As I headed out at five this AM, I asked myself a question I often ask myself on these days when it would be so much easier to die: "How much do you want to beat these fucking people?" The answer is more than can be quantified within the breast of a mortal. Then I remind myself: "Every story. Every book. Every new work of art. Every piece. Every radio interview. Every journal entry. Every motherfucking step you take to stay strong, every motherfucking stair you're going to run after you walk ten more fucking miles is what goes towards beating these fucking bigots. And you will fucking beat them. Now stop fucking whining, and get the fuck after it."
I walked ten miles, ran 2600 stairs out at Boston College, and then returned back to the North End and ran three miles for good measure.
An editor is dealing with a sibling who is in trouble. I reached out to this woman and offered my phone number. Shared an experience of mine with a sibling. It's funny--I am supposed to be this demon in the industry, but this is typical, and I am always kind. It is after years and years of discrimination, that can also be proven, that I finally do something. But you'd like to be hated for bad things, not hated for attributes.
I sent one of the new stories to someone. I don't often write up a little description, but I did this time, and it's something I should do more of, not that it matters with most of them at present.
"It's about a woman in her late thirties who works as a logger in Oregon. She receives a kind of summons to travel across the country to Martha's Vineyard, where she had her one and only nanny gig when she was twenty-four or so. It was in the employ of a rich woman who was going through a divorce, and seeing this guy--you get the sense he's kind of this playboy wooer of the wealthy--who bred horses. The woman had a daughter, who is overlooked, craving attention, confused, and a tragedy ensues on a day out on the water. We see this woman who lost her kid as she spends her final moments in that house. She wants to know everything she can about that last summer that our protagonist spent with her kid while she was off doing her thing. And we think that's what the story is going to be about. But it's not. Or it's not what it's most about. What it's most about is how the events of that summer impacted the woman who is telling this story, and impacted her in ways--in her life choices--that she didn't know about or understand, until this moment--which is when we, the readers, also come to understand. It's really good. Called 'The Stopping.'"
You don't want to read that? That doesn't sound pretty damn great? Bollocks. Of course it does. And then you actually get into the story, the language, the details, the action, and it will lay you out. (The account of the ex-nanny's journey West after the tragedy is pure tour-de-fucking-force.) It's a technically perfect story in design and execution. The power I felt when composing it. That's what it is. It's just this power ripping through you. I should start putting email addresses up here for people to petition these people who insist on keeping me out because of my name. "Hey, Deborah Treisman at The New Yorker, hey Ann Hulbert at The Atlantic, seems like you should check out that dude's story. You see the shit this guy writes?" Awesome begging for a response. You beg, which is beneath you, especially as you have the masterpiece, but it gets worse because each time the begging letter is ignored, you have to try to find a new way to beg next time. And then in someone goes, because they fit the profile, they have the right agent, and they have the short story version of a tote bag. And sometimes you're just left with doing what you have to do on this blog.
A revolution is waiting to happen. It simply needs to start.
Listened to the Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo and the Dead's Workingman's Dead. What bands. I can't get over how good the Dead are. It hit me this spring. Just hit me. I look forward to cranking Workingman's Dead in Rockport on a late spring morning with the windows open and all of those amazing smells--the flowers, the sea, the cut grass--coming in.
I love that old weird America music. Like Dylan did and Elvis did. People like to say that Elvis stole from Black musicians, which is bullshit. What Elvis did was marry that old, weird Americana with Modernism. Do you know how radical that is? That's what the Sun sessions were. The Dead get this kind of music. Woody Guthrie. Harry Smith.
Bruins can eliminate the Capitals tonight. A bounce here, a bounce there, this could be a different series, but I am nonetheless surprised the B's are up 3-1. The Capitals will play, I'm expecting, the most physical game tonight that any team has played in the league this year. It's one of those "keep your head up, son," games.
Felt strong working out this weekend and I hope the vaccine I get tomorrow does not louse me up. Twenty-nine miles all told on foot, 5400 stairs ran. Stairs are funny because everyone thinks they can do them. I was talking to a buddy the other day and he's like, "I think I could probably only run up the Monument once." He meant the Bunker Hill Monument. It's 294 stairs to the top. He meant without stopping. Which was pretty hilarious. Good luck with that. I'd see people with this plan in mind when they went in, and most of them stop, winded, by stair twenty-five. Today there was someone who showed up to run the BC stairs. They made it halfway up, twice, and then left. You see that look on the face of, "Fuck this, not worth it." Stairs are hard. They are relentless. To run them you must be relentless. After three runs to the top, the sweat is absolutely pouring off of me. Dripping right off my head onto the stairs. I make sure to try not to stomp on the ants on the stairs as I run. I rode the BC bus today to Reservoir. So, shades of 1998. There were some unguarded boxes of water on campus, so I burgled the shit out of those. (I choose to think of this as an A.J. Raffles thing. A joke no one will get. Look it up.) The C-Dawg required hydration. Eh. BC fucked me pretty good when I was there. Which was why I stopped going to class and started writing professionally as an undergrad. And read what I needed to read, learned what I needed to learn, rather than listening to people who gave up a long time ago talk out of their asses about things they had no knowledge of or shill for their little cronies. Ironic that those Carney Stairs serve as my gym of sorts with the Monument closed for now.
Came up with a fine idea for a piece on Lester "Lazarus" Young. By which I mean, he had this unexpected late career renaissance sixty-five years ago. Late life renaissance, too, as it turned out, sadly. But not a lot was expected of him at the time, and he went to this club in D.C., and, well, he lit it the fuck up.
"Ripple" is the Dead's "Hey Jude." Good Christ that is a beautiful song. Only played live eleven times.
Saw that Spencer Knight might get the start tomorrow for the Panthers. Looks like he will. Good for him. Seemingly has shaken off that remarkable loss he had earlier this spring in the Hockey East tournament that I wrote about on here. The Panthers are not beating the Lightning. Crazy that Kucherov doesn't play the entire regular season, then shows up for the playoffs and is one of the two best offensive players in the world. And right now he's doing a lot more than McDavid.
I saw an old man today in an arbor. He was walking with his cane upside down over his arm. At first I thought he had a sickle. But he simply did not want to use the cane. I came up and passed him from behind, and as I did so, he gave me a hearty, "Good morning, son." I liked this man.
Just listened to the Dead's American Beauty. "Attics of My Life" is structured like a Christmas carol.
The Vaccines have a new single, "Headphones Baby." These are smart people.
Recently noticed that my middle finger on my left hand has finally healed after whatever the hell I did to it that time I fell on the BC stairs. I have this deep crease in my forehead. It used to mostly just be there when I held my face a certain way, which is how I normally hold my face. In this kind of "up" position. But the groove is there all the time now. I have decided to think it's distinguished.
Thelma Ritter and Gloria Grahame improve everything they are in.
This journal has certain cousins: Thoreau's journals. Pepys' diaries. Delacroix's journals. Montaigne's essays. Keats' letters. Also among them is W.N.P. Barbellion's Diary of a Disappointed Man. Barbellion was really Bruce Frederick Cummings. He wanted to be a naturalist and began his journal at thirteen. (And wrote far better at thirteen than anyone does at an age now.) He wanted to enlist for the Great War, and consulted his doctor, who gave him a sealed letter to present to the medical recruitment officer. The latter gave Cummings a quick physical, then set him on his way. Confused as to what was happening, Cummings opened the sealed letter, learning that he had MS and less than five years, in all probability, to live. He had a wife and he had a child. His wife knew before he did. The initials of the pseudonym stand for Wilhelm, Nero, and Pilate, in Cumming's view the most wretched men to ever live. He believed that "Death can do no more than kill you," and so he wrote of life and what it means to be human with a grace and genius few humans have ever possessed. It is one of the great works in all of literature and life. I am reading it again now.