Uit: Mooi weer vandaag?
“Het aardige van het ambacht schrijven is, dat je het nóóit leert.
Je kunt leren hoe je onovertrefbaar een haring schoonmaakt of een plank afschaaft.
Maar de schrijver die op een middag, behaaglijk handenwrijvend, zijn werkvertrek verlaat en tegen zijn vrouw zegt: ‘Marie, goed nieuws, ik ben zojuist gereed gekomen met de letterkunde, ik kán het nu’ bestaat niet. En als hij (onverhoopt) wél bestaat, steek ik mijn hand niet in het vuur voor zijn proza.
Nee, schrijven leer je nóóit.
Het is een eeuwig proberen of het vandaag misschien lukt – op hoop van zegen. En dat is er nu juist het heerlijke van. Want veronderstel eens, dat je het, op een bepaalde dag, kón, net als haring schoonmaken en planken afschaven. Dat zou gruwelijk zijn. Want dan ging je een woestenij van dorre verveling tegemoet. Het zou uit zijn met die schone en gruwelijke, gruwelijke schone vorm van gevaarlijk leven, die schrijven nu eenmaal is. Je zou een metier perfekt beheersen en het, met je linkerhand, tot je laatste dag geeuwend moeten volhouden.
Ik mag er niet aan denken.
Nee, de schoonheid van schrijven als ambacht is juist de onmogelijkheid om ‘het’ ooit te bereiken, want juist dát garandeert je die onafzienbare stoet van lichte, grijze en zwarte dagen, die alleen kan worden afgesloten door Vader Dood.
Proberen, meer is het niet.
Proberen of het lukt.
En soms, als je dénkt dat het lukt, een soort geluk voelen dat niets anders je geven kan. En vaak – blijkt later – heb je toen volkomen ten ónrechte gedacht dat het lukte. Dan blijft de mooie vuurpijl die je af schoot, en waarbij je zelf maar vast blij en voorbarig ‘Aaaah’ riep, helemaal nergens te zijn aangekomen.
Maar ook dát is erg goed.
Het houdt de wind eronder.
De eeuwig waaiende wind van de bitter-zoete twijfel.”
Simon Carmiggelt (7 oktober 1913 – 30 november 1987)
Cover van een LP met verhalen
Uit: The Mars Room
“The trouble with San Francisco was that I could never have a future in that city, only a past.
The city to me was the Sunset District, fog-banked, treeless, and bleak, with endless unvaried houses built on sand dunes that stretched forty-eight blocks to the beach, houses that were occupied by middle- and lower-middle-class Chinese Americans and working-class Irish Catholics.
Fly Lie, we’d say, ordering lunch in middle school. Fried rice, which came in a paper carton. Tasted delicious but was never enough, especially if you were stoned. We called them gooks. We didn’t know that meant Vietnamese. The Chinese were our gooks. And the Laotians and Cambodians were FOBs, fresh off the boat. This was the 1980s and just think what these people went through, to arrive in the United States. But we didn’t know and didn’t know to care. They couldn’t speak English and they smelled to us of their alien food.
The Sunset was San Francisco, proudly, and yet an alternate one to what you might know: it was not about rainbow flags or Beat poetry or steep crooked streets but fog and Irish bars and liquor stores all the way to the Great Highway, where a sea of broken glass glittered along the endless parking strip of Ocean Beach. It was us girls in the back of someone’s primered Charger or Challenger riding those short, but long, forty-eight blocks to the beach, one boy shotgun with a stolen fire extinguisher, flocking people on street corners, randoms blasted white.
If you were visiting the city, or if you were a resident from the other, more admired parts of the city and you took a trip out to the beach, you might have seen, beyond the sea wall, our bonfires, which made the girls’ hair smell of smoke. If you were there in early January, you would see bigger bonfires, ones built of discarded Christmas trees, so dry and flammable they exploded on the high pyres. After each explosion you might have heard us cheer. When I say us I mean us WPODs. We loved life more than the future. “White Punks on Dope” is just some song; we didn’t even listen to it. The acronym was something else, not a gang but a grouping. An attitude, a way of dressing, living, being.”
Rachel Kushner (Eugene, 7 oktober 1968)
Uit: Schindler’s Ark
“Trying still to find, in the shadow of Himmler, some hint of Oskar’s later enthusiasms, we encounter the Schindlers’ next-door neighbor, a liberal rabbi named Dr. Felix Kantor. Rabbi Kantor was a disciple of Abraham Geiger, the German liberalizer of Judaism who claimed that it was no crime, in fact was praiseworthy, to be a German as well as a Jew. Rabbi Kantor was no rigid village scholar. He dressed in the modern mode and spoke German in the house. He called his place of worship a “temple” and not by that older name, “synagogue.” His temple was attended by Jewish doctors, engineers, and proprietors of textile mills in Zwittau. When they traveled, they told other businessmen, “Our rabbi is Dr. Kantor—he writes articles not only for the Jewish journals in Prague and Brno, but for the dailies as well.”
Rabbi Kantor’s two sons went to the same school as the son of his German neighbor Schindler. Both boys were bright enough eventually, perhaps, to become two of the rare Jewish professors at the German University of Prague. These crew-cut German speaking prodigies raced in knee pants around the summer gardens. Chasing the Schindler children and being chased. And Kantor, watching them flash in and out among the yew hedges, might have thought it was all working as Geiger and Graetz and Lazarus and all those other nineteenth-century German-Jewish liberals had predicted. We lead enlightened lives, we are greeted by German neighbors—Mr. Schindler will even make snide remarks about Czech statesmen in our hearing. We are secular scholars as well as sensible interpreters of the Talmud. We belong both to the twentieth century and to an ancient tribal race. We are neither offensive nor offended against.
Later, in the mid-1930s, the rabbi would revise this happy estimation and make up his mind in the end that his sons could never buy off the National Socialists with a German-language Ph.D.—that there was no outcrop of twentieth-century technology or secular scholarship behind which a Jew could find sanctuary, any more than there could ever be a species of rabbi acceptable to the new German legislators. In 1936 all the Kantors moved to Belgium. The Schindlers never heard of them again.”
Thomas Keneally (Sydney, 7 oktober 1935)
Ode aan de Rijnlaan
Dat vond ik wel aardig, hel logeren.
de keuken van mijn tante,
de tante van mijn keuken, wit,
een snit die ik niet kende.
Gestreept was het eigen nest.
Men moet mij goed verstaan
ik had geen hekel, in tuin en veld
een relmuis kan zich best
bedruipen, snuift door de neus.
Het was het geweld van pikkerup de naaimachine,
pikkeraan de leren muts, de motorkap. de winterienen,
geven is de goudsblom, gek.
Onvergetelijk de blikken trom, het vaandel,
de krijgstrompet; liefde doet trombone blazen:
twee figuren aan het hek, twee brilleglazen.
Oom Jan, Wieb, hoe was het.
Dirkje Kuik (7 oktober 1929 – 18 maart 2008)
Uit: The Crippled God
“Dust lifted, twisting, in her wake. From her shoulders trailed dozens of ghastly chains: bones bent and folded into irregular links, ancient bones in a thousand shades between white and deep brown. Scores of individuals made up each chain, malformed skulls matted with hair, fused spines, long bones, clacking and clattering. They drifted out behind her like a tyrant’s legacy and left a tangled skein of furrows in the withered earth that stretched for leagues.Her pace did not slow, as steady as the sun’s own crawl to the horizon ahead, as inexorable as the darkness overtaking her. She was indifferent to notions of irony, and the bitter taste of irreverent mockery that could so sting the palate. In this there was only necessity, the hungriest of gods. She had known imprisonment. The memories remained fierce, but such recollections were not those of crypt walls and unlit tombs. Darkness, indeed, but also pressure. Terrible, unbearable pressure.Madness was a demon and it lived in a world of helpless need, a thousand desires unanswered, a world without resolution. Madness, yes, she had known that demon. They had bargained with coins of pain, and those coins came from a vault that never emptied. She’d once known such wealth.And still the darkness pursued.
Walking, a thing of hairless pate, skin the hue of bleached papyrus, elongated limbs that moved with uncanny grace. The landscape surrounding her was empty, flat on all sides but ahead, where a worn-down range of colourless hills ran a wavering claw along the horizon.
She had brought her ancestors with her and they rattled a chaotic chorus. She had not left a single one behind. Every tomb of her line now gaped empty, as hollowed out as the skulls she’d plundered from their sarcophagi. Silence ever spoke of absence. Silence was the enemy of life and she would have none of it. No, they talked in mutters and grating scrapes, her perfect ancestors, and they were the voices of her private song, keeping the demon at bay. She was done with bargains.Long ago, she knew, the worlds – pallid islands in the Abyss – crawled with creatures. Their thoughts were blunt and simple, and beyond those thoughts there was nothing but murk, an abyss of ignorance and fear.”
Steven Erikson (Toronto, 7 oktober 1959)
Zie voor nog meer schjrijvers van de 7e oktober ook mijn vorige blog van vandaag.