Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Greene's Life as an Artist

I’ve been reading Graham Greene’s autobiography, Ways of Escape.

A friendship can be a way of escape, just as much as writing or traveling, from the everyday routine, the sense of failure, the fear of the future… I write of trivial matters, but when one loves a man, as I loved him, it is the small things which others may have forgotten or not known which first come to mind…

In 1946 I felt myself at a loss. How had I in the past found the progressions from one scene to another?... Work was not made easier because the booby traps I had heedlessly planted in my private life were blowing up in turn. I had always thought that war would bring death as a solution in one form or another, in the blitz, in a submarined ship, in Africa with a dose of blackwater, but here I was alive, the carrier of unhappiness to people I loved…

Dreams, perhaps because I was psychoanalyzed as a boy, have always had great importance when I write… The unconscious collaborates in all our work: it is a negre we keep in the cellar to aid us. When an obstacle seems insurmountable, I read the day’s work before sleep and leave the negre to labor in my place. When I wake the obstacle has nearly always been removed: the solution is there and obvious—perhaps it came in a dream which I have forgotten.

Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear which is inherent in the human situation.

There were dangers, I was to discover, in film reviewing. On one occasion I opened a letter to find a piece of shit enclosed. I have always—though probably incorrectly—believed that it was a piece of aristocratic shit…

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