Sunday, June 05, 2016

Writing Thread

I have written a journal all of my life. Kind of. Somehow, one of the inspiring teachers at school got me interested enough to keep one haphazardly when I was a teenager at school. Then I discovered poetry in my late teenage years and I wrote it for five, or so, ten years after that. (I write it again now. Go and check out my poetry blog. Urban Poet. There is a link in the blogs I like section) Because all of the poems were so personal, reading back over them I was transported and I knew exactly the reason behind most. And I always dated them (I think that is some mad Virgo instinct towards perfection, I assume) and I wrote them, practically, every day. So each poem made the basis for a daily journal entry, many years later. So that filled in a good chunk.

When I lived in London, I kept a travel journal, of sorts. But I was a really good letter writer, and that is all I wrote in those days. There was theatre to it. A performance. I'd left the love of my life behind, Leah, and I wrote her every day. I lived 2 years in London celibate, I never went to a gay club, not once. Not ever. I'd been to gay clubs in Melbourne with Leah, but it never occurred to me to go London on my own. (Some years later, one of my Aussie friends, told me he was sneaking off to Heaven all the time he and I were in London) I don't even remember having any man crushes whilst I was in London. None. Nothing. We lived our cosseted North London lives, going to dinner and the theatre with my (plutonic) girlfriends. Anyway, Leah kept the letters, and before we stopped talking to one another – nothing to do with me being gay, but that is another story – she gave them to me, so that filled in a few years.

There is a bit in the middle that is missing, when I discovered boys and drugs and dance parties and sex. Pity, as it could have been the most interesting piece. As Tulluha Bankhead once said. "Good girls kept journals, bag girl's never had the time."

It was something lost with Tom’s death. We were always going to sit down and write it together to fill in the missing 5 years. We did those years together. He’d kept a journal, of sorts, during those years. Pity, Tom’s death was so sudden in the end, and his parent’s were so devastated, having lost the grand battle so hard fought. It always looked as though Tom was going to make it, even in his sickest moments. None of us ever thought he was going to die. And then he did. It didn’t occur to me until many years later to ask for those journals. That was a loss. Tom wrote beautifully when he put his mind to it. His mum died some years after him and I didn’t keep in contact with his dad. His dad was amazing, really, and we all got to love him too, during Tom’s illness, so it is not as if I didn’t know him. He floured us all one night when we all sat around smoking pot with him, he didn’t partake, and he told us that he had a sexual relationship with his brother during his late, teen years, which stopped when his, year older than him, brother got a girlfriend. And then Tom’s dad got a girlfriend and a wife, he never thought any more about it. Pretty much, until he was sitting around with his gay son and his gay son’s buddies. 

“We’re in our sixties now, it was a long time ago, who really cares now,” I remember Tom’s dad saying. 

I’ve thought of friending him on Facebook, but then going on to ask him for personal items of his much cherished dead son after I have ignored him for 9 years, seems, well, kind of shallow. But, you know, I could probably scan anything and have it back to him in 24 hours. You know what I mean.

I should just friend him on Facebook anyway, he was a nice bloke.

I have written my journal solidly for the last 20 years.

So, now one (blog/journal) has to make me rich, so that I can cash in with the other (blog/jornal) one.

So for many years, my journal and my blog have competed. I’ve switched from writing my blog at the expense of my journal, and writing my journal at the expense of my blog. It has never worked that I have been able to transfer my journal directly to my blog. It is too personal, I’m not sharing all of that with you guys, sorry. Except that I do, pretty much. It is really more logistical. Changing everyone’s names, and all the key points that would really identify them, is really, really time consuming. 

(I’m not being ridiculous, it has happened. One of the minor characters, I have written about, whose names I once didn’t change, was someone I saw professionally and he recognised himself and he sent me a very clever email letting me know)

So the latest philosophy behind this blog is to take what I think is an interesting paragraph, or an interesting idea contained within a sentence, of my journal, transfer it to my blog, to see what interesting piece of writing I can come up with. That’s what I do now. I think it is better for me that way, it stretches me more so than just transcribing days events.

And, if at all possible, I include a photo that I also took on that day. (My blog philosophy on photos change a few years ago, I now, 99.9% of the time, only publish photos that I have taken myself)

I like the idea of a daily photographic journey, of sorts.

So, if some days I only have one, slight, interesting thing to say, and no photo, I just say it. I try to blog every day. Photos count.

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