Posts tagged Lars Iyer
Have you found it possible to make a living by writing the sort of thing you want to, without other work? Do you think there is a place in our current economic system and climate for literature as a profession?
Making a living by my writing? No! I have a job, and the writing I do is a sideline, a hobby. I use this belittling word on purpose. My literary endeavours bring in no more than pocket money… In some ways, I deserve to be mocked, not because I carry on writing literature without understand its posthumousness, but because I go on regardless of the very real material proof of its posthumousness!
There is something glorious about Kafka’s night-time writing in his room in his parents’ flat. Something wonderful about his obscurity, about the fact that he published so little when his friends published so much. We can read his diaries and letters and think: there’s a man of integrity! That’s what it means, really means, to be a writer! But our impression is dependent on Kafka’s eventual success, and on a culture, his culture, where there was a potential audience for his work all along.
There is, by contrast, something pathetic about my obscurity. The blog, Writers No One Reads, celebrates forgotten writers whose work is barely known in the English-speaking world. But I’m already a Writer No One Reads, whose work didn’t register sufficiently in general culture to be forgotten. I say this without self-pity, rather with a certain amusement. Nevertheless, it is pitiful in some strong sense. I really am wasting my time... Why bother?, I ask myself. But the challenge is to pose that question in the work itself.