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Art-a-Ning

Tuesday 5/4/21

Wrote the rest of the Charlie Christian piece. 1500 words all told. These jazz writings need to come out in a book. A sample:


An urban legend persisted that the unit included Monk and Gillespie—much like the country version that Johnny Cash was a part of the Million Dollar Quartet at Sun—but that’s long been dispelled. But Clarke mans the drum kit (with Joe Guy on trumpet and Kenny Kersey on piano), and Klook was a big Christian backer, going so far as to say that it was the guitarist who wrote “Epistrophy” and “Rhythm-a-Ning,” and not Monk.


Whether Christian did or did not scarcely changes the value of this sublime piece of eavesdropped genius. If you’re not familiar with the tape, what you’ll notice upon an initial listen—what you can’t help but notice—is the tone of Christian’s guitar. It’s a blend of seeming extremes, within a package of maximum flex, fluidity, and fit. There’s a somatic quality to that tone, and an annunciatory one, a Klaxon horn of sustained notes spreading from top to bottom in the listener. But the sheen and viscosity is even more notable, as if honey has been drizzled over the inside of an abalone shell.


Then we have what’s tantamount to a rhythm and blues shaded variant of bop, even as bop itself is just starting. On “Stompin’ at the Savoy,” Christian’s notes are dancing points of light. They snake in a forward surge, but for all of the speed—and it’s formidable—there’s a highly wrought, mathematical design element. Christian blasts off, but he also stays grounded, building his edifice that makes us think we can all but enter into a vestibule of sound, and ride an elevator to the loftiest of penthouses. This is high class jazz, high grade art. This is what we’re here for, when we listen to music, ponder how one person went in directions ostensibly unknown to almost everyone else.


Minton’s was to bop as the Galapagos Islands were to Darwinism; a tucked-away ecosystem with much to teach the world about the ones surrounding it. That makes Christian one rare bird.


But yes, blackball me, right?


Revised--dramatically for me--the short story, "Pillow Drift." I've known someone for twenty-five years who has seen just about everything I've ever written who perhaps alone could understand what I would mean by this idea of "drastic for me," but also not really being drastic at all. I move fast. I change and re-order with purpose and pace. I slash, gut, move, but at the same time, it's always in there, so from the point of view this person would understand, I'm not doing that much. I never look at anything and say, "Oh no, this is lacking in depth and ideas and purpose, what will we do to build it up, can we even build it up?" It's never like that when I have to fix something. I can transform one thing into another like someone wouldn't believe it, but if I showed what I'd done to this one person, it'd make perfect after-the-fact sense to them and be exactly what they'd have expected me to do. I will leave it for now and look at it tomorrow and see where it stands.


Watched some of the Man City game at the cafe. They were playing in the snow. It's a raw day here in Boston. I sent Mother's Day cards to my mom and my sister. I told my sister I was proud of her, which is true.


The whining about Tom Wilson is funny. Keith Olbermann--a brainwashed cultist--called it an assault. Eh. It was fine. Not a big deal. Pretty basic hockey stuff. Hardly worth a mention, let alone a fine. The fine was a sop for people who find offense in ninety-nine percent of what they encounter every day because without that offense they have nothing on which to base their lives.


Good Downtown segment tonight, but we didn't get into what it was like to do these three books at once nearly as much as we should have. There's so much to talk about there. Moving from subject to subject. How Brackets was put together. Truth be told, I'm not sure Kimball knew what Brackets was. A person who did likely wouldn't call it just Brackets in the official capacity. A person who saw it referenced that way here on the blog and only knew that much about it, would. The book is not actually called Brackets. But whatever--I'm going to pound the zone talking about these three books over the rest of this year. It's well and good for me to talk about hockey or whatever, but I should mostly be talking about what I do. Or, if not mostly, doing a lot of it. And my latest book should be plugged each time. That book right now is Meatheads. I have to make a point to stay on these things. There is a universe of stuff to ask me about the art I create, and I can handle all questions. This isn't some guy who has some crappy book once every five years. This is an artist unlike any other in human history. By a lot. By an unmeassurable amount. I am disgusted, to be honest, I'm not making seven figures from the radio alone. I listen to these segments now. I listen to how other people sound, and I am not aware of anyone who doesn't suck at it. And they're paid so much damn money. To know nothing, speak poorly, have no edge, no insight, no humor. I'm so tired of this. I can't put the link in here because that function still isn't working, and I think the new new webmaster has disappeared, which means I'll have to find someone else, if that's the case.


Will return to "Pillow Drift" first thing in the morning. This Green Day performance is sort of referenced in it (they have three CDs with them in the car--Dookie, Bach's Greatest Hits, and Abbey Road), which is one way you can kind of pinpoint when the story takes place. There are other clues. The cell phone thing. And there is a new character towards the end, who prompts us to do some math, given what we learn of her academic history, and what we know--what we can intuit/infer--about the circumstances of her origin, which would turn a human made of iron ore into a puddle of tears. That implication--the crucial middle dot we are left staring at when we connect other dots, from each side, because the story ultimately comes to us from two sides/polarities--will lay anyone out as much as anything in all of my fiction, which is to say any fiction ever written. I don't say it outright, of course, because it is not my story--it belongs to these characters and the readers who will experience them. The third person narrator does not say it outright. That you have the epiphany for yourself and the concomitant sound of "holy fucking shit" that your soul then emits/sends forward is everything.