Saturday, February 09, 2008



Over the years, I've found one rule. It is the only one I give on those ocasions when I talk about writing. It's a simple rule. If you tell yourself you are going to be at your desk tomorrow, you are by that declaration asking your unconscious to prepare the material. You are, in effect, contracting to pick up such valuables at a given time. Count on me, you are saying to a few forces below: I will be there to write. the point is that you have to maintain trustworthy relations. If you wake up in the morning with a hangover and cannot get to literary work, your unconscious, after a few such failures to appear, will withdraw.

... The unconscious presence within may have as many interests, aspects, principalities, chasms, terrors, underworlds, other-worlds, and ambitions as yourself. Your unconscious may even have ambitions that are not your own. For practical purposes, it may be worth thinking of it as a separate creature. If you are ready to look upon your unconscious as a curious and semi-alienated presence in yourself with whom you have to maintain decent relations - if you are able to see yourself as some sort of careless general (of the old aristocratic school) and picture the unconscious as your often unruly cohort of troops - then, obviously, you wouldn't dare to keep those troops out in the rain too lon; certainly not at the commencement of any serious campaign. On the contrary, you make a pact: "Work for me, fight for me, and I will honor and respect you." To repeat: The rule is that if you say to yourself you are going to write tomorrow, then it doesn't matter how badly you're hungover or how promising is a sudden invitation in the morning to do something more enjoyable. No, you go in dutifully, slavishly, and you work. This injunction is wholly anti-romantic in spirit. But if you subject yourself to this impost upon yourself, this diktat to be dependable, then after a period of time - it can take weeks, or more - the unconscious, nursing its disappointments, may begin to trust you again.

Norman Mailer The Spooky Art.

Hmm, better get on with it then, so much for my morning walk.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

1 comment:

pundy said...

That sounds like pretty good advice - I think I'll take it too.