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Beat to quarters

Monday 7/27/20

This is going to be a little-to-no-sleep week. I didn't run any stairs yesterday, but I walked ten miles. Today I ran three miles. I was interviewed for the fifth and final episode of Beatles Month on the Songs of Note podcast. Was actually a decent amount of work--five full hours of me talking about the band. I think it's all of a piece, every single last one of these hundreds of the radio and podcast things I've done, but there may have been a little extra to this episode and the one before. Quite apart from the Beatles, as radio works of life I think they're potentially life-changing. The conversation is so far beyond the subject of mere music. I wrote a story this morning called "We Can Go Again." Tomorrow on Downtown I'll discuss the Red Sox, foodies, cats, dating woes.

I have learned that if you say anything about anything, people will get offended, and you can either say nothing, or say, you know what, screw this, and chuck it down the field. Sling it, as quarterbacks say.

I'm not going to waste my time or energy trying to get in anyone else's head and play not to lose. I'm here to chuck it. If I lose some people along the way because of an innocuous remark I've made that just happens not to dovetail with their thoughts, opinions, or preferences, I'm of the belief that those people aren't meant to be a part of what this is and what it is going to be anyway. I don't like your favorite band so I'm some baddie to you? Who cares? And it's going to be interesting why I don't like them. And thought out. If I don't like something you like, or I like something you don't, that doesn't mean we can't be friends. If we don't have enough of that, we can't be friends. Because that's how real relationships are.

Last night I lay in bed and worked hard on three longer stories called "Mount Edifice," "Tapetum," and "The Harrowing of Culver Street." A lot to do at once. The amount of mental energy that must be summoned is considerable. I need to finish "Green Glass Door," and "Peaceful Assembly" will be another big one, another big, timely one.

I am re-reading Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space" after many years because I have some things to learn. When Lovecraft writes page-turners, he's incredibly good. When he doesn't, he's far less compelling. This story is high-level writing. Exceedingly so. He finds the voice and the tone, he's in the middle of that wave, that momentum, right from the start, and he keeps it going. This is the kind of thing you write where right from the first clause you know what you have. He also got the science correct, or believable enough--it doesn't even have to be correct. Has to sound a certain way. Maybe more useful if it's not correct. He knew what he wanted. He made sure to get it right.

It is impossible to compare what I do to other writers. You meet people, they speak in the same tropes, have the same expectations. They ask me questions which could not be less relevant to who I am as an artist. My answers to these questions would not be answers they could accept or believe, until they know the work, until they know me, but certainly until they know the work. Your mind will not let the truth in prior to that. It's too much. More than a person can conceive of or accept. And it's a problem. It's a huge problem. Even if someone just asks what my current writing project is. Anyone who reads the work, and who reads these pages, knows, I'm assuming, what I am at this point, and they would also know how the question simply freezes me. How do I begin to answer? I can't. So I don't. I could tell you the truth, which is going to take a lot of time and effort, but you won't believe it outside of the context of the work, and you won't have anything in your ken that you can compare it to and understand. All simple questions are unanswerable here. What do I write on predominantly, even. You meet MFA students, they think alike, they circumscribe what you can do based upon how they project what they do. I find that I am insulted regularly. They study shitty fiction that they pretend isn't shitty, and they see my output, or some of it, and they want to talk about a music book, pretend the other stuff isn't there. I am, as is abundantly plain, story. But they hate that work they read and pretend to like, so they're let out of the barn, so to speak, and they want to act like I have some music stuff and nothing else, because they're now ingrained, when left to their druthers, to run from fiction. A person will never come along who will write anything as good as "Fitty." Or any of these 250 stories or whatever it is now from the last twenty-five months. Or Meatheads of Anglerfish. It's not going to happen. That's not in the cards of life. I know this.

Vollmer understands far better than most, which is one reason I like him. It's not exhausting or draining knowing him. Socrates would like Vollmer.

Anyway. Back to it. Sound the mantra. This is a balls big as grapefruits week.

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