Let's be quick about this, son.
Walked nine miles today, which also marks 1799 days, or 257 weeks, without a drink. Wrote a story yesterday. I'll write an op-ed about travel tomorrow. Sold an essay--again, for a pittance--about a 1970 BBC horror film called Robin Redbreast and female empowerment and rebirth.
Letter yesterday AM to the IC:
"Wanted to send this to you, Norberg. It's the 270th story I've composed since June 2018. Think about that. All of the books I've written, all of the pieces, close to 1050 blog entries, and all of that is a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of letters I've written to people in publishing who hate me, want me dead, envy me, suppress any coverage of my work, and constantly discriminate me, because I am what I am and do what I do. And achieve what I have achieved without being one of them. This is also the first story of summer 2021. It's for Longer on the Inside, which, as I've said, could easily be a three-volume affair at this point.
"I'd have to really dip into the files to get this correct, but I'd estimate that out of these 270 stories, seventy of them are longer stories. By which I mean, thousands of words. 3000, 4000, 2500, what have you.
"The Longer on the Inside stories I have capped at about 1200. Most are less than 1000. I'll do that thing now where I blow your mind, because you're going to think this story is much longer, but it's 850 words.
"As you'll see, it's devastating. I wrote a major story in my head--a long one--which I need to formally create, on my walk to Boston College last Saturday. I'd actually finished with it--it'll be like 2500 words long, about race--by Kenmore Square. I don't want to tell you too much about it, but it'll be in that 'Fitty,' 'Girls of the Nimbus,' 'Fetch and Ferry,' 'The Stopping' camp. Then, while running stairs at BC, I wrote this story in my head.
"Real normal. Let's make sure we blackball that guy.
"A couple design points. The Latin of the title translates to 'Graduation Day.' You'll note the pun on the word 'die,' which functions on multiple levels. There's a lot of Latin, actually, built into the graduation ceremony, and the Romans, of course, spoke Latin. And they were a conquering people. This is one of those stories I could write a book about. Same goes for, say, 'Nickel Coffee.' But I think it will move you a great deal. This is pure power and radical innovation with what is a new form of fiction.
"Imagine how a hack like T.C. Boyle would handle this subject matter. Then The New Yorker would pretend it was awesome."
Someone asked me today who I admired. That is a tough question for me to answer. I am trying to write my way out of hell right now. I am in something that is worse than hell, and I am attempting to extricate myself by my work. Art, genius, strength, will.
There is a person in Dante's Inferno. Dante spends no little time observing this man as he himself--or so we are meant to believe--tours hell. Satan does not know what to do with this fellow. He tortures him in all of these extreme, obscene ways, even by the standards of the Inferno. The guy has his eyes stabbed out like five times a day--they grow back for the purpose of fresh suffering and pain--and his arms chopped off. This man is literally buried in the bowels of the earth in a place where we are told no hope exists. He has no one. No friends. No family.
But he keeps fighting to make his way out of hell. Every day. Nothing can stop him. He's the one person in the entire Inferno that you think has any actual chance of getting out. He is defiant. He refuses to bend even to supernatural will.
Dante watches him because he gets why Satan is so disturbed by this guy. Satan is a supernatural being, and this mortal appears to have a greater will than Satan. The devil himself is fazed by this guy. And he feels, despite being a supernatural being, that maybe he won't be able to contain this person. Even a supernatural being is like, "Fuck, I'm uncertain I can hold this motherfucker indefinitely."
I'm not sure this guy would be my answer. But he'd be just about the closest I have to one. Also, Carlene in "Fitty."
Someone sent me this: "You are phenomenally intelligent. Your words seem to come out with so much confidence it’s almost scary. If I said half, no, one quarter of what you said I’d be hammered with negative attacks."
Blah. There's a song called "After the Fox" in which the fox says, "I am me." That's pretty much my feeling on this score.