Memoir piece 3

[continued from memoir piece 2]

When I was maybe six, at my Papa’s house in Bethesda, I remember pouring myself a bowl of Rice Krispies and discovering (because I would be the type of kid to even notice) that there were dried maggots in my bowl of cereal. It must have been an old box. “Papa” was actually my grandpa on the East Coast, the Jewish side, though he wasn’t actually Jewish; he was a first generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant; a Great Depression boy. He was also a WWII veteran for America obviously, who told a story once of standing before a man with his gun raised, before putting his own hand up and instructing the enemy soldier to lower it — the soldier then burst into tears, it did not sound embellished. When I poured myself a bowl of maggots I fell immediately ill; not from eating it, from even putting my spoon in. My grandpa Bilanow kept saying, “they’re a delicacy in other countries.” It didn’t cure my sickness about it. Clearly I couldn’t forget it.


The Bilanows lived in a house with a peach tree in the front yard in Bannockburn, before they moved across Wilson Lane. This would have been in the fifties; my mom didn’t have me until she was 43. Way back in the old days, in the old house, my mom remembers feeling crammed with her three brothers. She was the oldest and the only gal. She remembers sleeping a hair dryer on all night as a bedroom heater, reading Archie comics with a hot shower running for hours in the bathroom creating her own steam room. I guess she liked the heat. I don’t know what else to mention; she’d listen to records and talk on the house phone, also for hours: at one point (during the Kennedy administration) her dad, the same guy the previous paragraph, thought their phones were being tapped because he **I have to check on this one, his job in journalism made him vulnerable probably. If I could pick up bits and pieces about what kind of teen my mom was, I’d put them back together to characterize her as someone who fought constantly around the dinner table with her father, who said she was “interesting” not pretty, which is kind of like me. If I didn’t have a sister, I might have ended up, more like her my mom; instead I ended up like me. As noted it has helped, in life, to have a sister probably.

At the Bannockburn pool before I can remember, I would have a habit apparently of taking off my clothes. At some point they just gave up on trying to stop it; I mean it was the kiddie pool. I am not sure what to say, if anything. I was chunky in my early years, until I really thinned out by the first grade. Then I was athletic consistently, all the way through my senior year of high school, minus one fat year which was formative in that I probably set my sights, right then, on definitely getting into an Ivy: my ego was otherwise too maimed. I might write more about this. My uncle Toby, almost a decade younger than my mom, in her teens would be lugged around by her like an accessory until he got to know all her friends: as a boy he was popular with older girls. In adulthood he ended up the gay uncle of mine, who’d gone to Yale and himself took me on some college tours like to Williams. He’s also the one who bought us tickets to Spring Awakening Off-Broadway, and other interesting could-have-been limited engagements like that one. I was only 12 when I saw it, sat on the stage, and because apparently I was the youngest audience member at that time to not have left after intermission, I became a pen pal to cast members who these days are famous. Other interesting theater experiences, with Uncle Toby, included waiting at the stagedoor of Wicked — “Adina!!!” — until I got Idina Menzel (god knows why I decided on this) to sign my black tennis shoe. She and Lea Michele, who do look like each other, would each be the types to bolt. They did not hang around. I did wear that shoe on the playground in fifth grade, and the autograph got dimmer, but, everywhere I went I had Idina Menzel’s autograph on my foot.

At Le Pain Quotidien, one that’s no longer there in the upper West 70s, I would once be eating one of their little spreads, I’m not sure it’s still the same, with my mother who took good care of me then, when I heard a cry “Morgann!” It was literally Lea Michele, we talked for twenty minutes. She was wearing some sort of plaid gaucho-esque but not quite gaucho pants and a pink sweater at the midriff with a camisole beneath; I was wearing a striped blouse and cargo pants to the mid-calf, I used to dress sort of like Gwen Stefani and could pull it off, then. Her mom was at their table still. Lea said, “we don’t know if we’re going to Broadway yet, if you do you’d better come back!!” We ended up e-mailing each other and even AIMing, and this is probably a big reason I did get so attached to Broadway. What does that mean; attached?

It means, the year of the Tony’s featuring Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, I saw every single other nominated musical: usually from waiting in lines for rush tickets with my sister, in the summer visits to the city. Sometimes my uncle would get us better tickets. Actually just to be sure the history doesn’t go down wrong, I did not see the revival of Sweet Charity that year, starring Christina Applegate (this wouldn’t have been my thing), but, I did see La Cage aux Folles.

Okay, I looked it up and there was another musical revival that year I did not see: Pacific Overtures. My sister has seen some revival at some point, I haven’t seen that show. But I did see a revival of a Sondheim show long before that, Into the Woods in 2002!! That was my first taste of Sondheim, who later after a breakdown I’d listen to some podcasts interviews with and learn not much other than how to fathom that you’re on the verge of chaos each time you come up with something, that helps prevent people from falling into chaos. Who knows if it was the worst time of my life, for a while living in a small room in Harlem, I’d listen to that song “Finishing the Hat” and go to Blink Fitness listening to just that song and getting all mentally ill toward it and my somehow-so bulky male body; I also thought I was channeling, of all fucking people to channel while hearing that song, Taylor Swift. This was before I had a bit more of a grip on my own imagination. Like actually though. I might have sometimes thought of her boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, a screen actor, and might have tracked down some of the early films he is in — that were pretty fucking good: I didn’t like The Favourite even though it was also, pretty fucking good. I wouldn’t think of him because of that song by Sondheim; no, that was just the year her Lover album unrolled, and the Scooter Braun thing happened and I followed that trying to decipher it. I’d been thinking about Taylor so much, I had a dream of her, upset about it.. I was like damn my unconsciousness. I am just being honest about that year, 2019, my last year as Lolamo, the year I wrote most of my tome in which the name will be changed. Here is a page from the earlier drafts though.

That album of Taylor’s — who is not Carol Quick, which is why I’ll change that name too; no need to be a namedropping sleaze and that’s actually not sarcasm: I am grandiose enough to be worried that I should be careful what I say about this megastar — definitely, was nothing like the song “Finishing the Hat.” Nothing like it but it’s true I was listening to it, probably when I wrote the above scene or just barebones dialogue of a scene to be revised in a later, better draft. Looking back it needs some rewrites. (“Immense feelings?” Clumsy.)

That is all a little dramatic is the only thing and it seems like I have a phobia of drama because it’s bled out from art and all over my mind beginning at around 6pm, I just can’t stop thinking about the same awful thoughts which is what-psychosis-is basically; being dramatic is like totally against my MO because usually what makes a good project is just being sane. I would have to also be clear that there might be pockets of envy that get in the way: I tend to think I’m aware of that, but then I surprise myself, and I’m actually relieved to notice that I still have a side of me that cares enough about my life to be jealous of successful people. Hard to explain, if that doesn’t make sense.

It’s a new day for Broadway, if you can’t tell from more-recent Tony Award ceremonies.

The singing and dancing, doesn’t even matter as much as narrative, and how directly or seemingly connected it is to current real life; or for how it’s a classic, hackneyed narrative with a shit ton of spectacle.

That sounds almost bitter because hackneyed is generally a term used pejoratively. It’s a new day for cinema, too!

In my Notes from the Underground, another alternate title for this book, I identified an actual need for major overhaul on narrative film, and it is feminist. It is not misandrist. After watching various #MeToo narratives play out I just couldn’t help that power imbalances caused one narrative to come across as a comedy, out-of-necessity to even barely have it heard, and the other to sort of suffocate the “smaller” narratives in the world. That is why I will try to write about comedy, and about narrative which I learned the most about [including just the mystery of it. Have you ever paused to ask “why do I ever care” about any of the characters at all in your favorite piece of fiction] probably from a film theory class taught by James Schamus, founder and former CEO of Focus Features. He used to let us in on how his phone was tapped so his calls would get picked up at a faster rate than if, say, someone like me were to call the airport to get a flight: but he was funny. Some people in the world are more powerful than Me; he’d have been one of them but he was very kind the one time I met him.

Of course it wasn’t quite that obvious where everyone stood, or stands in the present tense, even though the movement seems to have rolled downhill on the MeToo stuff. One thing we did in that class was discuss the Robin Thicke music video for “Blurred Lines,” which was controversial for triggering survivors of rape but which made Emily Ratajkowski famous and powerful.

I am not sure my sympathies were automatically with those “characters” [real life people] whose narratives came across as comedies if I genuinely sometimes felt an impulse to laugh, too; this is me being vulnerable, maybe. Does that mean my sense of humor is perverse or misogynistic or evil, it might because I am kind of a nut, or does it mean [throwing my self some shade..] that I merely stand with the people who are so sick of hearing [about] this shit. Are people sick of it? Why bring it up, why start some shit; I usually believe the MeToo girls, I do not know the best way to help when it seems like these trials [or whatever — MEDIA STORIES yawk yawk] fuck people up worse than they were fucked with in the first place. This might actually be an appropriate moment to say: you can’t really help sometimes.

Perhaps it might mean that, like anyone in the audience of a circus, I couldn’t stop watching unless I made a concerted effort to get up and leave. But circuses aren’t the same as freak shows. Maybe leaving is just being like “I never have fun ever, and I am impotent.”

For this chapter do not take me at my word.

I already mentioned that I don’t want to identify with the #MeToo movement and it’s because I just don’t want to fight other people’s causes; if I were going to law school like my colleague Dayonni who got in to literally nine law schools, or like my friend Guthrie who will be a public defender someday, maybe I’d want to do that. If I’d have gone to film grad school I’d probably want to just direct a good film by my last year and some good shorts with real crew people and actors there to get paid, and I would do my best on the shoot; I wouldn’t be thinking about ethics every few steps along the way. I am embellishing a little [just re: all this] this because I’ve 94% had the experience of actually being laughed at, when I didn’t want to be or when I think the humor was just blatantly in the hands of people who should have kept it private: I don’t care if you don’t like me, if I don’t know who you are, but for some reason they put it under my face. The other 6% in that percent ratio is the part that might have been imagining. I am a retired psycho [psychotic not psychopath] (a distinction that comes up again and again in my novel, which is more important to me, so I won’t explain it here) and I’m in school to be a doctor, which is funny and it’s a bit too late to look back.

That is all vaguely true, all-the-above which I could strap to the keyword MeToo.

I don’t know what my favorite musical ever is.. — the last one I saw at the time I wrote this memoir was A Strange Loop, which felt like a grounding experience for me as a queer person verging on freak, outsider status, which is something I didn’t anticipate; I 100% might turn things around and be straight with gay fantasies which my experienced psychiatrist-writer mentor says is not abnormal — but I probably spent the most time as a teen on Spring Awakening, a sex show starring Lea Michele fucking a gay man. Ew. They never stopped being extremely close friends.

I won’t be friends with Lea Michele, username LeeLand with some numbers, but I liked the show; that’s because I got to be treated once or twice like a VIP at the backdoor, dating back to its original run at the Atlantic Theater, not by Lea Michele by everyone, ’cause they were young and it was exciting — I liked John Gallagher Jr. who was in that one underrated, narrativeless show American Idiot directed by Michael Mayer.. where-at my mom was like “see, the girl in that looks like YOU” say, like, for body types, she was trying to be nice, talking about the original cast; but, JGJ’s the type I’d be with if I’d ended up straight — because he, and the rest of them were extremely nice at the Spring Awakening stage door (except of course for Lea, she is famously a diva and cruel: I think she just was more jaded on all the stage door stuff). I think it would be relevant to mention that I wasn’t really a rich girl, dressed like Gwen Stefani goin’ to all the shows growing up.

My mom valued the trips just to wait in lines for hour. There was that time we overheard Rosario Dawson’s mom bragging for literally seven hours in line for Shakespeare in the Park‘s Two Gentleman of Verona; my own mom valued something about culture and making sure my sister and I knew the difference between great theater [and other fine things] versus some Minneapolis BS, and while I’m being sarcastic sort of, I think it’s exactly how she rationalized those bougie summer trips out East. We wouldn’t stop in New York; we saw some cool landmarks in Virginia and West Virginia, like Thomas Jefferson’s house and Luray Caverns, those kinds of things, and we got to visit Alexis’s theater camp friends at their mansions in Dewey Beach, Delaware… etc. My sister went to theater camp at a place called Stagedoor Manor.

Our mom also hooked us on at least one or two better outfits — we used to shop in, like, Soho or something and I am not sure why I keep using this casual cool girl voice, and, she’d lemme pick out a few things beyond anyone’s budget in this family, not saying this to flex, I presume it’s boring, boring yet procedural in finding myself through the wrecked memories which presently trigger grief for what didn’t work out (i.e. me getting to dress well and look like a human not swamp creature) — though it’s also true, not in New York we spent plenty of our lives attending shows in our home city which is known as a theater town, even a bit highbrow: home of the Guthrie Theater and such.

Meredith my actress pal is strong and someone I admire on a personal level and attended school at the MFA program run out of that place; she got some good training. And let’s not forget our friends the Busa family at the Red Eye Theater; they deserve a shoutout if I send this around. I may not honestly because I think it’s a bit uneasy-feeling, the whole thing. We saw many shows there or nearabouts in Dinkytown or in some warehouse in the downtown Twin Cities, often starring Celeste Busa one of our first “older” friends who was actually a good influence. I never felt like I was breaking the rules, hanging out with them, the way I would at other older girl outings, say, when we’d be on walks and a car would honk at Celeste and she’d be like “oh that happens a lot.” It was exposure to how to have some class about that stuff. I think Isabelle Busa and I always had the side-sibling thing in common, and that’s not something I resent. (Being in the backdrop, somewhat.) I remember stuff like putting a Starburst in the microwave backstage, probably with Isabella, just to see what happened — while Alexis talked about drama on the set of South Pacific at our high school. Alexis was in the chorus of that show wearing tailored beach shorts and a bikini top; she’d be the lead in 42nd Street sometime later. Our high school actually did intense shows and if you were a theater kid, among all the choices of where to go, it wasn’t the worst school to choose: it also wasn’t the best. The Busas went to the best (“SPCPA,” the Mini Apple equivalent of LaGuardia High School) [these are just placemarks to situate readers not from MN]. I can’t keep track even on a logarithmic scale of the shows we attended out on the actual town back in Minneapolis growing up, and my sister actually expressly resents not being able to do more theater because, this is a bit embellished but not really.. my mom didn’t want to do all that driving: it’s the same reason neither of us were Bat Mitzvah’ed even though we went to Hebrew preschool and summer camp.

Instead we spent the hours we would have been doing Bat Mitzvah stuff, around friends who were burnouts, like Alexis with that girl Emily Hopper whose mom was a hoarder and legally blind and me with Eva Mitchell, who would tell me viscerally about her much-older brothers having sex in their shower. I was eight, we’d play video games like Crazy Taxi Driver. (In the words of Don Draper from Mad Men, from an episode in which he flirts with one his daughters friends, “[she] is a fast, girl.”) At her younger year house parties I got along well with boys; that was never a problem. It wasn’t a sexual thing at age 12, through 14. It was a thing-like we’d go to all the movies, and we’d climb on the seats and laugh if someone yelled at us. It is probably how I came to realize that some, probably most movies are just hands-down boring. They are, literally why do people care to sit in a room looking at a screen when you could be doing other things.

I would not tell my mom about the delinquent behavior: if I had she’d have been the type of mother to just give me a talk, to slow time down and I’d have actually felt so bad, I would have stopped whatever bad behavior if it was bad. Truly though Alexis probably could have landed some leads, in shows like Bye Bye Birdie if she’d had the support! These days I am the trans human being [? no, I am not, just someone who dresses like I might think I am, hard to explain] behind the scenes, with nostalgia for movie openings like the one for that. Alexis in college trained with a known opera singer who gave her tours at Lincoln Center; she fell in love there, with directing weird plays, and with an older guy for a while [at Barnard] — in her real life. I fell in love with boring art films via my intern work at Lincoln Center and with some essay writer-girls (been over this, people like Caroline Calloway who were out of my league, not actually including her but people like her) [these-like awful influencer types who somehow strike me as better artists than a lot of what’s out there, the same way I’d say Werner Rainier Fassbinder was actually up to something smart when he used to spray theater audiences in post-war Germany with a hose]. In those years, around when I left Lincoln Center, I learned that film is hard and potentially very costly and that I have some work to do on coming across as remotely professional.

In drama school the noted German film director RW Fassbinder met his star, Hannah Schygulla. I am not sure I want to end up like a girl Fassbinder. If I’d been Lola I might have wanted to force myself, over time, to be closer to Hannah Schygulla but we’ll assume that was a fantasy; it’s true though, I tried, and even if it didn’t work out but I used to consult his work for ways to help bring people out of a consumer groupthink stupor. He used to write books kind of like this. I probably was a bit presumptuous and pretentious, for someone not even doing film work. But, you know. What makes a good artist. Chantal Akerman used to write and write, too, but she’s known as a film artist. It’s kind of like, whatever you’re best at, or whatever you’re paid to do, is not entirely in your hands.

In Fassbinder’s work there are scenes of doctors shooting up opium; also, noticeably compared to other directors considered one of the greats like him, at the very least an auteur, there are scenes in his work of interracial sex. I would never do that, the first thing as a doctor-artist. It’s true I’m kind of torn on next steps. Maybe this memoir, finished now when I finally was like “I can’t keep doing this another year” [do what? I meant writing this project] is meant to serve as a record of my wellness or unwellness or where I was at: it’s true I keep track of my health compulsively, even if that means revealing-myself on a visibly downward track. I think if I can see it’s going downhill from here then, I try to notice it. I think it would be more inspiring to see me not die like Sylvia Plath, but I am my own inspiration to myself when no one’s watching my life, like it is art: sometimes I think she just “went to great lengths to get people to listen.” But who knows; I try to think about it not to glamorize that kind of art, but it’s clearly had an impact on literature. I try to be open about where my mind goes, and a lot of artists in my generation talk about suicide constantly which en masse disempowers it as a novel-seeming act. For her it was different. I took an acting class once and got good feedback and trained in London for two months with a guy who taught John Slattery from Mad Men; this acting coach was always kind of snarky, said “I’m not going to make you lie down on the ground and pretend you’re a breaking egg,” like Lionel and Bertie in The King’s Speech, it wasn’t like that. Would I have minded? He was probably struck by the look of dread on my face when I arrived at his flat, and basically those meetings were the only undepressing experience on my short study abroad trip to London, though when I left suddenly due to some actual drama, not worth going into because how much can I dump into one book, he told me not to give up [maybe just on whatever], that was the gist even though other people would surely want me to; I sent a “thanks Jon” e-mail that I’m not sure he ever read, because, I knew he had cancer and was about to move on, by move on I mean die. Well here I can thank him again. He was one of those guys who wasn’t famous himself but seemed to help a lot of people and have peace with just that.

Maybe I want to be like that and to have a pretty good life. If it’s possible that is what I’ll settle for, over [say] a legacy which could be better than well, my life was.

That is dark but it is how I thought about things, sometimes.

One of the funnier parts I remember offhand about Montgomery County native Cat Marnell’s memoir is how she briefly attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (better known the “AADA”?), in New York. My understanding, and this made me like her more when I was younger still, was that she squandered the opportunity to do coke and go to nightclubs and live in filth, as though she had to when she never did, she wasn’t poor.

Cat Marnell has had a lot of people for a long time, who are renowned artists, talk about doing a series on How to Murder Your Life — the title of her book, which if I don’t point out here I’ll never get to point it out to her, sounds a lot like the name of the best-known book of Caitlin Thomas Leftover Life to Kill about Dylan Thomas — so, because I said that and have no idea if it was on purpose, because she seems aloof from literary references that are embedded imperceptibly but intentionally, and because I know that Cat Marnell was named after Caitlin Thomas who she doesn’t look like and I am younger and in some ways look like the poet Dylan Thomas [so does Pete Doherty who she actually does hang out with], LOTS of weird spooky shit here, I’ll reemphasize that I am not literally in real life pursuing this. Not my type. I like her though and, it’s her as an artist-performer, maybe more than as an author who manages to document her life, in her own words, on her very own terms.. And, who is alive. That last part is like the main part; worthy of respect, from me at least who’s gotten pretty close to dying in my twenties. Oops. Is it funny that it’s called Leftover Life. I don’t think it’s a great joke but it’s a tiny, tiny bit funny? Only because Dylan Thomas had class about dressing like a clown. Super hot.

Let me finish, I think it is hard to reconcile my moralizable feelings about the following, with how long it took to even admit it to myself each time I take my clothes off: how I got fat, when I used to think I’d rather kill myself. No exaggeration at all. I think covering this reality will help some of my family (particularly the Jewish men in my family who would say she’s not fat at all), understand at least some of what’s taken up my headspace and hopefully not devalue that. Yes, plenty of people would chip in with the words, “you’re not fat!” including my sister, and I would kind of resent her for that because I think it is manipulative, of her, with herself — some sort of avoidance of feeling any guilt or natural sibling rivalry: it didn’t happen overnight that she came out ahead and it’s true that when I’m with her I notice we get better service; if I go to a café or something, I might have to sit there for twenty minutes before anyone does a thing, I guess I shouldn’t be at a café period. She used to go to cafés that were nice with her boyfriend of six years who was better-off than our family and Jewish. If that explains some of the confusing no man’s land between us then that is the best I can put it in words. My weight isn’t an obese weight but I am indeed fat, and while I can be physically fit it is not going to change back to something chic. I wish there were some silver lining I could list, that came off as resounding, but, there probably isn’t. Ugh.

For myself almost selfishly I can be a bit glad that I did get a lot of writing out-of-the-way when I was young and still hot, and, I sort of was — note: I do not feel Cat Marnell was a bad influence, never will because a lot of my early twenties were a battle not to kill myself; and I didn’t quite kill myself (she didn’t, either) — this reminds me to mention something my mom always used to observe about me, and it might be self-indulgent or it might be relatable.. that I’d never crack under pressure and I would bring up the bar whereas if there was no pressure I would coast and not even try.

This is not to bring up the experience of actually having a drug overdose: what your body “does,” for you, to survive. It is however to suggest that I probably did have a sense that my biological clock was ticking faster than another woman writer’s, and I did always have in mind that an unterrible case scenario would be that I die before, well, before I lost my looks and I think that officially has taken place: don’t look back. I wouldn’t have minded that at all, dying first; of course I can’t know what I’d have minded if I was dead, the idea being that I would have a good legacy, or more accurately that I would have a legacy.

I honestly think a lot of my work, which is all just stuff on my laptop, rather than glorify suicide just tried to talk about it: unfortunately, and if I’d known this I wouldn’t have done it that way, it’s kind of one of those issues that lingers. Suicidal ideation which is a fancy-sounding term for thinking about suicide: I think it covers all the thoughts. If you’re going to talk about it there are mental health professionals who can honestly help reorient your values, a bit like reorienting one’s moral compass so it doesn’t point only at “sex money drugs.”

A better example than a drug OD would be, say, at a key sports event — I’d do well under pressure — whereas when there wasn’t pressure I would sort of throw the towel in to the extent that my coach, who I spent three days a week with for two or three hours, the Varsity coach of a program with three smaller teams under the head team, would become angry with me; and either a bit retaliatory or perceived as such by my crazy mother who he despised and vice versa. I never minded that coach, as much as literally everyone, probably because he helped me. But anyway, I wouldn’t even try as starting pitcher as a freshman, on softball (a sport I used to mention I played, to people who might then chuckle, only if I followed it up with “I’m not a lesbian”), who was never robust enough back then to throw very fast but got the other team on my placement: not unless we were playing a team we could contend against, and our city team regularly got its ass handed to them in the suburbs. I could throw a mean change-up though, that was pretty much all I could do against those girls.

It is why I am careful with who I’d go near in the writing world, as a small number of women did pick on my looks on the internet, a few guys too, and they were not the ones who I’d have thought of as “people I don’t want to lose,” they were just strangers and assholes and it wasn’t a huge deal but I don’t think that helped me recover from drug addiction any quicker: or lose weight if that was their well-meaning intention or look better instead of get worse and worse. It wasn’t their intention to help me, I’m certain; some people on earth do only think of themselves and their bucket list of grievances. A lot of people. Probably more these days than pre-Internet. Sometimes I wonder, genuinely, if they felt homicidal which is why I worry when I see it happening to Caroline Calloway far more than it ever happened to me. If I am forgiving of them it’s been from [this might be self-defeating, to just say this] reading about what it’s like to be black in America; wait, why would that make me forgiving [of haters, a word I’m using as a bad joke, not of Caroline], because (a) it could maybe be worse, just the reality of picking up on people’s misfiring biases and slips, spoken out loud all the time, or observed, and it’s remarkable how people are able to accept it and on the other side apologize and move on from it, even if that only happens rarely: some diplomatic correspondence that helps you feel better for a few minutes, (b) I think they, some people who do seem healthier with generally better lives, might actually be trying to help or be a good person, and then, they sometimes might say things that indeed aggravate me and I can’t get mad because, really, honestly, there is no way to without sort of accepting what they think of me: and it’s probably that I’m a poorer girl. [If that even, i.e. something human.] And that is a fact probably; it sort of renders me irrelevant with a hand-wave, like saying “but she’s nice” or “she’s not the smartest.” I have a small amount of evidence that people think this about me, one of them is how “Lola Morgan” was portrayed on Gossip Girl 2.0 (as a dumb girl, a ridiculous MeToo girl which is probably why I responded so strongly: do you know how serious a thing the MeToo movement is, to undermine it in any way [as a woman too] is like claiming Sandy Hook didn’t happen because it’s too hard to stomach.) Clearly what happened though is that someone full of himself in the film world took my work, thinking it didn’t matter either way, that I didn’t matter — and a lot of people helped who I used to adore; this may go on for years — maybe that’s why your show is so callous in all ways and I do not feel bad about saying it hurt my feelings when I used to pay attention. The best policy moving forward would be “I don’t have time for this,” it is a black hole of wasted time for me specifically. If I thought my involvement was helpful I would keep an eye on it but I think that’s foolish: I only want to document it to actually explain it to people like my uncles, who I haven’t mentioned the TV show Gossip Girl once to. Another layer to the policy: “stay away from it, Morgan,” maybe not everyone is too weak for this, but you are as someone who dresses like a dork and eats bagels: you will fail against those people. They will not read this; if they did I’d think they were annoying and clearly evil, just trying to feel better about themselves by checkin’ up on how bad I’m doing. And that is also almost a fact, they might not even know it unconsciously, the only reason it isn’t a fact is because the definition of facts in STEM school can become sort of meticulous.

When I hear the voice in my head that says “it was just a name, [holy shit chill]” about the Lola-thing I agree with it and I’d realize how much of my writing was sort of done in a void hopefully not wasting time (but perhaps): the time I spent with that character, which I lost control of, beyond my work where she was like a Don Quixote role to miserly me. And I’m glad that the voice in my head has shifted to suggest that in no ways was that the end of my own artistic career; I don’t think my artistic career will be a thriving one, necessarily, because I’m busy and got a late start, took a few dings, I don’t walk into rooms with the same brassy confidence I used to pull off as someone who people would tell to my face I was very pretty. I do not want to be self-pitying just aware it is not the same now. It probably bothered people that I was a phony, and I’ve learned the hard way that it’s one of those things one should strive to never be. Never be phony.

If a person who I feel made my twenties harder is someone I do feel comfortable with then I’d confront them, for saying something that merely aggravated hard feelings about what I couldn’t control that caused me to want to hide behind a fakeass-shield; maybe it was to survive but no battles can be won with just a shield unless you’re a brute with it. I didn’t want to be so I left the fray. So, no it is not worth my time or yours. If someone were to come at me and say “that’s ironic” [because you were just the same way!] (this book contains slights here and there, I saw a slip on page x) I would say, where, write it down and talk to me, and you probably don’t know how hard I’ve had it as, well, as a white girl which is approximately the title of a great book by Hilton Als, White Girls, a book about queerness including a number of essays on legendary artists.

I don’t know where I made this jump, kangaroo or hare-like on the page, eliding too much: not just as a white girl though, as specifically me, you probably don’t know how tough, literally tough I’ve had to become [I graduated from hare to kangaroo], kind of fending off hate from other white girls, not one of whom-ever I think has been devotedly antiracist — which I think I actually am as an artist if not as a person, just getting coffee and not talking to anyone, so, perhaps counterintuitively to how I come across or ever did, will.

Basically some people are more powerful, in this world, than You ~literally whoever you are~; well. Unless you are Bezos or something. What do you do. You can be the tortoise in the race with many hares. There are a lot of moments in sincerely good, not necessarily disturbing, cinema where a woman’s hair becomes a symbol either for her liberation or imprisonment. An example is in Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, when the leading character’s son remarks that his mom’s hair is a mess: I would argue that it demarcates a shift in tone in that four-hour film.

I’ve always wondered if people who are, dumb, are just sort of abused people. People in my family used to comment that I didn’t eat which made me dumb for a while; literally in a recent premed course on the human brain, my professor would emphasize the importance of “eating your Wheaties” (a joke but the point was that your brain needs energy; I’ll get into this at some point in my literal whole career, but it won’t be in writing like this it would have to be more scholarly). Not-eating and looking like me didn’t make sense, to others I presume sometimes, because Alexis my sister was always so much thinner.

But talking about weight or food in writing, even screenwriting with family scenes or something, where one sister does most of the talking and is more confident, is kind of a faux pas for white girls. So I will try to have this basically be it. There are different views on whether obesity is genetic: I think people who are intuitive know that a lot has to do with circumstance more than lifestyle choices, which makes it harder to see my sister looking better (if one thing had been different for me, would everything be?). This might be why poor people and people living in food deserts self-evidently struggle more with their health, in our times not some centuries long ago when being fat like Trump was a sign of status. Now I feel like that’s one thing that made him sympathetic to the common man. The irony. That’s hopefully the last time I use the word irony.

I am not in the camp of normalizing it in our times; I am not sure what “camp” I am in besides recognizing that it’s the cause for a lot of disharmony, particularly among women though I could be wrong about that: sometimes it is plain old classism. The classism might be directed toward people like my mom, who has a different experience hustling to make it on time to the entrance of a theater (I literally remember a time recently when she was running late to see that one genderwack production of Company and tried to explain herself: someone b****ed her out in a parking lot she sa), who once said she laughed when I described her as “my obese retired whore mom.” She is supportive of my writing, as long as I get it right; who knows why she didn’t mind that. There are super well-known books in the med community and beyond like The Body Keeps the Score which would suggest physical illness, including **[quote], is related to trauma. It might be why Jews are often, still fat, or why the controversial comedy TV series South Park can get away with a joke like “The Jewish population isn’t dying out, fatass, it’s growing!” I didn’t watch South Park but I saw that in a meme somewhere.

Sometimes I fantasize about making a legal argument about all my own incurred trauma, the details of the thoughts I hear which became auditory hallucinations at my worst and least well, because I’ve learned that’s the closest thing to proof you’ll get that you were abused actually, and are not pointing fingers. The disturbing thoughts I have might include the oddest things, like “I did it to embarrass you,” “she doesn’t even know me” (these are voices in my head, talking to or about me) — maybe there’s a conversation to be had about boundaries, but I’d be talking to people who don’t care about me [or I’d be talking to myself], i.e. that would be giving the voices a lot of power when I could seek treatment for those and it is nice that we’ve seen progress since the days when Virginia Woolf killed herself from that shit; I would have to explain, to the voices, exactly what to do to keep from triggering my bullshit about being no one — and I might become unkind in return, and defensive, to talk about stuff I shouldn’t! Like in this whole section. Or during some awful week on Instagram in the past, that honestly because my own doctor, now-that-I’ve-sought-treatment says these breakdowns don’t happen “except for every ten to fifteen years” so it shouldn’t happen again.

The last thing to be concerned about, enough to mention it, as though it’s an actual mental projection to shoot down in literal words, is believing something harmonious might ever land with people who they won’t land with because there’s a vast power imbalance; by relationships I don’t necessarily even mean something romantic, though I should clarify that because I’m one to flirt online, it’s bizarre. By something-harmonious I do mean you talk more than one time, to a person, maybe something I took for granted when I was young and cooler. These days, pretending I am like brunette Gwen Stefani is time wasted that could be spent toward getting a life (“get a fucking life” — says a voice in my head — “she wasn’t even funny”). Now I’m confused but what was I saying; oh yeah I’ve thought about suing people for harassment — only if I had an adequate case though. No one reading this should assume they’re someone I’d have sued.. you are probably not the person. You might have triggered some stuff that was already there though.

I am sorry; it is too late that all that happened. Taking to heart my mom’s advice that legal battles are all-consuming and awful to go through — I think she just said “stressful” — and probably more likely to be lost disgracefully than ever won by me, the closest thing to being petty I can swing, ultimately I’d prefer to settle with just the insight into the limits of human consciousness (and how we really only see people how we are programmed to see them; maybe I am programmed to be extremely defensive around people who didn’t or would never intend to hurt me, they might have been indifferent), and I will take it and run with that insight including the insight about violated boundaries. Or not run with it, I can sit with it.

The truth will set you free.

While sitting with my brain, being its good truthful self, me a character like in the Kurt Vonnegut short story “Harrison Bergeron” about people who experience an unpleasant radio-programmed interruption to their thoughts when they take any slight bumbling steps beyond averageness and conformity — watching ballerinas on TV wearing weights to slow their movement — I will write, or do something fun that I’ve been told I can do, so not teased about being unable-to-do [like be an aspiring writer-director] in a way that’s absolutely not constructive feedback, it’s just mean, I’ll do it for myself though like how J.D. Salinger wrote for the entire end of his life rather than let them kill me, the thoughts; or the shocks to them I suppose. I won’t buy a gun to shoot down my mental projections because they’re better than being friendless in exile, and if I were to shoot ’em up that would look like shooting myself in the head, something David Foster Wallace used to speak about. He would speak about a certain honestly relatable violent impulse (at least I would not die a “retard” if, I shot myself, the ending to my narrative would be written by me: something like, I couldn’t take it, the bad thoughts), probably a more relatable impulse to the tortured people I sometimes hang out with than wanting to shoot other people. What impulse, say it one more time.. ? Wanting to shoot, oneself, like Hemingway did, feeling he’d become a lobotomized version of himself after receiving Electroshock Treatment — which Sylvia Plath got too, some years before she stuck her head in an oven. These were two of the greatest writers to have died dramatically. David Foster Wallace’s words, he got ECT too:

“It is not the least bit coincidental that adults who commit suicide with firearms nearly always shoot themselves in… the head. And the truth is that most of these suicides are actually dead long before they pull the trigger.”

It was very much an instinct thing to write while I could, to actually walk up to drug dealers — not only that but befriend them — and I would like to use this self-absorbed study of how people perform under pressure (socially or as artists or athletes and so on, as disadvantaged, sometimes even disabled humans, ugly, trying to barely survive), to bring up the topic of humanism and what some refer to, alongside discussions of novelists like Tao Lin, as posthumanism.

The term posthumanism could easily be misunderstood, and I have taken no college-level classes on this or something related called “Cyborg ethics,” though the first time I heard that I was like “what the fuck is that.” I won’t dwell on these topics and on how the word eugenics sometime might crop up in essays about all this stuff, and “super-empowered individuals”; sometimes you can just see people out in public who are more super-empowered than yourself. That’s me speaking for my self. I remember the last time we heard “superman” it was in Nietzsche’s work about the “übermensch” which was co-opted and misinterpreted by the Nazis: I should emphasize though that it was misinterpreted, and Nietzsche’s work was anything but religious which the Nazis kind of were [further co-opting of principles, to do the least principled things you can imagine] (which sounds like corporations now fighting racism, or like the US Supreme Court and what it’s up to). But anyway. I have way too many requirements for premed to take classes on “Cyborg ethics”; and I can’t afford it either.

As a mere bridge to what I’ve reasoned that I do have time to write I’ll pause to recall the wonder upon first setting eyes on beautiful, beautiful people in New York and thinking I was on a new planet: please do not assume I’m snarling as I write this, because I have a sweet tooth for Hollywood cinema and I love obscenely beautiful films including Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood, the most recent one by Tarantino which most people I talked to thought was more of an aesthetic piece by a director who’s known for his narrative cleverness.

In New York, we’ll say me setting eyes on pretty people was at a restaurant called Dimes even though it wasn’t; I’ve never gone in there and seen only dimes, which is how this newer restaurant got its name allegedly, for being a hub for hot kids, tens out of ten.

I think it might be ironic, that Dimes is called Dimes anyway. If not then it’s overrated literally.

** put a quote here from genealogy

Seeing way prettier folk and becoming increasingly cognizant of how much prettier they were, better-looking than normal people — was more like, a reckoning and a nervous feeling, maybe not bad but just, a feeling of being forced to deal with my placement; there is such a thing as objectively way hotter humans, than who I’ve been around all my existence.

It felt like I shouldn’t try, and that probably is around when I stopped dressing up as much. Stopping the eyebrow waxes and sometimes lip waxes and not doing my hair must have been overkill, or would overkill have been wearing flashy colors [like a turtle-skin green?]; it honestly wasn’t very calculated, from then on. [I do like that color though.]

I am not here to write about Tao Lin who is a controversial figure in American literary circles, the ones I’ve only orbited in vicariously through other people — but who at the very least at this time, is more respected than me by women writers and there is evidence of it. There is evidence that Tao Lin has corresponded with and been plugged by Cat Marnell, Caroline Calloway, and young up-and-comers like Honor Levy who at 21 had fiction in The New Yorker (enough said) and who I think is talented and, maybe this is unnecessary but she is nothing-like-me not even me when I was younger and that is incredibly sincere; she is honestly probably sharper in some ways not all ways, a good influence on people with her weird jokes (an example would be just the title alone of her podcast “Wet Brain” which I think she’s been on with someone who goes by “ObeseRetard”) [to be 100% transparent I do not entirely get it but, at least I am being honest]. I don’t know that all those in this paragraph would fall into the category of superhumanly pretty people; not who I meant quite, no. I should also mention the hosts of the Red Scare podcasts, who are hot and cool and I don’t want to meet because I feel as though if I were famous and I may successfully not become famous I’d be one of the guests they had on “ironically” (I said I wouldn’t use the word “irony” ever again but there it is again, I can’t even keep track of what’s ironic and not these days) and who have Russian names both of them; maybe I should have kept my more-Eastern European surname Bilanoff and I’d have ended up more like a girl and stuff — that is: a successful, smart, not creepy female person and probably rising, not regressing. Their names are Dasha Nekrasova and Anna Khachiyan. I don’t follow Honor Levy’s work closely, but same-as-everyone-in-this-paragraph written for people in my life — who would be reading these names for the first time ever — she [they all] must be sort of radicals.

I am not sure what I hope to achieve by citing some other writer contemporaries, who my friends not from this city wouldn’t know. Another name on the lips of New Yorkers my age is — not quite the ones I hang out with besides Alexandra, who would know — the name Matthew Gasda. He took off a bit after his play called “Dimes Square,” a sort of underground event during the hammer and dance of the Coronavirus in New York, was received mostly or very well among the literati (and not the theater-ati, if I am gaging that right because I am more of a theater rat and it wasn’t even written up on which covers fucking everything). I’ve heard either scathing or shimmering reviews by literati; I bought a journal featuring some work by Matthew Gasda, and have not read it yet. I do not think he and I seem similar but he does seem to garner support from people who are smart, to generate good feelings among them; which might include me, I don’t know yet, but according to a lot of those people probably doesn’t. I do not have evidence of that but it’s my suspicion that I’d be wise to stay more of a “theater rat” not a “litter rat.” These are jokes.

I don’t see myself as very smart and it comes from how I perform in my science classes, which is humbling I suppose; I can do well but only with a lot of effort which I have not been putting in. I drag my feet until I get a call from my uncle reminding me to worry about Physics a little bit. Not that grades matter; they have completed mattered in my trajectory though. They’re like my key indoors without any need for a break-in.

I think if I spent even more time writing I would be a better writer; also socializing with writers, but the reason I do not is mainly that I never got in.

My take on Tao Lin’s work in a nutshell, since you’re wondering is that it is real literature, not for all its gimmicks with quotation marks probably to the same extent I abuse hyphens, that is all fine, [it is not real literature for that] but really for harkening back to something approximately like Imagism, an early twentieth-century movement worth looking up — I look forward to the day I write a “love” scene like the ending of James Joyce’s Ulysses, and James Joyce is cited as one of said original imagists; that’s on my goals list (“I can do anything”) and I might not make it there (“literally what the fuck are you talking about sometimes”) — and anyway for its clarity, like literally clarity in the form to the extent that it might cause an overweight or overemotional person to wince, I can give Tao Lin it “a ‘pass.'” If you want to know what I’m up to with the hyphens it is something to do with how I see the paragraphs as blocks of intractable shapeless text, probably a bit like a tree that needs some of its twigs clipped off but they’re there because no one cares about the tree, now you see [them] now you don’t: either that or I’m hyphenating verbs or adjectives involving more than one word. Very pretentious. David Foster Wallace used endnotes, of course as merely a gimmick.

sorry if this is creepy to screenshot Reddit, I chose to because this looks like Inglourious Basterds

Sometimes I think that the opioid crisis is low-key genocide, because many people do not get recorded as another statistic — more people are dying than gets written down, many by suicide — but I’ve also heard the term “white genocide” and that caused me to double-back and reflect on whether the term genocide is hyperbole. There is a book called Fast Food Genocide, a good companion to Infinite Jest, and Kanye West in a track he did with Jay-Z called “Who Gon Stop Me” declared a decade ago so-long-before 2020 that we’re in the midst of “something like the Holocaust / million of our people lost.” If someone can get away with the word Holocaust it is Ye — or it used to be and I actually appreciate that in clear reference, to the rich Sackler family which I think of when I see clips of the show Succession on which one of the RedScare girls [Dasha] stars, who I think is a really interesting actress in a good way and is pictured in the backdrop above, how these people are thriving compared with the thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of drug abusers or dealers or related-victims of the trade in industrial prisons. What was Kanye West talking about in that track though, I won’t assume. Is that hyperbole? What, currently, is going on and who will survive in America if not-quite-you. Do I care because I care or because I want to be the next Oskar Schindler, which I am not positioned to be anyway. My belief is probably that artists not something else, who are very good artists not something-else completely like businessmen-monsters, should be treated as such because their work will contain the truth (if their work falls off, that is worth taking note of: but who decides?) (who decides if Miles Davis’ last couple decades of music was just, not as good?) (Taylor your Lover album and you deeming your own self Miss Americana was, sometimes fascistic which is something people have been saying your whole career so, I am personally sorry I said that to you as though it hurt your feelings, and, it was an incredible feat for mass marketing and weirdly for feminism and do I contradict myself?) [who are the critics? Is Twitter now the Vilém Flusser-ian “superbrain” replacer of, I suppose, old school art criticism by white male critics not artists?..] (and it’s like “what the fuck are you talking about sometimes”)– and perhaps this-should-be-done the same way doctors should be respected not disdained, for saving people’s lives not ruining them to maximize profit. The horror, the horror of working in American hospitals during Covid.

“They” prescribers of opioids or something else separate might not be ruining lives on purpose: they might be ignoring reality to preserve a fantasy where that’s not factually the case slash wherein they are heroes; oh and also doctors should not be called doctors unless, they are doctors not something else.

I’m not one. Not yet?

If they are not then systems begin to sort of crumble, like the walls surrounding Rome before, it fell to crunk. As a weird artist *here it comes* or failed artist at my darkest, like Hitler I have a horny side that is drawn to the skinhead Taylor at her most rock-and-roll: probably just the Taylor who Camille Paglia once described as “an obnoxious Nazi Barbie,” which she was not on her Lover album — say if she WAS though she’d have had her finger on the pulse before Barbie caught on as some new-age Hollywood shit directed by Greta Gerwig. Sometimes I used to dress a bit like the moron brother played by Tim Roth, in the Mike Leigh film Meantime. It also starred a young Gary Oldman. That wasn’t intentional from me, I think it took a lot of effort to get out of bed and I put on big jackets, and glasses, and didn’t think I just kept moving barely but intentional-or-not, it would still be the equivalent of acting proud of all one’s victories over the enemy when it’s like, you’re not as much of a victim as Person B who has no self and sits in a room with a bag over his dizzy head that has no self, with the lights out, but Person B was confused by the track “ME!” in a good way; either good or, stirringly in some other strange way. (The song “ME!” by Taylor Swift goes like, “I’m the only one of me / baby that’s the fun of me.” Deep meditations on selfhood.) I hear you though, like actually I’m listening which is a good start. I like Taylor; I do not expect to meet her in this life which is freeing for what I can say in my prison diaries. That is the second to last time I’ll talk about Taylor Swift, who to be fair-to-me is hard to escape so I don’t feel that bad.

I do not want to pontificate too much longer because I think these claims function best in conversation, not in a person’s actual, not-even-official book.

But here we are. I think it is important to just mention today in 2022: I am speaking not as a medical professional, because I’m not yet, but as a memoirist and one who thinks after-all-I’ve-been-through as a white girl now a chunky queer girl, who wears glasses and her hair back, that I’m probably better at fiction prose literature, insofar as that I’d leave school to pursue it — if it came to that. It hasn’t come to that and I like the idea of seeing school through; it’s just really been difficult and alienating, as though that hasn’t been an issue for most of my twenties. Just total remoteness from everything civilized. It got to be lowbrow, my whole life. I will not assume it was or wasn’t karma; I try to never assume because people who wield the karma card are some of the worst.

There are some benefits (perspective) but it is not something anyone would choose unless it were kind of, not a choice. I am talking about being cancelled and not really having support for it.

I would rather be a doctor spouse than a writer spouse who’s too passionate and emotional, for anyone’s taste, and I would rather be a good spouse than, not anyone’s spouse but somehow famous; in high school I was voted in the yearbook as Most Likely to Be Famous which just made life harder, and, I’m not even. I do notice the word “emotional” being used as an isolated adjective, increasingly, as though it is something people can either be or not be. I do not judge them for not being.

Being too emotional in the wrong places and how to avoid it is something I considered, consciously, in choosing next steps though to be fair I didn’t have a shelf stocked full of choices: I didn’t love Columbia the first time, but I’m back here because I knew I could get in and that this program is one of the best of its kind, the best in the country some say. I am also not writing as someone who thinks I will “take off” at some point, as a film artist or as a novelist or as anything; some successful adult, literally just successful. I definitely do not live like that anymore, assuming that I’m on the right track, headed home to the heavens: if I used to it was costly and incurably humiliating, by the time I called it a day on the self-abuse phase, not that I ever was very conscious of when it would start and finally end — I think seeing no end to “self-abuse” (placed pointedly in quotation marks) is one reason that I was so drawn to suicide as a viable escape, from feeling humiliated, chronically: you could say, from self-humiliation not aided by others, so, not by strangers online who had no obligation to do anything, but who didn’t have to do that. Kick me down further, I think for fun, drag me on someone’s chariot and write in some veiled way about how much it cheered you up to see that happen; I won’t provide too many images that would make things worse for me and more fun for you, winners getting your kicks. Do not claim you are survivors though, against me the nag, when you are victors. Get your word-choice straight.

To this day I feel like a loser around real world friends and extended family, who I used to be looked up to by. I have the impulse to add some sort of Coda that’s like, “lol,” but maybe it is not funny.

I do not know if this will be the rest of my life; if so I can endure it but I’m not the type to believe it when people are complimentary just to make themselves feel better about having not treated me the best at some point. I also think most people in my family would honestly say that I am being grandiose; I am imagining that people cared enough to kind of, go out of their way to humble me a bit.

If I was looking that closely, to notice it, then I was asking for it. If I’d been busier I wouldn’t have seen.

If I could counter those thoughts in the present, these exhausting thoughts in my mind that make me feel like a sick and sore loser who wants to die, it would be by reminding myself that it [suicidal ideation and the places it takes you] is too rational a solution to an emotional problem; it is also probably a control issue, my need to control a narrative that I’ve felt absolutely under siege by people I do not trust even at all. I do not think I have to be remembered as a loser: to be even more-blatheringly pretentious for a split second, as a loser of control of my own narrative. I would literally rather have my own narrative include all the dirty or sociopathic-seeming details that shouldn’t be shared, that I’ve experienced in my head, as long as I decided on those and how to deal with them and where: on my own terms as an artist, a female artist, not a male one no matter how I dress, who has a ticking biological clock to be cognizant of.

This is dramatic and self-congratulatory but I feel almost like someone who already went to and came back from war, so, like Don Draper from Mad Men (him again, one of my all-time favorite characters and onscreen performances) — it’s all good, I picked up some new dog tags while I was out to war and not my “truer” self, so I can be stoic about all the trauma, the humiliation to string up with it [like a goofy-looking corpse on display], which is all real clinical trauma that lives with me Morgan Wilcock but life goes on. I do not come across naturally in real life, as someone innocent and loving and sympathetic: if I do ever have flashes of that, it is around people I do trust with my life, honestly, and I am lucky to have that. These include people who can look at my face in my eyes without turning away or simply, if not a bit demonstrably, pretending they didn’t see me. (It’s possible they didn’t recognize.) I wouldn’t say this happens all the time, but on my old campus it happens infrequently. I can take it and run, just kidding I can keep walking, too, and then, we probably never will talk because life just goes on.

Ch. 3 In mountain prison

The moments I warm up like a dog to girls on campus are when, they seem to appreciate my peculiarities, they’ve never said the words “you are hot” [they never say that] but sometimes we have a little moment if they think I’m a guy accidentally and, I just do the translating. If I were to translate my thoughts back to them usually they’re like “gorgeous, you are” [I juggle my syntax, like Yoda.. (stop now, while you’re hardly ahead in your imaginary bond, freaking out you got some attention; still basking in your narcissism)] which [anyway..] is a different word, “gorgeous” is not the same as “hot”: is it gendered? I’ll have you know though, it usually happens lately, with girls, some bond — all in my head; like actually I always assume it’s in my head — if it happens with guys I just kind of don’t care. I notice that I don’t care more than I notice the connection, partly because I am careful with assuming there are connections, where there might be none and where it might be controlling to assume. I notice that I don’t care to figure that shit out if some perceived connection is with someone with a Y chromosome in his DNA.

Sometimes I consider being with a guy because it’s indeed more practical, in my field it would get me invites to uncomplicated-couples outings, we’d balance each other and, if I do have even semblances of those moments then I could redistribute my energy, or whatever to help achieve that balance.

But I feel like this is how I can work my way into “humanism,” the topic of it and why I have identified it as potentially important to my work as BOTH an artist and aspiring doctor. I am guessing there are aspiring doctors who are more posthumanist in their approaches to giving care to patients, more than I’ll be — and there will be artists who are more posthumanist in their approach to giving art to the world — and they might not use that term ever, and they might indeed become very good at what they do. This all just means that, with my specific skills and life experiences, I’ll be more of a humanist; and I will be, unique because I have no choice but to be. If I am not yet because I am so unknown [and I like blending in] then, with intention it is what I’ll become. I will be in that camp.

My favorite musical has never been Fiddler on the Roof, it’s one of the ones I haven’t seen but there is a song from it “Do You Love Me?” that goes like this:


“Golde, I have decided to give Perchik permission to become engaged to our daughter, Hodel.”


“What??? He’s poor! He has nothing, absolutely nothing!”


“He’s a good man, Golde.”

I said somewhere in the extended introduction to the good and nicer upcoming parts of this book, where I give my real remaining friends some airtime, that I would be honest. Well I would like to clear the air about some more things. I am about 60K in debt, my bank account ain’t worth a pretty penny. What keeps me afloat is contributions from relatives who accept me, for being mentally ill but still intelligent enough, based on tests for that, to have a shot. I look like Goofy from Mickey Mouse in the nineties [which is not me flirting with anyone who has a thing for that], only if he were a trans girl with long hair, now instead of ears. I am not missing any ears like Van Gogh.. When I say “no one’s reading this, I am unknown,” I mean that extremely literally: when I check my stats on WordPress I have zero hits on this page right now where I posted this for some reason. I to-this-day don’t know why I do that and I hate to keep doing it, or keep writing, or keep repeating myself; it helps me look at it as though it were published, I think, and it helps me catch typos or perhaps also themes that I should be aware of. I do not have that many people who I can open up to so maybe the psychological need to open up runs deep. After studying manically and staying up nearly all night for a Physics exam yesterday, I was surprised to find a question that I didn’t plan for; I deserved an A, I’ll get a fucking B or lower. I was like “holy shit, fuck this.” I left the exam noticing, and this was weird, I will say almost mystical, that something in me had shifted: I was drawn to different colors and advertisements, the fashion ones which I usually just see as ads that lay plain disparities in my real-life surroundings compared to somewhere else, sometimes I even see weird ads as propaganda that makes people sick of themselves, who knows, I don’t think fashion and ratchet life should necessarily just blend, but for a second I felt like I wanted to do some overhaul on how I dressed. (The shift was probably some defeatist attitude toward how hard school has been, on my self-esteem.) There are a lot of Asian men on my campus with decent or supreme taste; I find myself doing double takes. They dress well and modestly, even if they’re dorky it’s becoming-enough and many have vaguely the same body types, as me, but I have those knockers which sucks and anyway.. The only thing I know for certain is that I get stuff wrong all the time. If I said “I Love you” to someone, for all I know I might be wrong about my own consciousness. I might be fucking lying, without even knowing it.

I had an idea for a bad comedy short about someone who says “you’re the love of my life,” in their head constantly, to people who are random and arbitrary. Like constantly they believe someone is “the love of [their] life.”

I scrapped the idea; it wasn’t extremely funny.

But, since that is a theme in this memoir, a central one — what is love? if not just science, it’s literal, science, it’s survival of the fittest and as a sick dog, you won’t fare literally-well — I would like to run the bases very quickly, then we’ll throw back to some scenes with Jane and Kelly, probably my oldest close friends.

my dark twisted journals can get pretty intense..

There might have been friends growing up, some who I felt closer to than to those two, or thought I’d never stop talking to if the world came crashing down — like the real world started to, actually, in the last five years or so [not that it always isn’t] — but I did stop talking to a lot of people in that time frame and those two are some of the friends who stuck. When I showed up to a wedding for a member of Jane’s family, a few years back, they seemed respectfully relieved like “oh Morgan, you made it!” because it is no secret that I have been struggling for some time. For whatever reason those two gal friends stayed with me; I would actually say, they helped me up. If I were getting increasingly precise with my words I would say they helped me back down to earth. (And I’ll mention a few others, who did this for me; not without the cost-to-me of feeling bitten up my judgment, but this time I felt like it was judgment related to “not wanting to lose me,” someone who used to have a lot to offer not-just-them-individually but people. It was an annoyed feeling, I picked up on.) If it was fate I’ll take it and run, I doubt it was fate though, more like tolerance from their being well-parented or something; like, being able to ignore judgy thoughts about someone because you love them so much, that those judgy awful thoughts [even about their families] genuinely sort of fade like a volume bar turned lower so that you can hear the actual story play out, without subtitles. Also, not just watching for the visuals or something, even if those are particularly awesome. What if they are not awesome. It’s the good-stuff you care about, whatever makes up the good-stuff. You can’t enjoy the ending scene of the movie, sad or happy, if you aren’t watching and listening to the good-stuff. Turn down the volume on the bad-stuff so you can get to what’s important, between you all human beings, on either side of the screens.

I gave Taylor Swift, a stranger and a huge, huge megastar, a hard time about one of her recent albums but her most recent album — actually sort of an album series — Folklore and Evermore, were totally my thing. According to Wikipedia she dubbed them as “sister records.” Coming from Minnesota I have a side that appreciates folk music; Bob Dylan grew up in Minnesota somewhere North of me. A guy friend of mine introduced me to Gillian Welch, he said I’d like it and unfortunately for him because now it’s just proof he knew me more than I let him, he was right, and my mom practically tied me down so that I’d appreciate the lyrics of “Hallelujah,” a masterpiece in song-form if there probably ever was, when Leonard Cohen died. Now I’m going to talk about narrative, using folk music as my way in. I am not sure Taylor Swift thought of it like that, like folk music, maybe it just happened to be called Folklore because she liked the name and she is a mastermind for how to strike a chord with many not just a small number of people; there was sort of a huge megastarness about the rollout of her latest stuff, and it hit number one in an astounding number of countries globally — as there must always must have to be a megastarness about the work you share when you genuinely, factually are one. She is an experienced megastar so she can handle that commendably and gracefully; I am not the one to question if it affects the work, because I have no way to know at all and at some point, not at all points on our xyz-axis but at some point, it does become irrelevant. Just pay attention to your units, and don’t be pretending it’s some dozen million times a smaller-scale project than it is, just because that’s what you’ve known Morgan Wilcock. It’s something that a lot of people listen to.

For my own absolution as someone who wasted a lot of time writing in my twenties, for no audience, like way too much time with way too many deleted sections — which might have been better than what ended up saved — I can try to, well, I guess kind of vouch for the idea that “narrative” (e.g. in a song; or maybe in a collection of them) during an age when megastars are kind of “mega” like never before in history, has to be a bit different than we’ve seen, or the artist might have to get creative, I guess, in order for the star to literally have any privacy left; for in the paraphrased words of an idol Edward Snowden of mine, once you have no privacy you really have no self. What would our world look like if our Taylor lost her self?

If Taylor were a failed artist, which she be the next normie down the street REE E EE E REEE. I censored the word dolphin.

Oliver Sacks is one of the most famous megastar doctors I can think of, primarily known for his writings on the brain: while working at an institutional home known as Mount Carmel (renamed for the book he was writing), he [according to a friend] “had become convinced that eighty of the place’s five hundred hopelessly lost causes (catatonics, assorted other demented, Parkinsonians, stroke victims, and the like) were not like the others, that even though they seemed to be ‘human statues’ (locked in deep trancelike states from which they had apparently not emerged for years), some achingly attenuated form of life seemed to be persisting there deep inside.” **citation

Remember when I said I’d scrapped an idea for a comedy where someone experienced the feeling constantly that they’d found the love of their life? I can’t take credit entirely for this idea because it sounds a lot like the one pitched, in class, not a class I was in but in a different class with a teacher we both used to dislike (and called a “witch” once, and that wasn’t nice) [but maybe we weren’t; we learned]. Jillian Carroll’s idea was based on something she’d read or studied once about real people in the real world who experience spontaneous orgasms when they experience some stimuli that excites them like a subway train pulling up to the station. She’d already written the script and I read a few scenes. It sounds a little like the comedy that I scrapped because “it wasn’t extremely funny” — and that’s exactly what the witch said; actually she said “no one’s going to want to watch that” to Jillian [damn!] but we aren’t going to be mean, anymore, not to anyone. She wasn’t a witch but she did dress like one; like with boots and witchy hair. Huh interesting. To be fair I’ve thought a lot of Barnard professors were witches. Maybe someday..

Jillian is probably the only friend, in the memoir, who I should be glad it took me four drafts to get back to; because those first few drafts might prompt Jillian now, my best friend for a while, to literally say “you better not fuck with me” and have it be as deadpan sincere as it gets. As though we shouldn’t be well-past that by now! Well I think we’re there — makes *ree* sound and just no — but I guess you’ll have to see, after I write some stuff down. I’ll try to put a good word in. Believe me I took out a lot.

**just cover everything about Jillian

leading up to “are you going to be able to graduate!”

Basically that means use your old stuff, and get in that line about Mimikyu

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