Today is my late sister's birthday. She would have been forty-two. I phoned my mom, obviously. I hear the pain in her voice. She was going to be babysitting my two nieces tonight. There is not a lot I can say because there is not a lot to say. I tell her I love her.
I worked until one in the morning today, then was back up at five and working again. I had a horrible nightmare about Molly that was rather bad for me--it shook me physically. That's the second time in three nights I've had a nightmare about her.
Time told me how awesome my op-ed on Miracle on 34th Street was. But they won't publish it. No reason. It's the implied reason--I'm not one of them. They default to what is and has been and who has been doing it. But it was obvious--made explicit--the editor thought the piece was better than anything he had. That doesn't matter. It's never been uncommon, emails to me along the lines of, "This is amazing, I can't run it." I'm used to it. They're not running not because that person doesn't know how good--special--it is. It's other things.
Someone sent me some nice words about my Scrooge book. A couple people--smart, learned, articulate individuals who are also comfortable with themselves--recently said it was the best book of any kind they'd read in a long time, and told me why this was so at some length and specificity. (The second one had relayed, via a letter, their thoughts to the first one, and that first person--someone I hadn't known initially who'd already written to me about the book--asked if they could share that letter with me, and the second person said yes.)
Not that anyone knows this Scrooge book exists right now. No marketing, no stores, isn't even listed at that many places, not a single attempt to get it out there, and of course no coverage. But such is the situation I am in. I wrote that book in thirteen days. Word count-wise, it was but a fraction of what I wrote in those thirteen days. I also wrote short stories, features, essays, op-eds, and entries in this journal during that time. One could go back to the entries of over the course of those thirteen days and see and verify exactly what I was doing.
I worked more on "Best Present Ever," and I am considering putting up the entire 5000 word story on here in full on Christmas. I don't want to get in the habit of giving even more away for free, and definitely not full stories. Millions of people would be buying this if I had any support, and I can't be posting something like that on a blog as a habit. This is the greatest work of Christmas-related art ever made. You--general you--will think that. I think everyone would think that. I don't think it's close. I have to describe it that way, not just because that's what it is, but if I do put it up and I just throw it in there with no billing, there's just so much content and people will think, "Oh, it's just another thing from him, the guy who constantly creates the great stuff of uniform quality, I don't need to see all of it when there are already 20,000 examples of it."
So I have to say what this is. I could put it up on here and take it down later, I guess. It kills me that these evil bigots have me in a situation where no one can see this story, and I know that a billion people would love it. I know they would. Rationally, I know that everything I do, at this point, is of a piece. That's amazing. But it is true. In my mind, I still elevate "Fitty." If I had to pick one story to put forward, one work, one anything I've ever done, it is "Fitty." There will never be anything better than that by me or anyone. There never has been. It's not humanly possible. I don't even want to limit it to humans.
You--general you--will see it later, and you will be so angry and dumbstruck that the people of the publishing industry suppressed that story. That they hated and feared and envied someone so much that they wouldn't run that story when they could have had it practically for nothing. You won't be able to handle it, the rage and the feelings of injustice, and it's not something that happened to you. It's something you were denied, though.
Well, let me say this: I am comfortable speaking of "Best Present Ever" the same way. I sat here today working on it, tears streaking my cheeks, dripping on the desk, the keyboard. This story blows me away.
You couldn't talk about a story this way if it wasn't all of this and more. You'd be setting yourself up. And when you describe a story this way, that makes people want to knock it down, to challenge that idea and do so by being extra-hard on it.
I allow that. I welcome it. Because I know that this is so good, so beyond everything else that anyone else could do or has done, that I don't mind if that's the attitude someone might have going in. It's not going to matter. It's just too good. It's better than what I am saying it is.
I got a COVID booster and a flu shot. Same arm. Had on three layers and I didn't want to disrobe at the back of the CVS. Pouring here and I went to run the stairs after, and then essentially said, screw this, and came home to work more and try and collect monies I'm owed, and to send amazing works to people who are not going to reply or run them. Three deep at some places and sections. There is no one who believes the work isn't better. There's no comparison when you put them side by side. Everything else is so...ordinary. Anyone could do it. It's all interchangeable. There's nothing special about any of it.
I wrote an op-ed editor about a full-time job yesterday. Then I got an away message back saying he'd left the job. There's some irony.
I did 100 push-ups. But I have to get back to working out properly tomorrow.
Oh, before I forget (figure of speech): What did David Mills at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette say to what I said to him yesterday? What do you think he said? Have a guess. He said nothing. Why did he say nothing? Because it was all true and he knew it. There wasn't anything for him to say.
Here is the Quiet, Please episode, "Rain on New Year's Eve." Has a Christmas component.