"Games"

Alejandro Dolina

From the radio program "The revenge will be terrible"

Broadcast on November 12, 1993


Creating characters that are well known in all nations is not easy... Few writers have really been able to achieve this. Sometimes even second rate writers accomplish it. I'm thinking of Arthur Conan Doyle, a second rate writer who created a character known worldwide, Sherlock Holmes. Today I want to talk about someone else who was able to consummate this and his name is Sir James Barrie. He succeeded so well that I don't think anyone remembers his name. Despite this when I mention his character everyone will know who it is. Peter Pan. But poor Barrie had the same fate as Margaret Mitchell, who wrote Gone With the Wind. The cinema devoured it. I have no doubt many people will believe Peter Pan is a creation of Walt Disney in the same manner they consider Pinocchio and Snow White to be. This is the power of the cinematographer. If I must confess, I would not be tempted to desire to be the author of Pinocchio. That character has never moved me but we will speak of him another day. To Mitchell the same happened. The other day we recalled that in the credits for the film "Gone With the Wind" the name of the books author was not even mentioned. Nothing less than the person who invented the story! She never wrote another book. She was a journalist however and did win the Pulitzer Prize.

Who was James Barrie? In what time period do we place him? He was born last century in 1860 in a tiny town of Scotland. He was a poor student, and never was distinguished in anything. He almost never opened his books. Along the way when he was still young he began to write but he had a fixation because he believed all he knew of the world was the small town he lived in. For this reason he wrote with some trepidation until some sentimental novels started to become very popular. He published around 1890 a book called "The Little Minister" and he started to become well known. In 1896 -(and this is what interests me)- he wrote a moving autobiography about his mother, Margaret Oglivy. The book contains a passage that reveals everything about Barrie's writings. It says... "The horror of my boyhood was that I knew a time would come when I also must give up the games, and how it was to be done I saw not (this agony still returns to me in dreams)". "I felt that I must continue playing in secret ". I'm going to pause here... Barrie's games were his books of which the most popular is Peter Pan. But I like that... "I felt that I must continue playing in secret". I break here to think of all those who like Barrie decided to continue to play in secret. It's not that growing up bothers me. I want to make clear that growing up is not an activity related to time but to space. Being grown up does not mean being old, it's something entirely different my friends!.. But, I've always been surprised that the establishment and it's cohorts are very interested that one abandon childhood and stop playing, relinquish that solemn state in which children play. I want to say that children who play don't play for money or obligation, they play because they like it. They don't play for greed and they do it seriously without that cynicism that comes later in life with what they call maturity. I believe that they want to take us from there to transform us into people with no hope, content with our fate as mediocre as it may be. Finally there are vulgar people who dislike those who continue to play, those who continue to dream, those who continue to grow without growing old. They don't want us to be people who take a risk at the crossroads or people who play hard as if every deal of the cards were the last. For those who don't play, for the enemies of Barrie and Peter Pan, this is insanity. They offer us resignation and maturity; people who standing in their own shadow want to invite members of there own generation to grow. They say "lets go!” It’s time to grow up, to get a bank account, to lay back, to get fat and renounce any dramatic changes... And to acquire that mediocre efficiency called maturity. But these men also stand in front of younger generations who claim the right not to play, to be vulgar, and finally, to not be singled out as being vulgar...

I believe that the life of Bary, of Peter Pan and those who decide to continue to play in secret is very hard since they proceed to play secretly while trying to avoid being seen. When serious people who run this world, (the people of reason, of wealth), see someone playing they point them out with their fingers. But, how do they play you ask yourself? Well... some games seem innocent. There are those who don't step on cracks, there are others for example who run races in the street against strangers. Things like... "If that person in front of me gets to the corner first I will die"... It occurs sometimes that this other person is also playing in secret and then the consequences are colossal races with lives being at stake without anyone knowing. Upon seeing them race people would ask themselves "where are they going?", what they don't know is that they are racing for their lives. Sometimes the games aren't so innocent though and they consist in simply living each day as if the best has not yet occurred and that is a more grave game, a game with often high costs. Not like the cynical games of those who cover all the bets or those who play leaving some change in their pockets for the return trip. NO! I like those who play it all! and who play seriously like children with the same poetic faith Coleridge had for understanding art with that renunciation of doubt. THAT IS THE GAME!... I who like Peter Pan, have lost my shadow declare that I will continue playing... in secret of course... and whoever wants to go on playing will be my friends. Those who don't play anymore will go to a personal heaven that I have. A heaven for the forgotten where, (like many Greek heroes who die), they are converted into constellations. Constellations that have first... and last names. Oh my friends!, what beautiful stars shine in my forgotten heaven...

I want to dedicate today’s chat to Barrie, to Peter Pan, to my beloved friends who continue to play, this wonderful game with me,... where it seems like we are making a humorous radio program... but in reality we are playing, with our souls at at stake...