Here's Kevin taking a nap. I wanted to make him look like a landscape. While just taking a shower I was thinking about Alistair, how even though he has a brutal teaching schedule that saps him of social energy, he gets up early every day and writes for an hour, and the book that he's slowly accruing sounds fascinating. I won't go into details because he wants to keep that energy contained. I got so little writing done this semester, I've been in a pervasive state of despair, even though the reading and note taking have been exhilarating. I guess I'm talking in extremes today, despair, exhilaration. Because of my growing craving to write, this blog has been the focal point of this residency, and it's not been easy to maintain day after day. After the initial rush, there was lots of what the fuck could I possibly say today, and usually I wouldn't get to it until the end of a long day and I'd stay up too late, knowing I'd be exhausted the next morning, but I pushed on. Lots of pleasure in that pushing through resistance. In the shower I thought back to the connection of blog writing to "real" writing, which I discussed during the buddhist phase of this project, and this morning these posts suggested the equivalent of an artist's sketches, which can be lovely in their own right, who wouldn't like to own a sketch by a favorite artist, but there's this other realm of pushing things even further, where the real glory of producing exists. Another grandiose word, glory. I was also thinking about Thomas Merton, how his aloneness is a metaphor for our own for inescapable aloneness. On a heroic scale he enacted what most of us dare not look at in ourselves. There's a bit of the carnivalesque about that, the voyeurism of watching Kafka's hunger artist. For a hermit, Merton's life was full of people—besides a string of visitors and invitations, he engaged in a massive correspondence. What enormous power, to live in the woods in declared solitude and to have the world begging you for attention. What's likeable about Merton is that he didn't shy away from the contradictions in that; they troubled him and he struggled against them. He was very aware of the games involved in his social beingness. The buddhist was very self aware as well, like he'd talk about his personality traits as if he were discussing another person over which he had no control of altering. When he would refuse to talk to me when the astrological aspects of the day were bad, he'd declare, "I told you I was a superstitious person!" This is a different quality of awareness than Merton's. With Merton you never get the sense of a flat acceptance of his traits; even the need for solitude is constantly examined. In the shower I remembered an ancient conversation where a fellow writer said to me, "I do these things to hurt people, and I know I should feel guilty. But I don't." The tone with which this was said was almost breezy, and it was one of the creepiest things I ever heard, a reaction that Julia Kristeva examines so brilliantly in Powers of Horror, the abject being about crime, but specifically crystallizing around the criminal who smiles. This is the calm before a busy night, where we'll see many friends, old and new. We're especially excited to see Lorraine Graham and Mark Wallace, who've been intermittent bleeps in our lives for years, delightful bleeps. Just noticed I've switched into the "we." I'd say that heralds the official ending of the Hotel Retreat. Thank you all for reading. Love.