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The bed or the road

Wednesday 7/17/19

Walked three miles. The Monument was closed for climbing. Came home and wrote another op-ed. As per usual, no idea if it will come out. I am now writing like twenty pieces per one that brings me money. More if you count fiction. As I go to higher and higher levels. "Fitty" is going to be the most important work of short fiction of the 21st century. I don't know who will see it or when, but that's what it is. This is an excerpt from this afternoon's newly composed op-ed:


We are maximalist control freaks in 2019. When we are not able to directly influence something, our rage bubbles over, and that rage needs an outlet. That outlet becomes carping. Endlessly. Verbal violence. People lob invective, break out imprecations, all over the likes of Harold Bloody Baines, and whomever else is castigated—acidulously—as being unworthy.


This is especially ironic in our age where so many people’s moods and their sense of self is governed by how many likes they get on Facebook and their consecutive days streak of not having been “ratioed” on Twitter. The standards of approbation are lower than ever. I would argue that real success is viewed as a threat now. We are frightened when we compare our puffed up faux-success with actual success. Sports are not life. Sports can teach you about life. But sports commendations should never be as talismanic as some people wish them to be.



It would seem, I imagine, that I have been entirely wrapped up in composing "Fitty" and the aforementioned nonfiction pieces of late. That would be far from true. It would be very false. I had other plans for posts I have not done, so some information was left out, but I just composed a 2500 word story called "Who Is and Who Isn't," and a 4500 word one called "Best Life," and I started a new one this weekend called "Staycation." From "Who Is":


There was a parcel of property next to a field from a farm. The field grew nothing. You could see rocks. If I had to guess it was probably a corn field or a wheat field, but that’s not my area of expertise, agrarian matters. It was a good place to spot hawks, though. They circled overhead. Mice must have lived in the field. They probably thought that sucked. Zero cover. You were going to get picked off by one of those hawks at some point. The cost of doing business. When you break apart as a person, you can still walk. When your life goes to shit. In fact, if you don’t walk, you might not move. It can be all or nothing, the bed or the road. When my mom died, my sister and I literally rolled our dad out of bed one morning. He wouldn’t leave the room. We thought we were helping. She got up near the top of him, because we figured that part was lighter, I got around the midsection part, and we flipped that blanket. The blanket smelled like sweat. It was February and it always felt like the heat was off that winter, but he had been on the bed a long time.


***


I can’t completely speak for my sister—but I think I mostly can because we were always close—but our belief was that there was a joke aspect to the endeavor. We would lighten the mood of our house. He probably would not like it at first, but when he saw that our hearts were in the right place, that this was how we had to make our point, that we loved him very much, our father would start trying to live again. Maybe he would marry again. I had a friend named Desmond the Wise who was an absolute idiot who said that maybe the new wife would be hot, and since she was not really my mom, we could bang. It is an unusual sensation to punch someone in the mouth over the honor of your widowed father’s next wife when the one that was your mom just died, but as my dad was fond of saying, in the interval between Scotches nos. 2 and 3, “life can be tricky business.”


***


Across from this field that most likely normally had grown wheat or corn, was a parcel of land. It was all grass, it seemed; that is, the trees stayed back, in the woods. Normally a few trees step out from the rest, get up closer to a house. There was a house. It was what I figured a house in the 1800s looked like. It had a stovepipe chimney. One story. The shingles were the color of tar. The grass was overgrown. It must have been tick central. No matter how dry it was that summer, the grass did not yellow, though. There was no driveway. No one lived here. The mystery was that this little house just sat here. The land didn’t change, it wasn’t bought and put to commercial use. It wasn’t a historic property. I found it romantic. I wished I had someone to tell about it. Then I would think about why I was walking in the first place, at probably faster than three miles per hour, across three towns, for twenty-five miles, and I would try to be flippant in my head—to give myself a little joke, to lighten the mood in my skull, where it always felt like an intense electric storm or a Praxis explosion—and I would say “whatevs.” That didn’t really summon anything to my aid. Like an internal chuckle or what the smile of my sister could do at times when a smile might be relevant. When I shouted it towards the sky, the hawks did seem to dip lower. Maybe they were straining to hear better, maybe mice were getting harder to spot. Tricky business.


I am not even going to fucking pretend at this point that the best artist of all time is anyone else or close to it, and that what is happening here is anything less than the most fucked up thing there has ever been. I'm not going to paste in excerpts from the other two stories because I don't want to see how good it all is and how it's all from one person in ten days and this person is living in a hell that is not even imaginable. This is how it is for the best artist ever? It just goes like this? Worse and worse and worse? How the fuck is any of this possible--the person, the work, what has happened to the person?


What was the point, God? Why give that person that talent and that strength and that will? How much of a dick do you need to be?