Cárcel: lo mejor para la creatividad

A estas alturas, ya me odiarán o me amarán, así que no temo que recomendar un ensayo de The New York Times vaya a afectar a lo nuestro. Se titula Why Writers Belong Behind Bars, lo firma Tony Perrottet y se ha publicado hoy mismo. Está en inglés, de ahí que temo que me lloverán los insultos… Piensen de mí lo que quieran, que para indignada yo.

El texto de Perrottet me ha atrapado porque no he podido dejar de sentirme identificada con el fiel retrato que hace de la vida y forma de trabajar de los escritores y de los habituales problemas que acechan a quien teclea (me incluyo) para vivir: el miedo al folio en blanco, la inspiración, los bloqueos, la distracción y las interrupciones constantes… Aunque les he puesto enlace directo, me traigo los párrafos sobre este tema:

Literary distraction seems a very modern problem. These days, distracted writers tend to blame the Internet, whose constant temptations shred our attention spans, fragment every minute and reduce us to a permanent state of anxiety, checking e-mail every 30 seconds — “like masturbating monkeys,” a writer friend once put it, a phrase of which Sade himself might have approved. But history is filled with writers who, like the marquis, could function only in extreme — and involuntary — isolation.

Today, however, being chained to the desk, as the expression goes, is no longer a guarantee of productivity. Who can stick with the blank page when the click of a mouse opens up a cocktail party of chattering friends, a world-class library, an endless shopping mall, a game center, a music festival and even a multiplex? At once-remote literary colonies, writers can now be spotted wandering the fields with their smartphones, searching for reception so they can shoot off a quick Facebook update. These days, Walden Pond would have Wi-Fi, and Thoreau might spend his days watching cute wildlife videos on YouTube. And God knows what X-rated Web sites the Marquis de Sade would have unearthed.

It’s wonderful that writers can access medieval manuscripts, Swahili dictionaries and collections of 19th-­century daguerreotypes at any moment. But the downside is that it’s almost impossible to finish a sentence without interruption.

Más me ha gustado aún lo que he aprendido. Citas y referencias a autores que me interesan desde siempre, como El Marqués de Sade, Colette, Balzac, Oscar Wilde…, y de otros de quienes no había ni oído su nombre -si es que tampoco soy tan lista-, o de personajes como Napoleón, Marco Polo o Casanova, que han desarrollado su creatividad y han logrado un nivel óptimo de productividad literaria aislándose del mundanal ruido (por no decir estando en un manicomio, o entre rejas, o desterrados, o todas esas cosas de modo sucesivo) o, ya más recientemente, ¡capando el módem!

No tenía ni idea, por ejemplo, de la anécdota que explica acerca de que el primer marido de Colette, la encerraba cuatro horas cada día en una habitación pequeña y no le permitía salir hasta que hubiera escrito un número de páginas. Eso explica que publicara seis novelas en seis años… Lo he traducido, pero si no me creen, lean:

“A prison is indeed one of the best workshops,” Colette declared. She wasn’t speaking metaphorically. In the early 1900s, by her own account, her caddish first husband had stashed her in a tiny room for four hours a day, refusing to let her out until she had finished a requisite number of pages — a drastic measure, but one that resulted in a novel a year for six years. “What I chiefly learned was how to enjoy, between four walls, almost every secret flight,” she later recalled, sounding almost sentimental.

Copio la parte acerca de Sade, el aristócrata maldito, de quien he leído bastante y a quien he citado en varios artículos :

From a strictly literary point of view, prison was the best thing that ever happened to the marquis. It was only behind bars that Sade was able to knuckle down and compose the imaginative works upon which his enduring, if peculiar, reputation lies.

Sade’s most impressive stint began after 1784, when he was transferred to the Bastille, which effectively operated as a literary colony on a par with Yaddo today. From a suite decorated with his own furniture and 600-book library (and tended by his valet), the marquis entered a mind-boggling frenzy of writing, cranking out thousands of manuscript pages at breakneck speed. As Francine du Plessix Gray describes in her classic biography “At Home With the Marquis de Sade,” he completed the first draft of his pornographic novel “Justine” in a single two-week-long burst, and knocked out the final 250,000-word draft of “The 120 Days of Sodom” in 37 days, transcribing minuscule letters on five-inch-wide pages glued into a roll nearly 50 feet long. By 1788, after only 11 years behind bars, Sade had churned out 8 novels and story collections, 16 historical novellas, 2 volumes of essays, a diary and some 20 plays. Whatever you make of Sade’s oeuvre, you have to envy his productivity.

 

 

Buen fin de semana.