Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

“Write your own name a hundred times…”

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T.H. White

Write your own name a hundred times, and you will be bored; seven hundred times and you will be exasperated; seven thousand times, and your brains will be reeling in your head. Then realize that you have only written one tenth of a novel, and you will be lucky to escape the madhouse.

And yet you haven’t the full of it. Your own name can at least be written down mechanically. You need have no ideas. You can work like a sweated laborer doing piece-work in a factory. But the novelist has to write down different names: nouns, verbs, prepositions, adjectives, reeling across the page. They have to make sense. They have to produce ideas. All the ideas were produced long ago, by Adam, and yet he has to produce new ones.

T.H. White, Earth Stopped

Written by nevalalee

December 6, 2014 at 9:00 am

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