April 25 , 2008

A Raw Youth


I cannot resist sitting down to write the history of the first steps

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in my career, though I might very well abstain from doing so. . . .

I know one thing for certain: I shall never again sit down to

write my autobiography even if I live to be a hundred.  One must

be too disgustingly in love with self to be able without shame to

write about oneself.  I can only excuse myself on the ground that I

am not writing with the same object with which other people write,

that is, to win the praise of my readers.  It has suddenly occurred

to me to write out word for word all that has happened to me during

this last year, simply from an inward impulse, because I am so

impressed by all that has happened.  I shall simply record the

incidents, doing my utmost to exclude everything extraneous,

especially all literary graces.  The professional writer writes for

thirty years, and is quite unable to say at the end why he has been

writing for all that time.  I am not a professional writer and

don't want to be, and to drag forth into the literary market-place

the inmost secrets of my soul and an artistic description of my

feelings I should regard as indecent and contemptible.  I foresee,

however, with vexation, that it will be impossible to avoid

describing feelings altogether and making reflections (even,

perhaps, cheap ones), so corrupting is every sort of literary

pursuit in its effect, even if it be undertaken only for one's own

satisfaction.  The reflections may indeed be very cheap, because

what is of value for oneself may very well have no value for

others.  But all this is beside the mark.  It will do for a

preface, however.  There will be nothing more of the sort.  Let us

get to work, though there is nothing more difficult than to begin

upon some sorts of work – perhaps any sort of work.

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