TO BE A WRITER

What I have always considered the essence of literature is truth; the truth about life, human behaviour, human dramas and tragedies. In all these there is clearly visible the perennial conflict between "good" and "evil". There is constantly present injustice and violence, but at the same time there is ambiguity. The background is rather grey than black-and-white. Human behaviours are diverse and unpredictable. In other words: if we notice the difference between the words "say" and "tell", I have always felt closer to the literature which has more to tell than to say.

A prosaist, especially if he deals with realistic literature, must posses ethical sensibility. It does not mean stating categorically what is "good" and what is "bad" in our opinion. However, this differentiation should always remain clear for the reader. In my opinion it is unthinkable to present "evil" for the mere satisfaction of the accurate description. The fact that we always take part of the victims - weak and persecuted - and not the "tormentors" - strong and brutal - should be clearly discernible in the description of the situation.

Finding your own path, your own language and style, is necessary. I am certain that only originality, not even the most perfect mimicry, decides about the worth of our writing.

This is not the point to use the largest possible number of words to express the smallest meaning, but on the contrary: with the help of very sparingly used words express the most. In other words, the point is to tell the most, saying the least.

Another threat for writers is calculation. Some people subject their own writing to calculation. They take into account "the trend in the market", they write up to tastes of the readers, they consider how to write to "sell" their books abroad. This kind of calculation cuts off emotions and deadens sensibility. Sooner or later they become only good manufacturers, producing books treated as goods for sale.

K. Oro, "Some remarks on writing" (fragments). "Rzeczpospolita", 6 May 2000