I’ve been dipping back into The Gay Science today which alongside Ecce Homo was my gateway into Nietzsche in my mid-20s. Whenever I’ve returned to them I’ve found new passages which resonate, as with this account (pg 90) of why writing for Nietzsche was a necessity:
But then why do you write? – A: I am not one of those who think with a wet quill in hand; much less one of those who abandon themselves to their passions right before the open inkwell, sitting on their chair and staring at the paper. I am annoyed or ashamed by all writing; to me, writing is nature’s call – to speak of it even in simile is repugnant to me. B: But why, then, do you write? A: Well, my friend, I say this in confidence: until now I have found no other means of getting rid of my thoughts B: And why do you want to get rid of them? A: Why do I want to? Do I want to? I have to B: Enough! Enough!
This spoke to the strange nature of my current life situation in which the sense of everything being in motion has come hand-in-hand with a newfound imperative to get rid of the (fully articulated but theretofore unpublished) thoughts which have been cluttering my psyche over the last decade. There’s something lurking beneath the surface here connected to knowing how to end:
Knowing how to end. – Masters of the first rank are recognized by the fact that in matters great and small they know how to find an end perfectly, be it the end of a melody or a thought; of a tragedy’s fifth act or an act of state. The best of the second rank always get restless toward the end, and do not fall into the sea with such proud and calm balance as do, for example, the mountains at Portofino – where the bay of Genoa finishes its melody.