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Leap into the lacuna

Saturday 8/8/20

Wrote a piece on Ornette Coleman. It was not long and it won't pay me much, but I wrote it well.


Coleman cut teeth in tough Texas bars in which men cut men. There was quite the olio in play, with Tex-Mex rubbing up against country and western, powerhouse blues, jazz you could dance to. From here—and from within himself—Coleman came. Maybe one of the nicest things we can say about Coleman’s music is that you can dance to it. He was someone who would have dug that idea, just as Monk couldn’t help arising from the piano and juking to his own tunes.


The anecdotes dovetail with the burgeoning sound. A high school Coleman converted to vegetarianism, which must have seemed like a life choice played for extreme shock value in mid-century Texas. Coleman balked at school, hating pretension, but believing himself—correctly—to be a highly educated man. A school couldn’t contain his kind of brains. Of course, his alto sax could. One could say that he went to the U of Horn, and we’re not talking steer here.


Remember that fool Stephanie Merry at The Washington Post? I'll remind you.


It's almost comical, isn't it, the lack of competence and amount of bigotry in this business? And that lack of competence and that quantify of bigotry own my life and the quality of my life right now. Who I reach, how I live, the money I earn, where I live, the global impact I can have.


But right, Stephanie Merry. Definitely this is a guy who is inept with the prose.


Can you come off as a greater fool than that woman? Or is it all about disingenuousness? Almost certainly a combo. But good God do you have to be dumb and bad at your job to be what a Stephanie Merry is.


Moving on. I composed five short stories this past week--"Harbor Floes," "Rehearsal Visit," "My Favorite Is Lester Young," "Sea Stone," "Bucket Crab." I am still completing "Rehearsal Visit," going quite slowly; frankly, I relish working on it, bringing out out the beauty and realness. "Sea Stone" made me cry several times as I went over it, and "Lester Young" will be a shocker to readers in terms of what can be done with what's an entirely new form of storytelling, a radically innovative work. There was a nice op-ed pitch on the Negro League that has some overlap with that book I am doing called Saving Angles: Finding Meaning and Direction in Life's Unlikely Corners. I think the best baseball team ever is a Negro League team, and my larger point was that it is the in-between spaces, the lacuna, where we frequently find the most truth. People get locked in on what is "official" or the consensus, and that's often what it is for a lack of vested, critical thinking, a capacity for wonder, a searching spirit, and just not being a lazy, parroting fucker. So, the 1927 Yankees are the best baseball team and Revolver is the best Beatles album, but are they? I think that's pretty misleading and limited. I wouldn't have thought that years ago. But it has been part of my evolution. Also pitches about Ray Bradbury and the Rolling Stones' "Starfucker."


I am writing a quick 1800 word piece as we speak. Get it out of the way. Went to the bank yesterday with some checks and the numbers are just bad.


Listened to a podcast centered on M.R. James's "A Neighbour's Landmark." James has three stories in "Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad," "Casting the Runes," and "A Warning to the Curious" so much better than anything else he wrote. This is how it usually it is with authors, even the best authors. I am the lone exception. Everything I write goes to the same qualitative level. That's unique. I didn't write one really good story last week and two that were okay and one that was pretty good and one that sucked. I wrote five masterpieces. Every time, you get the same thing from me, but also totally different.


I watched The Lady Vanishes, The 39 Steps, and Blow Out. British Hitchcock is more interesting than American Hitchcock. Not better. More idiosyncratic. The brushstrokes are smaller and go in greater manner of ways. Makes me think of Orwell's essay, "The Lion and the Unicorn." Hitchcock's English films are compelling in the way the Kinks are compelling with their essential Britishness. I feel like I could have made Blow Out quite easily.


Had a haircut a few days ago. Wanted the ascetic look because right now is all about focus in extremely trying times. Like when Van Gogh cut his own hair down to nothing. Also, I get hot. I had him go lower on the razor setting this time on top, but it's not short enough.