Hour after hour, day after day, year after year, decade after decade, consumed by this precious illusion of service to the pen: priceless time that might have been used to benefit others, from which I might even have derived pleasure. And what have I received in return for this self-serving – if that – satisfaction of having actualized myself? Poverty and solitude have been the chief rewards. And what, actually, am I actualizing? Do I have anything to say that is worth saying at all or that hasn’t been said better before, that might justify this massive investment of time and energy, this insistence on keeping going, this unflagging commitment to a lost cause, as if it were a sacred act and not a sickness born of vanity? What would happen if I didn’t do it? Nothing. Nobody would notice. It wouldn’t make any difference to anybody… other than myself. And I would probably be a lot better off without it. As a compensatory last resort there’s always the myth of posthumous glory. But to receive that one has to die first. How inconvenient. I must put that on my to-do list. It would completely validate the work, of course. The only problem is that I haven’t done the work. I must also put that on my to-do list.
My sadness is deeper than yours. My interior life is richer than yours. I am more interesting than you. I don’t care about anybody else’s problems. They are not as serious as mine. Nobody knows the weight I carry, the trouble I’ve seen. There are worlds in my head that nobody has access to: fortunately for them, fortunately for me. I have seen things that you will never see, and I have feelings that you are incapable of feeling, that you would never allow yourself to feel, because you lack the capacity and the curiosity. Once you felt the hint of such a feeling, you would stamp it out. I am a martyr to futility and I don’t expect to be shut down by a pretender. Mothballs are an aphrodisiac to me, beauty depresses me. You could never hope to fathom the depth of my feelings, deeper than death. I look down upon you all from my lofty height of lowliness. The fullness of your satisfaction lacks the cadaverous purity of my pain. Don’t talk to me about failure. You don’t know the meaning of the word. When it comes to failure, you’re strictly an amateur. Bush league stuff. I’m ten times the failure you’ll ever be. I have more to complain about than you, and regrets: more than a few, too many to mention. I am a fully-qualified failure, I have proven it over and over again. My credentials are impeccable, my resume flawless. I have worked hard to put myself in a position of unassailable wretchedness, and I demand to be respected for it. I expect to be rewarded for a struggle that produced nothing. I want the neglect, the lack of acknowledgment. And I want the bitterness that comes with it too.
Quite unexpectedly and undeservedly, I have a show at the Rosamund Felsen Gallery. Show up if you want. The opening is on July 7th, from 5-7pm. Bergamot Station B4, 2525 Michigan Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90404.
You will see a lot of this sort of thing:
And some of these: