A different pace

In Current reading, Drafts, Film, Music, Theater on March 10, 2014 at 8:47 am

You won’t lol. You won’t roll on the floor. In fact, you may set the book aside because what is this? In Counselor Aires’ Memoirs, some old guy (sixty-three, but he feels ancient), writes small entries in his diary, somewhere around the year eighteen twenty-four in Brazil. No, sorry, no samba. Visits to the cemetery, visits to acquaintances, a half-admitted, wistful look at a young widow, all the way to the melancholy ending.

The small miracle being in the way Machado de Assis turns around the usual story line. Every page is a celebration of the commonplace, tranquil, domestic, devoted love of an old, childless couple and their attachment to a young woman and a young man they treat as their pseudo-children. Irony so fine, it glides by unnoticed, for the most part. Except for small, glittering moments of private glee. The narrator sees a tart-tongued gossip on the street, for instance. “…elle avait la mine si réjouie que j’ai cru qu’elle était en train de dire du mal de moi ; mais non, elle ne disait rien puisqu’elle était seule ; ou alors elle médisait à part soi – mais dans ce cas, sans auditeur, cela ne devait pas être aussi amusant ? Nous nous sommes salués et avons passé notre chemin.”  (…she seemed so delighted that I thought she must be speaking ill of me; but no, she wasn’t saying anything since she was alone; or she was  maligning to herself – but in that case, with no one listening, it couldn’t be as amusing? We exchanged greetings, and went our separate ways.)

Excerpts : Ariane Mnouchkine speaking with students about the filmed version of Théâtre du Soleil’s Le Dernier Caravansérail (Odyssées) – what she says about personalizing, as meaningful for a writer as for a playwright or a stage director.  Actors working with Peter Brooke (The Tightrope).

Writing in short bursts. Setting aside. Coming back.

Plus, memories stored in the body vs the as-told-to narratives supplied by parents, siblings or onlookers.

I could just as well mark this post with all the categories listed in the sidebar. Time will bristle with obligations again, starting next week. For now, I move from one thing to another; look up from the screen to take in the plants, or to visualize the walls in different shades. Listen to bits of music drifting up – 78 rpm recordings off a portable phonograph the size of a squarish suitcase. The scritch-scritch-scritch when the needle swam back and forth at the end, and no adult was close by to set it back to the different scratchy sound at the beginning.


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