In the Shadow of the American Dream NPR coverage of In the Shadow of the American Dream: The Diaries of David Wojnarowicz by David Wojnarowicz, Amy Scholder, and Amy Scholder. News, author interviews, critics' picks and more.
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In the Shadow of the American Dream

The Diaries of David Wojnarowicz

by David Wojnarowicz

Hardcover, 267 pages, Pgw, List Price: $23 |


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Book Summary

Chronicles the life of an introspective writer, filmmaker, radical artist, and AIDS activist from age seventeen until his AIDS-related death at thirty-seven.

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Note: Book excerpts are provided by the publisher and may contain language some find offensive.

Excerpt: In The Shadow Of The American Dream

Chapter One

David's first journal, his record of an Outward Bound expedition, waswritten when he was seventeen years old. The diary is illustrated with mapsand drawings of the terrain.

August-September 1971
Hurricane Island Outward Bound School
Grenfell Watch
P.O. Box 438
Vinalhaven, Maine 04863

Thursday, August 19, 1971

The first day we were coming over by ferry. It was foggy and the mistwhipped at our faces. I was cold as hell. I started talking to my friend nextto me whom I met at the airport. Soon he left with his friend and I sat behinda car to keep out of the cold. I began a conversation with a boy whowas to be in my watch; his name was Tony. He is from Long Island. Helives there in the summer with his parents, but during college term he studiesart in Sweden. Soon after, we reached Hurricane Island. Our watchofficer's name was Charlie. We immediately went to our assigned tents andchanged into running shorts. We ran once around the island and went tosupper ... a very small meal. I was hungry as hell afterwards. We went tosleep.

Friday, August 20, 1971

We got up and ran around the island. Very exhausting. I finished a cigaretteI had and was going to smoke one last one before we signed a pledgeto commit ourselves to do to our best ability the challenges and feats. Andto stick by each other. Well I had the cigarette in my mouth and a lit match,about to light it. Then one person in my watch said that he feels we shouldall stick together before we sign the commitment. So in fewer words, I shouldnot smoke my last cigarette. Well, I argued and everyone except Tony sidedwith George (the guy who started the whole mess). I said, Lordy, Lordy,I'm cured. And turned around all disgusted and walked away.

    The kids then came up and apologized about it and said that theyrealized one last cigarette couldn't hurt. It was too late anyway since I brokeup the cigarette. We went to sleep after supper and after signing the book.

Saturday, August 21, 1971

I learned the first steps in rock climbing. The man who teaches it hit me onthe top of the head for doing a wrong signal at the wrong time. I was reallypissed off. I am drawing the steps of preliminary rock climbing: Ombelimeans I'm hooked up and ready for you to follow. Uprope means Pull upslack rope. The man situated on top of the hill pulls slack. When the slackis pulled up all the way, the man at the bottom shouts, That's me. The manat the top then says, Climb. The man at the bottom begins to climb andsays, Climbing. The man at the top says, Okay, and pulls in the slack as theman ascends. If you kick off any rocks you can call, Below. If you feel yourselffalling you call, Tension. The man at the top will immediately brace himselffor the impact of the rope when you fall.

    We ate lunch and got our swim trunks on and went for a swim in thegranite quarry. We ate a lousy dinner of boiled ham and sweet potatoes.Ugh! I began to get tired. Sleep.

Sunday, August 22, 1971

We walked up to the freshwater pond and I caught a snake. A little gartersnake. He started puking so I tossed him into the bushes. Imagine that, asick snake.

    We had to tie this rope around each of our waists and one by onecrawl onto a little rope over the pond. We had to get to the other side. Ifone fell in we all would fall in. I was scared because my nice work bootswere on. Thank Swami that we made it across and just in time for lunch. Iommmmmed in my mind all the way through the ordeal. After lunch wewent on a real rock climb. I was first to go up since I had a dentistappointment. I made it up with very little trouble. I then left on the M. V.Hurricane to get to the dentist in Rockland. The M. V. Hurricane is atugboat or a type of ferry. I felt seasick but here was my chance to eat all Iwanted. I had half the pot of stew and ten oranges. The most I ever ate in my life!

    I didn't get my tooth pulled. Back at H. Island, we began to get readyfor the trip tomorrow. We leave on a pulling boat and come back Saturday.Nightfall came quickly. We had a big curse-out fight with another watch.The stars were really bright.

Monday, August 23, 1971
Camp Island

I left early this morning. The swells were about 5 ft. high. I threw up somany times. Finally I passed out. I woke up as we drifted into a nice quietcove. It was beautiful. I had a nice dinner of burnt macaroni, steamed mussels,and carrots.

Tuesday, August 24, 1971

I slept badly and woke up with a cold. I ate breakfast. We boarded the pullingboat and set sail for the next island. We learned about mainsails, mizzens,square knots, Boling knots, etc. Soon I fell asleep. Today I did not get sick.We sailed farther and farther. I was the bowman. We soon sailed into BartlettCove. This is the Girls Island. Unfortunately there were no girls today becausethey were out on expeditions, like us. I slept soundly.

Wednesday, August 25, 1971

We sailed all day long and all night, we sailed in around 1:40 to OronoIsland. We cooked stew and woke up around 4:55 A.M. When I got up thismorning ...

Thursday, August 26, 1971

I blew my nose and then I lifted a small rock to throw away the tissue. All ofa sudden there were two beautiful snakes curled up. One was a green snakewith white-green skin and milky white underbody. The other was a common ring-necksnake. Very small, with maroon underbelly. Must have beento the point of shedding. What a find. I let them go. My cold was worse. Thesunrise was beautiful. We ran 6 miles afterwards. My legs were about to break.We soon left to sail again. Again I wasn't sick. We arrived very early at themost beautiful island I have ever seen. The name is Isle au Haut.

    There were brine shrimp in the water and crabs running around inthe seaweed. Deer were on the island. We found part of a skeleton of a deer.We had a good dinner of stew. (Good night.)

Friday, August 27, 1971

I woke up and walked around for a few minutes. It was very depressing out.The sky was very cloudy and dark. We got on the boat and I became veryseasick. I ate some raisins and soon felt better. All of a sudden a report cameover the radio about a hurricane which might hit New York and the NewEngland area. We got scared. So we decided to get back to Hurricane Island.

    We made it back and had a good dinner of two hamburgers, a bowlof soup, oyster crackers, and pears. I had a great sleep.

Saturday, August 28, 1971

We went rock climbing again and I learned rapelling. This is when you walkoff a cliff backwards with ropes attached to you. If you let go with one handyou are going to fall and kill yourself. I remember having dreams of falling offcliffs as a little boy and the sensation was like this. I almost started crying.

    The people who contribute to this island are here today. We are havinga fantastic meal just to show them how good the camp is run. I am nowgoing to sleep. I have been eating green apples so I have lots of gas. Ugh!!!

Sunday, August 29, 1971

I think that since I have quit smoking, my appetite has grown immensely.I eat and eat, then 15 minutes later I'm starving again. This morning wehad like a junior Woodstock. Guitar and flute playing. Tonight I am watching amovie, The Living Desert. It is about all sorts of animals. We went onan ecology walk for preparation for our three-day solo, which will be in acouple of days. I think around Tuesday. They will take us on the M. V.Hurricane (ferryboat) and drop us off one by one on each uninhabited island.We have to live off the land for three days. This will be my chance toget some sleep and rest.

    The movie was kind of funny but I was so tired that I slept throughthe last half of it. I am now in bed, I am very drowsy, so I will be signingoff. Good night.

Monday, August 30, 1971

Every morning at 5:30 A.M. we get up, run around the island, and then takea jump into the cold, cold ocean. Brrrrrrr ...

    Well, this morning as we were running, three boys decided to showoff their athletic skills and took off faster and soon disappeared. We have arule, to stick together while doing everything. Some other boys and I havealready hurt ourselves falling while running, so we had to take it slow. Well,we had to do five pull-ups. Those three guys who ran ahead had to comeall the way back and do the five pull-ups. They started bitching about havingto run slow because of the slower guys.

    I was elected as first mate next to captain so I stood up and orderedthem to quiet down as is expected of me. One guy, a very good karate pupil,told me to screw myself and to say shut up to his face. I had been fed upwith everybody, so I walked up to him and said, Shut up. He did a karateflip on me, but I grabbed onto him before I fell, so I broke the fall.

    We will be going on a ropes course which nobody has completedwithout falling at least once. I will try to do it without falling.

    I just took a short walk into the woods. I found a small freshwaterpond with a granite rock wall around it. Nearby was a little frail bird's nest.I picked it up.

    I am feeling really depressed. I just caught another green snake on myway to the rope course. It was much smaller than the other one I had caughton Bartlett Island.

    I just finished the first part of the ropes course. For some reason mykneecaps hurt so bad that I can't jump or do anything like that. I got intoanother argument with a stupid kid named George. I caught a frog in thequarry.

    I am seriously thinking about leaving sooner than planned. I hate thissituation. I have stuck it out to my fullest capacity. But there is only so muchI can take from some people. The course isn't hard but the people are lousy.

    I had a good lunch and am now ready to take over the watch fromanother crew. The emergency watch is when you serve the meals and stayup all night to make sure that any ships that crash in the dark can be rescued.You also do any job on the island that needs doing.

    I helped scrape all the paint off the boat that was washed up on anotherisland. I will be leaving in two days for my solo. Solo is when theytake you to the island and let you stay there for three days. I will enjoy beingalone and having to find and prepare my own food. I will write recipes forthe meals I will have had. I get worried that the maniac might come andkill me in the dark while I am on the island. For some reason I am not afraidof monsters in the dark, but I am scared of maniacs and insane people waitingin the woods, in the dark. I get scared that they will grab me and killme. I don't know why and I can't shake that feeling. I am very anxious toget back in the city, where the cold gray buildings are of some comfort andthe lights make me feel safe.

    I ate so much at dinner tonight that I am busting. I can't eat anotherdrop. I am finished with my section of the watch and am now going tosleep. Good Night!

Tuesday, August 31, 1971

I did not have to run and dip this morning. Instead we set up the dishes andsilverware and served breakfast. I am on duty again. (The time is now 8:39.)So far no calls have been made except some lady telling her husband's friendthat her husband was sorry about not calling because his mother forgot togive him the message.

    Breakfast was the usual oatmeal, 2 slices of bacon, 2 pieces of cornbread, and milk or coffee. I sneaked a peanut butter and jelly out of thekitchen. I am really hungry. Maybe it's all this exercise.

    I am now waiting for my friend to get back from reading poetry atthe morning meeting. Tomorrow I go on solo. Hmmm ...

    I just found out that I am sailing tonight and camping on an islanduntil tomorrow, when I will be placed on an island for three days (solo). Iam generally excited about what type of sleeping spot I will have. Where Iwill eat. What I will eat. And how the weather will be. Will I be able tostart a fire, etc.

    Well, I am now packed and am ready to sail as soon as everyone getstogether. A boy in my watch caught a garter snake. It got away. I feel weirdbecause I want to leave as soon as I get back from solo but I still haven'tspoken to Rafe, the director. I think I will speak to him as soon as I getback. I will continue as soon as I eat dinner or else find out where I will besoloing (which island).

    We just finished getting under way. One boy fell overboard. I will bewriting a letter for Charlie to give to the director (Rafe) while I am awaysince I did not have a chance to speak to him before I left. I am going to askhim to telephone my mother and get her permission for me to come home.I hope she says yes (as I really know she will).

    It is dark now and I have just set up my tent. I am damp and slightlycold but this night we had steak and baked potatoes and fruit salad to eat,sort of like a last meal. Happy that I am on solid land. I had a few morearguments with some kids in my watch so I will be glad to get on solo.

Wednesday, September 1, 1971

I am now up. Today I shall be put on an island by myself. The name isBabbitch Island. I am cooking breakfast for everyone else. It is now 5:10. Ijust finished breakfast and am cleaning up. I found out that I will be goingto my island by powerboat. Thank Swami, because the pulling boats weuse are so damned slow. Ugh!

    Well, I am about to have hot cocoa in a pan, what a way to live. Ifinished getting checked to see if I or anyone else smuggled food with them.Well, I will soon be on the island.

Are you alone?

    Are you alone? asked the man and his wife as I trudged past their trailer.

    Are you alone? asked the gulls.

    Are you alone? asked the ocean.

    Are you alone? asked the frogs.

    If a man is alone in this wide earth, then a neighbor is of no help.

I am on my island and have set up my tent. I have already eaten a lunch ofstewed raspberries. It could have used some sugar, but I was quite contentedwith it. I am on my way to catch some clams and limpets for dinner. Dessertwill be some glasswort (seashore plant--edible). I have found an incredibleclam bed about halfway around the island from where I live. Theclams are about five inches long. I found that it is easy to get to clams andlimpets only when the sun is over behind the raspberry patch.

    I will draw a map showing what I know of the island. I really enjoywatching the seals swimming about the cove. I was quite shocked to findout there were seals up in Maine. I thought they were in Alaska, etc. Butthey swim back and forth and occasionally will climb a rock and rest. Thismorning we saw ten of them on our way to the islands. I will now go andcook my clams, using a cup of sea water for the salt flavor. I am using ahuge mussel shell as a spoon or small dish.

    There is an abundant supply of rose hips, a plant that bears tomatolikefruit. It tastes like a mealy apple. The petals of the flowers on rose hipbushes are tasty also. Rose hips are the chief source of vitamin C. So I willeat a few every day.

    I am now eating dinner. The sun is as high as ever. I am now doinga drawing of a limpet after being boiled.

    I have finished dinner. I had raspberries for dessert. I don't enjoy eatingthese wild foods. I keep thinking of Blimpies, Cokes, ice cream, candy.Oh, how I wish I were home.

    It is strange but for some reason I have changed and I know it. I havetaken for granted many, many things. I will be happy to go into a food storeand buy an apple or a cupcake. I will be more than happy to be walking onstreets where people sell plastic flowers and pretzels and jewelry. Where thedays are darker than the nights at times. To be able to come and go as Iplease. No island to restrict me.

Thursday, September 2, 1971

Well I am up and ready for a day's work. This morning I will not eat butwill take a walk around my island to find more sources of food other thanglasswort, rose hips, limpets, periwinkles, clams, and raspberries. I have founda plastic jug which might prove to be helpful. If I cut it in half it could bea bowl. I will try to think what other uses it could have.

    Last night I was feeling pretty sick for some reason. Not my stomach,but my head. It was all cloudy. I went to sleep at approximately 6 o'clock.

    The checkup men in the powerboat just came. They come once aday to see if your signal flag is up. If it isn't up and you don't wave to themthen it means something is seriously wrong.

    I must really be psychic because I was walking down to put up mysignal flag when I saw a long board. I went over to it thinking there mightbe a snake under it. Well, just before I got to the board something movedon the grass. I thought it was a toad, so on a close look, I saw part of a snakegliding through the leaves. I caught another green snake. I was tempted tokeep it but I let it go.

    I just found a huge supply of glasswort past my clam bed. Glasswort istender, juicy, and already salted with healthful sea salt. Continuing pastanother cove I found an excellent cattail supply. Cattails can be husked andboiled ten minutes to produce a delicious meaty substance. Cattails grow infreshwater marshes so I will see if I can find any freshwater things to eat.

    I have ended up on the other side of the island. I have tried fishing,but there is no luck. I am getting dizzy from time to time from need offood. It is difficult to get used to some of the available sea plants, etc. Idropped my roll of fishing line and it fell a long ways and started to sink. Istarted pulling in the line as fast as I could which brought the line spool tothe surface. I grabbed it. It was hell trying to wind up all that line but Imanaged it.

    I think I will go for a swim later on when I get back.

    I feel so sick I can hardly walk. The sun is too strong. I have a terribleheadache.

    I am about a quarter of a mile from my tent. Thank Swami.

    I will cook my food that I have gathered and eat as soon as I get back.I am famished.

    I have finished eating and I feel like throwing up. I can't wait to getback to Hurricane Island and to the meals they serve there. I feel like takinga nap which I think I will do.

    Across from my cove is another island. I see a signal flag. One of myfriends must be on it.

    I just woke up and feel a bit better. I am not so hungry so I will fastuntil tomorrow. Then that will mean one more day and I will be back again.It is very strange when you don't use your voice for a period of time. Youbegin to realize how quiet things are and how beautiful nature is. I hear allkinds of birdcalls while I am writing this. At times I try to answer the callbut some are too beautiful which makes it difficult.

    I am going for a short walk to find some more curios. I have collectedsome already. It is fun to find something different from anything youhave ever seen. It is low tide now so I can get closer to the water. I finishedlooking because my strength seems to be draining. I threw up already. Idon't know what to do.

    My curios are just the regular things I have been finding. I do nothave any feeling or urge to draw in my sketch pad. I keep thinking of goodwholesome food. I can't stomach all these foods out here. I am stomach-sickof clams, limpets, raspberries, and Christ knows what else. I am at thismoment sick of every goddamn thing in this world. I wish I were home. Iwill try to leave right after solo.

    I have been throwing up left and right. I ate some cattails and clams.That's when I started getting really sick. I will see if they will let me goback tomorrow morning. I can't eat any of this food. I need the normalfood they serve at H.I.O.B.S. and at home. I am going crazy. I absolutelyhave to leave.

    I was getting used to the course but I have had enough. I had enougha week ago but I stuck it out until solo thinking I would enjoy the rest. Mystomach is killing me. I can hear the juices gurgling inside me. Today I madecontact with the island across the way. After the boat left I heard shouting.It was Ricky, my friend. I could barely make out his words but apparentlya boy named John in my watch was put on the other side of the island. Hemade his way to Ricky's camp and stayed there all night. Apparently he isvery scared and homesick. He was going to leave about three days ago butRafe the director talked him out of it.

    Anyway I heard him blow his whistle so he is trying to make contactbut I feel too sick to go all the way down to the beach and shout mylungs off. I'd probably end up puking. I think I will go to sleep in a fewminutes.

    I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city onearth.

Friday, September 3, 1971

Last night I went to sleep just before the sun went down. I was not scared.I had quite a lot of trouble getting to sleep because I was getting cramps inmy legs and stomach. Also I was extremely hungry. I had about one hour'ssleep altogether.

    Late last night my plastic tent was illuminated by light. I thought itwas an unusually bright moon. About a half hour later the light was in thesame position. I wanted to see if it was a full moon so I put on my glassesand poked part of my head through the opening. It was not the moon, butsomeone's flashlight. I was terrified. So I did only what I thought of, andthat was to call and say, Who is that?

    The light switched off and whoever it was walked down past my tentand onto the path leading to the cove. I am still very frightened from that.I poked my head back into the tent and remained barely breathing for abouttwenty minutes.

    I vomited twice early this morning. I am writing this while waitingfor the boat to come. I did not put up my blue flag because I want them tostay ashore so that they can take me away from this place.

    I am still very frightened. Tried lighting a fire, but I used up the restof my matches. I keep thinking I am hearing things. Like walking aroundin the woods. I am seated on a homemade bench by the sea. The waves arecoming in faster and the birds are beginning to chirp. Thank Swami.

    If they don't take me off this island this morning I will swim across tothe next island where my friends are. I mean it.

    I just finished packing all my things. I have had to. I am going to leavethis morning. When I get to Hurricane Island I am going straight to Rafeand demand that he call my mother for permission to let me go home.

    I can't wait to get back to New York City again. I keep thinking aboutthe 8th Avenue Bakery, the candy stand in the drugstore, and Smilers foodstore sandwiches. I am driving myself crazy with the thought of good food.So far there are only signs of lobster boats. The Meka powerboat is not insight. When it comes I am going to explain what happened last night andtell them that I can't stomach the sea plants and animals. I pray to Swamithat they will take me back. I don't care what anyone thinks about me. I'mjust sick and tired of all this. I want to be able to eat when I want and whereI want. I want, I need time before school starts to adjust myself to the city.It will be bad to be depressed and then go to school at the same time.

    My legs are feeling like lead weights are draped around them. I canbarely walk. I keep thinking what I am going to say to the people in theboat or back at Hurricane Island. I keep thinking of the city. And all of thefood stores. I also think how the children starving in India, Biafra, S.E. Asia,and the U.S. feel. Here I haven't eaten in two days and I feel this sick?Imagine what they feel.

    I will be so happy when I am at the airport ready to board the plane.I JUST CAN'T WAIT. I keep hearing jets and planes passing by and itis nerve-racking waiting for the Meka powerboat. The sun is 1/8 acrossthe sky.

    The Meka boat appeared and went to my friend's island to check ifeverything was okay. He did not come here. If anything happens to me Iam going to bring charges against the Island or H.I.O.B.S.! I think this ispretty sickening. Here I am getting cramps, starving, and throwing up, andthe boat misses this island.

    The sun is getting stronger. My head is getting cloudy.

    Excuse me, but the Meka just came. They said for me to sit downand drink water every once in a while. They said that they were going tocheck the north islands and would be back this afternoon. If I thought Icould stay until tomorrow morning, I could, or else if I didn't think I couldtake it, they would bring me back. I am definitely going back. I reallycouldn't take another night of staying awake and having cramps.


    I need some good normal food in my stomach. I'm not going to feelbad that I am going back early. I have to if I want to feel better. Some solo.Here I thought I was going to enjoy myself. What a laugh.

    No sign of the Meka yet. I really do hope it comes back for me. All mystuff is on the beach and I am lying here writing to pass the time. I keepthinking about food and I am going absolutely crazy. You know that you can havefood just about any time you want in the city. If you are starving, you cansteal some. But, out here on an island there is no packaged food, only whatyou can find. And that makes you sick. If they don't return for me then tomorrowI am definitely going home after a meal on Hurricane Island.

I am feeling worse and the water I have been drinking feels sloshy in mystomach. The bees are buzzing and landing on me. The spiders are crawlingaround on me. Also the sand fleas and strange insects. I am waiting tosee that boat zooming in to pick me up. I feel like crying but I don't havethe strength to. I also feel like cursing out the world.

    I don't know what is happening. I feel like I am about to burst inside.I want to scream and curse and yell and stomp and cry. I could never fallasleep tonight unless I had some good food to eat. Please dear God or Swamior Buddha or whoever is watching, let them come back and pick me up. Ican't take another hour of this. Please.

    Where are they????!!!!!!

    THE MEKA JUST ARRIVED. They told me that in order for themto pick me up off the island when it isn't an extreme emergency they haveto pick up a license, which would take about four hours. They gave metwo slices of bread and a nectarine. I am eating slowly. I will go to sleep assoon as I am finished. They will pick us up tomorrow. Thank Swami!

    I just ate another pail of raspberries. They make me nauseous but Ihave been drinking water and eating a piece of bread. That is so I will befull and then I can sleep. I have not eaten my nectarine. I am saving thatuntil just before I go to sleep (which will be soon). I just saw a man and histwo kids walking below on the beach. I suppose I could have said somethingbut to me they represent freedom from this island and I can't havethat freedom until tomorrow morning. So I don't enjoy looking at themmuch less speaking to them. I will continue until tomorrow morning. Goodnight.

I fell asleep and just woke up again. It is still daylight. It is an amazingthing how just a flutter of a bird's wing or a chirp can wake you instantly ifnearby. I have forgotten the city sounds. I feel pretty good right now butoccasionally think about tomorrow and a Hurricane Island meal. Also about theairport and its coffee shop and candy stand. Also the donuts and coffee beforeI board the plane. Yum! Yum! I wish tonight will go very quickly for I amgoing to get grumbles from my stomach.

    It's funny but I can tell the kind of boat out here before it ever getsinto view. While waiting for the Lurcher to appear today, I knew it was alobster boat when I heard its motors. Well, I will soon try to go back tosleep. I hope I get to sleep. OOOOOMMMMMMM.

    The sun is a bright orange ball sinking quickly. I still can't get to sleep.Maybe when it's dark the birds will shut up and I will fall to sleep. This lightis going to be unbearable. I can feel it in my bones. I did not throw up thefood they gave me. It just goes to show you that it is only this food that I amnot used to that gets me sick. I am sleeping in a new spot overlooking theocean. It is getting very foggy out. I can hardly see the other islands. Thebirds above me are still yakking away every once in a while. The fog is coveringthe sun but it is still light out. I am getting gas. The sound of the smallwaves breaking gets to be monotonous but I keep hoping I will soon get tosleep. When I lay down I feel wide awake. But when I sit up I feel sleepy. Iam starting to get cold. I shall soon snuggle back into my sleeping bag.

    Good night for good!

Saturday, September 4, 1971

Thank Swami, I finally got to sleep last night after about an hour of tossin'and turnin'. The mosquitoes are biting the hell out of me. It is still veryearly in the morning. I could not get to sleep so I started dreaming of eatinglicorice (black). It was very filling and I finally fell asleep with my stomach"full."

    This morning is very foggy. I hope it clears up so I can see the oceanagain. Damn those mosquitoes.

    I just busted a rock that I found on the beach and inside are littlecrystals. I don't know what kind, but I imagine they are quartz crystals.

    The sun is starting to come up. I hope it is going to be a beautifulday. The mosquitoes are lessening. But the bites are itching like hell. I havewashed them off with alcohol, but it doesn't faze them. I think I have along wait for those boats.

    I am starting to get hunger pains again, but I can put up with themwith the thought in mind of going back to Hurricane Island. I hope theyhave a meal waiting for us back there because I am not going to do anywork without eating first. I am thinking about what is going to happen topeople around home now that I've decided to come home early. Will JerryBaron ask why did I give up? Are they going to lose faith in me if I give up?I don't really care what they say or think because it is I who has made thedecision, not them, to come home early.

    I felt it was best for me to start the school year with a happy (notdepressed) mind and on the same day as everyone else. That way there is noreason for me to mess up. Plus, I am really longing to see the city for thefirst time in my life. Amazing! Any other summer and I would hate to gohome to those dirty streets. But I realize how much I have taken for granted.In fact how much everyone has taken for granted. I think everyone shouldgo to a course like this. It makes them appreciate the freedom they had athome. There is an incredible amount of freedom in the city. Stores whenyou are hungry. Movies when you are bored. Bookstores when you feellike reading. Bars when you feel like drinking. I could go on for days writingabout the things in the city that people take for granted. I just can't waitto get back to it all. I will enjoy every speck of dirt on the streets andbuildings. I will be happy to see all the old bums again. The pimps,prostitutes, and whores. I will be extra happy to see the Broadway Game Room. Iwill be happy to see my mother and brother and sister and Johnny and Jamesmost of all!

    The seagulls are fishing right now. They follow the lobster boats becausewhen the lobstermen pull up their traps they throw away the crabsthat have gotten inside, so the gulls dive for the crabs. AM I GOINGCRAZY? There are what appear to be hummingbirds on this island! Theyzoom from flower to flower getting nectar. I have to ask about this.

    Lobster boats in the distance ...

    I just thought about one of my friends who wanted to see a greensnake so I decided to try and catch one for him. I realize that theseuninhabited islands usually have many snakes roaming about fearlessly becauseno one is here to bother them.

    Well, I started looking and pretty soon something flung itself into thetaller grass nearby. (I imagine?)

    It was a snake but it was too fast for me. I was pretty well pissed offfor not being more alert and having seen it before it saw me. Soon I waswalking on the other side of my little field and I said to myself, There's anice quiet swimming area, and I walked over and what do you know?A little green snake was sliding out down the tiny pathway. I caughtthis one!

    The Meka or the Lurch is not in sight or hearing distance. I'm gettingsick.

    The Meka picked me and two other friends up and left us on anotherisland while they go pick up more kids. I feel more sick.

    Well, we are on the pulling boat and waiting for twelve more people,then they are going to tow us in. It's a one-hour ride. But the sooner weget started the better I will feel.

    My snake almost escaped. I don't blame him for trying. I realize howit feels to be locked up. He will soon be free.

    One more group of people and we are on our way.

    My snake got loose on the boat. But I caught him all the way up inthe bow. That poor snake is in the hands of Cricked and some other asseswho, thank Swami, are not in my watch. I hope he gets back to me alivewithout any broken ribs.

    The man in the lobster boat is talking about homemade apple pie witha scoop of vanilla ice cream.

    I met Dr. Spock today and his wife, Jane. He was tall and bald witha little fuzz around his ears. His wife had long brown hair. I was quite shockedspeaking with them. I had tea and donuts.

    I have had my evening meal and it is a strange feeling eating so much.I am glad to be back on the island where there are three meals a day. Goodnight!

Sunday, September 5, 1971

After a long run and cold dip I have just finished eating breakfast (deliciouspancakes and hot maple syrup). Yum, it was very good. I am on my way toclean up the tents. I will soon speak to Pete Willauer about leaving soon.Everybody tells me that I am going to have a rough time talking to him.But he is only a human being and I feel I have made a decision so thingsshould work out. They better because I have a dollar bet on it.

    I have spent the whole afternoon speaking with Mr. Willauer. He istrying to get me to stay. But I swear after the incident at lunchtime, I amdefinitely leaving this island. Community togetherness, ha! I am debatingwhether to eat dinner with them or not. I am hungry but I don't know. Iam feeling like dirt, which is what Willauer is trying to make me feel like,so I stay. But I am fighting it off because I know inside that I have made theright decision. I think I will go to dinner. I am slowly getting more andmore depressed. Sometimes you would like to kill yourself. I'm still tryingto figure out if I'm that desperate. Things don't seem to be going right athome between Mom and Steve. I don't know ... It seems that just fromthe letters, I'm back where I started from already. I'll still be happy to leavethis place. I am going to go straight to the candy stand at the airport andbuy a Milky Way bar. Yum! I feel like crying but I won't give those bastardsthe satisfaction of seeing me cry.

    I am going to wait until tomorrow, and if I don't hear word of whenI will be leaving then I am going to split on a Meka or some boat. I swear.

    I hate even thinking about those kids. Everyone probably thinks thatI am more of a kid than they are. FUCK THEM!!! I have eaten and ammore or less with the group. Good night.

Monday, September 6, 1971

We ran and dipped and didn't eat. Because of Chris and George, who didnot feel like running. I am dying of hunger.

Copyright © 1999 The estate of David Wojnarowicz. All rights reserved.
ISBN: 0-8021-1632-9