I ran three miles today, ran three miles yesterday, walked three miles Monday, walked three miles and climbed the Monument nine times Sunday, walked six miles Saturday in Barrington, walked three miles Friday in Barrington. I don't feel well. My joints ache, like flu ache. I don't do well at this time of the year. I struggle in the Monument. Last year I did not climb at all in the second half of July and all of August. Think about that. Me. That's crazy. Even just sitting I can feel that it is harder for me to breathe again until September. It was in 2016 at this time that I was the sickest I have ever been. I don't complain about physical ailments. I'm sure a lot of times someone else would be in bed when I'm charging hard into something. But back then I was barely hanging in there for a couple weeks. Went to the hospital twice. Temperature went to 105. I would get so cold that I could not stop my teeth from clashing against each other, and then seconds later I'd be on fire, so much liquid flowing out of me, just dripping off of me, with a migraine--and that was the worst part--the entire time. When I was a kid I had migraines so bad that I'd have them for a week and they thought maybe I had a brain tumor, and these headaches were that bad. I gave myself, in my mind, a recovery deadline, because I couldn't be sick for longer than two weeks. I was weak after. The day after the fever broke I had to have my license renewed and in the photo I look like a second grader could beat me up. I could barely go up five steps. So I kind of live in fear of being that sick again. The Monument has been closed since Sunday. I was doing my climbs and boy did I struggle. I'm ashamed to admit this, but on my eighth climb, I actually sat down on a step and rested. No one was coming into the Monument. It was just me for a while, and I was trying to gut through the ten, when I heard the door being closed downstairs. I almost got locked in. They shut it down when the heat index goes over a certain point. Sucks to be stopped at nine. Ten feels so much more fulfilling.
I am going to get in bed now so I will be quick. This is yesterday's Downtown segment, one of my personal favorites. At the end, Kimball says that while they don't want to lose me, someone out there at a station should hire me, which was nice of him to say. I think the quality of the segment, and now hundreds of segments, speak for themselves. I don't think there's anyone in this country in radio doing anything close to what I do and can do on the radio. And I think that's obvious to anyone with ears, and no one with them who listens can begrudge me saying that. It's just how it is, and yet nothing is happening, though I wish things would and I will soon have opportunities to leap at. I have to find a way to find harder, be braver, write more. This book on Scrooge and the 33 1/3 Sam Cooke book must be finished, while I take these people and this industry on, on my own, fight for scraps of money, write so much else, the nonfiction, the book proposals, the novels, the short fiction, the Beatles book(s), the memoir. I have to work 100% harder somehow. Real number. I have to at least double my effort and rate. In some ways I think I am further away than ever, given all that I face. In other ways...I feel a little bit differently lately. I feel...I feel I might be on the verge. Someone said to me the other day that something has to give. Someone else said, "You could be a millionaire next week." I have to do better with my side of the fight, no matter how exhausting and unrewarding it feels right now. I will tell you, friends, it's so hard writing something you give everything to, that you know is at the level these works are at, knowing that the people of your (dying) industry--which you can help replace with an astronomically better one--are going to try and make sure the world can't see it.
For whatever reason, that one section of "Staycation" took it out of me today. In some ways I feel fortunate. Because I create some stone cold all-timer masterpiece in "Fitty," then I'm rolling into two I'm deep into in this one and "A man outside a playground" and they're every bit as good. But then that also depresses me endlessly because they're going to be suppressed right now by these people who would be pleased if I died. But I tell myself, lately, you can't just take it for granted that not only are you doing things no artist has done, you are doing them effortlessly, you do them at will, you can just conjure up anything you want that will be better than anything that's been done, whenever you want. Someone said to me the other day, "I wish you sucked at writing sometimes, I wish I could tell you things to work on, that you could get better at, which would make this go away, but this can't be improved upon." Same person with the millionaire line. We'll see. I know who believes in me and who is really there for me and who isn't. That's important, too. I don't want to know anyone who is going to be surprised when I light this up and change the world like no one ever has. I don't want anyone in my life right now who could see that and is not going to think, "Well it's about fucking time," rather than "Holy shit, I can't believe this, never thought he'd do it, never thought a single person could have that much impact either." If this is going to surprise you at all when it does happen, I don't want you around right now. I've proven what I am. Now the world just needs to see what I am. Everything else will take care of itself, including the complete obliteration of all limits and ceilings.
Okay. To bed. I'll take my leave with this photo. It's from the other day in Barrington. Susan has really picked up her fitness efforts, which deserves big kudos, and spearheaded some walks, setting a good pace. I'm, of course, happy to tag along with anything physical. At one point she was up ahead with Benny, and Emma and I were hanging back on the other side of the road. Emma is almost always herself with the people I've seen her with, but she's a bit different with each person. Not fake, not not herself, but a different mode, maybe. It can be subtle. I cherish the time when we have our deep talks. Or just our natural talks. I feel that she feels completely unencumbered, intellectually and mentally, it's not going to be a case of me not being on her mental level. No guards are up, it's the most easy, open back-and-forth. You know that book A Separate Peace? I think of these moments as a separate peace. As befits the phrase. I don't think they're conversations, moments, really, that anyone else could be a part of, not at the level that we're having them. They're wavelength things. Also with coded looks and eye flickers and language. They're fascinating. Like I said, I cherish them.
We were talking about John Carpenter films--Halloween, The Fog, The Thing (and no, this isn't "Let me tell you about some movies and you listen"; she knows them, has seen them, she can tell you about the way they're shot)--and I ask Emma a lot of questions. I'm always asking her questions. When you ask someone questions, you're getting to know them better, of course, if that's what you're really trying to do, but you're also helping them out, because if they're smart, their answers cause them to evaluate and/or reevaluate their choices, beliefs, things they did in their past. Talking aloud, being thoughtful while being reflective, being honest--because you respect the other person too much not to be--can be a great way to grow. But I'll also ask her what some of her other all-time favorite movies were, if that's the subject at hand, just all kinds of things. How she met a given friend. I know that a lot of it she's saying for the first time. But you know what? I'm saying a lot of things for the first time, too, to her, because she's on the level she's on. I can say things that she's more primed to centrally understand on a deeper level. That doesn't mean that other people would not comprehend those things, nor not on the deeper level. What I do, after all, is communicate, make things clear, including complex things. Certainly. Obviously. But it's something else to palpably feel synchronicity with someone. It's soothing. It can feel like being home. Being with someone, regardless of who you are, does not, I should think, get more comfortable than what is occurring during these talks of ours. I never expected anything like this, of course, certainly not with someone so unlikely, in some ways, but it's like the narrator says in that section today in "Staycation," when he's describing how his wife defined love, which I think is the best definition of what love is that you're going to find, which she did when he really wasn't expecting it, because he was just asking a question as a joke, to be flirty, to maybe get a little action. And what does he say when he gets this truth from her, not anticipating it at all? He says these things come when they come. Isn't that true? That's what we call life. And that's a pretty good definition for that, too.
Speaking of life. We encountered a baby house sparrow perilously close to the side of the busy road as we were walking on the side sans sidewalk. Now, Emma is someone who will stoop down to pick up a worm to remove it from a sidewalk--actually, she did just that, fifteen minutes later--so naturally she was going to save this bird. She bends down, picks it up, bird doesn't freak at all, then we walked it up into this bit of scrub woods on the side of someone's house, and set it down. You know that moment on The Ed Sullivan Show, when after Paul McCartney sings "Yesterday," Lennon goes, "Thank you, Paul, that was just like him," well, this photo is just like Emma. That's a pretty kick ass Clash T-shirt she had on, too. London Calling.