Your Friday Writing Challenge: Thomas Mann and blankets

The Incompetent Writer

Hi everyone,

I’ve been saving this challenge up: it’s a tricky one. When I set myself this writing exercise, I had to force myself just to write anything at all. I kept feeling like a terrible writer. But maybe you will find it easier than me.

This is from The Magic Mountain. It’s early in the book, and the protagonist, Hans Castorp, is still learning the customs of this remote Alpine sanatorium. He has been there long enough to feel accustomed to their routines, but not long enough to quite know why those routines occur.

One daily practice, for many members of the sanatorium — oh, I shouldn’t post this! It’s going to be too difficult! — is to wrap themselves in two layers of blankets so they can lie outside, on their balcony, in the dark of the evening, staying perfectly still but remaining warm. It’s part of their required…

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