It doesn't take much for me to make a lot.
I think I am going to have to shut down/remove my Twitter account after downloading a copy of my posts--for with me, everything is writing. I stopped posting quite a while ago, as I said in these pages, but I don't want to even look or be able to look. It's like being sandblasted in the face by the stupidity of humanity in the twenty-first century. There is no let-up. No intelligence. All I end up doing anyway is muting everyone so I never have to see anything from them again, which would only be exactly like the imbecility I last saw from them. It really is remarkable that there is virtually no one alive capable of saying or writing anything vaguely interesting, clever, insightful, funny. Sometimes I will see something in a sports history forum or an old time radio group. Someone will have a tidbit they dug up about Suspense. Or an interesting stat about Johnny Bench in June 1973.
One of the things that says so much about our world and people's ability to go through life avoiding reality is that everyone really thinks they're highly intelligent. Even that person who doesn't know the different between then and than--which is most people--and doesn't understand how a and an work--so many people--who only says things they've heard and seen thousands of times elsewhere, and posts memes 100 times a day, believes they're this cutting-edge thinker.
Most things in our present society exist, come into being, fructify, in order to help people avoid reality. They avoid it so well and so long that they no longer have any idea what reality is. What's real and what isn't. Look at publishing. The publishing system exists to help broken, talentless freaks avoid reality. Never face that yeah, you suck at this. You have no more talent for writing than a fire ant does. You don't know anything, there's no value in what you do.
What do you think the chances are that the story won't suck if I go to The Baffler's website right now and share something from the first piece of fiction I see that was published by the bigoted, talentless, incarnate Brooklyn writer/editor cliche that is J.W. McCormack? There is zero chance, right? How sanguine are you? If some being from beyond came down and said, "Your life is dependent on this story possessing a shred of quality," you'd ask for time to go over your will again and do some casket shopping. No way you'd be booking that vacation for next summer.
There's zero chance anyone actually would think it's good, that it's not some joke how bad it is, that it would offer anything to anyone. We know this. It's not an official fait accompli, but about as close as you get. I haven't even gone there yet. But here we go...
Wülf woke to a shoe pulverizing his face, another dive-bombing the top of his head, and still other shoes in his neck and his chest and his groin and his legs—a swarm of shoes attached to feet attached to the Crusties, who loomed above Wülf, their unfinished mugs peering down in the firelight of Wülf’s all-time spacious, impregnable squat, the best one Wülf had ever had, which he knew, even now, he would not give up easy.
That's awesome. Wow. What prose. What talent. That's the first paragraph--which is meant to pull you in and have you keep reading--of a story called "The Crusties" by Adrian Van Young. You can also find him in BOMB, where our friend Raluca Albu is. That's shocking. Whoah. Couldn't have seen any of this coming.
Always the same with this garbage and these garbage people. Always the same. So they made a system far, far, far away from the rest of the world, where no one outside of the system would care, and they could be as broken, talentless, and devoid of anything to offer as they wish, no standards, no accountability, and just lie to themselves, lie to each other. Lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie--and that is the whole of life for them.
You know something? If the publishing system didn't exist right now, if the entirety of its contents and the whole of its people were put in a rocket and shot off the earth, there'd hardly be anyone who would notice. Nothing would change. At all. And yet, they never stop to think, "Are we maybe doing the wrong thing? Would something else be better?" Because really it's like an addict. An addict wants that fix. They need it. If you are an addict, and you're going to put that behind you, you'll need to go through a lot of difficulty. That's going to take a lot of strength and courage. Is it worth it? Of course. It's life. Life is what you get. And purpose. Health. Including mental health. An exponentially better way forward. Viability as someone who contributes to something beyond yourself.
These people? They don't have that in them. They need the latest fix of their system. "I was nominated for a Pushcart," they brag on Facebook, and 300 other broken liars write things like, "Brava!!!!!!!"
Fuck off. You think that means anything? You think it's because you're so great at writing? Do you really think that? Do you think that was some masterpiece? Why is your writing great? What makes it amazing? What is good about it? What doesn't suck about it? Who couldn't have done it? How does it improve someone's life? Do you think it does? Do you think it could? Or is it just broken you getting your fix because there is nothing else? Because you can't face anything else? Because you can't face reality? Because you can't face reality and do what you need to do after that?
Writing is supposed to matter. It's for people. It's not for you, so that you can call yourself this thing. So that you have a thing. When that's what you're doing and why you're doing it, you aren't anything, and you sure as hell aren't a writer. No degree makes you a writer, no system bullshit makes you a writer.
We move on. It's important that I do better today and going forward, after a disgraceful performance yesterday and Sunday. Fitness routine has not been great either. Nothing on the two days I mentioned. 3000 stairs ran and 300 push-ups done on Monday, but that was the last of it. I'll remedy this.
On Friday I went to work on one of the novelettes for Big Asks, and learned that it had not saved properly from the summer, and I lost 2500 words. Obviously a problem, so I remedied that despite having a migraine and being upset by the loss of these words by writing 2500 new words then and there and having an epiphany in the process about the work, which I'll be working on again later today.
On Saturday I wrote a new story called "The Hanging Room," which could be for Become Your Own Superhero: Intrepid Exceptions to Modern Fiction. It's dark, wrong, funny, laced with truth. Swift could be like, "I don't know, man, that's going pretty far." On Monday I wrote a story called "Lemon Water," which could be for Longer on the Inside: Very Short Fictions of Infinitely Human Lives. This is very good. Can you tell the story of a life--what that life has come to at that point in the life--with a glass of lemon water? Yes, I believe so. I worked on both of those stories yesterday and then again today--which was just a matter, for the most part, of several read-backs and changing a couple words--and now they are complete. I have two Christmas op-eds to write, plus a film feature, two music pieces, a Beatles piece, "Eye of Green" to work on, Asks to finish, work to do on the baseball book, and I need to write an entire new book in the next month, so I will dive into what is next now and attend to the doing of that which needs to be done both in that work and on here.
Later on--and while I'm still here for a long time yet--someone can ask someone else, as if they're confused, "When did he write X?" The other person can say, "While he wrote Y." Followed by, "But when did he write Z?" To be answered, "As he was writing X and Y." And so forth.
I met with an agent once named Jenni Ferrari-Adler, before I decided that I was always going to be the agent, and would never be open to representation again, or look for it. If I had no dollars or a billion dollars, I was going to be the agent. It was startling how vapid she was. Then again, she represented Emma Straub. We were sitting there, and she got very flustered--she was disturbed--in learning that I was working on two things at once. It was just two, so far as she knew. Like this was so against the rules. Against nature. And she was so basic, and simple, visionless. This basic model robot. And she said to me, "It'd be better if you wrote a book on something like, say, food, every few years, and nothing else." I was so ready to leave, but I said, "Why?" And she responded, "Because then I'd understand what you do."