Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Conjure the book you most want to read

"I began doing what came most naturally to me – that is, following the memory of the things I had loved best since boyhood. Instead of making myself write the book I ought to write, the novel that was expected of me, I conjured up the book I myself would have liked to read, the sort by an unknown writer, from another age and another country, discovered in an attic."
    The voice is that of Italo Calvino, describing how he found the mode of experimental, "fabulist" writing for which he is famed. He was talking about the choice he made after the disappointing reception of three novels he had written in realist style. The result was an extraordinary short novel titled The Cloven Viscount (Il visconte dimezzato). He wrote it in 30 days over the summer and early fall of 1951 and it was published the following year.His unlikely protagonist: a 17th century viscount whose body is cut in two by a cannonball.
    I recommend Calvino's example to any writer who wants to bring something brave and new into the world: conjure the book you would most like to read.

Source: The quote is from Italo Calvino's introduction to Our Ancestors translated by A. Colquhoun (London: Vintage, 1998) vii.


Worldbridger said...

I like that - thank you very much for the suggestion.

Justin Patrick Moore said...

Great advice from one of the greats!

Justin Patrick Moore said...

Also continuing with the divination them:

If Divination is Conjuration in reverse than Conjuration is Divination in reverse.

Something to dream about when spending the night in the Tavern of Crossed Destinies.