Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 19 (let the old content make way for the new content)

More or less, I got nothin', but I'll be teaching Roberto Bolano tomorrow (haven't decided yet as to what lessons he'll learn) and thought I'd share a favorite passage from late in The Savage Detectives:

In Paris, it's different. People drift away, people dwindle, and you have time to say goodbye, even if you'd rather not. Not in Africa. People talk there, people tell you their problems, and then they vanish in a cloud of smoke, the way Belano vanished that night, without warning. And you never even consider the possibility of running into X or Y again at the airport. The possibility exists, I'm not saying it doesn't, but you don't consider it. So that night, when Belano disappeared, I stopped thinking about him, stopped thinking about loaning him money, and drank and danced and then fell asleep in a chair and when I woke up with a start (more out of fear than because I was hungover, since I was afraid I'd been robbed, not being in the habit of going to places like Joao Alves's) it was already morning and I went outside to stretch my legs and there he was, in the yard, smoking a cigarette and waiting for me.

Yes, it was quite the gesture.  (497)

As to the first part, it's worth noting that false dichotomies may be binaries we can deconstruct and yet their extremes tantalize us and often make for great writing, or at least writing that can lead to some conversation.

Bolano has also been on my mind because by coincidence the same week he shows up on my syllabus, I stumbled upon (or I should say it was twossed in my direction via the e-chirper) this bit of Bolano blog. According to the attribution, it's Daniele Pantano's sharing of a Roberto Bolano section that appeared on the NYRBlog. From the text, I know for sure it's a curious bit of writing about observing V.S. Naipaul in Buenos Aires in 1972. Is this real or imagined? I couldn't tell you.

Anyway, Pantano also sent a shout for more quality submissions for his literary journal, and it looks like a promising one with an international flavor and a fancy curve over its first "e." (I suppose I should pretend I know what it's called and not admit to having googled "umlaut" even while remembering that would be two dots).

So that was something.

As you were.

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