Archive for the ‘prose’ Category

A dream can be the highest point in life.

December 24, 2010

I spent a couple of hours yesterday and a good part of today – Christmas Eve – on my own in the library of the University of St Andrews, a university I don’t even go to anymore, going through tens and tens of books. I wrote down the first and last sentences and put a selection of them together, all disjointed and mixed up. I scanned the covers of 22 books this morning, the only person in the library aside from the staff and two, maybe three other people.

There’s less covers in the picture than there’s books quoted in the text. Maybe one that is quoted isn’t in there, maybe one that isn’t quoted is but in the end it doesn’t really matter. Sometimes both the first and last sentence are quoted, sometimes just one. There are 21 books altogether, and there is a 22nd sentence that isn’t written down and isn’t a quote that belongs in this text. Because I’m 22.

The vertical version is my preffered one but it’s more awkward to display online. Click on the images for full view. Transcript below.

 

‘Get the hell, motherfucker,’ said my dream. Waking up begins with saying am and now. We were kept awake last night by New Year Bells. At first I thought they were ringing for victory. I thought they were supposed to be dead, but in real life they’re just going to go on singing.

Amy stood at the edge of the platform looking down at the rails. ‘Good night,’ he breathed. ‘Goodnight,’ she murmured back to him. A dream can be the highest point in life. I am everything you ever dreamed. Bursts of laughter in the night. She turns to the car, he following her, watching as she moves how she trails her faithful and lithe cloud of unknowing across the pavement. People looked at him, thinking it disgraceful for a priest to be drunk in Jerusalem, with cigarette ash all over his clerical clothes. We’re the people. The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it.

It seemed to me the day was very cold. Three years have gone by, all but a few weeks. If it were only true that all’s well that ends well, if it were only true. I felt it as something true that I could never adequately express and never seize again. And from today, me also, I don’t want to remember anything anymore. O God, You’ve done enough, I’m too tired and old to learn to love, leave me alone for ever. ‘I’m very tired,’ I told him. ‘I’m very tired.’ This is the saddest story I have ever heard.

Contains citations from:

Ford Madox Ford The Good Soldier

Graham Greene The End of an Affair

Christopher Isherwood A Single Man

Patrick Modiano Quartier Perdu, Place d’Etoile, La Ronde de Nuit

V.S. Naipaul An Area of Darkness, A Bend In The River

Ben Okri The famished road

Salman Rushdie The Ground Beneath Her Feet

Carolyn Slaughter Before the knife

Ali Smith The Accidental

Muriel Spark The Hothouse by the East River

John Steinbeck Grapes of Wrath

William Trevor Death in Jerusalem

Vercors Put Out the Light (Silence de la Mer)

Hugo Williams No Particular Place To Go

Virginia Woolf Night and Day, Journals

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