Archive for November, 2008


Monday, November 17th, 2008

‘Later on it has changed so that I have actually managed to complete a few books. But between them are periods of complete inability to create. It has taxed me more than anything else – often I have believed that I would break during such a period. Surely I will one day – unless the years dull and slow my senses so that an even worse destiny than this awaits me.

During these periods I have always thought that my inner self is in a state of a kind of hibernation. It is not present for me, I am separated from it. I cannot tell how painful it is to ‘live’ like this. Almost everything seems meaningless, I cannot concentrate on anything. The ability to experience desolateness which is so pronounced in me and which so often is expressed in my writing, exercises a terrible reign during these times. But during these times the adjustments inside me, which are required for something new to be born, take place, I think. The unconscious creates on its own, in a fashion unfathomable to me. I have often had a feeling of this secret process, these adjustments – I cannot find a better word for it, for how it feels. But to imagine that it is sweet and ‘big’ to be part of this ‘rejuvenation’, if you can call it that, would be a total mistake. Not even the slightest joy or sense of pleasure is associated with the inaccessible process, just a definite, painful disquiet and a deep feeling of complete mental powerlessness.

The amiable idea that it must be ‘delightful’ to be a writer has little to do with reality, at least as far as I am concerned.’

Pär Lagerkvist (1891-1974), Swedish author, scriptwriter, poet and novelist, Noble prize laureate 1951.

From an unfinished autobiographical sketch.

trsl. Linda Olsson