whether she vanished within things,
or if it was things that vanished
Wandering round temples, Bagan, Myanmar (by erdo).
And now I must talk about why I ended this.
What I think most people might not realise is that quite often, I was writing to myself. If I was feeling heart broken, or depressed, I’d say the things I wish people would say to me. I think really good art is a map away from an emotion or a map to an emotion and that creating art, allows that emotion to leave the body of the artist, and so this was an incredibly healthy project for quite a while. I got a lot of stuff out of my system.But as the project became more and more popular and I started getting more and more fan mail from all over the world, letters from kids with brain cancer who told me that I’d help them through the most difficult time of their lives, kids who were just having trouble at school and people who’s hearts had been torn in two, it quickly became the most important thing in my life. And if you’re an insecure, introverted person, that kind of constant validation can become dangerous. You start to crave it. You start needing to know what anyone, anywhere in the world is saying about you at any point in time and if I look back on it now, checking my amazon sales ranking every single morning and constantly clicking on the refresh button on my twitter interactions tab reminds me of mice in a lab who know that pushing a certain button will give them a pellet of food.Eventually, I started needing to recreate the sadness and longing within myself that had first inspired me to write many of the entries, so I could write from that place again. It’s like being addicted to painkillers, so to justify to the doctor why you need them, you start hurting yourself to prove your point. I started spending my time tearing open old wounds just so I could write about what the blood looked like when it came out.
There’s this horrible equation that creative people can sometimes buy into, which is “No one else has felt what I’ve felt, therefor no one else can do what I do.” Which isn’t true. What you feel doesn’t make you creative. Who you are makes you creative.
I fell in love, consciously or unconsciously with a story about myself, like I was David Foster Wallace, or Hunter S. Thompson, or Hemmingway or Sylvia Plath, all of whom scratched the itch at the back of their head with a shotgun or an oven, or cleared the frog in their throat, finally, with a rope.It took me a long time to realise that the only story about me that was true, was the one I was writing.But it was hard.I poured all my romantic and spiritual energy into it and if at any point in time you were in a relationship with me, you got the leftovers. Imagine for a second you’re going out with me, and every day, when I come home, you’re left with the question“If you’re so good at writing these things, how do I know what you say to me, is real?”Or“Who did you write about today?”Or worse“Were you writing about me today?”
It took a near complete emotional break down to see any of this. But I did. And I’m sorry to anyone I hurt along the way.Two or three days ago, the author Iain M Banks was diagnosed with terminal cancer and he released a statement saying that he was giving up writing to spend his remaining months on honeymoon with the girl he’s finally going to marry, and with his friends and family, doing the things he loves and going to the places he loves. And I’d like to ask a simple question here, why?Because he knows he’s going to die?Then let me ask this:Who here doesn’t know they’re going to die?
There’s no book you can write, no amount of twitter followers, no award you can win that will ultimately make you happy. You will only be happy when you start to focus on the simple daily experiences that make you happy. And that might mean letting go, of other things.
Be like the river;
serene even in
the midst of a
burning forest -
in your own direction
as if nothing ever