Search

Hit the showers

Monday 7/6/20

Asked what the first four notes of his Fifth Symphony stood for, Beethoven once answered, "You are too dumb." We were talking of tolerating fools recently, which is different than a fool in publishing. I'm a Care Bear compared to Beethoven. You should see his letters, man. Not that I really disagree with him on a lot of points. I would have put it a bit more gently, though.


Today I composed a 2000 word short story called "Clam Set." I ran three miles. We taped that hour-long Beatles podcast, on "This Boy," and it really was quite excellent, I thought. Talked about girl groups, sexism, misogyny, three-part singing in Hamburg, Christopher Cross, the Beatles' first US concert, a gig they gave in Germany in 1966, the Ultra Rare Trax bootleg series, a George Martin error, microphone positioning, the post-A Hard Day's Night change to Lennon's voice, Little Willie John, the Everly Brothers, Nazism, 9/11, "Because," the day Lennon and McCartney met. And you might be like, "What's all of that have to do with 'This Boy'?" A lot, actually. You'll have to listen when it comes out. Again, I just think there is nothing like any of this, whether it's a podcast episode, a short story, a novel, a nonfiction piece, this journal.


And as people liked the text thing, and I don't want to dispose of words I think say something complex rather clearly, a bit more of that conversation:


"There's a very specific and obvious thing that you're doing. I find your stories temples where human contradictions play out in an effortless way. Your writing is spare but full. Dense but light. Complex yet simple. Linear but time bound. Suggestive and ambiguous but direct and forthcoming. There are no tricks. We see minds at work on the page, pushing the limits of language but also almost relishing those limits somehow, if that makes sense. Your narrators are intelligent without coming across as arrogant. They are humble, often full of wonder, and watching them wander through their worlds and listening to them as they bear the weight of whatever psychological pressures it is their lot to bear is both heartbreaking and--I mean this in the least sentimental way possible--heartwarming. Again, these stories feel human. They're impressive not because they try to impress. But because they're real."


My response:


"Specific, yes, but vast. As you relay here, there are various ostensible contractions, and I certainly never feel limited by language or rules. I feel like I work with endless possibilities. And I always will. I had a friend who was always adamant about how no comparisons could be made. If I said people didn't read anymore, he'd say it wasn't going to matter, because this would be different because it was so different. You almost had to call it something else than writing, and partaking of it not reading. And that would be seen in very clear and abundant ways after I solved my problem--this industry. I believe he was right. I believe it on my own. The work makes me believe it. More than ever. The realness is going to be a major part of what I believe will happen. Obviously the people of this industry hate me for many reasons, but they also can't process or handle realness. It's counter to everything they write and are taught to recognize, seek, put out and forward. They are looking for the drone story. Which is a non-story. It's true about the tricks. I do magic, I do wonder, I will invent worlds that are not in our world, that reveal our world, but I will do no artifice. I'm too secure in my genius, and I have too much concern, respect, and even love for readers."


Well, here we are. It's after five, I have not showered today, nor eaten. I've just worked. Now I'll get cleaned up, and then it's back to work.