Clarice Lispector, Thomas Lux, Ara Baliozian, Christine Brückner, Rumer Godden
Uit: Why This World (Biografie door Benjamin Moser)
“In 1946, the young Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector was returning from Rio de Janeiro to Italy, where her husband was vice consul in Naples. She had traveled home as a diplomatic courier, carrying dispatches to the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations, but with the usual routes between Europe and South America disrupted by the war, her journey to rejoin her husband followed an unconven-
tional itinerary. From Rio she flew to Natal, on the northeastern tip of Brazil, then onward to the British base at Ascension Island in the South Atlantic, to the American air station in Liberia, to the French bases in Rabat and Casablanca, and then via Cairo and Athens to Rome.
Before each leg of the trip, she had a few hours, or days, to look around. In Cairo, the Brazilian consul and his wife invited her to a cabaret, where they were amazed to see the exotic belly dance performed to the familiar strains of a hit of Rio's 1937 Carnival, Carmen Miranda's "I Want Mommy."
Egypt itself failed to impress her, she wrote a friend back in Rio de Janeiro.
"I saw the pyramids, the Sphinx--a Mohammedan read my palm in the `desert sands' and said I had a pure heart. . . . Speaking of sphinxes, pyramids, piasters, it's all in horribly bad taste. It's almost immodest to live in Cairo. The problem is trying to feel anything that hasn't been accounted for by a guide."1
Clarice Lispector never returned to Egypt. But many years later she recalled her brief sightseeing tour, when, in the "desert sands," she stared down no one less than the Sphinx herself.
"I did not decipher her," wrote the proud, beautiful Clarice. "But neither did she decipher me."
By the time she died in 1977, Clarice Lispector was one of the mythical figures of Brazil, the Sphinx of Rio de Janeiro, a woman who fascinated her countrymen virtually from adolescence. "The sight of her was a shock," the poet Ferreira Gullar remembered of their first meeting. "Her green almond eyes, her high cheekbones, she looked like a she-wolf, a fascinating wolf. . . . I thought that if I saw her again I would fall hopelessly in love with her." "There were men who couldn't forget me for ten years," she admitted.”
Clarice Lispector (10 december 1925 – 9 december 1977)
More like a vault -- you pull the handle out
and on the shelves: not a lot,
and what there is (a boiled potato
in a bag, a chicken carcass
under foil) looking dispirited,
drained, mugged. This is not
a place to go in hope or hunger.
But, just to the right of the middle
of the middle door shelf, on fire, a lit-from-within red,
heart red, sexual red, wet neon red,
shining red in their liquid, exotic,
in such company: a jar
of maraschino cherries. Three-quarters
full, fiery globes, like strippers
at a church social. Maraschino cherries, maraschino,
the only foreign word I knew. Not once
did I see these cherries employed: not
in a drink, nor on top
of a glob of ice cream,
or just pop one in your mouth. Not once.
The same jar there through an entire
childhood of dull dinners -- bald meat,
pocked peas and, see above,
boiled potatoes. Maybe
they came over from the old country,
family heirlooms, or were status symbols
bought with a piece of the first paycheck
from a sweatshop,
which beat the pig farm in Bohemia,
handed down from my grandparents
to my parents
to be someday mine,
then my child's?
They were beautiful
and, if I never ate one,
it was because I knew it might be missed
or because I knew it would not be replaced
and because you do not eat
that which rips your heart with joy.
Thomas Lux (Northampton, 10 december 1946)
Uit: Pages From My Diary, 1986-1995
« Sometimes in the middle of the night I receive telephone calls from distant places by individuals in search of immortality. These individuals seem to think that I have influence in those places where immortality is dispensed. I try to explain to them that I have problems of my own, that I can't even make ends meet, that my so-called influence is a figment of their imagination, that the status of an Armenian writer in our communities is that between a janitor and an unemployable misfit, and that even if I were to write to a flunky, the chances are I would be completely ignored.
The Arabs castrate rapists and cut off the hands of thieves. Both procedures may be viewed as forms of censorship. Literary censorship is even more barbaric because it attempts to castrate or maim the expression of man's mind and soul. Literary censorship is the first step on the road that leads to massacre.
Some of our academics appear to have made the brilliant discovery that, the more useless and irrelevant their field of expertise, the more they can count on institutional support. I am personally acquainted with academics who know everything that happened to us 70 or even 700 years ago but pretend to know nothing about what's happening today in their own community.
"Why have you given up writing?" I ask a friend who until very recently contributed regularly to our press.
"How can you go on writing?" he replies.
A good question. I wish I knew the answer.”
Ara Baliozian (Athene, 10 december 1936)
Uit: Jauche und Levkojen
„Vor wenigen Minuten wurde auf Poenichen ein Kind geboren. Es kniff die Augen fest zu, als wäre ihm das Licht der Morgensonne zu grell, und war nicht einmal durch leichte Schläge auf das Hinterteil zum Schreien zu bringen. Aber: Es bewegte sich, atmete, lebte. Die Hebamme hatte die Länge: 42 Zentimeter, mit Hilfe der Küchenwaage auch das Gewicht: 2450 Gramm, festgestellt und zusammen mit dem Datum, dem 8. August 1918, und der Uhrzeit: 7 Uhr 30, auf dem Formular eingetragen, und nun lag das Kind gewindelt und mit blauem Jäckchen und Mützchen bekleidet in den blaugestickten Kissen der Quindtschen Familienwiege und schlief.
Die Mutter des Kindes, Vera von Quindt geborene von Jadow, für zwei Wochen eine Wöchnerin und dann nie wieder, hatte darauf bestanden, daß ihr Kind - zum Zeitpunkt dieser Abmachung allerdings nicht einmal gezeugt - in der Charite zur Welt kommen sollte, wo ein junger unterschenkelamputierter Arzt in der Entbindungsstation arbeitete, einer ihrer Bewunderer, aber als Ehemann nicht geeignet:
bürgerlich und ohne Aussicht auf eine baldige Niederlassung in einer guten Wohngegend des Berliner Westens. Aus begreiflichen Gründen war von ihm nicht die Rede gewesen, als diese Abmachung
getroffen wurde. Die Erinnerung an den Steckrübenwinter und eine erneute Herabsetzung der Lebensmittelrationen hatten die junge Berlinerin ein pommersches Rittergut mit anderen Augen sehen
lassen. Sie war 24 Jahre alt, dunkelhaarig, hübsch, aber unvermögend, und ihre Tänzer waren an der Somme undMarne gefallen, "reihenweise" wie ihre Mutter zu sagen pflegte. ...“
Christine Brückner (10 december 1921 – 21 december 1996)
Scene uit de gelijknamige film uit 1978
Uit: In This House of Brede
“From the air. it would seem that it was the Abbey that had space, the old town below that was enclosed; steep and narrow streets ran between the ancient battlements and its houses were huddled, roof below roof, windows and eaves jutting so that they almost touched; garden yards were overlooked by other garden yards while the Abbey stood in a demesne of park, orchard, farm and garden. Its walls had been heightened since the nuns came, trees planted that had grown tall; now it was only from the tower that one could look into the town, though atnight a glow came up from the lights seeming, from inside the enclosure, to give the Abbey walls a nimbus.
The traffic made a continual hum too, heard in the house but not in the park that stretched away inland towards the open fields; it was a quiet hum because the town was quiet and old- fashioned; besides, no car or lorry could be driven quickly through Its narrow cobbled streets.
The sparrow voices of children, when they were let out of school, were heard too, but the only sound that came from the Abbey was dropped into the town by bells measuring, not the hours of time as did the parish church clock, but the liturgical hours from Lauds to Compline; the bells rang the Angelus, the call to Chapter and the Abbey news of entrances and exits; sometimes of death. There was a small bell. St John, almost tinkling by contrast; it hung in the long cloister and summoned the nuns to the refectory. The bells of the Abbey, the chimes of the parish church clock, coming across each other, each underlining the other, gave a curious sense of time outside time, of peace, and the only quarrel the town had with the Abbey now was that the nuns insisted on feeding tramps.
A winding stone stair led up to the tower, going through the belfry above the bell tribune where the hanging bell ropes had different coloured tags. Though the bells were numbered, they had names. ‘Dame Ursula says they are baptized,’ sald Sister Cecily. Dame Clare, the zelatrix, Dame Ursula's assistant, was more exact. ‘There is a ceremony in the pontifical which is called baptizing the bells; It is, rather, a consecration,‘ but to Cecily they seemed personalities. "
Rumer Godden (10 december 1907 – 8 november 1998)