Ran three miles. Tenth day in a row. Much more importantly, I did that alternate version of "Shed," which will now be considered the definitive version of the story. Different ending, now titled "Six Feet Away." We'll see if anyone in publishing is smart enough and non-bigoted enough to have some semblance of an understanding of what this story could do, which is to say, reach millions and be shared by millions. There is not someone else who is going to have a work of art, right here, right now, stemming from what is happening in the world, right here, right now. It's sensitive, it's appropriate, it's surprising, it is more than a story about a pandemic, and it is timely and timeless. Come on. Not everything has to be a shitty, boring story from the MFA machine that means absolutely nothing, the prose version of staring at a cloud and saying it's in the shape of whatever you want it to be, which is all fiction is right now. I glanced at a review today of Mary South's horrible new story collection. She's one of them, and they hooked her up throughout the industry. The work has no point. And the review, in The Observer, was just one empty platitude after another. Could as well have been describing paper towels. Empty, stock hype-cliches. Because there is nothing to actually say about the work. It's just piss falling into a bowl. What else are you going to say? Oh, hey, it's piss. Piss is piss. Again, time for a change. Time for a revolution. Time for better business. Time for a point. Time to give people a reason to care about what they read, time to have a real reason for telling people they need to read something. "Six Feet Apart" would be a good start.
In other news, I learned today that Emma's grandfather has died. This was coming for a while, so it wasn't unexpected, but of course I feel awful for her. I actually saw her dad today, but I didn't know, so I didn't express my condolences to him. Emma has had a lot of death in her life, but I knew she was close to her grandfather. I asked her how she was doing, and she said she really didn't know. Despite whatever is going on with us--I think she just emotionally overloads and shuts down--I told her I was here if she wanted to talk, or if she wanted me to take out Benny with her for a walk, and that I loved her, and no matter what else might be going on, I am always here for her. She's at her grandmother's now.
I should be clear that though I am out a lot, I am not around anyone. I run, I walk, but as ever, those are things I do alone. Some days I get a coffee from Anthony's, provisions from the Goose or Trader Joe's, but each time I come in, I wash my hands. Emma's dad was coming in when I was going out for my run. Speaking of hand-washing; this whole thing where you're advised to wash for twenty seconds: How could you not? What's the fastest amount of time you could wash your hands in? It takes like ten seconds alone to get the soap off, right?
I met someone who seems nice. Very attractive. Forty-two. European. Has not annoyed me. That's rare. Normally that occurs within about fifteen seconds. I am watching the films of the English director Basil Dearden. I have a Criterion set of his somewhere, but these are off the channel. The League of Gentlemen and Sapphire. He tries to score these big, controversial social points, as with the latter, these comments on race and homosexuality. You might say he over-eggs the pudding, somewhat, and he's not subtle. League of Gentlemen is better, a heist film with a war film aspect, and comedy overlaid--clipped, urbane comedy. I have a headache. It's six o'clock. I haven't eaten yet today.