Not to Write

‘Not to write. That’s the formula. Stand up right now, wash my hands of it and flee. Why do I say flee? Simply go away. I have to be simple. I should go away; then I won’t have to explain anything. I should put down a period and end here.’

‘I don’t want to write for myself. You say that, but deep down you’ve got a need to be read, to go beyond yourself; there is a desire for grandeur, for conquest.’

‘All that’s left is the tormented need to write something, and I don’t know what it is.’

‘Sometimes, the “self” who does what I don’t want to do is, in reality, the one whom I love because he releases me from that stubborn, hermitic no that I am bound to.’

From The Empty Book by Josefina Vicens (translated by David Lauer)

[What begins as an exercise of meta-fiction about a writer struggling to write anything worthwhile develops—this is provisional as I’ve yet to finish a first reading of the novel—into an enquiry into the nature of writing, fiction and why we read fiction (or why we read at all).]

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