* There's a huge amount of accounting to be done here. It gets overwhelming, given how much I do. I simply need to be fast about this right now and list out some things or the pile will be too much.
* I completed a 2200 essay on Jack Kerouac and gateway art.
* There should be an op-ed today on my drinking and St. Patrick's Day in the New York Daily News and a piece for the 33 1/3 blog on the relationship between sports and music.
* I wrote an excellent op-ed that will probably not run on Tom Brady and failure.
* On Saturday I started a story and finished it a few days ago. Many hours went into it. 1700 words long. The best I have done to date. It's called "Certain Human Lips."
* I wrote another story yesterday. It needs work. No sense talking about it yet. It'll get there, though.
* I have to fill in the things that have come out and the interviews I have done over the last several weeks. I haven't done that at all. I don't feel like talking about or mentioning any of it, because none of it is going to matter right now so long as publishing bigots like Patrick Ryan of One Story are still in place in this industry that is slowly but steadily falling into nothingness. Ryan is best friends with John Freeman, and you can't have two people on this earth who are much worse as people than this duo. When their likes no longer exist--and the time is coming--they will sit there in their nothingness, their complete irrelevance--a point they're all but officially at now, save in their community of fellow bigoted, broken freaks and cowards--and know that they did it all to themselves. As I wrote earlier Ryan was offered "Desilva," which is infinitely better than any story that One Story has ever published. Each of them are. But they come from me. I am going to torch these people on here. I am going to tell them that that's what is about to happen, and I'll show it to them, too. They will say nothing, because they know it's all true, and they are cowards. I have all of the goods on these people. And I will methodically show the world how they work. I am going to tell you exactly how someone like Halimah Marcus--who is her own deep-vein of evil--got her laughably bad story in One Story. I'll tell you, too, about the intern she had at Electric Literature who she told to publish another one of her awful stories at Indiana Review, when that intern also became the fiction editor there. They are caught. Busted, as they say. And there's not a damn thing they can do to retaliate against me, because they've already done all they can with their banning and their gossip and their lies and their envy. Weak little dust mites sans souls, sans brains, sans character, sans the thinnest strip of decency or vision or conception of equity. There's never been anyone more diseased--in the non-physical sense; the sense that matters the most--than these people. I can say anything now, because it's all true, I can back up every last word, the quality of my work and mind and track record all speaks for itself and is undeniable, I have the proof, and anything they can do they've already been doing for years and years and years, in their sinecure corners, their holes, because I am in every manner possible their superior--as a writer, an artist, a thinker, a person--and they know it.
* In all honesty, I have no actual desire to see the likes of a "Fitty," a "Desilva," a "Dead Thomas" in a One Story as that's no "achievement" at this point or indication of progress in my quest. It wouldn't be a "hooray" thing. They pay $500. So it's just that. Money. Not much, but some. These stories--all of them--are too good for literary journals. No one reads these journals. These stories are too good not to be read by millions of people. I was talking to someone last night, about the 500 stories I have available right now. 500 masterpieces. And if all of a sudden I wasn't hated by these people, and could pick and choose where I wanted each story to run, that wouldn't be so great. Yes, I'd have them off my hands, but who would read them? So what if "Upon Becoming a Ghost" was in Kenyon Review. Is that good? For the seventeen readers? Who are only people in this freakish system? It's "good" for anyone who is not me, because the work isn't special. And they just want to say they were in that thing. And brag to a colleague who wasn't. And it helps their academic career, or their standing at their meaningless MFA program, or with some agent who wouldn't know a work of quality writing from the latest carbuncle on his widening ass. For everyone else writing, the point is just to do whatever in this community of broken freaks. That's not why I am here. I am here to get to the world. That's the endgame and the start game. The world. I don't know what the means is going to be, I don't know what the vessel will ultimately be, which is what unites these works with the world. Maybe all of the magazines have to go away first. Maybe I have to get where I am going to get, and then I create the platform for how those works are accessed. I don't know. I keep making them. I know that I should. Keep creating the best art there has ever been. Have faith in the bigger outcome. I still send some things where I send them. But a lot of that is so that later, I can say, and the world can see, that this asshole, this bigot, this absolute fraud, was offered a, b, c, d, e, etc., and explain yourself, bigot. And all they will be able to say is nothing, or "you got me, I am a huge bigot, and I am irrelevant save in that this is all anyone might know me for now."
* Someone read the new Beatles piece that recently came out, an essay on Joyce's Ulysses, and two short stories--"Ready to Go" and "Daughter Bear"--and then yelled into the phone for fifteen minutes about how what publishing is doing to me is a cry against humanity, that this is the best art, they are overwhelmed by each of these works, and I sort of sit there and try and be comforting. I can feel their pain and anger.
* "Ready to Go" is a technically perfect work of art. What does that mean? First off, it doesn't mean something else--the other story I just mentioned, for instance--is not. But it still means something. It has to do with the shape. "Ready to Go" is about a woman who dressed for her day, her cherished routine, and she doesn't turn up somewhere, and is found dead on her kitchen floor, clearly as she was just about to leave her house. And it becomes this hugely involving story about her life. It's ultimately a happy story, I'd say. Though there is tragedy in it. And the person on the phone was saying that every human being should have to read this, it should be some law of the world. And it's not that long, word count-wise, but as is typical with someone who reads my work during one of these exchanges, they went on about the emotional length, and how it's almost like it's so huge, in impact, that it's like a full day's worth of reading.
* That's what Longer on the Inside is, though.
* The story I would say that everyone has to have in their home is "There Is No Young and There Is No Old." More than anything I can think of, or as much as anything I've written, that's a story that every person needs to read. You know how people say that about like a given Dr. Seuss thing? Oh, the Places You'll Go! for example. Well, this is better, and it's for people of all ages. It will change your life. And always stay with you. And again, it sits here with me, like almost all of it, because of these people. This is not criminal, but it is a crime against humanity. That person was correct. It's hurting the world. It's certainly not helping it. And this work--these works--would.
* Bigotry is bad enough, but it is very difficult when you are completely tethered to people who are incompetent. When you try to do business with them, you're subjected to all of their shortcomings. If you had a rocket that could go to Pluto, and they were in the business of having rockets go far, but they were incompetent, your rocket doesn't get a chance to get any higher off the ground than a frog might hop. And that's just how it is. You don't take these people seriously, you don't put any stock in a verdict as such, they're just people you have to get around, and who induce headaches. They are incompetent gnats, but they impact you.
* Got a huge thing of Advil at CVS.
* Last Thursday I ran 2000 stairs, then 3000 on Friday, which brought me to a week-best 40,000 stairs. Then I ran 3000 Saturday, and 5000 Sunday. Nothing Monday. On Tuesday I walked fifteen miles. Yesterday I walked nine miles and ran 3000 stairs. And there was that situation in the morning. I have not yet heard from the woman. I hope she did make it to detox. I hope she is still there.
* I am doing what I need to do on one of the two Beatles books and it will be done within the next few days.
* My father would have turned seventy-five on Saturday.
* Sunday marked 2079 days, or 297 weeks, without a drink.
* I walked three miles on Saturday to the Bunker Hill Monument, to see if it was finally open again. It's not. A truism of life: people often get sick because they like to be sick. They help bring it in and on. They fetishize it, because our current world loves weakness. And with weakness comes attention. Not getting sick has something to do with an attitude. So does getting better. I'm not saying all of it, or most of it. But can we stop with the babying? I am starting to think that the Monument may never reopen.
* $7 at Haymarket will get you: two batches of bananas, a package of strawberries, eight bell peppers, two packages of celery.
* This is a sentence from the new story: "The friend finally looks up from the phone on the ancient chest which the roommates had joked belonged to a sea captain prone to declaiming violent oaths packed thick with the word 'motherfucker,' and not a great uncle named Mortimer who died shortly after his wife of forty-five years expired, and possibly by his own hand, out of his own need, and of whose familial legend and legacy only the trunk remains, which belongs to these girls, for now."
* It's funny when I say "new story."
* This story was originally called "The Pilgrim's Road." It's the ultimate feminist story. Don't be scared/put off if that sounds like a label for something about which you'd not care. You think, "Oh no, preachy buzzword Woke garbage." It's not that. I'm saying that these people of the industry could look at it that way, as the ultimate feminist story, and that must burn their collective asses knowing that this guy does that. But if the right person wrote it--the right female writer, who was worshiped by the publishing system--and it went into The New Yorker, it would be discussed by everyone, assigned in every class, and would be a viral hit and work of endless conversation and debate. A limpid work that nonetheless produces argument and compels people to take a side, a stance, and be in opposition to each other with their views about the story. With me, it's just going to sit here for a while, until its time comes to impact the world.
* I came up with other stories over the weekend.
* With Tom Brady's return, talk, of course, turns to Colin Kaepernick. I would love for the latter to return to the NFL, but I have a more sincere desire to play in the league than he does, and I don't have one at all, even if you were a Genie who just popped out of a lamp and offered me whatever. He wants no part of it, in reality. There is no bigger con man in the history of the Republic. But I'd love to see him try and play in the league, because he would be annihilated and humiliated. The less someone knows about sports, on social media, the more likely I've found they're apt to talk about it. That can include the woman in Cambridge who is a social justice warrior and would think you were skinning livestock if you said the term "pigskin," and the talking head ESPN "pundit." Also, the beer sotted ex-frat boy, the guy who gets betting tips from Dave Portnoy, Dave Portnoy himself, anyone at Barstool, that ridiculous guy at The Nation who writes probably the worst sports pieces I've ever seen, and on and on.
* Truthfully, I don't think anyone knows much of anything about anything. Everyone just wants to talk. In order for that to be possible, a culture must be fashioned--brought about, devolved into--in which ignorance rules and is the mental coin of the realm, and the conversational coin, and really the aspirational coin. With that ignorance, comes what people think of as freedoms. Expertise--or just knowledge--is seen as the enemy of these freedoms.
* I know someone who knows some things about Melville, and someone else who knows some things about the Beatles, but that's really it. If you know me for any amount of time at all, it's going to because you're smarter than just about everyone else, otherwise it just won't work, and I'm out. It's going to be hard enough for me anyway. And I'm not trying to run anyone down, but that's it, so far as all of the people I've ever known.
* What this world needs more than anything is a person of greatness, a leader, a model, a giver, and what this world hates and shuns the most is a person of greatness. What do you do? The question of each day here. It is the question that is the root of everything that is happening here, from all sides and corners, with all manner of people, both good and bad, decent and evil, so-called friend/family and foe.
* I have been asked to make my piece on the 1986 film Round Midnight longer for JazzTimes.
* I listened to all of Billie Holiday's Commodore recordings. I am getting quite close to doing that proposal that a publisher is waiting on, for my Billie Holiday book. I think it should be a good fit, but I do have to get him what he needs.
* There is urine in sweat. Isn't that interesting? One might find that after a hard workout, one no longer has to micturate. That's when you know you are going at it hard. Gross? Eh. I don't know. It's fine to me. Grosser not to be going at it hard, I say.
* Came up with a nice Easter idea for a jazz piece, but I shouldn't pitch it before I finally file this Jelly Roll Morton feature with JazzTimes. I've let that linger too long. I will be writing a feature for them on Miles Davis's On the Corner, and that big Thelonious Monk piece I had mentioned as well about his first Blue Note sessions.
* Baseball is back. I have seen where many people say that Mike Trout is going to be the first player with 200 WAR. That is not going to happen. I think it's quite likely he doesn't get to 100.
* Thought about going to Matthews Arena on Saturday night to see the Boston College/Northeastern Hockey East tournament tilt, but didn't, and fell asleep with BC down 2-0. They trailed 3-0 before mounting something of a comeback--which surprised me--and then bowing out 3-2, season over.
* Got to watch a couple mid-day BC basketball games last week in the ACC tournament. They played hard, but that doesn't mean they did as well as they should have, despite upsetting Wake Forest and nearly knocking off Miami. They had two chances to win that Miami game, the second being what should have been the last possession of OT. If BC made their free throws, they wouldn't have gone to OT, but so it goes. They had this kid who dribbled the hell out of the ball--that mad, over-excited, frantic kind of dribbling--and would drive into the paint, either falling over, dribbling the ball off of himself, or, as he did that last possession, putting up a garbage shot. You could tell it was going to happen every time. But he kept doing it. BC didn't get back in transition--they sold out for the offensive rebound, because they thought this could be their moment--and Miami got an easy, uncontested lay-up as the buzzer expired. What does it mean to have made some noise in March? Well, it won't mean anything if the program doesn't build on it. BC basketball hasn't been good in a while, despite putting some players--more than you'd think--in the NBA, including some high-ish draft picks. Now, those guys aren't really doing anything, or aren't currently on NBA rosters, so that tells you something, but still.
* When you look at guys who were awesome scorers in hockey at the DI level, and then how little they produce in the NHL, you get another indication of just how hard it is to be successful in that league. The level of talent and commitment it takes. I'll tell you a player I love: Cale Makar. What a delight of a hockey player. He should win the Norris this year. Or I'd give it to him. I wish Charlie McAvoy was the hockey player that Cale Makar is. It's not close.
* My life is many forms of a quest, and one of them is to get out of this building. To get my house back in Rockport, of course, and one on the Cape, and to retain this apartment, but as a Boston office/stop-over spot, not a regular residence. The building is now overrun with bro types. One now finds beer bottles in the hallway on Saturday and Sunday morning. Bud Lites. Half full. On window sills.
* Was watching the 1971 Muhammad Ali/Joe Frazier fight--the so-called Fight of the Century--over the weekend. That's some beautiful fighting. Joe Frazier is my favorite boxer, in part because he was relentless. He is ducking and weaving the whole time. He never tires. They go for fifteen rounds, and he has the same energy at the end. He doesn't stop what he had started out doing. Pugilistic poetry. And that Frazier left hook.
* I'm supposed to give a video talk on the Sam Cooke book, and they want me to do a practice one. I really want to get out of that. Let's test the set-up--which is all I'm concerned about, because I've never used Zoom, or whatever the thing is--but all I'm going to do is talk for an hour anyway, and I don't need to rehearse that. I don't know what I'm going to say. And then if I say something, I have to say it again? I don't like to say things again. I don't want to be a pain for anyone, but really, we just need to make sure what is going to come through will do so nice and clear on the technology end.
* Things I talked about on the radio this week: Dylan's Supper Club shows from 1993, episodes of Quiet, Please and X Minus One, a tape of Johnny Most calling his first Celtics game with Larry Bird in the line-up, and the nineteenth century baseball player, Chicken Wolf, whose real name was William Van Winkle Wolf, which may be better yet. Topics I will discuss next week: my story "Desilva," which no one in publishing will let the world see, never mind that the world would love it; Jamie T's "Alicia Quays," on its fifteenth anniversary, a song I consider the best written this century; Jimmie Foxx's strange, eleventh hour attempt to become a pitcher; and an unreleased session tape of the Beatles doing overdubs on "Think for Yourself," which is rather amusing.
* Described "Desilva" to someone else over the phone, without giving too much away, but it sounds like the most exciting story ever. As I talk about what it's about out loud, I become excited. I know exactly how special it is. But anyone would who you described it to. And the emotional pay-off, with this story within the story, which is happening the entire time the story about the dog stranded on the ice is happening.
* We talked about the James Joyce piece as well. The thing with the Joyce piece is that uptight, humorless, lifeless publishing people would think it's not sufficiently intellectual enough, because anyone can read the piece and love it. That's part of the point of the piece; to be inclusionary, and also to say that Joyce is as well, and we need not build up books into these tomes that belong only to a certain kind of person with a certain number of degrees. The piece is wise and smart and funny, and the thing is, you have to have an exceedingly high level of understanding of the text in order to be able to talk about it--as applied knowledge, and conversationally--as it is discussed in the piece. You have to know Ulysses better--much more so--than the academic fraud who writes the jargon-replete paper that means nothing, either to anyone or in terms of reality. They're simply ass-spouting and obfuscating. They don't know the book as a living, breathing work of deathless art. They don't know anything that way. Anything in their entire existence as alive and breathing. It's like Bradford Morrow at Conjunctions. What he liked to do was "accidentally" send me emails meant for other people in which he trashed me. That's the level of adult-child--at seventy--that you're dealing with with these people. And one of those mis-sent emails said, "He's so immature he makes me want to sneeze." This was because I was busy, and hadn't seen a couple emails. These people blow me off for twenty years, but it's time to rip me if I miss something for a couple months, a fortnight, a day. But you have to understand that the sneeze thing is the idea of a joke or a turn of cleverness to these people. Of humor. They pretend that that's witty. You'd never think it is, because it's obviously not funny at all, but again, that's what you're dealing with. Anything actually funny becomes juvenile to them, because they don't have that ability themselves to ingratiate and compel, no matter the rarefied intellectual scaffolding with which it is built. If it could appeal to a "regular" person--while being smarter than anything out there, too--it's bad to them, against their code and the code of their subculture. If Swift was alive now, they'd think he was immature and beneath them, though they'd also hate him and know better at the same time--which would make them hate him more--because he was so much smarter than they are. But because Swift is talked about a certain way in academia, and is long dead, and not in their inbox, not a writer and thinker against whom they measure themselves, they fall in line and do the same, because there is nothing real about these people.
* I was able to unload the Joyce essay, as it were.
* Daylight Saving Time is lost completely on me. I don't get it, I don't know what it's for, what the ostensible benefit is. I just know that on a day like this past Monday, when I arise at 5:30, I am getting up one hour later than when I should be getting up, but at the same time I did get up when I was supposed to get up. The entire idea of changing the time because one wishes to horrifies me, too. It's like when people are watching a game and they start doing that fast forward thing, or they go back in time, and the game is happening at a slightly different time and they catch up to the game. It freaks me out.
* Also over the weekend: came up with an idea for a new essay collection. It will contain pieces that reveal art in life, and life in art. I also gave thought to collecting some of my literature pieces in one volume. I have titles for these. I will keep them clear of these pages for now.
* Someone phoned me the other day and said, "I'm up and about." I said, "It's 7 in the morning." Anyway, this was an achievement for them, or progress in a particular direction, and so they were informing me. It was 7. The Dunkin' Donuts in Gloucester opens at like 4. And that's not because no one is up. It's because that's when a day can start. Work can start. Finding fresh meaning and growth can start. Get up.
* People I am more likely to trust and think well of: people who get up early, like hockey, like the ocean, don't mind rain, don't mind the cold. In my experience, these are, as a trend, the better people. Smarter, more perceptive, more grounded. Typically kinder.
* My toe was hurting me badly last night. Throbbing pain. Kept waking me up. I don't know what happened. I have been going rather hard at it, but that should not matter to a Zulu warrior. I got up and took some of the Advil. Three tablets, no less.
* Watched the first season of the original version of All Creatures Great and Small, and am deep into the second. Why I have come to this so late, I do not know. It's unlike me. I have never enjoyed a show more. Salve for the soul.
* Sent out a fine proposal yesterday--and a long one, too--for a piece on Buster Keaton's short film, Cops, which turns 100 this year. Keaton was a different artist in his shorts than with his features; there were different things he'd try, but only within the realm of those shorts. They have a Kafkan quality, for instance. A different magic to them. Also pitched a different Buster Keaton idea, and two others pertaining to Dylan and Cormac McCarthy.
* Saw an article last night estimating that on a single day this year, 1% of the entire publishing industry quit. Good. Progress. What I have known is becoming more visible, more official. These people and their system have killed off reading. You kill off reading, you help kill off thinking, independent thinking, critical thinking, empathy. You tear apart society, culture. The fabric of humanity. You get what we have now. You get wars, too. Violence and inhumanity. Depression, disconnection. The people of publishing have been destroying this world. The system needs to come down. There needs to be something better.
* Albums listened to in recent days: the Stones' Got Live If You Want It!, Echo and the Bunnymen's Peel sessions, their Ocean Rain, Eddie Cochran's Singin' to My Baby, Mozart: Overtures (Sir Neville Marriner and Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields), Cream's Goodbye, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels' Sock It to Me, the first volume of Bob Wills and the the Texas Playboys' Tiffany Transcriptions, Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti, Gene Vincent's Blue Jean Bop, Joy Division's University of London.
* So, that's the last few days. Go for it. Take that person on. Take that mind on. Think you're smarter? Think you write better? Think you have more character? Think you're a better person?
* There is nothing anyone can do about the reality that is this journal/record. There is no equivocating over what the person behind it is.
* Feeling fit.