tue 25 jul 2006 04:57:00 raamgracht
[from email to D2]
where am i goin'. for the first two weeks of august i'm going to pomorie, bulgaria. i think my intention is to get to the bottom of why am i friends with ianko. who, about 45 minutes ago, lifted me in his arms and twirled me around on the edge of the prinsengracht. i trusted the universe, landed softly and told him i hoped he hadn't hurt himself. then i came straight home like a good boy. (and he went off to [...] to have sex with [...])
hg, my other inexplicable friend, is coming too. i saw hg tonight -- and pani and magda by the way! hg and i are both going through some difficult emotional times right now, both a little depressed. hg's advantage in bulgaria will be that he can actually read cyrillic (having been raised under communism) whereas i have to sound it out like 1st grade phonics.
it was great to see pani's sister magda again. we had dinner at an ethiopian restaurant on the overtoom, and all our fingers got appropriately messy. magda loves amsterdam, but is only here for three days on her way from poland to southern france, to be a babysitter for the summer. and she has just committed herself to five years in warsaw researching alzheimer's disease (and to make matters worse, she *hates* warsaw). so she seemed ever so slightly melancholy. since i last saw her in 2004, her english has improved considerably, from "i drinking coffee with many milk" to "i can't thinking." pani the older sister was always trying to correct her english. but what the fuck, in this heat wave? none of us can thinking.
apart from my normal low-level depression, there are a number of concrete things that are making me pessimistic at the moment. bear with me.
 war in lebanon is bugging the *shit* out of me
 extremely palpable (here and now) and yet global warming, too much TV, me watching documentaries on BBC that keep reminding me that pretty soon the rain forests are gonna toast and then we're all totally fucked.
 the whole right wing swing in NL that makes me doubt whether the nation wants me here, contrasted against my feeling that the city itself *does* want me ...
[3a] my trouble with nations in general (see my essay at
 the realization (because of conny braam's book, and because of another book i'm reading called "oorlog in de stad") that there was precious little heroism in this country and much betrayal and opportunism, and a lot of outright lying about wartime history.
 and all the little clues i'm getting that everything old is new again here. (racist friends, morally indecisive friends, and girl friends who all agree that old women should not wear miniskirts (i told them they should be put in jail for thinking that).)
 the realization that it's really not gonna be any better anywhere else, that human nature is as corrupt as it it is no matter where i go, and therefore we're all doomed anyway and therefore ...
 turning point: we're right back at the beginning of the punk movement! no future! boundless optimisim!
so maybe i'm rounding the bend here. maybe by next week i'll be in a good mood!
i think you're quite right to say there are ways of getting those pages to turn without sacrificing authenticity. in a way it's about modulating desire. that's what i liked so much about conny braam's book, she has been in the business long enough she seems to have mastered that. and yet i could not get that feeling when i tried to read "ulysses". i think i managed to turn, like, one page of james joyce. it was one of those books i just gave away to the cheap paperback store in allston when i was leaving.
i guess the thing is you have to enjoy your literary devices. otherwise it will just feel like work.
that's why i'm feeling a little lost with my latest effort. i'm really not sure what i'm trying to do. and yet i feel like i oughta try it somehow. we'll see what comes of it eventually. as you say, no effort is a total loss. but sometimes i regret that my ratio of attempted stories to finished stories is something like 20:1.