Guido Parisi

Guido Parisi

My dear author, I can see you stuck with a laptop on your knees staring at an indefinite point on the screen or beyond it. Your mind is filled with the many characters to whom you are trying to give a face and a personality.  None of them stops in front of you. They appear, and then vanish in a flash. The many stories in your head, or possible scenarios, overlap randomly. None of them can make you move your fingers on the keyboard. Time passes inexorably and nothing happens. The market is flooded with thousands of new books every passing day.  Once again you read what types of books publishers want, and more and more you notice that they are interested not so much in what you write but in how you will place your product on the market. Your attention automatically shifts to the bookshops you know well, to social media, to friends and relatives, to any means available to you to commercialise your book in order to make the publisher, not yourself, happy! You are stressed. The mechanisms of globalisation are merciless; they leave little room for what you actually desire to write. So, what purpose do all the reading and creative writing courses serve? You believed in your talent. Now you are no longer certain that it was talent. You are unable to go ahead. You experience a mental block. You are about to give up writing!... Well, dear author, let me suggest something to you based on my experience.

1)      Shut down your laptop, relax for a while, then go over to your bookshelf and take a book. Look at it carefully, open it and browse through it, touch it gently and caress it. Have you ever thought that the objects that are part of our daily lives have their own life, their own sensitivity, their own soul? And that they look at us, listen to us and expect us to talk to them?

2)       With humility and patience, try to engage in a conversation with this apparently inanimate being and you will be surprised by what ensues. It will tell you that not so long ago writers and readers had a different relationship with the book. Physical contact was more meaningful because it was made of paper. There was an interaction between writers, readers and books that today is almost non-existent.

3)      As you would a friend, confide in it the difficulties that imprison you in this stagnation.

4)      It will ask you why you want to write: whether it is to obey the principle of art for art’s sake, or because you are convinced that you possess a good idea, or for money, or just for vanity.  Reflect on what it tells you.

5)      Concentrate before replying: perhaps even you do not know what you want. You will understand that it, the book, as a being gifted with a soul will not allow itself to be written according to your will but according to its own will and it is not the type to offer success to pseudo-writers who want to exploit it.