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On Why


Camus, January 1955. Time and Life Pictures /  Getty Images

. . . "When I am ill, my life is turned upside down and I lag for weeks trying to catch up. But most serious of all is that I no longer have the time, nor the recreation, to write my books, and I spend four years to write what, in freedom, would have cost me one or two. Incidentally, for some years now, my work has not freed me, it has enslaved me. And if I pursue it, it is because above all else, even freedom, even wisdom or true creativity, and even, yes, even friendship. It's true that I try to organize myself, to double my strength and my "presence" by utilizing time, organizing my days, increasing efficiency. I hope to be up to it, one day. For the moment, I am not--each letter brings three others, each person ten, each book a hundred letters and twenty correspondents, while life continues, and there is work, those whom I love, and those who need me. Life continues and, some mornings, tired of the noise, discouraged by the interminable work to be done, sick of this crazy world which assails you even as you pick up the newspaper, finally sure that I will not be up to it and that I will disappoint everyone, I want only to sit and wait until evening arrives. I have this desire, and sometimes I give in to it." . . .

--Albert Camus. Draft of a letter to Pierre Berger
February 15, 1953



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