Sometimes I think that I ought not to write something on here or delay putting it up because of volume and that has been wrong and I won't let myself harbor an inkling of those thoughts again. As I wrote last night, don't sign up, which doesn't mean literally don't sign up but this journal as a work of art and life is far bigger than anything pertaining to someone or the type of person who is going to be bothered by knowing it's been added to however many times it has been added to, or that it contains truth, knowledge, expertise, and specificity.
I am not going to act like I am doing anything wrong or that I'm not creating something remarkable and necessary in the best way possible. I am not making any allowances or insinuating any apologies for writing beautifully, sharing what I do, how much of it I do, saying the truth when the truth is essential and there is no one else to say it. I'm not apologizing if I want to put sixteen amazing entries on here in a day, every day, nor for being able to write 7000 words of fiction in a few hours, or running 10,000 stairs or any of it.
If you're looking for bad, meaningless writing, and there's too much great writing here, one can read everyone else who is bad at writing and get nothing out of it. I am not going to apologize for the power and fecundity of my mind. The world needs these things. And my vision and my strength, my ability to lead.
I know something else that is a problem insofar as it's a problem right now. People just want to talk, loosely, and be spoken to, loosely. In the past, I've referred to what I call the ass voice. Everyone prefers to proceed by talking out of their ass, with no one to halt them. This is David Remnick, it's some political pundit, it's some flavor of the month hyped author, it's some drunk sports fan on Twitter. It's mostly everyone. The key to the ass voice is to be surrounded by no one who truly knows, which is about the easiest thing to do right now in this world. You could throw a washing machine and you'll hit someone like that, all but guaranteed. But it's more than a voice, the ass voice. It's a state of mind, a state of being. It's present when we read what someone has written. We want to read their words and find wiggle room in what they say. We want there to be air, to be room for us, were we to enter that conversation and start using our ass voice. Nothing matters in these situations. Nothing is real. It's all playing dress-up and make believe, without the imagination of either. I take that away from people completely. In a way, I take away their voice, by how I talk and write, and what I say. Because I know.
Even when I don't know--as with a sports prediction, because how can you know that?--I contextualize what I'm saying in such a well-thought out way that it's clear I do know, in different ways. I never talk from the ass. If I didn't know, I wouldn't speak. Or I'd ask questions in an attempt to know. But it's not fun to sit down and have a conversation with me about the Beatles, right? To give one example. I'm not going to be boorish. I'm far too polite. I'm far too polished socially. My nature is one of outward affability. But the other person is going to want to use their ass voice. And even if I don't take on their ass voice, and I say what I do say, on my side, how do you think that will go for them? It won't be fun, right? Because they just want to say stuff. That's the experience for them--saying whatever.
So many people are just waiting for their chance to talk, and that chance is all about the chance, not the substance of the words. When we talk with someone, it's inevitable that there's a compare and contrast byplay between our words and theirs, when it's on some subject--call it a third party subject. Astronomy, the Civil War, Mickey Mantle's career, Joy Division's second album. We measure ourselves against the person next to us and their words in relation to ours. Most people make other people feel fine with this measuring. I don't. It's not because of how I act--it's because of what I am and what that represents to that other person.
I talked of the story book level in last night's entry. When one person views another person as a story book person, they're no longer trying to have that same-level ass voice conversation. They smarten up. Now, they want the other person to talk to them. They take that as an honor. They want to hear what that other person has to say more than they want to use their ass voice. They are more amenable to listening and learning. Do I wish there was someone in the world at my level and we could have a certain kind of conversation? Very much. But there isn't, there isn't going to be, and that's not my fault. I am not going to feel guilty about it. That's just how it is. Sometimes people, thinking that their ass voice has been defeated, or that they sound ridiculous because someone else knew so much more on a given subject, will jump to another subject in an attempt to liberate their ass voice and have it squawk untrammeled. They're trying to have their day--to shine. To outshine. Or, to move to another venue where their ass voice can live and breathe unchecked.
That also is not possible with me. We can do any subject, and I will know it like I know that first example of the Beatles. I have proven this. The work proves it, the books, this journal, the interviews. The truth is, I am paying the highest of prices for this. I am paying with my life. Every day. I am ostracized, envied, hated, feared, avoided, because of this. And that will be the death of me if I don't find a way to make all of that go in the opposite direction, as the ultimate positive. I don't think I can achieve any positive ends by becoming an idiot with an ass voice. That's not possible. If I wrote as badly as everyone else writes, it's not like that fixes anything for me. I'm a good-looking white guy who is self-made. No one would be looking to hook up my meaningless drivel-work if I could become a person who made any, and if they were, for argument's sake, what would that do or mean? Hooray, it's yet another shitty piece, one of millions, by yet another shitty writer in a world that reads so infrequently that language has devolved, we're barreling towards illiteracy, no one can think, and no one can even write an original Twitter post.
All of those other writers are partially responsible for that state of the world and language and thinking. I see myself as the solution. The one solution. And I think any reasonable person who knows my work would too. They may still hate me, they may still unsubscribe from this journal, but who else you got? Maybe they'll say, "no one could do what this guy is trying to do." But you know what? Me doing that is far more likely than there being someone like me. In history. So I'm going to ride with me. That's what I'm going to do. And the way I'm going to ride with me is keep doing what I'm doing and doing more of it. That is the plan. I will try to have faith that because of the execution of that plan, things will change. That faith is also part of the plan.
But I was talking about a problem. When people read--especially now--they want to see a place for their ass voice. They want to feel wiggle room--really, they want to know that bullshit and emptiness is present and available, on perpetual standby--when they read something. In their mind, that means they have a voice, too. They could hop into that prose and say whatever the hell they wanted to say. It would "count." It would be valid. Because why not? The author is using his or her ass voice. Even on Twitter, no one is followed because they're interesting. They're followed because of their vacuity. It's just air--empty air, if you will. Empty air represents room for that other person to insert themselves into the nothingness, with nothing to stop them from being there. People look for the absence of substance, not the presence of substance; and they look away from substance itself. At present. Everything I say and write, I say authoritatively, and no one can deny the truth of what I've said. Those who try will always reveal themselves to have an agenda. They will be someone who wants to write on what I write on and they'll be envious. That's a common one. They'll gun for me. They'll make things up. They'll lie. They are desperate to sink claws into steel, but that's not how claws and steel work. And you can always show the broken claws after, and the steel for what it is as steel.
I can take those examples, put them on here, and show line by line what they are doing. So very few try it--only the most insane, obsessed, and frequently inebriated. I'll put a full example of someone like that up on here soon and it's very easy to show what they're up to. I write too well for anyone to honestly go after the writing. I never rear back and throw words and prose at the wall and hope it more or less comes together. I write with total command. I entered this world with more ability than anyone has had. I have spent every single waking moment--and many sleeping moments--of my life working to get better at writing. By every single waking moment, what I mean is this: I've never had a single second of my life when I was not, in some way, thinking about writing and working at it. This isn't for effect. I mean every single second. In my mind, I can do an infinite amount of things at once. It's always been that way. Writing is the constant. It never leaves all of the levels of thought, mind, consciousness. I was aware of this when I was three-years-old. And I knew how different it was. When I say I am writing 100 stories at once right now, I mean 100 stories. When I say I am writing 500 works in my head at once, I mean 500 works. I'm not trying to get a rise out of anyone. I am saying the truth. In this journal, I am documenting that truth.
Someone suggested to me last night that maybe people didn't believe I really do what I say I do. I think they were trying to look for reasons for why I am so hated. I know the reasons. I think I did an effective job of summarizing some of them last night, and now here again in this entry. They said to me, "I know you, and I know you can do all of those things in a day, but maybe other people think you're making it up, because it's not possible. And it doesn't make them feel good when they want to stay in bed. Or they think, 'I could do all of that if I didn't have to work at the hospital,' but they also know that's not true. I could see people not wanting to read about what you do for those reasons."
As to me making anything up: I should say that I leave out so much from this record, so far as what I do goes. When it's organized, I'll post a list of the stories I've written going back to June 2018, as one example. One will see stories--recent stories--that never even got mentioned in here. I go to a lot of things I don't always cite. Films, concerts, plays. There's a lot to cover. But I don't think anyone could believe I'm making any of it up. This person I was talking to say that there could be a lot of people who didn't believe I exercised like I do, which seems to me like such a simple thing. So we can start with that.
Yesterday I ran 5000 stairs. I did 100 push-ups. Do you know how much time that takes? Re: the push-ups: I step out of this monstrosity of a studio apartment, with the books and records piled everywhere, no room to move, and I immediately do thirty push-ups on the floor of the hallway. That's, what? Twenty-something seconds? I go down the three flights of stairs, shaking out my arms. I get to the first floor, walk towards the back past the mailboxes, and do twenty more push-ups. That's, what? Fifteen seconds? I then walk to the stairs. On the way--so this is like two minutes later--I drop to the grass behind the disused 1950s toll booth and do twenty more push-ups. Then I get to the stairs another three minutes later. I start running them. As I run them, I keep doing what I've been doing--I create in my head. I write stories, novels, pitches, determine what to talk about on the radio, how to deal with a bigot, who is going up on this journal, and I write books. I might remember something from seven months ago that needs a quick fix, and I note that. To run 5000 stairs without stopping takes about one hour. Then I walk back. I stop again a the toll booth and do thirty push-ups. So we're talking, say, seventy to seventy-five minutes, and I've done quite a bit, between the workout outside, and the workout in my head.
A key is that I'm always moving. Physically, mentally, intellectually, spiritually, emotionally. I don't sit on my ass--especially not my metaphorical ass, and I don't sit on my physical one that much either. I live in filth and disorder. If I lived in my house in Rockport, I would spend more time sitting there watching a ballgame, but I don't right ow. I want to get the hell out of here. I want that house, I want a billion dollars, which is what my work deserves, I want a house on the Cape, too. There isn't even anywhere to sit in here save the desk. The chair is destroyed. It's held together by duct tape. I don't even have lights. There isn't a working light in here. The canisters hang from the ceiling by wires. It's a virtually unlivable space. I work. I write. I work towards changing the world, and getting what I have coming to me and deserved fully fifteen years ago. But now, I am something far, far, far different than I was fifteen years ago.
I don't think people believe I make anything up that isn't fiction. (And I should say that there is a difference with the fiction in that the reader is counted on almost as a character who is off-stage; but the reader is in that story, and provides a kind of voice themselves. They have to determine some things. Certain things are their responsibility, are left up to them. What people don't realize is that there's a role for all of us in any great work of fiction.) I think they believe I tell the truth completely. I think my honor is self-evident. I won't even say "tomorrow will be this many days without a drink" because I don't know that. It hasn't happened yet. I won't give myself the credit beforehand, if one wishes to call it credit, when to me it's just something I need to do in order to do other things I do and hope to do. Even with something that simple.
Then there is the work. The proof of the work. If I wrote nothing but this journal, I would write far more--let us conservatively say, fifty times more--than any other person in the world each year. Whomever is the second most productive. This journal is the least of what I write. It's what I do after and in-between what I think of as the proper work. Obviously no one can suggest that this journal is not here. That I am making it up. Further, there is the amount of published work, even with an industry unified in working to try to suppress this one artist.
Then there are the excerpts to the proper work. Why do you think I put that up? I'll explain. 1. The work is always amazing. I document its creation in real-time; typically, moments after it's been written 2. I am making a case against these bigots of publishing, whose careers I am going to end as I rip down their diseased system. Part of that job entails this record. I can say later, "I had such and such and such all at once!" That's fine. But would it not be better still for people to have a record, made in real-time, where they can see that for themselves? It is because of those people, when they see that record, after the fact of my ascent, and the record itself, that those other people in that industry will lose all that they have. There will be no way to justify what they did, and what went into their combined efforts of the most blatant discrimination there has ever been. 3. I put it in faces. That's right. I say, "boom, here's another" to the people who want me dead. Who have no talent. I know they can't argue with the work. One can't argue with an excerpt from "A BETTER MAN THAN YOU." No one can say, "he's not all that." It's not possible. 4. It gives me further credibility when I point out the corruption at, say, a place like American Short Fiction, where you have diehard system bigots Rebecca Markovits and Adeena Reitberger and a eunuch-bigot like Nate Brown. Let's do that thing where having mentioned a place, I go to their website and look at the most recently posted posted short story--one I've never seen before--and I can post it here with the certainty of what it will be. And sure enough, this story, "Damien, 32," by Johanna Povirk-Znoy is basic, bland, entirely lacking in imagination, with the cadence of a short story one would get from a fifteen-year-old trying to write a story for the first time. See? Always the same with these people and what they publish. Look how blah the first sentence is. How awkward and nonsensical the second is. Then how it just shifts back into the blah gear for the rest of the entire pointless thing. 5. It's staggering. It's stunning. It's pretty impossible to believe, except one sees it. Part of the reason why it's staggering and stunning is the range. This man has an endless panoply of voices, modes, styles, plots--within his work of a single week. There isn't an artist who could ever show something like that to that degree or anything close to it. So, yes, I show it. I think that's cool. I think it's also crucial to show it right now, with these people doing what they're doing. 6. I can do what no one else can. I'm not going to hide it. I'm not going to not say it when it's relevant to do so. Here's the thing: People lie constantly about how great so and so is, and no one honestly thinks it. So because that's how it is, and because no one is saying a word about what I clearly am, I'm supposed to play along and say nothing, too? No way. I'm going to create a record of it as I do it. That record will always exist. There has never been anyone like me, and it's never been so doable to create a record like this. I'm not dipping my quill into ink. I have technology to hasten this process, and I'm taking advantage of what is available. I intend for all of the words of this journal to be collected between hardcovers as books, and that series of books may run to 200 books when it's all said and done. But that would have been much harder with the old quill and ink. But it's very easy to copy and paste and say, "Excerpt from such and such." 7. Process is revealed. The excerpt will be that work in the state it currently is in. Sometimes it won't change at all. Sometimes it does. I leave it as it is in this journal. Someone can go back later and say, "Oh, he added that, he changed that, there was this whole other paragraph he put in that wasn't there. He changed her name--wow, that's what so and so was named initially."
I don't think anyone thinks I'm lying about anything, or tweaking the truth in the slightest. But I do think that makes things worse, which one may think is paradoxical, but which I don't think is, based on my own experiences and what I've learned. Yesterday I was on Facebook and I saw a woman say that she had put up her first blog post. I went and read it. The post was vacuous. She said she was nervous, we're creatures of habit, but sometimes we should try new things, like she did the other day at yoga class, and the Buddha was a yogi before he was the Buddha. Every last clause was just this air bubble of words. It was all vague and platitudinous. There was nothing there. She was basic herself. Her language was basic. Anyone could have written it, and no one could have gotten anything out of it.
At the end, she said something like, "Thanks so much for reading, dear friends, love to all, and if you have any questions or comments, I'd love to hear them!" You know what happened. 179 people on Facebook hit the like button, and 104 people commented that this was amazing, they loved it, she was remarkable, etc. Not one of those people actually thought anything positive about what they read. Do you look at the air and say, "That air was good reading!" Of course not. But she had the ass voice and the inconsequential voice and the empty voice and the nothing voice. There was all of that wiggle room for anyone to insert their version of these voices. She had nothing to say and could say nothing well.
People prefer that over this. Right now they do. They don't actually prefer it. But they act like they prefer it. They won't unsubscribe to this woman's blog. They will click on it when she makes her occasional posts and they receive an email alerting them to one. But never will they think or feel anything from reading it. It's just like putting the sprinklers on--automatic. The clock hits a certain time, and the sprinklers go off. That's how people read what they read, for lack of a better term. Reading is exponentially less about reading than it is acknowledging that something exists as some form of a commodity. One doesn't buy the book of Amanda Gorman doggerel to read it--one buys it to tell one's self that they're not a racist and one of the good ones, and to use it as a piece of decor in the home to show off to their rich white neighbors. One doesn't buy the Justin Taylor book because he's not a terrible writer. They buy it in support of "literary fiction" and that community and to reinforce that the choices they made in life to teach this worthless twaddle and to write it were not a complete waste. It's all they have, and what they have is nothing. So that's why they buy the book. Not to read it and get anything out of it, which isn't possible because there's nothing there. It's always the commodity and what it represents, and never the work. The people who read that woman's blog--friends, family, pretend friends, acquaintances--will tell her it's amazing, and they couldn't tell her a single thing they remember reading, and you could ask them two minutes after they'd read a post.
This is what people prefer. They don't want to get anything out of anything. No one likes what they like. It's all about other things. In this case, it's about the peace of mind that the ass voice is on display, and is alive and well, and they are not being excluded because someone knew anything and spoke with authority. They just want to know that's out there, more than they want to be made to think, be moved, laugh, cry, be inspired.
That's how it is--right now. I keep saying that. Right now. I think it's important to be clear about that term, "right now." That is what it is. People would rather read something they get nothing from, rather than something they could get everything from. Because it's not about reading. Conversations aren't about what they're about. When we get a prompt like "People on Twitter debate Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho," we must understand that no one is debating anything. They're just airing their ass voices. I also think it's important to be clear that right now isn't always. Right now isn't even March. It's not this time next year. People who would receive an email altering them to a blog post from this woman and one about this very entry from me, would often click on hers, think nothing, close the window, and carry on, to click on hers again later and repeat the process of nothingness. That same person would often click on mine, read what is here, and be done. Unsubscribe. It can be any entry. Could be entirely on hockey, jazz, old time radio, could be an excerpt from a piece on a horror film. But there is no ass voice or admittance of the ass voice's standing or possibility anywhere. And people don't like that. Not right now.
I will conclude with an example. Four or five years ago, I was at a Christmas party. There were three guys talking about whatever Stars Wars film had just come out. They had had some drinks, and the ass voices were cranking. All of these grandiose terms: best film ever, etc. They were being serious. They actually thought it was the best movie ever made. These were simple half-wits. I was standing there. I didn't say anything. As I said, they were being serious. They could make any claim and because none of them knew anything, or had ever even seen very much, hadn't heard of any actual great film, let alone studied it, wrote a book on it, what have you. They loved this. Unchallenged ass voice! They had these eager faces, where two who weren't talking couldn't wait for their turn to talk again. In their minds, they were these founts of knowledge, of truth. They should be on TV!
Now, how do you think this would have gone if I started talking and being who I am? That is, not trying to be an idiot. The conversation is over, right? I've killed it for them. They'd feel exposed, inadequate, embarrassed. They wouldn't think I was wrong, but I would have wrecked this for them, and they would resent me. I could be perfectly nice, I could be funny, I could be charming, and that would all make it worse. If you could transpose that experience into the stuff of a post on this journal, they would all unsubscribe. I wouldn't have done anything wrong, but that's how it would have gone. And it's not like any of them cared at all what the others said, except when what that was was exactly what they had just said, in the same words they used to say it. Because that meant positive reinforcement to them.
People are so insecure--they need that validation that isn't actual validation in the slightest. It just speaks to how little is going on, both outside and in, to bring it back to that notion in a different manner. I highlight the paucity. And again, people don't like that, and will only like it--because then it will be seen as something else--when that other person is a story book figure. Then it's okay to look up at them and not feel threatened. An entire village--a city, a country--works to make someone a story book figure. All of the support, awards, praise, backing, marketing, hype, platforming, sharing, goes into getting someone to that level. All of the levers are pulled, all of the buttons are pushed. I have none of that, and I will have none of that, until I get to that level, somehow, on my own, and certainly without a village, a city, a country working to help me. Do you know what? I'm not even going to have the neighbor across the street, whose kid I saved the other day, working to help me. I am going to have no one. I have no one.
I have me. And what I can do. So that's what I'm riding with. And now I'm going to go make some art.