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"People struggling but trying, people who are inspired"; 2 letters

Friday 7/3/20

I find this compelling, and wish to have it in this diaristic record.

This is a letter I received from an author who had read "August Autumn."

"This is awesome writing. The way that you slowly, gradually develop details and revelations of how people connect (or not) is the way stories should be told. And your depictions of this part of America that I know so little about has been incredibly enlightening.

"You're as right as ever about this awful system. One thing I've encountered over the past few years is that the people who have responded positively to my work are people who are secure in who they are. It's the malignant ones who have clear or hidden insecurities that have been nasty or indifferent. Unfortunately, as we both know, the system is filled with the latter.

"Stay strong and keep up the fight!"

And this was my response:

"Hey, buddy, I think about you often. I am sorry I'm out of touch. I have read your book twice, and I think it is excellent. I will say more about it publicly. One of the many things that is notable about it, is that it reads effortlessly, but I am also aware of how much is behind that--how much knowledge. How much of yourself was personally invested in this. I don't just mean time, or mainly time. It's an honest work of importance.

"Re: your paragraph below about these people--it's as accurate a paragraph as any I've read on the subject. What you say is completely true. I have said versions of the same remarks about the people who do respond positively or, really, non-toxicly. They are secure in themselves. The thing is, most people who get into this evil industry do so because they are as insecure in who they are as is humanly, or sub-humanly, possible. That was why I was less hated--though still hated--earlier on in my career. The more they came to see what I was, the more insecure they felt, the more they hated me. My positive dealings in this industry have always been with people who are simply professional, focused on doing a good job, like it's a duty--and these are people I respect a lot--or people not threatened by me in the same way that Steve Kerr was not threatened by Michael Jordan on the basketball court, because Kerr understood what was what. And what he was, though he was not Jordan, as a basketball player, was good and worthwhile, too.

"Your remarks on the geography of 'August Autumn' interest me, because there is really only one clue where the story might be set. And that's the Native American-sounding name of the reservoir. I didn't want to situate it, straight-up, in New England--I didn't want to situate it anywhere that we could go look up on a map. Most people won't know that the name provided ends in the letters that one would see in New England for the local tribes. But I wouldn't even necessarily say that the bit about autumn in August is accurate (meteorologically). It's not about that. I don't think that would necessarily be someone's experience here in New England. I think they'd probably think that August is sticky, but were I to remark, conversationally, something like the August bit, as a general point, or observation, apart from the story, I think people would say, 'You know, I think you're right, I know what you mean.'

"Buried on the Beaches is very accurate about place, flora, fauna, capturing the mystery of a peninsula, and what is potentially encoded in that mystery, as pertains to human lives, in various stages; it taps the mystery, delineates the mystery, but it does not forsake or compromise the appeal or piquancy of the mystery--it utilizes its magic, though. Ironically, it takes that mystery, makes something of it a beam of light, and shines that light into the characters of the book, people who represent, dovetail, serve as a foil for, mirror and blend with, all of us.

"And that book, for the person in Tulsa, truly gives an idea of what Cape Cod is about, why one falls in love with it, even if Cape Cod is certainly not the point of the book, or the driver--the characters, in their humanness, are.

"'August Autumn' is not really a primer for a place in New England in this same way. These people of the industry, of course, are not going to let it come out right now and be seen, but I believe that change is coming, my day is coming, and it will be seen then.

"What is also going to happen is a reckoning that will not be able to be avoided. Because people--readers, good people, normal people, healthy people, people trying to grow, people struggling but trying, people who are inspired, people who like art, people who like to be entertained, who like to laugh--are going to say, "Wait, he offered you this, this, this, this, and on and on, while he was doing this, this, and this, and you thought it was better not to put this out? How do you justify that, with all of this, all of this that we can now see for ourselves? How do you explain that?"

"The explanation is hatred, fear, envy, and bigotry. And everyone is eventually going to know that. There will be no acceptable, 'oh, in that case it's fine' defense than can be mounted for any of this."

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