—I recall that I began writing the book with a hopeless flutter of words, with all sorts of mindless sketchings and scribblings. —I never dreamed I might be capable of completing something serious, beautiful, and good. —Better ideas and, along with them, the courage to create arrived only gradually, but also all the more mysteriously, rising out of chasms of self-contempt and flippant disbelief. —It was like the morning sun rising up in the sky. Evening and morning, past and future and the so delightful present seemed to lie at my feet; before me the countryside quickened with life, and I felt as though I could grasp human activity, all of human life in my hands, that’s how vividly I saw it.
Robert Walser, “The Tanners" (translated by Susan Bernofsky), from the forthcoming Berlin Stories, on sale January 24, 2012. In “The Tanners,” Walser describes writing The Tanners, his first published novel.