This week I spent quite a lot of time looking for interesting blogs in Romania. And I found quite a few. They are mostly blogs that have to do with books, reading and writing. I was pleasantly surprised to find so many interesting things. It made me happy. I thought I would like to meet some of these people. See how they look like. If they can be trusted (there is always a question of trust when it comes to books, reading and writing, because it has to do with one’s very own self). But then, it made me somehow sad. I lost touch with whatever is happening over there and I do not hope I will ever be in touch with this world again. It just is so! I finally have to learn to live with it. The only hope is not to fall ill with the silence of the polyglots (Kristeva). I slowly grow away from all the languages I know. And, since I write less and less, I am afraid I will not have anything to say any longer. And I’ll fall silent. Silent. Silent…
Yesterday in the underground. A train broke down. Waiting. Near us a child was crying. Her parents were trying to comfort her, I thought. They were Romanians. Poorly dressed. Certainly jobless. I tried to find out what the little girl was crying about. Yes, that was it! Brecht’s Dreigroschenoper. She was begging. They’d take the money she received from strangers; her money. Her father was not your ruthless macho type, though. He was also sorry. One could see it on his face. His eyes were down and would happily vanish on the spot if given the choice. Cursing his days. The mother tried to comfort her. Picked her up in her arms and caressed her. But she would go on and cry for her money, for her money. “Why do you take it from me? Next time I am not giving you anything any longer.” What could they do? They did not look like they would drink the money. They seemed ok. Just very poor. Why do they think it is better here than there? The next train finally came and it was full. We decided to wait for the next. They got in. And disappeared.
The other guys were… missing. Those getting in at Westbahnof every morning. Also Romanians. One of them with an accordion, the other with a guitar. One of them has his hair combed in an Elvis-like manner (when he was just transitioning from the normal Elvis to the fat and sweaty Elvis). The other one is almost bald and rather thin, sporting a white turtle neck. With glasses, he might be a sort of distant cousin of the BeeGees. And they have an amplifier as well. Taped with brown tape on a small cart. A couple of wires and an old portable CD player. “Guten Tag, meine Damen und Herren. Şi acum puțină muzic! Danke şön und alles gute für Reise!” That’s how they begin every day. And then, slowly, quietly, start playing. Right before Stephansplatz the guy with the guitar starts going around asking for change für muzic. And almost every time he had to put up with people being upset and reminding them that begging in the underground “ist verboten”. They don’t give a damn. But their face light up whenever someone drops them a coin or two.
Where is the difference?
Last week I received a letter (written in both Romanian and German) letting me know that in June I will be able (if I wish so) to vote for the EU parliament. Either for Austrian or Romanian deputies.
I keep reading from Borges’ Labyrinths. I did not think I will end up liking the stories so much. But how can one not like that? The garden of the forking paths, The library in Babylon, or Pierre Menard, author of the Quixote. Or The circular ruins… there is so much stuff there! Possible things, waiting to come to life. And Borges gives them exactly that – life. Of course, he’s got a very dry style and he’s pedantic but the ideas… The library in Babylon is the library where all the letter combinations are printed out in books. All the masterpieces that have been written and all those to come are there. Hundreds of thousands of versions of them. Some only having a comma more (or less) or a few spelling mistakes. Or Pierre Menard, who wrote a bit of Quixote. He gives a few examples of the differences between the two versions. And you read them. Twice and you see no difference. Not one dot is missing. Not one comma misplaced. But they are so different, these two versions. Whatever the text meant for Cervantes, for Pierre Menard has a lot more complex meaning. The few centuries telling them apart are full of hidden meanings. And so it goes on… I do not know how much is he going to be able to entertain this play but now, I like what I read.
Next week I’ll be ordering some new books. My list at Amazon is growing every week. I choose books by seeing what the others read. Those guys writing blogs in Romania. Their reading fever is contagious. I’ll see if I can trust them. Roberto Bolano, Paolo Giordano, Lu Xun, Malcom Gladwell… Am curious.
And then, I started thinking about an E-book reader. Kindle is only available in the US and it is too expensive anyway. The Sony Reader, might be interesting. After all, I was reading books in the underground on the cell phone. Having a Reader might be quite a thing! And I have hundreds of .pdfs waiting to be read!