Another nice op-ed sale. To the New York Daily News this time, saying something about the Patriots that will get people going. It will be out tomorrow. I will say no more about it now. I really like working for this editor, though. I will be splaying people open on here shortly. Enough of the bigotry. Time to make some examples of people. And there is nothing any of these people will be able to say by way of defense or explanation, as their prejudice and corruption will be obvious to all. And no one is going to think there is a single bloody thing in my fiction or nonfiction, as born out in thousands of examples and so many achievements, that would warrant me never being in your venue. And I have so much correspondence, and it's going up on here. What are you going to do? The most feared, hated person in this industry is the person who publishes the most in it. Go ahead, tell your friends to hate me. If they're like you, they already do. It's not going to matter. Why do you think The Oxford American will not, per policy, consider my fiction nor include me in their music issue? Do you think it's because my fiction's not good enough? Do you think it's because I don't know enough about music? Of course you don't. Are there sillier questions? So what is it, then? Let's just get it out there. I know exactly why it is. For everything I am an expert in, there is nothing I know more about than these people and exactly how they do their business. Let's get it all out there hard. And then you're welcome to come back at me, recreants, but you're not going to do anything, are you? Because you don't have the chops, you don't have a toothpick sliver of a leg to stand on, and I got you bang to rights, and I am the one person who can blow the whistle on you with the cred and achievements and this level of ability, all of which inures me to anything you might hope to come back with. You've already done all you can with your gossip, your envy, your hate, your whisper network, your blackballing. And that freed me up, because I reached a point where I had absolutely jack to lose. There is nothing that can be done to me that is worse than what has been done to me. Now I'll do the doing. If it was someone of middling ability and few achievements, you could cite that maybe they weren't good enough. If they did just one thing, you could cite that they didn't do what your thing was. But I do everything, don't I? And I do each thing I do better than anyone else does it, don't I? Look at the work. I also do more of each thing than anyone does of that one thing even if it's their only thing. It's all there in black and white. I had to build this body of work I now realize to destroy this system. Any third party who has seen any of my work, seen any of this blog, seen any story, reads any article, heard any radio program, read any op-ed, let alone seen many, dozens, hundreds, is going to know exactly what I am. Anyway. Decent week. Radio, Rolling Stone, Wall Street Journal, New York Daily News. There will be at least one Daily Beast piece over the weekend, too. I have been working in my head today on "Prayers That are Simple." It is another story, like "Pillow Drift," I am envisioning as a film. It, too, is a horror story, but also an explosion of what a horror story is, something deeper and wiser and gentler beyond any horror, but also with stay-twined-with-you passages that tattoo terror into you. The characters are still telling me their stories. But we are getting there, together. I lay in bed last night and gave them free run in my mind, and they told me quite a bit then, and today I lay down and learned some more. Since July I have written ten short stories. I also need to tend to "Dunedin," the story began a couple weeks ago. I have most of that one done in my head. The beginning is formally complete.
Hopefully going to run in the morning, though this heel pain persists. It is one of those nagging injuries that you wonder if you're good to go and you should just power through it, or if you need to stay off it until all lingering pain is gone. I know that I can't do nine miles on it right now. I'm not sure I can do six. I am pretty sure I can do three.
Kyrie Irving reneged on his promise earlier in the year that he was going to re-up with the Celtics. Good. Trade his ass. They're better without him anyway. He is that kind of person (well, one of the kinds) I cannot stand: someone who is not very bright who is cosseted endlessly, who might as well bathe in his own ejaculate he's so in love with himself, who thinks he is like freaking Socrates. You can tell that his teammates despise him.
I think the NFL makes its Hall of Fame announcement tomorrow. I'd like to see Richard Seymour and Ty Law get in--especially Law--but I don't think either will this year. Law was the best defensive player the Patriots have ever had. Better than Andre Tippett, a favorite of mine. I heard an interview with Eric Dickerson today and he was whining about the Patriots cheating in 2001. Dude, it's time to shut up. He was from the 1980s anyway. It's not like they stole a ring from him. (Dickerson won absolutely nothing during his own career.) Even if they were cheating. Which I don't really believe. But if they were, good. Competitive edge. Everyone should be trying to do something, and I'm sure most are in that league. What I recall watching was a team that physically beat people the fuck up. Ty Law pounded people. They would pound you on the initial hit, and then they would pound you into the turf. And then the league changed the rules for the milksop brigade. And then the Patriots still kicked everyone's ass, just a different way. A process that continues to this day, nearly 1/5 of a century later. The single greatest achievement in the history of team sports. It's not the mid-century Yankees, its not the Jean Beliveau Canadiens. It's the Patriots of the early part of the twenty-first century. Why do people hate them? Because they're better and smarter. As Jay from The Inbetweeners would say, "simples." People who are not secure in themselves quake into dust when trying to square what they are against someone or something smarter and better. They handle this with hate. With attacks. Smearing. Pettiness. The thing about sports--and you can say this about nothing else in our society--is that it's a meritocracy. So if you're better, you just handle it, and it all works out in the end. Last meritocracy for now, I should say.
My hair is the longest it has been in years. The hockey hair is in full effect, and I have a bit of a mop thing going on. Haven't shaved in over a week either. I was going to go to the MFA tonight for a screening of 1933's The Vampire Bat, but it was too cold. It's playing again, so I will have another opportunity. They're doing a series of pre-code works restored by UCLA. Tomorrow I think I shall take in an Ulmer picture, Damaged Lives. My MFA membership does not get me into these for free, unfortunately. The American Interest wants to use my piece on The Ox-Box Incident, which ran on their site, for one of their print issues. I am worried about this costing me $700, as you can only be in print so often there, and I am supposed to be filing a long piece on Night of the Living Dead for print and I cannot afford to have that bumped. I get less money for the web pieces, and I don't think they're going to tack on the difference between web and print with this Ox-Box Incident piece. Not out of any spite or wrongdoing; I just don't have the feeling they viewed an additional payment. Maybe I'm wrong. I hope so. I maybe should say something. But at the least, I can't lose the $700 for Night of the Living Dead. I need to get these Beatles book pages to Da Capo. I need to really start to work.
I read today that 75% of the country has been at temps below zero this week. It hasn't been really close to that in Boston--I think we've only done down to eight degrees or so. How stranger that Boston is one of the warmer places. I saw that next week there will be two days in the fifties. That Monument better not be closed.
Fun fact: the Pat Patriot character was created and drawn by someone from my beloved Rockport, which I am fighting so hard to return to. The Monument was made from Rockport granite. The Pat Patriot-style uniforms might be my favorite ever after the Red Sox' home unis.
To be actually offended by something--not pretend offended because that has utility for your agenda--requires morals, integrity, and actual standards. Since I think those three things are virtually nonexistent in people right now, I don't think people are ever actually offended by anything. I see someone else got in trouble for a yearbook. Is what was in it pretty damn wrong? Yeah, obviously it was pretty damn wrong. It's hard to conceive of what is going through your brain that could make you think that was okay. But the same goes for people who hunt through old yearbooks. I see people who call themselves writers--right--who do this. They openly solicit the public for copies of yearbooks for their muckracking hack-and-hate pieces. Because that's what Dostoevsky would do. I mean, Keats was always doing that. That's what you're here to do, eh, writer? Do you drape all your mirrors in curtains because you're ashamed to look at yourself? If you dress up in Klan robes, I don't know how you live with yourself. But I also don't know how you live with yourself if you hunt down old yearbooks hoping to digitally lynch someone.
When I get past the bigots I contend with, maybe someone will look for a yearbook of mine. The thing is, I'm not scared of anyone, and I'm not scared of the mob. A few years ago, I had a mob come for me, and my family, during a time of tragedy. And I made the mistake of running from it. When I could have taken on every last member of it, with ease, and I also could have used it as an opportunity in my progression to where I am going. But it still served as an advantage in that I learned how the mob works in a way that most people never do, experientally. People don't have clever ripostes, they don't have valid points, they make things up. They make insane things up. They are broken people, often self-medicating, who hate themselves more than they could ever hate you. They are mentally and psychologically weak. What they can do to you is solely in that first blast of fear that something is happening to you and if you give in to the fear.
Do you know why most people die when they fall into freezing cold water? Because they are so shocked by the cold of that water that they gasp, and their lungs fill up with water and down you go. But if you are prepared for the fear, if you don't gasp, you can swim to the banks, shed your clothes, light a fire, dry them, warm up, put them back, and carry on your journey. It is like everything that has ever happened to me has been to prepare to impart this sociological, cultural, global change I know that I can through my work, my voice, my story, my ways, my range, my life. But if you go picking through yearbooks of mine, when I have at last gotten past these people, you'll find nothing. I only have two, so far as I know. Freshman and sophomore year of high school, in Ridgefield, CT. I'm only on the pages with my headshot. Nowhere else. There is no text by me nor about me. I only had a few friends. I struggle with morons. I can, of course, ingratiate myself with anyone, be charming, make you howl with laughter, and certainly on the radio I sound like I have a quarter of a million friends, and there is no larger-hearted art in all of art's history, I would maintain, than mine, but in my personal life, I have always just wished to have a small group. Also: the more you care about upvotes and likes and shares and FB comments and what not, the more depressed you inevitably are. That's what constitutes "friendship" for many people now. I'm not going to be in their number.
But then again, how many real friends do you have? Do you have one true friend? You don't have sixteen. You don't have ten. You're fortunate to have several. I had a friend named Jeff Badger, who is now an artist in Portland, Maine, where he teaches, and seems to often hike the Whites with his young boy. He played an important role in my life, getting me into a lot of good music. And my friend Jamie Schiller, who is now a firefighter in CT, and a truly honorable, decent, wise man. Halfway through high school we moved to Chicago--and goodness knows I detest the Middle West--and I went to an all boys high school called Loyola Academy, which I absolutely hated. Bill Murray had gone there, and the only nice thing I can say about him is he also disliked it greatly. I was a hockey star when I got there--and it was because of hockey that I went there--and by Christmas junior year, I had quit hockey for good, despite being recruited by many DI programs, to focus entirely on my writing. I had zero friends at that school, and not once, in two years, did I so much as enter the cafeteria for lunch. I had a study period on each side of lunch, and for three consecutive periods each day I would sit in the library, learning, preparing myself, mastering my talent. Unless I was mandated to do it, which I suppose could have been possible, I sat for no yearbook picture either year.
There was one kid who was nice to me, but it didn't really help matters that all he wanted to do was tell people how smart I was, like supernatural smart. Unfortunately, he died, being electrocuted in Mexico on spring break. Jared Romanski. Had a football scholarship to Harvard. I had a guidance counselor who sucked who told me that I was studying too much. Thankfully I was given another, Randall Hall, and he became my friend into adulthood. We talked a lot of jazz and classical music. Whenever I would return to Chicago to see my family, we'd get lunch. I should reach out to him. I don't think he's aware of this journal's existence, either. But that was high school for me. Now, I have not looked much into this person from Virginia. I see a story like this every week. Do you focus on all of them? But unless I'm misreading something in my quick glance, it would seem that this person advocates for a form of infanticide? I'm not talking about abortion. But a "grace" period of not electing to revive a child who has already been birthed? That is fucked up, bro. That should not ever be a thing. Were people more outraged about this, or his racist yearbook photo from three decades ago? If I were a betting man--and again, I didn't really look that hard at any of this--I'd wager that they were more outraged by the yearbook. Speaking of bets: if you bet $100 that Julian Edelman wins the MVP in the Super Bowl, you make $2000 if he does. I would make that bet if I was a bettor.
And yea, Pat Patriot!