I wonder if I will ever be the same again. Something in me snapped and died. I am terrified all the time now. I can face so little. There are people whom if I tried to interact with them again I'd die. Each day I have a panic attack I cannot stop. They are physically painful. The fear is overwhelming. And yet I must fight this war, which means I have to find a way to push a lot of that aside. But even if this changes for me, I wonder if I can ever get certain things back. I reached a point where I just broke. I shut down. I lost the ability--or the ability to choose--to be able to do certain things. The only thing I have not lost, it seems, is my ability. My ability grows. I don't feel I need to say knock on wood, and I am not saying this is a good thing, but I think my ability is the only thing I am incapable of losing. It is simply a reality of being me that any time I want, or even if I don't want, I will produce eternal works of art. I would say that is more of a reality than that if I wake I will be drawing breath. If I were to lose this ability there would be nothing that could justify me spending another second in this world. It might not matter either way.
The fear everyday is overwhelming. The crying, the shaking, the exhaustion, the loss of breath. Fighting to get my breath back. I know people whom, I believe, would use this information against me. I'm still stronger than anyone. No one could face any of this for a week, let alone these long years. And to create in this environment, constantly, knowing it's going to make things worse? With this quality of life? I don't think God could do it, unless he tapped into the super powers. A human couldn't do this. And it's getting worse and still has much worse to get, maybe, before, and if, it ever gets better. It's six o'clock. I'm going to try to fall asleep. Get up early. Do it all over again. Tomorrow I'd like to do the Billie Holiday op-ed, the Stan Getz review, finish the Joan Harrison essay, and work on "Fitty." In other words, jazz, jazz, film, fiction.
I saw Us at the Brattle today. Only in this era where nothing is real and it's all about empty hype and proselytizing over the right "woke" issues for white knight internet points would the films of Jordan Peele do anything. No one will have a clue they were made in twenty-five years. They are ham-fisted and paint by numbers and dependent upon the right buzzword action, and critics who want to look like they are in the societal know, progressive sorts who in reality only know what it means to court teacher's pet status and kneel as often as possible so as to better positions their backs for as many pats as possible. The scripts are cheesecloth. Sea of holes. The shadow people thing makes no sense. Doubles of everyone? Meaning, around thirty people? And scissors? Why scissors? Why do they live in an underground high school and eat rabbit and nothing else? And none wandered out? And on a beach is a hall of mirrors that doesn't actually function and has no employees but it's open for business for thirty plus years? Total take-over, via scissor stabbing, and there are all of twenty dead people in the streets?
Things in the film are inserted--the barricade-lines of the shadow people--just to be gotten rid of like they were forgotten. That cheap fake scare thing--the "fooled you! It's just your brother in the closet!" was passe in 1985. The shadow people are human and the same thing as humans but they're immortal save when it's convenient for the plot for them not to be so? And the clunky, exposition--it is the conversational form, in this film, of labored breathing. I imagine Peele saying, "Damn, my script makes no sense, I better have someone in a scary voice--at multiple points in my movie--that is not even rendered the same way, so it's this inconsistent sounding voice from a sound quality perspective, make long, long speeches, while chilling in a living room or cutting paper dolls at a blackboard (but she's the original human who goes missing, but she forgot, so her memory was wiped, and the person we thought was an original human isn't, but, um, her memory was wiped, too, or else she was just up to no good all along, so you either buy the memory-wipe nonsense that you yourself had to weakly conjecture to find some explanation, or you accept that she was just scamming you, the viewer, all for a cheap jolt at the end more like a flat fizzle), explaining everything in my mishmash of a movie that is unclear, or as much as we can ram in."
He's bad at making movies. And he was bad at remaking The Twilight Zone. He's not even competent. And this main character all along is this monster? So what is her motivation for anything? It's just so lazy and tacky. The continuity is lazy--those shadow people's movements do not correspond at all with the surface people during that "arty" cross-cutting sequence near the end. The ballet thing? What was that? What sense does that make? So now they're going to have a ballet fight, kind of, with the scissor-wielding whatever she is doing Kill Bill stylized moves in this underground high school corridor because of some...ballet connection from what?
When there's a big reveal in a film or a book or a story, you should be able to watch the film or read the book or the story backwards, so to speak, and it still makes sense, if a different kind of sense. Impossible to do here. And it's confusing right from the first reel--we're in 1986--you get the subtitle--then we're in the present day--subtitle--and then not two minutes later, there's this fuzzy, ill-defined flashback, like we're back in 1986, but no subtitle, and boom, we are out of the movie. Figure out a better way to do it. Do it without the subtitles and make things clear. That's easy enough with the different eras and mise-en-scenes.
But people on the woke wagon lick this up. And the people try so hard to out woke each other when they watch, like the old hippie at the theatre today doing giant claps--I mean, he spread his hands the full wingspan of his arms, for these giant, hyperbolic, look-at-me-clapping mega-claps--to the bit when the girl kid golf clubs the white girl teen shadow person person. Yeah! You got it! And you made sure everyone knew you got it! You're woke, bro! Yeah!
Walked four miles, climbed the Monument ten times. I don't know why it was so hard today, but it was pretty strenuous. I lost a lot of fluid. You're sweating pretty good after one climb, you're sweating through after two, and on the third, you're well into dripping. By climb five, you've completely changed the color of your shirt. It was hard enough doing two climbs today that that would have felt like a full session. I recall someone once telling me I wouldn't be able to do ten straight, and when I said, yes, I will be able to, they were critical of me, faulting me for wanting to do that. Which, of course, is projection, something that, like anger, now dominates this world. Understanding beyond our own increasingly circumscribed borders of self is becoming less and less prevalent. Most people cannot understand that there can be more to human experience than what they themselves happen to think or feel or know or need. Or are doing. The number of morbidly obese people, for instance, in the Monument whom I pass six, seven, eight times, who see me the next time, as they are coming down, and I am going up, who actually give me pointers on how hard it is to reach the top once--"You're almost there, you can do it"--used to blow my mind, but now I know it's inevitable each time I climb. I go up, they go down--metaphor--and as this happens, their life becomes easier--because most people are going down with them, so they fit in--and mine becomes harder. But when someone who knows me is critical of my workout regimen? You'd have to be in denial or obtuse or cruel to adopt that course and not understand at this point that if I was not in the physical shape I am right now I would have succumbed to what I put myself through every week a long, long time ago. It takes me about sixty-five minutes to climb ten times. It's a full-bore workout. It's going hard for the entire time; there are no breathers during those sixty-five minutes. But it's not like I'm in there for six and a half hours, flogging myself to death.
A lot of great artists die around forty. And artists given a lot of things, and set up to succeed, and not dealing with these obstacles. Artists who were celebrated, paid, awarded, and certainly not buried and blackballed in their time. Kafka, Poe, Fitzgerald, dead. If I was not training like this--and it's a miracle I am, all things considered--and I was drinking, I would have already been dead of a heart attack or another stroke. You can't endure this much. You just cannot. You'd think one person would have said, "I admire so much of what you have done. You are all alone, and you were already the best artist there has been, but you made yourself even better, far better, and you changed your entire life. You changed your body, you got rid of a drinking problem, you fought and fight so hard and the focus and discipline that must take, while you are all alone, it's inspiring, it's a great lesson to everyone in easier circumstances that if you can do this, they can do their version of it." But no. I'll get pasted for writing the wrong kind of thing, when of course I write every single thing there is, and some new ones that I invent along the way, when what I write means absolutely so long as the name Colin Fleming is at the top and the writing is actually great/enjoyable for lots of people, or for forcing myself to keep my body and heart healthy as best I can when I am dealing with all of this and stress and pain that would take anyone else out in a fortnight.
Then I'm supposed to interact with those people so I can technically say I'm less alone? This would be so different right now if I had the money and recognition I should have had fifteen years ago. And certainly five years ago. And extra-certainly a couple years ago. I am creating an entire sustaining legacy of work, at this point, within the parameters of each and every week. The work I produce in a given week, any given week, is enough to stand with any legacy of anyone else's career. This has become full-on mind-fuck insane what is happening here, both what I am doing, and what is being done. But my work over a given season? Over a given year? The quality, range, amount? Anyway. I'd be less vulnerable to those people. When you have more of a life, a partner, a family, security, you're less vulnerable. It's the difference between being a crab in the water, nice kelp beds overhead, and being a crab on the pier, on your back, unable to flip over, belly exposed. When you have nothing, people think they can do and say anything to you. You have to take it. And when you have nothing and are having much done to you, you have greater need for friends, so you're asking these people to function as true friends, people who truly care about you, not just people you check in with--"Hey, what's up, pops?"--or a friend you shoot the shit with over the Patriots and that's the extent of the relationship.
And you see how rubbish people are at being friends or actually caring. Friendships are about shit-shooting and activity partners and gossip. More than ever. The great lie of our age--well, there are many, but this is the lie that enables so much awful behavior--is that people are so busy. They are too busy to care, to do the right thing, etc. That's what the "I'm too busy" catch-all really means. I'm not busy. I'm not close to busy because I have been destroyed. I can't stress that enough. It is so hard for me each day to brush my teeth. I am destroyed. I have been destroyed for a long time, and this year I had a complete collapse. I can't read a letter if it comes to me in the mail. I can't deal with it. I'll have a panic attack, cry, lose my breath. And if I'm not busy, other people have no idea what it means to be busy.
People then want to single me out here and say, "I can't compare myself to you," which is another excuse and also the latest foray for such people into victim-blaming. The people I know or have known use the fact that I am something they are not--which is obvious and which they all know--to make further excuses for themselves. So they rope me into it. Yes, you can compare yourself to me, because I am doing enormous, overwhelming tasks that involve taking on thousands of people standing against me and needing to change the world, culture, and you are...you're not doing those things. You are doing smaller things. You have two kids, a cushy life. You're so busy? Too busy for anything else? So, if you had a third kid, you couldn't get by? Of course you could. Yes, you can read the letters, you can read the book that takes three hours. And if you had a fourth or a fifth or you had to get three jobs. You could get by. What people do, though, is tell themselves that whatever their situation is is the max.
Life is so much easier than it ever was in terms of how everything is shortcutted now. Everything. Getting a book to read, getting food for the pets, finding how to get somewhere. I create more, read more, watch more, do more, listen to more, go to more, give more to people--my wisdom, energy, effort--workout more, than anyone, and I am using about 5% of my time, because I am utterly destroyed and barely functioning as I can function. And if the people in those "relationships" really needed the other people in them to be friends, they'd have a violent awakening. But, for most people, life never gets to that point. So they don't know, and they go along on the surface, smooth sailing or choppier sailing, but on the surface. The surface would have to send me a postcard at this point just to even remind me that I was ever up there.