Nobody knows for sure, and it’s pointless to speculate, but I have a hunch that Stephen Fry’s chronicles on his mental state might become really rather important in years to come. There are scant few people alive today who challenge his command of language, his born gift to put thoughts into words which have resulted in multiple successful novels. But it’s his personal insight into his mind which most intrigues. A man of understated power – he is, after all, a broadcasting titan – and transparency and openness can be a genuine force for good, even if we might, sadly, end up witnessing his decline, whenever that may be.
Happily, reading his blog, he is far from declining and has written a truly poignant piece on his feeling of loneliness. It’s not something I have ever felt myself to any great degree, but it’s worth reading just to gain such clear insight into someone suffering.
Lonely? I get invitation cards through the post almost every day. I shall be in the Royal Box at Wimbledon and I have serious and generous offers from friends asking me to join them in the South of France, Italy, Sicily, South Africa, British Columbia and America this summer. I have two months to start a book before I go off to Broadway for a run of Twelfth Night there.
I can read back that last sentence and see that, bipolar or not, if I’m under treatment and not actually depressed, what the fuck right do I have to be lonely, unhappy or forlorn? I don’t have the right. But there again I don’t have the right not to have those feelings. Feelings are not something to which one does or does not have rights.
To convey that into words that other people can clearly understand is a beautiful gift.