we are golden hints
on the narrow
of crack willows.
apologies to derwent may
Louis Tas schreef in het voorwoord bij Dagboek Uit Een Kamp, dat schaamte gebrek aan empathie is met jezelf.
Jean-Paul Sartre : “Shame is by nature recognition, I recognise that I am as the other sees me.”
Or rather : I imagine how the other sees me and then I imagine that I am as I am seen.
eigenlijk zijn mensen net als
paddestoelen de vruchtlichamen
van een in de bodem levend wezen
dat uit bedrading bestaat.
maybe it was the session i did yesterday but i dreamed about my father.
it is such a long time since i spoke with him.
we talked mainly in my dreams, even seven years after he died, but then he fell silent and disappeared from my dreams just like he disappeared from my life.
i don’t miss him.
i am even grateful for his absence.
as i am grateful that my grandmother didn’t live to see this fucking mess.
soon i will have lived more years since he died than his entire lifetime. what i am saying is : my father has been dead for longer than he was alive. and in the long run, that is the fate of all of us.
almost everything is gone now, i want to tell him, everything you knew, everything that fuelled your optimism, which you transmitted to me. at least you did that for me, if not much else, but now it is as if we know the way in a house that is no longer there; that thought once belonged to rudy kousbroek, if it matters. he is dead now. nearly everyone is dead, i want to say to my father, if only in a dream.
when i was a child i wanted to be a detective when i grew up and i wanted you to take me to the forest to make impressions in gypsum of animal tracks. you promised. but you never did.
years later you asked me if i could forgive you for abandoning me.
and now i am the father myself. but unlike you i became a metaphysician. i cannot help it and i make no excuse for it.
i know the house i grew up in has been demolished, like the rest of the houses and all the streets around there. i could draw you a map but what would be the point? all but one of the new streets have different names and run from north to south instead of east to west and they lead to other places that i no longer recognise.
i wish i could locate the exact same spot where i used to sit by the fire with my grandmother and talk, to stand there and see if i could feel or smell something of that time, whether a fragment of a song or a story about the war would come into my ear, or if the eyes of the dog i loved would meet mine.
there is a truth underneath that truth.
i know it. i am connected to it.
all time is contained in the present.
we are what things are
it was anaïs nin apparently who said (or wrote) : we see things not as they are but as we are — which is good and clever and fun but let’s go further, since it’s about (much) more than seeing. it is about being : we are what things are.
i am experimenting with the deepL translator. it’s pretty good! it renders the above thus :
het was blijkbaar anaïs nin die zei (of schreef): we zien de dingen niet zoals ze zijn, maar zoals we zijn - dat is goed en slim en leuk, maar laten we verder gaan, want het gaat om (veel) meer dan zien. het gaat om zijn: we zijn wat de dingen zijn.
my dutch is not that great but i would translate ‘apparently’ not as ‘blijkbaar’ but as ‘schijnbaar’ and i would use ‘wij’ for the second ‘we’, not because ‘we’ is wrong but ‘wij’ is more emphatic. and … it does seem a luxury to have two forms of ‘we’ at one’s disposal, so let’s use them!
i have no idea why deepL decided to add ‘de’ (the) in front of ‘dingen’ (things) when there is no ‘the’ in the original but i kind of like it. i still wouldn’t use ‘the’ in the english form.
the last sentence is beautiful, if you use the ‘wij’ form :
we zijn wat de dingen zijn.
My chest feels tight and it is difficult to breathe. I go and lie down. I know rationally I have no reason to worry but it just makes me feel uncomfortable. It is not a rational reaction. It is affect pure and simple. That does not make it any easier and I could have a heart attack for no reason.
Keep your mouth shut, I tell myself. You are nothing. You have nothing to offer. You don’t have the right to speak.
journal entry — monday, 30 april 2018
i remember walking the streets of utrecht, as i did endlessly and obsessively at this time, and out of nowhere, for no apparent reason, suddenly finding my-so-called-self singing björk’s anchor song :
i live by the ocean
and during the night
i dive into it
down to the bottom
but then there is a bit which has a note which i can’t reach, i could only imagine it…
underneath all currents
and drop my anchor
this is where i’m staying
this is my home…
and this is what we must do when we reach the bottom. and so it was…
i was interested to (re)discover the original meaning and use of the word embarrassment :
Something (material or immaterial) which is a hindrance or encumbrance; an impediment, obstruction, or obstacle; a difficulty, a problem. Now rare.