Nameless I, edited version; 1970
Non-fiction account; 62 pages; Complete, but was meant to be a full, clean, edit of the larger manuscript; Oakland and Philadelphia; Age:
18; California, after Amy, young adulthood; Record, recollection, and purgative.
First page of Nameless I; Mss_0131_07.
Loose pages; Typewritten; Good condition; paper yellowed but not fragile;
Prose; Relationship, characters, plots;Amy; Philadelphia, Oakland, Bolinas;
This cleanly typed page is the edited version of the text produced in October, 1970, after paying a visit to Amy in
Bolinas. I came back to Oakland and wrote the initial account. One thing that is striking here,
as in the handwritten manuscripts of
my teens, is how clean this page is. In fact, the entire manuscript has almost no typos or corrections,
amazing given that this was
typed without an erase key, tape, or any other correction device.
Related mss: Nameless I,
Journal of Characters;
Amy manuscripts, 1984.
The raw poignancy and emotional force of this manuscript shows how clearly my connection with Amy
continued into the autumn of 1970. I had gone to California in part to escape her, to put the continent
but for reasons of her own, she had also decided to go to the West Coast in that period. Her travels took
her as far
as Bolinas, a pocket of alternative culture, where she became connected to a community that held her in
place for some time,
and, later, became a site of return, just as the Bay Area would come to anchor many of my own transits
as a place of familiarity and connection.
This manuscript was written after I went to see her in Bolinas in the fall of 1970. We were at our worst
with each other at
that point in time, each wanting autonomy, distinct identity, and separation even as we, or at least I,
craved affirmation from
and with each other. I wanted her still, and wanted to be whatever I could be to her–friend, at the very
least, if not lover. But
this text record a rejection of that bid, and the pain in which I spun it out was passionate and profound.
Amy had been inscribed in my daily life since I had arrived in Oakland, and as this text makes clear, I had looked
every morning across the bay to the profile of Mt. Tamalpais, imagining Amy in a world somewhere just
beyond its peaks.
That reference, so striking in the landscape, was equally strongly imprinted in my psyche, where its
constancy kept a vigil of
connection. But going out to Bolinas to see her, I returned in a dreadful state, angry, hurt, feeling
rejected and bitterly alone.
So I wrote this, which became the introduction to the larger “Nameless I” manuscript, when I gathered
it as the full and then edited
transcript of my writings about our relationship from 1964-70.
The writing is foregrounded as part of the negotiation of the relationship. I see the act of writing as a way of having agency,
of creating a definitive closure, a descriptive analysis, assessment, a way of objectifying the connection
so I can let it go. But I
cannot let it go. I struggle with this over and over again. “Hope persists.” The ambivalance and pain
are striking, feeding on each other,
with the desire for ending and the desire for continuity both powerful impulses. I write with the hope
of freeing myself from her, and in
the process, am absorbed into the deep and detailed recollection of all that has passed between us.