Tragedy, called a more exalted kind of consciousness, is so called because it makes us aware of what the character might have been. But to say or strongly imply what a man might have been requires of the author a soundly based, completely believed vision of man's great possibilities. As Aristotle said, the poet is greater than the historian because he presents not only things as they were, but foreshadows what they might have been. We forsake literature when we are content to chronicle disaster.
Maybe stories, fiction or not, give solace, context, possibility, as much with their stable, recurring forms as with their infinitely various contents, and thereby produce examples of lives shaped, framed so they are recognizably distinguishable from emptiness, from darkness that seems always to surround and render lives unseeable.
The act of writing is itself enough; it serves to clarify my thoughts and feelings. The act of writing is an integral part of my mental life; ideas emerge, are shaped, in the act of writing.
My journals are not written for others, nor do I usually look at them myself, but they are a special, indispensable form of talking to myself.