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Friday 9/11/20

Copy and pasting more of these journal entries into the single stand-alone document. I have scarcely made a dent--about two months' worth of the earliest entries. One eye, even in copying and pasting, cannot help but fall on certain lines and sections. What stands out to me--and you tend to see/read as an impartial viewer, a third party, almost--is the staggering range of the writing. I know it it is like that when I do it, but it does not feel like that to me when I do it. Seeing the entries in one place, even just several of them, is to be overwhelmed with the fecundity, the protean nature. Then there is the volume. There was one point where I had only written three entries in three weeks, which has to be lowest rate of production in these two-plus years. I see other writers--again, I hate sharing the term, and in many I categorically reject a yoking with the same term--who don't write books, who don't write stories, who don't write pieces, who have a blog, which is all they pretty much write, and it will take them seven months at their most productive to put up three short, perfunctory, meaningless entries. But mine was never a "blog." It was intended as a serious work of literature, and that's certainly what it is.


A woman wrote me today having read my lone dating profile to say that I should write a book because she guaranteed it'd be a bestseller. I get a lot of notes like that. Someone else read the profile and opined that I should give a TED Talk on internet dating. Obviously I don't say what I do in this profile. There are enough crazy people out there. I don't like when people crowd me or get obsessed or creep out of nowhere after a while. I did meet a smart, well-read, hot twenty-three-year-old into Goya. I don't know how that will go. I dispensed with expectations some time back. Now I'll just see for myself. And usually, it's a matter of, okay, I have seen enough, moving on. But it only takes one. I do not want problems. I have enough problems. Any problem or potential problem within my control to remove, I will remove. Spoke to another woman who lectured me on the meaning of words. Actually telling me what certain words meant. Which of course I appreciated and loved. I always need someone to let me know what various words mean. That's just super. And when they said they were sorry if they offended me, I said, nope, it's fine, just words are my business--bit of an understatement there--and so they carried on and told me some more. I always then say the same thing. I give a "Great, good luck," and I am off. Always the same: "Great, good luck." It's my policy. You get no ammo, you get nothing. Great. Good. Luck. I have probably said it 5900 times if I have said it once, and believe me, I have said it once.


Today I wrote a story called "A Seaworthy Native," which takes the form of a comments section on YouTube, for a video of "Stairway to Heaven." So you have these different voices and handles, and this one person, who is actually dying, telling a kind of story. Again, there is just nothing like it. The man is terminal and he's listening to this song and he doesn't know how many times he'll hear it again, but he's fairly certain when he'll know it's the last time. What he does prior to that time is stop the track before Plant sings that famous couplet at the end. He was in Vietnam and he tells the story of why he went away and when he went away, and what he learned in war about how you live your life if you're actually going to live a life. What he came back to and was able to find, and what he subsequently lost. His wife was really into anagrams, and so what he does near the end of the track is think of her and an anagram she could make, because he's sort of saving the date, as it were, for when he'll listen all the way through. Some people are giving this guy shit in really awful ways--"ur dying lol"--but a couple people, and one in particular, are really listening to him. His wife could see the words Stairway to Heaven and without any time at all she could turn them into an anagram like "a seaworthy native." The story is just fucking brilliant, really. These three stories this week--this one, "Apples in Oranges," "Even the Eels"--are all just insanely good, and that's fresh off finishing the final version of "Fitty" and right after composing "Green Glass Door" and "Rehearsal Visit." This is a masterpiece factory at this point. And has been for a long time now. But when is it going to fucking matter?


A naturally sad day, September 11. I recall in the time after, police and of course firemen were treated as heroes. I don't know that doing your job makes you a hero. I think special situations and instances and doing what few, if any, people would do in those situations and instances are what make a hero. There can be overlap. You think about how things change. Like here in Boston, after the bombings in 2013. You'd see T buses going around which had messages in their electric lights thanking police. That was the consensus in the area. Nothing has changed. Cops now are probably as cops were then. People are not wiser now than previously. If anything, the opposite is true. We are devolving. But those same police are bastards now, in the nomenclature of our time. It speaks to how easily influenced we are. And what, more than anything, is en vogue. Isn't that sad? Isn't it scary? Flip, flop, flip, flop. Fashion over reality. Someone was talking to me the other day about a guy being shot in the back seven times. And our conversation turned to how that man had allegedly raped a woman that morning. This is someone previously convicted of violent sexual crimes. Rape somebody. That is just mind-blowing to me. Then you steal that person's car. You then attempt to abduct their children. But you're not done. You attempt to get a knife and attack the police. You then get shot seven times in the back.


I read comments where people said, "well, just shoot him in the calf," which shows how little people know about firearms, accuracy, the moment. That's the stuff of movies. Anyone trained in firearms knows you shoot for real, and you shoot center mass, because you have to, or you put your life in danger, and the lives of others. If it has come to that. When you are go for a weapon and there are children present, I think it has come to that. A man near children who has this record who is in that very moment reaching for God knows what to do God knows what? Maybe shoot some kids? Stick a knife in a kid's throat? But you are evil if you think this through at all now. You are evil by dint of thinking and being oriented around right and wrong. You are evil because you don't just say things without thinking or morally vetting them. Because you don't automatically go along for gratuitous Woke points that are in no way exemplars of your moral character and whose ostentation and self-serving nature often speak to the antithesis.


The person talking to me about this has daughters, and he was saying that his wife is a big supporter of Harris, a woman who complimented this man, treated him like a hero. He also violated an order and appeared where he was not allowed to appear. Where he sexually assaulted his ex. Put his fingers inside of her, without consent, to "check" if she'd been with another man. Then went about the rest of his crime spree. What should have happened? Rape. I mean, Jesus Christ. Says a lot about #MeToo, which it was also possible, of course, to know all along. What's that line in Renoir's The Rules of the Game? "The problem with life is that everyone wants something." But I really don't understand how a woman praises a rapist. I really do not. Or how anyone does. I wonder how it comes to pass. Is someone like Harris just completely ignorant, hasn't been debriefed, over these easily accessible details? Is that possible? Or do they know them and then make a political decision, right or wrong be damned? I suppose that is more probable, but perhaps more depressing. Actually, given what I've come to learn about how pervasive total ignorance is--as a writer who publishes often, on the kind of things I publish on, you realize that very few people know anything--it really could go either way. (What I mean, in part, by the not knowing anything bit is that the simple thing you knew when you were twelve, just the most basic fact, that you wouldn't think was worth repeating, because everyone knew it, is the type of thing you can actually say and blow minds, because it turned out that hardly anyone knew it. We are now in a world where if you've so much as heard of a famous writer or musician, you're ahead of most people. They'll be floored that you know the person, let alone that you know anything about them. It's almost like there's nothing so obvious that if you say it it won't blow minds if you know anything at all. This knowledge has changed how I write, of course, factored into how I think of audience.)


I do often wonder how the victims feel when these men are sociologically canonized. What they think and feel when they see murals or what not. Is anyone thinking of them?


Great film, by the way, The Rules of the Game. One should watch it. One of those works of art that can change you.



* Something that occurred to me--I remember when the Strokes' debut Is This It came out in the States shortly after 9/11, and they had to pull the final song, "New York City Cops," because, at the time, cops were good, cops were heroes. I've always considered the English version of the LP the proper version. But imagine that, right? You can't have this song on your record that says cops are not very smart (which is all it was), but now, if you don't hate cops and think they're all murdering racists--or would like to be--you're a bad person.