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The Diaries of Dawn Powell 1931 - 1965
By Dawn Powell

Chapter One: The Early Diaries

Dawn Powell lived to write. In her case, this statement is not an empty phrase, nor is it an exaggeration. Powell was writing steadily by the time she was twelve; in the last year of her life, when she was mortally ill, her concerns were not so much with her failing health and ever-dwindling weight as with her inability to make headway on any of her writing projects.

Considering the difficulties Powell faced throughout most of her sixty-eight years--an unconventional and sometimes deeply unhappy marital life, near-constant money troubles, the demands of a mentally and emotionally impaired son, heavy drinking that was debilitating at times, recurrent (and often mysterious) health problems, and what might now be described as a"bipolar"personality--it is astonishing that she wrote so prolifically and wrote so well. Besides her fifteen published novels, Powell left at least 100 short stories, half-a-dozen plays, an enormous quantity of book reviews and occasional pieces, thousands of personal letters, and her magnificent diaries.

Exactly when Powell began keeping a diary is unknown. She ran away from home around the age of twelve, because her stepmother had burned her notebooks and stories; that notorious bonfire may well have included some early diaries. A volume filled with observations, drawings, and poems, dating from after her runaway (circa 1910) survived into the late 1960s but has now apparently disappeared. During the summer of 1915, while working as a maid and waitress at a summer resort called the Shore Club on Lake Erie, Powell kept an occasional journal in a school notebook, addressed to an imaginary friend named"Woggs":

Dear Woggsie, I'm melancholy again. It's too bad that I'm always confiding in you on those days I feel the bluest. This book is enough to make a stone weep and if anyone should read it they would think the writer was indeed in pathetic straits. But no one will ever read it so I think I'm really wiser to do it this way--tell my blue, weepy thoughts to you, who will never reveal them to another soul, instead of inflicting them on the people around me--and when I'm in a flip, gay mood, I take it off on other people.

This would set the pattern for Powell's diaries in general. Her abundant jollity was expressed in her novels, plays, letters, and social life; fear, pain, and despair were largely confined to her diaries.

Even as a teenager, Powell was extraordinarily self-aware, prescient, with"intimations of immortality":

I was dreamily prophesying my future the other day for the girls."In ten years from now,"Katherine said,"you'll be left. You get all the men you can on the string and make them unhappy and pretty soon when you want a man you'll be left. You are too flip altogether.""Yes, I'll be left,"I said slowly and with overwhelming conviction."Ten years from now I will still be Dawn Sherman Powell--but girls, that name will be famous then. Ten years from now, I will have arrived."And Woggs, I know it will be true. I never entertain the slightest fear of an obscure future. I'll be before the public eye in some way--and you know it, too.

I must make myself strong for the knocks that are to come, for no matter what you tell me--"you've had enough knocks, you'll have happiness the rest of your life"--something in me says that life for me holds more knock than boys, and the blows will leave me crushed, stunned, wild-eyed and ready to die, while the joys will make me deliriously, wildly, gloriously happy. It's the way I'm made, Woggs--that Irish strain in me, perhaps. Yet better for one of my nature to have it that way than to have life a peaceful, placid flow of quiet contentment. I must have days of rushing excitement.

Much of the notebook is taken up with long, charming but fairly conventional teenage apostrophes to"Woggs"--this boy, that embarrassment, understandable irritation with her menial job--but here and there we find flashes of the mature Powell:

Well, Woggs, we are destined for a hard ride in life, with many bumps and jumps, but it will be a swift, breathless ride and we will arrive a I the sooner. So we may as well pull down our hats, button up our coats, and hang on to our seats, instead of pausing to speculate.

All of which sounds suspiciously like the motto Powell adopted for herself in later life--"Allez oop!"

Powell graduated from Lake Erie College in 1918 and moved immediately to New York. By 1920, she was living in Manhattan (at 569 West End Avenue, now demolished) and deeply in love with Joseph Gousha, a poet and music critic from Pittsburgh who became a successful advertising executive. A tiny little black booklet entitled--appropriately--"the Book of Joe"has survived; one suspects that most of the entries were shared with (and possibly written for) its principal subject. The dating is inexact and most of the entries are only a-sentence or two long:

My Adorable came tonight. Our last Sunday alone . . . Joe was so adorable today. We decided tomorrow is to be his lucky day . . . I went to Joe's house for dinner and we walked to the Bay. My Adorable is so lovely . . . My Adorable. I wonder what he truly wants. I wish it was the same thing I want . . . I made a peach pie--the very first and my Adorable said it was good. I love him so much and I will be so happy when we are together for always . . . My Dearest took me to the Bretton Hall(*) for lunch and then we rode in a hansom lined with plum color through the park . . .

And so on. One reads through ibis small volume with a wistful sadness. Judged purely as writing, this, the sort of banality that Powell would later send up with acerbic brilliance. Certainly, there are no signs that the author of these lines would ever make a satirist; everything in this diary is deadly earnest, the proverbial"hearts and flowers."But if Powell was ever again so happy and contented for such an extended period of time, her diaries do not reflect it.

Powell and Gousha were married on November 20, 1920 at Manhattan's Little Church Around The Corner and they spent their honeymoon at the Pennsylvania Hotel on Seventh Avenue and 32nd Street. Powell described their first apartment together at 31 Riverside Drive as an"attic, but so lovely"; this building, too, was long ago razed.

An entry marked June 23, 1921 reads:

I want so much for my lover. At night when our beds are drawn close together I waken and see his dear yellow head on the pillow--sometimes his arm thrown over on my bed--and I kiss his hand, very softly so that it will not waken him. He is happier now that he is writing a play. I know he will succeed with it. I think we will have a boy baby and he will be born on the 20th of August. Everyone else has a girl baby and at times I don't believe I should mind having a little Phyllis Dawn but Dearest wants a boy and I do. Besides, it must be a boy--the little golden-haired boy in the blue rompers . . .

The"Book of Joe"breaks off here. On August 22, 1921, Joseph Gousha, Jr. was born at St. Luke's Hospital and it was immediately obvious that something was seriously wrong with this much cherished"little golden-haired boy."Often labeled"retarded,"Jojo--as Powell's son was known throughout his life--probably suffered from a combination of cerebral palsy and schizophrenia. He needed close medical supervision from the beginning and was confined more-or-less permanently--a ward of New York State--long before Powell's death. Powell loved her son dearly, and her joys in his small successes, anguish over setbacks, and elaborate plans for improving his condition run through all of her diaries.

In 1922, Powell began her first full novel, an autobiographical story of a young girl fresh from the country come to conquer the big city. Whither was published in 1925 by the Boston firm of Small, Maynard and was almost immediately disavowed by its author, she never mentioned it in lists of her works and her friend Hannah Green recalls that, some 35 years after the book's publication, Powell was less than pleased when Green found a copy in a secondhand store.

Diaries of sorts survive from 1925, 1926, 1927, and 1930 but these are little more than appointment books, with terse commentary thrown in here and there; I have retained only a few representative passages.


In 1925, Powell had just moved to Greenwich Village, where she would live for the rest of her life (some early addresses were 46 West Ninth Street, 72 Perry Street, and 106 Perry Street). Her social circle included the editor Esther Andrews and Andrews' lover Canby Chambers, the poet Charles Norman, the nightclub entertainer Dwight Fiske, the poet and editor Eugene Jolas, and the writer and translator Jacques LecLercq, all of whom would become lifelong friends. She grew very close to the radical playwright John Howard Lawson and there are numerous, seemingly coded, references to him in her diaries through 1934 that suggest there may have been a love affair, after which he practically vanishes.

She spent a good amount of time in the speakeasies--"very drunk"is a recurring comment--and worked on articles for the magazine Snappy Stories, while finishing a novel with the title"The Dark Pool,"published in 1928 (after more than two dozen rejections) as She Walks In Beauty. She began her association with the New York Post, for which she would review books (on and off, mainly in periods of financial hardship) much of her life.

February.21: Debut of Whither.

March 15: First reviews--boston Transcript, New York Times.

April 3: Dinner at Algonquin and the Follies.

April 16: Letter about"The Marrying Kind,"saying"This Dawn Powell writes so attractively I hate to return her story. But--"he did.

April 11: Joe worked on novel at office, copying it, and I worked on editing at home. Mentioned four times, including Charles Norman's review, in N.Y. Evening Post.

April 12: Finished"The Dark Pool"at 12:50 midnight. It's good.

April 13: Macy's, Brentano's and Womrath begin to move Whither as result of Charles' review. Things look brighter.

May 17: Riverside Drive Park with Jojo who rolled in grass.

August 14: Papa(*) comes. Went to Bernaise and then to"The Poor Nut."

August 15. Drunken party. Papa gave me $10.

August 17. Wrote"Lady of the House"at Central Park this morning.

September 22: Successful party. Check for $35 from Snappy.

September 28: Putnam's rejected"The Dark Pool."Started story in office,"The Good Little Egg."

October 13: Tea with Jack Lawson. New things to think about. New blue dress.

October 18. Joe and I decide to readjust our lives.

October 19: Jack L. called up. I was flip. Lunch on Thursday. Lunch at Pen and Brush Club. Jack L. called in evening and I told him about my novel.

October 21: All day with my child . . .

October 26: Jack called up for Thursday luncheon date. Louise sick.(+) Dinner with Cornelia [Wolfe] at Moscovitz.

October 27: Saw Snappy. Also Curtis Brown and saw Harper letter praising"The Dark Pool."Wrote note to Jack calling off all Thursday dates.

December 12: Working on novel. Dinner at Moscovitz with Joe and Jacques. Joe drunk.


By 1926, Powell had begun a novel she alternately called"Sophie"and"The Truelove Women."(Titles were always a difficult matter for Powell: My Home Is Far Away was almost named"Almond Tree Shall Blossom"while The Locusts Have No King was plotted as"Prudentius Psychomachia.)"During the year, she sold several stories to College Humor which paid extravagantly for the time--$150 to $200 per piece.

In July, her father fell ill in Oberlin, Ohio and Powell returned for the deathwatch and subsequent funeral, stopping off afterwards to see the aunt who had raised her from adolescence, Orpha May Sherman Steinbrueck, in Shelby, Ohio, and her sisters Mabel Powell Pocock and Phyllis Powell Cook. Some new acquaintances included Malcolm Cowley (who would help edit Powell's last novel, The Go4den Spur); the biographer Paxton Hibben (who was romantically involved with one of Powell's friends, Mary Lena Wilson); Mordecai ("Max") Gorelik, the visionary stage designer; John Mosher, an early writer for The New Yorker; and the poet Genevieve Taggard. Most important, perhaps, Powell began her long and happy friendship with John Dos Passos.

January 4: Dwight Fiske's recital. Dwight at our house later for liquor. New cerise velvet evening coat.

January 7: Started copying"The Truelove Women."Eugene Jolas arrived. Party for him with Jacques and Dwight.

January 10: Ferry ride alone. Idea for fourth novel.(*)

The Bad Girl. Bad. Novel of Delphine and Mamie. Delphine's point of view. She and her girl chum on the edge of circuses, dance halls, factories (small town), telephone operators--the naive pagan excitement of the had girl The nice girl of the place and Delphine's bewildered obsession with her. Both in the end trying to go on stage. Nice girl fails. Delphine succeeds because she--the man explains to the bitter nice girl--has always romanticized herself Bad women are always the romanticists, the sentimentalists to begin with. They are bad but tragic or beautiful to themselves and it is this quality of imagination that makes them artists.

January 22: Worked hard on Scofield party chapter in novel. Went to Esther and Canby's in evening and was drunk and garrulous. Sue and Jack Lawson.

January 23: Breakfast with jack.

February 5. Went with Esther, Canby, Sue and Jack to Lewis Gannett party. Got drunk and amorous with Carl van Doren.

February 13: Went to"The Great Gatsby."(+) Check from Evening Post $4.

February 21: With Mary Lena all day. She was in trouble about Pax's wife and another mistress.

February 26. Heard possibility of Harpers taking"The Truelove Women."

March 1: News that Harpers accepts new novel if it continues in same quality. I will publish"Rooms"later.

March 3: Opening of Jack Lawson's play"Nirvana"and party later at Esther's. Disappointed in play as acted.

March 5: Took Mary Lena to dinner. Went to Earl Carroll's"Vanities"later.

March 11: Mary Lena's for dinner. Bed early. Bought tickets for Dos Passos' play at the Cherry Lane tomorrow night.

March 17: Cornelia, Jacques Leclercq, his girl, Dwight, Harry Lissfelt. I had a tantrum and fired them all out at five in the morning.

March 30: Did Sophie's house story. Wrote 61 pages or 18,000 words since March 6. This has all been consistently fine and satisfactory.

April 5: Got sick on street. Wrote review of Firefly and took it down to Post.

May 4: Worked. Have 173 Pages done on novel. Had gin in office with John Mosher.

May 7: Check from SNAPPY for $15- Typed on novel. It gets better as it goes. Typed to page 111. Dinner at Roma, a place Joe knows.

May 23: Joe and Jojo and I had lovely day together. I love Joe so much--more and more.

May 25: Wine at Monte's on Macdougal and at 157 Prince Street with Captain [Paxton] Hibben and Mary Lena. Talked of his Beecher biography which is almost done.

June 3: Called on Curtis Brown and arranged to see [William] Lengel of Smart Set tomorrow. Lunch at Blue Ribbon with Joe. Must reduce as Yacht Club liquor enlarged me.

June 7: Wrote review of Co-Ed, also a chapter in my novel. It seems to move more slowly as it gets on. Collecting more and more complications and involvements.

July 3: Left for Oberlin because of wire about Papa's illness.

July 8. Papa died at 4 P.M.

July 11: Papa's funeral. North Olmstead. Went into Mabel's in Cleveland.

August 12: Joe drunk. Jack Lawson, Griffin Barry, Robert Wolf and Genevieve Taggard came in and we all went for drive in rain and I was drunk.

August 14: Sold"A Good Little Egg"to College Humor for $150. Bought dress and hat. Harpers said to come up Monday.

August 31: A mad day. Canby took me for cocktails; dinner with them, later calling on John Mosher and Jack Lawson. Door bell not ringing. Man in dress clothes (as tight as I was) let me in and brief conversation--he's president of Harpers and said that they would take my book. Wells.

September 7: Dinner at Prince Street. Joe went to Brooklyn and Malcolm Cowley and wife, Jack Lawson, Max Gorelik and Bob Wolf all called. Called up and found Harpers deal was all off. The biggest blow of my life, I think.

September 20: Reviewed Beresford novel. I felt rotten. People exhaust me. I should like to be just with Joe for a little while.

September 24: Ran into Mr. Wells of Harpers twice today. He said John Dos Passos had spoken highly of me. Ran into Mary Lena.

October 24: Dinner with Canby and Esther. Later Dos Passos came in. We discussed maternal instincts. Jacques LeClercq dropped in before dinner.

October 27: Dinner with Malcolm Cowley and Griffin Barry at Prince Street; later to Sammy Schwartz(*) with Jack Lawson, Dos Passos, Canby, Esther. Saw Conrad Aiken, Max Bodenheim, etc.--then on to Moscovitz where was Konrad Bercovici.

October 28. Saw Jack Lawson. Never want to see him again. Bores me. Tea with Malcolm Cowley. Also bored.

November 19: Worked. Had best party. Had new dress and was very drunk. Met Floyd Dell at dinner.

November 20: Our sixth anniversary. Lunch at Prince Street with Mary Lena and Pax. Yea with G. Taggard. Max Gorelik came in and was very stimulating.

November 25: Party at Sue Lawson's. Joe drunk. jack brought me home.

November 26: A terrible day. Joe didn't appear at office. Jacques hunted for him. Dinner with Jacques and Griffin Barry.

December 14: Jacques Jolas's recital. Later party. Very drunk and fell down stairs.

December 15: Canby, Esther, Jack, Sue and I went to saloon and played dice. Jack took me home.

December 23: Party at Esther Andrews'. I got very drunk with Lewis Gannett. All had dinner at Prince Street.


In 1927, Powell wrote a short story,"Women At Four O'clock"that was immediately turned into a short novel called Women At Five O'clock and then revised into a play called, once again,"Women At Four O'clock."The first of her theater pieces,"Women"is highly expressionistic and has not been produced to date.

She continued to write short stories--often in the children's room of the New York Public Library, where their were chairs to accommodate her small frame--and worked on The Bride's House. Her social life remained active (at least once she was present in a speakeasy during a raid) and her circle of acquaintance now included E. E. Cummings, Michael Gold, and playwright Francis Faragoh, with whom she became quite close.

She attended many plays, Village and Harlem parties, and the famous Carnegie Hall premiere of George Anthell's"Ballet Mechanique."Not surprisingly, she was also in the crowd when Charles Lindbergh received a ticker-tape parade after his solo flight across the Atlantic. 1927 seems to have been the first year that the Gousha family took a summer cottage near Port Jefferson, Long Island, in the hamlet of Mt. Sinai; this would become an annual tradition.

January 3: Took, care of Jojo all day and in evening wrote another story,"Spinster's Holiday."

January 4: Went to library and wrote best story I think of my life,"Women at Four O'clock."Dinner at Prince Street. I need to be alone a great deal to know my own thoughts. I have been too crowded with people. I need more just Joe.

January 8: Lunch with Joe at Schrafft's and planned to expand"Women at Four o'Clock"into novel. Mary Lena in evening. Was sick.

January 12: Went to Sam's for dinner. Met Jacques Leclercq there. Sam's raided. Went to Esther's later. Mary Lena and Gorelik there.

January 14: Slept. Went to Esther's. John Mosher, E. E. Cummings, Jack Lawson and Sue there. Dwight Fiske came in late from party at Cosmo Hamilton's.

January 20: Saw Jack. Revamped some of novel. Dinner at Prince Street. Very drunk.

January 25: Elizabeth Arden's. Dwight's recital. Wore gold dress and new evening cloak. Lovely time. Letter from Viking Press recommending me to take book to Morrow.

February 19: Party at Jack Lawson's. Francis Faragoh, author of"Pinwheel,"spoke of my story,"Saturnalia,"which he read three years ago. Tonight with Faragoh and Jack made me want to write play.

February 20: Arranged"Four O'Clock Women"in play form. Went with Sue to rehearsal of Jack's play"The, Loud Speaker."It was tremendous!

March 6: Dinner with Jacques and Edith. Later to Esther's where Gannetts were. Very drunk. Went to Jack Lawson's. Stumbled on Playwrights(*) meeting and was escorted home by Dos Passos.

March 9: To opening of"Earth"and party with the five playwrights Faragoh, Em Jo Basshe, Dos Passos, Michael Gold and lack at beer saloon in Hell's Kitchen.

March 13: Slept late. Walked on Staten Island. Went to Sam's at dinner with Floyd Dell.

April 10: Antheil recital. Stood up with Jacques and Edith.

April 16: Dwight, Fiske and Jacques Leclercq in for tea. Dinner with Canby at Sara's. Later with Francis Faragoh to Hall Johnson's party in Harlem.

May 27: Drove out to our cottage in Port Jefferson with Jack at 6 in the morning.

May 31: Came in from Port Jefferson with Dos. Dinner with Francis Faragoh, Dos and Mike Gold at Prince Street.

June 10: Sick all day. Louise took care of me. Joe drunk. We quarreled.

June 13: Went to see Lindbergh parade.

June 16: In Mt. Sinai. Love our little cottage. Started story"And Diamonds."Jack came down and we swam off our pier and had tea.

June 19: Supper on porch for everybody. Much gin.

June 24: Went to town again. Saw Canby off on Majestic. Joe and I quarreled. Black day.

June 25: 135 and 1/2 pounds.

July 2: Esther, John Mosher, Francis Faragoh, Dos Passos all out for weekend. Swimming with jack and Francis.

August 10: Sold"Blue Sky"to College Humor. Drove out with Jack.

November 7: Wired Swanson at College Humor:"What do you think of Women at Four o'Olock'?"He wired back:"It is now 4 and I have no opinion of women. How about story?"Saloon with Jack Lawson.

Friday, November 11: Party at Genevive Taggard's. Been working night and day on play. Finished Act Il.

November 13: Went to Prince Street for dinner with Joe and got very drunk.


No diaries survive for the years 1928 and 1929. In 1928, Powell published She Walks In Beauty, which, disclaiming Whither, she would insist was her"first"novel. In 1929, The Bride's House, her study of a woman with two lovers, was published. Both novels were issued by Brentano's and received respectful reviews but sold poorly.

By 1930, Powell was living at 106 Perry Street, where she finished Dance Night (which she later called her favorite novel) and the play"The Party"(eventually produced by the Group Theatre as"Big Night", and began The Tenth Moon and Turn, Magic Wheel. She had begun her long relationship with Coburn"Coby"Gilman, a Denver-born magazine editor who was reportedly her lover for a time and remained one of her best friends until the end of her life. Reports to the contrary, the two never actually lived together--Gilman kept an apartment on Lafayette Street, near what is now the Public Theater--but they spent a great deal of time with one another and Gilman is a vivid (and often hilarious) figure throughout her diaries.

Another close friend was Margaret Burnham De Silver, a woman of enormous wealth who was active in a number of liberal and Left causes, and the lover of the Italian anti-fascist leader Carlo Tresca. A loyal and supportive friend to Powell, De Silver took her traveling, helped her out financially on several desperate occasions, and set up a trust fund to support Jojo. De Silver is the dedicatee of Powell's last novel The Golden Spur and Powell was at her bedside when she died.

Several celebrated figures pass through the 1930 diary: Theodore Dreiser, Rex Stout, Harold Loeb, and Louise Bogan, among them. None became close friends.

January 9: Margaret De Silver's party in Brooklyn with Dwight playing.

January 25: Costume ball--"Salons of America"--with Coby. Joe came in tight and all-night session. Very upsetting.

January 26: Finished up to Jen's runaway. Decided she and Morry couldn't possibly break through town.(*)

January 30: Dinner with Coby. Copying up to Page 140 in novel. How slow this one goes.

February 1: Dinner at Catalan's with Dreisers.

February 17. Lunch with Coby. Novel still not under control. Biggest job I ever tackled and not sure yet I can do it.

February 19: Saw Harrison Smith of Cape and Smith who wants to publish me; so does Charles Boni. Probably nobody will want me when I actually have novel all done and for sale.

February 24: Saw William Harris, Jr. to see if be wanted"Party."(*) Very nice and interested. This novel like tightrope walking--each step so precarious.

February 25: Harris called up, prepared to start play negotiations again. Joe said to keep eye on Elsinore in novel as key note never to be lost.

February 26: Joe tight so much and mentally blurred so it's impossible to talk with him. Makes me sick at heart and so tired emotionally to see him blah-blah drunk all the time with nights of horror that make me sorry for him yet worry so.

March 4: Offered $500 a week to go to Hollywood at once for three months. We need money but that stuff is not in my direction and life is too short to go on unpleasant byroads.

March 8: Worked. Dinner with Dwight at Jungle Club and then to his apartment. This luxury constantly before me would send me either to Hollywood at once or to the ghetto. Met Helen Carlisle (Mother's Cry) who writes very good novels in six weeks.

March 10: Hate novel as if it were a personal foe--it's so damned hard and moves so slow. I want to write plays that go fast. Can't conceive of having energy ever to attack a novel again. They're so damned huge and unwieldy.

March 12: Dinner at Brevoort(+) with Rex Stout.

March 26: Went to Bermuda with Margaret De Silver.

April 9: Signed contract with Farrar&Rinehart for three novels. $3500 advance.

April 10: Sold"Eden"(rejected 13 times) to Delineator for $1000.

April 11: Sickish. Started semi-hemorrhages.

April 21: Dr. Holliday says I have tumor displacements.

April 22: Trying to work.

April 23: Party at Denys Wortman's. Met Frank Sullivan--very nice.

May 15: Letter that Barrett Clark likes"The Party."Reminding me of his lecture at school.

May 28: Lawsons home. Seem to be changed.

June 15. Finished novel Dance Night at Mt. Sinai.

June 22: Coby said novel was superb. Jack said play was terrible.

July 8: Sold"The Party"to Theatre Guild. Can't imagine they will do it.

July 21: Dinner with Max Gorelik and Mary Lena then went to Harold Loeb's apartment.

July 22: Lunch at swell Chinese place on 14th Street with Reginald Marsh. Dinner with Coby. Tight most always on very little. Wish I could work and get into it.

July 24: To Coby's. Met Louise Bogan and her husband Raymond Holden. Dull.

July 26. Very nice vacation sort of weekend. Wish I could start work--could if I had a studio now.

July 27: jack and I straightened our argument on theater (chiefly"The Party".

July 28. jojo came in from country ko go to Mt. Sinai with Louise and Bobby.(*) Sick-looking. Worried about him.

August 2: Joe's 40th birthday. Beach party. He went out in canoe for hours. So worried.

August 3: Bored stiff with country and bridge-fiend people.

August 4: Took studio--marvelous--at 21 E. 14th. I think I can write a New York novel here on my favorite street. Asked Ann [Watkins] for loan. Hotter than hell.

August 6: Got check for $300 from Farrar&Rinehart

August 17: Got very tight at Mario's and sick too.

August 30: Rain. Telegram from Paramount apparently wanting me for work there.

September 11: Heard Guild is to renew option on my play.

September 19: Interview with Theatre Guild who were wonderful to me. Teresa Helburn just like Miss Brownfield, Lake Erie College dean. Evening to"Symphony in Two Flats"by Novello.

October 10: Dance Night came out with dull thud. Went to country and very discouraged and weepy. Never so close to my own stuff before.

October 23: Feel like working hard, only very discouraged about way Farrar&Rinehart handling novel. No ads and all represented as"sweet tender book"to get trade. Wish I'd stayed with Brentano's where they respected my literary ability.

October 27: To John Farrar's. He heard I was dissatisfied. Very true.

October 28: Worried alternately about book and Jojo. One worry lulls and absorbs the other. In three weeks since publication only one day of ads and only four reviews. Ignored because publishers did no ballyhoo of book itself.

November 2: Took Jojo to Dr. Jamieson's at Seagirt [New Jersey] for school. Beautiful place but it was hard on the poor little darling and me too.

November 5: Pompous letter from Jojo saying he's studying French and German so I guess he's happy.

December 1: Came home sick with pleurisy all week."Shadow on heart"enlarges. Not quite so painful as before but temperature of 102 at nights. Not much pain by Thursday and hard to remember how much it hurt. Everybody sent flowers.

© 1995 Dawn Powell's Estate

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