Diary 2020-2022, the final entries

Friday, October 1st, 2022

I’m sitting in Mad Murphy’s, the first bar I came to after moving to Estonia and I’m at our table, the same table from then. Before stepping in, I was listening to I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For and I’m thinking about these four years, these 9,800 km, this life, and I’m thinking about tomorrow – a few hours from now – when we’ll fly to Mexico for the first time in years (four for me, five for Fabiola). And I feel like something big is about to happen, something good or bad or just complex. That I will perhaps touch that something that I have not yet found or that I will not even be able to distinguish it, or that it will offer itself to me and I will not be able to catch it. But that’s just how I am: dramatic, romantic, always waiting for the catastrophe or the epiphany.

I’m excited and really all I want is to see my parents, my brother, my friends and family, share a little bit of life with them and make it last.

So be it!

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

An office on the sixth floor of the clinic, a floor dedicated exclusively to mental health. I look through the huge window at the landscape that stretches out flat, broken only by buildings and those huge Soviet chimneys. It’s a beautiful day, really. The light is golden and the sky is crystal blue. The office is nice too. Comfortable, neat. Near me the psychiatrist takes notes on his computer. Inputs the prescription into the system and in a few minutes I will be able to go to the pharmacy, just cross the street, hand my ID, and the clerk will know in an instant the following about me: I suffer from depression and anxiety, and that is completely normal. How many more like me will come today?

And I think: Who can feel compassion or even interest in this private, tiny, solipsistic tragedy, without substance or object, without glamour?

Sunday February 27, 2022

I started this diary in March 2020 at the beginning of a pandemic and now, two years later, I am about to close it at the beginning of a war – the degree to which it will alter our lives and the face of the 21st century, nobody knows.

There are a number of actions I want to take to feel like my life is life, or at least keep it from disintegrating into pure anxiety and fear. Maybe it’s paranoid, maybe it’s naïve not to be paranoid, but if there is the threat of an imminent death by nuclear annihilation or a life derailed by war, I would like to dedicate my free time exclusively to things that make me happy. No ambitions, no pretensions, no hopes even.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

What a horrible day. I look out the window. What a deplorable sight: dirty snow, a quagmire poking out layers and layers of freezing wet garbage. Seeing this one can only imagine the smell and look of a wet ashtray. Grey, grey, and more grey.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

We’re going by ferry to Helsinki. I drink a coffee from a Starbucks machine that is leaning more towards bad than to mediocre. I devour a muffin bought at the supermarket before boarding. And the experience as a whole, as always, is great. I have to read David Foster Wallace’s essay on his experience on a cruise soon. I would like to write about the many ferry trips we have made over the last few years.

Why do I like it so much? It’s awkward and slow. The ships have a décor that oscillates between that patina of modern sophistication that invades even today’s McDonald’s – linoleum that simulates wood finishes, minimalist designs and shades of brown and cream – and on the other hand a ridiculously 70’s casino type poor taste. It’s expensive too, once you start buying coffee, peanuts or beer. And yet it fascinates me.

We’re going to a concert. The War On Drugs, a band of guys who are like part new wave, part indie folk with a touch of very light electronic music. The vocalist has a voice that falls somewhere in between Bob Dylan and Phil Collins and a melancholic but optimistic millennial hipster vibe.

These days I have been happy.

Thursday March 24, 2022

I write while reheating my coffee. Why do I always like to start by specifying the context? I think I like to place the reader so that he can imagine (or in the case of a diary, so that I can later remember) the situation in which I was writing and everything that overflows from those few descriptive words.

Saturday March 26, 2022

I have almost reached the end of this notebook and rereading my first notes in it, it seems to me that in all this time and after two years I have not changed, I have not improved. Maybe it’s false, but it’s what I feel.

I come and go, I go up and down. Sometimes in the same day.

I’m sick of being a man, as that poem by Neruda says. Thoroughly I hate myself, as Borges wrote somewhere. I want to be someone else. Maybe that happens to a lot of people.

I want to be the person I am when I run or travel. A courage arises and grows within me, a purpose, a desire to live and experience that then collapses as soon as I stop moving.

Sometimes I feel trapped inside myself, inside that room in me that it is dilapidated and dark, and which has only one, tiny window through which I glimpse an exciting and expansive exterior.

I have to change, I have to take a leap, I have to make decisions.

I bought the issue of Granta where they name the best young narrators in the Spanish language. There is one who’s my age and two younger than me. I will be 30 years old soon and I am nothing and nobody.

But at the same time I no longer aspire to that relevance based on laurels and institutional backing. Of course I want recognition and readers, but I also want to avoid «importance», solemn photos, investduras.

There is no other way: I have to write. I have to create. Slowly, but with determination.

Wednesday April 27, 2022

The last page of the diary started just over two years ago. I would like to remember where I was when I began writing in this notebook. Probably in the apartment since by then we had already been in lockdown for a few weeks. Today, instead, we are at Rahva Raamat, my new favorite café and bookstore in Tallinn.

I wanted to have some final thoughts for this notebook. End it with a revelation, an epiphany, or at least the feeling of having found a truth about the world or about myself, or in the worst case even ending with the confession of a catastrophic failure in my search for meaning.

However, I think any of those closures would be false. I started this diary vowing to try to be honest and not add embellishments, no matter how much they were needed to save this notebook from the blandest nothingness.

That was the point, that is the point.

Why now, after two years of carrying out this exercise (very irregularly), do I still imagine, in a corner sometimes hidden and sometimes very visible in my soul, that this diary is something more than a regular diary of a regular young man? Why – confess it! – I insist on imagining that one day these pages will be studied to give context and perspective to «my work»? The detail in the punctuation and the multiple marginal notes are revealing.

What nonsense.

But it’s good to spot the fame hungry dilettante and have a good laugh at his expense. Good to look at that stuffy wannabe writer in the turtleneck and tweed jacket and laugh.

I only like myself when I don’t take myself seriously

I still want the same things: to write well, the best I can. But not because I aspire to anything transcendental (although I have ambition, of course, and dreams and expectations and concerns and ideas) but simply because I need to write. I need to create. I have seen and felt it. If too much time goes by without me writing, I get sick and suffocate. Writing is my way of eliminating, expurgating the amalgamation of sensations, feelings and intuitions that accumulate like dangerous toxins in my blood.

At this very moment, as I finish this notebook, as I write the last words in it, I feel happy and at peace. At least in this moment. And that is enough.


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