The urge to write is a funny old thing, isn’t it? I’ve always had it, since I was a kid I think, and obviously, over the years, I’ve nurtured it and attempted to turn it into some kind of career. (Ho ho.) But this is different – going through a shitty, deeply personal thing and writing about it and putting it on the internet. And I know, many writers, many professional writers would never do this in a million years. Yet it feels right to me. It is odd. Even in the car on the way back from hospital tonight I was composing something in my head. Not this. Something else. Something much more depressing than this.
I do it – people do it – because it helps. It helps me, I think, to talk about it. I also know that it can help other people too. It is after all, art, and if art is good for anything – and I like to think it is – it’s good for helping us remember that we’re not alone. (There is I’m sure a conversation to be had about whether a diary, which is essentially what this is, can ever really be art, but if you want to have that conversation, I would be really pleased if you would fuck off and have it elsewhere.)
I also love the idea, I can’t deny, of touching people. Even – maybe even especially – with something so deeply personal. Maybe not. It feels more noble than fiction though. Certainly more noble than fiction dressed as truth. I’m thinking of the tears I teased when I was living a virtual lie. But there’s always an element of manipulation. Even now. (Maybe that’s the definition of art.)
Thinking about it though, it’s all the same thing. I only write because I want to connect. And I only want to be good at it because I want to be good at connecting. Because connecting – communicating with love and honesty and a desire to make one another’s lives more bearable – is by far the most important thing we do. Actually, maybe it’s the only thing we do – in all of its various forms – that’s any good.
Anyway, my 400-limit is (thankfully) approaching.
Thanks to all of you who’ve been in touch – here or elsewhere – with your kind words and condolences. They have made me realise that that’s actually how we get through this stuff.