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Recent writing rundown and an anniversary

Sunday 7/2/23

This was not the plan, but I went back into "What the Mouse Knew" and made some changes. One of them was actually kind of big--I took three paragraphs and moved them up much closer to the start of the story. Extreme meticulousness. I change things no one would ever change if they ever came up with them, which they wouldn't be able to. But had they done so--for argument's sake--they'd sit back, amazed, and leave it at that, proud of what they'd created and relishing it and knowing someone else would be floored by that part, quote it, what not, and not thinking it could be improved.


Not I. I answer to myself, first, and the expectation I have that what I have made cannot be bettered. Especially now--I often think about what I call the good OCD, and that means the extreme meticulousness with these works. It will only save me time and aggravation later. There are, for instance, things I want to fix in my books and will fix as I do each of them over, because as I said before, they had no chance with those presses, so if they're going to reach the masses at some point, it won't be in the editions they already came out in, and perhaps not the format, because things are changing, I am an agent of change. So get it right for when that happens and has taken hold. I never want to look at something however long after the fact and see anything I want to change. Not a word.


Went back through the piece on the Beatles' Decca audition, touched up a few things, then filed it.


I began a piece on the song "I Think We're Alone Now," which will be in Write to the Beat: Rock and Roll as Words and Words as Rock and Roll (Criticism), my first volume of critical writings pertaining to rock, though that term critical writings is so limited here.


I started a story called "Just Lace" which I think will be quite something. I see that it's writing itself. That's how alive it is. It's mind is its own, more than mine. What I'll do is print out what I have, go to the cafe or the lawn by the harbor, and circle certain words and phrases. From these words and phrases the rest of the story will come. The story is telling me what it wants to happen, by which I mean, what it is. It has even provided the trail for the way to go.


I worked more on the piece about Game 8 of the 1912 World Series, which is one of the most dramatic games in sports history, depending on what you know. The context of events becomes lost to time; that context says much. But over time, a ballgame becomes a result, a box score, not something that happened as it did. The same goes for everything--a Civil War campaign. Only in this instance, I'm making the point with a deciding World Series game at Fenway in the ballpark's first year. The piece will be in The Diamond Mirror: Life Lessons Gleaned from Baseball's Reflective Past (Essays).


Completed a story--one might call it a fiction--called "If You Could Only Pick One to Sodomize, Which Would it Be?" The work takes the form of a list. How can a series of this one or that one questions--with an ostensible premise such as that indicated by the title--tell a story? But it does. The premise is mutable. What does that concept or phrase mean to a person? Is it positive or negative? It may change when applied to the succession of prompts. They include people--Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig; beings--Mother Nature or Mrs. Claus; concepts--the bird in hand or the one that got away.


Prompted, people will pick. They will go along with the prompt and answer. That's human nature. A person partakes of the story almost without even intending to. As they answer, they learn about themselves, or things that they think or feel are revealed to themselves. Then there's a musicality, a rhythm. The work becomes a dance. Who leads? What do the answers say about that given reader? They become the protagonist, but the questions/prompts are also characters with different natures and qualities. Different depths. But what are those depths? Does this question have more depth than another? It depends, in part, on the reader and not just the answer, but what leads them to their answer.


I wrote two Fourth of July op-eds, both excellent.


Also, the introduction to The Solution to the World's Problems: Surprising Tales of Relentless Joy was amended, which I knew would be happening. This began as an introduction; from that introduction, a stand-alone 1200 word piece and a stand-alone essay were created. Regarding the former, that will be part of an entry on here that exposes two corrupt people at one of the highest circulation newspapers in this country. Ridiculous, loathsome, pathetic people, who are as busted as you get. Here's a truth: people will act an evil way because they are terrible people, yes, but also because it never occurs to them that they might be exposed. And that is among their fatal flaws. That it never passes through their brain that there could be accountability. We saw it with Mark Warren, with whom we're not done.


Anyway: in the creation of the second piece from the introduction, various things happened. One of them pertained to the content of the book itself--which I don't want to say anything about here, and may never say anything about, and have it just be what it is, with people saying, "Wow, never saw it coming or done anywhere else"--and the other concerned the introduction. The new piece told me the changes to make to the introduction. It's a lengthy introduction--3600 words, which is nothing you ever see for a "story collection," though, again, that's such a limited term here. This is a unique book. Everything about it may therefore be unique.


Having said what I did about the good OCD, I also need to pick up the pace. Things need to be finished, both at the story level and the book level. Other things need to be started so that they can be finished. Over the last few days, I've worked more on "Attic Cantata"--with great thoroughness and care. It's now 7500 words. The Solution may end up being 100,000 words (I don't know; right now, there are around thirty stories, a half dozen more to compose, and then there is the ordering, and the going over of each work and the whole), which simply is not how it goes for any story collection, save the collected works, the round up late in the career or after the person is dead, but again, all rules, as such, are being rewritten here. They're being removed and replaced by possibilities that pay out in value, and that's a lot different than rules and how it's supposed to be--which is a foundation of how publishing people think--and all of that nonsense. We are in new territory.


On Friday and yesterday I walked three miles each day, did my push-ups, and did three circuits in the Monument.


I have miscounted, as previously stated, and the actual date of this anniversary probably falls in May, but by what the official count has become--owing to my mistake--today marks 2548 days, or 364 weeks, or seven years, without a drink. And it's largely because of the bigots of publishing, who would have destroyed me if I had not found a way to become stronger physically, as I am always becoming stronger in every way. That's partially why this is going to work the other way around now.



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