The Writing Life, from Sonallah Ibrahim

Ibrahim’s referring to Al-Talasus, out soon as Stealth from Aflame Books. And my God it’s good.

A review of the original here.

“I don’t expect anything in return for completing the book, in the sense that I’ve done it and that’s over. I was telling you I completely forgot it — people actually remind me of some of its details. It’s over. But all the time while I was writing it I was living, I was alive. Thinking, trying things out, writing and rewriting; some passages, especially those printed in bold, were rewritten dozens of times. At the end when you’re done, there is a moment of fulfillment. When I am idle I tend to be miserable, but while I’m busy writing I feel alive — that there is some kind of justification for my existence. Because life is depressing, as you can see it is horrible. The only thing that helps you endure it — otherwise you could kill yourself — is writing. It is a personal necessity. Because I do not gamble, I drink but I’m not a drunk, I don’t smoke drugs. Several years ago, maybe, I would still have had it in me to go chasing after a woman. Now the thought of going down those seven flights of stairs is enough to put me off. I don’t enjoy socialising, I don’t enjoy food. There is nothing in life that I enjoy that much, so much so that writing is the only refuge.”

Amen and hallelujah.

The quote is from Al Ahram Weekly and Youssef Rakha. Read the rest of the interview.