Correspondence II.: Fernando Pessoa

June 13, 2009

posted by Caroline Picard

Sunday, 29 September 1929

Dear little Ophelia,

So that you won’t say I haven’t written you, since in fact I haven’t, I’m writing you. It won’t be just a line, like I said, but it won’t be many lines. I’m sick, mainly due to all of yesterday’s worres and troubles. if you don’t want to believe I’m sick, then you obviously won’t believe it. But please don’t tell me you don’t believe it. It’s bad enough to be sick without you doubting whtether or not it’s true, or asking me to account for my health as if I were able to, or as if I were obliged to account to anyone about anything.

What I said about going to Cascais (which means Cascais, Sintra, Caxias or anywhere else outside Lisbon but not too far) is absolutely true: true, at least, in intent. I’ve reached that age when a man comes into full possession of his talents and his mind is at the height of its powers. And so it’s time for me to consolidate my literary work, finishing up certain things, compiling others, and writing some things that are still in my head. To do all this I need peace and quiet, and relative isolation. Unfortunately I can’t quite the offices where I work (for the obvious reason I have no other income), but by setting aside tow days a week (Wednesdays and Saturdays) for my office duties, I can have th eother five days for myself. There you ahve the story of Cascais.

My life’s entire future depends on whether I can do thi, and soon, for my life revolves around my literary work, however good or bad it may be. Everything else in life is of secondary interest to me. Some things I would naturally enjoy having, while others leave me completely indifferent. Those who know and deal with me have to understand that that’s how I am, and that to want me to have the feelings (which I fully respect) of an ordinary person is like wanting me to have blue eyes and blond hair. And to treat me as if I were someone else isn’t the best way to hold on to my affection. It would be better to go and find that “someone else” for whom such treatment is suitable.

I’m very, very fond of you, Ophelia. I adore your character and temperment. If I marry, it will only be with you. It remains to be seen whether marriage and home (or whatever one wants to call it) are compatible with my life of thought. I doubt it. For not I want to organize, without delay, this life of thought and my literary work. If I can’t organize it, then I won’t even think of thinking about marriage. And if I organize it in such a way that marriage would be a hinderance, then I’m sure not to marry. But I suspect this won’t be the case. The future, and I mean the near future, will tell.

There you have it, and it happens to be the truth.

So long, Ophelia. Sleep and eat, and don’t lose any weight.

Your very devoted

Fernando

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