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Wednesday 10/19/22

Discussed this delightful 1972 animated adaptation of Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" on the radio last night:



I love the tale and I love rereading it. We should note that it's a joke, but one that retains a degree of fright. Ichabod Crane is a schemer. He's what we might today call a tool. He cadges free meals, he's not sincere, he's a would-be social climber. He wants to eat pies--actual pies. That's not a bawdy reference. He wants to marry someone for what that will bring him in terms of goods, money, land. Braum Bones gives him what Booth Tarkington would term his comeuppance. He screws with him. That's the Headless Horseman. But there's enough of an opening that we may also credit the supernatural. And there's this other opening, too: that of the past and history and lore in an enclave like this of the American northeast. The place is alive with things that might never have been there.


Did 100 push-ups Monday, the same as Saturday and Sunday. Did three circuits on Saturday in the Monument, and five on Sunday, which also marked 1666 very devilish days without a drink, or 238 weeks. Kimball had remarked about my streak a couple weeks ago, and I'm pretty sure I hadn't said anything about it on here in a little bit. Not for any reason other than lax bookkeeping. He assumed it was still going. Which is cool. I think people who know me should expect strength. But one will note that I have never given myself credit ahead of time. I've never said, sans qualification, "tomorrow will mark," etc. Don't assume the day; go out and earn it. Transpose that to what you will. Transpose it to much.


On Saturday I was doing push-ups on Breed's Hill, on the grass. The Monument stands on Breed's Hill, where the battle of Bunker Hill was actually fought. I don't know where Bunker Hill itself is. It may not exist. I should find out. This was about ten minutes before opening, and one of the park rangers started walking down the hill to fetch me. At first I thought, "Here we go, someone lodged a complaint about me blowing past them in the Monument," but he said instead that there was already a line forming on account of the weather and the foliage, and if I came up now I could go first so that I wouldn't get stuck behind anyone.


My friend Howard Merritt found a lot of music for me recently. I have a list of like 200 items of things I'm looking for. There can't be anyone in the world better than Howard at finding music. I don't see how there could be. Among other things, he found me Bessie Smith's complete recordings on the Frog label. I'm discussing her on the radio today, too. I had her complete body of work, but these releases from Frog are very important because the label did yeoman's work in cleaning up the sound, without compromising the integrity of the original recordings. Howard is the man.


It rains a lot in October, doesn't it? But that's okay. It works. It fits. I like it. Makes me want to get my house back in Rockport even more. I say that sometimes, and it doesn't seem possible even to me. This drives me. It drives me already more than any human has ever been driven. One sees it in these pages.


Finally got to the post office and sent back a couple inscribed copies of the Sam Cooke book. I have a lot of things to mail--including a number of items for Howard--and I tell myself that I'll get it all together and have this epic trip to the post office and do it at once. Then I work, I write, I run stairs, that takes everything out of me, and it backlogs. I need to be far more efficient in everything save the creation of my work. This war I am in takes everything out of me and I'm not doing as much as I must.


Patrice Bergeron has played for the Bruins for a long time, and he only just tied Rick Middleton on the team’s career goal list. Middleton really should be in the Hall of Fame.


Facebook is very buggy. An old friend of mine can't see any of my new posts for months. I only post work-related items and samples from my writing. I don't play the grab-ass game. What I do, though, is put what I can do in the faces of people. That's how I use my personal Facebook page insofar as I use it. Because most of my "friends" are publishing people. And they do nothing. Can do nothing. Relax is you're one of the better ones. Not talking about you. Facebook's dating site--I don't know why I bother--is much worse still. Hardly works. I mean it's one glitch after another. Doesn't load, doesn't upload photos or text, you always get a prompt saying they're working on the problem.


I didn't answer as I should have last night. I kind of did, but obliquely. Suspense was recorded in Hollywood. It would have to have been, because of its format. A lot of radio shows were taped out there. When Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar was going to relocate to New York, that's when Bob Bailey quit. Each week Suspense featured someone in Hollywood--a different movie star, entertainer. That's why you'd need to do the show there. And people with a Hollywood background would have occasion to pass through, like an Orson Welles. I've actually been cleaning up a couple things on the radio. I won't go into what they are. No one would ever, ever notice. But I don't want bad habits to enter into anything I do, especially creatively or with work. Got them mostly sorted out, but still need a little tweaking. A bit more work.


I'll tell you something that's a challenge with many of my radio appearances. The nature of them is that I'm going to be the expert on many subjects. That can be film, art, sports, music, literature. It can be nature, life. How work is created. Society. Where humanity is at right now. Solutions. It's talking about those subjects, but that range and specificity--and what I'm endeavoring to do on the radio versus what anyone else is trying to do--means that you are often at once introducing people to something, and bringing them in, but also not being general. You are dictating the content and direction. That's not a knock on anyone. It's the nature of talking about such things in such a way. Someone might lead me in with ten words about a subject, but then I'm out there. There are all of those choices. Because you have to determine and supply the direction. You have to accomplish a lot in a compact amount of time. The time could be hours, and it still goes, because of the scope and depth. You're shaping what is happening, which is itself a kind of narrative with an arc. Again, it's just so different from what anyone other guest does, because I'm so different from any of those people. Note the word guest. Because it would be somewhat different if I had my own show or shows. But I don't yet. What is helpful is timing. That sounds like a small thing, but it's not. Someone like Kimball understands timing. I've worked with some people on the air who have no clue when it comes to that. But it was always that way for me on that particular program, which has helped me build up a body of work with those interviews. And that is how I look at them--part of a body of work. A vast, vast, vast body of work.


Sometimes people sign up for this journal or what I believe is billed as updates from this site--though I've yet to send out a newsletter or anything; doesn't seem to be any point at the moment, until things change--with what are clear expectations. Someone will read a piece I wrote on jazz, say. Or someone will read a literature piece. They then expect that this blog will be all about jazz or all about books. There will be one update, say, every month. They project their expectations on me, based on how limited others are. They apply that broad brush that almost always works with other people. Those are the people, interestingly, who are soon like "No, I don't want this!" Because they had a very limited expectation, and I destroy all limited expectations. But if I put up something expected once a month, once a year--it's staggering how little almost everyone who writes writes, or even tends to something like a blog, which, let's be honest, this really isn't--and it's basic to the point of hackneyed, they stick around. This sort of person, I mean. Closed.


Been struggling/dragging. It is so hard to get up and fight this war and write what seems like everything--and pretty much is--all at once, every day, especially with the ramifications of where things stand for now and knowing that right now, in that day, that week, that month, it doesn't matter, because it doesn't have a chance until something big changes everything. I need to find my fight, my energy, my courage, my drive. I need some books to go, too, and have publication dates in place. That's important right now. For a litany of reasons.