Literature That Saves

La Voz de Galicia – May 13, 2022 →

Cristina PatoThere are days where one just can’t. Not because of any concrete reason, but simply because one gets up on the wrong foot and everything goes awry. Today was one of those days. And even though I had everything very well planned so that it would be a perfectly normal day, it just did not happen. And then one begins in that spiral of guilt that makes everything go worse, and so, without realizing it, the day ends and without being able to do anything to stop it, one feels impotent for not being able to appreciate one’s privileged existence.

What is the mind like! How difficult to maintain (sometimes) mental health is. Because even though one may believe to have good discipline, to be capable of steering thoughts so that they don’t go where there is no exit, the truth is that one is not able to control what one feels, and that the sooner one learns to accept that, the more probabilities there will be that that sense of guilt that occupies so much space stops intruding in all the things that may happen in one day.

When the day goes that way, sideways, I take refuge in books. It has already been some time that music does not take me out of the labyrinth into which I get. But literature does. From Ledicia Costas last week, I returned to Inma López Silva and her portraits of women, and Olga Novo’s Feliz Idade–or Happy Age–and ended in that unedited poem from the magical Eva Veiga, the one she gifted for our humble scenic reflection about ageism. And reading and rereading it, I managed to get the guilt off my chest «without fear of monsters and sirens that daily feeds our own mind.» That is the effect of words on me. They save me daily, reminding me that that which I feel in such a profound way someone felt it before me and was able to write it so that I, today, don’t feel so alone.

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