David Sedaris, Elizabeth Kostova, Nigel Cliff, Henry Miller, Rainer Malkowski, Mani Beckmann, Alejo Carpentier

De Amerikaanse schrijver David Sedaris werd geboren in Binghamton, New York, op 26 december 1956. Zie ook alle tags voor David Sedaris op dit blog.

Uit: Calypso

“Though there’s an industry built on telling you otherwise, there are few real joys to middle age. The only perk I can see is that, with luck, you’ll acquire a guest room. Some people get one by default when their kids leave home, and others, like me, eventually trade up and land a bigger house. “Follow me,” I now say. The room I lead our visitors to has not been hastily rearranged to accommodate them. It does not double as an office or weaving nook but exists for only one purpose. I have furnished it with a bed rather than a fold-out sofa, and against one wall, just like in a hotel, I’ve placed a luggage rack. The best feature, though, is its private bathroom.
“If you prefer a shower to a tub, I can put you upstairs in the second guest room,” I say. “There’s a luggage rack up there as well.” I hear these words coming from my puppet-lined mouth and shiver with middle-aged satisfaction. Yes, my hair is gray and thinning. Yes, the washer on my penis has worn out, leaving me to dribble urine long after I’ve zipped my trousers back up. But I have two guest rooms.
The consequence is that if you live in Europe, they attract guests—lots of them. People spend a fortune on their plane tickets from the United States. By the time they arrive they’re broke and tired and would probably sleep in our car if we offered it. In Normandy, where we used to have a country place, any visitors were put up in the attic, which doubled as Hugh’s studio and smelled of oil paint and decaying mice. It had a rustic cathedral ceiling but no heat, meaning it was usually either too cold or too hot. That house had only one bathroom, wedged between the kitchen and our bedroom. Guests were denied the privacy a person sometimes needs on the toilet, so twice a day I’d take Hugh to the front door and shout behind us, as if this were normal behavior, “We’re going out for exactly twenty minutes. Does anyone need anything from the side of the road?”
That was another problem with Normandy: there was nothing for our company to do except sit around. Our village had no businesses in it and the walk to the nearest village that did was not terribly pleasant. This is not to say that our visitors didn’t enjoy themselves—just that it took a certain kind of person, outdoorsy and self-motivating. In West Sussex, where we currently live, having company is a bit easier. Within a ten-mile radius of our house, there’s a quaint little town with a castle in it and an equally charming one with thirty-seven antique stores. There are chalk-speckled hills one can hike up, and bike trails. It’s a fifteen-minute drive to the beach and an easy walk to the nearest pub.”


David Sedaris (Binghamton, 26 december 1956)

 

De Amerikaanse schrijfster Elizabeth Kostova werd geboren op 26 december 1964 in New London, Connecticut. Zie ook alle tags voor Elizabeth Kostova op dit blog.

Uit:The Shadow Land

“From her plane window, Alexandra had seen a city cradled in mountains and flanked by towering apartment buildings like tombstones. Stepping off the plane with her new camera in her hand, she’d breathed unfamiliar air—­coal and diesel and then a gust that smelled of plowed earth. She had walked across the tarmac and onto the airport bus, observed shiny new customs booths and their taciturn officials, the exotic stamp in her passport. Her taxi had looped around the edges of Sofia and into the heart of the city—­a longer route than necessary, she now suspected—­brushing past outdoor café tables and lampposts that bore political placards or signs for sex shops. From the taxi window, she’d photographed ancient Fords and Opels, new Audis with tinted gangster windows, large slow buses, and trolleys like clanking Megalosauruses that threw sparks from their iron rails. To her amazement, she’d seen that the center of the city was paved with yellow cobblestones.
But the driver had somehow misunderstood her request and dropped her here, at Hotel Forest, not at the hostel she’d booked weeks earlier. Alexandra hadn’t understood the situation, either, until he was gone and she had mounted the steps of the hotel to get a closer look. Now she was alone, more thoroughly than she had ever been in her twenty-­six years. In the middle of the city, in the middle of a history about which she had no real idea, among people who went purposefully up and down the steps of the hotel, she stood wondering whether to descend and try to get another taxi. She doubted she could afford the glass and cement monolith that loomed at her back, with its tinted windows, its crow-­like clients in dark suits hustling in and out or smoking on the steps. One thing seemed certain: she was in the wrong place.
Alexandra might have stood this way long minutes more, but suddenly the doors slid open just behind her and she turned to see three people coming out of the hotel. One of them was a white-­haired man in a wheelchair clutching several travel bags against his suit jacket.”

 
Elizabeth Kostova (New London, 26 december 1964)

 

De Britse schrijver, historicus, biograaf, criticus en vertaler Nigel Cliff werd geboren op 26 december 1969 in Manchester. Zie ook alle tags voor Nigel Cliff op dit blog.

Uit: Moscow Nights

“RILDIA BEE O’Bryan Cliburn’s proudest day was the day her son was born. She was thirty-seven and had been married to Harvey Lavan Clibum for eleven childless years. He was two years younger, a native of Mississippi whom she had met at an evening prayer meeting soon after breaking an engagement to a dentist. When she went to him one day in 1933 and said, “Sug, I think we’re going to have a little baby,” it seemed a miracle to them both. The following July 12 he came to her bedside at Tri-State Sanitarium in Shreveport, Louisiana— room 322, the number part of their personal liturgy—and smiled. “Babe,” he said in his laconic drawl, “we have a little boy, and this is our family.” The smiles dimmed when they differed over what to name the child—he wanted his son to have his name; she was not minded to raise a Junior—before harmony was restored with a compro-mise. The birth certificate duly recorded the debut of “Harvey Lavan (Van) Clibum,” but Rildia Bee made sure the child was never called anything but Van. Her second-proudest day was the day she met Sergei Rach-maninoff. It was two years earlier, and she was on a committee of musically minded ladies who had invited the Russian to Shreveport. The Clibums had moved to the city after her father, William Carey O’Bryan, who was mayor of McGregor, Texas, as well as a judge, state legislator, and newspaperman, convinced his son-in-law to make a career in oil. At the time, Harvey was a railroad station agent, but since his dream of being a doctor had been dashed in the Great War, and one thing was as good as an-other, he gamely signed up as a roving crude oil purchasing agent. Rildia Bee’s dream was to be a concert pianist, and she had indeed been on the brink of a career when her parents pulled her back from the unseemly business of performing in public. Since her mother, Sirrildia, had been a semiprofessional ac-tress—the only kind in those parts—that seemed a little unfair, but perhaps it was not, because Sirrildia refashioned herself into that primmest of creatures, a local historian, and the family was trying to put its stage days behind it. Rildia Bee dutifully de-moted herself to teaching piano, which was why she was on the Shreveport concert committee and came to tend personally to Rachmaninoff. Backstage at the big new Art Deco Municipal Auditorium, she had little to do except hand the famous Russian a glass of or-ange juice or water, and she never got to tell him that, pianisti-cally speaking, they were almost family. When she was a student at the Cincinnati conservatory, Rildia Bee had one day attended a recital by the famed pianist Arthur Friedheim, who despite his Germanic name was born to an aristocratic family in St. Peters-burg when it was the Imperial Russian capital. Mesmerized, she followed him to New York, where she became one of his best students at the Institute of Musical Art, a forerunner to the Mil-liard School. Friedheim had studied with the fiery Anton Rubinstein, the founder of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, before he balked at Rubinstein’s chaotic teaching style and defected to the superstar Hungarian Franz Liszt, becoming Liszt’s foremost pupil and, later, his secretary. Rachmaninoff counted Rubinstein as his greatest pianistic inspiration, and in his playing markedly resembled Friedheim, who had died less than a month earlier, leaving Rachmaninoff the greatest living exponent of the school of pianism that Rildia Bee adored.”

 
Nigel Cliff (Manchester, 26 december 1969)

 

De Amerikaanse schrijver Henry Miller werd geboren op 26 december 1891 In New York. Zie ook alle tags voor Henry Miller op dit blog.

Uit: The Colossus of Maroussi

“We awoke early and hired a car to take us to Epidaurus. The day began in sublime peace. It was my first real glimpse of the Peloponnesus. It was not a glimpse either, but a vista opening upon a hushed still world such as man will one day inherit when he ceases to indulge in murder and thievery. I wonder how it is that no painter has ever given us the magic of this idyllic landscape. Is it too undramatic, too idyllic? Is the light too ethereal to be captured by the brush? This I can say, and perhaps it will discourage the over-enthusiastic artist: there is no trace of ugliness here, either in line, color, form, feature or sentiment. It is sheer perfection, as in Mozart’s music. Indeed, I venture to say that there is more of Mozart here than anywhere else in the world. The road to Epidaurus is like the road to creation. One stops searching. One grows silent, stilled by the hush of mysterious beginnings. If one could speak one would become melodious. There is nothing to be seized or treasured or cornered off here: there is only a breaking down of the walls which lock the spirit in. The landscape does not recede, it installs itself in the open places of the heart; it crowds in, accumulates, dispossesses. You are no longer riding through something—call it Nature, if you will —but participating in a rout, a rout of the forces of greed, malevolence, envy, selfishness, spite, intolerance, pride, arrogance, cunning, duplicity and so on. It is the morning of the first day of the great peace, the peace of the heart, which comes with surrender. I never knew the meaning of peace until I arrived at Epidaurus. Like everybody I had used the word all my life, without once realizing that I was using a counterfeit. Peace is not the opposite of war any more than death is the opposite of life. The poverty of language, which is to say the poverty of man’s imagination or the poverty of his inner life, has created an ambivalence which is absolutely false. I am talking of course of the peace which passeth all understanding. There is no other kind. The peace which most of us know is merely a cessation of hostilities, a truce, an interregnum, a lull, a respite, which is negative. The peace of the heart is positive and invincible, demanding no conditions, requiring no protection. It just is. If it is a victory it is a peculiar one because it is based entirely on surrender, a voluntary surrender, to be sure. There is no mystery in my mind as to the nature of the cures which were wrought at this great therapeutic center of the ancient world. Here the healer himself was healed, first and most important step in the development of the art, which is not medical but religious. Second, the patient was healed before ever he received the cure. The great physicians have always spoken of Nature as being the great healer.”


Henry Miller (26 december 1891 – 7 juni 1980)
Hier aankomend op Schiphol in 1959

 

De Duitse dichter Rainer Malkowski werd geboren op 26 december 1939 in Berlijn-Tempelhof. Zie ook alle tags voor Rainer Malkowski op dit blog.

Die Gerechtigkeit des Meeres

Kein Element,
in dem man billig
Spuren hinterläßt.

Das bewegte Wasser
hinter dem Heck
bewahrt der glücklichen Fahrt
kein Gedächtnis.

Nur die Gescheiterten
dürfen
noch ein paar Jahrhunderte
ihre Geschichten erzählen −
jedem, der sie hören will
und zu den zerbrochenen
Schiffen
hinabsteigt auf den mythischen
Grund.

 

Im Jahr X

Hinter ihnen die Nacht.
Vor ihnen ein Raum,
bis an die Decke gefüllt
mit erfundenem Licht.
Sie halten die Scheibe besetzt
und rühren sich nicht.
Winzige, flugfähige Stifte.
Nur ihre Fühler sind in Bewegung −
Sicheln
von symmetrischer Anmut −,
während jetzt im Radio
das Zeitzeichen ertönt: im Jahr X
nach der Ursuppe.
Ein sprechendes Wesen
wird vorgestellt
und hält einen Vortrag
über den Tod
ferner Sterne.

 
Rainer Malkowski (26 december 1939 – 1 september 2003)

 

De Duitse schrijver Mani Beckmann (pseudoniem Tom Finnek) werd geboren op 26 december 1965 in Alstätte/Westfalen. Zie ook alle tags voor Mani Beckmann op dit blog.

Uit: Sodom und Gomera

„Das Taxi hielt, Micki zahlte die 2.500 Peseten (er tat dies wortlos), und Sandy forderte von mir die Hälfte des Fahrpreises, indem sie sagte: »Fifty-fi fty, ganz reell!« Als sie m einen fragenden Blick sah, fügte sie achselzuckend hinzu: »Wir sind zwei Parteien: du und wir. Also jeder die Hälfte.« Kopfschüttelnd gab ich ihr 1.500 Peseten und war etwas erstaunt, als sie sie einsteckte, ohne Anstalten zu machen, mir den Rest herauszugeben. Wieder sah sie mein Stirnrunzeln und meinte in vorwurfsvollem Ton: »Bisch du etwa ’n Pfennigfuchser?« Ich lächelte nachsichtig und verneinte ihre Frage. »Siehscht?«, fragte Sandy. »Da vorn isch auch schon die Fähre, wo nach San Sebaschtián fährt.« »San Sebastián?« »Des isch die Hauptstadt von Gomera. Und der Hafen. Das Valle isch auf der anderen Seite der Insel.« Auch während der gut einstündigen und erstaunlich schaukelfreien Schiff fahrt mit der »Ferry Gomera« gelang es mir nicht, den Redeschwall meiner neuen Bekannten zu bremsen oder auf eine andere Person (zum Beispiel ihren apathisch schweigenden Freund) zu lenken. Sie erzählte vermeintlich ulkige Anekdoten von vergangenen Urlaubstrips (sie reiste zum vierten Mal »ins Valle«), schwärmte von dem mojo bei Maria (eine Art Soße oder Dip, angeblich eine kulinarische Spezialität auf der Insel), dozierte über die »Guanchen«, die geheimnisumwitterten Ureinwohner der Kanaren, und berichtete von der so genannten Schweinebucht und den Freaks und Späthippies, die dort direkt am Wasser in Höhlen lebten, sich von Joints und freier Liebe ernährten und denen sich Sandy und Micki (selbstredend) auf der Stelle anschließen wollten.“

 
Mani Beckmann (Alstätte, 26 december 1965)
Cover

 

De Cubaanse schrijver, essayist en musicoloog Alejo Carpentier werd geboren in Havana op 26 december 1904. Zie ook alle tags voor Alejo Carpentier op dit blog.

Uit:The Kingdom of This World (Vertaald door Harriet de Onís)

“All of this became particularly evident to me during my stay in Haiti, where I found myself in daily contact with something we could call the marvelous real . I was treading earth where thousands of men, eager for liberty, believed in Mackandal’s lycanthropic powers, to the point that their collective faith produced a miracle on the day of his execution. I already knew the prodigious story of Bouckman, (21) the Jamaican initiate. I had been in the citadel of La Ferriere, a structure without architectonic precedents, portended only in Piranesi’s Imaginary Prisons. I had breathed the atmosphere created by Henri Christophe, a monarch of incredible undertakings, much more surprising than all the cruel kings invented by the surrealists, who were very fond of imaginary tyrannies, never having suffered through one.
I found the marvelous real with every step. But I also realized that the presence and vitality of the marvelous real was not a privilege unique to Haiti but the patrimony of all the Americas, where we have not yet established an inventory of our cosmogonies. The marvelous real is found at each step in the lives of the men who inscribed dates on the history of the Continent and who left behind names still borne by the living: from the seekers after the Fountain of Youth or the Golden City of Manoa to certain early rebels or modern heroes of our wars of independence, those of such mythological stature as Colonel Juana Azurduy. It has always seemed significant to me that as recently as 1780 some perfectly sane Spaniards from Angostura set out in search of El Dorado, and that, during the French Revolution– long live Reason and the Supreme Being!–Francisco Menendez, from Compostela, traversed Patagonia hunting for the Enchanted City of the Caesars. Looking at the matter in another way, we see that while in western Europe folk-dancing has lost all its magical evocative power, it is rare that a collective dance in the Americas does not embody a profound ritual meaning that creates around it an entire initiatory process: such are the santeria dances in Cuba or the prodigious African version of the Corpus feast, which may still be seen in the town of San Francisco de Yare in Venezuela.”


Alejo Carpentier (26 december 1904 – 24 april 1980)

 

Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 26e december ook mijn vorige twee blogs van vandaag.

 

David Sedaris, Elizabeth Kostova, Henry Miller, Rainer Malkowski, Mani Beckmann, Alejo Carpentier

De Amerikaanse schrijver David Sedaris werd geboren in Binghamton, New York, op 26 december 1956. Zie ook alle tags voor David Sedaris op dit blog.

Uit: Theft By Finding

„December 28, 1984
Raleigh
Amy, Tiffany, and I sat in the kitchen and talked until three thirty this morning. One of the things we laughed about was an old episode of The Newlywed Game. The host asked the wives, “What’s the most exotic place you’ve ever made love?” He was likely expecting “the kitchen” or “on a tennis court at night,” but one woman didn’t quite understand the question and answered, “In the butt.”
David Sedaris: ‘There are things nobody wants to hear. But the disturbing things are great’

June 19, 1987
Chicago
I ran into Walt on the L this morning. He owes me $450 and said he was just going to call me the other day because Gail, his wife, is always saying, “We need to pay that David Sedaris.”
I actually don’t hold anything against him. I miss Walt and Gail. Walt said that last week she got a profit-sharing check for $10,000. That was why he planned to call — to pay me. He said he took the check to the bank but lost it along the way. It was physically big, he told me. “I folded it in my top pocket, and wouldn’t you know!”
He called the bank to cancel it, then he called New York for a replacement check, but the woman whose job it would be to write it was on vacation. “Wouldn’t you know it!”
At around five, I took the L home. A woman near me had a three-year-old child on her lap, a girl, who looked at me and said, “Mommy, I hate that man.”
Hours later, walking up Leland, I heard someone running up behind me. It was a guy who lives in the halfway house next door. He is black and wore a long-sleeved shirt buttoned all the way to the neck. The man called me sir and asked how I was doing.
“All right,” I said.
He told me that he had a taste for a steak sandwich and asked me if I’d buy him one. You can’t pull money out of your pocket on Leland Avenue. It’s like ringing a bell, so I said no and he ran across the street to ask a woman the same question.
Later still I saw two men sitting in a car in front of the halfway house. They had the door open and were listening to the radio. As I passed, one of them asked me for a cigarette.
“I don’t smoke,” I told them. Then I thought of the guy who wanted a steak sandwich and of the little girl who hated me and thought, What the hell. I handed the guy in the car one of my cigarettes, and he scowled at me and said, “Fucking liar.”

 
David Sedaris (Binghamton, 26 december 1956)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “David Sedaris, Elizabeth Kostova, Henry Miller, Rainer Malkowski, Mani Beckmann, Alejo Carpentier”

David Sedaris, Elizabeth Kostova, Henry Miller, Rainer Malkowski, Mani Beckmann, Alejo Carpentier

De Amerikaanse schrijver David Sedaris werd geboren in Binghamton, New York, op 26 december 1956. Zie ook alle tags voor David Sedaris op dit blog.

Uit:When You Are Engulfed in Flames

“Carry my groceries upstairs.’ She sounded like a man, or, rather, a hit man, her voice coarse and low, like heavy footsteps on gravel.
‘Now?’ Hugh asked.
She said, ‘What? You got something better to do?’
I first saw the apartment a few days later. Hugh was in the living room taking down the panelling while I sat on a paint bucket and tried to come to terms with my disappointment. For starters, there was the kitchen floor. The tiles there were brown and tan and ochre, the colours seemingly crocheted as they would be on an afghan. Then there was the size. I was wondering how two people could possibly live in such a tight space, when there was a knock at the unlocked door, and this woman I didn’t know stepped uninvited onto the horrible tiles. Her hair was dyed the colour of a new penny, and she wore it pulled back into a thumb-sized ponytail. This put the focus on her taped-up glasses, and on her lower jaw, which stuck out slightly, like a drawer that hadn’t quite been closed. ‘Can I help you?’ I asked, and her hand went to a whistle that hung from a string around her neck.
‘Mess with me, and I’ll stick my foot so far up your ass I’ll lose my shoe.’
Someone says this, and you naturally look down, or at least I do. The woman’s feet were tiny, no longer than hot-dog buns. She had on puffy sneakers, cheap ones made of air and some sort of plastic, and, considering them, I frowned.
‘They might be small, but they’ll still do the job, don’t you worry,’ she said.
Right about then, Hugh stepped out of the living room with a scrap of panelling in his hand. ‘Have you met Helen?’ he asked.
The woman unfurled a few thick fingers, the way you might when working an equation: 2 young men + 1 bedroom – ugly panelling = fags. ‘Yeah, we met.’ Her voice was heavy with disdain. ‘We met, all right.’
Throughout the seven years Hugh and I lived on Thompson Street, our lives followed a simple pattern. He would get up early and leave the house no later than eight. I was working for a house-cleaning company, and though my schedule varied from day to day, I usually didn’t start until 10. My only real constant was Helen, who would watch Hugh leave the building, and then cross the hall to lean on our doorbell. I would wake up, and just as I was belting my robe, the ringing would be replaced by a pounding, frantic and relentless, the way you might rail against a coffin lid if you’d accidentally been buried alive.”

 
David Sedaris (Binghamton, 26 december 1956)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “David Sedaris, Elizabeth Kostova, Henry Miller, Rainer Malkowski, Mani Beckmann, Alejo Carpentier”

David Sedaris, Elizabeth Kostova, Henry Miller, Rainer Malkowski, Mani Beckmann, Alejo Carpentier

De Amerikaanse schrijver David Sedaris werd geboren in Binghamton, New York, op 26 december 1956. Zie ook alle tags voor David Sedaris op dit blog.

Uit: Me Talk Pretty One Day 

“No one else had been called, so why me? I ran down a list of recent crimes, looking for a conviction that might stick. Setting fire to a reportedly flameproof Halloween costume, stealing a set of barbecue tongs from an unguarded patio, altering the word on a list of rules posted on the gymnasium door; never did it occur to me that I might be innocent.
“You might want to take your books with you,” the teacher said. “And your jacket. You probably won’t be back before the bell rings.”
Though she seemed old at the time, the agent was most likely fresh out of college. She walked beside me and asked what appeared to be an innocent and unrelated question: “So, which do you like better, State or Carolina?”
She was referring to the athletic rivalry between the Triangle area’s two largest universities. Those who cared about such things tended to express their allegiance by wearing either Tar Heel powder blue, or Wolf Pack red, two colors that managed to look good on no one. The question of team preference was common in our part of North Carolina, and the answer supposedly spoke volumes about the kind of person you either were or hoped to become. I had no interest in football or basketball but had learned it was best to pretend otherwise. If a boy didn’t care for barbecued chicken or potato chips, people would accept it as a matter of personal taste, saying, “Oh well, I guess it takes all kinds.” You could turn up your nose at the president or Coke or even God, but there were names for boys who didn’t like sports. When the subject came up, I found it best to ask which team my questioner preferred. Then I’d say, “Really? Me, too!”
Asked by the agent which team I supported, I took my cue from her red turtleneck and told her that I was for State. “Definitely State. State all the way.”
It was an answer I would regret for years to come.
“State, did you say?” the agent asked.
“Yes, State. They’re the greatest.”

 
David Sedaris (Binghamton, 26 december 1956)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “David Sedaris, Elizabeth Kostova, Henry Miller, Rainer Malkowski, Mani Beckmann, Alejo Carpentier”

David Sedaris, Elizabeth Kostova, Henry Miller, Rainer Malkowski, Mani Beckmann, Alejo Carpentier

De Amerikaanse schrijver David Sedaris werd geboren in Binghamton, New York, op 26 december 1956. Zie ook alle tags voor David Sedaris op dit blog.

Uit: Holidays on Ice

“During the second interview we were asked when we wanted to be elves. This is always a problem question. I listened as the woman ahead of me, a former waitress, answered the question, saying, “I really want to be an elf? Because I think it’s about acting? And before this I worked in a restaurant? Which was run by this rally wonderful woman who had a dream to open a restaurant? And it made me realize that it’s really really … important to have a … dream?”
Everything this woman said, every phrase and sentence, was punctuated with a question mark and the interviewer never raised an eyebrow.
When it was my turn I explained that I wanted to be an elf because it was one of the most frightening career opportunities I had ever come across. The interviewer raised her face from my application and said, “And …?”
I’m certain that I failed my drug test. My urine had roaches and stem floating in it, but still they hired me because I am short, five feet five inches. Almost everyone they hired is short. One is a dwarf. After the second interview I was brought to the manager’s office, where I was shown a floor plan. On a busy day twenty-two thousand people come to visit Santa, and I was told that it is an elf’s not to remain merry in the face of torment and adversity. I promised to keep that in mind.
I spent my eight-hour day with fifty elves and one perky, well-meaning instructor in an enormous Macy’s classroom, the walls of which were lined with NCR 2152’s. A 2152, I have come to understand, is a cash register. The class was broken up into study groups and given assignments. My group included several returning elves and a few experienced cashiers who tried helping me by saying things like, “Don’t you even know your personal ID code? Jesus, I had mine memorized by ten o’clock.”

 
David Sedaris (Binghamton, 26 december 1956)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “David Sedaris, Elizabeth Kostova, Henry Miller, Rainer Malkowski, Mani Beckmann, Alejo Carpentier”

David Sedaris, Elizabeth Kostova, Henry Miller, Rainer Malkowski

De Amerikaanse schrijver David Sedaris werd geboren in Binghamton, New York, op 26 december 1956. Zie ook alle tags voor David Sedaris op dit blog.

Uit: Holidays on Ice

„In a parade, maybe, but not on the streets. I figure that at least as an elf I will have a place; I’ll be in Santa’s Village with all the other elves. We will reside in a fluffy wonderland surrounded by candy canes and gingerbread shacks. It won’t be quite as sad as standing on some street corner dressed as a french fry.
I am trying to look on the bright side. I arrived in New York three weeks ago with high hopes, hopes that have been challenged. In my imagination I’d go straight from Penn Station to the offices of “One Life to Live,” where I would drop off my bags and spruce up before heading off for drinks with Cord Roberts and Victoria Buchannon, the show’s greatest stars. We’d sit in a plush booth at a tony cocktail lounge where my new celebrity friends would lift their frosty glasses in my direction and say, “A toast to David Sedaris, the best writer this show has ever had!!!”
I’d say, “You guys, cut it out.” It was my plan to act modest.
People at surrounding tables would stare at us, whispering, “Isn’t that … ? Isn’t that … ?”
I might be distracted by their enthusiasm and Victoria Buchannon would lay her hand over mineand tell me that I’d better get used to being the center of attention.
But instead I am applying for a job as an elf. Even worse than applying is the very real possibility that I will not be hired, that I couldn’t even find work as an elf. That’s when you know you’re a failure.
This afternoon I sat in the eighth-floor SantaLand office and was told, “Congratulations, Mr. Sedaris. You are an elf.
In order to become an elf I filled out ten pages’ worth of forms, took a multiple choice personality test, underwent two interviews, and submitted urine for a drug test. The first interview was general, designed to eliminate the obvious sociopaths.“

 
David Sedaris (Binghamton, 26 december 1956)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “David Sedaris, Elizabeth Kostova, Henry Miller, Rainer Malkowski”

David Sedaris, Elizabeth Kostova, Henry Miller, Rainer Malkowski

De Amerikaanse schrijver David Sedaris werd geboren in Binghamton, New York, op 26 december 1956. Zie ook alle tags voor David Sedaris op dit blog.

 

Uit:When You Are Engulfed in Flames

“Beside our apartment building in New York, there was a narrow gangway, and every evening, just after dark, rats would emerge from it and flock to the trash cans lining the curb. The first time I saw them, I started and screamed, but after that I made it a point to walk on the other side of the street, pausing and squinting to take them all in. It was like moving to Alaska and seeing a congregation of bears – I knew to expect them, but still I could never quite believe my eyes. Every now and then, one of them would get flattened by a cab, and I’d bend over the body, captivated by the foulness of it. Twenty, maybe 30 seconds of reverie, and then the spell would be broken, sometimes by the traffic, but more often by my neighbour Helen, who’d shout at me from her window.

Like the rats that spilt from the gangway, she was exactly the type of creature I’d expected to find living in New York. Arrogant, pushy, proudly, almost fascistically opinionated, she was the person you found yourself quoting at dinner parties, especially if your hosts were on the delicate side and you didn’t much care about being invited back. Helen on politics, Helen on sex, Helen on race relations: the response at the table was almost always the same. ‘Oh, that’s horrible. And where did you know this person from?’

It was Hugh who first met her. This was in New York, on Thompson Street, in the fall of 1991. There was a combination butcher shop and café there, and he mentioned to the owner that he was looking to rent an apartment. While talking, he noticed a woman standing near the door, 70 at least, and no taller than a 10-year-old girl. She wore a sweat-suit, tight through the stomach and hips. It wasn’t the pastel-coloured, ladylike kind, but just plain grey, like a boxer’s. Her glasses were wing-shaped, and at their centre, just over her nose, was a thick padding of duct tape. Helen, she said her name was. Hugh nodded hello, and as he turned to leave, she pointed to some bags lying at her feet.”

 

David Sedaris (Binghamton, 26 december 1956)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “David Sedaris, Elizabeth Kostova, Henry Miller, Rainer Malkowski”