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Tuesday 12/4/18

Walked three miles yesterday and today, climbed the Monument once yesterday, three times today. New piece in JazzTimes came out. Composed a 1000 word piece yesterday on a volume from Valancourt of Victorian Christmas ghost stories. I had no assignment with this; just wrote it, thinking I could sell it. Trying to do so now. This is today's appearance on Downtown, talking about Christmas cinematic alternatives for the season. Listened to the Giles Martin mix of the White Album. Hated it. Managed to take all of the swing out of "Back in the USSR" and turn it into a leaden, plodding rocker.

Composed first 2300 words of a new story, "Pillow Drift." I have hit upon something major with it. A man named Waldy who is thirty-two has rediscovered, let us say, a memory of something that he did with his adopted father, in what was his father's last act on earth, when shaving his chest and stomach for a bit of role play with his wife, Kris. They were deeply in love, and their rapport--which is often quite hilarious--colors most of the story, even as it gets more intense. He becomes completely unmoored from all he had known and thought he had known, incapable of physical intimacy, of touch. Given what has returned to his brain, or given its first standing and admission there, this is less than surprising. He cannot love someone he rationally knows that he does love. Love is not a possibility, it would seem, as something graspable and feel-able with the new dispensation of knowledge. He seeks therapy at a clinic in the northern portion of New Hampshire. After some weeks, his wife comes to take him home. The roads are largely empty in the New England late autumn. The interstate is closed down. They take an alternate route back to Boston. The end up on the same road seemingly without an end. They notice many roadside markers for where, presumably, cars have crashed and people have died. She thinks she sees one of them twice. A Winnie-the-Pooh doll is staple gunned to the cross. She also sees a squall approaching from behind in the rear view mirror, like something gaining on them. It is dark at two in the afternoon. The pursuing squall splits into other squalls that overtake the car on the remaining three sides. They cannot see. The car is stopped. He is not sure if she stopped it or it was some other agency. It and they become imprisoned in a pillow drift of snow. No other cars are coming. And we go from there, in what is a terror story unlike any other, and a love story unlike any other.

In lighter matters, a couple questions to self: At what point would you think you register as a Candy Cane Monster? How many of these do you need to eat? Wipe the shards from your lips, son.

Letter to a friend:

You are now a blog subscriber--next time we talk I need you to tell me what you did differently this time because something must be broken and I need to tell Andrea what you saw so she can fix the problem. (I've had the feeling this has been one all along. Different people seem to have different results when they try to sign up, but it's so few people who have signed up and I have so few friends I can query as to what they are seeing, it's hard to pinpoint this.) This obviously does not matter when there are ten subscribers, but it will when there are millions.

Came up with another story yesterday. I should not be spending any time on things like this, but I am likely going to write it now. I still have to do the Scrooge book and I have half a dozen long features to write, plus proposals. This really isn't what I should be spending any time on. But I'm going to do it anyway, and try to do all of it anyway, even though at the moment it feels like there is no point to any of it. Do you realize the fiction I've written this year and the unsold stories I now have stretching back to 2010? But even if you just confined what I have to the work going back to last summer, that is "The Last Field," "Cheer Pack," the five from this summer, and "Jesus H. Christ" and "Qui"--and I will put any of those stories up against any stories anyone has ever written if you told me the God of Reality was to judge the winner, and I would be utterly, implacably insouciant as I awaited that verdict; plus what will emerge from what I am about to undertake, a work called "Pillow Drift" that is roiling the waters of my soul before I have formally put down the first word. It is a terror story unlike any I have ever seen, and a story of love, too, in a new form. (I can also see quite easily how it could be an eighty-five minute film. I could write the screenplay for this after the fact very easily.) And I can't give any of it away for free to places that no one reads. Obviously that's the industry-wide blacklisting, but even if I used a pseudonym, they hate good work that people can actually like. It has to be the pretentious meaninglessness for absolutely no stakes. And they're mostly just hooking up their friends and people like them anyway.

I have thought about making the blog a separate, stand-alone site. John's idea. His thinking that more people will see it, and this content is radical. I don't think anyone is going to see or care about anything I do right now, and it's not worth it. But I keep going back and forth. It would have a separate name, which would be direct and include my name in it (oh hell, I'll just tell you the name, because if I do do this, I know what the name will be: colinfleminglightsyouup; obviously the meaning is two-fold: lights you up as in a good way, like love lights up one's life, or the poetry of John Keats; and lights you up as in hits you so fucking hard as you, the adversary, cross center ice, that you get knocked the fuck out and swallow your tongue; the title is equally relevant to friends and foes, but for completely different reasons, of course). Basically, he thinks that the blog is buried on the site. (My thinking: I don't want to cleave things. If people aren't coming to this place, they are not likely to go to another, but I could be wrong. Then again, I could see people citing the blog by name, with a catchy name, knowing a blog for a blog, but thinking that maybe a website won't en-house a blog; that's how lazy people can be now; you sometimes have to cut out one part of a process, even if that part is literally one additional click. I don't see it paying immediate dividends. Ideally, the blog and the site work in tandem.

Part of the problem right now is that this site is unique. It's a digital museum of great art, of many kinds, and that's with but four years' worth of work uploaded, and as we know, that's four years' worth of work from someone facing one door in his face after another; imagine if it was not that way, what then? Well, we'll see later, when the time finally arrives that the very notion of doors is an antediluvian one to me. No writer has a site like this. They couldn't. You'd have to be me. Most sites are static. How could you have a site like this where you add new art, and new kinds of it, all the time? What's the most one could do? Be a film critic, right, and update your film reviews? Okay. But that's way scaled down from this. People just don't have much new stuff, and what they have of it is the same. This is almost too innovative at the moment. Which is a standard problem for me, as you know. And it's also useful, given what I say in the blog--and I'm about to take some people's fucking heads off--to have it surrounded by my work. No one has ever walked more walk than this talker talks. The work, its quality, its quantity, make me bulletproof. It is what it is. Like, even if there were a separate blog, and I get to where I'm going, I'd then meld the blog and the site back together. So I don't know right now. I really don't.) But no one goes to the site as it is. I see the analytics. People don't care about me or what I'm doing. They could not care less. That's just a fact. People only care about things that a lot of other people are talking about. With this industry's attempt to make sure I am not discussed, not awarded, repped, given deals, publicized, reviewed, anthologized, solicited, responded to, that I am banned, that they tell others to ban me, that there is such twisted pleasure in thinking you, a bitter, petty peon gets to halt momentum, how does one engender that discussion? It's sweeter for them to put up the roadblock, no matter how meaningless their own little byway is, after big things have been achieved; the bigger the things, the sweeter it is for them. That's the kind of person we're dealing with here. There is, of course, no discussion right now.

As I said to you before the Harper's story ran in April, "Watch how these people double down in their hate, watch how much worse things get after this achievement that would open door upon door for anyone else." I wanted to be wrong, but, well, we all know now. What's more, at the same time, that might not have even been the biggest thing in my writing life at that time. Flip through the News tab on my site in March and April. It's kind of funny. There is never one thing on its own here; I am lighting it up here, here, and here. And there. We all know where it stands. You've accepted it, John, Lisa, family. To many of the people in this industry, I am that which must not escape the hold of Pandora's Box. Now, there's a negative connotation to that with the myth, as you know, and so it is with them with me, not that I am actually, in reality, anything negative; I'm the absolute converse as an artist, as an entertainer, for I am both; but in their world, everything is inverted; what's bad is good, what's good is bad, what you are told to read is what no one wishes to read, what you are told possesses emotion possesses less than that of a pebble, what they think is funny is the most painfully unfunny writing in human history. I mean, for fuck's sake, a stroke is more witty than a Lydia Davis "micro-fiction." Etc.

I'm legit, I'm real, and nothing is more hated in this industry right now. I bring truth--and these people hate truth--and I make you feel, and these people cannot handle feelings, let alone depth of feeling. Nothing is more of a pejorative than legitimacy for them. That's all it is. That is all that gets anything seen, being talked about. It has nothing to do with how great something is or how godawful it is. Nothing at all. If Shakespeare were alive and everyone were talking about him, everyone would go to his site and follow him on Twitter. If everyone were talking about a fecal log that Roxane Gay just made, everyone would go to its site and follow the log on Twitter. The only difference is is that something that's good has legs and keeps extending into the world--and into generations--if a lot of people start talking about it. What it can achieve in the world and do for the world is then proportionate to its quality and the qualities of its quality (for example, some things are wonderful, but they don't as overtly and directly impact your day in, day out being; I'm a being-affector, at the deepest levels; there is more for humans to connect with here, and more for them to see themselves in. But, this is old ground we both know. It's not the hurdle of the day, being able to create that rarest of all forms of work, and most vital, and most long-lasting; those parts are all in place; having people see what is in place, though, is the issue. Obviously some do. I am sure there are people for whom my work, my books, the journal that is the blog, mean a great deal--more than a great deal. But it's a gathering of eyeballs thing, among other things. And also being able to accept that someone in this world can be what I am. It's not that it's not obvious; what is the challenge, rather, is that people have a hard time accepting something so enormous and different from that which they've know before if it's just them doing the say-so--to themselves--and not a lot of people doing the say-so--which is often parroting--of the group. That parroting gives the individual courage to like that thing, surround themselves with that thing, that they might not have so readily on their own. It's a paradox, because in some cases it's not fake-liking. It's vital-liking. The Beatles released their early singles in the States in fall 1963, and they did jack shit. It took the advertising push, it took the snowball of the numbers, it took Kennedy Airport, it took Ed Sullivan. The same people who heard "She Loves You" in October 1963 and who didn't give a fuck were the same people orgasming over it in February 1964.). But something being great doesn't make anyone care about anything right now as the concept of individuality goes more by the wayside very day. Another reason why I am needed. The "thing" is not the thing, if you will. The thing is that people feel like they're part of a group, that while they're watching that show that they don't even like, or purchasing that shit book they won't read, they feel like many others are doing the same thing. It's one way people try to feel less lonely now.

This is part of the problem to solve at the moment.


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