I want to be a Shakespeare, a Samuel Pepys. I do not aim low. 100 years from now, 200, 300, I want people to be reading me to learn what life was like in Western Europe in the early 21st century/late 20th century.
Fiction to me seems a lesser form of art than journal writing. I can’t read it and I can’t write it. The only thing which seems of value is to put down one’s own thoughts on paper. The real psychological storms people go through in their own heads seem of more value than any invented dramas. “Morning after a Stormy Night” always a perfect Munich picture (paintings I rank above photography, of course). Given I always depict my marriage as a storm at sea, or a shipwreck, or the explosion of the Hindenburg, maybe that should be the cover, and the title of my 6th book, the first post-marriage volume of my journals? Your pleasures have led to your shipwreck, the destruction of your ship, just planks and timbers left the morning after; now you can never really enjoy those pleasures again; you can try, but they will never hold the innocent thrill and excitement they did before. After falling in love with —— I could never really get a thrill out of anything again—cinema, opera, theatre, collecting newspaper cuttings.
The most incredible thing: I boarded the Eurostar and got to my seat and went to get out my writing paper, all my notes from my trip and find they are gone. I searched my pockets, my bag; not there. I know I put them in my trouser pocket so they must have fallen out. I try to retrace my way along the platform, no sign, and I am not allowed to go back down, and there is no time now anyway, just 4 minutes before the train departs. In despair, I accept defeat and hurriedly head back to my carriage. Not having time to get to my door I get on the previous door—but there down on the stones under the train are my papers. I got on the train at that door to check if my seat was this end or the other, and seeing it was the other, immediately got off and went to the next door; at this point my papers must have been pulled from my pocket by my bag and dropped to the tracks. You’d think the people behind me would have noticed and alerted me but no. But what miracle that I should re-board the train by this “wrong” door and so see the papers! What is wrong with me? Honestly? I had to ask one of the security guards to climb down onto the track to retrieve my papers. Incredible lunacy! Surreal farce! First my lost Eurostar tickets, now this!
I reckon in 2014 I had four great days; days when I ——————————. Four days in 365 I think is not enough. I have not had any such days in 2015. I do have a belief that I am creating a body of work that will one day come to mean something, like the writings of Samuel Pepys. It may not have value now, but like Coal and Diamonds and Oil, it needs Time to bring value to it. This sense of my own specialness was always my best and last defence against depression that dominated most of my life, and eventually the defeater and vanquisher of that depression. My sense of greatness DEFEATED my black depressions; AND my bitter, pathetic little enemies. They had no idea who they had taken on; no idea they had bitten off more than they could chew. I almost felt sorry for them. Their resources were so much less than mine; their “hinterland” was non-existent. The secret source of my Nile was always a bewildering mystery to them. This is how great people always triumph over the small people.
No man is an island. Well I’m as close to it as I’ve ever met. There may be other people like me but by definition I am not likely to bump into them. I still have the dream, that a hundred years from now, sensitive young men will be coming to drink in the Dorint Hotel in Vienna, because it is where their favourite writer ——– used to drink; and in the Café du Dome in Brussels, and the Berlin Plaza in Berlin. They will be eating Alt Wiener Zwiebel Rostbraten in the Café Westend like their hero did. Will there still BE a Dorint Hotel in 100 years, still a Café Westend, a Berlin Plaza, a Café du Dome? Would be fascinating to know. I want to live forever, I really do. I think The Makropolos Case is one of the most affecting operas I have ever seen. I want to be Emilia Marty. I do have a conception of myself as a great person, which, I notice, the rest of the world curiously and bizarrely fails to share.
I am an archivist of my own life. I am a researcher and archaeologist into my own life. An Indiana Jones of the mind. I release my records bit by bit on my websites, and lodge my completed books on Amazon; not expecting sales but so there is a permanent record for posterity. One day I want to build a library dedicated to my own life and my writing, like a great Tower of Babel, the rival of the British Library at least. There all my books that I scribbled all my notes in as I go travelling will be kept, and researchers can access them with protective gloves on, like they do old copies of Shakespeare and Goethe and such like.
What am I writing now? Yes just repeating myself. Nothing new to say about these 4 cities really; but what I am recording is these long lazy relaxed days in Vienna, Berlin and Brussels. Before I was always tortured by some torment or other; lonely; lovelorn; ripped apart; now I am so calm and relaxed. Single and happily so. All the time in the world just to luxuriate in these 3 cities like a warm bath; and now see what I feel and what I think. Because this calm, lazy, golden age will not last forever; I should not scorn it or take it for granted; this next trip might be the last such calm, lazy, luxuriant trip, you never know. Cherish every moment of this calmness, however used I am now becoming to being in Brussels or Berlin or Vienna. It is the most precious thing in my life. My freedom could be gone in a flash; I could lose my job in a flash; I could lose my health in a flash; then I will look back at these calm, lazy, repetitive trips with longing.