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Sunday, January 07, 2007

From the 'Aren't I clever?' drawer of the Nick Cetacean Memorial Ignored Genius Filing Cabinet

From page 106 of Milan Kundera's The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (1979):

The proliferation of mass graphomania among politicians, cab drivers, women on the delivery table, mistresses, murderers, criminals, prostitutes, police chiefs, doctors, and patients proves to me that every individual without exception bears a potential writer within himself and that all mankind has every right to rush out into the streets with a cry of 'We are all writers!'

The reason is that everyone has trouble accepting the fact that he will disappear unheard of and unnoticed in an indifferent universe, and everyone wants to make himself into a universe of words before it's too late.

Once the writer in every individual comes to life (and that time is not far off), we are in for an age of universal deafness and lack of understanding.

Boy, that Kundera certainly had the Internet pegged early on, didn't he? < / chuckle of self-satisfied mirth at perspicacity of own breath-taking insight>

7 comments:

redcap said...

But we are all writers, damnit! Some of us, like me, are just crappy writers.

I heard Margaret Atwood bitching about the same thing at Writers' Week a few years ago. She says keeps meeting people at parties who, when they discover she's a writer, say, "Oh, I've always meant to write a book. I have some great stories to tell." Once she's ascertained what they do for a crust (for example, brain surgery), she replies, "Yes, I've always wanted to have a go at brain surgery. I think I'd be rather good at it, don't you?"

PS Thanks for the bloggywotsits nomination. When I gather enough energy to register, I'll return the favour :)

elsewhere said...

Depends how you define 'writer' and also 'brain surgeon'...

meva said...

But bloggy writers usually also crave anonymity. I like being "unheard of and unnoticed in an indifferent universe" in my real life. One of the faceless, grey and dreary masses. Bonza.

Spike said...

What Meva said.

Plum's Penny Dreadful said...

i have a film degree. I loved film like a child. Like an art. I didn't want to live in hollywood. I wanted to make 24 stained glass works of art per second. After school, I went off to get a job doing what I loved. There, I watched my love be bastardized, disrespected, manipulated and bullied. Everybody wanted to make a film, everybody had an idea for a film. But the truth was: Everyone Wanted To Walk Down The Red Carpet. And so, heart broken, I walked away. It killed me. It kills me more to see my love be used for cheap vanity.I mean---when was the last time you were completely moved to Bliss in a movie theatre??

nick cetacean said...

Well, I think its a little unfair of Kundera. Like those "travellers" to "undiscovered" spots of the world who complain about all the "tourists"...

Like Kundera, everybody wants to express themselves -- it's not something we're ever going to reserve to clever old white men...

Plum: I want to make bliss (I'll settle for laughter) AND walk down the red carpet. Does that make me a bad person?

Plum's Penny Dreadful said...

Heaven's No!!! And I do believe there is even Room For A Red Carpet in this World!! But call a Spade a Spade, not Art. I do agree with the Right To Express Oneself However one Chooses. But like redcap said in re-capping Ms. Atwood's feeling----for me to look at a surgeon who has spent thousands and thousands of dollars and hours honing his craft to Create Miracles and glibbly express that anyone can do it,even me, it's Arrogance and Clearly A Fool's Chatter. But because the edges of art are Pliable and Inviting, which is the only way it can be what it is, People have a Tendancy to Just Waltz across The Surface and Neglect To Dig Deep. I guess that's what I Request---that if you are making Art, to try to Dig Deep.

And, My Fine Fishy Friend, wanting to Waltz Down A Red Carpet is no Crime! Just back it up, or it's Hollow. You walking down A Red Carpet. Nothing More.

God I sound so HolierThanThou!!!! Apologies All!! My Achilles, you see.......