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The principle theme

Thursday 1/10/19

This is kind of depressing. Someone contacted me today about a service they run--gratis--to help under-exposed books receive more attention. They meant well. It was nothing like that. They encountered Between Cloud and Horizon, and thought it would be a good fit to be profiled on this site. Or in their newsletter. Or whatever it may be. I didn't look that closely. It kills me that I am in this situation. I see the other books by the other writers plugged on such a service, and it is writers who have done nothing, been nowhere, who are otherwise unpublished. And every week--every week--I have a career that should net genius grants, awards, plaudits, money, anthologies, staff gigs. Every week I have that career. I dominate. The pariah of an industry, who is blackballed across that industry, is the most published person in it. I know when these lists come out of Books to Look Forward to in 2019 that there is no shot of me being on them. And my God, besides there being no talent on those lists, they are littered with losers who have done nothing in their careers, never so much as had a work in a venue with a circulation of 1000. There's a reason I am at the presses I'm at, where you look at the other writers there, and it's like "which one does not belong with the others." It's the blacklisting. That's why I'm there. That's why I fell to you. You would think, while I am in this position--and I am not always going to be in it, and you are several rungs lower than a fool if you see this ability and think there is any way it can be boxed in indefinitely--these presses would try to get all they can from me for the time being, as it is a once in history fluke that I am with you for the time I am with you. No offense. But look at the bio page. I am far, far, far too hated to be on those round-up lists, though. It's all a backroom deal. Most magazines and newspapers have a policy of not reviewing my work, and not so many as two people are going to band together to try to back me and spread the word that, holy shit, this guy does what no one can do. It's all me, on my own. To get where I am going, I am going to have to get there entirely on my own, against a system, where nothing happens because of merit, save that being legit gets you hated; not only with no help, but with nothing at all coming to me that my work deserves. Or that any run-of-the-mill writer gets. I mean, we all have websites. I go to the other websites. And I see someone fifty-four-years-old, with ten career publications, and that's the norm, and we're not talking the big boy venues, we're talking Tiny Acorn Review and just things you've never heard of, and they're repped by so and so, and on and on. And it's like...what the fuck is happening here? They have to like you. And I'm in a war against them. A war I had no choice eventually but to fight in. It is impossible, if you are not me, to do ten of the things I've done in my career and be in this position. It just isn't. You'd have your six figure staff gig, your awards, your speaking engagements, etc., despite not having a bloody speck of talent. It would come with the achievements. I get the achievements--I get hundreds of them--and the bigger the achievement, the worse life gets. On some level, that publication in Harper's of my short story "Find the Edges" was the worst thing to have happened to me, given the blowback of hate. Having said that, Harper's has several stories at the moment, with the new people in place, who have been upfront with me, so I feel good about that. What did I do today? Well, for one thing, I wrote an op-ed on the weatherman--there's a piece of metonymy for you--that I am trying to sell. Apparently, I can't even keep track of how much I publish, because that op-ed I wrote on "Silent Night," which I treated as a Christmas outtake here, actually ran in the New York Daily News back on 12/20, which I only discovered today. That's the ninth highest circulation in the country, by the way. And I managed to go three week without being aware that it even ran. No one out in the world says word one to me. I am supposed to write an op-ed on reverse sexism for The Wall Street Journal, but it feels like something of a fool's errand to me. It always is there. (For instance, the "Silent Night" op-ed began life as a WSJ fool's errand. I like the editor there personally, and they like me, but there are a lot of reasons that have nothing to do with a piece for it not running there, which would be less of a problem if I was a silver-spooned trust-funder and the time and energy I lose wasn't also money I can't afford to lose right now.) Then, after the errand, there is the scramble to sell elsewhere, and that time and energy. So you're writing something, when you write it, that you're going to have to be able to roll with, quickly, for repurposing. But that looks like you wrote it for exactly just one place, and their demo. You cannot imagine how hard it is doing this all the time and making it look effortless, and doing it quickly, while you deal with a thousand other things that are like shards of hell. And then one out of however many works out. Here's is Tuesday's radio appearance, which is hilarious, but, of course, being great on the radio has hurt my quality of life, too. The blowback. The blowback is never out loud, because these people are terrified of me, because they know I am smarter and they can't win against me out in the open. They run along back corridors doing what they can to make sure nothing positive will be said about this particular writer. I walked six miles. I went to a rehearsal performance at Symphony Hall of John Harbison's Symphony No. 2, Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 24, and Ralph Vaughan Williams' Symphony No. 5. I started a Beatles piece that I'll finish and file in the AM. And then I'm going to do what I do, and write at a level no one is at, and at a rate no one can approach, and I'll say what I've written, for whom, on here, and I'll continue with this journal, and I will be alone in this private hell, just me, just the work, no friends for the most part, no family, trying to keep going, trying to remain alive, with nothing at all to live for right now, save the future I must get to, and we'll see what happens. That's where we're at right now. And you know what? I hate that I'm getting better all the time. I hate that I'm not writing on anyone's level, or close to it. Because it makes me feel like I have no control. If it was about getting better, getting up to a standard, I would feel like I had control. Or I could look at someone, anyone, ever, and say, "well, they just had more ability than you." But I can't. The fact is, each and every thing I write can be the best thing ever written, and this situation is the situation. That's not what is going to change it. I don't know what's going to change it, so I must keep hammering at all points of the dam simultaneously. I do know when I get through that dam, those waters, my waters, will kill off this industry, people will read again, and a better system will start being built, and I will run loose over many forms of art, media, and culture. But there are some days where it's like, "well, maybe you'll just get hit by a bus tomorrow and be free." But we'll try again in the morning. The rehearsal performance was at 10:30 this AM. Lots of oldsters, of course, but not as many as you might think; definitely not as many as that midday Boston Baroque concert at Sanders Theatre on New Year's. It's a cheap ticket--$18 only--so I recommend it if you like musical art. Or if you are a brilliant, dynamic, character-laden, hot young woman looking for a different kind of date. PM me, baby! I'm joking. I feel like I'm choking on my own soul at the moment. If you are out there, I have no fucking clue where I am ever going to meet you at this point. This guy's pretty good at the piano.

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