When the Dead Silently Speak Out
(A text which reflects on those who are absent and on biographies, narrates Durito’s first encounter with the Cat-Dog, and talks about other things that may or may not be relevant, as the impertinent postscript dictates).
Methinks we have hugely mistaken this matter of Life and Death.
Methinks that what they call my shadow here on earth is my true substance. Methinks that in looking at things spiritual,
we are too much like oysters observing the sun through the water,
and thinking that thick water the thinnest of air.
Me thinks my body is but the lees of my better being.
In fact take my body who will, take it I say, it is not me.
Herman Melville “Moby Dick.”
For a while now I have maintained that most biographies are merely a collection of documented, well-written (well, sometimes) lies. The typical biography is based on a pre-existing belief and the margin of tolerance for anything that strays from that conviction is very narrow, if not inexistent. The author, starting from that previously held belief, begins the search through the jigsaw puzzle of a life unfamiliar to him or her (which is why the bibliography interests them to begin with), and goes about collecting the false or ill-fitting pieces that allow him or her to document their own belief, not the life they are talking about.