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Travels with C-Dawg

Tuesday 7/5/22

I have been working on updating the News section, which has been slow going. There is just a lot to get up. Nowhere near as much as there should be, but a bundle. Aim to have it done by tomorrow. I worked on that short story, "I Don't Think We Should Be Doing This." Hard one to get right. Well, not really. What's hard at this point? But I have to take the time and keep coming back. A lot of the story involves individual lines of text, separated by multiple spaces. Some of those lines are just one word. A lot of it is rhythm. It doesn't look like any story you've ever seen. It's only like 800 words, but it's spread out over nine pages. The people in publishing, that we talk about on here, for whom "Terry from the Cape" or "First Responder" is too radical in construction, would have no idea what to make of this. So what they'd do, feeling threatened, is say it's inchoate. Not developed, blah blah blah. When there is nothing more sophisticated or developed. It's just totally different. I will keep working on that.

I ran 2000 stairs, walked three miles, and did fifty push-ups. I didn't do any exercise on Sunday with the whole up for thirty-six straight hours things. When did that even happen? Anyway, it's in this record. It's like I've lived many lifetimes since Friday. It has been intense.

I phoned my mom, to tell her I was glad she was safe. Last night I told her to stay home. Someone had invited her to dinner at their house. This was when the shooter hadn't been captured. So what does she do? She goes out, and told me today that an hour before the guy was captured, she drove through that same intersection, which, as I said, is behind her house. Mothers, right? She's like, "When I heard where they caught him, I thought, 'Colin would have been mad at me.'" Then she complained about people not appreciating her, and I said, "Mom, I love you very much, and I am glad you're safe."


If you do see that intersection on the news, here's a little tidbit: continuing through it--which is heading west--you'd cross the railroad tracks. Continue a little bit past them and turn south, and you go down this shaded road that has an old mansion on the left hand side from that direction. It's not a huge home by the standards of what a mansion is now, but it was once. This home belonged to the family of Ginevra King, who was the first great love of F. Scott Fitzgerald's life. It's like, I don't, a two minute drive from my mom's house. Fitzgerald spent a lot of time in that house, and she became this inspiration for him. You'll see aspects of what she meant to him in his early short stories. Some of them are great stories. She's buried in this beautiful cemetery by the lake, above the ravines. There are a lot of ravines like that in Lake Forest and Highland Park. To me it's the one interesting feature of the area. They gave me an idea for what became the story "Mushroom Wine" that is in Between Cloud and Horizon. I don't like the midwest. Just as a personal preference. It's just not me. The flatness, the lack of an ocean, the lesser quality of the history. It doesn't have the imaginative scope and romance--by romance I mean something of the Romantic era, but a Stateside version--that comes with New England. I have fiction set in the midwest, of course. I have fiction set so many places. "A Deuce Cross" in Brackets is in the South. "The Last Field" in Cheer Pack in Pennsylvania. Based upon information we're given in "Desilva," you can pretty much figure that we're in Michigan. That's a first person story. Sometimes that's how you do it. Because someone telling you a story about these events wouldn't say the state they were in necessarily. Probably not. But in that story we know some distances--like how far away it was that this crucial offstage event happened--and we know about the climate, the geography. Things come out. They emerge. That's how natural storytelling works. You don't start listing stuff and put the credit card and driver's license and deed to the house on the table, so to speak. Most writers make that mistake. They just list it, announce it. Writing doesn't work that way. Another thing: when you write a story, you have to be there. Wherever that is. But you don't have to have ever gone there. Do you understand the difference? If you are there in writing the story, that's going to be real. "Padraig and Lorcan" in Between Cloud and Horizon is set in Detroit. When we find them in "The Effect of Gravity Upon the Tub" in Brackets, they're on the east coast--I mean out there on the east coast. As coastal as you get. No one travels more than the writer who writes well, even if they've never left their neighborhood. Write that down, because it's true.

Here's tonight's Downtown segment about three more of the stories in If You [ ]: "One-Way Zebra," Jaw Bones," "The Ghosts of the Alley, the Ghosts on the Wall." I feel like if you care about fiction, art, or just life, this would really get you going. I'd find this a lot of things--impassioned, insightful--but also inspiring if I head this. I think it was really good. I need to shower. Here at six o'clock. It's jus non-stop here.

This is the Grateful Dead's "I Know You Rider" from over in Europe in 1972, because I need to put something here and I have this in my head a lot.


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