I’ve lost one of my favourite writers.
At the turn of the year they deleted their blog. When I saw it was gone, I felt faintly hysterical, as though someone had silently walked through the rooms of my flat and removed a book from a shelf.
Although they’re no longer on the web, and I can therefore no longer read them, many of the blogs remain in my mind as discrete units – not the words (I wish I could remember the words) but the images, still vivid with their own particular light. That writer pinned down the fleeting moments of revelation in the everyday. I occasionally try to tell other people about it, but they’re just hearing my garbled versions, second-hand. It’s as if I’m trying to sing a song they haven’t heard: no this is a great one, listen! when they need to hear the original.
In short, those words should have been in a book. And I had no luck convincing that writer to continue writing their blog; why should I, when we are just a little more than strangers?
To me, though, it doesn’t feel like they are a stranger. Because the best writing is a direct connection between writer and reader; a meeting of minds across time and distance. When it works, it fires a connection into life. But if the connection between writer and reader fails, it can be painful – the snap of a blown fuse and a trip-switch into temporary darkness.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is: for every writer, letting the world in can be hard. When I write, I forget to be afraid – but when I publish, well, that’s a different thing altogether and requires a thicker skin (hear that hollow tap, tap, as you knock on my shell).
I’ll miss that writer, though I understand their desire to retreat from the world. I’ll continue to remember the way their writing lit up my mind, and my day – and I hope that, in time, I’ll be able to read them again. They’re a much-missed connection.