I’m working on an essay about Idris, the maestro of Egyptian short-story writing. This passage, in particular, resonated with me:

“Renewal of writing is a natural, spontaneous and ingrained process which the author pursues unconsciously, because that is actually what art is. Writing is not a process of abandoning one mode and starting another; it’s an attempt to get at the real ‘me’…

“Put differently, my struggle with myself is the worst one I have; it’s a struggle with my own inner, animal self…I try to get close to this inner ‘me’ and write from the inside. Thus, I can say that development in writing does not come about one day through the dissemination of some specific (intellectual) school of thought, even though the experience of others can be useful to you because it shows you how other people view themselves.

“Development in writing will only occur as the consequence of this struggle with oneself, and of its receptivity to and desire for development.”

From Mawaqif 9 April-June 1970, by way of Roger Allen’s Critical Perspectives on Yusuf Idris.