Notes on Writing

Write everything that you don’t say as you sit over your knitting, say everything you would like to say when you are angry but must stay silent, write write [sic] everything that your husband confides in you and in you alone … Instead of playing dumb sonatas on the piano, take some paper and a pen. (Don’t write poetry, for God’s sake! There’s no room in those short lines — least of all when one is rich in ideas and everything floods over at one.) To write for you is simply to remember. Think of some small significant event in your life. First, isolate it. See that it has a beginning and an end — above all, an end. One has to know where it’s leading! … When your story is finished, let me read it — not before! Not before! But then you’ll be cured of your acting sickness and then you’ll be happy and calm.

August Strindberg to Siri von Essen 
26 June 1875

First go through in your mind everything that you experienced during that period in your life — before you sit down to write. At first you’ll think there’s nothing interesting — but then you’ll think of something — the blood will rush to your head — get angry … Bring forth invisible enemies, create adversaries … be “mad” — it isn’t everyone who can be that, and not many of those lucky enough to be able to, have the courage …. There was something called the sin against the Holy Ghost! I think they mean by that: resisting one’s calling. That was said to be the only unforgivable sin. Remember that!
August Strindberg to Siri von Essen
27 June 1875

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