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A writer is someone who spends years patiently trying to discover the second being inside him, and the world that makes him who he is. When I speak of writing, the image that comes first to my mind is not a novel, a poem, or a literary tradition; it is the person who shuts himself up in a room, sits down at a table, and, alone, turns inward. Amid his shadows, he builds a new world with words. This man-or this woman-may use a typewriter, or profit from the ease of a computer, or write with a pen on paper, as I do. As he writes, he may drink tea or coffee, or smoke cigarettes. From time to time, he may rise from his table to look out the window at the children playing in the street, or, if he is lucky, at trees and a view, or even at a black wall. He may write poems, or plays, or novels, as I do. But all these differences arise only after the crucial task is complete-after he has sat down at the table and patiently turned inward. To write is to transform that inward gaze into words, to study the worlds into which we pass when we retire into ourselves, and to do so with patience, obstinacy, and joy.
Rose Bay Willow Herb
Late July on the journey from Stavanger to Kristiansand the rose bay willow herb was growing and waving with unrestrained joy. After Kristiansand the roads along the south coast were decorated with great swathes of colour. It creeps down the hillsides and forms itself into violet margins along the strips of tarmac.
Each plant is intensely competitive and sacrifices individual bulk for the advantages of height. But when collected together they tend to allow their colour to leak into the spaces between them, forming a mass of pigment which collects and reflects the light.
It is strange to see that the brief lives of these petals have blown and ended by the time we make our return journey the following month.