There is much written about the artists who suffered from some type of addiction, but of those who, quite the contrary, had to endure and maintain the addicts, the merit stands out less. It is seen that the dragged life is always more fascinating. Among those who suffered the excesses of others we find Anton Chekhov, Dr. Chekhov, who, being the third of six brothers, became the head of the family and tried to intervene in the lives of his family to improve it.
There is a letter that has become a classic of epistolary literature, for its beauty and depth. It is from 1886 and in it Antón lists nine pieces of advice to his brother Nicolai, a talented draftsman, often devoted to revelries and fights. I have summarized them for you, dear readers, although you can find the full letter in your letters. I am not good at giving advice, with children one displays them with as much good intention as clumsiness, however, I have a good ear for noble spirits who know how to give it, and I have always read these from Dr. Chekhov with great attention. Anton writes to Nicolai about how cultivated people should behave:
1. They respect the personality of others, and are also always kind, gentle, polite, and ready to give in to others.
2. They don’t just have a liking for beggars and cats. His heart aches also for what his eye does not see.
3. They respect the property of others, and pay their debts.
All the culture that goes with you awaits you here.
4. They are sincere, and fear lies like fire. A lie insults the listener and puts him in a humiliating position in the eyes of the person telling it. They do not pretend, they behave in the street like at home, they do not show off to their most humble comrades. They are not given to charlatanism, nor do they force others to listen to unwanted confidences. Out of respect for others they often keep silent instead of speaking.
5. They don’t despise themselves to arouse compassion. They don’t manipulate other people’s hearts to get something out of them. They do not say: “I am misunderstood, or I have become second-rate,” because all this has a cheap effect, it is vulgar, false.
6. They don’t have a bloated vanity. They don’t care about ridiculous things like meeting famous people.
7. They do not presume to enter places where others are not admitted. True talent is always kept hidden from the crowd, and as far away from publicity as possible.
8. If they have talent, they take care of it. They sacrifice to that talent rest, women, wine, vanity …
9. They develop a sense of austerity. They cannot go to sleep with their clothes on, see cockroaches on the walls, breathe stale air, walk on the floor that has been spit out, cook on an oily stove. What they want in a woman is not just a bed partner … They do not seek that sharpness that manifests itself in continuous lying. They want, especially if they are artists, freshness, elegance, humanity. They don’t drink vodka at any time of the night and day, they don’t sniff in cupboards because they aren’t pigs. They drink only when they are recess, sometimes. They defend a A sound mind in a sound body.
The best tips are those that hurt us because they point to the meanest corner of our character. In fact, leaving alcohol aside, poor Chekhov, fed up with putting up with his older brother’s bravado, asks him with both brotherly affection and firmness to contain his vanity, treat his wife with consideration, and respect and pamper her talent. , because in Chekhov’s opinion, talent is sacred and it is an unforgivable betrayal not to work in his favor.
It is true that in the works in which public exposure and the judgment of others intervene as an essential element, an adequate dose of vanity must be had, let’s call it self-love, so as not to succumb to slander or inconsideration. He spends his life rebuilding himself to return to the blank screen to offer something frank and sincere that makes you vulnerable. In the end, the job of making up stories is the only thing that heals bad times. But it is also true that exceeding the recommended dose of vanity leads to blindness, pride and that adolescent feeling that no one in this world understands you. And I feel understood by many of you. Merry Christmas.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.