In my imagination, I know exactly how it goes. Bedecked in nothing but a ragged top hat, a pair of cashmere socks and a tremulous snakehipped boy, I finally breathe my quavering last in a secluded riad, ravaged by a life of intellectual and sensual excess. As weeping acolytes pile in to preserve any secreted scraps of unpublished prose, one sobbing lover burrows 'neath the Nobel, pushes aside the Pulitzer, and nudges away the nest of squeaking ermines to unearth two hundred slim volumes bound by a blood-stained garter and crammed with sloping script.
Rejoice! The Blonde Journals! The ultimate, intimate insight into the greatest scribe of our time! Finally her iconoclastic, eclectic originality, engaged with every important issue of the age, can be revealed, free from the constraints of society, salary or shame!
They open a page at random, mewing with moist anticipation, and read: 'Late train. Cold. Chocolate brazils. Boyd's AHH. What happened to my blue hat?'
Ah yes. In reality, the hideously self-conscious, utterly inconsequential, and reliably repetitious shit that showers daily into my Moleskine makes The Princess Diaries look like Virginia Woolf. And now I'm reading William Boyd's excellent Any Human Heart, a novel which refracts the twentieth century through the journal of the naively knowing, eminently trivial, clumsily insightful writer Logan Montstuart, I feel even more like a tonally teenaged hack with fuck all chance of attaining posthumous notoriety as a humane, urbane, clear-eyed, wild-living wit.
On the upside, I found the hat.