I’ve been writing more privately. On my trip I used a bookstore’s washroom and felt obliged to buy something, so I bought miniature notebooks and started to write. I wrote more while drunk on that trip, and a little while sober, all on a common topic.
Then I tore the pages of that common topic to shreds and threw it out in various garbages at the Pierre Elliot Trudeau airport.
The writing was bad, for one thing. For another thing the only person who would ever read it is me and I don’t need to be reminded of what will persistently be in my head for a long time. This was intensely personal and that sticks with me.
Yet I’m trying it again on a computer. (After all, I love both paper and typing.) I’m trying it as a narrative starting with the larger issues of other people and keeping my own brain out of it. I’m trying to map out the network of problems the people around me have to make my own problems seem a little more petty.
It’s a practice in style as well. I want to read through this and overcome the complex emotions by liking how it’s written. There’s a problem with not being read by more critical eyes, but narcissism is a skill set I can put to use.
Managing both a need to write privately and a goal to write publicly is a challenge much like getting myself to run in the evenings when I already walked a lot to and from work. But I need to force myself out in multiple directions to convince myself I’m a real person. Writing about other people in private will likely do more for making myself feel real than any public interaction, like traveling, when I need to keep my mind inside my head.
You can’t be aware of yourself without focusing on other people. By writing about them.