13 June 2005


Along with Yeats and Dorothy Sayers, today is the birthday of Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa. To read The Book of Disquiet is to go on a strangely liberating journey...
I'm astounded whenever I finish something. Astounded and distressed. My perfectionist instinct should inhibit me from finishing; it should inhibit me from even beginning. But I get distracted and start doing something. What I achieve is not the product of an act of my will but of my will's surrender. I begin because I don't have the strength to think; I finish because I don't have the courage to quit. This book is my cowardice.
It's not love but love's outskirts that are worth knowing...

The repression of love sheds much more light on its nature than does the actual experience of it. Virginity can be a key to profound understanding. Action has its rewards but brings confusion. To possess is to be possessed, and therefore to lose oneself. Only the idea can fathom reality without getting ruined.
And ultimately,
To feel today what one felt yesterday isn't to feel - it's to remember today what was felt yesterday, to be today's living corpse of what yesterday was lived and lost.
If you're unfamiliar with his work, Pessoa's Trunk seems like a good place to start. And if you're ever in Lisbon...Casa Fernando Pessoa .

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