I've been listening to Age of Adz constantly since I saw Sufjan Stevens last November. I finally got around to reading some of the lyrics to his songs Sunday afternoon. They are so intense and full of emotion, songs that mostly revolve around the story of the self-proclaimed prophet, Royal Robertson, a schizophrenic who estranged himself from everyone he knew, even his wife and children.
What is so fascinating to me is that even after knowing that most of the album is about Robertson, it is still powerful, it impacts me deeply, and I relate to it in an uncanny way.
Sufjan Stevens has done the same type of thing before. One of his most beautiful songs is about one of the most horrific stories. I didn't know the extent of Gacy's crimes until I read about them on Sunday.
I haven't been that engrossed in reading in a long time. I am usually completely ADD when text is in front of me, but I was glued to this story.
Why is it that we become so engrossed with stories such as this? The accounts that should make us cover our eyes make us wide-eyed. Truman Capote became relentless in capturing the whole story for In Cold Blood. Knoxville followed the trials for the torturing and murders of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom. Dr. Helen Morrison, who interviewed Gacy during his trial, actually kept his brain after it was removed post-execution. We are obsessed with knowing what kind of person would do these things, what their life was like before, and how far over the edge they fell.
Gacy as a boy
I don't really have an answer, and I'm not sure if I'm looking for one. All I can think is that we become intrigued knowing someone could take the anger or sadness that is in all of us to such a level. If we are honest, we understand, to our horror, that if one thing was different about our lives, it could have been us.
In my best behavior I am really just like him. Look beneath the floorboards, for the secrets I have hid.
I borrowed Magnolia from a friend the other day because I had never seen it. After reading about Gacy, I couldn't bring myself to watch anything that would add to my deep melancholic state. I'm not going to watch it (for now) and though I had been toying with the idea, I finally decided not to see Black Swan. I'm sure Natalie Portman's performance is award-winning and I'm sure it is good art, but I know these things won't overshadow what else watching the movie will mean to me. I know being an artist means exposing myself to all forms of art, but I also know my limitations. Am I a pansy? Maybe that is partially true, but there is more to it that I won't get into at the moment. For now, the tragic images and stories of reality are enough for me to lament over; right now, I can't purposefully add more.
In other news, I'm ready for winter to be over.