Posts Tagged ‘Oran’

From Oran

Sunday, January 17th, 2010
Eduardo Pola

Albert Camus by Eduardo Pola

I had never read Camus, I’m ashamed to say. But no longer – I just read The Plague, and am reading The Stranger. The Plague made me claustrophobic. I began to wonder if the world didn’t begin and end at Oran, the town in which the book is set. If, after the plague had burned out, and the quarantine was lifted, there would even be a world out there. This book easily took me into this town, into the hopes and fears of the people who lived there, and were stuck there. Reading a spectacular piece of writing – an acknowledged classic, could have demoralized me. Sometimes, when you encounter the pinnacle of your art or skill, it can have that effect on you. You could say, “why bother, it’s been done, and so much better than I ever could…”. I heard a story about Sting in a bar in London on a night Jimi Hendrix performed. Halfway through¬†Little Wing, Sting¬†was suddenly filled with despair. With a debilitating certainty that his talent and hard work could never come close to what he was experiencing. I’m glad he didn’t give up. It may have been a rock myth, but still…

After reading The Plague, though I understood that I could never be a Camus, I also understood that I don’t write to be a Camus: I write to be me. And I don’t have the choice not to, if I want to be as much me as possible.