The great mass of human beings are not acutely selfish. After the age of about thirty they almost abandon the sense of being individuals at all — and live chiefly for others, or are simply smothered under drudgery. But there is also the minority of gifted, willful people who are determined to live their own lives to the end, and writers belong in this class. Serious writers, I should say, are on the whole more vain and self-centered than journalists, though less interested in money.
–George Orwell, Why I Write
Well, at least at the moment I am not smothered under drudgery. With Jacques Mesrine, I am not being told what to do. This doing nothing is the only way I can see to “live my own life”. I write here, I read a bit, I meditate less than I consciously intend, and I “play” Spider Solitaire. I could practise the piano, and don’t; I have picked up three or four pieces to learn in these two years, and mastered none.
I resigned because I had been given an ultimatum, a “reasonable” instruction and a final written warning, I had not complied and was going to be sacked. After two years’ unemployment I think it unlikely that I will get a job of the responsibility or interest of which I think I am capable.
During the Hoffman Process I saw clearly for the first time one of my characteristics which I saw as particularly harmful: seeking out stories of why I should be frightened of the World, in order that I should hide from it. This seemed abominable, and I labelled it shit-hoovering.
Last night I was weeping because my dear friend lost half her capital in a fake investment scam- spent it on moonbeams and rainbows, a false hope of an impossible return. And her emotional reaction to this gets in the way, a year after we found it was a fraud. Someone should have prevented the scam, it was well-known: I tell her the lie is half-way round the world before the truth has got its boots on, and the fraud was set up in order to be difficult to prosecute, and I am not certain she can take that in. Her anger and her knowledge of what should happen gets in the way of seeing what is, and how she might avoid further loss.
You see I know this story, and I know the truth of it, and it miserifies and horrifies me and makes me want to turn my face to the wall. With other stuff. And the world really can be an awful place, and my friend’s pain is real.