I have not run stairs in several days. I get in these ruts. It is hard to carry on and keep forcing myself. With everything. But eventually I get out of the rut. I feel the same. Nothing improves. But the power goes back on. People prefer to know that I am not doing things like that because we measure ourselves against others. That is human nature. What I do makes people feel bad about themselves in that measurement process. The things I do. If I were to say, "I haven't written anything in six months," that would please people much more than "I wrote 300 things in six months."
I wrote three short stories in two days. Someone said to me the other day that I have an amazing ability to create art from everyday events. All is story to me. There are many stories with a big plot line, full of twists and turns and events. But the truth is is that people are plot. Explosions are not just things that happen with buildings and cars. When you realize this, when you understand people and human nature, when you are able to tell all manner of stories, you have stories from the everyday, which is not so very everyday if you know how to see it.
But I can say that these three stories are about a woman trying to go bed at night, a guy leaving a bar at the same time another guy does, with the last being a 164 word story--so one of my two shortest, word count-wise--about a cam girl with a deformed face that contains the full measure of humanity.
Nine other stories will be done soon, including "Best Present Ever," this 5000 word Christmas masterwork, the all-time Christmas story. A lot of this at the moment is implication, piecing together from the outside based upon what one knows of my work and of me. No one can see those stories in full, save a few people I know personally. But for the person later who has read them all and then reads these journal entries of what was happening, when it was happening, I think it will be shocking--more than shocking and always remain so--that they were created at the same time, worked at at the same time, worked at within the same hour often enough. It may even be impossible to believe without the existence of this journal. And also that those works do exist and there are so many of them, so it must have been the norm for quite a few to be going at once, or else how could they all exist?
I touched up both the longer and shorter versions of the New Year's Eve op-ed about the Beatles in Hamburg to close out 1962 and what their final moments of that residency can teach us in the here and now.
Here is last night's radio interview, which was about the Beatles' 1965 Christmas record--with a stop in 1964, because I thought that's what I had sent--and a March 1947 radio adaptation of It's a Wonderful Life with James Stewart and Donna Reed, the 1938 Orson Welles radio reversion of A Christmas Carol when he had to sub for Lionel Barrymore and play Scrooge, a piece of mine on Louis Armstrong and Christmas that was supposed to run in JazzTimes last year and needs to go up pretty much right now for this year, the Super Deluxe Edition of A Charlie Brown Christmas, with further stops at The Wizard of Oz. The thing about esteem is true. People have me on a pedestal to such a degree that they can't say anything to me, or, as we've seen, they play it cool and scale it way, way, way back so they won't be seen as gushing and emotionally overextending themselves. To them, that equates with vulnerability--extreme vulnerability. And with someone whose approval they crave so much who they're incredibly intimidated by? Better to zip it.
The result is that they end up being a lot like the people who hate me and want me dead in that they don't say anything positive either and there's not even any support or expressed approbation from them. It's like I'm too great for them to praise as they would a normal person who is far lesser and who they're not really praising because they're lying, trying to be nice, want something in return, that person publishes them, etc. It's a huge problem. Sometimes someone will follow me on Twitter and right away they're excited, because here's the most interesting ever with fascinating posts. So they hit the like button a bunch. Then they see that no one else does, so they follow suit, and from then on out--once they learn that drill--it's silence from them. They read in silence, they are blown away in silence, they log-in just to see what I've shared, but they won't even hit that like button. The more they learn about me, the more they see the limitlessness, the more scared they become. They won't do it on their own. And then to the algorithm I am non-existent. No one save that very small group has the chance to see anything on there from me. That medium is how we determine in part who gets other things. Opportunities, deals, gigs, awards.
The people who think best think compartmentally. There's no emotional bleed-through. They can separate and let what ought to be separate remain so. For instance, every other writer will praise editors who are the worst people, the stupidest, the most inept, if they publish them. Doesn't matter if you're in your twenties or seventies, this is how it will go. They are blind because they are so desperate to have their mediocre-at-best work "accepted" and crumbs are hard to come by. They talk about the editor as though they were a savior. They'll accept anything, including mediocre work by themselves.
I said recently that you can't teach imagination. The most one can teach someone to do with writing is get better at being clear. I can help make you a better writer, but that would be a kick in your ass like you wouldn't believe. Most people wouldn't want to get better bad enough to handle that kick in the ass, the shock to the system. But I can make you better in twenty minutes if you think you can handle it. The scope of all of the work I see is so limited. It goes for nothing, reaches for nothing. Plays such a conventional, conservative game. It doesn't reach into you. It barely waves at you from 300 yards away. It really isn't concerned with you and even that wave has become a rarity. Do you know how all fiction I see now reads to me? As someone's sad justification of their life. Of calling themselves "a writer." This is the cost of doing business: A Word file must be cracked open on the laptop once every ten months and some words that are less valuable than the blankness of the page get typed out with great pain because, trust me, the idea of creating is excruciating to these people, and this is what must be undertaken to say those empty words, "I'm a writer." People want to have "a thing." You know what I mean by this. Someone's thing is to be a mom and homemaker, so when they are in the bad marriage that they got into because they were too scared to go out and live life, they stay in it, lock in on themselves, which manifests like narcissism. They stay because that is their thing, and without that thing, in their minds, what are they? But it's not really a thing, is it? Doing something for the wrong reasons is never a true thing. These other fiction writers are this way. What else could be their thing? The writing community is a safe haven for fakery and lies. Their thing can't be basketball. A lot of people have a thing without needing it to be a special thing. The people in publishing are not even as secure as Joe Average, and Joe Average in late 2022 is an insecure, angry, self-doubting, self-loathing mess.
The other day I saw where a writer went on Twitter and shared their most "serious" experience with nepotism in publishing. It wasn't very interesting and I could see how weak they were, but it's also worth noting here for those reasons and modes of behavior we can discern. The poster, when they were younger, wanted an unpaid internship at Vanity Fair. Remember Punch Hutton? There was this doubtlessly talentless person writing a piece and this person who was sharing their experience worked as the writer's unpaid assistant over the summer. The writer was some old, connected woman.
Can you even imagine if I started talking about having assistants for my Beatles piece or a Louis Armstrong piece? I just started casually dropping that into these pages? Your face would melt off in shock. It's not a money thing. When I have all the money I won't be writing in these pages about my assistant. Not for my work. For parts of life and the archive and the business, okay. But for something I create? The poster was helping out this individual who obviously sucked so that said individual would put in a good word with Vanity Fair. They end up getting the internship and when they get there they're given nothing to do, while this other intern, whose family member was on staff, is being sent to photo shoots and given assignments while they sit at a desk all day without any tasks save one time: to log the expense report of a writer. They said they lasted five days and they left.
But here's the thing: this person then starts making an ass out of themselves by saying, "I understand how privileged I am as a blah blah blah blah"--you know, they're doing all of the made up ABC terms and apologizing for being born. And I think, you are so damn weak. I could have looked and this person would have had 200K followers on Twitter, but that's how it works--they suck and they're weak, and even when being discriminated against--though nothing like what happens here and the context was different--they still tongue these people that someone like this willingly makes into an overlord. That's a loser. That's also why people are going to throw fake support their way. People sit on a low bar. Popularity and support is determined by looking to the left and the right from one's low bar and having people to wave at. Not looking way up in the sky, to someone on a stack of mountains, and saying, "Fuuuuuuuuccccccckkkkkkkk."
This is the problem to be solved for me. That, simply, is what everything comes down to, and which contains all of the other problems.
I saw my barber the other day at the Starbucks and we said hello. I felt guilty with my long hair. He's an excellent barber. Barbering is the family profession.