long mass of text - perhaps easier to read if you narrow the screen

This is a start to something. To be updated occasionally, perhaps monthly, and sent to the people on my emailing list (until my website is ready). If you'd prefer not to receive this or other emailings please let me know and I will take your name off the list.


A PUBLIC DIARY, 26 march to 12 june 1998

(in memory my aunt, Elizabeth Jenkin-Jones)

I have kept a journal since 1984, now in its 83rd volume. To make it more accessible to myself I have begun to summarise each page in brief phrases or sentences .

Finding that these summaries are quite readable, even interesting, I hope to publish them as part of my website 'softopia' when it is ready. Here are the page summaries from volume 83, 1998 (slightly expanded here to be understandable by others).

The diary is followed by a review and a list of the books referred to.


26 march
Lacking energy for Welsh class I read George Painter's life, or lives, of Marcel Proust, etc.
More pages of 'the internet and everyone' (i+e) corrected - led to reading of Racine's 'Phaedra'.

27 march
Trying to revive my 'neway' (of 20.3.98) and changing process of completing 'i+e'.
Despairing retreat - to Bloomsbury.

28 march
Change from seeing 'i+e' as incoherent to (seeing it as) coherent (but for small mistakes).
Pamela Hansford Johnson's remarks about Marcel Proust's novel (in George Painter's 'Marcel Proust: letters to his mother').
'The great and little splendours of living'.
Admitting that there are (a little of) such qualities in 'i+e'.
The difficulty of doing and 'the morality of proportion - the relating of things one to the other'.
Lifted myself out of habitual low energy and negative view of 'i+e' and of situation.

29 march
Found autonomy and deliberation (via yogic attention and devotion?).
Trying out and testing 'neway' - and it works!
30 march
Is this the release, long sought? Managing to continue 'i+e' process.
Decisive actions in place of continued worries.

31 march
Persuade ellipsis to accept my almost corrected copy (of 'i+e') and to let me do the slow and difficult remainder in parallel.
Someone decides not to come and asks if I feel abandoned.

1 april
Judith Gregory and I transfer first 100 pages of corrections to 'i+e'.
Reply to e-mail from Welsh Devolution planning team.
Two more days transferring corrections (several thousand).

3 april
Had to backtrack to find and transfer missing corrections re earlier section.
Much involved in close reading of George Painter's 'Marcel Proust - a biography'.
Very busy days transferring corrections and attending to Proust's own writing (and attending to my proposal for a mobile Welsh Assembly building).
Cook banana pie.

4 april
(Inner) crisis re 'i+e', I cannot resolve it ... whether to let it go as it is or to rewrite it more briefly and more connectedly?
Recovered by changing perception if it.

7 april
Recovering, and furthering 'neway'.
Attending to 'i+e' and to 'little things' comprehensively IS 'neway'.
Thoughts and demeanour improving.

8 april
Listening to news of Northern Ireland peace process.

10 aprilt
New progress and way.
Louise's birthday and her aims and ways (so like mine).
Betty in hospital.
Work going well.

11 april
Aunty Betty dies - travel to Welshpool. (She was almost 95 and was the inspiration for 'the wheelchair of my aunt', a semi-fiction of enabling users to design their own wheelchairs which provoked many reactions on the DRS discussion list.)

14 april
Her character.
My changed circumstance and ways now.
Completing 'i+e' and my will and attempting 'neway'.

16 april
Continued progress re 'i+e'.
Possibility of moving to industrial premises with others.
Encouraged by sight of Jonathan's cover design for 'i+e'. My perception of it and ellipsis improves.

18 april
Sarah is very angry at our failure to help her so I visit - to good effect.

20 april
Much involved in Sarah's works. Her difficulties in beginning to e-mail, etc. now resolved. She gives me professional advice re finances and housing.
Recover slowly from unexpected extraction of wisdom tooth.
Considering expensive dental bridge.
Trevor Huddleston dies. Completed 98% of corrections.

21 april
At ICA to meet colleagues of M P Ranjan of Amhedebad re his new institute of crafts.

25 april
Sent strong statement to ellipsis against correcting poetical grammar and typography in 'i+e'.
Exhausted after the funeral (at which my voice almost gave way).
I feel I have changed in my relations to my relations.
In bed for most of 3 or 4 days. Still exhausted after funeral and effort re Sarah and 'i+e' etc.

29 april
A new way: accept the much reduced aims I CAN attain when experiencing inertia.

30 april
Lost all motivation. Onset of death? I try more modest aims.
Wise to direct energy to completing 'i+e' and to recent resolves? And to new internet works.

2 may
Unable to do anything that does not add to sense of defeat - efforts of recent days failed.
Attempting notes that reverse this 'and let the will of heaven flow through you'.
Rescue, as small doable steps but to a connective work (opera).

4 may

6 may
Amazed at 'the future of breathing' (in 'designing designing') and see that what I am doing (all my life?) is creating thus my own world, or context (which makes my subsequent works possible).
Sent softopian proposal re 'extended familynets' to Ursula and Tansy for comment.

7 may
New plans for teaching at the Royal College of Art (in light of recent changes). Seeing this as a remaking of my context.
'From mechanical to softecnical' (a new mnemonic for me).
Enabling this teaching to further 'i+e' and to support not prevent my process.

9 may
Feeling my strength returning now summer is here.

10 may

13 may
RCA: good teaching experience on my own terms - and some unwise impulses.

18 may
More discoveries re misinformed intuitive jumps (lead to) TACKLING OF CENTRAL DIFFICULTIES.

19 may
Unable to act - fled to art (Joseph Beuys, Richard Long and Ron Mueck).

20 may
Improvising on internet led to finding some new housing. Drafted details of my archive for National Library of Wales.

21 may
Changing from time frames or flows to physical paths as ends in themselves (not as means) in composed time-space.
This entry is meant as the start of this, following chronote of 19 may.
Wind blows away smog.
Calmed, surprised, by first entry (in '85) and the taboos it broke.
Letting physical perceptions guide me.
Sampling volume 64 (selected by chance): memories of a trip to Belfast, Antwerp and Belfort and memories of Donald Broadbent.
Remembering, but not able to find, a quotation in 'Tintern Abbey'.
What to attend to here and now?
'The equality of all things'.
Equality as sublime.
Is democracy a sublime impulse?

23 may
Good sleep and good wake after several emailings.
Emails (re Ebon Fisher's wigglism, 'i+e' and Tim Platt's marriage to Mimi Wolters) described.
Robert Wilson and Philip Glass's opera 'Monsters of Grace'.
Realise that my journal and chronotes CAN NOW BE CONTEXT OF NEW WORKS.
(This assurance) comes largely of receiving Ebon Fisher's wigglism newsletter as well as the ending of time framing - and from change from doubt to respect for 'i+e', especially its 'peaces'.

24 may
Wilhelm Reich's 'The function of the orgasm'.
I'm waking happy and confident again.
Political optimism after Irish referenda.
Releasing character armour for (love-directed) softness (and softopia?).
Relapsed or released protestants do good work in the world.
I want to get on with things ... enjoy sense of release ... and presence of everyone ... so now to act directly.

26 may
Read Milan Kundera's 'Immortality' one-and-a-half times (but not understood all of his intentions).
He almost breaks the conventions of realism.
I'd seen him as younger than me and more superficial but I was wrong.
He and it imply that it is a weakness to leave ones papers to a library.
I am changing my mind (from the dualism of rejecting everyone's ideas) to something else.
'Longing for immortality' knows only self and world (as reference points), he states (it omits 'you' and it omits love).
I reconsider my tabulation of triads (vol. 81, page 27).
Milan Kundera doesn't include his own reasons for writing 'immortality' though he includes himself as its writer in the story.
But almost everyone's thoughts DO exclude (some of) everyone - but probably Goethe's thoughts included them, us, you and me.
Was Beethoven's work less of people (and more of himself) than was Goethe's?
He was probably less aware of 'you' (and me) but more aware of 'everyone'.

28 may
Sleeping without a watch now (after listening to advice of a sleep researcher).
Compulsive snoring may be depriving me of sleep and brain of oxygen?
How to re-energise 'i+e' and overcome inertia?
More worry notes.
Jonathan Moberly sends me 'GNU public licence' papers for a freer form of copyright (copyleft) on line.
I notice new ailments that call for treatment in right hand and right leg.
Time to tackle inertia.
Fresh start on net free of compromise and old momentum (or lack of it).

30 may
Yoga class at Iyengar Institute for over 59s. Enjoyed it but injured back - I'm now immobilised. Read David Jones' 'In Parenthesis' all day on my back.
Notice encouraging similarities between my writing and his.

31 may
Second day on back but Alexander Technique begins to help.
Directing energy more carefully now (more Alexly).

2 june
View Brunswick Centre and Trinity Court as possible places to move to?
Emergency dental treatment led to some heavy drilling in preparation for bridge - awful experience.
Suspect I'm getting too old to solve my problem (of inertia) or to complete my work, and life.

3 june
Much sleep and recovery with the aid of rune 8 and my first Alexander lesson from Walter Carrington (Alexander's colleague).

5 june
'People with back injury should never bend forward' says Joyce Farrar, my yoga teacher.
I am inspired by 'Tristram Shandy'.
More active than for weeks - restarted work on will and website.

7 june
Found way to overcome persistent despair: Cease to retreat from, and instead enjoy, life as it is. Can I do it?
Spot a studio in converted factory near Hampstead Heath. My new place? (but it's for business not domicile).

8 june
The estate agent (Jonathan Bergman) also organises art exhibitions and performances. He wants to arrange for my plays to be performed!

9 june
Inertia again.
I turn again to Bryan Magee's description of Wagner's work - time to do likewise (in my own way).

Visited South Hill Park Gardens (where Jonathan Bergman has found me another studio but I don't like it).
I decide to begin 'a public diary' or such. Name suggested by K.
NEW RESOLVES: Wagner-like review or reconsideration (of opera, in my sense of industrial world) via public diary on/in softopia and by expanding recent self-rescues.
I decide to begin this on waking tomorrow, via expanding pages of this selected by chance (pages 5 and 100).

10 june
Begin by 'taking control' of situation (as Walter Carrington put it) in place of lifelong habit of only responding to externals (lifelong drift).
Pausing (Alex like) until what I write next is clear in mind and accords with resolves and sampled pages.
To see and write of everything as a new conception/perception no longer bounded by specialisation.
Conflict is more whole than is peace? (W B Yeats as seen by Denis Donoghue).
To write what changes its own or our own circumstance.
Is that what was absent from most of my past efforts? Yes.
Uncommissioned works were successful; commissioned ones were disasters? (Especially if paid employment).
And what now of re-housing, 'i+e', etc.?
Tempted to buy the converted factory studio as investment in self and to continue to domicile here.
What an energetic day!

11 june
Decisions re softopia and indecision re moving house.
How to make this entry one that supports or transcends its and my circumstance?
Should I be writing or rewriting this in digital form? Or should I be assuming imaginary digitising and publishing?
The question raises bigger questions, re living, re public diary, etc.
Which makes me pause at the brink (of something more actual than this).
I notice that these titles are clearer than the pages to which they refer. They could be the things to start with?

12 june
Completed this digitised version of 'a public diary' up to the previous page.
The new work has indeed started.
I am now able to speak and to understand Welsh 'as spoken' far more than I was.
I seem to be overcoming difficulties that have delayed some of my books for decades.
Morning wrecked by a well-meaning phone call.
Annotating a copy of 'As you like it'. I enjoyed that.



Having typed and edited these page summaries as 'a public diary' I see my own meanderings more clearly than I did. This makes the journal more useful for navigation. But it does not do what I resolved on 9 june: to make the public diary my reconsidering of industrial life (as Richard Wagner reconsidered opera - and as 'opera' = 'work'.).


I will first have to direct the actual pages of my journal to this purpose and then see if future summaries give a sufficient view of that. If they do not then I may have to publish some of the the pages also on the internet, lengthy as they are?

But perhaps what emerges will suggest another way.

However, there are personal things in the diary that are perhaps more interesting than is any criticism of industrial life. So yes, I will continue to mix everything up and see what happens. Reminds me of the 'purposive drift' of Richard Oliver. If it does not motivate me to continue it will never happen. But something will, life does not stop.


Books referred to in volume 83:

Dorothea Brande, 'Becoming a writer', Macmillan Paperback, London.

Denis Donoghue, 'Yeats', Fontana/Collins, London 1978.

David Jones, 'In parenthesis' (1937), Faber and Faber, London and Boston 1963.

john chris jones, 'designing designing', ADT/Phaidon Press, London 1991 (out of print but to be re-issued by ellipsis, London).

john chris jones, 'the internet and everyone' (referred to above as 'i+e'), ellipsis, London (forthcoming).

Milan Kundera, 'Immortality', translated by Peter Kussi, Faber and Faber, London and Boston 1991.

Bryan Magee, 'Aspects of Wagner', Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York 1988.

George D Painter, 'Marcel Proust - a biography', Chatto and Windus, London 1989.

'Marcel Proust : letters to his mother', Translation and introduction by George D Painter with an essay by Pamela Hansford Johnson, Rider, London 1956.

Marcel Proust, 'Remembrance of things past', (12 volumes), translated by C K Scott Moncrieff, Chatto and Windus, London 1971.

Jean Racine, 'Ph¶dre', edited and translated by R C Knight, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh 1971.

Wilhelm Reich, 'The function of the orgasm', translated by Theodore P Wolfe, Panther Books, London 1968.

William Shakespeare, 'As you like it' (1599-1600). Penguin Books, London.

Laurence Sterne, 'The life and opinions of Tristram Shandy' (1759-67), edited by Ian Campbell Ross, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York 1983.

William Wordsworth, 'Lines written above Tintern Abbey' in 'Lyrical Ballads' (1798 edition), edited by R L Brett and A R Jones, Methuen, London 1963.


(c) 1999 john chris jones. You may transmit these texts to anyone for any non-commercial purpose if you include the copyright line and this sentence.