I finished "Fitty." 4700 words. There will be nothing more powerful from me, or from anyone. If Martians look back 5000 years from now to see what our times were like, this story is where they will start. Now I will send it to people whose hatred for me far outweighs their desire to publish something remarkable that would become part of a national dialogue and impact the world. Hate always prevails in publishing. Usually hate conjured out of thin air, for no deserved basis. Yesterday's WSJ and JazzTimes pieces would up the hate, because they are achievements from the wrong person.
The silence had been both columnar, rising, and squat, centered, heavy, a Martello tower of absent words. She felt the loss of the silence as she listened at the bottom of the stairs, in the house that was not hers, to the sounds of a child that would not stop. She remembered a joke about how sometimes stairs tell us things, like when we are getting old. The ashlar face, normally comprising balusters and newel posts, shifted from the side of her eye to gaze upon her directly, a face by turns like her own, like Em’s fleetingly, Jake’s more solidly, Fitty’s finally. She ascended the stairs as the child continued to cry, and found herself in a hallway, in a school, away from a home.
Last quoted bit from that for here. It's going to have to come out at a place where people will actually see it for anyone to see any more.
I just walked three miles and climbed the Monument five times. I have a Melville piece due with The Washington Post on Monday, which is about his poetry and was to be based on a Library of America title, but the title is not being released until late August now, so I have had to do some creative problem shooting to make sure this runs. Semantical problem shooting. I received the check for the fiction contest I judged last year. I also received some left-handed compliments from someone in publishing. Anything that anyone says that is nice about me, in publishing, will be about productivity, a total left-handed compliment, as the unique quality of my work, the obvious quality of it, the undeniable quality of it, far surpasses my productivity. But, people are often cowards, obtuse, or socially awkward, or a combo, and it is easier, they think, to give a compliment of the "You're a hardworking eager beaver" type because that, to them, is putting themselves less out there, and being less fawning, than saying "Good Christ look at what you are doing" or some variation. It's like if someone reads something or hears me on the radio and all they say is "Good job!" You might as well say, "Damn, that sucked," because both remarks are equally far removed from the reality of what I did. And I have no forbearance for that, nor respect for someone like that. Everything I've been through? The courage I have to have? And we're going to pretend my salient quality is that I am Mr. Eager Beaver and I'm supposed to be like, great, thanks, sure I respect you? And then it's qualified, like "one of the productive?" No bloody way.
As for the Monument. It was cooler today, and the first time I climbed I ran the first 150 steps. There was this neat new graphic at the bottom:
As I was talking a photo of it, after my climbs, a Park Ranger said to me, "Was it too hot in there for you, sir?" I have a gray T-shirt, I sweat right through it. The Rangers stand at a stand and watch a monitor that shows the people at the top. I found this troubling. There were two Rangers on duty at this stand, and they did not see me pop up repeatedly at the top? One of your primary responsibilities, I should think, is monitoring people. Terrorists and all. The question annoyed me. And obviously I'm not some pig man--are you allowed to say that anymore?--who would soak through his shirt after one slow-ass climb. Furthermore, they had just watched me retrieve the coffee that had been sitting on a ledge in front of them for twenty-eight minutes. It doesn't take a half hour to go up and down once. I said, "No, I just climbed it five times. I'm here every day." So one of them says, "Wow, that's amazing, congratulations." I know, I'm supposed to think this is nice and wonderful. Sorry. Maybe someday, if I'm out of this situation, I'll think something like that is nice and wonderful? I don't know. Maybe I really will. Maybe that is my fault right now.
I have not made it to Rhode Island, to the house on the water. I would need to take the train to Providence and they would pick me up there. I thought about maybe going tomorrow and coming back Sunday, but it sounds like they have more people there now. I know Emma's dad got a rare day off and he went down there. She was excited and I was happy for her. She worries a lot about her dad. He works a lot and has had a few health things and not the easiest life. His brother died a year or two ago. Emma asked her mom if I could be the replacement godfather. Last night her mom texted me, "I can't begin to understand your struggle. I only hope you will hang on." Benny the puggle has had his cone removed from his neutering, so he should be back to the dog park soon, and no longer intent on murdering other dogs.