I had tried to get this done by Sunday, but it didn't happen. I've been working kind of hard, one might say. Earlier I mentioned two big projects for the site. One is getting the sections with the links up to date. The other I was quiet about. I just finished it. I copied and pasted every single entry in this journal in Word documents, because they will all be part of a massive series of books someday. It takes about a half hour to copy and paste twenty entries. That meant this was a fifty-hour job. But it's done. I wanted to make sure it was done before I got to 2000 entries, which will happen in the next day or two.
As for the links: it is a massive undertaking. Then I find things that I didn't even know I had, which should have been on here before in the sections I thought were all done, but are not all done. For instance, I thought the Beatles section was up to date, and then I came across this piece I did for Rolling Stone on the first take of "Strawberry Fields Forever," which isn't up in that section. I am drowning in links. But when they are all up--or many more are up, at least--it will just make me more powerful in the war against with these people.
I have to go to the dentist tomorrow. I went yesterday for two procedures. Going to the dentist is a pain, because I take the commuter rail. I had my teeth cleaned and a filling replaced. The dentist had said that the old filling was this old kind of filling, and it was leaking towards the nerve, or the root, or something. He showed me on the X-ray. It seemed to look weird. I'm not a dentist. I put it off for a while, but he said I'd have pain and problems within the next year, so I scheduled to have this done on my previous visit sixth months ago. I couldn't feel a lot of my mouth after, so I didn't realize until I got home and that wore off that the bite seemed uneven. Plus, there was this sharp point, which may have gone away. That's kind of worrying. That it was there in the first place and, what, am just loosing parts of a tooth?
Today after writing many thousands of words, I headed to Charlestown at half past two or so to run stairs in the Monument. No exercise yesterday. There's also kind of been a lot going on. Incredibly unpleasant things. One must realize that as all of this is happening--as the hell unfolds, as I fight the war, as I deal with these bigots and broken adult children--I am writing. The amount of mental discipline that takes--and doing it all in this place, knowing how it's all rigged against you, working and creating for later--whenever later might be, if it ever comes--takes...well, it takes something very different.
As I was inside the Monument doing the stairs, CNN turned down the latest Beatles op-ed. Guy liked it a lot, said so, but couldn't use it. He gave it a fair look. It was an honest look. I can always tell. Who knows why he couldn't use it. Wasn't a quality thing, wasn't a discrimination thing. Maybe he was full up, maybe it wasn't political enough, maybe it was too arts-related. But it was on the up and up. So, I sent a quick note back that I appreciated the look, and on one goes.
Did 100 push-ups today, too, the same as Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. On Saturday I also ran three circuits in the Monument. I didn't get up to ten as I stated I intended to before January was out, but it's tough to get over there with the new hours. I feel fit, though. I can do the ten later. On Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday I ran the short stairs at City Hall. I kind of like doing that. It's another way to mix it up. I run them 100 straight times when I do them without doing the big stairs first. Gets my heart rate up higher, I think. It's just different. All of the stair workouts are different from each other. They're all beneficial. Sunday marked 2394 days, or 342 weeks, without a drink.
I worked today on a story called "Finder of Views." It's what I've been referring to some people as one of the big ones. "Rosa" is another--I worked on that story Monday. Two of the big ones. "Finder of Views" is about a man who has bought large quantities of black construction. He cuts a hole in each piece--or each piece as he uses it for his purposes--and fashions a kind of view finder for something he should not be doing, but which is also completely understandable--I mean, it horrible in various ways--that he should not be doing. It makes one ask if they'd be doing the same thing. I think more often than not, the answer would be yes. It is a tragic, beautiful, searing, ugly, shining, human story. The best stories are the stories that are the most human. Right now it's just under 3000 words.
I worked on this Beatles/A Hard Day's Night book project today. Obviously not for Rowman and Littlefield. I was talking to a friend and he said "I know how hard it must be to just write all of these amazing works and have no idea that anything could happen with them, where they could go, how they'd be seen, but every single thing you are making right now will be seen by millions of people in time, in your time. So it makes sense to do it all, hard as that is with everything." It is hard. It's about the hardest thing ever, in a way.
I am almost caught up on the emails. I am dealing with the war every day. I am in the inbox every day. It is the first time in several years that this has been true. Anyone else would have shut down totally. I took long stretches away. But it is winning time. I said I would make myself stronger yet, and I have made myself stronger yet. I will do everything I need to do.
In those emails was one from a writer who had read a story of mine called "The Honkers." He said it was a novel in five pages. "But then again, that is what you do." I thought that was well put.
I wrote a story called "Favorite?" I've been using the form of the interview of late. A couple times. This story takes the question and answer form. The person being interviewed is a soldier for hire. We don't know the exact purpose of the interview. Is it at a medical facility? Is it for research? Is it journalism? He's asked what he likes best about war, his most vital cause, thoughts on daycare, if he fears death, if he fears life, if he were a fish what kind of fish would he be, what advice would he give a visiting alien, favorite music, goals, thoughts on cheating, importance of religion, favorite animal.
There is nothing like it. Which is something that is often said to me about each of these stories and which I have to say as well. Because it is true. One of the people who read "Best Present Ever" to his family--with him and his wife trading off--and whose girls sent me a video after thanking me--it was really sweet--said he has been reading it on his own and cannot ever get it out of his head.
Then he starts talking about what a crime this is, that these people of this industry are doing what they're doing, and even the ones who aren't are just helpless and wouldn't know what to do with amazing work if it boxed them about the face and then sat down and drew the clearest of maps. They're clueless. They are helpless. They can only do what they already do with crap that is like crap they are used to. And then for word-spreading and backing and plaudits you have to be a member of the system. Born into it. It's like it's pre-ordained. There is no one fighting with me. I don't know if there is anyone capable of fighting. They just take it. They stop writing. They leave. They give up. I feel like this is going to have to happen through me alone. Change, I mean. The razing of this evil system. But it is such a real form of segregation. As real as any kind of segregation. If you look at who you are, and you are not one of them--if you're not a Laura van den Berg, a Percival Everett, a Curtis Sittenfeld--there's no chance. I am going to be that chance-maker for people. But I think the change only comes with me. I don't think there's anyone else who can fight or do anything right now against what is happening, against what this is.
This same person also read "The Speaker," which is another work I just completed, and it was a similar string of texts--people say it's hard to find the words, they are so over-awed and in a sense speechless. "The Speaker" is about a speaker who is the most anticipated speaker in the history of a hall, or perhaps in all of history. There's been a huge wait for his arrival. It's years in the making. People have been born and died, tickets have been handed down in wills. Lives have begun, ended, changed. And the big day has finally come for the speaker's appearance. A lot of the story is the speaker's bio. Where he's been. Who he's been. Why he's so important. It's intense. That's what my friend said. Builds and builds. There's no rhythm in any other story like the rhythm in this one. It takes you with it. It surprises again and again. And when the bio is done, out comes the speaker to this rapt crowd. And the speaker's speech consists of exactly one line. That's it. And it's a doozy.
I also finished the story "To the Wrist," another one called "Thissa Way, Thatta Way," which is about a cam girl with a deformed face. I've been working on "Mr. Spangles" and "Banged Up."
It's after six o'clock. I haven't even showered yet. I'm sitting here in the clothes I ran stairs in.
This is the Charlatans playing "Sproston Green" in Chicago in the early 1990s. Sets a mood. Been on a lot today. It's intense here right now.
Anyway. Work harder tomorrow. Sound the mantra for now. Total focus, matchless art, no mercy when we get there.