So it goes.

Kubinians belated impressions

I remembered, all of a sudden and for no apparent reason, of reading Alfred Kubin’s Die Andere Seite (The Other Side) many years ago. At the time I thought the illustrations of the book were actually much more interesting than the story, a labyrinthine web of many remarkable suggestions and ideas but a mess in storytelling. Strangely enough, looking at the illustrations today I feel the impression the story left me is much stronger than that of the illustrations. That is, the illustrations may work on their own, but they feel dated. They are bizarre and eerie, but they have nothing of the mysterious depth of something by Redon. They are, by today’s taste and standards, too vulnerable in their self-assurance. This vulnerability is perhaps their charm, but also their flaw. The story on the other hand may be dated when you read it, but it has some timelessness that emerges at a later date, when you have stopped making out plot details and regretting unfulfilled expectations. Now that I can only remember the enigma without the solution, Die Andere Seite feels like an excerpt from a dream projected on a screen, out of focus, and I perceive Patera’s effigy, towering, with eyes wide open.

At night, dull

I keep on rephrasing, but in this tangle of cogitations the words just don’t come out right. As soon as they are down for the eye to examine, they become something else, their meaninglessness is apparent. They stand in line abashed, remorseful. Looking at their puny stalks and arches I decide the urgency is gone. The resplendent unknown that was pushing his way to the page is now as dim as the vulgar echo of this man’s singing after the rains. Like a growling tide cars still crawl up and down.

And some time later

This comeback feels like opening a narrow crack in the door of a stagnant closet. Where are the words I was looking for? What is this pile of old letters arranged one after the other? Where do they come from? Perplexed, I don’t recognize them at all. I have to look at dates to cast a bridge towards this shallow past and I realize how much time went wasted in this interval.

The wind molests the blinds after the sun has turned its back to the east. Tubular bells — real? — prattling on in the distance.

Cursed doors

It’s three weeks now that the landlord says he wants to repair the apartment’s main door because it gets stuck at random, but today he mailed saying he cannot come this week because of “unforeseen circumstances”. I had been playing Cinderella for days to make everything as clean as a dirty dog allows, but it was useless. Next time I will spend less time vacuuming and more time stuffing tumbleweeds of inert dog fur into pillows.

It’s weird and unsettling that we can never have our doors repaired, no matter which country we’re in.

In Iceland we had a broken door as well. It was a bit different than a door that gets stuck at random, it was a door with a huge hole in it. Oh but… A hole is after all just void where wood is supposed to be, it’s not that serious. Because, who cares about break-ins in Iceland? We sure didn’t, even though we had an attempted one while we were in (but that was not regular criminals, it was Eastern Europe mafia; and they were actually trying to get into the neighboring apartment, not ours; and they got in through the window not through the door… well, OK, it’s a long story). The landlord of that apartment, a very carefree fella who plays in a popular Icelandic band, made the hole himself with his fist one night when he forgot the keys and was too drunk to come up with a better plan. Then he moved out and rented out the apartment. Twice. And he never fixed the goddamn hole in the door, even if he was sent reminders regularly. He promised he would, but he magically managed to forget about it for four years!

I don’t know why, but I’m starting to suspect there must be some voodoo curse on our doors.

A polyglot dog can spoil your night walk

A drunk man approaches us (me + partner in crime + dog) in the night. He was shouting insults at the Prime Minister’s house until that moment and I was hoping he would not get too close. He starts psychobabbling about government, corruption and social ineptitude, so the partner in crime goes with the routine “Desculpe, não falamos Português” (sorry, we do not speak Portuguese) as this usually works like a charm when you need to drive the loons away. Well, it didn’t work this time as the man asked without even blinking, “E o cão?” (and the dog?) to which the partner in crime replied, “Não fala também” (he doesn’t either), condemning us to listen to the man raving for the next 20 minutes.

Mothers are a foreign country – pt. 2

It seems I finally managed to buy the 2012 edition of the maternal birthday present. For a moment I even thought that I accidentally used HER credit card to pay for her present—could have been a thrilling birthday, indeed—but I didn’t. Every goddamn year it’s the same story. It took quite a long time to choose, as my mother doesn’t really like anything, apart from playing cards—but she has an assortment of decks in various shapes and colors and featuring all kinds of decorations, from trolls to Disney characters—and sipping alcoholic beverages. Even if she’s not crazy about them, another thing she likes is Westerns, so western-related present it was… Wait. Now that I am writing this, I realize that my mother fits the description of Calamity Jane, even though my mother’s name isn’t Jane and she’s quite alive. Whatever. I got her Western movies and comics. I am 99% sure though she won’t be able to use the DVD player to watch any movie as among other things she is also barely knowledgeable when it comes to technology and devices making use of connectivity of any kind. She will probably end reading the comics and the movie’s synopsis on the rear of her DVD, thus I hope at least that her imagination has gotten better in recent times.