This is a thankless endeavour. Not a peep, not a whisper. It’s a game of hide and seek gone wrong, I Spy with no I and nothing spied. What madness compels me to keep doing it? This doesn’t exist without you, you who are aloof and indifferent. It is a maddening conundrum. I resent your non-existent indifference, I begrudge your imaginary apathy. When famous people say they love their fans, don’t believe them: their fans are just the screaming voices in their head, a populous extension of their ego. I love writing – it is the only thing that lends meaning to my life – but a text is a dead thing if it goes unread. This, then, is becoming a cemetery. I have only myself to blame. You see, I can’t-don’t-won’t play the game. And there is always the very real possibility that these texts are simply not good enough to make their way into verifiable, certifiable existence. And so their progenitor lives on in limbo, half wanting to die along with his deluded doodles, half wanting to live on for the pleasures he loves. Yesterday, for example, I felt a genuine urge to throw myself into the river as I walked next to its icy, counter-flowing current. But then I thought, no, it’s too cold, I will immediately come to my senses and drag myself to the bank, not the financial one, you understand, but the other one. The will to live is infuriatingly strong and paradoxically self-diminishing. So the words keep dribbling forth. Last night as I was lying in bed, emotionally exhausted from an especially gruelling day, I convinced myself that I would go on textual strike. The idea mollified me as time lifted from my shoulders and I rolled into a fitful sleep. But when I woke with a start, the idea seemed foolish, churlish and childish. It is a (strongly reinforced) myth that age makes us wiser and better. It is a myth designed to soften the terrible truth of the antithetical reality. Age does make us a smidgen wiser by allowing us to glimpse the erosive qualities of time at work on mind and body. Whereby a once lush paradise is whittled into craggy cliffs and demeaned into shape-shifting deserts (especially in public figures). Mostly, though, age makes us foolish, churlish and childish. How could it be otherwise once we have understood how rigged the game is and how degrading its rules are. I have met many outwardly respectable old people but very few who did battle with time and came away with their language intact.