Nicolás Gómez Dávila...writing to fix one's thoughts
Colombian philosopher, Nicolás Gómez Dávila ( 1913-1994) whose works consists almost entirely of aphorisms had this to say about writing:
" The pleasure of writing, when we lack all talent and ambition, is the pleasure of knowing clearly our ideas. Drafting our thinking is, perhaps, creating it; in any case, it is to acquire a full consciousness. The vague and confusing idea is a mere promise; a promise that is not fulfilled and that is soon forgotten if words do not detain and fix it. It is true that almost all of our ideas seem to be diminished by being written and that, in the light of that changing, rich and fruitful context of thought, they lose the life that stirs them in the warm shadows of consciousness; but it is only when they are of verbal pulp that we can know them and like, reject, or welcome them according to their excellence."
(*This is translated from Spanish, which original version is included below. )
I know that experience, where the glow that appears warm and steady within flickers in me as I attempt to drag my thoughts word by word into daylight. Is this all there was? What was I thinking? It is a pleasure, those glimpses I sometimes have, thoughts which seem in the moment most excellent while in a hot shower or on my knees and my hands muddied in the garden, or in those first waking moments when the door to dreams is still open. It can be a bittersweet process, but clarity is worth struggling for.
Original from Nicolás Gómez Dávila, Notas, (p. 106) (Villegas, 2003) (1a ed. 1954)
"El placer de escribir, cuando carecemos de todo talento y de ambición, es el placer de conocer claramente nuestras ideas. Redactar nuestro pensamiento es, quizá, crearlo; en todo caso, es adquirir de él una plena conciencia. La idea vaga y confusa es una mera promesa; promesa que no se cumple y que pronto se olvida si las palabras no la detie nen y la fijan. Es cierto que casi todas nuestras ideas parecen disminuidas al ser escritas y que, al extraerlas de ese contexto cambiante, rico y fecundo del pensamiento, pierden la vida que las agita en las cálidas penumbras de la conciencia; pero es sólo cuando se revisten de pulpa verbal que las podernos conocer y, así, o rechazar, o acoger según su excelencia."
If you would like to read of Nicolás Gómez Dávilathere is a very organized page of English translations of his aphorisms here:<http://don-colacho.blogspot.com>