Search

Nightmares

Friday 6/19/20

Yesterday I woke up at 2:30 in the morning. I could not fall back asleep until five, then got up forty-five minutes later. I worked on a story in my head while I sat there. Last night was unpleasant. I had a nightmare about someone I had been with. Not Molly. The nightmares about her stopped a few years back. They had been every night. That level of trauma. You have all of these emotional nerves in you that are fried, all burnt endings. Each time last night that I went back to sleep, the nightmare about this particular person--someone who was and no doubt still is an evil child (child in the emotional maturity sense)--resumed. A continuation. This must have happened five or six times. I could not get away from the nightmare.


When it began, I was playing hockey for some reason. I had teammates and they were doing something in a basement, and I said it was time to get going to the game--which was occurring in the middle of night, and this exceedingly dark, misty night, when you knew there wouldn't be cars on the road--and they were noncommittal, so I stormed off in some huff about lack of focus. And then this person showed up with my old friend from college, Derek. My impression was they had come in a car together. The last time I saw Derek was after Molly did what she did. I have a hard time calling him because it's very hard to update someone on what is happening here, what I am struggling against, how this works. One way I mediate that a small bit is I include Derek on the email chain. But the email chain is now mostly a means of sharing the new fiction I have written. In the past, with Norberg primarily, I wrote literally millions of letters about what was going on. Ten years' worth were destroyed when I was hacked. Every day I think about that loss. The loss of letters that were works of art and told this story in real time. That day, Derek was in Boston with his family. I couldn't see his entire family. I was too much of a wreck to be able to handle that and make myself presentable. Derek had to cut out for a bit so we could see each other. I wouldn't have been able to maintain enough of a facade in front of his wife and his kid. I was walking death. In many ways, I am walking death even more so now, as life is far harder than it was then, after that happened. But I've lived with it for so long at this point, crushing pain, total aloneness, a near absence of hope, no friends, no family, no support, and a lot of hate directed my way, an industry worth of hate and full-throttle discrimination. And somehow, as I've lived with all of that, I've become stronger, and I've become a greater artist by the day. By the hour. And that makes the hate worse, of course. And the better I get, and the more this stays the same--that is, it does not improve--that more pain I feel, in a life that has absolutely no quality of life to it. Not even the most basic things that almost every other human takes for granted. A kiss on the cheek. A kind word. A regular home. Non-twenty-hour work days.


This journal has largely replaced the letters. So what someone like Derek would see is the new stories--if he chooses to even read them--I have no idea--and some comments on occasion about what is happening. Derek and this woman had come in together. Like they shared a cab. But they hadn't introduced themselves. I made introductions, and this person sort of like moved to shake and kiss his hand at once, several times over. It was awkward. I noticed that she seemed to be making a point not to refer to herself as my girlfriend. I knew she had cheated on me and been with a lot of guys. So far as I know this did not happen in real life, though before I knew her there were things happening that were obviously not very great things. I was told it was some passing phase, part of a depression, and alcoholism, too, as it turned out. I was lonely and this person was smart. Just about as smart as anyone I had known. I am vulnerable to someone smarter than most people. Or I was. In my experience, people who are smarter than most people tend to have a lot wrong with them. They're not strong enough to fix those things. They are usually going to be bad news, like a bomb in your life. Very rarely is someone who is smarter than most people also strong and healthy. Their minds tend to cut them apart from everyone else, and they're not able to deal with that. Beethoven could deal with it, I deal with it, but we are very different people from these people. And "smart" doesn't really cover it. I doubt she works--at least not as what she intended to work as--and has someone who supports her, probably someone older. A former professor or the like.


In this dream I still cared about this person. She was having conversations with an uncle of mine I have been trying to get in touch with for a while, my mom's older brother, Gerard. And she didn't want to give me his number. I didn't know what they could have been talking about. What made the dream so awful was that each time I awoke, I felt about her the way I did back when I cared. It was like that was still inside of me, though I did work through it, I'm quite certain I don't in fact care at all, and it took quite a while--it took really two or three years--before I got over that one. It was kind of like a redux of what happened with Molly. And you can't go through that twice. I cared a lot about this person, to be quite honest. A lot of that was because I've really only had two connections in my life. True connections. My definition of connection isn't going to be what someone else's is. The loss of the second one didn't really bother me that much, because the stakes were so much lower. And by then--this is recent--my life had become even more intense and requiring of focus than just a few short years before. I'm in the eye of an epic hurricane right now, a raging, historical storm with so much at stake. For me, for the culture, for the world. For the here and now, for the near future, for the further off future, and for times when I am physically gone. I am something very different as an artist right now than I was even twenty-five months ago. I'm dramatically different. Later I will discuss the changes of the past two years in my work, but I'll just mention one figure. It was two years ago that this journal began. It was two years ago that I wrote a story called "Funny Lines TK" that began another period of fiction writing--I've had several--unlike any in history.


In those two years, this journal has become the length of nearly 700 entries. I have written nearly 200 short stories. Between those 900 entries and stories, we are talking nearly twenty books' worth of material. Now, this doesn't include the books I have written like the novel, doesn't include the nonfiction, the arts pieces, essays, features, op-eds. Doesn't include the radio, obviously. Someone with no talent, who has written eleven bad poems in their life, but has the right connections, is one of the system people (and has everything going on the identity politics side of things), will be given a genius grant, all of the awards. I'm doing what I'm doing, and it is getting worse, even as I get better and achieve more. I have completely proven what an all-out farce, lie, and slab of bullshit something like a genius grant is. So when another connection dissolved, or whatever it did--and this was with someone I did a lot for, and gave a lot of my time, my energy, and also my love--I was not very upset. I was not upset at all. Plus, that relationship had helped me unlock other parts of myself that fed into what I was creating. I wouldn't have written "Fitty" and so many other works without having had that experience. And it wasn't some life partner thing, so the stakes were much lower. I'm upset about a story like "Fitty," but that is on account you have something that one could call the best thing ever written and you can't give it away because the people of this industry hate you so much, and no one gets to see, right now, what you have, and what is so special.


I don't think these feelings were still in me, but the memories of those feelings were, and feelings can be so strong that the memories of them can make one feel as if they're experiencing the feelings again, for the first time. That's what last night felt like. It was very unsettling, like I had come back from some other region and time that I had been in before. And it made me very tired this morning.