I am tired of writing about dead people. True crime is a kind of brutal storytelling that stays under your nails — that makes you go to bed and check twice to make sure your skin isn’t crawling. You can’t shower it off. It gets into your bones before you realize it and stays there long after the screen is closed. After months of digging through papers and reports and scholarly analysis about this trauma, soon to be entertainment, I write about said trauma of strangers. It often deals with their demise. With every script, one more layer of my insides are scraped out. I’m hollowing. I have been at this for years now and I remain under qualified to pick apart their trauma alongside my own. Murders and abductions aside, I write about people being depressed while I am actively depressed, and only being made more depressed by this very cycle.
What a fucking vortex of whiplash.
I took my job to write about politics and mafia tycoons from the Roaring 1920s — to talk about gerrymandering and dynasties and Cold War nostalgia. I did not take this job to speculate about whether someone’s body was hacked to pieces with a meat cleaver and put into a barrel; to explain in great detail the moments as someone was driven to the middle of nowhere by their killer; to tell you how many toxicologists it took to determine whether the bleach did in fact, cause organ failure.
The big bad internet portal wants to know more. What have I learned?
I am tired of writing about dead people like it’s the weather, or a tire blowing out on the 110. I do not want to bento box my brain into holding such sadness. I do not want to go on Lexapro to keep writing about dead people. I do not want to go on Adderal so I can regain my focus, to keep writing about dead people. I do not want to go on Ativan to take the edge off, after a day of writing about dead people.
I do not want more stock options. I just want to sleep at night.
Mackenzie Moore is a writer and illustrator based in Los Angeles who currently writes for narrative podcasting. She is currently pitching her nonfiction memoir, based on her experience as an adult child of divorce. Her CNF and poems can be found in Hobart, Reed, and Redivider — she has work forthcoming in the Dallas Review and X-RAY.
image: MM Kaufman