Tuesday, January 6, 2015

“Reach Up:” Karl Ove Knausgaard on Writing

-->


About ten days after my travels a small unexpected package arrived in the mail from, of all places, Alaska Airlines.  Inside was my copy of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle: Book 1 which I had left on the plane in Salt Lake City as I hurried off to make the connecting flight to Calgary.  I realized this nearly instantly in the terminal but I didn’t have a spare minute.  Besides, I had finished the book.  My only regret was that I had marked three of Knausgaard’s passages on writing for further contemplation and I knew that in order to find them again I would have to reread the whole book. And that wasn’t going to happen.  I was still debating whether I would go on to read Book 2, of the proposed six volumes. Much less reread Book 1, as much as I liked it.
So, I was very happy to have my copy back and delighted (word chosen carefully) that Alaska Airlines had returned it unbidden: so  . . . civilized. 
Here are the passages:
You know too little and it doesn’t exist.  You know too much and it doesn’t exist.  Writing is drawing the essence of what we know out of the shadows.  That is what writing is about.  Not what happens there, not what actions are played out there, but the there itself.  There, that is writing’s location and aim.  But how to get there? (192)

Our minds are flooded with images of places we have never been, yet still know, people we have never met, yet still know and in accordance with which we, to a considerable extent, live our lives.  The feeling this gives that the world is small, tightly enclosed around itself, without opening to anywhere else, is almost incestuous, and although I knew this too be deeply untrue, since we actually know nothing about anything, still I could not escape it.  The longing I always felt, which some days was so great it could hardly be controlled, had its source here.  It was partly to relieve this feeling that I wrote, I wanted to open the world by writing, for myself, at the same time, this is what made me fail.  The feeling that the future does not exist, that it is only more of the same, means that all utopias are meaningless.  Literature has always been related to utopia, so when utopia loses meaning, so does literature.  What was I trying to do, and perhaps what all writers try to do—what on earth do I know?—was to combat fiction with fiction.  What I ought to do was affirm what existed, affirm the state of things as they are, in other words, revel in the world outside instead of searching for a way out, for in a way I would undoubtedly have a better life, but I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t something had congealed inside me, a conviction was rooted inside me, and although it was essentialist, that is, outmoded, and furthermore, romantic, I could not get past it, for the simple reason that it had not only been thought but also experienced, in these sudden states of clearsightedness that everyone must know, where for  few seconds you catch sight of another world from the one you were in only a moment earlier, where the world seems to step forward and show itself for a brief glimpse before reverting and leaving everything as before . . .  (Ellipsis: Knausgaard’s) (221-222)

. . . the world of advanced literature, where you wrote essays about a line of Dante, where nothing could be made complex enough, where art dealt with the supreme, not in a high-flown sense because it was the modernist canon with which we were engaged, but in the sense of the ungraspable, which was best illustrated by Blanchot’s description of Orpheus’s gaze, the night of the night, the negation of the negation, which of course was in some way above the trivial and in many ways wretched lives we lived , but what I learned was that our ludicrously inconsequential lives, in which we could not attain anything of what we wanted, nothing, in which everything was beyond our abilities and power, had a part in this world, and thus also in the supreme, for books existed, you only had to read them, no one but myself could exclude me from them.  You just had to reach up.  (330)

So, the third passage is more about reading, but the advice—Reach Up—works for writing as well.  Thanks Alaska Airlines.  And, yes, I will be reading Book 2. 

11 comments:

  1. Hello Everybody,
    My name is Mrs Sharon Sim. I live in singapore and i am a happy woman today? and i told my self that any lender that rescue my family from our poor situation, i will refer any person that is looking for loan to him, he gave me happiness to me and my family, i was in need of a loan of S$250,000.00 to start my life all over as i am a single mother with 3 kids I met this honest and GOD fearing man loan lender that help me with a loan of S$250,000.00 SG. Dollar, he is a GOD fearing man, if you are in need of loan and you will pay back the loan please contact him tell him that is Mrs Sharon, that refer you to him. contact Dr Purva Pius,via email:(urgentloan22@gmail.com) Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Are you looking for a loan to clear off your dept and start up your own Business? have you being going all over yet not able to get a legit loan Company that will loan you? Here is your final solution, We can give you any amount you need provided you are going to pay back within the period of time given without any problem. Apply now and contact us for more details.
    E-mail: henski.john46@gmail.com

    Application For loan.
    First Name:
    Last Name:
    Date Of Birth:
    Address:
    Sex:
    Phone No:
    City:
    Zip Code:
    State:
    Country:
    Nationality:
    Occupation:
    Monthly Income:
    Amount Needed:
    Duration:
    Purpose of the loan:
    E-mail address:

    E-mail: henski.john46@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Do you need an urgent loan we offer worldwide loan to who in need of loan the business opportunity you having being looking for is here again. email osmanloanserves@gmail.com



    LOAN APPLICATION FORM
    1) Full Name:
    2) Gender:
    3) Loan Amount Needed:.
    4) Loan Duration:
    5) Country:
    6) Home Address:
    7) Mobile Number:
    8)Monthly Income:
    9)Occupation:
    )Which did you here about us.
    Email osmanloanserves@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Why wasting your precious time online looking for a loan? When there is an opportunity for you to invest with $200 and get a returns of $2,000 within seven business working days. Contact us now for more information if interested on how you can earn big with just little amount. This is all about investing into Crude Oil and Gas Business. Email:investmoneyoilgas@gmail.com

    Regard
    DR JAMES ERIC

    ReplyDelete
  5. Do you need a Loan?
    Are you looking for Finance?
    Are you looking for a Loan to enlarge your business?
    I think you have come to the right place.
    We offer Loans at low interest rate.
    Interested people should please contact us on
    For immediate response to your application, Kindly
    reply to this emails below only:
    collinsfinanceoffer@gmail.com

    Please, do provide us with the Following information if interested.
    LOAN APPLICATION INFORMATION FORM
    First name:
    Middle name:
    Date of birth (yyyy-mm-dd):
    Gender:
    Marital status:
    Total Amount Needed:
    Time Duration:
    Address:
    City:
    State/province:
    Zip/postal code:
    Country:
    Phone:
    Mobile/cellular:
    Monthly Income:
    Occupation:
    Which sites did you know about us.....
    collinsfinanceoffer@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Do you need a Loan?
    Are you looking for Finance?
    Are you looking for a Loan to enlarge your business?
    I think you have come to the right place.
    We offer Loans at low interest rate.
    Interested people should please contact us on
    For immediate response to your application, Kindly
    reply to this emails below only:
    collinsfinanceoffer@gmail.com

    Please, do provide us with the Following information if interested.
    LOAN APPLICATION INFORMATION FORM
    First name:
    Middle name:
    Date of birth (yyyy-mm-dd):
    Gender:
    Marital status:
    Total Amount Needed:
    Time Duration:
    Address:
    City:
    State/province:
    Zip/postal code:
    Country:
    Phone:
    Mobile/cellular:
    Monthly Income:
    Occupation:
    Which sites did you know about us.....
    collinsfinanceoffer@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Greetings to you by ADIA.

    We are a France-Paris based investment company known as Avit
    Development Investment Authority working on expanding its portfolio
    globally and financing projects.

    We would be happy to fund and invest with you in any profitable
    project if you have any viable project we can finance by making mutual
    investment with you. If you are interested, kindly contact us
    on:avitinvestmentauthority2@gmail.com for more details.

    Looking forward hearing from you soonest.

    Yours truly,
    Mrs Kristina Anderson
    (Personal Assistant)
    Avit Development Investment Authority(ADIA)
    501 Avenue Montaigne,75008 Paris-France
    Paris-France.Avit Development Investment Authority (ADIA)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Are you financially squeezed?

    End your financial worries now: I can smile that God-fearing man, who had secured € 220,000 and two of my colleagues have also received loans from this man, without any difficulty. I advise you not to choose the wrong person, you will definitely apply for a cash loan for your project and each other. I wrote this post, because Mr. Pendelis Wealth, made me feel blessed their loans. It's through a friend that I met this honest and generous God fearing man who helped me get this fund to pay for the loan of your life, you need financial help, you're stuck, do not have access to bank credit, or not in favor of the bank to finance your construction, real estate development, the development of your business your own business, you must have seen and earn money, bad credit or need money to pay bills or debts. Therefore, we recommend that you go there, please contact and meet with you for the services you ask for it. Contact address: woodmoore@yandex.com

    Are you financially squeezed?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hello Everybody,
    My name is Mrs Sharon Sim. I live in Singapore and i am a happy woman today? and i told my self that any lender that rescue my family from our poor situation, i will refer any person that is looking for loan to him, he gave me happiness to me and my family, i was in need of a loan of S$250,000.00 to start my life all over as i am a single mother with 3 kids I met this honest and GOD fearing man loan lender that help me with a loan of S$250,000.00 SG. Dollar, he is a GOD fearing man, if you are in need of loan and you will pay back the loan please contact him tell him that is Mrs Sharon, that refer you to him. contact Dr Purva Pius,via email:(urgentloan22@gmail.com) Thank you.

    BORROWERS APPLICATION DETAILS


    1. Name Of Applicant in Full:……..
    2. Telephone Numbers:……….
    3. Address and Location:…….
    4. Amount in request………..
    5. Repayment Period:………..
    6. Purpose Of Loan………….
    7. country…………………
    8. phone…………………..
    9. occupation………………
    10.age/sex…………………
    11.Monthly Income…………..
    12.Email……………..

    Regards.
    Managements
    Email Kindly Contact: urgentloan22@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete

  10. GREEN FINANCE LOAN CENTER
    HEAD OFFICE--25 Osborn Street, London England
    EMAIL ADDRESS -- {greenfinancecenter@yahoo.com}
    ------------------------------------------------

    Welcome to HEARTLAND LOAN FIRM,
    We give out loans from the range of $9,000 to $900,000,000
    at 2% interest rate

    We provide all kinds of loans like

    Personal loans
    Business loans
    Project loans and many more

    Kindly apply by providing us with the details below-

    NAME ......
    COUNTRY......
    AMOUNT OF LOAN NEEDED .....
    PHONE NUMBER ......
    PURPOSE OF LOAN ....

    Email address --{greenfinancecenter@yahoo.com}

    REGARDS
    CHARLENE FREDERICK
    {greenfinancecenter@yahoo.com}
    www.greenfinanceservices.webs.com
    GREEN FINANCE LOAN CENTER

    ReplyDelete

  11. GREEN FINANCE LOAN CENTER
    HEAD OFFICE--25 Osborn Street, London England
    EMAIL ADDRESS -- {greenfinancecenter@yahoo.com}
    ------------------------------------------------

    Welcome to HEARTLAND LOAN FIRM,
    We give out loans from the range of $9,000 to $900,000,000
    at 2% interest rate

    We provide all kinds of loans like

    Personal loans
    Business loans
    Project loans and many more

    Kindly apply by providing us with the details below-

    NAME ......
    COUNTRY......
    AMOUNT OF LOAN NEEDED .....
    PHONE NUMBER ......
    PURPOSE OF LOAN ....

    Email address --{greenfinancecenter@yahoo.com}

    REGARDS
    CHARLENE FREDERICK
    {greenfinancecenter@yahoo.com}
    www.greenfinanceservices.webs.com
    GREEN FINANCE LOAN CENTER

    ReplyDelete