I'm going to write an introduction for Longer on the Inside: Very Short Fictions of Infinitely Human Lives. You have to spell things out. What you want to do is spell things out in an artful manner--which is to say, with what is itself a great work of writing--without making it look like you're spelling things out, but you are. This is a service, in part, to readers, but, depressingly, it's a necessity with editors on the book front, whom you essentially have to tell what to think. They are not going to think anything original on their own. They are not going to see anything original on their own. You have to tell them upfront. Even if you're not blackballed.
More time on "Fitty." One more read back should do it. Then I'll lock it into place at the start of There Is No Doubt. I had an op-ed yesterday in in the fifth highest circulation newspaper in the country. There was a man in charge of the section who was a nasty, unstable piece of work. Despotic, prejudiced, and brainless. He left. As soon as he leaves, there is no problem. Because the work is never the problem. Five years of dealing with this guy, who got off on being the ultimate dick. Or up there. How do you give any of these people that title when they're competing with each other?
All of this nonsense about the Red Sox and Don Orsillo. There is something about Orsillo that is off to me. There's nothing special about him as a broadcaster, but I think there's a real narcissistic, passive aggressive streak with the man. The Red Sox are pretty disgusting, with how insincere they are and how they handle things. Poseurs. Changing the name of Yawkey Way just to look good, when they could not have cared less about any historical implications of the name of the street before it became socially profitable for them to act outraged. Or the huge BLM sign they draped in front of a stretch of the Pike, and then took it down this year because it was hurting ticket sales with the recent BLM controversies, and their association with Monica Cannon-Grant. Among other things. But Orsillo putting out that statement, grumbling about how the Red Sox wouldn't let him do a video tribute for Remy this week, timing it like he did, when the focus should have been on the dead man, was just bush league childish. To me, that clears up some of the mystery of why they moved him out of town. I bet there was a lot of BS like that behind the scenes. He seems manipulative. And reading his statement, his poor grammar also offended me. Maybe master how "every day" works, superstar. That's the thing, man. You want to be all "oh look at me, look at me, I'm in the right," you need to get everything right.
People are quite confident here about the Celtics dispatching the Nets rather easily, and I don't get that. Okay, you won two games at home, which is what you're supposed to do. And you could have lost both. You'd be fortunate to be tied 1-1, frankly. In the second game, you trailed by, what, 17? And in the first, you need a lot to go your way in the dying seconds, to win it at the buzzer on a play where, yes, you made a lot happen, but the victory required every last one of those things, with no time to spare. It helps that Kyrie Irving is mentally unhinged--he can sink a team on his own. But if the Celtics lost either of those game, I could have seen them coming back to Boston down 3-1.
Read John Ruskin the other night. Walked the dog after with my neighbor, who may have COVID. I had brought her some tea earlier. Offered to go to CVS for her yesterday. Her mom is away and her dad is at work. She said she wanted fruit, so I went to Haymarket and then put a box of strawberries and an apple and orange outside her door. Later she asked me if I wanted to take a walk, so we went and ran errands--she had to get food for the dog--and then she wanted a popsicle for her throat, which necessitated trips to like four separate places to find a damn popsicle, before I finally just took her to the Golden Goose and bought a box, half of which she then proceeded to eat sitting at a table outside. This is the same small person I mentored a couple years ago, and though I was not treated well by this family for whom I'd done so much, and so much at their bequest--like writing the letter to the building board so that the emotional support dog could stay--it's hard for me not to be kind, and I do love this little kid, obviously, though she is not as little as she looks, now being seventeen. I am also grateful for the help the other night with the Sam Cooke presentation. My mother, meanwhile, seems to be doing much better. Her voice was close to normal yesterday, so I'm hoping the COVID will be a thing of the past for her today or by the end of this weekend.
I've made a weekend work list, as usual. It's seventy years' worth of work for someone else before we even get into the quality and range. I looked at a couple videos of this people who were in this video series I was in, and they were awful. You couldn't be worse. It is so obvious--it's the most obvious thing there has ever been--the gap between me and these other writers. It's not subjective. You take four lines of anything and you put them next to four lines of "Fitty," and you can't make any argument to the contrary. It's impossible. They know it, and I know it, and that is why this is going this way. I have an uncle who cares about me very much. He's a good man. He sees the best artist there has been, he sees how there's no comparison between that artist and any other, he's constantly floored. But he can't accept that you'd be punished for being the best, that that is the problem with these people. It's such a backwards thing for the mind to accept, but he'll get there, because that is the unavoidable reality. I'm watching these videos of various people presenting on their books, and they can barely speak. They're unintelligent, boring, prattling on awkwardly about works of no value. And I know--because I live this--that those books will have some success, and those people will have some success, because it's all so bad. That is comforting to other people. They think that they could do that, and they're correct. It wouldn't even take anything. No effort, talent. Again, as ever: parallelism.
Greatness isn't comforting. Greatness makes them feel inferior. At the same time, a press is going to support that kind of person, while treating me in a way they treat no other author. Because of the difference in quality. I've spoken of parallelism so many times in these pages. People don't want greatness, they don't want to be moved, reached, connected with, entertained, made to laugh. They don't want to enjoy what they partake of. These are all irrelevant factors. They want to feel like the person making something is like them. That they could do it.
But there is so much opportunity there, if you're the one person who's any good. I'm not even competing against Dickens and Shakespeare, whom I'd crush. I'm competing against the people who are worse at this one thing than anyone's been at anything else at any point in history. That's your publishing industry. You know what? There are times now that I don't even put up major things I've done on something like Twitter, because I'll have to see people I'm in business with offer no support in even the form of hitting the like button, or saying anything, or retweeting. Which they do automatically for every other person they're in business with. I put up that op-ed yesterday. And you know what happened? Not a single person hit the like button. For something of that magnitude, in a section that high-profile, with work of that caliber. It's to be expected. It's how it always is. It's how it could never be with any other single person, save this one. You couldn't have a piece there and have that result if you were anyone else. It's not possible. But it is what will happen every single time with me. And I completely understand what is happening. Why this happens. It comes back to that line from Thoreau which I've put up so many times in these pages. You have the ultimate example of the person of whom he's speaking, in the worst age for that one person. And also the age that has the greatest need for that person, ironically. Still a lot of ball game left, though.
Recently I gave two half hour interviews about a new book of mine. They are brilliant, dynamic interviews that are themselves works of art. The publisher of that book, seeing these interviews on Twitter, decided not to show any support. Not even hit the like button, or retweet with a "Here's a fascinating conversation with Colin Fleming about his book blah blah blah." They made that decision. A choice. Because it was me. When we are in business together, which is such an oxymoron. They would do this with no one else. They don't do it with anyone else. I watch. I monitor. Nothing gets past me. Not that anyone else at this press achieves anything or publishes much, or publishes in places anyone has heard of. I'm here because of the blackballing. It's not where I should be. But that's how it is right now. And they see those posts, and in essence they decide, "Fuck him." Two radio interviews, totaling an hour. And great segments. And what am I supposed to do? I have a huge list of barely believable things that has gone on at this place. Things said to me. Degradation, insult, so much incompetence, that if I were to show any of it to a third party, or the readers of these pages, the response would be inevitable and unvarying. It's not up for debate. If I were to show screenshots. To forward or paste in email correspondence. No one would say, "Well, it's not that bad." At the same time, I have to go back with more books to this venue, because, again, of the situation I am in. I have to go back smiling.
How does that sound? And you hope it doesn't come to a point where I have to take everything I have, and put it up on here. Which would be bad. Not for me. Not at that point. Meanwhile, it's a matter of absorbing the insults, being degraded, being treated differently than anyone else there is. When I remarked recently that my loyalty is to my work, and I will protect no one, this is someone I had in mind. We're getting close to the edge here. You don't want to fall over it, because I won't let up on you after that point, people will know all about you and how you go about things, there will be no defense, and this will follow you around forever, by which I mean, the remainder of your life, but also after that, because I am getting where I am going, and when I do, nothing here will ever die. But we'll see. If those books, which are masterful, unique, galvanizing works of art and entertainment, important works, works to last, aren't done right by, it's time. I have five books on the theoretical table here. Five books in mind. Fiction and non. Two or three need to be coming out of this wash. Anyone with vision, at such a place, would recognize the situation, and take advantage of it, which means taking advantage of me, because of all of these other factors and this historically unique hell I am currently imprisoned within; but you have to know the time is coming when I am going to get out. You get to have the association, always, moving forward. "We did these books." Put it how you want. "We understood what blah blah blah." "In blah blah we saw blah blah." Have some victory laps. Use it for the brand and platform. I have no ceiling once I am out of this hell.
But can you imagine what that is like? And these people who are supported in these most basic ways, the ways you have to support anyone you are in business with in these matters, are doing nothing of consequence. But again, the comfort factor. I am not intending or wishing to sound truculent. This is simply what is happening. What am I supposed to do? Die in poverty and anonymity after taking some vow of silence? Why? That's not an option.
When There Is No Doubt is complete, I will have finished four books this year. Jazz book, Beatles book, essay collection, fiction work. I mentioned that on Twitter. No one, of course, not a single person, is going to hit the like button for that. And they didn't. And it's obvious why. Who the hell does four books in four months? While doing everything else? And the books are so different. That threatens people. They can't relate to it. It doesn't comfort them. They are going to be awed and quake, but they will not show support. That's just how it is, until the masses are there, and then it's just fandom and piling on and wanting to appear to like the right, hot thing. Cheer Pack is done. I will go over Glue God--the other essay collection--this weekend. That's six books right there. Longer on the Inside will be seven, the ghost story book will be eight, there's another story collection in manuscript that I must revisit and could be changing a lot given other things that have arisen; there's what would in essence be There Is No Doubt II, plus an additional story collection I've mentioned on here a couple other times (No Mercy When We Get There). So that's eleven. Plus there's the Same Band Beatles chapters/proposal to tend to. Then we have the novels, of which there are three, and I will soon be working hard and regularly on EU. We're talking fifteen new and/or available books in play. Also, another horror film book potentially, so sixteen. With a system against me. Reverse that, and we have fifty book projects ready to go, titles ready to come out, across all of the demographics, all of the mediums, and you have someone ready to make films and series, ready to talk on everything, who is the expert on all the things, proves it every day, and here to change this world.
Entries on here coming on John Freeman and Grove/Atlantic, Bradford Morrow, Sarah Gorham and Sarabande books, Sven Birkerts of AGNI, Christopher Beha of Harper's, David Remnick of The New Yorker, Carolyn Kuebler of New England Review, William Staley of The New York Times Magazine. You're caught. You're getting exposed--repeatedly--until you're done. Last night I saw that a former editor of mine who puffs everyone at the best known publication in America with these dreckish, bottom-licking reviews--the standard tonguing of all of the "right" people of this system--hosted a rape at his house. I don't even bat the proverbial eye anymore when I learn of new evil, because there's only evil. It's always how it is with these people. Hosted a rape. What can you even say? Pure incompetence, pure bigotry, pure evil up and down this system. And nothing but terrible writing.
But I'm the bad guy. Because I'm the unique good guy.
Over the weekend I plan to have the Beatles Writings, Op-eds, and On Air sections updated. The poor News section has not been updated in months, and there is so much to fill in in that time going back to February. As I've written before, the Film, Music, and Literature sections needs to be stripped to the ground, and began all over again, in order for me to insert the 200 missing links or whatever it is, in addition to doing the ones that are there all over again. A giant pain.
Wrote another op-ed, on hockey this time. It's not going to come out. I'll put it up on here later.
CNN+ was shut down after less than a month after spending millions of dollars to fund the thing. If you were an alien and you came to earth for a visit, you'd think that Jemele Hill was being paid millions of dollars, by one outlet after another, for the purpose of being an unintelligent, untalented racist who fails and hurts your business. Because that's what Jemele Hill does, and that's all she does. ESPN, The Atlantic, CNN. She's paid millions of dollars to fail. That's her job--failing. And then being hired again to fail. Quite the racket, that only culture, at its all-time lowest point, could enable.
I've begun the introduction to Longer on the Inside.