The Human Infinity: Literature and Peace

Writers often talk of the torments of writing, of “the fear of the blank page,” of nights waking in a cold sweat because suddenly they see the weaknesses, the vulnerabilities, of the story that they have been writing, sometimes for years. This distress is certainly real, but I insist also upon the pleasures of creation, of inventing an entire fictional world out of thousands of facts and details. There is a particular kind of wonder that I feel when a character I have invented begins to overtake me, to run ahead and pull me forward: suddenly this imagined character knows more than I do about its own fate, its own future, and also about other characters in the story, and I must learn to follow, to catch up. In a way that I do not fully understand, my invented person infuses me with the materials of life, with ideas, with

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