Happy Birthday, Mr. Coetzee!
It’s a day late but not more can pass without I sending you a birthday wish. I met your pen only last year; a delightful meeting by all means. I found your pen, by which I measure all the writers, with a visibly lackluster body but an impeccably sharp nib. That something so plain and vanilla can burst into something so searing and aching was one of the high points of my last year’s reading. I am reminded of Life and Times of Michael K with a muffled groan; a groan that Michael never released but a groan that filled my innards with abhorrent vulnerability.
I often quote your style as barren yet rich. You can talk about a withered tree with the jewels of springtime. You can color a grey fate with the splashes of a crimson memory. You can conjoin vision and words with an unbreakable glue, that which leaves a faint aroma behind, long after it has been applied to secure the alliance. What you write is mostly hard-hitting, poignantly charged and routinely resplendent. And I have loved entering long nights in the company of your reverberating prose that find new meanings when all else fall silent. I also read that you live a recluse’s life. And its not difficult for me to imagine that. But again, you can be anything but recluse in its traditional sense. A mind that soars and knows no boundaries and a mind that plunges and knows no depths can never be the prisoner of a recluse’s kingdom.
But your little (or no) public appearances make me a tad sad. You are one the very few living authors I admire and have reverence for and it just looks like you never choose to take a world tour to meet your fans. Perhaps I might take a flight to your place if you kindly let me know your whereabouts. I promise I won’t disturb your tranquility or the equation you so discreetly maintain with the world around you; I will simply sit at a distance and watch you live thoughts.
[Image courtesy literature.britishcouncil.org ]