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More than the Faces

Friday 1/11/19

Mental discipline. Marshal your strength. If you come apart now, if you stop fighting, there can be nothing later. Stay with me. Stay. With. Me.


Those are the words that I am now forcing myself to say in my head. Is there an exercise more taxing than the one our fingers might do when they grip the ledge and hold us from the plunge? One rep, two reps, three reps. Fingers like they are on steroids at this point. Four reps, five reps, six reps, blue.


It is a little after 11 in the morning. I just wrote and filed a 2300 word piece on Yellow Submarine for The Daily Beast. It's strong.


So it has always amused me that with Harrison doing what he was doing, McCartney was serving up “All Together Now,” one of those songs that, in its later morphings—and he did a lot of them—would get him branded a fuddy-duddy.


This will take you back to sing-alongs in the nursery school sandbox, but that’s hardly a bad thing. Even when McCartney did what could have been dross, he remained one of our peerless melodists. He could out melody you, and that’s really where he separates himself from every other rock composer. That is the home ballpark, you might say, in which McCartney was unbeatable.


This was bad for him, because he became too reliant on it, and his work said less and less of substance, both ideologically, emotionally, sonically, structurally. But I feel that if I was a young child and I heard this, it would instill in me a love of music. I’d want to bust out my Crayons and color something to it as I listened. And, as an adult, it “takes me back,” to paraphrase McCartney from a snippet on the White Album. The best music moves us. That can be backwards, forwards, both. But it makes our mind ambulate, you might say.


I need to get a list of something to Rolling Stone now. Fill out some paperwork to get paid by JazzTimes. To say that it would be difficult to live in this present scenario would be an understatement. To constantly create in it...it is taking everything I have. Especially as that which is created is not going to matter right now. Now, a time can easily come where that is true one second, and completely false--as false as anything has ever been--literally the next second. But right now, my life is an accession of that first type of seconds. I will be writing about Stendhal and love for Valentine's Day for The Daily Beast. But first I must write on another diarist--Vaslav Nijinsky--for them. He was a ballet dancer, if you don't know him.


I did see Solo last night, as I could not sleep at all. It was, as I expected it to be. It's what I'd expect a perfectly average movie to be like. And it shows me how rare it is that a movie now makes it to perfectly average status. Better than the other recent Star Wars films. I don't know if The Last Jedi was more laughable in its childlike zeal/need to show how little of a fuck it gave about making something good, or The Force Awakens was more nauseously pandering. The latter was no attempt to be a movie. It was an attempt to pander to what I call news cycle feminism, which is not about equity, it's about "Hooray for our side, gimme, gimme, even if I don't deserve it, and if you raise a valid point, if you don't gimme, I will tar you anti-female." Pandering film. I hate faked morals for profit and personal gain, which is often not real gain, but the illusion of gain. That is perhaps the great sin of our age.


I came up with an idea for a horror film called Too Much Christmas. There would be, at first, a wryness to it, about how we are barraged with Christmas stuff, but I imagine someone broken who loses themselves in it, who can't distance themselves from it, whose life situation, which is pulling them down, is further pulled down by this refusal to give up the holiday in, say, March. Now, this is separate from me. I love Christmas. It's hard for me to partake in it at all at this point. Even if I lived in a space where there was room, I don't think I could do so much as decorations right now. I like a lot of the films and the music; they twine with what I often go for artistically. Just in terms of my tastes. And obviously I like ghost stories a huge amount. I don't like the warm weather. I like shorter days, winter jackets, hats, hot chocolate. But Christmas, for me, is something that, like so much for me, seems to live somewhere, in what I hope will be my future. I go to a lot of Christmas things each year, but a lot of that is I don't want to be beaten by what has happened to me. When this plays out and works out as I hope it will, I don't want to be returning to Christmas; I want it to be like I didn't go away, in a way. But I do see that people who post on Christmas FB groups year round are often not very well. Then I thought about doing a story about one person, and also roping in that funny notion of the title, which easily could become its own phrase in the vernacular. You'd want to balance it between real and moving, and also not this emotional slog fest. Because you want it to end up as a holiday standard. I think I could do that. The opportunity is not there right now.


Last night I spent some more time with "That Night," the new short story. Should I even say new short story anymore? Which one is the new short story? Which ones are? Publishing does not view productivity as a positive, because no one in publishing has the skill to invent much at all. What they do invent, takes a long, long time. And even then it's not pure invention. It's fictionalized stuff from their lives. So it was necessary to create a prevailing mode of thinking that it is bad if you always have something new. It cannot be any good. Because if it was, and they couldn't do it, and could only do a very little only so often, that would impact their self-esteem, which is always a snow-job of the self anyway, for these people. That is also why they would rather you come around every six years with something, rather than have masterpiece upon masterpiece upon masterpiece, at regular intervals, to choose from in their inbox. They hate that. They don't just look the gift horse in the mouth--they want to turn it into paste. If you have another gift horse to follow, they hate that even more, and want to turn it into a greater quantity of paste. And if you are capable of that, they will hate you. This is from what we'll just call the new story.


It was night in my brother’s brain for a long time. That was how he described it to me. “Like a place where there’s no sun, but it can be hot, sweat pouring down you, but the beads are black. And then eventually I died.”


He’d punctuate a portion of our conversation like that every night it seemed. “Don’t be a dick,” I’d say. “You’re here, Elizabeth is sleeping down the hall, I heard you two doing what you did an hour or two ago. I am listing this ridiculous Darth Vader clock on Ebay, my wife—my soon-to-be ex-wife—is in California and we are all moving on. But a question, since you’d seem to know: Do you think some rooms can contain more of the night than others? Like the darkness gets in the corners and if you imagine that sunlight is some kind of water, there isn’t enough of it to scrub the corners clean, there’s always that night in the corners.”


Sometimes my wife would ask me if I would try to love her again, and I would ask her the same question about me. Until that point I would have told you that if one person was asking the other that question, it might end up okay, but not if it were two people. You don’t run out of love, sometimes. You run out of fight.


To the Starbucks to read quickly for work and drink a coffee.


***


Spoke to charming/smart/mega-hot Starbucks woman. Never checked out the site. Asked me to write it down again. So I did that. Valentine's op-ed pitch to New York Daily News. Shout! Factory sent me the Blu-ray box set of the World Series. Didn't know what day this weekend the Patriots were playing until checking this afternoon. Normally, I think you want to go early, to get your game done, be on that first day. But in this case, I like the Pats playing after the Chiefs and Colts do, because I like the Colts in that game, and knowing that you have home field gives a little bump up in motivation. Which shouldn't matter, but, still, players are human. The 1 PM start time is also good. West Coast teams don't like that. I'm reasonably sanguine about this game, though I'd still pick the Chargers. Maybe.


Early Faces soundboard here.



Have read "That Night" back several more times. You have hit upon something major here, sir.