Saturday, June 19, 2010

"Say to a blind man, you're free..."

I am one reluctant blogger.  When I initiated this blog, I promised myself I would "publish" (isn't the name of that button misleading?) only things that I felt must be said.  If that makes for infrequent posts, so be it.  And so, after a long hiatus, here I am, writing a sad note.  Yesterday, Saramago died. 

A few weeks ago, as I was preparing for vacation, I cruised amazon looking for a few book (read people) to take with me.  One of the books I purchased was Saramago's Notebook, recently translated in English.  Another one was my old friend Guillevic ( a bilingual edition that enchanted me, by Denise Levertov; Denise, wonderful work!).  The tragedy was that, in my hurry, I took Guillevic but forgot Saramago on the living room table - where he stoicly waited for my return... 

There are a  few books that refuse to go away to become, in my mind, that white noise that feeds our creativity.  Saramago's Blindness is one of them.  Here is an excerpt:

"Say to a blind man, you're free, open the door that was separating him from the world, Go, you are free, we tell him once more, and he does not go, he has remained motionless there in the middle of the road, he and the others, they are terrified, they do not know where to go, the fact is that there is no comparison between living in a rational labyrinth, which is, by definition, a mental asylum, and venturing forth, without a guiding hand or a dog leash, into the demented labyrinth of the city, where memory will serve no purpose, for it will merely be able to recall the images of places but not the paths whereby we might get there."