Mental Illness? or - Salvation                                                               Copyright ©2014 Hazel Gay

Hazel Gay's To Heal the Broken-Hearted (Chronicle of a woman's 18 year journey through "mental illness" to healing, wholeness and transformation.)
Chapter 6 All quotes used with written permission.

Spring 1975
        While we were still in the main house, some of my oldest daughter’s friends had come to me and said, “She didn’t want us to tell you but we thought you should know.  She’s having fainting spells. She really didn’t want you to know, didn’t want to upset you.  We’re real worried about it.” 
       The doctor I took her to couldn’t find anything physical wrong so it was to a psychologist. She didn’t have any more fainting spells after we moved out of that house with her stepfather… 
       Jess and I were sitting around the kitchen table having a casual conversation with two other people when I voiced what I had been thinking. 
       “I compare my going to a therapist with going to a prostitute.  There should be someone in my everyday environment I could talk to, someone who can understand me.  I feel a failure because I don’t have this and someone has to be PAID to give me what I should have normally. Like this conversation we’re having today, not in a ‘therapeutic’ sense; we’re talking more like ‘people.’  If I had had satisfactory relationships, I would never have known you.  Payment mainly for intelligent, meaningful discussion. I PAY for a personal service and I can’t forget it.” 
       After I got home that day I thought about what I’d said, about the look I’d seen in Jess’ eyes. I remembered how he’d hugged me, tears in his eyes, what I’d perceived as concern in him over another client. I began to compare his position with the one I’d had as a teacher of young deaf children…   
       The next time I went down I handed him a note as he started up the stairs and I saw him look around at me so quickly when he read: 
       I taught a child 
       that was my job 
       I touched a child 
       I loved 
       That was not my job 
       That was letting the God in me out. 
        I was trying to explain to Jess how I felt about some of my reading, “It’s like…I read the book before it was published.” 
       Maintaining his steady gaze he asked, “Do you think there’s any possibility you might have?” 
       Without looking away from his eyes, I knew I had no answer. 
       I’d never seen a man who hugged people so freely as Jess.   
       “You know,” I said, “I don’t recall ANY of my mother’s folks EVER hugging me. I have no memories of that grandmother EVER hugging me! When my paternal grandmother came to visit from California when I was about nine, I was SO embarrassed – she HUGGED me!  Oh, my mother hugged me some when I was sick.  She did hug my sister a lot it seemed to me.  My boyfriends were the only people in the world that touched me. (I had one boyfriend at a time.)  During my whole life they were the only people who listened to how I felt.  Of four, one boyfriend lived at the local orphan’s home.  Because of traumatic home problems, two others had quit school and were working to support themselves.  (One of whom showed me his birth certificate where the place for father was filled in “Unknown.”) The most common reaction from my mother to any expression of feelings was ‘It’s just your imagination,’ and a laugh as she turned her back to me.  I got another reaction from her when I slammed doors and threw things since anger was a SIN!  I was spanked when I was four, for looking at myself in my grandmother’s full length mirror. My prissing was a SIN! 
       “I was listening to a Kris Kristofferson song about being a singer in the true sense,” I told Jess another time.  “I’ve always considered myself JUST a singer, a performer, sing other people’s songs, that the songs I have written were just ‘accidents,’ but, listening to the line 
          ‘but I’ve got to feed this hunger in my soul…’ it was like something way, way down inside me ‘recognized’ something.  For the first time I wondered, could it be that the WORDS are more important to me, that the MESSAGE might be most important, that it might not be just a ‘role,’ that I might have something to say – and it scared me!” 
       To my surprise Jess didn’t say, “It’s just your imagination.”  Instead, he talked with me as if it were very real! 
       In June I found a house to move into from that 2 room shack and started the CETA job at Portland Community College, in the capacity of general office flunky as much as anything. Besides working with deaf students, I worked with the blind, quadraplegics, paraplegics, MD and CP people, an extremely valuable and rewarding experience.  For a few months I was involved with a man, a Kikuyu from Kenya, calling that experience my “Practicum in Cultural Anthropology.”  I stopped seeing Jess privately, but continued the night group in which he was a co-therapist. 
       When we had started that group, people around the circle were introducing themselves. “I’m Mary Smith;  I’m a secretary for an insurance company.”  “I’m John Jones, car salesman” I’m Jane Doe, housewife and mother of two children”  I introduced myself; “I’m Hazel Gay.” 
       I’m still not sure I completely understand why.  Part of it was like – I stand alone, I refuse to hide behind roles.  Part of it was like – I want to find out who Hazel, PERSON is – not Hazel, mother – Hazel, teacher.  I already knew more about them than I did Hazel, person.  Those roles do not make Hazel;  I take Hazel to those roles.  What is the thread that connects all of them?  And what would I be without those roles?  I want to say something like, “I’m Hazel.  I don’t have to validate my existence by adding mother or teacher.”  They wanted a LABEL so immediately started asking questions,  “Where do you work?  Do you have children?”  If only they had listened to my silence they would have gotten information about Hazel Gay, PERSON. 
       Leaving night group once Jess said, “You appear to be very weak because you can cry so easily but I’m beginning to see it’s not because you’re weak.  Many people are afraid of losing control if they let go but you’re not.  You’re strong enough that you’re not afraid to cry.” 
       During the summer Jess approached me about being the subject for a demonstration of the administration of the Rorschach at a workshop he’d organized, an exciting opportunity for me.  When I interpreted one picture as two pink bears climbing a pastel mountain the doctor administering the test asked, “Does the color pink interfere in any way with you seeing them as bears?” 
       “Nope,” I answered without hesitation. 
        For some reason he persisted in questioning me about it like that.  I got a little exasperated and said, “If I want to see pink bears, I see pink bears.” 
       At that he gave up and laid down the next card.  I looked at it and again without hesitation said, “Two billy goats butting head on.” 
       “Is there anything else?” he asked. 
       I was very definite with my answer, “No, that’s it,” and he went on to the next card. 
       I stopped night group when the other therapist said, “You read too much,” the insinuation being that I needed someone to tell me what I should and shouldn’t read – like her. 
       Things went fairly well during the fall of ’75, at least there were no major crises.  (Jess referred to my daily existence as “Just your usual chaos.”)  I even taught a short sign language class at community school.  However, by the end of fall, things got to be too much at home so I called Jess on his day off.  After he returned home from a day conference, he came to where I worked after I got off and spent an hour talking to me.  I decided to start up therapy again. As we were leaving that night I said, “There has to be a special heaven for special people like you…someday I’m going to write a song about you.” 
       He started seeing me once a week after regular office hours so I wouldn’t have to take time off work. In the latter part of December I received a letter from my sister: 

I’m sending a copy of Daddy’s poem.  I can’t imagine where it’s been all these years. 
Somehow these papers and things mean so much more to me than the things he sent 
home, like the pillow covers and things.  It’s as if they mean Daddy really existed, 
he was a person.  All the things I believed are true.  Daddy was a good and a sensitive 
person.  This is not what I got from Mother.  I remember that every time you had a 
tantrum Mother said, “Just like her daddy.”  Maybe Mother didn’t mean to but she 
only painted a bad picture of Daddy to me.  I really would think that after so many 
years you would only remember the good things.  But at any rate it’s as if finally 
something from Daddy is reaching out and saying ‘I cared,’ and ‘I loved.'” 

I called Jess that night.  He had heard almost the same thing from me, not long before. 

       It was that month my sister told me she’d had one of “those dreams” – couldn’t remember it, but was afraid for my oldest daughter. 
       My sister had always seemed like such a happy child.  Mama had two nicknames for her, Tootsie and Sunshine.  The only nickname she ever had for me was “Hay” – harsh, short and not cute.  She always got along with other kids better than me.  It seemed to me she always had more friends.  She developed physically faster, and better and she didn’t throw temper tantrums. I don’t remember Mama even once telling her she was in any way like Daddy or Grandma Gay.  If my mother wasn’t telling me I was just like my dad, hard-headed, stubborn and hard to get along with, she was telling me I was just like my dad’s mother.  I’d heard my mother talk about my paternal grandmother enough to know she thought that woman was the lowest form of life that crawled upon the face of the earth.   I have such a clear visual memory of my mother hugging my sister – when she wasn’t sick!  My sister told me once I used to tell her all kinds of tall tales that she believed. I can only remember telling her tall tales about Daddy, like the picture on the wall was “where Daddy was shot, and he rolled all the way down that mountain into that little creek by that bridge and the people that lived in that little house found him and took him home with them and saved his life and someday he will come home…” 

       (In 1975) I was in no way a superstitious person, didn’t believe in astrology, fortune tellers, cards, and doubted all psychic phenomena.  But.  My sister has DREAMS – though a few have been about other people, most of them have been about me.  She has dreamed it every time I was pregnant, most of the time before I knew it, always before I told her!  Not only did she dream I was pregnant with my first child, she dreamed it was a girl and she would win a beauty contest.  (Junior Rose Festival Princess?) 
       During the summer of ’71 on the phone she said, “I had a dream about you last night, that you were in the hospital with an incurable disease.”  (A sane day for me, she knew nothing.) 
       A few weeks later I wrote her from Dammasch State Hospital,  “Well, here I am, in the hospital diagnosed schizophrenic, which some people think is incurable!” 
       So fall of ’75 was usual for her. (The next spring she became concerned for my oldest daughter’s baby while I developed a fear, not for the baby but for my daughter.  I tried to tell my daughter’s obstetrician, against my better judgment, about my sister’s dreams…”Not that I believe in such things, you understand, but just in case anything shows up during her pregnancy that might be construed to be a little unusual but still within ‘normal’ – “WATCH IT!”  He didn’t listen.  Within 36 hours of developing toxemia, she required a C section to save her life, two weeks before her due date.) 

New Year’s 1976
        At 2:00 a.m. I woke from a nightmare, very scared, very uncomfortable and afraid to go back to sleep. 

Dream:  I’m out in country, get out of car, throw keys on the ground.  My girls are with me. A man is working on a barbed wire fence.  I’m standing close to it.  It breaks and one strand of wire catches the calves of my legs, cutting them deeply.  I need stitches so get in the car and it moves off without the keys.  Though the motor is not running it’s going down a dirt road with very deep ruts, straddling the ruts, toward the highway that runs at right angles to the dirt road.  The man had gone in front, pulls out on the highway and is gone.  I come to the intersection.  Next I’m with two of my cousins whose mother died when they were very young. Right leg is completely healed but the left one still has about a one inch gap in it.  I ask the time.  It is 1970 – the last I can remember is 1967 – three years are blank. 
       I go back to sleep in spite of being afraid and have a second dream:   
       Alone, I’m standing facing the west looking at plants similar to hollyhocks but no flowers. Then I’m looking at different flowers, like gladioli, tall upright spikes.  The flowers start blooming.  I’ve never seen such variation in hue and form – single, double, triple – blues, greens, all shades of violets and lavenders, pinks and mauves.  They unfold like speeded up photography, but in some kind of time warp, a perpetual unfolding, not opening and staying that way. I know I’m dreaming and think, “Hey, I dream in color!”  I think, “They’re some kind of mutation or from another planet.”  Such overwhelming emotion the sight evoked in me. 
        I woke with that feeling, like I had seen the most beautiful thing possible and kept thinking, “I want to hang onto that, to remember it, to be able to call that feeling up…” 

       Things had been incredibly hard that winter and my son kept getting into trouble at the school where he had been mainstreamed.  I had worked harder than anyone I knew for an education, for a better quality life but I couldn’t accomplish the impossible.  I couldn’t perform miracles.  And sometimes it seemed that’s what I needed, a miracle.  And I needed help with my son. 
       I contacted “Big Brothers.”  They wouldn’t touch Jack, Jr.  with a ten-foot pole. There was a “father” around and it didn’t make any difference if he was an undeniably negative model. 
       An ex-minister, interpreter for the deaf, friend was not able to work out some time to take Jack skiing though he and Jack  had talked about it over a coke and my son had taken a real liking to him. 
       The psychologist specialized to work with hearing impaired children at the school responsible for his education decided he could not fit Jack into his schedule. 
       I even approached Jess with the idea of helping my children and me learn to communicate more effectively. 
       He responded, “I’m not going out to your house to be a father to your kids!”  I reacted with a 3 page letter that told him in some well-chosen words not to be so goddamned egotistical!! 
         He put my letter in my file…  


Winter 1975-76
        “For as long as I can remember I’ve felt alone,” I told Jess.  “I can’t remember finding many people ‘like me.’  There were many parts of ‘me’ that never saw a reflection.  But now I realize I’ve discovered many of those parts of myself over the years in BOOKS – by Tillich, Maslow, Toynbee, Nietzsche and the list is growing!  All those thoughts and questions and wonderings I’ve carried around so many years, feeling like I must be some kind of weird nut because the people I was around couldn’t understand me, thought I wasn’t making sense or thought I was stupid, I find THEM thinking/asking, too! 
       Though most of my thinking might seem to be spread over many fields, I feel it’s all leading to one place, a place I can’t see clearly yet, a place I have not been before, possibly a place that does not exist yet…” 
       When Jess brought up the possibility of latent homosexual tendencies in me, I laughed and said, “I’m not too worried about that.  When I was about 12 or so my best friend and I were wondering what all the to-do was about kissing so we decided to find out – by kissing each other.  We came to the conclusion it was a farce, that there was absolutely nothing to it.  We couldn’t tell it was any different from holding hands except it was stupid.” 
       Every week I told Jess about things that had happened during the week.  Once he said, “I’ve never known anyone that so much shit is piled on so consistently,” followed by, “You’re one of the strongest people I have ever known;  you have to be.  I used to worry about Hazel becoming crazy but I don’t worry about that anymore.” 
       I wasn’t aware he was having personal problems till he was well into them.  When I felt good one day he started explaining his position, not with a lot of details, but that he and his wife were getting divorced. 
       “I’m not going to be so ‘available’…” 
       “What I’m hearing is that right now you feel safer going by everybody else’s rules,” I quietly offered. 
       “Well, I hadn’t thought of it in those words, but that sounds like it.” A few minutes later he said, “If everything falls apart, I can always drive a truck.” 
        Once I said, “Jess, I’m going to try an experiment.  I decide what I want to do MOST.  I WANT to contribute something to the knowledge of schizophrenia.  I WANT to be whole. I don’t decide in my head how to do it;  I allow my feelings to get into the act.  I get that WANT into my core. Thesis:  I WANT.  If I will allow it, the organism will proceed in the pursuit of the satisfaction of that want.” 
       Entering the room where we worked one night Jess said, “I have to watch myself.  I find myself looking forward to seeing you too much each week.” 
       Jess told me once, “There are some new theories about schizophrenia, so new they aren’t in the books yet.”  But I didn’t ask what they were;  I didn’t want contamination.  Though I did go up to the Med School Library.  At the end of that day I decided it was mass confusion;  those “experts” did not know any more about it than I did.  In fact, maybe I knew more since I did know how one form of it FELT! 
       There were to be many popular books, articles and movies I purposely avoided to prevent as much outside influence as possible in my writing. 
       Extremely uptight about sex at times, I told Jess about a man telling me how obvious I am when “horney” and said, “I would certainly be embarrassed if people really could tell.  Here I’ve been charging all around that campus…My God!  But you know, if I am that obvious, I’m a failure.  Nobody decided to do anything about it.” 
       Jess told me that he, too, wanted to study schizophrenia and asked, “Would you be agreeable to my using you for a doctoral dissertation when I get ready to do that?”  He seemed to get excited about that possibility, talked about taping our sessions and said, “There’s one thing I feel we have to be aware of if we start working together as collaborators. You’re a very attractive person; sensitive, perceptive, creative, intelligent, intuitive and articulate, a rare combination. Since we’d be working closely on the project we might develop some difficulty maintaining a strictly professional relationship, like the one we have now.  Now the roles are well delineated, the boundaries more obvious, the rules well established.  I think though, as long as we’re aware of the potential for problems, deal with it openly, we can handle it.” 
       However, the next Tuesday night what I got from the way he acted and talked was, “I said too much last week.” 
       I talked about my reading. 
       “My sense tells me I should concentrate on one area, either education OR psychology OR religion but I see so much interrelatedness I can’t separate them.  When I go to the bookstore I scan the books and if one catches my eye, I read it, whatever it’s about.  What I hope is happening is that all that stuff is going in and mixing around together, kind of boiling, and I guess what I really hope is that something will kind of set up and jell and I’ll come out with a new idea from it.” 
       Jess was staring at me and some moments went by before I heard him quietly say, “That’s just how I feel.” 
       As we left that night Jess remarked, “I’m supposed to be helping you and here it is, you’re helping me.” 
       Before we sat down the next week I asked, “Well, how do you feel tonight?” 
       “I feel fine, in fact, just great…” he replied and as we settled into our chairs he was off on a tangent about how good he felt and why, talking about himself being unusual.  Things had been going wrong and he went into some detail about how he had worked through them. “I feel good…” 
       “Cause you managed?” I interrupted. 
       Yes,” he replied.  “Yah, I guess that’s what I’m trying to say.” 
       “Is there anything else you want to talk about?” I asked, delighted in the game. 
       Eyes twinkling, he reached into his hip pocket, drew out his wallet and as he pretended to count bills said, “Just a minute, let me see if I have enough money.” 
       We took a dream I’d had into fantasy: 
       “I go east into Ardmore, like we did going from my hometown; we went shopping there a lot.  On the right side of the street, I’m on the sidewalk looking east with a store to the right of me, all lit up, people shopping there, going in and out.” 
       “What kind of store is it?” 
       “Reminds me of a drug store.   Neon signs are on on all the stores up and down the street but they look closed;  no cars or people on the street.  Looking at the stores across the street, to my left, I’m trying to figure out if they’re open or not;  the windows are quite dark.  Finally, I see some people moving around in them, the only specific person I see is a man with his back to me, the upper part of him.” End of dream. 
       “What would happen if you crossed the street?” 
       A few seconds after closing my eyes I said, “I cross the street and go in, very surprised, the people act like they know me – very friendly, so cool inside, very good feeling – peace? There are pots of flowers at lower edge of window, like chrysanthemums, so beautiful…” 
       “What’s in the store?” 
       “I can’t pick out what’s in the store at this point, I look around but it’s not clear.” 
       Pause…”Can you see the flowers of your dream?” 
       “I look for my flowers, I can’t see them…They’re in a back room? Then I recall they bloom so fast they have to be kept in cold storage to keep them from blooming before they are supposed to.” 
      “Can you see outside?” 
       “I look outside.  It looks normal again, people walking up and down, cars going up and down the street…” 
       “What would you take with you from the store?” 
       “I grab some cut flowers but go back to get a potted plant, need the roots so I can plant it and have it forever.  As long as I have the flowers the street stays normal;  I’m afraid to be without them. ” 
       “Is there a sign on the store?” 
       “A sign?…Yes…there’s a sign…not red, not green or blue, a kind of white neon sign.” Suddenly, feelings were starting to rise up in me.  “No words…a symbol…a star of some kind …maybe a Star of David…I don’t know…it means something to me, though.  I look at the star and I feel some kind of belongingness, maybe longing, too,” and I had to pause because of intense, inexplicable emotion.   “Some kind of attachment, not by any means I’m aware of now, like almost something going out from that star to my core, or a feeling like – maybe homesickness? Very intense in the area of my stomach or solar plexus,” I say as I touch the area.  “In my middle, I want to say, similar to feelings I have when I meditate or ‘pray’somehow…” 
       By that time I was completely drained emotionally. 


“Bruner listed the fourth and final step of the creative process as the willingness to be dominated by and serve that which we are involved with.”   
Pearce, Joseph Chilton.  Exploring the Crack in the Cosmic Egg, Julian Press, Inc., c1975. 


February 1976
        Learning my sister, age 33, had just gotten out of a mental hospital, I called to ask, “Is there anything you know of that might have contributed to it?” 
       “No, I’ve never been happier in my life.  Since we moved out to this place in the country, I felt like I had ‘come home.’  All my life I felt like I was hanging on by the tips of my fingers, like I had to fight just to hang on and for the first time in my life, I didn’t have to hang on. For a few days I’d been feeling like ‘someone very important’ was coming and I needed all the light I could get in the house for this person.  I started to put a brighter bulb in a ceiling fixture when I saw the brightest light I could ever see.  (Follows traditional literature describing “religious experience.”)  I knew it wasn’t in the room but it was like I still saw it.  I suddenly felt overwhelming joy and thought, ‘I’m going to see the face of the Lord.’ I ‘came to’ in the mental hospital.” 
      During the episode she had talked to a minister but had no memory of what was said. After she got home, the minister paid her a visit and told her, “You said some of the most beautiful things I had ever heard.” 

A few days later I got a letter from her that told me she was still just crazy as hell in spite of shock treatment and 20 mgs of Navane a day.  She thought what she had gone through somehow broke a “hex” on our family. 
        It had never occurred to me my sister might break. Not once. Ever. 
       Unlike me, she was too “well-adjusted,” “normal.”   
        When I read the letter and saw the condition of her mind, I agonized.  I read the letter again and again, and cried and cried, and “prayed” in my own way.  Then – that feeling I had been pushing down since ’74, that there was something I was being called upon to do, started rearing its ugly head again and I guess I was tired of running from “it.” This time I didn’t run.  I gave up.  I had been in a state of paralyzing indecision for so long but I KNEW that night what I WANTED to do more than anything in the world.  I knew I would gladly lay down my life to help my sister and mother and all the other “caught” ones.  I made a choice.  I had to accept the possibility the feeling was REAL, not just a schizophrenic delusion, that “God” might actually want me to do something with my life but I had to CHOOSE to accept RESPONSIBILITY for it.  I even got down on my knees that night, literally.  I didn’t remember having done that before, but I was afraid not to.  This was the first time I had come up against something that I had such a total lack of understanding about, so UNKNOWN and that might be more hard-headed and stubborn than me. 
        Though I knew what I WANTED to do, when it came right down to it, I didn’t know how. Maybe that was what I was supposed to do and maybe it wasn’t – I DID NOT KNOW.  So much knowledge, so much doubt.  I understood Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.  I handed the reins over to “other” that night.  If there was something I was supposed to do, no matter WHAT it was, I committed myself that night.   
       “Thy will be done…If there is something I’m supposed to do, a way will be made…If there is something I’m supposed to say, the words will come…let’s get on with it…I give my life…” 
       Yes, I was scared – but I didn’t know any other way… 

                                  “We ask to know the will of God without guessing that his will is 
                                   written into our very beings.”    Elizabeth O’Connor

       Then all hell broke loose. 

I had come to the realization that something in me was broken. I couldn’t even tell anyone what it was. But I knew there was no medication, no therapy, no psychiatrist that could fix what was broken inside of me. I knew it was between me and unknown greater power that might be coming through me. I posed a thesis. I WANT (to be whole. I (ego) will allow the organism that is me to proceed in the satisfaction of that want. I put my life up to follow the polestar of my instinct and an unknown greater power.

Deciding to finish my Master’s at last and needing only three classes, I took a night class at Portland State, Philosophy of Education.  At the time I wrote my term papers, I was not aware I was actually stating a basic philosophical position for the decisions I was making that were launching the direction of my life forever. ******

       I had a pretty good period of about six weeks that I wasn’t involved emotionally with anyone.  (It took five years to “get over” Jim.)  During this time I consciously separated sex and “love” for the first time. 
       On a Saturday night in the first part of March, I wondered, “CAN I write a song about Jess?” so I sat down with paper and pencil, started scribbling – and feeling – trying to capture a feeling of the “essence” of him.  Letting it go and going with it a line from a poem I’d written years before, about another person, came to me:

       “Not shouting ahead to say ‘Here I come’ 
       but as you pass the whisper goes round 
       ‘He was here'”       

And it blew me away… 
       I shook, physically, for I knew something I didn’t want to know.  I stopped trying to write a song.  The next Tuesday night I was still trembling when I went to see Jess.  I had been trying to tape our sessions but after I set up the recorder, I was unable to say a thing!  I turned the recorder off.  A raw lifetime later my words started wading through the thick silence. 
       “I’ve developed the classic textbook case of the client that develops a crush on her therapist.” … pause… “I’m comfortable with  that; I can handle that.” 
       Jess’ reaction was what I perceived as moisture in his eyes as he softly said, “Maybe we’d better talk about it.” 
       Surprisingly, he did not get on my case for the use of the third person like he ALWAYS had. He felt a necessity to try to make me understand there was nothing wrong about my feelings, “It’s not a SIN; it’s perfectly NORMAL.” 
       “Hell, Jess, I KNOW THAT!  I’m just aggravated at myself!  Here it is, I’ve had a beautiful couple of months where I wasn’t hung up on anybody, and now – THIS!  I’m really put out with myself!  And it’s awkward.  Here, I wrote this the other night,” I said as I handed him a paper and watched as he read: 
       I sat down to try to write you a song 
       to paint a picture of you with some words and sounds 
       Some lines came to mind from times in the past 
       times I wasn’t practicing my usual role 
       times I saw Jess first 
       when I saw the little boy 
       in the twinkle in your eyes 
       in the dimples when you smiled 
       when I saw an unknown depth behind 
       the tears I saw in your eyes 
       Looking for the essence of Jess 
       I saw the gentle shadow of some quiet words 
       beginning to form in the twilight of my mind 
       that touched the misty memories 
       surrounding my heart 
       and I backed away from your song 
“and this…” 

        Come walk with me on the misty beach at dawn 
        Bathe with me in a prairie morning sauna of sunrise 
        Wander with me in a rain forest and feel the breath of God 
        Come with me into the salty surf off Padre Island 
        Let’s feel the power of the Mississippi from its banks 
        Let me take you to the home of the whippoorwill 
        And as we watch our shadows grow long before twilight 
        listen to the song he sings at dusk for us 
        Then sit by me in the warm, golden candlelight… 
        “Someday I’ll find someone who’ll take me up on that,” I said as he finished reading. “You know, I guess what occurred to me the other night..oh, I’m not sure what…you might call it ‘quiet strength’…Have you seen the Mississippi River at New Orleans?” 
       “No, I haven’t,” he answered quietly. 
       “Well, I have, it’s impressive.  You compare that to a mountain stream, a mountain stream you can hear it coming;  there doesn’t have to be much water to hear it coming.  But the Mississippi, you don’t hear it coming like that.  You just stand there and look across all that water going by and you know you’ve seen strength – you FEEL the power.  That’s how you strike me – if anybody can be like a river.” 
       During the conversation he asked, “What would happen if you didn’t try to repress it – the classic textbook case?” 
       The next week when I met him at DBD, I laid three more poems, a water color and card I’d made in his lap and said, “This is part of what happens when I don’t try to repress it.”  (And I feel he’s never been comfortable with my not repressing it since.)

March 8, 1976
  I’m strong enough to cry 
       strong enough to be weak 
       strong enough to need others 
       strong enough to be alone 
       strong enough to see thru the eyes of a child 
       strong enough to kneel 
       strong enough to love 
       strong enough to be me. 

I’m strong enough to say “I want you” 
You’re strong enough to say “No” 
And I’m strong enough for you to say “No.” 

March 10, 1976
How’s this for a fantasy? 
Come with me 
       We’ll climb a mountain peak that holds up the sky and     
                discover the strings the sky uses to hold up the mountain. 
       We’ll sail uncharted purple seas at the far edge of the world with 
               a compass of instinct making our map as we go. 
       We’ll wake to an eighth weekday without a name and name our creation. 
       We’ll wonder at the sight of Atlantis rising again from   
               some timeless depth in the middle of our hearts. 
       We’ll walk a fresh path following an exquisite light from 
               a farther star just beginning to touch our sight. 
       We’ll probe the inner space of our souls and meet with infinity. 
       We’ll become architects for the new city of a schizophrenic dream. 

       Hand in hand, we’ll struggle thru hell and come out on the other side 
       Then we’ll stand in the end of the rainbow and taste each and every hue 
       And I’ll give you time’s most beautiful love song that has not a sound 

March 1976    Dream 
       Jess is driving car very fast down the inclined two block long dead-end road to the north of my house, leaving the road and going over my house, dies in a fiery crash on the slope on other side of my house.  (The dream upset me so much I called to see if he was okay.) 


         Through the coming years I would realize though I would have entered a sexual relationship with Jess at the drop of a hat, at no time did I feel any passion when we touched.  There was simply – warmth. 
       My funding up at PCC, I started writing songs, more poetry, writing for myself again.  I had started keeping a record of dreams; I got that in order.  Before going to sleep at night I concentrated on MY WANT, putting everything out of my mind, becoming total want, hoping I might dream something relevant.  From that record:   

Last part of February      Hypnogogic state 
In a flash, I see myself crawl on my hands and knees into a construction representing schizophrenia;  it blows apart into pieces from around me;  I don’t back out. 

March 27   Dream 
A letter from my father to someone that made them understand how he really felt about war. 
He advised someone not to go. 


        “…When the ego realizes its solidarity with the evil ‘ugliest man’ the predatory man and the ape man in terror in the jungle, its stature is increased by the accession of a most vital factor, the lack of which has precipitated modern man into his present disastrous state of splitness and ego isolation – and that is, a living relationship with nature and the earth.”   

Neumann, Erich. Depth Psychology and a New Ethic, C.G. Jung Foundation for Analytical Psychology. 1969.