Holidays. I´m not sure if holidays are my strongpoint; not sure if holidays are supposed to be like this. For a few days I did nothing but drink and sleep and once I´d exhausted both of those, I did nothing but analyse my life to date.
Have you ever analysed your life to date? Don´t bother, it´s scary. Of all the things you can do with your life, analysing it to date is not recommended. Someone once said that the unexamined life is not worth living, but whoever that someone was clearly hadn´t spent a week or so in Mallorca with me.
So, Mallorca. Thirteen years ago I was in this town with a girl I loved and who loved me back and I messed it all up. Last year I was in this town with a girl I loved and who loved me back and I messed that up as well. I´ve had jobs over here that I´ve messed up. And friendships. And bar tabs.
I´ve come to realise that I´ve messed a lot of things up. I sit on my balcony drinking too-warm cans of beer and chainsmoking too-nice cigarettes and I watch the happy families and happier couples and they don´t seem to have fucked anything up at all. I don´t have anyone to go to dinner with or a driving licence or a mortgage or any possessions beyond two bags of clothes that I´m fast hating and I don´t really have any work at the moment and am possibly becoming more atrophied and Octoberish by the second and and and.
And perhaps I´m not very good at this. You know, perhaps I´m not cut out to live my life very well.
That´s one way of looking at it. Another way of looking at it is better.
Another way of looking at it is this: I´m 35 and a professional writer and have written for some of the best publications in the world and I am drinking warm beer and smoking cigarettes on a balcony somewhere in Europe and writing in my notebook and although I´m getting divorced from my (pregnant) neuroscientist wife I´m not being a turd about it. If I´d told all that to an adolescent me, the adolescent me would have buckled, would have been so overwhelmed that he would have tried to fuck the 35-year-old me in a bin somewhere. Probably.
And I´ve got money owed to me. Not loads, but enough to go anywhere in the world – Africa, Australia, Argentina – and rent a small room and live for a month, possibly longer and earn more money. And if I´m so worried about crumbling self-esteem, self-respect, self-discipline and so on (anything to do with the self, then) I can decide to do something about it. “At the moment of commitment, the universe conspires to assist you,” someone once said, and someone else once said: “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything,” and I think – hope – that they´re both right.
Oh dear, this hasn´t been about the writing yips has it? And hasn´t it been terribly pretentious too, quoting Plato and Goethe and Marty McFly all in the same post? I did have them though recently. The writing yips, that is. Couldn´t put a word down. Terrible. Worrying, too, when your income depends exclusively on writing one word after another. Still, they´ve gone now, or are at least in the shadows. This has helped. So, you know, thanks very much for that.