Long ago I wrote a blog entry, Solitude, about becoming anti-social and hermitic. Back then I often quoted Jean-Paul Sartre: Hell is other people. It's a line from his existentialist play, No Exit, which I revisited recently. The characters are damned souls locked in a room together in hell. There are no instruments of torture. Their hell is each other – their grating personalities and complicated histories.
Life can be like that. The hell of other people's company. We're not locked in a room together for eternity. But we are alive at the same time as each other, which is almost the same thing. A life-sentence of sorts.
I like connecting remotely by making art and writing. When I die, I hope others find some connection with what I leave behind. It's less complicated than dealing with other people. In the end, though, it's a lesser experience of life. Now that managing my mind doesn't take up most of my tolerance, I want to reconnect in person again.
It has been strange to return to the world while having a public archive of my complicated past. For a long time I wanted to start over with a clean slate. I thought about erasing all my writing – words are more specifically revealing than art. But I couldn't bring myself to destroy any more of my work. Besides, it wouldn't change my temperament or history. Eventually I thought, fuck it, this is who I am. We all have varying degrees of temperamental flaws and complicated pasts. And if we didn't start out that way we earn both through the experience of living.
The only solution I could find is the same conclusion as Sartre's characters in No Exit. To accept the complications of the human condition and get on with it. The final line of the play is Eh bien, continuons – eh well, let's continue.