A. M. Homes, Mazarine Pingeot, Miles Marshall Lewis, Viktor Rydberg, Jakov Polonski, Saki, Christopher Fry, Thomas Strittmatter

De Amerikaanse schrijfster Amy Michael Homes werd geboren op 18 december 1961 in Washington DC. Zie ook alle tags voor A. M. Homes op dit blog.

Uit: Days of Awe

“Brother on Sunday
She is on the phone. He can see her reflection in the bathroom mirror, the headset wrapped around her ear as if she were an air-traffic controller or a Secret Service agent. “Are you sure?” she whispers. “I can’t believe it. I don’t want to believe it. If it’s true, it’s horrible. . . . Of course I don’t know anything! If I knew something, I’d tell you. . . . No, he doesn’t know anything either. If he knew, he’d tell me. We vowed we wouldn’t keep secrets.” She pauses, listening for a moment. “Yes, of course, not a word.”
“Tom,” she calls. “Tom, are you ready?”
“In a minute,” he says.
He examines himself in her makeup mirror. He raises his eyebrows, bares his teeth, smiles. And then he smiles again, harder, showing gum. He tilts his head, left and right, checking where the shadows fall. He turns on the light and flips the mirror to the magnifying side. A thin silver needle enters the reflection; there’s a close-up of skin, the glistening tip of the needle, surrounded by a halo of light. He blinks. The needle goes into the skin; his hand is steady on the syringe. He injects a little here, a little there; it’s just a touch-up, a filler-up. Later, when someone says, “You look great,” he’ll smile and his face will bend gently, but no lines will appear. “Doctor’s orders,” he’ll say. He recaps the syringe, tucks it into his shirt pocket, flips the toilet seat up, and pees.
When he comes out of the bathroom, his wife, Sandy, is there, in the bedroom, waiting. “Who was that on the phone?” he asks.
“Sara,” she says.
He waits, knowing that silence will prompt her to say more.
“Susie called Sara to say that she’s worried Scott is having an affair.”
He says, quite honestly, “Of all people, Scott isn’t someone I’d think would be having an affair.”
“She doesn’t know that he’s having an affair-she just suspects.” Sandy puts her cover-up into a tote bag and hands him his camera. “Can’t leave without this,” she says.
“Thanks,” he says. “Are you ready to go?”
“Check my back,” she says. “I felt something.” She turns, lifting her blouse.
“You have a tick,” he says, plucking it off her.
Somewhere in the summer house, a loud buzzer goes off. “The towels are done,” she says. “Should we take wine?” he asks.
“I packed a bottle of champagne and some orange juice. It is Sunday, after all.”

A. M. Homes (Washington DC, 18 december 1961)


De Franse schrijfster Mazarine Pingeot werd geboren in Avignon op 18 december 1974. Zie ook alle tags voor Mazarine Pingeot op dit blog.

Uit: Ils m’ont dit qui j’étais

“La comtesse de Ségur et les Jalna
Je dois à la comtesse de Ségur mes premières émotions de lectrice. J’avais quatre ans et je ne savais pas lire. Chaque soir, mon père s’asseyait au bord de mon lit et me lisait deux chapitres d’un de ces romans, que je pouvais dès le lendemain caresser dans la bibliothèque, comme des êtres amis qui détenaient mes mystères.
Le livre a l’apparence d’une boîte hermétique, mais je savais déjà qu’il suffisait de l’ouvrir pour que surgissent mes pensées les plus secrètes, lovées entre les phrases de cette vieille comtesse. Mon père seul avait la clef, même s’il ne connaissait pas le butin de rêves que j’accumulais à l’ombre de ses inflexions de voix.
Son pouvoir absolu sur mon univers intime occasionna de nombreuses disputes : « Et pourquoi pas un troisième chapitre ? » Impossible de m’endormir sans savoir ce que deviendra Paul dans Les Vacances de Paul, dont j’étais parfaitement amoureuse, impossible d’ignorer la tristesse de Sophie – même si je préférais Camille et Madeleine. L’apprentissage de la frustration ne me détourna pas de la lecture, au contraire. Je compris avant l’heure le principe des feuilletons dont je deviendrai fan un peu plus tard, qu’il s’agisse de Dallas ou de Santa Barbara, ce qui ne rivalise en rien – cela pour rassurer les parents inquiets – avec les livres. J’aurais peut-être dû apprendre à lire par moi-même pour échapper à mon aliénation. Mais sans doute me plaisait-elle, alors.
Je ne relirai pas la comtesse de Ségur. Je préfère laisser ainsi vivre dans mes souvenirs ces personnages qui perdraient de leur grandeur, confrontés à l’analyse de la femme de vingt-huit ans que je suis. Ce qui importe, c’est la vague mémoire des moments de bonheur perdus qu’agite en moi la simple évocation des ouvrages de la comtesse de Ségur.”

Mazarine Pingeot (Avignon, 18 december 1974)


De Amerikaanse schrijver Miles Marshall Lewis werd geboren op 18 december 1970 in The Bronx, New York. Zie ook alle tags voor Miles Marshall Lewis op dit blog.

Uit:The Sound In Our Veins

“In ’87 Miles Davis had been working with Prince—my hero—behind closed doors, and so my ears had been cocked all night long for anything smacking of Madhouse (Prince’s own one-man-band jazz project). Davis’s most recent record Tutu—named for South African activist Desmond Tutu—gets plenty of spins at home. The first album I’d ever spent my own money on at 13 was the Miles Davis live album, My Funny Valentine. I was, naturally, named after him and so his significance to me was cemented. Being a teenager embarrassed by my dad’s (actually pretty cool) outburst might be my major memory of the show. I’d see him again at 20, the year he died.
How would someone young get turned on to jazz, an art form with its most innovative days behind it?
My parents played all kinds of diverse music on our living room’s hi-fi stereo system in the 1970s when I was in my single digits, jazz included. Electric-period Miles Davis was in full swing at the time, and so plenty of Bitches Brew, On the Corner, Get Up with It (I loooved its bluesy “Honky Tonk”) and Big Fun shocked our Bronx apartment. Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters looms large in my memory, funky tracks like “Watermelon Man” and “Chameleon.” Plenty of Quincy Jones. Moms loved Pharoah Sanders’ Karma and “The Creator Has a Master Plan.”
Growing up later as a NYC teenager in a golden age of Hip-Hop, arguably also a golden age of pop, jazz had plenty of competition. My first jazz show wasn’t Miles. A smooth-jazz loving uncle snuck me into a show at the famed Bottom Line jazz club when I was far too young to be there, a 16-year-old watching 16-year-old organist Joey DeFrancesco do his thing. Genuine interest on my part led the family to expose me to stuff like this; none of it felt forced on me. College love connections around the corner seemed more sophisticated with mood music like Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington in the background.
Denzel Washington starred in director Spike Lee’s Mo’ Better Blues in 1990, centered on a conflicted, egocentric jazz trumpeter. Few modern African-American romances exist in Hollywood; me and a whole young black generation were transfixed. A “Mo’ Better Suggested Listening” chapter of Spike’s making-of book featured recommendations by Branford Marsalis, Jeff “Tain” Watts and Terry Blanchard, and I sought out a few. One of my first winter season dance performance shows at Alvin Ailey turned me on to Alice Coltrane’s “Something About John Coltrane,” and Journey in Satchidananda. Seeing tap dancer Savion Glover star in the Broadway musical Black and Blue introduced me to Duke Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood.” I soaked up jazz that moved me wherever I could find it.”

Miles Marshall Lewis (New York, 18 december 1970)
Hier met zijn zoontjes


De Zweedse dichter en schrijver Viktor Rydberg werd geboren op 18 december 1828 in Jönköping, Zweden. Zie ook alle tags voor Viktor Rydberg op dit blog.

Tomten (Fragment)

Går till stängslet för lamm och får,
ser, hur de sova där inne;
går till hönsen, där tuppen står
stolt på sin högsta pinne;
Karo i hundbots halm mår gott,
vaknar och viftar svansen smått,
Karo sin tomte känner,
de äro gode vänner.

Illustratie bij Tomten door Jenny Nyström

The tomte glances at sheep and lambs
Cuddled in quiet rest.
The chickens are next, where the rooster roosts
High above straw filled nests.
Burrowed in straw, hearty and hale,
Karo wakens and wags his tail
As if to say, “Old friend, “Partners we are to the end.”

Viktor Rydberg (18 december 1828 – 21 september 1895)
Monument voor Viktor Rydberg in Göteborg


De Russische dichter en schrijver Jakov Petrovitsj Polonski werd geboren in Rjazan op 18 december 1819. Zie ook alle tags voor Jakov Polonski op dit blog.

Winter Path

The night was cold looks dull
Under a Mat of my tent,
Under field runners squeaks,
Under the arc of the bell resounds,
And the coachman whipping horses.

Beyond the mountains, the forests, the smoke clouds
Shines gloomy Ghost of the moon.
Howl long hungry wolves
Heard in the fog dense forests.-
I haunted by strange dreams.

I all fancy: if the bench is,
On the bench sat the old woman,
Until midnight yarn spinning,
I loved tales of my says,
Lullaby sings.

And I see in my dreams, as the wolf riding
I’m going down the path of the forest
To fight with the sorcerer-king
In the country where the Princess sits under lock and key,
Smothered behind a solid wall.

There’s the glass Palace is surrounded by gardens
There the fire birds sing at night
And peck Golden fruit,
There babbling key living and the dead key water –
And don’t believe and trust in the eyes.

A cold night just looks dull
Under a Mat of my tent,
Under field runners squeaks,
Under the arc of the bell resounds,
And the coachman whipping horses.

Jakov Polonski (18 december 1819 – 30 oktober 1898)


De Birmees – Britse schrijver Saki (pseudoniem van Hector Hugh Munro, een naam gekozen uit de Rubaiyat van Omar Khayyam) werd geboren op 18 december 1870 in Akyab, Birma. Zie ook alle tags voor Saki op dit blog.

Uit:The toys of peace

“That is Louis the Fourteenth,” Eric was saying, “that one in knee-breeches, that Uncle said invented Sunday schools. It isn’t a bit like him, but it’ll have to do.” “We’ll give him a purple coat from my paintbox by and by,” said Bertie. “Yes, an’ red heels. That is Madame de Maintenon, that one he called Mrs. Hemans. She begs Louis not to go on this expedition, but he turns a deaf ear. He takes Marshal Saxe with him, and we must pretend that they have thousands of men with them. The watchword is Qui vive? and the answer is L’etat c’est moi — that was one of his favourite remarks, you know. They land at Manchester in the dead of the night, and a Jacobite conspirator gives them the keys of the fortress.” Peeping in through the doorway Harvey observed that the municipal dust-bin had been pierced with holes to accommodate the muzzles of imaginary cannon, and now represented the principal fortified position in Manchester; John Stuart Mill had been dipped in red ink, and apparently stood for Marshal Saxe. “Louis orders his troops to surround the Young Women’s Christian Association and seize the lot of them. ‘Once back at the Louvre and the girls are mine,’ he exclaims. We must use Mrs. Hemans again for one of the girls; she says ‘Never,’ and stabs Marshal Saxe to the heart.” “He bleeds dreadfully,” exclaimed Bertie, splashing red ink liberally over the facade of the Association building. “The soldiers rush in and avenge his death with the utmost savagery. A hundred girls are killed” — here Bertie emptied the remainder of the red ink over the devoted building— “and the surviving five hundred are dragged off to the French ships. ‘I have lost a Marshal,’ says Louis, tut I do not go back empty-handed.— Harvey stole away from the room, and sought out his sister. “Eleanor,” he said, “the experiment—” “Yes?” “Has failed. We have begun too late.”

Saki (18 december 1870 – 14 november 1916)
Cover Spaans luisterboek


De Britse toneelschrijver Christopher Fry, pseudoniem van Christopher Harris, werd geboren in Bristol op 18 december 1907. Zie ook alle tags voor Christopher Fry op dit blog.

Uit: The Dark is Light Enough

“GELD A. Yours may not, but mine may. I meant
To love you. Moreover, I meant I should be loved.
Solemnly to God I said so.
GETTNE R. ! b ite so.
But when promises are merely hopes, and hopes
Aren’t realized, where are the promises kept ?
GELDA. In me, it would seem.
GETTNE R. I see. And I see as well
Strange possibilities.
GELDA. You needn’t think
I Shalltake less care for your safety than I would
If I were still your wife.
GETTNER. You can now tell me
Why you talk to me like this ? With no
Confidence at all , I’m bound to ask you
Am I loved in any way ? I know I’m not,
But, for my own good, I Should like
This conversation well defined.
GELDA. Richard,
There ’s no definition. I was turning back
To some old thoughts . Some sort of love there was,
But whether it left me or whether I turned from it
It became remote. Sometimes
You can watch a single bird flying over
Towards the vague mountains , until you no longer know
Whether you see or imagine where it is.
I have a feeling of no definition.
A dead husband and a dead wife
Perpetuated in a sacrament.
GELDA. The dead may have a thought, but no more deeds.
GETTNER. Now which of us has the fear ?
You may have withdrawn the words , but they implied
A kindness which you can’ t help leaving with me,
Which has to be confirmed. My curiosity
IS great ; I begin to wonder who you are.
[He kisses
How dead are the husband and the wife ? No words , now.
And yet I also wonder how it must feel
To be so close to a living body
Which in a question of hours may well
Be dead, gone, and promising to be rotten?”

Christopher Fry (18 december 1907 – 30 juni 2005)
Scene uit een opvoering in Gateshead, 1956


De Duitse schrijver Thomas Strittmatter werd geboren op 18 december 1961 in St. Georgen in het Zwarte Woud. Zie ook alle tags voor Thomas Strittmatter op dit blog.

Uit: Der Polenweiher

„HUNGERBÜHLER […] Und warum, frag ich dich, warum schwätzt du dann die ganz Zeit, als ob sie noch lebendig wär? Die ganz Zeit. Und warum guckst du mich immer so an? Glaubst, du könntest sie wieder lebendig schwätzen? Nimmt den Hammer.Tote soll man tot sein lassen.
Die beiden arbeiten stumm weiter
HUNGERBÜHLERIN Weißt du, was der Kommissär neulich zu mir gesagt hat?
HUNGERBÜHLER War ich dabei?
HUNGERBÜHLERIN lächelt Nein, das warst du net.
HUNGERBÜHLER Und was hat er gesagt, dein Herr Kommissär?
HUNGERBÜHLERIN Daß ich schöne Händ hab.
HUNGERBÜHLER lacht kurz auf. Räuspert sich, spuckt.
HUNGERBÜHLERIN Wart, vielleicht bring ich es noch zusammen: Wisse, noch liegt Blutschuld auf der Stadt. Von deiner Hand.
HUNGERBÜHLER bleibt im Schlag wie erstarrt stehen. Läßt seinen Hammer langsam sinken.“

„KOMMISSAR […] Meine Ermittlungen sind abgeschlossen. Ich danke für Speis und Trank. Ganz besonders verabschiede ich mich von Ihnen, Hungerbühler. Hochachtung, ich weiß, was für einen Mann ich vor mir habe.
HUNGERBÜHLER Danke, Herr Kommissar.
KOMMISSAR Sind Sie eigentlich UK gestellt?
HUNGERBÜHLER Jawohl, Herr Kommissar.
KOMMISSAR Schön für Sie, Hungerbühler, sehr schön. Denn bald wird es richtig hart auf hart gehen. Sie wissen, was man munkelt. Die Yan-kies, die Ami! Kein Spaziergang mehr, wie in Polen. Aber unver-drossen weiter. Des Lebens Fackel wollten wir entzünden/Ein Feu-ermeer umschlingt uns, welch ein Feuer.“

Thomas Strittmatter (18 december 1961 – 29 augustus 1995)
Poster voor een opvoering in Frankfurt am Main, 2005


Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 18e december ook mijn blog van 18 december 2016 deel 2.

A. M. Homes, Mazarine Pingeot, Miles Marshall Lewis, Viktor Rydberg, Jakov Polonski, Saki, Christopher Fry, Thomas Strittmatter

De Amerikaanse schrijfster Amy Michael Homes werd geboren op 18 december 1961 in Washington DC. Zie ook alle tags voor A. M. Homes op dit blog.

Uit: Jack

“So, how’s Mom?” he asked.
“And school?”
“The same.”
I nodded. It was his checklist. Every time we were together we went through this. He ran down his list of people, events, even actual objects that were in my life.
“The garden’s doing real well, and I think Max is getting back to sort of normal.”
I said it all at once to save him the trouble of having to hit on each thing, one at a time.
He smiled. “Good.”
We were quiet.
“When you’re ready, I want to take you to get your license.”
“That’s okay. Michael said he would. His car is smaller anyway.”
I flipped the visor back up into the ceiling.
“I want to, Jack. Is that all right?”
He reached across the car, swept my hair off my face, and rubbed my cheek with the back of his hand. “Yeah, sure, we’ll see,” I said.
“How about dinner Wednesday?” he asked as he pulled up in front of our house.
I nodded.
“We’ll go someplace nice, just you and me. Pick you up around seven.”
“Yeah, okay. See you,” I said as I got out.
He put the car in gear and pulled away without checking his mirrors. Luckily, nothing was coming. I worry about him. Sometimes I’m not sure his receiver is on the hook, if you know what I mean. I watched the blue Volvo creep down the street and wondered how I’d ever get it to fit in the goddamned parallel-parking place at the Motor Vehicle Administration.
“Salvation Army’s coming tomorrow,” Michael said when I walked into the kitchen. He was chopping vegetables with something that looked like the ax George Washington must have used when he cut down his cherry tree.”

A. M. Homes (Washington DC, 18 december 1961)

Lees verder “A. M. Homes, Mazarine Pingeot, Miles Marshall Lewis, Viktor Rydberg, Jakov Polonski, Saki, Christopher Fry, Thomas Strittmatter”

Saki, Christopher Fry, Thomas Strittmatter, Gatien Lapointe, Heinrich Smidt

De Birmees – Britse schrijver Saki (pseudoniem van Hector Hugh Munro, een naam gekozen uit de Rubaiyat van Omar Khayyam) werd geboren op 18 december 1870 in Akyab, Birma. Zie ook alle tags voor Saki op dit blog.

Uit: The toys of peace

“What does he do?” asked Eric wearily.
“He sees to things connected with his Department,” said Harvey. “This box with a slit in it is a ballot-box. Votes are put into it at election times.”
“What is put into it at other times?” asked Bertie.
“Nothing. And here are some tools of industry, a wheelbarrow and a hoe, and I think these are meant for hop-poles. This is a model beehive, and that is a ventilator, for ventilating sewers. This seems to be another municipal dust-bin — no, it is a model of a school of art and public library. This little lead figure is Mrs. Hemans, a poetess, and this is Rowland Hill, who introduced the system of penny postage. This is Sir John Herschel, the eminent astrologer.”
“Are we to play with these civilian figures?” asked Eric.
“Of course,” said Harvey, “these are toys; they are meant to be played with.”
“But how?”
It was rather a poser. “You might make two of them contest a seat in Parliament,” said Harvey, “and have an election –”
“With rotten eggs, and free fights, and ever so many broken heads!” exclaimed Eric.
“And noses all bleeding and everybody drunk as can be,” echoed Bertie, who had carefully studied one of Hogarth’s pictures.
“Nothing of the kind,” said Harvey, “nothing in the least like that. Votes will be put in the ballot-box, and the Mayor will count them — and he will say which has received the most votes, and then the two candidates will thank him for presiding, and each will say that the contest has been conducted throughout in the pleasantest and most straightforward fashion, and they part with expressions of mutual esteem. There’s a jolly game for you boys to play. I never had such toys when I was young.”
“I don’t think we’ll play with them just now,” said Eric, with an entire absence of the enthusiasm that his uncle had shown; “I think perhaps we ought to do a little of our holiday task. It’s history this time; we’ve got to learn up something about the Bourbon period in France.”

Saki (18 december 1870 – 14 november 1916)

Lees verder “Saki, Christopher Fry, Thomas Strittmatter, Gatien Lapointe, Heinrich Smidt”

Miles Marshall Lewis, Christopher Fry, Thomas Strittmatter

De Amerikaanse schrijver Miles Marshall Lewis werd geboren op 18 december 1970 in The Bronx, New York. Zie ook alle tags voor Miles Marshall Lewis op dit blog.


Uit: Bronx Noir

„The all-night Baychester Diner harbored the same two wisecracking women in kempt hairweaves found at the counter every weekend past midnight. Each sported something slightly outré signaling her street profession. One wore a bright Wonder Woman bodice with deep cleavage on display, the other scarlet, fishnets with a spiked leather dominatrix collar. Both brandished five-inch stilettos. At the far corner banquette a young couple argued in Creole patois.

“Si ou pa vlé bébé-an, ale vous an,” hissed the pregnant teen in the pink Von Dutch cap.

Kingston and Lacey found an isolated booth and ordered breakfast from a homely waitress. Rain broke the August humidity, slicking the asphalt of Boston Road, while Kingston explained all about the Hernández brothers pushing their numbers turf further down Washington Heights into Harlem, their violent efforts to force him out, and his contingency fl ight plan to New Orleans.

“King. You gonna up and leave just like that?” Lacey asked. She craved a Newport.

“They ain’t runnin’ me out,” he bluffed. “I done made plenty these past fi fteen years. I don’t mind it. Business ain’t like it used to be nohow. Playin’ the numbers is old school, kiddo. More white folks is movin’ into Harlem now and they don’t know nothin’ about me. They play Lotto.”

Lacey laughed.

“You never talked about retiring to New Orleans before.”

Not to me, she thought.

“I done told you ’bout the house. We ain’t never been together, but it’s down there. Since 2000. My cousin look after it, she over in Baton Rouge.”

“When are you talking about going?”

“I ain’t right decided yet. Could be two weeks.”

“Two weeks? That’s enough time for you to wrap up everything?”

“We gon’ see.”


Miles Marshall Lewis (New York, 18 december 1970)

Lees verder “Miles Marshall Lewis, Christopher Fry, Thomas Strittmatter”

Mazarine Pingeot, A. M. Homes, Viktor Rydberg, Christopher Fry, Thomas Strittmatter

De Franse schrijfster Mazarine Pingeot werd geboren in Avignon op 18 december 1974. Zie ook mijn blog van 18 december 2008 en ook mijn blog van 18 december 2009.


Uit: Mara 


„Manuel se dit : il n’y aura pas d’enfant ici. Il n’y aura pas d’enfant né des batailles nocturnes, des coups et des pleurs. Il n’y aura pas de témoin de nos guerres, de nos défaites, il n’y aura pas de victoire, et c’est bien mieux ainsi. Pour moi je ne souhaite aucune victoire. Elle, elle a toujours l’impression de les remporter. Elle croit encore avoir gagné sur quelque chose, sur sa vie ou son destin, elle ne fait que s’y enfoncer un peu plus. Elle lutte, contre elle, contre moi. Elle lutte. Il n’y a que ça qu’elle sache faire. Il n’y aura pas d’enfant.

Mara se dit. Ce n’est pas grave, Manuel ne frappe plus, il s’en prend aux objets, il change, bientôt il sera prêt, nous serons tous les deux prêts, bientôt l’enfant, bientôt la fin des armes.

En bas, Hicham les attend, adossé à sa vieille Mercedes, incapable de dissimuler un sourire amusé, peut-être satisfait. Mara, en le mettant dans la confidence de leur “problème de couple” sans en référer à Manuel, qui lui-même lui en avait livré des bribes, l’a fait entrer dans un jeu dont il ne connaît pas encore la finalité ni les règles, mais qu’il accepte de jouer, relevant malgré lui un défi silencieux que personne n’a lancé, mais qui plane de façon dangereuse. Un jeu très peu ludique, et pourtant un jeu.

Mara monte devant. Elle ne veut rien rater de la route qui mène à Sidi Mhait. Peut-être au retour de la promenade la vie ne sera-t-elle plus la même. Mara interroge ce qu’elle voit, et ce qu’elle voit a depuis quelques temps l’allure de signe, le nombre d’ânes croisés compte, pigeon noir ou pigeon blanc, chaque visage annonce un événement, tout est signe. Une puissance obscure habite les êtres et les objets, elle estompe les frontières, entre les morts et les vivants, ceux qui un jour pourraient naître, ceux que l’on ne connaît pas mais que l’on a fortement désirés, imaginés, inventés, entre les parents les enfants les frères les sœurs les Arabes et les Occidentaux, les hommes et les femmes.“


Mazarine Pingeot (Avignon, 18 december 1974)



Lees verder “Mazarine Pingeot, A. M. Homes, Viktor Rydberg, Christopher Fry, Thomas Strittmatter”

Viktor Rydberg, Mazarine Pingeot, Miles Marshall Lewis, Christopher Fry, Gatien Lapointe, Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, Saki

De Zweedse schrijver Viktor Rydberg werd geboren op 18 december 1828 in Jönköping, Zweden. Zie ook mijn blog van 18 december 2006 en ook mijn blog van 18 december 2008.


Mittwinternacht ist bitter kalt,
die Sterne schimmern, funkeln.
Im Einödhof schläft Jung und Alt
um Mitternacht im Dunkeln.
Der Mond zieht seine Bahn ganz leis,
auf Ficht’ und Tannen leuchtets weiß,
weiß leuchtet Schnee vom Dache.
Der Tomte nur hält Wache.

Da steht er grau am Scheunentor,
grau vor dem weißen Gleiten,
und schaut zum vollen Mond empor
schon manche Winterszeiten,
schaut nach dem Wald, dem dunklen Wall
von Ficht’ und Tann vor Hof und Stall.
Seltsamen Rätsels Frage
ist seinem Sinnen Plage.

Er streicht die Hand durch Bart und Haar,
er schüttelt Kopf und Mütze —
“Dies Rätsel ist zu sonderbar,
bin nicht zum Raten nütze” —
doch, wie gewohnt, in kurzer Zeit
verschwindet die Unsicherheit,
er geht, zu schaffen, sichten,
geht, Arbeit zu verrichten.

In Schuppen und in Speicher geht
er hin und prüft die Schlösser alle —
im Mondlicht träumen Kühe spät
des Sommers Träume in dem Stalle;
frei von Geschirr und Peitschenknall
und Zügel, Pålle träumt im Stall,
träumt in die Krippe gerne
sich duftende Luzerne.

Zum Stall von Lamm und Schaf sodann
geht er, die schlummern lange;
geht zu den Hühnern, wo der Hahn
stolz steht auf höchster Stange.
Und in der Hundehütte Stroh
Karo erwacht und wedelt froh,
es kennen sich die beiden
und mögen sich gut leiden.


Illustratie bij Tomte


Tomte schleicht sich endlich leis
zu des Hauses lieben Herren,
weiß schon lang, daß seinen Fleiß
alle hier im Hause ehren.
Dem Kinderzimmer naht auf Zeh’n
er sich, die Süßen anzusehn,
das darf ihm keiner stehlen,
sein größtes Glück nicht fehlen.

Den Vater wie den Sohn sah er
in den Geschlechtern allen
als Kinder schlafen; doch woher
sind sie herabgefallen?
Geschlecht folgt auf Geschlecht, sie ziehn,
sie blühen, altern, gehn – wohin?
Das Rätsel kam zurücke
in ungelöster Tücke.

Zum Scheunenboden Tomte geht,
zum Heim, zu seiner Veste,
die oben hoch im Heuduft steht,
ganz nah dem Schwalbenneste;
zwar ist der Schwalbe Wohnung leer,
doch kommt sie frühlings wieder her,
wenn Blatt und Blume sprossen,
gefolgt vom lieb Genossen.

Dann zwitschert sie zu jeder Zeit
vom Wege, der sie führte,
doch nichts vom Rätsel, das von weit
an Tomtes Sinnen rührte.
Durch einen Spalt der Scheunenwand
Mondschein auf Männleins Bart sich bahnt,
der Strahl auf seinem Barte blitzt,
und Tomte grübelnd, sinnend sitzt.

Der Wald, die Gegend still zumal,
das Leben ist gefroren,
nur fernher braust der Wasserfall
ganz sachte in den Ohren.
Tomte lauscht, halb träumend. Weit
hört rauschen er den Strom der Zeit,
fragt, wohin er schnelle,
fragt, wo wohl die Quelle.

Mittwinternacht ist bitter kalt,
die Sterne schimmern, funkeln.
Im Einödhof schläft Jung und Alt
frühmorgens, noch im Dunkeln.
Der Mond senkt seine Bahn ganz leis,
auf Ficht’ und Tannen leuchtets weiß,
weiß leuchtet Schnee vom Dache.
Der Tomte nur hält Wache.


Vertaald door Claudia Sperlich


Viktor Rydberg (18 december 1828 – 21 september 1895)


De Franse schrijfster Mazarine Pingeot werd geboren in Avignon op 18 december 1974. Zie ook mijn blog van 18 december 2008.


Uit: Bouche cousue


„Pour la première fois, je désire un enfant. Je fais ce livre pour toi, l’enfant qui viendra un jour, pour que tu échappes aux mots qui ont tissé ma muselière. Il y a des gens, que nous ne connaissons pas, et qui saccagent mes souvenirs. Je dois maintenant les reconstituer pour t’offrir un passé différent des livres d’histoire et des piles de journaux. Pendant cinquante-huit ans, il n’était pas mon père. Tu trouveras ces cinquante-huit ans autre part. Tu comprendras qu’ils ne m’appartiennent pas. Qu’ils me font concurrence. Longtemps,j’ai même ignoré l’orthographe exacte de son nom. Comme tout le monde,j’hésitais entre un R ou deux.J’en avais honte, aussi ne pouvais-je demander à ma mère, encore moins à mon père, comment écrire M-i-t-t-e-r-r-a-n-d. Il ne m’a pas tout raconté. Mais il ne faut pas croire ce que disent les autres. Les autres parlent toujours d’eux. Mon témoignage à moi est vivant. Et vivant restera ainsi ton grand-père.


Il neige. C’est rare. Les branches pleurent etj’ai les pieds mouillés. Thélème II, ma petite labrador, retrouve son élément naturel ; elle court en rond, attrape en passant des boules de neige qui fondent dans sa gueule. Elle éternue. Elle si blanche paraît jaune. Les pas s’enfoncent sans atteindre le sol. Ce pays tantôt sec, parfois vert, est aujourd’hui immaculé. Le feu brûle dans la cheminée. Nous sommes allés déjeuner chez un ami dans un petit village au-delà de Sénanque. Les routes étaient glissantes et dangereuses, l’abbaye recouverte elle aussi d’un toit blanc surgit au fond d’un brouillard calcaire. Les nuages s’accrochaient aux falaises. Il fallait les diviser en coupant au hasard, par le regard perdu. Dimanche envoûté et silencieux, où les échos meurent au milieu des flocons. Mohamed écrit son scénario.“



Mazarine Pingeot (Avignon, 18 december 1974)


De Amerikaanse schrijver Miles Marshall Lewis werd geboren op 18 december 1970 in The Bronx, New York. Zie ook mijn blog van 18 december 2006 en ook mijn blog van 18 december 2007 en ook mijn blog van 18 december 2008.


Uit: Scars of the Soul Are Why Kids Wear Bandages When They Don’t Have Bruises


“Around the same time I became reacquainted with my old elementary/junior-high classmate John Reed. Beginning in September 2001, corresponding from Eastern New York Correctional Facility, John began writing me about our mutual Bronx childhood and the sad state of hiphop. John Reed is worthy of his own chapter in this book, his own autobiography really. He began tagging Dazer at the age of nine, in a Co-op City tenement-building elevator with respected artists Ex-Con and Presweet. He founded his own graffiti posse, the T.V. Crew (“T.V.” for The Vandals) with Maze, Stuff, Cashier, and Zent–all junior-high classmates of ours. John Reed threw up tags with local Co-op City legends like Echo and Med before beginning to rhyme as the Almighty Cool Jay in 1982, years prior to the debut of LL Cool J. By then he had also begun to study the Five Percenter doctrines of the Nation of Gods and Earths, a more militant offshoot of the Nation of Islam popular during the eighties; John Reed became Justice Allah. As the Almighty Cool Jay he founded an MC crew dubbed the Funky Fresh 3–later the original Fresh 3 MCs–with my tweener acquaintances Harry Dee and Ice Ice. In 1982 John Reed’s older brother Mark disbanded his own MC crew, Playboys Inc., and started a new group; they battled the Fresh 3 MCs for the rights to their name and won, releasing the popular rap single “Fresh” months later on Profile Records. Undaunted, John Reed launched the Boogie Down Breakers, capitalizing on his skills as a stunt roller-skater and breaker at Bronx spots like White Plains Road’s original Skate Key. He would go on to battle and defeat the popular breaker Popatron, all this before the age of thirteen. This is the hiphop lifestyle that makes us sentimental.“


marshall lewis

Miles Marshall Lewis (New York, 18 december 1970)


De Britse toneelschrijver Christopher Fry, pseudoniem van Christopher Harris, werd geboren in Bristol op 18 december 1907. Zie ook mijn blog van 18 december 2006  en ook mijn blog van 18 december 2008.


Uit:  Cyrano de Bergerac: A Heroic Comedy in Five Acts (Vertaald door Fry)


Then she may be
One of those ?sthetes . . . Intellectuals,
You call them–How can I talk to a woman
In that style? I have no wit. This fine manner
Of speaking and of writing nowadays–
Not for me! I am a soldier–and afraid.
That’s her box, on the right–the empty one.
(Starts for the door)
I am going.
(Restrains him)
Not I. There’s a tavern
Not far away–and I am dying of thirst.
(Passes with her tray)
Orange juice?
Here! Stop!
(To Christian)
I’ll stay a little.
(To the Girl)
Let me see
Your Muscatel.
(He sits do
wn by the sideboard. The Girl pours out wine for him.)



Christopher Fry (18 december 1907 – 30 juni 2005)
Portret door June Mendoza


De Canadese dichter en schrijver Gatien Lapointe werd geboren op 18 december 1931 in Québec. Zie ook mijn blog van 18 december 2008.

 Le vaisseau du soleil

Et c’est d’un mot très haut l’orée d’une île et des herbes.

J’émerge vaisseau à sept soleils parmi le rêve des dieux,
Tout l’or et le bleu répandus sur le jardin
Et le frisson jumeau où corps à corps je m’éblouis

Flamme vive on me redonne d’une autre vie le sceptre familier.

Vers quel pays au bord de quel avenir s’ébattent les jeunes chevaux?
Par quel sentier me reviennent nuptiaux mes souvenirs?

Feuillage inaugural j’avance sur les rives nues du temps,
J’ouvre de lèvre en lèvre le noyau de tout plaisir
Et roule dans l’odorante clairière la chair qui s’étonne.

D’une langue d’origine je retrace sur le sol chaque signe du ciel.

Sueurs épelant d’ailes et de musique l’intime figure,
D’un seul souffle je délivre la double gerbe de sang
Et tremblent sous cet arbre les lentes étoiles du silence.

C’est ici au creux de mes bras que l’éternel vient faire son cœur.

Ô ce mât qui scintille dans l’extase des fleurs jamais fanées!
Sur quelle terre nouvelle s’ouvre ma main?
À quel azur emmêlées les vagues battent-elles jusqu’à ma tempe?

De racine en racine on me répond de toutes les planètes.

Phrase déployant à ras de rosée le songe infini,
Je rapatrie dans tous les yeux l’Enfance sans mort
Et s’élève de cet anneau aux cimes extrêmes la parfaite lumière.

Je retrouve natale la très simple beauté du monde.

Soleil à sept branches dans l’immobile matin,
J’habite d’un chant d’amour la première maison de l’homme.



Gatien Lapointe (18 décember 1931 – 15 september 1983)


Onafhankelijk van geboortedata:

De Duitse dichteres en schrijfster Annette von Droste-Hülshoff werd op 10 januari 1797 op het slot Hülshoff in Westfalen geboren. Zie ook mijn blog van 10 januari 2007 en mijn blog van 31 december 2007. Zie eveneens mijn blog van 10 januari 2008.en mijn blog van 10 januari 2009.


Am ersten Sonntage im Advent
Evang.: Eintritt Jesu in Jerusalem. (Matth. 21, 1-11.)

Du bist so mild,
So reich an Duldung, liebster Hort,
Und musst so wilde Streiter haben;
Dein heilig Bild
Ragt überm stolzen Banner fort,
Und deine Zeichen will man graben
In Speer und funkensprühend Schild.

Mit Spott und Hohn
Gewaffnet hat Parteienwut,
Was deinen sanften Namen träget,
Und klirrend schon
Hat in des frömmsten Lammes Blut
Den Fehdehandschuh man geleget,
Den Zepter auf die Dornenkron`.

Wenn Stirn an Stirn
Sich drängen mit verwirrtem Schrei
Die Kämpfer um geweihte Sache,
Wenn in dem Hirn
Mehr schwindelt von der Welt Gebräu,
Von Siegesjubel, Ehr` und Rache
Mehr zähe Mottenfäden schwirrn,

Als stark und rein
Der Treue Nothemd weben sich
Sollt`, von des Herzens Schlag gerötet:
Wer denkt der Pein,
Durchzuckend wie mit Messern dich,
Als für die Kreuz`ger du gebetet! –
O Herr, sind dies die Diener dein?

Wie liegt der Fluch
Doch über alle, deren Hand
Noch rührt die Sündenmutter Erde!
Ist`s nicht genug,
Dass sich der Flüchtling wärmt am Brand
Der Hütte? Muss auf deinem Herde
Die Flamme schürn unsel`ger Trug?

Wer um ein Gut
Der Welt die Sehnsucht sich verdarb,
Den muss der finstre Geist umfahren;
Doch, was dein Blut,
Dein heilig Dulden uns erwarb,
Das sollten knieend wir bewahren
Mit starkem, aber reinem Mut.

So bleibt es wahr,
Was wandelt durch des Volkes Mund:
Dass, wo man deinen Tempel schauet
So mild und klar,
Dicht neben den geweihten Grund
Der Teufel seine Zelle bauet,
Sich wärmt die Schlange am Altar.

Allmächt`ger du,
In dieser Zeit, wo dringend not,
Dass rein dein Heiligtum sich zeige,
Lass nicht zu,
Dass Lästerung, die lauernd droht,
Verschütten darf des Hefens Neige
Und, ach, den klaren Trank dazu!

Lass alle Treu`
Und allen standhaft echten Mut
aufflammen immer licht und lichter!
Kein Opfer sei
Zu groß für ein unschätzbar Gut,
Und deine Scharen mögen dichter
Und dichter treten Reih` an Reih`.

Doch ihr Gewand
Sei weiß, und auf der Stirne wert
Soll keine Falte düster ragen;
In ihrer Hand,
Und fasst die Linke auch das Schwert,
Die Rechte soll den Ölzweig tragen,
Und aufwärts sei der Blick gewandt.

So wirst du früh
Und spät, so wirst du einst und heut
als deine Streiter sie erkennen:
Voll Schweiß und Müh`,
Demütig, standhaft, friedbereit –
So wirst du deine Scharen nennen,
Und Segen strömen über sie.



Annette von Droste-Hülshoff (10 januari 1797 – 24 mei 1848)
Werkkamer en bibliotheek van de dichteres in het Fürstenhäusle in Meersburg


Zie voor onderstaande schrijver ook mijn blog van 18 december 2008.


De Birmees – Britse schrijver Saki (pseudoniem van Hector Hugh Munro, een naam gekozen uit de Rubaiyat van Omar Khayyam) werd geboren op 18 december 1870 in Akyab, Birma.

Miles Marshall Lewis, Mazarine Pingeot, Christopher Fry, Gatien Lapointe, Saki, Viktor Rydberg

De Amerikaanse schrijver Miles Marshall Lewis werd geboren op 18 december 1970 in The Bronx, New York. Zie ook mijn blog van 18 december 2006 en ook mijn blog van 18 december 2007.

Uit: Peg Entwistle Will Have Her Revenge on Hollywoodland


„Her countenance remained stoic with authoritative undertones, unaffected by the man’s change in attitude. With a phone call she was given a triangular visitors sticker for her jacket and directed to walk through the metal detector entranceway. “Good luck,” offered the guard as she marched onto the elevator. She pressed the button for the forty-third floor. As the lift ascended she reached up for her shades and placed them in an inside pocket. Stepping off the elevator, Rogess was immediately greeted by a chipper, casually dressed brunette volunteering a firm handshake.

“Rogess, I’m Kelli! Good to meet you. Christmas will be with you shortly. Cold out there, isn’t it? Please, have a seat in reception. He’s meeting with Punch, he’ll be out in a minute.”

Rogess sat, adjusted her dark-as-black navy stockings, and recalled her father’s advice: Be yourself. With sarcasm, she thought: Yeah, that’ll get me the job. Smirking, she thought: So this is it. How anticlimactic. No sooner than she contemplated browsing magazines had a tone sounded from the phone on Kelli’s desk.

“Christmas is ready for you, Rogess. I’ll take you back to the office. I’d advise you keep your coat with you,” said Kelli, with a wink. Rogess was led into Christmas’s large, sunlit corner office; Kelli smiled (had never stopped smiling, actually) and shut the door behind her.

Christmas Muse leaned against his desk, almost sitting. His expressive brown eyes were wide with wonder and zealous spirit, assessing Rogess and drawing her in immediately. His hair was slightly longer on top than Rogess’s buzz cut, bald at the sides. He had a boyish look about him, despite the neat mustache topping off his upper lip. The busy design of his Glen plaid suit somehow lent levity to the aristocratic air about him, yet he still held the commanding presence of a man of ability, an American pioneer, twice his age. He was thirty-three.“



Miles Marshall Lewis (New York, 18 december 1970)


De Franse schrijfster Mazarine Pingeot werd geboren in Avignon op 18 december 1974. Ze is het buitenechtelijk kind van François Mitterrand, wat voor het grote publiek verborgen bleef tot in 1994.  Pingeot bezocht het elitaire lycée Henri-IV in Parijs en studeerde daarna filosofie aan de École Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines. In 1998 publiceerde zij haar eerste roman Premier Roman, die niet zo best ontvangen werd door de kritiek. Dat gold wel voor haar tweede boek Zeyn ou la Reconquête uit 2000. In 2005 verscheen Bouche cousue over haar jeugd als staatsgeheim. Le Cimetière des poupées uit 2007 vertelt de geschiedenis van een moeder die haar eigen kind doodt. Mazarine Pingeot woont tegenwoordig in Parijs samen met haar partner Mohammed Ulad Mohan, hun zoon Ascot en hun dochter Tara


Uit: Le Cimetière des poupées


J’avais mis des bottes, j’étais sûre d’avoir du succès, elles étaient si chères. Je ne t’ai pas parlé de la dépense, tu m’aurais fait des reproches, c’est sûr. Mais je pensais que, vu le prix, on les remarquerait. Il y avait une femme, avec un chapeau, un chapeau, comment dire, ni rond ni carré, un chapeau de détective, le même, presque le même que ma mère gardait en souvenir de mon père.

C’est tout ce qu’il lui a laissé, j’aurais pu dire nous n’est-ce pas, mais le nous que nous formions, ma mère et moi, n’était que de circonstance. Dire qu’il lui a laissé est aussi excessif, il l’a abandonné, dans une pièce quelconque, il l’a oublié là, avant de claquer la porte une bonne fois pour toutes, devant ce ventre infâme que je déformais. Elle l’aurait voulu vide, ce ventre, et plein ce chapeau.

Tout le monde n’avait d’yeux que pour elle, parce qu’elle était belle je crois, mais je ne pouvais m’empêcher de penser que c’était à cause du chapeau. Alors mes bottes, bien sûr. D’une certaine manière, ça aurait pu me rassurer, tu ne les as pas remarquées toi non plus, ces bottes hors de prix, peut-être les aurais-tu trouvées jolies, sans poser de questions, parce que après tout elles ressemblent à des bottes, celles que je portais il y a dix ans déjà, depuis c’est revenu à la mode, mais est-ce que tu te soucies des modes, est-ce que tu te soucies de la manière dont je m’habille, est-ce que tu regardes jamais mes pieds ? Son chapeau, oui, parce qu’elle l’a sur la tête et que, quoi qu’on en dise, c’est toujours le visage qu’on regarde en premier.

J’avais encore raté mon entrée dans cette salle, mais comment deviner que ce serait notre dernière soirée ?

Tu te tenais à mes côtés, et je les observais, toutes ces femmes, femelles, artistes, présidentes de société ou assistantes, des élégantes. Tu n’aimais pas l’élégance, le luxe, l’ostentation, et j’avais réussi à me rendre invisible, comme tu trouvais qu’il seyait à une femme. Pourtant j’avais remarqué que tu les regardais, ces femmes habillées avec soin, que tu leur souriais et même que tu leur plaisais. J’aimais que tu les approches, les séduises, combien tu étais brillant alors, combien j’étais fière de toi, de tes mots, de ton esprit, de cet humour que tu déployais, toi qui n’avais pas tant l’occasion de faire rire, parce que je suis sérieuse, trop sérieuse, et si j’ai pensé un moment que cela te convenait, je soupçonnais aussi que tu m’aurais peut-être préférée éblouissante. A` défaut, tu te délectais de leur compagnie, à ces femmes du monde, et je n’en prenais pas ombrage, j’aurais fait comme toi à ta place, je les trouvais intéressantes moi aussi, je les admirais, et je t’admirais de te faire admirer d’elles.“



Mazarine Pingeot (Avignon, 18 december 1974)


De Britse toneelschrijver Christopher Fry, pseudoniem van Christopher Harris, werd geboren in Bristol op 18 december 1907. Zie ook mijn blog van 18 december 2006.

A sleep of prisoners


The human heart can go the lengths of God.

Dark and cold we may be, but this

Is no winter now. The frozen misery

Of centuries breaks, cracks, begins to move;

The thunder is the thunder of the floes,

The thaw, the flood, the upstart Spring.

Thank God our time is now when wrong

Comes up to face us till we take

The longest stride of soul men ever took.

Affairs are now soul size.

The enterprise

Is exploration into God.

Where are you making for? It takes

So many thousand years to wake,

But will you wake for pity’s sake!



Christopher Fry (18 december 1907 – 30 juni 2005)


De Canadese dichter en schrijver Gatien Lapointe werd geboren op 18 december 1931 in Québec, waar hij ook het klein seminarie bezocht. Daarna studeerde hij o.a literatuur aan de universiteit van Montréal. In 1953 verscheen zijn eerste dichtbundel Jour Malaisé. In 1956 kon hij met een beurs aan de Sorbonne en aan het Collège de France in Parijs gaan studeren. Na zijn terugkeer naar Canada in 1962 werkte hij jarenlang als docent.


Dieu ou l’homme


J’épelle dans ma main le nom de chaque chose

Je dessine la première cité

L’odeur de la terre remplit ma face

La terre est en moi comme un arbre

Plein de passion et plein de nuit


Je vous rencontrerai à l’appel des mouettes

La mer soudain se lève sur sa hanche bleue

Et l’horizon retentit de nouvelles


Chaque événement me ramène au monde


Je reconnais les armes du bonheur

Haut navire amarré à mon épaule

C’est aujourd’hui l’enfance du soleil

Et la continuité de la chair dans la mort


Je ne supprime rien de l’espace de l’homme

Ma main sauve chaque espérance

Je nommerai la terre très fidèle

Amour ô rives de toutes faiblesses

Je fête la présence nécessaire


Un éclair garantit mon rêve dans l’orage


J’ai pris de la terre dans mes deux mains

J’ai bouché mes yeux avec de la terre

J’ai mis de la salive sur mes plaies

Je m’éveille en nommant tout ce que j’aime


Matin maladroit sur les doigts de l’homme


Je t
iens ma face à la hauteur des arbres

J’apprends la patience de la rivière

Le récit des morts rapproche nos têtes


Ô mer cette grande hirondelle bleue

Naviguant sur les lignes de ma main

C’est ici que je vous reconnaîtrai

D’un pas j’éveillerai la mémoire du feu

D’un mot j’élèverai les figures du temps


Ma main en visière sur la montagne

J’apporte l’ombre et la lumière

J’apporte la chaleur d’un visage qui naît


Ce jour gardera-t-il mon nom toute l’année ?



Gatien Lapointe (18 décember 1931 – 15 september 1983)


De Birmees – Britse schrijver Saki (pseudoniem van Hector Hugh Munro, een naam gekozen uit de Rubaiyat van Omar Khayyam) werd geboren op 18 december 1870 Akyab, Birma als de zoon van Charles Augustus Munro, een inspecteur-generaal voor de Birmese politie in de tijd dat het land nog door Groot-Brittannië werd geregeerd. Hij groeide op in Engeland, en werd samen met zijn broer en zus door zijn grootmoeder en tantes opgevoed in een strak huishouden. Munro werd opgeleid aan Pencarwick School in Exmoth en de Bedford Grammar School. In 1893 ging hij bij de Birmese politie, maar werd drie jaar later om gezondheidsredenen gedwongen terug te gaan naar Engeland. Daar begon hij aan een carrière als journalist, en schreef voor kranten zoals de Westminster Gazette, Daily Express, en Morning Post. In 1900 verscheen Munro’s eerste boek, The Rise of the Russian Empire, een historische studie gebaseerd op Edward Gibbons boek The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Dit boek werd in 1902 gevolgd door Not-So-Stories, een bundel korte verhalen. In 1914 verscheen het boek When William came, waarin hij beschrijft wat er zou kunnen gebeuren als de Duitse keizer Engeland zou innemen. Hij wordt gezien als de meester van het korte verhaal en wordt vaak vergeleken met O. Henry en Dorothy Parker.


Uit: The toys of peace


“Harvey,” said Eleanor Bope, handing her brother a cutting from a London morning paper of the 19th of March, “just read this about children’s toys, please; it exactly carries out some of our ideas about influence and upbringing.”

“In the view of the National Peace Council,” ran the extract, “there are grave objections to presenting our boys with regiments of fighting men, batteries of guns, and squadrons of ‘Dreadnoughts.’  Boys, the Council admits, naturally love fighting and all the panoply of war . . . but that is no reason for encouraging, and perhaps giving permanent form to, their primitive instincts.  At the Children’s Welfare Exhibition, which opens at Olympia in three weeks’ time, the Peace Council will make an alternative suggestion to parents in the shape of an exhibition of ‘peace toys.’  In front of a specially-painted representation of the Peace Palace at The Hague will be grouped, not miniature soldiers but miniature civilians, not guns but ploughs and the tools of industry . . .  It is hoped that manufacturers may take a hint from the exhibit, which will bear fruit in the toy shops.”

“The idea is certainly an interesting and very well-meaning one,” said Harvey; “whether it would succeed well in practice—”

“We must try,” interrupted his sister; “you are coming down to us at Easter, and you always bring the boys some toys, so that will be an excellent opportunity for you to inaugurate the new experiment.  Go about in the shops and buy any little toys and models that have special bearing on civilian life in its more peaceful aspects.  Of course you must explain the toys to the children and interest them in the new idea.  I regret to say that the ‘Siege of Adrianople’ toy, that their Aunt Susan sent them, didn’t need any explanation; they knew all the uniforms and flags, and even the names of the respective commanders, and when I heard them one day using what seemed to be the most objectionable language they said it was Bulgarian words of command; of course it may have been, but at any rate I took the toy away from them.  Now I shall expect your Easter gifts to give quite a new impulse and direction to the children’s minds; Eric is not eleven yet, and Bertie is only nine-and-a-half, so they are really at a most impressionable age.”



Saki (18 december 1870 – 14 november 1916)


De Zweedse schrijver Viktor Rydberg werd geboren op 18 december 1828 in Jönköping, Zweden. Zie ook mijn blog van 18 december 2006.


Uit: Teutonic Mythology


From the Longobardians I now pass to the great Teutonic group of peoples comprised in the term the Saxons. Their historian, Widukind, who wrote his chronicle in the tenth century, begins by telling what he has learned about the origin of the Saxons. Here, he says, different opinions are opposed to each other. According to one opinion held by those who knew the Greeks and Romans, the Saxons are descended from the remnants of Alexander the Great’s Macedonian army; according to the other, which is based on native traditions, the Saxons are descended from Danes and Northmen. Widukind so far takes his position between these opinions that he considers it certain that the Saxons had come in ships to the country they inhabited on the lower Elbe and the North Sea, and that they landed in Hadolaun, that is to say, in the district Hadeln, near the mouth of the Elbe, which, we may say in passing, still is distinguished for its remarkably vigorous population, consisting of peasants whose ancestors throughout the middle ages preserved the communal liberty in successful conflict with the feudal nobility. Widukind’s statement that the Saxons crossed the sea to Hadeln is found in an older Saxon chronicle, written about 860, with the addition that the leader of the Saxons in their emigration was a chief by name Hadugoto”.


Viktor Rydberg (18 december 1828 – 21 september 1895)

Miles Marshall Lewis, Christopher Fry, Viktor Rydberg

De Amerikaanse publicist en schrijver Miles Marshall Lewis werd geboren op 18 december 1970 in The Bronx, New York. Zie ook mijn blog van 18 december 2006.

Uit: There’s a Riot Goin’ On

Picture forty years after the Woodstock Festival’s three days of peace and music, into the premillennial days of 1999. Visualize through the eyes of a contemporary counterpart of someone like Meredith Hunter, the black teen murdered by Hells Angels at the Rolling Stones Altamont concert, who’d certainly have thought Sly and the Family Stone at Yasgur’s farm in ’69 was totally far out. For the sake of argument let’s say this modern-day Meredith wears dredlocks in place of his antecedents Afro, smokes as much weed as Meredith might’ve, and rents a brownstone apartment in the heart of bohemian Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

Such a location means he has a neighbor in Erykah Badu, who represents something of particular significance to the young brother. (We’ll call him Butch.) Erykah Badu recently arrived from Dallas, Texas, three years ago like a hiphop Joan Baez for the incense-and-oils set, to this section of Brooklyn where most of the women already look like her: African headwraps, ankh jewelry pieces, thrift store fashion. For Butch the runaway success of her 1997 debut Baduizm and its Live album followup means something. In specific he thinks the singers tendency towards preaching her earth mama philosophy to sold-out audiences implies that spiritual knowledge is being spread, that consciousness is being raised to a tipping point, that Erykah Badu fans will spill out of nationwide venues discovering holistic healing and transcendental meditation and Kemetic philosophy and vegan diets for themselves. What would this mean, for the millions who follow Erykah Badu’s music to embrace the singers lifestyle on a mass level at this specific period in time, the cusp of the Aquarian age? Butch wonders.

But that’s not all. In April Butch saw The Matrix in a crowded Flatbush Pavilion theatre and all spring everyones been talking about how were “living in the Matrix, man,” puffing on blunts of marijuana-filled cigars at house parties and discussing the subversive information laced throughout the film. People really get it: the society that weve been led to believe matters only serves the agenda of those who prop it up as the standard. Butch feels that everyone is on the verge of pulling the rubber pipe out the back of his head and redefining the social order. Society is in for an interesting turn; theres no way The Matrix can be this popular and millions of moviegoers not overstand what it’s really saying, he feels.

On top of this, every single day Butch sees someone on the A train to Manhattan with some sort of spiritual personal improvement book. If not Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet then Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. If not James Redfield’s The Celestine Prophecy then Dennis Kimbro’s Think and Grow Rich. He reads a few of them himself: Conversations With God, The Alchemist, The Four Agreements, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Heal Thyself, Tapping the Power Within. Deepak Chopra becomes a more omnipresent talking head on Butch’s TV set. Oprah redefines the mission of her talk show and urges her viewers to “be your best self,” The Oprah Winfrey Show exposing even exurban housewives to spiritualists like Yoruba minister Iyanla Vanzant on a regular basis. Things are coming together, Butch thinks. The sixties flirted with revolution; the nineties threaten the even greater prospect of evolution.”



Miles Marshall Lewis (New York, 18 december 1970)


Zie voor onderstaande schrijvers ook mijn blog van 18 december 2006.


De Britse toneelschrijver Christopher Fry, pseudoniem van Christopher Harris, werd geboren in Bristol op 18 december 1907.


De Zweedse schrijver Viktor Rydberg werd geboren op 18 december 1828 in Jönköping, Zweden.


Viktor Rydberg, Miles Marshall Lewis, Christopher Fry

De Zweedse schrijver Viktor Rydberg werd geboren op 18 december 1828 in Jönköping, Zweden. Zijn vader was gevangenisbewaarder en zijn moeder vroedvrouw. In 1834 stierf zijn moeder aan de cholera. Zijn vader werd daarna alcoholist en de jonge Viktor werd door de armenzorg geholpen en groeide op bij verschillende pleegouders. Hij brak zijn opleiding aan het gymnasium af en werd journalist. Later haalde hij toch nog zijn gymnasiumdiploma en studeerde hij rechten, maar ook die studie sloot hij nooit af. Hij bleef publiceren en werd in 1877 gekoezen tot lid van de Zweedse akademie en in 1884 tot hooglerrar cultuurgeschiedenis benoemd. Viktor Rydberg werd vooral bekend door zijn romans. Zijn beroemdste roman is Singoalla, verschenen in 1857. Het verhaal speelt in de middeleeuwen en gaat over de verboden liefde van een ridder voor een zigeunerin. In 1859 verscheen Den siste atenaren (De laatste Athener), een historische roman over de strijd tussen het heidendom en het opkomende Christendom. De Christenen staan hierin symbool voor het „oriëntaalse“ principe van geweld, dogmatisme en fanatisme, terwijl de heidenen het positieve, „westerse“ principe van rede en humaniteit vertegenwoordigen. Ook in de roman Vapensmeden (De wapensmid) uit 1871 nam hij liberale standpunten in. Pas laat, in 1882 en 1891 publiceerde Rydberg twee verzamelingen gedichten. Daarin behandelde hij vaak filosofische vragen. Tomten is zijn bekendste gedicht. Het gaat over een natuurwezen dat peinst over het raadsel van het bestaan. Het wordt met name in de kersttijd nog veel gelezen. Astrid Lindgren heeft het later bewerkt. In zijn grote ideeëngedicht Prometeus och Ahasverus (Prometeus en  Ahasverus) grijpt Rydberg weer terug op het thema van Den siste atenaren. In het gedicht Den nya Grottesången (ongeveer: Het nieuwe Grot-Lied) klaagde hij met gebruik van een motief uit de Edda de uitbuiting van de arbeider tijdens de beginnende industrialisering aan. Viktor Rydberg stond duidelijk nog in de traditie van de romantiek.


Midwinter night is cold and harsh,
The stars glimmer and flicker,
Everyone sleeps in desolate farm,
Deeply during midnight hour.
The moon wanders its silent course,
Snow shines white on pine and spruce,
Snow shines white on roofs,
Only Tomten is awake.

Stands there grey by the barn door,
Grey by the white of snow
Gazes, as many winters before,
Up on the moon’s white glow,
Looks at the woods, where spruce and pine
Embrace the yard , whith their somber wall
Ponders, without getting far,
On a peculiar riddle.

Pulls his hand through his beard,
Shakes both his head as his hood –
“No, that riddle is too hard,
No, that I will not guess”,
Soon, as usual,he chases away,
All such wondering thoughts.
Goes away to potter about,
Goes to handle his chore.

Goes to the pantry and tool shed,
Checking all the locks –
Cows dream in the moon light
Dreams of summer in the stable
Forgetful of harness and rein
Horse in the stable also has a dream:
The split he is leaning over,
Is filles wirh sweet scenting clover.

Goes to the fence where sheep roam,
Sees how the all sleep tight,
Goes to the hens, the rooster stands tall
Proud on the highest pole:
Karo, rests in his comfortable hay
Wakes up and wiggles his tail,
For Karo knows his Tomten,
They are the best of friends.

Finally Tomten quietly goes to see
The dear and beloved house masters,
For long he has niticed that they
Strongly appreciate his work
To the children’s crib he than tiptoes,
Just to see the sweet and smaal,
None could say anything but:
That is his greatest joy.

Like that he’s seen them,
Father and son, through generations
Sleeping as children, but from where
Do they come down here?
Families followed and families went
Blossoming, aging, passing – where to?
The riddle that cannot be solved
Comes back revolved.

Tomten walks to the loft of the barn,
Up there he has his lair,
High up in the stack of hay,
Close to the swallows nest.
Now the dwelling is quiet and calm,
But with leaves and bloom of spring,
She likely will return
With the fine spouse.

By then she have many
Stories to chirp about
Though none about the riddle,
That haunts Tomtens man’s mind
Through a crack in the barns wall,
The moon shiens on the old man’s beard,
Making it shimmer so bright,
The Tomten thinks and reflects.

The forest is silent so is the clime,
All live outside is frozen,
Far away the slow roar
Of rapids is heard
Tomten listens , yet half asleep,
Thinks he hears the stream of time,
Wandering, where it will go,
Wandering, where its spring is.

Midwinter night is cold and harsh,
The stars glimmer and flicker,
Everyone sleeps in desolate farm,
Well until morning hour.
The moon lowers its silent course,
Snow shines white on pine and spruce,
Snow shines white on roofs,
Only Tomten is awake.


Viktor Rydberg (18 december 1828 – 21 september 1895)


De Amerikaanse publicist en schrijver Miles Marshall Lewis werd geboren op 18 december 1970 in The Bronx, New York. Hij studeerde af aan Morehouse College in 1993. In 2004 emigreerde hij uit de VS uit protest tegen de oorlog tegen Irak en ging wonen in Parijs. Zijn debuut, het essay , Scars of the Soul Are Why Kids Wear Bandages When They Don’t Have Bruises (2004) vestigde zijn naam als prozaschrijver met oog voor de Amerikaanse cultuur in een stijl die direct is beinvloed door Joan Didion, een mix van persoonlijke reflectie en sociale analyse en humor. Lewis’s tweede boek, There’s a Riot Goin’ On (2006), gaat o.a. over de dood van de tegenculruur uit de jaren zestig. Het nieuwe The Noir Album documenteert zijn ballingschap in Parijs tijdens de laatste jaren van de regering Bush, terwijl hij aan een franco-amerikaanse familie bouwt en een postmoderne identiteit smeed door in de voetsporen te treden van vroegere emigranten. Lewis is oprichter en redacteur van het literaire tijdschrift Bronx Bianual.

Uit: Scars of the Soul Are Why Kids Wear Bandages When They Don’t Have Bruises

“Hiphop is dead.

Writing Scars of the Soul Are Why Kids Wear Bandages When They Don’t Have Bruises, I worked backwards from this foregone conclusion, then changed my opinion very early on. Living in the South Bronx at the time hiphop culture was born, moving to the northeast Bronx neighborhood of Co-op City and seeing things progress as a youngster, I had become disillusioned by the turn of the millennium, and I was not alone. A hot topic of debate for those of us who have seen the culture’s better days, many missives on the death of hiphop float through cyberspace even now. The Source magazine questioned, “Who is killing the spirit of hiphop?” at a Harvard hiphop town hall meeting moderated by the Reverend Al Sharpton, which I attended in December 2000. Interviewing Q-Tip in February 2002 concerning an album on which he’d largely abandoned rhyming and rap arrangements, the renowned MC shared my opinion. “I can faithfully, honestly say that hiphop is dead and it follows the route of all other forms of black music,” he said. “I’m really ashamed of the state it’s in right now.”

Hiphop as a culture and art form graduated from subculture status during the early 1990s, significantly figuring in the lives of worldwide youth and ending its standing as an underground phenomenon. With its mainstream success came more radio-friendly beats and rhymes, and certain characteristics that appealed to its wider audience were forefronted: crass bling-bling materialism; violent rap rivalries that extended beyond records into real-life shootings, stabbings, and murders; the objectification and denigration of women in videos and song lyrics. Furthermore, most modern rap music aficionados had no appreciation for aerosol art, deejaying, or breaking–sidelined aspects of hiphop culture whose former prominence I remembered fondly from the seventies and early eighties. I began to embrace more of a post-hiphop aesthetic, as if a new youth subculture was right around the corner and hiphop was on its deathbed.”


Miles Marshall Lewis (New York, 18 december 1970)


De Britse toneelschrijver Christopher Fry, pseudoniem van Christopher Harris, werd geboren in Bristol op 18 december 1907. Hij schreef onder meer The Lady’s Not For Burning (1948) en Venus Observed (1949). Uit zijn twee bekendste toneelstukken spreekt een goedwillende voorzienigheid en hoop voor de mensheid, wat veel mensen vlak na de Tweede Wereldoorlog aansprak. Fry zelf was een quaker en geloofde daarom niet in geweld. Hij nam tijdens de oorlog niet deel aan gevechten, maar werkte vier jaar achter het front. Critici merkten vaak op dat Fry’s stijl leek op die van de Amerikaanse toneelschrijver T.S. Eliot. Fry erkende dat Eliot een belangrijke invloed had op zijn werk. Fry schreef ook mee aan filmscripts, zoals het script voor de film Ben-Hur.


Uit: The Lady’s Not for Burning


“ (Thomas Mendip:“. . . Just see me

As I am, me like a perambulating Vegetable, patched with inconsequential Hair, looking out of two small jellies for the means Of life, balanced on folding bones, my sex

No beauty but a blemish to be hidden Behind judicious rags, driven and scorched

By boomerang rages and lunacies which never

Touch the accommodating artichoke Or the seraphic strawberry beaming in its bed:

I defend myself against pain and death by pain

And death, and make the world go round, they tell me,

By one of my less lethal appetites: Half this grotesque life I spend in a state

Of slow decomposition, using

The name of unconsidered God as a pedestal

On which I stand and bray that I’m best

Of beasts, until under some patient

Moon or other I fall to pieces, like

A cake of dung. Is there a slut would

hold This is her arms and put her lips against it?

And Jennet replies:

Sluts are only human. By a quirk Of unastonished nature, your obscene

Decaying figure of vegetable fun

Can drag upon a woman’s heart, as though

Heaven were dragging up the roots of hell.

What is to be done? Something compels us into

The terrible fallacy that man is desirable

And there’s no escaping into truth. The crimes

And cruelties leave us longing, and campaigning

Love still pitches his tent of light among

The suns and moons.

You may be decay and a platitude

Of flesh, but I have no other such memory of life.

You may be corrupt as ancient apples, well then

Corruption is what I most willingly harvest.

You are Evil, Hell, the Father of Lies; if so

Hell is my home and my days of good were a holiday:

Hell is my hill and the world slopes away from it

Into insignificance. I have come suddenly

Upon my heart and where it is I see no help for.”



Christopher Fry (18 december 1907 – 30 juni 2005)