Was up at 2 AM yesterday for work. That is when my day began. Soreness in my calves. It's because of the Monument. Run all the stairs one might at City Hall, you get back inside the Monument for that first time and there will be leg soreness for a few days, the difference being that if you run other stairs, the soreness will only be in the calves and not in the calves and quads. Quad soreness is more limiting. Calf soreness won't stop you. You'll just be uncomfortable.
It was in the thirties and raining, but I went to City Hall and ran 5000 stairs. Again, you have to really believe in something to do that, day in, day out. Did 100 push-ups, the same as today. Lazy city employees were taking their sweet time--as they always do--shoveling the City Hall stairs this morning, so I went around the corner to where there are twenty stairs. That's it. You think you can't do much with twenty stairs, right? But I've used them before, and I don't like excuses, so I ran up and down those stairs 100 times without stopping. That's a pretty good workout.
Downloading some Ramones sets my friend Howard sent me. Howard has or can find pretty much anything.
Working on the website. Can't see it from the site itself. I have a Word document that consists of forty pages' worth of links to my work, which omits a massive earlier chunk, so it's not complete. Many of these links need to go up on the site in the various categories, especially the Short fiction, Literature, Film, and Music categories. I'm separating the links into the individual categories with a Word document for each in addition to the master list. The way the host site work is that I have to pull down the entirety of the aforementioned sections on account that the host site doesn't allow one to change the order, so that I can start over and include everything else in the proper chronology of the master list. That's part of the tankification of this site, as I think of of it. A weapon of indisputability to roll over my enemies in this war.
This was a letter to Dzanc from the other day. I enter it here as part of the record of this journal. And one that can be linked back to later if need be.
Hello, all. Best of the new year to you.
I have something special here and I wanted to suggest it as an amazing opportunity for us to do something special. This would be for a Dzanc one-off. It would be for this coming Christmas. People use that phrase, "outside the box," and this is that, but so very easily doable. And it could do a lot.
This Christmas I set out to write the greatest work of Christmas art ever made. I wanted to go beyond A Christmas Carol and It's a Wonderful Life. I was also making a gift for the people in my life, and their children. Something that would always be around, always be in homes, always be a part of Christmases, and a part of people's lives.
That work became a story called "Best Present Ever," which is both a title and a label. I wrote the story for children. There isn't a single word in it that child wouldn't understand. I wrote it to be read by families on Christmas Eve. I wrote it as summation of everything I've become in my life. Everything I've grown into, through incredible suffering. It's not something I could have written ten years ago. Five years ago. Two years ago. It is the sum of everything I have learned, and everything I am. As an artist, a person, a human.
But more than a story for children, it's a story for adults. It's a story for our world as our world has become.
I am a scofflaw with my inbox, which I am remedying now and having been doing for the last several weeks. I still have a long ways until I've gone through everything in this inbox, but I am seeing testimonials from people who have read this story. They are still reading this story. Again and again and again, and have done so since Christmas. People read it, and then they read it again.
In my life, I've written tens of thousands of works. I've published thousands. I am consistent. I don't have "oh, here's this great one over here" and "there's that not so great one over there." What I do is of an artistic piece, from work to work.
Having said that, in my life, there are two works that stand out to me more than any others. Those are "Fitty"--which is in There Is No Doubt, my all-female book, which you also have--and "Best Present Ever."
The story makes people weep. It's not maudlin in the slightest. It's a story to impact the world. How we can and should be with each other. With ourselves. It is rammed with surprises. And magic. And realness. And beauty. One emotional peak gives way to another. It's a story to help people. It's the story as light.
I could show you the testimonials. But whether it's a ten-year-old girl, a college professor, a grizzled middle aged man who plays hockey in beer leagues and is no stranger to spitting out a couple teeth on the ice in times past, the reaction has been the same. And as I said, these people are still reading it. Their families have read it. They keep writing me about it. One person told me that when they go to bed, they try to dream about this story.
Here's what I'm building to. There are these stand-alone mini-books of ghost stories. They're these gift books. They are the same length as my story. You couldn't really do this with anything else, but we can put out "Best Present Ever" as this stand-alone mini-book in the fall and sell it for $6.99. A book as gift book, that is this amazing work of art, with this amazing message, this all-timer of a piece of fiction. A book that could fit in stockings. A book that can always sell. The kind of book that people buy--cheaply--for other people as a gift.
I don't think there's so much as as comma that needs to be changed. I have read this story probably 300 times. I have the cover. I have the back text. We have a biggish font, bright colors in the artwork, and we get it out there. This doesn't need to be complicated.
The story is attached. Please read it. Trust me: It is as good as I'm saying it is. Better. I'm not jerking anyone around.
If you wanted to check out the kind of books I'm talking about, go on Google and type in "Christmas Eve on a Haunted Hulk book" or "How Fear Departed the Long Gallery book." Those authors are long dead. I'm alive. This story is the definition of alive. It's special.