The way things are going, it's remarkable that I stayed up to half past three to watch that game last night. In over six years now, I've not had a single pain-free moment; not a single moment, a second, of not feeling like I am in hell; there has not been one real smile, anything I've enjoyed, anything I've looked forward to; it has simply been entirely about trying to get past people in an industry who hate me and wish to bury me in the earth. Nothing else. Everything I've done, composed, every time I've forced myself to stop crying and brush my teeth, has been about getting past these people and doing what I am in this world to do. Which no one has done before, and for which there has never been the need for someone to do now. Every trip up the Monument is to be able to keep going, to not have another stroke, even to dehydrate myself to cry less. It's pouring now and I am about to walk to Charlestown to climb again. A new story came to me yesterday as I watched some college football. It was another very bad week. The details will emerge next week as I maintain this record and add to it. But as Thoreau would document the stages of developing forms of animal life in vernal pools, so will I add to this record in real-time, over, in this case, sports.
Alex Cora, who had seemingly been able to do no wrong as a manager, managed the worst game I've ever seen from a manager in all the years I've watched baseball. He'll learn from it, I'm sure, but it may be too late in terms of what his decisions could cost the Red Sox. I had earlier written that I could not see the Sox losing this series. I did not envision a game like last night's. If the demise comes, it began with Cora lifting Rick Porcello after, I believe, 61 pitches, having giving up only one run on a solo shot, and cruising. He got too cute using David Price who, sorry, Fox announcers, was not "heroic"; he sucked, again. 2/3 of an inning, hit, walk. That's called sucking. Cora removed J.D. Martinez way too early, he had his catcher playing first base, he risked Nathan Eovaldi's health and career in throwing him for almost 100 pitches after he pitched the last two game (in what was one of the best performance's I've ever seen from a pitcher, at any time). The Dodgers helped out Eovoldi because they are inept batsmen. It's one fool after another swinging from his ass to be the hero. If the Dodgers could work a count, put a couple singles together, they would have won that game three hours earlier. Eventually someone was going to run into one. Actually, I texted a friend that it was going to happen seconds before it did. One of the worst pitchers in baseball--Drew Pomeranz--awaited in the bullpen, with his ERA over 6 and a negative WAR. Do you know what that means, on the WAR side? It means you could have put me out there and the Sox would not have fared worse. That's what a negative WAR is.
But now we come to Ian Kinsler. I had written in these pages during the regular season that I thought he would contribute in the postseason. He played with his head up his ass. Nearly got picked off first--and he was out, there just wasn't enough video evidence; then he overslides third and is nearly out; so when he was sent on the fly to center--the right call--and he's out by five feet on a play I think he should have scored on--or it should have been very close--I question his jump, if not his effort and hustle. Then the grounder at second. A routine play. On the more difficult side of routine plays, but still a routine play. If Eduardo Nunez hadn't decided that he was going to try and make a case of showing you how hard he was trying by flopping his fat ass all over the field and into the stands, there wouldn't have been a runner on second, but there was. It was bad enough that Kinsler started to fall on his face. But if you are falling on your face, you need to have that ball fall with you, on your person. He completes that simple play, the man is out at first--and that was the disgusting, also fat-assed, Puig, who never hustles and even wasn't hustling there--and you're up 3-0, and the series is 99.9% over, assured, done. The Dodgers are not coming back. That was your World Series victory in all but name. Instead, that one play puts the series I would say, at best, fifty-fifty for the Sox. They are in serious trouble today.
And Mookie Betts. You, sir, have no power, haven't had any since July, and are a disgrace of a postseason hitter. He has looked out of sorts in almost every postseason game--at the plate--I have seen from him. And this thing about canonizing him as a saint for delivering some food to the homeless outside of the Copley library branch after Game 2? He has food delivered by caters to him in the clubhouse. He doesn't have a Subway Foot Long waiting for him. He has caterers bring him food. His mom and dad are with him. They had three times more than they needed. So what was he supposed to do? Throw it away? That would make you a dick. A huge dick. His dad told him they were giving it to the homeless. You know, your dad? Dude you look up to who tells you "we're doing this, son." So he wasn't a dick who threw food away and he did what his dad said. That doesn't make you a saint, a great anything. It's nice. It's the right thing to do. it shouldn't be the start of 500 stories about how amazing you are because it's simply not being an asshole. (And these stories aren't about the nice act, ever; they're about us saying over-the-top Joan of Arc-level compliments about the person we already like, who others have pre-approved to like, but if it's just the act we learn of from someone else, we could give no fucks whatsoever, and if we don't like that person, for some sick, disturbed, petty, bigoted, envy-laden reason, we hate them even more when we learn of their kindness.) And you know it makes you look good and it's sanctification time in the mass media and with every Facebook boob, even if that's not your intention at all. People need to start letting reality be reality, rather than trying to use it and warp it for their purposes. Xander Bogaerts was similarly awful, and his chance to put the game away with the bases loaded, hitting it an inch forward instead and not moving, was another indication to me that even with the lead they were not going to get out of that game with a victory.
Should the Red Sox lose this series, you should never hear another word about the Bill Buckner gaffe. In the first place, his play was meaningless; that game was lost the moment the Mets had tied it. They were going to win. That was simply the play the inevitable happened on. It was coming. Kinsler's routine chance was the series. If the Sox lose. It will be the play that changed a series most in the history of North American sports. Cora's decisions will be far more destructive than Grady Little's in 2003, because that pitching staff is destroyed now. They would have been better off getting blasted 13-2 last night. You can be too aggressive, much as being aggressive is almost the right way to go in sports and in life. You go for things. But you don't slice all of your limbs off in the process of going for things, because you're going to have to walk again and handle shit that flies at you again later.
I have so many new stories. I also worked more yesterday on one story I am doing two ways, simultaneously ("Dundedin", "Done Eden"); one will read one story and think that it is the perfect pairing of story and form, a perfect story, and then see, wait, there's another attachment here, and see the same story become a totally different story, in a new form. On a museum wall they would be displayed in a so-called double-hang. Anyway. Now I will climb. I am reading Ray Russell's The Case Against Satan.
He is a real writer. Last night, during the baseball, I estimated that there are less than three dozen decent writers in the world right now, and there are not five good fiction writers in it presently. That I know of. But again, there is much to change, and that I am here for that, the faith that I must be, means we keep trying. I hope Russell's estate sued William Peter Blatty's, because The Exorcist is a straight up rip-off of this book, but written in an infinitely inferior way. Seriously, read the first page of The Exorcist. You won't even understand it. You'll be like, what the fuck is he trying to say? Read it again. Read it fifty times. You'll never figure it out. (On top of that, The Exorcist the film has always made me giggle. You're supposed to find this scary? It's just a little kid swearing and bad special effects! Absolutely makes me titter with laughter. I don't know how anyone takes it seriously. The cinematography also makes the picture look like a clogged toilet.) Russell has real skill, real talent. Then I will go out to the Harvard Film Archive for a 3 PM screening of Whale's Frankenstein for $5, dash over to the Brattle for God and Monsters, and perhaps dash back to the Harvard Film Archive to see Hammer's Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed. Then home to sit in this disgusting, animal-like burrow in which I cannot move and must curl up in a ball in the darkness. Having a light on in here and seeing what it looks like in the light is the same as being shot through the heart, slowly. Today will be the twenty-sixth day in a row, I believe, that I've climbed the Monument.
Some hours later. That trip to Cambridge may be off. Soaked through on the walk to Charlestown. Not a single other soul was inside the Monument. The bridge over the harbor was very nautical--the wind was strong enough to knock me off my stride. That bridge will be closing soon, as it's been a mess for years--only two of the four lines are usable. That means I will have to walk further down towards the Garden, to cross out of Boston via the locks. Only locks I know, actually. I wrote some locks in "Anaerobic Mud," which is Buried on Beaches, in a story about a piano genius whose family thinks they are losing him to a dark recess from which he'll never reemerge. Even the walking portion of the bridge is a mess, being badly pitted and cratered. Yesterday on the way to the Monument, a man fell after stepping in one of the cement divots. Able-bodied man. He acted in total shock, like he'd been shot, and I was thinking, okay, dude, get up, it's the ground, you've seen and been on it before. I wreck from time to time with all of my walking, especially in winter, as you imagine. And I do my version of a pop-up slide--boom! Back up on my feet, bitches! By "bitches" I mean in the non-gendered sense, like when people say "bastard," which I never use as a pejorative, as I am one in the literal sense of the circumstances of my birth. Don't see me getting all triggered though, do you? On the return from Charlestown yesterday, a family was pushing an older gentleman with a blanket across his lap in a wheelchair, and a wheel hit a different crater, spilling the man out on the bridge. I helped get him up again, but it's a very bad bridge, I must admit, even though my commute to the Monument will be noticeably longer and the bridge doesn't effect me as it is. But if you are elderly it is definitely a problem. Then I went to CVS and got birthday cards for my sister, mom, and nephew, plus cranberry juice for my blood pressure. 888 days today without a drink. Triple eights, baby. Eight cubed! Tres ochos! Then I read for a bit at the North End Library. There was a hot woman there working on something for grad school who smiled at me several times. I should have said something. I said nothing. I also smelled of wet dog by then. Read some of Henry James's writings on his own The Turn of the Screw, and Robert Hughes discussing the art of Rome, plus that Montville Ted Williams bio. Downloading some Bob Wills sides now that my friend Howard got for me. More on Howard soon. He's the person my first Beatles book will be dedicated to.
Do you know who has the most lines in all of Shakespeare? It's not Lear, it's not Hamlet. It's Iago.
Aforementioned story which I began head work on while watching college football last night will be called "Hair from Eyes." Probably. Or that's how she's starting. I wish stories would cease coming to me, in some ways, if it was not becoming ever easier for me to invent, to innovate. I would do just about anything not to possess the abilities I possess. I know of no worse feeling than knowing exactly what you've done, at the level that is new, knowing what it would mean to people, what it hopefully will eventually mean to people, but knowing it will be suppressed by a system for the time being. I composed a 500 word op-ed that had been a done deal at one of the two highest circulation papers but that is not happening, though they are running something else, and as it's a regular gig I cannot go into the details here, as I need these funds. All is caprice, at some venues. Caprice and incompetence. But there is no checks and balances. No quality control. So much runs amuck. That wrests all control from me. And from quality. I am endeavoring to sell the piece elsewhere now, which I think I can do, but that will negate a piece I aimed to write for that venue timed to a day this week. These are potentially blow-delivering pieces; any one of which could strike the blow that cracks this dam for me such that the water comes rushing through and I am venture through, the impediment removed. The vast network of impediments. Only one need crash, and I'll be off. Then this game really starts, with this huge body of work in place, and this person and artist who was remade many times over in fires of the past 2500 days. My development was hastened by what I had to become. There was endurance that would have proved too tasking of anyone else, and that would have been notable and enough, I suppose, in itself, but in hell I have improved, and in ways that even I could not have conceived of, and I had a pretty good idea of what was happening in my head with what I could do with words when Iw as three. It has been all I have ever existed for. Every single thing I have ever done in my life has been for the art those words would make. I composed a 2100 word essay on humorous ghost stories, the bulk of them coming from the early twentieth century, plus the second half of a 2200 word essay on a radio program from seventy years ago. Both of those pieces should be up--well, they need to be--by Halloween. I'll retroactively update the stat sheet/roster entry, as it helps me as I consult the pages of this journal, keep my rudder where it should be so that I remain on course.
In less meaningful matters, I will now wonder aloud why every piss poor TV show--The Walking Dead--thinks that if you want to show what a serious actor you are, you make your voice go really low and talk in this kind of strained whisper like you're taking a shit. Why does everyone talk-whisper? No matter where they are, they talk-whisper. Can this Rick Grimes actor dude do anything else? The crossbow guy has it beat, though, when it comes to the shit-whisper style of acting. It's like they're constipated.
When I was reading at the Starbucks, came up with the topic for Downtown this week. What I'll do, I think, is discuss Halloween-friendly works from a range of art forms that you don't know about, that maybe you should turn to as an alternative to the same old, same olds of the holiday. This is what I call tour-de-forcing it, when you bounce from subject to subject, sounding like the world's leading expert on each one, as though anyone hearing you talk on just the one would think that's what you devoted your life to, and nothing else. So, I'll do a classical music piece, a painting, a film, a book, a TV special, ending on a wild card from real life to knock people on their asses.
I have a piece in the new JazzTimes. Good one. It's on Bill Savory's collection of live recordings from the 1940s. And pitched an op-ed the other day on the shutting down of FilmStruck. Hey, let's not let classic cinema move into the 21st century as we kill off art and culture. Will see what comes of that. I can write the motherfuck out of that and should.
Will go back to the Starbucks and read now. A cold, storm-tossed day such as this one makes me, if it's even possible, wish all the harder to return to School Street in Rockport. So I remind myself, this is a not a house of mercy, sir--keep going, the days of reaping and culling and removing, and then the days that will never stop coming of building and healing, are out there awaiting their moment, moments, to dawn, to stretch out into their evenings, to begat more days that this world needs, but not if you stop right now. Even in days of plenty and happiness I would not really be looking forward to this Red Sox game. Baseball asks too much of you with the time. It's like a movie studio that only put out gargantuan epics. Every picture an epic. You need shorts, and two hour films, and a seventy-minute noir quickie, and the epics. But, it will be a mettle-tester for the Sox, both physically and mentally. A special team could win this game in their position. Not a non-special team. So they can show how special they are. I don't mean to me, I mean to history. Such as it is as pertains to sports.
E. Rodriguez gets the start tonight, as I expected. What this likely means--before the plan gets tossed out due to circumstances--is that Sale goes tomorrow, Price in Game 6, and either Porcello or Eovaldi in Game 7 on Halloween. That game would go past midnight, and on into November. I'm pulling for Eovaldi to have another big moment here with things working out in his favor. I admired him so much for that performance last night. I had a hockey coach who said you want to have balls as big as grapefruits. That was grapefruit level. Rodriguez can't walk people. He can give up some solo shots--the Dodgers only score via home run--but he can't be wild. He can't be a no-show. They need five or six from this guy.
When sports commentators use the word "pivotal" to describe a game in a series, they ought to consider the full range of the word's meaning. When you use a given word, you want to get max value out of its different permeations of meanings, and you also don't want to create a contradiction because you're using meaning #1, say, against the grain of meaning #2. For instance, you don't want to call a game a pivotal game when it's something like Game 4 in a series that is 2-1. A pivot makes more sense for a series that is 1-1, 2-2, 3-3. See what I mean? You're working against that second definition and essentially making a mixed metaphor.