Tuesday, 16 May 2017
A wise man once told me that mystery is the most essential ingredient of life, for the following reason: mystery creates wonder, which leads to curiosity, which in turn provides the ground for our desire to understand who and what we truly are.”
Mysteries precede humankind, envelop us and draw us forward into exploration and wonder. Secrets are the work of humankind, a covert and often insidious way to gather, withhold or impose power. Do not confuse the pursuit of one with the manipulation of the other.
Wednesday, 10 May 2017
“Yeah, he'd said, maybe it's just my idea, but really it always hurts, the times it don't hurt is when we just forget, we just forget it hurts, you know, it's not just because my belly's all rotten, everybody always hurts. So when it really starts stabbing me, somehow I feel sort of peaceful, like I'm myself again.”
“And just because I've written this book, don't think I've changed. I'm like I was back then, really.”
When I went on anyway, my body began to grow cold, and I thought I was dead. Face pale, my dead self sat down on a bench and began to turn toward my real self, who was watching this hallucination on the screen of the night. My dead self came nearer, just as if it might want to shake hands with my real self. That's when I panicked and tried to run. But my dead self pursued me and finally caught me, entered me and controlled me. I'd felt then just the way I felt now. I felt as if a hole had opened in my head from which consciousness and memory leaked out and in their place the rash crowded in, and a cold like spoiled roast chicken. But that time before, shaking and clinging to the damp bench, I'd told myself, Hey, take a good look, isn't the world still under your feet? I'm on this ground, and on this same ground are trees and grass and ants carrying sand to their nests, little girls chasing rolling balls, and puppies running.
I put the thin fragment of glass, dripping blood, in my pocket, and ran out into the misty road. The doors and windows of the houses were shut, nothing was moving. I thought I'd been swallowed by a huge living thing, that I was turning around and around in its stomach like the hero of some fairy tale.
Tuesday, 25 April 2017
“Does pain go away and leave no trace, then?"
"You sometimes even feel sentimental for it.”
“Now, even more than the evening before, he could think of no one with whom to compare her. She had become absolute, beyond comparison. She had become decision and fate.”
“You've always been fond of understanding people too well."
"They should arrange not to be understood quite so easily.”
In a gourd that had been handed down for three centuries, a flower that would fade in a morning.
“Your mother was such a gentle person. I always feel when I see someone like her that I'm watching the last flowers fall. This is no world for gentle people.”
“Anyway, it’s hardly a problem worth worrying about.”
Monday, 17 April 2017
"Do you mind if I contribute my thoughts to this one? If you could just stop nitpicking and dissecting every little thing, if you could learn to keep one eye closed and one eye open, and quit worrying about everything, you might discover life is pretty fucking beautiful. Am I right?”
My experience dealing with professors has taught me that educated people have the ability to demean a person with a single glance.
The best attributes of anyone or anything usually reside on the surface, which is where, in fact, all of us live out our lives. Everyone has an inner life, but it's best if we leave it alone. For as soon as you poke a hole through that paper window, most of what's inside simply won't stand up to scrutiny.
Tuesday, 11 April 2017
“The forest, the virgin forest, the life of a woodcutter—that has always been my ideal.”
You’ve always lived a life of pretense, not a real life – a simulated existence, not a genuine existence. Everything about you, everything you are, has always been pretense, never genuine, never real.
Her mother, an unshapely, chubby-cheeked creature from the rural gentry of Styria, permanently lost her hair at the age of forty after being treated for influenza by her husband, and prematurely withdrew from society. She and her husband were able to live in the Gentzgasse thanks to her mother's fortune, which derived from the family estates in Styria and then devolved upon her. She provided for everything, since her husband earned nothing as a doctor. He was a socialite, what is known as a beau, who went to all the big Viennese balls during the carnival season and throughout his life was able to conceal his stupidity behind a pleasingly slim exterior. Throughout her life Auersberger's mother-in-law had a raw deal from her husband, but was content to accept her modest social station, not that of a member of the nobility, but one that was thoroughly petit bourgeois. Her son-in-law, as I suddenly recalled, sitting in the wing chair, made a point of hiding her wig from time to time--whenever the mood took him--both in the Gentzgasse and at the Maria Zaal in Styria, so that the poor woman was unable to leave the house. It used to amuse him, after he had hidden her wig, to drive his mother-in-law up the wall, as they say. Even when he was going on forty he used to hide her wigs--by that time she has provided herself with several--which was a symptom of his sickness and infantility. I often witnessed this game of hide-and-seek at Maria Zaal and in the Gentzgasse, and I honestly have to say that I was amused by it and did not feel in the least bit ashamed of myself. His mother-in-law would be forced to stay at home because her son-in-law had hidden her wigs, and this was especially likely to happen on public holidays. In the end he would throw the wig in her face. He needed his mother-in-law's humiliation, I reflected, sitting in the wing chair and observing him in the background of the music room, just as he needed the triumph that this diabolical behavior brought him.
We spend years sucking all we can out of someone, and then, having almost sucked them dry, we suddenly say that we ourselves are being sucked dry. And then for the rest of our lives we have to live with the knowledge of our own baseness.
And as I went on running I thought: I'll write something at once, no matter what -- I'll write about this artistic dinner in the Gentzgasse at once, now. Now, I thought -- at once, I told myself over and over again as I ran through the Inner City -- at once, I told myself, now -- at once, at once, before it's too late.
... as I sat in the wing chair...