Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Roberto Bolaño, on writing.

Roberto Bolaño

So, i'm in St Kilda, at the St Kilda festival, watching a band, standing next to a book shop in Acland st, and you know it's the kind of bookshop where everyone that works there is 'inspired' by the world and all the wonderful things and ideas, the kind of place you like to go and hang out and soak it up?
Books with love, where selecting is an art, it's an experience, the book finds you, you don't find it.

Yes, no? Well, outside this shop there was a chalk board, i could see that someone spent a long time writing something, about half of the following excerpt was on this board, which led me to believe the following and i stood closer to have a read

  • The person that wrote it thought it was worth their time to write it out for strangers
  • What ever was written was worth knowing and would do something for the world
  • That additional Karma would be appended to the world, in a hope that it would touch someone
That is what got my attention, so i went over to read what was written
After reading that chalkboard, i knew that this Roberto Bolaño guy is fantastic and i had to read more

This is what i read...
The truth is, I don’t believe all that much in writing. Starting with my own. Being a writer is pleasant—no, pleasant isn’t the word—it’s an activity that has its share of amusing moments, but I know of other things that are even more amusing, amusing in the same way that literature is for me. Holding up banks, for example. Or directing movies. Or being a gigolo. Or being a child again and playing on a more or less apocalyptic soccer team. Unfortunately, the child grows up, the bank robber is killed, the director runs out of money, the gigolo gets sick and then there’s no other choice but to write. 

For me, the word writing is the exact opposite of the word waiting. Instead of waiting, there is writing. Well, I’m probably wrong—it’s possible that writing is another form of waiting, of delaying things. I’d like to think otherwise.  

But, as I said, I’m probably wrong. As to my idea of a canon, I don’t know, it’s like everyone else’s—I’m almost embarrassed to tell you, it’s so obvious: Francisco de Aldana, Jorge Manrique, Cervantes, the chroniclers of the Indies, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Fray Servando Teresa de Mier, Pedro Henríquez Ureña, Rubén Darío, Alfonso Reyes, Borges, just to name a few and without going beyond the realm of the Spanish language.  

Of course, I’d love to claim a literary past, a tradition, a very brief one, made up of only two or three writers (and maybe one single book), a dazzling tradition prone to amnesia, but on the one hand, I’m much too modest about my work and on the other, I’ve read too much (and too many books have made me happy) to indulge in such a ridiculous notion.

From that chalk board, you get this post and now i have ordered one of his books and maybe that will be there start of something for both of us? Maybe not, but i cant wait to find out!  

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