Today I climbed the Bunker Hill Monument for the fortieth day in a row. Four of the last five days I have climbed three straight times. That means for forty days in a row I have at least walked three miles. Of course I have walked much more than that--with runs mixed in, too--but never have I gone so many days straight. The other day I spoke to this site's webmaster while doing my climbs, so it's become pretty comfortable. Tomorrow I will do at least five straight climbs, after I run three miles and walk three. Post-climb hair here:
I need to shave. It's been a week. I went to bed after two last night and was on the 8:35 train to Concord, so there are bags under my eyes. They will be there for the rest of this year with all I must do. I'll try to minimize it as best as I can. I screened Chimes at Midnight again and listened to interviews on the subject by Simon Callow and Keith Baxter. I worked more on one of the new short stories, "Dunedin." It's a retelling of the fall from Eden in Florida in 1987. The title is a pun--done Eden--and the story is, naturally, set there. I will then write a second story called "Done Eden" reincorporating some of the material and also a second plot from years in the future, which will jump from time period to time period, thus creating the same story, but in a totally different form and voice, with a second plot doubling the first, and one will be hard pressed to say which is the most fitting form. This has not been done before. I am thinking of a double-hang that you see on museum walls, or even with "Strawberry Fields Forever," but I am consciously making this diptych creation this way, but with the effect that if someone saw one offering first, they would conclude that that must be the definitive melding of form, voice, subject matter. Then they see the other offering and think, what the fuck, how'd that happen?
I have had to try hard to pick up work because I need money. I'm owed a lot of money. One venue continues to owe me $3750 going back to last year. I will write on Longfellow and Myles Standish for The Daily Beast for Thanksgiving, and also on Dickens and Gabriel Grub for that venue for Christmas. I must do these quickly.
I don't know that you can act better than Welles does at the close of Chimes. Those beats of his in response to Hal's pronouncement of "I know thee not, old man." Welles believed that there is no greater sin than betrayal. Dante also believed this. That is why Judas is chewed for eternity in Satan's mouth, his head facing in, unlike Cassius and Brutus.
I also know this. I have lived this. I would rather be killed, beaten, violated, tortured, than betrayed. As I have been betrayed. Betrayal incorporates all of those things. You recover from being beaten, you can recover from being violated, you can recover from being tortured, but the kind of killing that betrayal does to you is something that it is impossible to recover from. If you've been betrayed by someone you trust implicitly, you will never look again the same at anyone else you've ever trust. Not your best friend, not your mother. No one. You may love again, if you are strong enough you may trust again; if you are a great person, you may trust more than you did before, because you refuse to let the betrayer own your future.
But it is always there, and it will always be there. And you'll never see the world as you had before you were betrayed. And if you share this with someone else and they use it against you for a new form of betrayal? I don't think you're going to live anymore. But I did, though. (When will you summon the strength, I ask myself, to finally do the memoir? It won't take you long. You are you. When do you think you can find some more strength--and oh yes, make sure you do everything else, too, and more, and keep going, because one day this has to change. Can you have faith to go with your strength?) That I've done all a person could as a person and as an artist and it gets worse yet--in large part because of that, and the fear and resentment it engenders in certain kinds of people--is among the hardest things I deal with now. In Concord I had to go to the Starbucks and miss my train because I thought there was a decent chance I was going to do something dangerous. It was a bad day for Concord. It rained a lot. I didn't walk much. I should have been more aware of the weather. I spoke to the people at the bookstore there about doing a reading when Buried on the Beaches comes out in the spring. I drank too much coffee. I read F. Marion Crawford's "The Doll's Ghost." Welles felt how he felt about betrayal, but there is more in those looks of his Jack Falstaff at the end of Chimes. It's more complicated. There is still communion. But it's spiritual communion, not physical communion.
This is the house that Thoreau died in. It's for sale.
This week I must go to a new level yet. I must create more. I cannot give in to what they would have my life be. And I know that I will achieve more, and that will up the hate. But there will come a point--anyway. There will. In the meanwhile, so we go.
Sugar plum fairy, sugar plum fairy.