Notes sur

This year I’m 28. In the fall I’ll be 29. I did everything right. I went to college. I went to graduate school. I racked up a crushing amount of debt. I got a job—a very good job. My co-workers all complain. I complain. We are not paid enough; we don’t have enough time; the work we do is not appreciated. I make $125 a day. I read things other people have written to make sure they haven’t fucked up the facts. Some weeks I work into dinner and through the weekend; work even while asleep. There used to be three of me; now there are two-and-a-third, two-and-a-half at best. Not very many people seem to think being right is important.

When my mother was my age, she was raising a six-year-old child by herself, attending college, and cleaning other people’s houses for a living. And those people seemed more or less grateful to her for washing away their shit.

I hate the word maid. I have always greatly respected those who make time for precision.

During sober months I manage to save money and lose weight. There haven’t been many sober months lately. This is not a sober month.

The more sympathetic of my coworkers drop by periodically to check in and note how “over-worked” I seem. They take some of my load, when they can. I think this is supposed to make me feel better, but I start thinking of a horse or pack mule abandoned in the desert.

I carry Blood Meridian in my bag and pretend I’m going to read it every morning on the subway. Instead I take “naps” and pick at my fingernails.

Recently I had a crack-up. I started checking facts and couldn’t stop. I dreamt of apocryphal facts. I thought I would be fired. Instead I was given many more facts to check.

That month I had just begun reading Claude Lanzmann’s memoir, in which he describes the guillotine nightmares of his youth. It was a different kind of guillotine I was waiting for, but I was no less certain it was coming for me. Depression is like that—it indulges a narcissistic self-loathing that makes possible the equation of professional failure with the Holocaust.

When I was 23, I tried to write “screenplays.” They were all about me and the douchebags I was secretly in love with. All the me-characters spoke in journal entries and acted like babies. The douchebags were sometimes me too. I thought I could figure out what they were thinking. Everything else was filler. Now I try to write “stories.” There’s only ever one character and they’re all about the end of the world.

Pas de musique d’accompagnement, de soutien ou de renfort. Pas de musique du tout.

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