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Steady on

Sunday 8/2/20

Today marks 1519 days, or 217 weeks, without a drink. Yesterday I walked eleven miles and ran 2600 stairs.

Today I wrote a 2600 word short story. It's in manuscript. By that I mean, it exists with a start and a finish, but there will likely be more involved in completing the story than mere touch-ups. The story may become longer--in the 3000 word range. What I'll be doing is cutting sentences, mostly. By cutting sentences I do not mean shortening them, though some sentences can lose words. I'm referring to shaping the sentences. Architecturally, sonically. And the other components of their actual shape. Words may be added, but it's all about the shape. I sharpen and shape with a knife. It's like if you had a rounded precipice, and some hand out of the sky sliced off a part of an edge, made the peak like the tip of a dagger, extended a bulwarking portion.

With this particular story I had the driver early. I always locate the driver. It's just a matter of when I'll have the driver. A story for which I know the driver ahead of time does not end up stronger than a story where I realize what the driver is or as I finish. Or I discover the driver after the fact because I've composed a whole work in such a short period of time, and I naturally create in a driver-based mode. One must understand that these matters can go very fast. For instance, with "Jute," the entire story was conceived and executed in less than twenty minutes. There was no idea for a story. There was white page. I can play the keyboard like an instrument, and shape story as I go, have story flow through me, impart the narrative, my very being filled with the lives and realities, all of the depths, the quirks, the individual, unique characteristics, of the characters. But having the driver beforehand is akin to when Pedro Martinez said he'd take the mound on certain days and he couldn't believe how close it was to the batters, and knew on those days they had absolutely no chance to hit him. He threw shutouts on other days, too, and dominated, but I'm talking about that going-in feeling. It's almost unfair to arm me with the driver.

One thing I like about writing is that you can change the meaning of a world by where one paragraph ends and another begins. Maybe you change part of the meaning of the universe, too.

Focus and courage this week, please. Put the time in. Face what you have to face. Hold whom you need to hold accountable. But focus and have courage, and everything else will take care of itself.

Also, be better organized. In the near future I'd like to have a clear list of the various book projects, both in the notebooks and up on here, organized by rough chronology. Down the road, I would like to write a book on Radiohead in which I give them the Revolution in the Head treatment, and also weave in parts of their unreleased catalogue--key live recordings, for instance, and studio outtakes. But go song by song, analyzing each one. Again, the Revolution in the Head treatment. I feel uniquely suited to do this. But that's many books out. Still, you can get there fast, if you focus, and a few things kick in our favor. You're closer than you think. This is the most important period yet.

Bruins are not playing well. They look flat. I'm barely watching, just as I barely watched the other night, but every time I do look at them they seem flat. The announcer's are talking about Halak like he sucks. He doesn't. He's not the issue in this game. Do these stats count as playoff stats? With whatever this round robin thing is? Or do they not exist? There is no energy with these announcers. Was hoping the game would be on NESN so I could at least get a laugh out of Jack Edwards having one of his Jackgasms.

There is a little child upstairs who runs across that apartment non-stop. Thud thud thud. The ceiling shakes. I want to shake my fist--proverbially--at this little child, who is up quite late, but when I see her in the hall she stops to ask me questions, and she always has questions about my flowers outside and she enjoys telling me they are pretty. She takes a really long time to go up the stairs with her mom. But when I'm coming down--hauling as as usual--I stop and stand back, so she can come up first. She's very performative. She counts the steps--so of course I dig that--and when she gets to the top I say something like, "that's a lot of stairs, right?" and she'll respond with a "Yeah!" Eh. Kids and animals like me. We all share a capacity for wonder. I think that's why. And kids like me because I take them seriously. Which I do because you can learn a lot from a child. You can learn a lot from many things. It needn't all be your own experiences, Flaubert novels, and Billie Holiday records--I know, wishful thinking on my part with those last two. But I learned from those last two. You can't learn anything from social media. Chances are one will not truly learn anything in school. I didn't. Not a single thing. Unless you count how not to think, how not to be as a person. But it still would be better if she's quiet tonight, because I'd like to be up and at it by 4 AM.

NB: Half of the sections of this site are woefully out of date, in terms of links, but the News, On air, and Op-eds sections are where they should be as of today. Took care of that this morning when I was writing the 2600 word story and everyone else in publishing was asleep.


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