It's late. Twenty past two on Saturday AM. Tried to out-sleep whatever is wrong with me physically, which meant what was tantamount to two short naps during the Red Sox game, then awaking, possibly for good, before midnight. I did basically nothing yesterday, Friday. Proofed galleys for "Hold Until Relieved," which is in Cheer Pack: Stories, one of the new books and book projects I need to sell, for the fall issue of Boulevard, their 100th (good for them). I read a story like that back, and I see something completely out of step--I mean, it's galaxies removed--from the same old, same old clubby lit mag detritus that I see so much of, none of which--none; underline it; none--will last. And they just try and fill up their journals with that kind of writing. From their friends and system people. The galling favoritism, cronyism, and classism of the entitled untalented. One of the worst things in this world is a truly ignorant person. Just like a truly pretentious person. But the combo, in one person? It's like the Devil saying, "Beat that!" for awfulness. This kind of story, no one wants it. They don't even want it. It's just what they shovel around because it's all they know, and on their own, and enabled by each other, they don't know how to be otherwise.
Contracts arrived for the fiction contest--my first--that I am judging later this month for American Fiction/New Rivers Press. I think my debut Wall Street Journal op-ed may be out--I took a fraction of a second's glance at Twitter when I was laying in bed. Listening to Arthur Alexander's Rainbow Road: The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings right now. I'm going to run in a while. I need to get my exercise routine back. If I can't perform, I'm going to have to take some time and go to the emergency room at Charles MGH, because I'll be reasonably certain that it's pneumonia at that point.
This run of runs I am on continued this week, first with the composition of "Invisible Man on Second" and then, the very next day, another short story, "The World of the Lawn." It was not even a month ago that I formally began "Funny Lines TK," with "Nacho Cheese" following immediately after, then these two, and the first portion--and now the start of the second--of "Floor It A.C." (Plus scores of nonfiction.) I'm in a new place, on a new level now, again. Not simply for me. Though there would be nothing simple about that. There's nothing simple about what this is.
Screening a number of films at once. The Yakuza (1974). Mitchum is very good. Escape from New York (1981). The Haunted Strangler, with Boris Karloff (1958). I watched the first three seasons of Wentworth. Not good. Lazy. Not compelling. I'm in the first few minutes of Season 4 and I already know that that that ex-Governor is going to kill the person who has been the central character to date. (Am I right? I bet I'm right.) You can pretend that your show is thoughtful and artistic all you want, but a soap opera is a soap opera is a soap opera. Want a character to pick up on something another is doing? Why, hide them behind a partition and have them overhear a conversation! Repeat this 104 times. There's your show. You get a show like this, and there are so many like it before it, and so many after it, and they all use the exact same tropes and devices. Is it better than Orange is the New Black? Okay. But that means very little.
Also watching The Stranger (1946), I Am a Killer--another Netflix dud that has all of the imagination of a bad History Channel doc with its mise-en-scene. Can't believe I tried to watch Master of None. Is he supposed to be funny? Why? Because he does that little squeal-y voice thing and sometimes moves around in a fast, exaggerated way? That seems to be his one go-to "funny" move. Viewing His Kind of Woman (1951) again. Critics used to say that Mitchum was sleepy-eyed and languorous in films like Out of the Past (1947). He wasn't. But he is in this one. And it works.
Watched an interview of Orson Welles, disheveled, sitting at his Moviola, being interviewed on The Merv Griffin Show as he's editing Chimes at Midnight. It's a brilliant little piece in and of itself. He's just smarter than other people. And wiser. These are two separate things. But he's just beyond other people in both areas.
This apartment is so disgusting. You cannot even move. I can't die like this. I have to get out of here. I have to get past these people. But even though you cannot move in here, I am still going to stand up right now and shake my ass a little to Arthur Alexander's version of "Burning Love." It predates Elvis's, you know.
It's much later now--after nine at night. Suffice it to say, I did pass out around three. Awoke at half past eight. Worked. Have come up with a number of Halloween and Christmas ideas. In the former category: Richard Middleton's lone story collection, Henry James's ghostly fictions besides "The Turn of the Screw," Disney's knack for scary eldritch shorts, Edith Nesbit's short terror fiction, which contrasts pleasingly, winkingly, I would say, with her children's literature. In the latter category: the story on which It's a Wonderful Life is based, the 200th anniversary of "Silent Night." The BBC series A Ghost Story for Christmas would be good for something, too. Humorous ghost stories is another good idea. I also came up with an idea for Vice's art section. They had asked me to do that. This one involves fog.
I feel like I was okay today physically. A step in the right direction. Ran three miles, walked four. Only climbed the Monument once, but did run the first 100 steps. The weather was perfect for working out--around 70 degrees--but the humidity was 90%. I'm coughing, but it's a controlled cough--the kind you do to clear your throat, not because you have to. But it certainly rears up with physical activity. I don't have it otherwise. Strangely, this is the third August in a row I've gotten sick, and whatever this is is less bad than last year, and of course the full-on pneumonia.
Will try to do better tomorrow.