Eduardo Galeano: Why I Write

Source: The Progressive Magazine

(The great Latin American writer Eduardo Galeano, author of “The Open Veins of Latin America” and most recently “Children of the Days,” was in Madison, Wisconsin, on May 9, 2013, to accept an award for Lifetime Contribution to Critical Scholarship from the Havens Center for the Study of Social Structure and, Social Change at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on May 9, 2013. © 2013 by Eduardo Galeano. By permission of the Havens Center and Susan Bergholz Literary Services, New York City and Lamy, NM. All rights reserved. Permission is required for any use.)

I want to speak a little about how and why I became a writer.

* A confession to begin: Since I was a baby, I tried to be a soccer player. I still am number one. The best of the best, but only during dreamtime, while I sleep, and as soon as I wake up, I confirm that I have wooden legs, and I have no other chance than to try to be a writer.

* I tried and I go on trying, to say more with less, looking for words better than the wisest silence, naked words free of rhetorical clothes. Writing has been, and still is, quite difficult but frequently it gives me deep feelings and high pleasure, far away from solitude and oblivion.

* I tried, I try, to be skillful enough to learn how to fly in darkness. I tried, I try, to vomit the lies we’re obliged to swallow each day, and I tried, I try, to be disobedient, when the masters of the world give orders against my conscience and against common sense.

* I tried, I try, to assume that I cannot be neutral, and I cannot be objective because I don’t want to become an object, indifferent to human passions.

* I tried, I try, to denounce that old proverb which says that Man is the wolf of Man. It is a lie. Wolves never kill wolves, and we are the only animals specializing in mutual extermination.

* I tried, I try, to write finding women and men who have a will of justice and a will of beauty, and they are my compatriots and my contemporaries, no matter where they were born or when they lived, beyond the borders of time.

* I tried, I try, to be stubborn enough to go on believing, in spite of all evidences that we humans are badly built, but we are still unfinished.

* I tried, and I hope I shall always try, to choose the right side, that it happens to be at the left side, in the eternal fight of indignation against indignity.

* I tried, I try. It’s worthy, believe me. We may be able to change that famous sentence written by my friend, Bill….Bill Shakespeare:

Yes, life is a tale told by an idiot,

full of sound and fury, signifying….everything!