On Mon­day, David Alba­hari explained the motive behind the mad­ness of one-para­graph nov­els. He will be blog­ging all week for the Vis­it­ing Scribe.

I think it was Saul Bel­low who once said that writ­ers do not have tasks or duties – they only have their inspi­ra­tion and that’s the only voice they should lis­ten to. We can dis­cuss where that voice is com­ing from – from our mind or our heart or that mys­te­ri­ous enti­ty called the human soul – but we can­not change the fact that writ­ers are the scribes who try to write down every­thing the voice of inspi­ra­tion tells them. So writ­ers do not write in order to say some­thing to some­body; they write in order to hear and write down what that voice has to tell us. I am not try­ing to say that writ­ing is an alto­geth­er mys­te­ri­ous, secret thing but some part of writ­ing def­i­nite­ly is. The oth­er part, writ­ten because we were told to write it, def­i­nite­ly is not. Most of it should be clas­si­fied as pro­pa­gan­da – pro­mo­tion of dif­fer­ent lit­er­ary, ide­o­log­i­cal, polit­i­cal, psy­cho­log­i­cal, cul­tur­al ideas. There have always been writ­ers who open­ly believed in a polit­i­cal sys­tem or a par­ty, and in many cas­es read­ers and oth­er writ­ers have refused to deal with them. I am not say­ing that writ­ers should not get involved in a polit­i­cal strug­gle but they should do it not as writ­ers but as human beings. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, once they are seen as human beings many writ­ers turn out to be not very inter­est­ing crea­tures. In fact, they become like every­body else. Only a very small num­ber of writ­ers are real­ly out­stand­ing beings who tru­ly under­stand the beau­ty and hor­ror of our world.

David Alba­hari is the author of the new nov­el Leech­es. 

David Alba­hari is the Ser­bian-born Cana­di­an author, most recent­ly, of the nov­el Leech­es.The book is a feat of mag­ic, an exis­ten­tial philo­soph­i­cal nov­el that’s also fun­ny and with enough mys­ter­ies to keep the read­er guess­ing. It’s also one long para­graph — that’s right, a 300-page-long para­graph.

One-Para­graph Nov­els

The Voice

Jew­ish Writer