“Thoughts of suicide have got me through many a bad night.”
Do I believe what I wrote in the headline? Yes, I do—but I will freely confess that I am hopelessly biased. What can I say! I’m in love with what I do. And every day—good or bad—it gets better.
I was looking for an Albert Camus quote on the role of the writer when I ran across the following on the blog www.andyrossagency.wordpress.com
I am a great fan of Camus, whose life was at least as interesting as his writing—which is saying a great deal. He is also one of the most quotable men—an author of astonishing insight.
Both Camus and the blog are well worth reading. But let me start with an extract from the blog.
What I have started telling writers, what I would like them to hear from me, and what Anne Lamott has said so much better than I ever could, is that writing is an incredibly courageous undertaking. It is an activity that begins in the dark without any real knowledge of where the journey is destined to end. Or to use another metaphor of a race. Sometimes you will cross the finish line, receive the silver jug and go off into the sunset. But more often you will slip on a banana peel and break your leg 20 yards before the end of the race. But what an adventure it has been!
Which brings us to Camus. Albert Camus wrote his masterpiece, The Myth of Sisyphus in 1942. A lot of you probably read it in your freshman humanities course. Camus always took on the big themes, in this case, the meaning of life. Sisyphus is condemned by the gods for all eternity to roll a boulder up a mountain, whence it will then roll down of its own weight. For Camus this was a metaphor of human life, a ceaseless striving in a universe without meaning.
It strikes me that this is also a metaphor for the work of the writer. For Camus, Sisyphus’s effort is heroic and filled with grandeur. In the final, unforgettable lines of his book, Camus says: ” Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night-filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”
I find it hard to imagine two more perfect sentences—particularly since they describe exactly what I feel. One must imagine Sisyphus happy is a line to die for (and he is).
Camus is beyond wonderful. Read anything and everything he wrote—he had extraordinary insight into the human condition—and read about the man himself. If memory serves, the biography I read was by Herbert R. Lottman. It was a life-changing event.