Mar 202015

I was noodling around in my favourite links sites (check out our links page for some of the best sites on the Internet) and discovered these excerpts from Charles Henri Ford‘s diary, Water From A Bucket: A Diary 1948-1957, in This Recording. First I noticed that Lynne Tillman had edited the book and then I read the excerpt and then I ordered the book and have been happily reading through it, restraining myself from racing right through it, vaguely depressed that there isn’t more. I haven’t had this much fun since reading Witold Gombrowicz’s diaries. But Ford is sexually frank in ways that Gombrowicz was not (you had to read between the lines) and one is delighted and liberated in his audacity. His style is precise, aphoristic, chiselled. You can dwell on sentences. Ford knew everyone in the 40s and 50s and before. He was Djuna Barnes’ friend, knew Gertrude Stein who advised him on his love life. The Russian painter Pavel Tchelitchew was his lifelong love (but that didn’t stop him from chasing shepherds, delivery boys, US Navy personnel, men in the restrooms of Paris, etc.). And he knew Lynne Tillman who did him the service of helping to bring this book into print.


On arrival in Weston Friday before tea, Bert jumped into his Levis, looking more sexy than ever, and we three took a walk. Vorisoff, our neighbor, came to dinner. Shortly after dinner Bert and I went upstairs, he wanted to look at the pornographic playcards and since there was nothing else to do he suggested we go to bed so I went back downstairs and said goodnight to Vorisoff and Pavlik. Bert was going to spend the night in my bed. “Fuck me between the legs,” he said and hollered when I hit the piles which seem to be practically out because the next afternoon even my tongue hurt them (I had taken him in his bathrobe downstairs and washed his ass for him.) So after we had both come (I sucked him after shooting between his legs I can see him now in bed lifting one leg to wipe the come off his crotch with the towel I tossed him), he said he was hungry so we had scrambled eggs, then he said he felt “jumpy,” that he wanted to take a walk and wanted me to get dressed and go with him. We had had Scotch after we got back. I shall make a list of “What’s beautiful about Bert.” Not now it’s too long.


Last evening before bedtime Pavlik had another of his crises, in which he unloaded his feelings about our relationship. The most terrible thing he said was that he had the feeling I was waiting for him to die and that when he did die I wouldn’t shed a tear: “Americans are the hardest people in the world…”

He said that when I was away from the apartment, then he “bloomed,” that there were other people who “calmed” him when he was nervous, but that I drained him “I feel your pulling, pulling all the time, that’s why you look so young, you age me, if you were to stay away from me one year you wouldn’t look like you do now, like your portrait, just look in the mirror after one year, you’ll see!”

I told him, “If we are only staying together out of convenience and cowardice, then it’s pathetic, a break should be made…”


The voice of Leonor over phone – soft, and low pitched, very seductive.

I like the idea of liking girls and going to bed with them but I’m afraid I’m much too conditioned by boy-loving. On the boat, in the group Tanny-Bobby-Betty (latter a dark skinned ballerina traveling with Tanny), it was always Bobby who set off the sparks and whom I liked to look at, touch, listen to I’m made that way, that’s all.

via In Which We Are Going To Love Living In Paris – Home – This Recording.

Ford cover

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