marlene mountain
letter essay
july 1991

john myth

dear cor 7/25/91

Thanks for your recent permission regarding your words, etc. As yet I'm not sure how all will be incorporated, including excerpts from 'John & 1-line' or from your 2nd anthology. I think I've found reference that you sent the roof review to Bostok. I'll try to find out what happened.

Little by little, 'from the mountain' has begun to take form, though there's still much to do. To say the least, it will be a rather strange-looking book compared to what we are used to in haiku. I know it's too much to ask, but I'd love to use my original 6 page letter of March 21, 1977 to you. If it's not handy, we can made do with my raw copy.

A few weeks ago John sent a copy of your introduction to an unpublished book of his. Even knowing John's ongoing reality-twisting, I was still rather appalled at his 'history of us.' More than once I've hinted to you that things were not as John so desperately wants them viewed. I indulged in the personal great pleasure of marking up the 'his/story' a bit, adding and taking away. It is not of course for publication, but if you would like I'll send it. If a real view of John cannot be presented, perhaps at some point the over-romanticized version can be modified. On another level, I just don't want to be dragged into this myth and, truly Cor, I hate to see your buying into it. As I scrawled on the piece: 'John (& you) is/are quite welcome to romanticize John's life to correspond with his 'romantic' haiku-- however, when I'm included in this myth, I prefer to be excluded.'

You are so good, Cor, at wanting publishing dates and other facts correct, I don't understand your not checking into biographical facts, especially when they include another person's biography. Yes, many of the events happened--trying to sell the 'forest floors,' etc--but these ventures were more moronic than 'romantic.' If you think I too might have a lopsided view, you could certainly talk with some of his exfriends and his daughter. However, there's really no need to open up the proverbial can of worms--at least not at this point. I'd rather that John take responsibility for his history, to analyze it in terms of his haiku, and more profoundly to analyze it in terms of how he has treated others. But then, I've waited on that for umpteen years.

There is also misinformation in Lynch's dissertation. Where did it come from that I operate a small art gallery? It's a shed for viewing paintings with friends. 'pig and i' not in roof. There's personal and publishing misinformation in Reed Shadows. Oh well, lots of things get distorted and I have forgotten much. But some things could be straightened out before myth takes over.

You'll also notice I've tampered with your mention of god in relationship to nature. I don't understand why nature isn't capable of creating nature. Are haiku poets writing about a male god's nature (a feeble myth at that) or about nature? I hold the Japanese view of nature--something dirty (female) to be cleaned up--in suspect, too.

I'd like to share with you this correspondence with Bill. Why, I don't know. I think maybe I've found Allard, but there has been no reply. I take it as an indication that he doesn't want to be involved.

from the mountain

'marked-up intro'

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