Brain Food #773: Always on the verge of waking up
There is no right moment
Thoughts of the day
When sharing one’s own work, it can be easy to fall into the trap of extreme self-consciousness and, in waiting for the right moment, or not wanting to look like showing off, or be criticised, resorting to complete silence. Perhaps that is why so many great pieces get discovered posthumously. Perhaps their makers were too shy, perfectionistic, or under-confident in what they had created.
Fernando Pessoa was a Portuguese writer who only rose to fame after his death. A walk around Lisbon today, the city in which Pessoa was born and died, largely unnoticed, will reveal fragments of his life across parts of it, fragments similar to the ones he left in Rua Coelho da Rocha 16 after his death, inside a chest containing thousands of unpublished poems, manuscripts, criticism and more.
In The Book of Disquiet, he wrote, “I feel as if I'm always on the verge of waking up,” which makes me think of the ‘provisional life’ that Carl Jung referenced (but maybe this can be left for another post). Waiting for the right moment, or the ‘real’ moment to arrive, can let life float by as a result. In reality, there is only now.
“The very reason I write is so that I might not sleepwalk through my entire life.”
— Zadie Smith
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