A Lorenzo Ramos / José Antonio Ramos Sucre

To Lorenzo Ramos

                                                                                                    [September 1924]

by Marden and the ones by Prentice Mulford are much better. Life is like you think it; so, if you think of it badly, you go crazy with desperation. Take great care of your health; don’t get sick. I approve of you writing. For that, every day you will write a thought that is the logical consequence of the one you have printed on the previous day. Always write at the same hour. Compose with the utmost simplicity and the least amount of words. Don’t try to compose without knowing very well what you want to say. Never imitate what someone else has said, because each man is his own world, and moreover each man has within his spirit a mine where he can always find what he needs. Listen to yourself. Read Baralt, Ricardo León, Pardo Bazán, Cervantes, Mariana. Above all read Baralt very closely as though it were a book of prayers. With those authors you will learn how to handle Spanish. Constantly consult the dictionary. You can feel which adjective needs to be applied to the noun, and that’s the one that should be applied. Put original adjectives, suitable to you, that are your own opinion about what you think or see. To be original, it’s enough to listen to yourself, avoiding copying. But don’t forget that beauty comes before originality. Another thing, be very moderate when you write, don’t ever incur in exaggeration, in disproportion. Familiarize yourself a great deal with Baralt, read him every day. Every time you read a book, write your impressions, in a simple style, with least number of words, and with logic, deducing each thought from the previous one.
     You need to study in depth the career you have, pay attention to finances, political economy, banks, and write about that. Don’t ever say así fue que, but rather así fue como; allí fue que, but rather allí fue donde; entonces fue que, but rather entonces fue cuando; por esto es que, but rather por esto es por lo que; tan es así, but rather tanto es así.
     Writing is a thing of great patience, and it should not be omitted for a single day. One writes every day, without exception. To write well you need to have the greatest number of words and typical phrases memorized.
     I repeat that you should choose a writer as a teacher, I recommend Baralt and Ricardo León. More the first.
     I’m answering your letter from memory, because I can’t remember where I put it. Tell [...] that the persons he has dealt with have made him too irritable and mournful, which is to say, he practices the two defects that have killed Juan Miguel Alarcón. Tell him that irritation and lamentation can be gotten rid of with exercise. They tell me he eats too much. If you're going to eat too much you need to exercise frequently. But gluttony is always condemned, because it leads to arthritis.
     I don’t think I have anything else to tell you.
     A hug from
                                                                                                    José Antonio

{ José Antonio Ramos Sucre, Obra completa, Caracas: Biblioteca Ayacucho, 1989 }

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