Uit: The Farewell Symphony
“I’d been afraid I wouldn’t feel anything when Brice finally died-but my body did all the feeling for me. It took over. My knees buckled, I lost my balance, tears spurted from my eyes. I staggered in the sunlight and nearly fell and had to be held up by Laurent and his lover.
Everything I’d lived through in the last five years had changed me-whitened my hair, made me a fat, sleepy old man, matured me, finally, but also emptied me out. I met Brice five years before he died-but I wonder whether I’ll have the courage to tell his story in this book. The French call a love affair a “story,” une histoire, and I see getting to it, putting it down, exploring it, narrating it as a challenge I may well fail. If I do fail, don’t blame me. Understand that even writers, those professional exhibitionists, have their moments of reticence.
Strange that I should be living here, in Paris. Ever since I’d been a child, an imaginary Paris had been the bright planet pulsing at the heart of my mental star map, but the one time I’d gone to Paris I had been dressed in a horrible shiny blazer and everyone in the cafés had laughed at me. I said to a French acquaintance as we left the Flore, “I know I’m being paranoid,” but he said matter-of-factly, “No, they are laughing at you.”
A sign in the tailor shop window off the Boulevard St.-Germain warned that customers would not be allowed more than three fittings after the purchase of a suit and my mind winced at this proof of shameless male vanity, so exotic to an American since Americans equated male vanity with effeminacy or Mafia creepiness. The year was 1968 and stylish young American men back home were wearing fringe and puffy-sleeved pirate shirts, headbands, mirrored vests and winklepicker boots, but the materials were synthetic, the colors garish, the fit very approximate and the mood one of dressing up. Orange and black were popular colors. The long Mardi Gras of that decade in the States was a mockery of traditional good taste, a send-up of adult propriety, the recklessness of a generation that would never settle down long enough to study the fine gradations with which quality, and especially beauty, begin. And if the mood was festive, the festivity seemed more a gesture defying parental drabness than an assertion of a new-born hedonism. A true search for pleasure is an exacting science and is born from a profound interest in raglan versus fitted sleeves and in the precise arc a weighted hem on the bias will describe.”
Edmund White (Cincinnati, 13 januari 1940)
Hier met partner Michael Carroll (links)
„Aber diese Nummer gehört jemand anderem!“
Unmöglich, antwortete sie. Da gebe es – „Sicherungen, ich weiß! Aber ich bekomme ständig Anrufe für … Wissen Sie, ich bin Techniker. Ich weiß, daß sich bei Ihnen dauernd Leute melden, die von nichts eine Ahnung haben. Aber ich bin vom Fach. Ich weiß, wie man -“
Sie könne gar nichts tun, sagte sie. Sie werde sein Anliegen weiterleiten.
„Und dann? Was passiert dann?“
Dann, sagte sie, werde man weitersehen. Aber dafür sei sie nicht zuständig.
An diesem Vormittag konnte er sich nicht auf die Arbeit konzentrieren. Seine Hände waren zittrig, und in der Mittagspause hatte er keinen Hunger, obwohl es Wiener Schnitzel gab. Die Kantine hatte nicht oft Wiener Schnitzel, und normalerweise freute er sich schon am Tag vorher darauf. Diesmal jedoch stellte er sein Tablett mit dem halbvollen Teller in die Stellage zurück, ging in eine stille Ecke des Eßsaals und schaltete sein Telefon ein.
Drei Nachrichten. Seine Tochter, die vom Ballettuntericht abgeholt werden wollte. Das überraschte ihn, er hatte gar nicht gewußt, daß sie tanzte. Ein Mann, der um Rückruf bat. Nichts an seiner Nachricht verriet, wem sie galt: ihm oder dem anderen. Und dann eine Frau, die ihn fragte, warum er sich so rar machte. Ihre Stimme, tief und schnurrend, hatte er noch nie gehört. Gerade als er ausschalten wollte, läutete es wieder.
Die Nummer auf dem Bildschirm begann mit einem Pluszeichen und einer zweiundzwanzig. Ebling wußte nicht, welches Land das war. Er kannte fast niemanden im Ausland, nur seinen Cousin in Schweden und eine dicke alte Frau in Minneapolis, die jedes Jahr zu Weihnachten ein Foto schickte, auf dem sie grinsend ihr Glas hob. Auf die lieben Eblings stand auf der Rückseite, und weder er noch Elke wußte, wer von ihnen eigentlich mit ihr verwandt war. Er hob ab.“
Daniel Kehlmann (München, 13 januari 1975)
Uit: The Good Life
“Corrine had become a connoisseur of guilt; not for her the stabbing thrust of regret for an ill-conceived act—but, rather, the dull and steady throb of chronic guilt, even as she’d done her best to rearrange her life around her kids, quitting her job to take care of them and, over the past two years, working highly flexible hours on a screenplay and on a project that was the obverse of a busman’s holiday—a start-up venture called Momtomtom.com, which had been on the verge of a big launch this past spring, when the Internet bubble started to deflate and the venture capital dried up. This afternoon, she’d spent four hours making a presentation to a possible backer, hustling for seed money for the Web site. As these prospects dimmed, she’d been trying to set up meetings on the screenplay, an adaptation of Graham Greene’s The Heart of the Matter. And here were the theoretical bookends of her existence, the maternal and the romantic—the latter submerged and almost extinct. In fact, that had been her secret intention in writing this script: to try to rekindle the romance and fan it back to life.
Corrine hadn’t wanted to be one of those mothers who paid someone else to raise her kids; for the first five years, to the astonishment of her friends and former colleagues, she’d stayed at home. Manhattan was an existential town, in which identity was a function of professional accomplishment; only the very young and the very rich were permitted to be idle. The latter, like her friend Casey Reynes, had their charities and their personal assistants and inevitably managed to convey the impression that all this constituted an exhausting grind. Russell had initially supported her maternal ideal, though, as the years went by and their peers bought vacation homes in the Hamptons, he couldn’t consistently disguise his resentment over their straitened finances, or his sense that his stay-at-home wife had become translucent, if not invisible, within the walls of their loft—a nanny without salary.“
Jay McInerney (Hartford, 13 januari 1955)
Uit: Who Will Run the Frog Hospital
“We sit beside people who show us wallet pictures of their children. “Sont-ils si mignons!” I say. My husband constructs remarks in his own patois. We, us, have no little ones. He doesn’t know French. But he studied Spanish once, and now, with a sad robustness, speaks of our childlessness to the couple next to us. “But,” he adds, thinking fondly of our cat, “we do have a large gato at home.”
“Gâteau means ‘cake,’ I whisper. “You’ve just told them we have a large cake at home.” I don’t know why he always strikes up conversations with the people next to us. But he strikes them up, thinking it friendly and polite rather than oafish and irritating, which is what I think.
Afterward we always go to the same chocolatier for whiskey truffles. One feels the captured storm in these, a warm storm under the tongue.
“What aggrandizement are we in again?” my husband asks.
“What ‘aggrandizement’?” I say. “I don’t know, but I think we’re in one of the biggies.” My husband pronounces tirez as if it were Spanish, père as if it were pier. The affectionate farce I make of him ignores the ways I feel his lack of love for me. But we are managing. We touch each other’s sleeves. We say, “Look at that!,” wanting our eyes to merge, our minds to be one. We are in Paris, with its impeccable marzipan and light, its whiffs of sewage and police state. With my sore hip and his fallen arches (“fallen archness,” Daniel calls it), we walk the quais, stand on all the bridges in the misty rain, and look out on this pretty place, secretly imagining being married to other people—right here in River City!—and sometimes not, sometimes simply wondering, silently or aloud, what will become of the world.”
Lorrie Moore (Glens Falls, 13 januari 1957)
Hoeveel pogingen ondernamen ze:
wetenschappers, filosofen, dichters,
theologen, politici, zoekers naar een
Hooiberg in een speld?
Het licht, de zon, de natuur, het gelaat
van de ander, het allerdiepste ik in
de gedachten. Er werd gevonden:
een Speld in een hooiberg.
Vragen, onzekerheden, angsten,
twijfels, irritaties, verdachtmakingen
en bewonderingen bleven bestaan:
wat is de hooiberg en wat is de speld?
Langs de rand van het gedicht
Kleine egel, bol van angst,
schuifelt heel voorzichtig langs.
Zijn bestaan is marginaal.
Maar zijn stekels die ik zie,
prikkelden tot poëzie.
Metaforen, maar voor wie?
Jan de Bas (Waddinxveen, 13 januari 1964)
Uit:Letters From Buenos Aires
« Tuesday 10th
The current crop of young directors approach the cinema with a strength and desire unknown to most of their elders. I can sense this in their work—films neither the industry nor the public demanded, and which exist only because of the determination of their makers. Once they are made, however, their necessity becomes fully apparent. This is most likely not the result of some new development, since the history of the cinema, no less than History itself, consists of what Vico referred to as ‘corsi e ricorsi’. And yet how to describe, if not with the word ‘new’, certain images and forms of behaviour that evoke a whole country and its people as if they were being filmed for the first time?
When I saw Lucrecia Martel’s La ciénaga (The Swamp, 2001) in Paris, I was struck, not by the dysfunction of the provincial bourgeois family, but by the skill with which this first-time director choreographed the movements of the various characters within her frame; and by the film’s setting—a country house or holiday home, where the beds are never made, where children come and go from the swimming pool without wiping their feet. Then there is the delicate evocation of the pains of adolescent love, experienced above all in what is left unsaid, a transgression to which we cannot yet put a name. Filming 1,200 miles north of Buenos Aires in Salta province, Martel did not choose the picturesque scenery to the west—mountains, crystalline rocks eroded to fantastical forms—but opted instead for the low jungle and muggy atmosphere of the east. (Hence the frequent talk in the dialogue, so exotic to porteño ears, of going shopping in Bolivia, ‘where it’s better value for money’).”
Edgardo Cozarinsky (Buenos Aires, 13 januari 1939)
Uit: Persian Is Sugar (Vertaald door Heshmat Moayyad en Paul Sprachman)
“The attendants locked the door from the outside and left me to my fate.
Earlier, as I was leaving the ship, going ashore on the tender, I had learned from bits and pieces of people’s conversations with the boatmen, that the shah and the Assembly were at loggerheads once more and that a new wave of arrests and imprisonment had begun.* The capital had decreed that travelers were to receive special scrutiny.
Clearly, this was what was behind the arrests-especially when you consider that a supernumerary had arrived that morning from Rasht expressly for this purpose. In order to display his utility, his talent, and his expertise, he was making good and bad suffer alike and turning on the defenseless like a mad dog. In the meantime, he had even displaced the hapless provincial governor and was paving the way for his own administration of Enzeli: reports of his services had been keeping the telegraph lines between Enzeli and Tehran busy every minute since morning.
I was so dismayed at first that I could barely see, but, as I gradually got used to the darkness, I sensed that I wasn’t the only guest in the cell. I first noticed one of those notorious “Western-oriented gentlemen” who will serve as monuments to coddling, idiocy, and illiteracy in Iran until the Resurrection, and who will surely keep audiences rolling in the aisles oflocal theaters (I hope the devil’s not listening) for another century. My lVogT companion was perched in an arched alcove wearing a collar as tall as a samovar chimney and, from the black smoke of some Caucasus diesel train, as sooty. Pinched by the collar, which propped up his neck like a pillory, he was immersed in a French novel, reading in the light and shadow of the cell.”
Mohammad- Ali Jamālzādeh (13 januari 1892 – 8 november 1997)
Dearest, today I found
A lonely spot, such as we two have loved,
Where two might lie upon Favonian ground
Peering to faint horizons far-removed:
A green and gentle fell
That steepens to a rugged canyon’s rim,
Where voices of vague waters fall and swell
And pines far down in sky-blue dimness swim.
Toward the sunset lands,
A leafless tree, from tender slopes of spring,
Holds out its empty boughs like empty hands
That vainly seek some distance-hidden thing.
Strange, that my wandering feet,
In all the years, had never known this place,
Where beauty, with a glamor wild and sweet,
Awaits the final witchcraft of your face.
Upon this secret hill
I gave my dark bereavement to the sun,
My sorrow to the flowing air . . . until
Your tresses and the grass were somehow one,
And in my prescient dream I seemed to find
An unborn joy, a future memory
Of you, and love, and sunlight and the wind
On the same grass, beneath the selfsame tree.
Clark Ashton Smith (13 januari 1893 – 14 augustus 1961)