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Be interesting

Tuesday 12/27/22

Fitzgerald advised against using exclamation points, saying it was like applauding your own joke. Rare is the situation where an exclamation point is fitting. There can be some. It's a highly tonal device. That is, the inclusion of the exclamation point is warranted because of the tone. It's more than an exclamation point, which is also a signifier, a nod to tone. Not always, but that is one way an exclamation point can work. And also the age of the person whose thought we may be within. Then it's about how they might view the world. Eyes have a tonal quality, too. Perception. But what you see on social media is one moron after another applauding their unfunny jokes, with the exclamation point being replaced by the emoji or the acronym. If you use either, you are the opposite of funny. Or interesting. So don't. Be funny. Be interesting.

I have been working on a story about a man who dreams of having a home stocked with spare, unopened toothbrushes in it. That is the whole story.

Live and let live often really means "enable."

Need to go back into "Evening Day" and see if it needs work. It could go into The Ghost Grew Legs: Stories of the Dead for the More or Less Living.

I know of ten pieces coming out in 2023 and there should be eight new short stories completed in the first bit of the year.

Trying to think of what book "Best Present Ever" will go into, and where it will go in that book. The plan is three-fold: stand-alone mini/gift book, inclusion in "proper" book," and then wherever it goes on its own--in a venue where a lot of people would see it--that is, it'd have to be a million circulation venue.

Regarding the Gatiss adaptation for the BBC of M.R. James's "Count Magnus"--wasn't much there. I like James in the way that I like Led Zeppelin. They were not much of a band and he wasn't much of a writer. His stories never pop you. They are prescriptively narrow. James is a writer who has a lot of rules, and not a lot of possibilities. I want the writer of possibilities. The more the better. I have everything he wrote, including hard to find nonfiction books, the similarly difficult to locate out of print biography, the fragments of uncompleted stories. I write about him a lot, am interviewed about him a lot, but he just wasn't that good. The stories are limited. They don't get beyond the trappings of their genre. There's no "more" to them. And as I said, they never really pop you. I don't mean with some shock value. A monster with worms for hair or whatever. I mean emotionally pop you. Cut you down to your fundamental humanity and present you with the photo of what that looks like. His "A Warning to the Curious" is so much better than anything else he ever wrote and is fully-realized in a way that none of his other stories are. That one has some "more" to it. But I still want to be in my house in Rockport up on winter nights in my beloved front room with the lights turned low and listening to Bach and reading M.R. James.

I think I am going to write an essay on hockey sense. There is no baseball sense, football sense, or basketball sense. But there is hockey sense.

I'm working on a piece for the Fourth of July about weathering evenly, Concord, and Hawthorne's Mosses from an Old Manse.

Wrote a pitch for a piece about Coleman Hawkins' "Picasso" for next year.

Did 100 push-ups and ran 3000 stairs yesterday. Walked six miles and did 200 push-ups today.

This is a still from the 1968 BBC TV production of Whistle and I'll Come to You, which jump-started the A Ghost Story for Christmas series, and starred Michael Hordern, who was Jacob Marley in 1951's Scrooge. My Scrooge book includes some discussion of M.R. James. There's a piece about this TV film in And the Ghost Grew Legs: Essays on Works of Horror Art, but that piece needs to be cleaned up a decent amount.

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