Someone who has shafted me hard, lied to me, cost me an annual salary in the six figures, led me on, bailed on me, probably stays up nights feeling guilty over how they've done me, just had their dad die. I sent them a nice note. Leaving everything else aside. I just felt maybe what I said--everyone just says the same thing, but I don't--would perhaps be helpful. It's hard for me not to help people. It can even be when they've cost me so much, or when I just can't stand them. I was reading at Starbucks. I came home because I was losing it. I am doing worse again. Weird qualifier. Like I had stopped doing worse. I guess what I mean by "worse again" is those are the days when I could be dead before they are over. The day can be the second half of my date. 9/17/75-10/2/19. That kind of thing.
Emma stayed home from school yesterday because of her anxiety. She doesn't fight. She gives in. I know it's a character flaw with me, but I find it very hard to respect weakness and cowardice. I'm destroyed right now, I've had a nervous breakdown, but that took a lot of years of being bludgeoned, alone, every day. But even now I try. I come home and I start a story. I make a great work of art that no other artist could touch, from a place no other artist has gone to. Emma won't talk to me about whatever is happening with her, which she and hers are complicit in having had happen. For quite a while, our relationship was me doing things for her. Helping her. While I have what I have going on going on. Without so much as a "how are you, Colin?"
That adds up for me. I'm not temperamental, so much as everything in me, like my mind, can move faster than light has ever dreamed. I will not state the reasons here, but I know why Emma is in the situation she is in. She wants to continue enabling that situation. I was at Starbucks yesterday reading for like twelve hours, and she texts me about wanting to come down, but we can't talk about anything that's going on. And I'm like, no, I'm good. I'm not here to entertain you, to be your diversion. You want to have a natural, real talk, which will cover a lot of things, from stupid things to important things, fine. Otherwise, no. Lear's Fool had to speak up. You can't just do the yucks. I get that that has its place, we all have moments when we just want to talk about the ballgame, leave the heavy stuff aside. But this was not that. This was an extension of perpetual evasion, save when in a situation that actually incubates the problem in the guise of fixing it. And I cannot say what that is to anyone here. I can say it to John. The thing about me is I can help you. I'm going to be able to offer counsel that others cannot. I will have insights, and they will be accurate, that others won't have. This is pretty much the most I can offer anyone, apart from the "here are some all-time works of art" bit.
I was talking to John about this this morning. Some very worrisome things. Some are quite shocking in how unhealthy they are. People live with their hands in front of their faces. Now, I can see this, and it's obvious. But I'm not allowed to do anything. And rather than pretend it's fine, I prefer to remove myself. I also think, okay, dude, you have real problems, you have problems that no one in human history has ever had, plus you have two books to write in three months, while writing everything else, just focus on you. But John and I were talking about it, and it's like our version of kid talk. I said to him, "this is what people do. They talk about their kids. I don't have kids, but this is as close as we get to that talk. And it's simple. It has the right amount of drama, it has a gossip element, it has a shop talk element, and this is how it's supposed to be, this is all it is for everyone. No wonder even when things were better no one wants to know me. I mean, who wants to talk about depth and truth and ideas and art? That sounds exhausting to people."
He disagrees, of course. He thinks I make those things sound fascinating and fun and hilarious and I stir people in their souls and they connect with it and me. But I just think, right, whatever, clearly not.
On my birthday a couple weeks ago, my sister went on my FB page and wished me a happy birthday. I don't use that page. It's still up. My FB author page I use. I updated that this morning, where I have a whopping sixty-three followers. Which is ten more than the amount of Twitter followers I have. It's amazing, really. It's like a miracle to do so much, and have so few people following you. I look up some "writers" who have published three things in literary journals no one has heard of, and you won't see less than 2000, 3000 followers. (It's funny: the elderly like me, but not that much. If someone does sign up for something, it's almost always a grandparent. This itself is very rare, but when I do get a follower or subscriber, they are generally post-sixty. Another massively worrisome thing that John thinks means nothing.) My sister meant well. But I didn't want anyone to do that, because no one I knew--my relatives included--were going to wish me a happy birthday. I don't need that sting right now. And it's not because they think I'm this mega-asshole of the family. Believe me, we have those. I have this one cousin whom everyone dislikes. But they'll wish her a happy birthday. And everyone knows she sucks. But, she's simple and dumb. Pairs up with people even more simple and dumb. By a lot, actually. It's impressive. (Wrecks her kid in the process, too.) But me, eh, he's complicated, he has his deep stuff, he probably thinks I'm an idiot, interacting with him makes me feel dumb, I'm sure he has plenty of other stuff going on, I'll say nothing. I'm sure some think I don't want to hear from them. What ends up happening is you are all alone at the most reductive, simplistic levels. Even those levels. The levels of basic, bare minimum human courtesy.
But. I won't enable anyone. I am also not going to help anyone who won't fight. I don't mean fight like I do. I am like an alien unlike every person on this planet and I am increasingly certain I do not belong in this world. The alien cannot have success or popularity in this world. Reach the world. Today John is telling me how much he's correct about, because I always tell him he's always wrong. He starts listing things he'd been right about. Including medical things with my heart. He adds that the only reason he hasn't been proven right yet about my imminent--in his view--global domination is because it just has not happened yet, he doesn't have the proof at the moment, but he will. He says, "In forty-eight hours you could phone me that you have a million Twitter followers and some huge book deal and the phone is ringing non-stop" and I started laughing so hard--probably that kind of laugh that you'd do right before Judgment Day, when you knew it was the end--that I dropped the phone. In other words, not a mirthful laugh. We are living in a world where a no-talent, white guilt profiteer author makes millions of dollars and has her own bathroom--seriously, I saw an article on this last night--at a restaurant in Boston. Where we are evil if we don't listen to and elect to bow down and worship shrieking teenagers with whom we have no reason--show me a paper, show me a book, show me a highly-detailed lecture, show me your website with the two million authoritative words you wrote on climate change--to think they know anything about science. The world is insane. It seeks out insanity. It doesn't seek out truth, it rejects truth, hates it, fears it. I'm truth.
If you can't deal with something, it's hard for me to know you if you are not trying to find a way to deal with it. In fact, you will sicken me. After what I've been through? I can lose all respect for you in twenty seconds. We can try to deal with things so many ways. You can't face going outside? Maybe you turn to drawing, creating. You deal in other ways, until you can deal with what you can't deal with. But just being a lump? With problems that are garden variety problems? I get that we feel how we feel. But things are still things. I see endless weakness. One of the prevailing qualities of people is weakness. I'm a person who couldn't check his email for six weeks. But I have completely broken down, after having gone years and years longer than anyone else would have been able to, a certain way. In a unique situation. After so much abuse and loss to begin with. What my wife did was nothing compared to what has followed, and a lot of people wouldn't have lived through what she did. And that's a comparative happy memory to everything subsequent. But even when I was not checking that email, I was creating my ass off. I was still sending things out. I was writing more and better than ever. I was not drinking. I have changed so many things drastically in my life, huge overhauls of how I live, in order to keep going. I was climbing that Monument every day. Fighting. If you don't fight, I just have no feeling for you. I can't even look at you. And meanwhile, while I'm fighting a fight no one could, I'm supposed to put that all aside and help more people who have it a trillion times easier? Who can't even ask about me? No. I'm not going to do that. Call me if there's an emergency. Otherwise, you do you, as they say.
Having said that, you know, of course, that I'm going to help anyone who needs it. Which pisses me off about myself. I do think I am too "there." That allows people to take advantage of me. One time--and this horrified me--John said, "Molly would know that someday she could phone you if she was really in trouble and you would talk to her, because that is the kind of man you are." God I hope not. I hope I'm not that man. I hope that demon never comes within a hundred trillion miles of my soul. But John, to be fair, is pretty good at being correct about things that have nothing to do with my career, quest, attempted outcome. I'm a communicator. I am a fighter. I'm not a giver-upper. I come back from a lot. And people know that, and they exploit it. In my relationships, I do almost all of the work. I carry the load, I say the words. If I say nothing, there will usually be nothing. This is somewhat different in the decent relationships I have. It's not equal, of course. It's not even 90-10. Partially because there is more to me, there are more dimensions, parts, depths. I can do more, take on more. It's like a curse. You just want to be an average fucking person. But one of those decent relationships is with John, one is with Emma. I think it would be better if I remove myself, put the onus on others, otherwise it's just leaning against someone, taking them for granted, that they will do the work, give you what you need, always. That's not right. Decent relationships like this should be closer to right. And John's and mine is after a big discussion along these lines this summer, when I was in Rhode Island, actually. These are two of the only people I think of as even being able to be honest with themselves, accept responsibility, and act on it, even in small ways. Most people give you no reasons to have any expectations for them save disappointment. I don't think it's a human thing so much as it is an age thing, I think that's how we've become now.
I also assembled a shoe rack today, which had been in a box for like two years, then outside my door for over a month. Write you a story that is better than anything Chekhov ever wrote? Give me an hour. Put together a shoe rack? That's like a minor miracle that that happened. You just popped the pieces together. Didn't even require a screwdriver. And I'm out there in the hall, everything spread everywhere, trying to breathe, going slowly, coffee for comfort on the ground, like I'm studying the final launch plans of a rocket ship and we have lift-off in an hour. I am a helpless, helpless man in some ways. But I'm reading these instructions, and it's like "Insert the hooks." There are no hooks. This is why I was awful on standardized tests. I know exactly what the definition of a hook is. So what is going on here? By hook they meant peg. A peg is a hook? John and I used to know a guy whose dick was hooked. It was disturbing.