I sold the 3100 word essay I wrote earlier this week on Scorsese's The Irishman and what I call situational predilection in a post-art, post-entertainment, post-reality phase of culture--a phase I intend to help eradicate and replace--to Salmagundi, for some decent money. They are also publishing the short story, "Read the Ice." I have to add about 500 words to the piece. Editor called it brilliant and radical. Filed my latest Wall Street Journal op-ed. Perhaps my favorite one I've done. I think it will mean a lot to people and stay with them a long time, really impact their methodology in terms of living their lives going forward. I hit upon something good with this one. And I also worked today on a new short story, called "Push Shadow." And a long blog, that is quite a big bomb--they have forced my hand, and the days of people getting to take a shit down my throat are over. I am taking the time to get it right, 'tis all. Because when I do you, not only will you have had it coming, I will do you in such a way that there's nothing you can do about it. Because it's getting done with the truth, and by someone demonstrably smarter, who has you absolutely dead to rights. Caught. And now exposed. It's interesting how quickly things from this blog make their way up the Google pages.
Anyway. Tonight I went out to work on the story some more, by which I mean, I had printed out what I had, grabbed a pen, and I was going to do a combo of head work--which is what I call when I write in my head--and making a few notes. From a few words, I spin universes, and I will write down the words and someone else might just see some spartan list, but for me those few words represent so much more, each symbolizes so much and interacts with the other words that symbolize so much, and from five or six or ten jotted words and phrases, I see a universe of a story. It can just be a kind of process. I don't have the one, or even ones I use primarily. I'll just do it however, and that's how I was doing this one. I went to Starbucks first, but they were not playing Christmas music, so I left and went to Cafe Vittoria.
You always get Christmas music there right now, and I like to sit in the nook by the front door, so I can see the street. It was dark, snowing, a wreath above me in the window with red lights encircling it, and at the table behind me was this meathead. Mid to late forties. He has one of his feet stretched out on the chair across from him. Bothers me when people do that, put their feet where someone is going to sit. I'm trying to think, he's on his phone having meathead talk. Meathead gossip. This was one of those meatheads who calls grown men "kid" and refers to the people he's gossiping about as "kid," even those people are also forty-six. Just classic meathead. He's doing the meathead phrases, the meathead swearing patterns. I mean, he really had it down.
Then this little old woman comes in. I saw him nod to her and smile when she approached the door, so I knew she was there to see him. It wasn't his mother--because he referred to how little he sees his brother. They just knew each other. A family friend, maybe? And this meathead was so gentle and nice with this woman, whom he obviously adored. With his full-on meathead side, and this more tender side, he reminded me of my own Chad. She was complaining about how the Christmas decorations had gone to seed, back when she was responsible for them, why, they had class. And he gets all reflective and says--I mean, I thought he was going to cry--"I love Christmas so much." It was actually pretty cool. They left together, said goodbye on the street, and walked off in different directions.
Someone else said how great the Chicago radio thing was, why hadn't I been back on, and I'm like, don't know what to tell you, my brother. I gave them an idea, they didn't respond. Should have just penciled it in for the same time Wednesday mornings, and away we go, but my focus, of course, as always, is moving forward. I did talk to Kimball about next week's Downtown. I will be discussing F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Pat Hobby's Christmas Wish," the 1945 film, Star in the Night, directed by Don Siegel, Duke Ellington's Nutcracker suite, and the 1961 noir, Blast of Silence. Should be a really good segment.