It is remarkable how some people can give you the absolute willies. I'll document some recent cases on here.
This is from tonight. It's not as bad as the others--those will require full-length posts--but as some people know, I have two Facebook accounts. My Facebook author page--which is really the only one that matters (if that), where I link to my work, sometimes share blog posts, put up radio clips. It's like a shrunk down--way, way, way shrunk down--version of this website. It really is not very consequential right now, given the numbers I am dealing with, because of the situation I am in. Later, when there are three millions followers, that will be different. But right now it's like fifty people. And I know most of those people. It's the reality of what has happened here, and the reality of terrifying people who look after their own, do their bad writing, ask their community members to praise their bad writing, returning the favor. It's a giant performance trophy, Kumbaya safe-space fantasy camp where anything we want to be true is true just because we said it and if you live back there in reality we hate you! Do I seem like I am going to fit in there? Do you think those people are going to view me as anything less than the demon come out from under the bed? They have no talent, they write nothing, they offer the world nothing, they just stroke each other. Do you think those people like to see my work? What I do? How much I do of it? The level it is at? Do you think that makes them feel good about themselves? Do you think they think, "Right, even playing field, I'd love to compete against him"? Or do you think that means they want me dead? That's pretty clear-cut.
I also keep up a personal Facebook page. The most recent post, by me, is from last fall, stating that I will not be posting anymore, I am shifting my energies to my website on that score, specifically, my blog. That was still early days in the blog, which launched in June 2018. (Coincidentally, that was also when I composed the first of the now forty-eight short stories in this time period). Now, it is my business if i return to my Facebook page. One can change the settings, so that if you posted something new, you could make it so that a certain group of people can see your post. That is, others you are friends with might just see that last post, not everything that follows, or a single thing that follows, or seven out of twelve things that follow. You have complete control that way, with each and every post, if you like. And it is nobody's business if that is how I elect to share my posts. Or if I don't post at all.
Why might I keep an account up? There are all kinds of reasons. I might want to see some of Kimball's photos of his dog and kid and happy days with his wife because Rich is my friend and I like seeing him happy just like he'll like seeing me happy if I ever get there. Might help me know when a cousin's birthday is. Why might I send new friend requests? These things are so basic, that a ferret could reason them out. For one thing, I am in a war. I wonder how many people hate read these pages. If you are one of them, you must know that eventually your number is going to come up here. I am going to get loose. I am going to have my platform, my say upon that platform. The day is coming. You are welcome to take me on in public with your name attached to it. Go for it. You won't. You want to take me on intellectually? Be my guest. You want to defend the bad writing I highlight on here? I'd love to hear how. You want to defend how you owed me money and didn't pay me? You want to go after my character? My character is axiomatic. The person I am, the artist I am, is documented, proven, again and again. What I do with my days is documented again and again. How I think, how I am. I am right here in front of you, day in, day out, and this is how I am, and there is no record in the world of how a person is like this journal is of me. if you did nothing else but try and document your life, who you were, in a journal, for all to see, and you didn't work, you devoted all your time to it, how could you even begin to do what these pages do?
But you see, on Facebook, you watch as people favor trade. You see the rancidity of publishing. You see how people get hired. You see the connections, the cronyism, the quid pro quos, the scams, the lies. That is free information for me. As I have said, I am not losing to these people. The world is not losing out--ultimately, and in my lifetime, and as soon as I can make it, and that can be next week, who knows, but when it breaks, it will break fast and hard--on my art, my work, what I offer it, because of these people. What about other reasons? Anything I posted drew not only no support--the great constant theme for me--but stoked the hate. For instance: I shared that I had sold a short story to Harper's. You know what happens in this so-called business when someone else does that? People flock to you. They want your stuff, even if it sucks, they want you, even if you possess less talent than a sea urchin. You know what happened with me? 100 publishing people defriended me. Because I achieved that and there was a post about it. You will notice the fiction I have written since, via the excerpts here, and the recountings of it. This is history. And you will also notice that since Harper's, none of it will come out. They will not let even a drip come out after that achievement. The post was not "Suck it, bigots," though I might as well have gone with that. It was polite, not gaudy, and the truth was, after that twelve year odyssey, which involved so much--I could write a book about it--and trips to NYC, some seriously horrible people like Ben Metcalf, I wasn't excited. Something that was exhausting, had been degrading, was simply crossed off the list, and it was some money, which I needed, because I always need money right now. It took far, far, far too long given the work I had offered over the years, but in those years, of course, I had become entirely disabused of the notion that talent had anything to do with you getting anything in publishing.
That's what people do on Facebook--they post about things they achieve, though usually that achievement, as such, is that their friend's blog put up some piece of writing of theirs that is so bad that if you see it you might read some of it to a friend and the two of you will howl with laughter that someone who is not in second grade wrote this and wants anyone at all to see it. If I tried to satirize comically bad writing, I could scarcely do a better job than what already exists as attempts at good writing. I assume they're attempts at that. That's the nature of the Facebook beast. During a two week period, I published ten other major items. We are talking Rolling Stone Beatles piece, LA Times op-ed, Glimmer Train story. Me doing my thing. And each time, droves in publishing defriended me. I posted more things, all along. They were fascinating, unlike other Facebook posts, they were legit great reading, enriching, funny, provocative. Again, me doing my thing. In some forms, they were the seeds of this journal. Photographs from my travels, the woods, the ballet, the hockey game, the symphony. Shared what I did in terms of the Monument. Put up links to unreleased music people would not have heard. And it all increased the hate. Because these are simple, toxic, petty, insecure, broken, pretentious, clannish people, and I am everything they are not, that they want to be. In everything I do. Yes, the self-made, self-educated, genius, athletic-looking guy is also more cultured, vastly, and there must be a price of flesh even for that. One time, I went to the cardiologist, after having had heart problems, and I got a clean bill of health. I had completely changed my physical situation and my heart health. I had given up drinking, I climbed a Monument every day, up and down, up and down. I worked hard at it. With everything else going on. When I could have given in, I could have died, I could have been an alcoholic, a drug addict. Do you know what it was like to give up drinking when this is your life? The discrimination, poverty, loneliness? But I did it. No fuss. I just did it. And you know what happened when I shared a couple lines about that clean bill of health? Fifty pubilshing people defriended me. That's who we are dealing with here.
And this wasn't good for me. I didn't need to be reminded, day in, day out, how hated I was. I had friends who would take a post of mine, and share it as their own. We did this as an experiment. Boom, 350 likes. Can you imagine what that is like? Wouldn't you feel cursed? How would you carry on? That's a question I ask myself every day. Joint question. Am I cursed, how do I keep going? But what I could do is stop posting on Facebook. So I did. But again, why check in from time to time? I might learn that an editor is out and another is in. When someone who hates me leaves, and a new person starts, there's a great chance that I am going in as well. I keep an eye peeled. I am someone who looks to connect. I do not meet people through regular channels, such as there are any anymore. I look for rare people. People I will have deep relationships with. I've met some of these people through Facebook. Some have reached out to me. Some have flown here from thousands of miles a way. From Atlanta. From LA. Some have become friends. One is a person in my inner circle whom a forthcoming book is going to be dedicated to. I crave people of substance. How I meet them does not matter to me.
I am entirely on my own right now. There is a massive span between me and the people of the world insofar as my relationships go, because of what I have become, starting from what I already was. There is no chasm between people and my work, when it does get to people, when the interference is removed. But that is kept from people, too, that work. That is my biggest hurdle right now. Not the the work itself. Not what the work could do. Not the numbers the work could realize, in terms or readers, monies, projects, opportunities; that all exists in the corpus of the work, already, in so many branches of the work, it's built in, it exists in me, in what I can do, it exists in my personality, how I talk, what I know, how I can inspire, how I entertain, my humor, my edge, my balls, my character, my passion, my uniqueness, how I connect with people, via my words, in ways that go deeper and realer. The problem is not what I have for market. The problem is getting to market. I don't know who might strike up a conversation with me, see this blog, share this blog with their friends, see my work, share my work, fall completely in love with it, keep me going on a given day with a remark that keeps me off of train tracks or spurs me to yet another new creation, or who might say some time in the future, "he's my good friend and I knew him when he was in a hell and now look at him." It's brought me closer to people I do already know. Not often, but sometimes. I'm not an ordinary person. I'm not looking for the ordinary. Connection is what matters to me. I open the channels. And I am also a romantic. I don't know if the love of my life might enter my world via God knows what. Might write her way into it tonight after seeing these pages for the first time. I have no idea. But I have to remain open.
This is what one person decided to do. They posted some comment under my last post from over a year ago, wondering what I was up to, and this they expressed in language I could not understand, but the tone was clearly accusatory. Something about Facebookery. Was I up to Facebookery. What does that even mean? This was a writer, so, of course, I was not surprised that I couldn't understand it. I'm sitting at the Starbucks tonight, reading. I've had a hard day. All of my days are hard. Do you know how much work I've done this weekend? How much art I have created? I've now composed ten short stories in fifteen days. That is a very small chunk of what I've done. I am fighting for my life. I am trying not to end my life. It was five years ago tomorrow that my sister died. That's on my mind. I walked three miles today. I climbed the Monument five times. I have been working since six in the morning yesterday. It's half past six at night now on Sunday. I happen to look at the Facebook app at the Starbucks. There is a woman I am not friends with, who is friends with the first person, who has posted a comment--having liked the other woman's comment--saying she wonders the same thing. You wonder the same thing expressed in the broken English of the first person? Of course she would understand the original remark. This is what people do? They hop on a stranger's Facebook page to make some glib, finger-pointing comment about their intentions, which are none of their business. I look her up. I won't go into what this comprises, but if there were twenty-five boxes of what my expectations would be with someone like this, she checked off each and every last one of them. To be doing this, you probably know of me. You probably read the blog. You might hate read the blog. But if you read the blog, you hate read the blog, whatever you do if you lay eyeballs on the blog, you can even account for a lot of my time in my life. It's like a box score of my life. Right? I can't snap my fingers and magically make all of the words on this journal, all of the published pieces, all of the radio sound, the excerpts from the short stories, the novels, the essays.
That's disturbing. And it always smacks of misandry and envy this kind of thing, being threatened by someone who has nothing to do with you. And that's what you do with your time? That's a judicious use of any of it? It's just unreal to me, but it is too real. I don't want to put you up on the blog, expose all of your favor trades, your bigotry, your bad writing. But if you hurt what is mine, or if you try to keep me from getting where I am going, because of what I represent and can do, because of envy, discrimination, I will light up whom I have to light up. Some people already have been lit up, and many other wheels are in motion--you'd have to be a fool to think that there are not three dozen extended entries in drafts here, which are worked on all of the time, revised, added to, etc., exposing people and venues in ways that are shocking to people who are not in the know, and I have made it my business to be in the know, because they have made me make it my business. I give you every last chance to be .0000000001% fair. Not totally fair, not mostly fair, not even a little bit fair. But not completely unfair. A mole can see the quality of my work and how it separates itself. The work is what it is. But eventually, the day comes. And there is nothing anyone like that can do after that day comes, becomes in terms of the recourse of banning me, or telling your cronies to ban me, that ship has long ago sailed way, way over the horizon. Wet is wet. The towel is already saturated. And you know what? It's obviously not stopping me. And you know what else? It's not going to matter in the end. I am playing for far bigger stakes. And I'm going to have them.
I'm going back out now to read somewhere else. Because I do not stop. I worked on "Heroine Man" throughout the day. Little stuff. Tweaks. Lose a word, add a clause, vary a bit or two of syntax. Alter a decision with a word. Each word is tantamount to a rigorous decision that impacts thousands of other decisions. I just make complicated decisions quickly. But I ended up spending a good chunk of the day with the story after completing it. The two stories I composed this weekend are as good as I can do. I have not written anything better. "Read the Ice," "Heroine Man." What do you think, inner circle? That was something, no? I have had a major, historic weekend of art-making. It's the bloody weekend. I don't have weekends. I am fighting for my life. I printed out a copy of "Heroine Man," and I wrote a note for Emma upon it. She lost her uncle a couple years ago to heroin. We are not really talking right now for a number of reasons that are tricky, bu that doesn't change anything. Our connection, my love for her, hers for me, I assume. And eventually we will resume. But in the meanwhile, there can be other things. I don't know how to move forward with her with certain things, and it's really a two-fold issue, but I am not going to get into that now, or maybe at all in these pages. But we are also what we are, to each other, through each other, and that does not change.
I will get caught up on the email in the next day or two. I need to lay into stuff hard this week, lay into treachery hard, lay into treacherous people hard, and also make sure new work is scheduled for publication and new monies coming in, too. I will call my mom tomorrow. I sent her this card this week:
In sum, try a mirror if you don't think it will kill you. And to everyone else trying to live decently, with honor, with as little infringement as possible upon what others are trying to do in decently led lives of honor, or lives where they at least try not to hurt, prick, poke, and goad others: godspeed.