I stumbled upon some old essays this weekend, and came across one of the most intriguing craft quotes I’ve ever read, courtesy of George Orwell and his piece “Why I Write”:
“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”
Thus, I revisited my haggard copy of 1984 and dug up an Orwellian Literary Roadshow prompt below.
Here’s to the writing angels and demons,
PROMPT: The Ultimate Secret
In 500 words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring, write a story inspired by or containing the following (from Orwell’s 1984):
“Julia, are you awake?”
No answer. She was asleep. He shut the book, put it carefully on the floor, lay down, and pulled the coverlet over both of them.
He had still, he reflected, not learned the ultimate secret. He understood how; he did not understand why.