Mr. Borges (found here)

I have a lot to say lately... maybe it's some overflow of too-long-stifled creativity and thoughts. I like to think that perhaps my mind has been working quietly and unseen all these months and is now ready to be released and uncaged [perhaps that's why I've been so drawn to birdcage images lately].

I found a link to a
Borges interview today. I'd like to share a short excerpt from it:

STUDENT: Each author has a masterpiece. What is yours?

I think that this is an error, that some work is the masterpiece; any work could be.

I believe that it depends on the manner in which an author is read. If you read something in a diary, you read it with an eye toward obscurity, if you read it in a book, you read it with an eye toward remembering it. If the author is famous you go along with more respect, but the text could be the same, it could be equally valid or equally fallible. I don’t believe that definitive books exist. Furthermore, perhaps you have to see that each generation rewrites the great old books, with its own dialect and footprint.

We’re going to suppose that there are ten or twelve plots for a story, each one has to tell itself in its own way, with slight variations that are, of course, precious. Supposing that everything has already been said is an error.

Moreover, these books have been enriched by generations of readers. Without a doubt Alonso Quijano is more complex now than when Cervantes imagined him, because Alonso Quijano has been enriched, we say, by [Miguel de] Unamuno. Without a doubt Hamlet is more complex now than when Shakespeare originated him; [Hamlet] has been enriched by Coleridge, by Bradley, by Goethe, by so many people. That is, the books live on posthumously. Each time that anyone reads them, the text changes, even if slightly, and the fact of being read with respect makes us see the riches in them ignored by the author. Perhaps a good book never corresponds with everything the author set out to do.


STUDENT: You said that in your life that you’ve been thankful for happiness, just as you’ve been thankful for pain, and you justified the inclusion of blindness. Why are you thankful for pain and blindness?

Because for an artist, and I try to be one, everything that happens is material for your work; sometimes it’s very difficult. Happiness doesn’t require anything more; it’s an end in itself. Unhappiness has to be transformed into something else; it has to be elevated to beauty. For an artist everything that happens to him has to be clay for his mold, and he must try to feel things this way, even if these gifts might be atrocities