Uit: Santa Esperanza
„As I had saved a considerable sum of money long beforehand, and had a strong intention to visit the Isles once more, I decided to avoid the “human bondage” of getting the British visa, then going to London and suffering a lot more from getting the Johnish visa, and found a shorter and safer way: I planned an easier trip to Istanbul, where I would search for the Office of the third Supreme Commissioner.
The Commissioner hated Georgians… Or rather didn’t very much approve of them (to put it mildly to sound more European). He might have had some serious reasons for his disapproval, but he didn’t trouble much to reveal those to me. Strangely enough, he was a Georgian himself, but spoke exceptionally English.
In the course of our conversation, I inserted a couple of Georgian words into my speech, as I felt rather short of my English. But the man replied in English, saying he didn’t understand my Georgian (he himself spoke the Johnish variety of the language). In the end, he ordered me to come back three hours later.
When I was back to his office, he kept inquiring, for good twenty minutes, about my occupation and the reasons for my need of a six-month visa. I did my best to make my answers sound impressive. The whole procedure felt like being at an exam, a rather stiff one. He made me answer numerous questions from the history of his own country. My answers must have sounded too ambiguous, for the only information I had about the past of the country had been obtained from a tiny brochure by a Mr. Nebieridze. I was quite certain though, that the Commissioner had already given me the visa, and even stamped it in my passport, but he hated to tell me about it.
In the end he somehow managed to give the passport to me, and advised me to go by sea. That was a really good piece of advice, for it proved to be much cheaper that way.
So, this is how I went to John’s Isles for the second time and stayed there for half a year.
During the last two months of my stay, I had been living in a rented apartment in the coastal quarter.
February was already there, and I had to return home. The winters are generally very mild on those Isles, and one doesn’t actually have to think about the frost at all. On the other hand, it’s rather damp all around, especially for those who dwell near the sea, but it’s always dry downtown. The sea is often stormy, and along the shore, twenty feet into the land, it seems to be drizzling non-stop. The sun is very rare in this season, but very welcome and very lovely. Such is the winter in Santa City.“
Aka Morchiladze (Tbilisi, 10 november 1966)
Uit: Door arm Vlaanderen (De werklieden van St-Nikolaas)
„Beerblock en ik, wij bevinden ons te Sint-Nikolaas, zeer belangrijk vlasdistrikt en groote markt der voortbrengselen van het Land van Waas. De werkersbevolking is er talrijk, en de meest verschillende nijverheden worden er uitgeoefend. In de vlas- en katoenspinnerijen worden talrijke werklieden, bereiders van stoffen, gebruikt. Daarenboven vindt men er kousen- en lintenfabrieken, sigarenmakerijen, laken- en kantweverijen, potten- en steenbakkerijen, ververijen, houtzagerijen en werkhuizen van klompenmakers.
De twee socialisten der stad, die ons vergezellen, leiden ons eerst de breisters te huis bezoeken. Deze werksters arbeiden op onderneming, Zij zegden ons gemiddeld tien tot elf franken per week te winnen, voor ongeveer 72 uren arbeid. In de fabriek bedraagt het loon slechts acht of negen franken.
Terwijl wij aldus van huis tot huis gingen, zegde ik tot de twee werklieden die ons begeleidden:
De meesten der patroons, hier ter plaats, moeten katholieken zijn?
Bijna allen, en dan nog dweepzuchtige katholieken. Bij M. Janssens, gewezen afgevaardigde der christen-democraten, zijn de werklieden verplicht te bidden alvorens het werk te beginnen. In vele fabrieken komen de pastoors binnen, evenals in hun huis. Gedurende de kiesstrijden geven zij er voordrachten, terwijl wij er menigmaal zelfs niet in gelukken, eene zaal te vinden om onze vergaderingen te houden. Zij verplichten de werklieden de klerikale kringen en patroonschappen te bezoeken, op straf van wegzending. De socialistische, of van socialisme verdachte werklieden zouden ergeen werkkunnen vinden.“
August De Winne (10 november 1861 – 23 mei 1935)
“Een doodende nijverheid”, illustratie uit het boek
An Author’s Bedchamber
WHERE the Red Lion flaring o’er the way,
Invites each passing stranger that can pay;
Where Calvert’s butt, and Parsons’ black champagne,
Regale the drabs and bloods of Drury-lane;
There in a lonely room, from bailiffs snug,
The Muse found Scroggen stretch’d beneath a rug;
A window, patch’d with paper, lent a ray,
That dimly show’d the state in which he lay;
The sanded floor that grits beneath the tread;
The humid wall with paltry pictures spread:
The royal game of goose was there in view,
And the twelve rules the royal martyr drew;
The seasons, fram’d with listing, found a place,
And brave prince William show’d his lamp-black face:
The morn was cold, he views with keen desire
The rusty grate unconscious of a fire;
With beer and milk arrears the frieze was scor’d,
And five crack’d teacups dress’d the chimney board;
A nightcap deck’d his brows instead of bay,
A cap by night–a stocking all the day!
Oliver Goldsmith (10 november 1730 – 4 april 1774)
Onafhankelijk van gebooortedata:
Uit: The Private Lives of Trees (Vertaald door Megan McDowell).
„Verónica was studying for an Art degree—she was in her second year—when Daniela arrived and threw everything off course.
Anticipating the pain was her way of experiencing it—a young pain that grew and grew and sometimes, throughout certain especially warm hours, tended to disappear. During the first weeks of her pregnancy, she decided to keep the news to herself; she didn’t even tell Fernando or her best girlfriend, although she didn’t have, exactly, a best friend. That is, she had many girlfriends who inevitably came to her for advice, but their confidence was never entirely reciprocated. That time of silence was one last luxury that Verónica could give herself, an addedon privacy, a space in which to construct her decisions with an uncertain calm. “I don’t want to be a student/pregnant woman. I don’t want to be a mother/student,” she thought; she definitely didn’t want to find herself, in a few months time, wrapped in a wide and flowery dress, explaining to the professor that she hadn’t been able to study for the test, or later, two years on, leaving the baby in the librarians’ care. Imagining the faces of the librarians, enraptured with their role as the faithful guardians of other people’s children, sent her into a panic.
During that time she went to dozens of art galleries, shamelessly questioned her professors, and lost many hours to letting herself be pursued by upper-level students, who, as was to be expected, turned out to be insufferable nice guys—nice guys who claimed to be bad and nevertheless found success faster than their civil engineer brothers or their educational psychologist sisters.
Sooner rather than later, Verónica found the resentment she was looking for: this was not a world she wanted to be a part of—this wasn’t a world, not even close, she could be a part of. From then on, every time she was knocked down by a dark thought about her abandoned vocation, she retrieved the counter-examples she had hoarded away. Instead of thinking about the healthy disdain some of her professors felt for artistic fads, she remembered the classes she took from two or three charlatans of the type that always seem to hover around art departments. And instead of thinking about the honest, true works of some of her classmates, she preferred to return to the naïve galleries where the advanced members of the class exhibited their discoveries.“
Alejandro Zambra (Santiago de Chile, 1975)
Zie voor onderstaande schrijvers ook mijn blog van 10 november 2010.
De Duitse dichter, schrijver en vertaler Werner Söllner werd geboren op 10 november 1951 in Arad, Roemenië.