Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"In the middle of winter.....

I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer."  Albert Camus

January 4, 2010 was the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Albert Camus, French author and winner of the Nobel prize for literature two years earlier.  I still feel the shock I felt when I heard the news and I remember exactly where and when I heard it.
I had been employed since September 1959 as a construction laborer working on a project called Sterling Forest Gardens in Tuxedo, NY.  It was noon, lunch time, and I was sitting in the front passenger seat of Tommy Niesolowski's Chevy sedan.  Tommy was in the driver's seat and had just turned the car radio on.  We were opening our brown lunch bags and Tommy was talking away about something when I heard the radio newsman say 'Albert Camus' and my mind zeroed in to hear 'was killed yesterday in a single car accident while returning to Paris'.  There were one or two more references to Camus which I missed as my mind drifted off to ponder the loss, deal with the feeling of sadness.
Over the years, I have reread the books of Camus more than any other author.  When a reader feels that an author is speaking directly to him (or her),  that author has made a connection, has written well.  I sensed his decency and courage, his virility, and tried as best I could to emulate him.
My favorite piece is the short essay "Return To Tipasa".  I have read it or parts of it scores of times.  I read it as Christians will read the 23rd psalm. 

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