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Wednesday 2/14/24

Everywhere I turn there are books to finish writing and books to write. Books of every kind.

I may have to get this dental mouthpiece thing. Every morning I'm waking up with a headache and tired. That can't be happening. I need to wake up with Zulu energy.

Went to the convenience store to get a copy of a paper I have something in today but it seems like they might have just stopped stocking papers.

I'd like to see a good week of all-out, or close to it, honest effort and see what that looks like.

I haven't finished the film piece.

I was supposed to do a feature on the Beach Boys today and that didn't get done.

I spent a lot of time on "Box Art," just like I've been spending a lot of time on "Idra" and "Why I Hate My Friends." I'm not calling any of them done yet. "The Ghost and the Flame" is not done. I have to get back to these novelettes. Also "Friendship Bracelet" and there's another one I should have finished soon called "Load Up." There are so many.

I need to eat better. That's not helping. And drink better. Obviously I don't drink alcohol and of course I don't drink things like soda. Everything I drink is good for you--save the occasional hot chocolate when I think I've earned it (still, it's skim and no whip)--but I'm not sufficiently hydrated.

I really like E.F. Benson, but he's nowhere near the writer that M.R. James is. What I like about Benson is how convivial his ghost stories are. They can turn frightening, but you're often among good people in a cozy setting. "How Far Departed the Long Gallery" is a good example. But for skill, he was no M.R. James. James' problem was that he wasn't at his best--in terms of the actual story and its telling--often enough. He didn't write a ton--not if we're talking ghost stories, at least--so there's that. But when M.R. James had a plan with a story and he wasn't diffuse, he created some legit art. He was always skilled with language, but too many of his stories don't know where they're going. Then he has these others that knew exactly where they were going, and they're on this other level from the other things he did.

Implication is important in writing. You want things to continue to occur to the reader after. Like they're walking down the street or riding in an elevator and they think, "Wait, that also would mean..."

I received some notes about that story--the "That Girl" thing--from The New Yorker. People saying it's hard to believe that that was real, that anything that bad gets published and published there. Someone said they thought it was a joke at first.

It's not a joke. It's all real. It's how it is. It's what is happening. It's how this works right now.

What people will do is just assume things, especially off of brand names. You know what I mean by that. Someone goes to Harvard, they must be smart. Whereas, as we've seen, a person who does so is that much more likely to be an idiot. You have to actually look at things.

People, unfortunately, don't look at much in life. They assume. They're naturally uncurious and they don't check things out. They don't use their eyes and ears by going where they can use them. Do you know what I mean? But when I put something like that story--and it's all like that--in front of you, and you know it's time to use your eyes, we all think the same thing, because it's that obvious and that bad.

I keep getting a number of letters about Remnick. A lot of people don't like this guy and/or don't respect him. There have been some pretty serious allegations as well.

So many things to get to on here.

What else? I watched The Brain Eaters--not to be confused with The Flesh Eaters. Again, watchable. The likable hero-type gets fried. Actually, you could say he gets the friendly fire version of electrocuted. It's from 1958.

Texted a friend from college--the Sam Cooke guy--about something I'll be sending him in the mail. Texted my uncle, who hasn't been feeling well. Want to send this box set to my buddy Howard but I have to find the thing. Got some photos from my sister of Amelia at her school's Valentine's party--my sister was on hand to help out and brought some goodies--and also of Amelia and my mom at lunch today at this place called Egg Harbor. Amelia looks a lot like my mom.

Listened to Ornette Coleman's At the Golden Circle, Vol. 1 from 1965. That's a very good band. Doesn't get talked about that much, even by people who care about jazz.


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