Uit: Our Young Man
“Although Guy was thirty-five he was still working as a model, and certain of his more ironic and cultured friends called him, as the dying Proust had been called by Colette, “our young man.” For so many years he’d been actually young; he’d arrived from Paris to New York in the late 1970s when he was in his late twenties but passed as nineteen. He’d been the darling of Fire Island Pines the summers of 1980 and 1981; everyone in the Octagon House was in love with him and he was a good deal more egalitarian and participatory in chores and expenses than he needed to be, splitting the grocery and house cleaning bills down to the last penny, even when he skipped meals or entire weekends.
Everyone adored him, so he could have skimped on his share. He was making $175 an hour as a model for a whole host of beauty products, which was a lot of money in those days; he made more in two hours than his housemate, the young journalist Howard, earned in a week, or Howard’s lover the mustachioed Cuban bartender Martin took in at Uncle Charlie’s in tips on two or three shifts. Even his heavy French accent made him all the more desirable; one of their most besotted housemates, Tom, started taking French lessons but could never master a whole sentence.
Nor was he stinting with his favors. He’d swallow an after- dinner concoction Ted would assemble of acid, tranquilizers, Quaaludes, and the odd yellow jacket. After a strenuous night of dancing at the Sandpiper he’d be found nude at dawn, splayed in the surf with three other amorous beauties or massaging a Croatian fellow model on the deck by the pool as they sipped big shaggy joints of Acapulco gold.
He liked the Pines, since the muscular men there were bankers or lawyers or surgeons and not just gigolos, as comparable studs would have been in Saint-Tropez, lounging around on the decks of moored yachts (or “laying out in the sun,” as these American guys all said, though Guy knew from lycée English class back in France that it should be “lying”; the French, he thought primly, would never have made a similar mistake in their own language).
He was from Clermont-Ferrand, a big, dead, dreary industrial city in the heart of France, lava-black, cold in the winter and suffocatingly hot in the summer, and now he sent home a thousand dollars a month from New York to his pious mother, who arranged the flowers for the altar, and his Communist father, a Michelin factory hand who’d been laid off for twenty years, living on welfare and drinking too much red wine (his first coup de rouge he downed at eleven every morning, an old habit from his working days).”
Edmund White (Cincinnati, 13 januari 1940)
Uit:Du hättest gehen sollen
Jana und Ella fahren auf dem Tandem die Landstraße entlang. Die Sonne scheint, die Halme wogen, heitere Musik. Ella am Steuer, Jana breitet die Arme aus, Großaufnahme: Glücklich blinzelt sie in die Sonne. Dann fährt das Rad über einen Stein, kommt von der Straße ab und fällt um. Schmerzensschreie. Die Musik bricht ab, Schwarzblende, Anfangstitel. Setzt gleich den richtigen Ton.
Es passt gut, dass ich hier oben ein neues Notizbuch anfange. Neue Umgebung, neue Ideen, ein neuer Anfang. Frische Luft.
Letzte Woche ist Esther vier Jahre alt geworden. Jetzt wird alles leichter. Man merkt schon, dass es nicht mehr dauernd Streit um die Frage gibt, wer mit ihr aufsteht, wer sie zu Bett bringt, wer mit den Blöckchen oder der kleinen Eisenbahn oder den Legosteinen spielt. Sie kann jetzt viel mehr alleine tun.
Das kalte Blauweiß der zwei Gletscher, darunter schroffer Granit, dann die Wälder, die der Dunst in eine glatte dunkelgrüne Fläche verwandelt. Der Himmel ist leicht bewölkt, eine Wolke hat sich vor die Sonne geschoben, ein Feuerkranz legt sich um ihre weißfaserigen Ränder.
Vor dem Haus, das wir gemietet haben, bildet die Wiese einen sanften Abhang, hundert Meter etwa, zum Waldessaum hin: Fichten, Föhren und, dort, eine riesige bleiche Weide. Wenn ich das Fenster öffne, höre ich den Wind flüstern. Sonst höre ich nichts. Tief unten liegt das Tal mit seinen würfelkleinen Häusern, der Länge nach durchschnitten von drei Bändern: Straße, Fluss, Eisenbahn. Wie ein dünner Bleistiftstrich zweigt die Serpentinenstraße ab, auf der wir heraufgekommen sind.“
Daniel Kehlmann (München, 13 januari 1975)
Hier bij de uitreiking van de Weense Nestroy-Preis in 2012
Uit: Bright, Precious Days
“Once, not so very long ago, young men and women had come to the city because they loved books, because they wanted to write novels or short stories or even poems, or because they wanted to be associated with the production and distribution of those artifacts and with the people who created them. For those who haunted suburban libraries and provincial bookstores, Manhattan was the shining island of letters. New York, New York: It was right there on the title pages—the place from which the books and magazines emanated, home of all the publishers, the address of The New Yorker and The Paris Review, where Hemingway had punched O’Hara and Ginsberg seduced Kerouac, Hellman sued McCarthy and Mailer had punched everybody, where—or so they imagined—earnest editorial assistants and aspiring novelists smoked cigarettes in cafés while reciting Dylan Thomas, who’d taken his last breath in St. Vincent’s Hospital after drinking seventeen whiskeys at the White Horse Tavern, which was still serving drinks to the tourists and the young litterateurs who flocked here to raise a glass to the memory of the Welsh bard. These dreamers were people of the book; they loved the sacred New York texts: The House of Mirth, Gatsby, Breakfast at Tiffany’s et al., but also all the marginalia: the romance and the attendant mythology—the affairs and addictions, the feuds and fistfights. Like everyone else in their lousy high school, they’d read The Catcher in the Rye, but unlike everyone else they’d really felt it—it spoke to them in their own language—and they secretly conceived the ambition to one day move to New York and write a novel called Where the Ducks Go in Winter or maybe just The Ducks in Winter.
Russell Calloway had been one of them, a suburban Michigander who had an epiphany after his ninth-grade teacher assigned Thomas’s “Fern Hill” in honors English, who subsequently vowed to devote his life to poetry until A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man changed his religion to fiction. Russell went east to Brown, determined to acquire the skills to write the great American novel, but after reading Ulysses—which seemed to render most of what came afterward anticlimactic—and comparing his own fledgling stories with those written by his Brown classmate Jeff Pierce, he decided he was a more plausible Maxwell Perkins than a Fitzgerald or Hemingway. After a postgraduate year at Oxford he moved to the city and eventually landed a coveted position opening mail and answering the phone for legendary editor Harold Stone, in his leisure hours prowling the used bookstores along Fourth Avenue in the Village, haunting the bars at the Lion’s Head and Elaine’s, catching glimpses of graying literary lions at the front tables.”
Jay McInerney (Hartford, 13 januari 1955)
Uit: Birds of America
„Everyone has divided into teams, four and four, and written the names of famous people, songs, films, plays, books on scraps of wrapping paper torn off the gifts hours earlier. It is another few hours until Therese and her husband Ray’s flight, at 4:30, from National Airport. “Yes,” says Therese, “I guess we’ll have to forgo the ‘Averell Harriman: Statesman for All Seasons’ exhibit.”
“I don’t know why you couldn’t catch a later flight,” says Therese’s sister, Ann. She is scowling. Ann is the youngest, and ten years younger than Therese, who is the oldest, but lately Ann’s voice has taken up a prissy and matronly scolding that startles Therese. “Four-thirty,” says Ann, pursing her lips and propping her feet up on the chair next to her. “That’s a little ridiculous. You’re missing dinner.” Her shoes are pointy and Victorian-looking. They are green suede–a cross between a courtesan’s and Peter Pan’s.
The teams are divided in such a way that Therese and Ray and her parents are on one team, Andrew and Pam, Ann and Tad, Ann’s fiancé, on the other. Tad is slender and red-haired, a marketing rep for Neutrogena. He and Ann have just become engaged. After nearly a decade of casting about in love and work, Ann is now going to law school and planning her summer wedding. Since Therese worked for years as a public defender and is currently, through a fluky political appointment, a county circuit court judge, she has assumed that Ann’s decision to be a lawyer is a kind of sorrowful affirmation, that it will somehow mean the two of them will have new things in common, that Ann will have questions for her, observations, forensic things to say. But this seems not to be so. Ann appears instead to be preoccupied with trying to hire bands and caterers, and to rent a large room in a restaurant. “Ugh,” said Therese sympathetically. “Doesn’t it make you want to elope?” Therese and Ray were married at the courthouse, with the file clerks as witnesses.
Ann shrugged. “I’m trying to figure out how to get everybody from the church to the restaurant in a way that won’t wrinkle their outfits and spoil the pictures.”
“Really?” asked Therese. “You are?”
Lorrie Moore (Glens Falls, 13 januari 1957)
Je ligt als een liefdesgedichtje
zachtjes te snurken
Lieve, kleine geluidjes
doen het goed in poëzie.
Ik kus je keer op keer
en zoen je woord voor woord.
Ik stel je wakker worden
zo lang mogelijk uit.
Tweerichtingsverkeer voor beginners
Juist door de andere kant op te kijken
– O, kijk mij eens kijken naar de dingen
die ik niet wil zien – zag hij wat ze zag.
Juist door te denken wat ze niet
wilde denken – O, wat een oninteressante
gedachten had ze – dacht ze aan hem.
Jan de Bas (Waddinxveen, 13 januari 1964)
Uit:Letters From Buenos Aires
“On screen I had always regarded the great variety of the Argentine landscape—stretching for nearly three thousand miles between the Tropic of Capricorn and the ice-floes of Antarctica—as little more than a backdrop intended to stir patriotic sentiment. In Martel’s film, the wind rarely ruffles the exteriors which, because of the sheer immobility of the camera and the deliberate lack of conviction in the acting, begin to seem as if they were made of cardboard. Perhaps one has to go back to Mario Soffici’s Prisioneros de la tierra (1939) to find nature so bare, and yet playing such an effective role. That ‘classic’ was an ambitious literary adaptation, but a long way from the chamber films to which the logic of production always consigned urban interiors.
Carlos Sorin is not a beginner. He is over fifty, and worked for a long time in advertising and as a cinematographer. Returning to directing after more than a decade of absence, he too left the metropolis—this time for the scenery of his beloved Patagonian desert. His Historias mínimas(Minimal Stories, 2002) was a word-of-mouth success in Argentina, with screenings multiplying week by week. The film combines anecdotal minimalism with extremely careful attention to the image and the actors—with a single exception, all non-professional. Its appeal, impossible to quantify or replicate, lies not only in its unending, empty scenery, but in its details: the tv game-show airing on a cable channel in the middle of nowhere, complete with shabby décor and rinky-dink presenter; the old man searching for his dog, sheepishly wondering if the animal could somehow know that his master had done something wrong; the boastful, love-struck travelling salesman who incessantly changes the name of the cake he is bringing to his girlfriend’s child. »
Edgardo Cozarinsky (Buenos Aires, 13 januari 1939)
Uit: Persian Is Sugar (Vertaald door Heshmat Moayyad en Paul Sprachman)
“Thinking back to the events before the appearance of the officials, I recalled a discussion between the passengers and the boatmen who transferred us to the shore. They were saying that, once again, the king and the parliament in Tehran had gone on the war path. They also said that not only governmental officials had started to pick up undesirables, but that strict orders had been issued from Tehran regarding all traffic in the region.
More importantly, that very morning a new official had arrived in Anzali from Rasht. To prove his loyalty and viability, they said, this official was burning the wet alongside the dry, as it were. His behavior was likened to that of a rabid dog that, without any apparent reason, attacks innocent people left and right. Additionally, this very official was eyeing the governorship of the region. Preparing the ground for becoming the governor of Anzali, throughout the morning, he had tied up the entire Anzali-Tehran telegraph line, transmitting information on his own activities.
For a while after I entered the hut, I was quite upset. So upset, in fact, that I could not see any thing. As my eyes got used to the darkness, however, I discovered that I was not alone. The first person I saw was one of those typical Europeanized young men who would remain Iran’s symbol of insipidness, foolishness, and lack of education for generations to come. I can foresee that, for the next century, Iranian theater audiences will split their sides laughing at the demeanor and behavior of those compatriots of ours.
The Europeanized gentleman in the cell wore a high collar, very much like the chimney of a samovar. Even the color of his collar matched that of a samavar, indicating that he had crossed the Caucasus mountains aboard an oil-powered engine. He sat in a niche and, in the dim light, and immersed himself in reading a “novel.”
Mohammad- Ali Jamālzādeh (13 januari 1892 – 8 november 1997)
Walled with far azures of the wintering year,
Late autumn on a windless altar burns;
Splendid as rubies from Sabean urns,
A holocaust of hues is gathered here.
The pear-trees lift a Tyrian tinged with blood;
Strange purples brighten in the smouldering plums;
The fire-red gold of peach and cherry comes
To storm the bronzing borders of the wood.
Rich as the pyre of some Hesperian queen,
Feeding the ultimate sunset with sad fires,
Is this, where beauty with her doom conspires
To tell in flame what death and beauty mean.
O, loveliness grown tragical and dear!
My heart has taken from the torchful leaf
A swiftly soaring glory, and the grief
Of love is colored like the dying year.
This is the fire of Hestia’s careful hearth;
The flame that fed on many-towered Troy;
Selene’s light about the Latmian boy;
The all-consuming ardor of Melkarth.
This is the peregrine star that will return,
Faithful to the olden ephemerides;
The torch of corybantic mysteries;
The spark still burning in the stoppered urn.
This is the lamp ancestral hands have lit
Deep in the doorless crypts of blood and bone . . . .
For you and me, it is a witch-fire blown
Where secret airs and obscure pinions flit,
That has outburned Walpurgis and the moon
And lifts in quenchless rose to a cloudy noon.
Clark Ashton Smith (13 januari 1893 – 14 augustus 1961)
Borstbeeld door Joe Broers, 2015
Onafhankelijk van geboortedata
Uit:Little Reef and Other Stories (Little Reef)
“If you’re staying a while,” he ventured wryly, as always, “I could run you a tab.”
A tab wasn’t her style, as by now he should’ve deduced, and she said, “I don’t think so.”
She handed him a ten- she wasn’t one of those demure biddies- and he took it instantly.
Closing his lips and drawing them forth, Buster said, “Wes coming in, Miz Blake?”
“He’ll be along directly, I expect. At least I hope. How are things for you, Buster?”
“Had a nasty cold last week, but I’m on the mend now. Nice day out there, you’ll note.”
“Real pretty day,” she said, nodding, waiting for him to skedaddle.
“Be right back with your change,” he said, and his heart seemed to be bursting bright.
Jo’s was a bar for women, but Buster ran the day shift. He opened at an unthinkable two in the afternoon. While in her thirties, Jeanette had left inland Jacksonville to be closer to her job and after retiring stayed out here. The beaches had a more bohemian feel, which did not disturb her enough to make a fuss over. In general people minded their own business, Buster and Alison being the only two exceptions.
Alison, as usual, was at the bar and had been leaning over it with one of her cocktails, something concocted of juices and hard liquor, when Jeanette had first come in. Alison had also been in love with Wesley, who’d lived with Jeanette since he was a tot, since before that- since he was born and after Jeanette’s only daughter, Lisa, had passed away.
Alison had eventually gotten over her crush for Wesley, unlike Buster. She was young still, living with her father, and as far as Jeanette could tell she’d never worked a day in her life. She called her father the Bastard. You got used to stories like this. Jeanette reckoned by now she’d heard them all and most of them here at Jo’s Little Reef. In her agnostic way, she prayed that her Wes would meet a nice boyfriend (not here, God almighty, no!) and thus have no further use for Jo’s. At times she’d try to see what this man looked like in her imagination, playing her game of mental slot machine.”
Michael Carroll (Fort Caroline, 1965)
Hier met partner Edmund White (links)