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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Good Writing

This article is an example of some first-rate writing. It is an article about the eminent Hispanist John Kronik, written by his son. Since I knew Kronik well, I especially appreciated it.
We use defensive euphemisms when someone else dies, but when our own time comes, no one says “I’m afraid to pass away.” We become blunt under the threat of mortality: we do not want to die, period. Meanwhile, loss is only permanent when identified as such, but after the fact, no one told me, “I’m sorry for the permanent loss of your father.” Death’s foreverness is the intolerable part, hence language that resists it and religions that reject it. But if an agnostic says we live on in memory, this sounds no less wishful to me than claiming someone is in “a better place.” Without messages from our senses, there is nothing left that we can accurately call life.

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