The Monument was closed today. No climbs. Ran three miles, though, after running three yesterday. I wrote a 2000 word piece this morning on this Laura Ingalls Wilder flak, which speaks to far larger issues in our culture. An editor of mine made a thoughtful comment on Facebook, after I posted an excerpt from the essay--which I also cut into an 800 word op-ed; we will see what happens next--describing how he read the Little House books after his children had, calling them wonderful. I'm not keen to do a ton of cutting-and-pasting between mediums with this blog, which I intend as my public diary, my version of Pepys's diaries, Kafka's journals, or Delacroix's diaries, and a future book--or books, but I think I'll put my response in here, as it can stand on its own.
'They are wonderful books, and they're also novels--so fiction--that borrow from her life. What was she supposed to do, if she was writing fiction or nonfiction? Leave out the believable details of the world she was creating? That's called bad writing. So we're now in a world where not only are you supposed to write poorly, you're supposed to do so planning for the outlandish shortcomings, both intellectual and moral, to say nothing of mental health issues, of people generations upon generations later? (And the people of this age who fear nothing more than reality/truth.) This is how society is going to end, if it ends. It is going to end with the killing off of art. That, more than anything, is the worst we can do to ourselves. Art contains everything of human experience, the human condition, both the answers and the mysteries of human life. And it takes many forms. It's not just a book, but it's also a way of interacting with the world, and with each other. This is how we intellectually and spiritually genocide ourselves as humans. We have to stop lying to ourselves, to some degree. Because when we lie to ourselves, we have only books of fake pep, lives of fake pep, where all is happy happy happy happy happy happy. And that's not reality, that's not life, it's not connection, it's not love, it ain't nothing real or good. Regarding the Little House books, I recall starting to read Farmer Boy--which I read last--thinking at first I was not going to dig this--I wanted to hang out with Laura, Ma, Pa, and this was a different family! But it hooked me straight away, and I saw Wilder's powers of imagination, how she inhabited, creatively, a home she was never in herself. And I knew this was a legit writer, someone I could learn from.'
I would love for someone to tell me what this woman was supposed to do. She had no say, as a girl, in where she lived, and with whom she lived. She wrote novels that drew upon her experiences. When you record your experiences, or when you invent a fictional world where people in a time and in a place make certain remarks, in keeping with that place and time, and you put these in your books, you are not espousing the beliefs behind those remarks, necessarily. So she wasn't allowed to write her books? Tell her stories? Instead she was supposed to wag her finger at parents--fictionalized versions of parents--because one of them repeated some line about Native Americans, and they did not do what no one else was doing at the time, and stop traveling West, in protest of taking the land of Native Americans, so that future people who trade in mental illness, nullity, and racism couldn't carp at her because of their shortcomings and self-loathing? That's not fascist? She can't tell her stories? And if you're saying that she can't, let me ask you what you would have done if you were her? Ran away from home so you wouldn't have to live on a prairie? Really? Because I think there's no way you would have done that. I think there is no way you will do anything your hunter-mob isn't doing with you, so you can pat yourself on the back and tell yourself you're a good person without having to do any of the heavy lifting of being an actual good person. And if you had writing ability, and you had these great stories, you wouldn't have told them? She can't, even if she wasn't writing fiction, write down what she saw, heard, felt, experienced? And she's the baddie, eh? You are saying she wasn't allowed to write her stories, but she's bad and you're good? That is as ass backwards as a burro that sports its rear end for a face. It's dehumanizing, it's revolting, and it's all about what is wrong with you, not her. It's also betrays a complete inability to cogitate. It shows a broken and simple person.
What else do we have going on? Started an essay on The Ox-Bow Incident and William Wellman. Picked up some work with JazzTimes. Picked up some work with The Washington Post, writing about Louisa May Alcott. Really strong pitch to Rolling Stone.
The Red Sox are romping again. Going for eight in a row. I cannot believe their record, because I don't think they're this kind of record good, but the league is so bad, so I guess it makes sense. I would like to see the season not come to grief on account of David Price. I wish they'd use him as a bullpen weapon in the postseason, if they're playing in the postseason beyond that one game play-in thing. He is the single worst postseason pitcher--as a starter--in baseball history. I don't think that is ever going to change. But there's basically no way this team doesn't win 100 games now. They will be 64-29 at the end of tonight.
Final proofs came in for Buried on the Beaches: Cape Stories for Hooked Hearts and Driftwood Souls.
Spoke to my new producer at NPR. We are looking at doing an exciting segment next month, which would be Byrds-related. Clouds so swift, rain won't lift.
That entry yesterday of the finest baseball seasons by decade took a while, even though I was humping my way through it pretty good, and a couple other contending seasons occurred to me today for their respective decades: Dwight Gooden in 1985--check out his WAR gap over the #2 guy--and Lou Gehrig in 1931 (or 1934, for that matter).
Lastly, I sign off with this. There are amazing things on YouTube. Here we have a bootleg that never got pressed up on vinyl--it's a tape a guy made on September 27, 1965, at the Circle Star Theatre in San Carlos, California, of the Animals. Isn't that something? And decades later, he put it up on YouTube. There are some BBC Animals sides, and a pre-fame recording from Newcastle in 1963, but besides one other boot I'm aware of--with truly bad sound--this is the only arena recording from their glory years. It's so good. Listen at 25:54, which is when their cover of Sam Cooke's "Bring It on Home to Me" starts. Manna! Then they venture into "We Gotta Get Out of this Place." Don't you love Eric Burdon's voice?