Seeing only what you want
January 14, 2014 by Thomas Wictor
A little followup on the reason why my publicists thought they could scam me without repercussions. It’s a classic case of seeing only what you want.
The answer came to me when I reviewed e-mails that an interviewer sent.
Writing about the book, your publicist refers to your humility… To me, you come off as essentially mild mannered but frequently befuddled by the unpredictable, even cruel, actions of your fellow human beings. As a matter of fact, in my review I referred to you as “a naïf” in this regard.
My publicists read every single blog post on both of my Websites, as well as all three volumes of the Ghosts Trilogy. It was truly amazing to me that someone who spent that much time analyzing my writing would conclude that I’m humble and naïve.
Then it hit me: People who habitually lie about their accomplishments, their skills, and their character think that admissions of failure are a sign of weakness. My publicists read this post, for example, and took from it exactly the opposite of what I intended. The post is about how I used to be, not how I am. My publicists missed the most important point I made.
Today, I’d have no problem telling my mentor that not only would I not join the army, I didn’t want anything to do with him. I’d tell him to go fuck himself, and I’d call the cops on him for what he did to his baby. My insistence on following my instincts has cost me a lot. I’ve caused rifts that will never heal.
Though I regret those rifts, I don’t regret learning how to avoid going into the rabbit trance. It was easier to dissociate, no question. Every time I’ve not gone into the rabbit trance, it’s cost me. Not being a rabbit is very difficult.
But rabbits are prey. I refuse to be either prey or predator. That makes me some kind of plant, I guess. I manufacture my own nutrients, a sort of photosynthesis that doesn’t require me to participate in the savagery of the jungle.
On pages 277-278 of Ghosts and Ballyhoo, I describe the morning in 2012 when an elderly Chinese woman came into my yard and stole a hugely valuable tree aloe. I followed her to her house, called the cops, and they recovered the aloe. They advised me to not press charges for a variety of reasons. When I took the aloe out of the back seat of the cruiser, the woman clasped her hands and said, “I sorry, sir. I sorry.”
In front of my eighty-four-year-old mother, I said, “Yeah, you’re sorry you got caught, you fucking cunt.”
Humble? A child in a rabbit trance? A naïf?
My publicists also read this post, about how I feared a new nightmare cluster was beginning. Again, I’m a grown man on the far side of fifty. Bad dreams are nothing compared to everything else I’ve experienced. They’re unpleasant, but by August 22, 2013, I’d seen my father die horribly, and I knew that my mother would soon follow him. And both deaths were prolonged, agonizing, and unnecessary.
What my publicists didn’t understand is that my impairment was situational. The effects of post-traumatic stress disorder with secondary psychotic features (PTSD-SP) and the brain fog of Meniere’s disease are transitory. At some point I was going to take notice of everything that had been done to me.
Though they may have considered that possibility, my publicists again misjudged me. They looked at The Fate Block and thought I was a fey, New Age-y, compassionate nincompoop who’d turn the other cheek, if he wasn’t too ashamed to come forward. The head publicist—who’s got a smooth, deep, confident voice—told me sweet little lies of sharing my beliefs about reincarnation and the existence of a benign Planner.
My persona worked far better than I knew, and my skill as a writer is far greater than I realized.
I told my publicists that Thomas Wictor is not Tom Wictor. When I was a music journalist, I was a performance artist. I’ve been very open that how I present myself in public is not who I am. Though everything I write is factual, it isn’t comprehensive. I conceal far more than I reveal. The conversations Tim and I have would horrify most of you.
Here’s something Tim and I said. I’ll reveal it because I told my publicist. When he heard it, he didn’t stop and wonder if maybe he was scamming the wrong man.
Soon I’m going to post the ten videos I made about my father’s death. These are videos my publicist saw. I want everyone reading this to watch the videos and then imagine the sort of person who would defraud a son who’d endured that.
But to mitigate the horror of Dad’s operatic, unnecessary, truly ghastly death, Tim and I joked about it. Dad prided himself on his Germanic heritage, and in the last fifteen years of his life, he began grunting continuously. What we’ve determined is that Dad couldn’t bear even a millisecond of silence. He had to distract himself his entire life to keep from thinking about death.
His was a terrible, tragic existence that was far worse than I knew. In the three weeks before we put him in hospice, he got more and more unmanageable, demolishing his room, wandering, falling, and raving nonstop. After he died I told Tim that it was as though Dad had devolved into some kind of German forest pig that raced around bashing its head against all the trees for no reason.
“Until it ran out of pig-steam and fell over,” Tim said.
I told this to my publicist. Anyone who reads it is free to think Tim and I were horribly disrespectful to our father. No, we were disrespectful of the manner in which he chose to die. An eighty-four-year-old man with unmanaged diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and cerebrovascular disease had no business behaving as though he were the first person in human history to die.
His death was traumatic, exhausting, depressing, histrionic, and ultimately cost our mother her life. We’re not even sure how real Dad’s death was, because in the ambulance on the way to the hospice, he was perfectly coherent, telling the paramedic about his career in the oil industry. Yet when we got him inside, he refused to talk to the doctor.
“How long has he had dementia?” the doctor asked.
“Three weeks?” I said. “He was a completely different man less than a month ago.”
My publicist was completely aware of my true nature, yet he chose to delude himself that I’m far less formidable than I really am. The deaths of my parents and the unending catastrophe of publishing and marketing Ghosts and Ballyhoo knocked the wind out of my sails. My publicists also kept me off balance by reading my posts on both my Website and Basecamp. When they judged that I was at my lowest ebb, they pulled stunts to add to my stress. Then they’d hit me up for more money.
Their greed, arrogance, and complacency made them careless. Scott Thunes notified me that my publicists were frauds. I checked his links and discovered that he was right. After the publicists denied everything and then tried to erase all evidence that they’d ever worked with me, I sent an e-mail to Scott, describing what I’m going to do now. He responded.
Oh my god, I’m so sorry yet so glad. I love you!!! More than ever, now! Jesus, you’re a motherfucker. I ain’t crossing you!
I am a motherfucker. Yes, I’m a theist and believe in reincarnation. But I also believe in retribution. I don’t self-identify as a Christian. The idea of turning the other cheek is completely unacceptable to me, because it means that my publicists get to go on and victimize others.
They may have ruined my career as an author. So what? I survived the destruction of my career as a music journalist. I’ll survive this too. The important thing is preventing them from wreaking more havoc.
The battlespace is being shaped.
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