it doesn’t change my loving view of him. Although it does bother the back of my mind just a bit. When I got home from school today I sat out on my front porch and guess who I saw drive by? Ray D. himself, but not by himself. He had that little blonde with him for the third time that I’ve known of. I don’t know who she is, but she’s getting on my nerves. I mean, for all I know they could be related or something, but I don’t know that for sure. Hopefully it’s his sister that comes over a lot, but how do I know what she looks like? I know I shouldn’t think about Ray, much less fantasize and get jealous of him. Then again, maybe it’s only natural. I wish I knew who she was. A good point that may prove she is NOT a girlfriend is I saw him take her to his house, then a little later he left–alone. He wouldn’t go anywhere without his girl, would he? Oh, shut up Tiffany!
Aug. 26
Brent said the sweetest thing to me yesterday. I was walking him to his car after school when he asked me what night I wanted to go out. I told him any night would be fine so he said, “Okay, so we’ll go out Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!” I said, “Sounds good to me!” Everything has been going so great at school. If we weren’t back together by now I would be going crazy! I’m so in love with him. I think of him every night before I go to sleep.
Today I had on high heels and Gogo came up and grabbed one of my heels and said, “Golly, why do you wear such high heels?” Being sarcastic. So I said, “If I had some higher ones I would wear them!” And for the first time Brent took up for me. He said, “Well at least she can walk in them across a field without stepping in a hole and twisting her ankle!” All Gogo said was nothing! I laughed and said “Touche!”
Sept. 6
I finally got around to writing this although it happened about three weeks ago. Brent and I went to the movies and ran into Karin, Kim and Shaun. He really wanted to leave, but I got him to calm down. We saw Fast Times at Ridgemont High. I loved it! Afterward we didn’t have anywhere to go, so we went to the house that the people had left to move into his old house. There was no furniture there and it was dark and scary. We went into one room and sat there a little while and we heard strange noises, so we went into another room. I always said I wouldn’t make love anywhere except a bed, but I figured a nice carpeted room was good enough. We both got undressed. He didn’t take off his shirt though. I guess he didn’t want to mess with it. Oh, it was so beautiful, but we didn’t make love. I wouldn’t. I am not on the pill and he didn’t have a rubber. He was just fixing to slip inside when I said no! He asked why and I said because we didn’t have any protection. After a few minutes he said, “It’s okay if you don’t want to.” That was the sweetest thing. He really does care. I felt him rubbing against me and I wanted him so bad. All I wanted was him pumping hard, in and out for a long, long time. It was the hardest thing to say no. It was the hardest, and closest temptation I’ve ever had. But, now I’m glad I said no and I’m gonna have to keep on saying no until he gets some rubbers. Maybe he doesn’t believe in them or something. I would be glad to take the pill, but it has very bad side effects and I don’t like that idea. I hope he gets smart soon, because I don’t know how much longer I can resist him.
Night before last I had a dream that someone woke me up and told me I was going to get married. It was my wedding day and I had to get ready. The only problem was I didn’t know who I was getting married to! There was this big mean guy in my dream and I kept hoping I wasn’t getting married to him. He kept hitting me and yelling at me, but then I remembered Brent and I recall wishing or rather hoping it was him I was going to wed, although for some reason I had this sinking feeling that I wasn’t gonna get lucky enough to have him for a husband. Then last night I had a dream that I was in front of some building with a lot of my friends and Brent drives up in his Corvette. I had been waiting for him to pick me up so I hopped in. Of course everyone was wondering where he got the car. So finally when we had got a little distance from the place, I asked him where he got the car and he gave me a look half of guilt and half of disgust of me asking I guess. He simply said, “It’s Tina’s.” Now, I didn’t know who Tina was, but I figured if this girl let him drive her Corvette, they must know each other pretty good. So then I said, “You can take me home now.” So, without any more words he took me back to the building and I got out and put my hands over my face and started crying as he drove off. Everyone asked me what had happened and I started telling them and my dream ended. Brent is right–I do worry too much.
The other day after school, sometime last week, I went home with Brent after school. His new home is a very tiny apartment in Hobbit’s Glen. It would be just right for Brent and me! That’s what I pretended when we were all alone. That we were just married and this was our first place. After a while we turned off the tv and went into the living room. We stretched out on the couch and I knew I was horny. I also knew that if we started getting into it his mom would come home from work–right at the wrong time! But his hand found its way to my weak spot. (It always does.) I resisted the first couple of times because I knew if he turned me on that would be it. Brent is a persistent little devil though. He finally got his hand inside my jeans and pulled ‘em to my knees. I knew I was done for. My resistance was low! He slipped his finger inside and that was it. I wanted him to stop, but I wanted it more. We were kissing so hot and heavy I couldn’t say anything. I wanted to say “don’t stop”, but he got the idea not to stop when I pushed his hand inside me more and squirmed as I reached climax. This guy got me off in 5 minutes with one of his huge football player fingers! It was excellent. Afterwards I told him I didn’t want him to do that, but when there is a green eyed dimpled receiver laying at your side you just can’t say no.
Sept. 21
So much has gone on this past week I couldn’t sit down. I need to write a lot. This past Saturday Karen had a party. At first it was going to be a big bash so we told everyone. Her parents were going out of town and just leaving Lori and Karen there. Then Friday Karen called me up in tears and said she couldn’t handle that many people coming, so we trimmed it down to a low, low 13 people. Okay…everything is fine. Saturday night Karen, Lori and I are sitting there thinking no one will come when all of a sudden about 6 car loads drive up. Thirty people in all came. At first Karen was hysterical, but then she kicked back and enjoyed it. Brent and I snuck off to her bedroom with a glass of wine and a Journey album. It was pretty great. We finally had the discussion I’ve been wanting to have for a long time. Birth control. I asked him if he gets mad every time I say no and he said something I’d never thought of saying before: “You have more to lose than I do.” So we sat back and discussed it. He felt it needed to be discussed, but as usual, I did most of the talking. I told him how many side effects the pill had and I didn’t like the idea. Then, it took courage, but I mentioned condoms. Now I couldn’t see his face ‘cause it was dark, but I felt that he grimaced. Anyway, I mainly said that they were safe and the best idea. He didn’t say yes or no, but hopefully he understands. I also told him that I would like to make love for the first time on the night of my 16th birthday. I asked him if he could wait that long and he said he would try. I also said that if we weren’t mature enough to discuss it, then we were not mature enough to do it. Makes sense to me. Anyway, the night turned out really good. Everyone was pretty well behaved and Karen was chasing some guy. I had driven dad’s truck to Karen’s party. So, when it was time to leave Brent walked me to the truck. I was feeling a little tipsy. We said our good-byes and I was backing out down the street. I also backed right into Vic J.’s car. At first I laughed because I didn’t think anything happened, but from the look on Brent’s face I could tell it was bad. I got out and looked. God help me! I never felt so bad. This was serious too. Half of his car was totaled. My back light was bashed…that’s all. Then I started shaking and all I could say was “shit, shit, shit.” Then Brent said he was going to follow me home because I was so nervous. Then all the way home I kept saying “I am in so much trouble.” When we got home we sat on my back porch. I had failed to realize that no one else had seen the accident; only Brent and I. No one even heard it or came out. So he suggested that I didn’t have to tell. That put a whole new light on the subject. Of course I wasn’t going to tell if I didn’t have to. He said I could tell my dad I backed into a pole or something. Yeah! I would do that. Brent said he thought the car was a company car so they would just get a new one. So I thought, cool. No money out of their pockets. Then he said, “Or, you could tell the truth.” And I thought “Of course not!” Why would I do that when I can get off free? So I told Brent…well, I actually begged him, not to tell anyone. He said he wouldn’t. But he was gonna go back to the party and see if anybody knew anything. Vic and Alison had already left, but the next day somehow they knew it was a truck and somehow it turned out to be yellow. Now, I was driving a brown and beige truck. Cool deal. The next morning my dad laid into me and I told him I backed into a pole. I could pay for it. It lasted about 5 minutes and it was over. Brent told me yesterday that he heard Gogo say the car was not a company car and also Vic told him it would cost over a thousand dollars! It turns my stomach to think of it. I think they have insurance, so it’s still no money out of their pockets (is it)? Brent said he had a feeling Vic knew but he wasn’t saying anything. I said if anyone asks him he doesn’t know anything.
So this morning Karen told me that the police came knocking at her door last night to question her to see if she knew anything about how Vic’s car got smashed. All she heard was that it was a yellow truck and she had to deny ever having a party all in front of her parents. It really put her through hell. She said they took pictures of the broken glass and everything. I could barely breathe when she told me that. But after a while I felt kind of better because the police are looking for a yellow truck. But just to be safe, Brent said I better get mine fixed fast. So I told Dad today we better get it fixed because he could get stopped for having a broken tail light. I would feel a lot better if it were fixed.
Sunday night Brent came over and we were both in better moods. We watched Endless Love which was pretty dumb, but just the theme put you in the mood. They had a lot of love scenes and all. After that, Brent and I went outside. It felt so good holding him in the darkness and kissing those oh-so-romantic kisses. I held him so tight. I kept thanking God for him. We walked to his car and he said, “I love you.” Then I said it back. Then he said, “FOREVER.” Can you dig it? Am I totally flipped for this guy or what? I am so in love all the time. I just kind of floated back to the house.
Today Joey asked how my love life was and I said perfect! And I meant every letter! He said, “You don’t flirt with anyone else or nothing?” and I said that’s right! I felt so good saying that, and knowing that it was true–even if he didn’t believe me. Then, after babysitting for Cindy she asked, “How’s your social life?” and I answered once again, “Great!!” I floated home again.
There is this freshman girl named Dana who is getting on my nerves. She lives near Brent in the same apartments. In fact, Brent has been telling me of how she loves to start long conversations with him and to come knocking on his door to tell him his car lights are on. She knows what time he leaves and what time he comes home. Next time if I see her talking to him or touching him in any way I am going to make myself known to her!!
Sept. 29
Up until today I was positive Brent and I were going to make love soon. But now I believe I have changed my mind. Anna and I have been writing with bated breath back and forth about premarital sex. She positively says no to sex before marriage. Now when the conversation started I was all for sex before marriage. I mean, Brent and I have discussed birth control, and we even had a special day we might first make love on. But Anna is an avid church-goer and she’s got her head on straight. She is also madly in love, but she’s not giving in. She sent me an article about sex before marriage and it sure changed my mind. But Brent may be very disappointed. I’m sorry. My two closest friends think it’s wrong and I pick my friends carefully. I know they are saying the right thing. If Brent really loves me he will wait for me. Body and soul. In the Bible it says that petting is also a sin. So I have sinned already, but I doubt very seriously I could stop that. Oh, it’s so hard. It said petting is like throwing gas onto a fire. This is true! I also believe very strongly that the day I walk down that wedding aisle I will want to know that I have saved myself for this man and also he has saved himself for me. That will prove that our love is lasting. Can I do it? I’m going to discuss it with Brent tomorrow and see what he says.
Oct. 9
Yesterday Brent and I had a perfect day. We were both in good moods and we went out. Later that night we were over here laying on the couch just being beside each other discussing different things. We said we would love each other forever and Brent asked if I would love him even if he went off somewhere to college. I said yes. Then, if he was gone a year would I still love him? Yes. Two years? Yes! I’ll love you forever Brent; don’t you worry about that. So then I asked him would he love me forever no matter what? Yeah. Would you love me even if we never ever made love? Yeah, probably. I don’t know. I couldn’t say. Would you think I was right or wrong if I suggested we not make love until after marriage? He asked why. “Is that what you want from me?” Well, I’ve been thinking about it for a long time now and I think I’ve finally reached a conclusion. Do you think I’m right? He said yes. I said, “But I’m scared that if I don’t make love to you, you will find someone who will and forget about me. I don’t know whether I should stick to my values and hope you hold on or forget my values and make you happy.” You know what Brent said to me? “Stick to your values. You do what you gotta do. I still love you.” I asked if he’d wait for me. He said, “I can’t say.” That discouraged me some, but he was being honest. I asked him if he could wait 6 or 7 years until we got married and he said he could probably wait that long. We were actually talking about marriage. I loved it. I hope we talk about it again soon. Anyway, it felt like a great weight was lifted up off my shoulders when he said to stick to my values. That was the greatest. He really does love me and care for me.
Oct. 14
Today went perfect for me and Brent. We were both in good moods the whole day so I told him I would call him tonight, so I did. We talked a short while. Not too interesting, so before I said goodbye I told him I loved him. He said nothing. It was awful just sitting there waiting for his reply. So finally I just said “bye.” He goes, “What?” I said, “If you’re not going to say anything, I might as well say bye.”
“Well, what did you want me to say?”
“Oh, nothing.”
“Well, I love you too.”
He said that last line with such regret and anguish in his voice. I said, “God, I love how you say it with such enthusiasm.” Then he gave me his all time favorite pathetic “I’m sorry!” So I just quickly ended it with “Bye, Brent” and hung up sharply and quickly. No telling what tomorrow is going to be like. Either he’s gonna come up and apologize first thing or he’ll act like an asshole all day. The latter is unlikely, but you never know with him!
Oct. 20
Last night Brent and I went to the Rush concert. When I got in the car he was acting crazy! He was in a really good mood. I mean like “high” good. I asked him if he had been drinking, but he said no. Anyway, I tried hard to keep my eyes on Brent (and not anyone else). And I pretty well succeeded. I held back the urge to walk around by myself and I pretty much showered attention on him. But as usual, when the music really got going he got a headache. Of course his whole body is always aching. I just made fun a little, but let it go after that. On the way home it wasn’t too good, but when we got to my house we had a nice long goodbye. It was really great. The concert itself was good. Not great, but good. Billy Squire and Nazereth are coming Nov. 9 which Karen and I are going to see. Keith and his friend are coming along too. That should be a blast. Won’t have to keep my eyes to myself then!
I haven’t mentioned this yet, but it is very important: in a week and a half the Queen of Clubs pageant will proceed and I will be in it. Oh, I was so thrilled when I was elected. Lynn Sitler from PM Magazine will be one of the judges. We will be interviewed next week at a luncheon at the Colonial Country Club. It’s such a big to do and I love it! We have to perform a talent which mine will be to dance. I’m going to dance to Bandstand Boogie by Barry Manilow. I think I’ll be able to really get down then! The 3 finalists get asked a spontaneous question which can make or break you in some cases. We have to do a solo dance (all the girls together) which will be to “That Old Black Magic” then we do a dance with our escorts to “Thank Heaven for Little Girls.” My escort is a nice looking senior named Mike K. He is going with Laura G. We learned our dance with the escorts today. Mike can do pretty good. Some people have been telling me I’m going to win. In my heart I truly don’t know. I’m up against some pretty good competition. They say most of the points will be decided at the luncheon. Your poise and personality. Poise I can fake. If they are scoring solely on personality then I have a chance. The winner gets to go on to a Junior Miss Competition. I would be so surprised, so happy, to win. Even get picked as a finalist. I’m having loads of fun right now just practicing for it. Go past one more Saturday and I’m there. Brent, Paul, and Gramma, Mom, Dad, Keith. All the school. I can’t wait. I’m praying, wishing, hoping.
Oct. 21
Today I went to a new asthma doctor. It’s so depressing going to doctors. You know, they keep telling you everything that is wrong with you. Anyway, this Dr. Twew gave me some new medicines that I’ve never had before. He seemed really good. He was nice too. He is a real young doctor, but he has two kids that go to Auburndale. They are in the middle school. But he told us some things we’d never heard before such as if I didn’t start taking care of my bronchitis now, I could contract some weird disease that sounded like a very nasty situation. He also told me something that scared me so bad I almost started crying. He said women with asthma as bad as mine usually have some trouble during pregnancy. He said I’ll have a hard time having kids. Plus with my curvature of the spine, that makes it worse. God, that worries me more than I can say. All my dreams lead to a family with lots of children. I was pretty depressed there for a while. But I have to keep my chin up and assume everything will go as planned. I noticed that Brent had been in a sort of depressed state of mind lately, so after practice today I had some extra time so I just paid him a surprise visit. At first it was rocky, but I ended up getting him in a good mood. Thank goodness. We both left feeling good. I used my hug therapy on him. It always works. I couldn’t resist hugging him anyway. He said the sweetest thing today. I was talking about my hug therapy and I said, “How would you like it if I became a hug therapist, then I’d have to come home and hug you every day.” He contemplated that idea then I suggested, “Or would you rather me be a sex therapist?” Then he said, “I don’t mind what you become, just as long as you’re here with me.” Oh, he said it with such conviction! Of course that earned him a hug plus a kiss!
Oct. 23
Brent and I went out and had a pretty great time. It’s ending wasn’t quite the same though. We were in the kitchen sitting on the couch talking. Everyone had gone to sleep. Brent and I started kissing and he started to unzip my pants. Now, considering how my dad tends to pop up when least expected, plus we couldn’t go out on the porch because it was too cold. I told him no. Then he got so mad. Well, pretty mad. Then I got mad at myself. He made a sarcastic remark about me not turning him on lately. That hurt me pretty bad. Then he apologized and understood, but I was still ticked. Not at him, but at me. I mean, I know what he needs and wants, but I won’t give it to him. Each time he told me he loved me I wondered why? I’m not giving him anything to love. Remember Randy S.? I didn’t make love to him. Where is he now? Who know? I don’t see how Brent can love me. There’s nothing to go by or hang on to. He tells me to stick to my values then he pressures me for sex. I’m so confused. I know I’m right, but I feel so wrong. Stupid. I think any girl would just love…kill to be in my position, and what do I do? Nothing. I think for the first time I’m right about something important and I don’t know what it feels like. Or what to do. It’s frightening not knowing if he loves me for being me or he’s just holding on until he gets me. It’s so hard saying no to him. At that moment I wanted him inside me so bad I can’t discuss it any further.
[This entry makes me so sad. I see how these feelings began even before I was 15 years old. I didn’t value just myself. HE didn’t value just myself. Relations between men and women hinge upon the sexual exchange. I felt that if I wasn’t providing Brent with sex then I was a totally useless non-entity in his life. I always wanted a relationship with a loved male that was not sexual, but loving and protective nonetheless; somewhat akin to the relationship I had with my father. I wanted to be admired for sound decision-making, not pressured to slide in the opposite direction. These issues have deeply colored my entire sexual identity: not feeling enough in the presence of a desired male unless I was sexual with the focus on him.]
Nov. 4
Well, the Queen of Clubs pageant was great. I had a blast although I didn’t win. But guess what? I got voted most congenial from all the other girls. I received a plaque for that. I was thrilled Laurie P. was 2nd runner up and I was 1st runner up. Kim W. became the new Queen of Clubs. She also won most talented. I was so happy for her! This is her third year in it and she wanted it so badly. It’s funny. I thought I would be disappoint if I didn’t win, but I was so happy after it was over with. I surprised myself! Grandma B., Aunt Carolyn, Keith, Mom and Dad came. Mike K. was my escort and he did great! I was so proud of him! Afterwards, Brent and I made a fast escape to McDonald’s. There was supposed to be a great party at Melissa’s house afterwards, but it turned out to be a real bummer, so Brent and I split to our favorite parking spot! Everything was great. We had a contest to see who could get our pants off the fastest. Of course, I won! We’re no longer embarrassed about seeing each other’s body. We’re used to it now. We show each other our body freely now and touch each other and joke and caress much more freely than before. We even sometimes talk deliciously nasty. For example, we were sitting in a movie theater not long ago and I was holding his hand real tight and squeezing his fingers together. Then I just grabbed one finger and held on. He said, “Oh! I need that finger you know.” And I replied, “Oh, I do know you need that finger. Most definitely!” We both knew what we were talking about!
Anyway, back at the parked car…We had some difficulty both laying down in the front seat, him being so tall and all. But we managed to do some things. I was so horny. He fingered me and after just a few minutes I came in a completely satisfying orgasm. One thing I have noticed time after time is that after I come I immediately want him to get his finger out. He doesn’t understand that. I don’t know if it’s natural to feel this way or not. After I come, all I want to do is make him come. One good thing is I think he really likes to finger me. I think it’s really erotic when he has his finger in me and he talks to me at the same time. Like he’ll say, “Do you like that? Huh?” In a teasing way when he knows he’s taking my breath away. Or he’ll say “Would you like me to stop? You want me to keep going? What? What did you say?” When all that will come out of my mouth are gasps of pleasure! Oh, that turns me on. I’m actually beginning to enjoy giving him oral stimulation. It’s kinda fun and I know he likes it. It also turns me on when I’m going down and he says my name. “Oh, ah, Tiff…you better not do that.” Slowly slipping away into ecstasy. He sure can make a meal of me quite well too. I don’t know how he learns these things, but he does it so good. He gently parts my lips with those giant fingers and licks around playfully with that warm tongue until finally he pushes it in all the way. The only trouble is he never does it long enough! Sometimes he quickly replaces his tongue with a finger which really feels nice ‘cos by then I’m all hot and slick. He also did something new last Sat. night. Instead of just gently kissing my neck now he nibbles and bites and softly sucks on my neck. Oh, my hand just crawls downward every time he starts that! Sometimes by the time I unzip his jeans he is already wet. This makes me happy to know he’s getting off. I’ll bet he can feel my juices too. I love it when he starts out moving his finger in and out slowly, then as my moans get faster so does his finger. Sometimes you can hear my juice as he pulls and pushes his finger in and out, out and in. Last night I dreamed of him and twice I woke up in an orgasm! All day my pussy has been literally throbbing. Sometimes so much so I have to move or let out a moan. But, I feel a need for more than just finger and tongue. I want him inside me. All of him. I want it to hurt. I want his hard, wide penis sliding in and out as I grab his ass with his arms around me. Once I had an orgasm with just him rubbing up against me. God, I want him bad. All of him. But I can’t. I won’t. I BETTER NOT!! It’s getting to where I don’t know if I can trust myself…much less him!
Nov. 6
Last night Brent and I went out and the whole night was so perfect! First we went to eat pizza which was really good. Then we went to the Pink Palace for the laser light show which was to Journey. It was so good. We kissed a lot there. It was so dark so who cared? Every once in awhile he would lean over to kiss my cheek or my ear. We held hands the whole time. In the pizza place conversation never stopped. We were both so talkative, it was great. There were no frustrating silent moments. Of course, at the light show you don’t need to talk, so that gave us a break. But before the show started we somehow got talking about kids. I asked him if he liked kids a lot (since he is a P.E. assistant in the middle school). He said he likes little kids, but the older they get the less he likes ‘em. He said he talked to the lower school kids the other day and it was a lot of fun for him. I asked, “Well, what are you gonna do when a kid of yours starts to grow up? Are you gonna trade it in for a smaller one?” He said, “Well, when they grow up too much just send that one off to school, then have another little one!” Ah! I thought that was a good idea because it seemed to indicate he wants a lot of children. Of course he was just joking about that though so soon after he followed with, “No. I’ll probably like them always if they were mine.” I said he would like them ‘cause they would be like him, right? He shook his head yes as if trying to imagine what it would be like bringing up children.
After the light show we decided to come back to my house. We sat on the couch and watched tv. Everything was going good, but Keith had not gotten home yet. Now, Keith and Brent don’t get along too well ‘cause Keith is an older obnoxious kid! So when he walked in we kind of quieted down, but if I play on Brent’s side I can keep him in a good mood. So when Keith did something dumb we would look at each other and laugh. Luckily, Keith didn’t stay long. He took his bath and went to bed. As usual, Dad made his rounds into the kitchen, but he never did catch us doing anything. Ha! Finally Mom and Dad went to bed, but they left their door open. They weren’t suspicious were they? After that Brent and I stretched out on the couch and got comfortable. He fingered me a lot and we set a new record last night. I had four orgasms! I didn’t think I could take any more. It seems every time we fool around we try something different. This time we talked more while we were doing it. Such as the first time he fingered me, right before I started coming I said, “It’s coming. It’s fixing to. Don’t stop. Don’t stop.” Then during my orgasm I moaned and kept saying “Now! Now!” I know he realizes now when I have an orgasm. After I do, he does it a few seconds longer then quits. Perfect. On the last time he did me I didn’t think it was possible for me to come any more! Before he slid his finger in I said, “Go slow.” He did! Excruciatingly slow! Then I felt that feeling growing after a while and I said “Faster now.” I was so juicy you could hear it and I think he likes feeling it. Sure enough, I came again! He ate me twice. I can barely stand that! Oh, it was so good. The first time was the best. I can’t seem to get off on his tongue, but when he slides his finger in right after, I usually do. But the first time he had his back to me and was leaning over. All I could see was his broad back. Handsome. But what he did just blew my mind. He watched (very closely) as he fingered me. I could hear my juices against his sliding fingers. When he got some good juice built up, he pulled his finger out, rubbed the juices on my aching cunt lips, then licked it all off! God, I think I was in heaven. After that he licked and nibbled around my pussy while he fingered me. It tickled and felt so good at the same time. I just couldn’t believe this man! Once I looked at him and simply said, “I can’t believe you.” He asked why. I told him he was very good with his hands and that he made me feel so good. So then I told him to lay down so I could make him feel good. He pulled off his pants while he told me pants serve no purpose. I felt of him a while then was just going to give him as much time as he did me, but I was having so much fun I ended up staying down there a long time! I got him coming good. He was pushing and pulling so much and moaning. When I did something different I would ask if it felt good. Once I asked, “Are you finished? “ Yes. “Do you want me to stop?” He shook his head no. I was glad, in fact! I gave more and more til he no longer could take it. At the end of this I was just slowly rubbing his dick up and down right up to the tip. He showed me this. Then he said, “Don’t stop that!” So I did that for a little while longer. Now we were both satisfied to the fullest. We put our clothes on and talked. Sometimes we would just look at each other and touch. Once he was fingering me and he really started getting into it and he started saying, “Let’s make love tonight, Tiffany. Please, let’s make love. I wanna make love to you tonight.” Oh, I almost had an orgasm just from hearing those beautiful words. But, I kept my sanity. I said, “No. We promised. We promised we wouldn’t.” I had to say it quite a few times before he came back to reality. Then he came to grips with himself and said (very maturely) “I know. I’m sorry. I just love you so much.” He said he was sorry about five times! He’s learning to accept it and I’m so glad. I told him it was natural to want to so bad. We were laying real close with only the tv light on us and we were looking at each other when he said, “This is how it would be if we were married.” I said, “Then you would never have to leave. We could just lay here all night.”
“I think about it a lot.”
Inside I said, “Thank God I’m not the only one that thinks about it!” but on the outside I just smiled. We wonder the same things all the time. He told me he wondered if we would always be this happy. I said if we both hoped to be happy maybe it will come true. Then he brought up the subject: If I go away somewhere to college, will anything change? No! Never is all I could say ‘cause I know it’s true. I asked him if his feelings would stay the same. His answer was the same as mine. He concluded the conversation by saying he will probably go to college in Memphis anyway. Oh, I hope so. We decided to get off the subject because it was too depressing. The rest of the night we spent talking about our childhoods. We were so absorbed in each other. Time just flew by. By the time he left it was 3:30a! What a great night. The best ever maybe. But the best is yet to come! I’m so in love!!
There is this old song they play on the radio every once in awhile called Forever Autumn. It’s a sad song that talks about one’s lover is gone and the other is lonely and sad. Autumn is here and the cold winds are much colder ‘cause you’re not here. This song reminds me so much of the situation of if Brent goes away to college. If he does, I don’t know if I can stand it. I heard this song today and I sat down to sing it. When the verse came that said, “A gentle rain falls softly on my weary eyes, as if to hide a lonely tear. My life will be forever autumn ‘cause you’re not here” I began to cry. The word “lonely” stuck in my head. I don’t want to be lonely.
Nov. 10
The Billy Squire concert last night was out of this world. Excellent. Great! Brent, Karen, Keith, his friend and I went. We all rocked out. We had great seats and most of the time we were standing up. I managed to pay attention to both Karen and Brent so as not to get one of them mad. But on the way home, what I had tried to prevent all night happened. Brent got angry. So when everyone had piled out of the car we discussed our feelings. He felt that when Karen and I get together we act immaturely and that really bugged him. I told him that happened when he got around Vic too, but I never said that to him. Anyway, in the end we got it settled and we ended friends. Karen spent the night last night and we discussed all kinds of things until 1:30a. We get along great when we talk serious, but sometimes at school, quite often I may say, she yells at me as if I’m a nobody. I mean, Karen is known for her big mouth and sometimes she uses it on me. I think I taught her too much and too fast on how to be tough. Now she thinks she’s hot shit. Today she started yelling at me so I just shut up and turned away. She knew I was pissed, so then she started acting nice. Not nice enough as far as I was concerned. She yells at everyone else but she shouldn’t yell that way at her best friend. When I first met Karen she was sweet, quiet and soft. Now she is gaudy, loud and outwardly tough. I wish she would sometimes talk quietly and sweetly. It would be so different…a big improvement.
Nov. 14
I know this is terrible, bad and wrong. It goes against everything I believe in, but last night Karen and I went skating and we met a couple of guys. You know your stereotype service guys as a loud talking’ redneck GI Joe. Well, Karen and I met us two Navy guys that were just irresistible! First, we sat down by a crowd of them thinking that we had made a wrong move. But they all turned out to be so sweet and funny we just couldn’t help becoming friends. One blonde I had my eye on from the beginning. He was more of a loner and a little less talkative. I asked him to skate: his dimples and all. Oh, he was charming! He had worked in a skating rink for 3 years and he skated beautifully! He held my hands so tenderly. His name is Mark B. He is in the Navy. He is from New York. He has a real New York accent. He called me a Southern Belle and he said my name was pretty. He also likes the way I talk. After we skated our first couples he said thank you and he gave me a quick kiss on the lips. I thought this was fast, yet sweet and thoughtful. Karen found a guy named Kurt. I think she’s in love! Anyway, Mark and I skated together the rest of the night. He has a charming personality. What a comic! I practically laughed the whole time! He reminds me of Sting of the Police. I kissed him once more. I would have given him a goodnight kiss, but Keith was hanging around. I gave Mark my number and he just got finished calling me. We talked for about 45 minutes. Practically all the guys there said hi to me. God, they are all so funny and sweet! Updates later! Officer and a Gentleman.
Nov. 21
Hey, birthday girl here. What a great birthday this has been! Mom and Dad took me out to lunch at a place called Wink Martindale’s. Wink is the host for a game show that is pretty popular and he has a small restaurant here in Memphis since this is where he lives. I got my picture taken with him. I also met Larry Raspberry! He used to sing with the Gentries in the ‘60s. Now he has a well known band called the Highsteppers. Lunch was great. I took along the smallest present and opened it after we ate. It was so great. It was a pinky ring that Daddy had given Mom on her 16th birthday. It is silver and it has 7 little diamonds in it. So if I ever have a daughter, I can pass it on to her on her 16th birthday.
[It still hurts today that years ago this ring was stolen by a bandit boyfriend who pawned it for drugs. I’ve been searching for a replacement ever since.]
After that we…oh wait! Two of the waiters came in singing Happy Birthday to me and one had a little chocolate cake with one candle on it. I never expected that! So when we got home I opened my other presents. One from Grandma B.: 16 dollars. Grandma P. gave me $5. Mom and Dad gave me a clock radio and Aunt Carolyn and Mark gave me a ceramic musical unicorn! Keith gave me a clear, small plastic unicorn that looks like blown glass. Later, Brent came over. He gave me a funny card and a heart necklace with matching earrings! I’m happy he gave me jewelry. That’s what I wanted him to give me! It was an all around great day! I’m so happy! Oh, also, the night before my birthday Mom handed me a letter that she had written. It was so sweet; it made me cry. That was the greatest present of all and I’ll keep it forever…just like you, diary.
Nov. 29
This past Thanksgiving holiday was pretty great. Especially when it comes to the subject of Brent! One night we had a ball game so we didn’t do anything. Saturday was a glorious night! First, he came over for a little while and we just chatted with each other and Keith. I found a new technique to start our dates off right: I kiss him hello right when I first see him. Anyway, we went to the movies. The movie we saw was pretty stupid, but what we did in the movie theater was kind of exciting. First, I had my hand resting on his knee. Then inch by inch, minute by minute, my hand was right where…you guessed it. He kept saying playfully, “You better watch that hand, now!” And I would innocently reply, “I am watching it!” I kept softly rubbing up and down hoping to tickle him into hysteria. Then my grip became more firm. He put his hand over mine to apply more pressure and tried to lead my hand inside his pants, but I wanted to keep him wanting and waiting. So finally that came to an end. We were going to eat afterwards so I thought that if no one can see our hands I might do it then! After the movie Brent asked me where I would like to eat. El Chico was my choice. He said he hoped he had enough money. Little did I know he was teasing! Dinner was great! (You could see our hands, though.) We had nachos for a beginner. It’s not important what we ate. Our conversation was great. We talked about all sorts of things. After I found out he had plenty of money he had a good laugh about worrying me when the check came!
After dinner we were walking out and he knew of an ice cream place just a couple shops down where you could make your own sundae. It was rainy and cold outside, but we both wanted ice cream! I had a blast making my own sundae. I never knew such a place existed! It was great. We sat inside and ate while discussing the techniques of how to make a superb sundae. Greasy Italian [Mexican] food followed by a Tiffany Sundae. I don’t see how I survived! Neither does Brent! After that we headed to my house. My parents were throwing a party for Debbie who had flown in for Thanksgiving. Brent stayed just a little while, but you know, he felt out of place. I told him I had a great night. He said he did too and I can tell he really meant it. A perfect night.
One day he came over and Brent, Keith and I went to the park to shoot basketball. It was pretty fun. After that we went back to his house for dinner. When we were driving to his parent’s, I imagined that we were married and we were going to visit his parents and have dinner with them. Oh, I love to imagine such things! Dinner was great. His dad can talk forever about car stereos. Then they started talking about college. I had a terrible feeling in my stomach whenever any of them mentioned another state. It seems though, they have almost decided on Southwestern and if so, Brent will live at home for another year. He doesn’t want to live at home anymore. We just have to wait a little longer for a decision. After a while we went upstairs. Let me tell you, we had a great time. Once, his dad walked in and found us kissing. Thank goodness he walked in when we were being good! He just said, “What are you two sneaks doing?” Not in a mean way, just regular. Brent and I kissed once more and he moved away from me. What was embarrassing was that Brent was on top of me and my legs were wide open with him in the middle! Oh well. I’m sure he knew we didn’t go upstairs to play Tiddly Winks. That night turned out to be a great one too. Brent and I are really starting to open up to each other. I love him more than I can say.
Dec. 1
The Barry Manilow concert tonight was unreal. Mom and I went. God, it was so great I just can’t express it in words. Everything was perfect. I really do love him and his music. I really can’t wait for tomorrow night because it’s Van Halen! Jill W. is going to spend the night afterwards.
Dec. 9
The other night I drove Brent to our b-ball game. Of course we got lost. He didn’t have to come, but he still did. (Isn’t he sweet?) Then I drove him home. I just thought he was fixing to say “bye” but instead we ended up talking for 2 hours! How time flies! We talked about how far we’ve come from the beginning and all that we’ve been through. It was great. We were both in good moods. It makes me feel so good when we talk like that. Last night I was thinking about him so much I started to cry. I remember how Anna (my penpal) said that if I wanted it to always last to just pray to God and he will surely answer my prayers. So that’s exactly what I did. I thanked the Lord for all the good things that I have and I guess I was so thankful that I started to cry!
Dec. 14
At the request of my sweetheart I phoned him last night. I’m so happy I did! It turned out to be a great conversation. It started at about 8:15p. It ended at 11:30p! We talked about a lot of interesting things. Every time we get into a good conversation like that I always learn so much more about him. It gives me such a good feeling I almost believe I’m going to float away. We’re becoming so much more open. He is trusting me and telling me so much more. We talked about our school situation. We frankly talked about my body. My breasts to be exact. How I thought they were so small, but he told me that my breast size wasn’t even in the top 50 things he wanted to get to know when he first met me. I’m glad he said top 50 instead of top ten! We also talked about marriage, kids, discipline, punishment, life. Marriage is becoming a fairly regular part of conversation although somewhere in a small dark corner of my mind is the word “scary.” We talked about 14 year old girls who are pregnant and we both whole-heartedly agreed we couldn’t handle that! He said several times that bringing up children scares him. Not so much just bringing them up, but teaching them right from wrong; bringing them up right. I often think about that too. He said, (and I quote), “Kids seem okay up until a certain age, but from 13 to 18 you can have ‘em.” Then I told him it’s how you bring them up to act that determines what happens between 13 and eighteen. He agreed. We really sounded like true adults. We talked calmly and maturely expressing our views and using big words. He also told me of his goal right now is to be accepted to Southwestern. He wants to prove to his father (and himself) that he can do it. He also said (it was the sweetest thing) that on that day when he finds out if he was accepted or not, that I better be there ‘cause he might need a hug. If he does get accepted that would be perfect. He would stay here. His dream would come true, reaching his goal, his dad would be proud and Brent would have self confidence. If not, hell will break loose. Even Brent himself said he feels sorry for me if I’m around that day. I mean, he needs me there, but it will be an ugly sight. I’m gonna pray often for him and whatever comes of it will be for the best. I love him so much. I can’t explain it in words. He makes me feel so…so different from anybody else. We need each other. We help each other because we were made for each other.

Poetry for Professionals by J. Coleman

Wallace Stevens was one of America’s greatest poets. The author of “The Emperor of Ice-Cream” and “The Idea of Order at Key West” was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1955 and offered a prestigious faculty position at Harvard University. Stevens turned it down. He didn’t want to give up his position as Vice President of the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company.

This lyrically inclined insurance executive was far from alone in occupying the intersect of business and poetry. Dana Gioia, a poet, Stanford Business School grad, and former General Foods executive, notes that T.S. Eliot spent a decade at Lloyd’s Bank of London; and many other poets including James Dickey, A.R. Ammons, and Edmund Clarence Stedman navigated stints in business.

I’ve written in the past about how business leaders should be readers, but even those of us prone to read avidly often restrict ourselves to contemporary nonfiction or novels. By doing so, we overlook a genre that could be valuable to our personal and professional development: poetry. Here’s why we shouldn’t.

For one, poetry teaches us to wrestle with and simplify complexity. Harman Industries founder Sidney Harman once told The New York Times, “I used to tell my senior staff to get me poets as managers. Poets are our original systems thinkers. They look at our most complex environments and they reduce the complexity to something they begin to understand.” Emily Dickinson, for example, masterfully simplified complex topics with poems like “Because I could not stop for Death,” and many poets are similarly adept. Business leaders live in multifaceted, dynamic environments. Their challenge is to take that chaos and make it meaningful and understandable. Reading and writing poetry can exercise that capacity, improving one’s ability to better conceptualize the world and communicate it — through presentations or writing — to others.

Poetry can also help users develop a more acute sense of empathy. In the poem “Celestial Music,” for example, Louise Glück explores her feelings on heaven and mortality by seeing the issue through the eyes of a friend, and many poets focus intensely on understanding the people around them. In January of 2006, the Poetry Foundation released a landmark study, “Poetry in America,” outlining trends in reading poetry and characteristics of poetry readers. The number one thematic benefit poetry users cited was “understanding” — of the world, the self, and others. They were even found to be more sociable than their non-poetry-using counterparts. And bevies of new research show that reading fiction and poetry more broadly develops empathy. Raymond Mar, for example, has conducted studies showing fiction reading is essential to developing empathy in young children (PDF) and empathy and theory of mind in adults (PDF). The program in Medical Humanities & Arts (PDF) even included poetry in their curriculum as a way of enhancing empathy and compassion in doctors, and the intense empathy developed by so many poets is a skill essential to those who occupy executive suites and regularly need to understand the feelings and motivations of board members, colleagues, customers, suppliers, community members, and employees.

Reading and writing poetry also develops creativity. In an interview with Knowledge@Wharton, the aforementioned Dana Gioia says, “As [I rose] in business … I felt I had an enormous advantage over my colleagues because I had a background in imagination, in language and in literature.” Noting that the Greek root for poetry means “maker,” Dana emphasizes that senior executives need not just quantitative skills but “qualitative and creative” skills and “creative judgment,” and feels reading and writing poetry is a route to developing those capabilities. Indeed, poetry may be an even better tool for developing creativity than conventional fiction. Clare Morgan, in her book What Poetry Brings to Business, cites a study showing that poems caused readers to generate nearly twice as many alternative meanings as “stories,” and poetry readers further developed greater “self-monitoring” strategies that enhanced the efficacy of their thinking processes. These creative capabilities can help executives keep their organizations entrepreneurial, draw imaginative solutions, and navigate disruptive environments where data alone are insufficient to make progress.

Finally, poetry can teach us to infuse life with beauty and meaning. A challenge in modern management can be to keep ourselves and our colleagues invested with wonder and purpose. As Simon Sinek and others have documented, the best companies and people never lose a sense of why they do what they do. Neither do poets. In her Nobel lecture “The Poet and the World,” Wislawa Szymborska writes:

The world — whatever we might think when terrified by its vastness and our own impotence … is astonishing …Granted, in daily speech, where we don’t stop to consider every word, we all use phrases like “the ordinary world,” “ordinary life,” “the ordinary course of events” … But in the language of poetry, where every word is weighed, nothing is usual or normal. Not a single stone and not a single cloud above it. Not a single day and not a single night after it. And above all, not a single existence, not anyone’s existence in this world.

What if we professionals cultivated a similar outlook? We might find our colleagues more hopeful and purposeful and our work revitalized with more surprise, meaning, and beauty.

Poetry isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to every business problem. There are plenty of business leaders who’ve never read poetry and have been wholly successful. But to those open to it, reading and writing poetry can be a valuable component of leadership development.

by J. Coleman

Paulo Freire

One of the most influential radical educators of our world. Developing methods for teaching illiterate adults to read and write and (as he would say) to think critically and, thereby, to take power over their own lives. Where teachers and students have equal power and equal dignity.

Wrote: Education for Critical Consciousness, The Politics of Education, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Revised Edition, Learning to Question: A Pedagogy of Liberation and Pedagogy of Indignation.

Because teachers could be said to have something that their students lack, it is impossible to have a ‘neutral’ classroom; when teachers present a subject to their students they also present a point of view on that subject. The choice, according to Freire, is fairly simple: teachers either work ‘for the liberation of the people–their humanization–or for their domestication, their domination. A teacher’s most crucial skill is his or her ability to assist students’ struggle to gain control over the conditions of their lives, and this means helping them not only to know but ‘to know that they know.’

Freire edited, along with Henry A. Giroux, a series of books on education and teaching. In Literacy: Reading the Word and the World, a book for the series, Freire describes the interrelationship between reading the written word and understanding the world that surrounds us.

The “Banking” Concept of Education

[margin notes: teaching = too much talking. Further: this is why I use real world examples]

For apart from inquiry, apart from the praxis, individuals cannot be truly human. Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other.

[margin note: acknowledge what the students bring to the table; what they already know. Let them know you do not know everything; you are learning as well]

…both are simultaneously teachers and students.

…the critical consciousness which would result from their intervention in the world as transformers of that world.

To transform that structure so that they can become ‘beings for themselves.’

…critically consider reality. …ontological vocation to be more fully human.

…reality is really a process, undergoing constant transformation.

…engage in critical thinking and the quest for mutual humanization. …a profound trust in people and their creative power…be partners of the students in their relations with them.

[footnote: conscientizacao: According the Freire’s translator, “The term conscientizacao refers to learning to perceive social, political, and economic contradictions, and to take action against the oppressive elements of reality.” margin note: being woke.]

…a person is with the world or with others…a re-creator…a conscious being…

…one must seek to live with others in solidarity. Solidarity requires true communication, and the concept by which such an educator is guided fears and proscribes communication.

Yet only through communication can human life hold meaning. …thinking that is concerned about reality happens through communication.

Thinking, action, creative power.

But the inability to act which causes people’s anguish also causes them to reject their impotence, by attempting “to restore [their] capacity to act. But can [they], and how? One way is to submit to and identify with a person or group having power. By this symbolic participation in another person’s life, [men have] the illusion of acting, when in reality [they] only submit to and become part of those who act.”

…they cannot use banking educational methods in the pursuit of liberation…

But one does not liberate people by alienating them. Authentic liberation–the process of humanization–is not another deposit to be made in men. Liberation is a praxis: the action and reflection of men and women upon their world in order to transform it.

Those truly committed to liberation adopt instead a concept of women and men as conscious beings; as consciousness intent upon the world…the posing of the problems of human beings in their relations with the world. ‘Problem-posing’ education, responding to the essence of consciousness–intentionality…embodies communications…being conscious of…consciousness as consciousness of consciousness.

…acts of cognition…the cognizable object…intermediates the cognitive actors… Dialogical relations–indispensable to the capacity of cognitive actors to cooperate in perceiving the same cognizable object…

…problem-posing education: its function as the practice of freedom. …teacher-student with students-teachers. The teacher is no longer merely the-one-who-teachers, but one who is himself taught in dialogue with the students, who in turn while being taught also teach. They become jointly responsible for a process in which all grow. …authority must be on the side of freedom, not against it. People teach each other, mediated by the world…

…a medium evoking the critical reflection of both teacher and students.

He does not regard cognizable objects as his private property, but as the object of reflection by himself and the students. In this way, the problem-posing educator constantly re-forms his reflections in the reflection of the students. The students–no longer docile listeners–are now critical co-investigators in dialogue with the teacher. The teacher presents the material to the students for their consideration, and re-considers her earlier considerations as the students express their own. The role of the problem-posing educator is to create, together with the students, the conditions under which knowledge at the level of the doxa is superseded by true knowledge, at the level of the logos.

Problem-posing education involves a constant unveiling of reality…the latter strives for the emergence of consciousness and critical intervention in reality.

Students, as they are increasingly posed with problems relating to themselves in the world and with the world, will feel increasingly challenged and obliged to respond to that challenge. Because they apprehend the challenge as interrelated to other problems within a total context, not as a theoretical question, the resulting comprehension tends to be increasingly critical and thus constantly less alienated. Their response to the challenge evokes new challenges, followed by new understandings; and gradually the students come to regard themselves as committed. [margin note: problem-posing leads to commitment]

Education as the practice of freedom… Authentic reflection considers neither abstract man nor the world without people, but people in their relations with the world.

In problem-posing education, people develop their power to perceive critically the way they exist in the world with which and in which they find themselves; they come to see the world not as a static reality, but as a reality in process, in transformation. Although the dialectical relations of women and men with the world exist independently of how these relations are perceived (or whether or not they are perceived at all), it is also true that the form of action they adopt is to a large extent a function of how they perceive themselves in the world. Hence, the teacher-student and the students-teachers reflect simultaneously on themselves and the world without dichotomizing this reflection from action, and thus establish an authentic form of thought and action.

…problem-posing education sets itself the task of demythologizing. Banking education resists dialogue; problem-posing education regards dialogue as indispensable to the act of cognition which unveils reality; it makes them critical thinkers. Problem-posing education bases itself on creativity and stimulates true reflection and action upon reality…persons as beings who are authentic only when engaged in inquiry and creative transformation…problem-posing theory and practice take the people’s historicity as their starting point.

Problem-posing education affirms men and women as beings in the process of becoming–as unfinished, uncompleted beings in and with a likewise unfinished reality. The unfinished character of human beings and the transformational character of reality necessitate that education be an ongoing activity.

Education is thus constantly re-made…problem-posing education–which accepts neither a ‘well-behaved’ present nor a predetermined future–roots itself in the dynamic present and becomes revolutionary.

Problem-posing education is revolutionary futurity. Hence, it is prophetic (and, as such, hopeful). Hence, it corresponds to the historical nature of humankind. Hence, it affirms women and men as beings who transcend themselves, who move forward and look ahead…

…movement must begin with the human-world relationship; in the here-and-now. To do this authentically they must perceive their state not as fated and unalterable, but merely as limiting–and therefore challenging.

As the situation becomes the object of their cognition, the naive or magical perception which produced their fatalism gives way to perception which is able to perceive itself even as it perceives reality, and can thus be critically objective about that reality.

[This paragraph has a star, so I must have really liked it:] A deepened consciousness of their situation leads people to apprehend that situation as an historical reality susceptible of transformation. Resignation gives way to the drive for transformation and inquiry, over which men feel themselves to be in control. If people, as historical beings necessarily engaged with other people in a movement of inquiry, did not control that movement, it would be (and is) a violation of their humanity. Any situation in which some individuals prevent others from engaging in the process of inquiry is one of violence. The means used are not important; to alienate human beings from their own decision making is to change them into objects.

This movement of inquiry must be directed towards humanization in fellowship and solidarity.

…it also enables people to overcome their false perception of reality. The world…becomes the object of that fransforming action by men and women which results in their humanization.

 

Slavery, Race, and the Making of American Literature

In 1820 the English critic Sidney Smith downplayed the emerging literature coming out of America and tied his critique to the practice of slavery: “Finally, under which of the old tyrannical governments of Europe is every sixth man a Slave, whom his fellow-creatures may buy and sell and torture?” The paradoxical fact that a nation founded on the principles of equality would develop into a slave holding republic was not lost on writers of the early national and antebellum period. American writers began to concern themselves with slavery issues. Tensions between the realities of slavery and the ideals of freedom inform much writing of the period.

Thomas Jefferson, author of the first draft of the Declaration of Independence, celebrated the democratic ideals while making clear that he regarded those ideals as best realized by whites. He presents black people as inferior to whites. African American writers regularly sought to counter such claims. Much African American writing of the period sought to abolish slavery, improve the condition of the free blacks, and challenge the hierarchical claims of the racial ethnologists by invoking (or reclaiming) the principles of the Declaration. [We can see in this example that two groups used the same document in different ways.] Others expanded the parameters of slavery and equality. Women reformers saw themselves as especially qualified to contest slavery, which they regarded both as a specific institution in the slave South and as one of many manifestations of patriarchal power.

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s work, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was meant to humanize African Americans, but ended up in many ways having the opposite effect. She was hemmed in by stereotypes, not only regarding her subject matter, but against women writers in general. The spawn push-back. The debates on slavery exerted an especially strong influence on the literature of the 1840s and 1850s. If whiteness was the culture’s default and “superior” category of human existence, then, for many white writers blackness posed the threat (and sometimes appeal) of a dangerous otherness.

In 1857, the Supreme court ruled in the case of Dred Scott v. Sanford that blacks could never become U.S. citizens and were inferior to whites. That ruling, which robbed Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence of its ambiguities and potential, made clear that the debates on slavery and race were debates about the nation. Much of the black writing ideals had them fleeing America altogether.

Tecumseh  (1775 ?-1813)

Was called by some the Greatest Indian. Tecumseh was unwaveringly hostile to the white Americans who relentlessly encroached on the lands of his people. When Indians began giving away land, Tecumseh attempted to organize a multi-tribal resistance to the Americans. In 1811 William Henry Harrison decisively defeated the Prophet’s (Tecumseh’s brother) forces at Tippecanoe. Tecumseh as not present at the battle. The defeat left the Prophet’s followers disillusioned, and Tecumseh had no further success in bringing the tribes together in resistance. He fought on the side of the British in the War of 1812 and was killed at the Battle of the Thames. The brief speech here derives from the “captivity narrative” of John Dunn Hunter, published in 1823. Hunter taken captive by Osage Indian as a baby and lived among them as a youth. When he was about ten he heard a speech made by Tecumseh. We must treat the following speech as such, but John Dunn Hunter was very moved at the time and the contents seem to match what Tecumseh was going through at the time.

Speech to the Osages

The white man wants to take us down so we must all stick together. When the whites first came here they were so weak that we had to take care of them. “Brothers, the white people are like poisonous serpents: when chilled, they are feeble and harmless; but invigorate them with warmth, and they sting their benefactors to death.” They are not our friends. They want ALL the land. They want to kill us all. They cheat us, despise us and think we are not good enough to live. We need vengeance. Make the tomahawk fat with blood and drink the blood of the white people. We are brave, but there are too many whites. We need the tribes to band together. “If we all unite, we will cause the rivers to stain the great waters with their blood. ” If we do not band together then they will simply take us down one tribe at a time. They are trying to turn us against each other. God wants us to win. Why should we fear the whites? They are not fast; easy to shoot. God will help us if we work together to destroy them. “We must be united; we must smoke the same pipe; we must fight each other’s battles; and more than all, we must love the Great Spirit; he is for us; he will destroy our enemies, and make all his red children happy.”

Cherokee Women

In traditional matriarchal Cherokee society, women held authority within their families, supervised land usage, occupied political offices such as Beloved Woman (or Ghighua), and participated in diplomacy. Motherhood was an organizing concept used to ground women’s claims to power. The diplomatic rhetoric of Cherokee women often focused on the physical and emotional bonds between mothers and children as a compelling reason to sustain peaceful relations with rival powers. In this address of Sept. 8, 1787, to Benjamin Franklin, then serving as the governor of Pennsylvania and as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, several representatives of the Cherokee Women’s Council ask Congress to pay attention to their desire for peace.

To Governor Benjamin Franklin

This side has smoked the peace pipe; hope your side will too. Consider that woman is the mother of All. We pull children from our own bodies; it is only right that people listen to us. I want to keep my children living in peace.