You and Me

Would you come over and steal everything?
that would be great.
There are enough words
but there must be light
I cannot usurp alone
all the words who write.

Come stealthily, come at night
I’ll leave some papers on my desk
take all you need and run with it
Use them up! You are not restrained
by purpose. Do as as you see fit.

Next comes the but. We should be related
you see: that is what we must share
at least a wetness that climbed
ashore, a distant cousinness
and maybe more

You and Me was originally published on Meandering home

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Habit #1: daily summary of famous literature

Like most people on the Internet, I’m looking for better habits. The Scroll of Facebook and Twitter with its plethora of information and disinformation is an assault on the mind and eats up our time. Binging Netflix can be fun and is really effective to take your mind off of something, but it also messes up your daily rhythm. Watching random YouTube talking heads engaging in a heated debate can be informative and pleasurable (if said talking heads are gifted with rhetorical talent) but it isn’t really constructive.

So whenever I come across something and think “that’s a cool habit” I’ll jot down a quick note here. Because I’m against the culture of commercialism, I will not create a list of “23 habits you should learn now” or “75 habits that will earn you money” or “she tried these 7 habits and you will never guess what happened next…”

I hate that. I hate that so much that I refuse to use it as an instrument on my way to world fame. Here is the little habit that I like today.

It’s a clear and simple ten minute narration of a work of literature. Our Tube is full of them. I listen to it during my first coffee break of the day. It’s relaxing, solidifies my knowledge about these books (so I can refer to them or quote from them in my articles), and it inspires my own writing.

Habit #1: daily summary of famous literature was originally published on Meandering home

June 25. Pleasures.


Seoul is a city of pleasures. I mean, it’s a brilliantly composed ouverture to heaven with all its incredible restaurants, comfortable private cinemas (DVD-bang), relaxing saunas, karaokebars, 24-hour-nightlife, well-kept parks, shining glass facades facing every street – and quiet Buddhist temple retreats.

I start resuscitating my hibernating writer side today, so blog entries will be less about what I did, and more what I did.

I am reading Plays because my friend Jean-Marie adviced me to do so. Today I am enthousiastic about Brecht’s “The Rise and Fall of Mahagonny” which has a very acceptable English translation made in 1960 for a planned staging by W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman. Now enjoy a few quotes from that play.

You’ve learned to mix your cocktails every way
You’ve seen the moonlight shining on the wall:
The bar is shut, the bar of Mandalay:
And why does nothing make sense at all?
You tell me, please, why nothing makes sense at all.

Clap your hands when a hurricane strikes:
Who cares for being immortal?
When a man can do just what he likes
Who’s afraid of the storm at his portal?

One means to eat all you are able;
Two, to change your loves about;
Three means the ring and gaming table;
Four, to drink until you pass out.
Moreover, better get this clear
That Don’ts are not permitted here.
Morover, better get it clear
That Don’ts are not permitted here!

June 22. What does Literature do?

So I live in a megalopolis again. I’m so behind with the writing I need to make long hours in fancy coffee houses here. It’s hard work to keep up with the poignancy. After repeating yourself a few times, reactions will be lame and “whatever”. It ages too fast. Writing that is not thought through but penned down in an an outburst of inspiration is either very soon forgotten or cult. So I read some earlier entries here in this body of text. There are no jades, don’t worry, you didn’t miss a thing. There were cumbersome reflections, laughable thoughts – not much to be fond of. But that’s a good thing! A purgatory. The composition of this “body” of text has lead – for me – to see more clearly what writing can do, which goals it can set for itself, and what it cannot do. It’s never omnipotent.
Literary writing can do essentially two things. One. To illustrate a certain state of mind with a narrative or a description. So the reader can place herself in the characters or the author should they coincide. The state of mind of a drunk, a soldier, a prostitute, a businessman, we can get some idea of it by reading about them. Two. Explain the transistion of a certain state of mind to another. Why does a person deviate from the path he was expected to take? A lot of writers have attempted this – with some of the most compelling world literature as a result. And non-essentially it can make the reader and the writer better persons – and don’t you dare to question the definition of ‘better’ at this point!
“There is a difference between truth and fiction”, the old man in Tom Tykwer’s ‘The International’, brilliantly played by Armin Müller-Stahl, says, “fiction is about making sense.” It’s a good movie; I saw it on the airplane from LA to Taipei, and since I have nothing else to write about, I recommend it here. A typical philosopher can’t swallow this kind of sentence without responding to it somehow. They make a fist so that their knuckles get all white and say things like “sense is essentially related to some notion of truth; in order to make sense, we have to organize our thoughts around this preconception.” Then they ‘elaborate some more’ on the subject and get all heated up by their own beautiful phrases. Laymen sit aside, mumbling “so true, so true”. I guess I am an a-typical philosopher.
The next sentence is dedicated to a very special reader: a computer! sbv2y5aier.

June 22. What does Literature do? was originally published on Meandering home

June 22. What does Literature do?

So I live in a megalopolis again. I’m so behind with the writing I need to make long hours in fancy coffee houses here. It’s hard work to keep up with the poignancy. After repeating yourself a few times, reactions will be lame and “whatever”. It ages too fast. Writing that is not thought through but penned down in an an outburst of inspiration is either very soon forgotten or cult. So I read some earlier entries here in this body of text. There are no jades, don’t worry, you didn’t miss a thing. There were cumbersome reflections, laughable thoughts – not much to be fond of. But that’s a good thing! A purgatory. The composition of this “body” of text has lead – for me – to see more clearly what writing can do, which goals it can set for itself, and what it cannot do. It’s never omnipotent.
Literary writing can do essentially two things. One. To illustrate a certain state of mind with a narrative or a description. So the reader can place herself in the characters or the author should they coincide. The state of mind of a drunk, a soldier, a prostitute, a businessman, we can get some idea of it by reading about them. Two. Explain the transistion of a certain state of mind to another. Why does a person deviate from the path he was expected to take? A lot of writers have attempted this – with some of the most compelling world literature as a result. And non-essentially it can make the reader and the writer better persons – and don’t you dare to question the definition of ‘better’ at this point!
“There is a difference between truth and fiction”, the old man in Tom Tykwer’s ‘The International’, brilliantly played by Armin Müller-Stahl, says, “fiction is about making sense.” It’s a good movie; I saw it on the airplane from LA to Taipei, and since I have nothing else to write about, I recommend it here. A typical philosopher can’t swallow this kind of sentence without responding to it somehow. They make a fist so that their knuckles get all white and say things like “sense is essentially related to some notion of truth; in order to make sense, we have to organize our thoughts around this preconception.” Then they ‘elaborate some more’ on the subject and get all heated up by their own beautiful phrases. Laymen sit aside, mumbling “so true, so true”. I guess I am an a-typical philosopher.
The next sentence is dedicated to a very special reader: a computer! sbv2y5aier.

June 22. What does Literature do?

So I live in a megalopolis again. I’m so behind with the writing I need to make long hours in fancy coffee houses here. It’s hard work to keep up with the poignancy. After repeating yourself a few times, reactions will be lame and “whatever”. It ages too fast. Writing that is not thought through but penned down in an an outburst of inspiration is either very soon forgotten or cult. So I read some earlier entries here in this body of text. There are no jades, don’t worry, you didn’t miss a thing. There were cumbersome reflections, laughable thoughts – not much to be fond of. But that’s a good thing! A purgatory. The composition of this “body” of text has lead – for me – to see more clearly what writing can do, which goals it can set for itself, and what it cannot do. It’s never omnipotent.
Literary writing can do essentially two things. One. To illustrate a certain state of mind with a narrative or a description. So the reader can place herself in the characters or the author should they coincide. The state of mind of a drunk, a soldier, a prostitute, a businessman, we can get some idea of it by reading about them. Two. Explain the transistion of a certain state of mind to another. Why does a person deviate from the path he was expected to take? A lot of writers have attempted this – with some of the most compelling world literature as a result. And non-essentially it can make the reader and the writer better persons – and don’t you dare to question the definition of ‘better’ at this point!
“There is a difference between truth and fiction”, the old man in Tom Tykwer’s ‘The International’, brilliantly played by Armin Müller-Stahl, says, “fiction is about making sense.” It’s a good movie; I saw it on the airplane from LA to Taipei, and since I have nothing else to write about, I recommend it here. A typical philosopher can’t swallow this kind of sentence without responding to it somehow. They make a fist so that their knuckles get all white and say things like “sense is essentially related to some notion of truth; in order to make sense, we have to organize our thoughts around this preconception.” Then they ‘elaborate some more’ on the subject and get all heated up by their own beautiful phrases. Laymen sit aside, mumbling “so true, so true”. I guess I am an a-typical philosopher.
The next sentence is dedicated to a very special reader: a computer! sbv2y5aier.

January 31. Life as Literature.

Birthday of Beatrix, the Dutch queen. Felt even more connected to my native country. I woke up at nine, and was taken care of again. I’m so grateful. We went to the village with the new dog that day. The new dog can’t be together with the old one yet, since they’re not used to each other. The new dog pisses in the room to mark his new territory, and the old dog scares him away as he was taught to scare away rats and unwelcome visitors. The village was nice, the people as laid-
back as they could be. Standing gloomily at the side of the road, noddig at each other and then walking on, slowly as ever. Old people live here, but the colors are young. We had a coffee in a small place and spoke about life here in the countryside. One day, I want to move to such a
place, away from the huzzle of a numbing metropolitan existence, away from the tube, the noise, and the concrete layers.
That day I read some poetry which was a stupid overkill of halfbaken metaphorical amuses. Definitely not my chef d’oeuvre. It would be a good thing when poetry could kill, my friend told me. Yes, stab somebody with a sentence, no need to wipe off the blood afterwards, no traces, no
guilt. And no need to sharpen the blade. We had a Portuguese dinner again. Potatoes and fish, good fish.

There was an American guy who came to clean the pool. I must keep him incognito, so he can’t be identified. He had had a remarkable life. Deserted in Vietnam. Refused to kill villagers, the children. Raised his voice and said no to napalm and agent orange and crimes against humanity
that didn’t go by that name in those days. A humane hero, at least in my imagination. I liked him, he was very relaxed about his walk of life. And still, how many child molesters, rapists, brutal pleasure killers walk around with purple hearts wagging on their fat bellies? He was nice, okay?
We saw it on the tv that evening, a soldier in Iraq left alone with his trauma. The guy had to shoot children who could possibly betray him on his secret mission to kill high-profile figures. He was 26, left alone by the army, his wife, a drug addict with hallucinations. It was the guy who
found Saddam Hussein. The tv documentary stirred in the hot soup of his misery and told us that we should be compassionate with the poor basterd. With that cowardous child killer, who chooses his carreer in the army over the life an innocent child, the life of God knows how many childs. The pool was so dawn clean after he had done his work. It was the cleanest pool of the village. All blue tiles glistening in the heavy sunlight.

In the afternoon we visited some Chinese shops that sold cheap stuff. You could buy crutches there. In Holland they have to be ‘arranged for’ and it cost you ten times more money. It was funny in its uselessness. How hard they work, the Chinese. My friends bought garden earth and with the earth we took a taxi back but we forgot the earth and had to call the taxi again and he came and delivered the earth and with the earth we went into the house.

January 31. Life as Literature. was originally published on Meandering home