More honesty you don’t need/more of me repeating myself repeating myself myself myself

«And one night I woke up in room A007 and went straight to my desk (so fast I almost went at it), opened a notebook my mom had left me on her last visit when she threw a full good box of Honey Crunch cereal down the sink, one of the many drug companies’ gifts she always had lying around the house—it seems sometimes all the stationeries I’ve ever used in my life had the cute Paphros owl on them—and spent the next two hours writing a Platonic dialogue between M & M, both initials for my own name of course, just like this one in fact, with the two Ms instead of the « », and I think I was really honest then. I’ve still got the notebook, I plan to type it out one day, that’s how honest I think it was.»

«Why, how, what makes you think it was honest? What makes you keep the notebook for so long? I mean, it does feel good when you’ve written something honest, doesn’t it, even when the writing is bad, you read it years later and you can still feel the warmth, but that’s making the whole thing sound cheap, or just not… singular. You do feel warm inside when you’ve written something as honestly and as truthfully as you can. Even when you don’t get everything down, because maybe you’re not good enough, some warmth does stay on the page.»

«Well, that’s right. Sometimes I think honesty is a technique, you know, Hemingway always talked about it, although he used the word «truthfully» instead—I don’t think he ever wrote «honestly», for obvious reasons, not to write anything «ghastly» like Orwell said could’ve been one, maybe not, Hem would never have listened to Georgie O.—but it’s such and integral part of the early career of a writer… well, really, of his life before he started his career as a writer—I think when you aspire to be a writer you start out just wanting to be honest—and I don’t think you can start up a head of steam unless you’re at least a little honest about yourself—that once you’ve got the career and you get very good at it, at all the different permutations of honesty, at telling it straight, or telling it circuitously to get at a bigger truth, at lying… you don’t wanna go back, you distrust those feelings now, you think maybe you were just drinking too much coffee to stop yourself from going hungry. «Hunger was good discipline?» Where’s the beef? You know, now you think honesty was just that, being really really hungry and not being able to afford a hot lunch.»

«Yes, and what did M & M talk about?»

«Love. Of course. At least it started out as a discussion about love. But then I think it ended up more about me… than about this girl I thought I was in love with. I think I actually wrote it down that I loved her. Of course I didn’t. OK, I did. I sort of liked the way she could say the things I used to want to say, to other people, to myself. Cruel things. It was the start of my masochism. So I wrote in my honest, uncompromising style du jour about how I had all these masks, a whole trunk of them that I put on according to plan, like, who am I talking to now, if it’s her then I’ll just put on my Bob Saget mask—that’s what I used to call my straight, cool, but sensitive man mask—on and if it’s a Thursday afternoon Philosophy tutorial then it’s my ESPRIT tweed-patterned jacket and a skeptic mask and off I go on my eco-friendly SPECIALIZED MTB. But she didn’t seem to care about all these masks I put on, she didn’t even see them. One day I saw her at the mall and she said, «You’re fat!»—she didn’t seem to notice that I was wearing my thin mask. You see how all this talk about masks makes you cringe? That’s what most writers feel about honesty. They feel that about themselves…»

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