Right now I am excited. I have had a series of small “wins” and the result is a feeling of surfing a giant wave and wanting to hoot and wave to get the attention of my surf buddies on the beach so they will catch my glorious “moment.”
In the midst of the flurry of writing and Internet activity, I’ve also been finishing the attic space in the house. It’s the last major job in the living area (commercial front still untouched) and what it means is that I will have my own personal space for writing and sleeping and whatever else, for the first time since I got married pretty much (not counting my stint in Guatemala). My man cave. The last time I had an attic room was when I was a teenager, the period between fourteen and seventeen, the crucial years (covered in Seen & Not Seen) when I first got into movies and started writing about them.
It is like a circle is being completed in time, and in my psyche. (Or perhaps the circle is my psyche?) The end of something old, the beginning of something new.
It’s also a literal case of me leveling up, going up in the world.
And then there’s Kubrick.
This present writing gig is one in a series of explorations of public figures (Sam Peckinpah, Castaneda, Strieber, John de Ruiter, my brother, Philip K. Dick), but it’s the first time I have chosen one—had him thrust upon me—who was never an influence, and certainly not a mentor or a guru. I always hated Kubrick!
In all previous cases (with Dick a partial exception), the men I wrote about were father/brother figures whose blessing I wanted, in one form or another, and couldn’t get, and about whom I got busy uncovering all the ways they weren’t worthy to bless me anyway. In contrast to them, I never wanted anything from Kubrick. Yet for the first time, I feel like I am forging an alliance with my subject, and discovering a love I had no reason to ever suspect was there.
While this seems to inspire me at a deep, soul level, I am also observing the telltale signs of ego inflation. Excitement, over-confidence, a sense of purpose and urgency, a feeling of discovering something great, and of being great—of being both the discoverer and what is being discovered.
Kubrick had a 200 IQ and the thing about an intelligence of that sort is it requires an unusually high level of intelligence even to imagine how that kind of intelligence might operate. People tend to think that it just means double deluxe intelligence, with fries. But what if the difference is not so much quantitive as qualitative?
As I said on the recent Sync podcast, I see myself as Kubrick’s equal, in terms of intellect at least. If I didn’t I would never dare to try and put myself in his head and imagine what he might have been attempting to achieve. Or to try and match him in this Game of Wits he is playing—even from beyond the grave. But that’s not an easy thing to admit to.
In The Shining, Jack Torrance ends up possessed by the soul of the Overlook and by the previous caretaker—who it turns out—incoherently—was Jack all along. Lately, I think I have been acting more and more like Kubrick: playing games, dangling clues in front of people, testing who is paying attention, thinking strategically, seeing the world and others as opponents on a kind of psychological chess board. I seem to be becoming Kubrick!
Yet in terms of real-world status and even accomplishments, this is sheer hubris—another Kubrickian quality, perhaps the defining one. Compared to Kubrick, I am the equivalent of some underground filmmaker I can’t even name because I have never heard of him, someone who works diligently away at his thing and is known in small circles, mostly by other artists, and who is well-respected but has next to zero social influence or power. A cultural pipsqueak, a mosquito on Kubrick’s elephant ass.
But the view up here is pretty awesome. I highly recommend it.