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Out of the night

Wednesday 6/9/21

This is such an unholy, miserable grind. I sent a pitch to Slate and an essay to someone else there. I sent Cheer Pack: Stories to Coffee House. I wrote two short stories called "Face Faces" and "Bitch of It." Working on a chapter for Same Band You've Never Known: An Alternative Musical History of the Beatles which is now at 7000 words. I have to write this 2500 word John Coltrane feature fast. Sent a film piece to Sight and Sound.

I feel like my head is going to explode. It's like you're not just working at one thing harder and faster than anyone else is working at anything else. You're working at every single thing harder and faster all at the same time and each of those things you're working harder and faster at than anyone else is their one thing at the most dedicated and intense point of their lives. To try and knock on and down every kind of door simultaneously is like throwing yourself into some kind of radioactive chamber and then just saying, "I guess I'll do it again tomorrow, I'm still alive." I often wonder what people who pretend they know what discrimination means--and land gigs, get money, and rake in the attention by pretending or just being that ignorant and privileged and entitled--would really think if they had to live with this unprecedented level of discrimination. But I also wonder what they'd think and say and how they'd look at the world if they ever worked as hard as I do in a week. It's not even an hours thing. It's so much more. The degree of difficulty and the energy and non-stop ingenuity.

Sent an op-ed pitch to The Wall Street Journal. Things are bad for me there right now. I have no idea why. But I've been frozen out now for more than half a year and I need that income.

I have so many expenses right now and things that need replacing like the mattress and the fridge. I want to be able to renew my memberships at the Aquarium, MFA, and the Brattle, because those are the only places I have to go right now during this extended, seemingly endless period of complete aloneness.

Sent "Seedless Cherries" to The Hudson Review. They'll ignore it. But there is also no point. To be honest, I hate the idea of giving away a masterpiece that millions of people should see for no money to a place that no one reads or has heard of. These stories are too good and too important for that. At the same time, I have 400 available stories, I am in the position I'm in, and so few places run any fiction. That is because all of the fiction sucks and no one has been able to connect the dots as to why no one wanted none of the fiction, causing the higher circulation magazines that published it to stop publishing it, with few exceptions. I do worry that if I were to die tonight would it be possible for anyone, no matter how devoted, ardent, or even obsessive a fan, could ever read the whole of my body of work and I'm only forty-five. If you count everything, my body of work is larger than any other writer's body of work at the end of their whole life.

I sent Become Your Own (Super) Hero: Modern Fiction in Twenty Easy Steps (Stories) to Grove/Atlantic, Unnamed Press, Seven Stories.

Starting to feel pressure to complete Musings with Franklin, my second novel, and get that back to Sagging Meniscus. And also to finally finish my third novel, The Freeze Tag Sessions. If Meatheads Part II doesn't end up happening first, or something else. I know and I also never know--I remain open to what comes.

Bruins eliminated. Not surprising. It feels weird to say that's disappointing. In the position I am, things like this don't register. If I had a life, hope, happiness, friends, loved ones, quality of life, recreation, things I was able to enjoy, look forward to, and "regular" stuff, it'd be disappointing. The last time the Islanders and Bruins met in the playoffs was 1983 when the Isles also eliminated the Bruins in Six in this same building. I remember lying in my sleeping back in the room next to where my dad was watching it and hearing Mike Bossy score four goals. What is also not surprising is going on Twitter and seeing how little people know about hockey, and yet they express themselves with the certainty and conviction of the expert. I knew more about the game at seven than these adults do. And I think it's really important to them, relatively speaking, in their lives. The Bruins, as a franchise, have a nice history. Cool teams, great players. But I'd say the theme of the franchise, over the course of that history, is one of underachievement. They let opportunities get away. In the 1970s, in 1990, in Game 7 in 2019. And this year and last year. Now, I don't think they would have beaten the Lightning--I don't think anyone will, as I first said in these pages months ago--but they shouldn't have gone out like this.

Going back to watching Rouben Mamoulian's The Mark of Zorro (1940). Zorro sort of features in The Freeze Tag Sessions. Well made film.


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