Archive for the ‘montreal’ Category

“you and I are on the other side of almost everything” (pellucid)

September 13, 2006

a thought that perhaps speaks to the essence of romance. isn’t that what the feeling is with another person, that conviction of making another world, un monde à part, not just separate from “almost everything” but in some sense actually against it? and isn’t that in part what becomes so addictive about being with the other person? here i’m paraphrasing the backcover blurb of a little novel by kundera called l’identité (written originally in french but readily disponible in english). much of it is a meditation on the nature of couples, of what we seek in joining them and what is thereby gained and, perhaps, lost. I read it a couple of months ago – the prose is typically spare and limpid – and find my thoughts often returning to it. kundera is lucid, life rendered pellucid* (to deploy our WordOfTheDay).

dears.jpg I was put in mind of kundera by that thought, “you and I are on the other side of almost everything”, which is actually a song lyric I heard performed last night by the dears (though it could be “on the outside of almost everything”. I’m awaiting clarification, but “truth is subjectivity” to invoke the lonely daneofmanynames so I’ll go with my ears.) hadn’t seen them in a while nor indeed any live music in a proper concert setting for some time. a really wonderful show – sound, lights, ride cymbal, hearts-on-sleeves, the whole thing – for which I wanted to thank them. it’s always good to be reminded what humans can do when they get together.

(a sidebar thought on kundera: for anyone with some intermediate manoeuvres looking to work on their french reading chops, kundera novels are a great place to start; plus he now writes in french and personally revised the french translations of his earlier novels. he’s almost minimalist in his prose; short, polished sentences. you’ll have to start by looking up a bunch of words but then find they keep recurring. also the chapters are short and the pages go by quickly. important to have that feeling of accomplishment. l’insoutenable légèreté de l’être. you have to admit it does sound even better in french.)

*from the OED: pellucid, 1. Transmitting or allowing the passage of light; translucent, transparent.

(entry composed and posted with breakfast # 2 en plein air in bryant park in the midst of the preening madness of fashion week. I think I was offered about 6 copies of the times style magazine as I tried to navigate the well-calved crowds. inside the park, by the carrousel, the bust of goethe looks on impassively. I’m tempted to write stoically. the sorrows of aged johann.)