Thursday, September 29, 2005

Opening one business and closing another has eaten into my writing schedule of late, as I use the intermediate time mainly for eating and napping...but I'm not really spending money, and, as a paycheck is tomorrow...yeah, that's probably going to be a good thing. I've been trying to keep up on my internetting and my reading (languagehat.com's recently-linked paper on Muskogean historical linguistics, "The Devil in the White City" for 1890s Chicago-y goodness), and now, "Steppenwolf." Why? Not sure. "It was close to the end of the shelf" is as good a response as any, but it's good enoug so far.

Mainly it makes me want to be able to read German, or to just have a copy in German, but it's a good sitting in the hallway outside the office or the breakroom at the store read, and I've recently come upon a passage which has summed up my approach to Brno since May:

"And while I ate and drank there came over me that feeling of change and decay and of farewell celebrations, that sweet and inwardly painful feeling of being a living part of all the scenes and all the things of an earlier life that has never yet been parted from, and from which the time to part has come."

Brno was good; Brno was bad. I've had several conversations with Jef about reacting to the simple, cheerful question, "Oh, you were in Europe, how was that?" (Long stares play a part in the standard response). It was eight months of my life, and it's been gone for some time. A wish for uncluttered feelings about it...eh. I like Hesse's (translated) collocation of sweet and inwardly painful. It's a good combination.

Or, rather, would have been, had I known it in May. I'm not really nostalgic in the painful sense for Brno. It was there, necessary for where I am now, and now it exists as that part of me which is in the past. Perhaps it's because I'm reasonably contented now; one's happiness at this point in time certainly would seem to affect how much one romanticizes the past.

7 comments:

The Earthtopus said...

*obligatory "Wild Thing"/"Magic Carpet Ride joke*

Traci said...

exactly. my hat is off to Steppenwolf for songs about lousy cans and perfect expressions of the study abroad experience.

Agnes said...

hey we always play that at midnight in our campus bar!

I wonder howcome everyone always asks about 'Europe' as if it were one entity...

this really means I have nothing to add to your utterence of dispair, longing and ... well in your case perhaps more happiness.

The Earthtopus said...

People refer to Europe because it's the most convenient way to refer to where I was, I suppose.

I mean, if you spent a year in, say, Wyoming, I bet people would ask how your year in America was, similarly.

Agnes said...

hmmm

The Earthtopus said...

Got your package, by the by, and it contains licorice and stroopwafels, but...it says on the outside there was a card in that, and there was nothing on the inside!

Still haven't eaten anything either...man, those stroopwafels scare the crap out of me.

*grins* I'll get around to it. Thanks much!

Agnes said...

WHAT they stole my card?!
well it's not lingering around here... I'll write you another card with the story of Stroopwafels and a belated birthday message on it :)

I was craving for stroopwafels today, instead I'm eating crackers with creamcheese. Anyway, nothing to be affraid of, and remember, microwave 'em for like 10 seconds and they're even better!

If not, give em to your dog :)

*happy that it arrived.... eventually*