I have to reach out to this site's webmaster for a bunch of things. I can't believe I've let that go so long. The Books page isn't even up to date with purchase links. That's not good. Not that it matters right now, but you still want it to look right. I am imposingly behind with the things I can handle on my own, website-wise. I do so much every day to try and get out of this situation. Write so much every day. Then I don't do other things.
There are so many links--it's daunting--that need to go up in the various sections, three of which is going to require me taking down everything that is there so I can get everything in the right order.
Yesterday I spent time working on the On air section, which is at least close to what it should be, unlike the Music writings, Film writings, Literature writings, and Short fiction sections, and I got up the links into October, anyway. The News section hasn't been updated since the summer. That'll be next.
I try to be quite specific in describing the radio segments. Thousands of topics have been covered at this point. I want it to be easy for people to find things. Also, for me later.
I wrote a 2000 word piece on Deep Purple's Made in Japan. I'm still working on the 2700 word piece on the Beatles' cover of Arthur Alexander's "Where Have You Been (All My Life)."
Also wrote an op-ed on New Year's Eve lessons we can glean from the Beatles, and one on how to survive and make the most of a lonely Christmas, and then I made a second, shorter version of that same piece to give myself maximum flexibility in trying to sell it. I will make a second shorter version of the Beatles one as well. A lot of these op-eds of mine have been published, obviously. Far more have been written than have been published. I should be some major newspaper full-time op-ed columnist. There is nothing by anyone else to touch any of these. The ones that haven't ran are every bit as good as the ones that have. When they are put together in a book, they will tell the story of this period in history, and how people were, with a peerless lucidity. It will be a time capsule book that stands outside of time.
Why the same piece done to different lengths and more work on top of work? Different places have different preferred lengths. Unless they change that length because they want to use the piece a different way. But most places want one of two lengths, either this many words, or that many words, so things are so bad that I do both, knowing that neither piece that is so much better than any other such piece is likely to run. We don't need to go into the reasons why. That is all well documented in here. And it's like with the, what, four op-eds I posted in full in these pages around Halloween; one sees how good they all are. That isn't the issue.
I worked quite a bit on "The Ghost in the Flame," which is a staggering, stunning story. It will go into The Ghost Grew Legs: Stories of the Dead for the More or Less Living, a radical reinvention of the possibilities of the ghost story. I believe it's the most important work of horror fiction there is. And it's so much more. More work to do on the story.
I don't talk about this journal as work, but it is a lot of work, and it has to be done because it's a part of this war that I'm in. Among other things. I don't have a chance to go anywhere, I don't believe, without these pages. So I have to tend to them. I have to make the content. I have to do the writing, which is writing on top of so much "official" writing. This journal alone, for this week thus far, totals 26,000 words in new content.
By the way: I posted that excerpt of the lonely Christmas op-ed on Facebook yesterday. I have 5000 FB friends. Anyone knows how beautiful those words are. One person hit the like button at first: Aaron Cohen. It's usually just Aaron if it's anyone. Again, it's exactly what I've said is happening, for the reasons I've explained. The better something is, the more legitimate something is, the better people think a person is, the more everyone stays away. A couple other people did since, but for all intents and purposes, nobody hits that like button.
With me, because of absolutes and the absolutes that I am, and inarguably am, and the absolutes of the quality of the work, you have total aversion and avoidance. The lengthy posts of this week explain it all and explain it well. I can create further proof any time I wish, though I wish I couldn't. But that is exactly what is happening and why.
You could try to be positive about it and say, "Everyone knows that what this person is doing is beyond what anyone else is doing." That's not the issue for me. Trying to get that to be the reality of my work vs. everyone else's work is not the issue. Me being good enough for that to be so is not the issue. Obviously.
It's that that is the truth, and that is the problem, when it should be the solution to everything, the unlocker and opener of every door there could be.
You don't think people read that and thought it was amazing? Of course they did. And plenty connected with it, plenty benefitted from it, just as plenty of people who hate me hated me even more after reading it. Yet another great thing from this guy. But then they thought, "It's Colin Fleming. So, no. I'm not showing I liked this." Or, "I can't do this. I don't have this person's ability. I'll show him. I'm not clicking so much as that like button."
A decision is made based upon a determination of what I am, and how good the work is. But the work is always identified for exactly what it is on the level it's at. Then that person reacts as they do--because of how good they know the work to be, how unlike anything else out there, and it's constant--or they think it is. Even when they see such a sliver of what I write, because of the blackballing, that sliver is so much more than the rest of most of them write added together in many years. And it's never a positive, outward reaction. Not even the lowest level of one possible--the clicking of the like button. But if there was ever anything to prove that everyone knows what this guy is and the level of his work, it's that. Because if you were anything other than what I am, and this work was anything other than what it is, it would be impossible to produce this same result every single time across every platform.
Again, that is the problem. That's why people stay away and stay silent. Also, fear. Not fear because I'm mean. Fear because of positive qualities in the extreme. There is also the fear of "I'm not takin this guy on because I can't, he'll crush me," but that's not what I'm talking about here and it's certainly not what I'm talking about with people who don't hate me, but behave the same way--with the total avoidance and silence--as those who do. When you have people who want you dead and people who could not respect anyone more than you behaving the same way in regards to you, you have one huge problem. That's where we're at.
This is a form of science the way I've been able to prove this. It's not speculation. It's tangible, empirical proof from an experiment--let's call it that for analogy's sake--that's been conducted thousands and thousands of times. And no one can creditably suggest that anything else is happening but this, with the proof of the work, and the proof of the results.
If one wanted to say it's me, some failing that no one else has--well, that's not something someone can say. But for argument's sake, let's say they did. What has been documented in these pages? Bigots, plagiarists, rapists within the halls of publishing. Thieves. Horrible people by the most generous of standards. Bad writers by the most lax, forgiving, grade-on-a-curve standards. Those people not only have thousands of people supporting them, many of them who know them, know me. Even just on something like Facebook.
Here's something else. If anyone in the world wants to know what I'm doing at any given moment, what I'm up to every day, they essentially have the option. It's in this record. I could write a single post that was two lines long, and the only entry for a week, stating that I had just written 30,000 words that week.
Pretend that was the only post here. Why would anyone believe it unless they knew me or were familiar with my output?
But when I say that now, how could one not believe it? There's apt to be half a book's worth of material on here alone in a given week. Do people think I have a firm of writers "covering" for me while I'm out doing dastardly deeds like these other people do? It's funny how well everyone on my staff all write, right? And how they know everything about everything. And how I find the financial means to pay those people. My team of geniuses.
No. One knows what I'm doing. There is the proof that, too. It's called the work, the volume, the time it takes even to type those words, this journal.
You know what else I was thinking? More people in the city of Boston see me work out than anyone else in the entire city. Every day I am on those stairs in the middle of this metropolis. Up, down, up, down, up. Imagine all of the witnesses. "Oh--yeah. That's the stair guy."
I'm not going to stop discussing and calling attention to what is happening until it stops happening.
A couple nights ago I read that the day one is most likely to have a heart attack is on Christmas, followed by the day after Christmas, followed by New Year's Day. I had done 100 push-ups and walked five miles. It was dark and I had to go on the radio in a bit, so I wasn't going to run any stairs, but I saw that and thought, "I'm not taking any chances here," and went out and ran 3000, then rushed home and sat in the dark, sweating, to do the interview.
Here is that interview, which was about Rod Serling's Carol for Another Christmas, a bit of R.O. Blechman animation for CBS from 1966, the children's book The Sweet Smell of Christmas, a very rare mid-1960s Christmas performance by the Who, and an episode of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar called "The Missing Mouse Matter."
I worked on And the Skin Was Gone: Essays on Works of Horror Art, adding a piece on the 1914 book, Aylmer Vance: Ghost-Seer, by the wife and husband writing team, Alice and Claude Askew. There are pieces in this book that need work, updating, a different approach to the format, so it's getting a little messy as I'm around 50,000 words. But other parts are just so solid. They don't need anything. Treat it like an effort of love, I remind myself. Give people this bountiful gift of a book about horror. Well, not give it to them. One knows what I mean. Have it available for them to give it to themselves and others. I think it's hit this perfect and unique blend--because I don't believe anyone else could write on all of these things--of film, painting, TV, literature, radio.
Yesterday I did 100 push-ups and ran another 3000 stairs, and am about to head out to exercise shortly. I am still working on the 2700 word Beatles piece, which I may put in Just Like Them: A Piece by Piece Guide to Becoming the Ultimate Thinking Person's Beatles Fan, though I don't know, because it's 74,000 words right now. Damn.
Went out, and am back. Ran 3000 stairs, did 100 push-ups. Got a green tea at Starbucks after. Sat and thought. Listened to Smokey Robinson.
Created a second, shorter version of the Beatles New Year's Eve op-ed. Finished the 2700 word Beatles piece on their version of "Where Have You Been" being one of their finest covers. This is from it:
Lennon’s subject might as well be Alexander himself, and what art like this can inspire. Twice he sings an extended, naked query of “Where have you been?” and his voice seems to separate from this music with which it’s also enmeshed, as if the heart has found a way to tell the body, “Back in a second,” and made a quick solo tour of the room it was in, without somehow leaving the chest.
The On air section is now up to date. Most of the links work. I'm not taking down the ones that don't. They still contribute to the fullness of the record and it's information. "This guy also spoke about this." In all but a few cases, I have the audio links here for things like the Songs of Note podcast, which is mostly scrubbed now from the internet I see, save five interviews I gave about the Beatles, which total around five hours.
All told, I've been interviewed on radio and podcasts over 300 times now. The working links to that audio on this website total hundreds of hours. Like every single thing I am doing, it is a body of work unlike anything else. That's how it goes with the fiction, the essays, the sports writing, the music pieces, the books, the film writing, the op-eds, this journal, the writings on literature, on painting, and so forth. All of it. In each area there is a towering, peerless body of work. Then you put it all together?
Why have things like the MacArthur Genius Grant if you're just going to lie about who is a genius? When the person who is beyond the label itself is right here, is exactly that, and there is no one who can argue otherwise.
Xander Bogaerts signed with the Padres. Didn't see that coming. After reports yesterday, looked like he'd be back with the Red Sox. Red Sox fans are quite upset. This might be the most outlandish deal I've ever seen. It's eleven years for $280 million. That is a huge over-extension, both for money and term. When someone comes in with a silly offer and you don't beat it, it doesn't mean you don't want the player, but it's unwise in business to try and go beyond someone else's silliness. What were the Red Sox supposed to do? Give him twelve years at $300 million?
Bogaerts is a pretty good player. He's not a great player. He's pretty good. How many more years will he be a pretty good player? Three? Two? One? Five? It's not close to eleven. It's highly unlikely to be half of eleven.
People say he's this great leader. Based off what? I'll say what they're basing it off of: That they've simply seen him around for so long going back to 2013. I even saw one titan of intellect on Twitter suggest that the hold up to Bogaerts inking his deal with the Sox was because he demanded to be named the captain. Yeah. That was definitely it. God help us.
With Ortiz, you saw a leader. You heard a leader. You heard a leader in front of his locker, you heard a leader on the field at Fenway after the Marathon bombings, you saw a leader gather his team in the dugout in the 2013 World Series. He called David Price a little bitch when Price was on the Rays. Ortiz was a leader.
Bogaerts was there. There's so much difference between being a leader, and being there. I found him to be a very passive player. He was a good hitter. At best an average fielder at the most important defensive position. He's only going to get worse in the field. You'll have to move him to, what? Third base? His power has mostly left him. I just think that's a bad contract. He is better than most shortstops. Definitely. You'd like to have him. But you can't be stupid. Having said that, you do need to replace him. With someone good. I don't have much confidence the Red Sox will do that.
I was overly ambitious and tried to watch the Bruins and Celtics games, but I passed out. The Avalanche were down a lot of guys, but two convincing wins for both Boston teams. It's 1983 all over again, when the Celtics and Bruins were way up, and the Red Sox and Patriots were pretty far down.
Something interesting about Aaron Judge and his record-setting contract: This isn't a player who is currently pacing to be in the Hall of Fame. Think about that. The highest-paid player in the history of baseball isn't tracking to be a Hall of Famer right now. He's going into his age thirty-one season with only 220 home runs and 497 RBI. How he performs over the course of this contract--that is, over the course of his thirties--will determine if he gets into Cooperstown. His rate stats are excellent, but he's missed a lot of time, and he started late--Judge won the Rookie of the Year in his age twenty-five season. You'd think someone who was given the biggest contract in a sport's history would be someone who is already an automatic Hall of Famer.
I was looking at If You [ ] for something. In a future edition it would be better to remove the hyphen from "One-Way Zebra" and have it be "One Way Zebra," which is how I wrote it. The hyphen is too formal. Things don't need to be grammatical--they need to be right. They're not always the same. The title phrase comes from a character in the story, and then it gains further meaning beyond its initial meaning. The best titles tend to work this way. They represent something larger than themselves. They push us up to what that is. Does that makes sense?
If a title comes from the mouth of a character, it should be rendered the way that character renders it. They're not writing it, probably, but some people have the hyphen in their voice, some don't. The person who first utilizes that phrase in the story doesn't. So the hyphen shouldn't be there. If they saw the title, it should look to them as they think the phrase looks. This person wouldn't think the hyphen looks right, wouldn't know why it was there. It'd be a new addition to him. Publishing people rarely understand things like this. They think, "it's two words composited to be a descriptor, so put the hyphen." No. Don't. Do it right. What is right is what is faithful to the story. Also, most people in the world think it's "one way" and not "one-way." Don't be officious. Don't stop the flow of their eyes. Never take someone out of the story, right from the title.
I have to shower. It's nearly 3. I'm still soaked in sweat. This is a cool radio episode from December 21, 1951 of Night Beat called "Five Days Off for Christmas," which I saw someone describe today as akin to a radio program done in oils. I thought that was a great description. Night Beat--not to be confused with Chicagoan Sam Cooke's Night Beat album, which factored in the Cooke book--was about a Chicago-based reporter named Randy Stone who was played by Frank Lovejoy. He gets into stuff, as one would expect. It's a crime program with a mystery component. The mystery genre often involves crime, but crime-related art--especially in mid-century America--often didn't involve mystery. Film noirs are crime pictures, but they're rarely mysteries.