Finding my way and staying alive during the AIDS crisis

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ja. 31: I went to Caswell-Massey this afternoon to buy earplugs and came out with a $45 hairbrush. And I don’t even brush my hair.

Feb. 3: Liberace is dying and the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta is talking about requiring everyone admitted to a hospital to take the AIDS Test. So are there going to be a lot of people who will break a few ribs and walk away the next morning knowing that they are antibody positive? Wonderful.

Feb. 12: How I think these days: Just give me enough time to finish “Stolen Words.” Project “Aurora 7” [my second novel]. So I can get sick. Just like a year ago I was making a deal with God: let me finish reviewing “Arts and Sciences”. Maybe, if I’m lucky, I can go on like this for 40 years.

Feb. 13: I went to Howie’s dentist this morning. A thorough and hassle-free cleaning. But my AIDS fears travel everywhere with me. Why, I think, are you asking how my “general health” has been? And when he tells me that he has 2 wisdom teeth left. . . in the end he will have to leave, I think: what if they do it overnight in a hospital? And if by then they are already giving the AIDS test for everyone? Am I going to wake up to hear a nurse tell me that my wisdom teeth are out and by the way, I am antibody positive?

Feb. twenty: [N.] he is afraid of [possibly] being gay and being in New York, so I sit across from him, feeling old and possibly lethal, offering my bromides and warnings and grounds for hope that I certainly don’t believe.

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Feb. 22: What an irony: all that worry about being gay. And then, not long after it started to seem okay for it to be so, we must learn to practice all the self-controls we can think of.

“If you want to do something, talk to the guy in the corner.”

caricature of Frank Cotham

Feb. 23: In the afternoon I called Joyce [my lawyer] . . . to make an appointment to make my will. . . . Melodramatic? Maybe timing, though I intended to do this anyway, since now I have money, property, copyrights to think about. And consider this: she’s thinking about getting out of the will business—too many of her clients have BOWget AIDS, die, leave lovers who fight with parents. It has become too depressing.

Feb. 24: I see mandatory AIDS comes the test. They won’t exactly take you off the street to do it, but they will make it a requirement for so many things—visas, hospital stays, insurance, licenses of all sorts—that it will be impossible to get much further in life. without having [the test]. And millions will receive psychological death sentences.

METERbow 2: I ran. At 5:00 there was that striking color photo effect on the eastern edge of the reservoir. The sky was an inky dark blue and the buildings were as white as Marilyn Monroe’s teeth. A trick that God the great braggart kept up for a couple of minutes. it was spectacular. A strong wind, too: the runway was dotted with feathers.

METERbow 9: [Arthur Miller at the Y.] Boring pompous, old, overrated. He read his memoirs (I counted 3 grammatical errors) and made the dumb audience eat out of his hand. Even after he abruptly called it off and left the stage at 9:00. At the party upstairs in the nursery, he didn’t even take off his coat. Oh Marilyn how you must have missed Joe D.

METERbow 18: Walking down 2nd Ave. in the 60’s this morning I saw a blonde woman walking in the other direction. I thought, “Gee, she’s pretty.” The mind tends to understate at times. I took a few steps closer and realized that she was Catherine Deneuve.

METERbow 22: A New Crush: [N. and I] I went to a coffee shop across from Lincoln Center and sat and talked about everything for hours. She had a cut nail caught between her teeth and repeated efforts to dislodge it with a toothpick only made her gums bleed. That I found all of this adorable instead of disgusting will tell you where I am.

METERbow 23: Mona Simpson and three girls from Paris review were [at a party] . . . chatting among themselves, and only themselves, like quadruplets that had been raised in the forest.

METERbow 26: Greg has the Vidalian vision of fucking, moving on and counting on your friends for everything else. Which I accept as his, as he understands my urge to search for Mr. Right.

Aadj. 6: Doug calls and asks if I’d like to be in a “Good Morning America” ​​segment produced by [his ex-boyfriend]. It’s about love in the ’80s and I’m supposed to act like a representative of a reasonably attractive and successful young gay man, filmed running in the park etc. Well no thanks. But I’m flattered.

Aadj. 20: Tommy’s book has come out and brought back all the old disbelief that this could ever happen. [Louise and I] talked about the latest AIDS horror stories in the press and walked her home to 34th Street, down 1st, past homeless people preparing to spend the night in their cardboard boxes at Ralph Bunche Park.

Aadj. 28: I opened the door at 7:30 to [G., an Italian writer], who, as David said, is this handsome, but with a lovely compact complexion and Florentine blue eyes. He has a 9 year old son. He and his ex-wife are journalists and have been here for a year. He is charming, very intelligent and very impetuous.