I spent this morning chasing clumps of dog hair -- dust and dirt. I meant to be writing. In fact I'd already written a few pages to hear the narrator's voice again, copied onto fresh lined notebook paper the last sentences from the dream and I was just about to come up with something new -- when my eyes blurred into focus. I blinked and sighed. On the floor before me lazed a thin wispy body of dust. I decided to get rid of it so I could concentrate.

I rolled up The TV Week and returned to the kitchen. The dust remained in the exact same spot, as if glued. I swung, struck, thought, There that's done--but when I lifted the baton: nothing. The clump of dust floated so close my bare arm prickled. Then it swooped under the desk. I slammed--a direct hit!-- but at that instant two more balls of dust sprang from under the desk as if popped into the universe. I was surprised, I had swept and mopped the day before. This was a humid hot day, this last sigh of summer monsoons, and perhaps that had kept them in place, settled and raising families. I cornered one against the doorjamb. Another I stalked across the kitchen and held against the dishwasher. A third wavered by the stove. When I swatted, a wild ferocious swing, a whole tumbling crowd shot from under the fridge like clouds from a blunderbuss, then settled back.

My heart pounded, I felt flushed with irritation and disgust. Why must I have such obstacles to writing? I yearned to be submerged, to be "into" my scribbling, when words come fast, and the characters walk and talk the way characters in dreams do -- a global community of free associations. It is like deep sea diving: I go under and poetry shimmers past, fluttering like silk, watched perhaps by a gaping blue tetra with a yellow eye it flits by bubbles become clicks, or there's an eel slithering nomadic-like all set to lunge pouncing on and, destroying the written words, rending them into parts. From the outside I just see the water's surface mirroring back my own face and the familiar world. Submerged, writing I have a strange freedom from gravity and an awareness of community like a bodily hum.

I crave that world, not this. I long to go under. Now though there are obstacles. The computer has a software problem, the Computer Repair Geek says a turn around time of 24 to 48 hours, dentist appointments to make, baby shampoo to wash the healed wounds on the dog, a vote at home ballot card to fill out (I will vote for wimpy ole Bush and cancel out husband's vote for that idiot Gore!)

So dog haired dust puppies! I killed one against the rug. Another rolled over it as if it hoped to pull it along with it, and, when I swung, the breeze split the one into two. I smashed them both into the carpet. I smashed five, SIX, SEVEN balls of dust.....I was furious! The more I wanted to be rid of them the more I had to study them, and they repulsed me more and more--with bits of old dirt and debris, the endless supply of Easter grass that hangs around the corners. I sat down once, picked up my pen, mind composed, and just as I was starting to write I saw a hair twining between my fingers a small clump clung to my hand. Another time I plopped in the chair, wrote four sentences, and spied--could it be?--a faint shadow, the prickle as a small body rolled across my foot. I would not learn. I was a woman being controlled by dust. Discipline, education, visions--gone. My eyes were mesmerized and my hands followed in step the movements of the dust. It ruled me. I let it. I wanted everything just right. I was afraid that just as a good idea for was about to come to me, about to leap the synapse and appear full blown, a hairy dust puppy would appear and jar me, the idea would fall through the gap and be lost forever, impossible to recall because it was never really known.

It is the very commitment to writing that kept me from it. I savored it. I longed for it, missed it, got grumpy about it, hysterically petulant, then again thought of it with a pang-- an adored yet long gone idea. I am thinking about writing, thinking about myself, Looking at the surface of the lined paper in a


70 sheets/wide ruled

1 subject notebook

..... looking at the dusty face looking back.

This must be the fifty-fourth hour, I sulked to myself, I never could get the hang of the fifty-fourth hour.