On the radio in the car yesterday, I caught part of an interview with Sebastian Horsley, whom I'd never heard of, but I see (from the Wikipedia entry) is quite the dandy, child of wealth, rake & attention-getter.

Anyway, he was going on in a sort of exaggerated manner, praising famous writers while simultaneously pouring contempt on poetry, bookishness, the unlived life, etc. One of his heros is Byron - not Byron the writer, but Byron the bohemian bon vivant. He insisted that the real writers are bold high-livers, risk-takers, unconventional taboo-breakers, artists of living, people who thrive on rich, rare, edgy and exciting personal experiences, which is the only source of good writing.

Maybe he's a character in a Borges story.

It occurred to me that this person does not really understand the psychology of reading, and its relation to writing. For serious readers, the adventure began in childhood - when books were not a substitute for living, but an integral part - its light, its flavor, its feeling.

Later on, things change : the silence of books and libraries really do pose a sort of counter-world to the noise of the everyday, the active, grown-up life. But the secret lure of the strange text remains, for some of us, the most interesting adventure.

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