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Monday 3/30/20

Yesterday marked 199 weeks without a drink, which is 1393 days. I ran three miles and am heading out to run in a bit. I have had a lot of headaches lately, which I think is stress and dehydration. This piece came out in The American Interest on Miles Davis's Bitches Brew and how there is virtually no risk-taking at all in art presently--there's none in the writing world--and what that costs us. I'll talk about the record on Downtown tomorrow, and also that larger idea. It's a good discussion topic, I think.

I pitched two Charlie Parker-related ideas, one of which I've had for a while now, the perfect Charlie Parker story idea for his centennial, while the second idea pertains to a release of his 10-inch LP sides. I'll send a Buster Keaton idea related to the upcoming Criterion release of The Cameraman, which I am the most qualified person to write on with my Keaton-related history and publication record. The first person I'll send it to is an editor at a place I write for, and this guy will just not write me back, in like ten years, twelve. It could even be more. He takes on new people, people far less qualified, people who don't also write for this venue's most popular section, as I do, and it's like, dude, what is your deal? Because it's not the work, it's not the expertise, it's not the track record. You don't like my name? My face? What? That I have kept trying for so long? It has nothing to do with anything on the written word or career fronts. Not even a reply? The usual childish power trip, probably. They so often don't care about the work, the qualifications; they care about who you are to them. What is your "in" with them. I just want to compete, man. Put me and anyone else on the starters' line, fire the gun into the air, and may the best person win.

I pitched this big F. Scott Fitzgerald thing and also something on the new Dylan cut, which he simply had lying around and put out now, because it's good for chatter and good for business. I want to situate the track in the context of Dylan's other long cuts, because I think they have served a similar purpose throughout his career, spaced apart--I mean, it's a long way from "Desolation Row" to "Highlands"--as they are. I don't see anyone else doing that. I see them all playing a game of "spot the reference' and enumerating the allusions the song makes. That's fine. I find it boring. Obviously hackneyed with so many people doing this. True, the allusions are all obvious to me and I would have known all of them at sixteen, but even if that were not the case, I want more meat on my bone, personally, than a kind of listicle.

I heard from Howard. I hadn't heard back from him in five or six weeks and was worried so I asked him if he was okay and I guess he is not going very well though he said there have also been good things. I told him I cared about him and asked if there was anything I could do. I miss good things. I haven't had a good thing in so long. A good moment. About ten years. Times were very difficult then, but I didn't know what I didn't know, in some regards. I was happy getting the house in Rockport. Obviously that is a traumatizing memory now. That memory will go away if I get my house back. Just want to be in my house again. Of course, that will mean many other things that are good have happened, too.

I need to finish this damn Ernest Renan essay for Easter, and finish this update of my short story "That Night" for London Magazine. The back cover with accompanying text for my first novel, Meatheads Say the Realest Things, came back from the publisher and I need to go over that. There a couple key things that have to be on that back cover, points to play up. The book is going to deliver on these points, but I want them to be there on the outside. What covers often do with points is overcompensate and lie, try to shout something into being. For instance, Brock Clarke is a lousy writer, as unfunny as can be. But he's supposed to be funny, according to this system where nothing has to actually be anything, possess any reality, so much as have enough people, and the right people, say it is something it is not. On the back covers of his books, you'll be told half a dozen times that this particular book is so funny. It's not going to be funny at all, as readers realize right away. The back cover tries to will that funniness into being, and it repeats the claim of humor over and over and over again, because you'd never know the book was funny from, you know, actually reading it.

I've had the demo of "Marquee Moon" in my head. Delacroix's Jacob Wrestling with the Angel is my favorite painting because it is the one I identify with the most.


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