Posts Tagged ‘death’

The nature of things

November 4, 2014

Nine days ago my wonderful, beloved uncle died of cancer. Last Friday I stood by his coffin, spread with native wildflowers (tea tree and gum blossoms) and a little bunch of late season forget-me-nots, and read from Thoreau’s Walden and Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations.


I am made up of the causal and the material. Neither of these will disappear into nothing, just as neither came to be out of nothing. So every part of me will be assigned its changed place in some part of the universe, and that will change again into another part of the universe, and so on to infinity.


It is the nature of all things to change, to perish and be transformed, so that in succession different things can come to be.


What a tiny part of the boundless abyss of time has been allotted to each of us – and this is soon vanished in eternity.

I will miss him so much.


Why I love Sontag.

September 17, 2010

June 13, 1996

New York

Dear Borges,

Since your literature was always placed under the sign of eternity, it doesn’t seem too odd to be addressing a letter to you. (Borges, it’s ten years!) If ever a contemporary seemed destined for literary immortality, it was you. [111]

…Your modesty was part of the sureness of your presence. You were a discoverer of new joys. …You showed that it is not necessary to be unhappy, even while one is clear-eyed and undeluded about how terrible everything is. Somewhere you said that a writer—delicately you added: all persons—must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. (You were speaking of your blindness.)

…You said that we owe literature almost everything that we are and what we have been. If books disappear, history will disappear, and human beings will also disappear. I am sure you are right. Books are not only the arbitrary sum of our dreams, and our memory. …Books are much more. They are a way of being fully human. [112]

…(Borges, it’s ten years!) All I mean to say is that we miss you. I miss you. …


Susan Sontag, ‘A letter to Borges’, Where the Stress Falls, London: Penguin Books, 2009 [2001]: 111-113.