Uit: Verborgen gebreken
“Tommie!’ roept Christine. ‘Eten!’
Het jongetje komt aangebolderd, valt op een stoel en grijpt meteen een boterham.
‘Eerst bidden,’ beveelt zijn zusje.
‘Wat?’ zegt hij verbaasd. Voor hem is ergens een geruit jurkje met een gesmockt lijfje opgedoken. Eén strik in het steile zwarte haar, vandaag.
‘Jezus, eikel!’ roept het meisje uit. ‘God bestáát, weet je! en zeg goedemorgen tegen Agnes.’
‘Goedemorgen,’ prevelt Tommie, voorheen Ivatuq.
‘Goedemorgen,’ antwoordt Agnes. ‘Wat ben jij mooi, zeg. Dat jurkje is van Willemijn geweest. Prachtig hoor. Vind je het zelf ook leuk?’
Hij steekt een stuk brood in zijn mond.
‘Er zijn niet genoeg kleren voor hem in huis,’ zegt zijn zusje, terwijl ze twee boterhammen uit de rooster neemt en Agnes er een van geeft. ‘Je moet een paar rokjes kopen.’
‘Ik vind dat we eerst maar eens zijn mening moeten vragen.’
‘Hij doet gewoon wat ik zeg.’
‘Nou, dan moeten we maar hopen dat jij altijd weet wat het beste voor hem is, Christine.’
De ogen van het meisje verduisteren. ‘Ik heet Chris.’
‘Oké, Chris,’ zegt Agnes.
Tommie deelt met heldere stem mee:
‘Christine is een meidennaam. Chris is veel stoerder. Chris is veel gevaarlijker. Chris heeft…’
‘Hou je mond toch, stuk snot,’ valt het meisje uit.“
Renate Dorrestein (Amsterdam, 25 januari 1954)
Uit:The Perks of Being a Wallflower
„And a strange steady look
And his mother never hung it on the kitchen door
because he never showed her
That was the year that Father Tracy died
And he forgot how the end
of the Apostle’s Creed went
And he caught his sister
making out on the back porch
And his mother and father never kissed
or even talked
And the girl around the corner
wore too much makeup
That made him cough when he kissed her
but he kissed her anyway
because that was the thing to do
And at three a.m. he tucked himself into bed
his father snoring soundly
That’s why on the back of a brown paper bag
he tried another poem
And he called it “Absolutely Nothing”
Because that’s what it was really all about
And he gave himself an A
and a slash on each damned wrist
And he hung it on the bathroom door
because this time he didn’t think
he could reach the kitchen.”
Stephen Chbosky (Pittsburgh, 25 januari 1970)
Scene uit de film uit 2012 met Emma Watson, Logan Lerman en Ezra Miller
Uit: Cakes and Ale
“I had not then acquired the technique that I flatter myself now enables me to deal competently with the works of modern artist. If this were the place I could write a very neat little guide to enable the amateur of pictures to deal to the satisfaction of their painters with the most diverse manifestations of the creative instinct. There is the intense ‘By God!’ that acknowledges the power of the ruthless realist, the ‘It’s so awfully sincere’ that covers your embarrassment when you are shown the coloured photograph of an alderman’s widow, the low whistle that exhibits your admiration for the post-impressionist, the ‘Terribly amusing’ that expresses what you feel about the cubist, the ‘Oh!’ of one who is overcome, the ‘Ah!’ of him whose breath is taken away.”
“I have noticed that when I am most serious people are apt to laugh at me, and indeed when after a lapse of time I have read passages that I wrote from the fullness of my heart I have been tempted to laugh at myself. It must be that there is something naturally absurd in a sincere emotion, though why there should be I cannot imagine, unless it is that man, the ephemeral inhabitant of an insignificant planet, with all his pain and all his striving is but a jest in an eternal mind.”
“The wise always use a number of ready-made phrases (at the moment I write ‘nobody’s business’ is the most common), popular adjectives (like ‘divine’ or ‘shy-making’), verbs that you only know the meaning of if you live in the right set (like ‘dunch’), which give a homely sparkle to small talk and avoid the necessity of thought. The Americans, who are the most efficient people on the earth, have carried this device to such perfection and have invented so wide a range of pithy and hackneyed phrases that they can carry on amusing and animated conversation without giving a moment’s reflection to what they are saying and so leave their minds free to consider the more important matters of big business and fornication.”
William Somerset Maugham (25 januari 1874 – 16 december 1965)
Uit: Mrs. Dalloway
„For having lived in Westminster — how many years now? over twenty — one feels even in the midst of the traffic, or waking at night, Clarissa was positive, a particular hush, or solemnity; an indescribable pause; a suspense (but that might be her heart, affected, they said, by influenza) before Big Ben strikes. There! Out it boomed. First a warning, musical; then the hour, irrevocable. The leaden circles dissolved in the air. Such fools we are, she thought, crossing Victoria Street. For Heaven only knows why one loves it so, how one sees it so, making it up, building it round one, tumbling it, creating it every moment afresh; but the veriest frumps, the most dejected of miseries sitting on doorsteps (drink their downfall) do the same; can’t be dealt with, she felt positive, by Acts of Parliament for that very reason: they love life. In people’s eyes, in the swing, tramp, and trudge; in the bellow and the uproar; the carriages, motor cars, omnibuses, vans, sandwich men shuffling and swinging; brass bands; barrel organs; in the triumph and the jingle and the strange high singing of some aeroplane overhead was what she loved; life; London; this moment of June.
For it was the middle of June. The War was over, except for some one like Mrs. Foxcroft at the Embassy last night eating her heart out because that nice boy was killed and now the old Manor House must go to a cousin; or Lady Bexborough who opened a bazaar, they said, with the telegram in her hand, John, her favourite, killed; but it was over; thank Heaven — over. It was June. The King and Queen were at the Palace. And everywhere, though it was still so early, there was a beating, a stirring of galloping ponies, tapping of cricket bats; Lords, Ascot, Ranelagh and all the rest of it; wrapped in the soft mesh of the grey-blue morning air, which, as the day wore on, would unwind them, and set down on their lawns and pitches the bouncing ponies, whose forefeet just struck the ground and up they sprung, the whirling young men, and laughing girls in their transparent muslins who, even now, after dancing all night, were taking their absurd woolly dogs for a run; and even now, at this hour, discreet old dowagers were shooting out in their motor cars on errands of mystery; and the shopkeepers were fidgeting in their windows with their paste and diamonds, their lovely old sea-green brooches in eighteenth-century settings to tempt Americans (but one must economise, not buy things rashly for Elizabeth), and she, too, loving it as she did with an absurd and faithful passion, being part of it, since her people were courtiers once in the time of the Georges, she, too, was going that very night to kindle and illuminate; to give her party.“
Virginia Woolf (25 januari 1882 – 28 maart 1941)
Borstbeeld in Londen
Uit: To the End of the Land (Vertaald door Jessica Cohen)
„When they get to the meeting point, Sami pulls into the first parking spot he finds, yanks up the emergency brake, folds his arms over his chest, and announces that he will wait for Ora there. And he asks her to be quick, which he has never done before. Ofer gets out of the cab and Sami does not move. He hisses something, but she can’t tell what. She hopes he was saying goodbye to Ofer, but who knows what he was muttering. She marches after Ofer, blinking at the dazzling lights: rifle barrels, sunglasses, car mirrors. She doesn’t know where he is leading her and is afraid he will get swallowed up among the hundreds of young men and she will never see him again. Meaning — she immediately corrects herself, revising the grim minutes she has been keeping all day — she won’t see him again until he comes home. The sun beats down, and the horde becomes a heap of colorful, bustling dots. She focuses on Ofer’s long khaki back. His walk is rigid and slightly arrogant. She can see him broaden his shoulders and widen his stance. When he was twelve, she remembers, he used to change his voice when he answered the phone and project a strained “Hello” that was supposed to sound deep, and a minute later he would forget and go back to his thin squeak. The air around her buzzes with shouts and whistles and megaphone calls and laughter. “Honey, answer me, it’s me, Honey, answer me, it’s me,” sings a ringtone on a nearby cell phone that seems to follow her wherever she goes.“
David Grossman (Jeruzalem, 25 januari 1954)
„After his visit to Angela (though no one admitted that this was the purpose of his ascent) the same process of clinging to the banister would be gone through in reverse. Afterwards he would doze in an armchair in the Palm Court or the residents’ lounge and around him would gather a group of chattering old ladies who looked, by contrast to his immense age, as sprightly and exuberant as young girls. And maybe, reflected the Major, in Dr Ryan’s presence they did become a little intoxicated with their youth again. He found it touching, this recovery of youth, and enjoyed hearing them chatter in this girlish and charming way and thought that, after all, there is not so very much difference between an old lady and a young girl, only a few years diluting the exuberance with weariness, sadness, and a great sensitivity to draughts.
However, the presence of the old ladies made it a little difficult for the Major to bring up the subject of Angela. And perhaps, too, the doctor resented their enjoyment of his extreme old age, because one day, after his usual ascent of the stairs, he was to be found in none of his usual haunts. Disconsolate, petulant and elderly, the ladies took their knitting from one room to another and back again . . . but in vain. The old man had disappeared.
The Major, however, soon came upon him (though by accident) while searching for the place where the tortoiseshell cat, who had grown suddenly and eloquently thinner, was hiding her kittens. He was dozing in a wicker chair in the breakfast room behind a great oriental screen inlaid with mother-of-pearl dragons, pagodas and sampans.“
J. G. Farrell (25 januari 1935 – 11 augustus 1979)
Uit: Een bepaald idee van de wereld (Vertaald door Manon Smits)
„Weer een ander, bijzonder onaangenaam feit is dat de werkelijke wortels van de romantiek zijn geplant door volkse pseudo-denkers voortkomend uit provinciale, bekrompen, xeno-fobe, nogal rechtse milieus, doordrenkt van een benau-wende, dweperige religiositeit. Als die in deze tijd hadden geleefd, hadden ze met gemak de sterren van de ochtend-televisie kunnen worden. Hoe men van daaruit heeft we-ten op te klimmen tot Goethe, Schelling en Hegel is een ongelooflijk verhaal, het verslag van een ware acrobaten-toer. Zeg nou zelf: is het niet de moeite waard om je dat te laten uitleggen, wanneer iemand als Berlin de leraar is? Een leraar die en passant memorabele microlesjes rond-strooit waarin antwoorden die je nooit eerder hebt gekre-gen of vragen die je nooit hebt horen stellen over elkaar heen buitelen, waardoor de term ‘leren’ zijn meest exacte betekenis krijgt: een langgerekte emotie waarbij je na af-loop meer over iets weet dan van tevoren. Werkelijk on-weerstaanbaar vond ik het stukje waarin hij Bach benoemt zoals niemand hem ooit heeft durven benoemen (een ge-nie dat niet ontwikkeld genoeg was om zelf te beseffen dat hij een genie was). Maar wat ik ook triomfantelijk heb on-derstreept waren de zinnen waarin hij onbevangen uitlegt waarom Hamlet, Don Giovanni en Don Quichote de legen-darische status hebben bereikt die ze tegenwoordig heb-ben, terwijl het eigenlijk maar simpele verhalen waren, gewone personages, bomen in een bos, en niet eens de al-lerhoogste: ik zag de legioenen onthutste geleerden voor me, en ik maar onderstrepen.“
Alessandro Baricco (Turijn, 25 januari 1958)