Tag Archives: Writing

The hardships of writing

Stephen Fry, you sympathetic genius, you.

The rare words often annoy the punter, but they never think, they never stop to think about a poet’s life. A painter has oils, acrylics and pastels, turpentine, linseed, canvas, sable and hog’s hair. When did you last employ such things routinely? To oil a cricket bat or mascara an eyelid, perhaps. Come to think of it, you’ve probably never oiled a cricket bat in your life, but you know what I mean. And musicians: a musician has entire machines of wood, brass, gut and carbon fibre; he has augmented sevenths, accidentals, Dorian modes and twelve-note rows. When did you ever use an augmented seventh as a way of getting back at your boyfriend or a bassoon obligato to order pizza? Never. Never, never, never. The poet, though. Oh, yes, the poor poet: pity the poor bloody poet. The poet has no reserved materials, no unique modes. He has nothing but words, the same tools that the whole cursed world uses to ask the way to the nearest lavatory, or with which they patter out excuses for the clumsy betrayals and shiftless evasions of their ordinary lives; the poet has nothing but the same, self-same, words that daily in a million shapes and phrases curse, pray, abuse, flatter and mislead. The poor bloody poet can no longer say ‘ope’ for ‘open’, or “swain’ for ‘youth’, he is expected to construct new poems out of the plastic and Styrofoam garbage that litters the twentieth-century linguistic floor, to make fresh art from the used verbal condoms of social intercourse. Is it any wonder that, from time to time, we take refuge in ‘gellies’ and “ataractic” and “watchet’? Innocent words, virgin words, words uncontaminated and unviolated, the very mastery of which announces us to possess a relationship with language akin to that of the sculptor with his marble or the composer with his staves. Not that anyone is ever impressed, of course. They only moan about the ‘impenetrability’ or congratulate themselves for being hep to the ellipsis, opacity and allusion that they believe deepens and enriches the work. It’s a bastard profession, believe me. (Stephen Fry “The Hippopotamus”)



The desire to simplify things must be present in everyone. It comes in time, when we realize our lives are finite. Time and again, the image of Michaelangelo’s Rondanini Pieta haunts me. I remember how I admired (I still do) his first Pieta, scuplted in 1499. It must be one of the most famous sculptures in the whole world, and probably one of the most beautiful ones, too. The difference between the two works, sculpted within decades of each other, is striking, as if they had been burn under the chisel of two different artists. And however much I admire and love his Pieta, I know that he was closer to the truth (or finding himself, or God, or call it whatever you want) than ever before, when he sculpted the latter.

Michelangelo_pietà_rondanini Underneath the stunningly smooth and detailed surface of the Pieta, the more truthful and evocative Rondanini Pieta lay dormant for fifteen years. The master of marble took his time, but before he died, he understood something profound. He peeled off the layers of vanity, of greed, of pomp, of riches, or artificiality, and reached the hot-cold core of existence, where resignation struggles with the innate desire to live, where pain mocks peace, and where we are all the same, regardless of our age, gender, or social status. Here there is no divine serenity, no perfection, no pathos, only chunks of rock, faceless death, and lasting strength. Here the Christ supports the grieving Mary, just like Mary holds Christ’s mortal coil.

I, too, want to peel off layers, and simplify things. Clean them up, focus, chop off everything superfluous. And there is so much that is redundant in my life!

My novel, for example, contains paragraphs upon paragraphs of lovely, but superfluous frill. The vanity of a writer (or sculptor, painter, etc.) may lead them to the accolades of beauty for beauty’s sake – which makes us rejoice, but for how long? Until we see it, hear it, or feel it. When it’s out of sight, it’s forgotten. Yes, I love beauty. It’s one of the things that makes life bearable for me. But beauty is a treacherous ideal. Meriel may stare at the world and then try to paint them on her canvas, but eventually, she will have to realize how little all of that is worth. I guess that is one point of my novel, even if that point took seven years to become manifest from underneath all the endless yada yada.

I will get there. I must.

Az út /The path

Hosszú lesz az út, de úgy tűnik, mégis az enyém! Hiszem azt, hogy közben sok szépséggel fogok találkozni…

Looks like a long winding path, but it seems to be mine, after all! I believe a lot of beauty will come my way…

MMCP: My Most Cherished Project

Like most people, I also possess the natural desire to create something lasting, leave something behind that will touch people. We all long to capture our moment, become immortal. It’s all an illusion as in time, everything perishes; nevertheless, we struggle to attain this goal. Our utmost goal in life.

For me, the closest I have come to perfection and pure unadulterated joy was through writing. It is also my futile but very delectable effort to leave something lasting for mankind. read more »