2 min read

#27: Duende

#27: Duende

Spring is a time of renewal. The days lengthen, bears emerge from hibernation, tiny buds appear on trees and humans conceptualise all of this to mean it is a time of change. Easter has morphed over the centuries to encapsulate our desire to celebrate the resurrection from a long, dark winter.

Only problem is that here, it ain't spring. The days are becoming shorter and those southerlies bring Antartica air. And yet, no one ever thought to move Easter. So we celebrate the change of seasons, and I'm okay with that. I much prefer the colder months.

In the spirit of change, this newsletter is changing its name.

Writing this newsletter for the last half year has been a battle. A real fucking battle. Each and every Sunday, I have the same thought process: why? Why the fuck do I bother? What value is there for me or you? Steven Pressfield would call this resistance, but I'm just calling it common sense.

I've never been one for common sense. It's just too common.

When I did the Write of Passage course, it seemed like the muses would descend from on high and the whole thing would write itself.

Spanish poet Federico García Lorca named this fight 'duende'. It is that space that exists within us all, and must be wrestled with before we can unearth it.

And once it has been exhumed, it is like it was meant to be all along. The battle was worth it.

In his 1933 speech "Theory and Play of the Duende", Lorca says:

The true struggle is with the duende. ... Seeking the duende, there is neither map nor discipline. We only know it burns the blood like powdered glass, that it exhausts, rejects all the sweet geometry we understand, that it shatters styles...

Lorca writes as only a poet could.

The duende works on the dancer’s body like wind on sand. It changes a girl, by magic power, into a lunar paralytic, or covers the cheeks of a broken old man, begging for alms in the wine-shops, with adolescent blushes: gives a woman’s hair the odour of a midnight sea-port: and at every instant works the arms with gestures that are the mothers of the dances of all the ages.

I absolutely love this idea of doing all the hard work and then have the duende take over. Twenty-seven issues in and I am beginning to see it work. Let me emphasise, I am beginning to see it. It is here, yet. Each word is a step closer to that edge where the genuine struggle will begin.

But it’s impossible for it ever to repeat itself, and it’s important to underscore this. The duende never repeats itself, any more than the waves of the sea do in a storm.

Just as each spring the tiny buds emerge from the same node on the tree, it'll never be the same leaf. That fight, the desire to see another day, another summer, to write another newsletter, is the duende.

This has always been the Duende. This will always be the Duende.

This is now the Duende.

Till next week,