September 26, 2020: Maybe I should start reading less

In the morning, I read the last pages of Nietzsche’s The Use and Abuse of History — now the 32nd book I read in 2020. I was happy at first, but, when I entered Goodreads to add it, I saw that I was three books behind schedule to hit my target of 48 books in 2020.

I went to the pile of unread books I have in my bedroom to choose the next book, but I got a little depressed.

One can never read enough. There is always more to read. It’s impossible to become Faustus.

And why am I reading? Why am I trying so hard to consume as many books as possible? Who am I racing or competing with? There are few people I know who read more than I do anyway. So what am I trying to achieve here?

Maybe I should slow down, read less but more carefully, write more… Think more, live more…

To acquire knowledge has been my only goal in life so far. I always wanted to know everything about everything, which is kind of — childish.

What is knowledge good for? (Foucault would say, “for cutting.”) Moreover, what am I good for?

Who do I want to be?

March 9, 2020: Unnecessary Notes after Reading “White Nights” by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Last night, I reread Dostoevsky’s “White Nights.” Then I had dinner, and then some tea. I thought about the story, whether or not I should write a review about it… but I worked on a poem instead.

“White Nights” is one of Dostoevsky’s best short stories, along with “Bobok” and “The Dream of a Ridiculous Man.” It tells the story of a lonely man — a dreamer — who falls in love with a poor girl called Nastenka.

It has a good plot; the ending is brilliant. But what I like best is the part where the narrator describes what it means to be a ‘dreamer.’ I can relate to that.

***

The most beautiful part is right before the narrator begins talking about himself:

“[…] Come, make haste—begin—tell me your whole history.”

“My history!” I cried in alarm. “My history! But who has told you I have a history? I have no history….”

“Then how have you lived, if you have no history?” she interrupted, laughing.

“Absolutely without any history! I have lived, as they say, keeping myself to myself, that is, utterly alone—alone, entirely alone. Do you know what it means to be alone?”

(A dreamer may have stories to tell, but what he doesn’t have is history.)

(And a lazy person like me may have a lot of ideas, but what he doesn’t have is the will to write them down.)

I will end this journal entry here.

February 16, 2020: When will I be done with this love story?

I’ve been working on a love story since December, and I still need at least two weeks to finish it. I hope I complete it before March. It’s a short story, and it doesn’t exceed 7,000 words, so it should be doable even though I’ve been having a hard time developing it.

I reread the latest draft today — 11 pages, so far. The structure and the plot are there, but it still needs a lot of work. The sentences don’t flow the way I want them to, there’s something off with the tempo, and I need to add some descriptions here and there.

Everything needs time, and, I must admit, some stories are harder to write than others. This one is one example. The words don’t come, and I have to force them out. Maybe because it’s a love story. I don’t know.

I wanted to write a few pages tonight, but I’m feeling kind of lazy. I don’t think I’ll work on the story.