Caging Swallows

‘The chances of seeing an idea through to completion are inversely proportional to the time you’ve spent talking about it beforehand… if you’ve already extracted all the pleasure from the potential joys of a project before you’ve begun it, there remain, by the time you get down to it, only the miseries of the act of creation, its burdens, its labours.’ (Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Television)

‘The best ideas never get to the page. They are too good for the page. Don’t try and cage a swallow: let it fly free! The beauty of its flight will fade, of course, but at least the damn bird got a chance to spread its wings. The page merely petrifies an idea: it sends the swift board of thought, which once cut through waves, down through the water to the muddy ocean floor. We kill things when we capture them. Cameras, recording devices, notebooks and novels. This must stop. Accept the loss: this is life. Accept the loss and you may even learn to enjoy it’. (Johannes Speyer, in conversation).

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