Postscript to Henry Miller

It is ironic to note that I am working 80% time, theoretically, at least the past month, so as to have time to devote to therapeutic activity, and that this is the first day I have taken off for that.

In any case, I have gotten a lot done. I am uncomfortable working on my own behalf — I have fear of success because I fear my success will hurt others — and perhaps the problem is not that I am so loath to do that, but that I do not really care about people who would react that way, and I do not approve of that. This is an interesting theory.

Another one is that I am hiding, from my real trauma, one I will not even write about, and the real trauma is not even the real trauma, it is the conviction that if I discuss it I will be killed for it — and that that did in fact happen when I tried. That night, the night I felt I had been killed with an axe, split in two.

The night I never recovered from and must. Trauma is not a bad thing, some say, it can be what defines you positively. I wonder. I am afraid to take what I need, especially the most basic things like enough fresh air and sleep. I reject you, and I will not take care of you, I keep saying.

I keep saying that what I need is a beach vacation without others to care for, and research and writing. It is true. I would also like to stop screaming at myself every minute of the day — to stop fearing execution at any moment — to stop feeling like such utter crap — to stop feeling that death would be the only release, the only way to come into contact with life.

Instructions for writing and life.

  1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.

  2. Start no more new books, add no more new material to ‘Black Spring.’

  3. Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.

  4. Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!

  5. When you can’t create you can work.

  6. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.

  7. Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.

  8. Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.

  9. Discard the Program when you feel like it—but go back to it next day.Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.

  10. Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.

  11. Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.

Miller’s schedule:

If groggy, type notes and allocate, as stimulus.

If in fine fettle, write.


Work of section in hand, following plan of section scrupulously. No intrusions, no diversions. Write to finish one section at a time, for good and all.


See friends. Read in cafés.

Explore unfamiliar sections — on foot if wet, on bicycle if dry.

Write, if in mood, but only on Minor program.

Paint if empty or tired.

Make Notes. Make Charts, Plans. Make corrections of MS.

Note: Allow sufficient time during daylight to make an occasional visit to museums or an occasional sketch or an occasional bike ride. Sketch in cafés and trains and streets. Cut the movies! Library for references once a week.


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