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Thursday 3/25/21

Odds and ends. Because lost time is not found again.


It has been bumpy, to say the least, but the site is inching closer back to functional. No new links have been added to any section going back to mid-October, but what had to happen was all of the old links had to be ported over to the new system. There was also the problem that I produce so much work that it was slowing down the speed of the website. So productive that you slow down the loading rate of a website. Crazy. For instance, regular visitors would have noticed that it took a long time for the News section to load. Sometimes ten minutes. People would just give up. That was because, well, there was so much news in News.


Again I ask: What's going to happen when this person gets past this industry-wide blackballing? Someone playing devil's advocate might say, Why do you think you will? To which my answer be, There's never been anything like this artist. Or person. If one checks out the individual sections now, they'll notice the fix: Pagination within the sections. So, there's twenty-five items per page, then there are numbers at the bottom of that page to move to move to other pages. Should have been doing this all along, rather than the mega-columns, which were only getting bigger and bigger. I don't personally know how to input new links yet. But once I do, I'll be uploading the 1000 or so from before 2018 that were never uploaded after this site launched, as well as all of the News retroactively going back to last October, plus the Music, Film, Literature pieces that came out over the last three years, the missing Op-ed writings, all of the missing Short fiction, and all of the missing On air radio segments. The links are currently not opening in a separate browser like they were previously, which is yet another bug with the host site, though it should be fixed soon.


Freddie Redd, the jazz pianist, died aged ninety-two on St. Patrick's Day, and I wrote a 1000 word piece that I think was excellent on his 1961 album, Shades of Redd, with its front line of Jackie McLean on alto sax and Tina Brooks--my man Mr. Brooks--on tenor sax. I don't think anyone will publish it. The piece was offered to JazzTimes, DownBeat, Pitchfork, The Guardian, The Atlantic, The New Yorker. I know the reasons at some of these places, which I think someone looking in would find shocking. I try not to "spill the beans," as it were, because as I've said before, I attempt to hang in there, even though I know what is happening, and they do, too. Oftentimes it's even documented in old emails. I don't look forward to having to put that up on here. It's ugly. It's scandalous. It's disturbing and credulity-straining that people could behave as they do. And that they would think they'd always get away with it. I admit, I do put that off. I do it eventually. And I have. And I will. But I really prefer not to. People have threatened me as well. They've said, "If you say how this really works, you'll never write here." People know about this journal, of course. But the reality is, they've already taken care of that threat. True, they won't always be there, and I outlast everyone. And at some point things will change, and I will have all of the leverage, so their threat is a limited one in that way as well. They'll ultimately need me more than I need them. Plus, I am well aware that they already go around telling people to hate me and exclude me. I by all means don't mean all of these above places. JazzTimes had already run an obit. It was well-written.


Walked five miles yesterday. I wrote a 3000 word piece this week on one of the best Easter films, which no one knows, called Robin Redbreast, which was a BBC production from 1970. It's a pastoral folk horror film owing something to The Golden Bough. Large influence on The Wicker Man, too. I need to fix it up. Don't know if I will be able to sell it. If I do, won't be for much. This is where it's at right now--write pieces and hope to sell them. Huge amounts of effort and work with the most likely outcome that nothing happens. This is how I am publishing more than anyone. Again, imagine a level playing field? The Freddie Redd piece can go into the book of my collected jazz writings. Not that I have a publisher. But it's one of those books that I have to figure--as in have faith--will get its opportunity to come out and shine when I have my opportunity. Then you have the definitive book of critical jazz writings to go along with everything else. I do look at all of the unplaced works that way. They can go into books. Hell, I publish a lot of op-eds, but if you took the op-eds I've written that haven't been published and placed them in a book, you'd have a perfect record of what our time was really like.


As I write this entry I'm writing an op-ed on Chekhov for Easter.


Here is Tuesday's Downtown interview. The way I've been handling the last few appearances is to orient the talks around ideas. Concepts. Open things up that way. This has meant there hasn't been "Proper noun" talk of late--no discussions that begin with films, albums, artists, writers, athletes. Kimball has risen to this really well, I think. Ran with it. The truth is there's not even really any need to have me send him a note about what we might talk about. It's enough at this juncture just to go on and fill up a half hour. To "be." Because what that being is will be more than anyone else could provide or come up with. And it will have value not just as entertainment, but in shaping how one might think, and in lives. It also occurs to me that a story from Longer on the Inside could be read, or a journal entry like the "Husk culture" one from last night. That is a powerful piece of work. A work to lead people. It's all but built for airwaves. Then again, it is all but built for private reading, and the introspection that occurs when one truly connects with the page. It's all but built for both. It is built for both.


I've written four short stories this week. Three of them are for the sprawling Longer on the Inside: Very Short Fictions of Infinitely Human Lives project. Which I envision already as a three-volume work, with the first volume having the aforementioned title, and each volume naturally appearing self-contained. Those three works are "Minus the Spring, "Shoot the Shit," "Femoral." I'm not exactly sure yet what I have in them. But I am certain already about what I have in the fourth story composed this week, which is longer, at 2300 words, and thus obviously not part of this project. That story is called "In-Betweens," and it is awesome. It's told in blocks, which are implied themselves as this term--an "in-between." So there is that hardcore noun-component to the title. The blocks tell a large part of the story of a woman's life, but that story plays out in-between what one would think--what we tend to think of as--the more obviously defining moments of a person's life. Because I think life is most lived, life most occurs, "in-between," if you will. But we don't look at it that way, or isolate the meaning of the "in-between-ness." Which is exactly what this story does. It is as wise as fiction gets, and it will move the hell out of a reader, and the end--my goodness, that end--will, as I said to the IC, lay you out. Lay you out with genius--good title for a bio--but also lay you out emotionally.


I understand that Kimball has had his full run of the vaccine. I am glad for him. I think that probably reduces his worries. I know he's had some concerns all along. I don't know if I will get the vaccine. I will not go into details right now, right here, but suffice it to say, I have not gone about anything during this pandemic the way that anyone has gone about matters, and in some ways I've never been healthier or stronger. I did not turn to pieces of cloth and sitting on the couch I do not have. I turned to mental health and physical fitness and running stairs and being outside more than ever and reading Thoreau's journals and not drinking alcohol and listening to Mozart and creating art for all-time every day, and pushing forward. That has been my cumulative vaccine. And had enough of the above comprised the "vaccines" of others, I don't think COVID would have been a thing, and I don't think the world would be the rancid dung heap that it is, either.


What is that line of Telemachus? "He works his work, I work mine."


My path is my own, and I am the maker of my own path.


I shall now finish the Chekhov op-ed.


***

The op-ed is complete, the 3000 word film essay is complete. That is six formal works written this week. About a dozen letters were just written and sent out as well.


Now I will get some exercise.


***


Walked six miles, ran ten hill sprints. Humidity was at 87% and I am not adjusted yet. This meant I stopped a couple times to put my hands on my knees and suck a little wind. Not what we are looking for, the wind sucking. Still, the tenor of late in several matters has been properly Zulu. Also, as i walked, I came up with and composed in my head a new op-ed on "y'all," which some people will wish to light me on fire over, should it come out, but we will worry about said lightning later, and even then we will not worry about it much.


Here is something quite typical. I knew exactly how this would play out. I saw this tiny press last night. I'd never heard of it. Given that I have like thirty books and am blackballed, I thought I'd send them one. Now, one must realize, a person who approaches this press has published either nothing in their lives, or nothing in a venue that anyone has ever heard of. The press is run by a person who has an MFA from the University of Indiana, where they worked at the literary magazine there, Indiana Review. They've done nothing in life. They will do nothing. What they do will be part of a favor trade with someone like themselves. It is borderline impossible for a person like this to put me or my work forward. The temptation which stems from envy to use the power they have in this moment is too great. They never pass it up. I deal with this all day. It'd be like putting a willing, naked college girl in front of a drunken frat boy. The drunken frat boy could not pass up the temptation if his life depended on it. Further, this press seeks out works oriented around the human spirit. I have an essay collection that reads like parts of this journal do about endurance, continuing on, finding ways for growth in the hardest of circumstances. And these essays have all been published with fancy places that people like this purport to care about. Now, it's strange--so strange--that anyone who has been in any of the places I've been in would even think twice about this press. Let alone with all I've done. So, I reach out. And, of course as I expected, I get this BS about when I can send them the manuscript like in six months. Exactly what they'd say to me if I were an unpublished high school student, but I know, naturally, what is really going on. There's no sense of business. There's no concern about art. Quality. There's no sanity. There's no sense. It's all about other things. You should how many losers I send work to whom I watch play all day long on Facebook. They never write anything, they never achieve anything, and they know what I'm all about. And there is no way on earth they're going to let that person pass, when they are what they are. There's just no way. They're going to get off on that moment of power. They do almost nothing in their entire lives. But they do look after their own, and people who are also doing next to nothing. That is the gated community.


Of course, I file all of these names away. For later. So people can see how this really was. Then let the people who behave this way try and defend their actions. Every day for me isn't just about that day. It's about the future. It's part of where I will get to, and what occurs then.


This is the 1914 tobacco card of pitcher Boardwalk Brown, who has one of the coolest nicknames in all of sports history. He was dubbed Boardwalk on account that he grew up near a pier where all of these knife fights happened, and yet, no one messed with young Mr. Brown, who never even went about with a knife, because he could throw hands like you wouldn't believe. He owned that boardwalk, you might say. I made that up. It's not true. He got the name Boardwalk because he was scouted not far from Atlantic City. But I like my backstory for him better.


I was talking to somebody I know who may have to put their dog down. I think they're fairly ambivalent about the dog, but it's someone who would like to do the right thing. Whatever that may be. So they said to me, "I don't want to go to the vet and stand there after they give the dog the shot and wait until it goes to sleep." I said yeah, that's tough, man. But I had failed to grasp their point, as it turns out. "I'd like it better if we went to the woods," they continued, "and I could just shoot the dog. Quick and clean." Hmmm. That is pretty old school. So I said, "You mean like Old Yeller?" But they hadn't seen that movie. Old Yeller came out on Christmas day, 1957, you know. Imagine seeing that on Christmas? Because if you were a kid, it's not massively unlikely that you got a dog that year. Kids ask for dogs, right? Then you go down to the cinema and it's like, "What the f---?"


This is an op-ed pitch that went out yesterday. Ignored.


It's ridiculous this NHL ref was fired for this make-up call. They happen. They can even have value. Can be a way to right a prior wrong. There shouldn't be microphones everywhere. We take this concept of access too far, such that it poisons practicality. Or abnegates it. And in no world is a make-up call worse than a badly missed call. So what next? When do we cull everyone who makes a single bad call? Because this ref got canned over one soundbite. Which anyone who has ever played hockey would understand as a not particularly mendacious part of the sport.


What a culture now where you have not to be human. Which means you have to pretend you're an idiot, and think that people aren't saying and doing all kinds of things all the time that would end their lives if they were seen or heard. And that doesn't mean they're awful things. Human things. But now we have to pretend that reality is not this way. The way it's always been and always will be. You ever know someone where you just have to pretend that what they do is fine, even though they're this massive asshole? But if you confront them with that at all, they'll never talk to you again? And maybe it's someone you have to talk to for some reason or other. Your relationship with them is built on you pretending not to know these things that are the absolute truth. And not the hard to detect truth either. That's what life is like now. You have to pretend to be an idiot and not know how reality works, how human nature works, anything.


Finally, an exchange from today.


Other person: You're profile is peppered with laugh out loud comments. You should be a comedian. Nicely done. I'm (blank) by the way those few compliments headed towards you were sincere, not that your looking for them (insert inane emoji that means whatever)


C: You really don't understand how you're and your work, do you? Good luck.