"Max" W.G. Sebald wrote some of the most mesmerising sui generis texts of 20th century literature. His Rings of Saturn is a collection of essays on silk, travel, depression, genocide and the prose marvel, Thomas Browne - a Borgesian list sewn together with deep meditation. This great work transformed my sense of possibility with writing, … Continue reading Sebald’s sentences
Coincidentally - a word that tricks chance into being fate - I was reading this week Maria Popova's account of Wisława Szymborska's celebration of not knowing. Szymborska said, in her acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize, that it is from the humility of not knowing that inspiration comes - in any profession, not merely writing: "Inspiration … Continue reading A postscript on Utopia
The year is drawing to a close, and while it is yet weeks from New Year, the office christmas party season is in full swing, and my mind is turning to an upcoming holiday. I am approaching the end of my current assignment and am going into my annual leave without knowing what I will … Continue reading Reflections on 2017
I have spent the afternoon, as if in retreat from a world that does not welcome me, lying in bed and reading, much as I did as a teenage boy when I fled a family that tormented me into the world that I conjured from the novels of Trollope, Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, a world which … Continue reading Sebald’s sentences
From Niccolo Machiavelli's letter to the magnificent Lorenzo de Medici in presenting his The Prince: Nor I hope will it be considered presumptuous for a man of low and humble status to dare discuss and lay down the law about how princes should rule; because, just as men who are sketching the landscape put themselves … Continue reading Quotes to write by 1.