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Lusosphere: Saramago, 85 years, Nobel Laureate, Blogger

Mexendo nuns quantos papéis que já perderam a frescura da novidade, encontrei um artigo sobre Lisboa escrito há uns quantos anos, e, não me envergonho de confessá-lo, emocionei-me. Talvez porque não se trate realmente de um artigo, mas de uma carta de amor, de amor a Lisboa. Decidi então partilhá-la com os meus leitores e amigos tornando-a outra vez pública, agora na página infinita de internet e com ela inaugurar o meu espaço pessoal neste blog.

Shuffling through some papers that have already lost their freshness of novelty, I found an article about Lisbon written a number of years ago, and I am not ashamed to confess, I was moved. Perhaps because it is not really an article but a love letter, love for Lisbon. So I decided to share it with my readers and friends making it public again, now on an endless page on the Internet with which I inaugurate my personal space on this blog.

These are the first lines of Portuguese writer and Nobel Prize laureate José Saramago‘s blog “O Caderno de Saramago” [Saramago's Notebook, available in Portuguese and in Spanish], launched on September 15 initially on the Saramago Foundation's website and now on the WordPress platform. Since them, Saramago has blogged on his “infinite page on the Internet” about the Catholic Church's appology to Darwin, George Bush and the credit crunch, Berlusconi's fortune, Pulianas (a cemitery in Granada province), and global warming. On his last post, yesterday, Saramago wrote about the future of family libraries when couples get divorced.

They are all great articles for the joy of the Lusosphera: bloggers from virtually every Portuguese speaking country welcomed him to the world of blogs (and have linked to, or copied and pasted his posts freely). Aline [pt], from Mozambique, was a little skeptical to start with. Would it really be the winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize for literature behind those online words?

Fiquei confusa… será que é mesmo o JOSÉ SARAMAGO??? Isso não é dele… muito estranho! Fui conferir: era ele mesmo! Imaginem o autor de A Caverna e todos aqueles outros livros maravilhosos virando um blogueiro, como um simples mortal, como nós! Como não tive tempo de ler tudo ontem, hoje acordei e, sem tirar o pijama, liguei o computador. Tomei café lendo o Caderno de Saramago. Fantástico! Ele promete escrever diariamente. E está cumprindo a promessa, desde segunda-feira já são três posts.

I was confused… Would it be really José Saramago? It isn't of his… very strange! I went there: it was really him! Imagine the author of The Cave and all those other wonderful books has become a blogger, like a mere mortal, like us! Because I didn't have time to read everything yesterday, today I woke up and before taking off my pyjamas, I turned the computer on. I had coffee reading Saramago's Notebook. Fantastic! He promises to write every day. And he has fulfilled the promise, there have been three posts since Monday.

As of now, there are 8 posts. From Portugal, Vasco Corisco [pt] believes he too can recognize the writer behind the blogger:

Na secção O Caderno de Saramago temos acesso à escrita de opinião do autor na primeira pessoa, no tom marcadamente político ao qual estão acostumados aqueles que conhecem os seus escritos.

On Saramago's Notebook section we have access to the written opinion of the author in the first person, in a highly political tone which those who know his writings are accustomed to.

Also from Portugal, João [pt] was very pleased to welcome Saramago to the blogosphere:

Embora desconfie que é um blogue completamente diferente deste, porque será certamente um lido por muita gente, fica a sensação de que Saramago se juntou cá ao grupo dos que têm um cantinho algures na Internet para escrever desabafos. Não deixa de ser estranho ter ouvido contar, há bem pouco tempo, que Saramago terá dito que jamais escreveria sem ser à mão. Depois passou a só escrever numa máquina e, agora, desconfio que utilize um computador para o fazer.

Although I suspect that his blog is completely different from this one (of mine), because it will certainly be read by a lot of people, there is the feeling that Saramago has joined the group of those who have a corner somewhere on the Internet to write disencumbered. It is a bit strange as I have heard, not so long ago, that Saramago had said he would never write if not by hand. After that he just started writing on a typewriter, and now I suspect that he uses a computer to do so.

From Cabo Verde, Neu Lopes [pt], himself a new blogger, takes the opportunity to spread the word about Saramago's new book, The Elephant’s Journey, Apparently not a big fan of Saramago, another Cape Verdean blogger Miguel Barbosa [pt] leaves his two cents:

Vamos torcer para os posts não serem tão chatos quanto os livros, hehehe…

Let's hope that his posts are not as boring as his books, lol

Moving to Brazil's blogosphere, Hemetério was a little disappointed that Saramago had joined the online tribe, but was happy to find such sharp texts, which he printed out and left on the bus for other people to read and leave on the bus in turn:

Achava que o venerável escritor português era avesso à tecnologia, que defendia o arcaísmo de sua labuta em máquinas de escrever como o japonês perdido numa ilha distante, que devotara sua vida a proteger o forte, anos depois da guerra ter acabado.

I thought that the venerable Portuguese writer was averse to technology, that he defended the archaism of his toil at the type writer like the Japanese lost on a distant island, who devotes his life to protecting the fortress, long after the war ended.

“Casting pearls before swine?”. Brazilian blogger Hemetério [pt] printed out the post about President Bush, who “expurgated truth from the world to, in its place, bring the era of lies to fruition”, to leave on the bus

On the other hand, Lara [pt] thought it was interesting to see a renowned writer as such beginning to use this type of tool. She chips in:

É um bom sinal de que a comunicação pela internet não está apenas ganhando espaço por sua agilidade, mas também pela facilidade e amplitude com que atinge o público. Comentaram comigo, inclusive, que fazer um blog pode ser só uma tentativa de Saramago de ser cool. Mas, minha gente, Saramago tem 85 anos. Uma pessoa de 85 anos não liga para ser cool.

It is a good sign that communication through the Internet is not only growing because of its agility, but also for the ease and amplitude with which it reaches the public. Someone has suggested to me that this idea to open a blog can only be Saramago's attempt to be cool. But folks, Saramago is 85 years old. An 85 year old person doesn't bother about being cool.

Perhaps Saramago doesn't need to be cool, but this itch to join cyberspace might be called marketing. Apart from his forthcoming book, his well-known novel Blindness is about to be released in the cinemas as a movie by Fernando Meirelles (also a blogger [pt]) starring Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore. On these lines, Portuguese blogger Miguel Drummond de Castro [pt] reminds his public that not even a Nobel Prize winner can be turned into a blogger overnight:

Há aqui uma confusão antropo-cibernética de primeiro grau. A de crer que a utlização de uma maquineta – no caso o computador ligado à rede – transforma imediatamente a pessoa num “verdadeiro” blogger. A maquineta, qual deus, confere de imediato a graça divina. A pessoa que no dia anterior não sabia nada de blogs, que não fazia a menor ideia dia sobre o que é um template ou um Html, de repente, por infusão divina da santíssima técnica, já se comporta como um “verdadeiro blogger”. De um momento para outro adquiriu todas as competências.

There is an antropo-cybernetics confusion of the first degree. Believing that the use of a little machine – in this case a computer connected to the Internet – immediately turns a person into a “real” blogger. The machine, like God, gives an immediate blessing. The person, who a day earlier did not know anything about blogs, who had not the slightest idea about what a template or html is, suddenly, by a holy infusion of divine technique, behaves like a “true blogger.” From one minute to another he acquired all the skills.

Does it matter? Deborah Icamiaba [pt] likes it for being quality online reading:

Que frescor tem sido a leitura do recém-criado blog do Saramago!
Eu já gostava de seus livros e ele virou ídolo quando tornou-se o único escritor de porte a exigir das editoras que seus livros fossem publicados em papel reciclado.
Quando a gente está na net e quer ler algo legal, fica procurando e não acha, vale a pena passar por lá: http://caderno.josesaramago.org/ – tem sempre algo interessante sendo dito de maneira singela e poderosa.

How refreshing reading Saramago's newly created blog has been!
I've liked his books and I became a fan when he became the only big writer to request publishers publish his books on recycled paper.
When we are on the net and want to read something nice, when we look but don't find it, it is worthwhile going there: http://caderno.josesaramago.org/ – there is always something interesting being said, in a so simple and powerful way.

Photo by Periodista digital.com licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License

  • http://newalriadaexpress.blogspot.com Daniel Duende

    Another great article from our great Paula Góes! :)

    I’m very surprised to see Saramago in the lusosphere, not only his works or his words spread by his fans, but Saramago — the legend — himself.

    I am not a particular fan of his work, maybe because I never really took the time to read it in depth, but I received the news of his début on the lusosphere as really great news, not only for the lusosphere, but to the literary blogosphere around the globe.

    (i’ve blogged about Saramago’s blog too. It’s not a great post — mostly more of the same other people have been saying — but the link to the post is here:
    http://cadernodocluracao.blogspot.com/2008/09/o-caderno-de-saramago.html )

    Best,
    D.D.

  • Clara

    Nunca imaginei que Saramago pudesse um dia aderir à blogoesfera. Apesar da sua renitência em aceitar as novas tecnologias, acho que isto só prova que ele decidiu acompanhar a modernidade, o que é bom, especialmente para uma pessoa de 85 anos.
    Gostei deste artigo, até porque não fazia ideia que ele tinha tomado esta decisão.
    Não sou apreciadora das suas obras, mas talvez os Cadernos me façam mudar de opinião e seria bom se isso acontecesse.

  • http://lusosfera.wordpress.com/ Paula Góes

    I really liked both Blindness and Seeing (in pt Ensaio Sobre a Cegueira e Ensaio Sobre a Lucidez). I read the first in Portuguese and then in English translation, and the second in English only but I am dying to find a Portuguese copy. It is a difficult prose, the lack of punctuation is suffocating – maybe that what he means to cause on the reader. And I do like its sharpness.

  • http://jilliancyork.com Jillian York

    I adore Saramago, so I’ll be throwing his blog into Google Translate (I know, I know) ASAP. Who knows…maybe with the film coming out, someone will translate it.

    (I already read Mereilles’ blog in translation!)

  • Pingback: O Caderno de Saramago « lusosfera

  • Tamara

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