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No mercy shown

Thursday 9/10/20

The News, On air, and Op-ed sections of this site are now completely updated as of this morning. Everything else is in hopeless disarray and lags. I don't think I've put up/archived a new music piece, for instance, in like two years. Or at least more than a year. People have to-do lists, I have a to-do book, and I'm overwhelmed. I'm working hard today though, on many things. Brackets, Sam Cooke, getting money in. I'm quickly going to write a piece now. I followed-up on other op-eds--Golden Girls, Hendrix, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." I'll proof and fix yesterday's short story. I also updated my master list of links which dates back almost ten years. It covers nearly thirty pages. Just a big running account of where my work has come out. From that account, I update the sections. There's so much that it becomes confusing, you lose your place. Partially why I'm behind with the film, music, fiction, and literature stuff. The Sports section is up to date, I think. The Books section isn't. That's a problem, because I need a webmaster for that, and as I said, the one who was supposed to take over ghosted me. Miami Herald op-ed editor ignored the Golden Girls op-ed-related email I had sent. Perfect fit, the show is obviously set in Miami, perfect piece, perfect tone, strikes the perfect and timely note, funny/telling/illuminating perspective coming from a straight white male, gets into how we've lost part of our ability to be friends in 2020, and a writer with a stacked track record. But this is how it is. This is always how it is. Rarely does any of that matter. I followed-up. I posted yesterday's "writing tips" blog over on my Facebook author page. There is very little engagement there. One person might click on a posted link.


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Marion Ross is on Downtown I saw today. From Happy Days. When I was growing up, if I was watching a show and you'd said to me that I'd be a guest on the same show that the people I was watching were a guest on, I'd have thought that was pretty damn cool. Right now, I think nothing is cool. Nothing is savored. Nothing is as it should be. When what you deserve is something you're not remotely getting, and the more you work and the better you get, the worse things become, you really just see that. Or you don't just see it, but it blankets everything else, effaces everything else--what otherwise would have been minor notes of positivity, like, "oh, cool, I'm on a show with Mrs. Cunningham from Happy Days."


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I asked Bob Boyers over at Salmagundi to write a Guggenheim letter of recommendation for me. I asked Kimball the other day. He knows me well and he's in my inner circle. I'll also ask Aaron Cohen, who fits that same bill as Kimball, and Ralph Eubanks again. I'm mixing it up a little this second time. No reason. Just to mix it up. Maybe they have last year's letters still on file. I just need the money, man. I know if I get the Guggenheim, I'll become even more hated in publishing, because I got it, but I need the money. It would be a relief. Some pressure would come off of me.


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The rise of the pseudo-intellectual in American society is pernicious. That not-very-smart person who is a stupid person's idea of a smart person. The standards change--they lower. What we will then accept is thus lesser. What we hail as apogee is in truth rounded plateau. We recondition to new standards. Lesser standards. Lesser value. This is how we devolve as culture and society. It's how the publishing industry came to stand against any new, innovative work with which people would connect. That's a key point--how we recondition. When it keeps happening, and we keep going down, you have the world that we presently live in.


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Banged out that piece--it's an op-ed on tips for a trick-or-treat free 2020 Halloween. Really good. Will I be able to sell it? Who knows. Couple paragraphs:


Beware! A ghoul has emerged from the catacombs of 2020 to snatch away what many love best about Halloween. Is it the fiendish Cancel Monster, so pervasive in our society? No, of course not! It is the shadowy menace of COVID, which might as well have emerged from a Poe story, and has largely effaced the beloved activity of trick-or-treating—for one year, anyway.


But steel thyself, if you or your little ones are proud dresser-uppers with a mega-sweet tooth, for I have an alternative in keeping with the magical Halloween ethos—a bunch in fact.


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This new essay came out in The Smart Set. It's powerful. Legit art. The piece is about Joy Division, a band that means much to me, and their final and greatest song, which does as well. That song is called "Ceremony." A few words from the piece--"The sound is enveloping. It’s warm. I feel sunshine when I listen to it, though it was probably raining. I could check an old weather report, but I don’t really care. The avenues are lined with trees, as in a Maupassant Parisian novel, it is, indeed, this time, there is no mercy shown, because grace and truth take no prisoners."


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I sent the Golden Girls op-ed to The New York Times.


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Completed the story began yesterday. Will read it one more time after my run, which I'll do now. Only ran 1.5 miles yesterday. When the traffic is blocked up at the bridge and I can't cross over, what I sometimes do is turn around, and sprint the second half. I don't want to just stand there for ten minutes waiting to get across. The story, which is called "Even the Eels," is excellent. The beginning:


The voice was harsh morning light, but not a light prompting a person to roll over, go back to sleep. It was the varietal that immediately conjures memory. Cassie knew the light well.


“Step away, it’s not your child.”


The voice wasn’t stentorian, but rather implacable, firm—it might as well have been backed with plywood. The light held the sound of a commander who had given many previous execution orders, when need be. The old hat of “ready, aim, fire.”


Cassie looked at the woman who spoke neither stridently nor softly. The sun was bright but the woman didn’t squint. ***


This is from Goya's Black Paintings, which were referenced in the op-ed I wrote earlier.