Alain de Botton, Ramon Stoppelenburg, Aziz Nesin, Hortense Calisher, Jürg Laederach, Peter May


De Zwitserse schrijver en filosoof Alain de Botton werd geboren in Zürich op 20 december 1969. Zie ook alle tags voor Alain de Botton op dit blog.

Uit: On Love

“Every fall into love involves the triumph of hope over self-knowledge. We fall in love hoping we won't find in another what we know is in ourselves, all the cowardice, weakness, laziness, dishonesty, compromise, and stupidity. We throw a cordon of love around the chosen one and decide that everything within it will somehow be free of our faults. We locate inside another a perfection that eludes us within ourselves, and through our union with the beloved hope to maintain (against the evidence of all self-knowledge) a precarious faith in our species.”

“To be loved by someone is to realize how much they share the same needs that lie at the heart of our own attraction to them. Albert Camus suggested that we fall in love with people because, from the outside, they look so whole, physically whole and emotionally 'together' - when subjectively we feel dispersed and confused. We would not love if there were no lack within us, but we are offended by the discovery of a similar lack in the other. Expecting to find the answer, we find only the duplicate of our own problem.”

“Perhaps the easiest people to fall in love with are those about whom we know nothing. Romances are never as pure as those we imagine during long train journeys, as we secretly contemplate a beautiful person who is gazing out of the window – a perfect love story interrupted only when the beloved looks back into the carriage and starts up a dull conversation about the excessive price of the on-board sandwiches with a neighbour or blows her nose aggressively into a handkerchief.”


Alain de Botton (Zürich, 20 december 1969)


De Nederlandse schrijver Ramon Stoppelenburg werd geboren in Leiden op 20 december 1976. Zie ook alle tags voor Ramon Stoppelenburg op dit blog.

Uit Let me stay for a day

“On the walls hung several large, roughly drawn maps of Britain. On them dates were written parts were colored purple and green as they had been scratched on by a small child.
‘Here,’ Douglas said when I looked at one of the maps, ‘some really large nuggets were found here! I came to this area because no one had found anything here yet. I could be the first. And, you know what?’ he said pointing at an area colored purple on the map, ‘Here, off the coast of Wales there’s more gold than you can imagine!
If I’m ever able to recover it, I’ll be very rich!’
During dinner I asked him whether he had always been a gold panner.
‘I started panning gold for health reasons. I had enough of my job as a secret agent working for MI5 and MI6.’
That really surprised me! Was I seriously having dinner with a retired James Bond?
‘I started as a sailor with the Royal Navy, Douglas said. ‘And because I knew so much about the world, I advised the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of foreign countries, which is how I ended up in the secret service.’
‘So you were a spy?’
‘No, eventually I became a security expert’, and Douglas got all his evidence out. He showed me photographs of himself in a uniform on big Navy ships and in the dessert of Oman. ‘I designed the infrared defense line around a secret American army base in England.’ He then explained the entire system to me, so I now know everything about this infrared protection that I now only have to find that secret American base. ‘To make some money on the side, because I wasn’t earning much, I registered myself for medical tests and was paid well for subjecting myself to several medicinal tests. »


Ramon Stoppelenburg (Leiden, 20 december 1976)



De Turkse dichter en schrijver Aziz Nesin werd geboren op 20 december 1915 in Istanbul. Zie ook alle tags voor Aziz Nesin op dit blog.



If you hear the sound of the key in the lock
When you come home at night
Know that you are alone

If you hear a small cracking sound
When you push the light switch
Know that you are alone

If the sound of your heart doesn't let you sleep
When you go to bed
Know that you are alone

If you hear that time is nibbling
The books and papers in your room
Know that you are alone

If a voice from the past
Is calling you to the old days
Know that you are alone

If you want to escape from loneliness
Without appreciating it
You are totally alone even if you can escape




You made me wait so long, so long that
I got used to missing you
You came back after a long time
I now love longing for you more than I love you

Vertaald door Fatih Akgül


Aziz Nesin (20 december 1915 – 6 juli 1995)



De Amerikaanse schrijfster Hortense Calisher werd geboren in New York op 20 december 1911. Zie ook alle tags voor Hortense Calisher op dit blog.

Uit: The Beautiful and Damned

“Now Adam J. Patch, more familiarly known as "Cross Patch," left his father's farm in Tarrytown early in sixty-one to join a New York cavalry regiment. He came home from the war a major, charged into Wall Street, and amid much fuss, fume, applause, and ill will he gathered to himself some seventy-five million dollars.
This occupied his energies until he was fifty-seven years old. It was then that he determined, after a severe attack of sclerosis, to consecrate the remainder of his life to the moral regeneration of the world. He became a reformer among reformers. Emulating the magnificent efforts of Anthony Comstock, after whom his grandson was named, he levelled a varied assortment of uppercuts and body-blows at liquor, literature, vice, art, patent medicines, and Sunday theatres. His mind, under the influence of that insidious mildew which eventually forms on all but the few, gave itself up furiously to every indignation of the age. From an armchair in the office of his Tarrytown estate he directed against the enormous hypothetical enemy, unrighteousness, a campaign which went on through fifteen years, during which he displayed himself a rabid monomaniac, an unqualified nuisance, and an intolerable bore. The year in which this story opens found him wearying; his campaign had grown desultory; 1861 was creeping up slowly on 1895; his thoughts ran a great deal on the Civil War, somewhat on his dead wife and son, almost infinitesimally on his grandson Anthony.
Early in his career Adam Patch had married an anæmic lady of thirty, Alicia Withers, who brought him one hundred thousand dollars and an impeccable entré into the banking circles of New York. Immediately and rather spunkily she had borne him a son and, as if completely devitalized by the magnificence of this performance, she had thenceforth effaced herself within the shadowy...”


Hortense Calisher (20 december 1911 – 15 januari 2009)
Kersttijd in New York



De Zwitserse schrijver Jürg Laederach werd geboren op 20 december 1945 in Basel. Zie ook alle tags voor Jürg Laederach op dit blog.

Uit: Der arme Florian (Harmfulls Hölle)

„Im Hause des Florian Gramful verwesten Massen von toten Nadeln.
»Nadeln stechen, muß erbrechen, hau sie tot, mit einem Säcklein Schrot!« pflegte Florian zu murmeln und hopste, mit seinem Totschlger bewaffnet, von Ecke zu Ecke und schlug auf die kurzen Striche an der Wand ein, die er Nadeln nannte. Es handelte sich um Injektionen, die er sich selbst verabreichte, um sich herum aber sah er viele schnelle Verabreicher.
Mir waren diese Nadeln unheimlich. Immer stach er in sich hinein. Die geçffnete Haut schmatzte. Am ganzen Körper schauderte ich, schaut nicht so, es ist meine Sache, ihr seht es nicht. Ich fhlte unerklrliche Empfindungen des Mitleids, des mangelnden Mitleids, alle gleich.
Sie tobten in meiner Brust, ich wollte seine Kellerwohnung mit den zu Sesseln geschnittenen Torfballen unverzüglich verlassen.
Beim Öffnen der Tür fielen aus dem Zwischenraum zwischen Türblatt und Rahmen ganze Rudel aneinanderklebender Nadeln, zu Stäben zusammengerostet, kippten mir entgegen. Ich wich ihnen knapp aus, sah mich durchbohrt.
»Der Tag sei mir gnädig. Woher kommen denn die?« fragte ich ahnungsvoll.”


Jürg Laederach (Basel, 20 december 1945)


De Schotse schrijver Peter May werd geboren op 20 december 1951 in Glasgow. Zie ook alle tags voor Peter May op dit blog.

Uit: Het vierde offer

“Belangstellend liet ze haar blik door de theesalon dwalen. De oude vent met het honkbalpetje had nog steeds het eerste honk niet bereikt met het jonge Chinese meisje. Vlak vooraan zat een jongeman, geboeid hield hij zijn blik op de band terwijl zijn hoofd ritmisch op en neer bewoog op de maat van de muziek. Hij was gebiologeerd. Zijn aantrekkelijke vriendin, genegerd door haar minnaar, hield zichzelf wakker met het doelloos scheppen van de prachtigste origamiwezens uit één enkel vierkant zakdoekje. Margaret keek geïntrigeerd toe hoe het meisje een pauw met een uitgewaaierde staart en geheven kop toverde, een ingewikkelde en minutieuze reeks vouwen in het zakdoekje. Toen ze klaar was, gaf ze haar vriend, op zoek naar zijn waardering, een por. Hij wierp snel een blik op haar creatie, knikte met een half lachje en richtte zijn aandacht vervolgens weer op de muziek. Het meisje haalde de schouders op en met één enkele beweging maakte ze al haar werk weer ongedaan en begon aan iets anders.
Er brak enthousiast applaus los toen het nummer afgelopen was. De toetsenist sprak enige ogenblikken in het Chinees en Margaret merkte dat er hoofden hun kant op begonnen te draaien. Michael bloosde. Toen ging de toetsenist over in het Engels. 'En voor diegenen die geen Chinees spreken,' zei hij, 'vanavond hebben we een zekere meneer Michael Zimmerman onder ons.' Hij gebaarde met een hand in Michaels richting en meer mensen keken, en hier en daar klonk applaus. 'Welnu, mochten jullie hem al kennen, de meeste van jullie hebben hem waarschijnlijk op tv gezien. Hij doet die populaire, historische documentaires. Maar weinigen zullen weten dat Michaels ware talent de altsax is.'
Michael draaide zich half naar haar om. 'Dit is gênant.'
'Ik wist niet dat je speelde,' zei Margaret, plotseling geïntrigeerd door deze nieuwe en onverwachte kant. En toen besefte ze dat ze eigenlijk helemaal niets van hem af wist.”


Peter May (Glasgow, 20 december 1951)



Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 20e december ook mijn vorige blog van vandaag.


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