January 28, 2018
Sometimes I read something and recognize myself, or at least an echo of myself. That’s what I found in the words of Miguel de Unamuno. The first work of his I read is considered by many to be his most remarkable, Del sentimiento tragico de la vida (translation: The Tragic Sense of Life). Unamuno’s essay didn’t answer any questions or raise new ones, but it addressed an abiding sense I’d harbored since childhood.
I think I had aspired to be a writer since I learned to read, but in Unamuno my rationale for writing crystallized. Both writing and reading allowed me to be free of the philosophical and intellectual box to which my culture might otherwise have confined me.
A few years ago I ran into a distant relative who told me that when I was a child I never talked. This was probably true. But I did think. It took many years for me to feel confident enough to express myself in conversation. This reticence disappeared when I wrote. The more I wrote, the more fluent my expression became. Writing wasn’t as good as speech. It was better.
There’s a long list of authors who have entertained me and stretched my intellectual horizons. Each offers an example of how I should write and why I should write. It is certain I will fall short of the mark these writers set, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. I’ve told my family that when I stop writing, they should start worrying.
A. G. Moore