A day to get after things. I'll document what happens as it happens. Fairly late right now--about quarter after six in the morning.
The stories "Letting It Fly" and "Easter Quartet" are now completely done. This is from the latter:
A pig was wounded on a farm with three broken legs and couldn’t get off its side. It was a runt, and not much use. These boys who were friends took the pig and tied it up around its middle to a tree branch with a rope. The pig dangled and it was humorous to them. Confused, the pig had stopped squealing. It looked around, having never seen the world from this angle before. The pig wondered if it was a bird. One of the boys got a baseball bat, and he swung and smashed the pig in its rump and the pig made a squeal that was as close to a howl as possible. The pig didn’t swing that far, more like it was nudging the air with what just happened to be the whole of itself. “Let me try that,” another boy said, disapproving and impatient, and hit the pig in its midsection, and still it only went a short distance to the side and swung back to where it had begun. The pig knew now, and it made no sound. “Give it here,” the third boy demanded, with greater alacrity than the last, and he swung and hit the pig in its head. The pig’s brains flew out and its eyes seemed to sink deeper into its face. A leg twitched—the one that wasn’t broken. The boys cut down the pig, and buried it out behind the barn, where the boy who lived at this particular farm once buried the first dog he’d ever had, which he asked for for what seemed a long time.
Short story "The Spot" is now completely done. These are staggering masterpieces. Am I supposed to say they're just good? Why am I not to say what they are? I will say what they are.
Punched my chest, screamed, drank some coffee, danced a little to the Vaccines' "Headphones Baby." I remember reading something once where the writer asked if Mozart knew when he had created something for the ages. Yes, you know. That feeling--there is nothing close to it.
Wrote an entry for these pages as a postscript to yesterday's New Yorker post. Also put up a couple excerpts to "Letting It Fly" and "The Spot," both of which could well end up in Longer on the Inside: Very Short Fictions of Infinitely Human Lives.
Ran 5000 stairs.
As a general rule in our 2022 world, people are vastly more comfortable saying something they don't mean, than something they actually mean. It's much easier for most people to praise something that they know is nothing, possesses no quality, offers them nothing, than it is to praise something that is truly special. The latter requires honesty and a kind of emotional and mental openness. Realness. Too big an ask in our age of make-believe, and like button-centric cultural and societal hollowness.
here'Realness takes people away from their comfort zones. They'd rather just say whatever or lie because it's easier and requires no investment of who they are. Realness is a line upon which you place yourself. Most people avoid that line as strenuously as possible. Even in small things. We'd much rather tell someone that that thing that they did that sucks that we could not care less about is "awesome, man," rather than say an honest thought about something truly great. Because then we are on the line--that line of realness. There's a lot of doubt on that line. "Am I saying too much?" "Am I smart enough to make this statement?" "Am I not saying enough?" "Am I too exposed?"
I went back into the preface for There Is No Doubt: Storied Humanness and made a number of changes. Two dozen, perhaps. That probably sounds drastic. Really wasn't. Good changes, though.
There is an out there that transcends geography and even solidity and the pressing of the flesh. These characters, and all of the characters in this book, exist on their own. I have met them. When I have met them, I have known what to do. To listen. To understand. To wait when waiting is required.
What they are going to do—and they always do it—is tell me their stories. They belong to them. Because these characters are real and they are present. I have absolute trust in them, and that unconditional trust is perhaps unlike any I may ever have for a person with whom I could physically meet later today—in theory—for a couple lattes at the café. I don’t know what those stories are going to be, their shape, their outcome, until I am told. I have no gender, I have no race, I have no chest to thump, nor need to do so. What I exist for is one thing alone, and that is to connect in the realest, truest ways, because I think that is not only what matters most, but all that matters. Story is that way.
Yes. You have hit the spot.
Just back from another trip to the Aquarium. For the clearing of my head. Working on "Bobby Orr" now in the minutes before I hop on the radio.
Okay--all done with Downtown. We talked about the next four stories in If You [ ]: Fabula, Fantasy, F**kery, Hope, in following from that first segment about the book a few weeks ago. I really liked this one. Props to Kimball for such great observations and questions. That was a good talk. Now: Off to Starbucks, to figure out what I will read tonight when I give that presentation on the 33 1/3 Sam Cooke book. Quite a few people have signed up, I've been told.
Well, I did a poor job tonight. This computer is so old and needs to be replaced. It's slow, and freezes, and then I have to go under the desk and shut it off at the power strip, then turn that back on, and turn the computer on from the back. That makes it run a bit better for a while. I should have done that earlier tonight, but I didn't, and when it came time to log on to Zoom, nothing worked, everything froze. We were about to go live, and I had to race upstairs and frantically knock on the door. Emma--my former mentee--was nice enough to set me up on her computer and let me use her room. She really bailed me out. And then I just did my thing, which is always what it is, of course. Someone wrote and said it was like listening to Da Vinci or Michelangelo, and the people who put it together were really happy, but I don't like to ever be unprofessional. I'll put up the link later--which I guess will be on YouTube. Then Emma and I went out and walked the dog and then sat at a table in the cold playing some music and catching up a little. I was very appreciative and thanked her dad, too, and felt awful that I barged in on them.
I need to eat--haven't done so all day. I don't like to eat when there is work to be done. The mind stays sharper that way. I step away from this entry with a guest appearance from earlier in the day from Hallway Hermey, having briefly set aside his perpetually present flagon of spice rum, to show you that he can be vernal if he wishes to be. That was a long day. I could have done better, worked on more stories and pieces and books.