The sad reality about Gray’s life is that he never seemed satisfied with it. His journals outline this fact vividly. Though he did find some satisfaction after marrying his second wife and starting a family, his life was shattered by a devastating car accident in 2001. Gray suffered severe injuries that required multiple surgeries over the following several years. His journals during this time period detail his worsening depression.
The personal nature of his writing is difficult to read. One can’t help but wonder if he wanted these thoughts shared. Casey notes that Gray had reduced the amount of deeply personal material he was including in his monologues in his later years. He was concerned for the privacy of his children. The writings include his devastation of the sale of his home, an obituary he wrote for himself as a piece for The Larry King Show, and even a suicide note to his wife written several months before his actual suicide.
Needless to say, this book is not always easy to read. It’s a portrait of a fascinating but tortured life. It is a glimpse into the psyche of a man at constant war himself. Gray spent his professional career sharing his life with the public. His carefully crafted monologues told tales of the mundane and the extraordinary, of his fortunes and misfortunes.
While reading his personal journals, it’s hard not to get an uneasy feeling, as if peeping in on something not meant to be seen. Still, The Journals of Spalding Gray exists and it’s worth the uneasiness to share in those moments of joy and pain.