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Monday 11/14/22

Thought I was done on "BETTER MAN" and it would be a matter of just one last read-through, but I changed the ending and further wrecked myself in the process. Wreck people with your writing. Wreck yourself. The more you wreck them the better. The more you wreck yourself, better still.

I will now let it sit again until tomorrow. The return of the shark and the tendrils at the end--that's going to be the stuff, I think.

I sold pieces on Cheers, Radiohead, catchers and Carlton Fisk, Arthur Alexander, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the Rolling Stones.

A few pieces in The Smart Set here: one on the Three Investigators YA series, one on Freddie Hubbard's year of 1964, and one on Carnival of Souls.

The Three Investigators piece is in You're Up, You're Down, You're Up: Essays on Art in Life and Life in Art. The Hubbard is in The Root of the Chord: Writings on Jazz's Essential Power and Artistry. The Carnival of Souls piece is in And the Skin Was Gone: Essays on Works of Horror Art.

This is a new piece in Best Classic Bands on Lennon's composition tape for "Yellow Submarine," which is now in Just Like Them: A Piece by Piece Guide to Becoming the Ultimate Thinking Person's Beatles Fan. And this is a feature on Miles Davis's On the Corner in JazzTimes.

Tomorrow on the radio I'll discuss Shaker music, the Bruins thus far, a Thanksgiving cartoon, and a Gunsmoke episode for which to be thankful. Miss Kitty was preserved. And Chester takes out a rattlesnake in singular fashion.

I took a 550 word op-ed and made it 800 words. Different requirements for different places. Just want to sell it and be done.

A professor friend of mine has a son at Virginia, so I texted him today after reading about the shooting to make sure his son was okay. He was telling me that his son wasn't far off, and then later my friend had some memories resurface on account of a former Sunday school teacher saying to his wife that she was praying for the shooter, because he was once a boy, etc.

This went back to some difficult experiences and emotions my friend once had when he was younger. I never want to be someone who weighs in and goes off where he isn't wanted. For a long time, I didn't give anyone any advice unless they asked for it. Then a few times I did, and it seemed to matter to people and make a difference, but I never want to be pushy. So I hope it's okay that I said this to my friend about what the woman said to him:

"That's upsetting. I'm sure it was upsetting for you on various levels. One of the great challenges of life is to know something for what it is and not let it press more deeply into us than it deserves. Unfortunately, that kind of thing is so common--unavoidable. There are those people who also say everything happens for a reason. Patience is grace, it seems to me. And by patience, I mean not letting these statements press too deeply."

I have worked much on the Christmas story. It's about 3000 words, but has a very high paragraph count--it's over ninety paragraphs. All works are different. Case by case. The story dictates the form. This story requires more work and time from me. For now it must sit for the rest of the evening.

A seven-year-old girl named Amara girl has a four-year-old tradition of coming downstairs on Christmas morning well before he parents get up and sitting in what she calls the present forest--that is, between the wrapped boxes piled around and under the tree. She considers this the best time of the year--sitting down here by herself. Even better than opening the presents. As she's sitting there on this one morning, her thoughts turn to her friends. We learn about a few of them who live on her street, including her best friend, Binny.

The girl's thoughts turn more somber, and eventually, she hears a knocking, but she's not sure where it comes from. It turns out the knocking is emanating from a box that is not really a box, deeper than any presents under the tree. She keeps crawling back, and back, until she picks it up. She opens it, and makes a very big discovery. The story goes from there. It's called "Best Gift Ever."

Not that anyone would let you see it right now.

My friend Howard was nice enough to send me both mp3 files of the Revolver box and this photo from The Strand in NYC of 33 1/3 books with my volume on Sam Cooke's Live at the Harlem Square Club in evidence.

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