Being in between books recently I decided to reread William Boyd’s Any Human Heart again (I’ve banged on about this novel loads of times, still as joyous and evocative and tinged with sadness as ever) and it got me thinking about the art of diary writing, and how this blog is perceived by it’s readers.
I used to have a journal in my late teens, and I wrote something every day for going on 8 years I think. Sometimes I would pick up my pen and not have much to say at all. Other times events in my life flowed onto the page. Looking back now I don’t know if it was cathartic. Indeed the reason I gave it up was because of the pain it caused me. Writing the truth about stuff when in emotional turmoil was too much. I was having a great deal of relationship angst at the time, drinking more than I should, and seeing a shrink to work through some past issues, and I just couldn’t do it any more. It was strange going from writing every day to not doing it at all. And after a few months I decided to get rid of them. 8 years of diaries, hundreds of thousands of words, all in the bin. I can hardly remember any of what I wrote now, and the confused and unhappy young man I was at the time I would struggle to recognise.
So what is this blog, if not a diary of sorts? Well over the years I’ve not talked about my personal life too much. I wanted this to be a place for book reviews and to talk about the pleasures and travails of writing novels and trying to get my heart and soul out onto the page. And I’ve pretty much stuck to that. Of course it is inevitable that life events will be discussed at times, as my state of mind is reflected in my work. I wonder how people will think of me after I’m gone, based on my fiction and this blog. Probably as a self-indulgent writer with a drinking problem. Which I guess isn’t that far wide of the mark. But I suppose it doesn’t matter. I’ll be dead, so who cares?
I guess we’re talking about legacy, really. I’m single and childless and I suspect it will stay that way for the rest of my life. My spirit won’t live on in my children or any of that stuff. So what will I have to show for it? What will people have to get a flavour of my life and my personality? This blog, in it’s own little way, is one of the few things I have. Maybe I should write more about my life, to give a more well-rounded picture. Or probably the best idea would be not to worry so much, and let the evolution of this blog progress in a natural manner.