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The canvas can do miracles, baby

Sunday 7/12/20

Okay, let's get ready for the tomorrow, and the most intense five weekdays yet of this career. Today marked 214 weeks, or 1498 days, without a drink. I walked twenty miles, ran the BC stairs ten times. Here we play the Week Game, but if we extend the parameters a touch, then going back to last Saturday, I have walked and ran a combined total of 110 miles, and ran 15,600 stairs. And written many pieces, both fiction and nonfiction, done the pods, the radio, these blogs. I know I can beat these people. I absolutely can beat these people. And I know I am getting closer.


This is a park in Brookline behind an old church that reminds me of England. I stopped there today. I used to walk this park at night during the early days of my career. My calves seem freakishly large. I hope they do not look that way.



Today is Thoreau's birthday, and thinking about him caused me to think something important about my novel The Freeze Tag Sessions, which I will return to when this clump of projects is done. I want to get Musings with Franklin, Cheer Pack: Stories, and Glue God: Essays (and Tips) for Repairing a Broken Self out the door, off the books, on their way into the world. The latter two books are completely done, and once someone signs on for Franklin, I'll give it the push it needs for completion. I have enough stories to show for Longer on the Inside: Very Short Fictions of Infinitely Human Lives, but I have not formally assembled the book yet, though I have all of the material. This week is about the Sam Cooke book and edits on If You [ ]. A few lines from Thoreau's journals: “I stopped short in the path today to admire how the trees grow up without forethought regardless of the time and circumstances. They do not wait as men do.” Never wait. Live your life like a thrown knife. Which will be the name of another book of mine, but that's down the line.


I usually have a hat on in photos, and my sister remarked something about that today. Actually, there will be an entry soon about my Vaccines beanie, and why I wear it. It's not some simple thing. But here I am hat-less from late this afternoon.



On Tuesday on Downtown I will talk about why it is impossible, even if there was no COVID-19, for there to be completed NBA and NHL seasons here in 2020; the metaphysical reasons, one might say. And I'll discuss sports and the imagination, and alternatives to sports that have to do with sports, ranging from sports radio broadcasts as a way of growing imagination, Buster Keaton, Ken Dryden's The Game and another hockey book called The Game of Our Lives, about the 1980-81 Edmonton Oilers, and also Satchel Paige and Negro League history. And I'll be outing myself as a huge lover of Christopher Cross's "Sailing," as cheesy a song as there is, but oddly perfect for COVID-19 summer, and the time has come for me to say, yes, I love "Sailing." I've fought this too long. I know it's awful. But I don't care. In fact, I will probably get pretty worked up. I have a lot to say about "Sailing." Will also discuss some of the colorful characters I've met on my recent travels (watermelon/"devour" dude, guy on the T yelling hockey stuff at me from a car away, and this fellow from yesterday, also on the T, in camo, carrying a cat, to whom he sort of spoke, with a ringtone that was the sound of guns, as evidenced when his mom called), my Popsicle addiction, and if Rich wants to ask if I actually chant the word "Zulu" as I run up and down stairs, that's fair game, too.


Someone said to me this afternoon, "Hmmm, I should start doing what you do with those workouts, I'll start today." This is usually pretty funny. A lot of people say this to me. (Actually, the one guy who followed up is a record producer. He started walking when he saw what I did, and now he sometimes goes seventy or eighty miles a week. But he has this new wrinkle--he wears a forty-pound vest, because walking wasn't enough eventually. I don't know if he walks all of those miles in the vest. I would imagine not. But forty-pound vest? To give you an idea of what that is like, a thirty-pack of beer weighs twenty-five pounds. Yes, I did weigh a "cube" once, back when I drank.)


What they usually find, if they do try, is that right away they're like, "damn, this sucks, I don't want to be doing this." I gave some tips today. If you want to do the stairs, find a stairwell with at least 100 stairs. Going up and down thirty stairs isn't going to do anything for you. Don't get too discouraged when you start. You're out of breath if you walk 100 stairs, and you're going to be hurting after running them once. Also, your legs will feel shaky by then. If you're out there the first time, two or three runs is plenty. You're not going to be feeling great after two or three. This is a progression. You build up over time. But what I did this weekend? Walking forty miles and running 5200 stairs? Takes a while to get up to that.


It's uncanny how much fluid you lose. For instance, I'll drink so much water trying to get hydrated again, but I might not go to the bathroom for twelve, thirteen, fourteen hours. And I'm drinking a lot. It's like all of the liquid comes out of you. It's hard to find 100-stair stairs. Boston College is called The Heights, because, what do you know, it's up high, and the stairs I use go from the bottom of campus to the main campus up above, so that's the whole height shebang, unless you count upper campus, where the freshman dorms are, which are kind of removed from the actual campus proper. You know who had great stairs? Laurel and Hardy in The Music Box. Legit film art, too. Those stairs still exist. Laurel and Hardy fans like to visit them. Maybe someday I'll run them?


Got some fresh sunflowers at Trader Joe's. This is such a dreadful place to live right now, in this apartment, but the sunflowers go outside the door, and I use them to remind me when I'm dragging, when I feel like I can do no more, that I want to be back in my house in Rockport, with fresh sunflowers galore, and then I'll fight some more. I'm going to need some more of that "some more" this week, certainly.


Okay. There's us done for now. Next stop, the week proper. Total focus, no mercy, matchless art. Do what you need to do. Do everything you need to do.