True – but not the whole truth

And so I’ve finished The Rings of Saturn, and I ask myself: Was this a good way to start 2019? To tell the truth — I’m not entirely sure. The text is without doubt a masterpiece; written in a beautiful prose, based on vast knowledge, connecting us, contemporary life, to history in a highly original…

I came into the world under the sign of Saturn—

Saturn is the planet of melancholy, about which Walter Benjamin writes: “I came into the world under the sign of Saturn – the star of the slowest revolution, the planet of detours and delays.” W. G. Sebald’s prose poetics seems to be driven by this motion, which is more than a simple state of being:…

Becoming lost

The Rings of Saturn follows a Sebald-like narrator as he walks along England’s eastern coast, letting his mind wander along with his feet. The prose follows the narrator’s digressions from each place and idea to the next, moving freely in time and space.  Here is a good example of Sebald at work: … for Diderot there…

The Call to Create

Spending my Sunday morning in the company of James Hollis — ON HEARING (AND ANSWERING) THE CALL TO CREATE According to Hollis: So much of the self-help genre prattles on about “happiness.” “Thirty Days to this or That…”. “Five Easy Steps to…”. You fill in the blanks. But this Pablum does not feed the soul,…

Sorting out

– finishing up (tidying by reading, part 1) Moving my library, I became aware of quite a few half-read books laying around. I have started sorting them out — some are too bad, vexatious or tedious to be read, but most of them had just been misplaced or forgotten in the middle of things… And…

Apropos moving –

Lucia Berlin called many different places home during her lifetime. The following is a list she made in the late eighties detailing the pitfalls of some of them. Excerpted from Welcome Home: A Memoir with Selected Photographs and Letters, by Lucia Berlin, 2018.  Juneau, Alaska—Avalanche the day I was born, wiped out a third of town. Deer…

Oh, no!

I’m moving … it will be fine — but right now everything is a mess! I am so much looking forward to days of quiet solitude, days when I know where to find what I’m looking for – .

Beauty beckons

Artists hate the word beauty, especially German artists. If you wanted to be really hated in Germany, then you would say, “My work is beautiful.” German artists believe in ugliness and nastiness. I think beauty can be something extremely important in our lives. And it’s not true that this is naive. This is what is…