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With a pin

Wednesday 3/17/21


I think many people awake each day and their first thought, constituted in some fashion or another, is akin to, "Let's get some points!" Then they signal and pose, rack them up, as it were, until they go to bed again. And when their day is done, they have taken away some portion of the communal soul of culture and humanness. It may be less than the speck of a speck of a speck. But when so many people are this way, have become this way, get deeper into being this way, we no longer have a speck. We have a hole. And into it so much that is precious falls, and goes away.

But not here, boyo. (Also: I'm adopted. I'm a Portuguese. I come from the sea.)

This is last night's Downtown segment. I wonder how I can say this, and be accurate, because I want to single out this conversation, because I think it is unique, profound, hilarious, inspiring, brave, brilliant, and unlike anything on the radio now, or in the past, but I also believe every last appearance has been of a piece. But there are still some I feel a little differently about. I can recall one from late last winter, when Pratt was also on the air with Kimball and myself, and I felt like I said things that people would spend considerable time with later, that would become part of work about my work. I've had that same feeling for the last several segments.

Here is an op-ed in today's New York Daily News on Oscar Wilde and being more than a Dorian Gray. Popped down to the Goose and grabbed a copy. I move with no wasted motion. As I said to someone today, I do not loop with the puck back into my own zone, to use a hockey analogy--I only advance upon goal. Opened up the paper, saw that the piece had a half page to itself, saw that Meatheads Say the Realest Things was plugged, said, "right," and it was on to the next.

Here is a piece in JazzTimes on Count Basie's great bassist, Walter Page.

I wrote a story today called "Laminant." It is the third of the week. It's also for the now very multi-volume Longer on the Inside: Very Short Fictions of Infinitely Human Lives. This is part of a letter I wrote today to the inner circle, henceforth known as the IC:

Finally, there is a story I wrote today. I have three "Fitty"/"Girls of the Nimbus" type stories--not that they're types, but you know what I mean--going at once, either in my head or on the page, or both. They are called "Pre," "Eede Upstairs," and "The Neighborhood Leo." Among many other stories I have going. Do you know what it's like, though? In some ways, it's like traveling. Along a road I navigate, and I know that five miles up the bend, there's this spot where I will pull in the car, and park, but as I make my way to the spot--the spots--I'll turn off the road, and that will be another spot that I've come upon. I can go there, too. That spot is another story. I visit that spot. I take it all in. I understand it completely. I understand why people go there, what it means to them. What it offers and what it is about. Then I get back in the car, and I drive on. I know all of these places I'm going to go to. But as I proceed, I see other places to stop.

Thus, this story, "Laminant." People make the remark fatuously, this idea that art explains the meaning of life. The meanings. Gives us "the answer." But you know what? That actually is what art does. The best art. It finds a way to take something of infinite complexity and variation, and present it to us in such a manner that what is behind the mystery becomes clearer to us. It can become clearer because of how we're helped in our thinking, our understanding, or it can become clearer in what it makes us feel--we feel like we get something we have not gotten at all before. Or both. You are giving someone a piece of the answer. I think that's what Longer on the Inside is more than anything. It's like an answer kit. It takes that enormity, and it makes of it something that you can put in your hand, and look at, and see, and get it. And by "it" I mean that meaning and meanings. It decodes the mystery. But such that the back of your neck still feels the tingling of the mystery as you read.

Walked six miles, ran five hill sprints. Once again, not much. The cardio needs to be built back up. That will be done with celerity.

Watching some hockey and now in my nighttime uniform. Boston Symphony Orchestra sweatshirt, Beanpot T-shirt below, Red Sox hat to keep my hair out of my eyes.

Have at it tomorrow. Sound the mantra: Total focus, matchless art, no mercy when we get there--which we will. Fight.

(Also: Note to self--"Great, good luck." could be a lucrative T-shirt in time. File that away.)

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