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Plums and nectarines, facks, innovation, Pitfall

Saturday 9/12/20

I don't really understand the difference between a nectarine or a plum. It's the gap in my knowledge. Also, I don't know how to play chess or poker. In fact, I can only play one card game--Crazy Eights. If you held a plum and a nectarine in front of me, I am not sure I could tell you which is which. I believe I acquired nectarines today at Trader Joe's. I'd like to like nectarines more, if these are nectarines, but I prefer what I think are plums, though I'd rather be a nectarine person than a plum person. Perhaps I am. But I don't think so. I could look this up and learn it. But I am staying within my plum/nectarine liminal space. As I think it stands right now, nectarines are larger and waxier in taste, and plums are dark--sometimes cherry-shaded--and juicier. The inside of the fruit has a vascular quality.


Things can be truths that are not facts. Few people seem to understand this. You could also do a TED talk--I could--on the differences between preference, opinion, fact, truth. It is not a fact that J.S. Bach is a better writer of music than Christopher Cross. But it is a truth. I see people every day conclude a post or some such with "FACKS!" and they hardly ever are actually talking about a fact. The thing is, I could do these talks on a limitless amount of things. As I was typing this, I looked into the process. If you're a TED person reading this, shoot me a note? I could do that online dating thing. The above thing. How to write your way out of hell. The revelations of the human condition that await with the singular, unique workout that only you do. How music can teach you to write stories. I do have that video from the Brattle when I spoke, and of course there are like 200 hours of radio sound upon the site. I don't actually know how many hours it is, but it's a lot. The Wall Street Journal op-ed on the Week Game would be a nice jumping off point as well for a talk.


Speaking of weeks, this is a big one. Pages need to go to Bloomsbury, the rewrites for Brackets need to be completed and the book sent back to Dzanc, the Guggenheim application is due, I need to work on other books as well--The Office, the Beatles book, the Billie Holiday book, and especially the Scrooge volume--and write fiction and do this journal and get new work and hopefully have some work come out. And do the radio. Haven't sent Kimball something to talk about yet. Another birthday, too. Not that that matters. I will, of course, be alone. I will talk to no one. I will try to keep going. And that's just a small amount of what I have to do this week. I have to fight. That might be the most important thing, because as that goes, I go. I have to deal with these people. Whatever that might mean. And also fit in exercise.


Today I walked twelve miles and ran the BC stairs ten times. The first five times I generally go two-steps-at-a-time. All the way to the top of the 130+ stairs. The next five times I do them singly. I don't know which is harder. They're both hard in different ways. You're going faster the first way, but you're doing twice the steps the second way. I take the exact same number of steps each time, though, within a single ascent. There are landings between the stairs. Most of the landings are one-step landings; there's one two-step landing, and another landing is about twelve yards across, so I run that. I never take an extra step on the landings. Which is easy to do. You lose some pace as you do the stairs two at a time, so that you're a bit further away from the next mini-set of stairs the higher you go once you've reached the top of the previous bunch. Then it becomes like doing a lunge.


I wrote a short story this morning which was straight up brilliant. Pure innovation. Absolutely nothing like it. The premise of the story is that there is no such thing as writing. Which I believe. In this sense. If you write well, you're not writing. The story is called "Doing You," which doesn't mean what one might think, but it also somewhat does. I don't know how you describe this story. I did "Fitty" and it is fall-the-fuck-over-in-your-seat plotting with the most intensely emotional ending in all of literature. Full-on ripping story in terms of the arc that will rip your guts out. Then I pop into these stories, like this one, like "Even the Elves," like "A Seaworthy Native." I don't think anyone in publishing right now--and these people are so hidebound--could keep up with these technical advances, this level of innovating. Somebody in what remains of this industry is going to have to get this and see what we can do and accomplish by putting it forward. I'm inventing new forms of narrative. Someone had remarked that my work feels so fresh as to be improvised, and yet ordered such that it must have been meticulously planned. That both-ness. No one has that. I'm not going to fucking pretend that they do, because why at this point? These stories are coming out with a rigorous infrastructure where there is layer within layer with layer. The engineering of these stories is unlike anything. And you give this to someone who pretends that this MFA formula is where it's at? They're not going to get it. They wouldn't even be open to getting something that is not the same old shit. People out in the world could get it. I'm innovating more than Joyce ever did, but you can understand all of it. Yes, some parts are open for interpretation, and even parts that are not would still get multiple "reads" from the kids in the class with their hands up and their ideas at the ready. Dickens never hit anyone as hard with a plot nor with emotion as "Fitty" does. And then there's this other stuff, which cannot be classified. Or you'd have to work to come up with new terms. This should be exciting. This should be cool. It should be fucking awesome. But instead it fucking sucks. All of this sucks right now. I can't even believe I came up with that today. I mean, of course I can, but who the fuck writes a story like that? I hope people will see these words later after they see the story, whenever that may be. I am underselling.


My old friend is in New York for his mother's funeral. Reached out to him a couple times today. Was chilly tonight. I sat by the harbor and read. I reached out to my uncle/godfather earlier in the day.


Tried the Charlie Card at the Copley T station, and got the expired sign again. T employee comes over and tells me that I need to try and get a new card. Try? There are a couple things wrong with this. First of all, the T let me put $20 on what is an expired card--which I did not know at the time. There is no date anywhere on the card. So they just rob you and you're out twenty bucks? Second, try to get another card? Like, what, I'm fucking Pitfall Harry trying to get across the swamp with the crocodiles and I might not make it? How is this a try thing?



As I said, the T is the worst. I went to take the train back home today after the stairs at BC. Was out of service, so you had to ride the bus. Get on the bus, bus sits there for twenty full minutes before it pulls away. That seems efficient. Went to Trader Joe's. Guy there loves to talk hockey with me. I think he's surprised by how much I know, like I just sit around and watch hockey. He's a nice guy. I'm drinking squeezed lemon in some cold water now in the mug Norberg gave me. I drink one such concoction every day. This dates back to my heavy drinking days. I'd drink lemon for my liver, and I've continued on with that in these four plus years of not drinking. I figure it's still good for the liver, and probably just good for you--the Vitamin C. These are new flowers:



And this is how a fountain in the Common gets cleaned every Saturday morning.



And more fun dating stuff: "You're fucking hilarious and spirited." And then the whole, "But I'm so intimidated by you" thing once more.


Okay. It's 7:30. I haven't eaten today, because I just go like a motherfucker, but I'm going to eat something. Maybe a plum. Maybe a nectarine. Who knows.