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Sunday 6/26/22

Was reading Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn tonight. A library in Boston saw the book back in 1885, and then said that there was no way they'd allow it to be included on their shelves. That reminded me of an experience I had with my first book, Dark March: Stories for When the Rest of the World is Asleep. I was going to do a reading and a talk about the book at a bookstore. They were all into what I'd done to date in my career. This was in 2013. Successful author coming in, with the massive track record. Ordered a mess of copies of the book for the event. Then they looked at the book. And they cancelled me. Cancelled the event. They said the book was far too offensive. Added that this had never happened before, but the clientele would be horrified. What I want to do is a new edition of Dark March. I had hoped it would be possible to do that for its tenth anniversary next year, but I don't know how that could happen in time right now. There are some things I want to do, in going through the book hard. But that's something that needs to come out again in the future with an updated edition. All of these things are going to have come out again when they have an actual shot, when an entire industry is not against me, so it will really be like they're coming out for the first time. Not a single one of these books has had a real chance yet. They exist, but it's also like they don't exist. I can't think of a precedent for this. I talk with someone I know about getting this over later, because it's so unlike anything that has ever happened before. The circumstances of my journey and career are unique. For all of the reasons explored in these pages. That's going to have to be made plain to people, so they don't think they're just getting some book that did whatever and disappeared--on account of its merits--when it came out the first time. Which is as far from the truth of the matter as one can get. All of these books have been released with no chance, and everything against them. There isn't a fair indication of anything yet. In many ways, this hasn't even started. These books just happen to exist. But it's really like two separate things.

Ran 3000 stairs, did fifty push-ups. Day got away from me. I ended up working for five or six hours on that second story, "A Scooch." I don't know what I have yet with the other three from this weekend. I'll find out. But this is very strong. It's all in the present tense, though the narrative pushes back against recent events. Not easy to do.

Been imbibing like mad. Lemon water, regular water, iced green tea. Lose so much fluids on those stairs. Trying to be better about hydration. Phoned my mom. She doesn't drink enough water. Told her to do so. As people get older, they tend to be more dehydrated because the body doesn't as readily communicate that one is thirsty. Scientists don't know why. I also read that there's believed to be a connection between balance and mortality. When the balance goes, you're on your way out. Balance is tested by being able to stand on one foot for ten seconds. So of course I tried this out, and now I'm practicing with it. Faltering balance will not sneak up on me.

The older kids had a sleepover at my mom's last night. I had an amazing grandmother in my mom's mom. Not a lot of people have loved me to date, but she did. I think she was flinty as a mom, but she wasn't as a grandmother. I loved her dearly. My mother is likewise a remarkable grandmother. She's not just loving, but she adds value to the life of those kids. She's encouraging and nurturing and teaches. I am sure a lot rubs off from knowing her.

I did read up on the heart health benefits of green tea, and decided to add that to the rotation and bought a couple hundred bags on Amazon for $15. I was able to get tickets for the upcoming Handel and Haydn Society program in the fall and winter at an affordable price. Subscription was quite low. I sit in the upper balcony, which makes it much cheaper, but that is where I prefer to sit anyway. If I go to a hockey game or the symphony, even if the joint is empty, you're likely to find me at the top of the place. I can take things in better. It's also where I sit at the Brattle--in the very last row, unless I'm with someone. There's a screening of Capra's It Happened One Night coming up. Claudette Colbert told a friend, after shooting wrapped, that she was just in the worst picture ever. She had no clue what she'd just been a part of. That may have had to do with how Capra put it together in the editing room.

Was pleased and a little surprised to wake up the other morning and see that the Lightning extended the Stanley Cup Finals. I think the thinking, when you're down 3-1, has to be that if a series is going to go seven games, at some point it's 3-2. And there you are--it's pretty easy to make your series 3-2. It's just one win. So then it's all lined up. Lots of teams tie series when they're down 3-2. See? Simple. Helps to think it out the right way. Then you're at a Game Seven. Someone has to win a Game Seven. You're even. You have momentum. Pretty good spot to be in. I don't care who wins--no rooting interest. When that's the case, I want the series to go to OT of a seventh game.

My bad, Red Sox. I was wrong. Now they're good, after being awful. Can't recall them having a June like this one. Must be the best June in franchise history, or damn close.

Listened to the new episode of the A Podcast to the Curious podcast, about Christopher Woodforde's story, "Cushi." Also listened to all of The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 11. Been reading Simon Callow's Being Wagner--I respect Callow as a writer--and A Catalogue of Crime: Being a Reader's Guide to the Literature of Mystery, Detection, and Related Genres, by Jacques Barzun and Wendell Hertig Taylor. Listened to the Dead's American Beauty and the Port Chester gig from the fiftieth anniversary set. What a band. I marvel at them.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is to Conan Doyle as A Hard Day's Night is to the Beatles.

Watched three Eagle Pennell films: A Hell of a Note (1977), The Whole Shooting Match (1978), Last Night at the Alamo (1983). The man knew what he was doing. Didn't make it out of his forties. Was homeless a bunch, and could not shake the drink.

I have ideas for a hundred plus stories. I have a hundred or so stories in some stage of being written. So any time I want, I can say, "Huh, what masterpiece would you like to focus on?" Or I can make one up. It's just picking. I have a 4000 word story sitting here called "Complete Set," and I can tend to that. Work on "The Hornet," "Cancer Carson," "Captain Enclave." "Pre." "First Last Date." "Birchbark." Do these others--"Pitch Back," "Hear Fishy," "Apple Culls," "Large Hot, Just Milk," "Mount Edifice." The latter is about a Black guy, who has received a bad bit of news, a thorough jostling in his life, which he thinks might be racially motivated, but he's not totally sure, and he also has a lot of anger. It's right before Christmas. To work off the stress, he throws on a sweatshirt, sweatpants, jogs off to the Bunker Hill Monument to sweat out his despair and frustration by running stairs. There's no one out. It's that exodus time, because of the holiday. There's one old park ranger on duty. The guy is running the stairs, so he's in there for a while, and when you're in there for a while, they lose track of you. He's at the top, when the ranger calls out, asking if anyone's in there. He shouts back an answer, from like 275 stairs away, but the ranger, who hasn't seen anyone leave in a while, and is just going through the motions, doesn't hear him, and he gets locked in. This almost happened to me once, so I know how easy it is. It's this giant, formidable metal door down at the bottom. The kind of door you see on a family crypt. There's no window in this obelisk. You can't shout out, or shout through the granite. So he's trapped in there for days, because of the Christmas schedule. You're going to freeze to death, unless you're running stairs for a lot of that time. It becomes this survival story, and the guy's awake for these days, and he starts going out of his tree. He's seeing all of these people from these experiences he's had, and he's at battle with them in there, running those stairs. And it's going to resolve when they finally let him out, if he's even alive. When I say I have hundreds like that, I man actual hundreds, only they're all different from each other. "Find Your Buddy." "Water States." Then I keep coming up with others. I need to do what I need to do on the twelve stories or whatever it is that I just wrote. They need work and time.

Novels need to be done.

I think on Tuesday on Downtown I'll do a sports segment, looking at guys who either are not anywhere near as good as most people think--and I can prove it--and guys who are better than people think. So the players I have in mind are Shohei Ohtani, Bo Jackson, James Worthy, Patrice Bergeron, Pete Peeters, Johnny Mize, and Benito Santiago. Then can talk about how the Red Sox, with their left field situation from 1939-1986 or so, had this player-to-player trade-off that is the most famous in baseball, but I have one to rival it and come pretty close, that I think would surprise people. Then I also want to talk about how one small thing would have changed the Hall of Fame outcomes for Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, and Bruce Sutter--one thing with each of them. Well, kind of two with Rice, and that second one is pretty crazy. If he was better in this one area, he wouldn't be in the Hall of Fame. Then the week after we can do the next three stories in Brackets.

Burt Mustin, who was in like everything, didn't begin his professional acting career until he was sixty-seven.

Finish everything with Glue God: Essays (and Tips) for Repairing a Broken Self and get it off to this dude. Move yourself forward this week. Keep magpie eyes on the prize.

The bookstore went out of business, by the way.


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