Hitchens Writes So Well…

As a writer myself I am always humbled when I encounter a piece by a writer more proficient than I ever will be. You may not agree with the strongly-voiced views of Christopher Hitchens, but surely you will admit that he is eloquent as he dies of cancer:

Am I Really Stronger?

A sample:

In particular, I have slightly stopped issuing the announcement that “Whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.”

In fact, I now sometimes wonder why I ever thought it profound. It is usually attributed to Friedrich Nietzsche: Was mich nicht umbringt macht mich stärker. In German it reads and sounds more like poetry, which is why it seems probable to me that Nietzsche borrowed it from Goethe, who was writing a century earlier. But does the rhyme suggest a reason? Perhaps it does, or can, in matters of the emotions. I can remember thinking, of testing moments involving love and hate, that I had, so to speak, come out of them ahead, with some strength accrued from the experience that I couldn’t have acquired any other way. And then once or twice, walking away from a car wreck or a close encounter with mayhem while doing foreign reporting, I experienced a rather fatuous feeling of having been toughened by the encounter. But really, that’s to say no more than “There but for the grace of god go I,” which in turn is to say no more than “The grace of god has happily embraced me and skipped that unfortunate other man.”

Read the whole essay linked to above. Or not — it’s up to you, I suppose!




Filed under Essays and Articles

3 responses to “Hitchens Writes So Well…

  1. bev

    But for your link, I might otherwise have missed this latest essay by Hitchens. So much there that is familiar and so eloquently stated.

  2. Joan

    Touching and eloquent as usual..but just painful to read under these circumstances. The modern way to die, seems to have even Hitchens in its claws. I am often amazed at the lengths Christians, who believe in an afterlife will go to to prolong a painful death for a few months or even hours. Seems like they’d be more anxious to get to the ‘better place’ considering the options.
    Well, what can one do, considering most countries benighted laws against euthanasia.
    Now here is Hitchens, who does not believe in an afterlife who is still fighting bravely and succeeding so far in retaining his mental faculties well enough to write this honest and profound essay.

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