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What must

Sunday 7/18/21

* Do what you need to do, no matter how unpleasant. What is right always dictates what it is that must be done.

* I went back out yesterday and ran another 2000 stairs, bringing the total for the day to 5000. I also vetted and read "Dead Thomas" very hard, to go along with those other stories. In the autumn, when I composed the work, a long-time literature professor remarked to me that it was just about the best work of fiction they'd ever read. I didn't really think about that or pay it much mind, because I only move forward right now. And when they said that to me, I was probably writing four other stories, and that was my focus. So I never looked at it again. Yesterday was the first time. And he was right. I was staggered--absolutely staggered--by the quality of the story. I laughed so hard, I was moved so much, I didn't see certain things coming at all. For instance--and you'll have to come back to these words I am now going to write, after the fact of the story being out there, whenever it is--the story is about her. The narrator. And you don't think it is for the longest time. Then this moment comes when you realize it is, and that hits you so hard. The voice of the story is unique, the friendship of the two girls is brilliant and sad and real. There is a high level of wit and whimsy, which you almost never get with a story that is searing and gutting. The title character is a boy in limbo. He's dead, but he's between worlds, and he lives at this school which he can't leave. He takes classes, he's popular. And the friend of the girl who is telling the story falls in love with him. She wants to do all of these things for him. She wants to marry him, perform certain acts, be with him, even die like he was rumored to have died so they can get closer. And you think the story is about dead Thomas, and the narrator's friend, and how the narrator is trying to be a good friend. Because she's more mature, she's wiser. But oh my God, do you ever find out that the story is something else, too. Then I just literally shook with rage. As I did throughout yesterday. Because you have work that pisses on this shit that is in any of these places, and these editors hate me so much, fear me me so much, envy me so much, resent my productivity so much, my talent so much, that they will take a giant, rusty knife and cut the noses off of their faces to spite me, to spite their own magazine, to spite literature, to spite the world, just so long as Colin Fleming does not make it through their particular ranks.

* Later, you will see a story like this, and hundreds from me. And you will also see, because I'll still be here, and I'll be in these pages to show it all to you, what editor so-and-so was offered over fifteen years, without responding once, and what that same editor so-and-so was running. I'll put it side by side. And you will laugh, and also be horrified. And that editor's time, as an editor, as someone with such a career, will come to an end. Because there is no defending what has happened here. When that time comes, I'd encourage people to ask that editor how they justify their behavior. There is no answer they will be able to give you. "Well, I honestly just didn't think..." That is not a possible answer. This is as guilty as a person can be. There is no justification that can ever explain any of this away that is not discrimination, bigotry, fear, hate, envy. Wait until you see the likes of "Dead Thomas," "Fitty," "Eyejaculator," "The Half Slip," "Transitionings," "Seedless Cherries," next to any of this shit.

* My buddy Howard sent me a note after listening to a Downtown segment about how he, too, goes to bed listening to Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, and has done so for the last year, after previously go with Gunsmoke and the Orson Welles episodes of The Shadow. I knew about the latter because Howard had told me that a couple Christmases ago when we went to see a production of A Christmas Carol, but that's pretty neat that two people were both listening to Johnny Dollar as they drifted off every night, unbeknownst to each other and they both happened to know each other.

* I've been working on a story as I've written this entry, and the story is now over 3000 words long. It is time to run some stairs.


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