“Blindness” by Jorge Borges

I selected this essay in part because my father is basically blind and in part because one of my peers is humbled and fascinated by Borges. But I do believe that Borges had some earnest and pleasing insights. He said something: “Blindness has not been for me a total misfortune; it should not bee seen in a pathetic way. It should be seen as a way of life: one of the styles of living.” I was humbled by this. It taught me to look at my obstacles differently. But, focusing on the art of the personal essay, I see that these things do not just drop into the lap of the writer. These insights, this wisdom, these are hard won by the thoughts of the writer. I think that the essayist, a good one, can match his writing with his thoughts; or rather that his writing is his thoughts. I don’t believe that a person can be so dull and thoughtless a person and then be adept at writing. I think the essayist is constantly essaying in his mind. Everything is a delight and something to expound and talk about to himself in his own mind on his own time as he is walking to work or sitting at a table finishing his sandwich. There is nothing that the essayist does not take the time to think about, and when his thoughts overflow, or when he feels that he is hitting on something larger than himself, then he is compelled to write it down. I think that I have been missing this aspect in my own writing. I haven’t been compelled to write, because I haven’t been training my mind to think anything that desires to be written. My thoughts have been so morose and dull, and selfish and dry and without any substance. Perhaps I think about what I need to do when I get home, as I travel home. Perhaps I just think how my bike has a crick in the chain that clacks and clack and clacks and that is all I can think about. My mind is so centered and caught and imprisoned by idiotic things that it never gets the opportunity to move on or out or meander or wander. Now, I do have times when my thoughts have wandered. Recently I finished this piece on dead heading flowers and that has been a result of all the times that my mind has been caught up in the subject and wandered in the subject and found the subject to be captivating, and I, as the idea and image blossomed, felt compelled to write it down.