Memoir piece 1

This is called “On becoming a doctor instead of someone insane.”

Dedication: I wrote this for Mom

I have had about three breakdowns in my life: the first was at age nineteen, and as though I could control whether-it-happened-or-not I would say it’s one of my biggest regrets. That is the time I “got through” to Woody Allen’s inbox using my New York Ivy League connections and subsequently decided I was going to be a comedy writer-director-actress, long before the #MeToo movement took off and before I knew much about him, other than that he’d married his adopted daughter. The second time was a suicide attempt several years later, which I’ve never really described as that in writing. The third time was last year in 2021: and that is when I made some very serious changes to my values. This book is not quite a record of my values, as though anyone cares, as much as a record of the process of coming up with the new ones. I studied artists in my generation to do this; sometimes my takes on the state of art in USA were cynical and foresaw something like WWIII on the horizon. I will cover all of this, if you reader might find it interesting.

I feel as though I don’t have that much time to waste in this life, but I’m less anxious about this than I’d have been even just a few years back. What that means is, even if I were to not wake up tomorrow, I would not be fretting about how I never cinched a legacy.

I recently went to a tutoring session with a guy who promised to turn my grades around (I’ve done only moderately well in my program for older students becoming doctors), and I believe the tutor; someone who I am absolutely certain would never be the type to read this, nicknamed Xerxes. I care more about that, then whether I end up famous. Or rich or something. In all my years of treatment, for depression and other spinoffs of serious mental illness, I have picked up from people in group that having money does not make a person happier; I have heard the actor Brian Cranston say in an interview that having money is a lot better than having none, and I would believe him on that one. Since most women I know spend more time thinking about how they look, than about how much money they’d make if they hardly thought about it, I’d probably openly wonder whether the same can be said about beauty: having “more” of it doesn’t really make one happier, but I also think many of my regrets have to do with choices I made that sort of split me from what used to be my greatest weapon: my beauty, as a young white woman in America. I wrote a novel about this starring a fictional character named Ava, her weaponized privilege, a character who I’d describe as at times a reprehensible human and not quite me: for instance I was not quite, the hot one or stunning, ever-once I would say, but I had some decent years, and I can’t say I “capitalized” on them because I ended up in a worse place after trying to. These days I look pretty, weird at least compared to any female stars who I’ve idolized or in some cases stalked, and some mornings it bothers me (my whole story leading up to now); others I feel like I’m doing better-now in the ways that, I guess, should matter. I’m doing better in that I have some peace. I do not feel that I would need to escape to an expensive island after a successful Ponzi scheme to fund the rest of my life; or if not that, because things went better, to the afterlife (and not to hell if that makes sense: things went better), just in order to find some peace.

Perhaps I describe things that way because, it would be easy for me to say “God [or some higher power] punished me” by taking away some of my better attributes: my handsomeness, and for a while, my mind completely.

Money too, bla bla (I’m still poor). But I sincerely do not feel so beat up about it.

I think my peace is sourced from not feeling like I deserve suffering; it is sourced from having values that I can fall back on without grasping at straws or scrabbling to get my fifteen minutes of fame in America.

I do not want to self-publish that one novel starring Ava, more like a tome of Quixotesque themes and proportionally in form, because I associate self-publishing with taking a consolation prize. I’ve seen it go well for some people, friends of mine; I do not have a sprawling network, sometimes I even think I “got cancelled” so I can’t imagine it will change my life that much, completing this book, the way no creative projects I’ve done so far have done much but leave me in debt or something.

I may not have become a professional writer but I would not like to self-publish everything I do. This book though, On Becoming A Doctor Instead of Someone Insane, will be self-published which is only relevant to harp on before I pull the trigger and send it out to some friends because it means there are probably sections that need edits; if you do see errors then I’m amenable to feedback, not quite willing to sell my soul [to anyone in my entire career from now on (in medicine too)] because I don’t look the part of someone whose soul is sellable e.g. to bigshot men. I don’t actually dislike men; I identify with them more than women writers or women in film, and that is honest. I would say I have rubbed shoulders with some stars, and on the internet I have almost certainly alienated stars, and those scenes are some of the more interesting ones in this memoir.

Oddly, and I’ve heard Mary Karr a famous memoirist say the same thing, the harder scenes to write were times of my life that were going better. The good memories. They were hard to write because I have grief for what has been difficult to sustain; for what turned out to be more fleeting than I could foresee or wanted to think about while I was in those moments.

Ch 1: Just a little more in the way of introductions

Why did I send out this book instead of just sending out the novel, which I personally think is better? Here is why, I didn’t think it was a good moment for a self-pitying book about a white girl named Ava or named anything, who honestly ain’t shit; well, not according to most objective ranking schemes in USA, but she still lives in a state of chronic self-delusion wherein she is the main character: a star.

That would describe how a lot of people operate in social media times.

It’s probably not the rally call anyone needs, now — maybe an appropriate rally call would sound more like this: it’s irresponsible, dear girl or boy, to play the star.

I’d say fine and then I’d say: it’s irresponsible to have no boundaries between life and art.

That is my thesis, the part about life and art.

So there, if I had to guess no one’s looking at the website where I wrote all these chapters then rearranged them: a hidden Patreon, either there or on my good old WordPress where I used to write, post, and revise it. That is the only way I have ever written, and I think it’s because imagining that people are reading helps me draw some lines on tough topics: if I do ever cross the line I probably didn’t gage it correctly.

I liked my dismount at the end of writing the whole memoir, which I guess you’d read have to read all the way through, in order to see.

I don’t know where I landed but I don’t think love is real! *I’ll come back to this in just a few lines and, then once again, in the literal conclusion of this memoir.*

It can seem real in art; and most successful artists are people I’m admittedly extremely jealous of. I do not think people are nefarious, usually; I think when they are it is something they rationalize the same way I rationalize calling them villains. They are just people, with more power than me. Are they successful because they found a way to capture true love in a bottle and send it out to lost, lonely consumers about to drown in their hardships? Or are they successful because they commodified love: and tricked people to buy it, actually nipping the buyer’s likelihood of not-drowning, for instance by walking right into an ocean they can’t survive in. The more powerful ones could survive, but I am not them: I guess not walking into the ocean would be common sense. I’d say some people are out of touch with their common sense because, here is where I come full circle in explaining why I become envious, people’ve been listening to music that sort of instructs them to do whatever it takes, to be great; to be a god of some sort, a love god. I can think of like twenty songs offhand that are like this, and some new films that are like this. They make people want to be “love gods.” You can either be that or you can be, not that.

So of course I seem evil, to them.

It’s absolutely honest that I have an envious side, that probably explains my least becoming behavior toward others: people I see as higher-ups. Why be envious.

Maybe [to throw back to what I said about how “love isn’t real”] I am envious that they have more love in their lives, but that would suggest that people who are more privileged, and who are beautiful or something, might just.. get-more-love quite honestly, than I’ve gotten as someone who has no fans and not an impressive social life, and who if I were to model would be or would have been a plus size model, so I didn’t become a model I became something I wanted to be. It is not the same thing as one’s social life, but you could look at my “love life” I suppose; it is below average at this time.

It is something I’ve had to reckon with because it’s caused me to humiliate myself. And to do worse, to fall through the cracks even deeper.

I’ve become like a frog under the cracks of a dock where pretty people walk and hold hands on the beach. I might be exaggerating but yes. How could I not be envious as the frog compared to those PEOPLE; occasionally they come under the dock to make love and there I am leering. I don’t feel good about leering so, I wonder how I got there. Only recently I decided (because I feel like this has actually happened, metaphorically, of course) that if I ever find myself leering, like that, I should not be there; it is weird. It makes me uncomfortable. I will not assume I am blameless in how I even got there, but I will assume responsibility for leaving without causing a scene or even making a sound because that could make it look like I am a creep. I don’t even know how I ended up there, leering at pretty people.

I will not assume anyone knows what I am talking about but I will point out that the whole “frog” thing is referential, and what I’m getting at is internet meme culture that is associated generally with involuntary celibates or “incel” communities online: and those communities are associated generally, with many of the shootings that have happened in public venues ranging from schools to Churches to department stores. It is not the case in every single case but in a very high number of them, the shooter, a white male, had some record of partaking in male or white supremacist message boards online. On those message boards it is likely that at least one post made reference to Pepe the Frog or the “sad frog meme.” I alluded to that froggy stuff, in my last paragraph, not to suggest I am one of them or even have visited those sites (by those sites I mean those websites, I have visited Reddit and Goodreads and sort of imagined I were a basement-dwelling guy on his computer resenting hot people including hot writers) — I’ve read articles about them (and about the countless shootings); I mentioned it merely to illustrate a point, or to set myself up to bridge some gaps throughout this project.

I think this predates the Pepe meme but the term “froggy” is slang for aggressive, perky, ready to start something, and also not least, for horny.

I find gross lessons here-and-there in premedical school kind of interesting, and sometimes, they would influence the writing but it’s not science writing. Keep in mind I’m probably better at writing screenplays, so those are where any lessons would most likely show up in my lifetime as a writer who started as an aspiring screenwriter, like if I were to go back to that, as an older person more in charge of my life, and if I were to write a scene that portrays illness accurately — something along the lines of that scene A Beautiful Mind where Christopher Plummer the actor is like ”there is no plot against you.” **That would go in a biopic I wrote about someone other than John Nash (a ____ played by Russell Crowe); a different scientist, perhaps.

I’ve felt like the world’s against me, and it was a medical issue; delusions and including narcissistic delusions of grandeur. Hallucinations, those happened sort of. The specifics of what happened I would rather not share because I might feel pressured to embellish; just to like, preserve any dignity and good favor in the real world — they were honestly kind of sexual. I am glad that’s not a state of mind I have to live in anymore; where literally everything, is sexual. One thing I picked up in an Intro Psych class is that sex, as in intercourse, is not necessary for homeostasis [for the body staying balanced, surviving]: in other words there is nothing about having sex or frequent sex that would affect one’s overall wellbeing, what would affect that is one’s relationships or perhaps their boundaries toward sex. How they kind of categorize it psychologically, whether they rank it as a priority. It can be a social status thing; to brag about it I think, assuming it is not made-up. I am not a sex writer or someone who has thought about it enough to have philosophies on it: I’ve been around men in film who have really elaborate philosophies on sex.

I’m not actually maimed of my sex drive but sure, I might have taken a break and when I wrote this. I wasn’t in that state of mind.

I’m protective of the life I have left and I think if love is real, platonic or worshippy or whatever, then some of it is becoming what the other sees in you. If people see you as a sex god maybe you’ll become one, who knows, you might actually be more resented these-days for that e.g. by incel communities.

I would say probably, that can actually be a good thing if you are very fortunate: it can be a good thing to become how someone else sees you, if people love you, not the other way. If you’re disdained that is a wholenother thing. I probably have been one to “see people a certain way” and try to control them until I can get them to stay-like-that, as though adjusting a mould. It is how I became a screenwriter (I’m like, not even). You can’t do that to humans.

I’ve felt it [real love] not always at that precise moment but in my life, from people who literally insist it, when I’ve told them to their face “you’re not my f***king sister, leave me ALONE” and — obviously I have been lost in my own mind; unable to trust even the people who definitely, do care about me. 

No jokes, here, about how my sister and I actually hate each other! She doesn’t disdain me at my most pathetic; that is a good sister. Those times I was cut off from people I am close to, weren’t good times.

I guess I just implied in-all-the-above text that (if you really close-read this book, despite how much I took out you can still figure out that I’ve been a gay stalker of strangers who feel nothing for me, it’s been an issue) [oh and that..] if someone bothered to read my work at this time of my life, when no one cares, then I’d give them a chance without really counting on anything. 

But it might be true: I’m not in a position to get extremely picky. I don’t see myself as a victim, if I were I’d say I am in a position to be picky because I am someone who’s been seriously mentally ill and if I let around people I can’t trust, there’s a lot at stake for me individually: but I just don’t see a functional society as one where sick people, including mentally ill psychos, are running the whole show.

So I don’t want that to be how my love life goes. Do you follow..

It’s not really about them wondering if I’m dangerous because [I know after comprehensive evaluations and tons of experience with my self and how I behave while unwell] I am not dangerous except maybe to myself with all the suicide-stuff; if they said I was dangerous in a very literal way that went beyond me embarrassing myself (really badly too, like someone tap-dancing on a balance beam drunk, not quite falling off). They would be acting petty to call someone like me dangerous. It is not great art, the tap dancing, but it is not villainous. This might be a stretch but, if they were just watching it and laughing, they’d be the abusers of sick people; which I think is closer to how I actually see the world being run, while people using the mental illness card who are sincerely villainous are manipulating the system. It diminishes the impact when someone like Meghan Markle admits to suffering from suicidal ideation, when I truly want to see her do well: that is, do better than merely just-survive? That’s Meghan Markle a Duchess, it shouldn’t be the case that she is being dragged by world leaders. This is only important to mention, in that — I actually think it’s kind of serious, how very powerful people think “being crazy” is just a rite of passage, of sorts, to being a genius leader. I often actually see them as oppressors for judging what they do not understand. What they do not understand is how many people are sincerely, well, sick.

Those on top might gaslight and do a lot to get away, scot-free, with wrongdoing on unfathomable scale: while I’ve heard many people say “success is subjective” (“what’s success anyway!?” — people who are successful might say that): I lament the day the day when someone outright states that their definition of success is “getting away scot-free with a crime.” Because that seems to me like what it means in America, in the years I was writing all my stuff about a near-convict named Ava; definitely not recognized, not making a killing. It seems to me like a lot of art makes this kind of behavior look heroic: I hesitate to point a finger at rap lyrics, but that is one place. Another place is any content that takes sort of perverse pleasure from Donald Trump’s terrorist sense of humor, which as someone who used to (not anymore) want to be a comedy writer, strikes me as sincerely insane.

As it pertains to anyone who’s hurt the actual me Morgan Wilcock (a fan of Meghan Markle, and she is someone who Trump never liked) and by the way, I think it’s obvious if you sit across from me after seeing the younger-me and notice how much I’ve changed in honestly a sort of short time [about six years] — if you pushed me off the balance beam where I was tap-dancing and come back and say “you’re crazy” when I’ve done everything in my power to not be, to not end up in a worse place than back-in-school becoming a medical professional and you probably knew when you did or said something petty on purpose so I would notice it, if anyone did that: I don’t have to worry about them, those people who pushed me off the edge, as much as protecting my fragile mind, against people with way more power. Also about not being petty myself. Maybe I am more powerful than I think.

I have learned the hard way that, this almost never looks like standing up to them; in my experience doing that has caused me to look like a stalker.

It means taking space, or leaving. So what they lost a fan, they’ll be fine and it was never in your best interests to try to “help” them. If you feel a need to defend yourself then, literally find a better way.

If I was someone who actually stalked you that is another story.. — I was trying to save you, probably, let’s all remark on how that’s problematic and how I probably did not understand — I have a history of playing the rescuer like a male prince from a Disney movie, which is some bullshit.

My stalkees are separate and would know who they were, say, if they received literally hundreds of messages from me and had to ignore them: I’d encourage them to just move on. It is embarrassing, for me, like it would be embarrassing to walk in on a 30-year-old of any gender in a princess gown.

I was unwell and how I abused my unwellness, instead doing the harder work with two feet on the ground, might actually be what gives me insight into what I termed in the last section as oppression of the masses.

That is a mighty claim to make: that I have unique insight into “oppression of the masses,” because I think powerful people are not doing “the harder work” that needs to be done, but hey. They [literally whoever, The Man!!](lol) also don’t have to do anything: but if all the work they ever do is feeding into a vanity machine, that is probably an issue. It is a self-licking ice cream cone, it is fake and filled with lies and people suffer and sink into lower, lower ranks.

In the more convoluted circuitry I see, causing this-and-that to happen in our world, I see it as the cause for discrete acts of domestic terrorism. People who have fallen through the cracks with no chance of being procured from the cracks have gone insane. They don’t have much time to put on a show because people will forget about them tomorrow, they know this, it’s been their whole life, so they be sure to make it count.

I am writing this with 5% battery left on my laptop, so it might come out a bit raw, and with less than 1K in my bank account. That’s actually not that bad, could have said less than zero — like you know when all the numbers turn red — but I could do better in my lifetime, and I kind of hope to..

I mentioned something: oppression of literally most Americans by more-powerful people who might benefit from not being crazy and in effect gaslighting people, albeit unintentionally, (1) causing them a lot more psychological harm than you probably realize by selling them [for a dime] some false ideals that no one remotely smart falls for after a six or seven times of having the gauze yanked off their eyes, like Oedipus suddenly taken off his pain meds; rough, if anything people feel abandoned, bled dry, treated as non-entities or as data points when these are humans. They consent to abuse to feel in control, they are not. To escape that because they’re just like “fuck life” people escape into art, probably art by more-powerful people that gaslights even the most privy consumers further, (2) causing them to want to be stars at all costs, even if that means acting somewhat dishonorably. It is dangerous to live in a world where people can’t tell the difference between real life and a performance. What do you expect to see when you turn on the news today? Do you even turn the news on, I know a lot of people who say they can’t. What do we even do! To end this madness!!

I actually wouldn’t assume I am talking about shootings, because I wouldn’t assume they do it to be stars. I actually think it’s more-disturbing than that: they feel they are partaking in a cause.

Perhaps I would dare to get this word in to fellow artists, men and women, not certain men versus women or anyone else or everyone else; feeling kind of defeatist myself.. Just try to stay in touch with reality, say, if you’re a culture warrior (first of all shut up, “culture warrior?”; I’ve heard a lot of people talk about their involvement in the “culture wars” online) [second of all just realize] it makes the art better not worse, to be in touch with reality and then help people deal with how it is so often SUCH crap in all caps.

The word crap doesn’t do justice to how bad it can be, how rough. It’s rough, huh, get used to it no one cares to help you up.

For the people who’ve ever gotten hurt by MY WIGGING GENIUS MIND [!] though, in the past: a fragile mind separated from the true me, glass shards flung onto people who were like “literally what the hell..” when their computer screen exploded in front of them upon looking me up; or more likely, after receiving word from me without ever asking for it.

~Hi again, I’m sorry. I am saying sorry because it is awkward for me; not to get out of charges against me like for calling a female person a bitch literally if I did that. As noted I’m probably not quite as bad in real life, maybe a bit pitiful, to be honest. Confident despite that; not an enemy to bitches. I was one!~

Those people with shards in their flesh would be the one giving me a second chance if I do better, while meanwhile I kind of isolated myself in my own woods of indifference because, I kept hurting people by trying to be someone I was not. From my woodsy retreat, I would assume none of that online stuff, meant shit honestly. Was it real or just fake? Where does a bear relieve itself.

It was nothing at all.

I’ve found there are very good things about doing one’s work in the woods. 

Perhaps it can help a writer keep objective, about people only real in our dreams; or in art which is a lie. It’s a lie, but it shouldn’t be a form of gaslighting.

I would like to expound on this, if I haven’t enough already in chapter one (without pointing fingers or making people sound like villains, when that is never necessarily how it was). I would like to merely expound on how bad art, perhaps just nothing-art, shallow art, essentially caused me to crack up.

*Repeating self to illustrate point:* Now I will begin to expound on how bad art — or if not that, because it was not substantial, it was nothing, just-bad news that seems like a circus I never signed up to attend — may have, in real life, caused me to crack up.

I think I’ve felt and observed it happening: where I “become” someone I don’t like, including (at moments) a severely sick person; literally hospitalized — and I make that observation about my past, today, mentioning also that it might not have happened quite in a vacuum, in order to prevent it from happening again.

Generally the less powerful person in a duo or group, manifests the less appealing traits. 

That’s hard to explain but it has probably been an experience I’ve had enough times to remark on: I avoid people because I become a prop for others in their shitshow they get off scot-free for putting on 24/7-365.

In my case “manifesting less appealing traits” means going insane from watching, or getting involved with someone who categorizes me a human as a commodity. They don’t do this consciously.

My enemies or [not that but] more-powerful people, who are indifferent to the underclass which is unfortunate but also just life because they definitely have their own set of problems, end up copping power from me — say, if a higher-up person I love or whatever is technically using me. This is capitalism, right. I don’t know and I think if I’m smart it’ll seem less like a battle all the time. I wish I could be certain I don’t have enemies, like REAL ones not just the ones in my mind. I certainly don’t want to be like “I’m their victim” if that is an old school barefaced lie, much like hearing “I love you” from someone who doesn’t, never did except maybe sort of — or shamelessly not at all. They wanted to control someone. Is that what artists do when they say, “I love you” to their fans? How did I get so easily fooled; it is so obviously not real, what the fuck.

I am not quite their victim if I fell in love with someone, who was a stranger or something. That is self-evidently a joke, but it’s caused me a lot of grief, the shame about feelings for strangers.

But (not necessarily talking about stars, now) sometimes that all happens, and, sometimes we say things in the heat of the moment that we regret — I’m not sure if that is the same as a bad relationship (saying things that you regret), because I’m not sure sometimes if everyone is even capable of regret; those are people I’d rather stay away from, in love. I won’t judge a thing about “regret” and people’s policies on it because a lot of successful people have described not having regrets. I listen to them.

I said earlier that “I don’t think love is real..” and I discussed it.

There’s some good news. Love is true in a way that’s very unromantic; it does come down to signals in the brain. 

It is possible to forget someone due to Alzheimer’s or a traumatic head injury like the one we see portrayed not comedically in Next to Normal, a Broadway show about a woman who imagines her dead son is still alive; he’s kind of like her imaginary friend (then she can’t identify her actually-living supportive family after receiving E.C.T. to help with the first problem). In any case my favorite quote on it all comes from ***

insert quote

**obviously you have to give some evidence love in the brain

I am going to take down the tempo a bit and hopefully for the rest of this book, just calm down. So WHY devote your life to anyone, when it presents all these vulnerabilities and risks; first of all I’m not about to “devote my life to anyone” until I go to some therapy about my queer stuff because it’s presented a risk, my efforts to be with someone who would sort of make me straight again, and this might, best case scenario, explain some of the suicidalness; honestly I can only hope because it would be an easier fix than additional psychiatric meddling. I might end up with a man. I think I could go either way. Still, since otherwise I’d never finish this project I vowed to upload it all to the self-publishing site before I followed through on my mom’s advice to see someone who specializes in coming out, which is an old school thing, do people even come out anymore [if they do, ever, I’ll be someone who had to before I could chill out]: in cities there is no need anymore, everyone is everything sexually. (Hyperbole.) Certainly for someone who’s in-some-ways been a voice of gay young adults [I did a documentary that got me into some great colleges called This Gay and Age], I am remarkably uncomfortable with my own sexual identity and with my self, ten years later. I am not doing well. So pre-deconversion therapy this memoir is pretty raw — and I am not forcing anyone to read it.

There are not sex scenes but I do go all over the place in wondering if I’m a mutant, or something, for looking a bit offbeat and for being attracted to people I shouldn’t be; I guess that would just mean abusers and stuff. I am not a huge fan of “survivor memoirs” but, most memoirs sort of are.

In some passages I feel like I’m writing from the perspective of someone younger than I truly am but, I’ve had a few remarkable circumstances that might make that okay, or forgivable enough for me to notice it sometimes. I am doing it to cope or something; I might see it and be like “that sounds weird, just, literally like younger” but I am choosing to leave it alone because it’s very common in the world right now in a way I find concerning to act younger or laugh at younger things [like how weird someone looks or something]; it’s concerning but it means I can get away with it, when it’s self-directed? Perhaps..

I try to keep going — in my life or whatevies, beyond the years I ever got stuck-younger when I absolutely should be CEO of a feminist film company not a victim of mental illness who went back to school to help sickos — because *here comes my grown-up feminist side* I think the system is built to make men who are grown men into something other than men; and in that system girls (like a much younger-me, not me now unless I’m talking in that weird voice) do end up with hurt feelings and hurt minds. At least that is my interpretation of real life; hardcore real life, not some utopia where everyone’s even right now. 

Who is being an adult. Elon? Mark? Help me out.

Who’s utopia would it be if we just said, “everyone is even.” Does that mean kids should be even with adults; does that mean younger adults should be even with older ones; does that mean everyone should be even with everyone.

It would be nice if we were all even from birth, or, after we sat down behind a screen and made some shit up.

It is not real life.

Essentially love is an imaginary agreement between people: I think there are practical considerations always, and maybe as a younger person I’ve been one to judge relationships that were “for image” or for-other-things that served the careers of people senior to me, in written media or film. By senior I mean more successful, not older.

I didn’t have those relationships, but look at me now, compared to people my age who did have those relationships..

~I have no name, etc.~

I am actually not resentful of that because, I think it is “real life” that a lot of times that does work well for people’s careers. When it doesn’t work — an intimate relationship between someone more-powerful and someone less so — we might hear about it, maybe in a #MeToo headline; most times we might never hear anything. Being someone who hangs out with random people who’ve been through a lot, I would say far, far more times, we never hear anything. They don’t tell anyone.

As a writer I don’t like to think of myself as a woman (this might be so that I can separate my identity, from the points I’m trying to make) [..a skill I probably picked up on while taking required math and science classes], I think it took a few drafts of this project, which changed here and there, mostly got less angry and jealous, for me to start over and say: I don’t want to identify with the #MeToo movement.

However I do want to help delineate between actual trauma, experienced by women, and pie in the sky ideals about what to expect — if you’re someone like me, for instance. Don’t be entitled to that directing job: or to whatever at all. I am not the prettiest, it hurts more that I used to be honestly pretty. I can’t really distinguish whether the tears I’ve cried about that were sourced from self-pity or entitlement.

It does mean I wouldn’t judge a girl who did a lot to protect what’s distinctly feminine, say, in her art. That could be her lifeline.

I wouldn’t take sh** from a more successful girl artist though, if she were to bully me about how I ended up. I would put stars there instead of writing “shit” on the page like a spitting sailor. You don’t know me; I don’t know you. I think women who are ambitious know a lot tacitly that is not written about: I think the best way to catalog it is to write it in narratives that are more human, where one little line — that isn’t a joke, but is somehow funny — says it all.

I will write a lot about narrative [why that sh** might need some tweaks] in this book and it has to do with my feminism. I dedicated this book to my mom but I feel like she’ll find a lot of it boring; I’m sorry about that. There are reasons to write it down. I just don’t have the reasons.

When I release this I’ll just say I might have “asked for it” in-the-past, or literally (honestly) imagined I got picked on — and I will move forward, but my ability to do that, to just forget times I have been, might be related to how I’m doing a little better therefore not about to confuse my own rampant insecurities and paranoia with someone else picking on me. You do your thing, then; you’re not doing something saliently good by eliminating me, like a sniper taking someone out. I am not doing that to you, I never would do that figuratively. I think what I’m saying here is that I’m writing in self-defense. I actually am good at being diplomatic and rational in misunderstandings, just as long as I’m well mentally and if I’m not I will stay away: maybe that’s what being less-powerful trains someone to do, after a few times KO’ed.

You can’t say I was “just in it for the sex,” though. Because that isn’t true, ladies ladies, and some guys. In what universe. See this is me doing the crazy-thing where I build fortifications before anyone even sends attackers. But yes. That is your trauma [ladies] projected onto me arbitrarily. Wouldn’t say it — what kind of book is this so far OmG — unless I thought people were projecting onto me sometimes because I’m, like, safe and won’t ruin their career when all or plenty of the men they’ve ever dealt with would retaliate. Not even because I can’t do that, I have no power bla, bla; because I wouldn’t. So stop reminding me that I know nothing at all, that I don’t get how power works and that I have no life.

That’s really rude, to tell someone or sort of tell them “they have no life.” No sex life?

Sorry it took me a while to figure some of this out — just that I wasn’t well.

Just everything in this intro chapter. I don’t like being told “you’ll learn” because, I probably won’t; I just will stop going to film class. Literally fuck it.

This is not a dig or anything but, talking about film as a medium now, men should not be deciding what’s distinctly feminine aesthetically and I think it is a little annoying to see that but I try to just, not get upset as much period. When I say that I’ve seen it, I’m talking more about narratives than about anything remotely visual. The male gaze can be a good thing and I think girls actually appreciate it sometimes; I mean, I’ve liked it when guys have called me pretty and they might be confused about why I’ve gone my own way. I am not holding a hatchet in front of a fortress labeled “femininity” partly because I think that would be really butch-seeming, for lack of a word that lands more softly (don’t underestimate my awareness of what I’m up truly up to, when I have done something like that) [me or other Jewish female filmmakers or former filmmakers, who are good artists and might be misperceived, in an era when anti-semitism is actually really common now, and I am a Jewish newly gay female person]; and having said all that ultimately I wouldn’t lay any claim on femininity because, my other novel questions whether “femininity” used to be defined as white femininity.

Note that my sucking at it, at femininity compared to any rivals who are really good at femininity, is not among my reasons for disassociating from it a bit.

I think my reasons in a nutshell are to “stay sensitive.”

Sofia Coppola, probably one of the most famous women directors there is (someone lucky to have grown up in the industry, but we’re lucky to have her films) probably does films that are distinctly feminine but I’ve also seen younger people, on their early film shoots or something, be more concerned with how cool they look on set [they want to be like her.. super cool] than with the final result: the film people see. This observation might align with my thesis about minding the boundary between life and art. Why are you an artist; is it to be an artist or to look like one, is it for the featurettes on Youtube or the full-length film. I am guessing there are different views on this: by views I don’t mean numbers of views. I mean different opinions on what current art is or should be.

If people are missing a bygone always-white feminine aesthetic then, they can check out some period pieces from the library or a streaming site; older Hollywood films perhaps. I am not saying that self-righteously or sardonically — nor, would I use the pretentious word “nor” to comment sardonically that Joan Didion was definitely a white woman writing from her perspective, and she is not celebrating how cool she was or how white she was; these are just observations by-me in a quickly changing landscape for all female writers, whether very feminine writers or feminists or whatever you even are doing (now. I’m being sardonic) — but as far as period pieces go I love classical Hollywood films like Billy Wilder and Howard Hawks films and I’ve studied them, and since I mentioned her already yeah, I like Sofia Coppola films and I definitely grew up on them.

I am not sure I pulled out all the stops to be an actress or something, not even to be a writer-director (I changed my name briefly and it wasn’t that big of a deal in retrospect); if I did pull out the stops it was to be a novelist after observing what I could achieve, with my non-following after the other stuff, and with my mind and the vanity of youth on my side. Some of my small Google presence and gifts from friends, who wrote me letters or something, would reveal that I used to go by the name “Lola” but there’s not enough of a record that I have to feel beholden to that. I’ll mention it a few more times, probably over ten more times but I think it’s more embarrassing for me, than for anyone, that I actually thought it would be cool to put the name “Lola Morgan” at the bottom of a book cover. (To be fair I thought a movie poster directed by.)

As Morgan Wilcock again who’d probably do any film work with Alexis Wilcock, collaboratively; I think I can break through the ice at some point but, well. I don’t know if it’s the best for everyone, for me to break it. I could wait for it to melt, I am waiting for it to melt, sorry I keep saying “I,” we are waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Where’s the other side.

This actually isn’t a novel, it’s a memoir that is actually honest that, sadly, I rewrote a bunch of times until it became an essay without the fun scenes. We’ll get to the ones that survived: the will be a part two that starts at Chapter 5. More fun scenes, or, something like “fun.”

I probably could have just called it a day on the first draft and I’d have a better GPA in the postbac program I’m in. I wrote it knowing that my only “fans” right now are old friends who weren’t offended when I got all weird for a while, probably starting when I live-wrote chapter one of some freaky novel I keep mentioning as though it’s “the real book” and this is just some notes. I started making posts and stuff that literally made no sense, do not ask me, to explain what the brain does when it’s wigging, but I decided to try at least to make them coherent: and here is the result. This book here.

The other book though, is a tome. Did I get the tome done or did I not? I did; to be fair I did not have some tactic all along for how to motivate myself but, part of what was, the weird posts as Lola all those years.

I mïght still be weird but, approximately “good weird” like when I was growing up, obviously older now. Getting older has meant defining my identity in a way that makes sense to others, in our wonderful, new, never-like-ever-before cooperative society — of course I always have to make adjustments depending on where I am, and I’ve come to not judge people who move somewhere other than New York or in with someone because, it makes them happier than before.

I feel like I’ve lost friends, when I’ve judged them for not doing the ambitious thing or the right thing.

I no longer feel like throwing myself off a bridge, an impulse which can overtake anyone at any age, but the last point I wanted to make is that I think a lot of big art [including cinema] is a bit like mass cyberbullying, that makes the little guys want to throw themselves off bridges. Could have just been me who reacted like that but I feel like I’ve heard other people say they want to. I’ve never jumped off a bridge but, what if I had: I would have died, to be clear about what I think would have happened and I hope people don’t think that would be way better, for the world, if so that’s too bad because. Here I am.

Here we, are. I won’t be killing myself and you can take my 100.01% guarantee because, I just decided it’s not how I’m goin’.

The last time I felt that I was better off dead is irrelevant; it isn’t a good feeling but it is not something I get up in arms about, because I do not want to ever describe myself as, well, a fighter, or since I used this term already “a culture warrior,” who is built tough and ready to put-up-fights. Maybe it is how I come across but if I can avoid coming across like that I absolutely will try.

I do not want to end up with a last draft of this nonfiction book in my hands that is kind of abusive to nonfictional, real human strangers — the whole thing.. I do not want that, there are flashes of it though and and I’ve probably come close to that with my work. I am not a warrior, I am not a Feminazi (literally what the f*** are you talking about) [OmG history right now]. I am a survivor probably, even if I’d rather not admit that because it sounds like some very trite, overdone brand for a woman my age but my mind has been through a lot; why even say “I’m a survivor” if not trying to solicit or fleece-you-of your limited sympathy. I think it is hard to be a woman these days in my social class designation and I’d be lucky to find a good situation where I don’t desex myself toxically, a tendency of mine since my early to mid-twenties. I think this memoir might feel like paying it forward, but it’s just words and what would be a more moving life story (so, what is therefore my goal:) — an attainable goal — is to show not tell that it can be done, just finding comfort and peace in longstanding love and friendship, still, despite everything, despite how I look even.

I’m a survivor, though, it’s true. If I have to be seen as a survivor, I would rather just be seen as that because I think it’s accurate and honest.

Ch 2: Some shameless, raw, raw nostalgia

They say that old money people are the hardest to spot; anytime I’ve been around them though, I have to say, tended to be better times. It is not because I was relishing in my status, especially since I had very little compared to them: even if they kept a low profile. It was because, face-to-face they recognized I was intelligent and they were not unkind to me, like a lot of people have been when I can’t do something for them. This might be to suggest that my new money Grandpa Wilcock’s provocations that “legacy is vanity” are something I should not listen to, the same way I shouldn’t listen to the letter he sent once discouraging me literally from becoming trans. On the other hand I’ve always had some region of my ear drum open to his advice, because it was never sugar-coated.

The best realistic-seeming case scenario at this time, seems to me that I’ll meet a guy from Columbia who is ostensibly nerdy and not even that nice, because no one at this school is (I have a lot of problems with it; they’ve probably not helped my mental illness), but who likes me because we see eye-to-eye. The dream case scenario is that I meet a really hot girl, as a gay girl myself; and sort of move back into the arts as someone who can make parties that way. Otherwise I couldn’t make parties, though I heard Fran Lebowitz at a BAM talk claim that she and Martin Scorsese, who are close friends, “[loved] to party,” and I had to pause from the audience years ago to imagine just what those parties would look like. They might be more up my alley than the ones I’ve been avoiding all this time, because I thought I’d just leave sexually traumatized. I had to worry about that, back when I could have gotten in, even, to the parties.

My impressions upon visiting Columbia on college tours, a summer in high school I only remember because it was the first summer I’d been overweight (I lost a lot of weight in my first couple years of college, which I’d say were good years but the friendships I made off-the-bat were ephemeral), were that I wanted to go to Yale more as the niece of someone who’d gone there. Along with Harvard, where I didn’t apply because I didn’t like it there, I would say that Yale are the two leading Ivies — certainly in terms of their endowments — along with Princeton, where Toni Morrison taught for years, where Woody Allen stores all his archives, and where my close friend Will Plunkett attended and majored in linguistics before pursuing a career in publishing. In high school back in Minneapolis, a public high school but a good one, Will and I might have been outsiders in a good way still; we stayed out of trouble, too serious about our futures to risk some huge slip. I think he stayed that way, after college, while I may have fallen off for a bit, but I will never forget or take for granted how Will would be the literal only one liking my most harrowing and least becoming Instagram pics.

I’ve made the claim that I have tried to keep my online presence self-contained because I act crazy on it when I’m writing, but a good way to solve that would be to stop acting crazy on social media, when I’m writing. To stay sane period. I think we respond to pressure by making adjustments, and I’ve never had that pressure.

Interestingly, the other close friends I’ll probably stay in touch with, from high school, went to school in Canada: to McGill or to The University of British Columbia, where Sienna would sleep with a good number of the Whitecaps soccer team. I actually think that something to be proud of. My sex life in college involved a long-term undercover “thing” with one boy for almost the whole time, who my family didn’t even know; a more creative-feeling bond with a guy who I either fell head over heels for, or wanted to so badly that I made it into that (his name was Eric, we didn’t last that long but there’s mutual respect); from Columbia a guy named Andy who brought out my feminine side, probably because he was very East Coast, but we never were intimate; and then some guys who I had one-night stands with, though the total number of people I’ve slept with remains remarkably low [at least compared with other women writers, I take it, who are open about their sex lives because it’s good narrative capital]. I actually am not sure that’s something to be proud of, because we live in the 21st century not like, a century ago: the roaring twenties.. Oh wait.

I didn’t get into Yale; I got deferred Early Decision, then rejected. I got into Brown, Dartmouth, and Columbia. I would have gone to Brown if someone else from my high school hadn’t gone there; I valued the good legacy I had at my public high school, which was really good, and didn’t always want to be boxed in with someone else in people’s minds which tend to sort things. My mom told me to go to Columbia, because she noticed my work on the writing-intensive application was better than it was for Brown’s application. So I went to Columbia. Someone from Dartmouth showed up to my house in Minneapolis with a gift bag and T-shirt and letter from the school; they claimed to have a good film program, and that all felt deeply personal even if it wasn’t, but I chose Columbia also of course for it’s film program. The grad school is where the good stuff is, so I’m surprised I went to grad school for medicine, when I might have been able to get into the film school. I’d just gotten too used to the types of students who were drawn to it, to feel I could do that; there was a lot of ego in the atmosphere there, often about some very average projects, and I myself wasn’t feeling confident enough to brawl: but I was getting too old to keep working at movie theaters or in the tech section at a Target, the worst job I’ve briefly had, so I got back in to school at age 26 going on 27, and (once I was in) broke the news to my family: they were surprised but supportive. At first I paid for it on my Target unemployment I’d hoarded, from the early stages of the pandemic; after that I got some of the extended family involved in helping me take out loans and keep track of my finances more than I ever have in my life. If this is TMI than so is the following.

  1. It would actually work in my favor in pursuing an M.D. because selling one good script, let alone more than one [like Diablo Cody, or even just something a little less improbable than her winning-lottery-ticket trajectory] – it would allow me to pay off my student loans in one fell swoop
  2. I just have a ton of scripts, some that are bad, some that I’ve received positive feedback on sometimes by people who weren’t slouches at all – this is a bit embellished because I was never in his class but one of the people who “liked me” was Andy Bienen (a screenwriting teacher at this school who was super cool)
  3. I just don’t see myself as passionate about Physics, Chem, Math, Bio, the way my professors in those courses genuinely are – and I do feel so passionate about film and literature and music and the performing arts.. I heard Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim say in a little clip of him at the Tony’s ~paraphrasing~ that if you’re going to give all your time to a project then it might as well be something you’re passionate about; to be fair to myself Sondheim was privileged to be doing his work from a young age, an apprentice to incredible mentors and a good rep throughout his life
  4. The more distance I get from drama in my past, sometimes very serious “drama” (more like abuse or self-abuse or verbal abuse) which I took for granted around the house growing up; psychological violence, and physical violence, and I’d argue gun violence can arguably be “escapes from depression”… the more I see how it would actually be quite functional to contain any impulses to do something intense, creative, bold, escapist within a character’s behavior – not my OWN actual behavior, in real life

I’ve mentioned by now and got a bit into depth about how I get really into star worship; I think the it-factor is a real thing, but unfortunately (for those who believe it’s something they were born with) it isn’t magic. It might involve having a street smart sense for how to ride narrative capital out in the real world, in order to do well; one thing I’ll say about films by people who aren’t [or weren’t at one point] always hustling to do better is that, sometimes they lack stakes or a sense of them. What decent films lack in that, they usually make up for in a sense of what works aesthetically. I am not saying one thing matters more, or less, than the other; obviously I probably lack the sense of what works aesthetically, but on the other hand I’ve tried to think about that by removing myself from it: I would never assume that what I am attracted to, is what is most attractive.

What that can mean is a lack of perspective, from lack of experience in what actually reads well, versus what you envision will read well; on a screen, or stage. You need more sets of eyes to really know, more than one’s own or one’s lover’s own. Or one’s parent’s own eyes.

I do think oftentimes people-these-days confuse “having no taste” (when they levy that insult at people like my family), with “having to prioritize other things.” Hopefully that’s not too hard to fathom.

Sometimes people who started poor, who seem self-centered, do that to avoid becoming swept [down] into narratives that just cause that individual person a lot of grief and chaos: if they let that happen they’ll die. That part might actually be hard to fathom, understandably (they’ll die?) [they’ll go crazy.] – but I think it is true and recognizing it might create space for forgiveness of someone’s seeming narcissism which might have been a tool to keep one’s priorities in sight, over someone’s who is truly indifferent to them or, unable to fathom where their suffering sources from: bills, bills, bills, illness, it may not end there. I’ve heard younger people say things like “she doesn’t take care of herself,” about an older person. Well then care for her. It is true in my experience that from being self-centered you might come across as magnetic, at any age, sort of, not repulsive-or-something; but then once you step a bit higher, and the light hits you the wrong way, you might realize that it’s essentially still a survival tool and a lie to keep you going subjectively – i.e. not sinking and honestly, completely giving up. Once that takes place there is nothing “magnetic” about someone.

However it is not especially becoming when others witness in plain relief, any forms of narcissism. Clinical narcissism is a form of mental illness, so picking up on it can probably be unpleasant like witnessing someone’s continuing illness.

It is what happened to me when I realized my foregone stage-name Lola Morgan wasn’t me: each year further into that, I got sicker. My mom said it was kind of a trashy name, I once would have said that it was “part of the joke,” but why should one’s identity be a joke; besides to make others laugh. Not even the greatest comedians let their entire identities become a joke. That is my observation.

The funniest work I did as “Lola Morgan,” anyway, was probably the stuff that poked fun at my mental illness and paranoia about my encroaching queerness. I see the student film I did in college as a film about schizoaffective features of paranoia: no one on earth would go to the lengths, that the women in that film go to in order to sabotage their friend. It wasn’t realistic; I am not sure I would have known that because I did indeed write it when I was sick and paranoid and thought I’d find success as someone named Lola. What the film got right, plot-wise if we take it as autofiction is that people might casually steal my [“Lola’s”] work and then bury their tracks. So that is a good sign about my potential as a character-writer, not someone recognized but someone who’s always been a character-writer even in poetry classes where people observed I “took on voices,” and I can do that as just Morgan (not a role) still a writer. I can wonder if comedy is actually the best way in to being a writer, because I do not want to become a joke to people again. I suffered from that.

I think ambition is almost always there in people who possess the it-factor; they might not be open about that, and I am not sure it’s noble to be. As far as my own star worship habits go, my stalking habits of people who have that factor more than me – habits which really have been a thing since I was young (my dad pointed out recently that “you’ve always been a fan girl,” as though it’s like a thing that describes me uniquely, ha, to me it comes as easily as breathing!; maybe it is a queer creative-person thing to worship glamorous stars who are well women but I think it was probably a survival-thing too) [..either being a kissass, or, appreciating great art starring some muse, art that saves your life literally] – it became hard by the end of my twenties, when I still wasn’t successful, to wake up and realize these people are strangers and only humans, and higher-ranked and more likely to be happy: you-the-fan Morgan don’t actually know them one bit, and if you did you’d be the lower status individual, probably a prop, or foil to their greatness in their own ongoing performances. If that is bitter then I am choosing to exaggerate, rather than make the mistake again of not playing it safe around women who have the upper hand in some way. By now I have been hurt a few times, enough that I’ve had to ask myself “shit, am I gay.” Yeah.

If I were a male person it actually might, indeed be different, in that I wouldn’t be the foil: I’d be the purveyor of some [female] muse’s greatness. (These are generalizations but they are ones I’ve had to consider, given a limited array of choices after some rough times in my own life. An aside – I’d rather be a purveyor of goodness..) It can seem like I’d rather be a man but I am not. Still, these remarks give some indication of why I went to school for medicine, not back into “the arts” which can refer to a lot: I would define “the arts” as an industry distinct from entertainment – I got a sense of this interning at Film Comment magazine where I built a reputation for not reviewing films that fell comfortably into “the arts” designation – also as actual work that people make money doing or a career out of.

My grandpa told me not to become trans but there is some likelihood I will do volunteer work on behalf of queer people, as someone merely queer, still unsure of the specifics: I come from a generation where you don’t have to decide but are asked your pronouns every few hours. Perhaps I’m bisexual and very willing to go far in how much I dress one way or the other (e.g. almost completely like a man, one night, then back to school as a female who working class people sometimes refer to like, “hey, Lady”). I do believe that “trans people are real” and that gender-affirming care is the only way they can proceed in life feeling dignified, not necessarily just, subjectively. I suspect that it could be my sort of toe back in to “the fine arts” as I’ve never been close to any queer person who didn’t feel like they had to rearrange their ways of seeing the world in order to just, be fine and Susan Sontag used to write about this; in my own words, I would become queer in order to stay [or just finally fall, ow] on the sensitive side. It might require thinking creatively and also staying well, to be queer as me who once could have been a great straight girl and, these days not always thinking about death. Death and sexual repression are themes in this chapter.

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