Summary: Fernando (the author) was a relatively ordinary guy, with a relatively ordinary job (a bookkeeper) but also a prolific, insatiable writer/poet ... whose work was rejected, failed, ignored, unseen, unread. "The book of disquiet" is a collection of some of his unpublished/unfinished writings.
I'd been weaving in and out of this book for about a year and a half and finally finished it last week... Partly because it's a collection of writings and reading unrelated, wandering thoughts can get slightly disorienting after some time but also because I got it.
I just really got it.
I'd never heard my thoughts and anxieties explained so clearly.
With patience. And empathy. And lenience. And nuance.
To read about misanthropy, and vulnerability, and loneliness ... and to get it.
To read about failure, and acceptance, and God ... and to get it.
To read about worrying, and solitude, and relationships ... and to get it.
... and it was heavy.
But it also felt like a burden was lifted... or shared.
I'm drawn to Fernando probably for some of the reasons I was to van Gogh ... the acceptance of failure as a natural part of creative life, the importance of redefining what success is, the emptiness of praise, the perpetuity, sameness, unevenness, burden of creating ... and the emotions. The emotions of it all.
Some of my favorite quotes:
I never tried to be anything other than a dreamer. I never paid any attention to people who told me to go out and live.
I cannot feel myself and yet I am quite calm.
That is how I experience life, as apocalypse and cataclysm. Each day brings an increasing inability in myself to make the smallest gesture, even to imagine myself confronting clear, real situations. The presence of others - always such an unexpected event for the soul - grows daily more painful and distressing. Talking to others makes me shudder. If they show any interest in me, I flee. If they look at me, I tremble. I am constantly on the defensive. Life and other people bruise me. I can't look reality in the eye.
We are who we are not and life is swift and sad.