I first saw this photo on my friend Kristin’s blog and it’s stuck with me ever since. I think I might have even posted it before, but I had some thoughts about it that feel fresh to me, so maybe I didn’t say them already. Whatever. That doesn’t matter. Here’s something else that doesn’t matter:
The photo is said to be famous bullfighter-turned-activist Alvaro Munera during his final performance, but it can’t be him because his last bullfight didn’t end this way. Munera’s body was demolished by a bull that also left him paralyzed, and he was an unrepentant toreador before that moment.
It doesn’t matter who this guy is. It doesn’t have to have Munera’s story attached to make it a powerful image. It doesn’t even have to be real.
This is the depiction of a man who’s had some kind of pacifistic epiphany - he stopped trying to kill the bull and the bull stopped trying to kill him. Or maybe the bull had the epiphany first, and when the bullfighter saw that the damn bull wasn’t fighting him back, he realized that he would be responsible for the destruction of an innocent creature and that led him to realize that every bull who ever fought a bullfighter was innocent, too. This made him unable to continue.
This man is in the process of having a staggering moment - he had to sit down in the middle of trying to kill a giant, dangerous animal. It’s a point in his life that alters the curve he had graphed for himself when he took up his profession. It’s a moment of revelation and alteration and growth and evolution, a punctuated emergence into a new life.
This is what makes me want to write. These moments interest me more than any other in anybody’s life. These moments - when the growing plant breaks through the soil - make me excited about stories.