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« When I was silent… »
— Interview with Sulaiman Addonia
Sander Pleij
13 June 2022
published in Issue One

After writing he needs to heal. In the hours past midnight Sulaiman Addonia watches ballet and listens to classical music. It is a ritual.

« Writing is torturous », he says. « I basically suffer. » He needs the night.

« When you are damaged », he says, « you come out of your work completely reassembled. »

At night he sews the fragments of his personality back into that of a father, a husband, friend. While writing he’d been stripped. One writes naked.

Stop! I am doing what they all do: presenting writer Sulaiman Addonia as one-who-has-suffered, because he grew up as a refugee. The problem is, in part, a problem of genre. Suffering has become an interviewer’s crutch: it becomes the driving engine we interpolate into the interviewee’s work, the thing that somehow explains a piece of culture. But the strategy backfires, veering into sentiment or cynical marketing, when it becomes a template. Addonia, in any case, doesn’t write because he suffered, nor does writing deliver, properly speaking, a catharsis. Writing is its own travail.

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