This is just a note to document that "A BETTER MAN THAN YOU," "Rosa," "The Ghost in the Flame," "The Second House," "The Quiet Chickadee," "In Bolton Quarry," "Parkway Jesus," "Playing Legs," "An Aversion to Blood," "Your Mother's Onlyfans Page," "Caves and Waterfalls," "Best Present Ever," among others--and this is just the fiction side of things--were all written at the same time. People will come back to this later. I am setting down the evidence in this record now for when that does happen. I will say this same true statement later and people will not want or be able to believe it. But then I can add, "Have a look at the Many Moments More journal, and that entry dated 12/3/22." Others will believe and accept, because they will know me by then, while some will be incredulous or think it wasn't possible. But it will be here.
I have what could be the name for the music podcast. Need to run it by my co-host. Have the subtitle, too. Plus a stockpile of possible show ideas. Don't know anything yet beyond that. No info about equipment, technical logistics, knowledge re: editing, no logo or idea how to get one. But all of that can be figured out, presumably.
It would be interesting to do a series of books as listeners' guides to various artists, like you're taking people around at a museum. Say what's going on. What to listen for. They could each be like 100 pages long. Rock artists, jazz artists. Miles Davis, the Clash, Janis Joplin, Ella Fitzgerald, Bessie Smith, Nick Drake. And so forth. Conversational, smart, engaging. You really can change how someone hears what they are hearing to a huge degree. And how they hear anything else, really. Hearing is a skill. Our enjoyment of music can increase greatly, too, when we have a better understanding of what is happening, what is extremely difficult, what had never been done before, etc.
Someone told me the Rudolph radio segment expressed everything that's been going around their head for forty years about the special and that something like that should be front and center for everyone to be able to listen to. I think that's obvious, or certainly not hard to see, for anyone who listens to it or any of the segments, but that isn't a solution to the problem that this isn't how it is yet. I don't know what is. Something will be. Maybe everything I am doing is the solution--to keep doing it, I mean, and that will end up being the something. What the something was all along.
The deluxe edition box set of A Charlie Brown Christmas is outstanding. Already I look forward to seeing it on a shelf of my house in Rockport and taking it down to listen to on a day such as this one. So many outtakes of this music I love so much. The sessions for A Charlie Brown Christmas would work for a podcast episode next Christmas.
The tree lighting in Dock Square in Rockport is today. I note it, of course, and will be there in spirit. I have gone in the past, but the pain overwhelmed me. I thought of going today, but there was that pain to consider, and also a confusing train schedule; I don't know how you get there right now, if there's a lot of rail work happening, if you have to go from a train to a bus, but it's not listed as the normal straight shot it should be. So instead I said to myself, "You will have plenty of Christmases in Rockport and tree lightings in Dock Square, and in the meanwhile, for today, take care of your health, run your stairs, stay strong, do your work, make your notes. Breathe."
I must get back to The Year of Doing Nothing and Everything. Soon.
I worked on "The Ghost in the Flame," ran 3000 stairs, did 100 push-ups, got oranges, blackberries, bananas, and peppers at Haymarket. Every day since Thanksgiving excepting yesterday I've ran 3000 stairs and did 100 push-ups, save one day when I ran 5000 stairs. I wrote a pitch I haven't sent yet about Mark Twain and Christmas. This is it:
Hey, man, thought this could be cool for Christmas. It's one of my favorite little pieces of writing, but with a big message steeped in thoughtfulness. Put another way: I think it nails Christmas and the paradox at the heart of the holiday. In 1875, Mark Twain wrote a letter as Santa Claus to his three-year-old daughter Susy. It's this funny letter filled with instructions--which are so insanely precise--for what the girl has to do to receive the last item on her Christmas list, which Twain/Santa can't quite make out. But she will get to talk to Santa himself! It's a hilarious epistle, but what strikes us most is just how much Twain clearly loved writing this letter and doing this for his child. He is elated with the spirit of giving, and is thus bestowing a great gift not only on her, but on himself. And that's it, isn't it? That's everything. That is the paradox not just of Christmas, but of real human decency. That we give to ourselves by giving to someone else. I wonder how many people understand that. I don't think it's a lot. But Twain did, and this letter is a kind of Christmas and human revelation.
Figured out what to discuss on the radio on Tuesday. Wrote the publicity fellow at Boston Camerata with a link to an interview I did discussing the ensemble.
USC lost, so they're done so far as the playoff goes. TCU is losing at the half. Would like to see them lose as well. Then what? Ohio St. and Alabama get in? People thought Alabama was all done. They could win it. I'd take them over anyone save Georgia. Annoying that Ohio St. will be included. Doesn't feel right to me. You just lost to you rival and it wasn't close and you didn't make your conference championship game in the Big 10 which is not the SEC. Seems like they've shown you what you need to know about them. But who knows. Georgia lost to Alabama last year and then beat them when it mattered most.
Listened to the Vaccines' Planet of the Youth and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau's Weihnachtslieder, a selection of Christmas songs on Deutsche Grammophon. Stopped by the Clough House, one of the most beautiful buildings in Boston, which was built in 1712. Ben Franklin's house was next door. I also need to return to Musings with Franklin.
Later now. Was reading at Starbucks. TCU lost. Saw the end of the game. Most people think they will be in the playoff. I'd be surprised. Guess it depends on how you want to handle things. TCU, I'd say, has no shot to win the title. Alabama very well could. Do you want the better team or do you want to give out a reward for...what exactly? I don't think TCU is all that close to being a championship threat. And I do think losing your last game matters and should matter unless it's to someone awesome and it's close and you were almost entirely blemish-free before that in a top conference, by which I really just mean the SEC. The SEC is an NFL factory. Those are mini-NFL programs at the top of the conference. Alabama would crush TCU in a winner take all, season-on-the-line game. I also think Tennessee is considerably better than OU and also Michigan. But I'd still put Alabama in before them.
My guess: 1. Georgia 2. Michigan 3. OSU 4. Alabama. I bet the committee just wanted a reason to dump TCU, and they got it today. Again, I'd be very surprised if they went to bat for them and believe that they're going to make any noise in that playoff environment. There is the argument that you shouldn't be penalized for making your conference tournament game, but if TCU hadn't, there'd be no talk of them in the playoff anyway. The season is uneven, the system has flaws--like life--and I like that. It's not mechanical. You put in TCU, you're putting in a team to get blasted most likely, and at best a team without even a puncher's chance to go 2-0 against the field who would be annihilated by Georgia. Make Alabama #4, and Georgia can lose. You want the drama, right? The best games. One could argue that Tennessee is better than Alabama. They beat Alabama. But they're further down the rankings--they're not going to be put ahead of them right now. If there's a second SEC team, it will be Alabama. But honestly, I'd be borderline shocked to see TCU included. It's not like they lost to a bad team today, either. That was the #10 team in the country, and it went to OT.
Finished reading William Sloane's To Walk the Night again and am about halfway through The Edge of Running Water (which I actually have a first edition of; I'll get To Walk the Night later; that's the pricey one).
A friend told me today that he had bought the books on my recommendation--presumably the NYRB edition that collects both titles. I should have cautioned him about Stephen King's introduction, which should be skipped. Stephen King doesn't know how to think and doesn't think. He's mentally flaccid. Repeats things he believes he ought to repeat. I need a press for which to write that book on To Walk the Night. I know every word and there's a reason I've learned every word. Then later I would like to adapt it into something like a four-part series. It's the only book, really, that I've read by anyone else where I'd want to do that.