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Betsy Campbell Blackwell

Betsy Campbell Blackwell bought a bottom-of-the-line sewing machine from Singer. After using it twice she had to have it repaired to the tune of $25.00. The Singer people lived up to the high ideals of corporate responsibility by telling her there was nothing they could do about it. “It’s a cheap machine,” they said, and suggested she spend another $25.00 on a warranty.

— From July 1978
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Journal

I recognize hearts, and survive in their joy, behind the tin-panny sound of human voices translating themselves into each other.

October 1977
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Journal

S., tired eyes, summing up her life: “I cannot, at this particular time in my life, give up paper towels. I need them.”

July 1977
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Journal

In my tenderest fantasies of people I love but don’t want to scare with my feelings. I lay down with them and nap with them and feel full of us. Anybody I can’t comfortably reduce to a two or three-year-old child, I have a hard time relating to. Even those I see on the street and don’t know but am touched by, I reduce to toddlers. And we are playing together and then nap together side by side and I wake, but don’t move, and just feel the closeness of this person next to me, listen to their quiet breathing and lack of self-consciousness, so naked, and marvel that “he/she lives a completely different life from mine, but here we are together.”

May 1977
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Journal

The people I’ll carry to the grave with me to share the final analysis will be people like Woody Allen. It doesn’t matter that I don’t know him personally; his job is to scoop up all the images of the insecure-self, the bumbling ego, the out-of-proportion self in me and others, and show us what we look like, gently, with humor.

March 1977
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Journal

Old letters are like old photographs of yourself. I’m shocked; I can actually hear this child-me speaking through these letters to myself. “To me when I am 13.” “To me when I am 16.” “To me when I am grown and a married lady.”

December 1976
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Journal

Painting our little house from a folding chair set up in the clay driveway. Understanding that what I do well, will be what pushes me forward. Taking the time to be precise with my painting, getting the dimensions correct, undistorted, was like an exercise in vision. SEEING clearly. What is there. This physical reality is so obviously the symptomatic phenomena of a more real pattern of reality, the same way that I am.

October 1976
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Journal

The two big trees fascinate me. . . . I watch the very tiptops of those trees and wonder if I can poise my consciousness in those leaves at the top long enough to BE there. I try.

July 1976
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