My patience right now is wafer-thin, were you to take some kind of celestial shaving device and cut the thinnest slice there has ever been off of a wafer. I am so tired of the jealousy. It's exhausting. I get it from all corners, and I have absolutely no patience at this point. I get it from people who "like" me, but I threaten them, too. The green beast is always in evidence.
Today a guy writes me and says that the Cooke book was a "pleasant diversion." You know, just don't. It's obviously not that. It's not an ice cream cone. It's not a Fribble at the Friendly's. It's unlike any music book ever written, or any nonfiction book, or any book period. It's a huge statement, a work of art. Don't give me your left-handed compliment, and then praise someone else in the same sentence as "fabulous," when I know that that's only being said because this person is older, that person is older, and they're both from the same state.
That's all anything ever is. "Hey, Beethoven, your symphony was a pleasing diversion." I'm not taking it from anyone. I don't want to be rude, I don't want to snap, but this is a death by a million paper cuts every damn day. You're talking to the guy who knows. Don't BS me, don't come at me with the jealousy, don't jag me around. You want to talk to me, be smart. Don't be lazy. Don't take a shot because I'll know what you're up to, and I will know why you're doing it, which is child's play for me. This isn't writing the stuff I write. Creating at that otherworldly level. This is kid stuff. I'm a nice guy, and I've taken a lot of crap, and I let people get away with a lot, but it's beneath me. Don't talk to me with complete disrespect, which is bad enough, but don't speak to me from behind some veil of ignorance, when it's just pretend anyway, and spare me the tepidity. Because there is literally nothing that is more misplaced when it comes to what I'm doing.
Here's an essay from The Smart Set from yesterday about short horror films.
Here's an op-ed from USA Today from the other day about baseball.
This is an excerpt of the Sam Cooke book in The Daily Beast.
Here's a radio interview about the deep state evil of publishing, Game 7 of the 1986 World Series, the grimmest radio episode, the program The Hall of Fantasy, Lights Out, and scary hockey players.
Just ran 3000 stairs.
I wrote an op-ed today about Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven," which has its fiftieth anniversary in a few days. This is how it starts:
There’s a joke that everyone who has ever sold guitars makes, and that’s to preemptively ask customers not to play Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.”
An epic behemoth of rock songs, “Stairway” is the number that has always seemed to tower above all others since it entered the world fifty years ago, on November 8, 1971. “Stairway” is massive in every way, drawing on Tolkien-type mythology, the constituents of Valhalla, and various musical styles ranging from folk to blues to straight-up rock to quasi-classical to punishing heavy metal. It’s songsmithing via the farrago approach, but for all of its composite parts, it was seen as a dinosaur early on. Played to death. Emblazoned in one’s mind and ears. Not really needing future listens. Even passé.
I also wrote a 1200 word story, which is about a husband and a wife and a creature that is camped out in their backyard, in a tent surrounded by a ring of fire, with one of its fangs sticking out the tent flap, and the creature won't leave. They really want it to leave, and they try to barter with it, and they have it in for tea, and it becomes this story about the husband and the wife. It's called "Bivouacked." How did I do it? I just did it. It didn't exist, and I had no idea, and I started typing and I did it. And it's beautiful and it's brilliant and it's so bloody inventive and real and alive and true and fantastical and funny and sobering and raw and human.
I just read some of it to someone on the phone, and it was depressing how blown away they were. They made a joke, like "why don't you send it to that asshole Remnick," because we both know how much better it is than anything that magazine has ever published. And I laugh, but I could also throw up. That's always depressing for me, because this is so far removed from what anyone else is doing or can do. And those people, they own me right now. In a way. They are inept. They are as bad at writing as you can be. They don't understand the first thing about writing well. You look at some awful piece they did--I'll slap one up by some guy at The Nation and show what I mean in the next few entries--and there will be three cliches in the first two sentences. And they don't even know that. Let alone would they ever have the ability to create something brilliant, imaginative, other level. I tried to explain to someone how bad most of these people are at writing, if you put it in football terms. It's like being the quarterback, but you can't even hold the ball. You get the snap, and it falls out of your hand. Every snap. It's not that you can't throw the forty yard sideline out. You can't even grip the freaking ball.
You know what I think happens with some people I know? I don't think they can allow that I'm possible. I think they see the production, and it can be impossible for them to believe, just in theory, that all of it could be awesome, could be the best work there has ever been. Every day. But it is. That is real. I prove it every day. But I don't think even many of the people I know can accept that proof. It's as if I said, "You know, I flapped my dick hard the other day, and I got it going so fast, that I propelled myself all the way to Jupiter and back, and it only took like an hour." I think that would register as as believable.
Today I learned that this journal--which is something I write on the side of everything else--added 58,000 words over the last month. From November 2 back to October 4. It wasn't a particularly voluminous month. That's while writing all of the short stories, the op-eds, the essays, the nonfiction, the letters to bigots, etc.
I have some time before I have to jump on the radio. I should run some more stairs. This just isn't good for my heart, stewing with this garbage.