LONDON -- Czech President Vaclav Havel was a well known playwright and dissident before becoming the symbol of post-cold-war politics. In a new book he tries to exorcise the ghost of his 15 years as a public servant of a different type. And he ends up talking about what the daily grind did to his creative abilities.
For 15 years he wrote a speech every week...
Perhaps it's because of all this hard labour that I now find writing so difficult. I'm not the same person I was when I wrote my plays.
And it makes me think of all those people, from journalists, to speechwriters, to corporate writers, who get up every morning and work with words for the good of others. These are people who are forced to churn out ideas on paper to a schedule.
How wonderful it is, by comparison, to be a writer! You write something in a couple of weeks, and it's there for ages. What will remain when presidents and prime ministers are gone? Some references to them in textbooks, most likely inaccurate.
And I wonder when you will ever find students staying up late with candles and incense reading corporate memos aloud to each other.
Perhaps that's why I am painting the kitchen and writing this today when I have four work-related documents to write.
(The book is To the Castle and Back and it's published by Portobello Books.)