Saturday, 9 July [1960]

Empty happiness. I spent the day reading poems. Trying to learn the technique, in a miserly and premeditated manner. Sometimes it makes me nostalgic to think of children, for whom every action is play. For me, to read poems is work, a great effort. To manage to focus my attention on other people’s words and feelings is a battle against myself. I made two poems. And yesterday another two. I think I won’t ever be able to make a novel, because I’ve nothing to tell in many pages, and even if I had something to tell, but no, I’ve nothing to tell.

And another thing: my greatest happiness or well-being happens on a day like today: alone, reading and writing. Everything else, even the fact of going to the cinema, and worse, seeing people, is a painful effort. I think I need to have psychoanalysis because without doubt I’m hiding myself. It’s not possible for a human being to be happy if turned into a machine for making and reading poems. Apart from this today was a long silence, in which I didn’t even hear myself, I was so quiet, so self-engrossed, so diligent, like a delightful little animal. Only two or three fears burst into me but soon went away. I think no one, but myself, has so little talent for life. Such little calling. Here in Paris I’ve had the experience of tedium, one of the most terrible that exists. It’s like a tap letting one drop fall after another. I the tap and I the drop.

Now I see that what I like about studying at university is that it forces one to spend many days like today: seclusion and books; coffee and cigarettes. If I weren’t a stammerer, if I were not.  Damn it, I would now be studying, and there’d be nothing else. Instead here I must go out and look around because that’s what I’ve come for. I have to see streets and paintings and people. And I’ve no desire to see. I want to be locked up in a room, whatever country I’m in. But I want to go home, to my little room, I want to read and write. It’s been proven that my enthusiasm for Miller’s books was nothing more than the attraction of opposites. There’s nothing of Miller in me: I’m not interested in human or divine adventures, nothing appeals to me, either from here or there. And the truth is reading and writing don’t appeal to me either, but I’ve grown used to it, I’ve already mapped the way ahead and there’s nothing else to do but follow it. That’s it. To continue exploring the technique. What’s essential is form. The rest is silence. In my case, always, always in my case.


To read the entire selection from Alejandra Pizarnik's diary, purchase your copy of Music & Literature no. 6. . .