Nameless I, 1964-70 Fiction and non-fiction; about 220 pages; Complete; Philadelphia, Oakland Age: 12-16; Adolescence; Diaristic accounts, memory.


Interior page of manuscript; Mss_0131_01.

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Loose pages; Typewritten; Decent condition; some brittleness;

Prose; Plots, Amy, love, romance, family drama; George, Nameless, Paul, Nony, Gideon, all the other vharacters from the plots; Amy and Johanna;

Note the red adhesive still attached at the top of this sheet, indicating it was torn from a pad of typing paper; the page has all kinds of marks on it from different phases: a pencil date on the upper right, added probably in the late 1960s; red pencil edits were made during the 1970 transcription into a clean format, with checks for the sections transcribed; the pencil number at the upper left, probably a "1" originally, as this was a starting page before the introduction, "A note on the date and setting," which precedes it was added.

Related mss: 1964;   Poems, 1965;   Prose, 1968;   Journals from: Summer, 1968;   Journal of Characters, 1968;   Journals: Fall, 1969;   Winter, 1970;   Inventory, 1970;   Summer; 1970; Amy, 1984.  

This manuscript, the original Amy writing of more than two-hundred pages, was composed over the three and half years of our most intense involvement. The texts combine direct address and first person accounts of scenes of characters blended with real people. A few early scenes, from 1965 or 1966, were written about the characters in the third person. These multiple shifts of tone and voice mark the complexities in our own subject positions, and the ways the roles we took on complicated our identities. The writing merely replicates that fragmentation and faceting.

In its initial finished form, the manuscript was divided into ten parts, the first of which was added in 1970 in another, somewhat edited, typescript of these texts (see Nameless I, 1970). This manuscript starts with a note on the date and setting in which the terminus date is left open: “All of the things in here are dated 1964, however they took place in the years from nineteen sixty-for to nineteen sixty- [...]”. A few lines later, I wrote that the text was being composed in 1966, when our friendship was still new.

This particular page (left) follows that note and is typical of the combination of naivete, directness, description of characters and circumstances, and emotionally driven texts that comprise the entire two hundred and forty-some pages. So many of the texts are written as characters, in the first person, that it is sometimes unclear to an unitiated reader who is speaking, and to whom. The “I” who writes is as often a character as it is me. When I wrote as Paul or Nameless or Katherine, three of the main characters of the early plots, I simply shifted into their voices. I occupied those positions, and writing from them, as them, had no friction or conflict. I owned those identities in some ways more completely than my own, since I had occulted my teen self, concealing it within the acting agents of the plots. Our plots were all improvisational narratives, all made up as dialogue, exchange, without much planning and without any scripting. We sometimes thought through the narrative arc, or created an event structure, in advance. But mostly we simply adopted our personae and interacted, seeing what would occur. The emotions of anger, tenderness, longing, frustration, desire, surfaced according to mood and disposition. The writing in this manuscript combined transcriptions of plots and reflection, “Why do I write this?” I asked in 1966, slipping into and out of self and character, hyper-aware of the process.

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