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The life they possess

Sunday 11/6/22

If the characters are real, they will tell you the story. People don't have real characters so they don't have real stories.

Have been working hard on And the Skin Was Gone: Writings on Horror Works of Art. Should be done soon, and then we'll have thirty available books sitting here. The subjects thus far featured in the book: The Suspense episode, "The House in Cypress Canyon"; Carnival of Souls; the 1945 nature film, The Vampire; the 1973 Public Information film, Lonely Water; Carnacki: The Ghost Finder; Orson Welles's Macbeth; Welles's and the Mercury's radio adaptation of Dracula; Dracula's Daughter; Bram Stoker's journals; The Twilight Zone episode, "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street"; Robin Redbreast; the radio program Black Mass; paintings depicting Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"; M.R. James's "A Warning to the Curious"; the Quiet, Please episode, "The Thing on the Fourble Board." It's up to 32,000 words.

A line: "And what is memory but a ghost, or a ghost that has authored an abundance of tales?"

It's likely that "My Nickel" will begin No Mercy When We Get There: Stories to Wreck You, and "There Is No Young and There Is No Old" will conclude it. Removed the subtitle for "My Nickel." Didn't need it. I know most of the rest. Stories to lay you out with the life they contain. "Nickel" and "There Is No Young" have been added to the manuscript file. At the point where it's time to being formally assembling the book.

I may be splitting the jazz book, The Root of the Chord: Writings on Jazz's Essential Power and Artistry, into what is two books, given that Root is so long and I keep producing what I am producing. That second book would be called Play the Words: Jazz Writings. But I don't know if I will do that.

Want to be given pause? I've never worked at more than forty percent capacity.

I will, though.

On Friday I walked six miles, did 200 push-ups, and did three circuits in the Monument. Yesterday I walked three miles, did 300 push-ups, and did three circuits in the Monument.

A ranger pulled me aside to say that in the next couple weeks they may be opening up more days of the week, from Wednesday to Sunday. That's good--I need the workouts in there. I've been struggling with my wind and I must be strong to win the war. This heart must be the strongest heart there is in the most important ways. The physical. And the non-physical.

Zulu warriors don't lose to publishing bigots. But the heart must be strong. Also, pure.

I will be sending that Sadie Stein entry on here to The New York Times, Emily Stokes, and The Paris Review board of directors.

On Friday night I went to see Friday the 13th: Part 2 at the Brattle. That's not a good film. But, if it were summer and it were playing at the drive-in, it'd be fun to pile into a car with your buddies and go see it, and that's a useful kind of film, too.

I have gone through "My Promise to Me" and "Your Story" and made changes. I can consider them final now. From the former:

"Part of the reason I don't give in is because of the sun and the moon and nature. They do what they do. They rise and they set, unfurl, and go about their business with autonomy. The moon rises and its light falls on me the same whether I’m in this hell I'm in or not. As it would rise and fall on me after. Because it's autonomous. We are both existing in the same place. We may meet on the same ground, in a square foot of space, in the same forest, on the same night, no matter what occurs in my life. The moon is not under anything. So why should I be? Why should I not rise and fall on those things that are in place right now, and things that can't change? By which I mean people. I will change my situation because I am like the sun and the moon and nature. You have to recognize that first—it gets you out from under. It keeps you tracing your arc through the horizon. If you don't see yourself that way, it's too easy to get lost behind clouds, and absorbed, erased. I will accept nothing that diminishes me because I am a force of nature myself, and I shouldn't have to, because I am autonomous."

From the latter:

"We believe, though, in the value of what we experience when we experience it. We can know it’s wrong. But we will still believe what we experienced then has truth now. Someone we looked up to said a statement about nature. The weather. How clouds form. What makes the tides do what the tides do. Even when we encounter the truth, the correct science, we don’t outrightly discredit that other person. We try to fit them in. Or, at worst, they’re a dissenting voice. The pendulum might swing back their way."

Sat in the park yesterday and watched the birds between sets of push-ups. A blue jay with a peanut is a happy bird. Sparrows find fun. Starlings are proud to the point of vanity. The woodpecker is aware of its surroundings, but focus on its task comes first.

It is vital that I get There Is No Doubt: Story Girls out soon. I feel like that is the book to end all books. To end so much. And to start so much more. It is the ultimate work of female empowerment. You take away what people with an agenda can say. They are lying anyway. A work like this makes the already obvious lies all the more obvious. And I've never made anything better.

Three guitar solos with aspects in common but which remain so different from each other: Slash on "Sweet Child O'Mine," Jimmy Page on "Stairway to Heaven," Jeff Beck on "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago." Songs with aspects in common which remain so different from each other: "Brown Eyed Girl" and "Sweet Child O'Mine." There's much Chuck Berry in Guns N' Roses' "Nightrain." Been listening to a lot of Guns N' Roses lately. Lies, the unplugged gig at CGGBs, the Sound City Session, and the sublime Ritz gig from February 1988. Release the latter and you have a live album for the ages. For a while there, Axl Rose could really sing--the end of "Patience," for instance. Slash has a beautiful tone. You know it's him right away. The solo on "Sweet Child O'Mine" is like a song itself. Also been listening to Paul Lewis's new set of Schubert piano sonatas. The label sent me the Beatles' Revolver box, but I would like to get mp3 files, too. I'll do a big Beatles thing on the radio soon.

I added the new piece on the "Yellow Submarine" composition tape to Just Like Them: A Piece by Piece Guide to Becoming the Ultimate Thinking Person's Beatles Fan, this morning. It's nestled between pieces on the Beatles Saturday morning cartoon and George Martin. I put the other new Beatles piece on "Eleanor Rigby" as a short story--which has a lot in it about story-writing; fine stuff about story-writing--into The Human Reader: Pain-Free Explorations of Life-Changing Literature. I treat the song as literature in that piece. Which was rather the point of the piece.

Sent a note to an editor saying I appreciated her. Nothing else. No piece, no pitch. Just showing some appreciation.

My baseball-loving nephew turns nine tomorrow, so I sent him Lawrence Ritter’s The Glory of Their Times: best baseball book ever written. And a life book. I evaluate works by how much life they possess.


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