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Duck hunt

Wednesday 12/20/23

George Sanders killed himself because he was bored by life and people. No one had anything to say, let alone anything interesting. So he ended his life. There just wasn't anything there for him, so he decided to take his chances and see what there was, if anything, in the next world. I think about that a lot. He was very clear about his reasoning.

I talk to people and I really don't like them because I don't respect them. I realize they could be talking to a stump. They just want to talk. Not in the healthy sense of being heard because they have something to say and input could be useful. They're empty and it's as if talking this way puts some false version of air back in their tires. They'll position themselves as the hero in some non-existent drama, too.

I'm in these conversations, and I could just play a recording of me saying the same thing. None of these people are going to ask after me at all. They'll treat me like I'm dead--or, rather, like I don't exist and never existed. I can be going through the worst thing--I am--and they won't ever inquire about that. If I should bring something up that clearly has more behind it, which ought to prompt at least a question, they'll take the subject back to themselves and their life of leisure, or basic-ness, or both, but with myriad complaints about how onerous some non-thing is. They create these dramatic straw men so that they can play the valorous being in their little manufactured trifles of domesticity.

What will they talk to me about in terms of what is happening in the world which I am in? The weather. They always prefer to downshift to the weather. Or if I went to see It's a Wonderful Life. I had a conversation like that yesterday. Most days, I struggle to remain alive. Do I leave this world today? How do I do it? Do you want to do it today? What would become of the work? Is there anyone who would tend to it at all? The answer to that final question is almost surely no. I have the best work ever. That doesn't really cover it. That makes it sound like I have four things I can put up there. That's not the reality. I have thousands of works beyond anything else. That's the reality. I have work, and what seems like an endless amount of such works, to impact this world as nothing ever has. It can't die with me. I am the only person right now who is going to do anything by it. It's bigger than me. So I am here. That is what often stops me in my thinking. What are at least phases of planning. Or thinking. A person cannot live as I live. You can't carry on like this. It's impossible. Every day, I get up and do the impossible. That which is impossible for a human to do.

But those who know me I'm not a human. I'll be fine. I'll carry on. I'll triumph. It's him. It's Colin. They use this, really, as an excuse to be uncaring and beastly and selfish. If someone cares about me, they don't want to know what I'm enduring, what is happening, because it upsets them. Or, it runs counter to their easy life, where all is surface, just the way they like it. They want to know I'm alive, but not the details. They expect there to be this agreement where I don't tell them anything because it causes them pain or it goes below the surface and is something real and not just cosmetic. So, the pain must be all my own. They can't even experience the echo. They're not the ones having to live it. But even the echo gets them too down, or inconveniences them too much, or is what they have determined is asking too much of them. Do I believe they love me? To be honest, no, not really. Do I think anyone does? No, not really. That's the key phrase: Not really. The "really" part is the big part. I don't believe that one who loves another would be this way with them. Someone might think that's wrong. That's fine. I could be wrong. But it's not an unreasonable idea. You can see why someone would have it.

One of these people kept inquiring whether I went to see It's a Wonderful Life this year at the Brattle. They won't ask me about much else, but they'll ask me about this kind of thing. I understand they're not trying to hurt me--it would make them feel better if I said, "Oh, yes, I went, I had a really nice time, was good to get my mind off things." I get that that's probably where they're coming from in what they want for me as everything else is what it is. But they won't even ask, "How did you think of that?" or "When did you write that?" or anything along those lines. The film played from Friday to Monday. Right now, it's not two in the morning, and I'm up for work. I work anywhere from eighteen to twenty-four hours a day. Every day. I'm not holding out with this journal. I should think that's obvious. I didn't just get back from some romantic encounter. I am fighting. I have thousands of people and dozens of mechanized forces--and an entire industry--working against me. In a world that hates intelligence and greatness and doesn't and can't read. I'm on the clock, too. Because my earthly life is only so long.

I'm polite. I'm indulgent. I am sensitive to people's feelings. I make up for their failings and selfishness with my goodness. I absorb. I absorb the blows, the insults, the pettiness, the rudeness, the cruelty, the lack of consideration. There is a completely different standard for me and then for everyone else. And as I said, people take advantage of this. If I ask someone to do the smallest thing, after all I do for them, and all I'm going through, they'll say, "I'm not you, it's different for you, you can do anything." They use that as an excuse. That's why you can't call me every now and again and ask how I am? That's why you can't read that thing I sent you six months ago?

I told this person what I was doing. Recently, I've written forty-nine things. and none of that includes anything from this journal. I don't count this journal--it's a between the things thing. It's important, because it gets truths out there that need to be out there, and it's vital to this fight I'm in, and it's a unique work of art in its own right, but it's a between thing, not one of the things things. "Finder of Views" is a thing. By later on today it should be at least fifty recent things. I've written more in this month of December than almost any writer will write in their career. I had said that I can't act as I feel, because if I was dying, and had given up, become 350 pounds, couldn't get out of bed, was drinking myself to death, virtually no would lift a finger. Hardly anyone, if anyone, would intercede, no one who would try to help me. I know this. Others would be delighted. This is all just reality. That's how it is. For me. Not for anyone else. That it's this way for me alone...well, how do you think that makes me feel? Because it's just me. Nothing goes this way with anyone else. Nothing would go that way with anyone else.

So I said that I had this to write, and that to write, and probably for nothing, but I had to keep trying. And then yesterday, when they asked me again, I finally just said, you know, I really didn't want to see that movie this year. There's obviously something behind that, right? And this person...they didn't want to know. They didn't even ask, "Why's that?" They didn't want to think about why that might be, because it was probably very painful for me. And then they'd have to experience that residual pain. That's Colin's problem. He'll handle it. He's like some super being. He's not like anyone else. And the tone, too. They didn't want to know. Couldn't have moved on to something else faster. Something dumb and trifling.

I'll tell you the reason, though. Every day of my life I make, finish, or work on the best art there has ever been. Every day I create something that is far superior to such a film. That could be more beloved. That would be if I was not in this position. Or maybe this world. But I don't get a chance. And my work destroys that work. It crushes it. There is no comparison. And I like that work. But Capra had his shot. He had support and backing and he didn't have thousands of people and mechanized forces working against him. And if he could do that with that film, what could I do with what I've created and am creating? So am I supposed to go and celebrate that? I don't want to. I'm creating work on an entirely different level. Capra, the Beatles, anybody. This is a daily masterpiece factory. And I'm being denied. I am being given no shot because of what I am. Not on account of what I'm not. Or what I've done wrong.

I didn't want to see it. I didn't want to get up at two in the morning, creating for twelve hours, go out and see it, come home and create more, sleep for two hours, and get up and keep creating, knowing that I had no chance, that it didn't matter what I made. Until this changes. How can it change? I have no idea. No one is going to help me. I have to change so much, on my own, before I might get to have a chance. If I get a chance, I can change so much in this world to the good. I know that I can. I know that the work can.

Then this person just went back to talking about themselves. Repeating themselves. Saying the same things they always say. A few additions, but those were the same things they said the other day. It's just how people are. They are going to be decent to you insofar as what your life is about is simple and prosaic. If I had kids, and one of them went to a birthday party at school, the this person would have been far more solicitous in the conversation, with enthusiasm, questions asked. Because it's just whatever. Typical and interchangeable. Like the weather. This person will always ask me about the weather we're having here in Boston, but even knowing the deal, they will never ask me about me. And this is someone who likes me, in theory. But it's also because they like me, in theory, that they don't want to know. And they'll say, "I would do anything to help you." Well, you're not telling the truth. You wouldn't even voice concern. And when I talk to someone, I sound like I do on the radio. I sound strong. It's not like, "Ugh, this horrible downer of a man." There is life in my voice. For whatever reason, there is. It's like the life cannot be beaten out of me, no matter how much I suffer. The spirit, thus far, is always there. The fight, the humor, the candor, the strength. Which is another reason people exploit the loophole of, "It's him, he's different, it'll be fine."

Such exchanges--if you want to call them that--and this knowledge of how people are have had me thinking a lot lately about my own story, "Hope You're Listening," which will be in Become Your Own Superhero: Intrepid Exceptions to Modern Fiction. The story takes the form of a series of associations which arise from the narrator relaying how people talk to him, and how they expect him to listen to whatever they're saying, and he also does some sharing of his own, as if we, the readers, are his listeners, but his sharing seems quite a bit different, like there's some other reason behind what he's sharing with us. And the story builds to this weird, annoying conversation he has with this guy he used to know who was really uncouth in what he might say--as we learn in the first line of the story, which sort of gets reprised--but recast--near the end--as they get together when the guy is in town overnight on business. They go to a bar, and the visitor has this bizarre way of talking about a Modelo, as if it's very familiar to everyone. He asks the narrator if he wants a Modelo. Not a beer, not a drink, but a Modelo. He's so casual with is. It's like he's talking in his own head to himself, except that it's out loud and it's to someone else. It's an elegiac, unique story with edge, and it's just so true on multiple levels. It beats like a heart. It reaches out with life. Beckons. Is there to be had, beating and beating and beating on the page. This is from it. The mechanized forces are doing all they can to make sure it does not come to be in a spot where all of the people who might love it--and who might need it--might see it.

When I played the video game Duck Hunt, my primary intention—and then, over time, my sole intention—became to kill the dog. He was bumptious and not dignified as a hunting dog should be. I’d get angry that I couldn’t shoot him, which would have made it easier to move on to a better dog who hadn’t known this one and would be free of his influence. I’d take my anger out on the ducks in flight above the marsh by getting up close to the screen and pressing the gun against them, which is neither in the spirit of the game nor the hunt. Anything can happen in nature, but it is impossible to shoot that dog. So what does that say?

People call me and tell me of their problems and I’m supposed to listen. I have to talk just enough so that they don’t keep asking if I’m still there. When they inevitably do ask if I’m still there, I say that I’m listening. They like to hear that, and they go on.

Dead robins are on the ground across the city. Over the red fronts of some of them are these gray markings. Would that be a deadly fungus? There are so many birds, but how often do you see a dead one? How is that birds make a secret of death, when they so readily attest to just how much a living thing may be alive? It seems there should be an observable, extreme contrast. Where are these dead birds normally in their grand, grave numbers? Does a bird know death is coming and finds a spot to leave this world so that no one will ever see that bird or its body again, save perhaps another bird, who would know about these things and where to look? But why would it be looking, when there is a world in which it could be living?

In elementary school, I thought kids were assholes. Often I’d find myself thinking, “You need to grow up.” It wasn’t what I expected to be thinking later with adults. I certainly wouldn’t have expected to think it more.

If I had a hacksaw and removed my legs and then used a torch or something like a torch to cauterize the wounds, because I believe that is how it works with wounds of that nature, and then cut off one of my arms after my legs, or my leg-stumps, as such, were made to stop bleeding, and then, in a last determined flourish, put the hacksaw in my mouth and removed my other arm, and rolled atop the still-lit torch to staunch the two latest flows of blood, and received a call from someone that I answered by pressing my tongue against the phone, they’d still expect me to listen. No matter what it was about. A child’s baseball game and how the child didn’t get to play the position the child wished to play. He had to be the second baseman instead of the shortstop. I could scream in agony. I could provide a quick burst of insight that I was troubled and sufficiently so that over the course of the last ten minutes I had removed no less than all four of my limbs with a hacksaw. At some point I would be asked a question. That would be what I was going to have for dinner, because people like to talk about food, and that’s a good way for them to get themselves thinking and talking about the food they’d like to have and maybe will.

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