My Saturday morning routine during this difficult period of life where everything is centered on creating art, taking down a corrupt system, and getting past the people who seek to suppress me to do what I am going to do. I am almost always alone. I write, work, walk, workout, weep. That's pretty much it. It's hard when I do meet people to even begin to answer the most basic questions. "What was your day like?" "Anything interesting happen?" "Do anything this weekend?"
This record here, even, is but a very piecemeal representation of everything. And yet, I would not wish to call it compromised or circumscribed, because I don't think it is those things. But let's say someone asks me what kind of writer I am. How do you answer that? They ask if I write fiction or nonfiction. I say both. They start to get confused. They ask what I've been working on lately. I answer that. They are more confused, and now incredulous. They ask what, if anything, I've published lately. "Wait. You just said you did a jazz thing. So you did an op-ed too? And now you're saying there's a film piece and a short story? And do you ever sleep? How do you know all of these things? Are you an alien?"
But then they accept all of that, because they hear me talk, and they might see my work, they might see this site. It will be presumed I'm rich. I'll say no, not yet. More confusion. They will know right away I am something that others are not, and this can work against you. Now they want explanations, but how do you go into that, in what was basically just a series of questions you were trying to dodge when you first met someone? I am hated by publishing. I have an entire system against me. I am, because of my strengths, a pariah among these people. And yet, look at every week. And we had simply started with "Do you do fiction or nonfiction?" To answer what I do do, even vaguely, makes it sounds like I'm bragging or lying. Oh, I'm an expert on all of these diverse things, and I write fiction to always last, publish many things every week, do radio, and I haven't even really started because I'm banned and hated at so many places by so many people and I've never had any support. No backing. Not a nomination, never been solicited, no awards, no PR help, an agent will represent your dead dog before one represents me--and I want no part of agents besides, knowing what I know about them and having both talent and integrity.
But even just the idea that you would do a music piece for Rolling Stone makes it confusing and unbelievable that you'd do an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal. That you'd have fiction in Harper's. That you'd be a JazzTimes regular for a dozen years. That you'd have an art piece in ARTnews. A film essay in The Daily Beast. That you'd be the chief Beatles authority. And that you discussed baseball on the radio. And that's not really giving anything but a tiny, tiny sliver of what happens or what I do, is it? Couple weeks. (What would happen if an industry was not working against you, if this is what you're doing with it trying to suppress you? Eventually, someone is going to back that person, and that decision is going to make that person a lot of money.) So, people sometimes learn what I do, and they assume I have three houses. I will have three houses. But in the present situation? Yeah, there are not three houses.
Do you know that The New York Times has banned any coverage of my books? That's something, right? Policy. I'm blackballed. Do I particularly care right now? In terms of quality of life, yes, but they've (by which I mean, people like this, who follow similar courses) only armed me more, and when I get my platform and expose more of these people, they will have no defense, and they will fall. They will fall quickly. They will not return. Look at the site. What is that guy? Who does that? Look at the work. Compare and contrast. This person, who sucks at writing, was given three or four accomplishments, and on the back of those, they got their genius grant, the big book deal, etc., whereas those three or four accomplishments is a Wednesday afternoon here, not years. And when he got them, we doubled down in our hate. It's all on record. It's all in emails, it's all in factual stories, it's all borne by what has played out. It's all borne out by "If you do a, b, and c, then d, e, and g will result, as has been proven time and time again, in examples we can point to, with no exception, unless you have the name of this fellow."
I'm imprisoned by my current situation, socially, romantically. More so the latter. When I get past these people, and what should happen is happening, and others are writing about me, and there is that record that becomes public knowledge, so that I don't have to be the person to introduce someone to all of this, that will go differently. Of course, there will then be people who want to curry favor and will fake affection for selfish purposes. So right now I'm rimrocked in so many things. I can't go up, I can't go down. I just wrote five short stories this past summer that I'll put up against any stories ever written. I'll do a taste test, too, with any objective third party reader with those stories vs. any stories, and I'm confident what the result will be in terms of preference, in terms of what is deemed more impactful, more moving, what will stay with someone. Any author. Any time. There is no one to compete against right now, but pick some from the past.
But when I had fiction in Harper's, these people couldn't ban or reject fast enough. They redoubled their hate. Their discrimination. Those five stories became a bear to unload. All the more so because so much was coming out, is coming out. This op-ed thing? I had never done that basically a year ago. Now look at it. Who moves from op-ed section to op-ed section with regularity? Who else is doing that? If that was all they did? I could compose thirty more of the stories; there are about ten in my head as I write this. And the thing with my work is, I write in an endless variety of styles and voices and forms. If you're Agatha Christie, and some avant-garde journal didn't want your work, that makes sense. That's not what you do. Ever. I do that. I do all the kinds. And I can take all the kinds to the same place, and because of my name at the top, all the kinds will all get ignored. And it's a huge problem if people would actually like and enjoy your story. You can always tell it's me, no matter how stylistically divergent things are. There are hallmarks. Authenticity of voice, emotional resonance, the command in the language, the soundness of the prose architecture with whatever form the work is built within. That the form the work is built within is transcended by substance and that kind of epiphanic take-away that never goes away. Also, inclusivity.
The people at literary journals right now want work that is exclusionary. That no one likes, understands, or cares about. They think that makes them smart. Like they get it, and the unwashed masses could not. You want to be seen as smart, move someone at the level of who they are. I'll give you an example. When I was a college freshman, I'd write in my room. Not for class. For the future, I guess. I was working on my writing. None of this was assigned. That's what I did Friday and Saturday nights. I composed. It was so bad. And no one in the hall could understand this pretentious wankery I was churning out. And you know what? That made me feel like it was good. I was that smart!
I was an idiot. But that crap I wrote, that had no value, no worth save as being part of something that I needed to get beyond and attest to how I needed to grow the hell up, was more in keeping with what literary magazine people want. If you took the moronic, eighteen-year-old writer version of me, and made him socially awkward and turned him into a "literary citizen" who traded favors, you'd see that person in New England Review. Of course, you still have to be one of their cronies, you have to trade the favors, you have to check off the right boxes in terms of gender and sexuality, you have to be like them. As I've said before, you need to write work that sucks, bores, and matches other work that sucks and bores. Suck, bore, match. And no one on planet Earth, away from these journals, will read what you write--well, they'll never see it, but supposing you showed it to them--and not hate it. I shouldn't say hate it. They won't care enough to hate it, and they'll stop reading after two paragraphs. Almost all of it.
But I was talking of romance, or its absence. If you're out there in the dating world, especially online, where you meet people through their language, you can watch the world devolve such that the person here in September 2018, is a devolved, more ill, more depressed version of the person they were in summer 2014. The rhetoric of hate is everywhere. "If you are not a feminist you should kill yourself in your garage #meanit." Oh. Now, four years ago, that person didn't express herself that way to lead off a dating profile. It's not that she became wise to equity and mastered self-actualization and personal growth. There is a toxicity in the air, and it infects people, who move like so many sheep. Did you ever see 1963's Tom Jones?
Excellent film. The dog, at the beginning, herds all of the sheep so that they throw themselves off a cliff. Every last sheep. People are throwing themselves off cliffs more and more, guided by a kind of inner dog. Not a nice dog. A human's worst enemy rather than best friend.
What most people do in this life is pair off with someone who will have them. That's the criteria. If you have me, I'll have you. As I've grown, after what happened to me more than six years ago now, after having walked, in that time, 18,000 miles with only my thoughts, after I've created all I've created over those six plus years, I find myself at a further remove from people than prior to those six years. I'm more aware, more self-aware, stronger. The person who might have interested me six years ago, does not, often, now. I am looking for someone I am not sure exists, but I hope she does. Someone brilliant and dynamic who communicates readily and well. They need not be an expert on anything. I find that hardly anyone knows anything about any given subject these days. But they need to have an open mind, to care about growth, to be possessed of Socratic wisdom, to want to be a part of something big and joyous and consequential and steeped in meaning, in terms of what there is between us with an ever-evolving partnership and symbiosis in which allied strength, fealty, and unconditional love also fosters individuality; together, but also distinct, two trees growing higher than other trees in the same forest. And, too, someone capable of being part of history.
Do you know how rare it is that I receive a note, even one that is five words long, that does not spell 40% of the words wrong? That does not ask me my star sign? It terrifies me that adults think our personalities are governed by how close this planet was to the sun when we were born. It's like some bad writing out of Star Trek. Like a Star Trek outtake. The people who do spell things correctly and don't blast my eyes with acronyms and emojis almost always have nothing to say. They want you to carry all of the conversation. Obviously, the words are not a problem for me. I can invent with words for the next million years, non-stop, and I'll not run out of new things. I won't repeat myself. But I'm not looking for that. Rapport, connection, for starters. And you see how hard people work to keep themselves alone.
I was talking about my Saturday morning routine during this stretch in hell. I awake, I put on The Rifleman on AMC.
They only have it on early Saturday mornings. Then I look at the various dating apps on my phone. There will be all kinds of women getting in touch, or having "swiped," as it were. Some will be college students, women in their twenties, women in their thirties, women in their forties. I'm interested in anyone with whom I have a rapport, who exhibits at least signs of the above qualities. Many of them are quite comely. This I attribute, mostly, to the fact that I look better these days than in some years past. I was a lot heavier those six plus years ago. Then my life fell apart, and I lost a bunch of weight. I started the walking, the running, eventually the stair-climbing in the Bunker Hill Monument. And then over two years ago I stopped drinking. I've always looked a lot younger than I am, which I attribute partially to my Portuguese blood, but it's also my attitude, my energy, how active I am; and a prevailing spirit, despite this life that often has me wishing to die. Wishing to die right now. I tell myself that you need to get through this period, you are going to beat these people who hate and fear you as they do, this is important, there is more at stake than your life, and when you are past them, then we start, then it all starts, and you're going to thank yourself later, a million times over, for having not given in. And I mostly believe that. But when you give up alcohol--and I drank a lot, though I was never drunk; let us say, twenty units a day--you just look a lot better.
My married friends will sometimes see the photos of a possible date, a very attractive woman, some grad student, or a young doctor, and they used to make jokes about their own situations, as if I was the king of flesh, going round from door to door. I may be matchlessly--artfully--debauched, but only in the one-to-one context. I need there to be something substantial, or I cannot care. And I am someone who needs to care to do anything. Anything. Or I just won't do it. I cannot be a passive person, I cannot be a mere partaker, dabbler, toe-dipper. I am a drinker of life to the lees, and that is in all matters. So I wait. I bide my time. I wonder what that amazing person, provided she exists, is up to, what she is doing now, whom she might be with presently, if she's going to tell me what her first job was, if she was nervous before giving some speech, what her first memory of her mom was, how her friends were at school, the dreams she had once, the dreams she acquired after; because I would have missed out on her entire life to that point. I wonder what she'll make of this when she reads it. And you keep going. You refuse to give in to these people, you realize they are cowards who are not going to stop the likes of you--nature itself could not stop the likes of me--and you fight through the days and the lonely weekends and you build the body of work, you continue to grow, you add new layers of strength, and strength involves compassion for people who will never have any idea what that kind of strength is like. So I awake, I keep trying in all matters, I see people on my phone. I am also berated by the most sexist nonsense, though I am told that only men are sexist, which is bollocks. Women and men are equally sexist. What is happening now, though, is that the sexism of women is countenanced by sick societal trends.
Sexism and misandry has arrogated the notion of equity. Equity is a false flag; the term is used as means to underwrite a grab for power, and to give meat to one's inner demons so that they might shut up for a bit. I mean, check out this piece. I experience a lot of that, daily. In various forms. Be it on dating apps, or with the literary journals. That's a really well-written piece. Refute a single line of it for me. I'd like to hear the counterargument. Because there aren't any. All you can do in the face of reality like that, if you're opposed to it, is throw hate and anger at it. I don't really care what her age is, this person I seek, so long as she can physically keep up, if what matters is in place. Not that I'm expecting anyone to climb the Monument five times with me or walk forty miles a weekend. But I have found that the twenty-six-year-old is often the same, maturity-wise, as the forty-five-year-old. People don't change much inwardly, save with that aforesaid general devolution these days. I guess I do trend to looking for someone younger, but that's in part because there aren't divorces involved, and kids, and I do plan on living to 100. That is a goal I made. When I do get past these people, I am going to enjoy the hell out of my life, and I am going to reap like no one has ever reaped, and create even more than I create now. If the bulk of my work is centered on composing, I think I can easily create twenty times more than I do right now, formally speaking. Because most of my life right now goes to writing people I wish I never had to write in a billion years, and then following-up with them. And being discriminated against, hated, loathed, envied, by those people--obviously not all--I am having to write. Or chasing down money. Or dealing with the burdens of living in filth and poverty as you have someone else's full career--well, minus their shitty writing--every single week of mine, and that makes things worse.
It's a little after eight right now. What will I do today? I've been sick this past week. So I'll run for the first time, three miles. Then hopefully walk three miles, climb the Monument at least once. Then it's off to the BC v. Holy Cross football game. I'm going to get some apparel--like some little shirts--for my niece and nephew at the bookstore in Chestnut Hill. Apparently she is a toddler size 3, he is a boy's size six. I need to double-check. This is not my area. I am increasingly fond of them. My niece, Lilah, will be over at my mom's, and I have some old baseball statues there. They are Hartland statues, from the late 1950s and early 1960s. Eventually, they'll be in a house of mine, but they're not now. And she gets in front of the case they're in and sort of protects them. "These are Colin's!" They don't call me Uncle Colin, as we three agreed early on that we would not stand on ceremony. So if anyone happens to use the term, like when you're on the phone, you hear some voice in the background say, "Just Colin." Did you ever see the good version of The Office, the British one, and Gareth Keanan is always saying "assistant manager," with David Brent slipping in "assistant to the manger"? It's a bit like that.
Got some tickets to things yesterday. Boston Baroque, multiple Lucinda Williams shows (she's performing all of Car Wheels on a Gravel Road at the Paradise on back-to-back nights in November, and then playing with Charles Lloyd at Berklee in December), two Red Sox games at $10 a throw, Boston Philharmonic. I should see some Bergman films this weekend at the Brattle.
But for now, it's time to get my slothful ass in gear and run.