Sunday, September 9, 2012


... but he sometimes remembered having told one or another class that the writer Flaubert had claimed, or was reported as having claimed, that he could hear the rhythms of his still unwritten sentences for pages ahead. Whenever the man had told this to a class, he had hoped to cause his students to reflect on the power of the sentence over the mind of a certain sort of writer; but he, the man, had often supposed that the claim, or the reported claim, by Flaubert was much exaggerated.

  From 'The Boy's Name was David', by Gerald Murnane, in The Best Australian Stories 2002

I found this book in the Lismore City Library last week. I went there because I was in town and I was feeling anxious. It was an almost an overwhelming compulsion to go in there, and I gave in to it.   I like the way libraries make me feel. I do like the feel of books around me; books that might be borrowed rather than bought, the surprise of what I might find.  Things are relatively calm and ordered there, as well as familiar. One library is very much like another, I've found. I've taught a lot of writing classes in libraries. On the whole, I prefer to conduct a writing class in a library - even a school library - than in a classroom. And I've spent time in libraries waiting for librarians to take me somewhere - to my motel room, or to another town, or to an airport home. I've never minded waiting like that.

I think maybe I went in there so that I would discover this particular paragraph, which reminded me that I need to get the rhythm of my sentences going - otherwise it's like getting onto a bicycle and going too slowly - you tend to wobble and fall off. 

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