35-40 years ago, I did some investigative journalism. For instance, I wrote a book on the serial killer John Wayne Gacy. Using over 60 hours of taped interviews, I tried to write it in his voice, from his point of view. I took me three years. Three years in which I tried to live inside the head of a serial killer. Needless to say, this was not psychologically good for me. While the book, Buried Dreams, was a best seller at the time, I consciously chose to give up dark subject matter and to concentrate on my sunnier outdoor stories. That choice cost me some money. Probably a lot of money. But I led a far happier and healthier life. I do not regret the decision
Now, TV documentarians are interested in killers and cults. I think the success of The Making of Murderer and Wild Wild Country seems to have inspired them. In consequence, that long ago period of my life is coming back to haunt me. Last night (March 17) I was on a two hour TV show about Gacy (Very Scary People on HLN). Fucking shit, I hate talking about that prick. And I broke up on camera describing the tortures he put his victims through before killing them. I tried not to watch it, but I did.
Also, I am on the Sundance channel talking about the disgraced pastor Tony Alamo, who recently died in prison serving a 770-year sentence for "marrying" a dozen underage girls, some as young as 9. (Ministry of Evil). It was a cult situation --- there were beatings and probably deaths --- and I joined Alamo's group on assignment for Rolling Stone. I hate talking about this evil shithead as well. But I have been in touch with some of his victims for 40 years and, when they asked me to appear, I felt obligated.
I just finished another Gacy interview for some damn TV show. The Gacy book I wrote is still selling, and I guess I need to promote it, but FUCK.
Now I'm getting inquiries about Jim Jones and Jonestown. I did a 12,000 word on the scene report for Rolling Stone. If you want to know what it's like to walk among nearly a 1000 dead bodies rotting in the jungle, I can tell you. That story is contained in an anthology, A Wolverine is Eating My Leg. Maybe an interview might help sell that book, which is still in print. But I'm tired of the shadows, the sudden darkness, and I will decline that invitation.
Instead, I think I'll just go up to my cabin and hide there until it burns down.
Being around malignant narcissists will do that to you. Had more than my fair share the past few years, made me pretty much give up on coaching adults with very few exceptions (the individual strength sports draw a good number of them).
Seems like its easier when you are supporting the victims, but giving voice to those monsters is a bit much.
We all know they are monsters. I think the obsession with monsters is that we somehow think that if we understand them, we can avoid them. But, their ability to charm and blend in is part of their monstrosity. Our only insight is hindsight.
Never eat more than you can lift.