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Just because you feel it

Wednesday 9/9/20

Here is yesterday's segment on Downtown, which was a good mix of insight about music and more than music--the "leader" bit was on point--and humor. "Wet Ass Pussy" joke was funny. I also wrote an op-ed on The Golden Girls--in which I call myself a golden girl, after a fashion--which was strong. I hope it gets to come out. I don't know right now. Miami Herald seems an obvious landing place. I wrote two short stories, stronger than strong--"Apples in Oranges," and "Even the Eels." And I'll be writing about a Billie Holiday film for JazzTimes.


Ran three miles yesterday, bringing the total of miles covered on foot thus far this week to thirty. Plus the stairs that were ran, of course.


I'll receive things that I really don't know what to make of. Often I won't see them for quite some time. My focus is not on notes people pass me. You typically have no idea what someone's motives are, whether they're trying to be friendly, or they're up to no good. They can be that vague.


An editor at a magazine, for instance--not one I've written for or would be relevant to what I do--sent me a message over Facebook--we weren't Facebook friends--quoting this journal, a passage about holding people in publishing accountable. That was the message--my own words, and then like seven of those laughing smiley face things. Is that meant to be friendly--albeit executed in clumsy fashion--or is it supposed to be withering commentary, and also executed in a clumsy fashion? I have no idea. People are infrequently clear. I try to give the benefit of the doubt. I'll send a nice note back. Someone read, which is what you want, and someone reached out, which might not be what you're going for, but sometimes it can be okay or good. But I keep my focus. I keep my eyes on my road. There can be dragons warring on the left and the right. There can be dragons on the left and the right who wish to cook me to a crisp. But you're not going to take my eyes off my road.


As for this journal--it's not especially a place for opinions. These are not really my opinions. Nearly everything I say is empirical. I've lived it. I've acquired the data. I have the evidence. My mind is rigorously scientific. I have done this for a quarter of a century. I say nothing about publishing that I cannot back-up and prove with one evidentiary truth after another. I'm not angry, I'm not speaking out of rage. That's not how I am. Plus you must also realize that it would not be possible for me to act out of anger because you reach a point when so much wrong has been done by so many people, that it's impossible to carry rage and act in rage for and against all of them. There is a post-anger phase of total abuse and corruption and evil when you are subjected to it year after year, decade after decade. You are not quivering flesh. You are steel. When that phase kicks in for you, you are simply methodical. Feeling does not enter into it. You're beyond your own feelings. You simply know what you must do. You understand the scope of the evil in ways that your own personal rage would have precluded.


And you are not going to stop until you've done what you need to do. Without any mercy. Pure, calculated, reasonable, purpose. That is how you take down a corrupt system. Anger would get in my way. If you are my enemy, it'd be better for you if I were angry.


I had met someone who was very attractive, quite smart. The type of person who uses a word like "logotype" and does not sound pretentious. And someone with an affection for the sea. And the Red Sox. What happened is what normally happens if I meet someone I think might be worth some time and energy, though I am hesitant in this thinking, and having learned what I've learned, I have no expectations nor hope, nor do I stick around once I realize what is what. When I meet the right person I'll know it. People get embroiled in things--you give them that benefit of the doubt, but the reality is most people say they're busy and taken away, but they're on that phone, and they're responding on that phone--but I can also tell when something else is up. What someone will do is talk with me, then get exceedingly intimidated. How many times have I been through this? I've experienced degrees of it my entire life. Obviously a person inclined to be intimidated would be more so now, with what I am, than when I was thirteen, but it was true then, as well. Sometimes they'll look me up. You need little--my first name.


Other times, it's simply how I speak and write, in text or regular conversation. I always sound the same. I talk like I write. And it comes out immediately and perfectly formed. I'm not other people. I'm not other writers. What will happen is a person will disappear. Sometimes, three weeks later, they'll send me a note in the middle of the night--probably drunk--saying how intimidated they were. Which I already knew. And by then--and long before then--I don't even remember their name. If it doesn't add to what I'm trying to do right now, my quest, my growth, I'm not going to remember it. I'll see that fear, I'll know something is up, their behavior will look rude or passive aggressive--like, "Ha, I'm ignoring you"--and I just move on. Some of them, the next day, will write me again, and say they were intimidated. But you know--I already know you're not what I'm looking for. Who I'm looking for. I'm still open to being surprised and proved wrong, maybe, depending upon the person, but then I see other stuff that starts to stack. For instance, if someone says to me it's not a good idea to get to know a writer over text, that says much to me about them. First off, there needs to be different terms. If other people are writers, then I'm not a writer. I'm something else. People have this idea that writers are creative and skilled with the written word, or imaginative. They're not. Few people are less these things than so-called writers. Especially in 2020. I'd rather read a journal entry by my plumber than a short story in The Iowa Review, which is going to go exactly how I know it will go, will sound exactly like I know it will sound, before I see word one. Insipid, flat, prosaic, not about anything of consequence, bereft of imagination, fictionalized autobiography sourced from a life devoid of experience. I know the tone that will be employed from a billion miles away. My plumber will write something more worth reading. And more human. And less forced. And more natural.


People can't help but project. I have this old friend I've reconnected with, and he said that text is so impersonal. That's how he feels about his writerly limitations to get over what he thinks and feels. In his case, this is actually unfounded--he's a strong writer who conveys those thoughts and feelings much as he would if you were sitting beside him. I know he's talking more about him than me. I'm always the same. Exactly the same. But different. But whether I'm writing on here, or I'm writing a personal essay, or I'm next to you, or I'm texting you, or I'm talking on radio, I always come through to the same, fully three-dimensional degree. You come away with no more, nor less, of me. I'm not other writers. Other writers are not that way. There is not one at all close to similar. And I think it's pretty easy to tell, straight away, that this dude is not like anyone else. So don't project upon me, and don't try to pinion me in terms of what I can or can't do. It also speaks to your capacity for wonder. As I get older, I realize more and more what Socrates was on to with his concept of Socratic wisdom. A wiseass thinks it means, "Hey, I'm stupid, I don't know anything." But that's not what it means. It means having the wisdom to enter aspects of life, to be prepared to witness, sans preexisting parameters. The wiser you get, the more Socratic wisdom you'll actually have.


But I thought, you know, you don't meet very many people at all, ever, who are smart and hot and seem very nice and sane and don't have kids and love the sea and aren't pretentious and come across as sweet, so maybe hang in. Don't be rash and race away. I get that there is a big jolt when you meet me. Ideally, someone says that right away, rather than defaulting to maneuverings and dilations. Because that's as surefire as way as any for me to say, nope, nah, never. I just don't go for that. And especially after a lot of what I've been through. And what I've learned.


They had wanted to speak, and after a day, I said, okay, sure, that sounds good, which was ignored. So that's me finished, as they say. (My initial take is almost always correct in these matters, and I'm displeased with myself when I do the "don't be rash" bit and then after say, well, turns out it was what you thought you knew.) I know what I'm looking for. Doesn't mean I'll find it. Would be far easier to find it though if I was where I already should be--because naturally I'd meet far more people and I wouldn't have to go through the torture of trying to explain what I do and what is occurring, because they would have read about it themselves--but I also know anything less than what I am correctly looking for is not going to work.


Those lines echo some in Radiohead's "There, There," which is a dynamic song. Been on my mind a lot often.