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The last few days and some extra details

Tuesday 10/3/23

I know this sounds strange, but I sort of feel like a month is a pussy when it doesn't go all the way to thirty-one days. Heroism is endurance for one moment more--not bailing at thirty days.

Worked on four different books over the weekend: sports book, music book, writing book, fiction book. Worked on an essay about early jazz band leader Paul Whiteman.

Wrote a sports op-ed yesterday. Won't run. The usual reasons. Excellent, though. Wrote two versions for different markets. It doesn't matter.

This is going to be choppy but I want to be reasonably thorough: Wednesday through Friday I didn't run any stairs. Wednesday I walked three miles because I went to Charlestown to do the Monument but it was closed and is obviously going to be until the restoration work on the outside is done.

Last Saturday and Monday I ran 5000 stairs each day and also walked three miles on Saturday, then on Tuesday I ran 3000 stairs. Over the weekend I ran 5000 stairs on both Saturday and Sunday and did 400 push-ups on Saturday and 200 on Sunday to make up for lost days and get a little ahead. I was ashamed of myself for missing days and it's important to set that right. Sunday marked 2639 days, or 377 weeks, without a drink.

Yesterday I did the standard number of push-ups and ran 3000 stairs. I'm not doing a great job with fitness matters. Not pushing myself enough. Not getting out of breath. Not enough exertion.

Disappointed in myself. In all areas. I'm not fighting enough, not working hard enough. Even if I'm doomed and this is how it's going to be until I die--save getting even worse--I should still be trying as hard as I can. It's very hard when you wake up each day and know you have no chance. No matter what you do. If it's the best work ever. And it is. It all is. But it doesn't matter. It matters no more than if it wasn't done at all. It's the same thing. How do you live like that? How do you do your best that day? How do you create? I create, obviously. At an unprecedented rate. But I feel like I can never say, "You did your very best today," when a day is over. That it's never an honest day's work that way. There's nothing to live for. Nothing. Creating and working and trying when you know how it's going to be and there's nothing to live for is, I think, the hardest thing possible for a human. And when I say nothing to live for, there is nothing. There is no party, no date, no friends, no vacation, no event, no touch. It's just me here doing this, in this situation, day after day, year after year.

Went to a showing of Buster Keaton's Three Ages (1923) at the Brattle over the weekend. What will always stand out about the best art is how concurrent it feels to people in whatever time period they watch it. It's always modern. Watched Night of the Living Dead as well, which always impresses me. On a slightly sadistic personal note, I have to say that I find Barbra annoying and I am glad when Johnny eats her. I don't find her that annoying. I'm mostly joking. It just seems like it should be Johnny. That first ghoul sure gets a lot of screen time. It's strangely satisfying when we see him come back near the end. The film has elements of a locked room mystery, doesn't it, with the people emerging from the basement? Ironically, the angry, hotheaded guy's strategy to hide out there might have been best, but that's simply a coincidence because logically it was a dumb idea. The timing of the movie was perfect, too. Really want you wanted in 1968. Counterculture, Civil Rights, edges and envelope-pushing. The nudity is surprising, the gore is shocking, but it's all in service to story. The characters are the story more than the ghouls. You can detect--if you wish--aspects of Ed Wood, Orson Welles's "The War of the Worlds." No film looks like it and I've always thought highly of it. The Evil Dead pictures don't mean anything to me, though I'll probably see one or two of them around Halloween as I think that's what the Brattle is offering for seasonal fare this year. I wish they'd show the Universal monster films instead. That's really what you want to be seeing in a movie theater around Halloween. At night. I'm a matinee guy, but I'd elect to go out and see those movies at night if given the choice. Nothing in the movie is gratuitous. The line "Kill the brain and you kill the ghoul" could double as a comment on this age with the addition that most people are ghouls who have killed their own brains.

I listened to the Nick Drake compilation Family Tree, read about the first quarter of a Drake biography that's coming out in November, and, speaking of Halloween, listened to Dick's Pick's Volume 2, which is the Grateful Dead's second set on Halloween 1971 in Cleveland. A quintessential rock and roll album. Much more, actually. Pretty much perfect, but better than that, because it's perfect with risks. Also listened to an album of Hank Williams covers by Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis (separate tracks by each).

Went to Haymarket and got nine bell peppers (three each of orange, red, and yellow), a pound of bananas, two bags of lemons, and six blood oranges for a total of $12.


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