I need to work harder. Much harder.
It takes me so long now to sign off on something as finished. A lot gets finished, because so much is being created at once. A work comes to the end of its journey of creation. Have a lot of works being made at once, and some are always going to be crossing that finish line. But it requires much for me to say, "Okay, we're done with this one" right now.
Here is a radio interview fromTuesday night about Orson Welles's Chimes at Midnight.
I have been working daily on a new story, which is called "Fall and Spring." It's 1800 words.
I had taken the introduction for The Solution to the World's Problems: Surprising Tales of Relentless Joy--which "Fall and Spring" is likely to become a part of, something I wasn't anticipating, because I had no idea I'd be writing the story, but one adapts--and earlier turned that into a stand-alone essay that pertained to joy in the world and its absence presently in literature (for lack of a better term). In other words, not an introduction to the book. That piece was long--5000 words.
I also took that essay and made it into a 1200 word piece to send to a person at a venue where I'm very clearly being discriminated against by a couple of bigot-hacks who will shortly be up on these pages, with their emails to boot. These two guys are clowns. Incompetent. One of them--who is a buffoon and knows nothing about anything--it's really shocking, and I can put it all out there, email after email where he's like "I've never hear of that"--and is verbally abusive--actually walked down the hall to his clown-comrade and said, "I hate this guy because I shit down his throat regularly, and he politely asked me to maybe stop doing that after years of my doing so, so now I expect you to hate and ban him, too, despite all the work he's done for us as he took my verbal abuse and weathered my incompetence," and the other guy said, "Okay, I'll do that." Being a eunuch, among other things.
This place also created a problem for me with the IRS that lasted for the better part of two years by adding multiple zeros to my income with them. That was a fun thing to have to deal with on top of everything. The government thinking you're defrauding them out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in the time of COVID with all of the attendant delays stretching everything out that much further. Which is more ironic considering who owns this place, but we'll get into all of that later. I have held off as long as I can hold off. I detest having to document this kind of thing on here, but you don't get to treat me this way, when all of the problem--which becomes entirely my problem--is of your doing and because of your shortcomings, lack of ability, anger issues, arrogance, unprofessionalism, etc.
These two have a new boss, and she'll be getting a link to that particular entry on here. What will come of that? Probably nothing. But that's an individual case. What matters is the fight, the push-back, the overall message, and what will happen and shake out in the aggregate. And from case to case, too, in the short term, and more in the future, as the percentage goes up from whatever--five percent--to 100%. But you can't count on the single instance to do anything for the exact time being (which, of course, can change at any time). You have to believe that by doing the right thing, refusing to just roll over and die when these people do whatever they want to do to you for the most heinous, twisted, childish, petty, sick, barbarous reasons, in not taking the abuse, not being willingly raped at the level of your soul, and having the goods that no one can come close to, which is easily demonstrated by putting your work next to anyone else's, that the day will be carried eventually.
I don't like doing this, and this is another case where I've waited for years, wasting what is hundreds of hours of my life. It is actually hundreds. Hundreds of hours of work. That's not some exaggerated figure for effect. These people are so arrogant that they think no one could ever stand up to them. It never even enters their minds as possibility. So when it does happen, they're completely taken aback. There's nothing they can do about it, because it's all true, it's all incriminating, and it makes them look like exactly what anyone would then know them to be. It's out in the open. The truth. There isn't anyone who would then say, "Well, they seem okay, it's not that bad." And those same perpetrators then know that just as well as I know that. And every third party reader knows that. They can rage, but it doesn't change the truth. And there's nothing they can do to me that they haven't already done.
What these people do, what they get away with, how evil they can be, is entirely predicated on the idea that no one will ever say anything and let that truth out. It's not predicated on that truth not existing. Do you see the difference? They know it exists. For all of the lies they necessarily tell themselves.
If you went to an island and did bad things, you know you did the bad things, you know you're all about the doing of bad things. You count on no one saying anything. In publishing, you become accustomed to no one ever putting those truths out there, because no one does. Everyone else in the system is one of these people. There is one person who is not, who has made his way despite everything against him. That's this person. Any other potential objector has been removed, or never was able to get off the ground. They are so arrogant that they just assume no one will ever say anything. But people like this duo I'm describing leave me no choice. In a way, it's really their choice. Unless you think I'm essentially going to rape myself, and starve myself, and murder myself, and kill myself off without a chance willingly. And why would I do that? To protect a terrible person who is also bad at their job?
I went back to the 5000 word essay, took out the parts about literature, and got myself a 3500 word essay. Different. I'm still not officially done. I'll got over it again now. I shared it with someone the other day who has never seen anything by me, and they wrote me back a ten-paragraph letter, which I wasn't really expecting, but it was very obvious how much the piece affected them, both in terms of what it made them think and feel. It's an all-timer. I didn't really plan to have these different versions, but they exist now. I'll go through the version that is the introduction to The Solution, because nothing like that has ever been done at the front of a book of fiction. It must be exactly right.
The still, by the way, is from 1932's The Island of Lost Souls, when the creatures inside the House of Pain turn on their captor and rip him apart.