I ran 40,000 stairs this past week that for me ended yesterday.
Worked more on "Someone Who Knew Things." I can confirm--it's truly excellent.
Most people who are accustomed to reading--which really means skimming through--nothing but MFA-machined drivel wouldn't know what to make of it, I think. They wouldn't know what the hell it is or recognize it for what it is. It'd be like reading something in a made-up language to them. Then again, I also don't think one could read it and not at the very least feel the power of the thing. The ending changed some. I had a feeling it would.
So, for that week, came up with and wrote two stories, finished "What the Mouse Knew," more work on "Attic Cantata," "She ain't gonna dm you," and "Fall and Spring," the latter of which is featured in this entry, one of fifteen over those seven days in this record. Gave an interview on film noir.
Also wrote a second Beatles feature over that period, this one an 1800 word piece on the Beatles' failed New Year's Day 1962 audition for Decca. Strong. From it:
The Beatles—with Epstein’s input—clearly went with the conservative approach, figuring that lite pop and a familiarly with twee hits of the day would serve them well in the professional milieu of a “fancy” London recording studio. Thus, George Harrison singing Bobby Vee’s “Take Good Care of My Baby” in attempt to get it done, when John Lennon wailing his way through Little Eva’s “Keep Your Hands Off My Baby” would have been the much worthier approach.
Of the fifteen numbers the Beatles undertook, seven fall into that “What’s with all the soft rock?" category, with their covers of “September in the Rain,” “’Til There Was You,” “To Know Her is to Love Her,” “Besame Mucho,” and the aforesaid Vee tune; plus, the Lennon and McCartney originals, “Love of the Loved” and “Like Dreamers Do,” which were hard sells and why they didn’t revisit them later on.
Remember: “One After 909” got two kicks (six years apart) at being part of the Beatles’ canon on the back of its pluck and drive. If they saw value in a song, they’d return to tease that value out of it—which says a lot about the originals from this day.
McCartney always handled “’Til There Was You” with a certain professional grace, but you never have to hear it, even in its With the Beatles guise or what was a touching rendition on The Ed Sullivan Show.
“To Know Her is to Love her” would produce one of their finest cover performances on the BBC in July 1963, but that version had soul, whereas this one is limited by its rigidity. One senses that the Beatles are embarrassed, like they’re getting collectively undressed in front of a doctor.
It’s ironic that the Beatles—who would later make records with a producer in George Martin who oversaw comedy LPs—devoted two tracks at this audition to “humor hits” in “The Sheik of Araby” and “Three Cool Cats”—complete with John Lennon’s novelty voice—but they must have thought the way to a record deal was at least in part through the funny bone. Problem was, neither performance proved risible in what was presumably its intended way.
Perhaps stranger still: a large chunk of the Beatles’ regular repertoire consisted of material made famous—or at least actually cool—by African American musical artists, but the Decca tape feels very white, as if the Beatles didn’t want it to be known on that day what they really loved.
Yes, there are two numbers from the Coasters (albeit one is “Three Cool Cats”) and versions of Barrett Strong’s “Money (That’s What I Want)” and Chuck Berry’s “Memphis, Tennessee,” but the Beatles come off as a white band that wants to be seen as a clean-cut white band, which isn’t how they sound anywhere else.
With the Beatles, for example, is pure rhythm and blues, British beat rock-style. Even when the Beatles advanced beyond their influences, they came across as a band without borders or labels, and they certainly didn’t self-label, but that’s precisely what they’re doing here, while also attempting to show some range, though not their actual range.
Try to please everyone, and you please no one, including yourself. For the Beatles, January 1, 1962 was the day that the lesson was learned.
I did more last week than people will in their entire lives. That's before we get into the level of quality of the work, which no writer will reach in their lives.
Am I supposed to pretend otherwise? Should I lie? Why would I do that at this point? Should I just dig a hole in the earth, then, throw myself into it, and start trying to scoop the soil over my own head and bury myself alive? Is that what I should do? Should I just die? Take it, act like it's fine, and there's nothing wrong here, and just suffer and suffer, until I give out and expire? Should I do that? Why would I do any of those things? It seems like what I have to do is keeping proving what I've proven--in terms of what I am--and say the truth. That seems much more reasonable to me than the whole digging a hole thing and trying to burying myself, which would be to the delight of some very bad people, in a world that cannot stop devolving right now.
I am here for the rising up. Not the devolving. Not the burying. And sure as hell not the self-burying.
An entry will be coming about how greatness is being eliminated from the human race and the possibility of greatness is being removed from the human condition. Greatness is hated, feared, envied, and is now virtually non-existent. The way the world right now is that the greater one might be, the less chance one has to have anything but the most miserable existence. Because of greatness and people's feelings of inadequacy towards it.
Everyone wants someone like themselves. They want to be with someone like themselves. They want to follow someone like themselves, do business with someone like themselves, retweet someone like themselves, award someone like themselves, support someone like themselves, tune in to someone like themselves, publish someone like themselves, hire someone like themselves. They want everyone to sound like they sound. To say what they think. In the same words--the actual same phraseology. To be capable only of what they're capable of. Less is okay; more is not.
That person will attempt to pull down anyone who is not like them in these ways. But virtually everyone is. Because they cannot lower the people around them and with whom they interact, on account that there is no lower point for them to go to, they will try to lower that rare person of greatness they encounter, if they ever do. It's like going through an endless gauntlet of pettiness and being pick-pick-picked at. It's exhausting, dealing with that on top of the larger battles, stemming from the extirpation and hatred of truly being the best that someone can be. Reaching those highs.
The more of those heights that one reaches, the more one is shut out, denigrated, shunned, plotted against, discriminated against, held back, denied opportunity, but behind-the-scenes, which is where the cowards like it. Then you have people who try and play dumb, like you don't know exactly what they're doing and why they're doing it. Or why they're not doing what they should be doing. Could be doing with a modicum of effort, character, and decency. They give you the most facile reasons when on the spot; reasons that if you told 100 people about them, there isn't a single person, dumb as people can be, who wouldn't know the lack of truth in that reason. It's not even that they're trying to insult your intelligence. They are in awe of it. It's that they're so pathetic they can't be any other way. If you notice what is as plain as can be and say something about it--even if it's the first time in years--they get defensive, so it's like it's your fault that you're not this moron of morons, or you don't blindly accept what you know are lies. And what they know are lies, as much as you do.
And those are the better people, simply because they wouldn't be full of anger if you got what you deserved. If you did, they'd act like this was the natural and normal result. They wouldn't think it was strange in the slightest, save that it hadn't happened earlier, and you wouldn't be able to look at them after without throwing up on the ground.
When I write these pages, I write them as though they're pages of an actual journal, and upon the completion of an entry, I will close the covers and no one else will see. That journal--and the stacks of the other journals that comprise the full record of this account--may come out later in book form. I'm not unaware of that, and I wouldn't write anything that were for my eyes alone. But as it's done, I write as if to myself, or the world at night, when all are asleep, and yet these words, these ideas, this human life become embroidered in something beyond myself. Still, there is a part of me that also thinks, "You know who you are. And you keep coming back, and cannot stop yourself from coming back, because you know every word is true."
This is the problem. Everything else is under the heading of this problem. If I took what I wrote here and summarized it in a friendly, chatty Facebook post capping the week, 5000 people would dislike me more. That's just the truth. Because these are great things. They're not handouts. They are great things of human achievement. They're not fake. They can't be faked. There's no bullshit in them. No cronyism, no boxes checked. They're as real as the sun. They are what they are. There is no one who can read "Fall and Spring"--just that excerpt--and play it down. It's too damn good. Any of these things--any single one of them--would be enough to stoke much resentment. I wrote this many words. I know all of this about all of this. I can talk with complete knowledge about that. I did this physical thing. I created this story about this in this form. I wrote this feature about this subject people would like to be able to say they know a lot about. I wrote fifteen entries in a unique journal of a life, of a time, of a world. Any one of those things--let alone all of them--produces the negative reaction. And it's often extreme.
But if I was an average person, who tried the minimum amount required to loll on through a life of sameness and low standards and nonexistent ambitions, and I summarized my week, condensed the blandness, the lack of achievement, into a few sentences, that would garner thousands of likes. (Especially if I was lazy and out of shape, just this form of human amorphousness and definitely not a Zulu warrior.)
People want that. Because it's like how they are. They're not entertained by it. They're not impressed by it. They don't respect or care about it. They don't like to read about it. They don't remember it two seconds after they read about it. No one does.
They just want to see themselves in someone else's mediocrity. That is life right now. It's the market driver. Seeing yourself in someone else's mediocrity. That's what I'm fighting against. The idea of this being the final--save that it will worsen--state of the human race. Because that's where it's at. And I can see it change by the month. The day. It's amazing, in a way, how I can see and chart it. How clearly it is unfolding. Worsening. I live it.
This guy is a bad guy, but what he says here is accurate.