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Hang on days

Saturday 6/8/19

There are days when it takes everything I have to hold on. This is one of those days. They are akin to ever so narrowly avoiding a jackknifing truck on the highway, or making it off a rope bridge over a chasm a second before the bridge snaps. It's that close. And it's getting closer each time I have a day like this. All I can do on those days is create something new. That is all that has a chance to get me to survive that day. What then ends up happening is life gets worse because I have another work of art. I have nowhere to bring it. That makes me feel worse. Because I am so roundly cast out. No one wants to see yet another story from me in an inbox, when they loathe and/or envy me already, and when they are not productive themselves, and when they cannot understand--I mean, it's usually not even vaguely on their radar, because it takes too much attentiveness and brain power and open-mindedness to see/accept that someone could have my mind--that someone could be what I also, paradoxically, so clearly am. In times past, the people in my life would use the work produced on these days to take a shot at me, like I was writing too much of something. "Why just write more of those?" What was I going to do? Kill myself? Go on vacation with my spouse? Lie in bed with my loved one? Hang out with my friends? I don't any money, I don't have any spouse, I don't have any friends. So with that "try to hang on" time, I end up producing more art. I had a book come out recently on May 15, and I should do a post about it, but my heart is not in it. Not one place I have sweated and bled for, for years, for less than minimum wage, for more than a decade sometimes, would grant any coverage. Not a single line. Of this great book. This truly enjoyable book. This work of art. With any kind of support, it would be, at minimum, a huge local hit, especially with the Cape Cod market, the beach read set, the summer readers. What it could do in New England alone would be enough to make it a bestseller. It's a joyous, life-enfolding, giant summer sun of a beach read, set in a place people love, a place that is its own unique character. It's an awesome beach read that is more fun to read than other beach read fare, and requires no more work on the reader's part, and gives you substance, too. You feel deeply, you absorb the book, and you didn't have to do any heavy-lifting as a reader. It becomes a part of you. But because of who I am, it's wasn't going to be on a single "Books You Must Read This Summer" list or anything like that. Something that insignificant. Not even that. This morning I was browsing through an issue of a magazine I worked for for ten years up. I gave them such good work. I busted my ass for them. If you read these pages, you read some of it. Millions of people did. It's one of the highest circulation magazines out there. It was music writing. And I asked for a line of coverage for my book. Not even a full review. Just something. There are people there who are fond of me. Or, if they are not fond of me, there are people there who respect me. But my great work, my years of service, my book? All of that is beaten by connections and system people. Connections and being a system person takes precedence over years of loyal hard work, genius, a book that people could well and truly and passionately love. There is a lengthy book review in this issue of someone with the first name Taffy, and the requisite double last name. This Taffy is a regular at New York Magazine. She's connected. It's her first fiction book. She hasn't had fiction in the places I've had mine in, earning it, overcoming resistance and odds to get it. That's the difference. This is someone given things. The review informs us that the main character in the book is an authorial stand-in for this Taffy. Of course. It's always like that. It's someone fictionalizing their life, rather than inventing. To invent takes talent and imagination. The quoted parts, which are meant to illustrate humor, are painfully unfunny. But there it is. You get the splashy review. You get the sales. It has nothing to do with your intelligence, your talent, the viability of your product as either art or entertainment or both. Being a connected system person takes precedence over everything else. This is also the day I lost my house in 2012. At the time, I thought that was the worst day I would have. You know what? Every single day now is worse than that day. The year to the day after that day, my first book came out, but again, being in the situation I am in, in an industry where it is all about connection and the class system, the book had no chance to even be seen by anyone, let alone beloved, lauded, consumed, recognized. I haven't checked my email in three weeks. My mother sent me something in the mail. I cannot open it. I cannot deal with anything. I have done, it feels like, too many tours of duty, and solo tours of duty at that, one person against an army that is comprised of snipers and people who never come out into the daylight and fight, without a band of brothers, and I cannot handle another. Years and years and years of being brutalized every day, beaten down, receiving twenty-five items of bad news every single day, being completely alone, experiencing the seething hate, the jealousy--the misandry in recent years--realizing that talent is meaningless in terms of getting a chance, realizing that having more talent than anyone, an explosion of so many forms of talent into so many diverse areas, is actually worse than having no talent at all, by far; watching things I do that would make, and do make, someone else's career, send me backwards, put me further away, has reduced me to the point that I can barely function, outside of writing. Which, horrifically, I am getting better at. I can't face anything, because it's always like one more thing might kill me. I am almost completely broken right now. I am some dog that has been skinned alive, repeatedly, and my skin isn't growing back in fully, my veins are out, and each little touch, each drop of rain, is agonizing and threatens to bring on my final breakdown.