Is it just me, or is the hardest part of writing self belief? I’m sure that I used to be able to write. When I was a kid I could write with abandon, a complete lack of self-consciousness, my biro barely able to keep up with the flow of my imagination. I put writing aside in my teens to concentrate on school, although that was a wasted effort as it turned out. But that wasn’t the real reason. Some part of never thought I had anything worth saying, or never believed that it was worth the effort. That I was worth the effort, I guess it comes down to.
Over the years I’ve taken it up again, and put it down again. Each time it gets harder to begin again, like getting your fitness back after a layoff. You would think that knowing that I could once do it would stay with me, but I find it hard to imagine that I am the same person, now. So much has happened. I have hurt so much, and caused so much pain to other people. I sometimes look at old photographs and miss that person, want to shout at him to do things right, to make the right choices and to seize the day. Don’t lose your smile. Don’t fuck it up. Don’t turn into me.
I know you can’t change what has happened. You can only start from where you are. Chances are I have years ahead of me - I may well be less than half way through my life - so I can draw a line under what has gone, put a full stop, a new paragraph. A new page, clean and waiting to be filled with whatever I choose to put there. But knowing that and knowing that are different things. That thought can exist on the surface of my mind but refuses to penetrate to where I will believe it, feel it, accept it. The voice inside that will not allow it in is strong. So every day is a new start, and every new start is wasted, and there is nobody to blame but myself. Which seems to be what I want.
So I keep having my ideas and writing scenes and character sketches and beginnings, and then leaving them. Better to never try than to try and fail? Better the certainty of my own harsh judgement, the comfort of my own bitter nest, than the risk of the others’ laughter?
Or perhaps I am just lazy, useless and self absorbed, wanting to feel that there might be something special about me but not willing to work to achieve it. People overcome real difficulties all the time, real poverty and injury and abuse, hardships I can barely imagine.
So, here I stand. Every moment is a choice, to turn left or right, to step or to stop, to act or to hesitate. Sometimes, to live or to die.