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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Writing Advice from Samuel Beckett

If you must write, you must do it in the face of all opposition. […] Do not spend too much more time on culture & reading, these are traps. When everything conspires to make the thing impossible, when you are tired, worried, with no time, or money, it is then that things get done.

Samuel Beckett to Claude Raimbourg, 3 May 1954

The Rhythm of Language

Style is a very simple matter: it is all rhythm. Once you get that, you can’t use the wrong words. But on the other hand here am I sitting after half the morning, crammed with ideas, and visions, and so on, and can’t dislodge them, for lack of the right rhythm. Now this is very […]

Political Education: Joseph Stalin in Hull

When I left Trinity House in 1956 I hung around Hull for a while because the universe was unknown to me, perhaps unknowable. I had to learn to discover where I was, to recognize the barriers from the opportunities. As far as I knew there were only a couple of possibilities for the lunch break. […]

Adios Madrid

Gracias for your beggars, ubiquitous as fear. The atonement of hand-washed tiles in the Metro. For tomatoes, scarlet with passion. Pocket-size dogs bred from a pinpoint of invisibility. For plazas of victory and defeat repeated in your bourgeois streets. For spare and quiffed shrieks of Modernity in the spaces set aside. For nightlife, candle-light, sangria, […]

The Inadequacy of our Symbolism

The last night I spent in London, I took some girl or other to the movies and, through her mediation, I paid you a little tribute of spermatozoa, Tristessa. A late show, a crowded cinema. The drunks all stubbornly remained unmoved and jeered, laughed and catcalled throughout your film though sibilantly hushed by pairs of […]