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On strength

Thursday 4/11/24

When we enable weakness, we--as in society--come to despise strength. We will seek to hold back the person of strength via the ways of weakness if we are able to. Because the person of strength stands apart, and the people of weakness have the numbers, this is not hard to do, or certainly not difficult to attempt. The person of strength is simply denied what people of weakness would be afforded because they are weak and thus viewed as no threat to the others who are weak.

This is a society where things will fall to you no matter how low and undeserving you are. What things will not do is find you the higher up you go. The people below, and the numbers of the people below, will prevent that from happening.

So what do you do? I don't know.

I had mentioned the other day Jarren Duran and an error he made in the field for the Red Sox. It quite likely cost his team an early game in a season of 162. A bad play for a play that has to be made, but it's not a huge deal.

Guy gets to his locker, and he starts saying how bad he is, how he is going to have to buy another journal--he journals--to write about what a terrible person he is, that he's glad it was a day game because now he had more time to beat himself up all night, etc.

You are paid a lot of money to play a child's game, and you screwed up. You failed to make a play a high school player makes. There's accountability. This guy wasn't even booed. He just messed up and life goes on. Perform better next time.

Part of being a professional athlete is being mentally strong. But very little in the world right now is about being mentally strong and people who are live in a kind of isolation, unless they have fame and money, and then they don't live in isolation because of fame and money. They'll have people who want to know them, but often for the wrong reasons, because fame and money should not be why we wish to know anyone.

We should wish to have people in our lives because they add to our lives and we add to theirs. We value them because of who they are as a person, the behavior they model, what they stand for, what they teach us. All kind of things--but those kinds of things.

A reality about sports--which either no one picks up on or no one is brave enough to talk about in this age--is that the people who are the most successful in them are the people least like the ways in which people of the world have become.

They don't look for excuses. When the pressure increases, they rise up, rather than break apart. They want to compete like their very life depends on it. They want to compete against themselves and get better than they were. They have standards of excellence and they work their asses off. They look for an edge everywhere an edge might be found.

I was reading comments online from people saying they hoped that Durran's teammates all give him a hug and that they get him through this night and that they tell him they love him, etc.

This. This right here is why almost everyone is mentally ill. The shunning of accountability, the ability to cope, the lack of perspective in the turning relatively small things into emotionally overwhelming things. But it's more than that. It's that everyone like this has a throng of handmaidens who are the exact same way--and as broken--waiting to enable them in their weakness.

This journal is a three million word record at not yet six years-old. We are closing in on entry number 2800. In addition to being the longest work in history, it is the most candid record in detailing someone going through hellish things, while totally alone, hated by thousands who will do everything not to let him advance, and it speaks in detail about all of that. Speaks about drinking, speaks about not so much as being on a date in ten years because this person has evolved into someone so far removed from what is back in society and how people are.

And what does anyone who reads this record see? Someone who refuses to quit, to give in. Who battles, who tries. Who only and ever tries harder. Someone who seemingly never sleeps. Someone who always does the right thing. Takes no bait. Does not give in to any anger. Helps people. Is there for people. Someone who actually grows and improves every day. For real. Someone who invents constantly even though people are not going to let the world see that work precisely because they know it's the best work they've ever seen and it's by this guy.

And the more he tries and battles, and the stronger he somehow becomes, the more he is feared, hated, envied. I'll do something like publish three pieces in a week in the highest circulation venues in the world, in front of millions of people, and there is hardly anyone even among those theoretically on my side who will say, "Good job." Because people are looking up at someone they have no idea how to talk to because we're not on the same level. So it's silence from everyone, whether it's someone who wants me dead or a friend or relative.

Do you know what that's like?

A friend was telling me recently that in the past he had called a relative of mine because he was worried about me and thought I might die. He said he did this from time to time. This was unbeknownst to me. And he told me, "The attitude was that you'd be fine. That it's Colin, this god-like figure. There was no way you wouldn't find a way. There really wasn't any concern. It was a taken for granted thing that you're this super-being and you'd figure it out."

I think about things like what if I gave in? I shot myself. I'm dead. Would such a person like the one my friend was speaking to be shocked? I think they would be. Some of that would stem from the truth that they never wanted to be involved even from a distance, within their own head-space. It was easier not to think about. Partially because of the contrast between us, and what they think and feel about me, and what I do, and what I am, says to them about them.

But it's been here all along. I've said it all. I've described very clearly what I am going through, how things stand. My life. I've spelled it all out. It's not possible to be more clear in an accounting of what is happening and why. I've said exactly how it is.

My friend wasn't disparaging a third party by bringing up the conversations--this topic was important within the purview of the rest of our conversation--or selling this individual down the river. It's how I would have expected party the third to be, because this is what I live with when it comes to anyone, even those not against me. This is how it is. Problem is, I can't get where I'm going with it being like this. Because there has to be things--and lot of things--from other people. I can't get where I'm trying to get without anyone saying anything. I need millions saying things.

But people are so much more comfortable enabling someone on their level. That's entirely what publishing is. I mentioned the pink haired editor with the door knocker nose ring who has the signage about smashing the patriarchy on her Facebook page and the supports all of the stuff and has the cats and stays the fuck home etc, etc. etc. She sucks at writing, goes to AWP.

And along I come. She knows me. Let's take a few days, okay? I just wrote four stories. I haven't even talked about that on here. When I'm like, oh, I'm sick, had this migraine, you have to realize I'm also writing like 3000 words then, it might just not be mentioned at the time in this record. People in this industry get upset that someone can constantly invent and make it look easy. They hate that. Bunch of new things on totally unrelated subjects just came out. I don't count these entries as anything, really, but they're supremely upsetting to these people in their quality, volume, range, depth. Bunch of things are published. There's this athletic-looking guy who is up at two in the morning and he's written all of these words and he does all of these things and he ostensibly does nothing wrong and he knows everything about everything and it's all out there and proven.

And along I come to that editor with a short story, or a book if she works for a publisher, and what do you think is going to happen? You know what she's going to do on her end. I have recourse now, of course: That's this journal. Up she then goes on here, and we all see a bigot for what they are, when I break down how they operate, show who they do put forward and why, and put that writing--which is always godawful--next to my own.

Who do you think that editor or publisher wants to see? Someone like her. Broken, talentless, weak. Someone in that system, in that clique, in that diseased community. Someone with green hair who also goes to AWP, has she/they pronouns, many cats as well, an MFA of their own. Right? What kind of writing do you think she wants to see? No one reads, so there are no commercial standards, no thinking whatsoever to what a reader might want or derive anything from, so then it's a free-for-all of other things. Skin color, sexual orientation, gender, hair color, box checking, being friends, having gone to the same school, having hooked up, the vomiting forth of the exact same garbage that all of these people do that anyone can do and the meeting of those emetic expectations, whatever.

But in the "literary community," it's never--there are no exceptions with anyone else--about "Readers would like this writing, it has value for readers." She wants to see writing that does one thing and one thing only, if she even looks at it, which often isn't a requirement when these people publish each other. Look at all of the prose offs. You honestly think there are people in offices sitting down and giving really thought to why and how the likes of Motorollah in Granta, or some J. Robert Lennon nothingness in The New Yorker, or that story that reads like a satire of how these people write in New England Review are good?

That's obviously not happening, because no one could offer a single sentence, however deranged, risible, and insincere, making any kind of concrete case, even for one simple, declarative sentence, for the quality of any of those works. Anyone want to go for it and be featured on these pages? We can make your answer a stand-alone post. Anyone? Give me your name, your website. I'll put you up.

"In defense of the brilliance of Motorollah, by so and so."

Any takers? Sigrid?

What that editor or publisher wants to see, if they want to see anything at all, is work that does not threaten them by making them think, "I could never do anything that is close to this good."


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