The papery essence of writing


Do we seriously think writing is all joy?  One should realize it is also half pain, and sometimes it is pain that makes us write.

Think about the atrocious solitude of a room that gradually becomes a prison, like a torture chamber. The fear of the blank page that stares at you mockingly, the torment of the word you didn’t find and if you did, it rhymes with the adjacent word. It is the martyrdom of a sentence that limps, of the metrics that fall apart, the structure that struggles of the page that bores, paragraphs that you must dismantle and re write, rewrite, until the words seem to you food that recedes from the famished mouth of Tantalus.

Cooped inside and giving up on the outside world, the blue, the green, the pleasure watching the sky into an abyss of an invention expressed through words and committed to a papery essence; a creative work polluted by human inconsistencies and duplicities, whether written with a smile on the lips and a tear in the eyes.  It is a monkish discipline, a hero’s sacrifice and Colette was right when she said it is also a form of masochism.  A crime against ourselves, a felony, that should be punished by law like the other felonies. Because of writing there are people who end up in psychiatric clinics if not cemetery – people who turn into alcoholics, drug addicts, lunatics, suicides that is  where writing destroys, when it kills more than bombs.

But to live to survive we must think — and to think we must produce ideas.  Is there anyone better to produce ideas than writers?  Away with phony humility, the writer is a sponge that absorbs life, to spit it out again in the form of ideas. The metaphor of the dowser who finds water in any desert, like the allegory of the eternally pregnant cow who deliver calves in the form of ideas. The gift of Merlin the wizard with the ability to see things others cannot see, to hear things that others cannot hear. To imagine things that others can not imagine, anticipate and convey ideas.

Today, I wish to transfer my thoughts on paper.  I navigate through the treacherous water of the longed: for that novel is my magnificent obsession and only the good Lord knows what port it will lead me.  I’m aware that a novel doesn’t yield its many secrets immediately, it locks within itself a mine of hypothesis; a myriad good and bad surprises, so everything is possible, including the worsts.

The characters are imaginary. They are so even when they are inspired by some model or alleged models. I listen, I spy, I steal from reality, then I correct it to such a degree that often, I no longer remember who the original was. However, they represent only a part of the human samples the novel will offer.  It will be full of life, not a silent or black and white show, but an inexhaustible rainbow of colors. An unending concerto of noises, a phantasmagorical chaos of voices and faces and creatures whose actions intertwine to weave the charms of events that determine the individual’s destinies. Do I exaggerate? Or am I just succumbing to the rhetoric of enthusiasm, to the utopia’s of the neophyte?

Column writing has always attracted me because it is a vessel in which one can simultaneously pour reality and fantasy, dialectics and poetry, ideas and feelings that provides a truth more true than real truth.  Call it reinvented, universalized truth in which everybody can identify and recognize himself because, whatever story it recounts and what times or space a story unfolds. It’s about men, human beings.

And no matter how a story (lived or invented) concludes, whether or not we’ve divined  how it will conclude, there’s something disquieting in the curtain that recalls the precariousness of life, its unrepeatability…its inevitable and ineluctable goal.

And lets not forget, the writer is always entitled to a certain amount of wrong.

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