Est-ce que vous écrivez toujours
"Do you still write?" F* asks me, having just published yet another book... What a nasty piece of work that sentence is! What treachery lies within! F* watches me out of the corner of his eye. I watch him out of the corner of mine. Of course I still write! "I do little else," I mutter to myself, all the while F* is dying to tell me about his most recent literary success. I don't want to hear about it. I haven't published a thing for five years, and what of it? F* is a boor. Everybody knows that. I turn my back on him and go about my business. F* does the same. Oh, how ill-mannered! From this flourishing of foils, so very banal, I have drawn the long conclusion which I will now bestow upon you, future author who will no doubt be asking me for advice before launching into a career in letters, I will say that apart from the ability to put ideas together in a readable style, you should learn patience, courage, endurance and humility. You must work doggedly, without ever falling into vexation, nor into anger, nor envy, jealousy, rage, into excessive self-love, into capriciousness nor despair. You must always keep your cool and cultivate hope. And if the apprentice wordsmith knows how to blacken beautiful white pages with what they consider to be publishable markings, may they remember that in addition to the long list of the qualities mentioned above, we must also stuff forbearance in that overloaded saddle-bag before riding off to conquer the publishing world. The idea is to stand tall while withstanding, without ever giving in to bitterness or cruelty. "Hard hopes to hang around," my editor again told me three weeks ago. Writing is a long-distance race not a sprint. Is it truly necessary to protect yourself from the ferocity of an industry full of over-sized egos, ever-convinced that Paris is the centre of the world?
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