“The final coat, that last touch that is nothing and yet so much, that light stroke of pumice stone that smooths and polishes”.
Ortega y Gasset, Ideas and Beliefs.
Often, as will doubtless have happened with many of you, on re-reading your own texts from long ago, if written in Word and you read them on screen, you will have introduced more than one correction. It could be a letter or a word, a line or an idea. When after a certain time we closely examine our own writings, we discover with greater clarity their successes and failures.
Following a long interval, I have been re-reading many of my architectural texts – the most essential ones– and I see that I have made so many corrections of all kinds that I have decided to rewrite them.
I have decided to do this with the set of writings that I consider to be the core texts in architecture: on Beauty, Light, Time, Memory, Universality, Intellectual Enjoyment and Wisdom.
In writing about Intellectual Enjoyment I spoke of the satisfaction of rereading a text. And now I am discovering that writing it again, rewriting it, is even more satisfying.
Rewriting is like perfecting a poem, where each finely tuned stanza and word can tell us much more and sound much clearer. Like tuning a musical instrument, which, while remaining the same, acquires the ability to sound much better after tuning.
As Borges says: “I send my work to the publisher so that I can stop correcting”.
I initially had doubts about taking the decision to rewrite my texts, thinking how complicated the whole process would be. But I must confess that, to my surprise, quite the opposite has occurred. Tidying and fine-tuning my texts by rewriting them has turned out to be a most enjoyable experience, an unexpected gift.
To rewrite is to start all over again, like being born again. With this positive spirit, I have embarked on this work that is giving me so much satisfaction. To be able to correct my mistakes, to start over again, what a great gift of life!