Haven't been feeling well but made myself run 3000 stairs. Contending with awful headaches. Wrote a 1200 word story yesterday morning. I must work on like half a dozen works today. I'm going through a lot of Advil which I don't want to be doing. Need to sign up for this booster shot and a flu shot but I don't want to get them unless I am tip-top.
I'm not going to look at social media much, I've decided, if at all. I will continue to post my brilliant things on Twitter that no one will engage with or respond to, because people are hate, fear, or envy--or a combo--greatness and someone demonstrably smarter than they are. Even people who like and admire you will back away. They're not comfortable. People only engage with, support, and praise, other people who make them comfortable. I don't do that. I do the opposite. The single biggest problem in my life is greatness. I never thought that would be so. I used to believe, coming up, that greatness was the path to everything. But it does me no good--it's like being stabbed 10,000 times a day--to see the stupidity, the shallowness, the childishness, and to see people with no talent have so much support, money, followings. Because I look at them and I know why they have those things. Because they have no ability. And no one is intimidated by their minds. And that makes me feel more and more screwed. That I will never get out of this situation, any more so than I can change human nature. Because we do not like greatness. Look at my Twitter. It is utterly fascinating. It could change your life alone. It could be the only thing you read and it could be the biggest influence in your life. It's right there for the seeing. But this does me nothing positive right now. I read habitually, so what I will do in a random moment is glance at the phone and social media, but now I will glance at things worth reading. Pepys' diaries. Van Gogh's letters. Poems. That's going to be my "break" reading when the line at Starbucks is long or whatever. This will be better for me. I saw this account on Twitter from "Traffic Cone." And Traffic Cone posts the same thing every time. He--it--says, "Traffic Cone, here for assistance." Tens of thousands of times. That's what someone does with their life. And Traffic Cone has 16,000 followers. What else does one need to know? Can an intelligent person be successful in this world? Can a genius be successful? Could you ever have enough people who support you for that to be so? That really is the single biggest question of my life. And if the answer right now is no, finding a way to make it so that can change.
There is also no point in reading commentary about the news. It's always the same. People on the left say one thing, people on the right say the opposite. They are answering to what they already think, how they are already positioned. They are bringing that to whatever they purport to be looking at, but neither side is looking at it. They come in with their minds made up and an agenda. There is virtually no one in society right now who is responding to the thing. As whatever it is. You see it with Kyle Rittenhouse. A person on the left inevitably says what they do, a person on the right inevitably says the opposite. There are no exceptions. The same every time. No one is thinking. No one is observing. No one is looking at anything for what it is, or trying to determine what it might be. And then that's how every single piece is written about events in the news. The place on the left says it's thing, the place on the right says the opposite. So then you have two kinds of pieces that are really the same piece, and that's all there is for writing about "what is going on." At every magazine and newspaper and website.
I pitched this nice idea on Orson Welles' Chimes at Midnight. Will be doing a piece at Christmastime for someone on the 1971 animated version of A Christmas Carol, which features Alastair Sim and Michael Hordern reprising their roles from the 1951 version I wrote a book about that is coming in December.
The Beatles song wafting through my head most often may well be “Cry Baby Cry.” At the start of this rehearsal version, you can hear John Lennon reciting the bit of doggerel he used for “I Am the Walrus.” It's a beautiful melody--more like a McCartney melody, but it's Lennon's.
I like the double pun in the Beatles’ “Glass Onion” on “Fixing a Hole” from Sgt. Pepper and “Sea of Holes” from Yellow Submarine.
On this day in his diary in 1660, Samuel Pepys documents hanging out with a friend, while his wife is over at his dad's house, doing some shopping and bringing in tablecloths and such. Pepys clearly wanted no part of this. He comes over to his dad's at night, and he's like, "let's get out of here, man," and they go to the bar to drink, where Pepys expresses his reservations about his sister coming to live with him. This was a brave guy--he walked through London easy as you please while the plague raged, as I have written about. But you can tell that he is a little scared of his sister, on account of her unpleasant personality. Or what Pepys considers as such. His attitude is, "This is going to suck." And so to bed, etc.
One might be tempted to compare Pepys' diary--which was the literary work of his life--to this journal, but they're not at all similar. I had things in mind when I started writing this, and that was one of them, but this isn't anything like anything. I honestly can't think of anything to compare this journal to, in the history of literature. I am not sure when I started it that I had any plans for it becoming what it has become. You find your way in a work of art. I don't want to say that it dictates terms to you, but it does position you--or help you position yourself--and then you go in the current. You solve the puzzle as the clues are arranged before your eyes. You answer the questions. You find direction that way, and the work makes itself. Whether that is this journal, a book, a story. I am both the driver and the passenger.
Do you know what always fails? Those attempts to write an insult into someone's name--or a team's name--as a kind of pun. Bill Belicheat. This is never funny. It is never smart. It never comes off. People should not do this, lest they wish to communicate, "Ha ha! I am an idiot! How do you like that!"
Similarly, do not say "playbook." Nor "rent free." These are the markings of the moron. And, of course, there's a direct correlation between how often a person uses the word "literally" and their mental capacity. The tiny-brained will use this word as much as possible, because they will lack any ability whatsoever to speak to what something is. They want to be right, though, even if they are not right about anything in their lives. So, in attempt to be right, they will say "literally," which they think is a way to turn a Clark Kent statement into a Superman statement. You should make sure to rid your life of such people. Unless, of course, you are one of them. In which case, nothing really matters anyway.
Amused me to that the player whose ankle Mac Jones grabbed in Sunday's game wants an apology. Jones handled it well. I hear a guy who is focused on what is next in Jones, and another player complaining about what was. That tells me a lot about these two players and the success each of them will have.
The Bruins have had a weird schedule to start the season. It seems like they rarely play. Tough to build momentum that way and get into the flow of an NHL campaign. They played the high-flying Oilers last night and were porous. I was going to head to the Brattle for a screening of Hiroshima, Mon Amour but I was very tired.
Scottie Pippen is obsessed with Michael Jordan. It's unfortunate to see. Pippen remarked the other day that he was the best basketball player of all-time. Why would you do that? There was a time when I think he might have been the second best player in the NBA. A short window, but you could have made a case. My favorite basketball defender to watch--he was a marvel defensively. I think that was what interested me the most about the second three-peat Bulls--their defense. His allegation, though, that Jordan wanted to do The Last Dance because LeBron James is better and this was Jordan's way to stave off people knowing that is unbecoming. I watched both. It's not close as to who was better. Jordan didn't need a docu-series for that. He was transcendent. James is not. Jordan was Disney and The Wizard of Oz and Star Wars and something more than basketball. In his play.
Saw this comment about Pippen and Jordan on Twitter, which also played a role in my determination that it would be better if I never see such things if I can help it: "Jordan literally never won before he played with Pippen."
How is it possible to be as stupid as people are?
Pippen's book is also poorly ghostwritten. It sounds nothing like him. It sounds more like an English professor. Why must everyone be so bad at what they do? But yeah, Pippen totally talks in sentences with subordinate clauses. How do you take the words seriously as being from Pippen when they sound nothing like Pippen? Do you just suspend belief? These books are supposed to function in a way that you can kind of believe their subject actually wrote them, or said the things in the book. So you can't make it sound like they have this alter ego that talks like Mr. Belvedere which of course they do not. I'd be shocked if Pippen even read his own book, or any part of it.
Came up with a Bessie Smith idea for next year.
The term "raw dog" repulses me. "Raw dog" as a verb is worse. There is this wave of meatheads in my building now, and one of them used the latter coming up the stairs last night, chirping away on his phone. He's such a mental infant, this guy, that he purposely makes his sneakers squeak on the floor because the sound amuses him. Once I heard him say, "Long story short, I did it anyway. She'll get over it," before uncorking a classic meathead laugh.