In 1981 writer Carlos Fuentes said in a Paris Review interview;
When your life is half over, I think you have to see the face of death in order to start writing seriously. There are people who see the end quickly, like Rimbaud. When you start seeing it, you feel you have to rescue these things. Death is the great Maecenas, Death is the great angel of writing. You must write because you are not going to live any more.
Fuentes died last Tuesday. He was 83 years old and wrote right up til the very end. In his lifetime he published over 50 books including, ‘Where the Air is Clear’, ‘The Death of Artemio Cruz’ and ‘Terra Nostra’. He was one of Latin America’s leading voices of the past half century and Mexico’s most renowned novelist. Although he had a deep attachement to Mexico he spent much of his life abroad all of which he believed helped him as a writer:
I am grateful for my sense of detachment because I can say things about my country other people don’t say. I offer Mexicans a mirror in which they can see how they look, how they talk, how they act, in a country which is a masked country. Of course, I realize that my writings are my masks as well, verbal masks I offer my country as mirrors. Mexico is defined in the legend of Quetzalcoatl, the Plumed Serpent, the god who creates man and is destroyed by a demon who offers him a mirror. The demon shows him he has a face when he thought he had no face. This is the essense of Mexico: to discover you have a face when you thought you only had a mask.
If you don’t know much about this great writer check out the two videos above. The first is in Spanish with English subtitles and the second is an American interview. Both were recorded last year.
To finish; in 1981 when the Paris Review interviewer asked Fuentes what made him want to begin writing, he said:
That wonderful thing Hamlet says about ‘a fiction, a dream of passion.’ My fiction is a dream of passion, born of a cry that says ‘I am incomplete.’ I want to be complete, to be enclosed. I want to add something.
Via Open Culture
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