Most people are chained to their own fear and stupidity and haven't the sense to level a cold eye at just what is wrong with their lives. Most people will continue on, dissatisfied but never attempting to understand why, or how they might change things for the better, and they die with nothing in their hearts but dirt and old, thin blood - weak blood, diluted - and their memories aren't worth a goddamned thing.
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Your skin is prickly from fatigue and pain and there is a hissing in your ears. Time passes and the pills are taking hold like a glowing white planet coming into view. A reverse eclipse. And you watch with your eyes closed. The white planet is half exposed, it grips your heart in its light and seems to be pulling you forward and now you feel that you are falling. You are awake but dreaming. "The earth is not beautiful but the universe is," you say.
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I had never been with a woman for longer than a night, and they had always been whores. And while throughout each of these speedy encounters I tried to maintain a friendliness with the women, I knew in my heart it was false, and afterward always felt remote and caved in. I had in the last year or so given up whores entirely, thinking it best to go without rather than pantomime human closeness.
This perhaps was what lay at the root of the hysteria surrounding what came to be known as the Gold Rush: Men desiring a feeling of fortune; the unlucky masses hoping to skin or borrow the luck of others, or the luck of a destination. A seductive notion, and one I thought to be wary of. To me, luck was something you either earned or invented through strength of character. You had to come by it honestly; you could not trick or bluff your way into it.
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Mayfield said, "You asked what I was thinking. Well, I will tell you. I was thinking that a man like myself, after suffering such a blow as you men have struck on this day, has two distinct paths he might travel in his life. He might walk out into the world with a wounded heart, intent on sharing his mad hatred with every person he passes; or, he might start out anew with an empty heart, and he should take care to fill it up with only proud things from then on, so as to nourish his desolate mind-set and cultivate something positive or new.
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Returning his pen to its holder, he told us, 'I will have him gutted with that scythe. I will hang him by his own intestines.' At this piece of dramatic exposition, I could not hep but roll my eyes. A length of intestines would not carry the weight of a child, much less a full grown man.
By the time I left the bar, I was 30. I was a dishwasher. They call it a bar-back, but essentially, I washed dishes for a living. I had no high-school diploma, I had no agent, and my literary successes were non-existent... but it was the only thing I ever wanted to do, so I did feel trapped.
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