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What they said

Sunday 6/23/19

"Colin, can't believe what you've been dealing with and concerned by your account of the nervous breakdown. Please let me know what I can do to help. I don't know how to wade through the swamp publishing has become and appreciate wholly what you said about leading people to water, etc.  As you have said, a little backing is all you need and so to see venues throwing up the barricades to all non-staff, or simply shutting down is thoroughly depressing. I read recently that Tin House is no more, but then, what was it to begin with?   New, more, better, is all you've ever done. That must be exhausting. You deserve some rest and, of course, recognition. Praying for you, as always."


Emma stayed up the other night trying to do something to help me that I did not ask her to do, which she just wanted to do. When I thanked her she said, "You deserve it, man." I've been helping her a lot lately with her school project for next year on Kafka. She got some money from her mom to get proper workout sneakers, and I took her to the DSW and bought her a donut as a little thank you. The other day she was sad. We were at the Starbucks. Benny the puggle was tied up outside and Emma went out to sit with him. I did some more work, and then turned and looked outside to check on her. She was on the ground, hugging Benny, not moving. There are these large rectangles of cut-stone that serve as benches outside the Starbucks, and I went out and sat on one of those, and asked her if everything was okay, and she turned a little and hugged my leg. I asked her if there was anything she wanted to talk about, and she said no, and I said that's cool, but if you change your mind, etc. Most days last week I ran. One day I climbed the Monument five times. I will go into what has happened to my health, as is referenced above, such as was left of it, later. Right now I am trying to do one of those things where I put one foot in front of the other, even if I have to use both hands to lift up my leg and place that foot there, and an entry like this is that. I don't know how much longer I could possibly be for this world at this point if this does not change soon. I am worried about how that will hit Emma. Really no one else. I don't think it will mean much to anyone else. And I am not confident--understatement--that anyone in my life now or in it at some other point will try to do right by my work if I'm dead. Please, God. Why have you done this. I am what I am which is unlike anything there has been or will be, and I work so hard and I have done everything right for a long time now and I have so much to give to so many millions of people. Why. Why is this happening like this. That's not putting one foot in front of the other. Focus. Just get this up. On Friday I walked three miles, ran nine, and climbed the Monument three times.


Emma, to my great surprise, came with me to climb. She's athletic and fit, but you have to prod her into any kind of physical exertion. She climbed once, and it didn't go great. She was literally crawling at points. I don't know why she was so tired. We were not running, we were going slowly. Maybe because we didn't stop and rest? She stayed at the top and waited while I did some more climbs. There are four windows looking out of the top of the Monument, all in different directions, with excellent views. I asked her later what she thought of the views, as she was up there for like ten minutes. She hadn't looked out. Yesterday I ran three miles, walked four miles, and climbed the Monument ten times. I saw Citizen Kane on 35mm at the Brattle and wrote a new essay on it in my head, tying it into the present publishing situation and how the industry elected to destroy itself without being smart enough to realize that's what it was doing, and also the idea of private realities and how we obfuscate ourselves, now more than ever. Today I ran six miles and walked three so far. I wrote two op-eds last week. One on trans track athletes and how the rights of young women are being vitiated, the other on how our notion of a beach read--and what is foisted on us as what we must read as beach reads--has become centered on bad books that add nothing to our lives, leisure, or vacations. A good beach read should be a vacation inside of a vacation. Hello, Buried on the Beaches, the best vacation book you will ever read, the one you will enjoy the most, which you're not going to hear about right now because an industry has an embargo on the artist responsible for that work and thousands of others. The hyped beach reads are piffle that is a slog to get through that the publishing payola complex blates on about. Almost everyone in this industry is on some kind of take. They're not on the talent take, if you know what I mean, or the merit take, or the deserved take. They're on some kind of "up to no good" and "for all of the wrong reasons" take. They have killed reading, and they can't even see it. I can save it. I can get people reading again. But I need a chance. I need a fair chance and some support.


I started an op-ed this morning. I'll finish it in five minutes tomorrow morning. It's a Fourth of July piece about how we never exert our freedoms as individuals anymore, instead flocking to the exact same three or four reductive things. We all watch and cite how we watch the exact same two shows, for instance. We don't travel, reach, extend ourselves, explore; we curtail our own personal freedom in terms of what we might see or experience. We are just some packed-in gelatin blob. A personal anecdote will set it up.


"I used to spend my Sundays in a now defunct Boston bar called Durgin Park, where our earliest sons and daughters of Liberty once gathered to formalize the dreams of a young Republic."


An exchange from yesterday when I asked--knowing what her response would be--about some more Monument climbs, after Emma expressed various theories as to her allegedly wilting health. She's tired a lot, and I think she may have an iron deficiency, and I told her to say something to her mom.


E: Or I might be dying.


C: You're fine.


E: I might have the aids


C: I think you're probably AIDS-free.


E: I don't know man...


C: No climbs for you today, huh?


E: Fuck off


This is a gross picture. That's my sweat. That's Emma. That's outside the bottom of the Monument. That's before we climbed, after I had ran nine miles. It's like I've vanished. Dissolved. Melted. Disappeared. There's a metaphor in that, too. Or a presentiment of things I hope do not come to pass but which are moving that way. Moving that way like a marching ghost army. 1127 days without a drink.