Meatheads love to say "cut it, cut it, cut it!" when someone is parking. There may be no time in the meathead's life when he feels more important, more in command, or more authoritative. In this moment, beyond any other, the meathead knows the meaning of the word "pride," and a form of quiet heroism few others will ever experience. Not like him, anyway. Stars may not shine so bright as the meathead does when shouting commands to someone about how to park. "Cut it harder! No, harder. Super harder. Okay. Yeah. You're golden. Golden."
I am in a tricky situation in talking about my work because I do not want to diminish the work I am creating and have created, but I also don't know how to talk about something like "The Echo Blow," which was composed yesterday.
It was 2400 words in the end. I want to talk about "The Echo Blow" as the finest work that's been created. I do not see how a work of fiction could better than this story. But I also have had reason to say that about "The Half Slip" and "Coffee Streaks," from the last few days alone.
I don't know how believable this is. It's certainly not been done before. I am producing a work at that level almost every day. I'm not sure that can be believed. It could take all of this to come out, all of this to be official, with someone recognized in a new kind of way.
But I also still want to say how proud I am of what this story, "The Echo Blow," is. I want to take that moment. Because in my entire life, I have done nothing finer. I have written nothing better than that story I wrote yesterday. I kept pushing myself. I kept saying, "you, sir, have more genius to give this." I kept saying, "give it to me, give it to this story, give it more of everything you are, every last vestige of your ability."
Because I had something quite good you see. Special. The story was written out of nothing. Initially I thought, okay, this can be for Longer on the Inside. And I had that story. But there was more. I knew it. I looked within the mirror of my own soul, and I knew it. I pushed myself. The level of invention of the language in this story. I gave myself to that. I kept developing the narrative more, the plot more, and the rich ideas became larger ideas still. They became the ideas that matter most. The ideas that pertain the largest degree to being human. To humanity. To awareness. To expiation. To sacrifice. To the truth and its shifting nature. And it got up to a certain length. And I backed away. It was formidable. But I had to physically remove myself, and take great stock.
And I said, you have more to give it. And I pushed myself harder yet. And she started to get close.
At any of these points I had something that no one else would have. But I had not gone as far as I could go. I knew the ending could go even further, for instance. And so I came back in the evening, and I took that ending as far as it could go. I took that story, that work of art, as far as a story can go, as far as a work of art can go.
Knowing all the while that these people will try to make sure that it's not seen. That it does not come out. Because it is by me.
So I wanted to say something about my story, because it deserves it. Deserves to have these words said about it in these pages. For various reasons. One of them being so that others who later read and love that story, can see these words. I do hope that is sooner rather than later. I've never written anything better than that story.
It's also perfect for There Is No Doubt: Storied Humanness.
Walked three miles today and ran 3000 stairs. That's 26,000 stairs ran for the week.
The way I have this (possibly quite incorrectly) figured is, running the stairs at Government Center thirty times, without stopping, is comparable to doing the Monument five times. Give or take. I find it ridiculous that the Monument remains closed. I don't want to say something here regarding my thoughts on COVID and various forms of fitness, but come on--it's long enough. Open up the damn thing. You can go to Fenway and sit next to people. Free the Monument. People don't want to go in, they don't have to go in. But how long are we going to keep this going?
I wonder how many cubic inches of sweat I produce each week, especially in summer.
I will say this: running the stairs at Government Center, one sees many more people than at the other three places I run, or have run, stairs. These are the stairs that empty into Faneuil Hall. They are well-known stairs. (There is also the irony that adjacent to the stairs is the building in which I married that demon of hell. [Though I would expect the devil to renounce such a creature.] Yes, I am training for the long life I will have when this turns, when I reap, and when many people are held accountable by the truth and by my story.) You see locals, and you see lots of tourists. A lot of Boston foot traffic passes through this spot. One point that is certainly driven home is just how large and out of shape so many people are. It could even be the majority. I don't just mean, "hmmm, could stand to drop a few." It's more than that.
I am someone who can scarcely function right now. Which sounds strange, given that the opposite would appear to be true, and I am making like twelve masterpieces a week and everything else. But I can create at a level and rate beyond any anyone else has approached, and I can exercise (which I force myself to do, because I refuse to let the bigots of publishing kill me, which is what would happen otherwise--this is too much stress and emotional and mental torture for the bodily component of a person to withstand without taking major preventative steps).
I can't do anything else. Basic tasks of living. I am a wreck. I'm beyond a wreck. So I understand being incapacitated. But I also don't think that's what is happening in the majority of these cases. I think people are just obscenely lazy. And if you are obscenely lazy in one area, you're apt to be obscenely lazy in other areas, all the more so if they require more effort.
Thinking requires more effort, for instance. Learning requires more effort than getting those 8000 steps a day, or whatever it is. Being a good person requires more effort. Connecting with another person requires more effort.
The average American walks 160 miles a year. That covers everything--the trip to the store. Walking to the car. Lugging the recycling to the end of the driveway. The average person walks three miles per hour. Three miles is roughly 6000 steps.
Saw the following headline today: 2021 NBA Finals: Bucks Level the Series After Clinching Pivotal Game 4.
Here is what I know about the person who wrote the headline. Language reveals so much. I know they are are awful at their job. I know they are arrogant and they are insecure. I know that they don't know how basic English functions. I know that they wired to be performative. And they need attention, and think they are someone who uses "big" words," and are thus smart.
A fourth game cannot be a pivotal game. By definition. Further, it is a series that is clinched. So there are two basic errors of language within the headline. They think they're intelligent, because they've used "level" as a verb. And with the "clinching" and "pivotal" bit. This is their idea of "fancy." Clever.
I also know that the people above them are incompetent and lazy for letting this through. Such a simple task, writing a headline. And yet I know this is a human who cannot do that, but it is their job.
Language always reveals the person behind that language. The way you write--and I often need a mere clause--will usually tell me everything I need to know about you, and everything there is to know. It will reveal your level of intelligence, your character, your work ethic, your level of education (which has nothing to do with schooling), how you regard yourself, if you have any curiosity, if you are lazy or not, your values, your standards for yourself. People have no clue how much their language and their writing reveals about who they truly are.
Sometimes I say to myself, "Why don't you just eat two more Popsicles, you shameless glutton of the frozen treat?"
Peter Faneuil inherited a fortune from his uncle, which made him one of the richest people in the country. There was a condition to his inheritance: that he must not marry. Faneuil pondered the size of the sum, and said, "Hell yeah, dude, I'm in, and the ladies are out!" He got his money, and then proceeded to drink himself to death by the age of forty-five.
I watched the 1930 Laurel and Hardy short, Blotto, one of the best works of art pertaining to the drink, as well as something like Withnail and I. The timbre of triumph when Laurel says, "We drank your liquor!" is hilarious. No one in the history of cinema has had more expressive fingers than Oliver Hardy.
The Atlantic has lost thirty million dollars in the last year-and-a-half, and WEEI, one of the two local sports stations here in Boston, has ratings numbers so low as to make you do a double-take that they're actually real. Here's an idea: maybe the magazine/website should hire the best writer who is the expert on all of the things, and so much more besides, and the dying sports radio station should hire the person who is the best on the radio, with the most sports knowledge. See? Then, that person is out there. They have a chance. And with those two jobs, they start to build a platform. They help the businesses, the brands. They revitalize them. And it becomes a unique platform, and they reach lots of people. And lots of people start to see everything else that is there. And it seems to not be believable at all, and yet, there it is. Undeniable. And then that person is off, and that person actually impacts the world. In some ways, it is so simple. I am right here.
I had mentioned on here recently that there are three episodes of the long-running radio series Suspense that stand out more than the rest. We touched on one in "The Hitch-Hiker." Here's another, from Christmastime 1946, "The House in Cypress Canyon." Let's just call it a Christmas in July thing. There's a similarity with the 1945 British horror film Dead of Night--which is discussed in my upcoming Scrooge book--in terms of the frame story. Both involve architecture. Dead of Night is an omnibus film, though, whereas the radio drama isn't. The 1948 Quiet, Please episode of "The Thing on the Fourble Board" has a similarly eerie otherworldly type noise.
Here's an incredibly rare recording of the Who at the Fillmore West in August 1968. Note the early version of "Young Man Blues." They haven't quite figured it out yet.
This is Elizabeth Cotten singing "Shake Sugaree" because the more people who experience this, the better. If this doesn't make you smile, just remember that it's never too late--or too early--to take some stock. Peace.