Uit: The Eyre Affair
„My father had a face that could stop a clock. I don’t mean that he was ugly or anything; it was a phrase the ChronoGuard used to describe someone who had the power to reduce time to an ultraslow trickle. Dad had been a colonel in the ChronoGuard and kept his work very quiet. So quiet, in fact, that we didn’t know he had gone rogue at all until his timekeeping buddies raided our house one morning clutching a Seize & Eradication order open-dated at both ends and demanding to know where and when he was. Dad had remained at liberty ever since; we learned from his subsequent visits that he regarded the whole service as “morally and historically corrupt” and was fighting a one-man war against the bureaucrats within the Office for Special Temporal Stability. I didn’t know what he meant by that and still don’t; I just hoped he knew what he was doing and didn’t come to any harm doing it. His skills at stopping the clock were hard-earned and irreversible: He was now a lonely itinerant in time, belonging to not one age but to all of them and having no home other than the chronoclastic ether.
I wasn’t a member of the ChronoGuard. I never wanted to be. By all accounts it’s not a huge barrel of laughs, although the pay is good and the service boasts a retirement plan that is second to none: a one-way ticket to anywhere and anywhen you want. No, that wasn’t for me. I was what we called an “operative grade I” for SO-27, the Literary Detective Division of the Special Operations Network based in London. It’s way less flash than it sounds. Since 1980 the big criminal gangs had moved in on the lucrative literary market and we had much to do and few funds to do it with. I worked under Area Chief Boswell, a small, puffy man who looked like a bag of flour with arms and legs. He lived and breathed the job; words were his life and his love–he never seemed happier than when he was on the trail of a counterfeit Coleridge or a fake Fielding. It was under Boswell that we arrested the gang who were stealing and selling Samuel Johnson first editions; on another occasion we uncovered an attempt to authenticate a flagrantly unrealistic version of Shakespeare’s lost work, Cardenio. Fun while it lasted, but only small islands of excitement among the ocean of day-to-day mundanities that is SO-27: We spent most of our time dealing with illegal traders, copyright infringements and fraud.“
Jasper Fforde (Londen, 11 januari 1961)
De Duitse dichteres en schrijfster Katharina Hacker werd geboren op 11 januari 1967 in Frankfurt am Main. Zie ook mijn blog van 11 januari 2007 en ook mijn blog van 11 januari 2008 en ook mijn blog van 11 januari 2009.
Uit: Alix, Anton und die anderen
“Den ganzen Sommer über habe ich auf den Herbst gewartet, ich saß auf einem Stuhl nahe der Tür meines Buchladens, die ich offenstehen ließ, hielt nach Kunden Ausschau und dachte an den Herbst, an den ersten Nebel, an die langen Abende, ich dachte, spätestens nach dem Kürbisfest, das sie hier immer feiern, als wäre Schöneberg voller Gärten und Gärtnereien, spätestens nach dem Kürbisfest werden wieder mehr Bücher verkauft werden. Als aber der Oktober mit einigen grauen Regentagen begann, wurde ich schwermütig, und daß tatsächlich mehr Leute kamen, um Bücher zu kaufen, tröstete mich kaum.
Es kommt mir vor, als wären Clara und Heinrich in diesem Frühherbst gealtert, und Alix, ihre Tochter, wirkt noch fragiler als sonst. Jan, ihr Mann, ist reizbar und ungeduldig, und der einzige von uns, der nie die Contenance verliert, der immer freundlich bleibt, ist Anton, der seine Praxis nicht einmal mehr mittags schließt, weil sein Wartezimmer voll ist mit niesenden, schniefenden, fiebernden Leuten, die tun, als hätte ihr letztes Stündlein geschlagen.
Anton war es eigentlich, der auf die Idee kam, wir könnten doch einmal Clara und Heinrich zum Essen einladen, statt uns jeden Sonntag von Clara bekochen zu lassen. Als ich dann vorschlug, wir könnten zu dem Vietnamesen in Zehlendorf gehen, war Anton überrascht und begeistert. Clara und Heinrich schauten mich verblüfft und ein eindem Gitter stand und sich darüber beugte, manchmal winkte
sie ihm, manchmal winkte sie auch zu Ahmed, dessen Gemüseladen zwei Häuser weiter oben an der Straßenecke war.”
Katharina Hacker (Frankfurt am Main, 11 januari 1967)
Uit: How I Paid for College
„Shards of light spike off the water, so I have to shield my eyes with my hand to see her. Paula’s poised on her floating throne, her head tilted “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille” upright, her eyes hidden by a pair of rhinestone-studded cat-lady sunglasses, a lace parasol over her shoulder to protect her white-white skin. She wears one of Aunt Glo’s old bathing suits from the fifties, a pleated number that stretches across her flesh like those folds you see on Greek statuary; it’s more of a birdcage with fabric, really, the desired effect being a Sophia Loren-Gina Lollobrigida-kind of va-va-va-voom sensuality. Frankly, though, Paula’s a couple of vooms wide of the mark.
She takes a sip from a virgin strawberry daiquiri, then eyes me over her sunglasses to say, “What can we do? We’ve been summoned for a command performance.” Then she throws her head back, unhinges her wide jaw, and lets flow the opening phrase of “Ave Maria” in a voice so warm and pure you want to take a bath in it. I join in, harmonizing like we did at her cousin Crazy Linda’s wedding, our voices mixing and mingling in a conversation that goes on above our heads and into the thick New Jersey air. A pair of nasty-looking dogs on the other side of the chain-link fence bark at us.
Everyone’s a critic.
But not Aunt Glo. Aunt Glo’s a good audience and (since Paula’s mother is dead and her father works so much for the highway department) a frequent one. “Such voices you two have, like angels.” She always tells us that. “Oh, son of a bitch, look at the time,” she yells. “Now shaddap, will ya’, my stories are almost on.”
I can’t see her through the screened window but I know she’s lighting up a Lucky Strike and pouring herself a Dr Pepper before waddling down to the rec room to watch Guiding Light and do her ironing.
Paula deposits her glass on the side of the pool and twiddles her tiny fingers in the water to clean them off. “Honestly, Edward,” she says, flinging a meaty arm in the air, “it is so patently unfair.”
(Paula has a tendency to speak in italics.) “I’m simply wasting my talent this summer, wasting it!” Forever cast in the roles of postmenopausal women, Paula is continuing the trend this summer by playing Miss Lynch in the Wallingford Summer Workshop production of Grease.“
Marc Acito (Bayonne, 11 januari 1966)
That first trip – a southern freight, by chance –
no sleep, malaria, difficult watches.
Strangely deceptive, the lights of the Indies –
they say you don’t see them at a first glance.
Beyond Adam’s bridge, you took on freight
in South China – soya, sacks by the thousand,
and couldn’t get out of your mind for a second
what they’d told you in Athens one wasted night.
The tar gets under your nails, and burns;
the fish-oil stinks on your clothes for years,
and her words keep ringing still in your ears:
“Is it the ship or the compass that turns?”
You altered course when the weather turned,
but the sea bore a grudge and exacted its cost.
Tonight my two caged parrots were lost,
and the ape I’d had such trouble to train.
The ship! – it wipes out all our chances.
The Kuro Siwo crushed us under its heel,
but you’re still watching, over the wheel,
how, point by point, the compass dances.
Vertaald door Simon Darragh
Nikos Kavvadias (11 januari 1910 – 10 februari 1975)
HIP! HIP! HOOVER!
A Poetic Message to the Brazilian People
From the Ocean
Opens the jewel of your
To receive the cannons of Utah
From where the President Elect
From the Great American Democracy comes
Convoying in the air
Through the flight of the aeroplanes
And through all the birds
The corporations and the families
Are already in the streets
Anxious to see him
But what a habit
Of the police to persecute the workers
Until this day
When they just want to see him
Hs more flour than the League of Nations
More credit in the banks
More daring tangoes
But tell me sincerely
Which people best received
The American President
Because, Senhor Hoover, the Brazilian people have feeling
And you know that feeling is everything in life
Oswald de Andrade (11 januari 1890 – 22 oktober 1954)
Portret door Tarsila do Amaral
Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 11e januari ook mijn vorige blog van vandaag.