I wrote a new short over the course of three lunch hours this week. The word of the month for September was learning, and I started a thing that grew and turned out pretty OK, I think, just finished editing it yesterday. I'll probably put it up here, let you all take a look at it.
I had this idea about an AI that scientists teach to learn and then they hook it up to the internet, to absorb the entirety of human knowledge, and then when they talk to it later, it comes back with cat videos and says bae and LOLz and all of the moronic shit that can be seen every second of every day on this steaming shitshow that is the internet, the whole point of which was that given this amazing tool of communication we just poop on it, and then seek to spread our poop as far and as wide as possible.
And it was going to be a funny story, a cute little parable.
This is not the story that I ended up writing.
What I wrote ended up being a terrible reflection on guilt and suicide and shame. It's not a nice story at all; it's sad and violent and sweary and filled with terrible choices and regret. And I wrote this thing, and I started to wonder: why can't I write nice things? Why is it always abuse, drugs, shame, sadness, violence, and fear?
And I think it is really all about fear. I wrote this story, filled it with details to make you feel something, to make you experience the thing, not just read it. There is a point when you read something and it absorbs you and your heart starts beating and you don't think about the words at all, you are there, you are enveloped in the world that the author created, your mind fills in all the details and the textures... It is very much like magic, though it isn't; it is just words, arranged in a nice order.
I wrote this story and it isn't nice, not at all.
It is about fear, it is always about fear.
I'm terrified of suicide.
Not my own, I want to be very clear about this, I am not entertaining thoughts of self harm, you don't need to call the authorities, or my wife, there is nothing to worry about here, hell, I'm just getting started.
I had a friend call me once, he called me to tell me goodbye, that he was going to kill himself. He said he had a gun, he said he was going to use it, and I was thousands of miles away and there was nowhere to go, nothing to do but to helplessly plead with him to not do it, tell him that I'd hop a plane and get there tomorrow, just hang on, wait until tomorrow, I would be there... He didn't do it, thankfully, and I don't know if I did the right thing, said something that turned it around, or if he just needed to hear a friendly voice, someone who cared whether he was still around. I don't know, I have never mentioned it again, we never talk about it. This was years and years ago, and even now I feel shaky, what if I said the wrong thing, what if I didn't answer the phone that night, what if I was in a dark place myself, like I could very well have been. Even today, knowing that it all worked out for the best, even now I'm still scared, it could have gone so wrong, could have gone terribly terribly wrong, and then how would I live with that, how would I carry that around, how could I absorb that into my experience?
It didn't happen, but what if? What if it did?
And this is where this shit comes from, why I can't write nice things, because I am filled with memories like this, times it worked out, times I failed, times I wish I had said something or times I wish I had paid attention, had been a better man, had listened to what people were trying to tell me, times I was too self absorbed or too drunk or distracted or too anything...
This is stupid, self flagellation, total nonsense. I don't know why I hold on to this shit, don't know why I feel compelled to write this shit, I don't know why I remember this shit, why I can't let things go.
I don't really write too much about my own experiences, except for here I suppose, mostly because I'm pretty boring, and also because it's all pretty pedestrian; I was no worse off than anybody, and better off than most. I have been surrounded by people that loved me, cared about me supported me my whole life, and all I can do is think of how things could have gone wrong, the times when I failed at being a good person. I just feel sometimes like I am too soft, like I am made of dough, and the world presses on me and leaves a mark, and where other people just bounce back, I don't, I stay pressed, and now at my age, I'm covered in marks, and maybe if I write something that people can relate to, make them feel like they are not alone, maybe they will bounce back instead of staying marked.
I don't know anything.
And like in the new story, I never learned anything, either.
Reach me if you want to, Twitter @RDPullins, on Facebook, comment here, or email me at dissent dot within at gmail dot com. I WANT to hear from you! REALLY. Even if you just wanna say that I'm dumb.