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Halted version

Wednesday 4/19/23

I am my version of ground to a halt. All is difficulty and hope bordering on non-existent if it's not outrightly non-existent. It happens. That's the reality of what I'm dealing with and how things are. Then I have to find a way to get un-halted and somehow keep going like there's a point to anything I might do.

My version of halted, I said.

Yesterday I worked on "What the Mouse Knew" and "Finder of Views," the latter of which I also worked on today. "Finder of Views" is not an easy story to write. Or rather, it's easy to write, but it's not an easy story to be looking into. The subject matter is hard.

I say this from time to time, but if you signed up for updates for this journal, you're going to stop getting them. That's just what is going to happen. I am more productive than the system allows one to be. If you go three updates without clicking on one of them--and there can be three entries on here in an hour--then you get unsubscribed. Not by me. By the host.

I can't over-ride this. So if you want to read this journal, you're simply going to have to remember to come to this page on your own. Every time you do so--unless you're hitting refresh every twenty minutes--there is apt to be something or a bunch of things that are new. What I have learned, though, is that even if people know that--and how could one not know it by now?--is that everything has to be pointed out to someone or they won't do it, think about it, remember it. Pretty much.

The horse can know that twenty feet away there's a stream for drinking behind that clump of bushes, but if the rope isn't put over the horse's neck and the horse isn't led, the horse probably isn't going to drink a drop of water. This explains so much about our world and my problems in it. For instance, someone can read an op-ed I wrote in some high circulation venue, to give just one kind of example. They can love that op-ed, think the world of it, it can change how they think, move them to tears. But they don't know my name, so there's that, because of the publishing industry's attempt at suppression. And they're not going to put that name into a search engine. So I can have a day where a million people read something of mine, and not one of those million people come to this site. Very rarely will people do anything on their own. And that is another component of this dungeon I'm in.

The set-up for blogs and host sites--which is to say, the expectation that factors into the design--is that someone will post new content once a week, or once a month, or once a season, or five times a year. A reader wouldn't know that content exists. So that's why the alert is necessary.

There are also people who sign up expecting one kind of thing. They signed up because they read a jazz feature, or a short story, or a Beatles piece, or something about baseball, and the way it works--especially now--if that if you read a jazz piece by a person--to just focus on one example--and you think it's great and definitive, as if that person's whole life and career must be oriented around jazz, and you learn they have a blog, you're going to think it's just jazz content. There's a great chance that when someone realizes this isn't so--no matter who much amazing writing and content is in evidence--that they are going to be annoyed. Some won't be, and will realize that here is something a lot more than just some jazz blog they'd get elsewhere with posts about what happened on this day in jazz in 1958.

And yes, I'm the same guy who did that other thing on other thing that was totally different. I always feel like I'm apologizing for ability and genius, but that's the world right now. Everything favors mediocrity and easily met, predictable expectations. Doesn't matter if someone is getting very little or nothing back. People have expectations, and they want confirmation that those expectations have been met. Not surpassed. Surpassed is now bad.

For me, this, along with everything else, makes life worse than being in hell. When I think of a solution, I think death and taking my chances in another world, or taking a chance that I'd have a chance in another world. Obviously that's not an awesome way to be thinking. I just see no way out for me. At the same time, I keep trying. When I am halted, I prepare to get ready to start trying harder than ever. That's where I am right now. That also means I have to put up things on here that I absolutely hate putting up. And have to go into everything with these people in publishing. I just want peace and a level playing field.

Worked on novels last night lying in bed. It's all story to me. Whether that's a story of this length or that length, but part of the change I've mentioned means less of this, and more focus on that. Things are getting done. A new period--era--is beginning. My base of operations is changing. The other factories will remain open, but they won't be expected to produce the same quantities. And I don't just work on one story at once. That will be exactly the same for these efforts of greater length.

It's ironic that a person who detests cats wrote a beautiful story about cats which is one thing that "What the Mouse Knew" is. It's all separate to me. I am story. I'm not a guy who likes this and likes that. Wants to capture what this person is about and not that other kind of person. It's further ironic that if I take an excerpt from "Big Bob and Little Bob" and put it up on Facebook--an excerpt that could appear to be third person--and I put up another excerpt that contains "I" and "me" and can be assumed to be coming from me, Colin Fleming, person--very wrongly assumed, because it's never me--then much more support will be shown for the latter example. From the same work. Same quality. Both amazing examples of peerless writing. But because all fiction by everyone else is now so bad, people now put up walls when they realize that fiction has now entered the room, so to speak. They wall themselves off to it. Because it's "not real." Usually, it's very artificial. They have those walls up, you might say, before they get to the spot where there's anything to see. it's almost like company policy. People in publishing are not intelligent enough to realize that this is what they've wrought in the world. Plus, they don't really care if anyone reads anything or if anyone writes anything valuable. They just want their place in the sinecure. But the first person excerpts--if there's no reason to think it couldn't be coming from a male--get the more favorable reaction because people think it's Chatty Kathy. It's never me. I'm not sharing something from my life. Didn't happen to me. There's even now a disclaimer at the end indicating what this is an excerpt from. But people can't even figure out what's going on then. They think it's me talking about my dad, say. And it's a character in a story. It is never me. I'm not in my fiction.

If I taught writing, I'd begin the first class with an exercise to make a larger point. I'd say okay, we're going to take fifteen minutes and we're all going to start a story. I'd add don't worry, no one has to see it, relax, have some fun with it. Then, after those fifteen minutes were up, I'd go around the classroom and ask each of the students for the gist if they were comfortable sharing. The idea. The idea for the start. And what would end up happening is that we'd all see that each person went into their lives to "fictionalize" something. They were really doing autobiography. I'd bet that there wouldn't be a single person who invented something that didn't happen to them. And that's how people, for the most part, now write fiction.

It's how everyone from an MFA program writes fiction. There is no invention. It's not just narcissism and navel-gazing, it's narcissism and navel-gazing from silver spooned people with boring lives. Who all basically have the same versions of the same boring life. No life experiences, and a deep-rooted fear of reality and the mirror. And no idea how human nature works. And of what is behind the mysteries that are themselves behind the veil.

Don't do that. Create something. Invent.

Said last night on the radio that though I despise Chris Sale, he'll eventually be fine until he gets hurt, and sure enough, he went out and pitched well. I'm always fair. Even if I know you for exactly what you are, and what that thing is isn't good. Emotion never colors my thinking in terms of assessing what something is. That was a plane that was left behind a long time ago now.

The lights now go off and on at Fenway after the Red Sox win? That's embarrassing. Are we four?

The extra inning rules are stupid. You've sped up the game. There's no need to bastardize it and all of a sudden start playing a different kind of game in extra innings now that things are moving along better. It's gimmicky. I don't feel like you're getting a true result for the contest at that point with those rules. The Red Sox played a game in less than two hours the other day. The pitch clock has solved a big problem. So has the shift rule. Duran hit a line drive up the middle last night late in the game that would have been a one-hopper to a shifted second baseman and a 5-3 putout last year. A line drive up the middle that gets past the pitcher should, by rights, be a base hit. It's the purest kind of base hit, is is not? Textbook base hit. The thing that was a base hit going back to 1880. That's how it should be: Liner through the box equals single.

Didn't like how the Bruins played in Game 1. If the goalie hadn't been excellent there in the first, when the Panthers had 15 shots on goal, we might have seen a different outcome. This was true about him more times this year than people seem to think. I've noticed that the narrative has shifted some to say that his gaudy numbers were mostly because of the team in front of him. They were in part because of that team. But he won games for the Bruins that the Bruins would not have otherwise won and shouldn't have won--the game in Calgary being an excellent example. Bertuzzi was the best skater for the Bruins. He has real chemistry with Pastrnak and it was clear as soon as they started skating together. That was a goalie game, though. The Bruins' goalie was excellent, the Panthers' goalie was bad. These should not be goalie games against the Florida Panthers. Up the intensity and energy. Good habits breed success. Having intensity and energy is a good habit, too. The Bruins will be fine, but it's a good reminder.

As I was updating some of the site the other day, I realized that there are now more than fifty op-eds in print. I didn't start doing these until a few years ago. That's a lot. I would imagine that that's more than anyone has had in print who does not have a job as full-time op-ed columnist and it's not even close. Why does the best writer of opinion pieces in America not have a job as an op-ed columnist? Shouldn't that be how it works?

I wonder when the Toronto Maple Leafs will ever win a first round series. Watched them implode last night. They lose it fast.

Here's a mind blowing baseball stat: Bill Buckner had two seasons in which he had more stolen bases than walks.

Walked three miles, did 300 push-ups, and ran 3000 stairs on Marathon Monday. Went to the Brattle to see The Muppet Movie. Curious what Orson Welles was paid for that. He's in the movie for thirty seconds and says one line. But I bet it was a lot. Witty film with a high meta component. I think the Russian writers of OBERIU would have liked it--particularly Daniil Kharms.

You are outgoing. "Out going" means you're leaving. You don't eat Doritos anymore. You don't want to eat any more Doritos. You want someone to complement your life. Though people are also so insecure that they do want people to constantly compliment their lives. It wasn't more unique or somewhat unique. It was unique. That's it. That's all you get with unique. You can't shade it. Saw a seventh grade teacher last night on Facebook begin a post by saying, "Other then..." I expect this. That is, I would never now expect a teacher to know how "then" and "than" work. We come closer to mass illiteracy by the day.

Sometimes, when I look on Twitter for the twenty seconds each day that I allow myself, I see a video of Stephen A. Smith. The sound is muted, so it's just his cartoon character speaking antics. And I think, "How does anyone take this moron seriously?" It's really like an over-the-top cartoon character. Windy Gasbag. I don't know. Some name like that. You're watching a clown perform. The village idiot. But you see the arrogance in the very lines of the face, the shapes the mouth makes, and in all of the clown gestures. The delusional arrogance. Then people shovel money at the moron-clown. Is there anyone who thinks, "He's interesting." Or, "He's insightful." Or, "I didn't know that." Or, "He's funny." Nope. It's a sideshow clown that has been mainstreamed because life is now a mainstreamed clown sideshow. The problem is if you're the opposite of a sideshow clown. And if you are interesting. If you are insightful. If you do cause people to know that which they didn't know. If you are funny. How do you get mainstreamed then?

I saw a review of a Zombies show in The Telegraph which began, "Soft rock pioneers..." If you begin a review of a Zombies performance with that phrase, why do you have that job? Because you obviously are not qualified to have it. There's no way you can be good at that job. So why was it given to you? Who did you know or who were you related to? You've shown that you don't know the most basic things. What could be a less accurate description of the Zombies than calling them soft rock pioneers? Death metal titans. So there are some. But if I said that phrase, "soft rock pioneers" to you, who would you think of? Bread? Air Supply? So immediately one would know that this writer is not competent. They went on to also be ageist, and make all of these back-handed compliments about these "oldsters." And I didn't have the impression that this was some twenty-five-year-old writing this piece either. "Oldsters." That's nice. What on earth does someone's age have to do with what you're reviewing? Are you not reviewing the thing itself? I cannot conceive of me ever saying something like that about someone in a piece. Oldsters? I mean, are you a dickster? How many people are left who are good at their jobs?

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