Are You Forgettin’ Why You Loved Me, Darlin’?

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Living a Beautiful Life

She drapes a towel over her shoulder hiding her left breast.  Rather, the vivid red scars snaking her ribcage where her left breast was carved out.

She turns to her left, enough so that she looks whole.  If she accidentally catches a glimpse of her reflection, that is.

Spraying the area with rubbing alcohol from the pump bottle — she still can’t bring herself to touch it — she switches the blow dryer to ‘low’ and dries under the towel.  Then she spritzes Vitamin E and baby oil, even though it’s a lost cause.  Those scars aren’t going anywhere.

She ties a robe loosely around her waist and shuffles to the kitchen.  Hot cereal she enjoyed from childhood might help her feel a bit better.

A shadow crosses the window making her jump.  But her imagination was playing tricks.  Nobody had been in the garden since the day he left — coincidentally, the morning…

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An Interview with Harold Norse, Part 2, Final: Who Turns These Wheels

I’d considered calling this section ‘Bobby and Harold’ because the voice on the tape is Bobby’s.

Bobby always has a Southern accent.

After closing the earlier discussion of identity, Bobby asks Harold about his habit of falling in love with hustlers.

Harold is reluctant to discuss this at first but Bobby presses him so he begins by saying that he feels compassion for hustlers because so many of them are

He says he weeps when he hears reports of child abuse on the news and wonders if he’s become a ‘weepy old man.’

He describes the violent night he threatened to kill his abusive stepfather.

He was 13.

Later in the interview, Bobby reminds Harold of his first words when Bobby first entered the Cottage on Albion Drive: ‘Who turns these wheels.’

Photograph of Rob Goldstein taken by Nina Glaser in 1986
Rob Goldstein by Nina Glaser in 1986-I wore black all the time as a symbol of my grief over the AIDS Epidemic.

Working on these tapes was painful because this is audio evidence of my DID.

At one point in the interview Norse suggests that he was aware of the DID:

Bobby: You used to accuse me of having no memory and I used to say I remember things verbatim; you never believed me.

Norse: It was not for that that I used to accuse you of having no memory. It was for something else…

Bobby: Oh, I remember, it was for my kleptomania. Go ahead.

Norse: No. That’s denial. That’s part of your character.

Bobby didn’t know what Norse meant and didn’t pursue it.

I don’t remember writing an interview with Harold Norse for the Bay Area Reporter and my memories of Harold Norse feel second-hand.

I don’t know what Bobby means when he says he was a hustler and a kleptomaniac.

This numbing and amnesia is the pain of Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Sadly, I don’t remember how it felt to have the friendship and respect of
someone as brilliant as Harold Norse was.

It sounds like we enjoyed each other immensely.

Please note:

When I turned the tape over I unknowingly enabled a ridiculous option
that stops the machine when it senses silence. The result is a little choppy.
I did my best to smooth it out.

To hear the beginning go to An interview with Harold Norse, Part 1, Section 1

(C) Rob Goldstein 2017 All Rights Reserved

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An Interview with Harold Norse, Part 2, Section 1: “But I’m still Gay.”

Part two of the Interview opens with Harold’s discussing his relationship to his peers, many of whom achieved fame and a place in literary history.

Norse describes them as outcasts and I reply that they are hardly outcasts now.

Norse feels like an outcast and I hearken back to Auden’s comment by suggesting that perhaps a saint is an outcast who survives as an outcast.

Survival in this context is surviving as an artist.

Norse says he wrote because, “I wanted to write about my deepest feelings about being Gay.”

He goes on to tell a story about conversation he had with James Baldwin who was new to fame  and Norse said, “Jimmy, you’ve got nothing to worry about, you’ve got it made.”

“Jimmy turned and said, ‘Whattaya mean I got it made! I’m still Black!'”

The cover of Giovanni's Room, by James Baldwin
Giovanni’s Room 1956, by James Baldwin

Norse goes on to say that no matter what he does, he’s still gay, he’s
still marginalized.

Norse describes how he met with Baldwin again, after Baldwin was wealthy.

Baldwin looks in a mirror and says, “After all, I’m still James Baldwin.”

Norse stopped himself from saying, “And who is James Baldwin.”

Norse describes it as a ‘Zen’ moment when he realized that we are what we’re conscious of being.

Interview with Harold Norse Section 2, part 1.

Please note:

When I turned the tape over I unknowingly enabled a ridiculous option
that stops the machine when it senses silence. The result is a little choppy.
I did my best to smooth it out.

To hear the beginning go to An interview with Harold Norse, Part 1, Section 1

(C) Rob Goldstein 2017 All Rights Reserved

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An Interview with Harold Norse, Part 4: This is going to be Psycho Drama

In this short clip Norse and I are completely relaxed and
in animated conversation.

Norse answers the question I posed at the close of part 3 by
reminding me of a discussion we had before I moved in.

“I said Rob, this is going to be Psycho Drama; not literature class’

My voice in section 4 of the Interview is younger and I detect
a Southern accent.

It’s Bobby’s voice.

It’s odd to hear an alternate’s voice.

It’s also odd  to read an account of an evening I spent
in 1987 with writer, Darell Yates-Rist .

Rist was traveling the United States to write Heartlands,
his book about being gay in America.

I agreed to give him a night tour of San Francisco.

Rist published Heartlands in 1992.

He describes the Cottage I shared with Norse on Albion Street.

Rist died from HIV in 1993.

Part four of the interview with Norse picks up where part three ended.

It’s brief and ends when Norse leaves to feed a parking meter.

An Interview with Harold Norse, Part 4.

An Interview with Harold Norse, Part 1.

An Interview with Harold Norse, Part 2.

(c) Rob Goldstein 2017 All Rights Reserved

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