I have read a few things – a very few things – by Vaclav Havel. I don’t remember what they were, though. I read them because he wrote them, and I knew who he was, and when you respect someone you are inclined to read at least a little of what he has written.
Havel was one of those rare, shining creatures – a writer whose words made an enormous difference in his own lifetime – that the rest of us scribes admire and, in our weaker moments, envy. He was a playwright who became a dissident and helped to lead his people from life under the Soviet yoke to one of self-determination, and who led then as president of his country. That’s a heck of a story arc, but few of us would care to emulate his years in prisons and a labor camp, no matter how many books we might sell afterward.
He is gone now, but his words and his example remain for us always.