I had been quite physically inactive as I am in this choke hold of death from which I do not know how to extricate myself. A friend says, "Keep going, keep composing, something is going to do it, and then it will all explode and go fast," but there is already so much. I ran three miles yesterday. Last week, on Tuesday I think, I ran three miles, walked three, climbed five times. I am certain I am the only artist in history who also has to train to be in physical condition to withstand what he is going through, and to get around, or through, or outlast, the people, so many people, with their arms interlocked and the harbor blockaded, who are trying to keep him from where he must get. I climbed the Bunker Hill Monument a personal best fifteen times today. 9000 stairs. Took about an hour and a half. Previous best was thirteen. It was not la-de-da easy, but it was not that hard, either. There was a lot of support in the Monument today. "You're killing it." One guy opined--and I only lapped him four times--that I would burn five-figure calories. He didn't know how many climbs I was shooting for, but that seems high, doesn't it? I do know that I lost so much fluid that I went from dripping everywhere to not sweating at all. This is after my climbs, coming home to this disaster space, in a glass outside of Bova's, the twenty-four hour/365 days-of-the-year bakery.
On Friday night, after all of that composing, I lay in bed listening to a Clive Merrison radio adaptation of Sherlock Holmes stories (this series with Merrison is the only complete undertaking of all fifty-six stories and the four novels), working hard in my head on one of the new short stories, "Post-Fletcher." This is the one about the guy who is not dead with the ghost. I had intimated that I had the tone, the voice, the feel, the wisdom, the eldritch component, the humor, and now I have the rest of the story. There will be, at least, four major new completed works of art this coming week--and probably more. Also, two new story ideas, which I'll work on in my head. A mother has a bisexual daughter, daughter has a "girlfriend," despite not really being of romantic partner age, in a different state, met online, mom takes daughter multiple states away to meet this person. Also, there are grief camps for children. This is fertile ground for a short story.
On Downtown on Tuesday I will discuss this country's obsession with death, which it loves. This country loves dying. Death porn. Look at Game of Thrones. All of these disturbing (but still puff) pieces ranking the deaths, opining on who will die next. Death sweepstakes. It's all that The Walking Dead was about: tune in next week to see who will die and who won't! Paucity of imagination, of course, but we are also so sick. Why do we get off on our death porn? I'll talk about that.
This is a pitch I sent last night for an op-ed to USA Today:
The UVA men's basketball team declined an invite to the White House. Time to do away with this silly tradition, and now the annoying drama of "will they or won't they go?" Nobody should be going to the White House because they won a championship. The two have nothing to do with each other. We over-celebrate in the country, too. We dote too long on our past achievements. That doting encroaches upon what we can do moving forward. I like the old hockey quote: "You're only as good as your next shift." Move on. Move forward.
I screened Howard Hawks' Red River. Also listened to an adaptation of Ambrose Bierce's ghost story, "The Moonlit Road," on an old radio program from the 1960s--so, after these kinds of programs were largely defunct--called Black Mass, which I also wrote about a few years ago for The Smart Set.
I keep encountering the line, "The internet is forever." No, it's not. That's an arrogant remark to make, that just because something is predominant in your age--the age of vitiated minds, sanity, self-awareness, wellness--and a sucking vortex, it must be imperishable. It will be replaced by something else. So far as there are humans, this is what will last: human nature. You can change everything around the humans, but human nature will go on as human nature, in a cave, on the sea, in a spaceship, in an office, a prison, a dorm, Mars. It can devolve. It has never been lower. That also sets the stage for someone to help do something about it. But it's human nature. Change is forever, though. And you know what else is forever? What will last longer than humans? The art that certain people who were humans made. That art transcends humanity, it possesses the radiance of all the stars, all the planets, the echoes of every thought there has ever been like an infinite quantity of God-like and post-God beatings of wings, invisible, but felt even by the darkness and light alike, inside every black hole, around every sun, the purest, deepest, un-die-able life forces, such that they become absorbed, after we are gone, into the mosaic of the cosmos, the tesselation of all that ever was, and all will ever be. I am not shooting to be a part of that. In as much a sense as I will be a part of that--I already am--my time is also now. How to make it happen, right here, right now, is all that matters.