viernes, 4 de mayo de 2007

Writings and translations IV: Poe and me

What I would like to do with my life in the future?

“I don’t like Mondays”. It is the most insistent line of song by the famous Boomtown Rats, the Bob Geldof band and one of the bands that was in fashion in the eighties. Although the lyrics of the song were about a subject I will not speak, about here I have to say that, if we take the meaning of the sentence literally, it can’t be applied to me; because for me Mondays are as good as any other day. Well, perhaps Monday is not quite as good a day as Saturday or Sunday, and, of course, it is a very much worse day than Friday, the best day of the week - or to be precise, Friday’s afternoon, which is the very, very best moment of the week.

For a lot of people, Mondays are ugly days. And it is mainly because they don’t like their jobs. But this has no sense for me, because I like my job. As I said in the last composition, I enjoy teaching maths in my school and being with young people. However, this doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t like to do something else as a job. Or, better to say, that I wouldn’t like another activity as the main way to spend the majority of the hours of every day of my life (because, why deny it? our jobs are, unfortunately, the main activity of our lives).

When I was a child I remember that I thought that, in due course, I would turn into a draughtsman; or perhaps into a painter; or perhaps, find myself into a kind of artist (I thought that with a little of luck I would find myself drawing the Mortadelo y Filemón comics, which, in those times, were my main and favourite reading). But earning a living with pencils wasn’t a prospect that made me too happy. I didn’t enjoy drawing, painting and sketching, although nearly all my teachers said to my mother that I was the best in the classroom.

In those times I was convinced that I was to become, although with resignation and regret, a great artist and an icon for the world’s future artists (and, especially, for the future readers of Mortadelo y Filemón comics).

But it happened that I read The fall of the house of Usher.

And it was when I read this Edgar Allan Poe tale that I wanted to become a writer. And not only a writer but a writer of ghastly and hair-raising tales, like the best of Poe’s tales. I read all of Poe’s tales and, after having read them, I immersed myself in the hideous world of H.P. Lovecraft and his very strange friends; in the magic world of Lord Dunsany; in the fantastic and nostalgic world of J.R.R. Tolkien. It was in those times that I knew the ancient and arcane beings that lived secretly in the mountains and forests of Algernoon Blackwood.

And then, the paintbrushes that my mother and nearly all my teachers had got ready for my future got lost in the past.

With the passing of time, I have made myself a friend, a very close friend, of Dante and his Inferno, not less terrible than the terrible world of Lovecraft; of Wilde and his famous motto “art for art’s sake”; of Kafka and the lonely and incomprehensible world in which his characters live; of Borges and his labyrinths of words and symbols. As time has passed I have filled my mind with characters that sometimes are more real than the people who really live around me.

I have The Fall of the House of Usher to thank for the world that has been creating itself in my mind ever since. For this reason, the main thing that I would like to do with my life is to be like Edgar Allan Poe. Or, even better than that, I would like to be Edgar Allan Poe.

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