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So in to fun and less thinking

Sunday 10/26/20

I wrote a short story this morning called "Window Party." It is one of the shortest, word count-wise (570), for Longer on the Inside: Very Short Fictions of Infinitely Human Lives. This story could be talked about for days. As people are so fond of saying right now, there's a lot to unpack.


So that's good. Pasting these people. That's two stories written already this week, things will be published, there will be radio, more will be written, and we'll see what else happens. A single week here--every week--absolutely dusts the entirety of the career of these frauds who are just handed things. And that's before we even get into the quality of the work, when the dusting goes up to incalculable levels.


Today is the anniversary of Game Six of the 1986 World Series. For drama, no baseball game has equaled it. One should not care very much about sports in and of themselves. You should care about sports insofar as they factor into your thinking with matters of greater consequence. What I learned as a hockey player is invaluable to my keeping going now--as I do. But who wins and loses really is silly. You outgrow that. These are games. What is achieved in those games is not your achievement. It has nothing to do with you. It shouldn't affect how you feel about yourself, you shouldn't feel pride because of a win, or emptiness without one. But that game in particular is the one that I'd say could have taken something out of you, depending upon where your interests rested. I say this because of the human quality. In some ways that game didn't even really feel about sport. Something more than sport led to that outcome. On both sides. I think it's fascinating to watch now.



There was only one home run in that game. Granted, at the time it looked like it would be the biggest home run in Red Sox history.


Saw the Dodgers lost last night. Didn't see the game. I'm not staying up until midnight to watch people swing from their asses trying to hit home runs. If it was the Sox, of course, but I need to be up early each day. Having said that, I'm not surprised to read what I'm reading about Dave Roberts. Obviously a poor in-game manager. If the Dodgers lose, he'll lose his job. This team should have more to show for the rosters they've had over the last bunch of seasons, and this year ought to be their year to cakewalk to this thing. They were lucky to get past the Braves. You have to admire the Rays, though they are quite boring. They're what the modern baseball team looks like--they exemplify it, in some ways, though I think that's a contradiction in terms. I expect Kershaw to come up lacking one more time before the series is over.


On that subject: I find it crazy--and it's not just a baseball thing--that postseason performance is treated like this cheap afterthought barely worth a mention when it comes to Hall of Fame candidacy. It's taken more seriously in hockey, but if you spend much time looking at Hall of Fame discussions for baseball--I get pretty deep into a particular discussion forum each day--you'll see that postseason success or failure is irrelevant. It's not a part of the discussion one way or the other. Doesn't count for you, doesn't count against you. You could have 32 postseason home runs and a .567 battering average over many series, or you could be 0-11 with a 5.67 ERA. Won't help you, won't hurt you. Flies in the face of not only logic, but what seems to me the point of competing at all in the first place.


Someone sent me this:


"Your profile is quite the thinker. I am so in to fun and less thinking, and I mix up my words on daily bases. Big words and spelling are not my top priority because frankly that's not me. I'm just honest down to earth girl speaking my truths. And I do not believe in ghosting (just learned that is actually a thing), so I personally reply to people. I'm to down to earth, go with the flow hun, i could never keep up with your mind."


The most alarming thing about this is that it's the best written missive I'll encounter over like six months. This. It's about the best that's out there. Again: this.


Never use the pronoun "we" when talking about your favorite sports team. It makes you sound like a buffoon. A regressive buffoon. This does not mean one is a buffoon. I understand that people get excited. I simply find it absurd for an adult to speak this way. I shouldn't feel too bad, perhaps. This is the age, after all, when we're always told how to be better. At least my suggestions make sense and are not rammed with hypocrisy.


Deion Branch is whining about not being on the Patriots All-Dynasty team. Branch has no business on said team. Branch was not that good. He had a couple strong games. He never had a thousand yard season though he did have 998; next best with the Patriots was 803. That's good? That's C+ good. A completely underwhelming player, who was nowhere near the level of the three WRs on that All-Dynasty team (Moss, Welker, Edelman).


Got birthday cards today for my sister, my nephew, my mom.


I need to work hard this week. I need to have a couple days where I just don't sleep. Sam Cooke book needs to be fixed. I have to write the Billie Holiday piece. I'd like to get moving on some new short stories--"Mount Edifice," "Little Gloves," "Wet-on-Wet," "Peaceable Assembly," "Water States," a couple others that don't have titles yet. These stories are all longer--that means they're not for Longer on the Inside. What are they for? Damned if I know. I just write stories better than any ever written, and right now, in this situation, with the discrimination and the blackballing, they sit here with me. And they'll do that until this changes; and then I'll overwhelm the world with them and no one will be able to believe--but they'll have to--that one single person had all of this. I need to sell another op-ed this week. I'd like to lock things down with the respective presses for the Billie Holiday and The Office books, get the materials out the door for the first Beatles book and try to secure that, make sure things are okay with the Scrooge book and Musings with Franklin. Put together the pitches--that means the intros and the sample pages--for Longer on the Inside and the nonfiction book about overlooked masterpieces. Those are all things to be doing right now. Get caught up on the email. And light the people up on here that need lighting up, and show them for the bigots that they are. Get the materials for Ella Fitzgerald and bang that piece out as well. Update this site--that means get a couple hundred links up in the various sections, update the Books page or find someone who can do that and I'll have to pay them. Contact people about coverage regarding Meatheads, though that's largely a pointless endeavor right now, because I don't think any is going to do anything regarding that book because it is by me. I also need to proof and revise where necessary the essay collection and get a hard copy of that off to this particular publisher, and I'd like to put together a proposal for this book on Bresson's A Man Escaped.


The body of work is simply massive. It's like I've lived for 300 years and been writing constantly. It is massive, and it covers so damn much. It'd be massive if it was just this journal. It'd be massive it if was just these short stories. How many are there now? I have no idea. We're at 200 in a little over two years, and all told there must be 400. Then you get into the other stuff--the novel The Freeze Tag Sessions, the memoir in following from the divorce--and obviously a kind of trauma in that area that is unlike any story anyone else has, as anyone who knows the story knows; and what I did also to keep going, to change and grow and endure; Cheer Pack: Stories--with the stuff from VQR, Harper's, Glimmer Train--though it actually disgusts me typing the names of those places--is needing its home; a memoir about how publishing really works, at every single level, just blowing the lid off of what these are and how this system works; a collection of my jazz writings. And so forth. I'll do a proper entry in these pages that lays out what books are complete, which are coming out, which are done, which are far along, which will be undertaken soon. For me. Just for the clarity of seeing it all in one place.


I'm taking too long with these Beatles books. The first one: an alternative musical history. A way to hear the Beatles like never before, and experience their story as artists as never before. The second Beatles book--the role of Black artists in shaping the sound of English white bands. How those African American artists taught these young men to hear the world and discover themselves. The Sam Cooke book along with my Beatles background should readily convey to someone that, damn, this guy needs to do this book for us, what will it cost to get this?


I watched Citizen Kane again last night. We've reached a point where Kane and Sgt. Pepper are not underrated on account of the clickbait approach to nonfiction, and race and identity politics. Regarding Pepper, it's more than it's individual songs. What it adds up to is a music that is also a kind of post-music. It's an experience. I'm not even sure you call it a record in one way. As a collection of songs, there are better Beatles records. But it's something else. And I think that's lost now. We really need to pretend that Kanye West made a better work of music than Sgt. Pepper? No intelligent person actually believes that. It's about other stuff.


As for Kane--Welles could tend to a kind of formalism in his work because his interest was in experiment rather than result. Seeing how far he could go, rather than making sure he got to where he needed to be. I'm not saying he was the dry formalist that a Bergman was--one reason why Bergman's films have aged so poorly. But I am saying that Welles was at his very best when he married his formal innovations with emotion. That means Kane, Chimes at Midnight, the Mercury Theatre version of Dracula, Touch of Evil. Kane is intensely emotional. We forget--or never consider--Welles's abilities as an actor. When we think of his acting, you might say that his voice gets in the way. As has been noted in these pages, the opening sequence is straight out of a horror movie, with a different level of technique and command--those dissolves that take us inside of Xanadu. The picture is a mystery. As much a mystery picture as something adapted from Agatha Christie, but it's less on the nose, a paradigmatic shift that only a master can realize. Welles clearly knew his Frankenstein, too, because he's channeling Boris Karloff's Monster in the scene near the end when he destroys his second wife's room. When do you ever see a scene like that, then or now? What I try and do in these pages is show the life I lived, the person I am, how I grow, what I create, and I think there's no record like this one. I do what Charles Foster Kane did not. That's important to me. Because you watch that film and you're gutted and frightened because your takeaway is that we never really know anybody. Almost always. No matter how public they are or how much is written about them, because what is written about them is often puff. It's not real. Welles didn't like the Rosebud device, though he admitted that it worked. He just thought it bordered on the cheap. I think he was wrong there. Not the way its handled. You could miss it if you're not paying attention. There isn't some cut-away at the end from the fire where the sled is burning to young Charlie playing in the snow and saying, "Look, ma, Rosebud," as he holds the sled out. The film is as personal as "Strawberry Fields Forever."


I'm going to watch the Patriots now and get ready for the week. Just saw Matthew Stafford lead a pretty impressive comeback. I wonder if he'll make the Hall of Fame. The NFL puts a bigger emphasis on the postseason. For example, Lynn Swann.


***


Well. Thanks for that, Patriots. We looked like ass today. JK! (Don't do acronyms either.) When they signed Cam Newton, I wrote in these pages that he sucks. Even when he was good, he wasn't good. He had one kind of okay year that was nowhere near as remarkable as people made it out to be. His completion percentage, even that year, was below 60%. That tells me that you are not a very good quarterback in today's NFL. Well, among other things. Watching this guy also has told me that. This team is on their way to 4-12 or 6-10. Lots of people gloating about how Brady was the reason they were so good for so long and not Belichick. Brady is the best football player ever, but I don't think he was at Belichick's level. But the latter has a shitty team, it's going to be a shitty year, and people aren't smart enough to understand how all of these things can be true at once. For most people, everything has to be one very simple thing. Like with me. Right now, people can't understand what I am. People in publishing can't accept that I am this thing that I so clearly am, save how unlikely it is that anyone--and it's only one person who is ever going to be it--can be that thing. They also won't go there because it's the ne plus ultra of superlatives to describe one person in those terms that only one person can get. But they're even confused by something so basic that op-ed guy is fiction guy is Beatles guy. And so forth. But back to football. I don't want to see Cam Newton starting again. And spare me the COVID shit. It's not COVID that is producing these results with him. He's exactly what I knew he was. Granted, I don't know that Stidham isn't even worse. Might as well find out. Start on next year. Maybe you come up with something in the here and now in the meanwhile. And it's time to move on from Mr. Edelman. Tonight I watched him get covered one-on-one by a linebacker. The burst is gone, the hands are steel. And his head is not in it either. Unprofessional, really. Just because his little buddies are gone.