Walked six miles yesterday, ran the Monument three times, did 300 push-ups. A veteran of Korea (according to his hat) asked me if I was okay. I said yes. He said that he saw me fall, which is what he mistook me doing push-ups for. His name was Frankie. I heard someone call him that. Clearly popular in his area near the Monument in Charlestown.
Went to Haymarket and Trader Joe's. On Boylston a woman asked me if I knew where the pot store was. Do I seem like someone who'd know where the pot store was? I said no, and she glowered at me as if I was holding out on her. Now if she had asked me where the anal store was...relax. I'm joking. There is no anal store. But what if there were!
We must find ways to laugh.
A lot of people say don't sweat the small stuff, which is annoying already, but then they add--as if they're wise--and it's all small stuff. Yes, it is, if you live a life devoid of purpose and consequence.
The Patriots can totally lose this game today to the Lions. I don't get the confidence everyone seemingly has.
Worked on a story yesterday AM, putting about 800 words to it.
Oklahoma was drilled 49-0 by Texas. Not hard to see coming. They struggled with Kent State at home however many weeks ago. You knew the losses would follow. Boston College could do nothing against Clemson. So many Clemson people in the city the last few days. There were a bunch at the Monument yesterday, and four of them sitting at a table next to me at the cafe the day before. Everywhere I turn, Clemson people. Was actually on that same day my freshman year of college that BC beat Notre Dame at Alumni. Dylan played the Orpheum that night.
I spoke to my mom about my late sister. This is a very hard time of the year for the former because she replays all of the events of the last few weeks of my sister's life. I try to help the best I can with what I say, but I understand when she wants to go and can't talk about it any more. She said she was going to put something dumb on TV just to try and get her mind off of it. I didn't keep her, obviously. I sent her this text: "Like Kerrin (and Kara), I love you very much and I feel your pain and feel for you. Stay strong. You mean a lot to us. To all three of us." And then also a link to radio adaptations of all of the stories in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes with Clive Merrison as the detective, because she likes Holmes and I thought maybe she could relax with that.
I came up with another jazz idea for next year, pertaining to a concert. Began an op-ed this morning about Halloween. Another Halloween op-ed. On the rules of Halloween. It'll be an evergreen piece, so when I fail to move it this year, it won't matter. Everything I write every day has to have many lives built into it. What most writers do is write tacky garbage that is as topical as can be. There's no value in the work beyond being some extended news type of piece. A piece on who was nominated for some ridiculous award, for instance. My work has to last and last in multiple phases of lasting. It has to last 5000 years from now, it has to last when it goes into a book, it has to last next week, next year, it has to last when I am out of this hell and thousands and thousands of works are at last free to make their way in this world. I have this Halloween op-ed on Nosferatu, which turns 100 this year. I may not be able to publish it at Halloween. On account of this situation. It still has to be something that can go into a book later, and retain relevance. It can't just be some "oh, this was an anniversary" thing. I won't write something that doesn't have all of the phases of pertinence built into it. I had the idea for this other op-ed, and I tell myself that maybe it comes out in four years, after 500 other things just did, and people think, "How the hell does he have another?" when I already had it, and it goes into a book of my op-eds, which show the world then as the world was now, better than anything anyone else had written, but with ideas that are timeless. The plan is for there to be other reasons, of course. Like, "Oh, here is another book by the best artist ever," which is its own reason to put something out, even if that work was relegated to a time period that had passed. But that's not how I write.
My mom also sent me a photo of my niece who had gotten her flu shot. She hates shots! This was after her shot, and she was weeping--weeping!--in the backseat of the car. It was like some melodrama. Weeping, wailing! She's funny. I care about all of these kids, of course, but she is the one I have the most in common with. She likes to go to her room by herself and just read. She sits on the floor and reads her books, which she keeps all organized on her bookshelf. She doesn't like for people to borrow her books. She's shy. She'll say that to my sister and my mom. And I used to be shy. I was trying to figure out last night when I stopped being shy. I am sure it's quite surprising to people that I ever was. Maybe in high school? Maybe even in college. Though God knows I could say some stuff in high school. It wasn't a shedding of shyness, but I became something else in 2012, when my life fell apart. Now I become something else every day. I actually do. I never go to bed the same way I woke up. I've progressed.
You have to believe that good can win. If one knows how people are, how the world works, how the world works more than ever, and certainly how publishing is, that can be a near impossible belief to have. But I remind myself that I must have it. And that the greatest good at that can win. Which would change everything. Stores of strength, stores of belief.
People will say to me, "I feel like you have to write, that you have no choice but to, it's who you are," and variations on that theme. I get this a lot. They mean well. The reason they're saying it is because they know the hell I am in and the armies of bigots I am facing. I must emphasize that I know they mean well, which is much more than what I usually get with people. I am grateful that they mean well. But to me it's very defeatist. What they are saying is tantamount to remarking that I would drive into a fireball of death because it's something I have to do. Take the road that takes me there. That I would do it no matter what, for that is the implication of that statement. I would do it if I was guaranteed to fail. And that is not true. What someone should say is, "You do this better than anyone has ever done anything else, and you are going to beat all of this, and that is going to mean so much to the world." Not "You'd do it because it's who you are no matter what." There's a distinction there, a distinction of defeatism. I don't do defeatism. I would not throw myself into the fireball of death. I am here to put out that fireball of death. I am here to make things alive. And more alive. I am also here to win, and to beat these evil people.
My little mentee had a friend who was a few years older than her. He went away to college in California to study film. She was telling me how they never talked anymore. They were quite close. He seemed like a good kid. He'd come over and walk Benny the puggle when no one was around. I said she should text or call him. She said she texted, but he never answered. So I suggested that she send an email maybe, saying she missed their friendship and he was important to her. "It's okay just to tell someone how you feel," I told her. He must be back for some reason or other, or maybe he's graduated. I don't know. But she texted me last night that she was hanging out with him at his house. I said I'm glad, and that it's important to maintain our friendships.