Monday, November 29, 2010

ο καθένας μαζί.


Θα πω ότι έχω ερθει για επίσκεψη στους δικούς μου. Ότι ο θείος μου είναι πολιτογραφημένος εδώ από το '80 και ότι θα μου προσφέρει δουλειά στο εστιατόριό του. Ε, πιάτα στην αρχή, σερβίρισμα μετά.Τα βράδια θα παρακολουθώ μαθήματα για να μπω στη σχολή. Θέλω να γινω νοσοκόμα. Μπα, φαίνεται ότι είμαι πολύ μεγάλη πια για τέτοια.
Η μικρή, αδύνατη Ινδή μπροστά, κάθεται πάνω στη χειραποσκευή του μπαμπά της. Τυχερή. Εμάς όλους τους υπόλοιπους μας έχει φάει η ορθοστασία.
Όχι. Θα πω ότι είμαι ερωτευμένη με ντόπιο και ότι έχω έρθει να γνωρίσω την οικογένειά του, μιας και σκοπεύουμε να αρραβωνιαστούμε το συντομότερο δυνατό. Ούτε;
Οι γονείς της μικρής Ινδής λογομαχούν έντονα αλλά ψιθυριστά. Ο πάτερ φαμίλιας μαλώνει το τρίτο μάτι στο μέτωπο της γυναίκας του κι εκείνη με χαμηλομένο βλέμμα απαντά μονολεκτικά, έτοιμη να κλάψει. Μα τι να έκανε πια που της αξίζει τέτοια συμπεριφορά; Κοίτα το καθίκι! Έπεσε κάτω το παιχνίδι της κόρης του κι αυτός το κοιτάει. Μάλλον περιμένει τη γυναίκα να σκύψει να το σηκώσει.
- "Σας έπεσε το παιχνίδι της κόρης σας"

- "Ευχαριστώ! Ευχαριστώ!" (σπαστά αγγλικά)
Τυχερή. Μόνη της. Χωρίς κανέναν Ραντζίντ πάνω στο κεφάλι της. Θα την ρωτήσω αν την ενδιαφέρει να αλλάξουμε θέση. Της τον χαρίζω. Να τον έχει να της φωνάζει γιατί ξέχασε να πάρει την εφημερίδα του. Την εφημερίδα ΤΟΥ. Να της δίνει και κανα χέρι ξύλο. Και να την προορίζει για να πλένει εκτός από τα δικά του και τα ρούχα όλης του της οικογένειάς. Μα, τι μου'φταιξε η γυναίκα και την καταριέμαι έτσι...Θα του πω ότι δε θέλω να μείνουμε μαζί τους. Θα τον παρακαλέσω μετά από τους δύο πρώτους μήνες, να νοικιάσουμε κάπου με δικά μας λεφτά...

- "Παρακαλώ, τίποτα"
Συγκεντρώσου! Βρες κάτι πιο πιστευτό,που να μην εγείρει πολλές ερωτήσεις! Ότι είμαι σε διακοπές και έχω έρθει να κάνω τουρισμό, ας πούμε. Απλά πράγματα. Να, πάνε πολλά χρόνια που ήθελα να επισκευθώ αυτόν τον τόπο και μια το ένα μια το άλλο, παιδιά, δουλειά, διαζύγια, θάνατοι, όλο το ανέβαλα. Τώρα που πέρασαν όλα αυτά είπα να ξεδώσω...Μόνη; Ηλίθιο ακούγεται κι αυτό. Άλλο. Δεν μπορώ και να καλοσκεφτώ από την εξάντληση.
Η Ινδή σεμνά και ταπεινά αρχίζει να κλαίει. Βάει τα κλάμματα και η μικρή βλέποντας τη μάνα της. Ο προστάτης της οικογένειας σιγοβρίζει βράζοντας κατω από τα μουστάκια του.
Πονάνε τα μηνίγγια μου από την ένταση. Ούτε θυμάμαι πόσες ώρες είμαι στο πόδι. Δε θα μου εκανε καμιά εντύπωση αν μου έλεγες ότι είναι μέρες. Κοιτάω γύρω και είμαι η μόνη που είναι μόνη της. 'Ολοι είναι δυο-δύο, τρεις-τρεις, πέντε-πέντε. Τόσες ατελειώτες ώρες και δεν έχω βρει ένα καλό σενάριο. Το κεφάλι αρχίζει και μουδιάζει καθώς συνειδητοποιώ ότι έχει φτάσει η σειρά μου. Προχωρώ με κομμένα πόδια και με χέρι που τρέμει ακουμπώ τα έγγραφα στο γκισέ. Καλύτερα να πω ότι...
- "Καλησπέρα..."

Κοντεύω να πέσω σε λήθαργο. Είναι ακόμα τρισήμιση, έχω άλλη μιάμιση ώρα εδω μέσα και έχω ήδη σφραγίσει 450. Τις σιχαίνομαι τις γιορτές εδώ μέσα. Κι αυτή η ζέστη, ούτε επίτηδες να το κάνουνε για να αποβλακωθούμε εντελώς. Κωλοδουλειά... και σιγά τα λεφτά. Να δεις που ο μαλάκας χθες γύρισε στη γυναίκα του μετά, γι'αυτό και δεν περασε από το σπίτι μου. Σιγά μην πήγε για μπύρες με τους σεκιουριτάδες του γραφείου. Είναι πολύ κάθαρμα τελικά, να δεις που με εχει φλομώσει στο ψέμμα.
- "Καλησπέρα, τα χαρτιά σας παρακαλώ. Ποιός ο λόγος που ήρθατε εδώ;"
Αν δεν είχα και αυτή την αναθεματισμένη καθυστέρηση, θα ήμουν πολύ καλύτερα. Κάτσε να κάνω το τεστ και μετά βλέπουμε. Άλλη έκτρωση πάντως δεν κάνω. Θα του πω ότι....
- "Πόσο σκοπεύετε να μείνετε και που;"












Four Stories
Lydia Davis


THE ACTORS

IN OUR TOWN there is an actor, H. -- a tall, bold, feverish sort of man -- who easily fills the theater when he plays Othello, and about whom the women here become very excited. He is handsome enough compared to the other men, though his nose is somewhat thick and his torso rather short for his height. His acting is stiff and inflexible, his gestures obviously memorized and mechanical, and yet his voice is strong enough to make one forget all that. On the nights when he is unable to leave his bed because of illness or intoxication -- and this happens more often than one would imagine -- the part is taken by J., his understudy. Now J. is pale and small, completely unsuitable for the part of the Moor; his legs tremble as he comes on stage and faces the many empty seats. His voice hardly carries beyond the first few rows, and his small hands flap uselessly in the smoky air. We feel only pity and irritation as we watch him, and yet by the end of the play we find ourselves unaccountably moved, as though he had managed to convey something timid or sad in Othello's nature. But the mannerisms and skill of H. and J. -- which we analyze minutely when we visit together in the afternoons and continue to contemplate even once we are alone after dinner -- seem suddenly insignificant when the great Sparr comes down from the city and gives us a real performance of Othello. Then we are so carried away, so exhausted with emotion, that it is impossible to speak of what we feel. We are almost grateful when he is gone and we are left with H. and J., imperfect as they are, for they are familiar to us and comfortable, like our own people.



TRYING TO LEARN

I am trying to learn that this playful man who teases me is the same as that serious man talking money to me so seriously he does not even see me anymore and that patient man offering me advice in times of trouble and that angry man slamming the door as he leaves the house. I have often wanted the playful man to be more serious, and the serious man to be less serious, and the patient man to be more playful. As for the angry man, he is a stranger to me and I do not feel it is wrong to hate him. Now I am learning that if I say bitter words to the angry man as he leaves the house, I am at the same time wounding the others, the ones I do not want to wound, the playful man teasing, the serious man talking money, and the patient man offering advice. Yet I look at the patient man, for instance, whom I would want above all to protect from such bitter words as mine, and though I tell myself he is the same man as the others, I can only believe I said those words, not to him, but to another, my enemy, who deserved all my anger.



THERAPISTS

A friend of mine goes with her three-year-old girl to a family therapist. This therapist has guided her in her troubles with the child's bed-wetting, fear of the dark, and dependence on the bottle. One by one these problems are solved. The mother, acting on the advice of the therapist, is careful to avoid attempting to solve more than one problem at a time. The child is unhappy and nervous and holds her body in a cramped position, as though protecting herself. Her mother is also nervous, and is never still: her hands flutter and her eyebrows fly up into her forehead. There is a dark brown mole on her cheek, and this dark point is the only color in her face.
Another friend calls her husband's therapist and tells him she is going to ask her husband to move out. Naturally, the therapist has to report this to his patient. The husband is hurt and indignant. My friend is adamant. Her own therapist thinks she must now be under great pressure from her husband, and this is true. Encouraged by her therapist, however, she persists in asking her husband to leave. At last he does. He now sees his children in his own apartment several times a week, including all day Sunday. Insulted by his wife's behavior, he tries to complain only to his therapist, as his therapist has advised, but he cannot help complaining to everyone -- his therapist, his friends, his lawyer, his wife, and even his children, The older boy comes home angry at his mother because he does not know what is the truth anymore. He breaks two of the dining-room chairs. His mother, a frail and small woman, sits on him for several hours before he is calm enough to tell her what he is feeling.



WHAT I FEEL

These days I try to tell myself that what I feel is not very important. I've read this in several books now: that what I feel is important but not the center of everything. Maybe I do believe this, but not enough to act on it. I would like to believe it more deeply.
What a relief that would be. I wouldn't have to think about what I felt all the time, and try to control it, with all its complications and all its consequences. I wouldn't have to try to feel better all the time. In fact, if I didn't believe what I felt was so important, I probably wouldn't even feel so bad, and it wouldn't be so hard to feel better. I wouldn't have to say, Oh I feel so awful, this is like the end for me here, in this dark living-room late at night, with the dark street outside under the streetlamps, I am so very alone, everyone else in the house asleep, there is no comfort anywhere, just me alone down here, I will never calm myself enough to sleep, never sleep, never be able to go on to the next day, I can't possibly go on, I can't live, even through the next minute.
If I didn't believe what I felt was the center of everything, then it wouldn't be the center of everything, but just something off to the side, one of many things, and I would be able to see and pay attention to those other things that are equally important, and in this way I would have some relief.
But it is curious how you can believe an idea is absolutely true and correct and yet not believe it deeply enough to act on it. So I still act as though my feelings were the center of everything, and they still cause me to end up alone by the living-room window late at night. What is different now is that I have this idea: I have the idea that soon I will no longer believe that my feelings are the center of everything. This is a comfort to me, because if you despair of going on, but at the same time tell yourself that what you feel may not be very important, then either you may no longer despair of going on, or you may still despair of going on but not quite believe it anymore.

Five Stories
Lydia Davis


THE MICE

MICE LIVE IN OUR WALLS but do not trouble our kitchen. We are pleased but cannot understand why they do not come into our kitchen where we have traps set, as they come into the kitchens of our neighbors. Although we are pleased, we are also upset, because the mice behave as though there were something wrong with our kitchen. What makes this even more puzzling is that our house is much less tidy than the houses of our neighbors. There is more food lying about in our kitchen, more crumbs on the counters and filthy scraps of onion kicked against the base of the cabinets. In fact, there is so much loose food in the kitchen I can only think the mice themselves are defeated by it. In a tidy kitchen, it is a challenge for them to find enough food night after night to survive until spring. They patiently hunt and nibble hour after hour until they are satisfied. In our kitchen, however, they are faced with something so out of proportion to their experience that they cannot deal with it. They might venture out a few steps, but soon the overwhelming sights and smells drive them back into their holes, uncomfortable and embarrassed at not being able to scavenge as they should.



THE OUTING

An outburst of anger near the road, a refusal to speak on the path, a silence in the pine woods, a silence across the old railroad bridge, an attempt to be friendly in the water, a refusal to end the argument on the flat stones, a cry of anger on the steep bank of dirt, a weeping among the bushes.



ODD BEHAVIOR

You see how circumstances are to blame. I am not really an odd person if I put more and more small pieces of shredded kleenex in my ears and tie a scarf around my head: when I lived alone I had all the silence I needed.



FEAR

Nearly every morning, a certain woman in our community comes running out of her house with her face white and her overcoat flapping wildly. She cries out, "Emergency, emergency," and one of us runs to her and holds her until her fears are calmed. We know she is making it up; nothing has really happened to her. But we understand, because there is hardly one of us who has not been moved at some time to do just what she has done, and every time, it has taken all our strength, and even the strength of our friends and families too, to quiet us.



LOST THINGS

They are lost, but also not lost but somewhere in the world. Most of them are small, though two are larger, one a coat and one a dog. Of the small things, one is a certain ring, one a certain button. They are lost from me and where I am, but they are also not gone. They are somewhere else, and they are there to someone else, it may be. But if not there to someone else, the ring is, still, not lost to itself, but there, only not where I am, and the button, too, there, still, only not where I am.

the 2 shortest stories by W.S. Maugham

Mr. Know All

I was prepared to dislike Max Kelada even before I knew him. The war had just finished and the
passenger traffic in the ocean-going liners was heavy. Accommodation was very hard to get and you
had to put up with whatever the agents chose to offer you. You could not hope for a cabin to
yourself and I was thankful to be given one in which there were only two berths. But when I was
told the name of my companion my heart sank. It suggested closed portholes and the night air
rigidly excluded. It was bad enough to share a cabin for fourteen days with anyone (I was going
from San Francisco to Yokohama, but I should have looked upon it with less dismay if my fellow
passenger`s name had been Smith or Brown.

When I went on board I found Mr Kelada`s luggage already below. I did not like the look of it;
there were too many labels on the suit-cases, and the wardrobe trunk was too big. He had unpacked
his toilet things, and I observed that he was a patron of the excellent Monsieur Coty; for I saw on
the washing-stand his scent, his hair-wash and his brilliantine. Mr Kelada`s brushes, ebony with his
monogram in gold, would have been all the better for a scrub. I did not at all like Mr Kelada. I made
my way into the smoking-room. I called for a pack of cards and began to play patience. I had
scarcely started before a man came up to me and asked me if he was right in thinking my name was
so and so.

"I am Mr Kelada," he added, with a smile that showed a row of flashing teeth, and sat down.

"Oh, yes, we`re sharing a cabin, I think."

"Bit of luck, I call it. You never know who you`re going to be put in with. I was jolly glad when I
heard you were English. I`m all for us English slicking together when we`re abroad, if you
understand what I mean."

"Are you English?" I asked, perhaps tactlessly.

"Rather. You don`t think I look like an American, do you? British to the backbone, that`s what I
am."

To prove it, Mr Kelada took out of his pocket a passport and airily waved it under my nose.

King George has many strange subjects. Mr Kelada was short and of a sturdy build, clean-shaven
and dark-skinned, with a fleshy hooked nose and very large, lustrous and liquid eyes. His long black
hair was sleek and curly. He spoke with a fluency in which there was nothing English and his
gestures were exuberant. I fell pretty sure that a closer inspection of that British passport would
have betrayed the fact that Mr Kelada was born under a bluer sky than is generally seen in England.

I looked at him doubtfully. Prohibition was in force and to all appearance the ship was bone-dry.
When I am not thirsty I do not know which I dislike more, ginger ale or lemon squash. But Mr
Kelada flashed an oriental smile at me.

"Whisky and soda or a dry martini, you have only to say the word."

From each of his hip pockets he fished a flask and laid it on the table before me. I chose the martini,
and calling the steward he ordered a tumbler of ice and a couple of glasses.

1

"Well, there are plenty more where that came from, and if you`ve got any friends on board, you tell
them you`ve got a pal who`s got all the liquor in the world."

Mr Kelada was chatty. He talked of New York and of San Francisco. He discussed plays, pictures,
and politics. He was patriotic. The Union Jack is an impressive piece of drapery, but when it is
nourished by a gentleman from Alexandria or Beirut, I cannot but feel that it loses somewhat in
dignity. Mr Kelada was familiar." I do not wish to put on airs, but I cannot help feeling that it is
seemly in a total stranger to put "mister" before my name when he addresses me. Mr Kelada,
doubtless to set me at my case, used no such formality. I did not like Mr Kelada. I had put aside the
cards when he sat down, but now, thinking that for this first occasion our conversation had lasted
long enough, I went on with my game.

"The three on the four," said Mr Kelada.

There is nothing more exasperating when you are playing patience than to be told where to put the
card you have turned up before you have had a chance to look for yourself.

"It`s coming out, it`s coming out," he cried. "The ten on the knave."

With rage and hatred in my heart I finished.

He showed me three. Then I said I would go down to the dining-room and get my seat at table.

"Oh, that`s all right," he said. "I`ve already taken a seat for you. I thought that as we were in the
same state-room we might just as well sit at the same table."

I not only shared a cabin with him and ate three meals a day at the same table, but I could not walk
round the deck without his joining me. It was impossible to snub him. It never occurred to him that
he was not wanted. He was certain that you were as glad to see him as he was to see you. In your
own house you might have kicked him downstairs and slammed the door in his face without the
suspicion dawning on him that he was not a welcome visitor. He was a good mixer, and in three
days knew everyone on board. He ran everything. He managed the sweeps, conducted the auctions,
collected money for prizes at the sports, got up quoit and golf matches, organized the concert and
arranged the fancy-dress ball. He was everywhere and always. He was certainly the best haled man
in the ship. We called him Mr Know-All, even to his face. He took it as a compliment. But it was at
mealtimes that he was most intolerable. For the better part of an hour then he had us at his mercy.
He was hearty, jovial, loquacious and argumentative. He knew everything better than anybody else,
and it was an affront to his overweening vanity that you should disagree with him. He would not
drop a subject, however unimportant, till he had brought you round to his way of thinking. The
possibility that he could be mistaken never occurred to him. He was the chap who knew. We sat at
the doctor`s table. Mr Kelada would certainly have had it all his own way, for the doctor was lazy
and I was frigidly indifferent, except for a man called Ramsay who sat there also. He was as
dogmatic as Mr Kelada and resented bitterly the Levantine`s cocksureness. The discussions they
had were acrimonious and interminable.

Ramsay was in the American Consular Service and was stationed at Kobe. He was a great heavy
fellow from the Middle West, with loose fat under a tight skin, and he bulged out of this really-
made clothes. He was on his way back to resume his post, having been on a flying visit to New York to retell his wife who had been spending a year at home. Mrs Ramsay was a very pretty little
thing, with pleasant manners and a sense of humour. The Consular Service is ill-paid, and she was
dressed always very simply; but she knew how to wear her clothes. She achieved an effect of quiet
distinction. I should not have paid any particular attention to her but that she possessed a quality
that may be common enough in women, but nowadays is not obvious in their demeanour. You could
not look at her without being struck by her modesty. It shone in her like a flower on a coat.

One evening at dinner the conversation by chance drifted to the subject of pearls. There had been in
the papers a good deal of talk about the culture pearls which the cunning Japanese were making,
and the doctor remarked that they must inevitably diminish the value of real ones. They were very
good already; they would soon be perfect. Mr Kelada, as was his habit, rushed the new topic. He
told us all that was to be known about pearls. I do not believe Ramsay knew anything about them at
all, but he could not resist the opportunity to have a fling at the Levantine, and in five minutes we
were in the middle of a heated argument. I had seen Mr Kelada vehement and voluble before, but
never so voluble and vehement as now. At last something that Ramsay said stung him, for he
thumped the table and shouted:

"Well, I ought to know what I am talking about. I`m going to Japan just to look into this Japanese
pearl business. I`m in the trade and there`s not a man in it who won`t tell you that what I say about
pearls goes. I know all the best pearls in the world, and what I don`t know about pearls isn`t worth
knowing."

Here was news for us, for Mr Kelada, with all his loquacity, had never told anyone what his
business was. We only knew vaguely that he was going to Japan on some commercial errand. He
looked round the table triumphantly.

"They`ll never be able to get a culture pearl that an expert like me can`t tell with half an eye." He
pointed to a chain that Mrs Ramsay wore. "You take my word for it, Mrs Ramsay, that chain you`re
wearing will never be worth a cent less than it is now."

Mrs Ramsay in her modest way flushed a little and slipped the chain inside her dress. Ramsay
leaned forward. He gave us all a look and a smile flickered in his eyes.

"That`s a pretty chain of Mrs Ramsay`s, isn`t it?"

"I noticed it at once," answered Mr Kelada. "Gee, I said to myself, those are pearls all right."

"I didn`t buy it myself, of course. I`d be interested to know how much you think it cost."

"Oh, in the trade somewhere round fifteen thousand dollars. But if it was bought on Fifth Avenue
shouldn`t be surprised to hear that anything up to thirty thousand was paid for it."

"You`ll be surprised to hear that Mrs Ramsay bought that siring at a department store the day before
we left New York, for eighteen dollars."

"Rot. It`s not only real, but it`s as fine a siring for its size as I`ve ever seen."

"Will you bet on it? I`ll bet you a hundred dollars it`s imitation."

"Oh, Elmer, you can`t bet on a certainty," said Mrs Ramsay.

She had a little smile on her lips and her tone was gently deprecating.

"Can`t I? If I get a chance of easy money like that I should be all sorts of a fool not to take it."

"But how can it be proved?" she continued. "It`s only my word against Mr Kelada`s."

"Let me look at the chain, and if it`s imitation I`ll tell you quickly enough. I can afford to lose a
hundred dollars," said Mr Kelada.

"Take it off, dear. Let the gentleman look at it as much as he wants."

Mrs Ramsay hesitated a moment. She put her hands to the clasp.

"I can`t undo it," she said. "Mr Kelada will just have to take my word for it."

I had a sudden suspicion that something unfortunate was about to occur, but I could think of nothing
to say.

He handed the chain to Mr Kelada. The Levantine look a magnifying glass from his pocket and
closely examined it. A smile of triumph spread over his smooth and swarthy face. He handed back
the chain. He was about to speak. Suddenly he caught sight of Mrs Ramsay`s face. It was so white
that she looked as though she were about to faint. She was staring at him with wide and terrified
eyes. They held a desperate appeal; it was so clear that I wondered why her husband did not see it.

Mr Kelada stopped with his mouth open. He flushed deeply. You could almost see the effort he was
making over himself.

"I was mistaken," he said. "It`s a very good imitation, but of course as soon as I looked through my
glass I saw that it wasn`t real. I think eighteen dollars is just about as much as the damned thing`s
worth."

He took out his pocket book and from it a hundred-dollar bill. He handed it to Ramsay without a
word.

"Perhaps that`ll teach you not to be so cocksure another time, my young friend," said Ramsay as he
took the note.

I noticed that Mr Kelada`s hands were trembling.

The story spread over the ship as stories do, and he had to put up with a good deal of chaff that
evening. It was a fine joke that Mr Know-All had been caught out. But Mrs Ramsay retired to her
state-room with a headache.

Next morning I got up and began to shave. Mr Kelada lay on his bed smoking a cigarette. Suddenly
there was a small scraping sound and I saw a letter pushed under the door. I opened the door and
looked out. There was nobody there. I picked up the letter and saw that it was addressed to Max
Kelada. The name was written in block letters. I handed it to him.

"Who`s this from?" He opened it. "Oh!"

He took out of the envelope, not a letter, but a hundred-dollar bill. He looked at me and again he
reddened. He tore the envelope into little bits and gave them to me.

"Do you mind just throwing them out of the porthole?" I did as he asked, and then I looked at him
with a smile.

"No one likes being made to look a perfect damned fool," he said.

"If I had a pretty little wife I shouldn`t let her spend a year in New York while I stayed at Kobe,"
said he.

At that moment I did not entirely dislike Mr Kelada. He reached out for his pocket book and
carefully put in it the hundred-dollar note.




The Appointment in Samara


A certain merchant in Baghdad sent his servant to the market to buy some provisions. A little while later, the servant returned looking white in the face. In a trembling voice he said, "Just now in the market place I was jostled by a man in the crowd, and when I turned I saw it was Mr. Death. He looked at me and made a threatening gesture. Please lend me your horse, because I want to go to Samara where Mr. Death will not be able to find me." The merchant agreed and lent the scared man his horse. The servant mounted the horse and rode away as fast as the animal could gallop. Later that day, the merchant went down to the market place and saw Mr. Death standing in the crowd. He approached him and said, "Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?" "That was not a threatening gesture," said Mr. Death. "It was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, because I have an appointment with him tonight in Samara



Saturday, November 27, 2010

α-city-α


Kούτες γέμισε ο τόπος. Βιτρίνες που ξεστήνονται όπως-όπως, ράφια και γραφεία που αδειάζουν μάνι-μάνι.
Τερματικά κάνουν log off παντού, τερματίζοντας σχέδια και εκτελώντας προθέσεις.
Ζαπ, ζαπ, ζαπ.
Η πόλη, παρανοημένη χήρα που κατεβάζει βαριά ρολά και παραδίδεται σε τυφλό, άγονο μέλλον.
Σαν αναπόκριτος κώδικας μορς ακούγονται τα λουκέτα που κλείνουν την πρόσβαση στην καθημερινότητα.
Κλικ, κλικ, κλικ.
Οι λειτουργικοί χώροι αδειάζουν και γίνονται έρημες χώρες με ακατοίκητα όνειρα. Γιατί και οι πόθοι πεθαίνουν όπως ακριβώς και οι άνθρωποι. Μια μέρα είναι εκεί, την επόμενη όχι, αφήνοντας πίσω τους μόνο απορίες και απόρους.
Έτσι νεκρώνονται οι μικρές αρτηρίες και όλο το αίμα πλέον συνωστίζεται στις λιγοστές μεγάλες που έμειναν απεγνωσμένα ζωντανές στο σώμα της άρρωστης.
Μπιπ, μπιπ, μπιπ.
Εγκαταλείπουν όλοι τα λημέρια τους και κατρακυλάνε άσκοπα στις κεντρικές λεωφόρους σαν ζόμπι που περιμένουν oδηγίες από τον σωτήρα τους.
Φεύγουν άρον-άρον και αφήνουν πίσω τους απορρίματα και απορημένους να εμμένουν άσχημα -ως άμορφες σκιές που κολλάνε σαν πίσσα στους τοιχους, στα πεζοδρόμια, στα άφυλλα δέντρα- και να κλαίνε την ομηρία τους σε σενάριο που αναβάλλεται οριστικά επ'αορίστω.
Σνιφ, σνιφ, σνιφ.
Mόνη ελπίδα, μια κάποια αρχή να συγχωνευθεί με αυτό το τέλος.



Friday, November 26, 2010


How to Become a Writer Or, Have You Earned This Cliche?

By LORRIE MOORE

First, try to be something, anything, else. A movie star/astronaut. A movie star/ missionary. A movie star/kindergarten teacher. President of the World. Fail miserably. It is best if you fail at an early age - say, 14. Early, critical disillusionment is necessary so that at 15 you can write long haiku sequences about thwarted desire. It is a pond, a cherry blossom, a wind brushing against sparrow wing leaving for mountain. Count the syllables. Show it to your mom. She is tough and practical. She has a son in Vietnam and a husband who may be having an affair. She believes in wearing brown because it hides spots. She'll look briefly at your writing then back up at you with a face blank as a doughnut. She'll say: ''How about emptying the dishwasher?'' Look away. Shove the forks in the fork drawer. Accidentally break one of the freebie gas station glasses. This is the required pain and suffering. This is only for starters.

In your high school English class look at Mr. Killian's face. Decide faces are important. Write a villanelle about pores. Struggle. Write a sonnet. Count the syllables: 9, 10, 11, 13. Decide to experiment with fiction. Here you don't have to count syllables. Write a short story about an elderly man and woman who accidentally shoot each other in the head, the result of an inexplicable malfunction of a shotgun which appears mysteriously in their living room one night. Give it to Mr. Killian as your final project. When you get it back, he has written on it: ''Some of your images are quite nice, but you have no sense of plot.'' When you are home, in the privacy of your own room, faintly scrawl in pencil beneath his black- inked comments: ''Plots are for dead people, pore- face.''

Take all the baby-sitting jobs you can get. You are great with kids. They love you. You tell them stories about old people who die idiot deaths. You sing them songs like ''Blue Bells of Scotland,'' which is their favorite. And when they are in their pajamas and have finally stopped pinching each other, when they are fast asleep, you read every sex manual in the house, and wonder how on earth anyone could ever do those things with someone they truly loved. Fall asleep in a chair reading Mr. McMurphy's Playboy. When the McMurphys come home, they will tap you on the shoulder, look at the magazine in your lap and grin. You will want to die. They will ask you if Tracey took her medicine all right. Explain, yes, she did, that you promised her a story if she would take it like a big girl and that seemed to work out just fine. ''Oh, marvelous,'' they will exclaim.

Try to smile proudly.

Apply to college as a child psychology major.

As a child psychology major, you have some electives. You've always liked birds. Sign up for something called ''The Ornithological Field Trip.'' It meets Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2. When you arrive at Room 134 on the first day of class, everyone is sitting around a seminar table talking about metaphors. You've heard of these. After a short, excruciating while, raise your hand and say diffidently, ''Excuse me, isn't this Bird-Watching 101?'' The class stops and turns to look at you. They seem to all have one face - giant and blank as a vandalized clock. Someone with a beard booms out, ''No, this is Creative Writing.'' Say: ''Oh - right,'' as if perhaps you knew all along. Look down at your schedule. Wonder how the hell you ended up here. The computer, apparently, has made an error. You start to get up to leave and then don't.

The lines at the registrar this week are huge. Perhaps you should stick with this mistake. Perhaps your creative writing isn't all that bad. Perhaps it is fate. Perhaps this is what your dad meant when he said, ''It's the age of computers, Francie, it's the age of computers.''

Decide that you like college life. In your dorm you meet many nice people. Some are smarter than you. And some, you notice, are dumber than you. You will continue, unfortunately, to view the world in exactly these terms for the rest of your life.

The assignment this week in creative writing is to narrate a violent happening. Turn in a story about driving with your Uncle Gordon and another one about two old people who are accidentally electrocuted when they go to turn on a badly wired desk lamp. The teacher will hand them back to you with comments: ''Much of your writing is smooth and energetic. You have, however, a ludicrous notion of plot.'' Write another story about a man and a woman who, in the very first paragraph, have their lower torsos accidentally blitzed away by dynamite. In the second paragraph, with the insurance money, they buy a frozen yogurt stand together. There are six more paragraphs. You read the whole thing out loud in class. No one likes it. They say your sense of plot is outrageous and incompetent. After class someone asks you if you are crazy.

Decide that perhaps you should stick to comedies. Start dating someone who is funny, someone who has what in high school you called a ''really great sense of humor'' and what now your creative writing class calls ''self-contempt giving rise to comic form.'' Write down all of his jokes, but don't tell him you are doing this. Make up anagrams of his old girlfriend's name and name all of your socially handicapped characters with them. Tell him his old girlfriend is in all of your stories and then watch how funny he can be, see what a really great sense of humor he can have. Your child psychology adviser tells you you are neglecting courses in your major. What you spend the most time on should be what you're majoring in. Say yes, you understand.

In creative writing seminars over the next two years, everyone continues to smoke cigarettes and ask the same things: ''But does it work?'' ''Why should we care about this character?'' ''Have you earned this cliche?'' These seem like important questions.

On days when it is your turn, you look at the class hopefully as they scour your mimeographs for a plot. They look back up at you, drag deeply and then smile in a sweet sort of way.

You spend too much time slouched and demoralized. Your boyfriend suggests bicycling. Your roommate suggests a new boyfriend. You are said to be self-mutilating and losing weight, but you continue writing. The only happiness you have is writing something new, in the middle of the night, armpits damp, heart pounding, something no one has yet seen. You have only those brief, fragile, untested moments of exhilaration when you know: you are a genius. Understand what you must do. Switch majors. The kids in your nursery project will be disappointed, but you have a calling, an urge, a delusion, an unfortunate habit. You have, as your mother would say, fallen in with a bad crowd.

Why write? Where does writing come from? These are questions to ask yourself. They are like: Where does dust come from? Or: Why is there war? Or: If there's a God, then why is my brother now a cripple?

These are questions that you keep in your wallet, like calling cards. These are questions, your creative writing teacher says, that are good to address in your journals but rarely in your fiction.

The writing professor this fall is stressing the Power of the Imagination. Which means he doesn't want long descriptive stories about your camping trip last July. He wants you to start in a realistic context but then to alter it. Like recombinant DNA. He wants you to let your imagination sail, to let it grow big-bellied in the wind. This is a quote from Shakespeare.

Tell your roommate your great idea, your great exercise of imaginative power: a transformation of Melville to contemporary life. It will be about monomania and the fish-eat-fish world of life insurance in Rochester, N.Y. The first line will be ''Call me Fishmeal,'' and it will feature a menopausal suburban husband named Richard, who because he is so depressed all the time is called ''Mopey Dick'' by his witty wife Elaine. Say to your roommate: ''Mopey Dick, get it?'' Your roommate looks at you, her face blank as a large Kleenex. She comes up to you, like a buddy, and puts an arm around your burdened shoulders. ''Listen, Francie,'' she says, slow as speech therapy. ''Let's go out and get a big beer.''

The seminar doesn't like this one either. You suspect they are beginning to feel sorry for you. They say: ''You have to think about what is happening. Where is the story here?''

The next semester the writing professor is obsessed with writing from personal experience. You must write from what you know, from what has happened to you. He wants deaths, he wants camping trips. Think about what has happened to you. In three years there have been three things: you lost your virginity; your parents got divorced; and your brother came home from a forest 10 miles from the Cambodian border with only half a thigh, a permanent smirk nestled into one corner of his mouth.

About the first you write: ''It created a new space, which hurt and cried in a voice that wasn't mine, 'I'm not the same anymore, but I'll be O.K.' ''

About the second you write an elaborate story of an old married couple who stumble upon an unknown land mine in their kitchen and accidentally blow themselves up. You call it: ''For Better or for Liverwurst.''

About the last you write nothing. There are no words for this. Your typewriter hums. You can find no words.

At undergraduate cocktail parties, people say, ''Oh, you write? What do you write about?'' Your roommate, who has consumed too much wine, too little cheese and no crackers at all, blurts: ''Oh, my god, she always writes about her dumb boyfriend.''

Later on in life you will learn that writers are merely open, helpless texts with no real understanding of what they have written and therefore must half-believe anything and everything that is said of them. You, however, have not yet reached this stage of literary criticism. You stiffen and say, ''I do not,'' the same way you said it when someone in the fourth grade accused you of really liking oboe lessons and your parents really weren't just making you take them.

Insist you are not very interested in any one subject at all, that you are interested in the music of language, that you are interested in - in - syllables, because they are the atoms of poetry, the cells of the mind, the breath of the soul. Begin to feel woozy. Stare into your plastic wine cup.

''Syllables?'' you will hear someone ask, voice trailing off, as they glide slowly toward the reassuring white of the dip.

Begin to wonder what you do write about. Or if you have anything to say. Or if there even is such a thing as a thing to say. Limit these thoughts to no more than 10 minutes a day, like sit- ups, they can make you thin.

You will read somewhere that all writing has to do with one's genitals. Don't dwell on this. It will make you nervous.

Your mother will come visit you. She will look at the circles under your eyes and hand you a brown book with a brown briefcase on the cover. It is entitled: ''How to Become a Business Executive.'' She has also brought the ''Names for Baby'' encyclopedia you asked for; one of your characters, the aging clown-schoolteacher, needs a new name. Your mother will shake her head and say: ''Francie, Francie, remember when you were going to be a child psychology major?''

Say: ''Mom, I like to write.''

She'll say: ''Sure you like to write. Of course. Sure you like to write.''

Write a story about a confused music student and title it: ''Schubert Was the One with the Glasses, Right?'' It's not a big hit, although your roommate likes the part where the two violinists accidentally blow themselves up in a recital room. ''I went out with a violinist once,'' she says, snapping her gum.

Thank god you are taking other courses. You can find sanctuary in 19th-century ontological snags and invertebrate courting rituals. Certain globular mollusks have what is called ''Sex by the Arm.'' The male octopus, for instance, loses the end of one arm when placing it inside the female body during intercourse. Marine biologists call it ''Seven Heaven.'' Be glad you know these things. Be glad you are not just a writer. Apply to law school.

From here on in, many things can happen. But the main one will be this: You decide not to go to law school after all, and, instead, you spend a good, big chunk of your adult life telling people how you decided not to go to law school after all. Somehow you end up writing again. Perhaps you go to graduate school. Perhaps you work odd jobs and take writing courses at night. Perhaps you are working and writing down all the clever remarks and intimate personal confessions you hear during the day. Perhaps you are losing your pals, your acquaintances, your balance.

You have broken up with your boyfriend. You now go out with men who, instead of whispering ''I love you,'' shout: ''Do it to me, baby.'' This is good for your writing.

Sooner or later you have a finished manuscript more or less. People look at it in a vaguely troubled sort of way and say, ''I'll bet becoming a writer was always a fantasy of yours, wasn't it?'' Your lips dry to salt. Say that of all the fantasies possible in the world, you can't imagine being a writer even making the top 20. Tell them you were going to be a child psychology major. ''I bet,'' they always sigh, ''you'd be great with kids.'' Scowl fiercely. Tell them you're a walking blade.

Quit classes. Quit jobs. Cash in old savings bonds. Now you have time like warts on your hands. Slowly copy all of your friends' addresses into a new address book.

Vacuum. Chew cough drops. Keep a folder full of fragments.

An eyelid darkening sideways.

World as conspiracy.

Possible plot? A woman gets on a bus.

Suppose you threw a love affair and nobody came.

At home drink a lot of coffee. At Howard Johnson's order the cole slaw. Consider how it looks like the soggy confetti of a map: where you've been, where you're going - ''You Are Here,'' says the red star on the back of the menu.

Occasionally a date with a face blank as a sheet of paper asks you whether writers often become discouraged. Say that sometimes they do and sometimes they do. Say it's a lot like having polio.

''Interesting,'' smiles your date, and then he looks down at his arm hairs and starts to smooth them, all, always, in the same direction.


- Lorrie Moore

Monday, November 22, 2010




Φοβάστε να πετάξετε μόνoς/η εκεί πάνω σε ταξίδι μακρινό? Νιώθετε δύσπνοια στην ιδέα 10ωρης εναέριας ορφάνιας? Τα στεντόν τα κάνατε 'τικ-τακ' και το τικ σας επιμένει (όχι το τραπέζι κήπου, το άλλο) ? Σας προκαλεί γαστροοισοφαγική παλινδρόμηση η ιδέα του ότι δεν έχετε ένα χέρι να πιάσετε στην ώρα του απέραντου κενου (αέρος); Τώρα, υπάρχει λύση! Υιοθετήστε τον διπλανό ή διπλανή σας. Αν σας προκαλεί αηδία το θέαμα, τότε κάντε δικό σας άνθρωπο τον παραδίπλα (αν και είναι κατά τι πιο δύσκολο το έργο, γιατί πρέπει να πείσετε τον ενδιάμεσο να αλλάξει θέση με σας.
Το σκεπτικόν: Αν λάβει κανείς υπόψιν του τη θεωρία των 6 βαθμών διαχωρισμού, τότε ο διπλανός σας και ο παραδιπλανός σας είναι συγγενείς -δεν έχει σημασία πόσο μακρινοί- η θεία από το Σικάγο, το χαμένο σιαμαίο μετά το διαχωρισμό, ο πεμπτοξάδερφος από τον προπροπάππου επί τουρκοκρατίας, απόγονος από τη μεριά της μαμάς επί εποχής homo erectus. Δεν έχει καμία σημασία το πότε. Όλοι μοιραζόμαστε κοινό dna και κοινές καταβολές. Αυτό είναι η λεπτομέρεια που θα γνωρίζεις μόνο εσύ βέβαια. Πρόσεξε καλά, ο ανυποψίαστος άγνωστος που θα κάνεις συγγενή δε θα ακούσει αυτή την άκρως επιστημονική θεωρία από σένα, γιατί όπως καταλαβαίνεις θα φωνάξει την αεροσυνοδό ή την αεροσυνοδό η οποία στη συνέχεια θα φωνάξει τον σερίφη του αέρα (air marshal) και θα βρεθείς κλειδωμένος/η στην τουαλέτα μέχρι την προσγείωση. Άστο. Εσύ θα το πας με το λάου-λάου και το ρίτσουαλ των 20 ερωτήσεων και -και καλά, κουβέντα να γίνεται να περνούν οι βασανιστικές Ώρες- και κάποια στιγμή, μέχρι και κάποιο κοινό θείο θα βρείτε. Το λέει και η στατιστική επιστήμη. Τη στιγμή της αναγνώρισης λοιπόν και της μεγάλης έκπληξης, θα βρείτε ευκαιρία με το 'δεν το πιστεύω!!' να τον ακουμπήσετε με οικειότητα στον ώμο, πράγμα το οποίο θα πράττετε σταδιακά όλο και πιο πολύ, έτσι ώστε να τον μυθριδατιζετε σιγά σιγά για το μεγάλο γράπωμα, που θα του έρθει πλέον απόλυτα φυσικά. Τώρα, αν παρ ελπίδα προς το τέλος της πτήσης σας την πέσει, έχετε και ακλόνητο επιχείρημα! Θα του πείτε 'πολύ θα το ήθελα, αλλά δυστυχώς είμαστε συγγενείς'.


(σχετικός τίτλος, άσχετο περιεχόμενο, βιβλίο σταθμός πάραυτα)








Sunday, November 21, 2010

ο καθένας μόνος του


Ο χαμηλός φωτισμός είναι για να κοιτάει μέχρι εκεί που αντέχει η συνείδησή της και να μη βλέπει τις ουλές της αυτοκαταστροφής της. Είναι κόκκινος, ασορτί με τη ντροπή της. Η απαλή μουσική σε αυτό το λόμπι της προκαλεί αμηχανία, γιατί ξέρει ότι είναι για να καλύπτει τις φωνές από τους πάνω ορόφους. Όταν έρχεται πιο νωρίς χαζεύει το εντυπωσιακό ενυδρείο δίπλα στη ρεσεψιόν. Τα ψυχρόαιμα ευδοκιμούν σε τέτοιους χώρους. Περιμένοντας τον Όποιο (ονόματα δεν έχει κανένας εκεί, μόνο αόριστες αντωνυμίες) περνάει την ώρα της παρατηρώντας τα ψάρια να βεντουζώνουν προκλητικά τα χείλη τους πάνω στο γυαλί, σα να ξέρουν γατί ήρθε και την κοροϊδεύουν. Όπου αλλού και να κοιτάξει, όλο και κάποιος καθρέφτης θα της επιτεθεί με μια βερσιόν της εικόνας που ήρθε να ξεχάσει. Κάθε φορά που φεύγει - που είναι πάντα πολύ βιαστικά και συνωμοτικά- αποφεύγει και πάλι το είδωλό της, γιατί όπως το 'πριν' πονάει στα μάτια και το 'μετά'. Μετά, εκτός από τη μεγάλη τρύπα στην κάλτσα της, βλέπει και την τρύπα στην καρδιά της. Ερασιτέχνης και πληγωμένη. Γελάνε πίσω από την πλάτη της οι πληρωμένες μαζί με τους ρεσεψιονίστ, καθώς γλιστράει έξω από την πόρτα και βουτάει φοβισμένη στο ποτάμι της ανωνυμίας πριν την πάρει κάνα μάτι.
Πολλά σενάρια παίζονται για όλους εκεί μέσα, τους εργοδότες, τις ενζενί, τους βαρεμένους, τους κατατρεγμένους, τους κυνικούς, τους διπρόσωπους, τους καθ'εξιν και κατά συρροήν, ή τους πρωτάρηδες. Το κόνσεπτ όμως είναι πάντα ένα: μόνος μπαίνει και ακόμα πιο μόνος βγαίνει ο καθένας απο 'κει μέσα. Έρχεται κυνηγημένος, για να σωθεί από το ψεύτικο που ζει και φεύγει αγκαλιά με ακόμα ένα ψέμα.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Saturday, November 06, 2010

σολάριουμ τρέμενς






Ζούμε στο θέρετρο του περαλόγου. Πέρα κι όχι 'παρά', γιατί το 'παρά' είναι πολύ κοντά. Εμείς προσαράξαμε πέρα από κάθε υπερρεαλιστική φαντασία.
Έχουμε περάσει από το υποσυνείδητο στο ασυνείδητο και γίναμε οι Άλλοι', που αν θυμάμαι καλά ήταν οι πεθαμένοι που κρύβονταν από τους ζωντανούς τους οποίους θεωρούσαν πεθαμένους. Τυχαίο νομίζεις είναι και το 'Inception';
Θέρετρο όμως! Όλα κι όλα! Γιατί ο τόπος είναι πανέμορφος ως σκηνικό και μόνο. Αύριο στις κάλτσες θα αποδείξουμε για ακόμη μια φορά το πόσο καλύτερος είναι άδειος.
Φοβάμαι να σκεφτώ τους δυο μήνες μετά και κάνω προσομοίωση των μελλούμενων, για να μιθριδατίζομαι. Έχω βγάλει από το κουτί με τα ενθύμια τις δραχμές και τις επαναπάτρισα στο πορτοφόλι μου. Παίζω με τους φίλους μου το τελευταίο μοντέλο 'MONOPOLI' όπου αγοράζεις με ακίνητο στην Πανεπιστημίου τρεις μπριζόλες και με ακίνητο στην Κανάρη ένα κιλό μήλα. Εννοείται πως στο βάθος ο λαχανόκηπος είναι όλα τα λεφτά.
Γιατί όπως είπε και μια θεά: 'χρυσό μου, αν φοβάσαι μη φρικάρεις στην αξονική, κάνε πρώτα εξάσκηση σε κανένα σολάριουμ". Θεά όμως.
Α, και να μην το ξεχάσω, γιατί είναι συνιστώσα όλων των παραπάνω: σταθερά, η συλλογική μνήμη παραμένει χρυσόψαρου.



ο δικός μου Ευαγγελισμός με άγγελο άνευ κρίνου






Ευαγγελισμός παρά τo φρέαρ

(απόκρυφο κείμενο) 'κοίταξα τότε ψηλά στον ουρανό και ήρθε ένα σύννεφο δροσιάς και με ράντισε [...]". Ο άγγελος τότε πήρε ένα ψωμί και έφαγε απ' αυτό πρώτα ο ίδιος και έδωσε επίσης και σε μένα [...] και...ένα ποτήρι γεμάτο κρασί και ήπιε πρώτα ο ίδιος και έδωσε κατόπιν σε μένα" (στη συνέχεια, αφού μου ανακοίνωσε τα χαρμόσυνα νέα, πήγαμε εκεί κοντά σε ένα συμπαθέστατο ιταλικό και φάγαμε ταλιατέλες αλά πορτσίνι, ενώ πολύ γελάσαμε με τις βρούβες -ειδικά και γενικά)

αφιερωμένο στον Ξερεικεινοσποιός





diagnosis

My photo
i have nothing to declare, but a can of tuna