Fuentes on Writing Against Silence

“Writing is a struggle against silence.” —Carlos Fuentes

What does Carlos Fuentes mean about writing against silence and how is it a struggle? Is it a struggle against the proverbial blank page, or in more modern terms the white, blinking screen–a manifestation of silence writers continually face? Or is he referring to the ability of writers, through their creative efforts, to break silences and reach the truths that are hidden by them. I’d like to think the world renowned Mexican writer was talking about something more profound than procrastination or mental blocks.

Given the current strategies by some in the United States to avert or deflect the horrific facts of our history, I would argue with Carlos Fuentes that, in this case, writing is a struggle to break the silence systemically imposed on the real truth of that national history. No nation can survive without taking a hard look at the ugly elements of its past and reckoning with its consequences. This is why I write what I write, whether it rankles some people or makes them uncomfortable.

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