It seemed temporary. I did not want to admit this to myself, admit that I knew it would not last.
It was not just that there were dropouts. Angry Sarah was not the only one. People you saw over and again in these meetings and then suddenly saw no more, as if they had crossed back over to join the awful people that they has been with in the first place. And beyond seeing these dropouts I had an idea what we were doing could not lasts forever. In my rambling life so far complete seeming worlds had never proved solid after the early stages.
As in when I was living in Greece at the start of the sixties, writing these long novels, sharing this small whitewashed house on the hillside with this very pretty painter Vannie. It was one of such small white swashed house reached by foot paths in Anafiotika, which was the name for the side of the Acropolis – about a quarter of the houses on the side of the Acropolis at this point inhabited by people like us, varying sorts of artistic foreigners and would-be artistic foreigners living on the cheap in the Greek sun. I knew it would change. There was already one tourist gift store in Anafiotika, so in tune with changing times that it was operated by two gay guys. . A makeshift taverna on the steps had just brought a loud squawky amplifier for use by its bouzouki player. There were plans for a discothèque, something new to Greece. Not much had changed when I left, but these plans for change were in the air, and when I looked in again on my way back from Asia five years later discothèques and bars and touristy gift shops dominated.
I made many side trips from Anafiotica to places in Anatolia and Syria and the Levant and once four thousand miles down into Africa. But I came back each time and I announced to number of people, people on the spot and also people receiving my entertaining letters, that I would live here, keep this place my base, for the rest of my life. But it was less than two years later than I left for good.
And other places where I has attempted root myself – Bangkok, Singapore, Haiti, even that fake facade place Beirut – there has been moments when I was ready to stay forever, and other times when there seemed to be nothing left to stay for. Which led to a sort of sweet despair that had once seemed romantic and now seemed the worst sort of dispensation.
But I had never felt the pull to stop and stay quite so strongly as in these meetings that were being held in different parts of Manhattan. Even though the signers were there that such an uncompromising program would not last. There were already moves to organize the program into something else – to return it to the good ladies of Al-non, or set up a tight, or set up yet another rule-enforcing world headquarters.
Maybe nothing could ever be any more permanent for me, than that world that I had once thought was the whole world up in the mountains of New Hampshire. That world that I was figuratively destroying this year as I kept returning to it in my imagination and perhaps now in actuality – and a finally, maybe, finally get to the root of what had happened