far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

BOOK ONE – SPRING AND SUMMER 2013 March Eleven “Young teacher, dadadam, this girl is half his age”- it is raining like hell, ``one Big Mac”, she yells into the menu board, drives to the drive-thru window, waits, ponders, tries to figure out what a menu board is and at the same time fabricates a story like the one about the “old man in the book by Nabokov”. THE POLICE sure was able to shoot to the top of the bill board, way before Sting was, well, Sting. Lolita, huh? She ponders, does she really want to write something borderline salacious, in times like this. Wars, people dying on the street, so what if S-E-X sells. She runs through the pouring rain, plunks herself in front of the telly, starts typing. Her Big Mac is getting cold, good, she might lose some weight. Which does not really make sense, she will still scarf it down, only in cold. So, CreateSpace sent her an e-mail, the quarter finalists for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award have been just announced. Well, woopdidoo, she did not make it. She did not even make it to the first round. On the telly, HOUSE. ----------------------------------------The MEETUP is in Yaletown, at seven. In this trendy pub, apparently, the organizer of the MEETUP group is under the impression that good writers blossom in an alcohol-infused environment. And if not, they might just drink themselves into oblivion. She takes a shower, changes into jeans and black sweater, she tries to shoot for an existentialist look, move over, Juliette Greco - a look into the mirror, she looks more like a washed-up housewife that wants to find herself. Ah, might as well.

1

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

----------------------------------------------------Too rainy, she did not make it down to Yaletown in time. Might as well, writing is a solitary endeavour. She ponders, the MEETUP group had seven members, She ponders, if writing in a team will make for better words. Superior words. Sellable words. A pitchable plot. Fit for any elevator. She watches reruns, and any rerun will do. She lives on Big Macs and Ritter Sport, the one with marzipan filling. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------She moves to the green couch, balances the laptop, types, tries to figure out who the actress in the OLD NAVY commercial is. The one with the thin voice, the one who played the mom in WHAT ABOUT BOB. Argh, there is no story arc as of yet. --------------------------------------------------------400 words, give or take some. 397, to be precise. Doug Heffernan on the telly, enjoying the smells of Poughkeepsie. ------------------------------------------------She ponders if couch potatoes can really advance to literary stardom? Huh. She should have chamomile tea and drink it in a china cup and have food on a doily. Either that or hard liquor consumption. That is what makes or breaks a writer. -----------------------------------------------------

2

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

So, btw, turns out that the woman in the OLD NAVY commercial is named Julie Hagerty, she was in AIRPLANE, not just in WHAT ABOUT BOB, and that is why she is wearing a blue flight attendant uniform. 501 words, 504. March Fifteen Very nice, very nice. She is able to use this interface extremely efficiently- or so she thinks. The orthography clicks in place, the grammar is superb. Everything is ordered and thus the world is in order. Her universe. She dabbled in art history, more so, design history, listened in to a talk by a PhD candidate at the local art school. A tirade about book design, with images, a PowerPoint presentation that was the utmost in PowerPoint presentations. Or something like that. A performance in the studio on the second floor of the north building on Granville Island. She ponders if she can somehow weave this into her story arc, if she should invent personas, if she will get mad while doing so. If she should join a writer‟s group, if she can handle sitting with others who might snatch a publication order from her. Writing, ah, writing. It is noonish leaning into afternoonish, her laptop is awaiting all her words, this better be good better be good. The day before, a rejection by a woman with a Dutch surname. She started her lit agent practice three days ago, she still has the time to address her rejections individually, no form letters starting with “dear author” and talking about how “publishing is a subjective business, some other agent will take you up if you are only trying, if you only keep on trying”. You might die trying but, hey, we will all die, n‟est-ce pas?

3

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

She has 766 words here, another Big Mac is coldning up, this is how it is how it is. She should start acting again, her acting career is so much more fun than her writing career. She should do this, that or/and the other. Apparently, Mayor Bloomberg‟s wish for a big soda bottle ban was denied by a judge, author here ponders what to read into that. Does it even matter? She should type 200 words more, fast and fast and fast. Kind of tough to type stuff up when there is no outline, no plot, tinkering away in plotless land until the “Big Bang Theory” sets in. for people who do not know, “Big Bang Theory” is a TV show and it is borderline funny. It is actually very, very funny, but then again lots of individuals hate it. She ponders, the green couch there is awaiting, maybe she should call this her text: “dispatches from the green couch”. “The life of a couch potato”. “In TV-land”. “In homage to the idiot box”, you get the picture. Tv-conototations rock, so do music connotations. Pop culture connotations. Ah, to describe the everyday. She has 937 words, good, good, maybe 500 potent words per day will turbulent this novel forward, because, let us face it, anytext is a novel. She is losing it, she is hungry, she needs 20 more words to make it to 1000. Yesterday‟s words were so much better, today they stall, they utterly stall. Eleven more words, we are there, ah, we are there. And save, spellcheck, the like, the like. March Seventeen Ten fifty-seven, outside clear blue sky, the ocean factory, a cloud over the bridge,

4

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Back in the art school, she will type some words, fast, fast, there will be an artist talk at eleven thirty in the north building, might as well, might as well. She has a studio in the other building, she could draw some, get ready for some fictional art show. Or she could just keep on typing, this non-diary will fill up, should fill up. Once she has 100 000 words, she could start to query agents, like so many times before, like so many times after this. She should draw, she should write, something creative, ah, why not, why not. Might as well, might as well. And stop, and spellcheck, spellcheck. She should watch old movies with the parts where reporters hack away at the type writer, with cigarettes hanging from their mouths, she should learn to use the right kind of grammar. We have 644 words here, still a long time to go to make this into a great American novel. Or great Hungarian novel, whatever. Beats me. Her words do not make any sense, might as well, might as well. Sensical writings are way too overrated, anyways. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Back home, the desolation is so utterly palpable, she types against solitude, against silence. She ponders, how much battery life is there in this laptop, the tiny icon shows the imminent demise of her screen, she ponders, somebody else used it all up. That is what happens if you lend out your laptop, this would not happen if she used a notebook. She ponders, she just listened in to an illustrator talk about paper and pen, he kind of glorified the age of pen and pencil, he dissed the computer age. A tad, a tad, a tad. For writers, computers are great, but, in the end who really cares. Who really cares about the tools of the trade. The story is what counts, and, come push to shove, there is none, none, none. Nothing that can be sold to Hollywood, there is only the isolation of the writer‟s studio. Which is

5

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

actually the kitchen table, the kitchen table in the kitchen, but, hey, writer‟s studio sounds better. What exactly is a studio? We don‟t study here. How does a studio differ from a study? She has 891 words, not bad, not bad, not bad. The fridge is pretty quiet, outside the sun is shining. Leaves, nice, nice. And still no story, no narrative, oh well, ah well. March Thirty-One It is nice here in the studio in the Raemistrasse. Yep, she finally did it, moved over the pond, started her four-month-long artist residency in Zurich. She has to produce 400 pages, that is all, she has to buy her own food, pay for transport, for insurance, room and board is provided for by the “literaturhaus”. In the end, she has to give a PowerPoint presentation, there is no publication secured. She ponders, this place is kind of in conjunction with the local art school, the program is very new. Which is fine with her. She walks out to Bellevue; the weather here is about the same as it is back in Vancouver. Nice to be here, but still no story, no story. Writer‟s block, how much fun is that. The poet on the tram, going down the Bahnhofstrasse, it is five in the afternoon, she ponders, if she should go to Jelmoli or to Manor or to Sprungli. Sprungli it is. She jumps off the tram at the Paradeplatz, well, not literally. Next time she will take a notebook with her and, well, take notes. She is an utterly non-gifted poet, she just fabricates, produces some words and then it is off to exploring the city, the locales. Ah, nice to be back here, she loves it here. Loves it loves it loves it loves it. ---------------------------------------------------------------

6

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Miranda goes up the steps to Sprungli, orders a hot chocolate with whipped cream and a raspberry tart. With whipped cream. She should lose weight but, hey, there is always manjana. She ponders, so now she has a name for her alter-ego. Miranda, hmm. Sounds pretty cheesy, no offense to all the Mirandas of this world. She ponders, maybe her alter ego should be called George, like in Curious George. The monkey. Ah, to be a writer, poet, wordslinger, whatever. She ponders how did she land the residency here in Switzerland, must have been pure luck. She has not published anything as of yet, all her stuff is online. Which seemed sufficient for the literaturhaus. They must be kind of alternative or something. Forward-looking, believing that the future of publishing is online. Anyways. She looks around, the usual subjects are here. Who is in Sprungli at six in the afternoon? The typical Sprungli-crowd. They all look wealthy or try to look the part. Some tourists in homelessy garb, if you are a tourist you do not need to try. After all, you paid for your expedia-tic already. She ponders, her words make no sense, her thoughts are not written down, she misses Seinfeld. And the rest of the sitcoms. She misses her daily dose of “Big Bang”. Maybe that is why she came here, to get off of the green couch. Ah, to not be a potato anymore, ah, ah. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------A woman moves to Switzerland to write an amazing book, that will be the intro to her next book. Or at least the intro to her query. Lit agents will start bidding in an action, for the privilege of representing her work. Yep, that is how it will be. She ponders, let us just wait until we are back home again. At this point she has other things to worry about, for instance how to make sense of the foreignish coins, how to find an internet cafe. How to not break out into song while waltzing over the Bahnhofstrasse to Migros. Ah, Gottlieb Duttweiler, she is going insane, so utterly,

7

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

completely insane. She will be insane for the next four months, until she boards the plane back home. She ponders, maybe she should just stay here. Worked for mavis something, the Canadian writer who moved to Paris, wait, Mavis Gallant, worked for good ol‟ Hemingway. Arthur Miller, Henry Miller, etcetera etcetera etcetera etcetera.. She sure does not know how to sling a sentence together but she sure can provide the expatness. Whatever and whatever and whatever and whatever. 1586 words, ah yeah, ah yyyayyy. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------Far away from Brooklyn, seems a good title, a title as good as any. The idea is that most writers reside in Brooklyn, well, not this one not this one. ----------------------------------------------------------------------It is still march 31st, she kind of feels like a fish outta water, kind of not. She walks by the super expensive stores, Missoni, pretty nice garb. One has to have a tiny figure, which is kinda weird, by the time you have the money to pay for this, you do not have the tiny figure anymore. Except if you are Kate Moss. She ponders, what to do, what to do. It is seven, she is still utterly jetlagged, she cannot really turn in, she might just pull an all-nighter. Sleep during the day, roam the city at night. The Limmat, the Limmat. It is pretty here, she could take the train to Lucerne. For four days her train travel is free, courtesy of the “literaturhaus”. There are so many options here, but it is slightly confusing. After all, she came here to write, to fashion the right amount of words in the right amount of time. The perfect novel, the greatest story of them all. The one that will cement her book deal or at least her place in the pantheon of worldlit. She has to be a dead ringer for the Nobel Prize of Literature in 2025, give or take some years. So that everybody she

8

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

ever knew has to salutate her. So that she will be remembered for posterity. So that she does not dissipate on the ash heap of history. Something like that something of that kind. How do you spell megalomania again? April Eleven She is tired of this place, the whole country smells like cheese. The honeymoon is over, she feels like crying in the street. Yep, homesick she is, if she hears someone exclaim “oder” once more, she will explode. Or implode, you take your pick. She has not written much, maybe 4500 words, and this is why she came all the way from back home. At this point she is not even quite sure where home really is. She should hop a train to Amsterdam, for change of scenery, for inspiration, she does not have enough money, though. The people in the literaturhaus are all young and hip, she could be their mother, maybe, even their granny. She tries to avoid them, obviously, they just think of her as someone to potentially cook a hot meal. Maybe not, but she will not take any chances. --------------------------------------------------She ponders, if having only one protagonist is enough to move the narrative forward. Don‟t we need an antagonist here? She does not know much about literary theory, but she is of the opinion that ignorance is bliss. Her training is in animation, but she did not make it as an animator. Technology did her in, when she started out, DVD‟s did not even exist. Oh well, the discipline of an animator is easily transferrable to writing, at least in theory. She makes her way to the church where the “paintings” by Chagall are, she prefers them to the stuff in the Kunsthaus. Zurich itself is a piece of art, why pay, when you can enjoy a walk by the waters of the Limmat for free. April Twenty-Seven

9

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

She is sick from typing, she feels nauseated. She does all her typing here in this little room on the second floor of the “literaturhaus”, there are other writers here, there are about five rooms. The bathroom is communal, so is the kitchen, which is not that nice for privacy. She ponders, a suburban house with all its amenities is better for the creative process. Maybe, she should write about that, become an expert on anti-residency-polemics. It is late, time to wrap this up, she has 14 000 words, she produces more in nanomonth, has 53 000 words by November 15. Well, one month is always over, she feels a cold coming on. May Seven Tomorrow is her birthday, she will be sixty-seven years old. This is not the time of her life to find herself. Well, she was an accountant all her life, she might as well enjoy her life as a retiree. She has 25 000 words, but she is so very far away from 400 pages. And she is not that good at converting pages to word count. And her story is kind of clumsy and clunky, unbelievable. She tries to write an experimental narrative, which is tough if you do not have literary training. Then again, in the old times, writers did not train, there were no MFA‟s in literature. Tolstoy and Shakespeare still made it, somehow, somehow. June One April, May, so she is at half-time now. She started on March thirty-first. to be precise, she has two more months. She has only 150 pages, she sure has to keep on typing. Her story is kind of wonky, the protagonists do all, well, not interact. Well, at least, she now has 3 protagonists, a man and two women. No antagonist, though.

10

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

She sits outside of Sprungli, has another hot chocolate with whipped cream. Around her, the five o‟clock crowd, a tram bustling by, blue as always. She is getting used to the swissiness around her, she adores cheese. Home is far far away. June Twenty-Seven Zurich is way, way too hot. She has 300 pages, which is fine, she will have time to edit her text. Then again, she still needs 100 pages to fill the required allotment, she is not even quite sure if the pages should be double-spaced or single-spaced. Times New Roman or Helvetica? Well, definitely not Helvetica, more like Cambria. She ponders, did Joyce have probs. like this? She ponders if using words like “prob.” is age-appropriate. She ponders a lot these days. The woman from the “literaturhaus” asked her if she would like to participate in a reading in Winterthur, on July seven. At eight in the evening. yeah, why not. The problem would be to come back from Winterthur in the night, but apparently the trains go until twelve. She feels sick, there is this reluctant cold that does not seem to go away. July Fifteen The reading went just fine, everyone was very polite. There were five other authors, one man, four women. One woman was from New Zealand. And each of the readings was fifteen minutes long. Twenty minutes of Q and A. She made the train in time. July Twenty-Seven She has 467 pages, this went pretty good. She has to print them out, the “literaturhaus” will get a copy. Apparently she does not need to write a report or give presentation, the city will discontinue the “literaturhaus-foundation”. Seems, that this was just an experiment, an
11

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

experiment that did not really go anywhere. Well, she is happy, her book is pretty good, in the end there was a murder and a love-scene, kind of as afterthoughts, sprinkled in like the whipped cream on the hot chocolate at Sprungli. She will miss Zurich, but she definitely looks forward to not having to share a bathroom with five strangers. August Seven Penn Station at seven in the morning, she walks down Eighth Avenue, by the Duane Read, she is happy to be back in nyc. Her flight to Vancouver is on September third, she will stay here a tad, a tad. Zurich is so far far away. She likes dislocation, it made her write a pretty good book. It will be rejected, but who really cares. Gotta love the process. September Eight In her own quarters, next to the green couch, the telly quiet, outside the sun shining, birds chirping. She is now officially a writer, even though nothing will be published in hardcopy. Her words will exist in cyberspace, that will do, should do. She will take the Canada Line down to Yaletown, have a Foret Noir in Ganache. November is not far away, she will pen another novel in National Novel Writing Month.

12

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

BOOK TWO – SPRING AND SUMMER 2015 March Eleven She does not write anymore. She took up knitting. After all, she is near to seventy. She might as well learn how to knit. She needs a rocking chair and a new hairdo, a bun. She definitely needs granny glasses. No more pilates classes for her. She ponders about the “literaturhaus” experience, she is not that happy about it. Well, it was all fun and happiness, but she could not land a literary agent. Her book rots in her nightstand drawer, actually in a usb-stick in her nightstand drawer. Well, that is life. What can you do? She might still take a stab at a novel come November. She feels like barfing. March Fifteen She is hungry. It is nineteen minutes after eleven, not quite lunch time yet. She yells into the menu board at the Mc Dees on 15th. “only a burger, that is more than enough”, the rain is pouring down, she will start her diet come tomorrow. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------Later in the day, on the telly “The Bob Newhart Show”. On ME TV. She finished watching Mary Taylor Moore and her beret moment, watched Caroline and the City on her laptop, she ponders if this is a tad too much life spent staring at a screen. Sometimes she watches something laughtracky on her laptop while something equally laughtracky is flickering over the telly. Her brain is turning to mush. She definitely should take up knitting. March Seventeen

13

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

She sits at her computer and ponders if she should join still another writer`s group. They are all equally exhausting, the writing is usually abysmal. Some writers are pretty good, but the majority is totally clueless. The plots are out of whack and if they are not, they are boring. She ponders whatever happened to the ``literaturhaus`` residency. March Thirty-One It is four in the afternoon, she checked into the hotel behind the Hauptbahnhof, they still had her info in the computer. She was here ten years ago and it feels like a blast from the past. Ah, Zurich in March. Still pretty chilly, Vancouver was a tad warmer. She came here on a whim, she will just stay for a week. After all, a hotel is more expensive than the ``literaturhaus``. April Eleven Zurich was pretty boring and rainy, it kind of reminded her of the residency that did not really go anywhere. Zurich used to be so beautiful, when she was a mere tourist, her failed writing kind of put a damper thereon. She ponders if she should send her book out again, you know, one is supposed to send a manuscript out in rounds. Eventually, someone will publish the words. On the telly, Seinfeld. George, Elaine, Jerry, Kramer. April Twenty-Seven Knitting it is. Yarn bombing is still in, it will take her further than her writing. She watches another Seinfeld episode. It is the episode where Elaine dances. ``Here`s to those who wish us well and those who don`t can go to hell.`` May Seven

14

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

She will be seventy-nine come tomorrow. Some more lines in her face. Ah, Leonard Cohen. She types away, knitting did not really work out for her, writing seems more on the doable side. Besides, there is scribd, docstocs, issuu, all these online publishing sites. Throw your words at the world, with the push of a button. Seventy-nine, huh! June One, June Twenty-Seven, July Fifteen, July Twenty-Seven, August Seven, September Eight June One It is pretty hot outside, Vancouver in June, about as hot as Vancouver in July. She should go down to Kits Beach, take the 16, she could walk down to Cornwall. June Twenty-Seven Once more, the Seinfeld episode with Elaine dancing. July Fifteen She ponders, she watched way too many Seinfeld episodes. That is not how world lit is fashioned. July Twenty-Seven A letter from a publisher in Boston. Her manuscript will go into print. Yay. August Seven Another letter from the publisher in Boston. Chapter nine. Ah, well, that is life. September Eight And once more, Seinfeld. It is half past midnight, she is falling asleep on the green couch.

15

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

BOOK THREE – SPRING AND SUMMER 2017 March Eleven She makes her way to this bookshop in downtown Portland. POWELL`s. She rummages through the travel section on the first floor. She purchases a book about Lisbon. She orders a café macchiato and sits in the café on the first floor. She has never been to Portugal, she loves armchair travelling. It is pretty full here, even for a Saturday afternoon, maybe because it is warm and cozy in here and icy outside. She feels nauseated, she had too much yoghurt. yoghurt always makes her vomit. March Seventeen Back in Vancouver, the weather is pretty sunny here. Early spring. She works a lot on her manuscript, a newly edited version of the book she wrote back at the ``literaturhaus`` residency. This is the seventh version, it totally changed. Ah, rewrites, rewrites. Maybe, writers really have to live in Brooklyn and if they don`t , their work sucks. March Thirty-One She feels utterly nauseated, but at least she did not fly halfway around the world. She is getting comfortably set in her retiree-ways, she wakes up first thing in the morning, she roams around the neighbourhood in her old-lady-clothes, warm shawl, warm touque, even in warm weather. And she reads a lot. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

16

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

August Two Her writing is flawed, but she is working on it to eliminate the glibs and glitches. She still uses a green ball pen first, pen against paper, she then painstakingly transcribes the text. That is her M.O. for the last twenty years, old habits are hard to break. Animal of habit, yup, that one, that one. BOOK FOUR- HOW IT ALL COMES TOGETHER APRIL SIX A day in suburbia, circa 1986. In the East Bay, somewhere between Walnut Creek and Alamo. A hectic morning in 2537 Providence Court, one bag lunch is filled with PB and J, a raspberrygrapefruit juice and a cheese-string, the other paperbag is still waiting to be filled. She is looking forward to the writer‟s solitude, her scribbling away while her youngest is sleeping. She ponders if she should insert a giraffe into her story, if she should somehow invent a new genre. Sci-fi, but not quite. Utopia meets dystopia, anyhoo, on the telly, Joan Lunden. She ponders, suburbia here is slightly suffocating, but not that much, not that much. She will go for a morning stroll, by crimson court, down to livorna heights. she wants to enjoy the fresh spring weather, why not why not. APRIL SEVEN Fast forward to 2013, a tiny studio on 14th. Street, one can see the red and yellow banners of Pratt on the other side of the street. Her tiny cubby, her tiny desk-partition, she pays 250 bucks for this. 250 per month. Apparently this place is conducive to writing, there are 30 members in this writing co-op. She comes here every day, takes the L from Williamsburg, she must be the

17

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

oldest of the group. Lots of days she ends up in Macy‟s, on the Sixth. Floor, looking at bath towels and bath mats. Sipping a chamomile tea at Starbucks. Having a chat with the baristas. They know her, they think that she works in one of the offices in midtown. Nope, she is “employed at self”, that is what her Linkedin caption says. She fabricates stories, that are kind of outta whack, that are not chronologically correct, that lack perfect story arcs or, for that matter, any story arcs. She used to be a better writer when she did not know about story arcs, when she used to pen gallery reports, back in her first year at art school. Her new project has 4697 words already, it is slightly autobiographical, but apparently that holds true for all works of fiction. It is ten in the morning, time for her mid-morning tea. She puts on her red overcoat with the navy-blue trim, runs down the stairs, makes her way to the Whole Foods on Union Square. She enjoys the freshness of early April in nyc, she is happy that it is not raining, not even drizzling. No April showers as of yet, mayflowers have to wait. She walks by “cupcakes by melissa”, gets a caramel-salty one. Fishes two dollars out of her purse, gets fifty cents back. And on she marches, down to Whole Foods. April Thirty She does not really care about the exact date, all her days are kind of smushing together. Her writing is not very good, but, on the other hand, it seems to be good enough. Good enough to be sent out to agents. She ponders what she should write in her bio. A writer from Brooklyn, a writer who does not live in Brooklyn. As if geography matters. Her writing is not about Brooklyn, it is not about anything. If push comes to shove. She could just as well paint flowers on a yellow canvas, colourful flowers, rainbow, against a yellow background. At least flowers go

18

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

with the couch, they have market value. Her writing, on the other hand, it is all over the place. She runs by the Duane Reed, she takes the steps up to the second floor at Whole Foods, she has a peppermint tea, she will have a free tea next time. She puts her coffee card back into her wallet. Gets a free seat near the window, looks down at Union Square, ponders a tad, ponders a tad. Her writing is way too jumpy, way, way, way too jumpy. Union Square at ten thirty on a still drizzly April day. Whatever happened to spring? May ten She fashioned her query in a more logical way, the query seems to be more intelligent than the book itself. So is the synopsis. She has to reread the manuscript, she feels like vomiting. Writing is such a super dull job, you must be out of your mind to pursue a career as a writer. She will have a hair cut, a tea, not necessarily in that order. June One It is pretty hot here. Her car broke down and she had to schlep all her stuff back home. On the telly, Friends. August Two Edinburgh, Scotland. She rented this stuffy room in an old mansion. They rent their rooms out to students on a monthly basis and during the summer time, tourists come here too. She is happy, she will stay here until September First. Then she has to pack her bags and roam somewhere else. She secured a writing grant, a research grant. It is actually a kind of combination of arts and science grant, it is miniscule, a pittance, but still. Will make her afford to work on her, well,

19

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

novel. It is still the story she started up in the “literaturhaus” residency, it has totally changed and is now standing at a wordcount of 157 000. Pretty good, huh? She inserted a silent lovestory into the mix, she tried to dabble into having shades of spyintrigue, more in a dated kind of cold war way, did not really work. Nope, she is no Ian Fleming, then again, maybe, even Ian Fleming would not be able to write for the new millennium (so to speak). She ponders, she liked SKYFALL, it was pretty near to the James Bond Aesthetic of the sixties. It paid homage to Sean Connery without him being in it. That is cinematography for you. She goes out for a walk, so this is Edinburgh in August. Not that she has ever been here before, she has hardly any preconceptions of any kind, lets the streets dictate her walk. It is five in the afternoon, she is slightly hungry. Crumpets anyone. She ponders, are crumpets British or Scottish, she sees a Mc Donald‟s, that must be Scottish. The Mac is a give-away. She should find a pub, she is tired, though. The flight did her in. Ah, jetlag, jetlag. She should work on her writing, she is utterly dislocated. She stops at this cute little boutique and purchases a white hat. The saleslady is very nice, a British rose if there ever was one. The name of the boutique is BOUTIQUE LINETTE. August Twelve Edinburgh is getting to her, she has seen all the sights, walked through all the parks, frequented each and every museum, she had enough and her legs hurt. She should write, not walk. And she is over-aled, she cannot stomach this much alcohol. September Three

20

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Back in Vancouver, finally, finally. In front of the telly, in front of her laptop. She ponders, she threw Brooklyn and Zurich and Edinburgh and some other places together, there is definitely no inner logic to this her book, she ponders if she can explain it with being artistic. The poetic license card. Is kind of like a dress with a long sleeve on one side and a short sleeve on the other, nothing goes with nothing, she types way and hopes for the best. The chronology seems slightly off, she should make a big storyboard, put it on the kitchen table, it would be her blueprint for the novel. She keeps on misplacing her outlines, but she cannot really lose a big sturdy foam board. She is now working on two books at the same time, one that is a rewrite from the “literaturhaus” days and another one, that documents her life in literature land, her struggles with the writing process. And her travels associated with that. She definitely liked her time in nyc, but she ran out of money. The place in Williamsburg was too expensive; it is easier to write here on the green kitchen table. And stop and spellcheck, spellcheck. September Twenty-Four A reading at the WIRED MONK, on Thursday evening, at the corner of Trafalgar and 14th. Ah, Kits, old hippies, a very white crowd. She has stage-fright, this is her third open-mic event, ah, well, it went pretty well. Could have been worse. Everyone claps politely, she makes sure that she stops after seven minutes. The woman in green gives her a sign, waves her hands. Clap and clap and clap and clap.

BOOK SIX- HOW MANY WORDS DO WE HAVE HERE? She sits at the little beige table in the left back corner, this coffee shop is slightly on the quaint side, it had pretty good reviews on Yelp. A woman with unwashed hair and glasses to her right, a

21

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

too dolled-up woman with a high up-do to her right. Takes all kinds. They both are staring with the same glassy look at their laptop screens, even the way they scratch their hair is freakishly similar. She is pulling her green toque down over her eye-brows, she has lost all feel for time and space. She is lost in the creative process, she just wants to barf. She hates being a fiction writer, she should pen non-fiction, talk about tangible stuff, tether next to academia. Or something like that. She slurps at her too cold macchiato, she hates macchiato. She is losing it, arguably. Barfing would be good, would be a welcome distraction. Her laptop‟s battery is way too low, it might shut down any minute. Time to shut down the computer, time to peoplewatch. It is five in the afternoon, she is pissed off, she wrote too much. Time to take the bus home, her car has a flat tire. She should write about giraffes. ----------------------------------------------------------------She has 6047 words in this book, but she has near to 200 000 in the “literaturhaus” tomb. 200 000 words, how many pages would that be? On the telly, 3rd rock from the sun, funny funny. the background music to her constant typing, how exhilarating. -----------------------------------------On the telly, THE OFFICE. She came to the conclusion that she is not able to fashion the perfect story arc, thus, she might as well throw in the towel and document her wordcount until she is at 100 000, just march forward and write, write. She will from now on let go of the MIRANDA personality, she will query agents for the “literaturhaus” tomb, she will just happily keep on typing like a tapdancer who taps away merrily. Like that like that.

22

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Lots of narratives are confusing, this is just one of them. ---------------------------------------------------------------Change of mind, her alter ego should be revived. She is now on the way to St. Petersburg to be part of a fictional book convention. She will deliver the keynote speech. Yep, why not, why not. She might as well fall madly in love too. In her spare time. She should water the dying plant in the living room or fold the laundry, either way, either way. Experimental writing, what is that? ---------------------------------------------------------------She has 6260 words here, she ponders, if the narrative is somehow salvageable. Would be nice if she could make up her mind where to position her story. And last not least, should there be giraffes? --------------------------------------------Maybe the best way to write a novel is to take each and every sentence and fill it up with ten times more words, kind of like decorating an empty mansion. Should work, yep, could work, could, should. Repetitions are good, too. ---------------------------------------------------------------------Yep, she ran out of steam already, writing is quite a tough job. Maybe, she should once more start to infuse random dates, maybe she should wax a tad more about Zurich or Brooklyn. 6371 words, only only only only. December Five

23

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Outside, snow. On the telly, people‟s court. She had an apricot slice, a salted caramel, whipped cream with honey and walnuts and a tea with milk. On the telly, two exes battling it out. The pretty judge, the one with red hair. Kind of tough to type and listen in at the same time. Especially, if you google stuff in between. Ah, to short attentions spans. 6447 words. nice, or at least nice enough. Sometime In Spring Writing while the telly is on, while the sun shines outside, while food is waiting to be cooked. The story is slightly on the fragmented side, there are holes and glibs, it is tough to polish each and every part of a story and make it sparkle. Lots of times it is not even good if one tries too hard, the right sequence of words has to flow effortlessly. Like a well-choreographed piece. Yep, that is how it is, apparently, apparently. It does not really make any difference where one writes, the geography does not influence the writing. Something like that, something of that kind. On the telly, once more the judge with the red hair, two men suing each other, they look very much alike. 6586 words, for now, for now. Some Other Day She is sitting in her little studio which is above a butcher in Reykjavik. Yep, she flew as far away from home as she could, it is pretty warm outside, it is May, apparently, it is warm everywhere on this planet when it is May. Her writers` residency here in Reykjavik is pretty short, three weeks, a colleague of her did a residency back in 2007, in this same city. It was with a different institution, it was a visual arts residency. But both residencies are funded by the cultural ministry of Iceland. Author here feels slightly dislocated, utterly dislocated. Time to sightsee, show me some geysers. To write about. That is what we do here, we scour the world to find stuff to write

24

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

about. Apparently you cannot find inspiration if you sit in your own room and close the doors. Seems, Virginia Wolf had it all wrong. She works a little bit on her ``literaturhaus`` epic, she then documents her writing , her struggles with writing. 6763 words, ah well, ah well. -------------------------------------------------------------------------She took the S2 to Smaralind, apparently the largest mall in all of Iceland. It is three in the afternoon on a Saturday, it sure is one big mall. She gets a tea, chamomile tea, she starts sipping it while letting the sea of humanity drive her forward. She enjoys her minutes away from the laptop, this place is more interesting than the chore of writing. She looks around, windowshops, prices here are higher than back in Vancouver. Where is Bjork, she has a wagonload of stereo types to load onto the page. How about discussing the swan dress. She has a salted caramel, it is very fresh and makes her teeth feel silly. Silly is not the right word, but who cares who cares. Gotta waltz thru the mall, gotta forage for stuff to write about. She has ``bland i poka``, candy in a plastic bag, (according to lonely planet), the young saleslady with the red locks and the pretty smile, well, smiles. Ah, Reykjavik, Reykjavik. Who wants to write when you can explore this beautiful city. Brooklyn, who needs though for writing a story. And we have 7000 words, not bad, not bad. She ponders if she is the only writer on this planet who constantly congratulates herself. This is not what other writers do, they fashion story arcs. Oh, well, ah well, everybody is different. And two more words to slither over the border into 7000-word-land. 7011, yay nd yay and yay and yay. October Thirteen

25

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

The weather is pretty good here, she can see the blue sky over the ocean factory, there are sprinkles of cumulus over the bridge, it feels more like summer than fall. Back in the art school, back, back. Slight pangs of WELCOME KOTTER, this keyboard fights her just like it did back when she was a student here. She still likes it, she thinks more about the words she pens, puts down, pushes down into the keyboard. There are remnances of filth, brown stuff between the ultra white keys, but not too much, not enough to make her barf all over this place. Non-vomit inducing keyboard, so that is fine, fine. There are lots of people here, it is at the end of the morning block, the afternoon block, everyone streams into this library. There will be a talk, which is open to the public, but she has heard the artist before, she does not really feel like sitting in an overcrowded auditorium, she feels more like pushing down keys, klimpering away @ the piano. She likes to write this her masterpiece, the “literaturhaus” book is sitting in her nightstand, fermenting like fine wine. People have wine cellars, maybe they should have book cellars. Where they let their manuscripts lay, waiting to be edited, eventually. Reread eventually, eventually. She scratches her too grey hair, she has 7244 words already, already, already. She longs for far away places, a duck pond in Singapore, the fashion place on the second floor of Harvey Nichols, she wants to be somewhere else, anywhere anywhere, where people speak in languages that she cannot decipher, where there is nothing else to do but work on all your masterpieces, on the ones that have been penned already, on the ones that are still awaiting their births. Something like that, something of that kind. Far away from Brooklyn, she is so very very very far from Brooklyn. March Seventeen

26

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

She sits in the Mc Donald‟s in the side street near 14th, on the second floor, she looks down at the hustle and bustle of 14th. She ponders, she should go back to the writing coop, but somehow she prefers to be far away from the other writers. She likes to hear herself think. She should go back to filmmaking, to painting, to anything but writing. She is more talented with paint than with words, she knows how to shoot an animation, she likes to shoot 100 images in half an hour. Using an animation stand is more physical than writing, so it seems, so it seems. The right amount of movement will automatically make for superb words, so it seems, yup, so it seems. She sips at her tea, scarfs down her cheese burger, ah, health food, health food. We will all die, eventually, eventually, eventually. She received a form letter, apparently, her text was not good enuf. A form rejection. Who are these people who cannot decipher the amazingness of her words? Were her teachers wrong? Nah, can‟t be. She feels slightly glum, but definitely not glum enough. She can still pen some more words. Or go down 14th to get a “Cupcake by Melissa”. Either way, her day will come to an end. She is pretty philosophical, philosophical in a crappy way. She feels like not talking to anyone. She has slight pangs of anti-socialness. Wants the city to motion her forward, the hustle and the bustle, the like and the like. She has 7598 words here, alrighty, alrighty, alrighty ah alrighty. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------she is falling asleep here, she was listening in to an artist talk, which was just so very sleepinducing, it was all about visual art and illustration and the like, the woman was talking very rapidly in a very quiet voice, with a low tinge, it put her to sleep, author here ponders if she is once more mixing up the tenses, the pronouns, she is so very confused, her writing style is way too confused, but, hey, she finally found the bakery that was highly recommended by her friend,

27

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

it was in this place that used to be an animation studio, on Fir, Fir, Fir. She types and types and types. Yup, once more back to FAR AWAY FROM BROOKLYN, should be a title for a book, as good as any, as bad as any. April Seven The year is irrelevant, she is sitting in this little side café in Milan, the exact address is irrelevant, the time of the year is irrelevant, the only thing that is relevant is her green pen over the paper, she ponders why she is using a green pen. She took the pen from the hotel in Abano, the green is so very strange, should make for some strange words. She is falling asleep even though it is only one in the afternoon, she slept until ten in the morning, she oversleeps constantly these days, she has this so very skewered sense of reality, of dislocation, of feeling so very grounded. Everything is strange and it does not help that all of her texts, all of her words are constantly rejected. There is just no one who wants to publish what she writes. She should have a contract with a newspaper, they will then publish whatever she writes. They have to, you are on their payroll, it is much more difficult to be a freelancer, which is basically what an author is. At least that is how she understands it. You write something and then take it to market. First you form the product and then you try to get paid. Hmm. She needs a strong drink, a stiff one, maybe chamomile would be good. We do not do stiffer than that, that is why our words are not printed. If you cater to the doily crowd, well, then, good luck, ah, good luck. She should start her own media conglomerate, in her spare time, in her spare time. She should dictate the tastes of seven billion, yup, why not, why not. Opinion making, ah, could be fun, could be, should be. Her crap is just as bad, just as good as what is out there. And stop, and spellcheck, spellcheck.

28

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

December Second She is now sitting in this little café in Curitiba, the one near the Metro Hotel. It is very nice here, being that it is summer here in Brazil, when it is winter in the US. And Curitiba is so much more temperate when compared to Rio, which was so humid and hot. Yup, traveling is fun, but her main concern is her writing and it does not really get better with changing your locale constantly. You should just sit in one room and close the door, and write and write. Ergo, Virginia Wolf was right. She ponders, is it Wolf or Wulf? One F, two F‟s? She sips her tea, looks out the window, scratches her nose. May Three She is wearing her neony green glasses on her hair, she walks down from her hotel here in Ascona to the city, she sits down in the first little coffeeshop. Trattoria or whatever it is called here. She orders a peppermint tea, they put a wedge of lemon next to it. Nice touch. The café is cool and shady, just the daylight from outside seems to be enough. She likes it here, she can work on her book. She has 8271 words, pretty good, huh? Her 200 000 word tome is fermenting back in her night stand in Vancouver, her new project is taking shape. To call books projects, it seems to be the lingo of the trade. The publishing trade. She is still new to it, even though she writes since the beginning of time. October Seven Once more in the library of the art school, she has a pass to use this place, but she is not quite sure if the librarians know that. She feels watched, ah, paranoia, a woman to her right takes a sip out of an orange cup. The woman to her left makes noise with her book. Behind author here, conversation fragments, a short laugh, a louder, so much louder laugh. She ponders, the story

29

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

here is way too thin, nothing is really happening, only the everyday, the everyday. No explosions, no sordid love stories, nothing like that, nothing of that kind. She observes her glasses lying next to her umbrella, next to her mittens, she ponders if that is the right verb, does one “observe” inanimate objects? She stares at the COPYRIGHT GUIDELINES, something falls down behind her, with a loud noise, the day marches forward, forward. It is three in the afternoon, a simple and ah so boring day. The music of her pushing down the keys, metallic singings, yup, that kind ah that kind. She fills the page and that is all that counts, someone laughs, happily, happily. A door closes, a door opens, woman next to her takes another sip from her coffee cup. November Three She stares at the screen of her laptop, she is back in the writer‟s co-op on 14th, it is nine in the morning. She is the first one here, she took the train from New Haven first thing in the morning, this does not seem feasible to take a one hour and a half long ride just to come to the city. Not feasible, not feasible at all. Her story is way too wonky, her locales do not match, her dates do not match. Stories have to have an inner logic, so they say, so they say. You cannot invent the wheel, can you, now can you? She should go back to pottery, to animation, texts have to have meaning and her meanings are arguably defect. Ah, the persona of a writer, she should work on that, work on that. She needs a nom de plum, she needs a new e-mail address. One where her names correspond. Something like that something of that kind, she needs glasses and an updo or at least a bun. The bun of a librarian. She should get rid of her short blond hairdo. Something like that, something of that kind. She should try on different personas, kind of like she would try on different dresses. Ah, the life of a writer, so dull and so dull and so dull and so dull. She feels like having an almond croissant, in the little bakery in Chelsea, the one where everyone tries to

30

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

project an aura of intellectualism. Yup, that one ah that one. And we type here and type here and type some more. 8793, pretty good wordcount, yup, pretty ah pretty. She wishes she was back in art school, when you just had to wing it for class. When you did not need to sell your words. Ah, nostalgia, nostalgia. She should take a writing class, a Gotham Writer‟s Workshop. There is one meeting in NYU, in a side street in Chelsea. Twice a week. She sure is not able to wing it on her own, now, is she, is she? She inserts question marks whenever she feels like, apparently, that is not how you write how you write. She repeats words at random in order to fill up the word count, she should go to Bed Bath and Beyond on Sixth, she needs a bath mat. An olive green one. She should just keep on typing, she will soon reach the ten thousand mark. Or she will keel over. Either way, either way. She ponders if she should e-mail her story to someone to critique, nah, she is not good with criticism. My words are the best, you have to read them and you have to laude them. Praise them. If you know what‟s good 4 „yer. Ten more words and we will have 10 000, one more, and she‟s outta here, outta here. Sorry, big mistake, 9000. Ah, only 9000 words in 4 days. Her stabs at fictional stories all ended in nowhere, there is no coherence whatsoever, thus, let us just watch Seinfeld. Elaine in a lemony- yellow blazer bouncing a tennis ball up and down in Jerry`s apartment. Now, Putty and his face-paint to support the team. Jerry, Kramer. And now the game in Madison Square Gardens. George and his girlfriend. Author here ponders, is this really all she can do, document Seinfeld scene by scene. Well, at this point, seems that has to suffice. She should go on the Nano Wrimo site and adopt a plot. She has 9000 words already, not ten thou as she thought before. She feels tired, she has to fold laundry, the like and the like. Do the dishes, sort what is in her fridge. Check her tire pressure, sleep, eat and write. Make up fictional stories about fictional places.

31

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Send her stories out to potential publishers, receive their rejections, shrub it of and start all over again. These are her days of a writer in the new publishing era. Maybe and maybe and maybe. BOOK SIX- PONDERINGS AND OTHER STUFF March Twenty-Nine She runs after the tram near the Globus. Doesn`t catch it. Which is fine by her. She turns around, walks to the Hauptbahnhof. Zurich in the end of March, nice, nice. Her ``literaturhaus`` book is still fermenting, maybe it always will. Some books are just not ready to be published, especially if the narrative, the story has way too many holes. It is nine o`clock in the morning, she wonders if the sprungli in the bahnhof is open. It is, it is open from 6:45 in the morning to 11at night. She gets five Luxemburgerli, pretty expensive. Raspberry, chocolate, stracciatella, vanilla, mocha. She sits down in the big hall of the Hauptbahnhof, starts people watching. Thinks about her writing, her writings. Watches the ever-changing ads on the big screen. Feels like a fish outta water, her favourite state. The perfect state for a perfect writer. The Nordsee is not open as of yet, after all who wants fish in the morning. She ponders if she should stroll down to the silverkugel, she likes it there, she can sit there, do some writing. Or at least think about her writing. Feel so sorry for herself, for her stringent incompetence as a writer. Her difficulties with grammar, with orthography, with the whole shebang. With logic, with coherence. She could take a stroll around the museum of the art school, look at artifacts, the stuff that she is supposed to produce. Words are not her thing, the only advantage is the easiness of storage. A usb stick is all we need. She prefers pen and paper, writing the old fashioned way. Going for a stroll, sit down and write some. And then go for still another stroll. She has 9487 words, oh well, ah well.

32

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

May Seven On the telly, Rules of Engagement. The laugh tracks signal when to laugh. She tries to figure out how to defend jumping from locale to locale, after all she is not writing a James Bond script. How is a writer jumping all over the planet, a writer is no Madonna. And on the telly, still some more laugh tracks, ah, laugh tracks. 9555 words. 9555, 9555, 9555. August Seventeen Walking by the fresh beach, outside of Timmdorf, with bare feet. Pushing the toes into the sand, leaving little holes in the beach, that fill up with water, she walks walks. By the water, by the coastline. It is still early, sixish, maybe seven, she thinks a tad about her narrative, wishes for a storyline, at this point, the invisible writer is all she has. And seems, that isl all there will ever be to her stories, once she introduces other players, the story falls off the cliff. The silence, the isolation the solitude of the writer, of the artist that should be more than enough to describe, it is what everybody can relate to. The maker of words, the breaker of words. Or something like that. The painter in her studio, the animator at the animationstand. The lonely genius, the lonely nongenius. Her words suck, she knows that. But they have to be put down, in order to leave a remnance of her days, a visible trace. The inscriber of hieroglyphs. She feels hungry, she should go down to the village for a coffee, an omelet. Fresh sea breeze does that to you, makes you forget that you just had something to eat, makes you wish for more sustenance, something like that, something of that kind. She overuses the phrase ``something like that``, vagueness has its virtues, so it seems so it seems. She has near to ten thousand words, yay, yay, yay. October Three

33

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Her note pad on her nightstand, she looks out at Singapore at night. Ah, the lights of the city and it could be anycity. Her story is taking shape and that is all that counts here. No one cares about exotic locales and they are all exotic. One person‟s exotic is another one`s home. She can hear birds sing, which is weird, shouldn‟t birds sleep now. It is night after all. She feels slightly sad, slightly desolate. She could still go to the fitness center on the third floor, she has her keycard somewhere. Exercise would do her good, biking on a stationary. She does not really feel like scribbling some more words, she needs about eighty to make it to the round ten thousand, another milestone on the writing splash. Milestone, inch stone, whatever. She turns on the telly, there are too many buttons to push here on the grey remote control. Seinfeld is on, small wonder, seems as if Seinfeld is on, wherever you go. It is not even dubbed, it is in English. NO SOUP FOR YOU, she should make her way to the stationary bike on the third. 10 000 words, yay and yaya and yay and yay. December Three Typing, typing, typing. This is how her days are filled. In the other room, Three`s Company on the telly, the voices of the different actors are staccatoed by the laugh tracks. Her laptop is way too dusty, it is tough to clean all the crevasses between the keys. Outside, the sun is shining, the city is awaiting snow. Her left toe tells her so, haha. She slept a tad, that is what she does in between writing spurts. She needs an outline, instead of winging it. Her writing career is nonexistent, she writes but she does not sell anything. As of yet, as of yet. Anyevening Once more, at the laptop, on the telly, ``Friends``, time to type type type. An ad, a woman in a green coat and a beret, an ad with chocolate chips. An animation ad for easter eggs. An ad for

34

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

something called BB cream. an ad for Shaw. And once more, ``Friends``. She has 10 173 words, it is a pretty funny episode. Tough to watch Phoebe while typing up your amazing all-something novel. Janis`s laugh. Oh-my-god. Writing, ah, writing. An ad for a shower head. An ad for Olay. Or for Venus. Or for both. October Seventeen Sitting in the studio on the second floor of the north building, in the same room where she took her first credit class in art school, some 15 years ago, this room is now a studio that is rented out to 30 persons on a monthly basis, she did 7 drawings, which are lying on the table behind her, to her left, she thought it would be nice to feed some words to the machine here, you know, work on two projects at the same time, one in drawing, one in writing, both equally unsuccessful. These are exhibitions that will occur somewhere, sometime in the future, she does not really care, she just fabricates, produces, she will find the venues later on. Yup, marketing has to wait, first we execute, then we distribute. Fill the inventory, first in, first out, she should really take a business course or something. Outside the day, marches forward, she can see bikers and joggers on the other side of false creek, this place is very well-ventilated, she has enough, she should go down to the market, have something and then head home head home. It is Sunday, and you know what that means, buses go every thirty minutes, aarrgh aargh. And stop and spellcheck spellcheck spellcheck. We‟re outta here outta here outta here. October Seventeen This could be any art school she could be any art student. They are all the same. Usually, one nose, two eyes, one mouth, some hair on top of their skulls. They all say the same things, think the same things. Genericness rues. Like in the military. More so in an art school, there is major

35

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

overcompensation going on here. She holds her head down, types, types. Does not look at the purple lady to the right, the black and white checkered man to the left. The one with glasses and silver black earphones that match his attire. She stares down stoically at the keyboard, she feeds her words to the birds, to the birds. Well, technically, not to the birds, to the keyboard, like magic words sail into cyberspace, to be read or to not be read, they sail in the cloud, insignificant yelps. She has carpal tunnel syndrome lurking in the back, she has the sharpness of the grey table edge cutting into her left wrist. Even though she tries to make her hands kinda fly over the keyboard. Her words are dull and dumb, this is a Monday at the computer, she took the Arbutus bus, had a coffee and a banana loaf in the cozy coffee shop on Granville, walked by the ducks in the duck pond, is holding her head bowed, feels a cramp in her shoulders, her neck, her back, already already already. The woman next to her takes a sip out of the green cup, the green ecru white cup, she noises the scanner a tad too much a tad too much, one glance, her sweater is anything but purple, it is black and beige, but out of the corner of one‟s eye it becomes purple, magic, ah magic. She (the author), well, she ponders, will this be published can she market her words to a nice agent in nyc, who will then sell her words to an editor, while they meet up in the large Starbucks in Astor place, near to Cooper, while the sun shines in and illuminates the place, drenches it in sun lite, will the title fly? Far away from Brooklyn, what does that even mean. She ponders, was pondering while having her morning coffee, do stories have to be chronologically correct, is the “first things first”-stuffi-muffi not highly overrated? The woman next to her is eating, something like a scone, something which crumbles while she eats, the man next to her is cleaning his glasses with his shirt, author here types and types and types. She should insert some more fancy locales into this, she should tie the story together, she should make the dates march in line, one after the other, she should make this make sense, make sense. Voices in the back, it is

36

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

noon or something, she feels like keeling over and barfing, yup, why not, why not why not? Well, at least we have out health here, yup, at least the sun is shining, at least and at least and at least. Woman takes bites out of crumbling scone, ah, her days in the art school, so boring and boring and boring, art skools, they are just 4 da birds, yessirree, yessirree, yesiree bob. Stop devouring the scone, stop scratching your hand against the cardboard container. Stop, stop here, spellcheck spell check spellcheck spellcheck and spell check. She is happy here, she has exactly 11 000, with the magic of “copy and paste”, you push the right button, you have a book. A brand-new novel, this is how world lit is fashioned these days. These are exiting times for writers, the world is shrinking, technology flourishes, there are so many people enamoured with the new, enamoured with the new. She ponders, is it feeding time, should she take the bus over the bridge, have something, crepe or cake, come back- or should she just keep on typing, ah, typing. Should she once more make up stuff about far away places, grasp stuff outta thin air and smush it into her text, ah, there are so many options, too many, way too many options. Curmodgeon, what does that mean? September Three It is eight thirty in the morning, Jelmoli is not open yet. Ah, Zurich in September, it is still too hot, still way too hot. But not yet, it is still morning, she should go for a walk thru the Niederdorf. Or make her way up those endless steps up to the ETH, look down at this beautiful town, Zurich in all its glory, in all its picturesqueness. She could philosophize about this city, she read books, she knows her historical data, but at this point there is only one thing she wants, to bask in the first glimpses of sun, walk by the water, let her ideas freefall, stab at being a writer a writer. Writers have to have strong legs, they should be able to go for long long strolls, they have

37

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

to ponder „bout this, „bout the other. They should not have lives, the muse is their life, something like that, something of that kind. Lenin started out from here, Joyce started out from here. Max Frisch, Dada. Einstein. Calvin. Zwingli. This is as good a breeding ground for stuffi muffi as any. She is not quite sure „bout Calvin, but who really cares. Poetic license rules, ah, rules. Shopladies make their way to their work places, rushing, rushing. Bankers, everyone, everyone rushes. This is a strange city, quietly rushing, nowhere in the world is rushing so silent, so utterly quiet. She loves this very town, would live here forever if she only could. Make this her domicile. She will type some more, her text marches forward, back home in her nitestand, the “literaturhaus” tome is fermenting, ah, rotting. She will throw it out, it is no good. Max Frisch burned his first manuscripts in the woods, they did not recycle in those days, yup. That must be it, must be it. She walks, walks, by the life of this city, by the life of this city. She repeats her words, silently, so silently, a woman in colour sits down next to her, starts clicking the mouse, author here is mushing all her realities together, this is ah so weird ah so strange. Realities of a fiction writer, this better be good, better be good. December Three Nyc in December, nice and nice and nice and nice. She rushes up the steps to the second floor of the writers‟ co-op. her words have to be fed to the machine, have to, have to. She has near to 12 000, nice and nice and nice and nice. She should take the L-train down to Williamsburg, there is this nice coffee shop near Bedford station, they have waffles. The place is called KONDITORI, she loves it there. There are always some geeky nerds with laptops, you know, geeky, ah, so geeky nerds. Geek and nerd seems to mean the same, but you can still use the phrase “geeky nerd”. It is not illegal, in literature everything should go. She is so much better now, she tries to adhere to orthographical rules, gone are the days when she would spell the same word in two

38

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

different ways in the same sentence. After all, she has to play by some rules. She has to put apostrophes where they belong, the Chicago manual was not written in vain. Rules are rules are rules are rules. She ponders which kind of manual is ruling publishing, Chicago or MAA? She ponders, if it is MAA, she does not quite remember, everything she ever knew is forgotten forgotten. Senility, early-onset dementia, anyhoo, let us just keep on typing, typing. Her cubby, her cubicle, the happiness of anydilbert. And we type here and type here and type here. She could rush out and devour a “Cupcake by Melissa”, the person at the next computer has a way too strong perfume. Makes her keel over with vomit, slightly, ah, so slightly. Why do people in this city feel the need to douse themselves in objectionable odoury liquids, what has this world come to, come to? Qctober Ten An Antwerp Autumn. Three a‟s. Antwerp and An and Autumn. Ah, to be a writer in Antwerp, a shrivje. She is reminded of the blue grey book she has back home, tucked in the back of her night stand, next to the “literaturhaus” manuscript, the book about 222 shrivjes. She sneezes, she walks through this leafy avenue, with all these trees, she sits down on a darkgreen bench. It is too cold, she should go into a tea shop, into a coffee shop, find a pub, somewhere where she can write away. Maybe a department store caféteria. A hamburger joint., a university caféteria. You can start writing anywhere where there is a horizontal surface. Yup, you can, the words will just descend upon you. It is ok to not have a narrative, yup, why not why not? She needs sixty words more, so it seems, so it seems, so it seems. Repeating the words, should be poetic, like music, like exactingly choreographed stabs at coherence, at meaning, at melody. She throws the words at the paper, some of them stick, most of them fall off. She needs eleven more, she is finally there, finally, finally. Writing is so exhausting, so physically exhausting. She moves her head

39

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

down, can feel each and every disk in her spine, she should stop writing. Should start wallowing in the fascination with this city, with anycity anycity anycity anycity. She has 12 000 already, how nice and how nice and how so very very nice. March Twenty-Five She feels sick, she is sitting in the art school library, is typing, typing. She hovers at google maps, lurks, loiters. The place she is writing about is called PARAGRAPH, not “the writers‟coop, the cupcake place is called BAKED BY MELISSA, not “Cupcakes by Melissa”. Get your facts straight, lady. You can google anything and everything. She has 12 112 words, nice, huh. Her story is a non-story, apparently, apparently. Sprinkles of thoughts stabbed against the machine, in between playing with the computer, in between checking out photos of places so very far away. Gone are the days when you had to travel to do research for your writing, gone and gone and gone and gone. Brave new world, or something/and something, something. October First The membership fee for her space in the “writers‟ co-op” is due, she ponders if she should get the quarterly rate, it is less expensive in the long run. Still, even the monthly rate is so very good, besides, you have the interaction with the other members of the co-op. you can always go out to the street, go for some fresh air, let the street dictate its songs to you. You can twirl around in “Breakfast at Tiffany‟s-land”, you can go to the art schools near by, Parsons, Pratt. So much new yorkish stuff to do, so much new yorkish stuff to see. You can twirl back here, start typing ah typing. So what if there is no story arc, story arcs are for the birds. They are for teachers, for profs, for MFA programs, they are a way to teach the unteachable. To categorize the

40

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

uncategorizable. You cannot categorize art, now can you, can you? Whatere happened to the charm of the words, the ones that feed upon each other, the ones that are pondered, the ones that are uttered to the machine, she is losing it here, ever so slightly, ever so, ever so. In the back, someone coughs, haultingly, twice, again and again and again and again. The roar of the street, silently creeping into her text, time to get something to eat, time to stop this her text, for moments, moments. She puts on her lavender coloured hat, the one that looks a tad too youngish, she feels like twirling, she should get a grip of herself, writing is a dull profession, so they say, so they say. No twirling, you smith the words stoically, mechanically, forcefully, forcefully, forcefully. She is definitely hungry, time to join the living, time to rush down into the street, fast and fast and fast and fast. April One Feeling sick and nauseated seems to be her everyday these days, for her the whole year is National Novel Writing Month. More like National Novel Writing Year. Insanity is so palpable, she is losing any sense of groundedness, she wakes up in the middle of the night, feeling that she has to push down buttons, that she has to fashion words, produce sentences. This is how it felt to be an animator, you were constantly dreaming of drawing stick figures, they were galloping thru your head. It was bliss, used to keep her grounded. Words are not like that, they are ah so different from shapes and sounds. They have meaning. They have the “sticks and stones” factor, they are not exacting enough, they are way, way too ambiguous. The pretty woman next to her, the one with the throaty voice, she is moving her mouse scratchingly, the Mark Zuckerberg dead ringer next to her, is typing, typing. The day of a writer in the library of an art school, typing away, typed away. She feels sick, nauseated on so many levels, it is her against the machine,

41

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

against the machine. The blue COPYRIGHT GUIDELINES on the wall, the sun shining outside, she is on page 40, nice and nice and nice. At this point don‟t ask me about the date or/and the locale, this is written stuff, so far away from place and time, rotting figments of my imagination, the ones that do not cut it, that are way too ambiguous, too open to interpretation, to ovague, way way too vague. Writing non-fiction is so much better, so much higher up the hierarchy of words, rational, masculine. Stuff for talking heads, you cannot discuss poetry, you cannot cannot describe songs. The day marches forward, who knows, who wants to remember what day it is, what month it is, what year it is, what solar system it is, there is only one thing constant and that is her pushing down of all these little white squares. Someone blows her nose, his nose, in the back, someone sneezes like a kangaroo, ah, these are her days on this planet. She feels like screaming, that is how you feel when you are doing the same repetitive task, day-in and day-out, when writing becomes your ah so very weird vocation, when you step away from visual art, from fabricating vessels of clay, from making horses move over the screen, gallop over the screen. Mark making, huh, these days, words have to suffice suffice suffice suffice suffice. We need a tad more words here, in order to reach 13 000, some more steps towards the finish line, there are pangs of headache that have to be tended to, the race of the writer, whatever happened to slow writing, to contemplating, to shaping words and sentences with gusto, with patience. Hers is the shooting words under the gun, calypsoing them, that is why her words are way too dull and way too dumb, self critique is setting in, seeping into her text, making it vanish into oblivion, something like that, something of that kind. The woman next to her is peeling an orange, with gusto, anyhoo, we seem to have enough words here, for now and for now and for now and for now. October Seventeen

42

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

On the telly, King of Queens. It is still sunny outside, would be nice to have an afternoon stroll, walk to the bakery around the corner, get a star scone, walk back to the house, enjoy the afternoon breeze, the last hours of the day, enjoy the idyllic weather. Not too cold not too hot. Think about the words that should be fed to this machine. She ponders, she has enough of pretending to be somewhere else, fiction, nah, not her thing not her thing. She looks outside, the sun is bathing the upper part of the bushes in the distance, especially the ones on the right side. A bird flies by, would be nice, if she was able to set a story against this backdrop. While following the story on the telly. She has 13 175 words, this reminds her so very much of the writing spurts she has in November when she participates in NanoWrimo. She has to propel this to 75 000, she could change locales again, pretend that she is somewhere else, that interesting stuffi-muffi is happening all around here. which is not so off, after all THE OFFICE is starting up. Yay for Dunder Mifflin. She should go for a walk and dictate a story, record a gripping narrative. Describe the trees, the cars, the sky, the clouds. Describe her writer`s block. And up next, the office. She has 13 275, she should motion this forward to hit 15 thou by the end of the day. January Six She takes the bus from the hotel down to Copacabana. Rio in January, so hot, so hot. It takes forever to get downtown from Barrie di Tijuca, by the sandy beaches so full of people, by the Sugar Loaf, by Christos in the distance. Around her, Portuguese, Portuguese. She still does not speak the langage here, well, she can say OBRIGADA. She leaves the bus near to Copacabana, walks from the beach to midtown. Where the shopping is. She will meet up near the only corner she knows, she still has one hour to kill. She walks thu this grocery store, has an overpriced ice

43

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

cream with hazelnut flavor, it is very good. She sits in the back of the store and has her ice cream. There are chairs here, tables, women and men sitting and talking. Time to take out her writing pad, time to write, write. To put down slightly slanted letters, in dark blue, dark blue. While Rio is happening around her, while everyone is talking en Portuguese. The language reminds her of Dutch, same sounds, same diphthongs. It is chilly and cool in here, it is way too hot and sticky outside. Next time she`ll come to Brazil she has to make her way to Sao Paolo. She feels extremely dislocated, she just wants to hop on the next flight back to Vancitay. Her ice cream is finished, she has to find something else to do to keep herself busy. She walks over the street, explores this mini mall. Goes up the elevator, comes off the elevator. Huh, who would have thought, even Rio de Janeiro can be utterly boring when you do not have anything to do. Ah, tourists are bored, so are writers. That is how it is, that is how it is. August Five Rotterdam in August, gotta walk thru the city, gotta walk, if you do not have a bike. She sits in the lobby of the Hilton, she could be anywhere on this planet. March Twenty-Three Once more, THE OFFICE. Outside, the afternoon is embracing the evening, long shadows, the like the like the like. March Twenty-Five Seinfeld on the telly, Kramer, Jerry, George. Uncle Leo, Elaine. Newman. Because the mail never stops. She ponders if she can write a book while watching Seinfeld, the musings of a sitcom watcher. The laugh tracks make you write good stuff. Happy stuff. Or, maybe, sad stuff.

44

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

she finished page 44, nice and nice and nice. A Fiat ad. A Burger King ad. An ad for Toyota. The Seinfeld show is a collage of different parts, differing snippets. She has 13 728 words and she wants to make it to 15 000 by midnite. May Five She walks to the first floor in Powells in downtown Portland, she rummages through the travel section. Ah, Portlandia, the show that rubs native Portlandians the wrong way, obviously. Put a bird on it. Portland, where young people go to retire. She makes her way down to the cafeteria place, she gets a chamomile tea and sits down at one of the communal tables. A woman who knits a green shawl sits at the other table, a man who knits a white shawl sits at still another one. His shawl is very beautiful, a very ornate pattern. He is definitely going the extra mile. Outside the weather is kind of glum. Way too glum for May. Overcast in May, not nice, even for the Pacific Northwest. March Seven She needs some more words to make it to 14 000, at least. She is hungry, she would like to have something sweet. She had pizza, but it had olives on it. The cheese was fine though. 100 words, while Seinfeld is still on. Two episodes each and every evening. You get used to it, more like addicted to it. She ponders if these her observations are enough for a gripping narrative, probably not. There have to be explosions, there has to be some action. A love story maybe, something readable. Something worth reading. An illustrious story. She looks at the two sugar pots on the bookshelf. Who needs one sugar pot, let alone two. The key for the question mark does not work, who knows what makes these machines tick. An ad for fish sticks, an ad for ice cream. Ice cream and fish sticks. A young David Letterman. Funny and funny and funny. And 14 024 it is, yay.

45

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

March Something More like end of March, next to Good Friday and the Easter holidays. And you know what that means, houseguests from Oregon and a too filthy house. Which has to somehow morph into an utterly immaculate palace. By Friday, and today is Tuesday. She is sitting in the library of the art school, the sun is in her face, she should go to the back where it feels utterly claustrophobiainducing, but where there is no sun in your face. She ponders, maybe typing constantly will somehow translate into a sparkly house that minstrels will sing about, that will make herstory in Good Housekeeping, that will pass the white glove test with flying colours, that at least has no dirty dishes cleppering up the sink, that has at the very least fresh towels and fresh sheets. To that extent, one has to first do laundry, one has to take out the trash, one has to do recycling, one has to sort the food in the fridge. Aha, at least she has fodder here for her an extraordinary narrative, something that everybody and their uncle can relate to, a house, a place that yelps for order and the like. Housekeeping, huh, even if you are homeless, you have to sort what is in your bin. Apparently, apparently. She feels like keeling over and snoring, she did not have „ nough z‟s, this keyboard is utterly weird, it is extremely tiny especially when compared to the oversized monitor, there is no wrist support, which makes it tough to type and type and type. Today she will renew her studio space, it seems to do her good, she gets things done. The studio makes her produce stuff, artwork. If she could only secure a gallery that will represent her. And we type on type on, she must have been typing five hundred words, by now and by now and by now and by now. Nope, 350, well, still, not something to sneeze @ here.

46

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

She went thru downtown, ended up here in the library after a long long trek which should somehow produce fodder for her writing, translate into a superlative narrative. Yep, the faces on the bus, the faces on the train, this all should gallop your fantastic, your formidable writings forward. And if not, then, well nothing is lost, at least we tried and we tried. She ponders, there is even a you-tube video called FAR AWAY FROM BROOKLYN, seems, Brooklyn kinda commandeers a special place in – well, what really? There are not many books „bout Vancouver, maybe, she should change that? Or write a dissertation about that. Why are some places more the hotspots of our collective conscience. How come? Ah, cities, ah, cities. The hierarchy of cities. And we type here type here, fragmented sentences, half-baked thoughts have to suffice, suffice. For now, yup, for now, for now, for now. Students stream into this place, classes should have started by now, a white bird against the white sky against the white ocean factory. Granville Island is still sleeping still sleeping still sleeping still sleeping still sleeping still sleeping still asleeping. Once she starts a repetition she cannot stop, her singsongs move the text forward, ever so slightly, ever so silently. 14 568 words, yuh, and to think that it is not even April yet. April Seven She is once more in front of the strange computer on Granville Island, another desolate morn‟ in the desolate library of the local art school. A woman behind her crunches her chips in her mouth, loudly, while typing fast, in spurts in spurts. The air conditioner is deafening, it muffles everything here, the paper cutter rattles in the back, for moments, moments. Author here wishes for publication, for recognition, that is not gonna happen, artists nowadays, you know, they toil in utter oblivion, in utter not-being-famousness. Might as well, might as well, we scoff at this

47

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

century of celebrity worship, an author should toil without being known, like an artisan, like a plumber. Her metaphors are smashing and mind-boggling that is how we want it here that is how we want it here. 14 728 words, maybe 250 more and we are outta here outta here. We can make our way back to the house that is not clean and orderly enough, the one that will welcome houseguests while negating that by being too dusty, way too dusty. She needs friends, other friends, who do not mind the disorder of the place, people that can thrive on disorder. People that hang out in cozy coffee shops rather than in cozy living rooms. That watch TV in a sports bar rather than at home. Or we need a fulltime maid that cleans up after each and every move. Apparently that is how life is for Liz, you know, Liz of Buckingham palace. Liz of London. And we type on, we are neither funny nor profound here. Just wordy, always wordy. 14 867-wordswordy. Ah, to think that we can propel this forward, forcefully, fluently, fluently. She will read this her text in the KGB-bar, in Wired Monk, she has to do readings all over town, all over the nation. She cannot secure a publishing contract, but she sure as heck can stand in front of an audience and make a slight fool of herself. She has done that before, three readings to date. And lots and lots and lots more to come. Her visual arts career is not going anywhere, neither is her publishing career, she had two rejections in the last days, one by an agent in nyc, one by an arthingie in nyc. Ah, that is the price you pay for dabbling away, toiling away in art land. Should have done your math homework, when there was time, when there was time. A woman in yellow, the noise of the paper cutter, a zipper is zipped up, loudly, loudly, loudly. She ponders, the red icon on the interface irks her, murks her, an open book with a pen, all the time changing into a book with a red cross on it, weird, yup, strange. And you think there is nothing happening here, someone coughs, someone sneezes, ah, the sights and sounds of a desolate library, the ocean factory spews loud and long clouds of smoke up into the air, the

48

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

writer uses the wrong adverbs and the wrong pronouns, the so very wrongish verbs and nouns. MLA style does not live here anymore, anymore. There was a song about Brooklyn, there were the lyrics of a song about Brooklyn. This is what she does these days, she scours the web for Broolkynish stuff, Breukelenish stuff. To kind of tie it in with the title of this her book, reluctantly and reluctantly and reluctantly and reluctantly. She has 15 000, yup, and we‟re outta here and outta here and outta here. Before the words disintegrate too much. Before the last shreds of meaning vanish, ah, vanish vanish. November Three Back at home, while the telly sings its songs. RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, yup, funny, funny. A very familiar concept, people sitting in a New York diner, worked for Seinfeld, worked for “How I met your mother”. And the laughtracks sing along. June Seven She has 15 247 words, this is her second book that has Brooklyn in its title. Author here ponders, she should name her books Brooklyn 1 and Brooklyn 2. She might just do that, the book market is pretty swamped with books that bear the name of a city. It is the IN thing. May Twenty-Three The quietness in this place is deafening. Small pangs from the fridge, on the telly, Arthur Spooner and Carrie Heffernan, without noise, author here ponders if she should go out for a walk. Join the living. Do not just listen to the noise of the typing, it will render „yer nuts. Certifiable. That is why we are no visual artist who can stand the isolation of the studio, anystudio. You need the fresh breeze in your face, you need the city, you need people. You need

49

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

reality, yep, not everyone has what it takes to live like Robinson Crusoe. She‟d rather write in the library, words there just come out better, without even trying. That is how it is that is how it is. January Five Back in front of the telly, Big Bang is on, she feeds her words to the machine. At this speed she will pen one novel per month, about 100 000 words long, she will have 12 novels per year. This has to go somewhere, she will read books about plot structures, something like that something like that. The main impetus is to type away, type away. Typing as a way of life. Writing as a way of life. As many words as possible, as many sentence structures as possible. One day, some day she will stumble upon a new subject matter, something more interesting, more gripping than the life of a writer, the life of anywriter. Nobody is interested of the plight of a writer, of her struggles. So it seems, so it seems. Only writers, maybe. then again, every writer is different, they all have their own idiosyncrasies. Their own ways of overcoming writers‟ block. She just starts typing, wishes for a tub of strawberry ice cream or maybe Cherry Garcia, she writes about banal stuff, she watches TV while typing. Outside the night is happening, then again, the curtains are closed, one cannot even see what is happening. She ponders what else to write about. She looks down at the brown paper basket, she should clean it out, take out the trash. Maybe that will magically make her stumble upon a good plot, a fascinating plot. She uses the word FASCINATING way too often. We have 15 673 words here, should march forward so very forcefully. On the telly, the boys on their way to Carlsbad, California. To confront Todd Zernecki. She has seen this episode ah so many times, it is like back ground music to her constant typing. Now, Penny at the steering wheel, they are all driving thru the night. Exchanging jabs. THIS AIN‟T NO BEYONCE. Author here ponders if

50

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

watching sitcoms is good for writing, if one can even carve out extra special stories while listening in to constant laugh tracks. 15 761, not bad, not bad at all. She ponders when did she start out writing all of this. Her typing spurts all mush together in her conscience, she is not quite sure where her writings start and where they end. Now, it is Greendale. The show‟s name is COMMUNITY, author here ran into one of the actors in a restaurant. Funny, huh? She still needs to type 200 more words to reach 16 000. Nothing to write about, nothing and nada and zilch. Her back is hunched over, this is how she types and types and types and types. 150 words to make it to 16 000. August Fifteen Oslo in summer, so very nice, so very nice. All her life she wanted to come to Norway, it finally happened finally happened. She waltzes out of her hotel, she looks for a drugstore, she needs tooth paste. The sheer amount of humanity here in the city, the language that she does not understand, laughter, the hecticness of this place. The woman behind the counter, red locks, big smile. She finds a very nice coffee shop, she takes out her note book, starts scribbling scribbling. Peoplewatches a tad, writes a tad. Her tea is too aromatic, but it is warm and makes her feel all cosy snuggly inside. It is hot outside, but pretty cool in here. She needs thirteen words more, eight, write, ah, write. And 16 000 it is it is. June Seventeen

51

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

16 007 words, she has to catapult some more words into the machine, it is a wonderful summer morning, warm, but not too warm. Which is pretty nice for London, it is usually pretty hot here this time of the year. She ponders what to write about. Her book, her book, one of many, one of many. All these manuscripts that rot happily in her nite stand, yup, those ones, ah, those ones. She watches CNN, it is as if she is back home. Two talking heads, one with a beard, one without one, they both are bald, look like quintessential egg heads. And we type here type here, should go out and enjoy London, instead of typing her stories, her story here. March Seven Once more Italy, this small village outside of Perugia, she will stay here only one day, the inn is kind of shabby, though shabby in a romantic way. And there is the view, breathtaking. She will catch the train to Milan come morning, today she is way too tired, she will just sleep, read some, write some and sleep some. The bed has this cosy blanket with green-white patchwork-application on it, very stylish and elegant, especially given that the rest of this place is kind of kitschy, even run-down. She feels slight pangs of homesickness, but not much, not much, not that very much. September One Outside, the day marches forward, she feels isolated in front of the typewriter. August Ten Ah, the boredom of being a writer. While the world is happening outside, you are sitting here in a closed space, you are typing, typing. Your back hurts, the right side more than the left, between the shoulder blades, in a very subtle way. It is not a poking hurt, more a longing seeping hurt,
52

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

your neck is kind of outta whack, tilted down in an artificial, weirdly contorted way, you do not really think about words, you are strangely focussing on your neck, your shoulder blades, your back, the encapsulatedness, the muffling feel of being closed in. This is writing for „yer and it does not really change with the space, the place you are in. You could be anywhere, the words will flow onto the page, and you want to leave, want to run away from the typewriter. She ponders, this is not how it always feels, her descriptions of reality are all wrong, they always differ slightly, her book is taking shape, but in a weird contorted way. Maybe, she should move away from this her seat, write in a different location, hunt for better words, for more comfortable spaces. She can hear the noise of the lift truck next door, they are destroying the old house, building a new one, the noise is deafening, a tad. a tad. She sneezes, remnances of a cold, or maybe a cold that is still starting to blossom up. Her words against the white flowers outside, the startling pinks, her book that will hardly make it hardly make it. She should move to other places, where words become better, even if only by the action of moving. You motion thru space, you use better, more concise phrases. Sellable words, adequate words. She will move. Walking does that to you, a slight breeze on your forehead, the heat of the day, everything and anything will translate into the bestest of words. Ah, to be a writer, ah, to chose the mostest, the dullest of professions. She hums to herself, will heat up the ravioli from last nite, the one that came out of a package with a colourful picture on it, she eats a lot of these meals these days where you first see the image and then see the real thing once it comes out of the microwave. Her eyes start to water, this is what typing in a closed darkened space does to „yer. We need air here, we need human contact, we need the gibberishes on the telly, at least and at least and at least and at least. ah, to be at the bottom of page 53, for now and for now and for now. April Twenty-One

53

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

How do you really survive the e-rejections that are hurled into the yahoo-account, she ponders, maybe, a g-mail account would further her discoverability, would signal that she is hip, nondated. That her words are utterly superb, worth reading, worth publishing. She ponders, there is another writers‟ meet-up at twelve in this cosy-cute bistro meets coffee shop on fourth, the one where unpublished scribes meet up and wallow in their sorrows. All those writers with day jobs, who have to make sure to not lose their day jobs. The drudgery of selling shoes, of waiting on tables, of bussing, that is what keeps the literati alive ah alive. There are only a chosen few who climb up and down diverse bestseller lists, who give colourful keynote speeches in Frankfurt, in Jaipur and in Stockholm, and then there are all the typers the typers the typers. The authors who will descend into unpublishedness, the obscure creatures, the everydayers, the everydayers. Ah, to be a writer, shmeh and shmeh and so much of shmehs. Her words staccato, heap, cringe away, do this and that and the other. She starts staring at the bottle of honey, she ponders, whoever bought honey in a bottle, outside, some bird is singing, annoyingly, utterly annoyingly. More annoyingly than melodious, she should take this her laptop down to the coffee shop in the strip mall, near to the nail salon and the Subway shop, she should type there type there. She does not have a rainproof bag for the laptop, she has to type in here, then go out and meet the world, then come in here again, to type to type. Like poets of yesteryear, she is chained to her study, which in her case is the kitchen nook, and kitchen nook sounds better than kitchen table. Ah to type and to type and to type and to type some more. There should be a narrative, there is none and none and none whatsoever. 17 077, nice number, nice number, nice number, nice number. August Twenty-Three Italy is nice, though it could be anywhere. Big Bang on the telly, in English, she has seen this episode with the “wilderbeast” so many many times. Outside, overcast, kind of weird for

54

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

summer in Italy. So she is wearing a turtleneck, the one with the red rims on the sleeves. Sheldon and Raj, and laughtrack after laughtrack. She still has 17 and something thousand words here, this might not yet be enough to propel this into world lit. It is fun to write this, while watching TV in a foreignish country while feeling dislocated lonely, while having the blues, while being hunched over, while leaning against the laptop. She ponders if she should call it a laptop or a type writer, she ponders if her words are accurate, she has enough of writing, of typing, of all of these words. Betty White for Tide, a Chevrolet ad on the telly. In Italy to boot. She is so very far away from Brooklyn, but you know that already , after all it is the title of this her text. Saturday She had enough of using dates, she just denotes the day of the week. The time of the day. the weather outside. She does not really care about the location anymore, her writing disintegrates, disintegrates. To try to find your niche as a writer, it is totally hit and miss. Her middle finger hurts, this is not how you should write. You have to learn how to use ten fingers. On the telly, COMMUNITY. 17 297 words, she needs 80 000 words more, so that this will be a novel. She still has to construct a story, a gripping one, has to build cliff hangers and individuals that balance on them. 17 333, huh. October Three Some more words, some more words. She suddenly notices that she has to cook a meal for five, which does not really go with the writingish job. But seems, it is more fun to be chained to a computer than to be chained to some pots and pans. Writing is not glamorous, then again neither is cooking.

55

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

On the telly, King of Queens, she ponders how she can make that flow into her prose. She could make up something about some exotic locale, which obviously begs the question about what exactly constitutes exotic. Is five miles from here exotic, is five thousand miles away from here exotic. She ponders, there is a paper in there somewhere. On the telly, some ad for Disneyland. She has 17 500, pretty good, pretty good. She has to take the trash out, prosaic chores to propel the wordcount forward. Spellcheck and spellcheck and spellcheck and spellcheck and spellcheck. And spellcheck and spellcheck. January Seven Her writing, once more with the dates in there. She ponders, she should somehow insert a new chapter, you cannot really have the first five chapters in the first fifty pages, and then 300 pages of one last chapter. There should be the right increments, if we break the rules here, there should be a good reason, something of the plausible sort. There are rules and regulations about how to conceive of a literary work, this is not visual arts, not everything goes, there have to be reasons, logic and the like and the like. One day she will forge her way into non-fiction, just basically, because you can find a publisher. Or she could self-publish. Her writing career, fills her with night mares, she ponders, she should set today in Seattle, why not and why not and why not and why not. August Three St. Petersburg, so very beautiful in august. She sits in her hotel room and writes, seeing the sites has to wait. November Five

56

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Bremen in November, it is a tad too cold. She took the train from Hamburg, she slept on the train. a woman and her baby were in her train compartment, the woman was nursing. Bremen is a tad fascinating, a tad boring. It is five in the afternoon, on a Thursday. Lots of shoppers, everybody is wearing lots of layers, because of the chilly weather. Author here has not been here for thirty years, seems that nothing has really changed here. She suddenly feels like having an ice cream with hot raspberry sauce, the waitress is very young and very beautiful, with smoldering eyes, the ice cream is wonderful, the people outside are cold and she is warm in here. How do you spell bliss, she types up ten more words, five, we are at 18 000, seems good, good enough, good enough, good enough. February Twenty-Three She is having an ice cream in the little ice cream place on the second floor in the mini-mall, she ponders if one could call this a mini-mall, this elegant place near her hotel here in Helsingfors. She ponders, who travels the world to write a book, she definitely has to secure a five-digit book deal in order to pay for this. Investing in writing, this better be good, better be good. Visual arts, she could not pull that off, literary arts, she has to make it in this, come rain or high water - or however the saying goes. She feels dislocated and jet-lagged, but that seems to be her regular state now, confusion rules. The only thing that matters is the wordcount, we have to type here type here. On the telly in this place, Big Bang Theory, they sure are shown worldwide, they must have a really good distribution network. February Three Getting a hot dog at the corner of 23rd. and Fifth., just as much fun as Eataly and so much cheaper. Nyc in winter, pretty cold, pretty chilly. She makes her way to the PRET on 23rd., she

57

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

needs the shelter from the cold. Starts typing away, this is not really the writing crowd here, more the lunch crowd. She likes her hummus sandwich, she watches people walking by. Some sentences, some watching. August Five Typing, typing. The tiny coffee shop on West Boulevard, listening in to conversations while typing and typing. Her brownie is pretty good, she has a tad too many sweets all of these days. And too many nuts, too. Her writing confuses her, it seems to confuse everybody. She is overwhelmed by her editor`s e-mails suggesting all of these alterations. The narrative is totally changing and there is not even that much narrative to start with. She goes for a walk, a walk will always help. The brownie was way way too sweet, it is hurting her teeth on the right side. And her laptop is a tad too heavy, she focuses on all these small annoyances. It is five in the afternoon, she is slightly bored, writing does that to you, always and always. BOOK SEVEN - THE SCREENPLAY October Fifteen Apparently, someone wants to make a movie out of her book, which is kind of weird, given that it exists only online. She will meet up with the screen writer in this shabby little coffee shop on 5th. She ponders, she should have dressed up, more professional, more businessy. The woman is about ten years younger than her, she has brown hair in a short pixie, she talks very fast. February Six The screen play deal, did not go through, might as well, might as well.
58

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

March Twenty-Six She sits in the green chair, the one that is way too fluffy. Her writing sucks and she knows it. She is now writing for five years, each and every day, she is still unpublished. She has to sit down and work all her novels over, she has about ten of them, they have various lengths, they are all a tad too boring. Some of them are very chronological, others are all over the place. Experimental or something. The narratives are pretty thin, she is better as a painter. But for writing you only need a USB-sitck for storage, which cannot be said for painting. The myth that all writers live in Brooklyn, it is just a myth, just a myth. On the telly, THE BOB NEWHART SHOW. November Three She ponders if she should register for courses in the MFA program for Creative Writing at UBC. She cannot really handle criticism very well, she kind of thinks that it is everything but constructive. Crits in art school, they are utterly devastating. They take away your moxi. October Ten Brooklyn is so very Brooklyn, the Brooklyn of her imagination. Technically, she has been to Brooklyn twice, there is no reason why there should be more stories about Brooklyn than, say, Kerrisdale. Out here, life is just as boring or just as invigorating, there is sunshine or overcast, there are houses, there are writers. She is one of them, she ponders if her life would be, should be different if her stuff was published and well-marketed. Would her words be better, flowingly, would the run after the right parking space in the early morning translate into the accurate sequence of words. Would the pain chocolat she bought translate into words worth for posterity. These are the questions that are mind numbingly dull, short quisps of some semi-artist, one that cannot really cannot really. One that showers thru the city, a short sprint, the woman in the

59

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

trench coat with a belt around her waist, that should automatically shoot into the right wordings back at the lap top back at the laptop. Yup. A narrative would be good, so much better, an outline to follow, Paint inside the lines, do not swagger hesitantly all over the place. A treatise on writing, who would be interested in that, there are many manuals out there. everything worth saying has already been said, it has been done, done, so many times before. She listens in to her typing, what is the word count again, stop and spellcheck yup spellcheck. Save, save, save, save. The tea she brewed is getting cold, the day is hauntingly overcasted, there are too many reflections from the yellow lights above, round circles against the dark brown shininess of the lower part of her laptop. The date is irrelevant, so is the location here, let us just write and write and write and write. Into short pangs of oblivion, for now and for now and for now and for now. One Day It could be anyday, she could be anywriter. In a room next to the dirty dishes accumulating in the sink, while rain showers the city, while disorder interrupts her sense of order. While the sounds of the telly greet from the other room, while some weird and strange sounds come from outside. The desolation around the writer, the words that refuse to shoot onto the page, the writer‟s block that is so very gripping. The world outside, her paper here inside. She should have a beer, a whiskey or something, she could drive to the dainty place on 34th., should start staring at doilies. She could write against the boredom of midday, sprinkle quietness and solitude with, well, something. Her inarticulateness is deafening, the narrative is nonexisting, her words are not good enough and you cannot even throw a laptop into a garbage can. The drama of the writer, too subtle and too subtle and too subtle. 60 pages of this, it better be good better be damn good.

60

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Well, at least she has next to 18 000 words here, it is not enough to be called a novel, it is not even enough to be called a novella. But, hey, it is a start is a start is a start. May Ten On the telly, big bang theory. She ponders if she should write big bang in capital letters and use quotation marks, she just wikipediaed writer`s block, you should do that too, there is a lot of indepth info there, apparently put there by writers. It is even called a condition, kind of like a disease. Whereas in reality you just need to sit down and start typing, eventually something readable and gripping will crystallize. She ponders, she has to still write five times what she wrote until now, such a long voyage ahead, so many words to feed to the machine, all thru summer, spring, fall, winter. Her knack for not going chronologically, for not describing the locations she actually is in seems to improve, yup, an improving knack. On the road to authorsuperstardom, though she is still in the lowly alleys down in the slums of writerdom. Which is just fine just fine just finefine just. Hers is the penning of grocery lists and to-do-lists, textmessaging is a tad too convoluted as of yet, a tad too trying. She has 19 167 words, ah fine ah fine ah fine. March Seventeen Ah, finally, march seventeen. She has finally arrived. Gone are her days in anysuburbia typing up her stuff, while dishes rot mercilessly in the sink, now it is time for green room and celebrity. Yes, Charlie, no, Charlie, whatever, Charlie, who would have thought that she would be on Charlie Rose. She walks a tad taller, that happens if you are summoned by Charlie Rose. Ah, everybody wants a piece of me, what was the text of the song. April Five

61

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Wow, it is pretty rainy outside. The green plant is arguably crying, she is not a lady with a green thumb. Certifiably uninterested in plants. They should be out in the wild, not hunkered up inside a room to companion lowly writers, who are undeniably unsuccessful. That type religiously each and every day, that never ever get published. That write lower words, because if their words were any good, they would rush up the billboard charts. She ponders, bestseller lists, not billboard charts. Anyhoo, who cares here, let us just type and type. The edge of the table against her lower arms, outside, trees starkly against the rain, yelps of a fridge, desolation desolation. Writing as a profession, why, ah, why. is that all that you could do with your life, throw words onto a machine, where they sizzle and burn, ever so quietly, ever so slowly, like worms in the hot hot sun. Her metaphors are so off, might as well, might as well. Vancouver yelps at her like a siren, explore me, explore me, don‟t sit honkered up inside, waltz thru this city, so many places to explore. Walk around, somebody will know you, Dr. Livingstone I presume, her texts are slight gibberish, that might be fine, might be good after all. She has 19 407 words, a tad more a tad less. The orange cap in the distance, her words that are too insignificant, too much and too much and too much and too much. May Ten Back in Reykjavík, nothing has changed here, still same old same old. A good city to write in and that is all that counts. She ponders, the hotel is a tad too expensive, she should try to rent a studio or something. Studio sounds better than room, and more expensive too. More elegant, more elusive, exclusive. All kind of words that start with an E. A capital E. October Fifteen

62

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Her agent sent her an e-mail, you know, your book has too thin a narrative for being formed into a film, well, she used a different lingo, but that was the gist. And foreign rights, nah. Maybe your stuff as an e-book. Author here ponders, apparently she is not ``Readings at the Strand`` material. That is how it is, writing on the D-list. Might as well, might as well. Obscure books are the better ones, that is how it is, how it must be, how it should be. We don‟t need no kingmakers here, none, ah, none. Outside, too much rain, rain and rain and rain and rain and rain. October Ten Anymess, USA. Well, it is actually Italy here, Perugia, she is still in this small room on the second floor near a barn or at least it feels like a barn. She wants it to be romantic, very Italian, outside of the city. Which it is not. Her room is way too messy, Oscar in ``The Odd Couple`` would have been proud. She ponders, maybe this total mess will further her writing, she cannot really leave this place, she has to put everything into perfect order if she wants to go out for a stroll. After all she is only renting this place, it has to be presentable, what if the landlady comes in, which she should not, but anyways, we digress here, digress. Writing is such s chore, the mindless typing, the putting stuff online, the obscurity, the not being paid for your words. If she could figure out how to use PayPal, she might charge money for her words, but at this time she does not know how to do this, so her words have to sail for free thru the cloud. We need 200 more to make it to 20 000, she torpedoes words much faster in Nano month, what with the cyber community, here she is on her own, which kind of dampens the wordcount, she ponders, wordcounts cannot be dampened, her phrasings are so off again, time to throw this laptop into the next garbage can. The drama of a writer, the senselessness of writing. Painting would be better, more physical, you can hurl paint at a canvas, a writer has to sit still, apparently, Hemingway wrote while he stood. Or some other famous writer. Outside, chirps of birds,

63

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

outside, rain, outside happiness away from the typingish machine. Inside here, the desolation of writing, while ``Who wants to be a Millionaire`` plarres in the other room. 20 000, yay and yay and yay. Rainy Day She is sitting in the library of the art school, for some reason, there is a crit here in the library on the light table, it is pretty annoying, one cannot work here, her writing is superseded by the woman saying nice stuff about the work, which is basically a lot of plastic bags on the light table, apparently it is a laborious, work-intensive work, but if push comes to shove it is so very annoying, one cannot do research here or anything. The writer is utterly annoyed, she hates crits and the whole art world thingie, basically, of course, because it did not work out for her. She is a writer now, and that does not really work out for her either. It is weird how all these students try to read the weirdest things into the artist‟s work, everybody has something to say. Critiques are basically social events, visual arts is social. Or something and something. She ponders, literary stuff is the same, she will write a paper about the commonalities of the literary arts and the visual arts, a book, a dissertation. Always a dissertation. Always a dissertation. The critters, the crit people are still waxing on, after a while they will stop, then a pause and then clapping hands, applause. That is how crits go, very regimented, so very choreographed, in detail. She has 20 247b words here, give some, take some, outside there is rain and rain and rain, it is sometime after lunch, she parked her car in oakridge, she types and types and types some more. On a rainy day in Vancitay, could be any time of the year. Anyday

64

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Writing is a reason to write just like pottery is a reason to play with mud. Something like that something like that. She came to this utter epiphany while walking thru the ceramics place in the art school. There should be more to this, like animation is a reason to doodle etcetera etcetera. BOOK EIGHT - RANDOM THOUGHTS October Fifteen On the green couch, while the TV is singing its songs. More like dictating its songs. Dunder Mifflin it is, she likes that show but more so the T-shits that people wear, the blue ones with the Dunder Mifflin inscription thereon. She watches too much TV these days though one could argue if one can ever watch too much TV. Writers should watch a lot of TV, that is her conviction. Maybe that is why she is not an English teacher. And still another episode of THE OFFICE. She ponders, she should make up more stories about the writer in faraway places. You can easily do that, just google the specs of any given place. She ponders if ``specs`` is short for ``specifications``. She has 20 thousand words now and five hundred more to top that. Her sentences are kind of off, she wonders why her laptop here is misbehaving. She feels nauseated and just goes through the motions here in typing. She has writer`s block, but you know, the only way to get through writer`s block is to just keep on writing. Type mechanically, the words shall follow. That is how it is how it is. January Six

65

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

She is sitting in the coffee shop near the Bremen Hauptbahnhof. It is six in the afternoon, seems that stores will be open today till nine. She checked into her hotel, will be here for two days. Will work on her text, will go out for a beer later in the day, the night. Europe does that to you, makes you drink. Against the coldness outside, against boredom. Snow flurries are coming down, the city is chilly chilly. Last time she has been here, must be fifteen years ago, sixteen maybe. She feels strongly weird to write here, an elderly woman in a beige jacket and a strand of pearls is watching her. Author ponders, she feels short pangs of paranoia. But she has 20 666 words here and that is all that counts, all that counts. May Seven Sitting in the Mensa of the ETH, eating her lunch. Zurich in May, nice, nice. It is half past twelve, so many students, so many, so many. She pokes her fork into the peas, into the mashed potatoes. She listens in to the conversation of the two persons next to her, she cannot really understand Schwyzerduetsch. The burly one with the beard talks constantly, the thin one with glasses nods. She likes it here, you never feel desolate in this city. Zurich does that to you, she is way too beautiful. May Nine Enough already, the whole place smells like cheese. She feels utterly isolated and dislocated, Zurich is the most boring place on the planet. Well, at least she has her writing, though the battery of her laptop is off. She uses pen and paper, is rocking it old school. oldskool. August Twelve

66

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

On the telly, Sharon Stone, Sylvester Stallone. Detonations, fire. The last minutes of the film. Music, so very dramatic. A helicopter, silence, the pleasant sounds of a waterfall, a creek. Music, a man screaming, an explosion, a car, and happy music. Kiss of Sharon and Sylvester, credits rolling over the panning out, over the cityscape, the singing of a woman, fast, nice, nice, nice. The beat makes yer dance, yay yay yay. And to think that the film is twenty years old, where has the time gone, do not think about it, just keep on typing, fast and fast and fast and fast. Next to 21 000, wow, the novel does not have a story, but, hey, who needs one, typing for typings sake, that should be more than enuf more than enuf more than enuf more than enuf more than enuf. Gimme 28 more, write thru, run thru. 21 words, that is all we need here, that is more than enough for today, six more words, and we are there we are there we are there. 21 004 it is it is. September Five She rushes up the steps to the second floor of the building on 14th., she walked fast all the way from Penn Station, she is pretty psyched, the weather is still pretty fresh, a slight breeze, it is nine ten, she is the first one in the writers coop. She sits down in her cubby space, takes out her laptop, starts typing, typing. She can look out at the goings-on on the street, which is a tad too distracting, she catches herself doing da peoplewatch instead of constructing her sentences, she feels like going for still another stroll, coffeetime, ah, coffeetime. She walks out, there is this cute little cupcake place in a side street near union square, she can write later write later. New York is, well, New York, she is pretty happy to be back here, this can only be good for her writing, only good, only good. The coffee is pretty strong, she should have ordered a weaker one. She finds herself in THE STRAND, it is just more fun to look at what others have written. She could go to BARNES AND NOBLES, too, she feels kind of bad for not doing her writings. Strolling through the city is just so much more fun, she will write extra words come tomorrow.

67

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

October Seven Late in the afternoon, on the telly, SEINFELD. She types types, is happy to be back in Vancitay. She starts staring at the dying plant near the window, at the brown paper basket with the filigree border, she has to transcribe all her writings from her trip to New York. Her laptop did not work, she had to use pen and paper. Elaine and Jerry, it is the episode where Kramer swims in the East River. And now, George. Some minutes later, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. She has to type some, type some, type some. It is not November yet, but she still can type up 50 000 words in fifteen days. How tough can it be, how tough, how tough. On the telly, a hot pocket ad, a dennys ad. She ponders, how come the laptop has a mind of its own. She has 21 347 words, if she keeps at this she might just make it to 22 000. June Seven She looks out the window, she has never before been to Singapore. Fun, fun. Ah, to come to the other side of the world just to be inspired to write. This better be good, better be good. She goes down to the lobby, it is pretty busy, people are checking in, checking out. Too late to go to see the sights, she might just as well have a tea and catch up on her writing. Yup, why not, why not. October Four She orders scrambled eggs. For breakfast. A hearty breakfast that should make her write the right wordings. The waitress takes down her order, brings her eggs and a coffee. The breakfast is included in her hotel bill, which is nice. She looks around, most of the hotel guests are Swiss, but there are two men from New Jersey, too. The hotel is pretty small, so is this city. About twenty

68

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

minutes by train from Zurich. She will stay here for five days, some shopping, some walking, some writing. A lot of writing, hopefully, hopefully. Maybe, she will even stumble upon a story arc. Stranger things have happened. Non-narrative, not cast in stone. May Seventeen And to think that she had to fly all the way to London to watch this episode of RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. She did the sightseeing chore all day long, now it is time to type and type and type. While the telly roars, roars. A Honda ad, a Toyota ad. She ponders, her writing is way too blah. She watches TV, she types. This is not how great lit is fashioned. This was not how Tolstoy rolled. But, hey, at least the word count moves forward, she has her eye on the little icon on the bottom right side of her screen, she is so very happy about every 100 words. She needs 300 more to get to 22 000. Thus, typing it is typing it is. August Fifteen Just fast words, just fast words. Walking by the Limmat, first thing in the morning, the freshness of the reluctant breeze, she is ready to tackle anything and everything. It is a sleepy Saturday morning, but somehow it seems so much more hectic than the weekdays, people want to cram everything and anything into their weekends, chores and chores and chores and chores. They are not waiting for some aloof writer to observe and document as meticulous as a surveyor. She has pen and paper, she will transcribe this in the years to follow, revise everything, every comma, every apostrophe, edit and edit again, polish the work, polish her work. Make it sparkle which kind of implies that her sentences do not sparkle and shine at first try. She has fed so many words to the machine, accurate poetry comes so very easily. If you play your instrument each and every day, even the lowliest fiddle makes the sounds and yelps of a Stradivari. She ponders what does

69

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

this even mean, her metaphors holper behind meaning, but who cares. Just type, just scribble, just leave some words against a paper, fast and fast and faster. She walks down to the Silberkugel, it is closed on Saturdays, she returns to the Hauptbahnhof, has a tea in the place with the glass partitions, she can see people rushing to their trains, she feels content, happy to not have to rush anywhere, not to be anywhere. She just has to amass words, that is her title: wordamasser. She will put that down in the occupation field, yup, wordamasser, written-downwordamasser. The day looks gloomy, is waiting for being too hot, too firy, it is seven in the morning, so many words waiting to be written, so many and so very many. Later in the day she will take a walk by the literaturhaus, they have other artists in residence now, fresh horses, fresh faces, fresher faces. She has 22 000 words by now, which is pretty good, pretty good. This weekend she will pen 3000 words, easy peasy easy peasy. Still no narrative, nada, zilch. Zurich is growing on her, ever so slightly ever so slightly. The whole city smells like cheese, she ponders who said that, a pretty derogative phrase. And it is not even true, nowhere here smells like cheese. It smells like freshness, like a breeze that wants to glimmer around, that seized to blow because it remembered that it is the beginning of mid-august, she ponders, her words are so utterly meaningless, that happens if you scribble away, scribble away. In the distance, a horn, yowling, her words are a tad off, she dunks a piece of sugar into the peppermint tea. She should have asked for chamomile tea, she feels utterly sleepy, people have more interesting tasks to fulfil than penning useless words, ah, trivial trivial words. A writer is someone with too much to say, who is desperate for an audience, she has to utter her stumbling, useless words, for moments, for moments, in the glaring spotlight for moments moments, only to pause, to be swept away by thundering applause, that seizes quickly only to be taken over by people finding their coats and their shawls and their

70

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

hats, gloves, leaving to catch the lastest train, the lastest bus. She ponders how many words here, how many how many. May Five And still another try at this, she left her laptop in her cubby up on the second floor of the writers co-op, she rushes over the street to get office clips from the Kinko‟s left of Pratt. New York, New York, it is ten fifteen, she typed way too much, time to go for a stroll. It is Thursday, the boutiques near to the Mac-store should be open, she ponders, what is the exact term, apple store or Mac store and does it even matter. She could have a slight tea on one of the wobbly tables on 14th and ninth, the one where the mta-officials take their morning breaks, the weather is nice, not too hot yet, not too humid yet. She has to go to the bank at the corner of fifth, she has to be in ten different places at once. She must have some 23 000 words, give some take some. A writer who counts each and every one of her words, she should be titled word counter. A more accurate term than writer, at least in her case. Quantity begets quality, has to has to, should. A woman in purple socks, a young man in a borsalino. Trendy hipsters, this is New York for yer. Two fattish construction workers yelling their thickish New York drole at each other, the noise of the city, hustling, bristling, the like the like. The kosher deli with its Chinese cashiers, this is Seinfeld town, a tad a tad and a tad. Every two streets here are different from each other, no city on the planet is homogeneous, every nook and corner on this planet is different from the next. She will sell her words, eventually, eventually. but at this time she will go down to the Chelsea Piers market, wobble thyu the lines in front of the posh brunch bakery places, will say no to the pretty woman who sells raffle tickets to win a Fiat. She looks like J. Lo herself, the day marches forward, forward, forward. She remembers that it is Thursday, but the day has such an utter Saturday-feel, must be the weather, the weather. The not yet too hot weather, yup, that one that

71

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

one. She does not feel any hints of dislocation which is pretty rare for her, usually the fish-outof- water tinges are her permanent reality, her ah so very familiar state. She gives herself an hour max to do her strolling, she should rush back to the writers co-op, the laptop is awaiting. Words have to be penned, each and every day, each and every day. the task of writing, the life of some author. June Three The farmhouse in Glendale, on Livorna Road. the cul du sac would have been better, but for some reason the house that they looked at first was expensive. For no apparent reason. So they purchased the house here on Livorna Road. It is not technically a farm house, it looks exactly like the house next door. California rancher should be the technical term. She is here for two weeks, visiting her cousin. She tries to work a tad on her writing which does not really work out, it is tough with all the socializing, with the excursions to the local mall, with the catching up. writerdom requires solitude, destitution, that kind of stuff. Not a life in some bedroom community bubble. But, hey, we have next to 23 thousand, that should count for something, for something. Glendale is boring, at least in this part of town. Suburbia par excellence, she ponders if she should write about that. There is a narrative, yup, why not, why not. No plot though. What exactly is the difference tween plot and narrative, should be all the same all the same. She should really teach world lit, she would have no clue what she is talking about. Which would not differ from most college profs m.o. She ponders how to tie all of this together. Make it into a palpable piece of work. Something to be published, something to be marketed. To potential readers. a story sans cliff hangers. Yup, why not, why not. She is totally coasting, filling the page with yups and why nots, what nots, the

72

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

dishes here are accumulating, they always are. Some rerun on the telly in the next room. Her so very generic existence the only constant being her typing, she wipes away the dust on the keyboard, hums along with the song on the telly. She has 23 003, pretty good yup pretty good. She foregoes human contact in order to make time for penning all of these words, she will submit her writings to places, should keep her busy should keep her busy. She thinks about the woman in Gothenburg who managed to write all of the required 50 000 words for national novel writing month on the first day of the contest. She was finished on November second, some time at three in the morning. speedy typing, speedy formulation of words, in Swedish to boot. Obviously she was Swedish, but hey, Swedish has all these little signs on the vowels, she ponders if they come with the keys. Must be, a special swedishish keyboard. She has 23 221 already, nice, she maelstroms her wordcount forward, laughtracks in the next room, a mowing machine outside., she should go for a nice neighbourhood stroll., but, hey, the machine here is awaiting to devour her words her words her words. Repeat your words, write them in melodic sequences, that is how you accumulate words ah words. Like a long distance runner, put step before step before step. Until you make it to the finish line, exhausted but happy,. Who cares if nobody will read this, the process is paramount, good for sanity, so they say, so they say. 23 254, she feels like having something too sweet, too greasy. Apple pie and vanilla ice cream, she could drive down to the market and get some. Fodder for her words, yup, why not why not. Gone are her days of playing with mud, gone are her days of forming vessels. Ceramics has to wait, pottery has to wait. Visual arts has to make it without her, the Picassos of this world have to suffice for art making. Her studio space in the art school, desolate, unused. For now and for now and for now and for now and for now. August Three

73

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Back in Reykjavik, she unpacks her stuff. Looks out the window, there is quite a commotion. It is five in the afternoon, people are rushing home, She takes out her notebook, her pen, puts them into her purse. She remembers the little coffee shop to the right of the hotel entrance. The one with the red tables, the red and white fibreglass chairs. Very retro. It is quite full, she orders a peppermint tea and two brownies and sits down in the corner to the right. The theme of this coffee shop is American, that is why they have nuts with pecan bits in them. They are pretty good, too. The cashier is very pretty, lots of freckles. Iceland is fun, it always is. Author here, likes the language, the chatter around her, the sing-songs of the language that she does not understand, it is the right background music for her writings, the elevator songs that motion her words forward. Words ah words. A woman in purple Uggs comes in, orders a soy latte. She points to the soy latte on the black board behind the counter. Author takes out her notebook, the blue one that says Hilroy on it. Starts scribbling with her green ballpen, words flood onto the page. The problem with writing longhand is that there is no automatic wordcount. No spellcheck either. She has to ballpark it, one page seems to be about eighty words. In her handwriting, including the lines that she does not fill. She can transcribe them back in the hotel, each and every day. Seems more doable than to do it all in one big rush back home. She has 23 700 words, 23 700. It is six now, she must have penned around 600 words, spellchecked them, she is tired. Her tea is ice-cold, the brownies are finished. Time to go out and explore downtown Reykjavik. Let the hustle and bustle drive her forward, the ever changing faces, the cars honking. Down town is downtown everywhere on the planet. Iceland is far away from home, but it sure feels like home. It is a tad too hot still, but luckily it is getting cooler. A small white poodle walks his owner, so it seems so it seems.

74

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

October Twelve Downtown Portland, it is pretty cold and chilly. It is three in the afternoon, she parked her car near Nordstrom. She rushes to Powells, she has only one hour in the parking meter. Which means, a ten minute walk, forty minutes in the bookstore and then the ten-minute-rush back to the car. All the red and golden leaves on the ground, the whoosh-sounds against her boots. Powells is pretty full for a Tuesday, she gets a soy latte. The waiter seems way too young for waiting and his glasses are too thick. Author makes her way to the café place, sits down, she should look thru the books instead of using this place as a coffee shop. What she really does here is people-watching, all these different faces, she will use them in her writing, though, of course she still has no plot, none and none and none. Her non-narrative stories, bound to put the reader to sleep. No laughtracks, no cliffhangers that is how it is that is how it is. 23 909, 23 909. She uses her laptop here, she uses the free wifi. Makes sure that the latte does not spill onto the laptop, balances it slightly to the left. She is wearing her striped shawl, the one that looks really nice and that was super cheap. Three bucks Canadian at Zellers. They do not have Zellers anymore, it is now Target. Target bought Zellers or something. Since she is living in Canada, Woodward‟s has closed, Eaton‟s has closed and now Zellers. And she types and types and types and types. Her latte is way too sweet, she put too much brown sugar into it. Be that as it may, she has 24 003 words now, which is pretty good, pretty good. She will need 50 000 more, at least, fast and fast and fast and fast and fast and fast. October Three Darkness outside, pitch dark night. Yup, that is how it is. On the telly, Big Bang, outside, Greensboro sleeping. It is eleven to midnight, apparently, the show will be on until one in the

75

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

night. Well, that means, two more episodes and the rest of this one. Writing while watching sitcoms. Ah, this better be good better be good. She has three very small brownies left in the pack from the grocery store, she ponders she should not really have them now, they do not go with the sitcom. You either watch the telly or you have sweets, not both. She might as well make up inconsequential rules that are basically nonsensical, given that her job is to fashion as many sa entences as possible in the least amount of time it takes, she might as well make up impossible rules in order to amuse herself. In order not to get bored. Her life these days is this black keyboard, with the white letters on the black squares, her neck is contorted and tilted, she should have the rest of the flounder. Typing makes yer hungry, there is no way around it. Sheldon yells at Lennard, strange, huh. Or weird, anyhoo, there are laughtracks and laughtracks, laughtrack galore. We have 24 300 here, she should just forge this down to 25 000. Outside, Greensboro, Greensboro. She will be part of the art festival in downtown Greensboro, the one that will go on for two days. It is a very short festival, coinciding with the conference at the local art school. She will sell small images in black frames. She feels nauseated, very nauseated. May Six She is going up to the fifth floor of Jelmoli, she puts her jacket on a bench near the window. She can look down at the city, Zurich in May, Zurich in May. She gets a small piece of pastry, is not quite sure what it is. And a chamomile tea. It is still early in the morning, not many persons are here. Perfect place to pen some more words, some more sentences. A weekday in a desolate restaurant, that should be enough to make anybody write write. She ponders whatever made her suppose that she will go from A to B in writing, must have been her drawing teacher in first year of art school. You are better with words than with

76

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

putting lines and dots on a sheet of paper, ah, whatever, whatever. You do not need storage space for writing, just let it float in the clouds. easy peasy. She looks down at the street, the banners are kind of in the way. The persons down there, antlike antlike. There is not much to describe here, the waitress is wearing a beige uniform with a white apron, the chairs and the benches are metally, the tables dark-brown. Sleek décor. A woman with a purple hat at the other table, she is wearing green-rimmed glasses. Funky, huh, especially given that this place is pretty conservative, conservative and over-priced. Author takes out her black Hilroy-pad out of the turquoise-blue shopping bag, the one that says High Street on it. She fishes out her gel-roller which is somewhere at the bottom of the shopping bag. The tools of a writer, this better be good, better be good. Her fingers are kind of cramped up, she has enough of all this repetitive writing. We need 400 words to make it to 25 000. So she should better keep on clucking. A man with a funny top hat comes in, what is this, Halloween. One can see the bedding section of Jelmoli from here and the towel section, too. Lots of red towels, some purple ones. The man with the top hat puts his hat on the metaly chair next to him, starts eating his eggs béchamel. He squeezes ketchup on the eggs, sprinkles pepper on them. Author ponders, is that really necessary to describe trivial happenings like that. To write about the banal, the everyday. They say there is poetry in the everyday, one of many literary theories, one of many ideas about writing. The poetics of the everyday. Author ponders, woman in purple hat and man in top hat, they are perfect for each other. They sure share a peculiar fashion sense and are not afraid to share it with the world around them. Though, technically, this is a very desolate department store cafeteria, not many people at this time of the day. Hardly anybody is looking at the hats, only author here, the waitress in beige and white and some shoppers who might look this way. Author ponders, she is happy about the hats, at least there is something out of the ordinary to describe in

77

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

this place. Hats and hats and hats. She starts staring at the chandeliers of the restaurant, they are very pretty, very tasteful. Elegant in a funky way. this whole cafeteria is pretty funky, pretty elegant and utterly overpriced, as stated before. She needs only 100 words more, after that she will go out to the Bahnhofstrasse, make her way to the Paradeplatz. Zurich is becoming boring, it is a writers city, Joyce, Frisch, maybe because you have to do something to staccato the picturesqueness. Lenin started the revolution from here, Einstein wrote the theory of relativity. Dada started up here in the café Voltaire. A lot of tumultuous events for a small city like this. Out on the Bahnhofstrasse, she walks by the statue of Zwingli. Pigeons near the black benches in front of the Globus. She still feels nauseated, that happens when you sit still for too long, hunched over doing nothing but scribble letter after letter after letter. Well, at least she has 25 007, she might call it a day, call it a day. There will be other days for writing and writing and writing and writing. April Five Boredom is so very palpable, a silent Saturday afternoon here on Wigbey Island, she ponders if this is the place which makes for good writing. she needs the city, she needs to walk when the light changes and stand still when it turns red. A city makes you write, a quiet neighbourhood makes you read. She ponders., how come she iss o good at making up nonsensical maxims, absolutes that are high on nonsense and low on logic. She watches way too much TV, outside the greenery invites her to join the living, sitcom after sitcom makes for prolific writing. Not necessary good writing, but her output sure is phenomenal. On the telly, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, funny, funny, funny.

78

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

August Seven Rotterdam, nice, nice. So many people in the morning, everyone rushing to work, she takes out her laptop in the creperie, asks for a big crepe with sugar and lemon juice. And a strong coffee, that should help her type 1000 words, fast and fast and faster. Her lower arm is hurting, slight pangs of fatigue, of overuse, her neck muscles are acting up, hmm, this better be good, better be good. She has to pace herself, 100-word-increments, a short walk to the other side of the café, she would look rather funny though. Luckily there are not that many people in here, it is after all the city, most people are at work at nine in the morning or still rushing to work. Ah, the office crowd. She ponders, how high is the population of Rotterdam, she looks out at the street through these cute lace curtains. The waiter has a very very loud voice, he yells at her, asks if she wants cream or milk with her coffee. She types some more, fast, fast, who needs a story arc, every day something new happens. A new city, a new country. A new coffee place to write in. A woman in a black and white top, a short green skirt, beige boots. She is very pretty but her fashion sense is definitely off. Or she should do laundry. A man in a baseball cap and a red sweater asks for a coffee in paper cup to go. Outside, the omnipresent people on bikes, this is Holland after all. Type and type and type. Rotterdam, Rotterdam. Nice city to explore, but she would rather keep on sitting in here, keep on typing. Her legs hurt from too much walking, her touristy ways are catching up with her. She is no spring chicken after all, it is either knitting or writing. Or a tad of knitting, a tad of writing. Writing about knitting. Would help if she remembered how to knit. She needs 500 words to make it to the next 1000. To the next full thousand.

79

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

She could change the date again, the location again. But, hey, she feels pretty cosy here in this café, the crepe is steaming, the coffee is steaming. She sprinkles the sugar onto the crepe, squirts the lemon juice all over the crepe, rolls it up and cuts it into bite size pieces, coffee with cream in it, no sugar, the crepe-roulette-pieces with it. Pannekoeken, that is how pancake is called in Dutch. A cake made in a pan. She ponders, this is how she fills the page, how she fills the page. There are more important things to discuss, to describe. Her right hand hurts from too much typing, the part over the right little finger. Slightly sore, slightly sore. It is ten by now. Outside it is starting to rain. Thus, she might just still keep on sitting here until the waiters do throw her out of this place. Her typing is going pretty swift, she starts humming to herself while typing which is definitely not good, she spells out the words, loudly, she should keep quiet, this is a public place after all. A woman in a green hat comes in, so many people here wear hats. Must be the European thing to do, the Rotterdam way. And still some more bikers outside, nobody here wears a helmet. She has another coffee still, hot, steamy. Too much caffeine, that should not be that good for the system. You do not charge up on caffeine when knitting, writing should not need that either. Her hand is cramping up, especially the right one, which does most of the typing. She has 25 777 words, she should still keep on typing until she has 26 000, there is nothing more to describe in here though, the purple small lamps on the ceiling, author looks around, she does not feel like leaving this place, the rain is still coming down, but, hey, she is out of words, has writers block, writers block. It is eleven now, actually lunchtime, she writes, she eats, she sleeps, would be easier if she would construct something visible, something tactile, you have something to show for your efforts, words are not that visceral, too elusive, way too elusive. Then again, the wordcount accumulates, accumulates. Slowly, steadily.

80

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Save, spellcheck, spellcheck. Time to leave, time to wrap this up. The rain stopped, the sun is coming out. Rotterdam remembers that it is May already. She has 25 917 words, some more typing, some more typing. 80 words, 80 words to make it to 26 000. The woman in the green hat has left, author here definitely overstayed her welcome in this cozy little coffee shop in Rotterdam. The lunch crowd is starting to stream in, people in office attire. Suits, pantsuit ladies. We need 30 words more, she has enough of all this typing, her job is so dull, so very very dull. Eleven words, type and type, six more, four, two, 26 000 it is it is. October Seventeen Once more Reykjavik. It is three in the afternoon. The weather is pretty good, for October. It has been two years since she was last here. The woman in the hotel remembered her, she is in the computer system. Which is good, she is getting a discount. Kind of like frequent flyer miles. She takes her red woo ljacket out of the suitcase, just in case and out into the city it is. Some window shopping, it is Thursday, quite a lot of people in the city. She remembers this little teashop, the one with the nice wooden tables. She sits in there, orders a tea, a piece of pastry with a dollop of whipped cream, Takk Fyrir, thank you very much. She takes out her notebook, her pen, she is not quite sure if they have wifi in this place, thus writing longhand it is it is. Kaffitar, that is the name of this place, last time she was here she drank a cappuccino in the Smalalind branch. It is basically more of a coffee place, but her tea is pretty aromatic and good. Some more words some more words. Two women chatting at the other table, laughing laughing. Somebody sneezes loudly in the back. She puts some more words on the paper, writing has become second nature for her. All these words, all of these words, all of these words.

81

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

October Twenty Milan in October, interesting and fascinating. She is still in the hotel, the room is pretty sparse and pretty expensive, too, it is very clean though, immaculate. She looks out the window, it might rain. She takes her blue jacket with the red rim around the collar out, changes her mind, a cardigan it is, black, and a leopard print shawl, pearl earrings, very conservative. Looks always better, she will go out to explore the neighbourhood, it is too late to do serious sightseeing. She is jet-lagged, it is early morning for her, here it is late afternoon. On a Monday. She will think about writing later, she will have an espresso first. She is not really hungry, she had a big lunch or dinner on the flight from Heathrow, it was pretty good, Alitalia, you cook very good. Molto Bene. Her Italian holiday is about to start, on a Vespa and with a piece of fabric around her head. She has watched too many black and white movies from the fifties, too much of ROMAN HOLIDAY. Arrividerci. She has a hankering for gnocchi, feels utterly dislocated, Reykjavík was more accommodating. Anyday She opens the door to the tiny studio without windows. It is not technically a studio, but studio sounds like promises of great art to be produced, sounds like potential, like possibilities. Like taking Manhattan or Moscow or St. Petersburg. First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin, she never quite knew what the lyrics of that song were about. Anyhoo, studio, lab, office, this room could be anywhere. It is though here in this city where she used to know each and every cranny, the city where she started out on this planet. It does not really matter, nostalgia, sentimentality, so yesterday, so very very yesterday. The building is still pretty impressive, one of the few pre-war buildings left near to the Unilever building. Lots of things have changed,

82

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

demolitions, new buildings going up, this place here stayed untouched. She takes out her laptop, starts typing, counts these her words, she does not have much time, feels a sense of urgency. There arguably is a sense of urgency. Words have to be pushed down into the machine, lots of words, lots of them. She does not know anyone in this city, not anymore, and the ones she knows she tries to avoid. They do not go with her life anymore, they do not go with this her city. She met them later on far away from here, they moved here, which is strange, while she had left long before. Her words keep her grounded, fight any dislocation. Her sentences make sense to her, even if they are utter gibberish to others. Which words are usually, how can you possibly communicate something to another person. That is why we have signs, hieroglyphs, numbers. This room is closing in on her, how do you spell claustrophobia. She has quite an array of words here, her eyes are getting dark, which is what is happening a lot these days, ever since she went on her last rigorous diet, ever since she went off her last rigorous diet. Her sight becomes dark, dull, out of focus, if only for moments. It is not a thing to describe to a physician, she is not the kind to rush through medical tests. Doctors know nothing, that is how she preserves her life. Stay away from the medical community and you will live a long and prosperous life. Then again, her eyesight darkens, for moments, for moments, every now and then. Foreshadowings of things to come. The tiny icon announces 27 000, announces it visually, to be precise. Her words are off these days, writing is not what she was born to do, her lingo clunkers away, rough edging against corners is what she is into, this is how we roll, this is how we roll here. She read up on opinions of obscure writers, the descriptions of their day-to-days, it might help to see how others survive this werating stuff, it is only a profession if you make a certain amount of money per word. If your words just sail thru the cloud, it follows that they must be inferior. Art without an audience., so sad ah so sad. Time to have lunch or coffee, she has lost all grasps of time, it is daytime, she

83

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

has slight pangs and tinges of jet-lag, seems she is always tightly jetlagged these days. These days, the machine, the laptop programs her days. Weird, so strange so strange. Strange people, strange things, strange times, strange places. Strange songs by Jim Morrison, the late jim Morrison. 27 017 words, yay and yay and yay and yay and yay. Stop and spellcheck spellcheck. October Nine The glare of the studio lights is a tad too annoying, she answers though, does not squint. Well, Charlie, after a while you get addicted to this way of life, you are just so used to write a certain amount of words each and every day, first you force yourself to do this and then you cannot quit. She ponders if her hair looks good on camera, she feels kind of out of place. In the presence of greatness, maybe. She has to go out, get cupcakes by Melissa, the mini-kind, three for three bucks, she has to run thru nyc in October, has to somehow teether back to normalcy, or traces thereof, traces thereof. She needs a steaming pot of something, is dislocated, a tad too much, way too much. May Ten Losing weight is paramount, though you should never go hungry. There are lots of theories about how to make yourself fit in those jeans from three years ago, none of them are really scientific. Nobody really knows why you lose weight why you gain weight, the numbers never really add up accurately, correctly. Author here is of that opinion and that is her story. Let us stick to that, yup, why not, why not. She is back in Curitiba, she mainly lives in her hotel room on the twelfth floor, she looks out the window, enjoys the architecture around here, it looks great from her window, from her balcony. People down on the streets are like tiny ants, nice, nice. She gets kind of disoriented, she should be less daring, afraid of heights.

84

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

She walks to the mall each and every day, Curitiba is fun, but so very different then it is in December, change of season, change of season. The mall is so everymallish, she either sits in the food court on third or in the sophisticated place on first. Either way can do, fancy or kitschy, we can rock it either way. She makes sute that she loses weight, better for your health, so they say so they say. She does yoga, pilates, stretches, walking is enough cardio, slow, but steady. And then there is always writing, ah, always, always writing. She tries to stay away from local delicacies, she has to watch what she puts into her body for optimum efficiency in writing, we need to function as a writer. Who would have thought that you have to train for writing like an Olympic athlete, but, reality is, you have to, you have to. To be able to type five thousand words per day, you need stamina, you need pretty good health. Anyday, Anywhere The girl from Grantham died. Mrs. Thatcher and privatization, the Iron Lady and the Falklands. Unions hated her, wealthy people lauded her. Well, it boils down to weather you are right- or left-wing. Author here ponders, this is as far as she will foray into writing about politics, obviously the constant coverage of the thatcher-years on the telly has to somehow filter in into her writings. It is April 8, 2013, let us stick to working on this little journal here, strong political brushstrokes in writing should belong to others. August Ten She ponders about her job, writing is such a solitary job, everything but a social profession. It is marked by silence, by quietness, by trying to formulate the unformulateable. It is underpoinned by fast spurts into the world at large, a tea at the local watering hole, it is marked by the rushed

85

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

moves back to the laptop, the machine is calling you up wherever you are, while dishes rot away, while the world marches on. Sounds from the telly, talking heads, everchanging, everchanging. January Two Her coffee is getting cold, she is sitting in the Tim Hortons overseeing Lake Ontario. Nice to be back here in Kingston, Ontario, the short huddle through the glitschy snow mush, fast fast, from the Holiday Inn on the other side, it is eleven, people are streaming in, but not that steadily yet, this place still has a holiday feel, it is definitely the perfect place to write. Kingston makes you pen great stuff, that is how it has always been, it is so far away from anywhere, at least that is how author here looks at it. Her thoughts on Kingston change by the minute, the one thing she knows is that this place makes her write, makes a scribe out of her. The town and especially this very Timmys. She penned a novel in this town, some seven years ago, it never made it into hardcopy, but it was a great shoot into writing, a writer is not born, she starts out slowly and then garners momentum. Now, writing is a way of living for her, the technology is better now, the computers are smaller, handier, you do not really need to use pen and paper and then go through laborious hours, laborious days of transcribing, that is how it is, that is how it seems. 300 words to the next round thousand, fast and fast. The woman with the green yellow beret, she is reading her books in the corner, against the starkness of the white frozen lake, the black shrubs, trees that stick out of the white, silently, silently, silently. A group of seniors, pretty loud, laughing, very British looking, very British sounding. British-expat-like. Author here still types, still types. Her tea is cold, she should go out, walk up Princess, next station, maybe the goat restaurant, maybe even second cup. Ah, to sit at the corner of Sydenham, Kingston has a way of singing, that is very much out of a Hip song, you know, AHEAD OF A CENTURY. And we

86

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

type here type here. Kingston has this white male undercurrent, very,very very. Ah, to capture a place in a one-liner and everyones one-liner will be different different. 28 017, 28 019. November Three On the telly, KING OF QUEENS, outside a cold November day, too cold even for November in Oregon. Not quite snowy as of yet, but still pretty chilly here. New York was warmer, she did not need to wear a toque inside of the house. Author is staying in this hotel room in Beaverton, how do you spell cooped up. She put the DO NOT DISTURB sign on the outside of her door, she wants to feed her words to this machine in a big swoop. A big whoosh. Carrie and Doug Heffernan have to be the only company she has here, after all, she has to pen her novel. She did not start her NaNo-novel as of yet, she is still working on her old book. It gets a tad confusing here, to work on different projects at the same time and the constant travelling does not help. Living out of a suitcase, the little box with all of her belongings. Let us type let us type. She had enough of solitude, needs to foray into the land of the living. The hotel lobby is pretty busy, it is three in the afternoon on a Saturday, she plunks herself down on the red couch near to the door, starts to peoplewatch peoplewatch. Peoplewatch like a professional, you will have to write about what you see, later on, later on. So much later on, so much later on. June Three Running after the bus, she misses it. Might as well, after all this is Amsterdam, you either bike or you try not to be run over by the next on-stream of bikers. They rule the world here, the rest of us are mere foot soldiers. She goes strolling, that is what you do when you have to kill some time before the next typing spurt. It is three and a half, half past three. A Wednesday. She looks at the books in the window of the bookstore. Not that she speaks Dutch, she tries to wing the meaning

87

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

of the titles by spelling them out, it is kind of exploration of the Dutch language. She walked through this pedestrian district, she constantly loses her way in this city. Somehow she always makes it back to the hotel near the central train station. Ah Amsterdam, it is pretty fun to be in a city where nobody knows yer. You can concentrate on putting words down, feeding your sentences to the machine. A small tea room, she did not see this one when she was here the day before. At least it seems that is it was this exact street, but, hey, they all look alike. She sits down, has a chamomile tea and a piece of marble cake. Which is called marmor koeken here or something like that. Chocolate and vanilla pound cake, swirled into each other. She has some whipped cream on it, she definitely does not live that healthily in this city. She has upped her alcohol consumption here, it is way up from her usual which happens to be zero. Writing ah writing. Too much typing is pretty tough on your hands. The tea place is pretty busy, it is nice and cozy in here. Two women chat, one woman in a green shawl reads. A shawl in summer, pretty funny. Author here is bored, she still is running after a narrative, but, hey, there is not a story here, just utter boredom. Stagnation of story, no arc, more a horizontal line. She closes her eyes, while blowing on the top of the tea, not a good move, she spills some on the lavender blouse. She ponders, maybe her writing would have been so much further along, if she would have stayed put in her own city, seems, travel here confuses our writer, going to different places becomes counter- productive after a while, so it seems so it seems. She needs some more words, seems, at this point anyword will do. She feels like barfing, vomiting, then again, she always does. She should fashion a crime story, dap into the vast market of detective story lovers. She ponders, the word she has to use is tap not dap, her tea is lukewarm now, her cake still waits to be devoured. This is what she describes these days, these are her story arcs. Bits and pieces of her everydays,

88

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

she has to find interesting fascinating philosophical ways to describe the tedium, her tedium of the everyday. And still some more words still some more words still some more words. December One Sitting in the Hyatt Hotel near Embarcadero, she feels kind of weird and strange to be back here in San Francoisco. After so many years. The elevators are still imposing, even watching them go up and down can make yer dizzy. December Seven On the train to Poughkeepsie, she is not quite sure why she wants to do the trek out of Penn, it is more an attempt to let the rolling of the train tell her its story, sing its songs to her. Apparently this is what is good for a writer, for a successful writer that is. Her prof said so, and he is much too good-looking to ever be wrong. Poughkeepsie, quite a name. She has a tea from the café wagon, it is overpriced., she balances it back to her seat. Not technically, but it sounds good to use the word balance when talking about walking thru a train. You walk straight on a rolling surface, a moving floor. She needs 100 words more to reach 29 000, kind of tough to do that while the train makes yer pretty sleepy, pretty sleepy. Thirty words, hey, this goes pretty fast. She lives in some train-induced trance, that happens when you are ever so slightly thrown from side to side. And the horn sirens, twice, very matter-of-factly. Every day should be train-raiding day, Sheldon Cooper is not the only lover of trains. Same Day Poughkeepsie station. She steps out of the wagon, happy to be on a non-moving surface. What to do in Poughkeepsie, huh. Nice name, though she has no knowledge whatsoever about anything

89

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

here. How about to explore the station restaurant, she ponders if that is what she should do, better just to stay here in the station and feed her words to the machine, just make up some imaginary Poughkeepsie scenes, some imaginary Poughkeepsie sights, some imaginary Poughkeepsie streets. Given that this is a typical American city, it should have a main street and a broadway. You can bet yer well somethings on that. She has a yoghurt with berries, seems to be the perfect train travel food. She always has yoghurt with berries in train stations, so special reason. The city is waiting to be explored, it is three in the afternoon. Fiction writing ah fiction writing. Quite an endeavour, huh. She fills the pages with whining, complaining, she read up on writers block. She travels to find motivation, inspiration, some other things that end in –ition. Demolition, maybe, hers is demolitioned writing. But, hey, the words amass, amass somehow, that happens when you are not quite sure of what you are doing. Poughkeepsie, ah, Poughkeepsie. Yup, this is what she will do here. just have her yoghurt, order still another chamomile tea, she is just getting high on chamomile tea here, she scribbles her words, she is just not good at making up stories, hers is the devastation, the desolation, the distressedness of an incompetent writer, a wordsmith that lives in this constant state of dislocation. That should be enough to make her wax poetically, the words will dance with each other in perfect harmony if you just wait long enough, wait long enough. The state of being in a train station and any train station on this planet should do, that state will make you write. The constant motion of people, the constant change. Everybody is going somewhere, only the observing writer is standing so very still, watches the motions and the movements, holds the images thereof down on the paper for posterity, like

90

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

pressed flowers in between thick books. Ah, to put little silly signs onto paper and thus make a stab at replicating reality, in times of photo and film to boot. She is utterly tired, writing is tough. September Twenty-one So, this is Oslo in September. Kind of funny, she has never been here before, so September in Oslo is just the same to her as May in Oslo. She is jet-lagged but she feels like not going into town right now. The main reason is that it is two in the night, she feels more comfortable to wait for the morning. Especially because she will take public transit, it is both cheaper and more interesting. Thus she takes her bags and plunks herself down onto the next bench. Apparently she is not the only one, there are other travellers snoring away. She takes her wool jacket out of her blue bag with the white rim, makes her feel warm and toasty. The airport in Oslo, she will go and change to the the local currency but at this point sleeping is the most tempting thing to do. Outside, the lights of this city, dislocation is so very palpable. She could catch up on her writing, some more words would not hurt. She could force her word count forward into the 30 000 word zone, yup, why not and why not. She feels hungry and thirsty, even though she had too big a meal on the flight from Heathrow. She gets a chamomile tea and this delicious looking cookie, it has nuts in it. Tea and cookie, in Oslo. Pretty fascinating, huh, makes yer want to write, makes yer want to not write. 350 words is all we need her, she could pen some amazing words given that she is in a totally foreign environment, though one could argue that all airporst look alike. Full of people that are either waiting or going somewhere. She needs 300 words, there is really not much to describe here. At least not in this part of the airport, the woman opposite of her is snoring ever so slightly. Author here takes out her notebook, her blue pen with the little earth picture on it, she writes

91

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

some, writes some. She does not speak Norwegian, except the words for the five fingers of the hand. She had a Norwegian nanny when she was a kid, and a lady who was married to a Norwegian man. Writing, writing, it is the same everywhere, she has to find words that do not really cut it, that is how it seems, that is how it seems. Two hundred words, two hundred words. And she will have thirty thousand words, must feel good to have penned thirty thousand words. Pangs of accomplishment, the slight happiness of the knowledge that 30 000 are inside her notebook, well, not just in this one, but in all of her travelling notebooks combined. 150 words, 150, 150. In Oslo, here in September. For some reason she is reminded of the Seinfeld episode in Norway, especially because one could merely see Elaine and Putty and Vegetable Lasagna in the taxi. That was just as much as she has seen of Norway so far. She needs 100 words, wants to get this over with, wordcount is paramount, for some strange reason. A haunted tourist who is not that much into sights, more into accomplishing to write an adequate wordcount. Racing against the emptiness of the page, just put ink on the white, letter after letter, slightly bowing to the left. Some more words, ah some more words. A beautiful flight attendant walks by, smiles, she is very put together, which makes author here feel even more shabby and over travelled. Sleeplessly over travelled. Sounds fancier than jetlagged, that is how it seems, that is how it is, she has 30 000, she is outta here, outta here. At least she can put the notebook and her pen back into her bag, she can start snoring just as happily as the rest of the travellers around her. Oslo has to wait, will wait, should wait, yuh. April Twenty-Three

92

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

In front of the telly, Friends is playing, an episode with two famous actors whose names she does not really remember. She recognizes their faces though, she types and types, feels that she should force the word count still further. Quantity is supposed to beget quality, this is the rule. August Three Her day in front of the telly, watching stuff, feeling that she should write. Starting to type is better than to just sit and do nothing, she will will her way into the literary pantheon and any literary pantheon should do, will do. She skimmed through the new Nabokov biography in the bookstore on 41st; there was another book too by the woman who works at facebook. Author here had listened to the discussion about that book on CNN, apparently it did not get good reviews, however, skimming thru it showed that it is pretty good. So was the Nabokov book. Author though did not buy any of the two books, they were each thirty bucks, she has a tendency to buy books and never ever read them. She prefers to read books in public places, libraries, bookstores, sometimes to the chagrin of booksellers. She ponders, she forgot what her story was about, what her point was about. She will be remembered more as a rambler, she watches way too much TV. Watching King of Queens while writing your great novel, not exactly what you should do. October Five The rain in the morning, the crowd in the coffee shop on Arbutus, the happy wetness of sparkling rain clothes, rain hats. So many different individuals huddled into the small shop, a woman with beige-brown hair and glasses on her nose, organizing envelopes in a brown card board box, her sweater is white and brown, the other woman with curlier hair follows her orders, they both

93

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

exude an air of orderliness, of exactingish marching of papers, everything in place, everything so very utterly in place. She has a pretty vast amount of words here, she types she types. She does not live in Brooklyn, she can still write, still type away type away. May Eleven Writing away while watching National Lampoon‟s European Vacation, the Griswalds in the Louvre, funny, funny, huuh. Rusty, European standards are different from Americans, yeah, Dad, but they are from Acron. Still the sun outside, still the dullness of writing in solitary confinement, well, at least the music on the telly is catching a-catching. 30 480 words, wow, still still 45 thousand to go. Type on and type on and type on. Kind of tough to do this while it is so utterly sunny outside. Yer need rain to write, yer need overcast. A pretty violent breeze outside, not bad, not that bad for writing. Dishes are waiting for washing, that is how it is how it is. Griswalds in Bavaria, funny or something funny or something. She ponders she should fashion something profound, insights rock, deep thoughts deep thoughts so very deep thoughts. She is a craftswoman, her material are words, letters. January Seventeen Back in Albany, no, not Albany, New York, Albany, California. So near to El Cerrito Plaza, just walk under the BART, yup. She ponders, why does the interface act up, the font changes without any reason, the paragraphing morphs. She must have pushed the wrong button, by accident. Her writing ah her writing. Outside it is so nice and to think that it is winter here. It never rains in Southern California, should hold true for Northern California, too. She used to live here some thirty years ago, seems that she is just back where she started out. Could have written a lotta

94

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

books since then, when getting published seemrd to be so much easier. Or so it seems so it seems. Gotta glorify the past, why not, why not. The Griswalds are in Italy now, she still watches National Lampoon, even though it is a different time, a differing location. She could go for a walk to Solano, enjoy the mild weather, the quietness, the solitude of walking. When she used to live here, there was a lone roller blader here, so very long before roller blading became en vogue. Before roller blades hit the stores. And to think that now the craze is over, roller blades have become so utterly mainstream. She has 31 000 words here, not quite, not quite. August Ten Ten more words, ah, maybe, a hundred. National Lampoon it is, still the telly, now it is Rome. She bought Sheperds‟ pie, frozen. In a baby-blue box, apparently the brand is even called BLUE. She ponders, is it Shepherds‟ pie or Sheperd‟s pie. Could go either way. Orthography is debatable, that is how it is how it is. we need one hundred words here, that would be enough, would be enough, too sunny outside, way way too sunny. September Three Vienna is pretty nice, a Fiaker, the Prater, Konditorei Sacher. Ah, songs of waltzes in the air, a mennuett, Schubert, Mozart. For author here, it is a place to write like any, her tiny room in the Hotel Mozart near to the Northbahnhof , could be anywhere, she is not even quite sure if that is the right address. She types and types and types and types. A stroll in the afternoon, faces she doesn‟t know, nothing that would interfere with her writings. Her editor gave her a call from London, at least that is what she pretends. Imaginary publishing, yup, why not and why not. Her words are not good enough and not bad enough, they are just words, merely words. Thirty-one thousand and eleven of them.

95

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

October One Stofan Kaffeehus in Reykjavik, nice, ah, nice. The cappuccino is definitely pretty good, the atmosphere is very nice, it is about three in the afternoon on a Wednesday, pretty full here, lots of chatting going on, lots of coffee drinking. The cake is very good, chocolate with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkles thereon, one definitely can fashion the best of words in this place here. October Three Café Tobler has changed a lot, it has become fancier. One can look down at the Tamina, she has an Erdbeertoetli with whip on o it, she feels kind of inhibited to write here. Not the place to write your next great novel in, huh. Her words are just not there, what can you do. November Two Fun to sit in the Starbucks on the third floor in the Bay, next to Eaton Center, she feels comfortable here, this is a place to write. It is a tad dark in here, it is tad by people walking by, she can do this do this. She needs some 900 words, that should do it for today. Her arms feel sore, typing and typing does that to you,. her neck hurts a tad a tad. She can see the bedding section from here, people checking out the linens, the bedspreads. A woman with curly brown hair to her waist and black glasses talks lively into her red phone, the woman with the yellow hat is reading her book. November, yup, November. Outside Toronto should be happening, it is windy cold, but it is definitely warm in here. A tad too warm, makes her fall asleep over the keyboard, she sits straight up, makes herself type still some more still some more. The life of a writer, slightly boring, utterly boring. Should be the same as the life of a painter, it is all the same, all the same. She feels like smashing her laptop onto the ground, like a musician who

96

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

smashes her guitar, his guitar, writing as performance, yup, why not why not. And let us write and let us write and let us write here. The man with the green shawl sits down, he starts knitting. Yup, why not, why not, why not. And still some words and still some more words. February Two She is in the writer‟s co-op, the one on 14th, outside the city is pretty chilly, New York New York, but in here everything is ay-oh-kay. A man with salt and peppery curly hair and a stoic demeanour types, a woman with a red updo and dark-green glasses scribbles her words into a red-purple notebook. Author ponders, a tad more privacy would be better., then again the diligence of the other scribes should up her discipline. But her mind wanders off, would be nice to have a coffee, three mini cupcakes by Melissa, the ones for three bucks, she should do some grocery shopping, she should get a tooth paste at the Duane Reade down on Union Square, she could do this and that and the other. Anything but typing yer words, she does not have an outline anyways, she just makes up words on the spot, she lets the story dangle along plotleslys plotlessly. She could watch THE OFFICE on her laptop, she craves distraction, she is not a person who likes to be chained to her computer. Movement is fun, stagnation is bust. Besides, all her writings are rejected, she should find a job as a writer under contract, that should foot the bill for this her writing endeavour. She still hopes for her writing residency in Banff to go through, she is waiting for their answer these days, she should type some type some. She feels like having a yoghurt, it should be somewhere at the bottom of her green bag, she has a white plastic spoon in her purse. The yoghurt has raspberries at the bottom, it is a tad too sweet a tad too sweet. Way way way too sweet. She puts her toque on, her shawl, her coat, out into the real world it is, it is. The writers co-op has to do without her, for now, for now, for now.

97

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

March Fifteen She is sitting in the Silberkugel, it is nine fifteen in the morning. Two artstudents from the Zurich Kunsthochschule are sitting at the other table, are talking about animation or illustration. Four construction workers come in, one woman with a stroller and a sleeping baby, all tucked in, the blanket is green and white with red small dots. Stripes and dots, author here is having a hot chocolate and a gipfeli, she feels warm inside, hot chocolate does that to you. They do not have wifi here, she takes out her notebook, the one with the blue stripes on it, she starts putting her letters onto the paper, slightly bowing to the right, slightly, slightly, slightly. Her words catapult into midair, stolper down onto the paper. Seems, that travelling the world makes yer write after all after all, it is March fifteen, a Thursday, she relinquishes the Swiss German chattering around her. She checks yelp for the review for the silberkugel, people seem to like the food, do not like that it is too dark in here. Well, one can sit near the window and look out at the Museumstrasse. Author here ponders, she should go and visit the museum of the art school, it is pretty expensive though, fifteen francs, she might just stay put and write some more write some more words. She had enough of writing, seems like more fun to walk by the Limmat, the walking will make her write, will make her find words. She makes sure to avoid the blue Tram, watches out, watches out. She walks to the train station, it is still pretty chilly, she is so out of words, ah, so out of words. 32 001 it is it is. June Twenty-Three She should make it to 33 000 by the end of the day. A too warm summer evening, yup, way too warm, way way too warm, The Indigo on Princess Street, not much happening here in Kingston.

98

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

She gets a Mocha Latte, decaf, she sits down with a magazine, right under the sign that admonishes you not to read unpaid stuff. It is weird, in Toronto nobody minds. August Two Once again, back in Curitiba. She went for a walk, it is cold, you know, it is winter down here in Brazil. She walked down to the mall that is near that small park near the hotel, she had an ice cream with pistachios in it, not such a good idea when the weather is cold and chilly. She read a book by Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five, she always wanted to read that one. Now that she has time, she read up on all the books she always wanted to read. Then again, writing is much much more, so much more up her alley. After the ice cream, people watching it is. Fun to look at all of the serious shoppers here. April Fifteen Once more in her hotel room back in Singapore. She takes out her notebook, she feels like writing longhand against the constant noise pollution on the telly. Jet-lag is gripping her, but she still wants to write some more words. She makes herself a jasmine tea, puts down some words, puts down some words. Outside it is night, night in Singapore. So many different places, world travelling in order to pen something substantial. Seems kind of counterproductive, you should stay put and work on your craft. Polish each and every word, furtively. This is about using the right words, about articulating sentences that are as concise and as descriptive as humanly possible. It is about codifying things in order to be decodified at a later time. You are supposed to scribble down the right scribbles, the right signs, there should be hints, tinges of logic, illustrations that make total sense. And the pauses have to cadence the sing-songs of the lingo

99

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

appropriately, forcefully. Something like that, something of that kind. The scribbles, ah, the scribbles. October Six Still another place, she walks by the coffee house that she used to frequent when she lived here. The city is small, Itzehoe is a one-hour-train ride from Hamburg. The coffee house is still here, it is a Wednesday, it is two in the afternoon. She enters, orders a chamomile tea and a Danish. Takes out her notebook, pen, she starts putting down her letters. Not many people are here, a man and a woman in the back, an old woman with a yellow hat is on the right, she is reading a magazine. The waitress is young and beautiful, actually so very beautiful. A natural beauty, prettier than many models. She does some conversation in German, asks if she wants anything else. Nein, danke. Author looks outside, her table is next to the window. She can see a clothing store from here, Unito it is called, Unito - young fashion. Author here is not quite sure if she should stay here or if she should go back to Hamburg, it is still early afternoon, there should be still time to make up her mind. She can use the train, her rail pass is still good for three more days, she can travel anywhere within Germany, that is. The Danish is very good, it has raisins in it. Her tea is in a glass, steaming, there is a little lemon slice next to it, which goes actually so very well with the chamomile taste. Kamillentee. She takes a fashion mag, a Brigitte, from the beige basket with the green bow, she looks through it, gotta keep up with whatever is en vogue, not that you can really wear it, except if you are pencil thin. It is starting to rain, makes more sense to keep on sitting here. The sights of Itzehoe have to wait. She still writes, writes. She has about 100 pages here,

100

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

tightly scribbled on, the rest is in her laptop, which is a tad confusing, she will patch it together later on, yup, eventually, eventually, eventually, eventually. October Seven The day that marches forward, first forty minutes at the Y, then a tea in the local coffee shop. which is chockfull with boomers having meetings, for whatever cause it is, making money or spending money, being part of the problem or solving problems, the main objective is to organize, to gather together for some common cause. Which is good for coffee shops, after all they are public spaces, far away from the private quarters of each of us. Author is back home, at the kitchen table, she ponders, an office is not the same as a kitchen table, especially because her kitchen table is chockfull of crumbs. She uses the term CHOCKFUL too much, she sits hunched over, she types and types and types and types still some more. She could be sitting anywhere, at anytime on this planet, in this her life. Her sketches are part of a book, how utterly nice, she is not the only aspiring writer on this planet, there are ah so many like her. They do not all live in Brooklyn, though, apparently a lot of them are. Most of them. So are artists, all the visual artists in her art school stream to Brooklyn after graduation, they rent a studio space, they live there for one or two years until their money dries out, until they have to come back and work at the local watering hole to pay for rent, student loans, family obligations. That is how it is that is how it is these days. The arts ah the arts. Someone has to pay for it, the Medici, the tax payer, whatever, whoever. But, hey, better to pay for the arts than spend the surplus, the superfluous money on drones. You might not have started the fire, but you sure are piling the logs up onto it now. August Three

101

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Zurich, once again. It is way too hot, she is wearing a too tight T-shirt, which is not good, she should go back to the hotel and put something flowing on. She cannot really do laundry, she has to wash everything in the bathroom sink. It is too hot, the laundry place is way far away from her hotel. Apparently Laundromats are not the in-thing here is Zurich, they expect you to pay extra and use the hote‟ls laundry servive which is way too expensive. She ponders if she should wear spagettistrapsy stuff, would be nice in this weather, but she decides that her spaghetti strap days are long behind her. She has to wear roomy cottony stuff, she has to linger in the shadow, in department stores on the Bahnhofstrasse, pretending to look at clothes, enjoying the shelter from the heat. She should find a nice coffee shop, Spruengli, of course, is always nice. With an exclusive air, they used to charge more at tea time, at coffee time, because everyone would sit there for hours and enjoy the nice ambience, apparently that is not legal anymore, there is no cap for sitting, for loitering. Loitering is loitering, whatever you wear. She ponders, she should make her way from coffee shop to coffee shop, type a tad here, type a tad there. She used to do that when she started out her professional writing career, she ponders, she is still not that professional, no publisher and no agent has taken her on as of yet. She is still in her typingish ghetto, she tugs away at her writingish career, it seems not to go anywhere as of yet as of yet. Plotlessness does not pay the bills, now does it does it? And omitting commas, that does only work if you are an established writer, when you can afford to disobey the rules. Martha Graham first has to learn how to dance in a conventional way, apparently apparently apparently. ON A DAY LIKE TODAY Sitting in a college library, typing, ah, typing. Never mind which college, could be anywhere. A woman at the other computer, though that is not what we want to describe here. A slow headache that is not quite there yet, thank god, there is a slight paranoia though, that has to do with being

102

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

@ the bottom of the totem pole, anytotempole. Yup, those totem poles, they are just as important as food chains. In praise of hierarchies and there are many, pick any one at random. This library is pretty nice, very clean, the books are shelved in the way they should be, no trying to deny this library its original function, no dumbing down whatsoever, in short, no video arcades. If you are in this place, you are supposed to be good with the 3 R‟s, at the very minimum. No, fonetiques jokes here. Author here is typing, she had a pizza slice with some weird brown stuff on it, she was assured though that it is vegetarian. Hmm, vegetarian what? So, this is what we do here with our life. Three years outta art school and we are positively chained to a computer. How did this happen? Chained to a computer without even making a single dime thereof. Art making as hobby, how could this have happened? She should just get a good lawyer and sue her alma mater, give me back my money, gimme back my energy. Ten years down the drain. Part-time college, this can only fly in countries where students have to bear the brunt of the tuition fees. But we digress, author is not even sure if everything she states is true. Wikipedia-ing as fact checking, won‟t fly, barely, hardly. She fragments sentence after sentence, it‟s artsy, yer know. Anyhoo, a woman walks by in blue, someone talks, she will make her way home. Run after the bus, run to the bus. Why not and why not and why not and why not?! June Seventeen 33 700 words, she should still type on, still type on. This is what one does on the trip to Singapore even if it is an imaginary one.

103

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

And Still Another Day She knows that she has a writing fragment stored somewhere on another computer, it is just some sentences long, nothing more, a very miniscule amount of words, nothing to sneeze at – she ponders, her “sneeze” comment is used out of contest, the whole wording is rendered useless, meaningless, these are her days as a writer, an incompetent writer who is merely articulate at describing her utter state of incompetency, her happy state of utter failure. As a writer as an artist, shmeh, who wants to be a starving artist anyways? Who wants to set signs on a cave wall for posterity, who, ah, who? HER BACK HURTS, SHE SITS CONTORTED, SHE SHOULD LIE DOWN, WHICH WOULD HURT LESS BUT WOULD MAKE HER BACK-CONDITION WORSE, nobody knows how come the words capitalize all by themselves, miracle, ah, miracle. The table here in the art school is utterly filthy, cup rings, white dust against the dark table, fingerprints, greasy ones. But somehow it does not make you barf, maybe because you know that this is an art school. Where amazing things might happen, the Mona Lisa, if only with a pencil-thin moustache, the like, and the like and the like. Something is piping constantly in the distance, ah, weird, ah so very very strange, yup, heap useless prepositions onto the screen, the wordcount is all that matters, all that matters, all that matters. October Five Back in the library of the ETH, back in Zurich. Nothing here smells like cheese, Switzerland is utterly accommodating, like always like always. She feeds her words to this very machine, she will go to the Bahnhof, later on, have a sandwich or a fish stick meal or a bratwurst, some luxemburgli, you know, the fare that defines this place for her; the local cuisine, the local cuisine for the traveller, this traveller. She is always transient when she comes to this city, it is her

104

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

favourite state, the one that defines her writings. Ah, to pen world lit for lonely planet, yup, why not and why not and why not, gone are the days when you wrote 4 publishing, everything is online, ah, online. She types some more, saves it, she goes down to the first floor, the architects have their final exhibition in the lobby, “fantastico” says a Spanish woman in boots to her friend, and it sure is, the ETH has the beast architectural graduation exhibition on the planet, well, the one in Yale is not to sneeze at either. The one in the Architectural Association should be fun, lots of buildings with white filigree skins. Walls as lace fabric, yep, why not why not why not. And author here still types, gone are her days when she studied to become an architect, to become an animator, at this time all of her efforts are morphing into providing fodder for literary mumbo-jumbo. Everyone can type, n‟est-ce pas and n‟est-ce pas? Her writing is pushed further by its utter incoherence, there are no characters that shoot each other, no love scenes, that is not how we roll not how we roll here, not how we roll here. Her back hurts way too much, gotta be outta here outta here outta here soon. August Three Rain in Reykjavik, in summer to boot. Two o‟clock in the cosy coffee shop in downtown Reykjavik, on a Tuesday, she is sitting near the window, can watch people walk by, while the rain drenches them. She is digging into the strawberry tart with whip and sprinkles, she ponders, if she should not have had pineapple tart. Yup, they have pineapple-tart which is a strange topping for a tart. She has to type some words, but prefers to concentrate on mumpfing away, watching away, killing time, killing time. She has to finish 2000 words by the end of this week, some agent in the UK wants to take a second look at her manuscript. Thus she has to write and type, she has to rework the old manuscript, polish it up, a tad and a tad, besides it is shorter than

105

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

she had promised. Rain in Reykjavik, still coming down, forcefully - and to think that it is summer, summer. November Five In the Teestube in Itzehoe, it is three in the afternoon and she is having a Danish and a Tea. The Danish has Quark in it, ah, to be back here in Northern Germany. It is November, so she is working on her 50 000 word novel on one hand and on her other manuscript too. Confusing, huh. The weather outside in the car free street is arguably horrible, wet and windy, wet and windy. Feels nice to be huddling in here, the steaming tea, the Copenhagen. On the overhead, hectic elevator music. A woman in green boots comes in, orders a Cappuccino. October Three Back in the writer‟s co-op, it is ten-thirty in the morning, she is not the only one here. A woman in a red sweater and blond locks types away, fiercely, fiercely. A young man with a hat, he writes in pen and paper. Author here is excited to be back here. Later in the day she will walk to the apple store, maybe go down to Chelsea Piers. Or to the market, get a latte, enjoy the ambience. The long lines. Obviously, we first have to type here, instead of making plans for what to do when all of the writing here is finished. Even if she does not publish anything she has to write a certain amount of words in order to feel that it is worth to pay for the writer‟s co-op membership on a monthly basis. She could go down to sixth, to Bed and Beyond, she needs a bath mat, a green one. Writing does not work out for her, she takes her coat, the red and black striped shawl, she walks down to Union Square, picks up three cupcakes by Melissa on the way, the mini ones for 3 bucks. To the Strand it is, by the books, she ponders, when will her stuff be sold here. She looks

106

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

under D, between Dh and Dj. Nope, nothing yet, this is pretty surreal. Walking out onto 14th, down to the pizza place, Artichoke. She has a pizza, wonders what is in the Vodka pizza. Smirnoff? A woman in a red skirt with big blue flowers on it sits next to author, outside on the bench. A family who must have come from the ear and eye hospital sits on the other bench, everybody has pizza. Author uses both of the napkins, to blot the fat. She should get back to the writer‟s place, her words are waiting to be pushed down into the computer. January Twelve She went for a fast walk down to the mall, Curitiba is pretty hectic at this time of the day. she makes her way back to the hotel, sits down in the little coffee shop that is opposite of the Sheraton. She has a cappuccino and a small round piece of pastry. It looks good, she starts eating it. She did not take her notebook on this walk, which was a mistake, she should write some, write some. Fashion a believable narrative, a smashing story. Her back hurts, cramp like. This is what happens with old age, either your back hurts or your knee hurts. She feels so very very old, she should stop travelling the world, should stay put and sit in a rocking chair on the porch, on the veranda. She needs ten more words to make it to 34 999, she will go back to her hotel, spend the rest of the day writing, ah, writing. October Five In the coffee shop in Boston, actually it is Cambridge, the place is just next to the building where the MIT Press is housed. It is two in the afternoon, she has a tea that has a lemony flavor and two small Brownies with nuts in them. She sits near the window, the coffee shop is on the second floor, at least this part where she is sitting. Two students are reading, they have textbooks, papers, one is typing on her laptop. This is a nice place to work on one‟s manuscript, she has to

107

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

revise and revise. She takes out her laptop, starts to type away, type away. Her story slowly crystallizes. August Fifteen The train trip from Hamburg to Eutin, she looks out the window, everything is soothing, it is nine in the morning, the train makes her sleepy so very sleepy. Eutin should be fun, she will sightsee a tad and then plunk herself down somewhere on a chair in some coffee shop, start writing and writing. She has her notebook tucked into the bottom of her fabric bag, she has her hair in a bun, she definitely feels writerly. She looks like an overaged librarian, all that is needed are the birds nesting in her hair. You do not need to look presentable when you are a writer, after all, you put all your energy into penning stuff, you do not have time to take a shower or polish up your appearance. You live for your muse, you pen your masterpiece, one word at a time, one word at a time. Entering this coffee shop in Eutin, she has a cherry strudel and a peppermint tea, she can look outside, she can watch people while scribbling her notebook. There is so much to see, the silent quiet city is very inviting with its slow steady pace. This is where one should be able to concentrate on penning a masterpiece, anymasterpiece. May Two In the studio on the second floor of the north building, on a Saturday morning, while time is standing still, while the AC is deafening, while solitude is gripping her by the throat. She should paint or draw, this is a visual arts school, for some reason it manages to train writers more so than painters. There are reasons, one could analyze da reasons, but if push comes to shove it doesn‟t really matter. Linken Park posited some fifteen years ago: IN THE END, it doesn‟t even

108

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

matter. Technically it was ten years ago, maybe eleven or twelve, but, yer know, in the end it doesn‟t even matter. She types away here, while the technician is somewhere behind her in the glass partitioned place, author here feels like a rock star, a recording artist, an actress, the technical staff is sitting behind glass and makes sure that every thing works out alright. Author ponders, thus, she is some kind of performing artist. In a hospital, it is the same, the nurses sit behind glass and monitor you. In a prison, the wardens do the same. In any kind of institution that is how it is. She ponders, she should find similarities and dissimilarities, a ship is sailing by in false creek, one can see the sail slowly move by, if one looks outside the window in the distance to the right. One can see the buildings on the other side of the water, but only if one turns to the right and looks out the window. The technician lady sits behind author in the back, to the right. Author ponders, she does not describe the layout of this place accurately, she mixes up left and right, it is pretty good that she did not get into design, all her technical specifications are ah so wrong, that is how she ended up in the arts, where you can make up stuff while you go. And then call it “poetic license”. She ponders how many words she has by now, the tiny icon at the bottom of the page says 347. This computer is so much better than her laptop at home, the tiny number is very crisp, black on white, whereas the number at home is white against a grey background, one can never ever decipher what is going on. She should stop this, she should, she should. The library is a better place to pen a masterpiece for obvious reasons, they have tons of computers, here there is only one, and someone might just waltz in and claim this one, besides, she should do her scannings. And her back hurts too, still. She has about 400 words, that should be enough for now, her book is an amassment of little vignettes, this better be good, better be good. Far away from Brooklyn it is, it is, it is and it is. 479 words, yay and yay and yay and yay and yay. 491, one could run this down to 500, 501, 502, 503, okeedok, 507.

109

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

October Twenty-One She is sitting in the small bakery in Yaletown, the one with the wedding cakes in the window. When you sit at any table here, wherever you look there are wedding cakes. The chocolate cake is decadent, like always. Foret noir, it has a tinge of kirsch in it. Cherry liquor. Author chats with the woman behind the counter, the one with the black and white uniform. A discussion of all the different cookies on the shelf to the right, the over-priced ones, the designery, gourmet presentation. Lots of different cookies, two or three bags of each. Author ponders, she could write about this bakery, they have an immensely diverse menu, in a very tiny storefront. So many sweets in such a small space. She leaves this place, goes for a walk towards the library. She should go home to the writing studio, that is what one should call the green couch and the laptop, writer‟s studio, sure sounds impressive, yup, why not why not. May Two Itzehoe, once more. She is adamant at forging her second career as a writer, her offices are all these coffee shops all over the world. For five bucks per day, you pay less than in any downtown office building. And your office is in a different part of the world, everyday, everyday, especially if you pretend to be there. Armchair travelling, yay, yay. She enters the small bakery next to the cheese place. A cheese store in a small city, how many customers will they possibly garner in here. The small bakery is very cutsie-ish, they have marvellous marble cake, she gets a piece with a dollop of unsweetened whip, she sits down at a table near the window overlooking the quiet hustle and bustle in this silent town. Two in the afternoon, there are still some late lunchers in here. The people of Itzehoe, talking, chatting

110

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

away, laughing. Outside, drizzliness, too much greyness and coldness for the month of May, too many shades of grey, too many, too many. The woman in rainbow stripes is knitting, she is overly pretty, wears glasses and has her hair in pigtails. Two senior citizens, talking, they might be old, but utterly spry. Small town living does that to you. Author ponders, they might be from somewhere else, it might be their first time in this city. Author here ponders, she could, she should fashion an amazing narrative based in this very bakery slash diner, she puts down some sentences, reluctantly, oh so reluctantly. Writing comes slowly to you when you have this deep seated knowledge about your own dislocation. On the telly above the counter, Big Bang Theory. Seems, they are everywhere. August Five The writer‟s co-op once more, in the city that is way too hot way too hot, on the second floor on 14th. It is ten in the morning, author here glances to the outside. The window has slightly dull glass, one can see the banners of Pratt move in the so very slight breeze. There are other writers here, typing, a-typing. Author ponders, what is it about this place, that makes her run out to explore this city, to get cupcakes by Melissa, to hunker her day away in one of the two bookstores that are within walking distance from here. Some of the members of this place will give a reading come Wednesday evening, at seven in the KGB down on the Bowery. She ponders, is it right to say that the Bowery is somewhere down from here. She should look it up, does not really feel like doing so. September Fifteen A fast walk near the water, it is fun. The weather is still fresh and slightly chilly, Zurich is awakening, awakening. She feels located and dislocated at the same time. Her lower back is still

111

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

slightly hurting, it gave out about a week ago. She has to sit to do her writing, maybe one should start standing while writing. The Silberkugel once more for breakfast, the one on the Museumstrasse. She orders a coffee, pours some cream into it, takes a gipfeli out of the basket on the counter, pays for it, sits at a table near to the door. Facing the counter, facing the door. Customers in office garb stream in, so do young studenty types. The art school is just over the street. Construction workers in heavy boots, a lot of Gruezi Mitenand. Adieu with the stress on the A. Swiss sing sang, melodious, with the harsh ch‟s in there. Which are kind of dampered by the long stressed vowels. The music on the over head, Frank Sinatra singing about strangers in the night, ah, a classic a classic. She needs 400 words more, in order to finish this, in order to go to 37 000. Her writing, ah, her writing. She finishes her coffee, her Gipfeli which is the slightly hard Swiss croissant, hard enough to not fall apart and to soak up your coffee, your latte. Out into the street it is, the blue tram behind her, she walks down to the main station. Zurich in September, her beauty is undeniable, in a quiet reserved funny way. September Nineteen Chur, in the canton of Graubuenden, she goes up to the restaurant in the local department store, has food, looks out at the red roofs of the small town. This should be good for writing your amazing novel, the quietness, the undisturbedness. So quiet it makes you fall asleep, writer‟s block, an affliction so palpable ah so palpable. Her words on the paper, slightly leaning to the left, she switches the side that the letters are leaning towards every day, ah, every day. Writing annoys her these days, sightseeing, looking at all these different churches, which all seem so alike, that seems so much more fascinating, fascinating, fascinating, fascinating.

112

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

September Twenty Luzern, a walk by the lake. 170 words to make it to 37 000. She window shops at Grieder, then it is off to a hot chocolate with whip and a strawberry tart with whip, she wonders why she is gaining weight, so much so much. Being a writer does that to yer. Bikes pass her by, when she was younger she used to rent a bike and brave the traffic, now she is ah so old, hardly manages to go for a stroll, sit on a bench. She should wear a hat, feels like wearing a hat, tourists have to either wear hats or sunglasses. Something that underscores the transience of their existence, something that does not go with everyday life. But for her, writing is the everyday life, wherever she is. We need some fifty words more in order to make it up to 37 000, in order to feel grounded, in order to have slight tinges of the knowledge of accomplishment. Even if you are not published, especially if you are not published. And two words more, 37 007 it is, it is. On Some Day Well, at least the day is nice, though the station she is at has this stupid keyboard that does not really work, where you have to push each and every key with a lot of vigor, which will be putting strain on her muscles in the neck and the lower back, eventually, not to mention her right middle finger which basically does all of the typing, one letter at a time. one letter at a time. She ponders, if she should scoot to the computer that is next to her, she would then sit next to the lady in black who for some inexplainable reason has sushi at nine o‟clock in the morning, which is a smell that author here does not want, so she will just stay put here. The glare of the sun is way too much here, where she is sitting, so basically she is extremely uncomfortable, not to mention that her back might act up later in the day, because it gave out about three days ago. She ponders, she sure thinks about her body and its shortcomings a lot, that happens so very

113

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

automatically, once you get older. Even if your job is as easy as the job of a writer, it is arguably very easy on the system, after all, you sit comfortably and just push down buttons, and if you are good, you will be paid very nicely. You know the joke about what a freelance writer is? A freelance writer is someone who gets paid per word or per sentence or perhaps, ha and ha and ha. She has 203 words already if she would get paid, how much money would that be, if she gets one buck per word, she would have made 200 bucks by now. She ponders, nobody gets paid a dollar per word, now do they, does one? Her grammar is so very off, that is why she is not even paid a lousy cent per diem. She ponders, what does PER DIEM mean. Two women are crowding her, sit next to her, hey, we cannot write here like this write here like this. She wants to pretend that she is somewhere else, in Reykjavik or Amsterdam; in the north building, the foundation show installation is in its early minutes, the artists are still bringing in their work, author ponders, she did this some eleven years ago. Eleven years since her foundation show in the art school. And she did not that well, some participation in art stuff here in town, one in new york, some writing, that is about it. She has to be more aggressive, more diligent. She should rewrite her CV, the participation in the conference here in town in 2006 should be mentioned, too. A new CV, that should further her art career, her struggling art career. She ponders, what should we read into the title of this her book, far away from Brooklyn, what does it even mean. Is Brooklyn really the hotbed for cultural production, is it a myth that Brooklyn is some kind of hotbed, cultivated by real estate agents and developers and by the city of New York? She looks at her tea, she wonders if it is cold by now, she feels groggy, the woman with her sushi cough and coughs. The day marches forward, slowly slowly, it is April 15 in 2013, here in Vancouver, British Columbia. She types reluctantly and ever so reluctantly. We have 575 words here, yay and yay, the woman coughs again, recoughs, we could save this save this, could and should spellcheck spellcheck

114

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

spellcheck spellcheck. 605 it is, it is. She is not quite sure how the f. 30 words were added to the wordcount, just by reproofing of the text. Magic ah magic, that is how it seems. The machine ads its own words, at random, at random. September Two To walk through the sun-drenched street, by the K-mart on Astor Street, by all these people at eleven o‟clock on a sunny Wednesday in New York City, this can be characterized as subtle bliss, as total bliss. She chooses the bigger Starbucks, has a chamomile tea and a coffee-crumbcake or whatever its name is, she sits down with a view onto Astor Place, tries to sit so that she is in the shade, so that her notebook is not bathed in the glaring sunlight, so that she can pen her perfect words, so that the lingo flows down onto the paper, so very automatically, so very very very automatically. She ponders, can she still name this book of hers “far away from Brooklyn”, because, you see, technically, she is not that far away from Brooklyn, there is only a short subway ride, between the Lower East Side and Brooklyn, so, if you are a stickler, the title of her book is not that accurate. This begs the question, how FAR is FAR, is her title nonsensical, is all literature nonsensical. Should she just stop this her endeavour, should she just throw her notebook into one of these nyc-bins that stand at every street corner, is she a non-writer, another failed artist, another failed writer? Will she ever make it, should she just skedaddle back to where she came from, is fame and fortune for her, she ponders, why is she so bad at articulating anything. Should she wallow a tad more in self-pity, is this what artists should do, and is she even an artist? Ah, questions, ah, funny questions, so very strange questions. Hers is writing, come rain or shine, she is hungry, scarfs down the crumble-cake, watches the hustle and bustle outside, the woman in the white tank-top, the man in sandals, she takes some notes, her tea is getting cold. She thinks about the literary agents who have their office near to Astor Place, seems

115

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

that there are lots of agencies here in this neighbourhood. She ponders about the future of publishing, she tries to decipher what the name of the species of that little dog with the red bow is, the one that is walking his master, she scribbles some more words, she enjoys being a writer, even an unpublished writer is still a writer, so what that she lacks in marketing skills. That she rides elevators without pitching anything, so what that her poems rot somewhere in the basement, the process is paramount, I tell you, paramount. So, she is non-gifted, who cares, who cares, she can still write away here, for hours, days and years. Who needs books made to films, who needs anything of that kind. She will write some, later on she will have a pizza and a hot dog, then she will write some more, then she will have dinner, than sleep, and then another day of penning her masterpiece. She will stumble upon some narrative, yup, how tough can it be, how tough, how tough. She will monetize her Medici-check, she is happy, there are still people who fund her writerly existence. She will ask for another grant, fill out several applications, hopefully one of them will be granted. Ah, writing, ah, typing. She ponders, why do societies want writers, what for, what for. She ponders some more, her fragmented thoughts glide over the sunny table to her right, she likes the music on the overhead, Sinatra on the Girl from Ipanema, she ponders, she should go for a stroll, but she has to sit, because of her aching back, she knows that she has to stay put, it is still too soon to move around, it is now sixty hours since she threw her back out, she still has to rest some more, then slowly get back into her daily routine her daily routine. It is kind of tough to know when you are overdoing it, when you are underdoing it, but, hey, at least she did not break anything, at least she is able to sit again, it is so weird when you cannot even do the most rudimentary of movements. When you notice how many muscles you need to make you stand up, to change from the sitting state to an upright state. She has 38 and

116

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

400 thousand words, for some reason her words accumulate so much faster in November given that November is “National Novel Writing Month”. Weird, ha, strange, what is in a name? Same Day She is in Williamsburg, in the small konditori just out of Bedford, she has a waffle, says hi to the young chinese kid with borsalino, she now is in Brooklyn, she pens her stuff in this burrough, technically, her title is not accurate anymore. She has read all this stuff about writers who live in Brooklyn, writers who do not live in Brooklyn, she ponders, who cares, doea the city of blprooklyn sponsor these articles, the burrough of Brooklyn. There are books about Nottingham, even afilm, there are so many places on this planet where writers congregate, publishing is nmerely an industry and it is one that does not work for her. Self publishing is not for here, one has to be more oragnized than she is. She has some more words here. She ponders if living off waffles and crumb cakes is good for one‟s health, she ponders, how to kill the hours in her day, how to kill time, she will take the subway to midtown, wander thru saks, enjoy the sunshine, the day, do her touristy- writerly thing. Still Same Day Sitting in Saks, fun and fun and fun. The chair is a tad too low, but still the elegant environment is fascinating, she might go to the Moma, later on, she remembers that the free admission time is on Fridays after six, thus the Moma has to wait, wait. Today is Wednesday, why waste twenty bucks or so, go at the time that it is free. She will type this up once she gets back into the small apartment that she is subletting in Chelsea, in the street near to her favourite bakery. She ponders, she is really the lowest of the low, what kind of existence is this, to just scribble inconsequential words onto sheets of paper, she might as well knit, do embroidery, lay bricks.

117

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Inconsequential undertakings, without merit, without, without. She ponders, she should nurture or something, not just observe and document, she should pen words that change the world, a tad, a tad. That underpin moral compasses, she cannot really hear herself think here, the woman on the other chair is talking in Portuguese, too loud, too loud. Into her red phone, it is distracting our writer here, Silenzio would be nice, nice. Write your words down, in silence, silence, people are so very inconsiderate, next time she‟ll write in a library where librarians tell people to shut the hell up. And we scribble still some more words and still still still some more words. 38 825, not bad, not bad. At least that is her estimate, she will know the real number once she types this out and only then. Her day marches forward, the day marches forward. Time to walk back to Chelsea, time to grab a sandwich on the way, something with hummus or cheese, she prefers non-meat choices, if possible, if possible. A yoghurt, maybe, a piece of cheese with crackers, maybe. She has quite a lot of typing to do, not her favourite things, gone are the days when writers would dictate and secretaries would type it up, nowadays you have to do it all by yourself, the word smithing and the transcription. She ponders about the persona of the writer, while she sits down in Bryant Park, are writers male or female and does it even matter. She ponders, there should be just as many female writers as there are male ones, which group is more successful? And what constitutes success for a writer? Do you measure success in dollar signs? Is the profession not rewarding in itself, is the amassing of a certain amount of words not making yer happy enough. It is five in the afternoon, she wrote all over town, in different places, her neck hurts, the right side between her shoulder blades, this could be any date in time, she ponders about writing, she feels so utterly annoyed, so utterly, utterly useless. The tedium of writing is gripping her by the throat, like always, like always. People walk her by, in this so very busy city, she is merely another frustrated writer, far away from Brooklyn, near to Brooklyn, it doesn‟t

118

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

really matter doesn‟t really matter doesn‟t really matter. The inconsequentialness of her words is so utterly palpable, so utterly palpable so utterly palpable so utterly palpable. Repeating words at random moves the wordcount forward, not necessarily the narrative, not necessarily the deeper meaning. But, hey, if push comes to shove, that is not what we are shooting for here. Her training is in the visual arts, any writing will always be a sea of scribbles against the backdrop of the white surface, letters on canvas, yup, why not and why not and why not and why not. Book as artefact, so it seems, so it seems, so it is. 39 257, yay, yay. May Ten In the corner of the art school library, typing fast, while she can stare at the wall, while the woman in the striped shirt is filing stuff behind the light table, while the man in black to her right is typing away, while the librarians talk way too much, way too much, the group of chatty librarians that tend to defy the stereotype, forcefully ever so forcefully. The day is sunny, so much we know, even if we have the back to the window, even if the beige-white wall is all that is in front of us here. Words, ah, words, the little icon shows that we are so near to the 40 000 word mark, yay and yay, she types away, glances at the half-eaten hamburger bun of the person next to her, the one with too many sesame seeds on it, and then there is the silver black tea mug, anyhoo, we type here type here type here type here. Author is not quite sure why she is using the royal WE, she has enuf of referring to herself as a SHE. She needs some writing instruction, they have a writer help place in this school, she ponders, she is a continuing ed student, that place must be for credit students. Something noises way in the back, the printer maybe, someone sneezes, loudly forcefully, twice. We still do not have enough words, need some 500 more, ah, what to write about what to write about.

119

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

October Twenty-Three Back in Itzehoe, back in the tea-house, the coffee-house, the bakery slash diner. The name is a number, weird, huh, this is not studio 54. It is a godforsaken water hole in a godforsaken place. She ponders, she is arguably rude, if you cannot say something nice, do not say something at all. Thumper for you. Maybe she should make up places, nobody will sue yer. She ponders, her tea is pretty good, the waitress is way too pretty for this place, way too glamorous. A gorgeous natural beauty. Author takes out her notebook, starts writing, looks out at the drizzle coming down on the city, she likes it here, likes everything about Itzehoe, everything about this coffee shop, this restaurant. Her writing is off, comes with the territory. This is what happens when your days are spent sitting hunched over, trying to articulate the inarticulateable. She repeats herself, reuses the same metaphors. She digs into the Apfelschnitte with Schlagrahm, it is so very good, the tea is still hot, the drizzle outside makes her appreciate the cozyness here inside. A woman with way too much make-up comes in, plasters herself down at the table in the back. Why would one wear that much make-up, if one wants to hide somewhere in the very back. Yin and Yang. No makeup, loud demeanour - lots of make-up, quiet demeanour. Author ponders, she needs about three hundred words to make it down to 40 000. Three hundred good ones, insightfuls, profounds. She makes up words, that should always work, always, always. The person at the table next to her is playing with his cell-phone, the reflections from the silvery part are annoying her. August Ten And we are back here in Iceland, to write to write. Her application for the writer‟s residency in downtown Reykjavik was utterly rejected, ah, who cares, that is life that is life. She can still sit in

120

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

this coffee shop, in “le bistro”, she can still have tea and cookies, she can still watch the goingons outside of here. She can still watch her hand scribble over the paper, she can still observe the sentences appear on the page. The process is paramount, so what if she never ever does get paid for her words. They will be there for posterity, after her death, someone will discover the manuscript in the attic. Death poets. Ah, death poets. They have their own society after all, according to Hollywood. She takes out her glasses, the lower part of the right glass is kind of worn-out. Not broken, just deformed. A deformed piece of glass. Or plastic. Her glasses are eleven years old, she likes the frame. Ah, Reykjavik in August, this is her favourite city, the best city to write the best of texts. Elated to be back here, yup, why not and why not. She stretches her arms, her neck pain will not do her in. words have to be fashioned, fast and fast and fast and fast. The two women at the other table laugh out loudly, they have a distinct Irish lilt. Ah, tourist, tourists. Author here is so very happy in her deep feel of dislocation, this is what you need to be a writer, nothing more and nothing nothing less. She strings absurd absolutes like beads on a string, she has 40 000, she is happy and happy and happy. Searches for some words to end this passage, finds none, ah, this is life, this is life. The women still laughing, still, still a-laughing. The cries of a baby, somewhere in the back, somewhere way way in the back. June Five Nice weather here in Itzehoe, time to sit in this beautiful bakery, time to order an ice cream. They have wonderful cakes here, but she feels more like ice cream. This is what she writes about, what she orders in coffee shops. And you thought that we do not have a narrative here. A

121

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

culinary voyage through the cafes of the world, this is worth a show on the food channel. Maybe writing is not her thing after all, maybe scrap booking is her thing. She gets a table near the window, it is two in the afternoon, she orders an ice cream, shows the waitress what she wants on the card, there are pictures of all the different ice creams. She needs 800 words or so to forge this to 42 000. The ice cream has hints of liquor in it, very subtly, but still. Which makes it more expensive, she did not figure that out when she ordered. Her words, her words, she constantly writes these days, she will stay here in this city, work on this her writing, besides, the hotel here is half the price of her hotel back in Hamburg. She will write, enjoy the quietness of this small city, walk by the banks of the Stoer. She will heap her words onto the page. 700 words to 41 000. There was a slight mistake before, we are not near to 42 000 as of yet. Her writing, ah, her writing. So different from painting and/or drawing. And too harsh on the body, basically, you have to sit hunched over, not that good, ah, not that good. It is now three, people stream into this place, the small town crowd, all ages, gossiping, chatting, seems that everyone here knows each other. Time to feel dislocated, time to fill the void with ice cream, with whipped cream and sprinkles. She looks out the window, observes people, there is really not much to see here. A woman with a stroller, an old man with a walker. Everybody has to be somewhere, they are walking by on the Berliner Platz. That is the name of the square outside, this little town is arguably very nice. And it definitely does not provide anything to write about. She orders a peppermint tea, she needs something to distract her. The waitress informs her, that they only have black tea, with a wedge of lemon or with cream. With lemon it is. And still nothing to describe here except for the everyday, the banal, the trivial. In a city far away from home, far and far and far away. And definitely far away from Brooklyn, too, because she read in this newspaper article that Brooklyn

122

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

is where it‟s at for writers these days. She heaps some more words onto the page, takes a sip from her tea, faces her writer‟s block by forging forward relentlessly. She wanted to be an astronaut, did not work out, so she might as well put words onto a sheet of paper, she will sell them, eventually, one word at a time, one word at a time. The poetics of a place called Itzehoe, that should do it do it. November Six This small city near the Brazilian border, the small café, the tea, the cookies that are like little balls. She does not speak the language, does not speak Spanish. Back on the other side, in Brazil, she did not speak Portuguese either. She ponders, she will stay here in Argentina for two more hours, then she will take the bus back to Fos d‟Igiazu. She takes out her notebook, writes some more, writes some more. She writes wherever she goes. This is her life now, this is her life now. The dullest of professions, that is what one former lit agent called it. She ponders if she should shop, souvenirs, you know. She does not have much money, she can do without souvenirs. A post card? Nope, writing has to suffice, keeps her busy, while drinking the tea and making sure to not drip onto the paper. There is no narrative as of yet, just the writer penning her masterpiece that is not profound enough, not articulate enough. Deep thoughts is not what we do here. February Two Reykjavik is pretty cold, pretty icy. After all, it is February. She needs 200 words, to make it down to 41 000. Her coffee is steaming, she watches the sharp mini- clouds, she is utterly bored. Bored in Reykjavik. We have to rewrite this, sprinkle the page with better words. More fascinating ones, utter profound ones. We need 150 words, a woman in red stockings comes in,

123

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

sits down, orders an ice cream. Author ponders, why would anyone have ice cream in this cold weather. The office crowd streams in, seems work hours are over. We need only 100 words here, she orders a piece of cake with whipped cream, she is utterly bored, utterly bored. It is too cold outside, she will stay put here, her hotel is too far away, she might have dinner in this place and then go home, home to the hotel. Outside, it is starting to snow, silently, reluctantly. Winter wonderland in Reykjavik, dislocation is so utterly palpable, so utterly palpable. She feels nauseated and jet lagged, she will stay in this town for another three weeks, her book will thank her, she will roam all over this city, winter in Iceland, huh. 40 999, one word, we are there, we are there. 41009, give some take some. Gotta type this up back in the hotel, gotta lie flat in order to fight against the cramps in her back. Reykjavik, ah, Reykjavik. The struggle with the words overshadows this her adventure. April, April She had been to Antwerp before, she must have been seven. Seven years old. Antwerp looks different when you are sixty, not that much though, not that much. A city where you do not know anybody, it is a generic city now, a generic place. Anycity. A city with an ah so fancy name. where world renowned designers live. If something is Antwerp-based it must be good. Better than run of the mill Belgian chocolate, chocolate 2.0. It is very aprilish outside, she is reminded of this film where Jeremy Irons meets the binochet woman, author here does not remember the accurate name of the actress, the one from Chocolat. Antwerp has drizzle, a tad like April, actually, definitely because it is April. Author walks thru the tiny narrow streets, it is seven in the morning, she is a tad jet-lagged, which is kind of weird, she came here by train from Amsterdam.

124

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

She put her shiny new suitcase into her room in the hotel, she explores this place now, she has tinges of dislocation that are ah so familiar. She needs a shower but first exploration of the unfamiliar digs. She will stay here for some weeks, she will work on her master piece she will trudle the words onto the page, she will feel like an important writer. A not so important writer, hey, anywriter is important. Who categorizes importance? Some lowly academic who only thinks of his own career? Nah. Anyone could be a great writer, you just need to convince somebody that your stuff is great. You need to market your texts, one word at a time, one word at a time. She ponders, because that is what writers do. Painters wear berets, writers ponder about which beret to wear. Or which beret somebody else should wear. Or they might describe somebody else‟s beret. Not necessarily Monica Lewinsky‟s. Depends of what you write, fiction, nonfiction, romance. She ponders anyways, and now she ponders that she is hungry, she deciphers that she is hungry, she posits that she is hungry, insanity is so palpable, ah, it always is always is. A coffee, my good man, she exclaims when entering the coffee shop. Well, not really, but, she wishes that she had the moxi to do so. She lurches in the corner in the back near the window with her coffee and the croissant. Scarfing them down, scarfing them down. The Antwerp morning crowd makes its way to work, to school, to the railway station, to whatever, wherever. Author does not speak Flemish or Dutch and she is not sure where one language ends and the other one starts. This is a place where Wallones fight with French, she had read something like that in history, herstory. She could google this stuff, she is not really interested why one group dislikes another group. Or gets along with it. All groups are basically the same, all humans are the same. Except for some of them are nice, are better, and those are the ones that like yer writings. The ones that LOVE yer writings are even better. The ones who hate it, well, they should be eliminated from the face of this earth. In art school she used to give a ride to this woman who

125

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

wanted to join the RCMP right out of art school. What, will you incarcerate whoever does not like your art? Author ponders, how many words does she need per day, per day. She queried ten lit agents, wait, make that eleven, in nyc, she told them that her new book has 75 000 words which was a blanket lie at that time, she only had 15 thousand words. What possesses yer to fib like that? She now has 42 000 , not quite not quite. She still has to fabricate a lot of words, 75 000 minus 42 000, writing is all about doing math, about figuring out how many words there are on each page, ballparking it, fighting with potential editors over apostrophes, not that she knows, she is not published as of yet, all her stuff ventures thru the cloud, the cloud is her archive, Rumpelstiltsken, huh and huh. She ponders, coherence is not what we do here in Antwerp, if you want to be coherent you stay put, you do not venture out into the world, do not skeddale down to the other side of the planet only to find some inspiration for your inane, insane narratives. You stay in Brooklyn, you move to Brooklyn, because that is where writerly types have to stay. It is the decree of mayor Bloomberg and some other types of his sort. So methinks, so shethinks. Antwerp, this should be enough bullshitting on a drizzly April day, she ponders, do aprilshowers make for mayflowers in this city, too? She looks at the woman with the ponytails, at the man with the chapeau, at the man with glasses and suit. They are all good looking, you have to be good looking if you are in a place named Antwerp. Comes with the territory comes with the territory. You have to be young and agile, and if you aren‟t you have to look like you are. Kipling was founded in Antwerp, author here ponders how there is a connection? She ponders, all her observations are off, that is what makes for a great poet, say something that is weird but not too weird. That walks the line, balancing, make sure you never fall, never fall. Seven more words, we are outta here outta here. A laptop would be better, but you know with the drizzle she leaves the laptop in the hotel room, does her writing in coffee shops and other public places, then

126

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

does the transcribing either in the hotel room or in the lobby, something like that something of that kind. She must have 42 000 by now, yay and yay and yay. And yay. Time to go back to the hotel room, time to take a shower or something, time to sleep, maybe, maybe. Time to combat reluctant tinges of jetlag, whatever that means whatever that might mean here. Another Day In April Wow, is it chilly in here. Vancouver in April, feels kind of like Vancouver in February. Summer so reluctant and Spring so very very reluctant. She seems to be chained to this computer here, has her lunch in front of it, a banana bread with chocolate chunks in it. This better be good, better be good. The muse is, well, it must be something. Whatever made her think that she can survive in lit land, people much stronger than her could not cut it. Sylvia Plath and her suicide, Hemingway and his suicide. Ergo you commit suicide if you wrestle against words. She ponders, given that she has no success whatsoever she will survive this. She will keep on feeding her words to the machine here, while looking up at the ocean factory, while maintaining a studio in the art school, one that she hardly ever uses, she prefers to type, library as type writer. We have 42 200 words here, she will type some 800 more, then it is time to roam home, she is freezing though, should be way too cold to move thru the city, to take the bus, to find one‟s car behind the shopping center, she ponders, maybe it is warmer outside then it is in here. And we type and we type and we type some more. Outside, overcast, ah well ah well. And Still Some Other Day in April Sitting in the mall in front of Tiffany‟s, while it is still closed. There is quite an array of people in here, given that the stores will open about in an hour from now. Seems people prefer to congregate here, there is more stuff going on in here than it is in one‟s apartment. You could

127

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

mallwalk, you could take the Canada Line to downtown. You can window shop, you can have breakfast in here. You have privacy while still being in a public place. The forum in Rome, the mall of today. She ponders, what exactly was the forum in Rome? Maybe she should use metaphors that stick, not just fashion sentences that sound good. She is more a writer who writes in the same way as a composer would produce a melody, a choreographer would invent a dance. The rhythms, the harmony of the language, that is what is paramount. She shivers, this mall is way too chilly here. May Ten She is out of breath, the steps were a tad too much. She is now near the entrance of the ETH, she walks onto the massive terrace, ah, the view on the city. Wow, Zurich, not bad, not bad indeed. It is still early in the day, nine-thirty. Author here does not really feel like writing, writing is a chore, sightseeing is more fun. Flaneusedom. She could go inside, have a hot chocolate in the place where you have a great view. She is not quite sure where it is, if it is in the ETH or the Uni, she always loses her way here. But anything is better than being outside here, it is still a tad too chilly here. Summer has not quite begun, Spring it is still, but, given that we have May tenth here, she stops her train of thought, is confused, seems as if that happens a lot these days, maybe she should stop touristing in Europe, all these trips are getting to her, making her hyper and dislocated. August Nine Ah, Geneva. A walk through the mall near her hotel, a stint in the elegant coffee place. The overdressed women chatting, author ponders, could be that they are not over-dressed, she is the

128

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

one who is underdressed. If you are in Rome… huh. Her tea is really good, or maybe it is good because it is overpriced. The price ups the quality, automatically. August Twenty-Three And once more, Reykjavik. The usual, the usual. Same hotel, same coffee shop. She feels more Reykjavikian than anything else these days. Iceland is her adopted home. It sure is good for her writing, when she is in this city she manages to write a lot of extraordinarily good stuff without even trying. In this city her texts are exceptionally good, superb. Maybe because she does not understand the language here, she is better at talking to herself and better at talking to her laptop. Her thoughts are more intense, there is no distraction, well, hardly any. She has time to spin her yarns. October Two And once more, New York City. She gets out at Penn Station, makes her way down to 14th. She ponders, should she just keep on walking, explore the city. It is still pretty early, eight thirty in the morning. She has enough of trying to make it in lit land, maybe she will never ever make it. She participated in three open mic rhingies, technically those were not readings. A reading is more when you have published something and then you read your stuff to your fans. Something like that, something of that kind. She ponders, is Duane Reade open at this time. She needs toothpaste. September Four She used to live in this very city. At that time, you could sit in the Nordstrom on Broadway Plaza and have a tea or a coffee for 25 cents with an unlimited amount of refills. She used to come here

129

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

a lot, just drive here from her house and park near the entrance of Nordstroms. She was much younger then, thirty-one years younger, to be precise. Apparently, Walnut Creek has changed a lot, that is what the locals keep on telling her. She cannot really see it, the city has exactly the same vibe as it used to have thirty-some years ago. Its happy hinterland-idiosyncracies. Safe but boring. Yay, yay, yay, great place to raise a family. San Francisco was always so much more intriguing, she would make the trek on Bart so many many times. Oakland, too. Anywhere but the „burbs. We have 43 080, great ah great great and great. October Twenty-Three She ponders, it is nice to hit 43 088, she needs still some more, actually, quite a lot more. Sitting here hunched over, while THE OFFICE is on on the telly, while the rain drenches this city. The days of a writer, boring ah boring. She had nice food though, an apricot slice with whipped cream, five dolmades, all from the café and the grocery store on 14th. She should go there much more, it is near to here, one could jog down there, well, if she was the jogging kind. At this point her back tends to give out every two seconds, it is so utterly irritating, one does not even know when it will happen again. She has to do yoga or certain stretches, exercises that will strengthen her lower back muscles. She looked thru a book which was a back book, a back exercise book, there were pictures that showed what one should do to exercise one‟s back. The right stretches will produce the right body, apparently, apparently. We have 43 260 words here, ah well and ah well and ah well and ah well. October Two And one watches Big Bang Theory here, while typing away. Outside Singapore is happening which begs the question about why we are not sightseeing here but prefer to sit inside this

130

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

generic hotel room watching tv and type. Maybe this feels more familiar than the city that has to be explored. After a while, at a certain age, the lust for adventure seizes. Wanderlust is for the young. August Two Westerland, Germany. Last time she was on Sylt, she was twelve. BLOW UP was the film of the day, everyone was raving „bout it. She ponders, quite a time has gone by since then. She will go out, explore the board walk, have something to drink and pen some words. yup, why not and why not and why not. Writer‟s block will be swept away by the incoming tide, washed away washed away washed utterly utterly away. There is no narrative here but we fill the page by repeating words. January Seventeen She sits in the restaurant in Jelmoli, she looks down on this street with the banners. It is nine thirty here in Zurich, she takes notes, has her piece of pound cake, her tea. Her writing ah her writing. Her scribbles on the paper, the reflection of the light in her tea and on the rim of the white cup. All her words, all her words. She still needs about five hundred words, which should work out to six pages. Depending how big her letters are. The restaurant is pretty empty, after all, breakfast time is over and lunch time is far away. She ponders, maybe there will be an influx at about ten o‟clock. She can see some early shoppers from where she is sitting, an elegant woman in red and black and then there are regular looking people. She ponders what else to write about. Nope, no narrative here, no narrative as of yet. But you still have to keep on trying to write your book. She is not quite sure why. It is not like

131

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

training for a marathon or maybe it is. Her tea is finished, she might as well go for a stroll down in the street. Gotta bundle up, Zurich is pretty cold. August Two Watching the telly while typing away. She got another rejection for her query but she read somewhere that she should just keep on trying. Someone will like her writing, someone will publish her stuff eventually. She ponders if that is really what she wants. Maybe wallowing in failureland is much more fun. If she did embroideries she would just frame them and hang them on the wall. Maybe that is what she should do with the texts, print them out and frame one or two of the pages, just for fun. Published work is highly overrated, so it seems so it seems. Her lower back is acting up again, so are her shoulders, her neck, her hands. Seems her arthritis is doing her in or what seems like arthritis. Or repetitive stress syndrome. Or some kind of syndrome. On the telly, an ad for an arthritis walk. How fitting. On the telly, Old Christine. The episode with the mission project. And we are still typing here, typing and typing. Gone are the days when one would heap paint on a canvas, now it is words that have to be amassed, fed to the machine. Welcome to literature land. September Seven The coffee shop in Reykjavik, she should really find a new place. She is so set in her ways here on the other side of the planet, the other side of the world. Iceland is always fun, one can concentrate on all of this writing, she does not need to be anywhere, she cannot be reached here. Which means that her writing has to be the focus of her days, of her life here. Ah, how do you

132

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

spell PROCRASTINATION. She sightsees, goes to coffee shops, she would write more back home. Out to the street, it is fun to walk through the sea of people, downtown Reykjavik is like any other downtown. Tons of people, tons of people. October Seven The bakery in Itzehoe, she gets a piece of cake with whip and a chamomile tea. Sits near the window, looks out at the street. Not much happening, only the drizzle, the morning drizzle. Some persons with umbrellas walking by, a woman with a stroller comes in, sits down, her baby is asleep. Author writes a tad, is bored, she should go and write somewhere where there is way more happening. Something to feed her writings here. May One Once more, Itzehoe, the bakery, this time she is having an ice cream. She points to the picture on the menu, the waitress nods, asks her to take a seat. Outside, drizzle, drizzle. She ponders, how come she always comes here when it is raining. Or maybe, it is just always raining here. Her ice cream has whip on it, shaved chocolate. She takes out the black notebook, starts penning her great master piece. The one that does not really go anywhere. She writes with one hand and eats with the other one. Outside, still drizzle, still drizzle. October Five Her writings, ah, her writings. She is definitely not happy where this is going, her words are kind of off. No narrative whatsoever, she should just give up. She ponders if she will participate in nano month, given that writer‟s block is so very palpable. On the telly, a cooking show. The guy

133

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

with the red convertible talking up a storm. An ad for a tire company. An ad for an insurance company. May Seven Once more, the bakery in Itzehoe. The weather is nice, there is a first. She will stay here in this hotel, Dithmarscher Hof, it is much more reasonable than the hotel back in Hamburg. Maybe she will stay her whole stay here in Germany in that hotel. The bakery is pretty full, mainly because it is three in the afternoon and Thursday. She can hardly get a table. The so very beautiful waitress, the one that looks like a fashion model. Author here has ice cream, she shows the waitress the picture of the sundae on the menu card. Writing here is pretty routine, having an ice cream, writing away in the note book. You know the drill. Writing in Itzehoe, writing in Reykjavik. The text is taking shape, at this point author is so very happy with her non-narrative. It is the process that is fun, the travelling, the journeys, the looking for inspiration in all the wrong places. June Six The small village outside of Berne. Everything looks as if it is taken out of a picture book. Cows and their bells. The bakery has beautiful pastries, author here orders a raspberry tart with whip, hot chocolate with whip, if she has a heart attack it is quite a good way to go. The tables have red and white checkered table clothes which seem more fitting for an Italian restaurant. The waitress with the black braids and the yellow uniform brings the tart and the chocolate, Danke, Danke. A young mother comes in, the baby in the stroller is asleep. Author ponders, somehow all these bakeries, all these coffee shops she frequents the world over, somehow they seem all to morph into one. We usually have something sweet, we peoplewatch more than we write. Writing is just

134

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

not much fun, peoplewatching on the other hand is so very entertaining. The two grey-haired women at the other table talk very animated in Swiss German, author here has no clue what they are talking about. She is not that bad with Swiss German, but not if it is used at rapid fire speed. Outside, the weather is so very nice, sunny, sunny, a sunny morning in a quaint Swiss village. Author ponders, she is getting arguably senile, she forgot the name of this village, something with a V. the name was pretty long. She could sightsee, stroll through the village, there was a nice boutique. Sightseeing is not just done in big cities, you can sightsee a forest. The tart was pretty good, it was actually very very very good. She fishes her notebook of her bag, the glasses case, the blue pen with the red inscription on it. Her letters, nicely marching over the page, kind of leaning to one side. The two women still chatting, the baby wakes up, starts crying, her mother feeds her, gives her a bottle. Author here needs 300 words, which should be around four pages. Write and write and write and write. Put down the 300 words, get this over with. A man in a green hat comes in, a young girl in a red-white T-shirt follows. The waitress in the yellow dress and the black braids has her hands full, she is busily running around and taking all these orders. Author ponders, she still has to write some more, she has to fulfill her daily allotment. 200 words ah 200 words, 200 words. The day marches forward, silently, quietly. She ponders, she could take the train back to Berne, stroll thru downtown, look at the bell tower and the dancing of the puppets at noon. It will be pretty difficult to make it there in time, she did not look at the train schedule, besides, this village is so idyllic and nice, she has been to Berne lots of times before. 150 words, fast and fast and fast and fast and fast. She likes it here, dislocation does not feel that grave when everything is so utterly idyllic. The hot chocolate was very good, everything is nice, her words however are so utterly off. no story arc, no coherent sentences. Writing sucks, fashioning clay pots should be more fun, more rewarding. She tries her best to

135

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

make it as a writer, is giving this her best shot. But a language is so much less malleable than clay, there are no rules, every sentence is a shot in the dark. It is a totally hit and miss endeavour, each and every writing day is a venture into the unknown, some days you are lucky and some days you are not. That is how it is, that is how it is. May Five In the coffee shop on arbutus, in Vancouver, British Columbia. Next to closing time on a Friday, two men talking, one woman surfing her i-pad which she somehow managed to stand up diagonally. You can do that, there are all kinds of gadgets at the i-store. Author is not quite sure, it might be a different tablet, not necessarily an apple device, and besides it does not even matter. What is clear is that the woman touches the screen and magic happens. Touch buttoning. There is a more precise term for that but author here is not versed in computerish mumbo jumbo, thus touchbuttoning is as good a term as any. The overhead sings its songs, the exit sign is so very red above the door, the woman in beige-grey near the door studies the contents of her phone. The barista with the black turban cleans up, the woman with the short hair says hello. So much to see here, so much to observe. Cars up and down Arbutus, all this chatting in this place, author ponders, her back starts acting up, maybe she should stop to write her master piece here, maybe she should go home and just lie flat. It is boring to just lie flat and look at the ceiling, she can do that once she is 101. There are 99-year-olds that play golf and-or tennis. She ponders, she will not be one of those creatures, she does not watch what she eats, she does not take her vitamins. She hardly ever has alcohol though, she does not smoke. She sleeps eight hours per day. She avoids physicians, thus maybe she will make it after all. The lady with the diagonal tablet is dressed very elegantly, has a hat, has a turquoise blouse. White pearl earrings. And we type here and type here and type here and type here. Author ponders, how will she be able to market her

136

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

writings, she is constantly rejected by literary agents, she will just try to open her own lit agency. She will approach editors, after all there is the SELL BY OWNER crowd, even if it is laughed at. There are lawyers in nyc who look at your book contract, so that should work out. She ponders, she has to figure out how to do this, how tough can it really be. Painters find gallerists, the business side should be doable. She ponders, aren‟t gallerists middle men, middle women like literary agents, ah, who knows who knows. At this point she is utterly pissed off that the keyboard of her laptop is acting up, she tries to type the question mark and an E with an accentgue on it appears on the screen. Time to throw this laptop out the window, guitarists do it all the time, they play guitar and then they smash it to pieces. At least that is what they used to do, in the heyday time of rock bands, of heavy metal bands. In the old times, in the old times. Author is cold, this place here is pretty chilly. It is six and fifty seven, she is not quite sure when this place will close. A man and his kid, cute, ah. a woman with a pissed-off face. A man and a woman near the window, he talks, she listens. He is ugly and she is pretty. That happens. At least he can talk forever, but then, which guy cannot. Author ponders, she tends to talk up a storm lots of times, a woman comes in, she has the blue pants of a nurse, but actually she looks more like a surgeon. The pretty woman in green turquoise leaves, she speaks Arabic into her cell phone. Or some other language, given that she did not look Norwegian, it was either Pakistani or Arabic or something. The two men talk in either Chinese, Korean or Japanese. Cantonese, Mandarin. Author is no Professor Higgins, that is for sure. She has 45 667 words here, in a language that she is not that good in, worked for the late Nabokov, but then again, he happened to have a plot. It is so much more difficult to market a plotless text, so it seems, so it seems, so it seems. Even if it has a fascinating title like FAR AWAY FROM BROOKLYN. Books that have BROOKLYN in the title usually sell well. So she thinks, so methinks. The man in the white shirt and the bald

137

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

head talks to the barista, the man with the grey baseball cap walks by. The two young men talk very animated in the language that author does not understand. This being Vancouver chances are that there are lots and lots of conversations in coffeehouses that you do not understand. You do not need to travel to Reykjavik or to Zurich or Geneva, you can meander thru the coffee shops in this very city, besides, yelp rated this place as a good place to do schoolwork, to write, to play with your computer. While the singer on the overhead sings away, while the cars go by, while the day marches forward, forward forward forward forward. She has a stomach ache, the curry rice in Metrotown did not agree with her. And stop and spell check spellcheck. Btw, she had a greek youghurt with peaches in it, she ponders, if that is way too much personal info. Well, at least we have 46 000 words here, not quite and not quite and not quite. The GFS people bring the boxes in, gordonfoodservice, that is what the super-big truck says. Some singer admonishes yer DON`T BE MAD AT ME, a man walks outside with an umbrella. Author ponders about how she will take her laptop home. She runs to the car, fast and fast. Rain has stopped only to restart while she is driving. This is Vancouver 4 you. April 5 The bakery in Itzehoe, it is three in the afternoon. Rainy, drizzly, like always. Schleswig Holstein at its best, at its worst. She ponders, she has no clue what that means, but, hey, it sounds good. The best of times worst of times thingie. The ice cream is good, like always, she ponders, maybe hot chocolate would have been a tad more appropriate. With whip. She scribbles her sentences down into the notebook, she has 46 000 words, she should be happy, so happy. A bricklayer is happy when he has built half a wall, she ponders if it is p.c. to posit that a bricklayer is male. Ah, her words are so full of B.S., her writing is not good, not good at all. Selfdoubt rules her days,

138

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

but at least she is seeing the world on her quest for the perfect text. Ah, drizzle in Itzehoe, drizzle in Itzehoe. A Morning She had her coffee, her piece of pastry, that should cover her till noon. The coffe place, so weird, exactly the same waiters as the night before. They do their waiting, she does her writings. She pondered, she thought about the coffeehouses that Voltaire that Flaubert would be in. They would pen their philosophical stuffi muffi, somebody else would prepare food, wait on them. Is that what makes for literature. Or do the literati prepare their own food. Do we need coffee houses to have books. Every meet-up is in a public watering hole, every meeting for nanomonth is in a public place where beverages are served. The diner in Seinfeld, the cafeteria in the Big Bang Theory, that is where the stories are discussed, the action is in those public places where people talk to each other, reflect upon the world, in mundane terms, in not so mundane terms. Her book, her book, she has nothing to say, nothing really nothing really. To reflect upon life while you are sitting at your laptop. While you are staring at a typewriter. While outside quiet trees seusel in the wind, while the fridge quivers around instead of birds chirping, while the day motions forward ever so quietly quietly. While words amass amass. While she is pondering how to sell her words, to whom to sell her words. Art that is free is non-art, so they say so they say. They are wrong, that I ought to decree here decree here. She should stop philosophizing she should start imagining her trips to literature houses the world over, coffee houses the world over. August Two The small bakery in Maienfeld, near to the station, she has a piece of cake, a tea, she ponders what to write about, she feels dislocated. You cannot really write something profound in a place

139

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

like this, the words seem to stall seem to stall. This is no metropolis, it is a quaint Swiss village that god forgot. The quintessential small place, far away from urbanity. What you write in here is not as consequential as what you write in a metropolis, in New York. You cannot garner readership starting from here, now can yer can yer. She ponders, does she want readers or not. After all, she merely describes the process of writing, the business of writing. That is like making a pot about pottery. The subject matter is what matters, the inner meaning. She has her tea, ponders why incoherence rules her words. There has to be a plot, a plot. Not just the story of the struggling writer, only struggling writers can relate to that story. She ponders, she has 47 000 words here, not quite not quite. She repeats her words repeats the exact sentences. In carefully calibrated increments, again and again and again. Her tea is aromatic, a tad too aromatic. The waitress with her fun Swiss drole, she could be straight out of Seinfeld, the yellow uniform, her demeanor an anywaitress demeanor. We write we write, she ponders how many writers will travel thru this village, will start writing, scribbling into their notebooks, while the world marches forward, while life happens on this planet of seven billion, seven billion. She should go and catch the Postauto that will take her back to the train station in Bad Ragaz, that will take her back to Zurich or wherever else she wants to go, her railpass is still going for two more days, the country is there for exploring, but it seems that everywhere here is the same, the same the same. October Four The coffee shop in downtown Rekjavik, the strawberry tart with whip, the chamomile tea. Weekends in Reykjavik, all these people that stream into the city, that talk in a language that she still cannot decipher. What does she really know about this country, nothing, ah, nada, zilch. For her the reality of this very city is this very coffee shop, the one she always frequents when she is here in town. Where she sits at a table in the back, where she takes out her notebook, where she

140

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

scribbles down all of these her letters. Where she is happy that her wordcount amasses, as if that is the only thing that counts, that counts. She measures her days by the words that she puts down, in the same way that a knitter measures the progress of her days in the shawls he produces. Never mind that the majority of knitters are female, she ponders, she lost her train of thought. Some reflection on quality versus quality, on free art versus paid art, something like that, something of that kind. Reykjavik is happening, she feels slight tinges of bliss, her writings are unpublished and maybe that is just okeedori. Her words exist only in the cloud, ah why not why not. who really cares if her words are not available in hard copy, it does not say anything about the quality of her sentences, her observations. Peer reviewed, what exactly is that. Sheldon Cooper posits that he has no peers, she here is tired, arguably fatigued, she will wrap this up, go to the big mall that is so near to this coffee shop, she will forge her way by the generic stores, the ones that you can find in anymarket anymarket. She will waltz by the wares that the local merchants hunker, she will look at the faces that pass her by. She has 47 000 words, we are outta here outta here. There is no chronological logic to her book, there does not need to be any, that is how it is that is how it is. How we roll here, to be precise. She sprints all over this planet, only to rest in certain watering holes. only to put down some words, only to get up and sprint down to some other place. That is what writers do, that is what poets do. Nowadays, ah nowadays, nowadays, nowadays. The language as a funny tool, yay and yay and yay and yay. The essence of a writer, described as a cartoon, in a diagram, formulaic, so very very formulaic. A plus B equals C. writer plus laotop equals book. Yup, why not and why not. Far away from Brooklyn, indeed, indeed. A DAY

141

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

An art school like any, a writer like any. She cannot go down to the library, apparently it will open in two hours, make that eleven minutes. Author here is losing it, she motions thru the city without maps, without any orientation. She knows that she shoud put down 1000 words, she should type this up and type this up. Granville Island is so touristy, seems the city is so very good at promoting its water and mountain spiel, the little street near to the agro café, so full of people so full so full. Outside the sun, in here this keyboard that is way too filthy. Gotta write and gotta type. There is no pencil near to the sign-in place, thus we do not sign in, just say hi to the lady behind the glass partitioning. And we type here type here, use the visual arts studio as a writers place. A language lab, yup, that one and that one. Downtown the foundation show, roaring along, author here remembers her show some eleven years ago, that was before she somehow morphed into a writer, into a writer. The main culprit was the teacher who said “go into writing not into drawing”, you‟ll get so much farther so much farther. Author ponders, that as not exactly what she said, but, hey, we tend to change the past in our minds in our minds. And she types and types against the too loud AV, against this and against that. Typing in solitude, yeah and yeah. Gotta save this gotta edit this, yup, why not and why not. Gotta send it out to agents, make publishers happy, gotta distribute the inklings of one sunny morn‟ in July. Or whatever month it is it is. Gotta take out the typos, fast and fast and fast and fast. April Twenty-Nine Some more words, ah, some more words, some more words. She thinks about it while she waits for the bus, she thinks about it while she is on the bus. While she drives all over town, while she is sitting in the donut shop. While she is on the tread mill, while she brushes her teeth. Just like

142

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Dostoevsky, you know something like that, something of that kind. While watching TV. mundane tasks make a writer out of yer. Not some MFA in Creative Writing, not the steep price for that. Just gotta park your you know what in front of a computer, just gotta produce words, words. They should morph into something utterly fabulous, after a while after a while. Just push down letter after letter, just do some saving here, some spellchecking here. Gotta do those writerly calisthenics. And after a while go for a walk, and after a while go to a coffee shop or to a pub to drink till passing out. Somehow writing has to do with the fluids that you consume, not so much with syntax or grammar. And plot, huh, that is so yesterday. She looks at the screen, she is not quite sure which geographical spot she should establish for this part of the text, where is she now, where is she now. Ah, to live in fictionland, fictionland. October Two Once more, the bakery in Itzehoe, once more the ice cream with the whip, once more the short conversation with the waitress in her yellow uniform. Once more the sitting near the window, the view of the square, the Berliner Platz. She fishes her notebook out of her bag, she starts scribbling, ah, scribbling. Back in the hotel, her notebooks are accumulating, the word count marches forward and forward. a woman in a purple beret comes in, sits down near the window, orders a piece of cake, a cappuccino, she takes out a book, starts reading, reading, reading. Author fashions her sentences, is happily avoiding the construction of a plot, she is not the plot writing kind, not yet and not yet and not yet. She is a phrase-repeating writer, good at using commas and full stops, good at yawning in between writing spurts. Outside, slight drizzle, outside a woman with a walker. The days of downtown Itzehoe, the fashion store on the other side of the small square, the quietness, the laid-backness. The silent city in the north of Germany, the one that makes her write and write and write.

143

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

The day marches forward, she ponders if she should head back to Hamburg, if she should stay here in the Dithmarscher Hof. She has her tooth brush with her, she can go either way. She has enough paper to write on and if push comes to shove that is all that matters, all that matters. The rain becomes harsher, harsher. The ice cream was good, the woman in the beret is still reading, glancing at the page over her dark-green glasses. November Four A walk through downtown Reykjavik, pretty fast, pretty fast. A sea of people, a downtown like any. So many many individuals, so much to see, so much to see. Dislocation as a way of life, that is how it is how it is. Her writing stalls, it always does, always does. Writers block, so palpable, so very very very very palpable. August Twenty-Two It is two in the afternoon, she makes her way up the stairs of the Spruengli cafe, orders a tea. She got a magazine at the kiosk on the Paradeplatz, flips through the pages, gotta know what is in fashion, what is en vogue. She has one of these cakes, that are red and beige-ish, that have almonds in them. She does not know the name, just points to it and asks the lady to bring it to her. This café is so intimidatingly elegant, luckily there is always a group of shabby-attired tourists luking around here. Author ponders, which group does she belong to. The pastry is so very good, the tea is aromatic, the NZZ interesting. They always serve a small piece of chocolate with whatever beverage you order. She feels kind of intimidated to do her writing here, this does not seem the right venue for scribbling your words, your words, your words. What difference does it really make how high her wordcount is, she cannot sell them anyways. No publisher has taken her on, as of yet as of yet. All of her words are so utterly unpublished, that ca not be good,

144

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

cannot be that good, that good. She observes people, this is the best place in town to peoplewatch. Everyone is dressed to the nines, so much chatting, the waitresses in black and white, rushing, rushing. She ponders, she should go down to the Kunsthalle, visual arts will inform her writing. Walking by the sea will help her fashion her words, looking at the nice stuff in the shop windows will make her produce the right words. So it seems, so it seems, so it seems. If you are not a flaneuse you cannot really write now, can you, can you. April Seven Nice to be back here in London, she has not been here in ten years, make that fifteen. It is pretty surreal to be back here, the city has not changed much, it never does, never does. A walk around the neighbourhood, the purchase of a small tube of toothpaste at Boots, she walks around, strolls around. The stench of dislocation is so very annoying, she has to settle into some kind of routine. Eat at certain times, in certain locations. She has to be aware of the cars when she crosses the street, has to get used to the British way of driving on the wrong side. Or the right side, whatever your perspective is. Her words amass, which is a plus, even if they are pretty banal, anything but profound. She has 48 503, so near to fifty thousand, the National Novel Writing Month requirement. She should find a nice little café, a place to sit down, to scribble down some notes. She has to walk some more, make sure that jet-lag does not do her in, not quite not quite not quite. June Six Up to the second floor of the writers` co-op on 14th, she makes her way to her desk which is partitioned off, she takes out the laptop, starts to feed her words to the machine, fast and fast and fast and fast. Not many people are in here, it must be too soon in the morning. A young man with

145

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

a grey checkered hat, an old woman with dark green glasses. Well, not that old, let us say, middle-aged. One can hear the tap-tap of the two keyboards. Author ponders, she feels like running out and getting Cupcakes by Melissa, she needs to go to the Duane Reade on Union Square to get shampoo. Everything and anything to not write, to not type. New York City has so much more to offer than the sitting put and fashioning of words, of sentences, of paragraphs. The chore of filling the pages, so annoying so annoying. We have 48 711 here, ah, great and great and great. Enough of writing, she closes the laptop, she can do her writings later on. Out into the street, out to explore the world. August Five And once more, the bakery in Itzehoe. The ice cream with whip, the seat with the view onto the Berliner Platz, the waitress in black braids and yellow uniform. The weather is so nice, so nice. Two women are chatting up a storm, one has grey hair, one has red hair. A man sitting in the back, quietly, reading, reading. Author should just move to this very city, enjoy the quietness, the non-hecticness on a daily basis. Should be good for her writing, has the potential to make her pen her masterpiece, her master piece after all, after all. The walks through nature, day-in and dayout, that should help her fashion a believable narrative, yup, why not and why not. She is bored of stretching her sentences with gimmicky fillers, she has to learn how to write smashingly sharp dialogues, has to become better, so much better at this writing endeavour. Life here in Itzehoe might just do the trick, ah, do the trick. October One A walk through downtown Reykjavik, that should do the trick, that should propel her story forward, should forge the wordcount forward, forward. We have 48 936, she looked at the little

146

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

icon on her laptop, the one that she left in the hotel room. It is more fun to scribble into a notebook, you can take it anywhere, it fires up anywhere in this city. Author makes her way to the konditori, the one in the side street, the one where she likes the coffee, loves the atmosphere. This place here has a feel of home, there are all the stations that she frequents each and every time she is here. That is how you forge a feel of familiarity, by marking your little territories, all day long, all day long. She refuses to learn the language here, it is better to still have tinges of dislocation, it is good for writing, it makes you work extra hard. If you do not have a life you can port all your energy into running after the right, the accurate words. She needs some more, she always needs some more. writing as a way of life, as a raison detre. One Sunday In the small coffee shop on Arbutus, it is ten, maybe eleven in the morning, three persons near the window, chatting, one woman in a colourful parka, author here is sitting in the far end, the far back, wedged between other laptoppers, which is not that comfy and kind of annoying. But, hey, gotta feed your words to the machine, that is paramount and paramount. With broken syntax, with ah so off grammar, on this morning on this very sun run morning. No marathoners in here, but, hey, they are everywhere. She met them in the grocery store in the mall, with their big numbers, there was even a woman who had pinned it on her babys stroller. The Vancouver Sun Run, today is a marathon in London, one in Hamburg, all in the aftermath of Boston. She stares at the writings on the coffee shop banner in the distance, a woman in green and grey comes in, comes in. We have 49 250 here, so very very near TO 50 000. AS IF NUMBERS OF WORDS EVEN MATTER, IT IS WHAT THE WORDS SAY, SO IT SEEMS AND SO IT SEEMS. HER TEA IS GETTING COLD, SHE MAKES SURE THAT SHE DOES NOT TYPE TOO NEAR TO IT, after all, fluids and computers do not mix and do not mix. She is not quite sure why the

147

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

machine here capitalized her words, so automatically, ah, so automatically. A woman in brown boots, a woman in blue. the roaring of the coffee machine, the voice of the blond barista, author here recognizes it without even looking up. Shows how many times she has been in here, frequent flyer miles, frequent coffee drinker bonuses. This place does not seem to have a coffee card thingie, which sucks and sucks and sucks. Too much profanity on a Sunday in July, her words do not make sense, it is April and not July. This is how she writes this her text, random dates, random locals, random facts. That is how fiction rules apparently apparently. Works of art on paper, writings on the wall. She has to read up on philosophies about the similarities and dissimilarities of the literary arts and the visual arts,. There should be papers about that, theses, stuff and stuff and stuff and stuff. Scholarly mumbo jumbo, ivory tower issues, while the world outside is going to hell in a handbasket. Or however that saying goes. The three persons near the window leave, thank you, she ponders, there is no music on the overhead here. Huh and huh and huh. We still need 50 to make it down to 50 000, yup, why not why not why not why not. She ponders if she should schlep this her rusty old laptop on herself to nyc, she ponders if she should hop on an airplane, leave on a jet plane. All the way to nyc. She could write the rest of her words over there, over there. Huh and huh and huh and huh. October Five Once more, Reykjavik, Reykjavik. The city that she does not really belong in. The one where she walks around in search of all of the right words. The words that never seem to fall into place. The words that never make it, never will, ah, never will. She is that kind of artist, that kind of writer. It comes with the territory, nothing is perfect, nobody is perfect. Gotta make peace with the fact that your words will always roll around in perfect imperfection. The drizzle of this city,

148

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

the Thursday afternoon crowd, shoppers, the city, downtown ah downtown. The Petula Clark song holds true everywhere everywhere. February Two The ice cream in the bakery here in Itzehoe, the drizzle outside, the waitress in the yellow uniform. Reminiscent of Pennys uniform on Big Bang. Author ponders, she knows the drill here, she has been in this very bakery so many many many times before, she always sits near the window, the one looking out onto the little square, the Berliner Platz. It is ten in the morning, not exactly ice cream time, she ponders, it will play havoc with her innerts. Then again, everything here is kind of outta whack, slight pangs of jet lag, slight tinges of dislocation. That is the state of her everyday, that is how we roll here roll here. Apparently, ah, apparently. She has some 50000, not quite, not quite, she digs into the whip of her ice cream, devours the maraschino cherry, she is not quite sure if the mint leave is edible, if it is even a mint leave. It was not part of this very sundae the last time she was here, it is not on the photograph in the menu card. She ponders, she has traveled the world, all that happened here is an improvement of the ice cream. Huh, and once more, huh. Three young women come in, they sit down, start chatting. Quite an unusual crowd for a drizzly February morning, young women do not really come here, not at this time of the day. The customers are usually retirees, and one lost tourist, the author. She ponders if her assessment of the patrons of this bakery holds true, if it even matters. If it will influence the words that she chooses for this her text. She is such an accidental writer, she peeks with envy at the world of visual arts. Anyhoo, we made it to 50 000 here, time to wrap this up, time to take the train back to Hamburg. Ice cream in the morning, her daily routines are so way off, ah, so way off. Writing is doing her in, ever so slowly, ah, ever so slowly.

149

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Still Another Day Singapore, the hotel room, she uses the Wi-Fi, fires up her laptop. Balances it awkwardly on her right leg, the chair here is so very comfy, but her position is way too contorted. She could use the table but then she can only stare at the wall. Some more words, ah, some more words. we have 50 127 here, not bad, ah, not that bad at all. She changes her seat, turns the telly on. Hmm, it has Big Bang on. Some things seem to never ever change, even if you make your way to the other side of the planet. She types away while trying to follow this episode, the one that she has seen numerous times back home. Laughtracks seem to work everywhere, it is way too late to go sightseeing, thus, just let us watch and type here, type here. 50 214, great ah great. May Seven Itzehoe, Itzehoe. Same bakery, same waitress, same seat. And same ice cream to boot. She might just move here, she is so used to this place. Home away from home, something like that, something of that kind. It is so very comforting to have a favourite bakery, a favourite seat. It makes everything seem so very predictable, it gives the illusion of routine. Her words fall into place, somehow, somehow. A writer does not need inspiration, she needs a stable workplace, a laptop that works, a pen that writes. The tools of the trade, that is all we need here all we need here. A wordcounter that works. She ponders, don‟t they all work automatically. On each and every computer. She types away types away, maybe she should use pen and paper, she is not quite sure how long her laptop battery will go. She should have done what she usually does, she leaves the laptop in Hamburg and takes pen and paper to her Itzehoe excursions. Anyhoo, let us type here and type here. The ice cream, nice as always, the whip, the cherry. The street outside the window, slight drizzle like always. Seems as if time has stood still, somehow or another.

150

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

June Three On the telly, Seinfeld, Seinfeld. Not exactly the background noise that makes yer pen greatish stuff. now an ad for some kind of insurance, no wait, it is for Toyota. Now an ad for a hair dye. And Seinfeld again. Funny, ha, funny. The show with Poppie. She ponders, there are actually several of those. Ah, what to write about, what to write about. We still have to write 25 000 words, she needs to have 75 000 words for this her text. Ah, typing, ah, typing. An ad for a computer company, for an internet service provider. An ad for a duster. An ad for a donut shop. A car company. Zoom Zoom. An ad for Delta. Another one for Time warner cable. Six Flags. She ponders, it is pretty chilly here. She had enough of sharing all of these inconsequential thoughts, she has to fashion a story arc, there are still 25 000 words for that. A new kind of novel, one where two thirds are reflections about the process of writing and furthermore descriptions of where the writer does her writings. The remaining one third is the actual story. One of these days she has to figure out how to construct a plot, one of these days, one of these days. There has to be some inner logic to a text, so they say, so they say. And now an ad for a dish soap, now an ad for It is Always Sunny in Philadelphia. We have 50 677 words, write some more still, write on write on write on and write on. July Five She once more sits in the Silberkugel, the one near to the art school. She has a coffee and a gipfeli, she peoplewatches, she writes a tad a tad a tad. Dunking the gipfeli into the coffee, having a sip, she ponders what to do next. Zurich is pretty hot at this time of the year, somehow it seems more doable to just stay put for a while, to just write and write and write. The restaurant is filling up with the midmorning crowd, lots of talking, mothers and babies, construction

151

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

workers, art students. Office workers. A good cross section of the inhabitants of this very city. And we put all these words here to paper, fast and fast and fast and fast and fast. August One Once more the bakery in Itzehoe, once more the ice cream with whip. Once more the Berliner Platz, once more the waitress in the yellow uniform. Déjà vu, so very very very much. Repetitions of locations, repetitions of phrases, of words. She feels kind of sick, arguably sick of slinging all these words together. It seems so much easier in November, when everybody and their dog is working on the next literary masterpiece. You can churn out a much higher wordcount in a so much shorter time. The collective exercise in writing translates into higher outcome, that is how it is that is how it is. She has to catch the train back to Hamburg, writing sucks, she will go back to sculpture, film, painting. To an endeavour that produces tactile outcomes, words are so fleeting. She needs some more though, the wordcount still is paramount. Until she makes it as a writer, she has to hang in there hang in there. Staying power is what makes or breaks yer, so it seems so it seems. Outside it is pretty hot, she walks fast, the station is so near, so very very very near. December One By herself, in the hotel room on the twelfth floor overlooking this part of Rio, so far away from the core of the city. She ran down to the breakfast place, scarfed down some fruit, some coffee, some pastry. She has to watch her weight. Thus, abrupt interruption of the breakfast endeavour, back to the solitude of the room, the Do Not Disturb sign on the door is helping her do the work, if no one disturbs she will be able to get about three hours worth of work done here, done here. She will go to the city later on, she will take the bus to Santa Theresa, she will sit in this German

152

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

café, she will have something really meaty, really arterie clogging. Beer, too, but at this point she has to be chained here to this computer, she has to type and type and type and type. Good that the laptop has audio, she watches three films, one about triangles invading San Franscisco, one about a cartoonist for the New Yorker, and one about fashion week, a fashion designer is narrating. The two last videos end with the caption I am so and so and I am a New Yorker. The films are really good and really short, they convey the essence of what is New York , they paint the city as a hub for creativity, they should be sponsored by the very city they somehow promote. All three videos are on the website of the Atlantic, they are shot masterfully. Author ponders, she should go back into filmmaking, what she does these days is not even close to be comparable with an artform that has sounds and sights, what she does is just way too dull, she produces silent boxes, books, that are very mobile, you can take them anywhere, open them, the words spring at you, but, hey, it is no film, no film, nothing motions over the screen, no voices come from a book, it is very abstract, very silent, so it seems, so it seems, so it seems. She can hear the chirpings of a bird, of several birds, she ponders, how come she can hear it here in this concrete tower suburb way outside of Rio, here in Barri di Tijuca. She is dislocated, so very far away from home, but if push comes to shove, the whole earth is her home these days, she wanders this planet, in search of words and words and words, words that hardly ever make it, that are a tad too inadequate, a tad too stumbly, that are mere ramblings most of the time and nuggets of wisdom at the best of times. She ponders, plots let her cold, she is not the car chase producing kind, hers are short reflections, short stabs at profound insights, with the intensity of a T-shirt inscript, there for moments, gone in an instant until the next T-shirter comes along, hers are one-liners, and oneliners rule, they keep you on your toes, they essence a longer story into two, maybe three words, they distill life into short stabbing sound bites, into formulas that make us understand the world

153

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

we live in. She is thirsty, she has some tea, which she brewed yesterday, it is lukey, stale, but it is fluid nonetheless, they say you should not have tap water in this part of town, but author is not quite sure if that is right, right, she could go for a swim, it is summer here in brazil, so very far from the coldness, the frostiness, the powdery snow in Whistler or Blackhawk, this city is so hot now, so damp and hot, the other extreme, the other extreme. We have penned some words here, time to leave, time to leave. Writing has to be done in shortish spurts, in shortish shortish spurts. Like the choreographing of a dance, like the design of a table, like the composition of a song, like the sketches of a building on the back of a napkin in a crowded restaurant. Ah, the ontwerps of stuff, that is the Dutch word for designer, ontwerper. And stop, and save, some spellcheck spellcheck. May One Zurich, for moments, for moments. She ponders, if she should go somewhere else, on the train, after all, her railpass is still ok, it will not cost her anything but time and energy, she just has to sit still, and she has to stay within the borders of this very country. She could go down to Geneva, to Lausanne, have a crepe, look at stores, come back in the wee-hours, she can explore, ah, explore. she could stay put in this very city, Zurich has a lot to offer, she ponders, it does not really matter, walking, strolling, it is just there to interrupt her writingish spurts, what is important are the words, she feels like Shaq, the dribbling between the shooting of the hoops, the wait for the moment you throw the ball up in a downward curve, the moments before w you lunge at the next words that go onto the page. Her lingo is clumsy today, coherence, logic, so not there, so not there, how do you string words together so that they sail perfectly, so that they sail beautifully, while still being functional enough, while still being coherent, understandable, the like and the like and the like and the like. She feels like drinking herself into oblivion, hard

154

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

liquor that should do the trick, whiskey at ten in the morning, something, anything to numb your brain, to cool the mind, her writings are ah so blah, her words are stupid and stupefying at the same time, she is arguably the worst wordslinger on this planet, she has no clue what she is doing, none none none. It is not selfdoubt, it is the knowledge of her writerly incompetence that stifles the words, her words. She is no poet and she knows it, yup, what can you do, what can you do. Give me one moment in time, well, that moment will never come and we are wasting a lifetime in its pursuit. That is the lot of the writer, anywriter, who cares if you are clapped at or booed at, writing is never there, the words will never ever be exacting enough, accurate enough. It is the nature of the beast, comes with the territory, the like and the like and the like and the like. A walk by the Limmat, this city is so very very very beautiful, birthplace of dada, communism and theory of relativity, yup, that is Zurich for yer, anyhoo, let us go and have a tea somewhere, with a wedge of lemon or something and something something something. September Four Perugia is as good a place as any to pen your masterpiece. It has the bonus of author not understanding the language, she is thus forced into the dialogue with her computer, she has to write because there is hardly anything else to do. No distractions, no distractions. She can live for the muse, can word sling all she wants. Or word smith, for that matter. Slinging of the material, smithing of the material. Arranging and rearranging little units, putting together words like the pieces of a jig-saw puzzle, making them dance, virtuously over the paper, over the keyboard. Short strolls thru the city, lasagna verde, gnocchi, chianto, o sole mio life that makes you write grande stuff en anglais, ah, this better be good better be good. Her writingish

155

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

aspirations will never be crushed, she will put words to paper till the day she expires, something like that, ah, something like that. She ponders, today is a day of grande gestures, of highly pitched pathos. Perugia does that to you, automatically, so very very very automatically. The abyss of dislocation, yup, that helps too, that helps too. Author ponders, how long should she stay in Italy, maybe going back to Zurich is the safer choice, going back to a country where everything seems stricter, more ordered, a corset can make you imagine freeer dances. She has quite a group of words here, ah, the word count, ah, the wordcount. Motioned forwards one page at a time, one page at a time, one page at a time. October Four We know the drill here, the slurping of peppermint tea, while staring down onto the streets behind Jelmoli. The magnificent department store, one of the many symbols of this little big city, as the ad slogan some years ago used to say. Zurich in fall, might as well, might as well. Nine thirty in the morning, reluctant shoppers inspecting the towels, the bath mats, the stillness of the restaurant, the heavy darkness of this very place, the stagnation before the storm. One could await lunch hour in this place, can put some words to paper, can muster a plot, a non-plot, one can pretend to be a writer, some kinda artist. One could wear a beret, but author here ponders, beret signals artistic aspirations merely in an Anglo-Saxon context, what does a beret say about the wearer in Switzerland. Anyhoo, signifiers can do whatever they feel like, she just scribbles her words, in the same way that a cartoonist puts lines to paper, dots, exclamation marks. Ah, her days as a writer as an animator as painter, so boring, so prosaic, so utterly utterly dull. Digging a hole in the ground should be more fun, there is physicality to it that sitting behind a desk so utterly lacks. And we write here and write here and write here and write here. Dreams of

156

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

scribbling her words in Itzehoe or Reykjavik, in Rio or Singapore, anywhere but Brooklyn, anywhere but Brooklyn. October Ten London, huh. What to do here, what to do here. Strolls thru the neighbourhood, observations of these strange animals that comprise this very city. their funny accents. And then there are always the tourists, if push comes to shove, they are way more intriguing, they are my people, methinks, people from far away, brash and brasher. She walks over a bridge, looks out for Bridget Jones, the Texan who is half Swiss. Ah, to walk this city, ah, to make sure that you will not be pinned to the ground by your-middle-of-the-road taxi or hop-on hop-off monster. She ponders, she remembers this quaint film where Topol chased Mia Farrow discreetly, she ponders, how old she is, how old she is. Author that is. She sits down in a café, has a chamomile tea, a piece of cake, at this point anycake should do the trick. The trick of providing arterie clogging sustenance, that should eventually trigger superb words i.e. sellable words. Ah, to think that she had to chose writing, only by accident only by accident. She is so much better at drawing things, but somehow the words captured her and kidnapped her, thus she has to whittle her life away as an incompetent scribe, a woman of letters, ah well and ah well and ah well and ah well. Prolificness has to substitute for accurate words, one day, one day, she will go back to painting to drawing, to smearing stuff onto canvasses, to shooting films at an animation stand, one day, eventually eventually. You know, the grass is always greener anyways anyways. She will go down to Paddington, take the train to Oxford, stroll thru that very city - should be fun fun. Gone are the days when she would park herself at Harrods or Harvey Nichols, looking at shiny consumer goods has lost its lure. She still needs some more words, still has to chase after sentences, phrases, has to pour commas and apostrophes down onto paper onto paper, ah, the life of a

157

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

writer, the dullest most menial, most banal of professions. Her back hurts, all this sitting will do her in, contorted at a computer, ah, this better be good and better be good. We have 53 006 here, ah yay and yay and yay and yay. May Ten Back in Peruga, have some vino, some polenta. Work on your book, reluctantly, forcefully. Alienation is so very very palpable here, dislocation, the like and the like. This is what makes for good words, relentless words, a mass of them, a massive mass. She writes day and night, incessantly, she dreams up phrases in the middle of the night, wakes up first thing in the morning to put them to paper. Editing has to wait, polishing all these texts up, that will be done in some damp dull study, sometime in the future sometime in the future. At this point we only need to scribble the raw stuff onto pieces of paper, in between drinking too much wine and eating too much, way too much gnocchi. Living to the excess equals writing to the excess. Or something like that and something like that. Every month is NaNomonth here, so it seems so it seems. August Three Her hotel room, her laptop, she will type some words, and then it is out to see the sights. Amsterdam it is. She loves this hotel, this room. Outside of her window, all those bikes, the bike parking lot next to the main train station. The open air bike parking. Talk about seeing things that you never knew existed. Everything in this city is so different from where she lives, it is utterly fascinating. Cars so thin that you did not think it was possible. Bike acrobatics that are second to none, where have you ever seen a woman somehow balancing both her kids on a bike and swerving around as fast as humanly possible. Author ponders, actually the bike people do not swerve, they go in straight lines, mostly, they own the city. And then those bikes that cost

158

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

slightly less than a ferrari. Anyhoo, we have quite a number of words here, time to go to the fancy department store, to the coffee shop on the first floor, the one where you can see the street outside, where the chocolates are overpriced, the one that is next to peek & cloppenburg. Ah, who would not like to come to this city for seeing the sights, she even saw her dentist from back home here in this city last time she was here. And writing is over, for now and for now and for now and for now. September Two Her old exercise place, the one in Danville, next to the frozen yoghurt place. The shopping center that time forgot, where everything is still the same as it was thirty-five years ago. She did not write back then, she had better things to do with her time. She did not paint either, art was the furthest thing from her mind. There were better, more useful vocations to chase back then. She plunks herself down in the yoghurt space, frozen yoghurt, sprinkles, it is fun to watch the chatter of the young surburban moms, she does not feel like writing, ah, who wants to be a writer anyways. Gotta enjoy the bliss, the idyllic life here, in suburbia, where time stands still, stands utterly still, stands utterly still, stands utterly still, utterly still, utterly still. October Five The Baskin Robbins on Solano, she has two scoops of cookies and cream. Pretty weird to be back here, it seems as if nothing has changed in this small city on the East Bay. Two women at the other table, chatting away, one has black jeans, the other one has red jeans. Pretty spiffy, huh. She will walk under the Bart, the weather is nice and sunny, she will take the Bart at the El Cerrito Station, go down to San Francisco, get out at the Embarcadero, it is ah so weird to be back here back here after such a long time, such a long long long time.

159

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

November Two And once more, the bakery in Itzehoe. The ice cream, the view of the Berliner Platz. She is actually looking at apartments to rent here, at rooms to rent. Which does not really work out for her, this city is way too small for that. There is no university here to entice renters, temporary visitors. People who live here stay here. Or leave for somewhere bigger, more hectic. So it seems so it seems. Outside, once more drizzle, drizzle, drizzle, drizzle. The lunch crowd scoots in, the bakery fills up pretty quickly, seems, a lot of people here have baked goods and coffee for lunch, breakfast for lunch, breakfast for lunch. Author ponders, she really should write a book about this, wait, she is. Yup, funny, borderline funny. She left the cherry for last, she is utterly utterly bored. The train back to Hamburg doesnt go till three, she could wander around, get to know this city. After all, she mainly sits in this bakery and does her writings, she uses this whole town as a glorified library. A place where writing comes easy, easy. May Six The hotel in London, the lobby. She fishes her notebook out and starts scribbling her letters onto the page, leaning slightly to the right. She uses the black pen, the one that says Fidelity Mutual on it in red and white letters. Yup, that is why we come all the way to London, not to see the changing of the guard, you can see that on You Tube, the lobby here is where it is at, you can sit and pen your amazing masterpiece. We have 54 000 here, only 21 000 more to go, only and only and only and only. May Twenty-One In the little shopping center in Vancouver, off Arbutus, next to the table where there is meeting by Little Greece most mornings, this is where she does most of her writing when she is in town.

160

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Actually, these days, it is more about editing and revising, about polishing the whole damn thin up. Writing as chore, yup, writing as chore. August Twenty-Two The streets of Reykjavik, she should find a new bakery, she tends to be too set in her ways, once she is back in this city. The same hotel, the same room, the same bakery. It is kind of counterproductive, after all, the whole idea is to change ones environment in order to be able to write better, to be inspired, all that kind of crap. It does not really work, she tends to live a very routine, so very predictable life in this city. The same food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The same kind of note book, the same kind of pen. That makes her comfortable, makes her stick to her writings. On the other hand she is out of ideas, is kind of stifled by the predictability of her life here in this city. October Seventeen On the telly, one of many sitcoms. King of Queens, a lot of laugh tracks, the episode with the Overeaters Support Group. Now it is Seinfeld, one of the many episodes that you have seen before. She types, fast and fast and fast. How long does it really take to type up 1000 words. If you are into 100 words per minute you would only need ten minutes. Now Kramer is doing his usual antics, it is kind of difficult to write while watching TV. October Thirty Once more in Curitiba, once more in the coffee shop next to the hotel. A tea, some cookies, some words. The wordcount is definitely not something to whistle at, she sure knows how to write a lot without really saying anything. Outside, it is pretty nice, she could catch the bus and go to the

161

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Oscar Niemayer Museum. Or just go into town, do some shopping. She had enough of all this constant writing, there is no plot here anyways, just the stagnation of her writerly career, her struggles, her ineptness. While the years go by, the seasons go by. She uses different pens, blue ink, green ink, black ink, she does her best at stretching the sentences, she is good at being utterly wordy, at using as many words as possible in order to say as little as possible. Worked for Tolstoy, now didn‟t it. We have 54 400, ballpark, ballpark. The song on the overhead sounds familiar, she has heard it before. The weather here is pretty nice, she could walk to the little park which is on the way to the mall. Maybe walking would make her find something to write about, yup, she has to chase words, somehow, somehow. After all, we travelled all this way to the other side of the world. In order to find inspiration for her texts. August Seven Penn Station, down eighth. to twenty-third, She has a coffee in her favourite coffee place, and a piece of marble cake. That should cover her till lunch, hopefully. And on it is, to fourteenth, up in the direction of Union Square. The writers co-op it is, once more, once more. Her usual spot, she starts typing away, typing away. She will sit here for two hours straight, not look to the right, not look to the left. Typing and typing and typing and typing. This text has to be willed forward, come hell or high water. A man in the back is typing stoically, a woman to her right does the same. Everybody here is diligent, they might not be published as of yet, but they sure are committed. They put in the long hours, because, apparently that is what it takes. Elbow grease, yup, elbow grease, elbow grease, elbow grease. October Four

162

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Antwerp is pretty nice, this time of year. Not that she knows how it is at other times, she has been here twice before, but hardly remembers anything. Was a long time ago, a long long time. She leaves her stuff in the hotel, throws on a coat and a shawl, hey, Antwerp, here I come. Pretty nice weather, not too cold, not too warm. Fresh, but not drizzly. She has a waffle, when in…, you know. Walks while scarfing down the waffle. She should work on her writing but walking is more fun. If you walk a certain amount of miles you automatically can write a certain amount of words. She has a lot of made-up little rules, she is that kind of writer. She does not have a plot tough. It is starting to rain, she takes shelter in the next café. A coffee, some cookies. She feels totally out of place in this city, she might as well write about that. About all these tinges of dislocation. Throwing words at an unsuspecting piece of paper, scribbling away while sitting hunched over, utterly contorted, that should make for a great novel, a great book. In a dingy coffee shop to boot. In a city on the other side of this planet, while rain is coming down, streaming streaming. She should have 55 000 by now, she will only need 20 000 more, how tough could that be how tough how tough. People pen 20 000 in one day, you know, the three day novel crowd. Each and every labourday weekend. If they can do it, so can she. You have to train a bit, though, like training for a marathon. You need a laptop that works, one, where the first letter of the first word in any sentence capitalizes automatically, automatically. One where the apostrophies work, the question marks work. She scribbles away in this tiny place in Antwerp, she starts humming to herself, maybe she should stop this, stop the insanity. We have 55 000 already, time to rest, time to stop. Time to venture into the city, time to see how Antwerpians roll. She needs nine more words, then she is done here is done here. May Three

163

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Once more, Perugia, once more tinges of dislocation, once more the constant staring down and the constant typing. While the city is happening, while there is so much to explore and while the sun is shining, wonderfully and beautifully. For her, Perugia is all about sitting contorted in a dingy room with the curtains down, it is all about this self-imposed isolation, all about trying to further the wordcount till the brink of utter exhaustion. Word after word after word. Apparently, impossible deadlines make for impossibly good books. Or horrible ones. Either way it is worth a try. She ponders, she will take the train down to Zurich, there is a conference she is invited to. She is non-published but apparently people want to listen to the unpublished writer. It is funny, but there is a first. She looks at the table in the Perugian hotel room, it is pretty sturdy, she can write the day away here, the night away here. Can make it to 60 000, easy peasy. One word at a time, one word at a time. Somebody will edit this, find the typos, the grammatical mistakes. She just has to stay put here, just has to feed her words to the machine, to this machine. August Two Reykjavik in summer, the konditori, two in the afternoon on a Thursday. A piece of cake, a coffee, the notebook, some writing. People come and people go. This place here is pretty hectic, which makes you type as fast as you possibly can. A young man in the back is knitting, the knitting is very elaborate. Two women are chatting, two men have a business meeting. Some people play against type, others do not. Anyhoo, it does not really matter at all, what matters is the word count here. The constant scribbling, the mindless writing is so very exhausting, so very physical. Like running long distance. Her neck is acting up, her back is acting up. Some stretches and once more, some more words, some more words. She walked through the city, she thought that the stroll will automatically translate into words on the page. Which is pretty useful if you do not have a real plot for your story. We are shooting for eloquence here, not necessarily for

164

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

cliffhangerdom. Car chases are out, soothing mobiles that flow in the wind, those are in. She hunches over her notebook in the corner, she scribbles away, word after word. She feels kind of strange, she should find a place that is a tad less formal than this one. A place where she fits in, where she does not stck out like a sore thumb. Writing makes yer dissheveled and this is a place where people dress up. She looks down at her note book is not happy, not happy at all. Jet lag is catching up with her, is doing her in. She snores off, while writing, now, there is a first. There is no rush for writing this, there is no deadline whatsoever. A publisher in nyc wanted to take her on, only to change his mind two weeks after that. Thus she can just stop writing this, stop it right here and right now. The cookies she is having are kind of crumbling, kind of stale. Her coffee is cold. She is dozing off, everything is disintegrating here. Her status as a contemporary writer is non-existing, her words just simply suck. There are lots of them but they are just not good enough. And about the Brooklyn thing. There are plenty writers in Brooklyn, plenty of artists, too. It does not automatically translate into sellable work. She has near to 56 000 words here, she should still scribble away write away. Against fatigue, against enthropy. Reykjavik should be fun, interesting. Not that she would know. For her, it could be anywhere, she just needs a horizontal place to park her notebook on. She throws the words into midair, lets them fall onto the page. something like that, something of that kind. Writing as some kind of dance, some kind of elegant well-choreographed endeavour. Words as music. She is definitely not the kind of writer that meticulously constructs elaborate scenes, for her writing is a miss and hit kind of process. Verbal doodling, verbal doodling. September Four Yup, back in Itzehoe it is. Writing is ah so dull, especially if you are the kind of writer who has to roam the earth in order to construct one crumby book. You will see a lot of places, amass a lot

165

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

of air-miles, you will not, however write something readable enough to make it onto the New York Times bestseller list, or any best seller list for that matter. Writing as total failure, as mechanic tapping away at a keyboard, anykeyboard. This sucks, definitely. She has the ice cream with whip, as always. She chats with the waitress, a tad, a tad. this time she has her laptop with her, but this bakery does not have Wi-Fi. Paper and pen it is it is. She leaves through the local newspaper, anything to not start writing. A woman with a red hat comes in, an old man with a cane too. The ice cream melts, she ponders if she should dig in or start dieting. Writing ah writing. We need some one hundred words more here, before catching the train back to Hamburg. The man with the cane orders the same kind of ice cream that author here is having, the woman with the red hat is having a cappuccino. Both are sitting at tables that look out at the street, both start reading. Author too looks out at the street, people are walking by, nothing special is happening here. Seems as if nothing ever happens, just the everyday of a small city. a small town. Nothing to write about, nothing nada zilch. Which might be good, for her there are no distractions in this place that will take her away from writing her masterpiece. Yup, she has ample opportunity to pen the next great thing but apparently opportunity is not enough. Anyhoo, we made it down to 56 thou here, time to wrap this up time to wrap this up. December Twenty-Nine In the coffee shop in Curitiba, the scribbling, the peppermint tea. It is still morning, author here is having a piece of cake. She did not have a shower, apparently writers are dishevelled. Nobody knows her here in this city, thus she can concentrate on fashioning her text. She looks down at her letters, the ones that are slightly leaning to the left. writing is so boring, but, hey, gotta hang in there, hang in there. Time to go for a walk, time to explore the city.

166

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

June Five Typing away, typing away. She ponders, she is out of words, will take her laptop down to the Meet-up for writers, the one in the coffee shop in yaletown. That should help her fashion the tight words and if not she can have a nice latte. Ah the life of a writer, how dull can it be, how dull and how dull. October Three Once more, Penn Station. You know the drill, down eighth to the coffee shop at the corner of twenty-third, the coffee and the marble loaf cake, then down to fourteenth and then down to the writers co-op. Up the stairs, there are three writer already there, looking stoically at their screens, typing, typing. One woman, two men. Author nods to them, makes her way to her own station, lugs in the laptop. No walking down to cupcakes by Melissa for her today, she will work diligently, type up her manuscript, should be doable, doable. We have near to 37 000 words here, just gotta type just gotta type here. She feeds her words to the machine, hardly stops, tries to finish this in one big writingish spurt. She made a pact with herself to produce two thousand words every time she is here, it is as if she is in a fitness center, next thing you know, there will be a personal trainer to cheer her on, a pom pom girl. Motivation, ah, motivation. To write as if you are training for the Olympics, kind of funny, but it works. The more you write the better you get. Hopefully, ah, hopefully. She types away, we have 56 407 words here, not bad, not bad at all. Lots of the members in the writers co-op are already published, they still come here because it makes you write more, it provides structure and you write because you have paid a certain membership fee. And we are typing we are typing.

167

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

56 459, she still needs at least 500 more, then she can go down, grab something to eat, go for a stroll in the neighbourhood. Down to Union, up to Chelsea Piers. Whichever. The weather is pretty nice, October in New York, when is it not nice. Pretty mellow weather here in the city. April Two Once more, Itzehoe, yay. The bakery, the ice cream with whip, the table overlooking the Berliner Platz. The ubiquitous drizzle. Two women chatting, another woman coming in with her walker. Author takes out the notebook, starts writing. It is late afternoon, on a Tuesday, author is not quite sure if she should go back to her hotel in Hamburg or if she should stay here. It would be feasible to go back, after all, she still has her stuff in Hamburg, she has to pay for that place, she did not check out in time. Her rail pass is still in place, it will expire in three days. Writing seems to be more about figuring out various logistics, not about which words to use, which phrases to put down. She left the strawberry for last, seems, they do not use cherries any more, the sundae now has a strawberry on top of the whipped cream. Author ponders, she travelled the world, the only thing that changes in this bakery is the composition of the top of the sundae. She still writes some more, she still needs 300 to make it down to 57 000. Time to go back to the train station, she loves these her short excursions to Itzehoe, she can write the rest of her text on the train, yup, why not and why not and why not and why not. August Five This time it is Spruengli, she gets off the tram at the Paradeplatz, the weather in Zurich is so very hot. Kind of sticky. She looks through the bakery downstairs, all the chocolates, long lines, lots of tourists. Up she goes, she gets a table near the window that looks down onto the Bahnhofstrasse. Orders a glass of tea with lemon and a raspberry tart with whipped cream. the

168

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

café is pretty full, lots of people, it is Saturday afternoon after all. She was lucky to get a good table, one cannot really write here, she ponders, it would look kind of weird. She doesnt feel like doing weird for now, feels more like melting into the background. She still needs 130 words, to make it down to 57 000, she can write those later, once she is back in the hotel, or, given that the weather is so utterly nice, she can just sit near the lake and do her writings while looking out at the sailboats, while enjoying the day on Bellevue. Maybe she will stroll through the Niederdorf, maybe she will look at the Chagall stained glass pictures in the church nearby. Writing accompanied by sightseeing, ah, this better be good. This city is so very nice, not conducive to writing though, there are way too many distractions, too many places to be, too much stuff to see. Nineteen words, that is all we need here, she will produce those, eventually, eventually. On a so very sunny day in August, the text has to march forward, forcefully forcefully forcefully. October Nine She is pondering, she is sitting back in her old alma mater, the art school is as busy as always. At least at this time, class let out, it is lunchtime. Author here is sitting at one of the computers that face the ocean factory, she can see the steam, she can see the cars over the bridge, this place is where she would sit most of the time ever since she was accepted to this school. Alas, drawing, painting, animating, all of those took a backseat to writing. She somehow changed her major while going through this very school which was supposed to deepen her acumen for visual arts. Weird, huh. Be that as it may, she makes sure that she hunches over the keyboard, that she pushes down all of these various squares, she makes sure that she feeds her words to this very machine. Yoga would be good, would alleviate the stress she puts her system through on a daily basis. She has 57 181, she has to stop typing, a stroll by false creek would do her good, maybe she will find a plot finally, finally. While looking at the buildings on the other side of the water.

169

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

June Seven She is in Kiel, she has never been here before. She took the train from Hamburg, did some sightseeing, she is tired now, time to have a chamomile tea and a piece of cake in this nice bakery, which is all doilies, all paisleys. Quite a girly place, in an old-fashioned way. lots of talking, lots of chatting. Distinct Northern German accent in the lingo. She takes out her notebook, it is a place conducive to writing, in this place everybody is way too busy with gossip, nobody cares about the writer in the corner. Author feels so very much at home here, even though she has never been here before. This is after all the region she was born in, you know, you can take the girl out of… you know the saying, fill in the blanks. The Kieler Regatta will be at the end of June, she ponders, if she might be able to come back here. At this time though she concentrates on having her tea, on digging in, on writing and writing and writing. She should have 57 400 words, her back is cramping up, she has enough of all this hunching over a notepad, over a laptop. May Ten Once more, Itzehoe. She ponders, her storyline does definitely not advance, it totally stagnates, is treading water, treading water. She comes here to this city, she has an ice cream with whip, she sits at the table overlooking the Berliner Platz, here in this bakery, each and every time she is here. These are the little cornerstones of her story, the ones that order her book, all of these her excursions to this very city. Two women come in, yellow sundresses, both of them. One is sporting a black sun hat too, she is very beautiful. Much much more good looking than the rest of the population, anypopulation. Author ponders, she has nothing new to describe here, the tables are black, the chairs are black, the music is elevatory, that is about it, that is about it.

170

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

August Ten Her days here in London, she is not quite sure how long she can stay in this hotel. She should change it, in order to enjoy different parts of this city. This is what she did last time she was here, she stayed in four different hotels all over the city. Was pretty interesting, definitely. She takes out her laptop, plugs it in, she has 57 626 words, she still needs some more words, still some more words. She should unpack, then again she does not have that much clothes in her suitcase. Jeans and T-shirts, that is about it. One dress, one jacket. And a pair of boots. She types and types, describes the banal facts of her life. Wishes for a narrative, a storyline, is not quite sure if this her book has a good enough story line. You cannot judge it if you are the writer yourself, you need distance, that kind of stuff. October Seven Whistler in October, pretty interesting, she has never been here before at this time of the year. She took the bus from Vancouver, first day in the morning, she wanders around the village. So funny when there are no skiers, no snowboarders, anyhoo, there is a distinct whiff of pot in watches the comings and goings. So nice here, so very very nice. She takes out her laptop, starts typing, ah, typing. Her words, her words. Flowing into the screen , so automatically, so automatically. She has 57 825, if she keeps on typing at this speed, she will make it down to 58 000, easily, easily, by the end of the afternoon. January Six Once more the hotel in Rio, up on the seventh floor, she had breakfast, it is now time to fire up the machine, to type and to type and to type, her neck is pretty stiff, her muscles are acting up. No wonder, that happens when all you do is typing. She is still a tad jetlagged, the flight from

171

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Houston was pretty trying. Next time she will catch a flight over Sao Paulo, she might even stay there. She ponders, she has near to 58 000 words, her fingers hurt, her lower arms are hurting too, writing is quite tough on the body, it is way too physical. Her shoulders are pretty bust, this is no fun, no fun at all. Seems as if writing is a sport au par with racet ball, she ponders if she can make a case for that. And we are writing here, are typing here. Fourteen words, fast, faster , ten more words and we are there are there. 58 grand. Yay. August Twenty-Five The bakery in Rekjavik, marble cake with whip, coffee and cream, she is happy, happy. What a nice day, it is great to be back here. The afternoon crowd on a Wednesday, she could sit outside, but it is nicer, cooler here inside of the bakery. So many people, dressed up for the trek to the city, chatting, laughing, author here takes out the notebook, starts writing, writing. Her black letters like spiders on the page, at this point she could care less that there is no story arc, she is fascinated by the process, the accumulation of all these words, all these passages, that is most rewarding, most rewarding in itself. The music on the over head is pretty fast, nice, ah, nice. Whenever she is in this city, she sits down at this very table, she has the same food, well, mostly, she is set in her ways, just as she is when she frequents the bakery in Itzehoe. Roaming from coffeeshop to coffeeshop, all over the world, that has to result in an interesting book, so she thinks so she thinks. She could fill the book with reviews from yelp, they are more interesting anyways than merely describing her impressions. She has 58 211 words, ballpark, ballpark, ballpark. Ah to spin a yarn in Reykjavik, how much fun can that be, how much and how much and how much. October Nineteen

172

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Palo Alto, the Mexican restaurant that she had been in years before. It is still pretty good. Not a place for writing though, you need a coffee shop to pen your masterpiece. Huh. November Five She ponders if she should work on her Nanonovel or on this text. Everything is slightly off, she typed way too many words these days, she dreams of typing, her fingers definitely hurt, her wrist, how do you spell carpal tunnel syndrome. She has 15 000 for the Nano Novel already, so that is pretty good, this other book here though is taking a backseat. On the telly, a sitcom. Laughtracks, she is exhausted, one exhausted scribe. Whose current wordcount stands at 58 357. June Seven Eutin is pretty interesting. She did some sightseeing, ends up in this small bakery where she has a strawberry tart with whip and a tea. It is pretty busy here with locals and tourists alike. On a Thursday at three in the afternoon. She takes some notes. Writing feels kinda weird here, but nobody really cares. She must have around 58 500 by now, only 500 more to get to 59 thousand. She watches, observes, takes notes. Watches her letters accumulate on the page, she will take a stroll later on, later on. August Ten In the bookstore in Portland, the notebook in front of her, all these words, all these words. Her tea is getting cold, the Brownie is a tad too sweet. She puts down word after word, her literary ambitions are kind of embarrassing, given that she writes day-in and day-out without ever publishing a lick. All her writing is mere practicing, short sketches, short sketches. This place is always packed, at any time of the day. She has 58 535 words, she still has to write some 500

173

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

more. It becomes more difficult by the minute to wax on when there is no real plot. Only descriptions of the different places that she writes in. As if it really matters. Her fingers are cramped up, her neck, her back. A woman in a pink summer hat sits down next to her, starts reading a fashion magazine. We need 400 words here, 400 words here. Besides, it is nice to sit here, it is cooler than outside, it is cozy, there is so much to see, so much to read, and, yes, last not least, so much to write. She watches the people walk by, looking through the books, she finishes her tea, reads through what she just wrote. It is not that bad, not that good either. It has to be revised, later on, later on. While she is transcribing it. Anyhoo, this was fun, the constant writing, ah, the constant writing. April Twenty-Seven A pretty cold day here in Itzehoe, she makes her way from the train station to the bakery near to the Berliner Platz, has an ice cream there, takes her note book out of her bag, starts writing, writing. It is three in the afternoon, she will stay in this city till seven, will catch the evening train back to Hamburg. Outside, ubiquitous drizzle, inside here coziness, comfiness. Two women chatting, one man reading, the waitress wooshing around, busily doing her job. Someone yells from behind the counter in thick Northern German accent, the one where you say the vowels extra long, the one that sounds pretty provincial, the one where you can never ever land a job in broadcasting, the one where you need an accent consultant to make it sound Hochdeutsch. You could not make it in broadcasting with a thick New York accent either, apparently the accent thingie does not apply once you are higher up on the food chain, Clinton sure was able to do his job in thick Southern drole. Sometimes a pronounced accent is a liability, sometimes it is an asset. Yup, you can play it either way. Not everyone needs a Professor Higgins, so it seems so it seems. She ponders, now there is a paper in there somewhere, a non-fiction book, something

174

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

scholarly, a discussion of how certain kind of intonations make for a higher employability, a lesser employability. Can I command more money if I have a thick accent or do I have to be paid less. Author ponders, supermodels fare better when they play up the accent, Ms. Huffington makes sure that her thick accent is in place. Penelope Cruz, definitely accent. Accent is chic, well, not always, if yer don‟t understand a word, that might be bad, but then again, maybe that is the objective, say stuff without ever saying something. Nothing can be used against you in a court of law, if it is overmumbled. Author digs into her ice cream, she ponders a tad, she thinks about the structure of this book, the one that is a tad too off, the one that is way too plotless. The one that is basically a self portrait, a description of a writer who does not live in Brooklyn. This was inspired by newspaper articles about whether writers live in Brooklyn or somewhere else. One author said in his bio that he is a writer who does not live in Brooklyn, author ponders, maybe it was the opposite, he actually did live in Brooklyn. Anyhoo, he did a jab at the fact that about half of the writers in the Us tend to live in Brooklyn. Something like that, something of that kind. Publishing houses are situated in nyc, for the most part, she ponders, she had enough of writing about that, it is more about a cliquiness in an American context, it has nothing to do with her. It seems to be more about where in the five boroughs of New York a creative creature lives, and it all has the smack of the famous New Yorker cover by the cartoonist whose name she forgot. Something with an S. Anyhoo, Itzehoe here does its Itzehoe thing, how about writing about the inner workings of Hamburg versus Itzehoe, author ponders, her writings are way too off, she feels so very very light headed. She should see a doctor, maybe too low blood pressure is not that good after all. And we are writing we are writing September Five

175

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Once more in the Silberkugel, one more the Gipfeli with Milchkaffee, which is basically a croissant and a latte. She feels slightly dislocated, after all, she flew in from Vancouver the day before. Jetlagged, yup, that is what we are here, nonetheless the excitement of travelling takes over, she is ready to explore the city and the country. The weather is still nice, it is actually still pretty hot. She takes out her notebook, she writes a tad, describes the interior of the Silberkugel, the patrons, she takes out her camera and takes pictures. Actually she prefers to take photos with her phone, but she did not take one to Zurich, she is not quite sure how high the roaming charges will be on her phone plan. She feels like walking , going to grocery stores, she likes the Co-op and the Migros, she loves that grocery stores in Switzerland have so many aisles with chocolate. It is their thing after all, cheese and chocolate and watches and banks and trains, stereotypes are alive and well for author here, maybe that is what authors should be good at, putting everything and everybody into little categories, that seems what kind of writer she is becoming here. Unapologetically, utter apologetically. Speak your mind, speak your mind, the caveat being that she cannot really make up her mind. So it is so it is. May Two Itzehoe, Itzehoe. Ice cream, Berliner Platz. Her book somehow derailed at some point, nothing goes with nothing any more, like a mismatched outfit, where colors and style clash. Gone are the days when incompetence could be masqueraded as artsiness, nowadays you have to be able to explain every glitsch and glib in your work. If something is non-traditional there has to be an explanation of the intent. When Charlie Rose asks, which is after all his job, he will ask holes into your body btw, then you have to be able to explain all of your words, all of your artistic choices. She ponders, because pondering is what we do here, she digs into the whip, into the ice cream, she leaves the cherry for last. They have gone back to the cherry in this joint, besides they

176

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

omitted the mint leave, seems they will garnish this ice cream sundae with whatever is handy in the kitchen. Whatever they have in the pantry or in the fridge. Author scribbles away, she observes the woman in purple stockings and olive-green boots, who orders a piece of chocolate cake. Author here has enough of writing, she is feeling nauseated and bored at the same time. Itzehoe is growing on her, the city is way too small, there is nothing happening here. When you fly in from the other side of the pond, you want a tad more excitement, a tad more action, an Eiffel Tower, a leaning Tower of Pisa, something like that, something of that kind. Not a silent city that goes about its regular day-to-days, we can have that back home, there is nothing to describe here. She still needs 200 words to propel this up to 60 000, she scribbles away, scribbles away. January Six The mall in Curitiba, the ice cream with hazelnut flavour, the communication with the woman who does not speak English, which is fine, author here does not speak Portuguese. Ordering an ice cream can be done in the universal language of pointing and grimacing questioning, besides you have your fingers to ask for the price, is it one or two or three, and if nothing goes, you can draw the number on a piece of paper. Obrigada. She takes a pic with her phone, she does not know how to upload it, which might be fine, she has put the USB cable somewhere and forgot about it, she should just send her pic to instagram, she should send her films to vimeo, she is tired from too much travelling, too much worrying about her stupid writings, she just wants to go back to the hotel and sleep, jetglag is gripping her by the throat, ever so silently, ever so quietly. Writing is ah so dull and so boring, there are better things to do with ones life, so it seems and so it seems and so it seems. Two more words, we have 60 000, yay and yay and yay and yay.

177

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

October Two So maybe some city somewhere. The author is not quite sure if she programmed this book correctly, if she cued it in the right manner. After all, it is not a film, if you want to use cinematic devices in a book it will not really work, except if you are male and from European descent. Or if you have really splendid connections. Or if you are utterly charismatic. She ponders, charisma works only if you are tall and beautiful. And if you are the aforementioned male. If, on the other hand , you happen to be utterly non-male, then, well, then good luck to you. That is how it is that is how it is. You are asking why. Because I said so, now go and clean your room. May Something So, you are a writer? Have you published anything? Nothing. Aha. The border patrol guy makes notes in his book. She ponders, actually he should make notes in his computer. She ponders, she has talked to more border patrol personal than she can remember. They are usually all nice, at least to her. She tends to evoke those kinds of feelings in other creatures. Which is not necessarily that good. She definitely does not command respect, authority demanding is not her thing. Sabotaging, that is more how we roll here. She ponders, if push comes to shove, we can do it all. Boss people around, being bossed around. That is the human condition, she pinders if that is what Malraux wrote about. She did not understand her French teacher, if push comes to shove, nobody did, only the woman who knew Spanish. This was some forty years ago and the French class had five people max. How do you spell P-A-R-T-Y? She ponders, maybe she should write her memoirs, that would sell. Then again there are seven billion people on this planet, thus we could have seven billion memoirs. Author here ponders, how many books are there on this planet, how many writers have published their works in hardcopy? How many have published

178

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

their stuff online. She should do research, we need some stats. Her tea is getting cold, the woman next to her left, because her cell told her so. And we write here, write here, she looked at a film in the foundation show which was really good, a woman, her daily routine. Kind of like what we write here, except that it works better in film, in images. Actually there is this filmmaker who is making a film about whether words or pictures are better. Something like that, something of that kind. She should still type but her back hurts. Weird, ah, strange. August Ten The woman in the studio of the NDR on the Rothenbaumchaussee, the Northern German Radio as it used to be called and it is still called, though these days it is basically a TV-station. The woman is very nicely coiffed, though more nicely than elegant, a Katie Courie clone. Accessible, friendly, the typical Marianne. Author here ponders, the camera man looks like the Professor. Author ponders, if this woman is Marianne what would that make the author here, Ginger or Mrs. Howe. Anyhoo, camera, action. The woman asks her about the German translation of her book, author tries to keep it together she does not know that much about the translation per se, she just thinks that it does not vary that much from the English original. Besides, she knows more about the French translation. Author tries to focus, she is not quite sure if she should evade the questions or if she should give a straight answer, say that she does not know about the translation. Author goes for evading, gives a so very long litany about the subject matter itself, about how she struggles with conveying the life of a writer. The boredom, the tedium. The craft itself, writer as craftsman, craftswoman. How she deliberately foregoes action to concentrate on the meditative nature of the process of writing or any repetitive action for that matter. She talks at length about animation, because that is her first love in a time-based medium. The one that she will always remember. And cut, cut. The woman gets powdered over her nose by another shorter

179

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

woman with an apron, author is not quite sure what to do. This studio looks exactly like all the studios that are shown on TV, it totally mirrors the stereotype. Weird, strange. author longs for the little bakery in Itzehoe, the ice cream, the whip, the view of the Berliner Platz. This place is way too hectic, it is the antithesis of the quietness of a writers studio. And once more, camera, action. Another Day The bakery in Itzehoe, the waitress tells her that she saw her on TV. Author feels uncomfortable, smiles sheepishly. Asks for the ice cream, digs the silver spoon into it. Her writer-career is taking off and she is not that sure if she likes it. The royalty checks sure are pretty nice, she is not quite sure if she would not make more money if she waited on tables. Besides, nobody would scoff at her insights, mainly because nobody would know about her insights. Author takes out her notebook, starts scribbling. She is invited to speak at this college campus in Rochester, somehow the publicity machine is moving way too fast for her. We need time to adjust here. She ponders, a plumber would not have anxiety attacks if his business would take off. She ponders, are plumbers necessarily male, isn‟t that so yesterday. She had a plumber over once, he filled the stereotype to a T, with hanging pants and all, he was however pretty incompetent at fixing anything for that matter. Author still writes away, she is not quite sure if the interview at the NDR ever happened, she seems to make up stuff, because that is what fiction writers do, apparently, it is kinda insane, kinda confusing. She will catch the last train back to Hamburg, eventually, eventually. October Five

180

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

The small studio in the hi-rise in Chelsea, in the same one where the little French bakery is, the one where those purple golden macarons are made. Author ponders, this studio is so very lowkey when compared to the tv-studio in Hamburg, mainly because it is a radio station. Her interviewer is this pimple faced youngster, at least that is how he looks. He has glasses and an air of condescension, he is wearing a hipster hat, if push comes to shove he is the epitome of a hipster. A caricature that came to life. Funny, though when he opens his mouth, a thick, so very thick southern accent emerges. Bible belt and dark rimmed glasses in one and the same person, redneck hillbilly that goes for impersonating . She ponders, her words are politically incorrect, she ponders what to answer the interviewer. Who is extraordinarily lucid, his questions are so very intelligent, her answers on the other hand are so very dumb. She could not do worse than this, she basically answers his convoluted questions with a short Dunno. She ponders, maybe interview-answering is not her thing, producing words en masse on the other hand, that seems to be definatelyher thing. Or drawing, it does not really matter, sometimes we draw here, sometimes we write. The idea is to put lines down onto paper and then distribute them to the world. That is how it is that is how it is. We have this little wordproducing place, workshop, others would call it a kitchentable. Author is not quite sure if this would fly, if this will fly. She answers the questions as good as she can, thinks about the golden purple macarons that she will have later on, once this is finished. She thinks about the writers co-op, well, she somehow worked her butt off to make it to this phase in her career, when she talks about her stuff on national radio, on international radio slash TV. She is not quite sure what this has to do with writing. A plumber does not need publicity. Huh. And plumbing is no different from writing. Actually, that is not true, plumbing is much more difficult.

181

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

The interview is over, she is down on eighth, walks all the way to the bed bath and beyond on sixth, she needs a bath mat, a green one, light green. She has 61 400, all her endeavours mush together, no order and no order and no order and no order. She has become one of those writers who write nonsensical, unbelievable stuff. Maybe that is the nature of fiction, yup, why not and why not, let us go with that. There is no know-it-all prof here who will spread red ink all over her text, there is no dissertation committee who will shred her piece to pieces until she is all tears all tears and the other PhD candidates have to console her. Cut, Cut, the hillbilly hipster thanks her, she takes the elevator down, the macaron place, macaron, on for the quest of the bath mat. Writer is not quite sure why she described the walk to bed bath and beyond twice in a row, apparently she is losing her writing chops, is breaking off her writing chops. Ah, she sucks as a writer, what else is new and what else is new. January Five Itzehoe, once more. The ice cream with whip, the waitress in yellow, the Berliner Platz. Her notebook, the meticulous scribbles. She ponders, she used to write so utterly eloquently, back in Kingston, at the Tim Hortons. Year s of writing destroyed her grip on the craft, some artists get better as time goes on, others sink into the abyss. Fatigue with your job, that does that to you. Once you have reached outlier-dom, you go down. Is only natural if you reach the peak you have to descend. That is the nature of the beast. Gotta find still another peak to ascend. October Ten

182

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Walking by the Donut Plant, she might as well go in, have the seasonal one, which is an oversugared strawberry one, she has it with a green tea with jasmine in it, green and jasmine. She gets a paper napkin, which is always a pretty interesting ritual, you have to lift the silvery ball from the stack of beige napkins, hold it and grab one napkin and then let go of the ball and let it spring back into place. The donut is pretty sweet, she has her seat near to the window, watches people walk by on twenty-third. The overhang for the construction workers, the scaffold is still in place, which is kind of nice, the scaffold provides shade for this window place. People rush by, up to fifth, down to eighth. She has to do laundry, she has all her laundry in her little suitcase, she will go down to the place on eighth, the one near to the blue club. This is how she does her days in nyc, others can go up to Rockefeller Center, this laundry place is her statue of liberty. It is much more interesting, trust you me. She ponders, she still needs 100, she will produce those in some coffee shop, after all that is what all these coffee shops here in Chelsea are for. They are awash with writers, at any given time, aspiring nut cases, she is one of them. One of so many so many. Nope, writers do not just live in Brooklyn, the other half lives in the four other boroughs. So it seems, so it is. She scribbles away, the donut place here is more for young daters and tourists, it is too sparkly to attract the writerly crowd, they need dinginess more so than agaisyt the tableto. They need spaces that scream process not finish. They need under construction signs, not polished end product city. She ponders, if anyone understands her lingo, well, with a name like hers she can always blame it on I don‟t know da language. Anyhoo, her donut is finished, the tea had a funny aftertaste, she is not quite sure if the waitress gave her the green with jasmine leaves, it tastes more like burnt macha tea, anyhoo, time to wrap this up, for now and for now. A DAY

183

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

In the art school again, she tries to order her sentences, her passages, paragraphs, all these little sections that make for a book. She renames chapters, makes sure that the spelling is ay-o-kay, she reads about writer spaces for hire in nyc and in los angeles. About the rent, she looks at the photos, reads yelp-reviews, she rummages thru a new york times pitch, an advertisement masked as investigative journalism. She ponders, she prefers this place, this library, she rents a locker and a studio space on the second floor in the north building of the art school on Granville island, she is not quite sure if this will help make her write more or if it stifles her output, after all she has to come here, take the number 16 bus down arbutus, she then has to sit in this desolate place, she has to feed her words to the machine, she ponders what the librarians might think, if they will gossip behind her back. Writers are insecure creatures, she read that somewhere, maybe all artists are. She is not quite sure if a writer is an artist, she does not really care that much about categorizations. She‟d rather be an animator, that she knows for sure, but she does not have access to an animation stand, so that will not work out for her. Anyhoo, we type here and type here, she has 300 words already, that is quite good for an afternoon in may. The ocean factory, ah, so majestic, the green, the blue. Building, all white, flowers and sky. She looks up at the poster about copyright rules, she types some and types some and types some and types some. Her back hurts way too much here, she has to wrap this up, for now and for now and for now and for now. October Seven This time in the bakery in the small town away from Hamburg, this time in Itzehoe. She has mint ice cream, change is good. One strawberry on it, whip. The silver spoon with the red handle, the view of the Berliner Platz. Old people and young people, comings and goings. An afternoon on a Thursday here in Itzehoe. She takes out her notebook, she starts working on her text, on one of

184

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

her texts that is. She still did not secure a publisher for the 300 000 word long tome that she has sitting in her night stand back home, the one that she started in the literaturhaus residency in Zurich. She might just go the self publishing route or turn it into an e-book. Either way she will lose some money, apparently that is why it used to be called vanity press. They do not do that anymore, people do not want to be called out when they are vain. Apparently, Mark Twain did selfpublish too and see where it took him. Anyhoo, let us just write here and write here. A woman in striped tights comes in, she is staking out a knitting work, puts on glasses, starts knitting. Two other women come in, order lattes, yup, Milchkaffee it is, start chatting away, chatting away. One is wearing a red sweater, the other one an olive green one. They must be sisters or cousins, they look very much alike. She still writes and she still writes on. Outside, the ubiquitous drizzle starts out. Every time she sits down here, rain comes down. As if it is only waiting for the woman who comes here on the train from Hamburg, the one who starts working on her writing, the one who orders the sundae and sits near the window. Whose book is still slightly on the plotless side, where there is hardly any dialogue, hardly any interaction between different characters. Yup, that one and that one. She has a hot chocolate, which is not really what one should have following an ice cream. Not good for the teeth, for the enamel. She heaps her words onto the page, starts humming to herself. Maybe she is not quite fit for writing in a public place, huh. She looks at the watch, it is six in the afternoon, time to catch the train here, besides, it is actually dinnertime, not ice cream and hot chocolate time. She ponders, most of this her book seems to be about food, she could insert some recipes, people do that, anything to fill a page. She read somewhere that there are 300 million books on this planet, Google came up with that number. And then there was this so very long comment section, where people would mostly disagree with that number. And some funny jokes were there, that made her laugh out

185

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

loudly in the library, the woman in beige at the other station looked at her, suspiciously. We still need some 200 words, to take this down to 63 000. Against the rain in Itzehoe, against boredom, against the deep seated feel of dislocation. At this point she is hardly able to hold a conversation with a living person. She is so used to put down her inner monologues, yup, this is called being a writer, a writer. A dull and tedious, so very very tedious vocation. The walk back to the station, through the streets of this tiny city. Not that tiny that is. Next time she should go to one of the nearby villages, just for a change just for a change. Should be good for her writings, inspire some more words, some less words. She can use a different kind of ink, anything to break up the repetitiveness of the writing process. She must have 60 000, ball park, ah, ballpark ballpark. Only 12 thousand to make it to 75 000, which is the number she wants to get to, get to. October Five She walks around the neighbourhood, she has her notebook in her bag, but she would rather go on walking through these streets, instead of sitting down and writing. It is eight thirty in the night, it is pretty full in Billys Bakery, she has a chocolate-chip cookie sandwich, highly recommended on yelp. She walks up 21st. up to eighth. Yep, New York City it is once more, she ponders, this is not that far from Brooklyn. And technically, all five boroughs are part of New York City, not just Manhattan. She ponders about the title of this her text, Far Away From Brooklyn is as good a title as any. February Nine Wow, it is icy outside, she is happy though that it is not snowing. On the other hand she has to be careful not to slide on the ground, she bundled up, walks carefully, makes sure that she stops her walk for moments at a time. Walking to the stores on forty-first it is, by the houses, by the parked

186

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

cars, through the tree-lined streets. To grab a coffee, to take the bus to the mall. This is what we do here to kill time between writing spurts. May Twenty-Two Back in Reykjavik, her hotel room is pretty nice, pretty roomy. She leaves her suitcase in one corner, she can unpack later on. It is about two o clock, it is a Thursday here in this town. A walk through the capital of Iceland, fun and fun and fun and fun. So many people, a sea of people. that moves her forward, motions her through the crowds. She finds her favourite bakery, the one she always frequents when she is in this town. the seat near the window, a raspberry tart with whip, a cappuccino. Let us write and let us write. Seems that everybody in this place is talking at once, this will be pretty good for her writing, the sounds, the sights of this very place will translate into exactingly calibrated observations, will flow onto the page as perfectly structured vignettes. She digs into the tart, watches the two women at the other table, though she tries to be discreet. Not that they mind, they are so busy with their talkings, which is good to watch, especially if you do not speak the language, you can study their mannerisms. Author ponders, she feels as if she is watching a performance, she is a tad too noisy, should concentrate on her writing instead. There is so much to see here, the décor is pretty nice, little flower patterns on the wall, the whole atmosphere is pretty feminine and dainty. It is totally different from the other place that she goes to every now and then, the one with the black, white and silvery décor. The music on the over head is a tad too blah, classical music, it is too much. The music should be modern, after all it is the twenty-first century. She ponders about her word count, it should hover somewhere around 63 500 words, so it seems so it seems. August Two

187

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Once more, the ice cream in the bakery in Itzehoe. All her trips to this city automatically end up in this very bakery. This time it is strawberry ice cream though, these are the diversions in her life. These are the inspirations for her writings, food as muse. Cities as muse. Anyhoo, let us just write and just write. The woman at the other table reads a book, the two old men in the back are chatting. The weather outside is nice, everything here has strong tinges of déjà-vu. May Two Aarau, the café on the second floor, the name is Braendli. She has a tea and a piece of Linzer Torte with whip. The woman with the white apron is very nice and very polite, author here starts her writings, she has not been in this place for eleven years. It is pretty strange to slide down memory lane, life has passed, this place here stayed the same. Same pastry, same décor. At least that is how it seems. She ponders, she could write a ditty about the passage of time, something sprinkled with pathos, reflections about memory et.al., she is not really in the mood for that, would rather go through the old town, walk over the cobbled streets, enjoy the charms of this very place. Outside, the weather is pretty warm, May is starting out, is starting out. August Nine Penn Station, in the morning. So many many people streaming into the city, all of Path, all of Path. She rushes out, makes her way down eighth to twenty-third, she has a coffee with hints of half and half, a marble cake, she sits down in the coffee shop, watches the goings on outside, can see the breadstix café from here. Nice to be back, she could work on her writings here, she does not necessarily need to use the writers co-op. she can just fire up the laptop in here, be inspired by the morning crowd in this place. she just needs 100 words anyways to march this forward to 64 000, fast and fast and fat and fast. There is no plot here, there never will be. We just do

188

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

plotless writing, marketing should do the rest. Who says that plots have to be all the rage, the important thing is the using of the language in ways that are original, unique. In the same way one would use paint or lines on paper for that matter. Verbal doodles, yup, those ones and those ones. Four more words, 63 999, one more, we are there are there. September One The hotel room in Chicago, her suitcase in the corner, she might as well start writing here. On the telly, Rules of Engagement, laugh tracks, this should somehow move the wordcount forward. Venturing out into the real world used to be what writers did, sitting inside and watching TV while typing seems kind of artificial. Watching an artificial world in order to create another artificial world, something like that, something of that kind. She has never seen Chicago before, it should be very interesting, but it is twelve in the night, she will see the sights come next morning. Thus, it is writing at this time, arranging tiny letters on white surface, scribbling word after word after word after word. She looks out the window, the view is breathtaking. The lake at night, the cars, the lights of the city. On the telly, an ad for an Infinity, now a trailer of a show. An ad for a brake specialist. And again, the laughtracks of the sitcom. It is exactly midnight now, Frasier is on. Writing ah writing, she feels nauseous. Nauseated, a tad, a tad, a tad. November Six There is a meeting in downtown, all the participants of National Novel Writing Month are invited to meet down in the old train station place, she ponders, last time that she went there were about ten people. NaNo writers are a lot in the Lower Mainland, about 4000. Only ten persons met up, apparently the rest were busy working on the task of writing. She ponders, the meeting is at twelve, she really has to rush down, to make it in time.

189

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

October Five The library in the ETH, yup, Zurich it is once more, she can use one of the computer stations, they seems to be free to the public, one does not need to enter a password. It is much less expensive than the internet café near the Ring, it is actually free. She looks around, everybody is so very studious. It is ten in the morning, she starts typing, her novel moves ahead quite nicely, who needs a plot, plots are ah so yesterday. Zurich is always so conducive to writing, even now that she is not pressured into producing a certain amount of words as it was during the literaturhaus residency. Some more words, ah, some more words. Save, spellcheck, she leaves the library, makes her way to the coffee place on the second floor, there are quite a lot of people here for the midmorning pause. She has a tea, a piece of cake. Sugar and grease, that is what drives writing forwards. She needs fifty words or so to make it to 64 500, her tea is finished, so is her cake, up to the library it is once more, in order to type, fast and fast and fast and fast. The words that march over the monitor, in perfect unison, elegantly, hopefully eloquently. 64 500 it is it is. March Ten The coffee shop near the hotel Mozart, a coffee, a croissant. So many people, chatting in thick Vienna drole. Everybody is an Arnold here. She has her coffee, takes out her notebook, starts writing, ah, writing. People come in, leave. Author ponders, how long will she be able to stay put in here, before somebody asks her to leave. She feels pleasantly dislocated, it is good, to not have to be anywhere. This should be good for words, they will flow onto the page without even trying. So she hopes so she hopes. August Fifteen

190

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Once more, Antwerp. She has a waffle, walks around waffle in hand. When in Antwerp you gotta have a waffle. She had enough of saying waffle. It is pretty drizzly in this city, though it is after all August. She stands under an awning, her umbrella is back in the hotel. She is not the only one under the awning, people gather here to wait out the rain. A woman says something in Flemish or Dutch, author is not quite sure about the language that is spoken here. She has to look thru the guide book again. Her writing has to wait, wait for the rain to stop. March Two Geneva in March, a walk by the lake, the fountain in the middle of it. It is pretty nice outside, not too cold, not too warm. She has a hot chocolate in one of the chocolate places, writes a tad, she will do some shopping, though it seems that this city is super expensive. Maybe window shopping will suffice. She only needs about 200 words to make it down to 65 000, she will feel tinges of accomplishment, even if her choice of words is utterly debatable. Eloquence is such a difficult chore, so it seems, so it seems. 200 words, ah, 200 words. August Seven The small village on the way to Zurich, she leaves the train, seems that this is really a typical one-horse place. Author is not quite sure if there even is a phrase like tht, she just writes it down anyways. A walk through the village, it is so utterly nice weather, she stumbles upon this so very nice café, has a tea and a Danish. The mid morning crowd, chatting, laughing. It is pretty good to sit here and scribble your words, fast, fast, faster. Her neck hurts, she has enough of all this hunching over a notebook, the problem is that she has a contract with this publishing house, she has to produce a certain word count. The text is slightly incoherent, there are all these holes in the story. She has to edit them later on, will edit them later on. She needs about forty words,

191

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

maybe even only thirty. Each sentence is numbered, she does not even care about the meaning anymore, what is important, is the number of words in each sentence. Five more words, were outta here, outta here. September Seven Author here is utterly unhappy, she typed up two pages, pushed the wrong button by accident, her whole work disappeared. It is totally irretrievable, all her amazing thoughts, wiped out, wiped out. That is why you should first write hardcopy, use pen and paper. If you just touch the wrong button with your right pinky, the whole text is wiped out. After all, who saves their work every two seconds. She tries to remember what she just wrote, it should be stored somewhere deep down in her memory bank. Short term memory, ah, long term memory. She set this up as a scene at a compute in the University of British Columbia, she said, she hinted that it is the beginning of the semester. She wrote about how she took the bus, and she mentioned that she is using a computer that does not require a password, one that even a member of the general public can use. The computer that time forgot. She likened it to the animated movie The Land That Time Forgot, she then said that she owns that film, a VHS-tape, she called it a relic from the past. That is about all that we have here, apparently after that it was a discussion on writing, weather it is feasible to join a Masters program, to apply for admission to an MFA program in creative writing. Furthermore, there was a quip about those who cannot do and thus teach, she stated that writing cannot be taught, visual arts cannot be taught. She negated that statement somehow, stating that she feeds random absolutes to the machine here, she then went on to talk about her WORD-course, about the tattoo of her teacher, the lady had tattoed her own name onto her forearm. Author talked about how she is not sure why her laptop does not do apostrophes, she is happy that she is in UBC, where the computer does not act up. She doe not know how to

192

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

disable the faulty application on her home computer, how to make the machine put down an apostrophe once the key with the apostrophe on it is pushed down. Author here is pretty pissed off, that she cannot retrieve her words, the paragraph that she just wrote was so much more articulate, so much clearer than the recreation of that paragraph. Anyhoo, she has to finish her anti-novel by the end of the day, she has to strategize how to do this, there is a sure-fire system for how to produce ten thousand words in one day, you got to pace yourself, have to do the mammoth work in short intervals, take respites between typing spurts, if you have the right system you will be able to do seemingly unmanageable loads of work, just gotta piece it into bite-sized units, then tackle each small part of the work, finish it, rest, then do the next part. Linear succession of workunits. That is how you do sports, run marathons, swim for long hours. She ponders, she feeds her random rules to the machine, next time she will use an outline of what she wants to say. Basically, there were three points in her paragraph, in her text. The discussion of whether one can teach art, both visual or literary, she stated that one cannot do that. Her thesis thus was that you cannot teach art, which basically makes art schools obsolete. Her second point was about her bad-functioning keyboard. The third point was about how to tackle a seemingly unmanageable job by using a well-devised system. So in short: A- art schools are dumb, Bkeyboard does not work, C- break up work into manageable segments. Author ponders, she should stick to fiction writing, when she wants to convey a logical thought, she is in trouble. Then again, where is the border between fiction and non-fiction, a philosophical discussion of ideas is very unclear most of the times, it is pretty tough to use the right words to illustrate an idea. We have 65 500 words here, she typed for one hour or so, half of her writing got wiped out, the machine ate the words, gotta save it in time, gotta save your text. Yeah. She is tired, she needs hard liquor, she is not quite sure what she wanted to say and she is furthermore anxious

193

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

about the words she used when trying to state what she wanted to say. The medium is the message, ah, well, ah well. We should use diagrams and pie charts, they are so much clearer, yeah. October Five The Starbucks on Arbutus, at seven in the morning. Coffee, banana bread, she goes to the newspaper shelf, looks at the date on the Sun, at the date on the Globe. They say that printed matter is obsolete, author here uses newspapers to figure out what date it is. She does that especially when she travels, after all, dates and times change when you travel across time zones. Just pick up a local newspaper in a news stand, the date is there, just make sure that you look at several different newspapers, in order to make sure that you are not looking at yesterday‟s edition. Yup, that is how you travel, apparently, apparently. You have to devise your system when you travel a lot and she sure travels a lot, to all these different places, she runs after the ah so very fleeting muse. She ponders, what exactly is a muse, huh, there are always these pictures of a woman with leaves in her hair, that should be Ms. Muse, apparently. Apparently. Does a muse haveto be female. Can a muse be an inanimate object, can a place be a muse. She could google it, wikipedia it, but, hey, ignorance is bliss, a tad and a tad and a tad and a tad. She has near to 66 000 words here, she needs some more to make it down to the round number, she has to do this another nine times, then she can wrap this text up, 75 000 is all we need here, all we need. Author queried eleven agents in nyc, she described her project as a text that has 75 000 words, which was at a time when she had only 5000 words. Luckily, no one answered her initial query as of yet, which left her ample amount of time for fashioning the rest of the book. Her fingers hurt a tad, her shoulders, her back, neck, the like and the like, writing can be pretty exhausting, so they say so they say so they say. She uses too many SO THEY SAY in her writings, and btw

194

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

who are THEY. It is 8:45, she is exhausted, it took her two hours to type up a measly 1000 words, if she does this at this pace she will need 18 more hours to finish this, she will have to work until two in the night, straight, straight. No time to venture into the outside world, she definitely has to pick up the pace, somehow, somewhere. She ponders, the last SOMEWHERE was uncalled for. Ah, her writings, her writings. She ponders, what does style over substance mean, what does quantity over quality mean, besides, who makes up all these stupid rules, that sound good, but are pretty unscientific. She ponders that she ponders a tad too much these days. and save and spellcheck, spell-check, spellcheck. Another question, should one spell the same word in the same manner all over the text, is it not more interesting, more artistic if one varies the spelling. A book is first and foremost a work of art, it differs from, say, a newspaper or a manual for how to program your VCR. Anyhoo, let us just write and write, she ponders, nobody owns a VCR anymore, the quip about VCR-programming is dated, ah so dated. And we have 66 400, to date and to date and to date and to date. At two minutes to nine in the morning, huh and huh and huh and huh and huh and huh and huh and huh and huh. April Two Penn Station at seven in the morning, the burbs spit out their pips into the city, everybody welldressed, well-coiffed, everybody showered, well-deodorized. This place here has a lot of water, that makes for people affording to take their daily showers. Author ponders, she is not quite sure if her random observations are right, nyc has 8 million, now is that the number for Brooklyn, Manhattan, The Bronx, Queens and Staten Island, how does this work how does it work. And how many persons are roaming the city during the day, given that the commuters descend upon the city in the morning and leave in the night to places like New Rochelle and Crouton. Where do the tourists figure into the population, where do the construction crews from Jersey come in.

195

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Seems that the number of inhabitants changes by the minute, population numbers are ever so fleeting, the stats. include homes, they do not count people who sleep on the streets of New York City. This very city is the place where the United Nations roams, the apparatus that is supposed to represent the people of this world. How can the contents of one small building represent seven billion people. Author ponders, there is something eerily Kafkaesque about the whole process, the only other places that have some clout are The Hague and some places in Geneva, which makes three small cities the metropolises where world justice is ordered. Anyhoo, she has to make it down to her coffee shop, she has to retain her routine, has to have marble loaf and coffee, pike place, tall, she has to listen to the sing-song of the barrista in black amd green, who calls everyone darling, a young male black Zsa Zsa Gabor with an eternally happy smile. She has to fight against the language, has to use exacting words, that cut thru the chase like a knife, she has to omit run-on sentences, she has to go to FIT, have a fashion hot dog. Well, obviously, she does not need to do any of these things, the only task she has to fulfill is the typing up of a certain amount of words, she could use the writers co-op in order to feel that she is getting her money‟s worth, because she pays a hundred bucks per month for the privilege of using that place. If you pay a monthly fee for a fitness club, you should use it, same with a writers studio, same with an artist studio. These are basically all office places. Where work is done, non-domestic work. Division of labor ah division of labor division of labor division of labor. Penning a novel, this better be good better be good. The publishing industry provides a lot of jobs in New York City, her writing will feed that should feed that, somehow, somehow. She learned in school about primary secondary and tertiary economies, she did not listen, somehow all this stuff that she learned creates more confusion than coherence. Yup, that is how it is, how it is, how it is. Her coffee is pleasantly hot, she sprinkles half and half into it, she should go to the

196

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Gristedes nearby, the one where there are seven kinds of Milanos. Wow and wow. This is New York for yer. She ponders, years from now, centuries from now, when her anti-novel will be discussed in a schoolroom, as it should be, students will point out that she is a tad overly fascinated by everything New York, well, Seinfeld does that to you, apparently, apparently, apparently. Author here is not good at explaining stuff, whenever her words do not suffice in explaining an issue, she just repeats words and hopes for the best, there must be readers who can deduce what she is tryoing to say, yup, why not and why not and why not. 67 000, round. At ten in the morning, give some, take some. for now and for now and for now and for now. September Two She read somewhere that Hemingway used to stand while typing up his stories. Could have been another writer. She remembers a movie about Hemingway, it is definitely not the only movie about a writer. The persona of a writer is thoroughly romanticized by Hollywood, more so than any other profession. She is not quite sure if the statement she just made holds true in any way, it certainly does not. Maybe soldiers are glorified more so than any other professiosn by the film industry, soldiers and women who cook. We have to change this, one word at a time, one word at a time. And you thought the pen is useless, she ponders, there is a statement about a flaming pen, about how words can change the world. Huh, wishful thinking. Wishful thinking. Fahrenheit, both movies, how much clout do they really have. Anyhoo, gotta keep on typing and writing here. She is becoming hungry and hangry here, she will later on microwave the Michelina‟s mac and cheese. Outside, a happy and sunny day marches forward, inside here, her words accumulate, which is all we are vying for, all we are vying for. A DAY

197

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

She could take the bus down to the art school, they still have the foundation show going on, the one that is truly superb. Judging from the one movie that she saw, a short film about a woman as an art student. The day-ins and day-outs of an art student. It was a very fitting portrayal, the film maker could have portrayed any other profession, the cinematic devices were employed in a very sophisticated manner. What we are trying to say here, ever so convoluted, ever so clumsily, is, that the film was good. And then there was the one great painting. In nice colours, it was not very big, 20 inches by thirty, or maybe 30 centimetres by 20 centimetres, author ponders, she is not good with converting imperial to metric, that is how it is that is how it is. We have ten ay em, we should just keep on typing, until we hit 75 thou or we die here die here. There is an artist talk too, in the evening, by the set designer of AMADEUS. Apparently she is designing the set for a film that is shot in this town, here in Hollywood North. About art and literature. The woman who played in CHOCOLAT is in it, the French actress. Yup, that is how it is how it is. Gotta go back to describing the travels of writer here, Reykjavik, Itzehoe, Singapore. June Four Ice cream in Itzehoe, the chatter of the women at the next table, the view of the Platz, the Berliner one. At this point, anyreader has deduced that Platz is the German word for Square. Kind of funny that there is a Berlin Square in a small town in the province of Schleswig Holstein, this place is so very far removed from Berlin. The name of the hotel that author stays in frequently here is Dittmarscher Hof, which is befitting, Dittmarschen is in Northern Germany. Ah, she is not that good with geography, that is how it is how it is. The words accumulate, which is good which is good. She feels a cold coming on, her throat, the sniffles, the like and the like. Too much writing did her in, in the end, in the end. She left the maraschino cherry for last, apparently the bakery switched back to cherries. Or that is what they had handy. Either way,

198

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

author here is happy, her text is near to the finishing line, she made it this far, not bad and not bad and not bad and not bad. Time to catch the train back to Hamburg, it is getting late getting late. She did not cancel her room back in Hamburg, thus she has to go back there. Next time she will plan this whole travel thingie better, she has to make sure that she spends her money more efficiently. Next time she will make this part of an art residency program, maybe she can arrange something with a cultural organization. A tourist organization, a publisher, a university. She has to look into that look into that look into that. There are lots of scholarships that are never claimed just because nobody knows about them. That is why people pay full price for everything. Writers are notoriously bad with numbers, that is how it is that is how it is. 67 700, she put down some 3000, in one sitting to boot. Back to the train station and back to Hamburg. October Tenty-Three Billys café in the evening so many people so many people. Some are sitting outside on the white bench, laughing, chatting, a Thursday evening, the weekend not quite the weekend not quite. Chelsea mumbling away, singing its songs, being happy in the remnances of warmness, awaiting winter not quite not quite, October in new york city, so very mild, only to be substituted by an extra harsh winter. She thinks about her book, she is not quite sure if she made the right choice. Should have kept on painting, perhaps and perhaps and perhaps. The butter cream in between the cookies oozes out, ever so slightly, ever so slightly. Some more words are needed, to round this up to 68, yeah and yeah and yeah. And yeah. She ponders, the place she mentioned is actually called billy‟s bakery, she scrolls down the yelpian reviews, seems that everyone gives her favourite a thumbs up, the cookie sandwich garnered nothing but raves, that is how it is that is how it is. We need still twenty more, write,

199

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

type, run faster, pause and whoosh through the finish line, save and stop and spellcheck spellcheck, not necessarily in that particular order, yuh and yuh. Still Another Day The google doodle depicts a celebration of ella fitzgerald‟s birthday, the image has beautiful colours, it is the essence of jazz and of movement in a visual form, very good, the purple color somehow shows jazz, especially because ir is combined with an ochre yellow, that combination of colour is the visual translation of jazz music, off-colours, off-rhythms, the black thin lines hold it all together, underscore the asymmetric qualities of the music they depict. Author ponders, maybe writing about little pictures is what she should really do, she is not good with screenwriting, she cannot write dialogues, mainly, because her key for quotation marks is off on the keyboard of her laptop. That is how it is, very prosaic things build the oeuvre of a poet, and, let us just face it, any writer is a poet at heart. That is how it is, that is how we roll here. She ponders if what she just wrote constitutes utter nonsense. Hmm. Nah. And Still Another Day Another Day You know, we might just skedaddle down to the green couch, it might be logically better to type in a half-lying, half-sitting position. How do the astronauts type, hmm, now there is a question. Apparently, they cannot pen war and peace, while floating through space, that is why we did not become an astronaut here, yup, that must be it and that must be it. She is lightly cold, is ever so slightly losing it, that happens when all you do is typing typing in an utterly contorted position. She ponders, do writers for THE NEW YORKER have to live in New York, could they not live in Helsinki. After all, nowadays you can throw a text into the cloud with the push of a button, it will sail easily to the other side of the planet, dunk down on anycompuer in anytown. She is

200

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

pondering, maybe she is milking the any-anything stylistic device a tad too much, huh, she should patent it, yuh and yuh. Wow, you sure can bullshit nonstop (note 2 self). August Three Wow, gotta say, this is so very very tiring. She hates it in here, this dark chamber is more suited for hermits or moles. Agoraphobics, claustrophobics. At least the photo developing space in the art school was very community-oriented, the minute you stepped out of the dark room there were tons of other individuals. This dark room is more like the dark room in BLOW UP, except David Hemmings is nowhere to be seen. Some Day She ponders, actually there are no black lines on the google doodle for Ella Fitzgerald‟s birthday. There are, however, purple lines, and red lines, and they are very visible, they punch out at yer, the purple line is darker than its background, much darker, the red line is lighter than its surroundings thus both lines are rendered very pronounced maybe even more pronounced than black lines on a white surface or white lines on a black surface are. Just a thought, hmm. Aprilday On the telly, Frasier, we can write here while listening in to the show. A long day, so in the end some predictable laugh tracks. Some typing, ah, some typing, some typing. For the book that still lacks a story arc, that will always lack a story arc. We just type here to have something to do, other people knit a sweater while watching stuff on the telly. We just spin a yarn here, for moments, for moments. Summerday

201

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

In the heat, sitting outside of Spruengli, an afternoon in July, Zuerich is experiencing a heat wave, she has a hot tea, though, in a glass with a lemon wedge beside it, she has a dry cake, with whip on top, she feels kind of out of place here, watches the crowds walk her by. She concentrates on the food, wants to get this over with, feels way too self-conscious, seems everybody knows everybody here, she is not happy that she is the only one who is not talking to someone or listening to someone. Outcastiness does not befit her, at least not at this moment, she finishes as fast as she can, pays, tips a tad too little, makes her way to Bellevue, to look at the lake, to walk by by the lake. She is not quite sure if the whole region here is called Bellevue or only the street, she walks by the lake all the way to the swimming pool which was designed by Max Frisch, she looks out at the lake, the sail boats, the small mountains, hills on the other side of the lake. Zurich is so quiet, a quiet town. Against its own hustle and bustle, she sits near the water, watches people walk by. Her writing is coming along, which is nice, she has 69 000, which is even nicer, the wordcount is after all, what counts. Ha-ha, funny, funny, funny. We still need some more words here, she scribbles them on some pieces of paper, she will go back to the hotel, type them up there. She used to come here so many times, she seems to know each and every cranny in this town. And contrary to common misconception this place does not smell like cheese. To her it is an interesting city, it has this air of keeping up appearances at all costs, that is why anarchistic anti-establishment movements start from here and then spread around the globe, then again, might be wrong might be wrong might be wrong. What is clear and absolute is the stark beauty of the lake, the sailboats, the idyllic peaceful setting. The fantastic maquettes in the ETH, if you are ever in town when the architecture grads have their final exhibit in the lobby or in the basement of the grand building, you have to see it, gotta see it. Should blow your mind away, that is how it is how it is. Still one word, she is there is there. The words on paper, fast and

202

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

fast and fast and fast. Against stagnation, solitude, respite, the like and the like and the like and the like. Her poetic words, hinting at stuff, not quite and not quite and not quite and not quite. May Two Ah, how utterly nice. To sit back here in the bakery in Itzehoe, to peoplewatch, to dig into ice cream and to save the strawberry for last. It is a strawberry again, the only thing constant here in this place is the switch between cherry and strawberry. That is how you staccato your life in Itzehoe or in anywhere for that matter. She ponders, but does not really get anywhere with all this pondering. She could at one time skedaddle back to the world of shapes, of forms, heaping words on a piece of paper is just not that satisfying, not that rewarding. Apparently there is quite an array of different art forms, only there for the choosing, well, she definitely sucks at anyartform. She is bored, maybe she should chat up the waitress. Ask her about her life, but, hey, we should stick to writing here, writing here. Words ah words ah words ah and words. Outside the chirps of a bird, it is funny, how one can hear that, in the core of a city. Even a small city. A woman in a walker, walking by, slow and steady. The easy does it kind of walk. Author looks at the alcohol bottles behind the counter of the bakery, she never noticed, this place is kind of a mix of pub and bakery. Weird, huh, strange. How can you attract such a diverse array of customers, hard liquor creatures and dainty tea sippers. Author looks at the bird on top of the tree outside in the Berliner Platz, at one point she has to make her way back to the train station, yup, back to Hamburg it is, eventually eventually. But first let us write some more and still write some more. Fatigue sets in, quietly, ever so silently. June Three

203

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

``I do not think that my books are loud and obnoxious, they shimmer quietly, at least that is what I hope to achieve.`` Author here observes the young eager interviewer across from her, he must be thirty max. She talks some more about her writing, she listens to herself, is not quite sure what she is saying here. She just makes up stuff, as she goes. The trick is not to pause too long, after all this is a recording studio, there has to be something, anything to be recorded. No dead air no dead air, that rule seems to be paramount here. December Five Curitiba, huh. She had breakfast, the buffet is so very good. And now we gotta venture out, she takes the direction to the mall, walks straight up the street. It is not that hot yet, which is nice for a change, Rio was way too hot, and even Foz was not that temperate. This city however is still pretty fresh, even though it is in the midst of summer. Back home.people ski on Cypress, ski or snowboard. Here, hotter heat waves and slighter heat waves. Well, heat, nonetheless. She keeps on walking , by the boutique where she tried on five different kinds of jeans and did not buy any. She hastens her walk, kind of awkward to face the sales ladies, they were extra friendly and nice, helpful. That happens when you do not speak each other`s language, you have to smile. Universal language of friendliness, anyhoo, let us keep on walking, walking. The mall is chilled out, the AV is working overtime. She has one of these round overpriced cookie balls that the pretty lady with too much make-up is selling near to the drugstore inside of the mall. This time, she has the hazelnut kind, at least that is what it looks like. Yup, hazelnut, right guess. A tea in the elegant part of the mall, where it is quiet and subdued, it is nicer here, the food court on the third floor is way too brash, too obnoxious. She ponders, all she has seen of Curitiba is this very mall, it is cool in here, one can sit and write , one can hear oneself think, that is how it seems that is how it seems. Better to sit in here than to sit in the hotel room, there is stuff to see, an ever

204

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

changing scenery of housewives walking by. Or non-housewives, who knows what they do on a daily basis. She ponders, nope, they pretty much all have an aura of housewives. Once you are in a mall, you are bound to be a housewife. Whatever your profession might otherwise be. Even guys become housewives once they enter a mall. Malls are geared towards housewives, so better act like one. She ponders, her findings here are slightly nonsensical, she is sleepy, tea nad cookie does that to yer, especially if it is overpriced. The day marches forward, slowly, time to rush back to the hotel, not quite and not quite and not quite and not quite. August Nine Seattle at this time of the year, so very nice so very nice. Well, first the check-in at the hotel, she is not happy that the room is so high up, it is a nice one though, especially for that price. And some writing, even before going out into town. Scribbles, ah, scribbles. working at this text forever, all around the world. Later on, all of this has to be revised, but at this time we just have to heap the words onto the page. She takes a small toblerone out of the mini-bar, there is something to be said for having over-priced chocolate. Yup, the realization that you are a sucker. Nine more words, time to roam around near the space needle, time to look up at it from down below. That is how it is, that is how it is after all. January Seven Wow, is it cold here in Montreal. The snow is on the ground, luckily it stopped coming down some two days ago. So, now we have slush here, luckily not too much ice, though. She stays close to the Hotel Europa, does not venture out all that much. Well, she goes out, but stays close to the hotel. The farthest she goes is the Indigo nearby. It is so nice, they have everything one could ask for on the three stocks, you can just have coffee or hot chocolate with whip and

205

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

sprinkles, you can rummage through the books. The best thing is to sit in the travel section and read books about Montreal, armchair travelling while being in the very location that you are supposedly exploring. She does not have the physical stamina to walk everywhere, besides, the city is way too cold and icy-chilly. Thus we are just sitting in this place and leaf through the lonely planet tome, well, not a tome exactly, a handy pocket book is more likely, yup, that would be a better word. These days she writes primarily when she is in the hotel, or in the coffeeshop that is next to the hotel. Montreal, yup, Montréal, Montreal, in this part of the city people all know English. she ponders, as far as she knows, Westmount is the anglophile section of the city, but, hey, she can read up on that in the travel section, it is warm and cosy in here, and nobody really minds you sitting in here for hours. The only caveat is that you cannot take your reading material to the coffee place. She looks at the pictures of the city, they seem to be clearer than the real thing, they have the perfect lighting. Ha ha. 70 297 words, something like that something of that kind. October Six Others fly to Europe to see the Eiffel tower and Montmartre., for her the quaint bakery in downtown Itzehoe is as appealing as anywhere else. This time around she brought her laptop along, she starts typing and typing and typing. This time she orders something savory, a belegtes broetchen, something like an open face sandwich. With cheese and eggs and pickles, tomatoes. It is really nice, very decorative,. She has a glass of chardonnay, or whatever this wine is. White vine, she is not quite sure if this is what she wants to have at four in the afternoon. Having alcohol at this time of the day is for drunks and junkies. Well, it is a depart from her usual chamomile tea. She looks out at the Berliner Platz, yup, the ubiquitous drizzle is coming down,

206

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

coming down. She will take the six o`clock train back to Hamburg, until then it is typing and typing. January Three Yup, Singapore, Singapore. The hotel room, Seinfeld on the telly. In english to boot. Her world is one hotel room after the next, this is what writers do these days. they roam the world, do not really see much of the places that they visit, only one generic hotel room after the next. Elaine, George, Jerry, the episode with the cashmere sweater, Kramer: what is that red dot on your sweater. You have to be Seinfeld aficionado to know what it is all about. Henniken, yuh. She remembers seeing Seinfeld-live in the Bronx, funny, huh, funny funny. She types up her stuff, it is too late to go and see the city. Thus we type, because, hey. it is day-time for us here, she feasts on cookies and mars bar, has an orange juice too, this will kind of reflect pretty expensively on the hotel bill. Anyhoo, let us write and write, 70 617 it is, it is it is. August One The writers co-op once more, typing, typing. A man sits and types, a woman writes longhand. Author here ponders, if she should be a tad more social, nah, would only interfere with her writings. And we cannot have that, no, sirree. After all, the writingish career has to go somewhere, she is at this now for six years straight, she ponders, she would have gone further if she did something else, this writing stuff is still something of a hobby, it does not really garner results, whatsoever. She pauses her typing, she will venture out, down to Union Square, she will pick up three mini cupcakes by Melissa, the ones for three bucks. She should lose weight, hates to be hungry though. Food is fun, weightloss is fun, though, too. Ha, well, that happens, happens. June Three

207

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

A walk thru the streets of Reykjavik. To the bakery, the one in the side street behind the busy shopping center. She looked ay yelp, it had pretty good reviews. She has a hot chocolate with whip, a piece of cake with whip. The days of toned upper arm strength have to wait, at this point we just eat a tad too much sugar and way too much grease, ah, we will all die anyways, so it is so it is. She has 70 844 words, we still have to type to type. The woman with the short grey hair looks at her, apparently typing here is kinda weird. This place does not have Wi-Fi, but she can use the laptop as type writer, this laptop has about four hours of battery power. Let us type and let us type, she has to be careful to not splash hot chocolate onto the keyboard. Has to save this and spellcheck this, yup, she is definitely far far away from Brooklyn. There are passages in this book that are more in line with the title of this text than there are others. Still typing on, still typing on. 40 words and she will be at 71 000, after that she only needs 4000 more, she will stop at 75 000 sharp, this was quite an ordeal, all of this typing all of this typing. She has no high hopes for marketing this, she is at 71 001, time to stop this, time to concentrate on being a guest in the café. After all this is not an office, not and not and not and not. August Ten Zurich, she has this meeting with the woman who used to run the literaturhaus residency, in this small bakery in the Raemistrasse. She takes the tram from the Hauptbahnhof, she gets out near to the University, she walks the rest of the way, by the Kunsthalle, she wants to have some fresh air, besides, it is too soon to meet up. Hi, Gruezi, the woman is so very beautiful, she has hardly aged at all. A coffee, Linzer Torte, pleasantries, catching up, you know, the like and the like. She is asking author here to give a talk about her experiences during the residency, apparently it is an info thingie, huh.

208

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

Author is pretty happy, this did not hurt at all, it went better than she thought it would. June Six A pretty nice evening, watching Seinfeld, once more the scene with cashmere, cashmere. Outside a June night, mellow, fresh. Now it is Rules of Engagement, a softball game. Gotta write, still gotta write. To take this down to 72 000. After that, only 3000 to make it to 75 000. Writing as chore, counting word after word. The wordcount supersedes the writing process, the wordsmithing. There is a fascination with the language, but that in itself is definitely not enough. The race, the breaking of Guinness records, the sheer number that one can produce in a certain amount of time, that is what is the most fascinating thing in writing. The competitive element. You cannot really write if it is not about meeting a certain wordcount requirement, a certain deadline. She ponders whether her assertments hold any true, probably not but then again everything is debatable. And we write here and type here and type here and type here and type here. August Five The hotel in Amsterdam, the same room that she had last time. On the second floor, looking straight at the open air parking garage. The one that has three levels, chockfull with bicycles in all colors. She takes a photograph, though her phone might concur too high roaming costs. She will not use it anymore, the picture taking was the last thing she does with her i-phone. Better to use this in a place where the cost is low. It is two in the afternoon, though it is night for her. Better to stay awake until night here, she has to make sure that she adjusts to the different time zone. Better to go out and roam the streets of Amsterdam, gotta purchase a toothpaste anyways. She puts her notebook in her bag, there is not really any reason for lugging the laptop all over

209

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

town. She is hungry, she will sit in the overpriced department store and have a piece of cake. Amsterdam, here we come, yay and yay. September Two A walk through the streets of Perugia. That should provide some fodder for writing if only to describe the utter realization of dislocation, the slight pangs of dislocation. She still needs 500 words to make it down to 72 000. The weather here is still pretty good, even a tad too hot. She sits down in this quaint trattoria, she has a cassata. Takes out the notebook, describes the interior of this place. The tables, the chairs, the lights on the ceiling. The other patrons, the music on the overhead. This is an exercise in writing, the same kind she used to do in her creative writing class so many many years ago. She only had only one creative writing class in her life, although she learned much more in the classes that were called English One and English Two. And if anything, her first English class in the art school was by far the best. Time to oder a lasagna verde, time to order a glass of Beaujolais. Yup, why not, why not. French vine in an Italian restaurant, that should drive up the price, anyhoo, she writes and writes, watches the letters amass, amass. October Seven The hotel in Dublin, she unpacks, puts the empty suitcase into the corner of the hotel room. It is three in the afternoon, the weather outside is nice, she could use a chamomile tea, she remembers the quaint tea place that she was in here last time in Dublin. Hopefully she will find it, can sit there and do her writings. 200 words would suffice, that is all that we need here today. November One

210

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

A walk through the streets of Paris, that should make her write superb words. Used to work for Hemingway and numerous English speaking writers, apparently you write better words in a country where the language you write in is not the language that is spoken on the streets. There is something to be said for penning words in exile, in expatdom. Marx and Engels wrote Das Kapital in London. Maybe not, she is not quite sure if her historical facts are right. Besides, in the end it does not even matter. Her words are kinda off, that happens when you are jet-lagged and dislocated. It is still early in the afternoon, she gets a waffle and eats it while strolling through the streets near to the hotel. The weather is not too cold yet, actually pretty mellow given that it is November first. Sitting down in a bistre would be nice, sitting down and starting to write. She needs only forty words or so, a short sketch, that will suffice. Seeing the sights of this city seems to be more important, eternal touristdom has to beget a good narrative, eventually, eventually. She ponders, a really good writer does not need to roam the planet in chase of the perfect words, but then again, she is only an accidental poet, an accidental writer, one that did not make it in painting or drawing. That is how it is that is how it is, how it is, how it is. And Still Another Writing Day First thing in the morning, against potential drizzliness, against the overcast that cannot make up its mind, against all this there has to be written the last furious 3000 words, the epilogue to a story that has way too many holes, where the storyline is illogical and anything but chronological. Where the locations are made up for the most part, where anyone and everyone can readily deduce that nothing goes with nothing. but it is not really important, maybe artists do really differ from practitioners like designers, like architects, maybe art makers just look at a lump of three dimensional anything and start jabbing away without any clear concept. There is no blueprint here, no outline, we just make sure to sit here each and every morning for two

211

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

months straight and to hammer away on the keyboard and see where this takes us. We write emails to lit agents in new york city, mostly in new york city, informing them about a 75 000 words novel that may or may not go into fruition, we promise something that might totally fall through. Like builders who put a sign near an empty lot that says that building so and so is projected to be finished at date so and so, writing is exactly like that, there is a tentative title, a working title and then there are all those little units, letters, words, commas, quotation marks, all rambled together at random, at random. Every writer rolls differently, every poet every choreographer of words. Now that you can type wherever you want and whenever you want, now that you do not have the problem of paper and carbon paper and sticky fingers with multiple carbon smudges are a thing of the past, now that you can roam over some city and start typing in anylibrary, now…, she pauses, lost her train of thought, basically, what we are trying to say here is that it is so much easier to produce a book-length manuscript in a reasonably short amount of time, yup, nowadays, that part is easier but on the other hand the competition is so much more fierce, the publishers who are willing to bankroll a project are obviously extra cautious and extra demanding. Author here doess shy away from the e-book thingie, she does not even know how that works, smashbook et. al. On the other hand the whole thing with publishing rights is equally confusing. We have 72 000, actually 72 500, on a cold and unwelcoming Saturday morning after a stint at the local donut shop at six in the morning on a Saturday, the one on dunbar that filled up with dozens of stereotype-leaning cops, that came out of nowhere nowhere, they flocked to the donut place as if they had heard voices in the air that told them to do so, zombielike, zombie like. And we still need 400 here to make it down to 73, yup, so type and type and type on, type on. Her back starts acting up, gotta pace the work, gotta, gotta gotta gotta. Only 72 577, we seem to have lost some words during the editing process, instead of increasing the wordount we are

212

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

losing daylight here, losing all of these words, they dissipate into thin air, fleet away, faster and faster. She ponders, this would not happen if she was a painter, she would just throw the pigments at a canvas and make them stick, they will stay there for eternity if you use the right materials, you just need a barn to store all the stuff, need a garage or something. Maybe a warehouse, yup, why not and why not and why not and why noy. Author here writes extra big letters, maybe she should take the laptop down to the coffee shop on Arbutus, maybe the crowds there will help her with the writing process. She should stop, there is a tad too much incoherence sprinkled over the page, she pauses, listens in to the songs of the fridge, the silent ones and the reluctant ones. Yup, we use extra poetic words here to describe extra banal stuffi-muffi, there is no reason why the S in the keyboard of her laptop is fading, is S the most often used letter in the English alphabet. Author here is pissed off, the question mark does not work, neither does the apostrophe, you type it but this weird capital E appears on the monitor, the one with an accent gue on it, so instead of a question mark or an apostrophe you suddenly have an E out of nowhere, she thus omits the apostrophes and the question marks altogether, if this ever goes to print, a proof reader will edit them out and make sure that the spelling and the notations are right. That is how it is, that is how it is. We have quite an array of words here, it is not even eight in the morning, we should make it down to 75 000, easily and easily. Try to be as wordy as you possibly can, who cares if it is all borderline nonsensical. Clarity is so overrated, so overrated. June Six A bakery, the same bakery we always come to here in Itzehoe, the seat that overlooks the Berliner Platz. The ice cream, the silver spoon in it, the whip. She ponders, this must be the only place where they shove the spoon in, apparently everywhere else the spoon is given separately to you, they hand you the sundae and the spoon, like in a fast food restaurant, you get the container

213

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

and the tool to eat, you have two hands, you hold the food in one hand and the spoon in the other. Her reflections on ice cream, this should fill the page, ah, fill the page. How to serve ice cream, We could write volumes on that. And only scratch the surface, yuh. The door of the café opens, a woman in a green shawl comes in. A shawl in June, huh. Maybe she has a cold. Author scribbles her words onto the paper, looks up, she hunches over and starts scribbling again, she tries to not look too conspicuous, after all, this is a foreign country, people might beat her up. And you thought that writing is an easy job. People the world over are killed because of the words they put to paper, and not everyone just writes about ice cream sundaes and the spoons one uses to have those ice creams. Apparently there are more controversial themes, so we have heard, so it seems. PEN does not really concern itself with cookbooks, we can all agree on how to serve an ice cream, or not. Wars have been fought over how to serve an ice cream, wars have been fought over how to eat a breakfast egg. Yup, Jonathan Swift, his legacy is alive and well. Author ponders, all wars are stupid. Maybe, sir, you should just sing on the PIANO MAN, didn`t start the fire, my ass. But, everyone knows, Billy Joel has a point, even if it is only Billy Joel. They say that women should run the world, apparently Thatcher did not shy away from attacking a country half away across the world just because she felt that there should be a lowly Union Jack flying over a stretch of land in the middle of nowhere. For no apparent reasons. Author ponders, she is definitely no Erich Maria Remarque, she is the writer of grocery lists and love poems, songs that are there bowing to art for art`s sake, hers are the decorative arts, hers are the decorative words. She ponders, is science fiction decorative literature, entertainment news, maybe. In her book all writing is useless, Oscar Wilde said it alright, art is useless. If scribes or painters or film makers think that they can change the world they are kidding themselves, yup, kidding themselves. That is how it is that is how it is. The day in the bakery motions forward,

214

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

time to catch the last train back to Hamburg, back to Hamburg, Hamburg and Hamburg and Hamburg. She ponders, if this will fly, can fly, she wrote so much more about an obscure place so very far away from Brooklyn, she ponders why she should even put a name of a city in the book, whether it is in the title or inside of the book, she ponders if one could write anything without fearing litigation. Seinfeld had it all right, he made sure that he offended everyone, that is how you sidestep people being offended, insult the world, basically, because the world has it coming, don`t act in an insultable way if you do not want to be insulted. Thumper, ah, what do you really know. You are after all only a rabbit that thumps its left leg up and down. Author here ponders, maybe philosophical stuffi-muffi is not her thing, chicklit and lovesongs that is what girls should sing about, they have to tread lightly, non-forcefully, in order to not disturb the boys doing their thing. And we write and we write and we write here, time to catch the fictional train going from one fictional city to another one. Yuh and yuh and yuh and yuh. 73 612, 1500 left, hope the neck doesn‟t give out hope the back doesn‟t either. Gotta finish this in one big swoop, gotta write and write something like that something of that kind. May Two The Migros in Lenzburg, author here has an open faced sandwich, white bread, eggs in slices, some obscure shrimplike curls, in pink, pepper dots, something like jelly on it. It looks more delicious than it can be described in words, the words take away from the reality, which is what words tend to do, either way, they can obscure reality or throw a better light on reality, either way it is a translation from one medium to the next, something you can see to something you can hear, there will always be stuff that is lost entirely, in any kind of translation. Reality is one thing, recreation of reality is another. In the old times, there were storytellers, and everyone has some kind of voice to retell what they see. That is the human reality, maybe, maybe so. We still

215

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

need some more words, some 1200, fast and fast and fast and fast. This book here is coming to an end, this was quite an ordeal, two months at the typing machine, chained to it, ah, chained to it. Yuh. Anyhoo, we digress, Migros, huh. In a smallish town, some twenty minutes outside of Zurich. Could be nearer, could be further. It is as much a figment of imagination as it is a figment of reality. Author here has been in a place like that, eons of years ago. You know, anywriter takes slices of what exists and cuts them up, even more. Writing is a deeply physical endeavour, you garner from the real world whatever you want, you stress what you like, you let go of what does not serve your objective, your purpose. That is how you make art, though it is of course highly debatable if writing is an art or if it is more of a science. Technical writing is supposed to be logical, though it hardly ever is, anyword has to be loaded by its very nature, you have to awaken certain connotations whether you want to or not. And we write and write it and write it and write it and write it and write it and write it and write it and write it.
Leeway- Date Debatable One thousand words, give or take some. She is in the studio that she rented for two months, she will give it back by the end of the month. No need to have a studio when all you do is write. A writer needs a typing machine, that is all, that is all. She ponders, obviously everyone does things differently, everyone dances to the sound of her own hum, everyone marches to his own drum, which is kind of a derogative term, society frowns at people that march to their own drums, in Napoleon‟s army there is only space for one to his own drummings marcher, and that is Napoleon. Anyhoo, let us type here and type here. The main reason why she did not start a magazine some eight years ago was that she thought there would be too much collaboration which means that her original vision will be watered down. Besides, there is the print versus online question, do you want to start Huffington Post or Time Magazine. Obviously now is

216

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

the time for huffington post, salon, slate, the daily beast et al. Guardian online has followers, New York Times online too, so it seems so it seems. CNN has its following, but Amy Goodman‟s Democracy Now is kinda unheard of in the mainstream context. Author ponders, like always she is garbling up different ideas, she is all over the place, which is ok because these are the last 1000 words, it is the homerun, you can dance if you are so close to the finish line, you can go backwards, you can hop, because, hey, the finish line is ah so near, gotta go out with a bang, with a bang. In writing as in everything else, everything time based at least, you gotta come in with a bang, you gotta go out with a bang. Then there is of course the question of which bang should be stronger, the entrance bang, or the leaving the place bang. Should it be WHAT AN ENTRY or WHAT AN EXIT, should you go out on a high note, should you come in on a high note? Depends, ah, depends. She ponders, there are books that are famous for their opening sentences, others are famous for their closing sentence. Something like that, something of that kind, lit ppl are better at discussing this, she is not that adequate at formulating rules for writers or rules for animators for that matter. Everything is debatable anyways, we have how many words here how many words here? Ah, only 419, nope, 419 already. Gotta still keep on typing, gotta close this up at 1000, gotta shut up, once 1000 words are in, are in. the woman behind the glass partition leaves, for lunch, author here is not quite sure what she should do once she is finished. There are no clear rules here, the sign says that leeway users should close the studio, but it does not state what they should do during regular technicians hours. This place is way too confusing and way too expensive, 150 per month, just to use the computer and a locker, fitness studios charge so much less and they make yer lose weight to boot. And we type and type here, she is not quite sure if what she states here is right, if she posits wrongly, if she even feels like positing anything for that matter. We have 562, great, do not need that many more, that many more. How do you pen a 1100 word conclusion to 75 000 words, actually more like 1000 to 74 000, at this point she is so utterly confused by all these numbers. Her writing, this so very text, is teetering somewhere tween fiction and non-fiction, then again, every text is. She looks up at the letter-size sign that says, REMINDER: PLEASE SAVE YOUR DOCUMENTS ON A PERSONAL FLASH DRIVE! THIS COMPUTER IS PERIODICALLY CLEARED AND YOUR FILES MAY BE LOST. THANK YOU, -

217

far away from brooklyn

nasrin khosrowshahi

2013

LEEWAY TECHS, the paper is black with a white boarder, the letters are white, the first REMINDER is written in bigger letters than the rest of the text, the paper is vertical, and the AV sings way too loud in here. Outside the buildings on the other side of False Creek, this is the studio where she had her first credit art class in this school way back when, there is a pink-purple-white tulip near the window, she is outta words ah outta words. She is far away from Brooklyn, somehow this seems to matter, more so because it is the title of this very book, it sounds good but it does not have much meaning. Obviously. Sometimes books have something to do with the title, sometimes they don‟t. She ponders, why is she clumsily stating the obvious, is that what you do when you do not have much space to write something amazing, do you just rattle down platitudes, ah yuh, why not and why not and why not. Let us once more explain why we chose this title here, the idea is to push a jab at the fact that writers and artists alike congregate in Brooklyn, for whatever reason, there are furthermore a lot of books that have Brooklyn in their title, for whatever reason, and the last reason for the title of this book is that author here has written another book that had Brooklyn in the title. So it is the Rambo1 and Rambo 2 effect, all the books should be somehow in a series, even if they do not have much in common. Anyhoo, we need 80 words max, she ponders what else to say, she looks at the black thingies against the white wall, this place here looks more like an architecture room, a place where blueprints are fashioned, black and white, the colors of a functional place where great ideas are fashioned, where there is a potential, that might never ever be reached because, hey, utopia does not exist, dose not exist. Anywhere. Anywhere. She ponders, does she really wanna go out like this with an ode to negativity, nope, let us sing silently for potential, let us bookend the story, let us go out with a bang, with a bang. As long as we go out at all.

218

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful