how he writes


Goats wandering across the sands. Automobiles stuck in the salt flats for weeks on end. Camels pulling carts. Eagles soaring hundreds of feet overhead, ready to light on the telegraph poles, the only place to land in the desert. Out there they’re building the Turksib railroad. Hard work, necessary work. Out there it’s so hot the Kirghiz go dressed in felt boots, felt trousers, and felt caps. Where they’re not called Kirghiz, they’re called Kazakhs. Building a railroad is hard work. There isn’t much water. Bread has to be brought in. There has to be bread. Bread has to be stored somewhere. So many workers, all of them needing a roof over their heads. But they built it anyway. Good books come when we are forced to overcome our subject matter, when we are stalwart. This is also known as inspiration.

more (from a piece originally published in 1930) from Viktor Shklovsky at Context here.