Today I celebrated my 75th birthday with friends in a restaurant (also run by friends) here in our village, and shared with them this reflection in Spanish, Un mayor de la tribu. I posted a similar, but more developed, statement in English 5 years ago, Becoming an elder. In a nutshell, I’m saying that I welcome the new responsibilities that accrue with age, and commit myself to trying to fulfill them. And now I want to make this commitment explicit, by telling you what I will try to do in the next five years. And maybe longer, but let’s just take things one lustrum (5-year period) at a time.
First, I have to complete the novel I’ve been working on. I had planned to complete it by this birthday, but I find I have to extend my self-imposed deadline — I haven’t got it quite right yet. I define this project as the most urgent, because I believe it will be the best way for me to express what I think I have learned about power, revolution and social change.
Then, once I get a satisfactory draft together, in shape for final editing, I can turn to producing more essays, using all the resources I’ve accumulated (books read, thoughts thought, places seen) to help us interpret other events, such as the refugee crisis, the origins and social dynamics of terror, and (hopefully) more ephemeral phenomena such as Donald Trump. And then, more for fun than for social service, maybe I can write some more short stories and — Who knows? — maybe another novel. But first things first: the novel, then the essays. I promise.