Olga! Olga!


Inside and out, to oneself and to others, narrating every situation, naming every state; search for words, try them on, that shoe that will magically transform Cinderella into a princess. Move words around like the chips you place on numbers in roulette. Perhaps this will be the time? Perhaps we’ll win this one?

Speak, grab people’s sleeves, have them sit down across from us and listen. Then turn yourself into the listener for their ‘speak, speak’. Hasn’t it been said that I speak, therefore I am? One speaks, therefore one is?

Use all possible means for this, metaphors, parables, wavers, unfinished sentences; don’t be put off by the sentence breaking off halfway through, as though past the verb where suddendly yawned an abyss.

Do not leave any unexplained, unnarrated situations, any closed doors: kick them down with a curse, even the ones that lead to embarassing and shameful hallways you would prefer to Forget. Don’t be ashamed of any fall, of any sin. The narrated sin will be forgiven. The narrated life, saved. Is it not this that Saints Sigismund, Charles and James have taught us? He who has not mastered the art of speaking shall remain forever caught in a trap.”

Olga Tokarczuk, Fligths (trans. Jennifer Croft ), Fitzcarraldo, 2017, pp. 183-184.