top of page


Friday 2/3/23

I sent Musings with Franklin to someone this morning. That is the novel told entirely in conversation between Writer, Bartender, and the pervy guy from the suburbs who dresses up as Ben Franklin at a colonial era Boston bar in present times. Told entirely in conversation. Not dialogue. They're different.

Someone took "Net Drive." I didn't see the email until the other day. I don't know where things now stand, because it was a bunch of months ago. It was the earlier version. I am still working on the revised version anyway. I will get that done shortly.

The plan in the next few days is to have a chapter written for Giving You Everything and a very specific chapter outline and summary, and all of it ready to show along with the summary that was completed yesterday and featured on here.

I wrote a highly unpleasant letter for someone at Bloomsbury on the BFI book side (Film Classics) of things. I haven't sent it yet. I really don't want to send it. But terrible treatment and discrimination has gone on with this person for four and a half years. You know what I did on Thanksgiving? I sat in a cafe and made notes and a list--it's bulletproof proof--of the facts of the case.

That's how thorough I am. That's how real it is. One could picture this person being interviewed with others--a jury--looking on. "Did you have a problem with his writing abilities?" "Did you have issue with his qualifications?" "Did he not provide suitable ideas?" (In this case, ideas I provided at points during those four and a half years, became books for other people there.) "Was he not professional?" "Did he commit some transgression?"

This woman wouldn't be able to answer any of those questions in any way against me. So then it becomes...what? What has it been, then? And we know what we're left with. Bloomsbury and this woman's department actively seeks out writers to do books in this particular series, too, and has a prompt on their webpage that recruits them. So, it's blatant. I don't move when it's pre-blatant. And usually when I do move, it's been blatant for a long time. And you know what? I just want to do an amazing book or two. That's it. That's all I'm trying to do with someone like this. For a grand.

Things are not good with Bloomsbury. I have Cheer Pack, right? That's the story collection that has works from the "fancy" places that publishing people care about. Harper's, the VQR (this place is filthy; and I'll be putting it all out there, up on here), Glimmer Train. Over two years, I tried to get word back on this from Bloomsbury. I wrote a few different people who acquire fiction. All spread apart. Everything is spread apart. I'm not banging on the door every day. And, truthfully, I hate writing these people, because I know what is happening.

Can you imagine how awful that feels? Knowing that what you have won't matter, no matter how amazing it is, how much better than anything out there it is, no matter how "accomplished" it is--it's tough to match a book with that book's publishing track record, in terms of where work has run, even if you're the most connected system person--and no matter that you've done business with that press? So that makes me actually write these people less than I should, follow-up less than I should. How do you justify not responding to that book from that guy? What can you say? Again: Was it not good enough? Does he not have the track record? Is there not sufficient appeal in these stories? None of those things are true. So what then? You don't like him? Why? He's a straight white guy? That's kind of a can of worms, right? Because now it's sexism and racism. We're not talking a lot of money. And you publish bad books of fiction from people who've done far less and will never do anything. We can point to those. They're not invisible books by invisible authors that we can't easily identity and cite. So why are you doing this guy like you're doing him? I don't want to go to war against Bloomsbury. That's not what I want to be doing. And it's been bad on the music side, with the book I did do. If you go on Twitter, they share and like and tweet about their authors and the things they do. These are usually very small things. I have a lot of big things. They don't tout any of that. Am I a bad person for knowing this? I have eyes! I can read. I can see. It's right in front of me. But you see how I'm sitting back? I want it to work. I want it to work with the fiction people there, I want to do another book for 33 1/3 in the genre series, and I want to do something in that BFI Film Classics series. I don't want to light you up. That stays here. It's on Google when people search your name. I just want to work. Do the book, send you the book, do whatever you need from me during that process. Then I want to sell the book.

This journal is very important. So, too, I was thinking last night, are the hundreds of hours of radio and podcast interviews I've given that are available to listen to on this site in the On air section. They're valuable for the initial reason I undertook most of them, and continue to do them. They're an amazing body of work in and of themselves. To hear this person express their thoughts on these subjects, on writing, on art, on culture, sports, the times. But at the same time--and this is important in this war--they show how this person sounds, how they interact, their laugh. What that person sounds like, how he comes across. They show a good person. A kind person. It's the sound of a kind and good person.

That's important given that these people want to make like I'm the devil. The woman I mentioned above? She'll probably hate me even more after reading that letter, when I do send it. Despite everything being true. Despite it being entirely her fault. Despite it being almost five years in the making. Entirely of her making. Her bad behavior. Her indefensible behavior. She'll want to demonize me more. Obviously I don't sound like a demon, though, do I?

But you know what? I've found that that makes them hate me more. If I'm some monster, then I'm the problem. Not them. You see this guy being polite and professional--and this letter to this woman is polite and professional--and you hear what he sounds like, and you can't think of him as this raving, angry, manic, attacking ogre. So what then? The mirror is what remains. Do these people sound to you like people who can take an honest look in a mirror and see what's there and address anything? Or even say, "My bad. Things got away from me. What do you have for me?" That would be like a miracle, right? Unfortunately.

I should add that later this is going to be different. I've seen a lot of this journal in the past few days, with the giant project of transporting the whole of these contents to Word documents. Made me think. About future posts. An entry about a day in the woods on Cape Ann. Happiness. Described. At length. Achievements. Reach. Works created with the full knowledge that many people would be about to see them. Because I will share all of that. I'll share it as fully as I share what is happening now. I'm showing what is. This is what it is right now.

I've said this before, but I'll say it again. The second to last thing I want to do is put you up on here. I hate it. I don't want to be doing it. But the last thing I want to do and will allow myself to do is for you to discriminate against me because of my abilities, because of what I can do, what I've done, what I am, what I do constantly. In other words, good qualities. I'm not going to allow that to happen. You have the wrong artist for that. The last artist for that. And you have the wrong person with the wrong amounts of character, courage, self-respect, and also concern for the world at large, the people in the world, how the world can be better.

But I'll tell you: I do have these snatches of daydreams about future entries, and being in my house in Rockport once I get that back, or my house on Cape Cod I plan to have, sharing the happiness. Accounting of that happiness. When I don't want to run stairs, because it's cold and maybe I ache, there seems no point to anything, I think about what I just said. Because if I die, that won't happen. And if I'm unhealthy later, it will be compromised, and other things won't happen. Or it might be curtailed, because I don't live as long to enjoy all of it.

Anyway. The plan for the next few days: Giving You Everything. Keep working on the links project. Write the Wes Montgomery feature. Write an op-ed on Wes Montgomery. Write an op-ed on mystery novels. Complete assorted short stories. Notes/thinking for The Year of Doing Nothing and Everything. Complete the Children of the Stones feature. Complete the essay on the Fourth of July and Hawthorne. Put up some unpleasant entries, unfortunately, on here. Work on Same Band. Read back Glue God and make changes.

I haven't mentioned the new book. I'll do that later. I had said that I was walking around with a different step at the end of the year when I knew what I had with "Best Present Ever," before it was completed. But I knew. Leaving aside everything else--that I am dealing with these terrible people, shackled to them in their evil and incompetence and complete lack of vision--and just looking at this as a piece of work, I have the same thing happening with my step.

bottom of page