Back then i.e. one hundred and two years ago, they called the Ottoman Empire “Europe’s sick old man”. Colonial powers all, they proceeded to send their nationals to slaughter while they carved up the sick old man’s empire. What was left of the Ottoman period morphed into what we call Turkey. Leaders of what we currently call the nations of the European Union vie with one another in offering billions to the Turkish leader so he’ll keep the tides of refugees on his side of the Bosphorus. Refugees from those same territories carved up and divvied…
I digress. Mine is not the Big Picture. Mine are some of the local trickle down consequences of posturing and blustering way “up there”. (I attended a meeting yesterday where talk was all about “lateral management”. It sounded pretty vertical and top down to me.)
Last night:After a brief look at one of André Markowicz’ translation of Dostoyevsky, I read a few pages from something I’d titled Contes d’Exil. The Russian poets and novelists were among my great adolescent passions. Reading Contes d’Exil now, I see it for what it was: my tribute to all those great ones I admired. I’m glad I cut my teeth on books I didn’t always understand, with mysterious words the meaning of which I’d discover later.
The proto draft: looking for… no, listening for the inner connections and unsuspected foot paths from one group of characters to another. What brings so-and-so to one place rather than another, other than the writer stepping in and ordering cast and crew around with a bullhorn? What written scenes (or scenes still to write) make the transition worth exploring? Bottom line for the writer: when a pleasant and restful time off consists of two hours on the eve of yet another crazy day, which of the characters lets out the call to places worth exploring again?
Bird calls this morning on the early morning walkabout. No stray dogs, fresh broken bottles but no other traces of recent human activity. I refuse to dwell on the to-do list.
allez? not yet? All right, a few more minutes of quiet. The upstairs neighbor hasn’t budged yet, her morning bout of off-key singing is still a few hours away, and I still hear the bits of song in my own head. Hallelujah for small blessings, enjoy them when they show up. (“Why those scritching sounds”, the little girl asked her mother on Sunday, when we listened to a 1904 version of Funiculi Funicula. On a digital remastering of an RCA Victor recording with the famous dog and Victrola drawing and His Master’s Voice logo.)