Thursday, May 6, 2010

365 circles

on the flight to spain, the crew handed out sunday newspapers after boarding, i took the culture/literature/travel part with me, then forgot about it. now i just came across it, and it is such a perfect match in theme - it comes with an essay from Alain de Botton about the ash cloud flight delays that also caused the delay for this trip: "Was der Vulkan uns lehrt" - "What the vulcanoe is teaching us."

in the essay, de Botton quotes the advice Senecca gave after Rome was struck by an earthquake (62 b.c.), and people didn't want to believe that it could happen, and felt betrayed by the world. Senecca's advice: to expect the unexpected, at all times, in all places.

for me, the vulcanoe teaching was: delays can be something good. and: try again, even if you think the odds are against you - i still don't know how our travel agent managed to book this trip again, but here we are, in the place we wanted to be. first greeted by a week of full sun. then surrounded by the torrential rain showers on monday, without web connection - which brought me to a different place, in the same place: into the flow of revision.

plus, i had the perfect story to read with me, one of the stories from McSweeney's that has been selected for the 2010 edition of Best American Short Stories: "The Netherlands Lives With Water" by Jim Shepard (the story is now also available online, more here: McSweeney's Best American Bundle - click the bottom link to get to the download section).

here's a bit of that rain feeling, from Jim Shepard: "We take a shortcut through the sunken pedestrain mall. By the time we reach our street it's dark and it's raining again, and the muddy pavement is shining in the lights of the cafés."

and just 2 lines further, a line that connects back to Alain de Botton's vulcano world lesson: "There's always a moment in a coutnry's history when it learns that the earth is less manageable than was thought."

plus, another circle: Alain de Botton. i have one of his books at home: "Th Art of Travel". will revisit it when i am back tomorrow, to prolongue this feeling of being (t)here, and maybe also find a way to make this stillness and timelessness that is easier to find on an island a constant part of the 365 days of a year.

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