Ha Jin, Anaïs Nin, Raymond Queneau, David Foster Wallace, Ingomar von Kieseritzky, Ishigaki Rin, José Zorrilla y Moral
Uit: War Trash
„At graduation the next fall, I was assigned to the 180th Division of the People's Liberation Army, a unit noted for its battle achievements in the war against the Japanese invaders and in the civil war. I was happy because I started as a junior officer at its headquarters garrisoned in Chengdu City, where my mother was living. My father had passed away three years before, and my assignment would enable me to take care of my mother. Besides, I had just become engaged to a girl, a student of fine arts at Szechuan Teachers College, majoring in choreography. Her name was Tao Julan, and she lived in the same city. We planned to get married the next year, preferably in the fall after she graduated. In every direction I turned, life seemed to smile upon me. It was as if all the shadows were lifting. The Communists had brought order to our country and hope to the common people. I had never been so cheerful.
Three times a week I had to attend political study sessions. We read and discussed documents issued by the Central Committee and writings by Stalin and Chairman Mao, such as The History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, On the People's Democratic Dictatorship, and On the Protracted War. Because about half of our division was composed of men from the Nationalist army, including hundreds of officers, the study sessions felt like a formality and didn't bother me much. The commissar of the Eighteenth Army Group, Hu Yaobang, who thirty years later became the Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, even declared at a meeting that our division would never leave Szechuan and that from now on we must devote ourselves to rebuilding our country. I felt grateful to the Communists, who seemed finally to have brought peace to our war-battered land.
Then the situation changed. Three weeks before the Spring Festival of 1951, we received orders to move to Hebei, a barren province adjacent to Manchuria, where we would prepare to enter Korea. This came as a surprise, because we were a poorly equipped division and the Korean War had been so far away that we hadn't expected to participate. I wanted to have a photograph taken with my fiance before I departed, but I couldn't find the time, so we just exchanged snapshots. She promised to care for my mother while I was gone. My mother wept, telling me to obey orders and fight bravely, and saying, "I won't close my eyes without seeing you back, my son." I promised her that I would return, although in the back of my mind lingered the fear that I might fall on a battlefield.”
Ha Jin (Jinzhou, 21 februari 1956)
Uit: Delta of Venus
“Later she came to New York and her wish was fulfilled. She opened the Gotham Book Mart January I, 1920, and was the first to keep it open in the evenings, in the theater section. I believe she educated herself this way, read and listened to the talk around her. Her main interest lies in theosophy. She has antennae, and a gift for friendship. She welcomes the unusual, the uncommercial, the avant-garde. As a result, everything converges to her store, small magazines, rare books, special, unique people, looking for special books. The place has an atmosphere, it is not slick, or organized, or impersonal. People like to come and browse. It is almost like being in a private library, with a familiar natural disorder. Because of her hospitality, there are many treasures in her cellar.
She took me to a light-organ concert. The concept was interesting.
The colors impossibly weak and pretty.
Gonzalo and I searched for a job he could do and like. It was a dismal search, and Gonzalo grew more and more despairing. The only work he responded to was printing, because he had been associated with that on his brother’s newspaper in Lima. He loved first editions, fine printing, and everything connected with it. But he could not get a job because he had no experience.
As we talked, I began to think again it might be good to have our own press. He could do my books or whatever else he wanted to do for his political beliefs, his Latin poet friends.
We saw secondhand presses for seventy-five and one hundred dollars. One of them operated like an old-fashioned sewing machine, by a foot pedal. The inking had to be done by hand. The man said we could turn out Christmas cards on it, but not fine books. Gonzalo was sure it would work. We would have to find one hundred dollars for type and trays.
I talked it over with Frances Steloff. She would lend me seventyfive if I could find the rest of the money.”
Anaïs Nin (21 februari 1903 – 14 januari 1977)
Sur le paysage lont qui s'accroît sans cesse des herbes et des fruits qui mûrissent l'été de nature bonne princesse lance l'alouette de la liberté
Dans les jardins cachés où ne se révèle pas l'histoire des ombres effacées l'eau fourmille en ses voiles de mercure et d'argent froissés
A son heure l'aube opportune fait cesser l'asthme et l'insomnie les crabes courent sur la lune qui près de l'étoile frémit
La mer n'est qu'une opale verte loin d'elle un marin endormi calme ses os endoloris et rêve de découvertes
Le ciel s'est couvert
Le ciel s'est couvert de boue et de brume
Tous les pieds sont noirs
Un cerceau jaillit propageant l'écume
Le ruisseau s'étend face au boulevard
Le ciel s'est couvert de pluie et d'enclumes
Tous les troncs sont noirs
L'abeille alertée a soigné son rhume Ça cocotte un peu près de l'urinoir
Le ciel s'est couvert de rage et de plumes
Tous les chats sont noirs
Un train se déplace en criant tummtume
Un flic s'est mouché dedans son mouchoir
Le ciel s'est couvert de pus d'apostume
Le ciel a fondu
Tous les trous sont noirs
Une fille embrasse un aimé jeune hume
Un vendeur veut vendre un journal du soir
Raymond Queneau (21 februari 1903 – 25 oktober 1976)
Hier met zijn zoon Jean-Marie Queneau in 1953
Uit: This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life
“Because here's something else that's weird but true: in the day-to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship—be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles—is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It's been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.”
“If you worship money and things — if they are where you tap real meaning in life — then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff already — it’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness. Worship power — you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart — you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on.”
David Foster Wallace (21 februari 1962 – 12 september 2008)
Uit: Traurige Therapeuten
“Ich diagnostizierte eine Hypersensiblität, der die Herren nach einiger Zeit zustimmten. Ich riet ihnen, ausschließlich grüne Teppiche anzuschaffen, moosgrüne und grasgrüne Teppiche. Ich sagte ihnen, ich verstände es sehr gut, dass hypersensible Tiere wie Miriam überall auf der Welt Abgründe witterten, in die man stürzen könne; sie habe absolut recht.
Ach, schöne Erinnerungen an gute Zeiten.
Ich ließ mir einen Schreibtisch bringen und packte ein paar Bücher aus und meine drei Manuskripte, an denen ich arbeiten wollte.
Da lagen nun meine Projekte in grauen, schwarzen und roten Leinenmappen ich schaue sie mir immer mal wieder gern an -, da war die Geschichte des Schwachsinns (schwarze Mappe), ein sehr gutes, noch nicht in Angriff genommenes Werk, viel Material, ein Konvolut, würde wohl nie zu einem Ende kommen. So war’s dann auch.
In der roten Mappe schlummerten meine mannigfachen Fallstudien als Heilpraktiker und Tierheilpraktiker (ich hatte zwei Fernlehrkurse an einer Schweizer Akademie absolviert); in der grauen warteten andere Projekte, darunter eine immer mal wieder vertagte Arbeit über Die letzten Jahre Tolstojs (Tagebuch-Schreibzwänge und andere Familienphänome), und endlich war da mein Tagebuch, das hier im Sanatorium aktualisiert werden sollte; es würde mich bestimmt tonisieren und meinen zerrütteten Nerven helfen, die Vergangenheit systematisch zu kontrollieren. Die Tagebücher oder Kladden von Großvater Edward Singram ließ ich vorerst in der Tasche.
Der Tagesablauf funktioniert schon recht gut; die Mahlzeiten lasse ich mir bringen: leichte Diät, kein Fleisch, kein Alkohol, keine Zigaretten, viele Spaziergänge zwischen Lärchenhainen und Koniferen, wenn es welche sind, wer weiß.
Keine Kontakte, hin und wieder Plauderei mit Spoerri.
Nehme den milden Stimmungsauflueller Dogmatil, hin und wieder im Wechsel Fluoxetin (anregend) und Amitryptilin (dämpfend). Alles in allem ist alles in Ordnung.“
Ingomar von Kieseritzky (Dresden, 21 februari 1944)
Dresden vanaf de linkeroever van de Elbe boven de Augustusbrücke door Canaletto, 1748
In recent years
Nothing has been
As good a souvenir.
A single phrase.
‘The earth was green’
The astronauts having landed
Quickly got lost in the crowd
The folk in the square clutched tightly
The telescope made of words they had just been given.
— Can you see it?
I think so
On an uncertain scaffold.
They discovered for certain
Something there for certain
The language of certainty.
It was almost too far away
Like a vision.
The earth was green.
Vertaald door Leith Morton
Ishigaki Rin (21 februari 1920 – 26 december 2004)
Uit: Don Juan Tenorio
„BUTTARELLI: You know the story?
DON JUAN: In its entirety: that’s why I asked for Mejía.
BUTTARELLI: Oh! What fun if the bet were done, because they pay well, in cash.
DON JUAN: And don’t you believe Don Luis will keep his appointment?
BUTTARELLI: Whoa, not a chance: the end of the term’s at hand and I’m sure there’s no way a damned soul can saythey remember a thing about it.
DON JUAN: That’s enough.Here!
BUTTARELLI: Your excellency!
(He bows deeply)
And do you know about either of them?
DON JUAN: Perhaps.
BUTTARELLI: Then they’ll come?
DON JUAN At least one, but if by chance both bother to direct their footsteps here one after the other, well let two best bottles appear for them.
DON JUAN:Shhh! Farewell!
BUTTARELLI: Holy Mother of God! Its Tenorio and Mejía..... it’s certain they’ll both reappear to pick up where they left off. Ah yes, and that man there seems to know all about it.
(A noise off stage.)
But what’s this?
(He goes to the door)
The stranger, fighting in the square! Good Lord, what a rumpus! How the crowd mills round!
Look at him hold the ground alone…! My God! What a fuss! How they run like hell! There’s no doubt they are in Castilla, both of them, now poor Sevilla is turned upside down..... Miguel!"
José Zorrilla y Moral (21 februari 1817 – 23 januari 1893)