Dear Stephen Fry,
Thank you for everything you've ever done and everything you've yet to do. There are highly intelligent people in this world, and there are genuinely kind-hearted people, incredibly self-aware people, people with intellectual intelligence and others with emotional intelligence or common sense. I don't think anyone else exists who combines all of these qualities, or combines them in quite the same way, other than you.
My Mum thinks you're Oscar Wilde reincarnated. My Gran actually thinks you are Oscar Wilde. I happened to mention to my Mum that I was posting videos on this new website called Ticckle, and that you also posted the odd video on there and had replied to one of mine. She must've told my Gran, because next time I spoke to her she said, 'I hear you've received a message from Oscar Wilde.' I assured her that no, my literary seances had not yet borne fruit, but I had technically communicated with a living hero.
You are so totally my hero.
I went to the roughest state comprehensive school you can imagine and I used to carry your autobiography round with me like a talisman. Part of me wished that I could inhabit a world more like yours, but part of me realised that the hardships and hurts of adolescence are universal - and you expressed them, and responded to them, so perfectly that it gave me immeasurable comfort. I spent most of my time at school terrified of being pelted with things - toilet paper, midget gems, half-eaten sausage rolls, taunts of 'lezzie swot,' etc. - but every time something hit me I'd think - it's ok. Someone else has been through this. I'm not alone. Unfortunately the line 'Don't touch me, I'll only get an erection' didn't quite work on bullies, because I couldn't get an erection (one day I'll be able to), but it confused the hell out of them and gave me time to sneak away to safety. My sister had a picture of Leonardo DiCaprio on the wall above her bed, and I had a poster of the Sound of Music (I wanted to marry Julie Andrews) and a picture of you.
I feel the need at this point to dilute the creepiness of this by saying that I have been interested in other things and subjects and people throughout my life. I'm just not writing a letter to them, so naturally this will seem to feature you largely. Bruce Forsythe doesn't have a forum so I can't write a letter to him. And Julie Andrews won't return my letters any more (I joke).
When I had my 'nervous breakdown' (my nervous breakdown? Makes it sound like a car or something. 'Let's all hop into my nervous breakdown and head to Aldi') last year, it was in part remembering things you'd said or written about depression that got me through my stay in mental hospital. In fact, one night, when my Mum came to visit me, she said, 'You know, Stephen Fry was in mental hospital once, too. So you'll be alright.' I'd spent most of that day lying in bed staring at the ceiling, partly out of a kind of exhausted, drained despair and partly because I daren't leave my room in case Sheila from the room opposite started to talk to me about the dangers of psychic vampires, and I'd just reached the lowest point I think I've ever reached. But what my Mum said to me somehow began to dig me out of this - I made the decision that night to carry on and get out of there and keep living my life as best I could. So, in an inadvertent and entirely unintentional way, you actually sort of saved my life, as I'm sure is the case for many others, too.
This all sounds so sappy and embarrassingly like I'm blowing smoke up your arse, but every word of it is true.
I want to you continue existing in the world because you are an incredible person and you make it a richer and more beautiful place, but that's a very selfish thing to think. Even more than this I want you to continue existing in the world because you deserve to experience more happiness. I adored The Fry Chronicles, but was disconcerted that you seemed to feel the need to apologise so often for the rewards of your success and your wealth. If there is anyone on the planet who deserves the success and wealth they have and yet more, it's you. You deserve every moment of happiness you manage to wring out of life a million times over. You of course can't feel this completely yourself, because you're yourself, and people don't feel things like that about themselves. So I'm telling you, as an objective observer. You deserve it.
I do hope your medication continues to help you every day - thank you so much, too, for being open about this, as I feel there's something of a stigma attached to it and for many, many people it is indispensable (dispensable from a pharmacy, obviously, but) and makes life not only bearable but also enjoyable again. I don't know how it is for you, but for me, before I was on anti-depressants I felt as though I was trying to paint a picture on a horrible gnarled and bumpy canvas with great gashes and huge lumps of pulp in it and I was just about managing and parts of it were beautiful but others were absolute crap but even the beautiful parts were just so difficult, and I wondered sometimes whether it was all worth it. Now, on the medication, the canvas is (nearly) flat and smooth and I can paint with far more ease and do beautiful swirls and spend more time just concentrating on the pleasure of painting - even the crap bits are less difficult and distressing. People say they fear medication will 'flatten' their mood or their thoughts or their personality. In my experience, it doesn't 'flatten', it smoothens. Which is a far more positive and freeing thing than many people realise.
Oh Lord, this has turned into a saga. I'm still not quite sure I should leave the bit in about the pinup picture of you on my wall. You were entirely clothed, I promise. Of course I have no idea whether or not you read this forum, in which case I'm just writing into the ether, which is okay too, because it's the first time I've written about the stuff that happened to me last year and that's a good thing, I guess. And according to my Mum, even if you don't read this it will probably send out some molecules of positivity into the universe that'll be recycled as good feeling anyway.
So I wish you all the best, and thank you again, and I'm off to bed.
'Vote for E.L. Wisty, or invisible nudists will come along and smash you round the face.'
My Attempt at Tumbling