I began addressing these entries to ‘you’. You began as an imaginary ‘you’ who I conjured up in my head, based on your words on a screen and how they made me feel. Then you became real and I tried to speak to you via the medium of this diary. But it turned out you found such direct communication a challenge, and evaded, finally fading into blankness. There is someone else I want to speak to right now, so when I type ‘you’, I mean him. You. You know who you are.
I know a little of what you may be experiencing. When I wrote in the journal for the first time, I enjoyed having it in my possession, being in command of the little book and all its pages. I wrote freely and honestly, as you have now seen. As soon as I passed it on, to a stranger I met in a pub, I suddenly felt vulnerable. I’d given something personal away and I had no control over who would read it, or if and when I would get it back. I tried to tell him how I felt, but he brushed me off. He was feeling that power I had enjoyed, of holding the notebook and wondering about who this woman was who had written in it before him, and what he would say himself.
Then when he gave it back the power shifted. Suddenly he seemed anxious, less sure of himself and his words. He wanted to read from the notebook in the pub but I wouldn’t let him. We had a very odd conversation, full of tension and subtext. I was annoyed that he hadn’t acknowledged that I had felt weird when I’d let it go. And now I wanted him to admit what it felt like, to give something away.
The book has been on a long journey since then. I think it is becoming wiser and more experienced than the people who are scrawling on its pages. None of us are in control of what happens to it. And as you and I both know, the unpredictability of the postal system, adds a new dimension of anxiety to the equation.
You mentioned ‘balance’. I like that word. But balance is a funny thing. The scales tip one way and then the other. There is rarely a point of equilibrium. The kinds of dynamics we have written about in the notebook are all about celebrating imbalance. To acknowledge the impossibility, and the undesirability of equality, is actually quite a balanced thing to do.
You can’t see my face. But you have access to pages and pages of words I have written, both in the book and online. I have laid myself bare for all to see. The fact I have communicated with you in a more direct way, and shared a few extra secrets, further tips the scales in your direction don’t you think? I mean I have read plenty of your words too, but they are very much written for a ‘public’. You are such a good writer, you fucking bastard, that you have learned to write without giving much away. I am not quite so clever.
This is why I am most intrigued to read your words. Will they be similar to what I have seen you present to your public? Or will they be personal, private confessions? So far only you and the Atlantic ocean know the answer to that question. I hope I get to find out too.