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Fission and frisson

I'm fatigued. Cranked out a 1700 word piece for Rolling Stone this AM. These things don't take long, time-wise, but they can be draining. A lot of energy goes into the creation of each work. Energy is an underrated trait. In the past, editors would barrage me with left handed compliments about my energy. Normally these would be editors who wished to think of themselves as writers. They were usually tired, broken, failed writers who never wrote much. Maybe earlier in their careers a few people hooked them up. What they liked about commenting on my energy was that it was a very short-term form of lying to themselves. Like I simply had some quotient of "want to," where I resolved to put in effort, and that allowed me to know what I knew--whether about a subject or humanity, or the intersection of both--and produce what I produced. In other words, they, too, could simply decide to try hard. Right. I won't write on something if I think that there is anyone in the world who knows more about the subject. I work hard. But deciding to put in effort was never relevant to whether I made all of the white pages black or not. Of course, these editors knew the truth; they knew what I was, they knew what they were. And that made it impossible for them to put me into their pages. It was just too hard for them, and not something they could face. My work would become collateral damage. Then it would run elsewhere, somewhere "better," though I mean better in terms of perception with awards, circulation, that kind of thing, which means nothing right now in publishing in 2018 in terms of actually being better in reality. And the animus would deepen. The mirror would be polished, reflect with greater accuracy, sharper detail. But I'd still try. I'd send the work back to those editors. It was a fait accompli, though, what was going to happen.

But energy. Energy is robustly present in all great works of art. It's not synonymous with happiness or joy. It's not loud. It's not histrionics. It's a life force. It's what takes two-dimensional words on a flat page and turns them into multi-dimensional worlds that surround you from all sides as you read. Before I made my first NPR appearance in June 2013, my producer told me to have lots of energy. He didn't need to say this, but when he did, I knew exactly what he meant. You have to be "up." Again, not loud, not verbally gesticulating. You need the unwavering voice, the ebullience, or the edge, the musical beats, like you're on the balls of your feet, verbally speaking, cognitively speaking. You need to pop.

When I create, I first find the energy. When I have the energy, it's all over. Before I start. I simply then need to be myself. That doesn't mean I start writing about my life. It simply means that I only need perform at my highest level, which for me is no harder than breathing, once I have the energy. I can get it in a fraction of a second. And I know right when I have it. The work is in my hand. Written before it is started.

But I can be spent after. A little. It's a big expulsion.

This concert has good energy. I was listening to it earlier. One of the best Radiohead boots. Radiohead would be well-served by an official bootleg line. With mp3 releases, I really don't understand why more bands don't do this. The Who, for instance. The setlist omits "Idioteque," which is a little odd. Thom Yorke sings as well as you're going to hear him sing.


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