作家的学徒期|博尔赫斯

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作家的学徒期|博尔赫斯

诗人这行业,作家这行业,是很奇怪的。切斯特顿说:“只需要一样东西————一切。”

对作家来说,这个一切,不只是一个涵括性的字;它确确实实是一切。它代表主要的、基本的人类经验。

例如,一位作家需要孤独,而他得到他应有的那份孤独。他需要爱,而他得到那份被分享和不被分享的爱。他需要友情。事实上,他需要宇宙。成为一位作家,在某种意义上也是成为一个做白日梦的人——过一种双重生活。

我很早就出版了我的第一本书《布宜诺斯艾利斯的热情》。这不是一本赞美布宜诺斯艾利斯的诗集;而是试图表达我对我这个城市的感觉。我知道,我那时需要很多东西,因为,尽管我生活在一个有文学气氛的家庭——我父亲是个文人——但是,这还不够。我还需要点别的东西,而我终于在友情和文学谈话中找到它。

一所了不起的大学应提供给青年作家的东西,恰恰是:谈话、讨论、学会赞同,以及也许是最重要的——学会不赞同。如此,则有朝一日,这位青年作家也许会觉得他可以把他的感情变成诗了。当然,他开始时,应模仿他所喜爱的作家。作家正是这样通过失去自己而变成自己——这是双重生活的奇怪方式,既尽可能地生活在现实中,同时又生活在另一种现实中,那种他必须创造的现实,他的梦的现实。

这就是哥伦比亚大学艺术学院写作课程的基本目标。我是在代表哥大很多青年男女讲话,他们都努力想做作家,但还未发现他们自己的声音。

我最近在这里呆了两个星期,在学员作家面前讲演。我明白这些讲习班对他们意味着什么;我明白这些讲习班对于推动文学有多么重要。在我自己的国家青年人都没有这样的机会。

让我们想想这些仍然藉藉无名的诗人仍然藉藉无名的作家,他们应获得机会聚集在一起,互相扶持。我相信我们有责任帮助这些未来的施惠者,使他们最终发现自己,创造伟大的文学。

文学不只是咬文嚼字;重要的是那未说出的东西,或字里行间读到的东西。如果不是为了这种深刻的内在感觉,文学就会变得跟游戏差不多,而我们大家都知道,文学可以远远不只是游戏。

我们都有作为读者的种种快乐,但作家也有写作的快乐和任务。这不只是奇怪的经验,也是回味无穷的经验。我们都责无旁贷,应给青年作家提供聚集在一起的机会,赞同和不赞同的机会,以及最终掌握写作技巧的机会。

The New York Times
May 8, 1971

The Writer's Apprenticeship

Translated by
Norman Thomas di Giovanni

The poet's trade, the writer's trade, is a strange one. Chesterton said: “Only one thing is needful - everything.” To a writer this everything is more than an encompassing word; it is literal. It stands for the chief, for the essential, human experiences. For example, a writer needs loneliness, and he gets his share of it. He needs love, and he gets shared and also unshared love. He needs friendship. In fact, he needs the universe. To be a writer is, in a sense, to be a day-dreamer - to be living a kind of double life.

I published my first book, Fervor de Buenos Aires, way back in 1923. This book was not in praise of Buenos Aires; rather, I tried to express the way I felt about my city. I know that I then stood in need of many things, for though at home I lived in a literary atmosphere - my father was a man of letters - still, that was not enough. I needed something more, which I eventually found in friendships and in literary conversation.

What a great university should give a young writer is precisely that: conversation, discussion, the art of agreeing, and, what is perhaps most important, the art of disagreeing. Out of all this, the moment may come when the young writer feels he can make his emotions into poetry. He should begin, of course, by imitating the writers he likes. This is the way the writer becomes himself through losing himself - that strange way of double living, of living in reality as much as one can and at the same time of living in that other reality, the one he has to create, the reality of his dreams.

This is the essential aim of the writing program at Columbia University's School of the Arts. I am speaking in behalf of the many young men and women at Columbia who are striving to be writers, who have not yet discovered the sound of their own voices. I have recently spent two weeks here, lecturing before eager student writers. I can see what these workshops mean to them; I can see how important they are for the advancement of literature. In my own land, no such opportunities are given young people.

Let us think of the still nameless poets, still nameless writers, who should be brought together and kept together. I am sure it is our duty to help these future benefactors to attain that final discovery of themselves which makes for great literature. Literature is not a mere juggling of words; what matters is what is left unsaid, or what may be read between the lines. Were it not for this deep inner feeling, literature would be no more than a game, and we all know that it can be much more than that.

We all have the pleasures of the reader, but the writer has also the pleasure and the task of writing. This is not only a strange but a rewarding experience. We owe all young writers the opportunity of getting together, of agreeing or disagreeing, and finally of achieving the craft of writing.

lovedyueer

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