Of Thomas Wolfe & Melissinos

Thomas Wolfe on writer’s vocation:

“For sleep was dead forever, the merciful, dark and sweet oblivions of childhood sleep.

The worm had entered at my heart, the worm lay coiled and feeding at my brain, my spirit, and my memory — I knew that finally I had been caught in my own fire, consumed by my own hungers, impaled on the hook of that furious and insensate desire than had absorbed my life for years.

I knew, in short, that one bright cell in the brain or heart or memory would now blaze on forever — by night, by day, through every waking, sleeping moment of my life, the worm would feed and the light be lit, — that no anodyne of food or drink, or friendship, travel, sport or woman could ever quench it, and that never more until death put its total and conclusive darkness upon my life, could I escape.

I knew at last I had become a writer: I knew at last what happens to a man who makes the writer’s life his own.”

But I woke up this morning to looming hearing dates, screaming clients, unanswered affidavits and 30 email messages. I stick to what the poet-sandal maker, Stavros Melissinos, said:

“A writer who does nothing but write is like the moon, which gives off some light, but borrowed from the sun. A writer needs first-hand experience, which only working in another field can give him. Otherwise he is rewriting what he has read in other books.”

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3 thoughts on “Of Thomas Wolfe & Melissinos

  1. I’ve gotten flabby when it comes to writing. At times I do think about those days when I was alone; able to do (or not do) whatever I please. I could sit or lie down and just let my mind explore whatever that interested me at that particular time. And just read and read… and to occasionally write.

    It was also irresponsible for I knew I was only at 10% of my capacity.

    Even then, I knew there “were things” that I needed to do, vague that they were. From the moment things started to move with Aniza, I had mentioned the fear. I had nothing, was nothing and in a rut. But it was comfortable. I knew my life was going to change. Now I feel better about a lot of things, especially in the ability to do something tangible for my children. But I’ll have to adapt to the new surroundings and situation and put the writing on track again.

    Mat,

    You are one fine writer, with additional ability to edit – that in itself is a gift. When it comes to writing I am a slob, procrastinator and worrywort all rolled up in one undecipherable ball of confusion. Heck it, it would be worse if I don’t write at all. But what I miss the days when I just read, read and read. Last time I was able to do that was during maternity confinement, now forget it.

    Am so happy looking at your life now, said as much to my husband.

    You owe me a cup of coffee and I owe you lunch in Bangsar. Bila?

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