* Things are not going so well with the Mother's Day op-ed, which is called "My real mom." As I've said in the letter that went along with the piece, it has viral written all over it. It's the definitive Mother's Day piece, and it's this big weeper, plus I really hit on an awesome idea, and it's a true and crucial idea. USA Today has all of their Mother's Day coverage in place. They said I could do a different piece using a part of this one, without the Mother's Day component. I'll do that, and I think I could get this original piece to run next year, but I'd like it to come out on Sunday.
* I walked six miles, just to get some exercise in. I can't run stairs because I'm unable to breathe through my nose. I've tried four different sprays today it's been so bad. My ears have been popping. The worst nasal congestion I've had.
* Read some of an entry in the Three Investigators YA mystery series, called The Mystery of the Laughing Shadow at the Starbucks, then came home and worked more on "Swoony and Moony." It's special. Goes into that category for me. The story had this really nice ending, but then I hit upon the perfect closing sentence. It's gotten up to about 1800 words.
* I think the Library of America sent me their latest F. Scott Fitzgerald volume. I have to check. If so, what I'll do later on is discuss five of the stories on Downtown. Spend the whole half hour on Fitzgerald. That'll be a good, solid block on him to have for the archives.
* I was reading outside at the Starbucks, and there was this woman--say, about thirty-two--talking on her phone for forty minutes. Like she was talking to herself, because she was doing all the talking. And she was one of those people who is talking so that everyone around them pays attention. She was some kind of social worker, and the way she talked about everyone was like they were her pets. And they were so weak. But what really troubled me was that she clearly got off on encouraging their weakness. Everything she said was a buzzword, too--pronouns, self-advocacy, triggered. Buzzword gazpacho. To me, she was everything wrong with the world. She wanted to be seen--even at the outside seating section of the Starbucks--as this hero. Should I say shero? And she's going on about how so and so wants to be called "they," and so and so doesn't have any pronouns at all. And I'm thinking, "Wow, we are so mentally ill." Because if these are things for you--these are issues, that is--then there's no way you can handle actual things; that is, real issues. She was like a drug dealer. Pushing. She was talking about this one fifteen-year-old girl who was now "they," and because she's a girl, she accidentally referred to her as "she," and then she corrected herself for the person she was speaking to. It sounded farcical. I also thought, "you don't really help anyone." Even this performance--and it was a performance--was entirely about her. Being noticed. She couldn't go more than three or four words before using another buzzword that no one would have used three years ago, that she didn't know three years ago, and now it's the spine of her entire vernacular. A lot of life is problem-solving. Problem-solving gets absorbed into something else, when we become adroit at it, and becomes a form of answer-seeking. Truth-gathering. Skill-developing. This is real growth. Creating more problems is antithetical to problem-solving, and also reduces one's capabilities in that area. There's this line in "I Want to Dance Where the Children Play," from Dark March, that I've always liked, where this custodian says to someone who is making a problem for him, "Job is hard enough, man." Life is that way. But it's also sort of like germs, and people who fastidiously try to avoid them no matter what. Well, there are a lot of germs in this world. Those are the people who always get sick, it seems. They've made themselves more vulnerable to things that are just out there. They're simply part of reality. Of living. Anyway. This woman at the Starbucks was also clearly violating a lot of confidences for the sake of chit-chat and virtue signaling. She was going deep into these cases. Sometimes she made unfunny jokes. But you could tell she had no real validation of who she was from inside. She had no self.
* Someone on Twitter today posted something about that list on here of John Lennon vocal performances, and said it was great, but the problem was that it wasn't a book. And I thought, you know what? They're right. And it would be perfect in Just Like Them: A Piece by Piece Guide to Becoming the Ultimate Thinking Person's Beatles Fan. So I will find where it can go in there and include it.