On Guard

I spend a great deal of time telling myself what not to write about. Or, to be more precise, what I feel I shouldn’t write about. I’m pretty sure it was Krzysztof Kieslowski – still my favourite director, in case anyone’s interested – who said that he abandoned documentaries in favour of fictional features because the latter allowed him to be more truthful. I believe he was referring to the very specific issue of exposing intimacies and personal situations that one simply couldn’t film in a fly-on-the-wall, documentary format. But I think his statement also hints at the notion that fiction is a kind of shield. A layer of protection. For the author.

I’ve never written anything wholly autobiographical, but of course, every single piece of text I’ve produced has something of me in it. How could it not? My views and opinions of the people around me – relatives, friends, colleagues – the situations I’ve faced, the places I’ve visited, the political scenarios I’ve seen unfold, the conflicts I’ve witnessed, have all emerged in my writing in some way. But they’ve always been disguised. Partly to maintain the anonymity of the people concerned. But also partly to offer me a get-out clause of sorts. A defence against accusations of misrepresentation. A way of avoiding potential confrontations.

I’d imagine this is something writers have been doing for centuries: hiding behind the seemingly innocent facade of storytelling.

Where am I going with this?

I think it’s a long-winded way of saying that while I’m not planning to abandon all my restraint and indulge in an entirely no-holds-barred writing philosophy, I do think the time has come to publish the occasional, non-film-related post on this blog and – why do I feel so nervous even considering this? – to make them more personal than they have been in the past.

Let’s see how long that lasts…


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