Friday, May 18, 2012

yesterday I had conviction

“Writers are really people who write books not because they are poor, but because they are dissatisfied with the books which they could buy but do not like.”

Walter Benjamin, Illuminations: Essays and Reflections

I feel like I've been on a constant quest to find those books I like.  I know I'm not alone - maybe we're not  alll searching for the same books, but we're searching.  I'm looking for books like those written by Clarice Lispector, Kristjana Gunnars, Helene Cixous, Nicole Brossard, Virginia Woolf.  Are we not always looking for more Woolf?  

Well.  From the diaries, again.

Saturday, November 2, 1929
"Yesterday I had conviction; it has gone today."

Rodmell, Boxing Day, 1929
"I press to my centre. I don't care if it all is scratched out."

Sunday, January 12, 1930
"Much will have to be discarded: what is essential is to write fast and not break the mood - no holiday, no interval if possible, till it is done. Then rest. Then re-write."

Wednesday, November 14, 1934
"A note: despair at the badness of the book: can't think how I ever could write such stuff - and with such excitement: that's yesterday: today I think it good again. A note, by way of advising other Virginias with other books that this is the way of the thing: up down up down - and Lord knows the truth."

What torment.  And if Woolf tormented herself so, why on earth wouldn't we lesser writing mortals?  

Let us make notes to our other selves.  Advising ourselves of the truth of the creative process.  The updownupdown of it.  

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