Mon 3 August 2020
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In the end is my begining
TS Eliot was an intensely melodic writer and his meanings resonate loudest when read aloud

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.

TS Eliot "Four Quartets".

My words echo thus into your mind. Reading this I became suddenly self-aware. I had become so involved with the poem – the line breaks, the metrics, the sound and the intonation, the conjury of meaning, that I'd adopted Eliots' awareness. His words did echo in my mind.

I like to think of Literature – both the reading and the writing of – as a kind of self-communion. A telling of secrets. We commune with the universal aspects of our uncommon experiences. Our knowledge of the world.

This stressed to me the importance of live Literature. We go to see a writer perform their work because we feel we know them. We know them before we have even met them. We feel that we know more of ourselves.

While bookshops and libraries are closing down, there are many smaller Literature Festivals springing to life. Regardless of whether people read on or offline, digitally or in print, there will always be a human requirement to hear an author read their words. The words that echo in your mind.

Wes Brown is a novelist and the NAWE Young Writers' Coordinator.

If you haven't experienced TS Eliots' Four Quartets or would like to again, they're available online.