I have not been writing that much lately. My head seems full of fogs. Those English countryside fogs as seen in Gothic horror movies. With the spooky old house, the master wearing evening clothes a lot. One of those movies. That kinda fog. Except the monster in the attic seems sound asleep. I just sit in the living room twiddling my thumbs as the master of this Gothic house reads a book on why women lie so much about everything.
I seem to be getting worse as a writer, not better.
So Candy Crush is back up on the other computer I use. I obsessively play it. It numbs me. Matching little candies is the anti-depressant drug of choice for me! I can’t afford a doctor or actual meds. That was brought home to be by my latest royalty spreadsheets.
I think about killing myself about every day. There’s a fancy name for it, when you’re stuck on that suicide edge, but haven’t gone over yet to actual attempts. You’re just stuck in the same spot staring at that wall before you. You haven’t yet picked up a razor blade for real.
Watching this TED talk, by a writer, on depression, he hit on repetition as a way of dealing with the fog in his head. I noted that Patton Oswalt also talks about this in one of his routines. Where his depression tells him to watch the Princess Bride seventeen times in a row. Yes. Yep.
I have that one. Just have the same thing on. Repeat watch it for days on end. Gilmore Girls. I’ve seen the entire series I don’t know how many times now. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, same thing. When the last episode ends, I get panicky. I feel lost, bereft. I might even start the series again. And again after that.
I reread over the above. I cringe. I want to erase it, start all over. That’s my modus operandi for months now. I write something. I cringe. I erase it. I start over. I cringe.
I start over.
I start over.
Maybe I’m finally circling the drain. I should probably call one of those suicide lines. I don’t honestly know what I’d say. Maybe a knock knock joke as I swallow another handful of pills.
Knock knock. Who’s there. Orange. Orange Who? Orange you glad you never have to read one of these posts again?
First. Foremost. We need Mr. Rogers back from the dead. He’s needed right now in the world. Someone who is genuinely kind. Someone who genuinely listens.
Someone who’s not BATSHIT FUCKING INSANE NASTY AWFUL GREEDY FUCK FUCK FUCK. All while claiming how into Jesus they are as they DOT DOT DOT FUUUUUUUUUUUDGE A PALOOSA!!!
I promise in the following take on the Won’t You Be My Neighbor? documentary…there won’t be too much adult language or porn stills.
The local PBS station aired the hour and a half documentary on Fred Rogers last night, starting at the unholy hour of NINE PM. Wah!
Some of us got woken up by the puppy at FOUR FREAKING AM Saturday morn. She wanted to go out, then she wanted to go out again, after I’d let her back into the house. Then she wished to play. Then she wanted out again…see where this is going?
Yeah, no rest for the lazy, the wicked, the bad, the good or in general. Not with an actual Puppy Patrol making it seem she’s about to go number two if you don’t get up RIGHT FREAKING NOW. Bridge wants to bark at the coyotes. She wants to chase down that one leaf! She wants to dig a hole for no reason! At four in the morning. Because. Puppies.
I managed to stay awake for one of my absolute fave daddy figures from childhood. Mr. Rogers with his gentle calm voice greeting me from the television screen still turns me into a sappy, happy little shit. Oh the crush I had on that man. Still have.
An admiration crush, a crush on someone so fundamentally unlike me. An actual polar opposite.
Being loud and awful seemed to be most people’s assessment of me. I always knew Mr. Rogers would think me okay. I knew that then, I know that now.
I trusted that voice when it told me things would be groovy. I trust it even now.
Basically, the documentary, with interviews from Rogers, his family, the people who worked with him on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the people whose lives he influenced or touched in some way…was fantastic. That’s my basic review. It was fantastic.
Oh wait, there’s lots more writing after that statement! Argh!
Low key, touched on aspects I didn’t think it would, presenting a complicated man who had such a profound effect on American culture. The makers of this even visited the parody attempts, such as Eddie Murphy’s Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood. Murphy and Mr. Rogers met, by the way. Rogers was fine with the parodies as long as they came from a place of kindness…mm.
The people blaming Rogers for teaching kids they were all special, that they didn’t have to work for anything, that they were entitled!!!…which is not what he taught at all.
You can use the Google for just how down a rabbit hole all that is. If you dare. Hell, go to Bing! Whee!
He taught that we all have worth. That, wait for it, every life matters. I like you just as you are...that’s a radical idea, a radical teaching. We might say that to people all the time…but we don’t fucking mean it. In any sense.
Mr. Rogers did.
We get to see Fred Rogers virtually save Public Television single-handedly. His speech to the Nixon admin about why we need Public Television needs to be replayed these days to the current pumpkin regime.
History repeats itself!
[[Just inarticulate ragestroke sound right now. BRB.]]
There was also takes on the manliness of Mr. Rogers. How many thought he was gay. One of the actors on the show was. Francois Clemmons.
Rumors grew up how Rogers was a Navy SEAL who had killed many. Which is an interesting dance about how we perceive ‘real’ men versus men we find ‘questionable’ or ‘off’.
Men can’t be kind, gentle, understanding, empathetic or…or having anything that’s remotely touching on the ‘feminine’. It’s weird, because Rogers, an ordained Presbyterian minister, demonstrated pretty much everything Jesus taught and talked about in the Gospels.
Like loving people.
Like being kind.
Like standing up for those who need someone on their side.
Being good with children.
Wanting to be positive.
Exploring topics that make one uncomfortable.
It’s weird that even today we’re still hung up on just what a ‘real’ man is. What a ‘real’ woman is. Or not so weird. Have you met humans??
After all, we have the Incel movement. We have males flocking to the Alt Right ubermasculine mancaving on hyperdrive. Feminazis are ruinin’ everythin’! Real women something something!
REAL MEN HATE EVERYONE EVEN THEMSELVES seems to be the actual motto there.
But this isn’t my snarling goddess punch to that pack of sniveling bottom feeders. Who seek to run the entire world as some sort of High Noon scary parody come to life…!
I meant to talk about Mr. Rogers and his neighborhood of beat-up looking hand puppets. How I sighed over a kind man being kind in such a gentle yet hard to miss way.
The little songs about being glad I was who I was. Warts and more warts! The sweaters. The ritual of that show.
Arriving, walking down the little flight of stairs, the closet, the changing of the shoes, the feeding of the fish. The trolley off to pretend land. The puppets having their moments, taking on real world stuff, turning that into understandable stuff.
Diversity that seemed so natural. It seemed right to have so many different sorts in that neighborhood. People who didn’t look like me or people around me. Lessons arrived in a quiet murmur, not a shouted finger-shaking scream. Sometimes the lessons involved tears.
The death of that fish. Divorce. Loss. War. Assassination. The real world and what happened there was not ignored or glossed over.
What a relief to have fears that festered inside touched upon, exposed, explained. Allowed to be talked about at all. What a relief that was.
Mr. Rogers. My other dad. My crush.
That gentle program I sat before when I was a child in the turbulent, awful seventies. The man I always thought of as Jesus, frankly. That same gentleness that masked a fierce desire to help everyone he could.
The Gospels never painted Jesus as a listener. [Here we get into stereotypical masculine and feminine traits. Men speak. Women listen…] What a mistake.
The entire power of Mr. Rogers…was that he listened, he absorbed, he observed, he saw, he witnessed. When he spoke, he spoke to you, not at you. Even though a television screen. He saw you. Just as you were and are. He saw you. That’s what makes that man so very special.
I remember February 2 as being my grandfather’s birthday. Now that you’re warm and fuzzy or perhaps full of rage because your grandfather happened to be a total bastard, or bastards, if you knew both…Where was I?
The groundhog said it will be an early spring. A charming American tradition or rodent torture run amuck?
There’s a Bill Murray movie about this, where he’s caught in an endless loop until he learns to be a nice person.
Why did this tradition catch on with America? I have no idea. None.
Oh wait, I do have an idea: I think we think it’s cute and charming to have a giant rodent predict the ending of winter wrong most of the time. It feeds into some sort of anti-science, pro-magic sort of mindset. We like our air conditioning and computer-run cars, but evolution is a plot dreamed up by Al Gore to bilk the government out of hard-working tax payer bucks. Global warming is a hoax made up by the Chinese to turn everyone into commie social marxists. Wheee! Freedom!
[ note to self– must stop reading comments under science articles. Must stop reading comments under science articles!]
I’m sure others have done in-depth psychological essays on everything Groundhog Day. I won’t.
Writing? Art I writing-eth? Oh woe betides and sucketh much-eth moi!
I seem to have wandered into some sort of Lake of Ultimate Doubts. I’ve drowned, they’re performing CPR right now. Someone is. I hope they are. I don’t think they are.
Who are they???
I haven’t been writing lately. I find I can’t concentrate. That I write something for a bit, then read over it, go…OMG THIS SUCKS DEAD WHALES. Then I start over.
I repeat this pattern for days on end. Days. On. End.
It might be the epic bout of never-ending depression. It might be that I suck as a writer. It might be that damn groundhog. It might be invisible unicorns sent by the trickster gods of Narnia. At this point I am open to all suggestions and ideas.
I am trying to get submissions off. I am trying to rework old pieces, get them turned into better this or that. I might be making them worse. At this point, I DO NOT KNOW.
Welcome to Writer Has Massive Doubts, Episode One Billion, Two Hundred Six.
Is there a writer alive or very dead that hasn’t suffered like a groundhog forced to predict weather patterns for an entire country?? WELL?? IS THERE??