So what am I doing here? The kids are all tiktocking, instawanking, tweeting each other the bird. They are creating content—or that modern kind of FOMO-incel discontent no one has yet learned to manage. It’s all about the algorithm, the views. It’s the subtle act of throwing oneself onto the hyperfueled bonfire for the sake of a thumbs-up emoji.
Is that me? Maybe. Maybe it is. I am, after all, here.
I’d like to think that it’s not me. That I give no fucks. I am, after all, here, in obscurity, not part of the scrum. But it’s hard to be sure.
Would it help to state my purpose? I always did that in my childhood diaries. I’d write my name at the front in cursive lettering, and I’d put something earnest in there about how I was going to be very honest, and say only true things, and I’d warn any interlopers that this diary was private and they’d better put it right down or else. The best diaries had a clasp and tiny gold key, which would often become lost before the pages were half filled, thereby locking me out of my own safe space.
This is not that, but the impulse remains. I want to know what I’m up to, at least at the start. And if the key gets lost along the way, so be it. The words will have served their purpose.
Okay then, here we go, in pen, in cursive, right up front: I’m here to journal. To get loose. To care a little more in some ways and a little less in others. I’m trying to level the teeter-totter. To overcome a self-destructive impulse. I have thought—usually while under the influence—that if I could journal faithfully for a while, the entries might provide some raw material. I’m thinking of Jenny Offill’s wonderful books, in which a story is conveyed as a collection of incidents, each minute in itself but rich as anything when the mosaic is complete. This is how life goes, right? Dot to dot, tile by tile, and suddenly a picture emerges and you know what you’ve been looking at all along.
Or maybe, you know, I just want to write.
Maybe that’s enough.