‘The Day I Redrew Myself in Mine Own Eyes’
– an Essay
I am a writer. I am concerned only with the writing experience. First and foremost I am not unduly worried about how you, the reader, may respond. It is not my primary concern. I wish to get my side of the arrangement correct. Obviously, I would like you to enjoy what I write but that is not my first consideration.
I started to write creatively in 1966. I was fifteen years old and I found writing unburdening. It released me. At fifteen you are full of angst, self-doubt, adolescent frustrations, unfulfilled ideas, anxieties about your future, anger about your past. You crave acceptance while often hiding your true self and your real feelings from others in the hope that you might convince them of your worth. When I wrote things down I could bypass that particular illusion and rid myself of pretense. Fortunately, I never saw the point in pretending to myself and at least, when writing, that pretense did not seem important to me. In this way, writing was always liberating to me and generally, it always has been. The more I write, the more focused, defined, articulate and confident about myself I become. I found myself kind of confirmed, qualified, much like the title of my first creative essay which I entitled – ‘The day I redrew myself in mine own eyes’. Very adolescent, very immediate, very self-conscious, you might say even self-indulgent but also dynamic, heartfelt, optimistic and certainly genuine.
In many ways that first essay I wrote in 1966 was the finest piece of writing I ever accomplished due to its honesty, it’s clarity and it’s timing. Unfortunately later in my life, due to religious indoctrination and what I can only describe as a certain zealous fanaticism I had imbibed at an impressionable age, I felt it necessary to destroy that piece of work along with numerous photographs, books and some other serious pieces of writing. My regret at destroying these written pieces is offset by my ability to remember their significance, poetry and meaning. Maybe not word for word but certainly I can remember clearly, the main gist of what I wrote and I have been able to rewrite some of those pieces quite effectively.
Everything I write is important to me and therefore memorable to me. Recently I have been taking the trouble to archive my earlier written work in the hope that after my demise, whenever that might be, that certain people and especially my family, might like to read what I have written and maybe glean some wisdom or perception that comforts them, helps them or inspires them. I think I am a good writer. I am proud of and comfortable with what I have written and I intend to write a lot more.
I believe I am an intellectual. I’m not sure intellectuals are considered something to look up to or aspire to, in this 2,018th year AD but they certainly are to me. I can think of no better entertainment or way to spend an evening than sitting around a solid wood table with a few fellow ‘minds’, 2/3 bottles of good quality red wine, maybe a bottle of single malt or a jug of clean water and discussing, well into the wee small hours, any issue you care to mention from law to politics, to sex, to philosophy, to art, to writing, to religion, to natural science, to history, to modern geography, to art, to existentialism, to FIFA, to comedy, to alcohol and of course to love.
We may shout, we may argue, we may laugh and we may even agree but we will be friends by one rule alone ~ that we share a belief that we are free individuals who are committed, in spite of our personal beliefs to keeping an ‘open mind’. We are not daunted by, or afraid of change or of personal revolution and we are not contaminated by the constant need for orthodoxy, heterodoxy, or democracy. We must believe in and honour a respect for each other and generally all life but that is as far as it goes.
I don’t want to meet with blinkered radicals, biased, lightweight thinkers or bigoted idealists. I don’t initially want to know what you are against or what you don’t believe in but I do want to hear about what makes you live, thrive and keep you alive, for these are the very reasons I write.
The older we get, the more we are prepared to divulge, the less we care about any apparent enigma or mystery that may surround us. I look in the mirror and see myself, not someone else’s view of who I am. When I write I want to honour that person, the person I am and also respect my reader, whoever they may be, by writing hopefully in an honest, insightful and interesting way but I want to write. I must write. I need to write and by my own compass, to write well! The reader will always be the final judge of whether you have achieved that target and then they will return and read some more. eb.
~ for my kids S x D x W x M x ~