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More and beyond

Thursday 9/1/22

* Did 100 push-ups, ran 3000 stairs.

* Facebook sent me a photo of me from ten years ago. I look younger now because I am in much better shape. My face was puffy then. The alcohol. My hair used to be a good bit darker, though.

* These are the titles I'm looking at right now for the books--the first books--of some of my writings on literature and my writings on film. The Human Reader: Pain-Free Explorations of Life-Changing Literature. And Watching Back: Writing on Films that Light Us Up.

* "Don’t think that a work of art with a prescriptive—or predetermined—ending has to be forced. You can know the last line of a novel before you know anything else and it can all work. Too often content creators think there are rules—hence all of these craft books on writing, for instance. But the main rule is a non-rule, and that is that every work is its own case, and must be treated as such." That was also from the Carnival of Souls piece. Good.

* I will tell you what craft books are for writers. Pretend writers love craft books, because they feeds their delusions. Recently a writer without an iota of talent had a book come out on craft. Side story about this individual first. I knew this guy who was an editor and a writer, and a really good guy, who was just so disgusted with everything he saw in publishing. He was working at a university, and his job one weekend was to house this writer I'm talking about, who the university had brought in to speak. They go to a bar, and the writer gets sloppy drunk, and he's telling people there--like students--that he's this important writer. My buddy was mortified. He drives the writer back to his house--my buddy's house, that is--and the writer passes out in the car. So he's just driving this passed out dude. They don't even know each other. Imagine me pulling something like this? But these people love this writer--in that fake way--because, again, there's no ability. To say he's mediocre would be a huge stretch, and he's as achievable as can be. He's your classic literary citizen. All about the community, the lunch table, as intimidating as a loaf of bread because he writes no better than a soggy one. Just there, do you know what I mean? This lump on a table. It was embarrassing for my friend, who had a wife, and this is what he was bringing home. Anyway--someone like that writes a book of bromides about craft. How to write. Tips! Jejune tips. Mindless tips. There are no real tips like that. Tips my royal Boston ass. But if you also can't write, this is super, because it's like a recipe. And false hope. These are the same people who share writing prompts because they can't think of anything. And the more lies you're peddling in a craft book, the easier it goes down. It's a total con job, and obviously these people are going to eat it up. That's some delicious medicine. A tasty, tasty placebo! Of course it will make you happy, because it caters to your delusions. Then you'll say what a great book it is. Will you get better at writing? Not at all. Now, if someone told you the truth about writing, and your writing, and what is required, well, that's less fun. That's about getting real.

* If you write anything that's any good, it will have its own rules, and function its own way. Each work will be different. It's always news to me. I may go in knowing what I want to do, but as I write, whatever it is with that work, in terms of how it functions, makes itself known to me. For instance, in "Fitty," much happens on diagonal planes. Like stairs. The shape of the story is very stair-like. There are actual stairs, but also a prevailing stair-ness. An embrace happens on a diagonal plane. Everything is slanted. Was that my plan going in? No. Because it doesn't work that way. It was made known to me, and you have to write so well that your writing will make it known to you. Without lag time. So you and the writing are lined up. That's one thing that I mean by presence and being present. But there's no tip for that. There's no craft essay.

* Craft essay is also a stupid, defeatist term. Do you see how it reduces writing to the level of basket weaving? Mozart wouldn't have a craft lesson for symphonies. Craft is how losers think. The wannabes who never will or could be and who at the same time don't want anything enough to put in the real time and the real effort. There is no greater art form than the written word. It uses everything. It is more musical than music, more mathematical than math, more sculptural than sculpture. It possesses more light than anything the sun has yet offered. It dances as no ballerina--or sprite--ever has. It knows of a darkness that could furnish a lesson in what that really means to the deepest abyss. The variables are endless. You must know everything. You must be as human as it is possible to be, and in that you will also be something more and beyond. You must know the answers behind the veil and how to position people so that they can experience those answers, feel what those answers are. You must know how every human works. It's not enough to know human nature; you must be able to inhabit anyone who could ever be, who was, and who won't be. Your characters must be more real than anyone has ever been. You can do anything and you must harness so much at once. If the soul could bleed, it would be the best writing that would come out. And it would also be the best writing that would wick up the soul's blood. Craft? Mere craft? Like we're doing some pottery? Only a loser who cannot write who has no clue thinks that way. The other day I put up an entry on here about how good writing works. Was that craft? Was that Colin's craft blog? No. It was so much more. And that's why it has value.

* Pitched a football idea.

* I did look more into the woman with the teary picture because she took two years with her agent to do a book proposal, and the writing was, simply, as bad as writing could be. I laughed. Of course, 400 mentally ill, broken people were there to do the insane cheerleading in this woman's comments. She's never written for a place anyone has ever heard of. And God was that writing bad. Stunningly bad. It's almost impressive to be that bad at anything. And she actually has two agents. Why? Why for the love of Christ? It's someone who obviously can't write, who obviously isn't going anywhere even in this world where sucking at what you do is key. And the mental illness is on full display. If I put up any of the screenshots of this, you'd think this was an unstable person who needed help, not an agent. If I put up the writing, you would only believe it was really how she wrote because you've becoming accustomed to what is published on account of the examples in this journal. Prior to seeing those examples--the likes of with which you're now familiar--you wouldn't believe it. Like if your neighbor said to you, "My daughter is a writer, here is something she wrote," and handed you a page of this garbage, you would have thought your neighbor was doing a joke. But now you see it's real. You wouldn't have seen it before, because you never would have read it.

* Need to have the good focus in the next few days and work on Glue God, Longer on the Inside, Same Band, and these books on film and literature. Finish the Elvis and Carnival of Soul essays one and for all and get them where they need to go. Write this feature on Miles Davis's On the Corner. Cross items off the list, and get to novels. Have a week of mostly just a novel. Eight books to twenty books to thirty books. Just to be clear: I have the thirty books available now. We can do thirty book deals tomorrow. This isn't some ambition to some day write that many books. They're here. And they are all kinds of books, and all kinds of wonder. When I talk about going from eight to twenty, I mean lined up, in editorial calendars, with publication dates. Eight to twenty, then twenty to thirty, then thirty to fifty.

* Be inexorable. You are becoming stronger. The overrunning will come.


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