Z for short

"To write more, write more." This is my writing notepad.

Street walks

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Writing prompt: Describe the best road trip you’ve ever taken.

This post is about street walks, not road trips. Not primarily my street walks, but the ones described by Knut Hamsun in his novel Hunger (1890). It’s a psychological novel where he describes the painful birth of a writer.

The narrator in the novel is an unnamed man wandering the streets of Kristiania (former name of Oslo), a struggling writer trying to keep his dignity and sanity – and his pencil stubs. His hunger is both physical and mental. Occasionally, he earns a little money by selling an article to a newspaper. In the book, he relates his experiences from his walks and from his encounters with people. He ends up signing on a ship and leaving the city.

The novel is also somewhat autobiographical. What a moment it must have been for the author himself, Hamsun, to put on paper that famous first line that sums up the struggle and the hunger of an ambitious writer: “It was in those days when I wandered about hungry in Kristiania, that strange city which no one leaves before it has set its marks upon him.

I recently read Hunger again and I can relate to the drive inside the anonymous writer, but for him there was no compromise and he wouldn’t take other jobs. He was craving for writing – and recognition, I guess.

I don’t feel the hunger to walk the streets of Oslo or any other city to hatch my three short stories, but I would have liked to spend 24 hours out in the streets of a big city, just to observe the city as it wakes to life, gets busy and fills up with people and cars, slows down, goes to sleep and wakes up again. Then I would grab a cup of coffee and Danish and go home.

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Written by Solveig Hansen

February 21, 2011 at 2:49 pm

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