INTERVIEWER
In 1912, you were in New York.  
CENDRARS
In 1912, at Easter, I was starving in New York, and had been for a number of months. From time to time I took a job, by force of necessity, but I didn’t keep it a week and if I could manage to get my pay sooner than that I quit sooner, impatient to get on with my sessions of reading at the central public library. My poverty was extreme and every day I looked worse: unshaven, trousers in corkscrews, shoes worn out, hair long, coat stained and faded and without buttons, no hat or tie, having sold them one day for a penny in order to buy a plug of the world’s worst chewing tobacco. Time passed. Came Easter. Easter Sunday the library was closed. In the evening I entered a Presbyterian church which was giving an oratorio, Haydn’s Creation, so said a lighted sign hung to the spire. In the church there was a scattered audience and, on a stage, fashionable young girls who played ancient instruments and sang divinely well. But a wretched bishop interrupted the oratorio every five minutes to preach I-know-not-what pious sanctimony and make an appeal to the good hearts of the faithful and, when the oratorio continued, another croaker of a preacher as tiresome as the first entered the stall where I had taken a place, and tried to convert me by surreptitious exhortation, all the time thumping my money pocket in an effort to draw out a dollar or two for expenses, shaking his leather money plate under my nose. Poor me! I left before the end and walked home to West Sixty-seventh Street where I was living, absolutely disgusted and dead beat. It could have been two or three o’clock in the morning. I gnawed a hunk of dry bread and drank a big glass of water. I went to bed. I went immediately to sleep. I woke up with a start. I began to write, to write. I went back to sleep. I woke up the second time with a start. I wrote until dawn and I went back to bed and back to sleep for good. I woke up at five o’clock that evening. I reread the thing. I had written Les Pâques à New-York.  
INTERVIEWER
The whole thing?  
CENDRARS
As it was published. There were three erasures.  
From the Art of Fiction No. 38 with Blaise Cendrars.

INTERVIEWER

In 1912, you were in New York.  

CENDRARS

In 1912, at Easter, I was starving in New York, and had been for a number of months. From time to time I took a job, by force of necessity, but I didn’t keep it a week and if I could manage to get my pay sooner than that I quit sooner, impatient to get on with my sessions of reading at the central public library. My poverty was extreme and every day I looked worse: unshaven, trousers in corkscrews, shoes worn out, hair long, coat stained and faded and without buttons, no hat or tie, having sold them one day for a penny in order to buy a plug of the world’s worst chewing tobacco. Time passed. Came Easter. Easter Sunday the library was closed. In the evening I entered a Presbyterian church which was giving an oratorio, Haydn’s Creation, so said a lighted sign hung to the spire. In the church there was a scattered audience and, on a stage, fashionable young girls who played ancient instruments and sang divinely well. But a wretched bishop interrupted the oratorio every five minutes to preach I-know-not-what pious sanctimony and make an appeal to the good hearts of the faithful and, when the oratorio continued, another croaker of a preacher as tiresome as the first entered the stall where I had taken a place, and tried to convert me by surreptitious exhortation, all the time thumping my money pocket in an effort to draw out a dollar or two for expenses, shaking his leather money plate under my nose. Poor me! I left before the end and walked home to West Sixty-seventh Street where I was living, absolutely disgusted and dead beat. It could have been two or three o’clock in the morning. I gnawed a hunk of dry bread and drank a big glass of water. I went to bed. I went immediately to sleep. I woke up with a start. I began to write, to write. I went back to sleep. I woke up the second time with a start. I wrote until dawn and I went back to bed and back to sleep for good. I woke up at five o’clock that evening. I reread the thing. I had written Les Pâques à New-York.  

INTERVIEWER

The whole thing?  

CENDRARS

As it was published. There were three erasures.  

From the Art of Fiction No. 38 with Blaise Cendrars.

  1. odefrathings reblogged this from lynnehoppe
  2. literary-enthusiasts reblogged this from theparisreview
  3. facelessinblack reblogged this from theparisreview
  4. radicalpostbacc reblogged this from theparisreview
  5. gnawingbones reblogged this from theoryofwar
  6. walkinghollandroad reblogged this from theparisreview
  7. thelostribeofzion reblogged this from theparisreview
  8. djflizzyflamesnotes reblogged this from theparisreview
  9. gilbert-desmee reblogged this from sirobtep
  10. sirobtep reblogged this from lynnehoppe
  11. thecap reblogged this from theparisreview
  12. lynnehoppe reblogged this from theparisreview