11/6/09

Wise Women Friday: Madame de Stael

Madame de StaëlImage via Wikipedia

Words of wisdom from French writer Madame de Stael (1766-1817):

One must choose in life between
boredom and torment.

Hardly a day goes by when I don't contemplate unplugging my computer and never writing again. Why write? Why? It's masochistic. You doubt your talent. You doubt your words. You doubt that anyone cares, and you think that nothing you write matters. You know for sure no one will ever pay you a penny for your darling sentences and your precious paragraphs. You go to bed saying, "That's it. I'm done. From now on I will train to be an ironman, or I will learn French, or I will feed the poor -- I will spend my time doing noble, intrinsically-oriented deeds." Then you wake up the next morning twitching like a junkie for your cold, smooth keyboard.

It is a torment to want to write. Better your children long to be engineers. But without writing, what's left? Your poor imagination, bored beyond repair, will trick you into believing that you have every disease profiled in "House." It will convince you that delayed spouses are lying mangled in their cars and that your creaking house is filled with ghosts. You will likely go insane, driven mad by the boredom of mundane complaints and too real problems that cannot be tied up into neat life lessons.

You can be bored or you can be tormented. You will suffer either way. But if you choose torment, at least you can edit the script.

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23 comments:

Desiree said...

Mme de Stael is SO clever she neatly sidesteps entertainment. Happily, your readers are never bored or tormented, simply happily entertained.
Courage!

... daisy... said...

Oh... I've got something to say..
First: don't doubt your talent. Well you know better than me in your heart that you are a brilliant writer. Every post I've been reading since I bumped into this blog was awesome. And inspiring.
Secondly: I AGREE. Maybe writing is a torment, but boredom? seriously boredom is like dying... it's like waking up every morning and drag you through life with no purpose at all... No no! Better torment, because like every strong feeling it makes you feel alive!!!
Don't you think?
Although torment (like everything else) if it's too much can be lethal... but then so can be boredom! A good balance? (I am no balance fan as I have not being able to find balance in my life and feelings yet) :-DDD
This like all other posts is a work of art!
Believe me... I got addicted to your pieces!
I should be over the gloomy phase so next I'll post something cheerful! :-)
PS: thanks for your comment! I only wished it was easier to come to USA or go abroad... this crisis is not helping much! And I hate bothering my relatives... ;-)

... daisy... said...

wow... this was long... sorry! :-/

altadenahiker said...

Don't tally the poultry until it has pecked all the way through the protective candy shell. We believe in you.

Brenda's Arizona said...

Writing releases the boredom I bury my brain in. I mean, I think all the stories and thoughts, but unless I write them down, they are just boring. Thank you for this great post! I hate being bored, and your posts are never boring (nor do they seem tormentedly written).

Lynne said...

I disagree with Madame de Stael, boredom is torment! If you are driven to do anything creative then it is your purpose and your obligation. It's a joy when you're creating, it's only torment when you start to worry about what everyone else thinks about it. You are definately a gifted writer and, believe it!

Susan C said...

Wise Woman Paula once said that we write for one reason only: We need to. We need to financially or we need to because our souls demand it or both.

Whatever, please keep writing because I need to read your wise and witty words.

Shell Sherree said...

I've been bored and I've been tormented. Believe me, tormented is better.

Thank heavens that cold, smooth keyboard keeps luring you every morning, Margaret, that's all I can say.

Petrea said...

Margaret, I'll bet I'm not the only one of your readers who often feels you've somehow gotten into my brain and written something just for me.

I don't think it's a torment to want to write, as long as I get to write. I agree with Lynne and I think she put it extremely well: "It's a joy when you're creating, it's only torment when you start to worry about what everyone else thinks about it."

It's after I write that I'm tormented. I'm in a constant battle with all the other judges in my imagination.

You don't know how long it took me just to edit this comment.

Italo said...

Yes, it's a torment to want to write.

gaelikaa said...

I do agree!

MelRoXx said...

Awesome... I so agree with what Desiree has to say...

PaperTurtle said...

I agree with what Petrea wrote; it's like you have the inside scoop on what's going on inside my head every time I read your posts! I feel validated whenever I visit your blog so don't you dare even think about leaving your keyboard. Although, I know you won't -- like me you'll always choose torment over boredom!

Joanne said...

Oh bring on the torment. Don't you love it? It's so true about that idle imagination driving us stir crazy. No thanks, I'll take the torment any day!

Laurie said...

I remember when I was toying with the idea of giving up writing. I wrote about it in my journal... every day... for about a year...

Needless to say, I totally feel you here, Margaret. And that stuff about the paranoia that creeps in when you don't spend your imagination elsewhere? Good grief, YES!

Poconoangel said...

You have a gift. Use it or lose it! And don't doubt it-- we care, we care!! Bless you dear!!

Margaret said...

Well, you are all very nice. Thank you to those who offered words of encouragement, and thank you to those who shared their own battles with writing. It's always nice to know you're not alone.

Shanna said...

Well said, Margaret.

I'm glad you people write so that I have something to read every day when I get up.

Daisy said...

I agree with Lynne totally. To be able to create, to write, puts even boredom to good use....since it gives something to write about! And it is fun! :-)

Petrea said...

Poconoangel's right, you have a gift. Thanks for giving it.

kanmuri said...

Amen!

baffled human said...

Petrea said it... sometimes it's like you're in our heads.
Yesterday I was dredging myself through the self doubt, the futility, etc. etc. etc. Today I just said "shutup" to my brain and wrote.
Your being a "real" writer (I know we're all real, but somebody has actually paid you for it) and, wishing you no misery, reading you admint that you too get the neh sayer heebie jeebies just made me feel a whole lot better.
I enjoy your writing immensely and am grateful you share what is in your head. Like Mary C. Carpenter once adroitly put it - "sometimes your the windshield, sometimes your the bug". Cheers to making it through and coming out of funks.

pasadenaadjacent.com said...

If you've made it to your 40's, and haven't quit along the way, then you wont turn back.

I have a theory on this; after you graduate if you can persevere through the ego crushing loneliness, lack of support and criticism (remember, at this point you have no successes in which to defend yourself with) then it's a done deal. No turning back, you know who you are. Your just having a hiccup.