Editor’s note: as I mentioned in my last post on this website, I am keenly (indeed painfully) aware that it has been quite a while since I’ve written anything worth publishing on a platform that isn’t Twitter; hopefully this very different sort of article can begin to explain my extended absence.
Although I am unfortunately still experiencing a number of ongoing problems in my personal life and I’ve only recently finished grieving after a sudden death in my small family, this piece represents a more emotional and indeed highly introspective examination of the well I’ve found myself at the bottom of – I ask that you bear with me while I try to work through the terrible sense of dread that has been keeping me away from the keyboard.
Finally, I should like to mention that right before my extended absence I’d started working on a series of journal posts across multiple social media platforms that I had intended to eventually link back to here on this website. Originally, I wanted to gather up somewhere between four and eight journal posts at a time but you can find the first two posts here and here; whether or not the series continues as I’d initially envisioned is still very much up in the air at the moment.
It is 2:27 in the morning and I am not okay.
Sweet mother of christ; even just typing that feels like lifting a wooden chest full of lead bricks over my head while treading water against a deep current. How long has it been since I’ve been able to write now; five or maybe even six weeks? It feels so much longer than that inside the roiling sea of my consciousness; how can one be a writer when you can’t focus long enough to actually write anything? Am I even sure that any of this is real? Are memories of performing this strange craft of literary alchemy merely illusory; phantasms of a diseased mind that somehow lost the ability to focus? Has anyone even noticed that I’m gone? Was I ever really a writer at all? What kind of sadistic pig-fucking monster is asking these questions and why the hell did I let them inside my skull?
I really don’t know when the fear first began to overload my thoughts this time; maybe it wasn’t actually a “recent” development at all. Throughout my life, I’ve always been blessed with an insatiable addiction to reading and cursed with an unusually long memory. Furthermore, as someone who has spent decades studying the history of western empire and identifying the behavior patterns of unchecked capital, I have long since lost any baked-in illusions about the true nature of power in our society.
Once you accept that there’s a open scam to sell impoverished Americans medical grade heroin, when you realize that endless conflict in the Middle East is actually just an excuse to drop bombs solely for the purpose of spending public money to buy more bombs, when everyone knows there’s been an active, ongoing capitalist conspiracy to lie to you about destroying the whole planet for decades – what kind of twisted shit is truly too horrible to imagine our elites and their paid political stooges doing anymore? When you examine a war fought purely to profit Friedmanite industrialists here, or an engineered crash of whole economies for the benefit of already ludicrously wealthy investment bankers there, it soon becomes awful hard to buy in to mainstream rhetoric about the “sanctity of our institutions” and the inherent “wisdom” of our elite, ruling class.
It’s important to note here that I’m not referring to some kind of secret society where eight sick mutherfuckers in a hidden control room are running a Machiavellian psy-op on the whole planet; I’m talking about entire industries, government regulators, thousands of terrifyingly fucking boring and mundane little Eichmanns, all happy to gleefully murder millions with a bullet or a bank statement – just so their neo-feudalist masters can wring an extra five dollars a share out of the proletariat and the decaying corpse of global capitalism. The “Illuminati” is not a cabal so much as an ideology of ruthless, unbridled greed and its many inhumane adherents no longer feel the need to hide from the light of day. If this wretched goddamn nightmare is a conspiracy, it’s a conspiracy being conducted out in the open by cold-blooded fucking lizard people with identifiable names, and addresses. These are not monsters, but flesh and blood men – and they freely walk among us.
There are those in my line of work, who write effortlessly, with a sense of clinical detachment and simply for a paycheck – I am not one of those blessed hyper-functional souls. I write because if I do not, the tortured fire inside will consume my sanity like a hungry beast; leaving behind only a gibbering mass of shattered human wreckage, poisoned by impotent rage. It is not a labor of love or even a mere addiction, but rather a twisted act of self preservation that brings my fingers down upon the keyboard time after time. Indeed, the act of writing for me remains a mentally exhausting battle with demons both internal and external; a physically painful, psychologically demeaning struggle to contain and clarify the incessant hammering in my head – fear and fury meticulously bled out onto a page in small enough doses to keep the freaks and geeks from running to the hills for cover because there’s a madwoman on the loose.
That’s the key of course; one must be extremely careful to never frighten the native wildlife. You can’t just unload the unfiltered torrent of horrifying knowledge rattling around in your brainpan on Joe Public all at once, or these poor ignorant bastards will have you fitted for goddamn straightjacket by lunch just so they can consume in peace. Nobody lost inside a daily struggle to pay the rent wants to hear that the global economy is built on fraud, war and legalized slavery. Nobody wants to think about the fact that wealth and access to technology have let our moneyed elites outright buy our governments; or that it’s probably too late to stop them because the rich now regulate themselves with our money and have built a separate economy based entirely on scamming the shit out of us. Nobody is interested in hearing that their entire lives amount to worshiping a twisted tower of bullshit built on inequity, violence and exploitation before they’ve even had a bloody coffee – dear god woman, these people have to fucking get up and go to work in the morning!
Naturally, even the most tortured and harried wage slave among us understands that these things are true; but there remains a primal need inside most people to never acknowledge the details of this Orwellian horseshit because to do so would be to acknowledge our own powerlessness in the face of an infernal machine. Subconsciously, everyday people cannot help but realize that everything is a scam and everyone around them is guilty, but accepting this reality without the power to change it is far too horrifying for most of us to attempt in between part time shifts at crappy jobs that don’t leave much time for introspective thought. Thus we know the horrifying actuality of this situation deep in our minds, but do not and indeed cannot live this paralyzing truth in our daily lives.
And so as a writer, you clarify and classify; tuning out the larger picture and related tangents bleeding from the corners of your conscious mind long enough to focus your rhetoric on something small enough for outwardly comfortable but psychologically tortured schmucks to process in digestible chunks of outrage. Like Jack the Ripper field testing a new scalpel you cut, rend and shred important contextual knowledge without an ounce of mercy. You lose yourself in the smallest minutiae of academic sourcing so you never have to face all the terrible truths you’re leaving out of the story and what a disservice that is to the greater understanding of your audience. You waste hours whittling away the obvious, repugnant realities that surround your work, until you’re left only with the facts you could demonstrate to a child-like alien that has never lived a day on this Earth; subconsciously writing for the skeptic who doesn’t want to believe the god awful truth and leaving the worst of it all trapped inside your own mind.
Yet the mind-fucking reality of it remains as these truths hammer away inside your head; rich people mean us harm in a very material sense and those responsible for protecting you are actually the same sons of bitches running this monstrous machine of fraud, murder and desolation. There is no guiding force behind the wheel of the death for profit machine; nobody watches the watchmen when the watchmen have all been bought and no matter how fucking awful you think our neo-feudal, corporatist masters are – the soul crushing truth is almost certainly much worse than you realize.
It is 4:57 in the morning and we are not gonna be okay.
– Nina Illingworth