Well, we’re back! Or at least, I’m back. The other FFFers have been at it for a while, but I’ve been out of town. Regardless, it is my pleasure now to present to you the eighth Flash Fiction Friday I have written so far, and also to encourage you to read the pieces of my companions in this venture, as always all of them and mine written off of the same prompt. In no particular order: Caiti, Robin, Crow.
Lately, I’ve been noticing that things aren’t right. It’s not that I’ve contracted some kind of angst (and I shudder at using the word, even in my thoughts) that you get sometimes and can’t shake, no, it’s a different kind of unsettling fear about the future, and it’s frankly appalling that a man of my age and stature should feel it at all. After all, here I am, living my own dream, possibly the dream, surrounded by fans and actors and producers…
And it’s not that I can’t focus or can’t do anything, but it’s more that there’s a layer of thin fog covering everything, and it’s not disappearing or drifting off, either. And I can see my idea, my salvation, you might say, it’s sitting right there in front of me, but just beyond my reach and I can’t see it clearly enough to copy down anything because this cloud has descended upon me. And it’s getting thicker, and it makes it that much harder for me to figure out where I’m going.
Understanding that is of the utmost importance. I decided at the age of thirteen when my best friend nearly died (twice) of cancer that I wouldn’t live for nothing. And to a new, official teenager like me, I guess that meant I would, well, really do something with my life that would somehow add a touch of meaning to that storied and most important entity, mankind. (As a side note, it meant that I also had to be unlike my parents, who, near as I could tell, were completely content in waking up and working and living and dying.) But it’s a difficult thing, being important and making contributions to what I now know is a mere concept. I figured that I wasn’t, as they say, cut out for politics, or wired for law or well-suited to anything else. But I was creative, in some ways, even if it all came out of negativity and death, and I had read somewhere that art was truth and truth beauty, and my family had the necessary connections, so I decided to make films. Of course, it’s a hard thing, making meaningful films. Sure, you can send messages or make statements, but it’s ultimately not up to you, it’s up to the people watching. And I’ll admit that I have no idea what makes a great film and what makes a bad one. I’ve put out films that I thought were golden but that the critics and everyone else absolutely spat on, and vice versa. I guess when it comes down to it, I’ll just have to accept that there isn’t perfection in film, as there isn’t in anything else…probably less, given that there’s always going to be someone who doesn’t like what you’ve made, and that’s the only criteria you ought to judge by…but early on, I made it my mission to capture and captivate each and every one of those lost souls who just didn’t “get” it or refused to acknowledge my genius and my contributions or for whatever other reason didn’t respect my work, and so I guess you could say I decided to be discontent.
Rather, as I’ve come to see it now, helpless. And I remember inserting some of this same struggle into one of my early films, where the protagonist, (and I always give them tragic names) Anthony, laments that he is insignificant. “This world,” he says in a bit of a soliloquy, although it is visually quite interesting, not static like you see a lot of in lesser works, “is God’s punishment for Eve’s pride. Individually, we are all beautiful and unique, but together we form a crowd so large that the tallest man could not be seen from the front. I am short; why should I yearn to have any part in that?” He was murdered at the end of that film, randomly, by petty criminals, in the dead of night, and the critics called it melodramatic. I’m not sure if I even cared about the reviews, because all I could do once committing myself to the decision to be famous and worthwhile was step back and watch myself go towards something, towards anything that I thought would influence people or get my name out there or, I don’t know, make me feel like some kind of progress was being made towards a substantial end of any kind whatsoever.
Except, and I realize this only now, that destination has never been entirely clear, if at all. Life is not one of my films, although it tends to be just as depressing sometimes. There is no end to any of this except the end, no credits to follow the last picture, and I know it’s irrational, but I can’t help but feel that if I don’t find one, I’ll be a miserable failure, even if they judge me to be a success by my cars and jewels and, I suppose I should mention, artistry. And there’s only one solution to that problem, and I’m already doing it as much and as well as I can, so it’s hard for me to understand why I still can’t feel as if things are right and well in this world.
Never before have I had such an insatiable thirst to escape reality, even though it’s what I’ve always sought to do, and I can’t help but wonder if it’s because mankind alone among the stars had the unlucky stroke of being endowed with the courage to imagine things greater than ourselves. Yet, what can I do but keep letting myself think freely? It is, after all, what I am paid for.