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Of puggles and plasticity

Friday 2/15/19

Yesterday was one of the worst days yet. A day I barely make it through. They vary in severity, even still. Like with Christmas Eve, when I nearly killed myself. It is hard, in the thick of it, to see a way out right now. The only way out is through. It's not by going around, it's not by doing something else, it's nothing any outsider can help me with with advice that will not be based on enough understanding and context to be germane here. The thorns, the branches, the vines, the creepers, they run across my eyes and they cut my face, but I don't think they're obscuring my vision in such a manner that I cannot understand exactly what they are, their respective classifications. Though I wonder--by which I mean, I desperately hope--if the constancy of their attacks and their closeness gives me more hopelessness still, than I would otherwise have, or should have. A lot of times, I see vine enswallowed death; others see light, and the settling of a new city where once the overgrown, hell-jungle stood. I pray they are correct and that I cannot see what they can see, though it is in every other instance that they can't see as far as I see. I pray for what to me feels like the miracle of their outlier in this one instance, where someone can say to me, "Told you so, I fucking told you, isn't this awesome now?" Yesterday I wrote 10,000 words, mostly to people who despise me. Were I not in this situation, or once I get out of it, those are 10,000 in a day that go to a novel, or 3500 words to a short story, 4000 words to a novel, 1500 to a Beatles book, 1000 to an op-ed. Easy. This is a new radio segment from Downtown, in which I discuss Keats and Dylan. I think this was a good one. This is a piece on Stendhal, love, and crystalization for The Daily Beast.


I learned the fate of my money at Salmagundi. I will not be receiving the $1000 I should have been paid for two pieces. Furthermore, on account of their belt-tightening, because I was told they had some conferences, I will not be getting the full $500 for the 1500 word piece I am supposed to write on Roma. I will get $250. In other words, I am down $1250. The sad thing is, the situation I'm in now, I'll just have to crank the piece, which makes me ashamed. I try to hang on, to tell myself, okay, it's someone who does like you here, and suck it up and deal with what's really a shafting, but a less malicious one, a collateral one, and try to focus on the belief that for all of the shame of this period, and how ill you were used, it won't matter later. You have to get to later. Hang in there with me right now. Ride out the abuse. Bite on a clothespin if you have to, put Bengay on your soul. You can heal yourself later. It's like surviving an attack, a spate of abuse, a torture chamber, a war. Find a way to get through it. I will write about Jesus Christ and the novel that the film noir Detour is based on for The Daily Beast. That's some cash, anyway.


I have been very inactive. I walked five miles the other day and went to the MFA, but that has been about it. I was supposed to go to a Beethoven performance last night from the Boston Philharmonic, but I am alone and it was Valentine's and truthfully I did not know if I'd make it until morning, and I couldn't go out and sit next to a couple in love on either side of me. I forced myself, unshowered, unkempt, to go out at night to get a hot chocolate at the Starbucks, where I must have looked like something--sometimes you can just feel the glassy-eyed expression on your face, the 500 yard stare--dragged in from an Ed Wood film. On the landing I encountered Emma's mother, who is very nice and someone I've always liked. Emma was the young girl I wrote about here before, who wants to be a writer, whom I gave a little pep talk to back in the fall on the building stairs. I saw her last week. She was eating some kind of cookie as we passed. She said, "Are you that writer dude?" My hair is longer, but she is shy, and this is her way of starting a conversation. We got to talking, and she said that they had a new puppy. I asked her his name, and she said it was Benecio.


I knew right then that someday that would be the name of a character in a story of mine. Anyway, Benecio is a puggle. Emma's mom was carrying him up the stairs last night when I saw her. So I met Benecio, and Emma's mom told me--she was very proud--how Emma is writing all of the time. I mentioned talking to her the other day. Benecio is for emotional support, I learned. "All she does is write," Emma's mom said. "It's all so good. But she doesn't let me see it, only my husband. They work on it together." I said, so you're in the inner circle, but not yet the inner inner circle. She said that was it. I offered again to look at anything my fellow writer might ever wish to share. I like Emma. And her mother has always been kind to me. After Molly did what she did, and I thought, for a time--and how savagely I was disabused of this idea--that that was the worst pain I could ever feel, Emma's mom always had a warm word for me in the hall. I must have worn death on my face. I can only wonder what I look like sometimes now. I think the only way that might be mitigated is because the fire still remains in me, and my fire can be seen in my eyes. She's say, "shouldn't you be finishing a book today?" She'd call me hun and she'd smile. It meant something to me.


These are just a couple Braques at the MFA. I've been thinking about Picasso a lot lately, which has moved me to Braque again.