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A voyage to Arcturus

Modifié le : 2019/08/07

Mon­day. I was plan­ning to write about David Lind­say’s A Voy­age to Arc­turus, and then I went for a walk. The weath­er is mild and always as grey as a Euro­pean win­ter sky. Rain on Mon­day cer­tain­ly helps to start work, except that I hung on to my desk all week­end to page a report from a large com­pa­ny. So I hard­ly had any breaks even though I reserved the evenings for myself. Any­way, like on week­days. I’m hav­ing trou­ble get­ting to work this morning.

I had many more dreams last night. My for­mer pub­lish­er told me that he was going back to work because of my nov­el, which he absolute­ly want­ed to pub­lish. How­ev­er, he gave me a text full of cor­rec­tions. The book invoice was already decid­ed. Some­thing black, almost mor­bid. I announced the news to those around me who were show­ing only polite indifference.

I could have dreamed of Lind­say’s nov­el, writ­ten in 1922, which I had already read in 1982. I remem­ber the date, because I was in phi­los­o­phy at uni­ver­si­ty, and I was hang­ing around pret­ty straight friend to whom I had lent this book, and who admit­ted to me that they had read it twice in a row because it had upset him so much.

Lind­say’s des­tiny sure­ly appeals to me. He had no suc­cess with this nov­el, died short­ly after suf­fer­ing a ner­vous shock fol­low­ing the bomb­ing of his house dur­ing the Sec­ond World War (he was in his bath ! But he died of a bad injunc­tion to treat an abscess in a tooth. Lit­tle mis­ery, you know).

Yet, this Voy­age to Arc­turus is con­sid­ered a flag­ship nov­el of fan­ta­sy, philo­soph­i­cal and sci­ence fic­tion writ­ing. Tolkien loved this nov­el very much.

It is this kind of writ­ing, I think that I would like to infuse into my own texts. For the past ten years or so, I have had a sub­ject on my mind, a kind of jour­ney through twelve par­tic­u­lar king­doms. The idea may have grown uncon­scious­ly from read­ing this novel.

I don’t con­sid­er myself a great screen­writer, or even a great intel­lec­tu­al. I’ll nev­er write next Lud­lum or Fol­lett. It seems to me that my life only takes care of itself, of its moods. I have excel­lent sen­si­tiv­i­ty for human things, and I am ready to see the won­der­ful in the mud. I am prob­a­bly a child who is already too old to grow up.

Any­way, my walks make me more and more vague in my soul. My hours are com­plex swells, often mag­i­cal, but often melan­cholic. I move from one idea to anoth­er, and some­times, against all the odds, a song moves me to the point where my throat is tied.

I am cur­rent­ly at the sur­face of my skin and objects, peo­ple, bur­lesque or pass­ing by, can be cap­tured indis­crim­i­nate­ly. I am no one. And waiting.

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