Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Archive for April 24th, 2016

The sport of writing

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Jean Giraudoux

First of all, [Giraudoux] conceptualized prior to writing…One should not suppose that he already had a plan, that he knew the episodes that were to lead to the denouement even before he wrote the final line…Instead of a plan, he has an outline in mind, a trajectory along which he could guide his pen; more a matter of wanting to write and knowing how to write than knowing what to write. Knowing how to write as one knows how to swim, to dive into water…

Writing was for him a sport. He often prepared for it during one of the “long hikes” that were customary for him. When he arrived at ten o’clock in his office after unknown detours, and completed an entire chapter in a single sitting, it is conceivable that he had been going over its itinerary in his mind in the course and to the rhythm of his walk. The art of Giraudoux, which has occasionally been called affected and over-elaborate, consists on the contrary of incorporating the pizzicati of existence into the continuo of the narration. The most remarkable thing is that his manuscripts contain blanks, later completed in different ink: to keep the rhythm, he would avoid struggling for a word that would not come, and went ahead with what came easily. As he said in Electra: “Happiness was never the lot of the laborious.”

—Jacques Body, Jean Giraudoux: The Legend and the Secret

Written by nevalalee

April 24, 2016 at 7:30 am

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