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Break Them All

Saturday 3/30/19

It's one thing to whip a man's back, another to whip his soul.


After Peter Cushing's wife died, he tried to kill himself by running up and down stairs in an attempt to trigger a heart attack.


Somehow things are getting worse yet. I was up for forty-eight straight hours. Didn't eat for thirty. Last night I began an essay on Fitzgerald's "May Day." Then I wrote thirty-five people, begging and doing everything I could think of to make money. After that I literally walked the streets and cried until 10 PM, at which point I went into a cafe and began work on something I have to do on Theodore Gericault's The Raft of the Medusa. I went to bed at 1, arose at 8. I then composed 2000 more words for the Fitzgerald piece, completing it. Excerpt:


The plots come together when Kay and Rose end up at the hotel where the big Yale shindig is. Gordon is drunk. He sees Edith, and Fitzgerald winds us up for what seems like it’s going to be a sort of meet cute story, albeit the redux variety—take 2, for these young lovers. She wants it to work, but she’s not dealing with him, she’s dealing with an idea. Crucial way to go wrong with people. One needs to deal with the person, not the idea of what you and that person can be together. But there is not some giant clash, not some well-phrased epiphany that marks their final parting. He’s a wreck, barely hanging on, and she can’t rouse him, so she doubts herself, then she’s annoyed, then she’s bored.


“—Love is fragile—she was thinking—but perhaps the pieces are saved, the things that hovered on lips, that might have been said. The new love words, the tendernesses learned, are treasured up for the next lover.”


Motherfuck, right? You know that’s how it is. I know that’s how it is. Someone else is going to be right where you were. If you took an iron, heated it as hot as you could, shaved it into a spike, and stuck it into your heart, it would feel like that revelation feels, when we reach a point in life to have it. It waits for us. Along we come—however long that takes—and the revelation presents its clutches. We might as well as had the dance formally scheduled on our pocket calendar like a shift at the Starbucks or the dentist appointment in six months. She leaves, and heads around the corner to visit her Socialist newspaper-running brother at his office. The mob, as you may have guessed, turns up, breaks down the door. This is not going to end well for one of the two ex-Army men who had begun their day just looking to get their drink on. Meanwhile, we’ve met the girl, Jewel, whom Gordon had described in unfavorable terms to Dean, and it turns out she’s sweet and wonderful and not trying to blackmail him at all. She simply loves him. Or, if it’s not love, she cares for him and seeks to shield him—from parts of himself.


You might find it reassuring to know that even 100 years ago, after these kinds of big booze-ups, everyone ends up at some breakfast joint. Dean is there, drunk out of his mind, and having refused Gordon his loan—which you knew was coming the entire time—and so are Jewel and Gordon. It is a fucking mess, with people doing and saying things with that special brand of assholism owned and operated by the rich and entitled.


Up until a little after this point, I buy everything in this story. When you have an ambitious plot, you risk more. For instance, if you look at the garbage in most literary magazines now, you’ll see no stories. You’ll encounter a scene, a vignette. When you do less, less can go wrong. Consequently, when someone does more, for people who always look for less, there’s a tendency to overstrain to find gaffes, and to pull that which is daring and exciting back to the milieu of the belabored and limited. The extended plot is like the extended sentence; only a virtuosic writer—with a virtuosic soul—can pull them off. But it’s clear that Fitzgerald had no idea how to end this story. Divergent threads had intertwined at other places throughout, so now the boot was fully laced, but he he no way to tie the crowning knot.


After this I ran three miles, then I walked three, then I climbed the Bunker Hill Monument five times. I ran the first 100 stairs each time. I did not stop. I came up with an idea for a new book--a humor book--and I then wrote the first chapter, which I will post on here tomorrow. I talked to someone three times. I dealt with the usual depressing nonsense on Tinder. A woman asked me what my plans for the day were. I told her. She next remarked that I was very disciplined, so it was likely that I would not be a creative person, but that was okay, too.


Yes.


That's my problem.


I'm not creative enough.


People didn't talk to you like that five years ago. The entitlement, the condescension. It's the norm now.


Today wraps up the week. A week in which I composed all of these journal entries. In which i came up with an composed the entirety of a short story called "chickchick." In which I came up with and composed the entirety of a 4100 personal essay/history called "Basement Beans: Travels in the Land of King's Quest (and Artistburg)." And in which I wrote a 2000 word piece on an F. Scott Fitzgerald story set on May 1, 1919. And came up with a new book and wrote the first chapter. This being a fraction of what I do, because most of my life is devoted to trying to save myself from this hell and trying to cut into this hate and get treated, if not fairly--right--then with .00001% of the fairness I deserve, or else to find a way around this system.


I have decided that this week on Downtown it is time for me to discuss this journal. I've been saving this one, but given that I don't know how long my time is, it's time to put my voice down on tape regarding this unique work of literature. Yes, there have been other journals, and I will touch on those--by Thoreau, Pepys, Delacroix, Tynan. But there is nothing like these pages. There's nothing like this life, there's nothing like what has happened here, there is nothing like this person and this artist.


By the way: Everything I just listed that I did today, I did by 1 PM. 8 AM to 1 PM. After sleeping seven hours over the span of fifty-five.


Stop telling yourself you're busy or you don't have time. You know what people don't know more than they don't know anything in this world?


What they don't know.