Wednesday, 27 June 2012

"Sucking the world into her camera in rectangular pieces..."

Some more beautiful writing from "In a Strange Room" by Damon Galgut, a S. African writer.  The title is a quote from William Faulkner ("As I lay Dying"): "In a strange room you must empty yourself for sleep. And before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are emptied for sleep, you are not. And when you are filled with sleep, you never were."


"He has always had a dread of crossing borders, he doesn't like to leave what's known and safe for the blank spaces beyond in which anything can happen. Everything at times of transition takes on a symbolic weight and power. But this too is why he travels. The world you're moving through flows into another one inside, nothing stays divided any more, this stands for that, weather for mood, landscape for feeling, for every object there's a corresponding inner gesture, everything turns into metaphor. The border is a line on a map, but also drawn inside himself somewhere."


"A journey is a gesture inscribed in space, it vanishes even as it's made. You go from one place to another place, and on to somewhere else again, and already behind you there is no trace that you were ever there. The roads you went down yesterday are full of different people now, none of them knows who you are. In the room you slept in last night a stranger lies on the bed. Dust covers over your footprints, the marks of your fingers are wiped off the door, from the floor and table the bits and pieces of evidence that you might have dropped are swept up and thrown away and they never come back again. The very air closes behind you like water and soon your presence, which felt so weighty and permanent, has completely gone. Things happen only once and are never repeated, never return. Except in memory."


"They walk and swim and Anna takes hundreds of photographs, clicking the shutter voraciously, sucking the world into her camera in rectangular pieces, the fishing boats on the sea, the sun rising and setting, drops of water on dark skin, the faces of people passing by."


"Lives leak into each other, the past lays claim to the present."
 Or as William Faulkner also wrote, "The past is never dead. It's not even past."


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