Wednesday, March 5

Writerly Blues

——There in a nutshell you have the story of my career as a writer. A good writer speaks about things that are close to his heart. He may not have experienced them first-hand, but he nonetheless feels a connection with them. On the emotional level. It is why it seems as though only he could have said what he has, and not because he only ever deals with profound mysteries. But my head is filled with other people’s ideas, other people’s theories. There is not one thought in there that is truly my own, whether on the basis of my own experiences, or because i feel an emotional connection with it ... If my words flow not, if they come out haltingly, and never feel quite my own, if i obsess over them constantly, it is because my hold upon my own thoughts is so precarious. A major portion of my energies as a writer is spent trying to hold them fast, so that very little is left to practice my craft. This is reflected in the way i hold my pen, too — metaphorically speaking, since i no longer write with pen, but i type now — also because the pen symbolizes the idea that i want to convey at the time — very tight, like i am afraid the idea would run away. You don’t want to hold your pen too tight when writing, let the words flow, let them take you on a voyage of discovery, don’t be alarmed, or in a hurry to throw down the anchor...

Even at that hour when the grey sky of St. Petersburg is shrouded in total darkness and all its race of officials have dined and sated the...