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

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

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

Save

Save

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

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Dissociative Identity Disorder: Different Memories, Different Skills

“…Alters in DID have “their own identities, involving a center of initiative and experience, they have a characteristic self-representation, which may be different from how the patient is generally seen or perceived, have their own autobiographic memory, and distinguish what they understand to be their own actions and experiences from those done and experienced by other alters, and they have a sense of ownership of their own experiences, actions, and thoughts, and may lack a sense of ownership of and a sense of responsibility for the action, experiences, and thoughts of other alters.” NIH

“Uneven learning: the child (with DID) knows how to complete a particular assignment quite well one day, doesn’t know how to do it the next day and then later when it has not been re-taught can successfully complete the task.  Children might also be able to do math one day and the next day they might be totally unable to do the same math with no recollection that they have been able to do it the previous day.” NIH

digital portrait of a young male avatar who represents an alternate naned Bobby
Bobby’s digital self

Rob Goldstein is the alternate working on the interview with Harold Norse and he’s baffled: why does the Rob Goldstein on the tape refer to himself as illiterate?

Rob Goldstein can’t remember being illiterate just as he can’t remember
the interview.

We’ve (I) always thought Rob Goldstein lived with Harold Norse.

I am Matthew, sometimes called, the Host.

I was born in 1992.

I know most of the others and why they were born.

After Bobby came Bob.

Bob was a travel agent and later a Licensed Psychiatric Technician
at a Freudian based long-term facility in New Haven.

Bob had to grasp the complex psycho-dynamics that emerge between staff
and patients in long-term in-patient analyses and report these interactions
in his charting and at staff meetings.

We were in our thirties when we moved to San Francisco and became
Rob Goldstein.

Rob Goldstein was the first openly gay Assistant Director of Physical Education at the Central YMCA in San Francisco.

He was under incredible stress at work and had started having panic attacks when his friends began to sicken and die from AIDS.

As a result, Bobby often came out to run or go dancing.

Bobby also liked to go to the café and write.

Bobby met Harold Norse at the Cafe Flore one day in March of 1984.

A few days later Bobby met with Norse again and showed him some hastily
written poems.

In June they met for coffee and Norse told Bobby about his vacant room
and need for a roommate.

Norse also told him that he would teach him how to write.

So, who moved in with Harold Norse?  Who is the alternate on those tapes?

The only logical answer is Bobby.

Being a poet was Bobby’s dream but finding a parent was dearer.

31 is a bit old for a man to turn himself over to a mentor but not if he
has DID and can wipe out 15 years.

Bobby is always 16 and in the 1980’s he had none of Bob’s or Rob’s
memories or skills.

He was the a semi-illiterate boy named Bobby; the one who had to play
stupid even as he yearned to write poetry.

Norse met and saw a gifted and wounded 16-year-old and decided to
give him the permission that he so desperately needed.

The permission that ‘we’ so desperately needed.

An poem drafted in 1984 with notes from Harold Norse
An early poem drafted in 1984 with notes from Harold Norse

Rob Goldstein (c) 2017

Save

Save