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Walking a different walk

Saturday 6/27/20

* Someone sent me a note that meant a lot to me titled "I believe you will win," in which they said, "You’ll win the fight because you have the combination of genius and relentless drive that cannot be kept down forever."


* An anecdote was shared with me today, which prompted one of my own in a letter. "I had mentioned what a bad day the other day was, even by my standards. I didn't got into much detail, beyond the Washington Post fiasco, but your anecdote reminds me of what this guy named Luke Neima said to me at Granta on Thursday.

"They run awful, very short works on their website, by the likes of Diane Williams. This guy is the digital editor. He'd normally ignore me, but he forgot who I was. I started over. That means, cover letter. You've seen this kind of thing from me before. The cover letter, which leaves out almost all of my career, is staggering in what it does mention. I offered him, for their website only, 'Under Benches.' He writes back immediately after opening it--I suspect he didn't read it--and says he enjoyed it, but it's not right for them. Naturally, one thinks, why? Because it doesn't suck? Because it's actually good? Because people would love it, connect with it?

"But that wasn't what bothered me most, nor what was most revealing. No, that would he when he wished me luck with my writing. Can you imagine saying that to me? Who is this guy? This is an associate editor, who has never written or published anything, at a journal that for all of its "literary world" fame, hardly anyone in the free world has ever heard of. And he's talking to me not like this is my career, and my successful career--though my intention is to change the world to the good more than anyone ever has, and I believe I can, because there is no precedent for me--not Beethoven, the Beatles, Shakespeare, anyone--and as though I were some 24-year-old who had a draft or two he was working on, and some dream I tended to talk more about in stoned conversations with my grad student buds. I thought about this. Like, if the plumber came over, I would never say, "Good luck with your plumbing" when he was leaving. But, if the plumber's kid was with him, carrying the tools, and said he wanted to be a plumber someday, I would say it to him.

"That speaks to how arrogant, ignorant, elitist these fools are, how stupidity and elitism is just their default. Out of touch with reality, living in these deranged pagodas deep inside their own arses. I have achieved more this Saturday morning than someone like this has or will in their entire life."


* I can tell that this system is going to come down. People are looking at Michael Dickman--real name, not me being, well, a dick--and that fiasco at Poetry--look it up--and they're reading the poem and they all think it sucks. None of them can hardly get through any of it. Of course it sucks. Almost all of the writing of the literary community sucks. Very little of it--and I'm being generous there--is going to last, and hardly any of it means anything. It's a country club that keeps out people who are not like the entitled, far-removed-from-reality, people on the inside. It's a collective power trip of a certain kind of person who comprises this group. That's all it is. And a Dickman, who has less writerly ability than my dick--not that I hook up a pen to it and see what it can do--is a golden god in this subculture of unwell, bad people. But note what happens when people actually read the work. They see it for the pure garbage of the privileged that it is. The system is going to come down, because it is built on nothing real, and when more people discover how it works (you think you're outraged by what you see on Twitter and in the news cycle? Wait until you see more about the people in publishing), it will not be able to survive even in the margins, where it exists now. Someone can lead people, and readers, and writers, to something better. And that is me. If these venues do not make this about ability, and work that tries to truly connect, none of them are going to exist much longer.


* Moving on. Today I arose and worked more on "Green Glass Door," and a feature on Charlie Parker. I then walked ten miles. After walking ten miles, I ran up and down the 130 steps outside of Conte Forum at BC fifteen times. So I can stay strong enough, so my heart can endure, and I can do what I need to do and take on what I need to take on, as I get to where I am going.


* While running stairs, I sold a nice piece on underrated Blue Note jazz musicians.


* Was watching The Golden Girls last night, as is my wont. The four of them are in the kitchen. Scene was well blocked--you see all four--Dorothy, Rose, and Blanche were at the table, and Sophia was standing. Blanche is telling this story about her various sexual encounters, she's mixing up names, trying to get remember who she did first. She wraps up the story, and your eye goes to Sophia, who just say, "You slut," and walks out of the room. Those were pre-Orwellian times.


* Listened to the Creation yesterday. Excellent drummer. Was thinking about that today, actually, while running the stairs. Put up a photo of their one and only proper LP--We Are Painterman--and this guy I first got into music with, back in CT, commented on the drummer unprompted by me. We were fifteen, sixteen. I'd go over his house, we'd listen to the Beatles, Yardbirds, Kinks, Doors, Who. We haven't spoken since then. We just kind of know each other from this distance. Lives in Maine, teaches art. Smart guy. Funny guy. He's in nature a lot with his kid, lots of beautiful photographs. Maybe if my life ever turns we can reconnect in person someday. I think we'd probably get along really well as adults.


* Spoke to someone else about Kevin Lowe. Guy I know who knows his hockey. Even after Paul Coffey left Edmonton, Lowe wasn't the best defenseman on that team. Steve Smith was better.


* I'm close to caught up on the email. A few things I need to get to, from certain people, these being individuals to whom I've extended all of the rope, over all of the years, and all of the bad treatment, that I'm going to extend. If what I think happened happened again, then at this juncture, with where I stand and what I have standing behind me, that means the blog, I am just going to put it out there. I have the proof. I don't just have proof. I have so much proof. I'm too thorough to just go at someone willy-nilly. They had to have done some seriously bad things for a long time. And then I have the work, and the body of work, proving exactly what I am, in terms of talent, and then there is the track record. I hope it's not what I think it is. I like to move forward. There was an email I didn't see until it was too late, inviting me back on that Chicago radio program. I don't know if I would have gone on anyway. I received a lot of notes from regular listeners of that show how it was the best segment they had heard on this show. I was talking about the Wall Street Journal op-ed on good grouching. They were saying I needed to be a regular. I had sent the producer a text about something, and I was ignored. And I thought, you know what, they're not paying you, they don't know what they have, which is one thing, guy ignores you, which is another. It was off-putting to me. Then I thought, okay, maybe you go on a few times, more people react, they realize what they have, they ask to make it a regular thing, twenty minutes a week, whatever. Point was, I didn't see it in time anyway. They wanted to discuss the pandemic on the inside, pandemic on the outside thing I did for The American Interest back in May.


* I'll be interviewed for a podcast on Monday about the long medley on Abbey Road.


* Read some of Chekhov's letters today, will finish watching Clouzot's Les Diaboliques again shortly. You don't know the Creation? They're good. This is "Making Time." And here is Soul II Soul's "Back to Life," just because it has been in my head a lot.


* Dickman. Hey, give him a genius grant, right? Give him a Guggenheim, right? I don't even need to look it up to know that he has at least one of those, I guarantee you. Nothing is real here, man. Nothing is based on ability. Nothing is based on work having any purpose whatsoever. Not yet, anyway.