I’m a visual artist as well as a writer, and I opened up 1984 the other day, with the intention of looking for details for a painting I want to do. I meant only to skim a few paragraphs, get an idea of what London is supposed to look like, and then get back to planning the painting. But I couldn’t keep my focus on the research. Without realizing I was doing it, I started to read. Because 1984 is just that beautiful, that compelling, that – home? Is that what it feels like: coming home? I’m generally a nervous and lonely person, always second-guessing the loving intentions of friends and even family, always trying to hide my true self because I’m sure I will be rejected. But reading 1984, I become unselfconscious. Reading 1984, I am completely myself, and I have no thought that I might not be accepted that way. For me, the experience of reading 1984 is an experience of being loved unconditionally.
And you know what? Once upon a time, 1984 didn’t exist. Once upon a time, George Orwell wrote and struggled and edited and wrote and threw away whole paragraphs and rewrote and gave up and kept going anyway, in order to create that book. In order to create a text that gives me the experience of unconditional love. Maybe you hate 1984, but I’ll bet you’ve read something that gave you that experience, too. And maybe, if you don’t quit, if you work hard to master your craft and give your stories form and get them into the world, something you write will give someone else that experience.
As humans we always seem to expect something in return: maybe we can’t truly love another person unconditionally. But our stories can. So keep going. I’m cheering for you.