“Whining My Way to Acceptance”
I’ve been incredibly busy of late. I don’t wish to go into the details regarding all of my projects because it would bore you and sound self-serving and not everything is entirely thought yet. Ugh, I already hate the way I am coming across to begin this. . .
Let’s start over. I’ve been doing a fucking lot and not getting much sleep and my mind is racing, racing and there is nothing to do but work work work, day and night.
I was offered a job writing a short screenplay for some independent horror flick. It’s exciting and I am probably taking this far too seriously, seeing bright lights and flashbulbs instead of the griminess of working on an exceptionally small budget. I even get a ‘co-producer’ credit, if the thing ever gets made. It is fun. I’ve been directed to play ball and write something more traditionally genre.
My first attempt, banged and burned out in six days, was an entire screenplay: a project that just rippled and clicked. I really like it a lot. It is the best thing I have written in a while–an act of passion.
Boss man didn’t want to make it. That’s okay. It’s fine. I have not yet given up my smiling hope that through this opportunity I might actually get to have the other script made. Witches and Demons and a hard edged cynicism in all the horrible characters. This was so much fun to write–far from the impassioned gloom of my recent very large work, in fact a trilogy of short crime novels that I have recently contacted an editor on. They are very difficult to write, not in form or style or story, but in the hard truths this character tells me. I have never written a character that is more me, ever, and this is earth-shattering(to say nothing of my very long collection of stories about the apocalypse I have literally been working on for nearly thirty years.)
Then there’s a new one, about five days old, in a story I am very interested in telling. It is based on an amalgamated truth, taking numerous situations and forming them into a picture of something horrible. The subtitle of this book is ‘a horror story.’ It is about religion, racism and paranoia. It is probably the final form of a different project I have been on and off researching and working on for years. It is a story born again. It is a response to the first thing I wrote a few years after my head injury. I had been mute and I suppose I’d gone crazy and I was angry and resentful and I wasn’t sure if there was anything worth living for. I say this as a father and husband, a son and a brother (although my brother and I no longer speak, for no particular reason. Mutual lack of interest, I suppose). And I was driven to an edge so hard that something rather violent splattered out to take me. I was lost. The whole world was haze.
I wrote at a furious pace, every day for five months, then another two with rewrites, and then I shoved the fucking thing in a drawer and told myself that I had once again found my voice. The book is more than three hundred pages of rage and intentional controversy. It isn’t a bad book, in form and style, and especially in story, but some of the characters are flat and the satire is often quite desperate, going too far to make a joke work. In retrospect the story even offends me. It is far from my best work previously, but it gave me a renewal like from my teaching days, when I was making it up as I went along. There is a certain clarity to a several year long mania. It can offer deep focus when trying to understand just what the fuck is going on in your mind.
Sadness is an odd thing. We can be sad over anything–a book, TV show, news story, experience, the ride of your life, you don’t like dinner, little Jehoshaphat broke his toy . . . all sadness is taken in the same self-pitying, hysterical way–even things we should be saddened over: death, taxes, prison, sex.
But when you allow it to consume you, there is something very different going on. I don’t wish to give in to some pained exhortation about Depression and pills and doctors and shame. There is, however, a plus side to being miserable. We are at our most creative when we are sad, running through every scenario for how something could go wrong. We invent more and more outrageous things until we start to believe them and find a small cult with members who believe in the exact same things that you do. You can form a group. You don’t need to be lonely any more. You are inside . . .
This is a strange piece that I am writing. It is more than a usual confessional. There is something dark beating here inside my soul and I want to shatter it out with the loudest noise possible, seeking the heavens where there couldn’t possibly be anything called god . . .
I love ellipsis and dashes and parenthetical remarks. I suppose this is a part of my style, along with self-deprication surrounded by fucks and violence and a particular lust for fine words. “Glottogonic.” “Mercurial.” “An auburn sunshine.” “A cracked egg in a nest with a partially formed dead bird inside.” Signs and symbols like plus and minus and multiply and divide–a mathematical construct of symbols including letters and the music flows and flows and sometimes you get so caught up in the rhythm you convince yourself you can never be wrong–
And so sadness turns back into mania. That middle period of inspiration sometimes doesn’t last very long. But when you are sad–truly mournful and well beyond subjective fantasies, you get into a rut of doing and saying and thinking the same things over and over and over and you can’t sleep and oh my god, oh my god, what the fuck is happening to me and why why why why why why why?
This has been a portrait of a bipolar meltdown. It really does feel this way. There is an immortality to a death wish, a conviction that at least sometimes in your life you have been brave. This is not a suicide letter, but the left over wreckage of a time when I thought that my trilogy was.
The idea of art can restore someone only temporarily, but oh there is joy living inside the minds, the many minds, of our invention. These crazy people are also my family. I return to them again and again because the only time I am ever happy is when I am using words to tear apart reality. I defy hatred. It becomes an all-consuming blur. I even seek your putting all your vengeance and anger onto me. I have gotten so angry at everything and feel like I’m breaking down again, the world going by in stages.
And all of this writing has thoroughly exhausted me. Hell, right at this second it is 6:32 AM. I have yet to sleep tonight or this morning. This is nearly every night. It is more than mania. This is frenzy. In my mind I feel a certain realization that I’d better get to work before my life is done. I’m forty-six years old and have been up and down the success ladder throughout my life. I have enjoyed some jobs and hated the bulk of them. I have been very active and very lazy and sometimes my focus is on all the wrong things.
Well, back to more research on some of the worst things that have ever happened in the history of world. Cheers! Good night. Good afternoon. Good early morning. . . .