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the wip :: work in progress
Thursday, April 17, 2003
The Photograph

For D's birthday, she bought a wooden statue from Madagascar and made a CD compilation, the artwork a picture of him, still blond and impressively mean and lean on his Big Wheel, for a three year-old, that is. Trusty Fedex delivered the package one day late (bad sister!) but he was thrilled nonetheless.

You know those dark deep searching moments when the world is frightening, confusing, formidable, bursting at the seams with just too much and not enough of everything? Well, she remembers her kid brother looking at her with his hopefully innocent and clear brown eyes his lashes so long she too many times threatened to cut them off and glue them onto her already long ones, and his perfectly pink and too pouty, for a boy, lips spread into a smile wider than the Grand Canyon, the corners in a curve hinting at the now experienced and rather sardonic smile he favours.

Their mom claimed that Laughter left the house the same day D's sister did. D's sister begged to differ, as is her nature. She'd say something much more profound and promising stook around for perhaps longer than either parent expected: hopeful innocence. For her, D embodied the hopeful innocence of childhood.

Until a car crash. His life drastically changed but, like the tough little Big Wheel biker boy he was, he came through. Whatever she may have experienced in her life, she knew it barely scratched the surface of what he went through those first few years after the crash. Physically, he was intact, except for his eyes and lips; no longer hopeful or innocent, the child finally, quite dramatically, left home for good, and then home, too, disappeared. (The divorce wasn't painful, nor was it painless, but somewhere in between words that don't exist.)

She thinks of him, often. Three years old, and already untouchable.

Posted 9:19:54 PM:: home

Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee: Spare language evoking complex emotions. With age, lust and desire do not pale, although the young very rarely think in terms of lust and desire when they see the old. Persecuted by his peers for his affair with a young student, Lurie, the main character, chooses to leave rather than defend his actions. The actions that require explanation are those of the young student who voluntarily engages in the affair and then brings charges against him.

There is more. Lurie visits his daughter, and we witness a political and cruel act of violation in a still tense post-apartheid South Africa. Why the daughter is so stubborn is a mystery. The two key women in Lurie's life and their motivation remain absolute mysteries, a burden Lurie stoically chooses to embrace.

I loosely thought Camus' The Stranger.

Posted 8:25:18 PM:: home

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink: A very quick read. Falling under Holocaust literature, The Reader is told in the first person in a flashback narrative. The story begins with the main character age 15 and finishes when he is in his 30s or 40s. To label this as Holocaust literature is a misnomer for it concentrates on one man's obsession with an older woman. Obsession or love, it's difficult to say. If it were love, I suspect the ending would have been different, and the incredible and lingering sense of distance wouldn't have been my final impression.

Posted 8:18:14 PM:: home

Nice to see that my translation for Just for Laughs (now posted on their site) was unedited. Boost of confidence!

Also, a second installment of White Space now available.

For now, columns and translations meet my writing needs. Fiction is on the backburner until a story sets me on fire.

Posted 8:12:04 PM:: home