18 January 1957
Once you are exposed to the challenges of calculus, you have very little interest in simple arithmetic, if you are a problem solver.
Herman Wouk is so right when he says, through his protagonist Noel, says: Women estimate men by their earning power (so do men) . . . For a certain low-grade moron, a pretty girl (to their mind – pretty man to the female mind) is a Hit.
“It’s not money, but what you can buy with it. Money is power. Money is security. Money is freedom . . . “What makes Noel Ehrman purely and wholly happy? Answer: A Hit (a creative accomplishment) nothing else. A Hit is a beauty bare. And after that another Hit. And for the rest of my life, Hits.”
My comments: what we actually want is to be loved, and to feel we are worthy of love, no matter how we go about it.
Our methods for achieving this end are suggested by our parents in devious ways as we grow up. We look around us to see whether love is obtained, approval is obtained by what our parents have indicated is the way and how our estimation of how valid their ideas are in obtaining the desired end – lovableness – in the world at large.
We try out all the formulas are parents have indicated – discarding from this accumulation the ones we see our parents deny, testing those which seem to get the desired result.
i.e. My mother’s view was a writer or a doctor or lawyer or some social position due to achievement obtained approval and love. My father’s life indicated complete subjugation to one’s spouse, with no desire for one’s own achievement.
In the last analysis we want to be loved for whatever our qualities or personality are, and you have the privilege of being ourselves with another without building up a wall of requirements for approval and acceptable love.
If we concentrate on the various notions of our lovability requirements, we can never accept love without requirements from others. And I am not speaking of laws to enforce order. Order is one thing. Love is another. Rather I am speaking of social standards of the price of acceptance and lovableness which disregard the natural bent of the tree, the enforced pouring into social molds of power, esteem, and sexual attractiveness which are exhibited as the prizes which win you the cup of love from your fellow man, and especially from the ones who you want to love you – and mostly your respect and regard for yourself.
If I wrote a novel – I would use Helen Schadkowski as a model . . . The foreign-born parents. The low social cast, whether railroad worker or farmer. The “greenhorn”. Then her father who wanted her to have the “good” things in life – who wanted to make life easier for her – by giving her an education. Her mother the duller minded less imaginative well-intentioned one never did sell the cows to supply her with an education. There were four brothers. Hard work was all right for them. But, not for a girl. Her father died, and her mother never sold the cows. Her husband was a fool to her mind… Slaughtering their economic means for such foolishness as an education. Helen is attracted to the people who “count”, she is clever but not very well informed. She meets artists (she has some talent but no training), no formal education
Weave her path upward then. Jud – Rossman – her vulnerability to others who seem to make a success of life – her sneers at Janet until she discovers Janet has enough money to indulge her “talents”. Her fear of Janet and the loss of her “lovability”; her success. Her pleasure that Janet could not make the grade, but instead settled down and married.
How she becomes hard and pushes yourself on and on to achieve the top and then to stay there forfeiting the right for ever to be lovable and to receive love because she is locked in the pattern laid down for her in the mold of her childhood.
Janet is quite happy – (or some such character) – to be developed, not needing to push desperately for acceptance because she loves and is loved!
Like a cat she always landed on her feet.
That’s the general gist of it. Kind of another view of Marjorie Morningstar.
I might be able to do this if I could really remove myself from enough from the characters and play sailboat with a hunk of wood. What I mean is, if I could stop reacting emotionally to myself in my own life – stop fearing other people’s love requirements of me, whether such people are alive or dead, or the requirements I think they have for me.
I can use all the love scenes only motivate them differently around Helen’s life.
In this case – Helen is seeking approval and is trying to conform rather than denouncing the requirements as Wouk does with Noel Ehrman as protagonist.
You can bring Mary Anderson into it Helen despises her because she is a fool. Oh! And what’s her name who married whoozabobly after sloughing off a drunken socialite family’s son. Opera and all that Renginall [?] stuff. Mrs. Krohngold and Ted and Bina.
Also – Rossman in the end loses his love for her because he recognizes there isn’t a truly loving streak in her.
Her sympathy and understanding is her father’s, her belief in success is her father’s dream, but her practicality and determination of purpose is her mother’s.
Have Helen’s mother comment against Jud – and his lack of money or success. With the result that no man can supply her with all the material possessions and good things of life, position and power she wants for herself to be lovable.
Ross would give ten of Helen for one of a loving wife who let him take over. As Streeter said – there is nothing wrong with “interests”, it’s the driving yourself by some artificial standard set up for you which is wrong and gets you all fouled up. There is nothing wrong with genuine hobbies and interests – even if you get paid for them. It is the fear, the insecurity and the drive which overpowers you and twists you all out of shape which is the yardstick of whether your interest is true or false . . . on substantial ground or on quicksand
How does Wouk begin. Chapter 1 Marjorie. Customs of courtship very greatly in different times in different places, but the way the thing happens to be done here and now always seems the only natural way to do it.
Bud Schulberg? The first time I saw him (Sammy Glick) he couldn’t have been much more than 16 years old, a little ferret of a kid sharp and quick. Sammy Glick used to run copy for me. Always ran, always looked thirsty.
Kenneth Roberts – Lydia Bailey. On an autumn evening in 1800 the four of us – my uncle; Colonel Trip [?]; his wife – my aunts etc. – were sitting around the big table in the sitting room of our Gerham [?] farm when we heard a horses hooves rustling in the drifts of maple leaves on our driveway. Aunt Emily looked at me and asked, “Who’s that, Albion?” as if she suspected me of having second sight.
Then comes a description of Albion and a message from someone.
Seems to me, before I do any writing, I better find out what writing is all about, the types of writing, whether I am an essayist, novelist, or short story writer at least, and abstraction is, or a warm-blooded emotionalist – and whether I have talent in any direction of writing. Also, whether I will be happy with my “hobby”. Since I have a career as a wife and mother. Time will tell.
Well, no matter what direction of expression my new interest takes me, as a hobby it can take up the slack of my days. Knitting and crocheting are not particularly useful or fashionable in this mass production age.
If I ever use the “Helen” plot I can draw on Frances Sedmack for business atmosphere, although Frances at least has relatives in Europe to impress with her money.
Helen must have made quite a few compromises with herself to hire artists to make lamps instead of designing them herself.