Got a late start today, because I was up late--quite late--talking on the phone to someone whose father is in the ICU. This person's mother died last year, and their father, who has had a complicated family life, has lost his will to live, and will not fight, and just wants to die. People tend to call me when they don't know what to do or where to turn. I don't want to say I'm a last resort, but I am something of a last resort emotionally to people, I think. I listen, I ask questions, I try to help them separate their emotions from the facts of what is happening, and the truth of what is happening, so that they can clearly see the situation. Or better see it. I offer advice without it really seeming like I'm offering advice, because it does no good to tell someone what they "should" or "must" do--not in the hardest situations--even if you are correct, strictly speaking, when it's better for people to work together to see what should or must be done. And at the end, I will make someone laugh or smile before we are done, because it is also better to go back out into the world and into a hard situation knowing that you can still laugh and smile. It's just a way that the body reminds the soul of what the latter also has in it. It's still there. It hasn't gone away.
Here is a note that someone sent me last night, which I awoke to today. This is becoming more and more the norm:
I sit here awake, unable to sleep, thinking of you. They have circled up the troops, the drawbridges are drawn and the (supposed) guardians of the "current state of publishing" are mounted on their chargers with pikemen and grenadiers in support.
Yet, due to your genius, your will, and your grace, you are already inside the walls and both behind them and before. Keep at it. The truth will out--well, it already has.
This person knows what is going on from this journal, and has some additional specific information. I had mentioned Harper's reached out to my ex-wife. That is grounds for dismissal. The people having to do with this are Katie Ryder, Matthew Sherrill, and Chris Beha. I'm putting together the next David Remnick entries on here. I will show his verbal abuse, and also what happened after he verbally abused me, which was not what he wanted to happen. Also how he stole from me. I'll share conversations he's had about me with other people. Some of it is about the Beatles. It's quite interesting. I will reveal how The New Yorker's fiction department works, and the sexism and racism that is rampant there. We will get into Michael Agger, David Haglund. I will redefine what it means to be thorough and will go through what has gone done at The New Yorker systematically, and surgically.
I repeat: I will stop when I have justice. That means, again, that I, and my work, are treated as both deserve to be treated. There's nothing on the level of this work. There's nothing close to it. And I--to the horror of these people--have proved that. I prove it with each piece, each paragraph, each story. I prove every day exactly what I am. That's not a kind of good writer, or a productive person. No. It's something far, far, far beyond any of that.
We will also soon have an entry on John Freeman, who encapsulates the very worst of everything in publishing. A man so warped in his bigotry that he wrote to me saying that if I wrote the best work ever, he would not publish it, because he had his friends to take care of. A disturbed, sad, broken, talentless, little man. And also a thief, who stole several hundred dollars from me. He works now at Grove/Atlantic--notice how Grove/Atlantic keeps coming up?--and does book deals with his agent wife, who represents our old friend Junot Diaz. We'll get to American Short Fiction, Ladette Randolph at Ploughshares, who is as absolutely filthy as anyone, Sarah Gorham of Sarabande, Patrick Ryan of One Story, who works in cahoots with Freeman, and on and on. It is so simple to get this to stop. You just have to surcease the evil, and treat the best work fairly. What a concept.
The strategy of these people is to freak out over what is happening, rip me some more to each other, and hope/pray/desperately wish the problem goes away. That, having done what I've done here, that's it; it fizzles out. That's not what is happening. These people are being laughed at by a lot of other people. And I am just getting started. Do I seem to you like a guy who stops or gives up? I'm up earlier than you, I'm up later than you, I write 10,000 words a day, work is always coming out, and I never stop.
People are horrified, people are seeing how this works for the first time, and how diseased this industry is. The traffic for this site, already high, is soaring, and keeps going up and up every day. Now other people are learning about my abilities, and my track record, and my story. What I do every damn day. And it is not defensible what has been happening. In sum, it's not going away, and for some people, this is going to be all they are ever known for. You know who hates me here? Only the people in publishing. The third party people, they know what I am. They know how twisted this is. And they're emotionally invested. And they're angry. There isn't a single third party person who thinks, "Hmmm, well, it could go either way" or "Fleming is the bad guy." No one thinks that. No one is going to. Because it's so obvious and undeniable how sick this all is.
The only people who will strain to think otherwise are the people doing it, but they know--they know better than anyone, ironically. But it's like I said: when the serial murderer is busted, it's not like the serial murderer has warm feelings for the person who put an end to it. I am still giving these people a chance to knock it off and start fresh. Do you think it means anything to ban me from your venue? It was already done, though not officially stated, at the likes of Harper's or a New Yorker, which was worse, because I was helping them, in a way, to play along. To protract the discrimination. But you know what? Careers change. People leave. People are fired. Houses are cleaned. Reputations are destroyed. An industry comes down. And certain artists and people are just going to be much bigger than crap like "fie, I will never let you in because I have this job and I can do that." But can you really, though, in the big picture? "Right this very second" is such a blip in time for such an artist. It means nothing in the grand scheme of things, and it doesn't even mean anything with any given venue in that grand scheme of things. Leverage changes. Public reaction and outcry changes. I am something there has not been before. Right now, this is merely about doing what I need to do. That's all it's going to mean in the end. For me. What that means for others--for these people--is up to them, to a point.
Time to run some stairs in the rain and the cold. Everything is about being strong enough for the fight.