Deleted Scenes from Person/a
By Elizabeth Ellen - Aug 23, 2018
September 14th, 2014 // Tao says to make it more honest. He says he read the entire novel – all three volumes – on the flight from New York City to Los Angeles. He says he liked best the parts that seemed the most honest. He says I should make it even more honest, more ‘meta,” more real. // Last week I rewatched Adaptation. I want to locate Charlie Kaufman’s email; write and ask him for advice. I tried to find a small tape recorder like the one “he” uses in Adaptation, but I don’t see any at Target. I’m not sure they make them anymore. I come home and talk into my Flip, but it’s harder than it looks to speak stream of consciousness’y. I talk for approximately six minutes and most of that is marked by pauses and then I can’t think of anything else to say. // I was not brave enough. // There was another Halloween and another Thanksgiving and another Christmas and another Valentine’s Day. // I am obsessed with Madonna’s Sex book. // I am obsessed with Polaroids and Andy Warhol’s Diaries. // Last night I went with Eli and her friends on a ‘ghost hunt’ to an abandoned asylum in Detroit. Eli’s friends were ‘dabbing’ and later when I watched the video in which I asked them if they were dabbing and they coughed and said, “no, no. that’s not what we were doing,” I thought about earlier this summer when I’d walked around Findlay (Ohio) while Eli was at a quarry somewhere getting certified for scuba, and imagined the two of us living in a small, cheap house there, because when I envisioned us living cheaply in Findlay, I envisioned us smoking weed and watching TV just like we’ve always wanted to do. // last night after we got back from the ‘ghost hunt’ I got out my old white Mac laptop from, like, 2006, and opened up iPhoto, and looked at photographs of myself from right before I met you and right after and I decided that I wasn’t very good looking. // I had the realization last night, alone in my bedroom, Eli home from college upstairs in hers, that it was Lee who had convinced me I was beautiful. I no longer have that confidence. // I never feel fully awake anymore. // I look sleepy, but not in a sexy way. // in the way my childhood best friend’s mom looked before she went to the hospital.// Last week I drove to see Eli at her univ.// “For twenty years I lost a man I never had.” – Diane Keaton re Al Pacino // He should be with young, beautiful women. (even as I type this I know it is a lie. I don’t believe it. he should be with me.) // It occurs to me I have Ian’s phone number. This occurs to me after I worry he has closed his email account too, despite my friend CC claiming you can’t delete an email account. // I don’t get out of bed until after ten. It’s 62 degrees in the house. Dark outside. L. is gone. E. is gone. I am the only one here. I turn on the heat, see that L. has forgotten to hide my laptop. I consider what I could do with it, but avoid looking at it, walk the other way to the kitchen, putting temptation out of mind out of sight. // I will write about it (temptation) in lieu of action. This has become my default. Living life on the page rather than … // I go to bed early and get up late. I fall asleep in three layers of clothing because it’s mid-September and we don’t want to turn our heat on but it’s freezing. L. and I are in the comfortable midlife nonsexual friendship version of a marriage. // My narcissism or ego knew he was talking about me, that I was the person he wanted to sit in a room and just talk with. I had denied him this // But had I not lost control already? In emailing four or five of his friends immediately after discovering he had deleted his blog?// My gums were bleeding, my teeth shifting. // The night before last I bled through my underwear and a pair of sweatpants onto the bed cover. // A couple nights later watch The Woodmans Doc (over two nights) in basement while smoking/drinking rum (3 shots)…/// Maybe this needs to stop being a ’game’ or I need to stop thinking of this as a game or as an art project, and begin viewing Ian as a human again, as a friend, someone who might need me. // Regrets…// “My work is sometimes a struggle. It’s very intense and very disturbing, and sometimes I have to walk away. But then when I’m done I sort of think, ‘Wait, where are those people? my life is now empty.’” – Ann Goldstein, English translator for Elena Ferrante // “But real events don’t count much when one writes; at most they are like getting shoved while on the street.” – Elena Ferrante // after last night’s latest round of ….with Lee I am ready to trash this novel, to trash my life as a writer. to give it up (after fighting so intensely with Lee for my right to be an artist/ to write this book; somehow, as soon as he backed down, I questioned why I wanted it/this book at all; I hated this book; hate it; feel unable to finish it in a way that will represent all of my thoughts and emotions and feelings over the last five years….my love and hate for Ian…my love and hate for Lee….my love and hate of myself….only my love for my son is free of its opposite // last night’s argument with Lee began seemingly out of nowhere. We had just sat down to watch the final episode of a reality tv show we had become engrossed in this summer…he had poured himself a drink… // oh, I said, I thought we weren’t drinking so I didn’t make myself one (in support of you) // I must have looked at him judgmentally, which seems to be my go to face lately. Maybe a response to feeling judged?// The night before I had been listening to an interview w Rosane Cash (?) in which she said “people think they know you, that they have some level of intimacy with you, due to your songs. But they’re just songs. That’s not necessarily my life.” // I said to Lee, “it’s fiction. I was being attacked and made to feel horrible as a wife and as a human over fiction.” I used my hands in the way I’d seen E. do many many times to … my point: chopping hand into open hand. Lee seemed unused to being the accused, the bad guy.// “maybe yr drinking makes me feel awkward” (I chose this word as it was the one he used to describe how he felt in reaction to my writing) …”since I was raised in a family of alcoholics. Maybe I worry you’re becoming an alcoholic”…// The first hour I was the only sidewalker (normally there are two, one on each side of the horse) as the rider was able-bodied/able to sit tall and hold herself to the center of the saddle/horse. Though they had switched horses on her since the last time she rode (the end of spring? Middle of summer?) and she cried almost the entire ride, quietly at first, and then very loudly when scolded by the instructor who was attempting a ‘tough love’ sort of approach with her, I guessed, which seemed to backfire, but what did I know. I wanted to say to the rider, “yes, it is hard to let go of one person and accept another” except with horse instead of person. I wanted to empathize with her situation but I had been told beforehand not to do this, but to ignore the unwanted behavior (crying, complaining, pouting), so I did, though I did not feel good about it, I was accepting of the situation because I was new and everyone else was experienced at her job. So I said nothing when the rider, tears streaming down her face said, facing straight ahead, not at me or the horse leader, Jenny, who she knew and who had tried to console her by changing the subject but not addressing what she was saying, “I can’t do this,” over and over. “I can’t do this. I can’t do this.” Nor when she said, “I want Sugar.” And I did my best not to noticeably notice Sugar when we passed her, a new, younger, lighter rider, Natalie, atop her, seeming to be having the time of her life, thus making the rider I was in charge of watching, sob all the harder. Later the woman in charge apologized to me, which seemed unnecessary. “She’s not normally like that,” she said of the rider. “I bet your mothering instincts wanted to kick in,” she said. I didn’t react but thought about the question. I thought maybe it was less my mothering instincts than my instincts as a woman, as someone who has experienced loss. But I didn’t say so. I just nodded.
Click here to read more about Person/a.