Tracey Emin: My Life In A Column

'I sang to Docket. Nothing made me more happy than when he responded with a giant:"Miaow"'
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The Independent Online

HOW AM I GOING TO DO THE COLUMN? Yes, perfect, a really big gap at the top. You know when you really love something, or someone? And it's time to leave? And you don't want to? And the only reason why you don't want to is because, most of the time, everything is quite good? I feel like this about my column. I never ever, ever want to hate, or not want to write, my column.

I need space. This morning when I woke up and I left my house, my head was held high into the sky and I just kept saying to myself: "I can't believe how beautiful today is." But what I should have been saying is: "Today is really beautiful." It's a small measure, but in some strange way, it decides how I stand.

In the old days when you looked up to the sky, at least one of your feet would be in dog shit. I have someone very close to me in my life from when I was young who made a bet. He bet that he would just walk through dog shit. His new little loafer trailed through the abundance of shit, but I didn't care.

He's my brother. And he is always faster than me. Always doing more things than me. Somehow I'm always sat there in the background, watching. But this time I cannot believe what he is going to do! He is going to walk through the biggest turd in the whole kingdom. At the end of it he just scrapes his wide-foot loafer, smiles to his surrounding audience, and I scream. (Actually I didn't scream. As an adult, when I think about it, in my head I did.)

We walked up the road and I said: "Why did you do it? Why did you walk through the dog shit?" He put his hand in his pocket, stopped, opened his palm and said: "Look, Sis. Look at this."

I spent all day thinking and working about money. (For all you scrabbling enthusiasts and grammar kittens out there, you understand exactly what I'm trying to say, so don't get so pendantic! Miaow!) Miaow.

This morning when I woke up, that was the first word I heard. Miaow. Docket has been a bit, shall I say, AWOL recently. I sang "Cupboard Love" to Docket yesterday. It goes something like this: "You know your favourite cupboard – but Mummy loves you, you, you." Nothing made me more happy than when he responded with a giant: "Miaow!"

I'm very happy today. I'm happy because I have a better understanding of love and a slightly better understanding of myself. This morning I had to wake up early to do an interview about Louise Bourgeois's upcoming show. I say "about" rather than "with", because she's 97 and lives in New York. I was doing the interview with Alan Yentob. I teased him constantly about his noddy-dog situation.

But going back to Louise Bourgeois – what an amazing artist! This morning was so fantastic for me. Thanks to the BBC I gave myself a good couple of hours enjoying the work of Louise Bourgeois. It almost felt like an indulgence. My last Louise Bourgeois experience, apart from everyday having her images of virile, sexy cats in my house (two etchings of turned-on cats facing each other), was being thrown out of a Louise Bourgeois art-establishment dinner. Louise wasn't actually there. The mistake I made was that I was exceptionally drunk and I miaowed very loudly through all the gallery speeches. But I must say the gallery certainly had my best interests at heart and organised a car to take me directly home.

Meanwhile, that night, when I woke up in bed, there was a tiny little old lady sitting there with a crochet hook. Docket was totally freaked out by the giant ball of cotton. As I tried to go to sleep, she kept mumbling the words of Simone Veil. The next minute I was parachuting over France. I was looking down. I couldn't believe how fast the air had gone. I felt like my lungs were going to explode. I closed my eyes and tried to think for two seconds, and pulled the cord. My heart seemed to jump into my mouth and I started to vomit. And I was shitting myself but I had landed. I got my parachute and pulled it all in with my hands but my legs didn't seem to work very well. In fact nothing worked very well. I pulled up my kit. It was intact. My compass said "East/West" and I thought: "What the fuck does that mean?"

This week a very strange thing happened to me. I saw a film made by Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and The Butterfly. Julian asked me what I thought about the film afterwards. I secretly think that Julian thinks I'm a tough thing and that I deal with things how they should be dealt with in my own way. But I was embarrassed because I was crying. Once I'd wiped the tears away, I said to him: "I'LL TELL YOU HOW I FELT. I FELT LAZY."