The Struggle with Myself Between the Lines

The author blurred out in an empty London street
The author blurred out in an empty London street

I guess, this is it. Every moment is a culmination of moments before. Like words, moments are singular, linear, progressive events all exponentially growing into increasingly both simple and complex constructs of time. Some we live, others we remember. Much of it, like the morning breeze or the evening sunset comes and goes, never to return and often never to become memorable. Tomorrow, it will be a different morning breeze, and a different sunset. Our home called Earth will not be in the same position, as neither will the entire solar system, as it was yesterday. And for that matter, neither will I.

It’s both enlightening and disappointing to realise how little of 34 years I actually remember. I can sum it up in roughy 450 pages, and over the course of nearly a year, that is exactly what I did. I have a problem with writing though. I have always liked writing, no doubt about that, that is not the issue. Words come easily to me, they are barely more than a diarrheic dump of my brain, getting sick with words on a piece of paper and trying to make sense of it later. And that is where it all gets complicated. Writing a book was easy. All I needed, was a story and time. Stories I had because there was plenty to remember, and time… well, time just happened to me somehow. Stories, time, and I kept writing. Simple. Linear. Until I read it…

I found myself writing an amazing story. I found myself enthused by the prospect of being a writer. Great, mediocre, utter shite, besides the point. It was a new persona, a new role I was living, and within that, within the self-satire, the humour, the tears and the heartbreak, the falling, the crawling and the standing back up and fighting again, I found myself between the lines, rather than within the lines themselves. I started writing when I was very young, in primary school, and somehow I can’t remember a single piece I wrote that didn’t go between the fibres of my nuanced personality. There isn’t a single piece of poetry or prose I laid on paper that did not explore a lesser-known strand of who I was. Through writing I entered a world of borderline narcissistic fascination with my own brain and the colours it could create. The ability to jump from self-deprecating humour to playful shyness or gut-deep emotions within the space of just sentences, allowed me something the real world never did and never will. An almost nuclear fission of person and writer. I’m still in there, me, the person is alive and well, but the Jekylls or the Hydes takes over the pen. And I let it happen, because it is a form of expression regardless of how close or far from reality is.

I wrote a book of over 400 pages, a story that I never planned, but a story that I love nevertheless. But now I have to edit it, and it has proven to be excruciatingly hard. While the aspiring writer in me wrote it all — the Jekylls and the Hydes of my creative persona — the editor is me. And well, I live in the real world, in a world where I am not between the lines, where there are no lines, just singular, linear, progressive moments, all exponentially growing into increasingly both simple and complex constructs of time. And this one is not alternate by any means. This persona brews actual coffee in the morning, buys pasta at the actual shop, and drinks beer at the actual pub with actual people. This is not a persona any more. It is I, the person. So the editor is struggling with the writer. The roles are very much reversed. It is nearly a paradox. The editor feels the urge to remove himself from the subtext, to protect its reality, while the surface, the stories all hinge on the the editor, the author — the actual human being, myself — staying between the lines. What happens when you remove Van Gogh from the Sunset at Montmajour? Not sure, but thank God nobody tried. Try and erase Picasso from The Old Guitarist, and I reckon you will end up with something entirely unimpressive.

The fact of the matter is, I cannot remove myself from my own writing. I will colour it, I will colour the heck out of it if I have to, in order to achieve the style, relay the message or get the desired reaction. How much of it is me between the lines though… well, that’s entirely up to the reader to decide, and they will for sure be wrong every single time. And I guess that’s the beauty of it all, is it not? Let the writer write, let the reader read and let the world spin deeper and deeper into its universe.

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