This ain’t gonna be flowery words … ain’t going be high falutin’ prose … that’ll come back, I guess; that’s what I’m made to do. Put words together in the weirdest of ways. But there do come times when you have to be direct: when the clearest ambiguity needs to be the clearest straightforwardness.
I’m not sure what the future does hold these days, but I do know I want the future to be good: for my family, for my SO, for my kids first of all. For the people who brought me up in the confused haphazard way that we do. We all make mistakes; some of us more than others. Mine was to believe I was mainly a writer who’d one day achieve his dream of feeding his family by writing the words that others wanted to read – not just the words he needed to write.
The past year or so was a nadir of sorts: practically the most creative moment of my life, and yet – as castellano would say – the most malogrado (they translate it as “ill-fated”, but I don’t really agree – I’d say far more for me it means “failed”, as in industrial quantities of failure … which kind of – objectively, not self-pityingly – does sum up the life I’ve shared with those around me).
So my mistake was to believe that one day a writer would become a breadwinner through the art of his writing.
And all this time, I felt in some way that the universe adapted and moulded its nature so that every attempt and connection I made – and I mean here throughout my life – was bound to be inhibited in some deadening manner. Can you imagine what it’s like to feel it didn’t matter what you did? And that whatever you did would be neutralised by a cosmos which didn’t care to let you smile, shine or fly?
Is this what depression feels like, my loves? Or is it a question of a melancholy nature? Or maybe it’s simply a firmly existential relationship with a reality that escaped us over the centuries – a reality we still strive to ensnare in some useful way, even today … even today?
Whatever the reasons, and I’m so sure now there ain’t one, I do know that all of us – yes, the whole of humanity: whether poet or writer or painter or pianist; whether lawyer or scientist or researcher or engineer; whether journalist or salesperson or CEO or teacher; whether lover or beloved, whether the people I’ve yearned for or those I missed who yearned for me … all of us together must believe we need the same answers to the questions that eternally bemuse.
There is so much power in doing stuff together; so much potential in the kindness of community; so much to be shared by those who understand sharing; and so much good we could do with this currently – confusingly – terrible implementation of human exchange that we’ve always called money, and now surely need to rename.
I’m personally hopeless at managing money. I’ve never been good at it; in awful moments of my life have even had to accept the gladly given help of others. And when I say gladly, I’m talking mainly of puzzled family: a family who could never comprehend the universe I saw; a family to whom I was just as much an enigma as to most of you who I figure have followed me thus far will probably also perceive.
So if one day we could of lifeworklab.uk make a book or a film or a video or some digital art, and out of that art create a legacy which might pay for my children’s future studies, for my SO’s relieved happiness, even for my own disconcerting needs for physical affection and daily joy, then I guess I’d be the happiest soul in the world: I guess I’d have the best of everything.
And if it can’t be the case because what I do here is neither fu ni fa, then at least may I register the following thoughts. I’ve changed these past few months from a man who could not remember the shape of his life and the courage of his spirit to someone else quite different. Memories and names begin to return to the human being who was a shell of himself for so many years, for such a long time.
And the blame was mine, kinda I guess, for not being up to the job. Because the job of a man is to be up to the job, and clearly I wasn’t, and so now it’s my job to say sorry.
Sorry to my children, for ripping them away from their country with white lies which became dark, and showed so much selfishness, and demonstrated at the time absence of a heart; sorry to my SO, for never knowing how to allow her to simply be the wife she always blindfoldedly strove to become; sorry to my countries, and others which touched me, for saying the things I said about the things I imagined (in dark and fiercely sad times) they went and did to me – to me and my being and my family and my reality, and to many other things even I no longer recall; and finally, sorry to all the women in my life (or at least the women I consider were in my life – I may have been fairly invisible to most; that’s another part of the reason I need to say sorry), for simply not knowing how to be the man they expected.
And when I’m saying sorry to the women in my life, my sorrow is at its most profound and deepest level. There are no words I can pull together which do not include all the words I’ve written since December. What I have done on these pages is because of these women – in particular three women – and they know who they are: and I hope they can forgive me, even if only ever from afar.
Which brings me to one final sorry point.
And then I’ll be finished with the sorrys for now.
My SO sharply observed recently that there was a huge gap between my online persona and my face-to-face self. This in itself could explain – without conspiracy! – exactly why no one ever quite got beyond an initial meeting and getting-to-know-me: yes, they all reacted the same but because the common denominator (ie myself) was much lower than anyone really expected.
I remember a meeting and chat I once had at a large London newspaper, where strange things were mentioned. And I think – in hindsight – this was clearly because the weird one at the meeting (that one and others, it has to be said) was not really them but actually me. What on earth did I want? What on earth was stopping me? What on earth was the problem that made it impossible for me to choose sides?
I hope in a way, through the writing I’ve done over the past few months and a bit, that the answers to these enigmatic questions may have become a tad clearer. And if they have become clearer, and that “clearer” is I’m clearly mad, at least let me be mad in the bosom of my family.
But if I am not the mad enigma I once was (and I was!), and this is my feeling as I write these words, even as you may still firmly choose to disagree, then perhaps at last some degree of hopeful utility can be found for the ability I have to put words together, and in some interesting way edit reality.