Tag Archives: Olga Tokarczuk

In touch with another spirit

I have written before about the process of writing, both in general and in this blog in particular. While I do not claim to write literature; nevertheless I felt some empathy with a couple of statements in Michel Houllebecq‘s novel ‘Submission‘. The first was ‘…only literature can put you in touch with another human spirit, as a whole, with all its weaknesses and grandeurs, its limitations, its pettinesses, its obsessions, its beliefs; with whatever it finds moving, exciting or repugnant.’ And the second was ‘Even in our deepest most lasting friendships, we never speak as openly as when we face a blank page and address a reader we do not know.’ I know a few people who read this blog but they are a tiny minority of the readers so essentially I am addressing a reader I do not know when I write a post. However, my posts sometimes lead to a conversation that is more open than would have happened without the post. Inevitably, these conversations occur with the small number of readers with whom I am in direct contact. However, I suspect that I reveal my limitations and obsessions to all of my readers, I hope I avoid my pettinesses while enthusing you with what I find moving or exciting, such as Michel Houellebecq’s novel this week or Olga Tokarczuk’s last week.

Source: Michel Houellebecq, Submission, Vintage, 2016.

Image: Barbara Hepworth sculpture in the garden of Hepworth Museum, St Ives

No FOMO

On vacation I do not read the newspapers or view the internet.  It is one of the joys of being on vacation and part of my digital detox [see ‘Digital detox with a deep vacation‘ on August 10th, 2016].  We usually take a large pile of books with us and this year was no exception – our shelf of books is shown in the photograph.  One novel stood out in particular: ‘Drive your plow over the bones of the dead‘ by Olga Tokarczuk.  One passage that resonanted with me was ‘Newspapers rely on keeping us in a constant state of anxiety, on diverting our emotions away from the things that really matter to us.’  Many of us suffer from a Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) but in practice most changes reported in the media that directly impact our lives happen so slowly that we miss very little by disconnecting for a few weeks and it releases us to think.

Reference:

Olga Tokarczuk, Drive your bones over the bones of the dead, Fitzcarroldo Editions, 2022.