Uit: My 6,128 Favorite Books
“During antiwar protests in the nation’s capital back in the Days of Rage, I would read officially sanctioned, counterculturally appropriate materials like Steppenwolf and Journey to the East and Siddhartha to take my mind off Pete Seeger’s banjo playing. I once read Tortilla Flats from cover to cover during a Jerry Garcia solo on “Trucicin'” at Philadelphia’s Spectrum; by the time he’d wrapped things up, I could have read As I Lay Dying. Often I have slipped away from picnics and birthday parties and children’s soccer games and awards ceremonies to squeeze in a bit of reading while concealed in a copse, a garage, a thicket, or a deserted gazebo. For me, books have always been a safety valve, and in some cases—when a book materializes out of nowhere in a situation where it is least expected—a deus ex machina. Books are a way of saying: This room seems to have more than its fair share of bozos in it. Edith Wharton may be dead, but she’s still better company than these palookas. I have never squandered an opportunity to read. There are only twenty-four hours in the day, seven of which are spent sleeping, and in my view at least four of the remaining seventeen must be devoted to reading. Of course, four hours a day does not provide me with nearly enough time to satisfy my appetites. A friend once told me that the real message Bram Stoker sought to convey in Dracula is that a human being needs to live hundreds and hundreds of years to get all his reading done; that Count Dracula, misunderstood bookworm, was draining blood from the porcelain-like necks of ten thousand hapless virgins not because he was the apotheosis of evil but because it was the only way he could live long enough to polish off his reading list. But I have no way of knowing if this is true, as I have not yet found time in my life to read Dracula. If it were possible, I would read books eight to ten hours a day, every day of the year. Perhaps more. There is nothing I would rather do than read books. This is the way I have felt since I started borrowing books from a roving Quaker City bookmobile at the tender age of seven. In the words of Francois Rabelais: I was born this way. And I know why I read so obsessively: I read because I want to be somewhere else. Yes, this is a reasonably satisfactory world that we are living in, this society in particular, but the world conjured up by books is a better one. This is especially true if you are poor or missing vital appendages. I was stranded in a housing project with substandard parents at the time I started reading as if there were no tomorrow, and I am convinced that this desire to escape from reality—on a daily, even an hourly, basis—is the main reason people read books. Intelligent people, that is. This is a category that would include people like my father, a Brand X prole who got started on the road to perdition early by dropping out of high school in ninth grade, thereby condemning himself to a lifetime of inane, soul-destroying jobs, but who was rarely seen without a book in his hands. He used books the same way he used alcohol: to pretend that he was not here, and if he was here, that he was happy for a change. I think this compulsion is fairly common.”
De Australische dichteres en schrijfster Oodgeroo Noonuccal (eig. Kathleen Jean Mary Ruska) werd geboren op 3 november 1920 in Minjerribah (Stradbroke Island) in Moreton Bay. Zie ook alle tags voor Oodgeroo Noonuccal op dit blog.
Integratie – Ja!
Dankbaar leren we van jullie,
Het geavanceerde ras,
Jullie met eeuwenlange kennis achter de rug.
Wij die reeds lang Australiërs waren
Voor jullie die gisteren kwamen,
Gretig moeten we leren veranderen,
Nieuwe behoeften leren kennen die we nooit wilden,
Nieuwe verplichtingen die we nooit nodig hadden,
De prijs om te overleven.
Veel waar we van hielden is weg en moest gaan
Maar niet de diepe inheemse dingen.
Het verleden is nog steeds zozeer een deel van ons,
Nog steeds rondom ons, nog steeds in ons.
We zijn het gelukkigst
Onder onze eigen mensen. We zouden graag zien
Dat onze eigen gebruiken behouden bleven, onze oude
Dansen en liederen, ambachten en corroborees.
Waarom onze heilige mythen inruilen
Tegen jullie heilige mythen?
Nee, geen assimilatie maar integratie,
Geen onderdompeling maar onze verheffing,
Zwarten en blanken mogen samen verdergaan
In harmonie en broederschap.
Vertaald door Frans Roumen