1. An otherworldly sight, often met here in Munich – girls reading books, on the s-bahn, u-bahn, ascending the escalator to the surface world. i’ve never seen so many girls with books as here, though the books mainly seem to be “Krimis” (crime thrillers). However, crime thrillers are often well-written and certainly several thousand cuts above Dan Brown. Earlier this week i gazed upon a lovely maiden reading a book on the s-bahn, both of us intently gazing – and since i sometimes wonder why i bother writing anything at all, i thought, happily, “it is so pretty girls and MILF may read my books after i’m dead.”
2. Read an article about PG Wodehouse the other day, and reflected on the oddity of the man – a great genius who didn’t want to grow up, was unable to be serious, with his relentless “what ho!”s and bally bally nonsense, and so on. This didn’t jibe with my view of genius, that one must be fundamentally serious, though this profound gravity may often take the form of surface levity & japes. There is a difference between vacuous & unballasted levity – what Theodore Dalrymple would call “frivolity” – and the truly serious levity of, say, Proust or Dostoevsky, or Dr Johnson or Beckett – or Dante or Shakespeare.
i’ve come to see Wodehouse as a man who used his art to reconcile his inadequacies & difficulty, to as it were dissolve his personal problems. It’s not that his art cured him; but within the medium of his art he found a balance of energies, where his refusal or inability to take anything seriously became a fully energetic act – not, finally, an act of refusal, but of affirmation (i am reminded of Danny Glover’s comment on Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums: “it was a film which celebrated people in a way, and didn’t demonize people”). Since Wodehouse must have spent a goodly proportion of his waking hours writing, or thinking about writing, his art became a means of transcending his own failure, or rather of using it – the stories of Jeeves & Wooster are so powerful, in their levity, because they are driven by his energy of refusal; but in this wholly safe, fictive realm, that energy flips over and becomes festive & fearless.
Perhaps many of the great artists are thus: they use their art to transcend their weakness. i think of Jung’s comment on Lucia Joyce (a schizophrenic), that she had James Joyce’s soul, without his genius. Likewise, one wonders what would have come of Hitler, had he possessed real artistic talent; he had a raw imaginative force, but the channels to full expression were blocked, it seems by rage, and by his sense of having been humiliated; and so that imaginative force was diverted elsewhere, tortuously, violently.
3. The Viking got a job in Bratislava in September, but being incapable of operating machinery, including cars, he had to leave his thousands of manga comics and rare liquorice & Catholicry in Würzburg. And now the time has come for me to help him shift this to Bratislava. Tomorrow i must drive to Würzburg, pick up his worthless possessions, and then drive them and his scowling & bearded self to Bratislava. i’ve booked an affordable VW though i hope that like last time they won’t have any mid-range cars in stock and will upgrade me to an Audi or better yet a BMW or some kind of badass Nazi tank.
The plan is to roll down through Central Europe, crossing the border to Austria and then Slovakia at speed, throw his manga into a Bratislava sewer where it belongs, sleep on his floor, then i will return solus to Munich on Sunday, stopping off for a few hours in Vienna. i feel quite excited about seeing Vienna for the first time. At first it was just an afterthought, that since i’d be driving very close, i could possibly stop to eat a schnitzel or five, but then i contacted a Bosche i know, Jana, who used to be my closest sister, is from the same small town as Morgana, but now lives in Vienna, where she was born and where she died, and we agreed to have a drink in the morning. i’m looking forward to it, as i’ve known her since 2007, when we left death threats on each other’s blogs, but i’ve never met her. i don’t expect any flashes of light and revelations but this will be the first time i’ve met someone i know i knew i knew i know from another life.
i was pleasingly flustered & humphlous to find we’ll be meeting about 20 minutes’ walk from the location of our old family house, so if she doesn’t kill me (she is a Feminist), after our coffee i’ll stroll over and perhaps strike a visionary, stricken pose where our house once stood, sighing and saying things like “alas! it is all gone!” just loud enough for passing girls to hear and wonder if they should offer me cake and naughty sex in case i am the Kurgan. It’s a little strange to think i’ll be back in my home city on Sunday morning, and will doubtless walk down streets i knew of old, when i was a filthy Bosche.
i am carefully not expecting anything, though of course i hope i will experience a mystical strickening and return to Munich able to speak fluent German and do all the things i could do in my last life but can’t do now, because i was clever then but i’m thick now. Still, i have an important advantage over the person i once was – he’s dead and i’m alive.