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Garden cultivating

Tuesday 4/26/22

* Pitched something on Sonny Clark. I have a lot of strong jazz pitches out there right now: The Penguin Guide to Jazz, Paul Gonsalves with a solo on "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue" from Pennsylvania in 1957 that tops the famed Newport performance, Bud Powell and jazz's best tribute album, Sam Morgan and the eight sides he cut in New Orleans in 1927. There will be forthcoming jazz features on Monk's first session at Blue Note, Miles Davis's On the Corner, Lady Sings the Blues, Sun Ra's Jazz in Silhouette, and Louis Armstrong for Christmas.

* I have a Rolling Stones pitch, too.

* To the surprise of no one who knows me, I've begun work on a second volume of stories featuring female narrators and/or protagonists.

* I've also begun work on a volume of writings about literature, that is accessible to all. There are these terrible books about literature that can only appeal--and not even--to writers, professors, and scholars. That's not who literature is for. Not true literature. Or it's not exclusively for them. Literature is supposed to reach and connect with readers. That's the point. All readers. All people who can be readers.

* Never write for academics. Few people in this world are less likely to comprehend anything than an academic, let alone something real and vital. Reality is something that passes them by, is lost on them, and is not something with which they can remotely deal. It's why they've shut themselves off where they have. Yes, there are exceptions--and hello to you. But there are very few.

* What you want to do with any nonfiction book on a given topic is have it blow the minds of people who think they know everything about that subject, and also bring in the people who know nothing about that subject and would not normally be interested in it or think they would be. And everyone in between. Write your Beethoven book for people who have spent their entire lives studying Beethoven, loving Beethoven, and write it for someone who can't name a single work by Beethoven. But that's the challenge of it, isn't it? Still, it should be the goal if you're any good.

* You also want it to be its own stand alone work of art that, frankly, is far, far, far beyond the art the nominal subject may have made. Your book needs to be the show. The official work of art. That which pulls rank on anything else. You achieve this the same way you do with a work of fiction. The ideas and the insight have much to do with it. The larger ideas that are universal and personal, and, again, go beyond the subject that they may start with, or appear to start with. You're not there--if you're great--to get people to check out something else. You're not some proxy, some rep, on behalf of your subject. You're not their publicist. You are the show. Your book. You just do it so that it also looks like something else at the same time, because that's part of the art on this level, if you reach it.

* I awoke last night to a text from someone about "Bitches" saying it had stayed with them all day and was keeping them up now.

* Listened to an adaptation of M.R. James's "Casting the Runes" from Escape in 1947. A potentially fun book to do: a survey of all of--or the notable--film, TV, and radio adaptations of M.R. James's ghost stories.

* I would like to meet someone brilliant and dynamic, even as a friend--someone to be excited by and look forward to hearing from during the day and seeing what they think and what is happening with them, but I don't think anyone brilliant and dynamic exists, at least not as how I would view brilliant and dynamic.

* Scanned this Elon Musk business and attendant chatter (predictable idiocy). People have no self-awareness. You have two groups, for the most part. All of this country breaks down into two groups. One group shouts, "This is bad, what a tyrant!" and the other group shouts, "This is good! You're the tyrant!" It's so predictable. You're supposed to pretend it's not, but it is. You go on a dating app, and you see a woman who is going on about God, guns, country, country music, and how vaccines are bad. You know what side she's on. You see some mentally ill, Ivy League grad pretending to love Amanda Gorman and Greta Thunberg and St. George and who owns a New Yorker tote bag, saying you better be vaccinated or else, with the self-serving, hypocritical Elizabeth Warren nonsense and the actual racism and the atheism--which so often is a pose by someone who believes in nothing in an importuning attempt to say, "Look at me"--and you know what side she's on. The one is no more stupid, nor actually educated, than the other. You know what group you should be in? Neither of these. You shouldn't care about left and right and Democrats and Republicans. You should care about the self, growth, helping people, helping yourself, locating truth and dealing with its ramifications, hard as that can be, but as vital and salubrious as that can also be, and sometimes easy, too, and peaceful and inspiring, and you should be a humanist. You should think for yourself, but more importantly--because that term is bound up with a kind of smugness that invites truculence--you should think. Period. Think. Separate yourself from cant and the news cycle and what is stuck in front of your face all day, and think. Allow yourself to think. Make the conscious decision, because that's what it often takes before we become a regular thinker. Be a person. Not a representative of a group. Someone should have to know you for years and years, before they know what you're about, have a "handle" on you. And with almost everyone else--and the kind of people I've just described--I know what they're all about in ten words or less. (Or a single photo, often enough.) And that's not because they're remarkable writers. Is that what you want to be? Probably not, right? So don't be it. Until the very second you die, you have the choice. And the right choice is worth making right through the whole of that last second.

* Anything you say, should be something that can only come from you. The thought is yours, the way it's expressed is your way. Taken in tandem, someone else will know that was you, even if your thoughts echo their own, which is fine. When you reach this point, you're doing okay. You are a person. You are an individual. If it could have come from anyone else, that essentially means that you are not even you. Don't you want to be you? You should. And you should make sure you are. You have the control. It's your decision to put forth the effort. Or not.

* People on dating cites will list social justice as an interest. Like a hobby. The way it might be listed next to gardening. A fad in which one dabbles, like the way you used to go to the arcade as a kid on the weekend and play video games. How can one fail to know just how fake they are? I see it constantly, and yet it never ceases to astound me. Play things. To be that divorced from reality or decency, and have no idea whatsoever. People that divorced from reality are the majority. It is that majority that then determines who and what will be successful. In keeping with what they are, they're going to back other people who are also divorced from reality. That is who will be platformed, favorably commented upon, awarded, remunerated, etc. The person in tune with reality is going to have a problem they have to solve, if they are to get anywhere.

* If you didn't care about it on your own, if you haven't cared about it when it was always there to care about, and it's not like you weren't exposed to it, you don't actually care about it now. You are the lowest of the low, because you are the most fraudulent of the fraudulent. That millions and millions of people fit this bill, does not make what you are any better.

* I think I've seen enough of the Chaim Bloom era. The dollar store approach to running the Red Sox is not going to work. What kind of roster is this? Who goes into the season without a right fielder? That's not acceptable. They have three decent pitchers, one of whom can't get vaccinated and so isn't always available. Trevor Story? I've seen all I need to see. He's the shortstop of the future? First off, he's not that good. Look at his career OPS+. Secondly, he's a Coors hitter. Thirdly, he's thirty. Your shortstop of the future cannot be thirty. Unless you're Luis Aparicio, you're worse in the field at short from thirty on, to the point that you quickly become a liability. It's a position for a man in his twenties.

* Celtics eliminated Brooklyn. Was surprised the game was that close. Can't imagine Irving wanted to go back to Boston. This is a long lay-off they'l have now, which isn't ideal. Still, you finish a team when you have a chance to finish them.

* Listened to two hour-long episodes of Suspense this morning: "Eve" and "Suspicion." The apple prelude at the start of the former is quite well-written.

* And here's Little Richard live in Paris in 1966, because it's always beneficial to listen to Little Richard.

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