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she wrote near to twenty pages already. It is two forty-two, so there is still time to write more.

for today. --she has to leave this place, but she will miss the instant companionship of the knitters, they are all so very friendly, so very well-behaved. She likes it here. Maybe she should learn how to knit, knit, knit. Instead of writing. Maybe she will be able to do that. It does not seem to be too difficult. Maybe, one day. For now, she writes, she animates. She’ll leave, she’ll walk through New York City dreaming of lighttables, missing some things she does not really know how to articulate. She wishes for peace, maybe, the embrace of a lover, maybe, the wind in her face, maybe. false creek, so very maybe. --tedium seems part of this knitting business, it seems to be part of the bricklaying business, tedium is part of writing. She ponders whether her philosophical musings are valid. She selfdoubts. Which is fine. In this vacuum of beauty. – ---

she sits down in this Deli at the corner of 14th and 8th, remembering vaguely that one is a Street, one is an Avenue, but at this point of the day she is slightly confused, which is which, because there is East, West, South North to be put in the mix, she did not want to get out here, but it is fine anyways, she knows how to get home from here, on the other side, there is this big Gourmetplace called Balducci’s, she is still slightly sick, slightly squashed by her cold, the lights 19 1 from the ceiling are reflected in the green marble of her table, she can see people coming out of the subway from where she sits, the window is exactly near the steps of the subway which is

fascinating, she looks at people, notices vaguely that there is no music in this place, which is a first in all her constant travels, in ontario, in québec and in new york, a place that does not need music, that relies solely on visual entertainment, the noise from the street, conversation, music is not part of the equation, then again, maybe there is some music somewhere, somewhere in the distance, she looks outside where the world runs by, where life runs by, this place has a certain unhappiness, a certain uneasiness, she suddenly can hear music, which was there all along, which was there all along. --She ponders if simply repeating words will make for good writing. Of course not, it is very skilful filing away at sentences that will propel her adventures here in literatureland, in the linguistic landfill that she is dropping her insights into. Outside, the city goes by, moves by, people are coming out of the subwaystation, there is a beige stairway going up here. She should have a tea, but it does not really hault her cold. The person at the other table is drinking a Red Bull, the author ponders if that kind of energy drink would supply her with energy, she is tired, still full of pangs of fever, that make her sit here and rest, that make her try to regain her strength, to go into a state of normalcy, where she can breathe and swallow easily, again. The person at the table opposite of her eats and talks to himself while eating, a fly bumps into her face. Something smells, some foul smell. The Deli is situated at a very strategically valid 19 2 corner, it must make a lot of business. She wants to leave. ---

She sits down on a bench in the subway. A woman with red nail polish is reading. So she, the author, thinks, that maybe she should sit and write here. It is rushhour people rush by, transfer between L, A, C and E trains. The subway, breeding ground for musicians, visual artists. Looking at the writing pad, while seeing all those legs rush by. Walking cycles, lots and lots of biped walking cycles. All kinds of colors, red pants, brown shoes, black pants, wheels of strollers, of suitcases on wheels, people rushing and running, striding, strutting elegant persons and non-elegant ones. high grey heels, pumps, that were bought at a cheap outlet store. She writes away, Someone wheels by canned fruit, behind him someone wheels by a stroller. Someone reads, someone writes. Someone talks, someone listens. The author smiles. Her observations get more profound, the more her surrealistic state of tourisme, of dislocation progresses. Will she be able to adapt to normalcy, once she is back in vancouver. She can’t really sit back home at the Metrotown skytrain station and write like this. She would feel weird, strange. Here, on the other hand, this seems normal, writing to combat insanity, uncertainty, dislocation. That is what pens are made for. --193 She just writes away. --she is now back in the dunkin’ donuts on 9th avenue at the corner of, maybe 24th., maybe 25th. street, she cannot see it from here, she ordered 5 munchkins, or, actually, she wanted 3, but she always gets 5, they always want to up her sugar and fat intake, here, take more, clog your arteries, for free, it’s on the house, some person at the donut place has a bypass surgeon in her family, it is just one big conspiracy, corporations and other culprits, organized anything, it is just

horrible and it is getting worse, by the minute. She feels sicker by the minute, then again she feels a tad better than before. That does not really make sense, but, basically, she would like to feel really, really great. And this cold is just draining her, interferes with her creativity, her ability to pen accurate illustrations of the world around her, substandard writing being the obvious consequence. Sorry, we are not writing “War and Peace” here, we have a cold. The poet doesn’t know it, the cold makes her write down rubbish. Outside New York happens. At this point, everything here seems ordinary, she has her favourite hangouts, her favourite food, her favourite pastimes. She meets the same bums at the same time, and they meet her. Useless lives. she is slightly pessimistic. She fishes for her cellphone. She detests that she has no access to the internet, she has to walk for thirty minutes to get to the nearest internet café or take the subway, take the A or the E, and then change to the L and then walk again. Too complicated, much too complicated. She will take the subway and go to Macy’s where the world circles around what matters, fashion and the ability to fit into certain sizes. That is what we are fighting for. Shallow ideas, clothes et. al. 19 4 She ponders what to do. Should she take the train uptown and have fun. She wrote already thirty-five pages, that seems to be enough for today. The more she writes now, the more she has to type, once back in vancitay. The more trees have to go down, the more ink will pollute the ground water, the more petrochemicals to make pens, the more blood for oil. stop convoluted answers, stop convoluted answers. Stop simple answers. She thinks of the guy with the grey t-shirt, whose T-shirt said I love Jahad, with the I written as I, the love as heart and the jahad written in Arabic. Fusion, in your face. Take that, islamophobic US. She is mad, at a lot of things. Ragingly, but then again maybe not mad enough. What is she doing here anyways?

Talking like these people, walking like these people. Her alliances are multi-faceted. As if that is an excuse. For anything. A biker, a stroller wheel by. Life outside of the dunkin’ donuts window. Passes by, slow and fast. A pigeon, two persons. And so many cars. Roaring, whooshing. Music on the overhead. Rhythm, staccato. People talk behind her. Something Urduish or so. She has to leave, wants to leave. This is getting unbearable. So much to write, so little, so very little time. So little time left on this planet. For the myriad of things she still has to achieve. World peace, that kind of stuff. In her spare time. While having fun. Lots of fun. And making a buck. And dreaming of romance. That is always good, goes with anything. With any pair of shoes. --she sits down near the photographer who takes pictures of flowers. She looks up at skyscrapers and wonders, ponders, whether she let go of what matters most, so very, very tall buildings, 19 5 scrapers of skies, of clouds, buildings that take her breath away, that makes the gasp in her lungs hault, for a second. “Delirious Manhattan” and “The Manhattan Transcripts”, buildings, buildings, buildings. That have their own narrative, their own storylines. Midair wonders. People rushing by, 2 kids discussing stuff in Arabic. The world, the world. A woman with 3 blue bags walks by. She haults her writing. She watches the world. She writes, writes, writes. --she finds herself down in the cellar, the basement of macy’s, with a peppermint tea, trying to figure out whether she should still keep on writing pure trivia, whether she should even be here, whether writing is a vocation, the usual. The fleeting feeling of non-entitlement. The idea that we

should all be trailblazers is some vague idea that moralizing individuals will bestow upon us. Something like that. She is deep in the heart of touristy big apple, a foreigner in a foreign country surrounded by Strangers. Neil Young is singing some Neil Youngishy song. It comes with the territory of being Neil Young. She writes in front of this glass partition that reflects her writing hand. She sees her hand write, sees the shadow and the reflection. It is strange, weird visually. Writing times three. It does not really make any difference, not for her, at least, whether she writes good or bad, 10 out of 10 or 0 out of 10, as long as she can watch her hand write in 3 different, shapes, the pen being an extension of her hand, gliding over paper, leaving marks in its trail. She looks up. she sees so much but does not feel like reflecting about it, on it. She longs for quietness, when the urge, the obsession to leave one’s mark seizes. Maybe that will be once she is dead and ice-cold. Hopefully, that will be, when she seizes. Not before. Not a second before. 19 6 And now to happier topics. To life. To happiness. To writing. To pens and pencils. To paper. To dreams and hopes. That take us through life. Salute. --We drink to that. With a slowly coldening peppermint tea. In the basement in macy’s. In NYC. In spring of 2008. Oh, and at the age of 52. The author tries to drown her stagnant inability to pen down heavy, fluffy, sweetish prose by accumulating number after number. Quantify the moment. --Quality might follow. Will follow. In this little basementy public space. Where the music is loud enough.

--she wonders whether she should still write. whether she should still describe this place and whether it has enough gritty-ness, enough dimension or whether this is basically the underbelly of late capitalism, the basement of macy’s and whether she is even in a position to complain about capitalism and whether capitalism is sheerly, purely a monster, we like to hate, the beast that feed us, that builds us up and tears us down. The author listens to the music, brought about by some loudspeaker built by some corporation, built by the man. She smiles, because if she ever publishes this, the “man” will publish it. Anyhow, blame it on the man. She listens to “Simon and Garfunkel” on the overhead, here in the basement of this very 19 7 tourist-oriented store, all the songs are so very recognizable, all top ten hits of, well, actually, since she was born. She holds her phone to her ear, because she thinks that she missed calls and she does not really know, how to work this piece of new-fangledness, she must be the last dinosaur who is totally clueless about the workings of a cellphone and decidedly so. The less she can be reached, the more time to pen words. Every woman is an island. At this time of the day, platitudes have to suffice for intellectual insights, clichés propelled by listening to loud but light music, songs, she can hum to, she has heard before, she writes her days away for nearly all of the last month, putting down all these words and watching the notebooks pile up on the brown, rustic coffee table in the small apartment in chelsea, between 8th and 9th, in the street so reminiscent of the street she grew up on, so many, many years ago. This is a far-away country, a far-away city, but the street is still the same, so very much the same, the eeriness is palpable. Then again, it is not really eerie more ironic, utterly ironic in a funny, visceral way.

She likes this place, each and every song she knows and that is what is important, continuity, the feel of community in a strange city, points of recognition. She does not really care about the no-tv, anti-everything crowd. Viva commercialism. She ponders whether she managed to pay lipservice to basically all different viewpoints, that exist. Or, on a lighter note, whether she managed to offend friend and foe. She has to go now. It is getting late here. People eat their food and stare straight into the front of them. She writes her days away. It is fun and it is a tad tough, it is difficult to find the right words, the best words. Night must be near, she ponders, whether to stop and make her way home. How much longer can one person spin a yarn? How much longer into the night? She feels 19 8 like a train careening into the night, racing by points of orientation, signs of whereabouts, she shoots by hoping to get somewhere, hoping to get a moment in time, something like that. Something so very kitschy like that. She writes her days away. Writes, writes. And stops abruptly. This is far too exhausting. --Time to find her way home to her apartment in chelsea. --It is april 15, 2008. She is sitting here in harvard square. It is 10:10 in the morning. The sun is shining. She is meeting someone at eleven, so she still has 50 minutes left. She is sitting here near this grey, golden thingie, statue-sculpture creature behind her, looking up at the cambridge savings bank, is writing, kind of like a geek, but this is what she does these days. Yesterday was fun, she was all over Boston, a woman with a Yale handbag walks by. Well, Yale bag. A Fed Ex truck drives by. She balances the notebook on her lap, aha, you might call that Laptop. She did

not have chocolate-chip ricotta cannelloni at Mike’s Bakery in Little Italy, she has to lose weight. To be able to make it through some more years on this planet. There is lots of construction going on at this harvard square here. policeman yells at person, person leaves cursing. harvard, harvard. she subwayed by MIT, too. She loves the subway here in Boston. It is called the T. It is very clean, very neat. The wayfinding system is superb. The transit card is called charlie-card. Lots of charles named places and streets, lots of revere named places. Little Italy. She loves the accent of the people here, she thought they are all Scottish or British, until someone told her that this is Boston accent. 19 9 She likes the mall near her hotel/house/residence. Everything is very clean. She liked the busride from New York to Boston. She liked Renzo Piano’s New York Times building. The sun is shining and she likes everything. Everything. Everything. She is kind of disappointed at the cutsiness of everything, though, it seems too far removed from straight scholarship. Well, maybe, it is more straight scholarship, with the world neatly arranged into colored blocs, in primary colors, without mirroring complexity, messiness, multifacetedness. Everything arranged neatly in categories, so very, very formulaic. Abstraction as the only way to deal with the world, abstraction because of the incompetence to mirror the world accurately. This seat is getting cold. She has to find a warmer, warmer place. She goes into the Cambridge Savings Bank and sits down in a nice, warm chair, an armchair. She starts writing some more. She ponders if her observations about this place were accurate, or if they are biased. Predisposed into a certain area, only based on the subway she took. And what is wrong with the neatness of a legoland like subway, without the grittyness and filth of big city subways. What is wrong with a mall, the glib cleanliness? What? What?

And, to take this further, what is wrong with brash statements in an essay, that do not pierce the status quo? Brash without being brash. Cookie-cutter brashness? She still has twenty minutes to wait. She did not have cannelloni. She ponders and looks at her new shoes. Her so very pretty new shoes. She will go sightseeing, museumhopping. It is better than writing. So much safer. Consumption versus production. Consume ideas, do not produce ideas. When ideas mean scratching power. Power that manifest in scholarship. And is so utterly debatable. And Galileo went home mumbling under his beard. The very nature of scholarship. Since the beginning of 20 0 time, to the end of time. So very, very sad. Maybe evolution will bring us further, when we do not dare to do revolution. We don’t do revolution. We do not need the blood, splattered all over these walls. Of capitalism. She is sick of writing in sickening metaphors. She will get ready to sightsee. Now. In spring 08. In Cambridge, Massachusetts. At a quarter to eleven. AM, which means before noon. --so i am sitting here in front of MIT, looking at a red bike, feeling scientific and hot, eating a cliffbar that is too gooey, writing, writing, thinking that I have not what it takes to be a scientist. Daydreams take me away. She notices that she uses the wrong tense, the wrong, pronoun. She should go back to NYC. It is hot, so she soaks up the sun. a lift truck drives by, all scrunched up. She likes it here. The steps are very dusty. She feels scientific. She reads the words: “couscous-couscous- falafel kitchen” on the truck on the other side of the street. She writes away, trying to pinpoint down, where poetry and science

meet. They, of course, meet in the pen she uses, applied science materialized, used to construct word figments, that might go somewhere, might not go somewhere. Like a scientist experimenting. Or something like that. It is too hot. --201 she sits down in this store and tries to write. It is not easy, because there is no table. This is not conducive to writing. She ponders what to say. The name of the store is garment district. She stops. She leaves. --she sits down in the train that leaves Boston at 6:45. Her feet are so very tired, she sightsaw every second for the last two days, which is, of course, an exaggeration. But so it seems and her right knee seems to quiver and exhale and inhale and something inside is knocking to get out. She is happy to finally sit down and write, the blue interior of the train is soothing in its graininess, the air conditioner commands respect. Penn Station, here I come. She paid 59 bucks and she thinks the bus might have been cheaper. But she came by bus (yesterday morning) and she now wants to go back by train. This was a lot of adventure, though today just stretched forever and forever. She liked the sailboats on the charles river, when the train drove, rode over the bridge from Boston to Cambridge. She toured Harvard, a tiny bit, and MIT, more. A Frank Gehry building she saw. Outside, Boston, says good night, dusk, reflections of the sun against the grey of the concrete, the train, grey and yellow, beauty of industry. city through dramatic bridges. Au revoir, Boston. Loved yer. For two days. Mysterious fascination, funny, fine accent. The city is so very majestic. South Station Back Bay Station. The train goes on. Luckily nobody sat near her. As of yet. Tunnel Yellow lights.

The train stopped and now goes further into dusk, further near to the night. She looks at the sun like a golden dollar, bright behind the trees. Or silverdollar or golden coin. trees swirl by, she 20 2 tries to write. Outside feathery trees, flying by, branches dark against slight white. She writes away. There is no time to sleep, is there? --She would have never chosen to write. It is an obligation, a chore now. She has stopped for too long. Life happened. Writing had to wait. --she shivers. She can’t really hault the beauty of this trainride, pin it down and draw an image, pour the very peaceful, very visually silent surrounding onto a surface, the dark that flies by, orange lights, the rumourless springnight, the rush towards New York, the commute, the moment in time, the moments in time, she can take notes, but the dream evades. Restlessly, peacefully. --Outside, the shadows draw reflections, the lights pass by, she writes all these so very short lights of observations, curly orange light floods by and down on her notepad, cities like providence and pawtucket flood by, the night of the Eastern US rolls by the train, the spots of lights roll by like a suspended firework, frame by frame, on a long timeline, on a neverending storyboard. Some city outside, she wonders, which one. --she looks out the window between new haven and stamford and grapples with selfdoubt, should she and could she, can she write? Genreless narration, lines of thought on paper,

20 3 motionless narratives, suspended storylines. Negativity encompasses everything, stomps her lingo in the ground, flattens the words, hinder their flight into the spot, the spots next to the sun, above the moon. Words are so very difficult, so plain, so hard to paint with. Crayons they’re not. The train slides her from side to side, roaringly it tugs along towards Penn Station. Relentlessly. --she drives by a place called port chester, the train drives by other stations, cars on a freeway drive towards the train window, outside lights, outside a truck, fog, lights, sparkles in the dark, for nanoseconds, splitting by, parked cars, a place called Harrison trees, houses, a silent city, her reflection in the window, her image, she writes, while others read, outside the fly-by-world, a freeway, a truck, an underpass, a station, the world flies her by. Boston was so very beautiful, so easy to miss. It is just a city, a city, though, with very distinct songs, its own rhythms, its own drummer. Beauty personified, mystified. New York seems to be here already, the city lets you arrive. A place called New Rochelle on its way to New York. She stretches her legs, wanders what time it is. Outside business, dreaminess. A powerstation, bridges, underpass. Lights. --The lights quiver in the water. The city is here. Tall. Majestic. Finally. The train stops. in front 20 4

of a fence. wrought iron, line after line, a house, cars parked, street lights, a bus driving by, turning, a car, another one. Silence. trees slightly ghostly. She anticipates the city, she looks at the two red lights, that vanish once the train moves, a parking garage, the train shuffles, stalls, then moves along, not that fast, more quietly, subdued, an Orchard Beach Highway sign, a yellow stretched light, a glimpse of a light behind trees, a glistening truck, apartment buildings en masse, the city, the city. She sketches what she sees, but knows she has to stop, find a place for her notebook in the macy’s bag, she writes, she writes. --A super-deli, a mini- market. This mysterious city after the other mysterious city, Boston, New York, somewhere on the East Coast, somewhere in 2008. The train rolls into Penn Station, there is nothing more to write. Her hand puts letters on the white, the train toots its horn, it is elevenish. The city is quiet from here, lights subdued, lights in rows. Like vines on a vineyard. The trainstation opens its arms. --selfstorage signs and billboards say hi, she seizes to write. It is mysteriously, mysticly chilly. The mist of the lights rolls by. The wagon has a lot of friction is so very heavy. --it is wednesday. it is april 16, 2008. she waits at the corner of 34th. and 7th.. In front of Macy’s. The place is chokked full with people waiting for the 10 AM opening. weather is nice, sunny. No showers, no flowers. store is at the brink of opening. Hop and Pops are rushing by. 205 She smears ink on her fingers. ---

she finally made her way down into the basement at macy’s, balancing a green tea, that is supposed to be refreshing ( it said so on the package of the teasachet, thus it must be ), her bag, her purse, her writing tablet, she scours all the brown tables for the best one, one is wobbly, one round, one square, there are high ones, low ones, lightened ones, darker ones, some with noisy neighbours, views of interesting, invigorating people, she finally sits down, someone moves a blue kitchen cart by, that makes a lot of noise. She feels she has to catch up on her writing, with her writing, she definitely has not done forty pages per day, she was busy with her life, writing was somewhere on the backburner, a notebook tucked away somewhere in her bag, like her knitting. Not that she knits, but she writes in knitting shops, she writes in department stores, she writes in all kinds of places. A bright orange jacket over the back of a seat catches her eye, she looks up at the “sandwiches” sign. When she was on the seventh floor at macy’s she noticed this longwinded writing over a neatly made bed, writing in white on black, different lettersize, and the writing resembled her writing, it was citytalk, very eary, very “berlin alexanderplatz”, she sat down on the nicely made bed, knowing that everything has been done before, knowing that we are merely clones, dollys, artist clones, poet clones, little numbers with souls. She misses something, someone. So very much someone, that it hurts somewhere in her intestines, makes her stomach turn, the void scratches from inside. She loves that, she feels alive because of this her constant longing, her violent wishes for his smile, that make her stall in her stride. A girl with long hair and a blue coat walks around with her breakfast on a tablet and tries to 20 6 find the best spot in the restaurant. Her little brother and her mother follow her around. Tourists. Everyone here is a tourist. She is out of ink. She has to find another pen. She finds her greyhound pen, that she got from the bus station. It writes very thinly, she has to put on her glasses to read

what she has written with it. She has to count her pages. She has to do this and that. So much. She finished six pages already, which is good, given that it is not even noon. Six down, thirtyfour more to go. Everyone here holds a map. Or maybe she is seeing things. She should go somewhere else, see something else. Change of scenery is always good. It brings out the writer, inspires. That kind of thing. She has to force the ballpen onto the paper which interferes with wordsmithing. “big girls don’t cry”, sings Fergie. The author is not a big girl, she is a small girl, feeling inadequate, non-strong, up against words that do not fall into place, that have no deep insights to illustrate, no worldchanging thoughts to image down on the paper, nothing to say. Nada. she scratches her head, maybe she should just roam the city, sightsee, figure out how to make her way to the statue of liberty, to the Whitney, to Pentagram. She has seen so much of New York already, this must be her tenth time to this city, in this city. Maybe more times, maybe less. She has lost count. She writes. With the wrong ballpen. The inkless one. The one with the stalling ink. She tries the marker again, but it is basically out of ink. The pen from greyhound has ink, but the marks he leaves are barely visible on the white. She writes away. No one writes here, whereas everyone writes or reads in Chelsea. The writing brigade does not gather at macy’s. her tea is getting cold, it splashes all over her. She looks up at the sign that says “Cucina & Co.”, she does not like it in here, not that much. She feels her cold coming back. She feels like falling asleep, she tries to listen to the music, she has heard it before, the singer is from Vancouver, something about a bad day, but she cannot really hear it, there is too much noise here, she likes 20 7 the music video, she looks over her tea with the tiny lights in it onto the writing that goes into, onto the paper very vaguely, not deep enough, but still making a stand, putting down a trace, cursive letters in line all nodding to the right.

She can see the kitchen from here, the bakery, it is supposed to be a showcase, one can see the big round clock over their head, everything is white and grey, all the breads are stacked on shelves, it is sanitary and clashes with the brown of the tables in the eating area. She could write here forever, no one minds, though this place is more a respite for shoppers. She has been here so many times, that she ended up buying a pair of shoes, on saturday, the shoes are not as comfortable as the ones, she is usually wearing, but they are prettier. Pretty uncomfortable. She wore them in Boston, in Little Italy. She walked with them forever, until her feet could not carry her anymore. She hardly made it back to South Station. She should do the same in New York, get a map, start walking. Walking with a cause, not moving aimlessly from street to street. wherever the wind takes her. But she likes that more, has found all the fascinating encounters. The knitting store in Greenwich-village. The 12 chair restaurant. Pratt. The streets take her, invite her to follow them. She came upon the new “New York Times building” by accident. She never saw “Le centre Pompidou”, but she now saw this “Renzo Piano” piece. Yesterday she came upon a Frank Gehry building. At MIT. To her there is no difference between a building that looks like a box, and something that looks like motion suspended in midair, a dancing building. She draws, she can make her lines dance more pronouncedly. She scatters words over paper and hopes for the best. Magic, music. She misses art school, art class. She misses talking about form. She misses listening to individuals talking about form. She sits here and writes. She should have had the canolli in Mike’s Bakery up on the hill in the Little Italy of Boston. There 20 8 must be a little Italy in New York, a chinatown. Oh, and a statue of Liberty. Somewhere near battery park, somewhere glimpsed upon from the Staten Island ferry. She’d rather write, listen to the elevator music, she’d rather sit here, safe and secure, where she can finish her writing for the

day. Forty pages, forty pages. Until the pen drops out of her right hand and she keels over this round, brown table, until she loses it and breaks down in tears. It is twenty-five to noon, the lunchcrowd is streaming in. She has to count her pages. She should stop. For now. She makes up random structures, random time lines, dead lines while she goes. Superimposing order, structure could string the sentences along. --Like pearls, like beads. --Abba is singing, pretty loud, though the restaurant noise overpowers it, muffles it down, makes it generic, too sweet, which is difficult to do to Abba music. The author wonders, if, whether she should take her notebook and find another place to plant herself down and put down her notes. She is getting tired, is gliding to the brink of exhaustion, she misuses words, she starts doubling them up, tripling them up, interrupts the musical flow of the rhythm, the rhythms, the words are so very reluctant to dance themselves into newer, higher, fresher configurations, she stumbles over her own heavy-handed lingo, the clumsiness, that has to be worked through to jump into elegant, eloquent pirouettes, above the soil, far over the ground, flying suspendedly, in muted colors. She listens to the music which is artfully in a commercial, replicable, replicated sense, more so because of the place, she is sitting in, a public place, a restaurant. This is not an opera 20 9 house, where people listen in awe, it is a food place, where people gather to eat. The music has to play second fiddle. She is tired. --She wrote too much already. Nineteen pages. And it is barely noon.

--she makes her way up the stairs in a wendy’s near penn station, the floor here is carpeting, all red and blue and beige shapes, out of the corner of her eyes she thought, it was all linear triangles, turns out, it is more wavy, curly triangles, like curly fries, she is hungry, but is only having a tea, for now, she should go more for salad and fruits, so she is snubbing fast food and eats better stuff, though everything might be slathered in grease and absorbed into the veggies without noticing it, without the end consumer noticing it, in the same way that her writing seems to absorb tons and tons of trivia, smushed in with quasi intellectual musings, semi-scholarly barf, nauseating shit. She feels that sprinkling her lingo with profanity might mask her lack of profoundness, she is at a point now where quality rides on the back of quantity, her neverstopping pen, her never-ceasing ink will, must eventually garner semigood results. She looks out the window, she can see the Wendy’s logo plastered all over the windowpane, and the little girly-face, too. On the other side of the street, there is a Fed Ex Kinko’s, a nun is going around collecting money for an orphanage, the author informs her that she is a muslim. No luck here. The nun mumbles God bless you, or something, and walks to the next table. The author writes, writes, writes. This place is very warm, conducive to writing. The words 21 0 seem to flow onto the paper, with ease, without stalling. The music on the overhead is rhythmic, rolling stones, should i go or should i stay now, it is cheerleading in a very inobtrusive, matterof-fact manner. The author likes it here, she numbers her pages and is now on page 23. Doublespaced, doublespaced. She puts down all her words, until she will finish thirty-six pages. The words have to come. They just have to. Outside it becomes spring, there are blossoms, there is green on the trees. In

the city, in mid-town Manhattan. It is spring now, time to buy flirty skirts, sandals. Fresher colors, flowery fabrics. She will be fifty-3, come May. Old age, old age. The edge of the red wall near the window is chrome, it shines and glistens, she looks at the plastic salt and pepper shakers in front of her. Behind her coffeemug, which is brown and yellow. All of it matches the table, the wall, indescript yellowness. So is the smushed-up napkin, with the used teabag. The author ponders, wonders, how much longer can she go on covering her tablesettings, describe trivia, banal surroundings, logistic layouts, spatial configurations ad nauseum. She is now on page 25, she has only fifteen more pages to scribble. This book does not have enough pages, so she has to finish this notebook and then buy another one and start filling that one. Her greyhoundpen now comes into its own, the ink is flowing smoothly, this pen is outdoing all the other pens. Go Greyhound. She looks out the window, wonders what is happening on the street. This table is on the second floor, she cannot really see the street, except the upper part of a Fed Ex truck. and half of a green street light, somewhere cut in the middle, the upper part is non-visible, so is the lower part. The midriff, though, shows. The chairs here are black and green, she thinks of all her days in the Tim 211 Hortons in Kingston. She found more to write about, maybe, because the place was more closeknit, where as here in New York City, there are people from all ways of life. The downtown crowd, or in this case, the midtown crowd. She is slightly hungry, living on tea here. But first she has to write this, force this through, finish this very notebook, she cannot really stop. people are streaming in, talking, teenagers, telling each other their stories. Older people follow. The author looks at her pen glide over the paper, all preppy letters coming out. The pen spits its words out, demarking, highlighting the boredom of her existence. Someone asked her, so, what did you do here for the last sixteen days, she answered: “I wrote”, but somehow that seemed not be good

enough, not tangible enough. Not enough of an achievement, writing only as exploration of where the words can take her, seems not to suffice. But she knows that this is what she has to do, is forced to do. The words have to take her, will eventually take her. On a flight, up the stairs, down the stairs. Into nonsensical territory, into utterly sensical territory. She might venture into Spanish Harlem today, rush over to Columbia. She has to do more than just write, write. But writing grips her, and the pen does not let go. Only 29 pages, only 29. That is far too little, not far too much. There are so many more sentences waiting in line, patiently, to be put down. The overhead is playing something psychedelic, which is not exactly very conducive to sanity, what with all the loud conversations around her, the laughter, the eating, what with all the hunger pangs in her tummy. She wonders what to do next, once the writing ceases, once the “daily” is filled, once the 21 2 muses have, what they need, once the exhaustion is unbearable, sticky and gruesome. She writes, writes, writes, mechanically, in the same way, she used to draw, draw, back in her animatordays. In the animationlab on Granville Island. She ponders, she wonders what time it is. Something way past noonish. Her fingers cramp up, she should stop. Writing is not an end in itself. Or maybe, it is. A blessing, an obsession. A marching-order somewhere in her head, that forces her to write, that proclaims: “Write, write, forty pages, forty pages. Everyday, until you die. Until you fall to the ground and disintegrate. Into small scattered pieces, bones, nails. Disgusting. There should be nicer, sweeter metaphors available, on a sunny, beautiful day like today. When music is in the air, literally, when flowers shine, actually, literally, too. The blossoms on the other

side on 34th. are drenched in haulting sunshine. She ponders whether she will ever be able to use the language, any language virtuously, so that it can paint an image, replicate the truth, the reality, that she sees from this her chair, from her vantagepoint. She ponders how to use the language, sheryl crow wants to have some fun, that is all she wants to do, the lady in the chair next to her is singing along, while dropping some white paper on the ground. page 33, give or take some, she might have miscounted, misnumbered the pages, she fibs ever so slightly, she cheats herself, she does not know if her writing will ever go anywhere, if she even wants it to. She herself likes to be a visual artist, make sculpture, make sculptures in the middle of the town. Inscribe the world with her structures, splatter her suspended forms over 21 3 town. Put frozen musique into the sun light, into the night lite. String blueprints into bricks, into stone. Like Henry Moore. And that will never be. So words have to suffice. For now. In this her life time. Page 34 is finished. --it is thursday, april 17, 2008. She finds herself first thing in the morning in the coffeeshop in chelsea and is flabbergasted how many joggers, exercisers she meets. This being the city, people still have very typical suburban lifestyles. For some reason city for her means still a place one dresses up for and ventures to, not a place of living. But if this is your neighbourhood, you act like that, decitify the city, transforming it into a neighbourhood, taking it out of the formality, the elusiveness, the exclusiveness. three women come in, a man with a suitcase, a woman in exercise shorts, a man with the number 89, no, 47, on his shorts. Outside a pepsi truck, outside a rainbowflag, outside an

“emagedental” business, outside “the new Venus restaurant”. The day gets into gear, it should be sometime between 7 and 8 in the morning. The street outside is predominantly grey, with all these spots and dots of interest. The author just writes, jotting down, what she sees, remembering the collage lesson, she took last summer. The task was to let all the images, all the fagments of visual stimuli, all the fragments of overheard conversation, sound amalgamate into a visual collage, something 2D or 3D that manifests the multifaceted experience, that is the city. Something of that sort. The author remembers the animation she made three years ago, the one she named “downtowne”, the one she submitted to the “cineurbana” at the Urban Forum in 21 4 Vancouver. The author remembers the graduation projects in animation at Parsons, which she saw four years ago and which all had “The City” as subjectmatter. And she remembers the student who complained about “the city” being the overriding subject of each and every gradyear, the problem being that there is only so much one can produce pertaining to “the city”. But the author knows, that “the city” is endless, an endless inspiration for artwork, the epitome of human existence, of human interaction, of man made structures and of tiny creatures walking their little dogs in the alleys between slabs of concrete with tiny holes in them. The city is the ever-pulsating existence of animate and inanimate together in close proximity. Longing music wavers in the air, long lost lovers not hearing it, but the singer still has to tell her story about drifting apart, still has to bemoan, why she can’t be with him, for whatever reason, for whatever fucking sad reason. The author scratches her head, tries to careen her writing back to describing bricks, concrete, steel, tries to steer clear of notions of emotion, glimpses at romance. Rationalism, pragmatism should soak and seep into her writing, not wishy-washy femininity, that only plays into the

stereotype of woman as underling. A girl looking dreamily out of the window wishing the body of the boy next to her, his skin within inches from her, that is not what will build the west, not the spirit that will make us as species rule the world. You go girl. Do we really need those kind of rara-ra ish slogans still? Yes, we do. The author looks at the schoolbus outside, she looks at the writing saying capezio on the woman’s bag, she looks outside at the New London Pharmacy, she listens to a singer singing about London and Tokio. The author wonders how many pages she put down already, kind of 21 5 like a drunk would count the beers she poured down her throat. The pen glides over the paper, while pigeons walk by. On the pavement. Someone sweeps the ground in front of the new venus restaurant. The author has to go back to the little flat in Chelsea, she will write more later. This has to do for now. A bike rolls by. This is spring. In NYC. In 2008. --And she put down seven pages already. Not bad. Or at least, good enough. For now. --she missed the train, so she sits down on the bench at the subway station, at the 23rd street station, she fishes out her notepad and starts putting down letters, the person next to her starts reading, letters fascinate us, guide us, to a place of higher contemplation, higher understanding, maybe not higher, more as tool for “more”, “more knowledge’, accumulation of glimpses of understanding, of making sense, of ordering stimuli, while the A-train rushes through the tunnel, while the A-train rushes me by. The author puts down her letters, while the mid-town bound train comes in, stops, then leaves. From where she is sitting, she can view three tracks simultaneously, moles under the street,

rushing to work. She wants to know if the person next to her is reading the book, she had to read, but she restrains herself and does not ask. A woman with golden shoes sits down next to her, the shoes are not all golden, only golden arabesques on shiny black. Another A-train careens by. The reader fixes his shoelaces, jumps on the train. The author notices that he was really reading the book she was interested in, it was heavily promoted anyways. It was written by this slightly 21 6 controversial woman, who called Clinton a monster. She was nice and she was right. So much for politics. The author is now sitting in a breakfast place in either brooklyn or manhattan, it is at the foot of the brooklyn bridge. The author thinks she is in the brooklyn heights, in front street, washington street. Something like that. The heater near her is way too hot. The author thinks that she should not have really seconded Samantha Power’s remark pertaining to Hillary Clinton, who cares about politicians anyways. And Samantha Power apologized profoundly, so did Geraldine Ford, when talking about Barack Obama. Politics are not that interesting for the author, politicians come and go, regimes come and go, ideologies come and go. Marxism, capitalism, who cares. Religions come and go. The only thing constant is the here, the now. The moment. Of us, the people. The only thing constant is the pen scratching over the paper, the words that feed upon each other, catapult each other into meaning, into scratching the surface of understanding. The author tries to let go of the constant newspollution in her back, the TV bringing down the news, the noise, the words that let not write her, the words that intermingle with her writing. She is not able to listen to her own words, because the voice on the overhead is talking about the Gucci loafers of the Pope. Her tea is getting cold. She looks out at people walking by, she is sitting a tad lower than streetlevel, so she sees the legs of people walking by. She has enough of listening to the rubbish on TV. She would rather listen to a lovesong. Politics

and religion leave her cold, icecold. She looks at the sign that says Bon Appetit with the accentegue on the e. Outside the street is beautiful, a tree is green, a tree grows in Brooklyn. She smiles at her connotations, she looks at the sign that says “Manja”. She picks up the flyer of the restaurant, it is something Italian. Her tea is getting cold, she tries to concentrate on writing. Baseball talk on TV, which is nicer, it does not make her blood boil like other issues. She looks 217 at the stacked spaghetti in the bottle near the Manja sign, which is actually a plate with the image of a slice of pizza with one pepperoni, one mushroom and one green halfmoon reminiscent of a piece of pepper, a slice sliced out of a green bellpepper. It could be cucumber too, it is something green. Three men are sitting at the other table and having breakfast. The applefrittereating one with the earring talks a lot about food, sugar and grease, while packing on the fat and shovelling it, make that, forking it into his body. They talk, some masculine stuffy-muffy. She smiles, trying to figure out if her descriptions are even close to accurate. More legs are walking by, in socks, in skirts, in pants, all kinds of legs, all kinds of walking cycles, wheels wheel by, up the hill, down the hill, some lassie like black and white dog brings her owner for a walk. She writes and moves her lips while she writes. Writing, why would she do that? Will it bring her anywhere, will it become better and better or will the words take her down into a pitless abyss. Is this the right language to converse in, is it the right medium for her. Why is she letting go of other modes of expression, is this really the only mode of expression left for her. Can she not make it in the world of images, the world of visual forms. Is this, where she stands after seven and a half years of formal art instruction. She leaves the world of visual expression to enter the world of linguistic expression. In a foreign language, to boot, in a foreign country, to boot, on the other side of the planet, to boot. A stranger in a, oh, so strange land. Far, far away from reality, her

reality. The only thing constant being her pen, her relentless, aching obsession with scribbling words down. On some piece of paper, on some piece of surface. Could be sand, she could take a stick, sit on the beach and put lines into the sand. That the wind will blow over. That is, who she 21 8 is now, a crazy, oh, so crazy woman writing in the sand, marking her existence, documenting her days on paper. Drink to that, the tea is getting cold. In the Restaurant on Front Street, the watering hole that says Budweiser and serves tea in the morning. The so very versatile all-day food place, where writers like her can and should hone their craft. Drink to that. Drink cold tea. She scrambles at ending her writing in a perfectly virtuous way, but she is not able to do so. The ringing behind the counter does not help, the discussions about motorcycles at the other table do not help, the smoked whiff of something sausage like does not help, the woman in black leggings and black pumps, the poodle strutting by does not help either. the white truck with the black bike in front of it does not help either. The author writes, writes. Forever. She could once more say: “drink to that” and hope that the words fall into place, she can hope that she choreographed her lingo precisely and exacting. Someone on the TV yells about a dog, on a talkshow, on Maury. The author ponders, whether she can muster deep thoughts while listening to the Maury show. Seems like an oxymoronic endeavour, she looks at the mannequin in the shopwindow on the other side of the street, the yelling on TV is mind bogglingly stupid, she ponders whether the word oxymoronic endeavour makes any sense. --It is now 9:11, the author has to look for a new place to sit and write, the constant yelling on television interferes with her writing. She cannot write under these circumstances. She has to

leave Front Street Pizza. She fishes out her phone, she checks the time, she finishes her tea. the author leaves the store and puts her notepad on a newspaperbox that contains “the onion”, she 21 9 starts writing while looking up at parts of the brooklyn bridge, which is such a fascinating slice of the spectacularness of the bridge, the drama of the steelstructure between buildings. The author does not have a camera, so she has to jot down what she sees, with words. She looks at the sparkling motorcycle in front of her, she looks sideways at the steelstructure against the sky, she ponders, whether she looks weird standing here writing. She ponders a little bit, watches a red-clad woman walk by, she looks at the beautiful green recycling box with images of whitegrey garbage on green, a decorated recycling bin that yells recycle from the other side of the street. She plummets down on a bench in brooklyn bridge park, where people walk their little dogs, where one can look at three different bridges, where the view is spectacular, where she can see her hair, her silhouette and her writing hand silhouetted in grey and blue, shadowish, on the lined paper, where cigarette butts are on in perfect ninety-degree angle, where a train goes over the bridge to her right, very loudly, very noisily, very ebbing into quiet oblivion a moment later, where a pigeon stands on the walkway, where a steel-fenced garbage can is standing next to her, where the shadow of a tree paints the chequered pavement in front of her. She does not have a camera, words have to suffice. New York is too grey, too brown, she does not even know if she is looking at New York, at Brooklyn , at Newark, she is looking at Water, bridges and buildings, she is describing the light and the colors, the sky is too beige-blue today, so all the colors are too muted, the contrasts are not high enough. If she was a photographer, she would come back to this place another day or use filters or retouche-techniques or photoshop, as a writer she can just

whine and write, either this or that or both. As an animator she would use black lines on white, or white lines on black, instantly conjuring up the image, the silhouette of bridge, of building. The 22 0 manifestation of blueprint after blueprint, exacted against the sky. --she sits down in this park called walt whitman park, on a green bench, birds are singing, birds are flapping by, three hobos are talking, actually one is talking, the others are nodding, behind her is the way over the brooklyn bridge, the author could do that, but she is afraid of heights, of sunburn and of aching knees, especially the right one, so she sits here, looks down at her own shadow and writes away. “Me and my shadow, me and my shadow”. “He walks a lonely path, the only one that he has ever known. . .”, seems putnam does not listen to green day or vice versa, the author looks at the red glistening ball on the other side of the park, a bikehelmet, the hood of a motorcycle or the lights of a black car. pigeons abound here in walt whitman park, flowers blossom in the distance, in red, orange, yellow and white. She plays with words, like a child playing with sand. Like the child playing with colored glass. Isaac Newtonish. The days pass her by, this new york spring passes her by, cars pass her by, life passes her by. The only constant being her pen, scratching black lines on white paper. Inscribing her existence, documenting her days. She could come back to “the stranger in a strange land” quip, but she knows, that we are all strangers, on this planet for a so very short moment. Yusuf Islam, sing on. The day smushes itself towards noon, she writes, writes, writes. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the hobos are talking, a tiny insect is flying by. bliss and trouble in paradise, the dichotomy of both. More Ying than yang. She writes, writes, writes. Her days away. She will go back to Vancouver, start typing and putting this into a bookform, a little box, an object to be

22 1

moved around. She looks at the tiny plane in the air, she looks at the people in pink and black passing her by, behind her. She has to catch the subway, take her notebook somewhere else. The pigeons might start shitting. On her. Or her notebook. It is eleven-twenty-nine. It is actually tenforty, but she wants the day to march more ahead, so she mentally fast-forwards. The pigeons scare her. She’ll count the pages somewhere else, somewhere more sheltered. Without too many pigeons, sun and hobos. Somewhere inside concrete, somewhere inside a building. --she sits down on a bench on the brooklyn bridge, somewhere near Manhattan. The bench quivers, reverberates, trembles from all the cars going on the street, on the bridge, on the platform below. The walking and biking area is on the upper floor. It is hot, sunny and somewhere, some time around noon. Beauty, engineering, industrial structures, built, built, built environment. A stroller rolls by, joggers jog by, cars move by and can be seen through the wooden slits, motioning somethings. People talk, a British guy for a split second. Tourists and natives, in perfect unison. She stops, some beautiful lady is raising money for scholarship, something in East Harlem. I am from Canada, thank you, good luck. The woman is so very friendly. The author loves New York. New York. New York. The sun is too hot, though. She stops writing, she might get a sunburn. She looks at the very tall building. Then again, it is too hot here. And the cars go on her nerves. Moodswings. We change our ideas by the second. Why not? Life is fun as an accidental tourist, a professional tourist. With travellog in hand. April 17, 2008 Brooklyn Bridge, New York. She wonders what the Zip Code of this bench is. It is 11:48 a.m. Others walked all the way to and fro Brooklyn, faster than she did one way. Oh, well. The

22 2 author wrote instead. It is not a race, not a race. Everything is a race. Everything. And it is getting hot, too hot. Much too hot. --She finds herself trying to decipher the music, excavation, elevator, U2, about seven years old, so much has happened since then, so very much, she went through art school, which was quite an experience and it is not over yet, her certificate, her funny piece of paper is not issued yet, she needs still two, no, three more classes, actually two, because one class is six-credit, she will take those, once she is back in Vancouver, she has to check out the website of Emily Carr, if and when she can make her way to some internet café somewhere in this city, but at this time she navigates her way towards all these places with horizontal surfaces, where she can plant down her notepad and start writing to make sense of her surroundings, it is becoming physically hurtful, this obsession with holding a pen in between right thumb, index and middle finger and pressing it down, hunched over, trying to avoid the woman, who might throw her out in this Mc Donald’s near Central Station, what with 30 minutes max.– non loitering policy, hey, lady, i am writing seminal and semi-seminal texts here, full of introspective insightful ideas, full of the accumulated wisdom and knowledge of near to 53 years, that kind of stuff, that kind of stuff. Stuff might not be the right word, stuff is too slangy, too colloquial, stuff, stuff, stuff. The music whines longingly, she knows the song, but cannot really place it, besides, she is too fascinated by all these people, the woman in the floor-length brown coat, the pink shoes of the child hopping up and down, the tattoo of the old man. She looks at the tuxedoes to her right, the 22 3

ones she can partially see in the window display on the other side of the street, the yellow light in the reflection on the window of the post office straight ahead. Her tea is still warm, the weather is still warm. It is 1:35 p.m. on her cellphone, she will need glasses to read the small numbers on her phone, at this point she manages to hold the phone at arm length and squint. A woman talks in Russian on her phone while packing up the trash to whirl it into the bin. She doesn’t whirl or swirl, she is polite. If she was to write her memoirs would she do it in cyrillic? The author thinks about this a lot these days, she does not really care that much about contents, but more about mode of delivery, the tools that she has to make do what she wants them to do. It is the same with using paint, one has to make the tools dance to one’s tune, brushes, paint and in the end one is never satisfied. Never. She looks at the dots on the papermug, the ones that say cream, sugar, sweetener, other. What would constitute other? She wishes for something, some kind of sanity, what with all the “stranger in a strange land” stuff, what with all the “stranger in the not so strange land” stuff, in the future, once she will be back in Vancouver. She will miss travelling, the novelty, the excitement of all these new places. Some music makes her bob up and down, “I just can’t get you out of my mind, kylie minogue, boy”- la – la - la she smiles and looks at the “no smoking” sign, the singer has her in her grip or something like that, she listens, then makes up her mind to go somewhere else, maybe a museum or something. While in New York. She could find her way to the Whitney, she could. Maybe. Maybe, not. She reads through the last passage knowing that she caved when writing, she wanted to write about cancer, but stopped herself, sidetracked into safer waters, breast cancer making her hault her ways, stop for a second, being reminded of mortality, especially by the idea of dying before one’s time, dying young and beautiful. She will 22 4

never be able to phantom how that is possible, she would rather write about lines, about curves, about abstract, about concrete, about matter. Not about monsters, that lurk somewhere and might suddenly abyss down. It is 1:56 p.m. She will leave. Try to find the Whitney. Look at art. Whatever. --she wrote forty-one pages. While 7 hours passed her by. That could be, should be enough for today. --She sits in the lobby of the whitney but she does not feel like paying admission, given that tomorrow after six this place would be free. Her feet hurt what with all the constant walking all over town. Visual arts is not that compelling anymore, it is like checking out the competition while holding back pangs of jealousy, somewhere inside. And she has to pay, to boot. Oh, no, not that. She wonders if the biennial is international or national. Probably international. She decides to pay. Dearly. She might not like it. Actually, she is more afraid to see stuff that resembles her own, thus making her stuff lacking novelty. Ignorance is bliss, as long as she feels that her “stuff” is utterly unique, she can blame her aversion to marketing for her failure as an artiste, her financial failure. And the green is what counts, the ascent to non-starvingness, a new state, a new reality. She is going in. Finally. And then there is the guggs, moma, the whole enchilada. --225 she sits down in between the second and the third floor of the whitney, she really likes this bench, more than all of the art, which was pretty crappy so far, the building though, is good, she likes the walls here, textured concrete, more grainy than the Yale Art Gallery, but the same concept, the very same concept. Let there be light. Let there be concrete. Someone painted on the

steps. red and white. Like art school. She has to see more, she will manage to go up the steps. She liked the elevator, that said “the end” on the doors, she liked a sound installation, though a colleague of her did a better one in school, she liked the “dwelling” in between the floors. So, there is some good stuff, far and low, sprinkled in between. At this point, she feels like an art installation, live and in person, all writingy, all intellectual. All tired, with achy feet. So more mix of tourist and scholar. Scholar tourist. Or, flaneur, as they used to say back in Paris, back in sometime fin-de-siecle-ish. She has to go up and look, so that she can go back and catch a tea in the museum café. Art watching is quite an ordeal. Art. Art. Art. Go up, see more art. She is feeling too hot and slightly sunburnt. From her surreal walk over the brooklyn bridge. She will make her way up the stairs. Should not be too difficult. End of entry into Logbook, this is not an excursion to the South Pole. Sure feels like it, though. --she is just tired, plummets herself down on this beige bench in a small room with images on the wall, that she does not like, her cell phone goes off, she answers, nobody minds, all these people who came here en masse, leave just as hastily, it is a ghostgallery now, nobody but the intimidating museum guard, who looks suspiciously at the little old lady, who writes on a bench in a gallery, hey, writing is art, non-visual, then again, one could argue that type is art, a book is 22 6 a sculpture, thus we are expanding the definition of visual art, she is so very tired, the tourist existence is quite trying, she should still do time in the guggs, in the moma, in the new museum. But there is no time, no time. She will go down and have a tea. Tea is art, culinary art. The author is ever so slightly losing it. Which is good. Or not. She really loved the installation “lights over new york city”, that is what she likes and loves, simple forms, architectural lines in space.

linearity is what counts, geometry. strong statements in space. Or subtle statements in space. The museumguard looks at her suspiciously, once more. She feels watched. She does not like that. She feels watched. But she will not start screaming. Not this time. Must be tough to be a museumguard. There is a bench here. People discuss art. Not very intelligently, though. Definitely not. Oh, art. She sees herself leaving the artscene, then again, she saw really fantastic stuff in individual small galleries in town. She loved the installation at Pratt on 14th. street, she loved the installation by the three MIT guys, she loved the two-dimensional work, she saw in a brooklyn gallery. She knows that free art is usually better, more edgy, more fresher. That is how the cookie crumbles. She ponders if she should sprinkle her writing more or less with cookie metaphors and words like “stuff”. She is tired. Her feet hurt. She would never discuss the shitty work in this room like the two people are doing here. It is just gawdawful work, that should have never made it into a museum. The museumguide stares at her. She feels unhappy. He leaves. She writes. Maybe she should not feel selfconscious. and write away. It is 5:06. On a sunny afternoon in Manhattan. Where she is glued down on this bench, writing away. While she is stared down by the museumguard. In uniform. Well, life goes on. She puts her notepad away. Stops writing. Starts watching the shitty art. That was not produced by her. Which makes it automatically shitty. And she uses too much profanity. It is quiet here. She can hear her pen scratch over the 22 7 paper. The author makes herself stop writing. Instead of obsessing over words, over text. Over lingo. --she sits down in the lobby of the museum. At least, no one gives her dirty looks, when she writes here. She feels exhausted, has hardly enough power to pick herself up and leave. She is

hungry and tired. She has a meeting at eight. It is five-thirty now. Or something like that. There is a discussion today at seven. Artist talk. She is way too tired. She needs fresh air. Sun. Love. Physical would be good. Oh, New York in spring. So very Breakfast at Tiffany’s. So very much like a movie. So very tiring. And the sun shines on. --It is a golden day, sun shining, beautiful light, brightness outside. There is the new Venus Restaurant with the three orange lamps coming down over the inscription, there is all of 8th. Avenue smushing itself by, all these people passing by, going by, to the left, to the right, there is the counter person behind the coffee machine singing, recognizing the author, there is the woman with the button sprayed laptop behind her, there is life, happiness, a new day and Marilyn Monroe upside down on her official visitor guide. This is New York, which is actually a line she is overhearing from the man and the woman at the table right behind the column to her left, analyzing the city, which seems to be a favourite pastime in this city as it is in any other. We as individuals like to categorize, analyze our location, our choices constantly, laude or dismiss our surroundings, put them into context with other parts of the world, other cities, other little villages, with the pro and cons of other real estates. The author ponders whether her assessment 22 8 holds true, she does not know, she just formulates a sentence and shoots it into midair, a hypothesis, an inkling. The day is sunny, the beauty grips her by the throat. Writing is her raison d’etre these days, for better, for worse. April slouches ever so silently into may, makes its way into sunny, sunny tomorrows. The woman with the hiplong braid sweeps the floor, loudly, diligently. Someone talks about a satellite, nowadays that means television programming. The author smiles, when

she was born, satellite did not even exist. The world was black and white, she remembers when television became coloured, the author is a dinosaur. The sun shines outside, half of the New London Pharmacy is visible. A white poodle walks by, a woman who looks like a poodle with lipstick looks at the author. Marilyn Monroe is still upside down, an image near an ad for the Moma. The author reads the caption on a truck passing by, executive cleaner something, then another, whiter truck saying “sher-del transfer”. The author writes away, takes notes, takes note of all the fragments of her surroundings, that randomly pierce the cocoon around her consciousness. A beautiful red-shirted woman stands near the milk and half and half station, the instrumental music makes strong statements in jazz without using words. The author plays around with all the words in this foreign, strange language, all the words she can remember. Arranging them, disarranging them, rearranging them. Just like the saxophonist improvising his jazztunes, virtuously, randomly, for everyone to hear on the overhead, not that people really listen, all of them being grappled by their own immediate decisions, to talk, to type, to order coffee, to program their cellphones, to leave this interior, to mix and mingle with the city outside, the on-goings on 8th. --229

she is standing near Port Authority, at the corner of W 42nd. and another street, in front of the new “New York Times building”. Her sweater is way too hot. It is about two in the afternoon. Writing does not come that easy. She saw a construction worker measuring something, at least that was what he said. She is always fascinated by people using devices, machines that do “stuff” that are mysterious to her. A mountain of a crane is sitting on the other side of the street. --she is now sitting in the subway, hoping to find her way. The door opens and closes, it is slightly hot in here. She should have worn cooler clothing. The city is becoming sticky, moist.

She looks at the sign that says: be part of the solution, not the pollution. She wonders, whether she is in the right train. Her subway riding is basically “hit and miss”, the maps are very incomprehensible, she will complain to Mayor Bloomberg. How come your subway map is so utterly confusing? Constructed, utter confusion. No subway map is like this. she ends up in grand central station, after taking the wrong train on its way to flushing. She now sits near the steps that will take her down to the uptown 6 train and she will get out at 72nd or 73rd. and find her way to the elegant restaurant that sells bite-sized sandwiches and miniscule Cookies, where everyone is very elegant, except for the tourists, and railthin, where everything is very park avenue and smells like old money, where thin housewives have to take care of their children, while their well-educated husbands make the big bucks, where life is painfully reminiscent of the author’s own life twenty - thirty years ago, where time stands still and real exploitation takes place albeit with charles jourdan shoes, cartier watches, jaguars. The author ponders whether she should even go to that place given that she never really escaped. Never 23 0 really will escape. Her funny little pedigree. She smiles, because smiling is fun these days. She is alive, she sits in the subway in New York, on a bench, writing her semi-scholastic observations, producing a book that might be, in the end, be better than many and worse than many, all those tirades some individuals put down on paper, in a fruitless conquest to hault time and space, to fracture the passing moment and all passing motions into words, into letters, on pieces of paper, on papyrus, write in sand, until the wind blows it away and distributes it all over this tiny planet.

She is hungry, she will find the restaurant on madison avenue and 73rd. She looks up at the yellow strips in front of the silvery-chromen column, she watches the old man with the toothless stare and the white hat. A child rushes by clapping her sandals. Time stands still, time moves. --she sits down in the subway station at 77th. Street and Lexington, somewhere near a place called Lennox Hospital, which she remembers from the day before, when she went to the Whitney, when she went up to the fifth. floor in the building where the gagosian gallery was, when she went into the chocolate store, where chocolate was art and where the pieces of chocolate did not have prices on them, boutique-like. She has been to Geneva and Zurich, there everything was only exquisite and snobby-posh, if it was geared to tourists. A woman with dangling earrings sits next to her, another one, more plain-janey, follows. She ponders, what would happen if someone reads this, some stranger whom she just describes. On the other side of the platform schoolclass after schoolclass streams in, the fieldtrip set, the 23 1 fieldtrip cloud. The train whooshes in, stirs up a breeze, swallows all those noisy creatures, vanishes and leaves the station deserted, barren. Another silver bullet comes in, soaks up people, spits out people. The lowly writer takes notes, scrunched on her bench, documenting feverishly. From the frontlines. Of triviality, banality. Another train rushes in. A woman with a T-shirt saying Manhattan East walks by, boards the train. Manicured sandals walk by her, is it sandal time already? It is still spring, still april. The author knows, there are lots of museums near here, Central Park, so much to see. She does not feel like paying admission, she would rather go to galleries, where admission is free. The platforms are full of people, talking, noise, lollipopeating. The author feels hungry. She should

make her way up, leave her mole-like existence here in the subwaystation, underground, go up the stairs, soak up the sun, sun, sun. She wrote the word sun one too many times, not sure, if it sounds good, artistically sound. People walk by with bicycles, others come in, another train whooshes in and makes her hair fly in the wind. She writes, writes, writes the day away. Relentlessly, obsessively. This is what she does with her days, authoring seemingly seamless sentences, pairing metaphors with meaning, peeling away all the obstacles that stand between her and the perfect line, the one stroke of genius the trace in the sand, that will quiver for a moment like lightning in the dark, to be washed over by water, to be blown away by sand. The one hault in the ever-changing glide of the dunes. She ponders, whether this is worthwhile, her minutes, seconds, hours down here in the subway. Where musicians have their very best performances, give their very best, where keith haring rose to fame, long before his too early demise. He was 3 years younger than her. On the other side of 23 2 the platform she sees a poster saying: mariah/ E=MC2, something here smells like melon. People clap, she should leave. Get something to eat, soak up the sun, count the pages. To feel that she has achieved something, anything. Quantify her “literature” output, the words, the letters. She is leaving the sense of sanity what with all this noise, all the trains, all the commotion. Sun would do her good, peace, quietness. 19 pages for now. And it is only 3:31 p.m. Quite impressive. The author is happy with herself, she put all these silvery trains passing her by, all these feet stomping her by, into words, pinned them down in black letters, on lined paper, soaked the world around her into this tiny “8x11”ish notebook, documented the images into signs and letters, the visual, the motion into an ordered volume of neatly arranged letters, trying her best to draw, to paint, to take photos, to record the sounds, the audio, the music, the never-ceasing motion of this

city. Once back home, she will miss this, her moments in the subway station, while the trains roar by, squeak by, while time stands still for her, while she watches her pen rushedly inscribe the paper, fly over the lines, while insanity grips her, but is still contained. While she walks to near to the edge, but can catch herself, letting the train fly by into the tunnel. She will still sit here, take notes, while the world rushes by. And now it is time to hunt down that bite-sized sandwich, stroll through Central Park, stop the pen. For the moment, this moment. --she sits on fifth Avenue and 77th. street, behind her is Central park and some grey wall is behind her bench. She had a sandwich, it was overpriced and too fatty, the sun is too hot, too many tourists are walking by. She looks through her visitor’s guide, she looks at the pigeon, which is white and pink and grey and looks more like a seagull. She misses a place to have tea, a 23 3 place to buy an orange. Or a tangerine. Something citrusy, something fruity. People walk by, she feels alone. Her only friend is the fat pigeon on the ground with the shimmery pink around her neck. Two others come, these pigeons all have pink feathers in the grey. They hover around her, another one with green shimmer comes, they scare her with their beaks. Hey, I am not an old pigeon lady, not yet. Not all old hag, yet. As of yet. She feels depressed. The Guggenheim is near here, so is the Metropolitan. She has seen them before, three, four, five years ago. On different occasions, with differing exhibitions. She does not feel like museum hopping. Or park hopping. She feels like a cup of tea and a piece of fruit. Not necessarily in that order. She wants to leave the outdoors, hover somewhere indoors. Her pen makes two shadows, one dark, one light and they are opposite of each other. She will go for a walk, fly a kite, enjoy the sun. Which is a tad too hot. She feels like whining and complaining. The words stick in midair, they do not flow in

perfect harmony, perfect unison onto the paper. The writer has some kind of writer’s block. Not good. Not good at all. There is no cure for this. Maybe hopping on the subway, rushing through a dark tunnel. Sight-seeing buses pass her by. Who decides what the sights of a city are. To her, to the author it is the roller-blader, who hops over the pavement, only to land in a perfect curve, it is the girl with the stroller, the child screaming for ice-cream, the woman in skirt and cell phone. It is sun in the air and slight sea-breeze from the water. For her, the sights of this city are concentrated in this pen of hers, in all the pens she bought in all the drugstores, used up and threw away into the open-mouthed dark-green trash cans, that are splattered all over town, are waiving to her at each and every street corner. These are the real sights of this city, conducive to writing, so is the blue greyhound pen, she fished out of her purse. Something parade like is coming near, some bagpipy sound is piercing through the air. It is annoying. --234 Her pen is out of ink. She feels nautious. --She stands on the street near Madison Avenue and starts writing. She looks at a truck that says “Halo Cleaning Co.” and 987 Bklyn Flushing. It has funny, muted shapes on it white, blue, grey, clouds, stars. She likes the building on the other side. It looks like a building with a hairnet, a redhead with white filigree, a white hairnet. Very exquisite. Near her shoe is a half-moon shaped man-hole. No “why are manholes round” questions inspired by this manhole. She writes, she writes. She stops in front of the stoney house, she can see glisteny square man holes from here, with a black handle, yellow crayon, yellow chalk marks, a brown poodle walking his pink-clad keeper, flowers on the street, beautiful, ornate buildings on the other side of the street, a serious nurse, a

tree waiting for its summer leaves. She sees the coils of her note-book, a flag in the wind, a dog with too much hair. people talking on phones, herself holding her pad against the wall, until the ink dries up. She sees a fire-hydrant coming out of a building, red against white. She writes, writes, writes forever. A FedEx truck goes by. She writes. --She sits down once more on one of these brown benches and starts writing. The L-train comes in - it is brooklyn bound. The author wonders what time it is, which station this is. She feels tired 23 5 and her feet hurt. Her eyes are burning and her right hand is cramping up from putting down too many letters. She could count the letters, but each line is different, each dot, each curl. She could go down to Brooklyn, but she should make her way home. She should write some more. Even more. She does not know how many pages she logged in today and how many more she should put down. She feels squished between wheels, between rocks. She feels squashed, beaten-up, chewed-up, spat out. It is 6 p.m. precisely. She hovers around down in subway stations, she writes, she writes. The author spits out words like blood, like mucus. She has nothing essential to say, nothing more. So she starts spitting disgusting metaphors on the paper, horror-stuff. Instead of nice and neat, it is time to demolish the beauty of the written word, subvert aesthetic values. Another brooklyn-bound train arrives. A woman walks by with an ornate oak-table. Someone screams. A yellow-clad woman walks by in black, shiny pumps. A sneaker person walks by. Black sneakers. White laces. In the end it has the same effect as the shiny black of the pumps, black with contrasts, black with highlights, with white dots.

It is 6:17 now, she has to find her train. She has to count her pages. Drink tea. Rest. Shudder off the exhaustion of a whole day spent searching for words. All over this city. All over New York. In spring 2008. Her office is the street, the subwaystations and various coffeeshops. She is tired. Exhausted. The words cease to come. At the end of the day, they all line up in some shelter like buses in the parking garage. To be called out again, first thing in the morning, to march into places. To soldier on and fight uncertainty, oblivion. A woman inside a train looks at her, suspiciously, disgusted. The author once more feels out of 23 6 place. Given, that she is sitting on a bench in a subwaystation and writing away, maybe, she should feel strange. Especially, because she starts smiling to herself. It is getting late, the trains are too noisy here. They disturb her “train” of thought. --It is 6:16 p.m. April, 18, 2008 – NYC – Subwaystation at 8th. and 23rd. --She is back on her favorite bench in the underpass at 14th., near the fruitstand or better, near the fruit bonbon/ newspaper stand. And she is not even sure if this is 23rd or 14th., she just knows that she has to take the Uptown E or the Uptown C to get to her small apartment, the small apartment, because she leased it from someone who leased it from someone else, and the real owner lives somewhere in Vancouver. These are, of course, stories that she makes up as she goes, constructs narratives, that make her pass her time, fill up her lonely, abandoned life in the big city, this big city. A woman sat down next to her, she looks through her. A man rearranges his belongings, he kneels down near the floor, his poloshirt is blue, black and white. Striped.

The author writes her last passages for the day, her never-ending entries in to this never-ending journal. Once she boards her train or her plane back to Vancouver, she will stop. May be. If she can. Writing is strangely, mysteriously addictive. A woman in a red long coat walks by. --237 She filled thirty-eight pages, so she has still two more pages waiting to be filled. Writing is a chore, a chore, she likes. More so than dishwashing, than digging a hole in the ground. A chore, nonetheless. All those words, all those letters. While people rush by from train to train. She missed a page, left it blank, she has to rip it out and use it in another context. Maybe, to make a paperairplane, shoot it around, let it fly in Central Park. Let it graze with the green and pink necked pigeons. Let it listen to the lowly, lonely bagpiper in central park. It was not a parade, it was just one blackclad bagpiper in a bandana, standing on a hill, bagpiping away. He definitely got better with each blow into the pipes, he improved tremendously. Writing is like that, the more you write, the better it gets. Supposedly. There are no rules. It can just as easily descend into oblivion, into an abyss of mediocracy and utter discordance, utter non-literature, total antiliterature. That kind of stuff, that kind of existence. That kind of literary existence. It is the end of this day, the author stumbles over her words. She scrambles to produce meaning, she stutters, she stops writing. A woman in jeans and white top makes her way home. Tired, exhausted, slightly fulfilled. That is life. So utterly sisyphian. So utterly in vain. Exhaustingly in vain. A woman sits down near the author, people pass her by. And she continues writing. Into eternity, into infinity. Happily, insanely, confusedly, blissfully. And evening descends over New York City. ---

she sits down in the small croissanterie in times square, where she has a much too big coffee and a much too big croissant loaded with almond paste. and it is much too cold here what with the door open, the music is too loud and so very many people are walking by, unstoppable, but 23 8 most of all she is fascinated by all the screens, all the animations, all the oversized monitors, all the neon, all the hecticness, one big fair, it is monday morning, not even ten, and everyone is rushing to and fro, she waits scared that someone might ask her to leave, because she is taking space,

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