Magical Realism, Writing, Fiction, Politics, Haiku, Books

domingo, junio 06, 2010

The Buried Current

...on the way to another city, I see broad white highways. They are frozen rivers. On those still river beds the silhouetted figure of a fisherman absorbed in himself appears, from time to time, like a fly on a glossy tablecloth. The fisherman halts at that long frozen sheet, picks out a spot, and drills the ice until he has an opening through which the buried current can be seen. He can't catch anything right away because the fish have fled, frightened by the iron that made the hole. Then the fisherman sprinkles a little food to lure the runaways back. He drops his hook and waits. He waits for hours on end in that hellish cold.

The work of writers, I say, has much in common with the work of these Arctic fishermen. The writer has to look for the river, and if he finds it frozen over, he has to drill a hole in the ice. He must have a good deal of patience, weather the cold and the adverse criticism, stand up to ridicule, look for the deep water, cast the proper hook, and after all that work, he pulls out a tiny little fish. So he must fish again, facing the cold, the water, the critic, eventually landing a bigger fish, and another and another.

--Pablo Neruda, Memoirs