Sunday, January 29, 2017

Where Water Comes Together with Other Water / Raymond Carver

Joris Iven, composed, translated and introduced this new and fascinating book about Raymond Carver, born on July 2nd in 1938 in Clatskanie, a small town in the northwestern state of Oregon. His father kept the saws sharp for the sawmill. So he is a kid from an American working class family. The books opens with the line "I have had two lives. My first life ended in June 1977, when I stopped drinking." He wrote this in a autobiographical note. His first life, was the longest and without a doubt the least fortunate. His writing feels dark and threatening, probably because money and health were extremely precarious. He met Maryann, then 15 and they got married two years later. They had two children. It was usually Maryann who brought in the money. They were always studying, but is was Raymond's goal to become a writer. He followed a lot of writing workshops, creative writing courses and such. They were extremely poor, and it wasn't easy to get his work published.
The moved around a lot, he was a notorious drunk, the bottle of Vodka always under the front seat of his car. In 1977 he met Tess Gallagher whom he married not long before his death. In 1987 he was diagnosed with lung cancer, too late for a surgical intervention and soon afterwards a brain tumor was found. Radiation didn't work, the cancer kept coming back. He passed away on august 2nd, 1988. After his death A new path to the waterfall (1989) came out.
I like Joris Iven's translation into Dutch, keeping the dark feeling of thread.
Joris's introduction was also very helpful.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Poetry and friends

Yesterday Inge, a dear friend, and I met up, talking, visiting a gallery where her teacher has an exhibition and listening to her explanation that is was all about the translucency of the background which is a very difficult thing to get right. She has been studying with him for a really long time and she really wants to get it right having developed quite a sharp eye.

Sitting in front of a text is a quite a different activity. And I am not sure I do get it right. It is a good thing in dark times to seek the light in poetry, in friends one hasn't seen for a long time. So I look
forward to this afternoon's event when Joris Iven presents his new book. And then there is also another consolation: José Meyvis playing in the teachers performance tonight. The Music school is right across from me and in summer I would just have to open the windows to hear the lovely sounds above the heavy city traffic. So today will be a day of friendship and culture. It might even be a day of healing.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The passing away of fathers

How honest can I be in a public piece of writing? My stepfather and I did not have a good relationship. That is the kindest I can be about it. And then say no more. The void is good for me. It becomes a place I can use for healing. So next Sunday I'll walk with a friend while talking. She has had similar bad experiences but then found other means to deal with it all. I am sure a long walk/talk will be good for myself and hopefully also for her.
I have recently seen in a friend what the sorrow for the loss of a real father really is. I knew the man and I liked him a lot. I have also seen how strong the mother tries to be. A long marriage, a close friendship, a real pair with enough space for both of them. Quite a way to be.