Uit: An Abundance of Katherines
“The morning after noted child prodigy Colin Singleton graduated from high school and got dumped for the 19th time by a girl named Katherine, he took a bath. Colin had always preferred baths; one of his general policies in life was never to do anything standing up that could just as easily be done lying down. He climbed into the tub as soon as the water got hot, and he sat and watched with a curiously blank look on his face as the water overtook him. The water inched up his legs, which were crossed and folded into the tub. He did recognize, albeit faintly, that he was too long, and too big, for this bathtub—he looked like a mostly grown person playing at being a kid.
As the water began to splash over his skinny but unmuscled stomach, he thought of Archimedes. When Colin was about four, he read a book about Archimedes, the Greek philosopher who’d discovered you could measure volume by water displacement when he sat down in the bathtub. Upon making this discovery, Archimedes supposedly shouted “Eureka! ” and then ran naked through the streets. The book said that many important discoveries contained a “Eureka moment.” And even then, Colin very much wanted to have some important discoveries, so he asked his mom about it when she got home that evening.
“Mommy, am I ever going to have a Eureka moment?”
“Oh, sweetie,” she said, taking his hand. “What’s wrong?”
“I wanna have a Eureka Moment,” he said, the way another kid might have expressed longing for a teenage mutant ninja turtle.
She pressed the back of her hand to his cheek and smiled, her face so close to his that he could smell coffee and make-up. “Of course, Colin baby. Of course you will.” But mothers lie. It’s in the job description.
Colin took a deep breath and slid down, immersing his head. I am crying, he thought, opening his eyes to stare through the soapy, stinging water. I feel like crying so I must be crying, but it’s impossible to tell because I’m underwater. But he wasn’t crying. Curiously, he felt too depressed to cry. Too hurt. It felt as if she’d taken the part that cried from him.”
John Green (Indianapolis, 24 augustus 1977)
De Nederlands-Zwitserse schrijver, tekstschrijver, componist, zanger en pianist Drs. P (eig. Heinz Hermann Polzer werd geboren in het Zwitserse Thun op 24 augustus 1919. Zie ook mijn blog van 24 augustus 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Drs. P. op dit blog.
Arminius, Varus, Teutenburgerwoud
Woorden doen wonderen
Werd de legioenen
Van Varus gewaar
Teut niet, o burgers, de
Is in gevaar!
Voor George Orwell
Toen ’t Koude Oorlog was:
In ’t algemeen nochtans
Blijft het gewis
Dat een regering op
Een schrikbewind is
Ik waarschuw u op goede gronden
Veel dichters zijn te licht bevonden
Light verse (plezierdicht, zeggen wij)
Is speels, maar geenszins ongebonden
Dus (zij het dan qua inhoud vrij)
Qua vorm van hechte makelij!
En dat men ’t puntig af moet ronden –
Die noodzaak komt er ook nog bij
’t Gaat niet om kolder, niet om grap
Ook niet om rederijkerskuren
Het is geen zwelgen in de taal
Maar wel berust het allemaal
Op innerlijke avonturen
En onvermoeibaar vakmanschap
Drs. P (Thun, 24 augustus 1919)
Als vrij zijn is: hou jij je mond
want ik heb iets te zeggen
Als vrij zijn is: jij achter tralies, want
dan hoeven wij niet bang te zijn
voor al jouw anders zijn en doen en anders
Als vrij zijn is: de dag van morgen
strak bepalen door de dag vandaag
iets minder dag te laten zijn
Als vrij zijn is: de deuren sluiten
en op het beeldscherm vrij bekijken
wat veilig uit de buurt moet zijn
Als vrij zijn is: steeds rustig slapen
omdat de anderen hun tong moedwillig
Als vrij zijn is: eten wat en wanneer je wilt
maar de schillen laten vallen in de kranten
waar de honger wordt verzwegen
Als vrij zijn is: niet hoeven weten wat mij
heeft vrijgemaakt, mij vrij houdt, mij
in vrijheid elke dag gevangen neemt
Als vrijheid is: wachten tot de ander
mij bevrijdt van angsten waar ik
heilig op vertrouw
Als vrijheid mijn gedachten pleistert
Als vrijheid om mij heen overal rondom
en in mij waait,
maar voor jou niet is te vangen
Als vrijheid mij beschermt
tegen jouw ideeën die voor mij te
Als vrijheid voor mij vandaag zo
vanzelfsprekend lijkt, en jij niet
weet wat dat betekent
Dan is vrijheid munt voor mij
en kop eraf voor jou
Dan is vrijheid lucht en willekeurig
Maar staat het mij misschien wel vrij
om iets van mijn riante vrijheid -met
wederzijds goedvinden natuurlijktijdelijk
of voor langere duur
af te staan om jou
van mijn verstikkende vrijheid
Marion Bloem (Arnhem, 24 augustus 1952)
De Engelse komiek, schrijver, acteur en presentator Stephen John Fry werd geboren in Londen op 24 augustus 1957. Zie ook mijn blog van 24 augustus 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Stephen Fry op dit blog.
Uit: The Fry Chronicles
“But just as we can all agree on what is red, even if we will never know if we each see it in the same way, so we can all agree – can’t we? – that no matter how confident we may appear to others, inside we are all sobbing, scared and uncertain for much of the time. Or perhaps it’s just me.
Oh God, perhaps it really is just me.
Actually it doesn’t really matter, when you come to think of it. If it is just me, then you are reading the story of some weird freak. You are free to treat this book like science fiction, fantasy or exotic travel literature. Are there really men like Stephen Fry on this planet? Goodness, how alien some people are. And if I am not alone, then neither are you, and hand in hand we can marvel together at the strangeness of the human condition.”
“There are young men and women up and down the land who happily (or unhappily) tell anyone who will listen that they don’t have an academic turn of mind, or that they aren’t lucky enough to have been blessed with a good memory, and yet can recite hundreds of pop lyrics and reel off any amount of information about footballers. Why? Because they are interested in those things. They are curious. If you are hungry for food, you are prepared to hunt high and low for it. If you are hungry for information it is the same. Information is all around us, now more than ever before in human history. You barely have to stir or incommode yourself to find things out. The only reason people do not know much is because they do not care to know. They are incurious. Incuriosity is the oddest and most foolish failing there is.”
Stephen Fry (Londen, 24 augustus 1957)
Uit: The Cruel Redeemer Lazarus Morell (Vertaald door Andrew Hurley)
Manned by trustworthy fellows, the business was bound to prosper. By early 1834, some seventy Negro slaves had been “emancipated” by Morell, and others were ready to follow their fortunate forerunners. The zone of operations was larger now, and new members had to be admitted to the gang. Among those who took the oath, there was one young man, Virgil Stewart, from Arkansas, who very soon distinguished himself by his cruelty. This boy was the nephew of a gentleman who had lost a great number of slaves. In August of 1834, he broke his vow and denounced Morell and the others. Morell’s house in New Orleans was surrounded by the authorities, but Morell somehow (owing to some oversight–or a bribe in the right quarters) managed to escape.
Three days passed. Morell hid for that period in an old house with vine-covered courtyards and statues, on Toulouse Street. Apparently he had almost nothing to eat and spent his days roaming barefoot through the large, dark rooms, smoking a thoughtful cheroot. Through a slave in the house, he sent two letters to Natchez and another to Red River. On the fourth day, three men entered the house; they sat talking things over with Morell until almost daybreak. On the fifth day, Morell got out of bed at nightfall, borrowed a razor, and carefully shaved off his beard. He then dressed and left the house. Slowly and calmly he made his way through the northern outskirts of the city. When be reached open country, out in the bottomlands of the Mississippi, he breathed easier.
His plan was one of drunken courage. He proposed to exploit the last men that still owed him respect: the accommodating Negroes of the Southland themselves. These men had seen their comrades run away, and had not seen them brought back.”
Jorge Luis Borges (24 augustus 1899 – 14 juni 1986)
Uit: Babel Tower
“Or it might begin with Hugh Pink, walking in Laidley Woods in Herefordshire in the autumn of 1964. The woods are mostly virgin woodland, crowded between mountainsides, but Hugh Pink is walking along an avenue of ancient yews, stretched darkly over hills and across valleys.
His thoughts buzz round him like a cloud of insects, of varying colours, sizes and liveliness. He thinks about the poem he is writing, a rich red honeycomb of a poem about a pomegranate, and he thinks about how to make a living. He does not like teaching in schools, but that is how he has recently made some sort of living, and he reconstructs the smells of chalk and ink and boys, the noise of corridors and tumult, amongst the dark trees. The wood floor smells pungent and rotting. He thinks of Rupert Parrott, the publisher, who might pay him to read manuscripts. He does not think he will pay much, but it might be enough. He thinks of the blooded pink jelly of pomegranates, of the word “pomegranate,” round and spicy. He thinks of Persephone and is moved by the automatic power of the myth and then repelled by caution. The myth is too big, too easy, too much for his pomegranate. He must be oblique. Why is there this necessity, now, to be oblique? He thinks of Persephone as he used to imagine her when he was a boy, a young white girl in a dark cavern, before a black table, with a gold plate containing a heap of seeds. He had supposed the six seeds she ate were dry seeds, when he was a boy and had never seen a pomegranate. Her head is bowed, her hair is pale gold. She knows she should not eat, and eats. Why? It is not a question you can ask. The story compels her to eat. As he thinks, his eyes take in the woods, brambles and saplings, flaming spindle-berries and gleaming holly leaves.”
A. S. Byatt (Sheffield, 24 augustus 1936)
Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 24e augustus ook mijn vorige blog van vandaag.