On Writing

From a moving address David Grossman gave at the PEN’s World Voices  Festival:

And I write also about that which cannot be brought back. And about that which is inconsolable. Then, too, in a manner I still find inexplicable, the circumstances of my life do not close in on me in a way that would leave me paralyzed. Many times every day, as I sit at my desk, I touch on grief and loss like one touching electricity with his bare hands, and yet I do not die. I cannot grasp how this miracle works. Maybe once I finish writing this novel, I will try to understand. Not now. It is too early.

2 thoughts on “On Writing

  1. Dolen

    This is so wonderful. I love to hear writers speaking about that encounter with the page. Years ago, the late poet Safiya Henderson-Holmes told me how she lost weight while she wrote, sometimes weighing less in the evening than she had that very morning. The metaphorical implications of that are powerful.


  2. Obiwu

    It is surreal to read Dolen’s comment on the late Safiya Henderson-Holmes just last month, May 2007, when I am here right now in Wilberforce, Ohio, reading through and reflecting on the marginal comments which the same Safiya had written on the first draft of my comparative paper on the Pan-African brotherhood of Langston Hughes and Nnamdi Azikiwe – in Syracuse, New York, in 1998! It heightens the mystical implications of writing that a journal editor should write to request the same paper only last month May 2007, after nine long years of gathering dust on my shelf – the same month that Dolen recalls Safiya’s confession on the weight-loss effect of writing! I am now revising the paper – closely guided by the marginal notes of the late Safiya Henderson-Holmes – for its final resting place and dissemination between the covers of a journal. As Jacques Lacan says, a letter always reaches its [un-final?] destination.


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