Alain de Botton, Friederike Mayröcker, Väinö Linna

De Zwitserse schrijver en filosoof Alain de Botton werd geboren in Zürich op 20 december 1969. Zie ook mijn blog van 20 december 2006.

Uit: The Architecture of Happiness

A terraced house on a tree-lined street. Earlier today, the house rang with the sound of children’s cries and adult voices, but since the last occupant took off (with her satchel) a few hours ago, it has been left to sample the morning by itself. The sun has risen over the gables of the buildings opposite and now washes through the ground- floor windows, painting the interior walls a buttery yellow and warming the grainy-red brick façade. Within shafts of sunlight, platelets of dust move as if in obedience to the rhythms of a silent waltz. From the hallway, the low murmur of accelerating traffic can be detected a few blocks away. Occasionally, the letter-box opens with a rasp to admit a plaintive leaflet.

The house gives signs of enjoying the emptiness. It is rearranging itself after the night, clearing its pipes and cracking its joints. This dignified and seasoned creature, with its coppery veins and wooden feet nestled in a bed of clay, has endured much: balls bounced against its garden flanks, doors slammed in rage, headstands attempted along its corridors, the weight and sighs of electrical equipment and the probings of inexperienced plumbers into its innards. A family of four shelters in it, joined by a colony of ants around the foundations and, in spring time, by broods of robins in the chimney stack. It also lends a shoulder to a frail (or just indolent) sweet-pea which leans against the garden wall, indulging the peripatetic courtship of a circle of bees.

The house has grown into a knowledgeable witness. It has been party to early seductions, it has watched homework being written, it has observed swaddled babies freshly arrived from hospital, it has been surprised in the middle of the night by whispered conferences in the kitchen. It has experienced winter evenings when its windows were as cold as bags of frozen peas and midsummer dusks when its brick walls held the warmth of newly baked bread.

It has provided not only physical but also psychological sanctuary. It has been a guardian of identity. Over the years, its owners have returned from periods away and, on looking around them, remembered who they were. The flagstones on the ground floor speak of serenity and aged grace, while the regularity of the kitchen cabinets offers a model of unintimidating order and discipline. The dining table, with its waxy tablecloth printed with large buttercups, suggests a burst of playfulness which is thrown into relief by a sterner concrete wall nearby. Along the stairs, small still-lives of eggs and lemons draw attention to the intricacy and beauty of everyday things. On a ledge beneath a window, a glass jar of cornflowers helps to resist the pull towards dejection. On the upper floor, a narrow empty room allows space for restorative thoughts to hatch, its skylight giving out onto impatient clouds migrating rapidly over cranes and chimney pots.”


Alain de Botton (Zürich, 20 december 1969)



De Oostenrijkse schrijfster Friederike Mayröcker werd op 20 december 1924 in Wenen geboren. Zie ook mijn blog van 20 december 2006.


zehr ich dich nicht auf?
trink ich dich nicht aus?
Brünnlein liebes

von wo wirst du gespeist?
woher nimmst du die Kraft
deines Strahls?

über die halbe Stadt
saug ich dich an
wie einen Mund

und du bist da:
Tropfen an meinem Fenster
Wange voll Wärme und Wind



milch /
hilf! /
schnürt mir
Gesicht von
und Hals von



für Ernst Jandl

habe niemand wo ich liegen kann wenn
öffnen die Blumen wenn öffnen die Sterne der Mond
habe niemand dasz ich sprechen kann wie
damals zu dir weil kein Wort ist zu jenen
die noch am Leben. Kalt ist und einsam
die Nacht, 1 wenig Ende der Lippenzauber
in 1 Cafe 

Friederike Mayröcker (Wenen, 20 december 1924)
Wenen, Prater


Zie voor onderstaande schrijver ook mijn blog van 20 december 2006.


De Finse schrijver Väinö Linna werd geboren op 20 december 1920 in Urjala, bij Tampere.

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