Of buses and butterflies (and Rob Lowe)
#thisweekinpoetry: Every week I look back at the past few days and try to find a poetic quote to match. Or maybe the other way around, I find good poetry and try to match the week with it. Whichever works.
January 30 - February 5
The bus negotiates the winter night: a flickering ship in the pine forest on a road as narrow and deep as a dead canal. Few passengers: some old, some very young. If it stopped and switched off its lights the world would be deleted.
From 'Winter Code ' by Tomas Tanströmer
Photo by Armelle van Helden
Again, poetic license - this may welll become the leitmotiv of this series. For the happenings that inspired this quote (or vice versa, you never know with poetry) didn't all take place this week. Nor were they all happenings. Some are more musings or general wonderments. But since I'm off here in this little world of mine, I make the rules and I'll allow it. :)
We'll always have Facebook
To start with what did start this week: I was on my way to the launch party of Jackie Hatton's feisty post-apocalyptic. novel 'Flesh and wires'. I began thinking about the durability of writing, in a then-vs-now kind of way. Now so many people have the means to put their writing out there but it also seems so much more flighty than in, say, the Middle Ages. If I should delete my site right now, all of this would be gone without a trace. All I wrote here would be as if it never had existed at all.
Which reminded me of that friend who was determined to find a lost Medieval manuscript, We only know it existed because it is referenced in other manuscripts. Actually, in one manuscript the author introduces himself as "William who made Madoc", - and that's how we know there has to have been a Dutch Madoc story once. Manuscripts, though old-fashion, seem so much more durable than the internet. Even if they disappear, they're still there, thanks to authorial self-marketing. Oh well, we have Facebook, so I guess nothing is ever really gone.
On to the musings. What I like about Tanströmer's quote, is this idea of how the world is only there when we turn light on it. The lights of the bus remind me of eyes - an almost childlike thought that if we close our eyes, the world is gone and if we open them it's there anew, changed because we are changed. The world is only there when we see it and is only as we see it, because it is us who see it. And that reminded me of Zhuangh Zi's famous butterfly quote.
No Apocalypse Now
Back to more trivial matters. This week I started on a new series, the delightful British-American 'You, Me and the Apocalypse.' The premises is simple: a comet the size of Manhattan is hurtling towards Earth, about the destroy life as we know it and bring about Ye Olde Apocalypse. And while I know it's all fictitious (Rob Lowe plays a priest, for G--'s sake), somehow after each episode I feel relieved that we, in real life, are for now comet-free and the world is not yet deleted.
Rob Lowe: Rob Lowe going nuts
Time-travel: the way back machine
Musings: philospy podcast about Daoism