I must admit, when a person comments repeatedly to me about this blog, and says nothing about my actual work, it bothers me. It bothers me on account of the ignorance and laziness involved, and also how it speaks to, and is a reflection upon, the situation in which I am in.
My actual work--The Anglerfish Comedy Troupe, Buried on the Beaches, stories like "Find the Edges" in Harper's--are akin to my Sgt. Pepper. They're the albums where everything was gotten right, that are embraceable and embracing. Art and entertainment. The best of me, the best of my ability, the best that I can do, period, on this earth, what I do do, am here to do, what will change the world.
This blog is akin to the notes for the songs, studio outtakes, chord sketches, letters about the recording sessions in progress, thoughts that occurred while the sessions were being held, with insight about as corrupt, shortsighted, discriminatory an industry as there is. Do I intend it to be the greatest work of diaristic writing--and more--in history? I do. Do I think it is? Yes, I think it plainly is. (And realize, I don't write these pages as ephemera of the internet age; I write them as pages that will be read 1000 years from now, and published as books in my lifetime.) I think it already is if I never wrote another word of it. But, in a sense--and not to run it down--it's nothing compared to the actual work. But what happens is, one signs up for blog updates, one gets the alert in the inbox, and one pops on over and there is a unique reading experience to be had. And that's as far as it goes. Because, on account of the blacklist, my works are not covered or reviewed. Check it out. Search on Google. I mean, I'm not making it up, clearly. It's right there. It is what has happened.
If you have never published in your life, never written a word in your life, if you are a grub under a log in a forest, if you have yet to be born, you have been reviewed, awarded, publicized on lists, anthologized, as much as I have.
Think about that.
There is not a major magazine or paper--hardly--I have not been in. I'm forty-four-years-old. I have published 2500 works in my career, in "leading" venues. (I have published three such things this week.) And what you will find is that there are no reviews of books by Fleming. That's not possible if you've published in four of the places I've published in. It's a blacklisting, a vendetta. Why? Because I can do what I do, I do as much of it as I do, I make it look easy, I am endlessly productive, I stand for things, I have integrity, I tell the truth, I don't give up, I am an expert on so much, my fiction is ceaselessly inventive while they insist upon work possessing the hallmarks of dreadful MFA-machined fiction, and I am not one of these people, I am not from their system, I am a threat. I am unique. See those lists of "Twenty Books You Need to Read Early in 2020!"? Notice that I have not appeared on such a list once in my life? You won't see me on these lists, unless these people have to do it, and would get called out for not including me; that is, when my visibility, popularity, have massed.
If you are not in this system and do not know how it works, what you would not know is that when you see those lists, it's the same people every time. It's the same kind of person, with the same connections, the same boring writing, the right blood relatives. For instance, no one on this earth is a more boring writer than Emma Straub. She's the daughter of Peter Straub. She's connected, she has no talent, she will bore you out of your mind, but any time she has a book coming out--which is infrequently, because she writes very little, possessing no talent (and nothing else comes out by her, because she can't write anything else)--it is going to be heralded on those lists. Every single time. That's how the system works. It's automatic.
So no one is going to buy a book right now because thousands of people in an industry are awarding me, singing my praises, pushing me out there, pushing me forward. When this change comes for me, which gets me to my millions--of people and of dollars--it's not going to be through the standard workings of the publishing system. I don't know how it will come. I don't know what it will be, what the triggering device will be.
But if you like this blog, it's nothing compared to Dark March. Nothing. Now what happens with a blog, perhaps, with human assumption, is that one thinks it's more accessible, in theory, more conversational, less formal. Yeah. One would not find my work less of those things. I create, everything I create--blog, formal work--is to invite, envelope, bring people in, connect with them.
People might make this assumption not based upon my proper works, but their own reading experience with others--with their books, with the books they read in school. A lot of it is fucking boring, right? Like homework. And I can get the trickle down effect of that, that you'll assume, maybe, my work runs along those lines, because all work does, more or less, and this blog is an exception. (Then again, I don't know how one could think my work would be thusly limited, having read this blog, having come herein to know me, my ability, my mind--plus, there are the excerpts.) And I don't mean to bash anyone, but we can be so lazy and are lazier than ever. There is a difference between going out and buying a book because it's hyped up the ass everywhere, and going out and buying a book because you read something else amazing by its author.
In the former scenario, we tend to be less lazy for the reason that we are in on a group thing. I've just noticed that that's how it tends to work. If everyone else is doing something, we have more energy to go out and do it, too. That's why people watch a lot of the same shitty programs. (Presented with such a program on their own, they'd have no interest; knowing that a million other people are watching and the program is trending on Twitter, they will watch.)
Right now, this entire system is all about making sure I am not in on a group thing. And you know what? When I do what I do, and I get my amazing achievements, when I publish three awesome works in a week--with an op-ed in the highest circulation newspaper in America following next Tuesday--I get shut down. Harder. It's like I've taken a land mass in a war, a country. Because this is a war. They don't want me to take the land mass next to that as well. So, if I come to an editor with my new stuff, what they want to do is stop me, stop me from getting more, which they can do, with their venue. It's bad enough I have what I have--they can stop me from adding to it. Minimize the damage. So they do. If I were to win a Pulitzer, many people here would try to stop me from getting anything else. They would even make sure that I did not publish a short story, for free, in their low circulation literary journal that no one reads.
You're dealing with some seriously sick people.
The reality is is that the achievements hurt me. But, if I didn't have the achievements, I'm Joe Blow (and an athletic-looking white male from Boston, which is super bad here), and that wouldn't even get me listened to, or the work I offered--or my idea--read. (Which is usually what happens now, anyway, as they all know me.) What does this mean? It's very simple: What it means is that this is a closed system. What you achieve, in and of itself, does not help, and coming along sans achievements, but with a piece or idea that is great, does not help. It's no different than having a country club that only welcomes in a kind of person, in a particular tax bracket, who went to a particular set of schools, who has a particular skin hue, etc. It's predetermined. To everyone else, you have no chance to get anything in anywhere. I beat all of those impossible odds. But, then again, I am a very different case.
But the full haul of my genius, everything I am in that genius, is what goes into the actual work. It's life-changing. I'm not saying this journal isn't. I understand how it impacts the people who read it. Some of them tell me, and my point of this post is not to dissuade that, or crack down on those people. My point is that when it's what is spoken of repeatedly, with nothing else coming up, or visited, experienced, you're really missing out on what I do, the really special stuff, you're limiting yourself to .01% of something uniquely powerful. I'm not talking in volume, in number of works; I am saying that with the power on offer, you are limiting yourself to a tiny, tiny fraction. This journal is not a patch on what I actually do. But alerts about what I do don't come to people's inboxes, you don't then click on something that takes you to what I do. You have to go out and get it. And when you get it, read it, devour it, laugh and cry and get inspired and think and feel like you are part of the lives of characters and their stories, you talk about it, share it, you never stop thinking about it. (I think, too, that one would also read this journal in a somewhat different way.) But, people tend to focus solely on what they see in front of them, what is placed in front of them, and one form of placing something in front of people is hype, marketing, advertisements, awards, thousands of people saying you need to check this out. But all of that comes from other stuff that's not the work. And it often comes with dreadful, shitty, worthless work.