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Rocket fuel

Thursday 2/3/22

Had to make an appointment for tomorrow with the Genius Bar at the Apple store on Boylston. Apparently, my voice comes out all static-y on the phone. I thought it was fine, because everything sounds normal (other people, movies/shows, podcasts. music) on my end. Obviously this is a problem for interviews with my voice.

Ran 3000 stairs today.

Downtown producer is kindly sending me 228 mp3 files of my interviews on the show. I will run that against my checklist to make sure I have everything from there, then back up on drives and on a storage site. I'm being thorough with everything. I have created an invaluable resource and extension of my body of work, and it must be preserved.

I worked yet again on "The Everything." I can't believe how long I'm working on this story. It's not so much the time--it's the coming back to it. Nothing takes me that long, time-wise. I am always writing differently, and what I seem to be doing right now is writing many ways at once. I don't mean stylistically or tonally--I'm always doing that. What I mean is in how I chop the wood. I'm writing an entire work in a single go. I'm writing ten works simultaneously in pieces. I'm writing four in pieces or doing one with just a line here for a start and then coming back to it six days later while having done another one in a single sitting that day first. I have many works going at once, and each one I may write differently in terms of duration. I'm letting things sit. Even when I don't have to. Just in case, and because I also have so much that is then done sitting which I can sign off on for good. "The Everything" is towering. I'm expecting to read it again tomorrow probably and find that there is nothing else left to do or that I can do. It's 2500 words long. It really muscled up from the 1100 or whatever it was that it had been at first. But that's not even writing for me--that's hanging out.

I also completed the Beatles Love Songs essay, which ended up being 3800 words long. Along with four other pieces, it went off to an editor. Just going from memory, I would expect that they probably total somewhere around 20,000 words.

I also sent someone the jazz book.

A letter from today:

I wanted to thank you for your very kind note regarding our shared favorite movie. It made me smile, and spoke to exactly what I was aiming for with the book. It has always puzzled me over the years that Noel Langley in general and Langley and Scrooge in particular have been so scantily discussed, or that Scrooge talk has a tendency to begin and end with the statement that it's the best version of A Christmas Carol.

Movie fans seem to think that a horror movie can only be this, a noir can only be that, a comedy can only be that, a sci-fi film can only be this. Whereas, Scrooge--or Frankenstein, Out of the Past, The General, Invasion of the Body Snatchers--explodes those conventions and expectations.

I read your PI piece and much enjoyed it. Empathy, as I believe you convey, is also highly reliant on imagination--being able to go into the life of another person, which also takes energy. Too often we equate empathy with not wanting them to be going through what they are going through, which is rather different than feeling a version of what they feel. To those who truly know the work of Van Gogh--and are versed in his letters--his affinity for Dickens makes perfect sense. Just as I think Hurst's casting of Sim makes sense for the same reason.

Thank you again--you certainly brightened my week, and I am grateful.

A handshake in my thoughts,


A sentence from today:

He tried to gather a grimacing smile for me, one of those trace delineations of briefly posed lips, but my eyes waved away the need.

A paragraph from today:

As Rubber Soul was for Lennon, so would the following year’s Revolver be for McCartney. It’s amusing that George Harrison would confuse the two records, saying that what was on one could be on the other, as if they were Radiohead’s Kid A and Amnesiac. Rubber Soul was English folk crossed with American soul, with rustic ballads or ballads suggestive of an oak-paneled downtown London apartment whose occupant has nipped off to the Royal Albert Hall for a Sunday classical matinee after smoking a joint. Revolver was the alien album, beamed in from another world, or launched from this one into another, but with distinct overtones of a certain Englishness. If any Beatles record has the whiff of afternoon tea—and rocket fuel—it is Revolver.

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