Tuesday, February 1, 2005


The day begins, as usual, with a goal: to write something that no-one could plagiarise. Something unique, something that rings of his voice, something unexampled, non-transferable, non-negotiable. He thinks, then: "To do this I must know there is a difference between that and writing something that no-one would want to plagiarise." He shrugs off creeping self-deprecative thoughts and begins work.

Trapped by a studiously developed style, writing progresses slower these days. At one time, words travelled across the page fluidly, effortlessly, steadily, but the result was choked, hard to read, confusing. Now words crawl across the page on their knees in a constant state of fear, knowing they could vanish in a instant, never to be seen again. They're being exchanged, sometimes on a two- or even three-to-one deal. They're traded in for slicker, roomier models, and the result is a work in which the central thought shines through, rather than being lost in a torrent of words.

But what thoughts? And whose? To himself he asks: "How can I trade those in for slicker, roomier models? I'm even willing to do a three-to-one trade-in on those. Those thoughts of death, thoughts of idleness, thoughts of uncertainty - I'll give them all to you for one good idea." But even he knows that he's never had an idea, and never will. He leaves those to geniuses.

Leonardo da Vinci could write with one hand while drawing with the other. He could do those things simultaneously, while most people have trouble doing even one. He had ideas. Genius - our subject can add this to his ever-growing list of things to be fascinated by, things just beyond his realm of understanding: the ocean, time, the universe - genius.

The day begins, as usual, with a goal: to write something. Anything at all.

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