If you are a writer--by which I mean, a writer who creates art--you should not be going to Bread Loaf. You should not be going to Yaddo. Do you think Keats would have gone to sodding Bread Loaf? Do you think that's where Flaubert would have gone to bone up on his talents? Or do you think they would have been far too busy developing their prodigious gifts and staying the fuck clear of cheese-and-wine networking bijou bollocks and living life, drinking it to the lees, and letting the almighty talent forever rip?
Frauds, fools, cowards. Why cowards? Most people in publishing are terrified of the reality of what they are not. They cannot face it. So they spend their time drumming up, and focusing on, irrelevance.
Made my Wall Street Journal op-ed debut this weekend. Good. Op-eds in one month here, in USA Today, in New York Daily News. We have a confluence occurring now. More rivers are now flowing into this particular ocean. Before there was all of the fiction, the writings on art, film, literature, rock, jazz, classical, the personal essays, the writings on sports, all of the radio. Now I am taking on these times, too, and using the news cycle and the age as a fulcrum, and I am saying what others are not saying, which many are thinking, to various degrees and the degrees of their cognitive abilities, and would like to say.
Deep in Kafka's journals, there is this line, which Kafka is saying to himself, to steel himself, to urge himself onward: "Ride your enemy's horse." That means, of course, that you've dispossessed them of it by knocking them on their ass.
Today I watched Out of the Past for the God-knows-what-time. I think it is in same league as Citizen Kane and The Searchers so far as American films go. The cinematic history books will tell you it's one of the two definitive noirs (Double Indemnity being the other). It's better than that. At the level of language--and keep in mind what a visually successful picture this is, with Nick Musuraca's finest cinematography--this is the greatest of all pictures. At the level of language. Canonical novels and stories are not better written at that level of person-to-person interaction. Now, the plot can be pretty crazy. It's a nesting doll of noir, with portions inside of portions. The cast is amazing, but one crucial performance aspect is how skilled they are as voice actors. I once sat through this picture four times in two days at the theatre, "watching" it one time with my eyes closed the entire time.
Did not climb the Monument today, despite the favorable temps. 70 degrees. Humidity was 97%. But I ran a hard three miles. Felt strong. Coughing lessening. The Red Sox improved to 85-35. Eye-popper of a record. Word to the wise, come the postseason: You cannot have too much insurance with Craig Kimbrel as your closer. He blows 1/4 of his save chances with a 1 run lead. The more pressure, the worse he is. His fastball is below average. 97 MPH. So? That's nothing nowadays. He is wild in the strike zone, when he does throw strikes. Never hits the mitt. Hockey is a game of space and time. The attacking team wishes to create these things, the defensive team wishes to deny them. Baseball is a game of the count. The count is leverage and advantage, or it is weakness and being disadvantaged, depending upon your hold on it. Kimbrel always battles the count. Always. He's constantly fighting back from 2-0, 3-1, on the verge of another walk at 3-2. He is the single biggest threat to the Red Sox' World Championship prospects. Well, the bullpen in general. You do not want to have to rely on this guy shutting the door.
Just listened to the Count Five's 1966 debut LP, which was their only LP. An all-time favorite of mine. Now listening to Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Song Book. That would be a good book, looking at her full cycle of song books. You'd weave in bits about the composers, the genesis of the songs, their various resonances, both with Fitzgerald and before her--and after her, too, in fact. Tell the stories from the sessions, her shifting affinities, her depth of commitment to such and such, her extra depth of commitment to a different such and such. The import each undertaking had in her career, the influence of the entire shebang overall. You know what you could also do? You could do a book on the art of the cover. And these recordings could be a big chunk. What else would you have? The Beatles' BBC sessions. Brotzmann playing Charlie Parker? (Or Bud Powell, perhaps.) Will file that away in the "future projects" section of my mind.