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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Total concentration; nothing less


“Literature overtakes history, for literature gives you more than one life. It expands experience and opens new opportunities to readers.” – Carlos Fuentes 

Fuentes, one of Mexico’s most celebrated authors, always liked to say that he was “a literary animal” and that reading was at the forefront of everything he did.  “For me,” he once said, “everything ends in literature.”

Both a novelist and an essayist, his most recognizable works in the English-speaking world were The Old Gringo (also made into a movie) and Christopher Unborn.  When he died in 2012, the New York Times described him as "one of the most admired writers in the Spanish-
speaking world" and an important influence 
on the Latin American Boom, the "explosion 
of Latin American literature in the 1960s and '70s.”  Carlos Fuentes

The son of a Mexican diplomat, he was born in Panama City on this date in 1928 and literally traveled the globe with his parents before the age of 18.  For 6 of those years he lived in Washington, DC, becoming fluent in English in the process.    It was there he first became interested in writing and even wrote and published his own magazine, developing his essay writing style in the process. 

When asked for his advice on the writing process, he said the first question every writer should ask himself or herself is “Who am I writing for?”  Once that is established, he added, the rest is easy.  “Writing requires the total concentration of the writer; demands that nothing else be done except for that.”


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