EIGHT íO CLOCK
As often as not I have gone and sat down at my writing desk at eight ío clock.
I have switched on the lamp. I have leaned forward over the white sheet
of paper and the words danced before my eyes. As often as not
I have then thought of great exemplary figures. Of Isaak Babel,
for example, who wrote that no iron can pierce a human heart with
such icy cold as the point that is placed at precisely the right
moment. That kind of sentence surfaced in me and I wrote nothing down.
I have wanted to commit myself to everything, though not to a woman,
a house, a form. Then I thought, keep going, donít digress,
donít dawdle. Time has passed quickly since eight ío clock,
when I switched on the lamp and sat down here. I didnít read, or
talk. Who on earth should I talk to alone in this house?
As often as not I have thought that the unspoken word
could accomplish more than the mightiest deed. But no matter how
hard I laboured at it, I have never written a single line
that knew of my existence. Often I have wanted to get up and hand
myself over to life. On one occasion I lacked the courage
to do it, on another occasion I choked back my fear. But I have always
experienced life as being exhausting; not writing.
Just once in a while everything could become clear above a sheet of
paper. For that one instant I have sat for hours at the writing
desk. For each time that I have lived, I have
passed myself by. I looked up and it was eight ío clock.