You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2010.
“But she could not do it; she could not say it. Then, knowing that he was watching her, instead of saying anything she turned, holding her stocking, and looked at him. And as she looked at him she began to smile, for though she had not said a word, he knew, of course he knew, that she loved him. He could not deny it. And smiling she looked out of the window and said (thinking to herself, Nothing on earth can equal this happiness) – ‘Yes, you were right. It’s going to be wet tomorrow.’ She had not said it, but he knew it. And she looked at him smiling. For she had triumphed again.”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
Peder Severin Kroyer – Havepartie med Marie Kroyer
“These were the things she wanted; gay house-parties, people with beautiful wavering complexions and masses of shimmering hair catching the light, fragrant filmy diaphanous dressses; these were the people to whom she belonged – a year or two of life like that, dancing and singing in and out the houses and gardens; and then marriage. Living alone, sadly estranged, in a house of a husband who loved her and with whom she was in love, both of them thinking that the other had married because they had lost their way in a thunderstorm or spent the night sitting up on a mountain-top or because a clause in a will, and then one day both finding out the truth. “
Dorothy Richardson, Backwater (Pilgrimage II)
Edmund Tarbell, Mercie Cutting Flowers
Will there really be a “Morning”?
Is there such a thing as “Day”?
Could I see it from the mountains
If I were as tall as they?
Has it feet like water lilies?
Has it feathers like a Bird?
Is it brought from famous countries
Of which I have never heard?
Oh some Scholar! Oh some Sailor!
Oh some Wise Men from the skies!
Please to tell a little Pilgrim
Where the place called “Morning” lies!
(Akseli Gallen-Kallela Lake Keitele; John Singer Sargent Girl Fishing; Parrish Spring Morning, “Will there really be a “Morning”?” by Emily Dickinson)
Now I remember why I stumbled across the Slow Manifesto last night. I was about to google “Slow Man” when the automated suggestion “Slow Manifesto” caught my attention. Needless to say, I completely forgot about Slow Man.
So here we go again…Slow Man…Cotzee. Oh yeah right, C-o-e-t-z-e-e, thanks google (such a know-it-all).
Complete Review says “No consensus [among the reviewers], with quite a few quite disappointed.” I’m not sure whether I’m disappointing or not. I’m not overly familiar with Coetzee’s authorship so I suppose I did not really know what to expect. Except that it was about a man who lost his leg, and frankly how much fun could that be? So I read Elizabeth Costello before Slow Man because I knew they would interlink somehow. I wish I hadn’t. I did not really like Costello, an author (Coetzee’s alter-ego?) who gives, or listen to other people give, lectures. So her presence in Slow Man was annoying as hell. Otherwise, a quite pleasant novel. -What you would expect from a Nobel Prize winner? I don’t know, what do you expect from a Nobel Prize winner? -Something touching. Moving. That crawls underneath your skin? In that case, no. -But a literary experiment? Yes, perhaps. But a pretty boring one. Or maybe the experiment, the initial question, was interesting, but the result, the answer, was boring. Such things happens. -Pushing boundaries is not interesting? If you have nothing of interest to say I see no need with pushing boundaries, only for the sake of pushing.
In Elizabeth Costello I took loads of notes because I thought she was quite clever to begin with. Then she loses her mind (Alzheimer’s?…I have no backing for this theory, I suspect it is not even the case. But either that, or I lost my mind because I could not follow any of her reasoning after chapter 6.). In Slow Man she is not so interesting, does not do or talk much at all actually. But there is something she says about language that hit a nerve with me:
‘Ever since you reminded me of your French past, you know, I have been listening with pricked ears. And, yes, you are right: you speak English, you probably think in English, you may even dream in English, yet English is not your true language. I would even say that English is a disguise for you, or a mask, part of your tortoiseshell armour. As you speak I swear I can hear words being selected, one after another, from the word-box you carry around with you, and slotted into place. That is not how a true native speak, one who is born into a language.’
‘How does a native speak?’
‘From the heart. Words well up within and he sings them, sings along with them. So to speak.’
I have two word-boxes. One that once wasn’t a word-box at all. It was the true language of a native who spoke from the heart. But I pushed the language into a word-box because it wasn’t good enough for me. Too limiting. I still carry it close to heart, but it is not the same. As for the other word-box, I speak English, think in English and maybe, possibly dream in English, although I don’t think I dream in any language at all. But of course, there will always be that accent, that process of selecting the words, the unnaturalness in speaking, the contrived in the writing. I was too greedy and wanted a language that was not mine. Now, all I have are my two word-boxes, and no langauge. No song.
In the novel, Elizabeth Costello offers Paul language lessons. ‘I will teach you how to speak from the heart.’ So dear Mr. Coetzee, I know you are not Elizabeth Costello but I know a part of her is you. Would you please give me language lessons and teach me to speak from the heart?
Dear blog, no I have not forgotten about you, at least not completely. I am occupied with participating in the revolution against speed. Live slower – Live better. I’m not too sure what this is all about but it makes sense, doesn’t it? To live slower. To see more.
An endless idea? Here’s mine:
The brain’s ability to concentrate is limited and often wasted on blocking out the unnecessary information that surrounds us: noise, movement, images. We exhaust our mental capacity on processing external perceptions, leaving us unable to deal with our own thoughts. How to live slower? How to avoid distraction? Retreat to where we came from, where we belong – nature. Here nothing competes to catch your attention. The mind can wander with ease, without having to climb obstacles or build barricades. Focus on what you choose to focus on, not what is thrown in your face. When there are no other people around, there is only yourself and your own needs to consider. Set your own pace, think slowly, let an impression sink in and last. When there are no distracting noise, even silence can be heard.
Drenched in moonlight, the lonely road winds through the forest. The snow-covered tree branches hangs heavy under the weight, bowing before Luna Noctiluca. The crystals form a white, crispy carpet, crunching underneath my feet. I am walking on water, am I not? The air is cold and dry and every breath hurts. Pleasurable pain. The snow is falling gently, settling on the ground with a silent sound. The sound of falling snow, like feathers brushing against each other. Like sparks of electricity between feathers brushing against each other. Like sparkling electricity of the energy that fluctuates between feathers brushing against each other. Each snowflake unique, never two of the same. Like us humans; unique, never two of the same (-Cliché? Yes of course. Nothing wrong with clichés if they are true.) Snow crystals get caught in my eyelashes, my body heat melts them. For a moment they flow like tears down my cold cheeks before freezing into a thin layer of ice on my skin. The pulse slows down but the heart beats stronger. Live slower – Live better. Find passion in stillness. Hear poetry in silence. Join the revolution.
(It is also an excellent excuse for simply being lazy. It has always been my ambition to lead the revolution from underneath a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate in my hand and a purring cat in my lap.)