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Better pray

Thursday 11/14/19

I have slept less than four hours in the past two nights. Woke up, vomited, looked in the mirror, told myself that we are going on, to fight harder. Spoke to the producer of the radio show in Chicago this morning. I should know the name. I'll look it up again. I'm trying to do a lot at once. They did a twenty-five minute segment on my Wall Street Journal piece--the Oscar the Grouch one yesterday--in their four hour show. I wasn't there to contribute--I was writing some fiction--but they're cutting the audio of the discussion of my piece out of the whole show and sending it to me, and I'll be a guest going forward. I talked to my mom, too, for a while last night, pretty late. My parents helped with my foundation. I am grateful. I sometimes think I can all but hear my father's voice telling me to keep going, that I can come out the other side of this abyssal valley. The Earl of Rochester said to King Charles II, "I cannot abide still life." The king didn't know what he meant. He thought he was talking about the painting style. But the Earl of Rochester meant life that was not constant surge and advance, the swirl of activity which challenged him. On we go. I keep thinking of Gogol, when he wrote the sequel to Dead Souls, and then he came to believe that he had written a work to potent, too potentially transmogrifying. He stood in front of his fire, ripping out pages, cramming them into the flames one by one. A page tried to intercede, but Gogol turned him aside, saying, "Better pray, boy." I think of this song, too, which seems to say so much right now. "You share your young to the wolves of a nation/There's nothing left here better pray for salvation." I am trying to restock the larder. With forms of life--never still lives--the larder has never known. Keep fighting, son. You are making progress. Very few people will know what this means right now, which is fine. But I know. Others will know later. I will just say this: more wood.