Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Diary of an old man

To what extent can a diary be honest? And how much truth does one want the others (especially family and friends) to know (not all of it surely) about oneself?
I would never be able to answer such questions TRUTHFULLY because I always believe that the truth can never be anything but hurtful and painful and harmful.
This leads me to believe that most intimate diaries must be well edited, and that writers who want to "confess" use literature and fictional narrators and characters other than themselves to open up.
Old men usually begin their day and end it differently from the 'non old men'. I begin it reluctantly and rather irritably - not expecting any good thing to come out of the approaching hours, which are full of hidden surprises most of which I expect to be unpleasant.
So why should such a person like myself want to tell others what has happened to him or what he is feeling about himself?
I tell myself: I want to leave something meaningful when I leave; meaningful to whom? The question comes from my alter ego who is doubtful and suspicious. But for a person like myself writing is necessary and important - it makes my day 'useful' and creates a certain direction for it; it keeps my mind active - alive, not busy with the trivial daily routine, but with other things the world thinks are important: Darfour, Gaza, war crimes, and so on. It is not about writing my diary in the following way: I got up feeling great and a friend emailed me asking me to reprint all my books in ten languages...
But here I am with a blog (not my idea but Elly's), facing technical problems, forgetting my password, making spelling and grammar mistakes - even in Arabic, looking for interesting ideas to tell to unknown readers!
Who cares?! I believe there are a reasonable amount of people who care to listen and to read how others think and feel. I began to be interested in 'old people' when I myself became 'a man of a certain age', and when I wrote Gewayat al Wesal (The seduction of Temptation). I wrote from a point of view that I took further in Ithaca. I had had a prostate operation when I was writing it and then Marquez published his last Novella, Mis Putas Tristes, and the man in it was 90 years old, so I felt encouraged!
I met a young woman in her early forties recently and I became sexually attracted to her, besides the fact that she is objectively an intelligent and attractive woman. I agreed to her 'conditions': that we would not have 'real' sex (no penetration). It was rather a sadistic thing to do, but I accepted it because I was fascinated by her. I know why I was attracted to her sexually, but I was curious to discover why she was attracted to me. We went to bed together three times and it was mainly me who 'did the work' - she was interested in herself; I do not blame her. There was as we had agreed no penetration. I remember I was laying beside her naked body and my mind was elsewhere - on the Japanese novel The House of the Sleeping Beauty that Marquez was fascinated by in Mis Putas Tristes. I was wondering about the strange situation one can find oneself in if one is fascinated or obsessed by getting one's hands (or other parts of one's body) on someone's body.
There was something unhealthy in this relationship and she found an excuse to withdraw from it.
When I think about it now I can still smile in a nostalgic way!
If I wrote about it in a novel then it would be an old story, written many times before.
But when I write about it in a blog as a sort of letter to 'whom it my concern', I know that there are some readers out there who will smile the same smile as me.

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