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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Roberto Bolano

"You have to know how to look even if you don't know what you're looking for."

Chilean Novelist, Poet
1953 - 2003

One of the functions of artists and writers is to see the world in ways that nobody else does and at the same time help others to see the world in new ways.  I have often found that the best novels teach me new things about the world that I had not previously discovered.    Creative leaders may not know what they are looking for, but they will recognize it when they see it and they will find a way to communicate it to others.

Do you know how to look at the world?  What makes your way of viewing the world unique?  Do you know what you are looking for?  Have you found it or are you still looking?  Do you appreciate your unique vision of the world?  Have you accepted your vision of how the world should be?  Have you communicated your vision to others?

Here is a poem by Roberto Bolano from his book, The Romantic Dogs, translated by Laura Healy.

Self Portrait At Twenty Years
I set off, I took up the march and never knew
where it might take me. I went full of fear,
my stomach dropped, my head was buzzing:
I think it was the icy wind of the dead.
I don't know. I set off, I thought it was a shame
to leave so soon, but at the same time
I heard that mysterious and convincing call.
You either listen or you don't, and I listened
and almost burst out crying: a terrible sound,
born on the air and in the sea.
A sword and shield. And then,
despite the fear, I set off, I put my cheek
against death's cheek.
And it was impossible to close my eyes and miss seeing
that strange spectacle, slow and strange,
though fixed in such a swift reality:
thousands of guys like me, baby-faced
or bearded, but Latin American, all of us,
brushing cheeks with death.