By: Luis Barrera Linares
Illustrated by Henry González
Selection and Compilation: Carolina Fonseca
He has tried and tried to capture his own shadow. He has lived his life perpetually hounded by the brilliant idea of assassinating it without harming the essence of self. Sometimes he leaves it in peace, only to surprise it by suddenly turning off the light. He has covered thousands of miles under the withering sun, exhausting himself in an effort to corner it where he can rid himself of it in a single devastating blow. He closed hundreds of doors before it could slip through before or after him. And it has all been for nothing.
Today, after subjecting his brain cells to generous doses of transcendental meditation, Dowsha decided that the time had come to annihilate for good the torment that had wracked him since childhood. He repeated, rehearsed, and practiced the scenes engraved in his revenge files: aggressively snapping off the light, running flat-out when the sun was at its burning zenith, treacherously slamming doors.
And now, at the end, the shadow of Dowsha smiles upon the oscillating image projected on the wall by the figure of a hanged man jostled by the faint sway of a lamp someone just switched on.
Tales of Humor, Madness, and Fate. Fundarte, Caracas, 1993.
His name is a legend in literary circles.
He speaks, opines, expounds, asserts, accepts, rejects, approves, doubts, and murmurs recursively on the state of local literature and its authors.
He is a rigid judge who hands down verdicts not subject to appeal.
He is an obstinate, brow-beating critic in any conversation in which he takes part.
He is known as an infallible oral reviewer.
He discourses and speechifies long-windedly on other people’s writing.
No scribbler escapes unscathed from his uncontrollable verbosity.
Histories of literature list him as “a poet.”
Yearly compendiums consider him “an essayist.”
No one doubts that he is “a storyteller.” This is repeated by critics and confirmed by reference works.
However, he generally contends that those of his writings that had not been tossed into the wastepaper basket or torn to pieces were lost in a hurricane.
Nothing is known of his famed notebooks.
He is a master of orality.
They call him the unlettered writer.