Karl Ove Knausgaard: Inadvertent

In this Why I Write series, Knausgaard shares his personal stories. I love the quote he heard from another writer, “I write because I am going to die.” I also love this passage:

The discrepancy between the reality I lived in and the literature I was writing at a certain point led me to throw in my cards and try something new. I wanted to get close to reality, and the genre with which I felt the greatest affinity at the time was the diary. What would happen if I combined the diary’s closeness to the self and urge for reflection with the realist step-by-step novel? The rules I set myself now were exceptionally simple. I would write only about things that had actually happened, and I would write about them as I remembered them, without doing research or amending my memory to conform to other versions. I also had to write a certain number of pages every day, first five, later ten, and toward the end up to twenty. In that way I simply wouldn’t have time to think, to plan or to calculate, I would have to go with whatever appeared on the screen in front of me. This method came about because I had set out to write about myself, and since we know more about ourselves than about any other subject, it seemed important to avoid the established versions and to seek instead the complexity that lies beneath our self-insight and self-image and which can be accessed only by not thinking about how our thoughts and feelings will seem to others, how it will look, who I am if I think and feel these things.

I read this long essay in one sitting.