Wednesday, May 28, 2008
lost letters 

"I gather you want to write a book. A book about what?"

"Very simple," Bibe answered."A novel. About the world as I see it."

"A novel?" asked Banaka disapprovingly.

Bibi corrected herself evasively: "It won't necessarily be a novel."

"Just think about what a novel is, " said Banaka. "About the multitude of different characters. Are you trying to make us believe that you know all about them? That you know what they look like, what they think, how they're dressed, the kind of family they come from? Admit it, you're not interested in any of that!"

"That's right," Bibi acknowledged. "I'm not."

"You know," said Banaka, "the novel is the fruit of a human illusion. The illusion of the power to understand others. But what do we know of one another?"

"Nothing," said Bibi.

"All anyone can do," said Banaka "is give a report on oneself. Anything else is an abuse of power. Anything else is a lie."

Bibi agreed enthusiastically: "That's true! That's absolutely true! I don't really want to write a novel! I didn't make myself clear. I want to do just what you said, write about myself. Give a report on my life. But I don't want to hide that my life is absolutely ordinary, normal, and that I've never experienced anything special."

Banaka smiled: "That's not important! Looked at from the outside, I've never experienced anything special either."

"Yes," cried Bibi, "that's right! Looked at from the outside, I haven't experienced anything. Looked at from the outside! But I have a feeling that my experience inside is worth writing about and could be interesting to everybody."

-An except from "The Book of Laughter and Forgetting" by Milan Kundera


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Female. Singaporean
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