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Thursday 11/26/20

Thanksgiving morning. Work began early today. It's 3:15 right now. I arose at 1:15, after going to bed at 9. I've been working on a new short story in my head. Have figured out a lot of it. It's very strong. I don't know if it will be for Longer on the Inside. I suspect it could be somewhere in the 2000+ word range, which would make it too long--I've capped LotI at like 1200--but I don't know that yet. Screening Bresson's Pickpocket in advance of putting together a proposal for the BFI Film Classics series on A Man Escaped. I wrote a letter to The Atlantic's fiction editor. Listening to one of the five-part radio serials of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar a format which ran over a period of thirteen months in 1955 and 1956 and is some of the best dramatic radio I've heard. This one is called "The Forbes Matter" and started the day after Christmas, 1955. It's about a lonely man who listens to classical music and paints and tries to kill himself, so maybe I shouldn't be listening to it now. He does nothing wrong and he is a good man and he's alone. No friends, no "girl"--in the parlance of those mid-1950s time.

Drank a large bottle of water. Trying to get better with that. Too much dehydration, and dehydration speeds up the pulse/heart rate.

The other day, a woman trying to be flirtatious and sound smart, asked me, "So, what do you think of this Covid-19 thing?" People are so often so simple. They expect that something could only be addressed in ten words, because they never express anything about anything in more than ten words, at least a couple of which will be "you know." I actually thought what Chad would answer. He'd have said, "Bro, this sucks, even like my favorite sandwich place is closed and I know that guy who runs it, and the gym, but you have to at least like be thankful for football ta ha ha ha ta ha ha" and that woman and Chad would go out, they'd fuck, whereas I feel like I am being stabbed in the soul, and I just hit "delete."

Someone else, who said next to nothing about herself, said to me, after one blithely sexist comment after another about men, "So what makes you different from other people?" This is after reading my whole thing, which as one would imagine, is written as only I would write it, saying "you're so brilliant, you're so unique"--reminder: don't qualify the word "unique"--and then the lazy ass platitudinous question anyway, with the expectation of the kind of answer that Chad would give you: "Like, I really feel things, you know? I don't know, like, it's never like just one thing when it's one thing but other things too." Again, delete. Another person said, "Your probably better read than me with classic literiture." Again, delete. And these are the best offerings and options. Most of what I see is so sub-literate as to border on the indecipherable. And then the rest comes from the bat-shit crazy academics.

Letters sent to The Paris Review, The New Yorker, HarperCollins, Lit Mag, Boulevard, Epoch, Ig, Narrative, The Sun, Granta, Kenyon Review, Cincinnati Review, Melville House, the VQR, The Baffler, McSweeney's, The American Scholar, Conjunctions, Scribner, Mississippi Review, The Missouri Review--in other words, mostly to people who hate me because I do what I did this week, and I do what I did last week, and I do what I do every week. Also Dzanc, University of Illinois Press, Salmagundi, Four Way, Da Capo.


It's mid-day now. I walked eleven miles, ran the BC stairs five times. It was raining the whole way out there, so I was soaked through by the time I got to campus. My sister texted me last night that she was driving around listening to that Judy Garland episode of Suspense. I like when I can introduce people to art. I saw a cardinal in the Public Garden today--I don't see many cardinals in Boston. A few times a year. I sat on a lawn at the wharf--even though it was still drizzling--and a house sparrow hopped right over. Female house sparrow. They're the ones without the "bibs." House sparrows are among the most trusting birds. A favorite of mine. At BC there was this drenched blue jay who looked kind of pissed. Listened to the Quiet, Please episode, "Berlin, 1945." Christmas episode, but with bread-breaking component. Five GIs are in Berlin, husk of a city, and they're having a meal in one of the only surviving buildings on a street. Abandoned structure. This is an episode where Ernest Chappell doesn't show up until halfway through, playing a character called "the displaced person." It's legitimate radio art.

I'd have preferred the ending to be more open-ended, or to end on a different note or beat, but most of it is very well-written, and so believably acted to think you're listening to a transcription of something that really was. Chappell is Chappell--every week, completely different. All of those other radio programs, you know how the lead actor will be, react, but this guy could play anything on the radio. It's even possible not to know it's him, from episode to episode, save that the acting is so good.


Put together a big hockey book proposal tonight. Have worked my ass off today. It's quarter past six now. At it this entire time, since quarter past one this morning. This idea was perfect. We'll see if anything comes of it with this one place. There is a leading sports publisher that always sends me their hockey books, on account of my hockey writings, and this could be a good fit. Books have changed radically for me in the past couple years. Books are my new pieces. I can do a book in a month while also doing other writing. I've learned that about myself in my development.


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