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Bruins, postseason baseball, getting going, patty-cake, Laura Marsh of The New Republic, new stories

Thursday 10/12/68

Bruins beat the Blackhawks 3-1 last night in their first game of the season at the Garden. They should have won, with the Blackhawks playing back-to-back on the road to start the season, this being their second game. Still, it's always good to win the first game. Looked at the box score--Charlie McAvoy plays less minutes than any other "top" defenseman in the league, as I've said for years, and which looks like how it will be this year. Why is that? What does that tell you?

The Dodgers are done. Swept! Something I've noticed about this year's postseason: the teams that had a break because of seeding--that is, finishing in a seemingly more favorable position--have struggled more than the teams that had to play additional games. For the first time, the baseball postseason kind of bothers me. Not that I was pulling for the Dodgers or am pulling for the Braves, who could also soon be done. I think this format, though, bestows a title on the team who happens to get the hottest, not necessarily on the best team.

The regular season doesn't mean very much, and I feel the baseball regular season ought to, given how teams play nearly every day. I don't really believe in the World Series winner in baseball like I used to--I feel like if the tournament were run again, some other team would get hot and they'd take it all. If you want to have a Wild Card element, have it be one team. It just seems to me that for the best team to win the World Series, they have to be the best team and then some. I'm almost surprised, for instance, that the 2018 Red Sox, who were the best team that year, did win the World Series. And not just because they had Mookie Betts, postseason dog.

I hadn't even checked the box score before I wrote that last line, knowing what I'd find, but I just did and I see that Betts went 0-for-4 and hit a clean .000 for the series with an OPS of .083. He's historically bad when it matters the most.

I really liked the Rangers' chances the other day with Eovaldi on the mound and he delivered again. He's a money pitcher. I'm not sure the Red Sox would have won the World Series in 2018 without Eovaldi's start in Game 3 of that ALDS in the Bronx. Series was tied, and he went in there unfazed and delivered. Some guys just have that make up and others don't. It's not always the star players, either. Eovaldi isn't a great pitcher. He's above average by the standards of this day and age, with a career ERA of 4.10, but you like to see him on the mound for your team in a big ballgame. That's his thing, like the regular season is Mookie Betts' thing.

Another weird thing about baseball is the postseason meets virtually nothing to your legacy as a player, unless you are some all-time hero, like David Ortiz or Reggie Jackson. It never comes up in discussing a guy's career, his Hall of Fame candidacy, his all-time ranking at his position. I find this mind-boggling. Baseball is the only one of the four major North American sports that is this way, though the postseason is also downplayed in the others, just not to the degree it is in baseball. I always think, "What is the point? Why are we here?" You're there to win. That is the point. To win it all.

I am having lost days and it's not good. Days where I can barely move. For the reasons I recently described--not matter what I do, or how well I do it, the outcome is guaranteed before I start. Then there is this apartment, with thousands of books, records, that kind of thing. It's a room in which I cannot so much as move, with everything broken. There aren't even any lights. I need to get out of here and into a house, my house, but I barely get by hand to mouth, given this situation. I am not finding the energy, or the will. Everything I do will be unpleasant, hellish, grueling, and nothing will lead to anything. All that my efforts ever produce is more hate and envy anyway. But I must find a way to create the energy and to fight. I must. But it is very hard. Brushing my teeth is hard. What this is is so much worse than death. Right now, anyway.

This morning I am in this journal simply to be in this journal which is part of what I do. It's not the formal part of what I do, it's not my "real" work, but it is a unique literary creation and there is certainly nothing like it in human history. I use it as an exercise in putting one step after another, as a warm-up, and as something that hopefully, ultimately, advances the cause.

I wrote a very short story called "The Dash (Variants)" which takes the form of a conversational exchange that is repeated--or should I say, recreated?--in following instances with some very small thing changed, which completely changes the meaning of the exchange, what we know about the people having it, who they are, their views, attitudes, ideas of gender. The first sentence is the same for each conversational section: "Actually, come to think of it, is it large titted with a dash or large titted without a dash?”

I see we are covering some ground this morning, which is normal for this record. Last night I watched some of the 1948 film, The Woman in White, which was Universal's attempt to turn the Wilkie Collins novel into a horror film. There are elements of horror in the novel--there are elements of many things, which is one reason why it's among my favorite books. This was a very strange production, though--to say it's loosely based on the book would almost still be stretching it. The Woman in White is something I could see myself writing a screenplay for because I think you could make something that people would really respond to. A larger ambition is for a four or five episode series based on William Sloane's To Walk the Night. You could have a huge hit with that.

Sent a book of essays to someone. I send books to places I should not be sending books, which is not a knock on those people or presses, but if you look at my career in comparison to the careers of the people doing books with those presses--to say nothing of the writing--it's obvious I don't belong there, but given that I am blackballed as I am, this is what it comes to. I try to tell myself for now, and there are people who say that to me, too, but the contrast is wild, crazy, scarcely believable. I'd say it's full-on unbelievable. But then you also have people in a position who get this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to say no to someone who's done what I've done, what I do and continue to do, and the temptation can prove too great. It's a feather in the cap, being able to have that person lower themselves, really, like I've lowered myself, and then try to step on them because you can.

You really can't, in a way--it'll end up on here, and that's not good for such a person, but it's just hell in another form of it for me. I'm giving the book away for free, for it to have no support, no distribution, no visibility, and then there is the issue that just about every paper and magazine in this country has a rule not to review my work. At least at that stage of the book's journey in the world. But it's all because of this system and the blackballing. Everything is going away, of course--there are no readers, so in a sense, big press, small press, it doesn't matter much right now.

The model needs to change, but you also need writers who offer something of value (to put it in musical terms: the Beatles were the best, but they weren't alone), and I am the last real writer in the world, so it's not like there are others out there with amazing talent and awesome works waiting for that model and system to change and join me. It would take many decades before there's another good writer. It's impossible for a good writer to come from this system that has been in place for seventy years now and has only gotten worse in time. For now, I will try to get my books out. I'm always professional, polite, I'm easy to work with, but I also know the book has no shot where it's at. Still, it is out there, and it can get a better shot in time, but hopefully not before too much more time passes.

Why is it impossible for there to be a good writer right now? Simple: You have to be born with the ability. Chances of that are nil. Then, you have to work every second of you life to master that ability and develop it. You have to write hours and hours and hours every day for decades. No one is going to do that. Thirdly, because everything is MFA writing and doctrine, you'd have to go against the current. You'd have no support, much envy, you'd be ostracized because you didn't write this plastic, rote, basic hack-garbage. Know anyone strong enough to go something completely alone while being told what they do is wrong or being despised and shunned? Also, a good writer knows so much about so much. People know nothing about anything now. A good writer knows everything about this topic and that topic, and that's before we get into the mysteries of the human condition and what is behind the veil. So, no, no good writers. People who play a bullshit game of patty-cake in a diseased, backwards, scam of a system that teaches a kind of writing that can be passed down, because that's the only way these people can make money. Their writing isn't good enough for anyone in the world to care about it, even if it was a world full of readers, and it is anything but, in part because this system has effectively killed off reading--and writing--over the last half plus century, and where all of that is at in 2023 is where the people of this system have gotten it. So it's just me. Most of these so-called writers aren't even typers. They don't put any words on a page.

There are people who would be mortally offended by the above. It's all true. What do you want me to do about it? It's not my fault that it's all true. And saying what's true isn't me doing anything wrong. I care. You can't care more about anything than I care about this and all of the implications of that this. For people, for the world. And for me, too, as this person who can do what no one else has ever been able to. What am I supposed to do? Just watch, go under, suffer, die?

I'll put up something on here soon to give a further example of how divorced from reality most people in the publishing world are. I live it. If someone is rude to me for two years, and I sit there and take their abuse--while dealing with the problems they made with the damn government for me--and I finally say, "I don't think it's right that you're talking to me this way. I've done a lot of good work for you and I think I'm owed some professional courtesy. Thanks for hearing me out. Anyway, had this new..." that person will then ban me for life, and go around to everyone in the office and tell each of those people to ban me. This is real. That's how these people operate. I'm not providing the names in this particular example yet because I'm saving them for a stand-alone entry where I really get into it. And then that person I've also worked for is told by this first person to never again respond to me, and that second person is such a...what...eunuch? bitch?...that that's exactly what they do, no questions asked. What kind of person behaves that way? How low do you have to be? How empty? How lacking in principle and character? Your own identity?

That's how small and pathetic and, frankly, insane, these people tend to be. It's like you tortured their family on fire in front of them. They throw out these overdramatic words like "tragic" when a meaningless journal shutters that no one read and was presided over by someone just hooking up their shitty writer friends. They live in a fantasy land and they hate reality. That's why they hate works that have anything real about them. It's fear.

Someone else who was lying to me again and again while hooking up his buddies at one of these meaningless journals--which also didn't pay me what I was owed, pittance that it was--likened me to the Mafia after I said this wasn't right, and I knew what was going on and wasn't going to stay silent about it any longer as I was treated this way, which we both knew was the case. There's no sense of proportion with them. If you ask for the money you're owed, you can be banned. The way they talk it's as if you raped their spouse. They are in cloud cuckoo land and so fragile. They are not cut out for the world or reality. So I have a good example I'll put up on here soon pertaining to a literary journal ran by a bigot who had banned me because I wouldn't pay him to have a student reject my work--and, of course, because I achieve more every morning than he has or will in his life--and which was recently shut down by its university, because the journal is pointless, full of bad writing, and is run at a big dollar number at a total loss because there aren't ten people in the world who read it. Hell, there isn't one. As in honestly read it. Not check it to see if their mentor is in it or some other bullshit like that, which is only the ever "reason" there is. It's never for actual, you know, reading. What a concept, right?

So, say the truth, and I don't know what you can compare that to in how much it enrages these people, if you're getting banned because you asked after a long time not to be screamed at--by a fat slob of an uneducated, clueless moron, nonetheless--and compared to the mob (I've gotten this one a bunch, actually) for finally saying, um, hey, sir, I don't think you're giving my work a fair shake, but I see that all of these people you know who are printing your work are in every issue.

I know what you're doing. I always know. And the thing is, if you're one of these people, you know it, too. Do you think it's so brilliantly hidden that no one could know exactly what you're doing and what you're all about? Anyone but a total idiot would know, and the total idiot only wouldn't know because they were looking at something else. But put it on here, in context, with all of the facts? Then anyone who sees this record knows. It's not very up for debate, is it?

A quick example. Laura Marsh, literary editor of The New Republic. For years I pitched this person. Are we really pretending I shouldn't be able to write for The New Republic? Come on. Should we look at the thousands and thousands of pieces in the places these people all care about and the undeniable expertise on all of the subjects? But you know what she'd do? She'd ignore every single pitch, unless it pertained to a book regarding which she'd already assigned something. Then--and only then--would she write back, to say this. Like, how dumb are you, lady? Who wouldn't understand exactly what she was doing? For years this went on. And I knew. Still I sent what I sent, putting in all of that time and effort, knowing this was someone discriminating against me. And someone so damn childish. How do you take someone like that seriously? And what? If it hadn't been assigned, you'd be writing me back and we'd be talking terms? That's a joke. Meanwhile, it's all about hooking up a crony, someone like them, and always a worse writer. What's not true here? That's what happened. Should we do a prose off? A career off? A qualifications off? Do we need to?

Their thinking is, "You better act like you don't totally know what's going on here and keep the secret of my bigotry!" Or what? You'll discriminate against me for years? You've already done that, and I'm not keeping your secret. It's out.

You know why I send some of the things I send and do so for years, or decades? Legal purposes. I have you bang to rights. There is no third party who can look at the evidence and say, "Yes, that was work-related," or qualification-related. I'm covered. You're not. And I was professional. I didn't do anything to someone like a Laura Marsh, save not be like her, and not be in her circles. How would you feel about yourself if you were like her?

But it's like criminals. They hate the people who catch them, no matter how heinous their act. It's never, "Well, you got me, fair is fair. I should start making amends and go down a different road." No. They want the person who caught them to be burned alive if they could arrange it. These people are no different, except they tend to be less imaginative and more cowardly.

What about fixing the whole mess? What about writing great stuff that people can actually care about and inspiring people and giving people reasons to read and feel and care and learn and grow? What about that? Because that's what I believe in. Bringing that about. And you aren't going to bring anything amazing about without the truth being involved in the process. And that's not my fault either.

I say I am having a hard time finding the energy, of trying, of fighting. That's all true. But these people are still not going to win.

Mentioned to my mother the other day that I'd like to be outside more at night, especially in fall, as I'm rarely out after dark. She said to be careful being out so late, and I told her I meant like 6:30. But also maybe later when no one is out. To walk some and smell the decaying leaves, to think about what I'd just composed, to get a couple slices of pizza at Bova's.

Wrote a 2000 word story called "Goscwog," which is about an angel of the same name. He's having lunch in the cafeteria at work with three of his angel friends. In the story, we're told that every single kind of thoughts human have is recorded by an angel who specializes in that kind of thought. Goscwog's job is recording what people think as they die, and he's been doing this since before the start of time, since time has no start and no end. Angels feast on peace and contentment, which is why they're having lunch, said peace and contentment taking on the appearance of food, because it helps to have a visual rather than just an idea, even for angels, which is a problem that hasn't been solved anywhere. And Goscwog is unburdening himself, in a sense, by sharing this experience he had the other day in recording what someone thought at death, which really messed him up. I don't have a plan for it right now. It's just something I wrote. Good, though. Must work on Big Asks: Six Novelettes About Acceptance and push that heavy artillery up the hill. Sound the mantra: Total focus, matchless art, no mercy when we get there.


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