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Bill Walton, Odysseus, bad anger, good anger, Arthur Christopher Benson

Friday 6/16/23

Charisma is a virtually non-existent trait now I've noticed. People don't have it.

Nor is there anyone you look at and think, "They're a leader."

It would be better if many people stopped using the word "curvy" the way that they use it. That's not what curvy means.

I watched a documentary last night on Bill Walton. He was talking near the end about suicide and how he can understand it as the logical choice. I think there's a lot more conflict in this man than is suggested either by how he's been covered, or what he allows to come through. There are certain forms of peace, but also anger. I'm talking not so much about the good kind of anger, which has a righteousness about it.

Odysseus knew the good kind of anger. That's an anger fused with a knowledge of what is right, what is wrong, and what must be done. Knowledge of those three things in equal measure. That's the anger that drives you onward. To advance, one must also be in control of one's emotions and have mental discipline, which is not what we get with bad anger. Bad anger is like a storm. The thunder cracks, the lightning goes out willy-nilly. Good anger is like the storm swallowed and harnessed. It's not a great feeling, because of that aforementioned recognition of what's wrong and how wrong it is.

The person who has mastered anger may have this good anger--by which I mean good as in productive, with a good person who does not truckle or cower--and it does not override their mind nor their heart. We are talking a precision balance of a kind of control and strength that few people can conceive of. Most people are just overrun by anger. When something heinous is done to them, there is bound to be anger. This is life. It is reality. It's human nature. And it's also how it should be.

By heinous I also mean wrong. Unjust. (Keep in mind: people will become angry over anything; when you have a warped perspective in a society of narcissism and entitlement, even the handout that isn't the big enough handout prompts anger.) That's a blow. But they compound a blow by then allowing that anger to eat them up and limit themselves in what may be a litany of ways going forward. If they go forward at all. Bad anger will also negate forward movement.

When people do something very wrong to you, they're really getting you twice, in a way. With these bigots of publishing, I made a very conscious decision of great focus and discipline, that they would not get me twice. I would have the anger, but it would not be the bad anger; and my good anger would play a role in what will be my ultimate end, and what will be theirs.

Walton then became specific about when suicide is logical: when there is no hope, and no path forward.

These are the two things I live with right now. Or if it is not those two actual things, it is the essential feeling of those two things, and there is thought and reason in support of those two things, even if they are, again, feelings and not ironclad reality, which would be the best case scenario.

I did okay with some things this week, and less than okay with others. Regarding the latter, I didn't run nearly as many stairs as I should have. Two new stories were written. I worked again today on "Attic Cantata." There's still a long way to go, whatever long means to me. The story presently stands at 7100 words.

I don't know what a story will bring me to. At the end of this one, there's a song. It's made up of four lines and four words that aren't actually words. They're more like sounds. There's a certain mathematical parallelism being created here at the end, based around the geometric form of a circle. That sounds like some geometrical mixed metaphor, but it isn't. For the sound and sense to match, I wanted the words that aren't words of this song to appear in different places in each line, but not so that when your eye scans down from line to line, that one of the four words appears under itself, if you will. It was sort of like doing a puzzle.

This wasn't in the story yesterday, and I didn't know it was going to be in the story today. A story comes to you. I don't mean as in it occurs to you, the light bulb goes on. I mean it advances to you. The same as the characters tell you the story, when they are true characters. Then you do what you need to do. Your cue always comes from it and them, though.

I mentioned personal records and length before. A.C. Benson--brother of E.F.--wrote his diaries over the years 1897-1925. The entire Benson family wrote a lot "behind the scenes," if you will. They seemed to come to better know themselves and the world by writing this way.

A.C. Benson was as prolific in this regard as anyone had been. And those journals total four million to five million words. That's a big discrepancy; I suspect it exists because it's a challenge to get hands on the whole thing. There's an abridged edition.

That's twenty-eight years, and this record is at five years. When I had last checked--so this was some months ago--it was over three million words. Really this is just beginning. And to think that I wrote more fiction in those years...what can one even say? The books, the pieces, the op-eds, the features. But we will come to that in time with a proper accounting.

I bring up A.C. Benson--who also has some decent ghost stories, though E.F. was the gifted ghost story writer in the family--simply as further indication that I never just say anything. I might not tell you everything I know behind what it is that I'm saying (it's often many thousands of things), but it's always from the position of knowledge, or I wouldn't say it. I certainly don't do hyperbole out of carelessness or ignorance. I'm someone who can't so much as say a word if I don't know exactly what it looks like. How it's spelled. It's shape, contours. Peaks, valleys, cols, edges, curves, slopes, widths, lengths.


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