I’m reading this book that is affecting my way of looking at the world in a real way. It’s Hunger by Karl Hamsun. A struggling writer who is on the brink of starvation a lot of the time. The reader feels and experiences this first person narrative of a man who is half crazed sometimes from desperation. He goes to the park to write something for the local paper so he can get 5 kroner (Norwegian money) to pay for his rent and buy food, and then realize he has forgotten his pencil, and has to walk all the way back to get it, I started to think about my own past attempts at getting ahead as a writer. Things are of course much better now with the proliferation of publishing platforms like Addis Insight. People can guest blog, build an audience on their personal websites, or just really engage with their friends on Facebook or Twitter. One relatively new entrant on the online publishing scene is medium.com.
You can be up and running with a sleek professional site in minutes and you also plugin into a very rich network of bloggers including the founders of Twitter and Google C-level executives. As I read on and saw the stupendous amount of strife a writer encounters in the book Hunger I wondered about how some of us, even with the myriad online opportunities, still fail to have a ready audience and a regular income. Time management, self-discipline, startup money and finding a niche market are considerations that can lead to success and failure.
The eccentric character in Karl Hamsun’s book would almost literary give away the shirt on his back and show unseemly generosity to relative strangers. This lends greatly to the psychologic complexity of the book and is perhaps part of the reason it is such a major work of literature. Here is an examination of human beings beyond just the surface level. Does this man’s seemingly self-destructive generosity not also exist in each of us, keeping us from achieving the superficial writing goals that we set for ourselves?
By: Hiruy Fekre