Archive for 2009
The important thing for the remembering author is not what he experienced, but the weaving of his memory, the Penelope work of recollection. Or should one call it, rather, a Penelope work of forgetting? […] And is not his work of spontaneous recollection, in which remembrance is the woof and forgetting the warp, a counterpart […]
to have done
…in the course of the years the study of foreign languages had become almost a mania with Chwostik, indeed a sort of collector’s mania (as exemplified by his acquiring Armenian as a particularly exquisite ‘piece’)… – Heimito von Doderer(The Waterfalls of Slunj, p. 144) This is how we spent our morning: sitting on the floor […]
The market in Nicosia, ca. 1896?
winter’s dragon-voiced storms
We make the rounds, going from house to office to house to office, from tea to coffee to tea again with fruit and runny syrup. Mostly we talk about the weather. It is a never-ending source of conversation. The weather and health are the sacred fonts of social feeling. One is always cold, or has […]
The journey from the capital to the southern cities has an allegorical feel, especially when leaving through the equinoctial twilight. We speed along the straightaways through the floodplains beneath the summits of unattainability, then slow to twist and turn through the vale of woe, night and snow falling hard through the trees. We rise through […]
a backwards glance
The sight of a Greek head depresses many people, strikes an unliberated chord, reminds them of books in their grandmother’s parlor and of all they were supposed to learn and never did. – Joan Didion (‘The Getty’ in The White Album, p. 75)
A view (25)
properly instructive (1)
How to make a cup of tea.
When the sun is shining in the morning it is warm enough to drink coffee on the balcony with a book, perhaps something on regional politics, and listen to the swifts cross the sky. I had thought at first they were starlings, because the starlings paused on the wire linking the apartment building to the […]
She’s down on the street, and she says it’s a good bargain. The woman on the second floor shakes her head and makes a sleepy downward swat of the hand to signify disagreement. The woman on the fourth floor shouts down and asks how many there are. The woman on the street flings her right […]
A view (26)
From the kitchen balcony.
The method of handling notes is not a makeshift device necessitated by the use of the old plates but it one that I have used in several previous books and found advantageous. In my opinion the text of a book should be written and presented for continuous reading. Calling the reader’s attention to footnotes merely […]
From Imagined Communities: It is always a mistake to treat languages in the way that certain nationalist ideologues treat them – as emblems of nation-ness, like flags, costumes, folk-dances, and the rest. Much the most important thing about languages is their capacity for generating imagined communities, building in effect particular solidarities. (133) But also: If […]
PF took this picture looking out over Goris. The test included an essay question: ‘write about your fall holidays.’. Although I correctly translated ‘vacation’ into ‘holiday’, I forgot to change ‘fall’ into ‘autumn’. One of the students asked about it. Made me think about what a ‘fall holiday’ would be: bungee-jumping – or Halloween.
Crambe repetita (15)
a visual interlude.
A view (27)
Water in the millrace, through a sluice of stone, plunges headlong into that black pond where, absurd and out-of-season, a single swan floats chaste as snow, taunting the clouded mind which hunger to haul the white reflection down. The austere sun descends above the fen, an orange cyclops-eye, scorning […]
A view (28)
More winter is on the way.
properly instructive (2)
How to behave in a library.
Genocide, after all is an exercise in community building. A vigorous totalitarian order requires that the people be invested in the leaders’ scheme, and while genocide may be the most perverse and ambitious means to this end, it is also the most comprehensive. In 1994, Rwanda was regarded in much of the rest of the […]
We’ve been waiting for the school to be remodeled for a long time. We were supposed, at first, to move in on the first of September 2008; this was quickly adjusted to 1 Sept. 2009. Knowledge day1 came and went and the building was still not ready. The director clenched and fretted in her tiny […]