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Breaking rocks on the chain gang

Thursday 12/5/19

New Year's Eve op-ed complete. I think people are really going to connect powerfully with this one. Here is a portion, too, of a conversation with a friend this morning:


SH: Today's post blew me away. You are truly decent, good, and honorable. But you are also someone that no one in this world has ever seen the likes of. I mean that in the best way but it must be like walking on shards of glass for you.


CF: It is. But I have faith that it doesn’t always have to be. It could be completely the opposite in six months.


SH: We live in this world of instantaneous gratification but to even start to understand you requires time and thoughtfulness. Most people don't give those things. But I can hope, like you, that there is someone in the industry who can think bigger, more openly, toward your enormous body of work and talent. I believe in you. I am no one special but I am one person.


CF: I don't think I need someone in the industry. That person is not there. I'll do this on my own. You are correct about the time. Insofar as these agents, for example, go. They spent no time with it, gave it no thought. They didn't read "Fitty," they didn't read any of Cheer Pack, they didn't go to the site, the blog. They thought "this guy again," "white male", "story collection". Nothing else. The irony is, it actually takes no time at all to see how entirely different any single work of mine is from any other by anyone else. I agree with you, but in one sense, what we're talking about is the biographical sense. Which gets sorted out in books on me. Part of that sense comes from the idea that, "oh, now we must pay attention to this person, interview him, film him, write the profiles," etc. Then it all starts to come out and come together. Because it's official now and you are directed there. But there are all kinds of ways to do the direction. It could be that the blog conquers all, and then I can simply impose my will. I get the flashpoint elsewhere. Not from them, then I return to them and say, fuck that, this is how it is now. As for instantaneous gratification, I believe that any work of mine provides that. You need not read them all, you need not understand the scope of me or even care about it; one work, one story, one Dark March, one Chads, one blog post, does it. So, really, these are two different things. With an agent, what I am talking about and I think you are, too, is the idea of the big picture, to use a cliche. As John says, these people are simple, obtuse, broken, visionless. They can't think in terms of anything but the familiar hand in front of their faces. I mean, it's really pretty easy to get something of a bead on what I am. I don't think it's obscure. I don't think it's subtle. I think it's pretty obvious. I think it's obvious in every paragraph. A handful of blog posts. Every radio segment. The whole scope, well, that's like when there's a nine-volume biography of Beethoven. He's not a good example. He was more limited than I am, his range far more protracted. But you get my meaning. People didn't know his scope unless they worked to know it, but they knew he was like super duper concert guy. But I cannot sit back and be raped, and die in anonymity. I will make this happen. As you might guess, I hate--hate hate hate--having to do this, to confront, to war. I hate it. It's not what I want to do, it's not how I am, but I gave these people millions of chances. I gave bigots millions of chances to not discriminate to the degree they did. To never write me back because I achieved things. And now we're here.


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Excerpt from the op-ed. Good. I am composing at a high level today.


For many years, I consumed at least twenty units of alcohol a day, my face assuming the contours of a sausage, my heart rate the rapidity of a roadrunner in flight from a coyote. Life would get worse, but already it was intolerable. I knew if I kept going in this fashion, I was going to die before I could count myself the victor in battles I needed to fight.


I didn’t get drunk, which made it worse, because I could pour more down my gullet and function as my body bloated, my heart wheezed. I pondered myself in the mirror, second chin coming in, and I said, “Right, it’s early evening, drink whatever you want now, but it all ends at 11:59. We start anew tomorrow. Try to build.”


I am a big believer in the tabula rasa, the fresh start, virgin page, which is what many of us look to at New Year’s. My midnight dictate sounds like a New Year’s resolution, doesn’t it? Nope. I think they’re bunk. We overrate them, we predicate so much upon them, and then if we slip, on January 12, we all but defenestrate them, tossed out the window, maybe next year, baby.