Winter Journal – Paul Auster’s memoir on aging

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I finished reading Paul Auster’s Winter Journal over the last week.

It’s a book on aging, a memoir where Auster looks back on the 64 years of his life. His earliest childhood memories — stemming from bits and pieces his mother put together, adolescence, youth and old age.

He writes endearingly about the two women who touched his life the most — his mum and how her death affected him, and his wife for more than 30 years who he calls the epitome of “enduring love”.

I remember being immensely touched by his earlier novels ‘The Invention of Solitude’ and ‘The Book of Illusions’ — and it was interesting to read about the process which went behind writing these masterpieces.

A few sentences that made music to me:

“In order to do what you do, you need to walk. Walking is what brings words to you, what allows you to hear the rhythms of the words as you write them in your head.

“One foot forward, and then the other foot forward, the double drumbeat of your heart. Two eyes, two ears, two arms, two legs, two feet. This, and then that. That, and then this.

“Writing begins in the body, it is the music of the body, and even if the words have meaning, can sometimes have meaning, the music of the words is where the meaning begins.

“You sit at your desk in order to write down the words, but in your head you are still walking, always walking, and what you hear is the rhythm of your heart, the beating of your heart.”

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