OK, OK! I'm OK... See it's just my game, my gig, my "stain upon the silence." I once read that "the creative mind is full of explosive contradictions," and we must keep this in mind as I spin out this inner therapy session, this whacked monologue, this struggle.
Pauline: "I can't save the world!" The Landlord: "You must save the world!" back-and-forth forever until yours truly chimes in: "I'LL SAVE THE WORLD!"—chest all puffy and full, eyes sparkling with glee, trying not to take myself too seriously... (that last the most important...) Feast then on my compulsions, and let me know if it helps, because the more I know; the more complex and layered my collage becomes; the more isolated I become from the daily multi-ring circus that this world devolves into—the more hopeless any effort appears, and the more meaningful any sign that this hopelessness is mere cowardice, and collapse, and a selfish unwillingness to engage in the good fight. Sponge me down, tape my gloves, slap the blood back into me and remind me to keep my hands up. Help me get my legs back. Hey! Where's that brick?
"In everyone's life there is a need to find someone who has the capacity
to understand, encourage, and nurture development."
—Ken McIntyre, liner notes to Eric Dolphy's Fire Waltz, Prestige Records, 1978.
I shot an arrow into the air... See I'm always trying to figure out where to go next and how to get there and it sometimes happens that, for instance, I post unsolicited envelopes full of my words to folks I don't really know, but know of. Like there was this D. A. Lawrence guy whose half-a-dozen articles I found in the APBA Journal that really had me buzzing for a while—pieces dealing with game psychology, imaginary worlds, issues of justice and morality (of all things) the Negro Leagues, mythologizing, the importance of historical perspective (without which we cannot know where we are), ETC. So I'm compelled to send him the first 18 pages of this, as a "thank you," as an appreciative gesture, as bait.
[The following excerpts on letterhead which reads "Grand Piano: An Access Los Altos Television Series."]
Received BB10K. Thanks. [It's] eclectic and brilliant, like you... Read it; enjoyed it; understood some of it; have some responses...
...Have you ever worried that the whole thing with baseball and the intellectuals may be just a nostalgia tic? I have. I have the same warn fuzzy feelings about baseball and my youth, baseball and my dad (the whole shmeer) that I have for the wicker seats on the North Shore Line trains I used to take into Chicago. I would rank Dee Fondy and those wicker seats as about equal on the lost love scale. Trouble is, it may be just a clang association with childhood. Of course we can make something of it. That's what intellectuals do—we make something of it. But I can make something of the pattern of cracks in the plaster on the ceiling. ...I really like the published diary form—the diary of all things. It takes a hefty constellation of skills to do this well. I think it would be an excellent graduation exam for a BA—a kind of senior thesis requirement. ...Music. Ah, my career and love. I would stay away from Ives' Fourth during lunch also, if I were you. Now Mahler's Fourth goes just right with a good bratwurst and an ale. As to the Divine Stephane, I saw him once. Just once. Hated it. Couldn't play in tune. That schmaltzy portamento just drove me bananas. Save your breath—I know that's the whole point, I just didn't like it. As to "the rock and roll," as David Letterman calls it, you have been tainted by your proximity to Cleveland. The back-beat is mind-deadening, not mind-opening—how can you possibly be for that? I make it a point to talk to kids on this subject on a regular basis, and (those of them who can speak) always mention getting "up" on the energy level. The more I have these conversations, the more I'm convinced that they really really really need to get laid. There"s more than enough "energy" around, almost all of it bad. Ain't you been on the freeway lately, boy? ...Speaking of drugs, Huey Lewis hasn't heard the News: there's tons of new drugs out there—more than you could want. And old drugs you haven't tried yet. I stopped taking LSD some years ago because I was knee-deep, waist-deep, eyeball-deep in insights about how the world is strung together. I know just about everything about how the world is strung together. What I need to know is how to keep my roof shingles from blowing off in these fucking storms...
...P.S. on music: sorry to hear that John Fahey's in the Poor House. Even I'm hep to John Fahey. And I know you think all my years of musical education have narrowed my ears instead of widening them. Don't bother telling me. I'll introduce you to a good friend, a world-class scholar on Mozart, who doesn't like Schubert because it's "out of control." So I'm aware of the problem...
Meanwhile, the enclosed was sent as an op-ed piece, on spec, to the NY Times two days ago. This one's going to cost me some friends, of the union's-a-union and scab's-a-scab variety. But you're an iconoclast, Rick, you can take it...
Feel free to call me at home if you like. Or keep on sending stuff in the mail. When you run out of stamps, I'll send you some. Good luck with it.
Oh, just a thought: Have you read all 18 pages in one sitting, as I just did? How would you describe the trajectory of the writing in purely stylistic terms? Are you OK, Rick?
David A. Lawrence
[End of excerpts...]
And folks, you know that with me, one thing usually leads to another:
What ensued was a long dialogue that resulted in my putting together the book I'd like to write.
A Game of Twenty-and-Then-Some Questions, which may someday serve as some very nice chapter titles.
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