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Monday 2/28/22

I knew that I had a tear in my regular workout sweatpants in the crotch. I get holes in my pants and shorts in the crotch. Eventually. Read into that what one will. But I didn't realize how extensive it was until today, as I became acutely conscious of cold air on bare skin as I ran the Government Center stairs. Turns out my ass was pretty much hanging out this morning. I realized this early on, which was also when people were going to work. But what was I going to do? Go home, change, and return? That didn't seem like a productive use of time. So I just did the stairs quickly, exposed ass and all, hoping no one noticed or reported me to the authorities. I think it went well, considering. (Luckily, the boxers I was wearing weren't the ones with a hole in the underside, which could have produced a ball sack incident. And you never want to have a ball sack incident in life. There aren't positive ball sack incidents, for the most part.)

I worked some more on "Desilva." Mostly done. Just needs going over a few more times. 4000 words. This is a text from yesterday:

Just about completed a 3200 word story. You'll love it. Part "Fitty," part "Yellow Hammers," part "Terry from the Cape," part "Girls of the Nimbus." Also: it's about a beagle. You will weep like a --."

Complete the simile as you wish.

The story made me cry a lot. It was something else at first, and then it wrote itself, and as the story within the story emerged...I was just overwhelmed. I was truly overwhelmed. I did not see it coming, and I wrote it. And then once I had it, was just a matter of going back and doing other things. You're always in total control, but it's still different kinds of total control.

And I say that it's about a beagle, and people who love dogs will rate this as their all-time favorite story, but it's not really about a beagle. I can't give away what it's really about. I want people to have the opportunity to love this story, and that means not spoiling parts of what it's about on here. And having faith that they'll get to see it and love it. The beagle's name is Thaddeus, so he's not the Desilva of the title. A class could talk for an hour about why Desilva is the name of the story. And I wrote it as an accident. By which I mean, I was just whatevering. I was doing this thing, writing this thing that would be whatever. I'd wait and see. I thought it'd be this shorter work. I was really locked in on "The Parable of the Woodpecker," and I sort of pecked away a little bit on this other story. And other stories. Then it became what it did. Almost without my knowing it. By accident. Because these people are fucking real. And like all of my characters, they tell me their stories. I don't know what their stories are, man. I'm not them. They tell me. Then I'm like, "oh, wow. Jesus. Damn." They tell me. The stories are theirs.

Every week, I am producing at least one work of art that is better than anything else that has been written. But commonly it's more like five works of art. Every single week. There has never been anything remotely like this. And they won't let anyone see any of it.

Remember our bigoted friend Ronald Spatz of Alaska Quarterly Review? Here's a funny account from CNN of all places on how meaningless journals like his are all folding. Gee. I wonder why that is. Maybe because you mostly only publish shit from freaks? That's bad enough. You know what's worse? These meaningless journals, and this broken subculture of fiction writers, professors, people who suck at writing who are lionized by this community, people who write hardly at all but call themselves writers so they can have a community, have made it so that no one in the world writes valuable fiction. Fiction with any value or point. Why? Because for decades writers have been trying to write like what these people publish. That's what you're "supposed" to do. They teach other people to write that way. That terrible writing, that no one wants to read, no one would enjoy reading, no one would get anything from, becomes the gold standard to these people. So, over a half century, anyone who wanted to write fiction--unless we're talking genre crap--adhered to the rules and expectations of this community of broken freaks. What was someone going to do? Say, "No! I am a true artist! I will go my own way, against all of you if need be!"

Who can do that? I do that. And I'm going to win and bring back good writing. I'm going to inspire people to do what they have to do to write well. But even if you were born with talent--which is hardly anyone--it wouldn't survive in this system. They'd grind it out of you. Beat you down with discouragement, so that you fell in line with what they do. They don't just publish shit. They've killed off the very act of good writing. There are no good fiction writers now. Because everyone hews to this dying system, and it's all going away. COVID has done a nice job killing it off some more. Ronald Spatz and the Alaska Freaking Quarterly Review. Who takes that seriously in this world? Who would like it if you gave them a subscription? You think anyone wants to read that shit? It's not for reading. Which is an amazing statement. That people would write stories not for reading. But they don't. They write them for the community. For membership in the dysfunctional club. Isn't that insane?

Let's say you were born with talent to write. Do you know how hard you have to work at that talent? I have, for instance, no more talent now than I did when I was six. I came into the world with what I came into the word, in terms of ability that was inside of me. But I've worked pretty much eighteen, twenty hours a day, for almost every year of my life, to master my talent. It's like practicing an instrument twenty hours a day. These people were usually born with jack shit, and you think they work at anything? There is no one coming up through the ranks who writes well. This system poisoned everyone. Crushed anyone who didn't do what these people do, which is to make writing that sucks, which has no purpose. It's like a form of Intellectual fascism, you could say.

And like making Tim Tebow the standard for NFL quarterback play, and then for fifty years, everyone tries to throw like Tim Tebow. The mechanics of Tim Tebow are taught by 12,000 coaches. Insisted upon. Tebow is given the MVP every year. The quality of play sucks, everything is ass backwards, and then if you get Tom Brady, he's shunned and they try to keep him on the sideline because he doesn't suck like Tim Tebow sucks. And oh yeah--the Tim Tebow people teach the work of their friends, who are also like Tim Tebow. And delusional people pay shitloads of money to go to college for this, and then get an MFA. Take on debt. And they know nothing about writing well. Life. Music, sports, film, art. History. Architecture. The world. Dance. The wonders and depths of the human condition. Nature. The relational. They just know this crap that surrounds them, which they themselves do, which they espouse. (Publishing people are rarely well-rounded, or rounded in the slightest, and they usually hate sports, because they associate it with being bullied and how un-athletic they were and are, so they might not understand the Tebow reference, and think it's some religion/kneeling thing, which is what they're apt to know the name for. But that's not what I'm talking about.)

And you're Ronald Spatz, and you're near the end of your life, and this is all you have to show for your time on this earth? Maybe they're a great parent, friend, etc., someone like this, but I believe if you're this way, with something as precious as what good writing can be, as vital as it is, crucial to the benefit of humans, then you are also going to be a failure everywhere else in your existence. I think of you as anti-human. Anti-real. I already know you're a bigot. That's what you have to show for yourself: The Alaska Quarterly Review, and that you got to think you were this person with power, for this place that probably has a circulation of 2000 and maybe--maybe--sixty people in its "prime" who read it at all, none of whom weren't affiliated with a journal, teaching, writing. In other words, not a single person was reading it to read it. They were reading it--looking at it--to be in it, or for class, or to say to a peer that they saw it. That kind of thing. There is a huge difference between that, and reading something to read it.

Maybe you want to say, "Fleming you suck! That's just how it is! The world is uncultured!" That wasn't what happened here, or why, in all of these years of places like this, and you can count The New Yorker's fiction section in there as well, or a Granta that will have zero issue promoting a raping plagiarist, too--the so-called "big" places--as the system of these people became a collective enemy to artful, meaningful, entertaining, consequential fiction. Real fiction with the spark, blood, guts, and truth of life. And the beauty of it. Or the writing of such fiction. It's the real reason why no one reads. It's the real reason why people associate reading with boredom, a chore, something there is no way they want to spend any time doing. We think better, and we are better, when we read well. For us to read well, we need work worth reading.

What's the solution? I am. This is where it starts. There's nowhere else, and no one else, for it to come from.

I got a bunch of lemons. Normally what I do is squeeze some lemon into a small amount of water and drink that each morning. I thought I could do better, though, so what I'm doing now is putting lemon slices in my water bottles. This seems like it would be good. Everything you read about lemons says how beneficial they are. And I like the taste so it's one easy way to be a little bit healthier.

Ball Sack Incident could be a band. Thrash metal? Maybe? Anthrax, by the way, provided the soundtrack for Pledge Night. This is Metallica in 1984 using Anthrax's gear, because someone stole theirs.


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