top of page

Country of work, slick stairs, journal average, ambivalence

Tuesday 2/15/22

A difficulty that is not really a difficulty that I am running up against as I make There Is No Doubt: Storied Humanness is my volume of material. I want all of the stories in this book to feature a female narrator and/or protagonist. I want them to be both rich and intense. They're full-bodied works, word count-wise. You can have a full-bodied work at 500 words, but that's not what I'm doing with this book. I have written 347 short stories since June 2018 as of today. No one will put a single one of them out, because I am blackballed. These are the best stories. I have changed so much in this time. I will go into that later. They are not better than what I did before. But I changed. I always change, and I can identify and chart the changes. There is a temptation when no one will put the work out individually to put too much into a book. These 347 stories cover so many forms and styles. It's like they're a country comprised of states. Each state is its own kind of book. Regarding possible stories for There Is No Doubt, there's enough for three or four volumes. I have to do right by a book, and find the correct length. That has to be the guiding dictate. I need to breathe. But it's like having a giant masterpiece warehouse, and I'm adding to it every day.

Something that was lot of work after having done a lot of other work was supposed to have run and it didn't. I can't afford that. I don't know what is going on.

There is someone I like who is better than most of these people who I do op-eds for. There's a rule that you can only be in this venue once a month. I haven't been in there since September, which is a problem, so I keep trying. I'm always trying to get in someone else's head, which is pretty exhausting. You want to try, but you don't want to be a pain. It's sort of like being an animal who is beaten down a lot and the animal blames itself, and always comes to expect another fresh blow. You try to find ways to blame yourself a lot. You run back everything through your head dozens and dozens of times. You're always expecting to get in trouble, to lose something, even when you've done nothing wrong.

I had this awesome sports piece for the Super Bowl, and this awesome Valentine's Day piece about Keats' letters. I was talking to someone about this, saying that I had to pick and try just one of them. The thing with op-eds is that you're usually writing them and sending them, not pitching them and getting a go-ahead. There is some of that, which is obviously preferred, because doing it the other way, with no guarantee that you'll even be responded to, is exhausting.

The friend I was talking to didn't understand this, because he knows both pieces are great and he thinks anyone would be lucky to have them. I said I didn't want to get in trouble. And they're like, "That's his job to look at the work, and your pieces are better than anyone's." I said that doesn't matter right now. I figured, okay, I can alter the Super Bowl one for March Madness, and put that aside. I went with the Valentine's piece. Editor said he couldn't use it, which is more than what one often gets. He sent a nice note. It was well-intentioned. It said that there was sure to be another one soon, because that's how I was, and he appreciated my hard work and persistence. But you see what's happening, yes? This isn't mean or anything, and I welcomed a friendly note, because they are so rare here. It's being taken for granted, though. That I'll always just have another. It's Fleming. He always has something new. You can put him off, ignore him, whatever, but there he'll be, with another great piece, and when you feel like it, or you need to fill some space that day, well, you take one.

And that is how it is right now for me. You can't accurately call it draining, exhausting, dispiriting, soul-crushing, because it's so much more. All of this in the totality of what is happening right now on all of the fronts is infinitely more than what I'm describing in the above example. This numbers among the best situations and relationships. But this isn't discrimination, in this instance. And that's welcome. A relief, even. Sadly. But when that's the best, or that's what the best is, well, you are in hell. And you're trying to get out of hell. Which also means saying thank you in this instance, and trying to keep yourself going across all of these different areas, and sending the next thing. And doing it all at once. I think that's what I'm trying to say, too. When Dante had the Inferno, you were in one place in hell. This is more like your body and soul is spread across all of the levels of hell, so that you're experiencing all of it at once.

I ran 3000 stairs today after running none yesterday. I went to run the stairs yesterday, but the bottom third weren't shoveled, despite it not having snowed for some hours, and being late morning. I tested them, but the shoveled stairs above were quite slick and hadn't been salted. I was sliding just slowly walking, and I figured it wasn't worth the risk. I don't automatically not run if there's snow or slush, but you have to test it out. Wasn't great today either, and in some spots I had to move very slowly.

I started another story today. I think it could be quite a big one, but I haven't figured it all out yet.

This journal has averaged 49,000 words per month over the last eight months. I don't know what I think about that. It's a decent amount. It could be more. At the same time, it's more than anyone else writes everything else that they write combined in that same period, or probably a year, or ten, fifteen years for many so-called "writers." It's about a book a month. I guess I'm ambivalent.


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page