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Sent/unsent, liked/unliked; goalkeeping

Tuesday 9/26/23

Here's part of the problem, and it's also a tough way to go through life. It actually explains a lot about where I'm at.

Often times when someone hits the like button for something pertaining to me on social media--say, Instagram or Facebook; and I mean people who know me or have some tangential connection to me--or says something of praise, the same thing will happen in following. Because they see me as so intimidating and removed from everyone else, on this different level, and they want to impress me, or not have me think less of them, and for what they do or say to be good enough, they work themselves up so much--freak themselves out, as it were--that they then take back that like, if you will, or unsend the message. But I'm always aware of it. How much do you think escapes me? (By the way--updates on Mark Warren coming.)

Think about that. You want to get to places, and that means having support, and vocal supporters, and the people who know you are that scared by what you represent to them, that they behave in this way that's comical in one regard--I mean, these are adults; how do you take an adult like that seriously?--but also speaks to a huge problem. How can you advance if there is no support for so many reasons, even from the people in utter awe of you? This is how I move through life. Whereas, the person they don't respect, whom they think nothing of--to that person they can say whatever bullshit praise they don't mean and it's fine, no sweat or anxiety at all. What these people should be concerned about, given that they're so concerned how they come across to me, is what I think about them when I see this. I see it all the time, too.

I am at a point where I very rarely have any respect for anything anyone does or says or that I don't think it's imbecilic or simply wrong. Last night a friend phones me, or I should say, he phones me and hands the phone to his daughter so when I say hello she answers back. I talk to her a bit. Kids like me. They always do. Because they're not scared of me like adults are because of my mind and what I represent to them. A kid just experiences me as someone funny and kind who is playful and asks interesting things and engages with them in a real, organic way. They're not in awe of me such that they became paralyzed, which is what happens with most adults, and makes for not only so little support and so much bizarre behavior towards me, but utter loneliness and isolation. As I said to someone a couple days ago, I'm in a prison of greatness, perpetually alone and left to rot, imprisoned because of these abilities. But if I was just a fat mediocre slob with the same kind of mind and amount of strength everyone else has, everyone would act differently.

The kid was telling me about her soccer and all of the positions she played. I had a funny nickname for her and it was just a sweet talk with a cool child.

Later my friend starts texting me and sending me these videos of the kid playing goalie in a soccer game. I think she's played two soccer games in her life. She's, I don't know, ten. And my friend says that the coach is trying to get her to play goalie, that he can train her, that she can be really good, whatever, and my friend has to find a way to push her to do this because she wants to play forward.

I sit there and it's a case of, "Well, here's the latest dumb ass thing brought to my attention. Can anyone do anything right?" I text my friend and tell him not to push his kid to do anything. To not follow the marching orders of some middle aged tosser because he didn't watch a child play soccer twice and figured out that she was this goalie prodigy and to let her play what position she wants to play for the fun of the game and the experience. I can't believe I need to say this, but I can't believe I ever need to say most of the things I do to people, including the things I don't say because I don't go around saying, "Are you a fucking idiot?" in my exchanges, which is all I would be doing if I didn't pick my spots and then never say it that way, of course. Or not too often.

The idea that you would try to influence your kid as to what position she's going to play and when she just starts out in this sport? Never mind that a kid who is a good athlete wants to run around, kick the ball, score the goals, in all probability. She's not going to be an Olympic goalie. Let her find her way in the sport.

I try to take myself out of these things, sort of. I texted this guy, "My dad never pushed anything on me. He supported me and encouraged me. He let me make my own decisions, my own mistakes, and find my own things and my own way."

This makes it sound like my dad is where I learned all of this. Which isn't true. It's just how my dad was and it's how I am, because it's the right way to be. I would say it's the common sense way to be, but people have zero fucking sense. If the kid is going to be some star goalie, it'll work itself out. But not because you pushed her into playing the position. Let your kid be a kid. Let her enthusiasm for a sport be what it is is or isn't. Support her.

Then I forward that text about my dad to my mom, because my mother has lost so much, and I'm trying to show her that me, this person she loves, is thinking about his dad, this man she loved and loves, and that he's still there, he's still with us in that he's in our thoughts and our hearts, like he's in my thoughts and my hearts with this thing that came up tonight.

The "my" in front of "dad" should tip her off that I'm forwarding a text, because if I wasn't, it'd just begin, "Dad." But I also know going in that people can't read well enough to know that's what's happening, and they can't put anything together or draw logical conclusions, and though it's late and I've had yet another horrific day in hell that would cause someone else to end their life because a single one of those days would be too much, I'm subsequently going to have to explain this to my mom; the context, all of that. So in just trying to be nice, I'm creating more work, more expenditure of energy. Which is exactly what happened, but I do it, I do everything, because I empathize with people and I always treat them the best way that I can, no matter how awful it is here, and I give of myself. When I could just do a "eh, whatever," and not respond or take initiative, which is how most people go through life. I think, "This would make her feel good," or "This could end up not being cool for this little kid."

As for my friend, it's like, what a dumb ass. And that leads to other things. Because how can I take anything you say seriously when this is how you think? And it's typical. It's very rarely sound and smart. So then I'm having these conversations with someone about publishing, the situation I'm in, with my life on the line, whether I can afford bread going forward, with time being a huge factor, and I don't respect what they say because I don't think they're smart enough to process enough. I think they're simple. Smarter than other people, okay. But when they're like, "It'll all be awesome soon, it'll work out exactly as you want, you'll be the biggest thing ever," I think here I am talking to Captain Caveman and they have no idea how complicated this is, despite us going back a quarter of a century with everything that's been shared. And they don't live in this world. I see things, for instance, on Twitter, and I never see something I could screenshot and and send it to my friend and have my friend understand. He doesn't understand who anyone is. What phrases mean. How people talk.

Last night he was talking to me about an op-ed I recently had come out. I told him that I wasn't paid for it. He didn't understand I wasn't paid for it because none of these places have any money. Mags, newspapers, presses--they're laying everyone off. They have no budgets, the thinnest margins. As I've said again and again, no one reads. No one can read. They have lost the ability, and most people would rather shovel shit out of a latrine than read. It's over, man. My only hope is starting something new. But that's a movement of one person, because there is no one else out there to join up with me. There's no Rolling Stones to my Beatles. It'd be like I was the only band in a world that doesn't listen to music with people who couldn't understand what they were hearing if they were listening to music. That's the situation right now. Publishing is my second biggest problem. The world is my first. Publishing is ending. And yet, when I go on Facebook, there are those thousands and thousands of "writers," and more people going into these MFA programs. When there is no one to read their work, even if it wasn't the shittiest work possible. You have 1000 of these shitty writers for every person out there who reads a book once every three years. But these freaks just keep reproducing. There is no place for them, but they just keep inbreeding.

But back to this example. My friend gets his ire up, because he thinks I've been screwed out of money. He doesn't understand they don't pay anyone. And it's a huge circulation newspaper. It's one of the biggest in the country. There's no goddamn money. No one reads newspapers. So what a place does is try to hang on and keep the people who work there going a little bit longer, and that staff is much smaller than it used to be, because they have rounds of layoffs. All of this should be obvious to my friend, but nothing ever is. Despite the millions of words shared between us on these subjects. Then I have to explain. You see how exhausting every last thing is in my life? Everything is this energy expending battle.

Then he tells me that that op-ed is worth a lot, a fortune, etc. And it's like, no, guy, it's worth nothing right now. There's no market for this opinion piece or for anything written. But what is the value of an opinion piece that takes three minutes to read no matter how great the writing is? There's no demand. You could put anything in that space and it'd get the same clicks, or more, because it would suck, and people are more responsive to things that are like what they could do. Things that are worse, that blow, perform better. But that's small potatoes, too. There's no market, no demand. It's worth nothing financially. That's what that piece is worth. Or whatever pittance you get for it.

Because there are no readers, there's no interest, it has nothing to do with business or boosting business. No one thinks about it that way. The work alone can't elevate anything. Now, if some shitty op-ed was done by some famous person, that has more value, even if it sucks, even if they do, even if they're the least interesting person on earth. But that's not about the writing--it's about the name atop the piece. If that person wrote the most amazing thing, then it would have value as writing, because people would be open to it being great and spreading the word, because it came from what they think of as sanctified unicorn.

Famous people are automatically better is how people think, and people think they're famous because they're special, and if someone else was special, they'd be famous all along and automatically. They could be reading the best thing ever written by the best writer ever--they are--but until that person is officially known as such, by millions, they won't think anything. They're are not programmed to respond that way. They're not open to it. They're reading blindly, as if there's a layer of black over the page. So, yes, it's worth nothing right now. Financially.

Then people in the industry see the achievement, and they hate me more. "What? He has another one now? I'd love to be able to do that and be in there. He just had a different one somewhere else yesterday. Fuck him. He's a fucking asshole. Pushy asshole. I'm not going to respond to that book/story/pitch he sent me. I'll show him." That's what happens.

You see how everything is this perfect storm of a perfect storm of a perfect storm? It's like God tried to design the most intricate, impossible to get out of hell for one single person in human existence. And it covered everything. Here's something else: People think I'm rich because of my work. How good it is. Where it appears. They associate being the best with being paid a lot. Further, everyone thinks I'm not that bad off in terms of pain. Because if you were in the most pain someone's been in, you wouldn't be up at five in the morning running 5000 stairs, would you? You wouldn't look good. You wouldn't be this exemplar of quitting drinking after decades of abusing alcohol. You'd be dead, or bloated, in bed, a wreck, quiet for so long that people wondered if you were dead. You'd be in treatment, living with family, etc. You wouldn't be writing daily masterpieces and fighting and living and sounding funny and kind and gentle and writing in these pages.

So all of it imprisons me further. If people thought I was a wreck, they're might be empathy or sympathy or kindness, or they might behave towards me like they do to everyone else. But with me, they see this god-like figure to them. No one associates a life of torture with production, let alone my historically unique level of production. And it never stops. I never stop. There isn't a stretch of a month where it stops. Every day this man fights and delivers. Against everything. With only pain.

Ian MacDonald--who killed himself--was writing about Nick Drake. It's this 16,000 word essay. And he essentially says that Nick Drake was amazing at music, which intimidated people. But he was a total mess. He couldn't function. Life took him apart. He couldn't cope. He couldn't even clip his finger nails. And MacDonald says, that humanized Drake to people, and if he was this tower of strength, no one would have liked his music, because it would have been like he was too great. His personal struggles gave people a way in. It took care of the threat. They could sympathize with him.

There is no one on this planet who sympathizes with me. And I'm in a worse place than Drake ever was, and he couldn't keep going past age twenty-six before he killed himself. My strength imprisons me. You know what else does? This journal is very open about what I'm going through. I pour out that pain, I explain where it comes from, why it's there. I have spoken about this situation and why it exists time and again, as I try to find a way out of it. But no one sympathizes, despite the obvious enormity of a pain that would have killed anyone else off in a couple days. You couldn't live like this. Let alone year in, year out. Do you think I'm withholding all of these experiences I'm having with people and women? I am completely alone. Every day of my life, I am alone. I am hated, envied, feared. The better I've gotten, the worse it has become, because I am on a different plane than anyone else. And that's obvious. No one is like me. No one ever has been, no one is ever going to be. And that is creating the worst life a person has had, when you look at those virtues and what that person deserves, and what they actually have and what their life is. The better they become as a person, as an artist, the worse it gets. But if I was just some lazy asshole who sucked? I'd be taken care of. I'd have people. I could get whatever crap is handed out for bullshit reasons. No one would fear or envy me for anything.

But in being open, in not hiding things, that works against me, too, because people see heroism there. That wouldn't have seen that with a Nick Drake. They saw a guy who was done, who needed help. They see me as someone who would storm the battlements of the fates, the gods, what have you, if need be, who would take on the whole world if need be, alone, and he might actually win. They see me as someone who would be the last person in human history to give up or give in.

No one is going to lift a finger for that person. No one is ever going to treat them the way they treat anyone else. No one is going to show them the simplest, most token kindness they'd show anyone else.

I opened this entry talking about people unsending things to me, unliking things they liked. That's what they're going to do, because they know everything about me I just said, and they know they're not dealing with some other person, any other person. So they do things like that when they freak out that they're not worthy or it's not good enough or this great man will sit in some judgment against them from the loftier place he's at. Even though I've only and ever been kind to them. There's no negative precedent. I've never blasted them. When they've struggled I've reached out to help them. When they've had losses in their lives, I've been there for them. Even people I don't know that well. I've found a way to add something, some kindness that wasn't some meaningless phrase. Because I've felt bad for them, and I care. I am a caring person. I act on that caring. I feel your pain. And I want to help.

And then someone says the most tepid favorable remark to me on something like Facebook messenger--"nice one," for instance, regarding something I wrote--and then they unsend it. That is pretty status quo. I expect it now. It's how I go into every interaction, how I look at everyone. This is how I move through life, which stops me moving towards where I should be. It's part of why I'm in this situation. Even the people who have me on the highest pedestal with no problem about me being there--they're not threatened by it, they're not comparing themselves to me--behave this way. And if that's how even those people behave, how could you be celebrated enough to get anywhere when so many other people hate you for reasons of virtues and because you're so different compared to them in who you are and what you can do?


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