Okay. Still here. Two days after Thanksgiving. I can barely tell someone how hard it is to continue on. To not give up. Give up everything. I feel like my bones are dust and I am buried under an entire city, and there's a city on top of the city, and so forth. And I am nothing but scattered dust in old, old, frozen earth. That's what I look up to every day. How I get out from under all of that, get to the highest lookout point, above the highest city, the highest looked-up-to-point, and say, so all will hear, "come." Will there ever be a time when I am where I should be and should have been long ago, and I may turn to someone who loves me and remember these times, and shudder, feel the full flush of horror--but past horror--come over me like an undulating wave, east to west, west to east, north to south, south to north, and be glad I remained fighting? Give thanks that I continued to fight?
It is likely I think about different things than most on Thanksgiving.
I did not exercise yesterday. I wrote, cried, vomited, hugged my knees to my chest and bit on a towel and screamed and prayed for God to take me away and let me be okay in another world. To please not have damned me for eternity. I ran three miles the day before, as I did a three days ago, when I had also walked two miles. I will soon be making an extreme example of an extremely bad person in publishing upon this blog, and I made more notes for that. There is nothing that will be able to be done to me afterwards, because what I have is the complete, irrefutable truth, and highly detailed provenance records of absolutely filthy dealing.
It's time to leave a body hanging from the gibbet for the rest of them to see. And then to start in on the rest of them. Can't do anything further to me at this point, and what I am, as evinced again and again, as this site makes plain, every last piece, every last radio appearance, is even less refutable. No one is going to take me on. They will do their whisper network campaign of hate thing, but that's been going on for a long time, and max hate is also max saturation; that is, there comes a point when it no longer matters, as in no longer adds to someone else's degree of difficulty. This one single example will enfold many other people within the web of this particular individual's weaving. I merely am in possession of the light--mind you, it's a special kind of light, a torch which no one else has--to shine upon it. The evil-doing--which is obvious--and the horrible writing--which any even slightly objective third party can always see--does the work.
I have to find something to talk about on Downtown on Tuesday night. The other day I made my debut on Chicago's Morning Answer, a program, as one likely surmised, out of Chicago and airing in the AM. My segment begins at the three hour and eleven minute mark.
I like the host, Dan Proft. He's one of the two regular co-costs; the other, Amy Jacobson, was out when I was on, but having listened to an earlier clip, I like her, too. I just haven't spoken to her yet. (There was a fill-in co-host the other day, John Kass from the Chicago Tribune, and he was very good, warm guy.) I think people have me on and their is a certain expectation, that this is an author, they wrote something I like, it'll go more or less like this, and then it doesn't go anything like that at all. Because I am like no one else on the radio. And it's that way every time, regardless of the subject. It's a work of art. And entertainment. And knowledge and inspiration and humor and unique insight. With scores of quotable lines extemporized in real time. And it always will be. And a unique personality in evidence.
The reaction to that first appearance has been nice. It would be best to do there what I do with Downtown, going on once a week. I think when I was first on Downtown, Kimball was like, okay, he knows this, he knows this, and damn, he can talk just as well on this, and then he went there, allowed himself to go there, and said, essentially, it's always going to work with this guy at the highest level, no matter what he's talking about, it is what it is, that's entirely different here. And they accepted that--which can be hard right now, before I am front and center and much is written and said about this--and away we went and go. Which is why after, when I have arrived where I am going, I'll continue to do Downtown and give them my time. Because I do not forget, one way or the other.
The difference with the Morning Answer is that there needs to be a right here, right now quality that you don't necessarily need with Downtown. That is, with the latter, I can jump on and discuss cinema from 1944, whereas with the other program it needs the current news and culture element. Obviously I do that on Downtown a lot, too. And I think people see that if I was talking about a ball of yarn from 1823, even that becomes fun and fascinating and you get the wit and the edge and the whole deal. But it's not hard to think up topics, of course. I could talk for 24/7 on the radio, and I will never run out of topics, nor would my performance dip.
I worked on a short story on Thanksgiving called "Spines," which is excellent. I composed a new story on Black Friday, called "Metacarpal." We are getting to the point now when the new stories will soon be enough for four whole new volumes. One will be titled Slide Into My DMs: (Connection) Stories (from a Disconnected Age) and will begin with "Fitty," "Take a Leg," and "Jute." Murderers' Bloody Row. What I am mulling doing is having that book be comprised solely of stories whose main character and/or narrator is a woman. Most of the forty plus stories since the middle of the summer fit that bill. There is so much art here. I can go a lot of different ways.
On the holiday I listened to these Black Rebel Motorcycle Club in-studio sessions:
As well this commanding Teardrop Explodes gig--via an FM broadcast--from Mt. Vernon in 1981.
plus this Yardbirds boot from Cleveland in 1968, a gig which also had Blue Cheer on the bill.
and this Lux Radio Theater broadcast of Miracle on 34th Street:
I spent the rest of Thanksgiving sitting in an empty Starbucks reading Van Gogh: The Life by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, which is, along with Simon Callow's multi-volume life of Orson Welles, one of the best biographies I have read. I am around page 700, when Gauguin leaves the Yellow House. Your heart breaks on every page for Van Gogh. He is hated. Everyone he meets hates him. He brings quite a bit on himself--he's a sick man throughout his life. Or his mental illness brings it on him, I should say. He lived in houses. He always lived in houses. Made no money, sold no work, lives in houses. I look at his life and I all but try to conjure the devil to give him my soul so that it does not happen to me, but if I give the devil my soul I would not be able to make the greatest art that anyone has ever made. But what does it matter in this situation? It has to matter. I have given my faith to God, the universe, the ineffable, something, and my heart, the entirety of my being, that I am sailing in this hell, this blackness, to some lone point of light on a shore whose solidity I can barely imagine, if I even can, underneath my feet, even with my imagination, for it is like hope has been raped out of me. I become wiser, I become more powerful in my unique abilities, I become--for I feel it, and I see it in the work--something post-human but still in a human world. A world where humanity devolves and being fully human is rarer, it seems, than a man who breathes in carbon dioxide and expels oxygen so as to nourish everyone else all the better. And I don't want to be Van Gogh. He can't touch me, for a second, a day, for a single piece of work, with anything I do. But I cannot be Van Gogh. I need to be here when it happens. I need to oversee it and shape it and expand it.
I did not not go to the ballet yesterday. I was dehydrated from crying and my voice was gone from screaming and I had blood in my saliva from a torn larynx and I did not want to be around people with other people who are happy and there I am on my own and the decision I had to make--and I did have to make it--with someone I do obviously love was just too much and I was too weak and unwashed and broken. We were not, of course, going to go together. That person had told me I would not be invited for Thanksgiving because I was not blood-related. Blood-related. And my lack of shared blood would mean we were crossing a boundary. Their terms. I love this person and I am galled and, worse, so, so, so disappointed. It's been happening for a while, but this was the final hit of hammer against chisel, and this child broke my heart. I am not going to pretend otherwise. I don't have a lot of heart left. I have strips of vaguely beating meat over my breast, the color of ash. Somewhere in me I have a back-up heart, the heart that pumps the blood of life through the work that can change this world more to the good than anything ever has, and that heart is bigger than fucking Jupiter. That heart is the size of solar systems, galaxies, a universe. But my human, "hi, how are you today, fellow person" heart? No. That heart lost more mass yet, and beats off a rate that was barely registering as it were.
I expect little from anyone, because I know people. I keep my words under my tongue when someone might remark that this is appalling, when in the past I would have said, "Do you know what is appalling?" and enumerated very real, very appalling things of their own making. People want to do wrong and not get caught. When they are "caught," they don't disagree; they might not face it and get angry and attack you, they might sputter incoherent, frothing protests, but that's a stall game, a forget game, a get-this-light-off-of-me game. Because they know. In almost everyone there is a chamber that cannot be entered. The door is padlocked. They hear the sounds from the room, the voices, they see the light from the room--it's the brightest light--stream out around the door jamb. They can't open the door and go in and sit in a chair in the room and face what they need to face--the truth. Themselves. The truth in themselves. But they are haunted by the beams of light that manage to gain egress and the sounds of truth. Always. And if you know everything that is in that room, and you try to share any of it, that person will respond with hate. Insensibility. I always know what is in the room. That, more than anything, is my genius. There's a lot more to it. Infinitely more to it. But it all comes back to that. So I just sit there in silence. Because I know. I always know. Which also feels like part of this curse, if this is indeed a curse, whatever I am and have to be. As for blood and Thanksgiving: the entire point of Thanksgiving is inclusion. Family, enlarging family by welcoming new people into the fold, community. Disturbing? Truly. Evil? I would not say evil. But that is not how good people are. And this I know with complete surety. Truth often makes my decisions for me. It is my bondsman. And I am its, I suppose.
So last night I remained in this disaster area I must live in for now, poured cold water down my throat to reduce the swelling, spit blood into a Boston Ballet mug, and worked some more on a story, "Evening Day." "Metacarpal" came from it, in that split-the-atom sense.
I did speak to a woman yesterday. From Yale. People are almost always deeply unwell, I have found, when they come from such places. They are no smarter than anyone in the world, often less so, but they have a desperate need to think as much. She says to me, "You don't sound like the typical guy." Nice. Imagine if is said the corollary version of that to her? Get out the pink pussy hat, find 15,000 pretend friends, and set about engineering my demise and destruction, right? I remarked that I find that the construction "you are not a typical such and such" is almost always problematic. She asks me to let it slide. It has been a hard couple days. Oh. She's also sending me notes peppered with acronyms. LOL and such. We "met" on a site, and I don't like to be on these sites, given the public nature of my job, and if I speak to someone off of one of these sites, I'll usually shutter my account on the site or app, for the time being.
This removes the correspondence, whatever photos a person might have of me. I do my job in front of millions of people. Many people are hateful and sociopathic, a number become obsessed with me, you never know a person's motives, and I keep things of the moment, in the more personal form of communication. I don't like this person, I think she's sexist, I think she's unintelligent, there is nothing she could offer me, but I try to be broadminded, I try to allow that I could be surprised. She gets back from wherever she was, texts me again, and starts right in on complaining about how she can't see me on the site or app anymore. I say we are talking here, no? (She had also asked if she could phone, and I said sure, whenever you like.) "You can see how this would be extremely unsettling for me, right?" Here we go. You wonder how early the "here we go" refrain will sound; it usually doesn't take long. It's victim time. And it's probably the twentieth time on this given day that this obvious misandrist has done the victim thing. I say that this is academic at this point--hey, throw the Yale people a bone, right?--and my sense is that the waters of victimhood are not exactly uncharted ones for her, the sexism bit was enough of an interest-quasher, now there's this, we're no fit, but good luck down there in New Haven. Think it ends there? No. She will send me several screeds, calling me "boy" in one of them, and citing "creepy behavior that makes me feel unsafe." Sure thing, superstar. It's like you're in the jungle at night and tigers are hunting you from the bushes. As you read from a script. So brave. Clearly balanced and rational thinking. Again, reverse any of this. I'd be trending on Twitter as further proof of how evil men are. Society has never been more sexist than it is right now. And it is not in the way that anyone dares to say aloud.
Of course, make me trend on Twitter, and you give me an opportunity, and maybe it is the opportunity that becomes my flashpoint. So I welcome it. I am scared of no one, no army of people, who elect to take me on out in the open. I am scared of no contretemps, attack, would-be war, when it is my mind vs. however many other minds. I am scared that I am cursed and doomed and will never get out of this situation, I am scared that the day will soon be here when I can go on no longer and I am scared about the logistics of ending my life and I am scared that no one in my life will do jack shit for my work after I am gone, but you know the expression throw hands? I'll scale the peaks of Olympus and throw minds with everyone forgathered there and I'll walk back down that sucker without so much as a scratch on my person. And I would have written several works of art in my head as I fought my side of the battle. So people with GIFs and bon mot centered around phrases like "douche canoe" and would-be acidulous badinage at the second grade level of "I know you are but what am I?"
Here is a podcast I did for someone where they interviewed me about Billie Holiday. It's good. Also on Thanksgiving I watched the new Scorsese film. So boring. Same thing, every time. Same tropes, same techniques. I believe we are in a post-entertainment society. A piece of the pie I am facing. The problem pie. I don't believe that people are honestly greatly entertained by this or anything they claim to be. I think it's just what is presented, how it is presented, the group mentality of "we're all watching this," and non-existent standards or points of reference. A complete absence of legit competition. Scorsese is inept with female characters. Yeah, we get it, dude, mob guys. And music from the 1950s and 1960s. Got it. Same shit, time and again. The women in films like this are mere props for evil guys you don't care about to sometimes throw a line of dialogue to. He knows nothing about women, I believe. I think he knows nothing about people. It's also a five minute story spun out to three and a half hours. But hooray--lots of people get shot in the head. For me personally, I don't know how you care about a work when everyone in it is an evil, murderous, sociopath. That interests you? If that interests you, imagine what something actually interesting would do for you? The characters don't change in these things, they just do more evil shit, and it's beaten to death--repeated to death. Paucity of ideas, paucity of truth.
Enough of this. I will make some art now.