Bibliophiles Still Heed the Advice of Latin Philosophers

Serendipity strikes again––and I’m in bibliophile’s paradise once more. Just when I was starting to lose my spark for the long writing road in front of me, just when I thought about giving up on finishing my next novel, Blessings from the Edge, a chance stop last week at a historic bookstore in Montevideo, Uruguay, revived my enthusiasm for the writing life. I was not on one of my international book tours, nor was I looking to buy Spanish-language books. I was simply strolling through the old town, when a sparkling beam of light reflecting from the wavy bombé glass windows of the Librería Puro Verso beckoned me in.

I approached the tall windows of the historic art nouveau building and peered inside the Puro Verso bookstore. Inside were studious bookworms, deep in their respective reveries of skillfully arranged words that would soon jumpstart dreams of times long ago or fantasies begging to be read. These were my people inside the Puro Verso—yes, by common ancestry, but more significantly, by a common love of books; all of us bibliophiles were captivated by the sight of thousands of books on diverse subjects and in a multitude of languages. As I walked up the elegant marble staircase, a large sign in Latin stopped me dead in my tracks. It read: Veritas filia mendacii est.

I suppose I could have asked an employee to help me with the translation, but as I struggled with the Latin words, I kept on hearing the distant voice of the mother superior of my convent school spouting these exact words as a warning. Veritas filia mendacii est: Truth is the flawed daughter of time. This was a message with many meanings that demanded my reflection right there and then. My rumination on this message led me to one conclusion: I must continue to write Blessings from the Edge. I must follow the motto of the famous Flemish publishing beacon, Plantin-Moretus, which states, labore et constantia: by labor and constancy. Or, in contemporary lingo: back to work!