At first I thought that The Enormous Room (1922) beginning in medias res (in the middle of a sentence, even) was a brilliant literary device employed by e e Cummings to create a sense of sudden dislocation. The reader would feel like they woke up as someone else, in a dimension not their own, already implicated in incomprehensible plots and histories in progress—which is, of course, what reading is. This disjunctive dropping-in would have fit with the ostensible events of the novel: the protagonist, volunteering as an ambulance driver in the first world war, finds himself imprisoned/detained in France because of letters he has sent home, in which he expressed, among other things, an insufficient hatred for the enemy. The absent antecedents possessed by the surveillance state in its vast imponderable bureaucracy are unavailable to, or redacted for, the individual, who (like the character in Kafka’s The Trial) has no way to appease or escape a ubiquitous system once interpolated as its subject.
The greatness of French beaurocracy is revealed in The Enormous Room by the extent to which its effects are unreasonable and arbitrary. Power, especially in times of war, is the opposite of reason. Anyone can induce another to act logically, since logical acts (logically) meet with little resistance. A state which truly acted according to the will of the people would cease to be a state. Rules are suggested by reason, and arising naturally, are naturally obeyed. Laws, on the other hand, are distinguished by the absence of external justification. Power necessarily implies illogical coersion. Governments are the substitution of rules by rulers, and the laws most useful to rulers, as a demonstration and exercise of power, are those that can be most selectively and illogicaly enforced. Autocrats, therefore, are mindlessly destructive autocrats. Power, in order to be absolute, has to be absolutely arbitrary.
The first few pages of the book were missing, it seemed, to underline the fact that there was no discernible reason the narrator should be in jail, and therefore the French government was far greater and more powerful than a beurocracy that allowed itself merely to lock up criminals. The U.S., perpetually at war, demonstrates its supreme power by locking up a higher percentage of its population than any other nation on Earth, many of them serving life sentences for non-violent offenses.
Judging from the table of contents and page numbers, however, I gathered that the missing pages were not, in fact, intentional. My copy of the book was simply defective. If I wanted to interpret the absence of the first few pages as meaningful, then this meaning would have to reside outside the text. If I were to read importance into the coincidence of my incomplete version—a chance mutation —then this import would be unauthorized and personal. Cummings, I thought, would probably approve. Writing texts are prisons from which their future readers seek to escape.
Standard post-structuralism, which still dominates the way Literary Theory is taught at universities. Deconstructive methods of textual analysis (the only way graduate students are allowed to say that you aren’t allowed to say that a book has a definite meaning) can be traced back to the Wildcat strikes in France that took place in May, 1968. The reductionist/rationalist worldview the post-structuralist sentiment opposes can be traced back, even further, to the French Revolution of 1789. History is unthinkable, and there are always missing pages.
In Lyon there are little courtyards and tunnels called traboules, hidden passages that the Lyonnaise would use in their resistance of German occupation. Sections redacted from the official maps of the city. Silk traders would use them to take their wares to the river market.
Take Away Message
“No doubt they had a telegram from Petersburg,” Stepan Trofimovitch said suddenly.
“A Telegram? About you? Because of the works of Herzen and your poem? Have you taken leave of your senses? What is there in that to arrest you for?”
I was positively angry. He made a grimace and was evidently mortified–not at my exclamation, but at the idea that there was no ground for arrest.
“Who can tell inour day what he may not be arrested for?” he muttered enigmatically.
-Fyodor Dostoevsky, Devils (453)
Dragging our luggage along the Rue de Marseille, away from the apartment we had rented for ten days to the one we would live in for the next two years, I pointed out to my wife a sign that I liked, above what looked to be an Indian clothing or textile shop. Take a Way, it said. I, the luggage wobbling on its wheels behind me like a distracted dog, commented that I liked how it could be read, the unintentional entendre doubled by the extra space, enjoining you to choose a path, a tao, to take away your own way of reading. “Oh,” she said, “You’re being ironic.” I insisted that I wasn’t. A post-modern, post-structural interpretation of the sign would also be post-ironic. Just because whoever made the sign hadn’t meant to imply the accidental meaning, there was no reason not to read it in such a way. There is the author, I argued, and the reader, but there is also something else—sometimes the world itself slips in between. Coincidence itself can be an author.
When we first stepped off the plane in Saint Etienne, we had to wait outside of the small airport, before we could be let through the glass doors and have our visas and passports processed. One old Turk, after several minutes of covert and anxious glances, went off to the side and tried to light a cigarette, but his nicotine fix was quickly nixed by the uniformed airport police. It was cold, but not as cold as we expected. I had never studied any French, and was anxious to start learning.
I saw a poster stuck to the glass wall of the airport, and in one of those flashes of superstitious significance I am sometimes subject to, I thought to myself, this will be the first thing I really try to read in French. It will be important, and I will remember. The poster showed a wristwatch. I puzzled over the words, some of which bore close enough resemblance to English for me to guess their meaning. Something about time, and a sentence. Imprisonment. If you did something (I couldn’t figure out what), you would end up in jail for a certain amount of years. Oh, I thought. Okay. I saw that the watch had bars over it.
The Enormous Room is largely autobiographical. Cummings spent four months of the Winter in late 1917 in prison, in La Ferté-Mace, until diplomatic intervention secured his release. One senses a connection between his early incarceration and his literary style, impatient with the interdictions and confinement of grammatical rules. The events in the novel contrast, in other words, with the way they are described. Physically, he is enclosed in arbitrary imprisonment, but mentally, his recollections explode with expansive joie de vivre and poetic observation. Confined in a nutshell, he crowns himself the king of infinite space.
I picked out The Enormous Room from the used book fair in Turkey not knowing anything about it, only having read the poems of its author, and was surprised to find a not insignificant fraction of it was actually in French, as if my new surroundings were leaking into the covers, converting a phrase here and there to the language I was hearing every day. Another book I finished recently, Dostoevsky’s Devils, is similarly saturated in untranslated French phrases. Je ne sais pas pourquoi.
To be honest, I didn’t read The Enormous Room that carefully, letting my mind wander to my own frantically-written fantasy novel which, since it was November, occupied most of my free time and mental space. The pleasure I get from reading, I’ve discovered, often has very little to do with understanding what I read. In an attempt to familiarize myself with French, I’ve turned the pages of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Le Petite Prince (the author is from Lyon), Marivaux’s L’Île des Esclaves, and the first hundred pages or so of L’Aîné (Eldest), which I later figured out is the second book in a four-part “Inheritance Cycle”. Even if I could understand, I would be starting in the middle.
What book was I reading? My eyes scanned every line, and every word (albeit with a mangled accent) sounded silently in my head, but can I really say that I have read those texts? Only a fraction my thoughts can be attributed to the actual meanings of the words. Still, I enjoyed sitting with the book in my hand, watching the language flow by like the waters of the Saône from our apartment window.
It feels wrong to claim that I know even a little French, considering the amount of times that someone here has said “a little” in response to parlez-vous anglais? and then proceeded with perfect fluency. This faux linguistic humility was taken to ridiculous and self-aware extremes when we asked the question to a cheese-merchant at the Croix-Rousse market, and he said “Yes, but only a tiny bit, you see I just started taking classes yesterday,” and then regaled us eloquently for fifteen minutes with jokes and banter while serving us samples of les fromage and chatting with other customers, who also chimed in with perfect English. “All this talk and so little selling is not good for business,” he observed, and somehow a bottle of champagne was opened, despite it being early afternoon, and glasses handed out to his customers.
Americans, of course, claim to “know” a language as soon as we can count to ten and exchange basic greetings. Neither humility nor subtlety are our strongest points. So no, I can’t read French. And yet I do. My reading, anyway, is better than my speaking, since I have been spending more time with books than people.
The professor who we stayed with the first few days has two young children who played violin, and having seen the mandolin on my back (a turtle shell of stupid songs) he invited me to join them in one of their practice sessions. His daughter, age still in single digits, was performing something, solemnly, from a music stand, and he pushed it in front of me, saying that “I should be able to play along.” Embarassed, I had to explain that I can’t read music–I can only speak it. I improvise, playing by ear. For those who are classically minded, the results are unimpressive.
Federation of Penguins
“If we can start right away, today, then already by tomorrow you and your friend Bell will possess more knowledge than is shared by all the world collectively. In addition to that, certain areas of your brain will become activated that would remain dormant for many thousands of years if you let events follow their natural course of normal development or mutationally induced progress. As I have already mentioned, to a certain extent you will receive some telepathic powers…”
–Perry Rhodan 2 (117)
The essential thing I took from The Enormous Room is not that e e Cummings was persecuted by a faceless, evil government, but simply that the effect of the government on him, as an individual, was arbitrary. It is a question, not of morality, but of scale. When a person is bound, by means of the strings of industrial technologies and national ideologies, with hundreds of millions of other humans, the truly terrifying thing would be if that individual person weren’t a puppet, if they actually did have any control over their own fate, or if they could make clear sense of their position. In a world of six billion people, democracies are either forces of nature, or fabrications. Only the latter can be controlled or understood.
The reverse side of The Enormous Room, in a way, is another book (which showed up in our apartment, by no agency of mine), Death and the Penguin, by Andrey Kurkov. Set in the bleak post-Soviet Ukranian republic, the novel chronicles the career of Viktor Zolotaryov, who is hired to write obituaries for a newspaper. He later discovers that the paper is a front for a shadowy governmental/mafia organization. His boss underlines certain biographical details in the files of prominent individuals, and, as Viktor discovers, his short obelisks are actually being used to orchestrate assassinations, and to indicate to hit men which persons connected to the deceased should also be targeted. The fact that Viktor manages to remain alive and at large for so long (I would say more, but don’t want to give away the ending) illustrates what is mentioned several times in the book, that the writer seems to be under some kind of “protection.”
He also has a pet penguin. The sad arctic animal waddles through the plot as a poignant symbol of Viktor’s own dislocation and confusion, his being out of his element and incapable of making sense of or influencing the world around him.
The insignificance and powerlessness of the individual is anathema to Western entertainment. The kind of story our mass media endlessly repeats is that of the uber-human, the one, savior of the planet (or at least the nation), as foretold by prophesy. The lantern-jawed leading male, expert in martial arts and high-tech gadgetry, irresistible to women, fate itself forced to swoon before his super-potent pheremones. One who uses his tremendous power, of course, only for truth, freedom, and justice. You’ll have to trust him.
One of the three books in English that I brought with me from Turkey was a pulp Science Fiction novel Perry Rhodan 2: The Radiant Dome, the second in a series originally published in German magazines but popular enough, apparently, to be brought to the English-speaking world in the early 70s (my edition was printed in 1974). The action in this volume picks up after Perry Rhodan, “commanding officer of the first manned terrestrial moon rocket” has come into contact with a race of aliens called the Arkonides, and with the help of their “supertechnology” has landed in the Gobi desert behind an impenetrable force field, “preventing World War III” by distracting the governments of Earth sufficiently for them to cease hostilities against one another, focusing on a new threat.
Since their spaceship on the moon was destroyed, the Arkonides need Perry Rodan’s help to build a new one, sharing, in the meantime, their fantastic mechanical knowledge. There is also the possibility, the alien named Khrest tells him, that “the human race, guided by the Arkonides, might take over the heritage of the galactic empire” (115), which they have apparently become too degenerate and galaxy-weary to maintain. In order to prepare Rhodan for his new responsibilities as savior of the planet, they subject him to a process called, tellingly, “indoctrination.”
In the pseudo-science of Scheer & Kurt Mahr’s universe, evolution is nothing more than a series of inevitable developments, which any chance mutation is likely to trigger. This pre-ordained phylogenesis might be called the X-men fallacy, where radiation and random changes to DNA don’t cause cancer or birth defects, but all kinds of wonderful super-powers. It’s the biological equibalent of Condorcet’s view of history, where every civilization is bound to progress through set stages, advancing from barbarism to enlightement.
There are subplots in The Radiant Dome, in fact, where due to the radiation from nuclear bomb tests, characters discover they have preternatural abilities, and are duly recruited into Perry-Rodan’s crew of hyper-evolved humanity. One of these characters, Fred Hangler, discovers he can read minds, and uses his power to foil a bank robbery.
The fallacy of a pre-determined evolutionary course waiting to be unlocked corresponds to the fallacy of indoctrination, in the educational sense. Adults, having evolved a certain set of information and beliefs, believe that their course of development is the only possible or worthwhile path, and so the random and chaotic process of mutational selection (learning from discovery and experience) can be bypassed through a simple transfer. Education is a violation of what the Star Trek federation would call the prime directive, which is to let every civilziation (and children are always aliens to the generation before them) evolve on their own.
The idea of humans spontaneously developing teleportation or telekenisis as a result of nuclear radiation is scientifically stupid, but the idea of Perry Rhodan and his friends being given telepathy through some alien process of “indoctrination” is more interesting. Khrest might be lying about merely awakening dormant powers of the human mind (which would, he assures them, in the natural course of things, evolve on their own in the next few thousand years) implanting something alien in Perry Rhodan that he can then exploit for his own purposes.
This, clearly, is not what the authors intended, but that doesn’t stop me from telling the story, with its missing antecedents and sequels, that way to myself. There is irony to be found (hovering just outside the text) in what Khrest says just after the indoctrination takes place:
“I have increased your already present potential for lightning fast decision making in the face of newly arising situations. In addition to that your suggestive powers have been augmented. Any normal person will from now on have to carry out any of your commands, as if he had been given a hypnotic order. I am fully certain that you will never abuse this power entrusted to you…” (155)
A similar, but far superior telling of the Science Fiction hero-story incarnated for the nth time in Perry Rhodan is the British television show Blake’s 7, which ran from 1978-1982 (the first four years of my life). Created by Terry Nation, the gleefully low-budget BBC show is a cynical answer to the starry-eyed, Americanized optimism of Star Trek. In the mirror universe created by the BBC show, the Federation is an evil, totalitarian empire that uses surveillance, emotion-suppressing drugs, and a corrupt justice system to rule the galaxy. The emblem of this alternate-reality Federation is the Star Trek symbol turned sideways.
Roj Blake is the leader of a rebellion, brainwashed and then convicted of false charges, and then, similar to Perry Rhodan, comes into contact with superior alien technology that allows him to resist, with a small crew of like-minded individuals, his war-happy, Imperial species.
One of his crew members, Cally, is a telepath.
“…Have you seen a leaf, a leaf from a tree?”Yes.”
“I saw a yellow one lately, a little green. It was decayed at the edges. It was blown by the wind. When I was ten years old I used to shut my eyes in the winter on purpose and fancy a green leaf, bright, with veins on it, and the sun shining. I used to open my eyes and not believe them, because it was very nice, and I used to shut them again.”
“What’s that? An allegory?”
“N-no…why? I’m not speaking of an allegory, but of a leaf, only a leaf. The leaf is good. Everything’s good.”
After The Radiant Dome, but before Death and the Penguin, and L’Île des Esclaves, I read a book called The Good Earth, which I choose in an Istanbul book-stall because of its title. Assuming that it was obscure, simply because I’d never heard of it, I was surprised later to find out that it is fairly well known, remaining in print and popular since it was published in 1931. There is one part where the villager, Wang Lung, is driven from his native province by drought and famine. Pearl S. Buck doesn’t romanticize the life of peasant farmers, portrayed as provincial, chauvinistic, and narrow-minded, but there is something touching in the way he describes the relationship between Wang Lung and the land. Yes, it is a vast, incomprehensible force, but in bending to it, yielding to it, there is beauty. Like how I imagine participating in a real democracy would feel.
When Wang Lung and his family move to Nanking, they find themselves at the mercy of likewise unknowable forces, but these are human, and therefore cruel in a way that a rainless sky is not.
“Day by day beneath the opulence of this city Wang Lung lived in the foundations of poverty upon which it was laid. With the food spilling out of the markets, with the streets of the silk shops flying brilliant banners of black and red and orange silk to announce their wares, with rich men clothed in satin and in velvet, soft-fleshed rich men with their skin covered with garments of silk and their hands like flowers for softness and perfume and the beauty of idleness, with all of these for the regal beauty of the city, in that part where Wang Lung lived there was not food enough to feed savage hunger and not clothes enough to cover bones” (97).
In the Marivaux play L’Île des Esclaves (1725), Arlequin and his master, Iphicrate, are shipwrecked on an island where slaves have taken over, reversing the established order. Iphicrate is forced to become the servant of Arlequin, who treats his former master with cruelty. In The Good Earth, Wang Lung’s poverty is eventually reversed. In the chaos of an invasion, the poor raid the houses of the rich, and Wang Lung and his wife steal a fortune. Back in their own province, they are able to buy land, and rent it out to other poor farmers, at interest. In the beginning of the book, Wang Lung goes to a “great house” to buy his wife, and towards the end, the master-slave positions are reversed, and he is able to move into the great house and treat the poor as he was once treated, kicking them out of the rooms they occupy in the mansion. It is painful to watch him adopt the aristocratic indifference and brutality that he earlier despised.
Social and ideological systems, when they become so large as to resemble ecologies, seem natural, but their conferral of wealth or poverty, prison or freedom, is arbitrary and undeserved. The main thing ecological humanism has to offer is way to theorize interdependence. A view of society as a natural system is directly opposed to capitalist individualism. The meritocracy of the modern world is a myth. People are intelligent and capable because they have wealth, employment, and personal networks of support, not the other way around. The current epidemic of poverty and indebtedness is a meaningless waste of human potential. It is the cause (not the result) of incapacity and ignorance. The global economic system is a prison, with masters and slaves: a walled, degenerate city, and those left to starve outside.
All my life I have been subject to unaccountable good fortune, and have done nothing to deserve it. These words, as I write them, float out of our window onto the rain-swollen Saône, reflecting the street lamps and cool blue of the Lyon sky. Cormorants perch on the pylons of an unfinished bridge. Sycamore trees line the bank. In the morning, the fog and my not wearing glasses turns the view into a Monet. This place, like Istanbul, is kind of city that other cities I have known are trying, with minimal success, to copy.
At heart, though, I wonder if I am not a peasant. Unless I can see trees and touch the “good earth,” my life will be incomprehensible. This feeling of the world as a vast and unknowable force might come, I realize, from long-term unemployment. Like Wang-Lung, I stare at my hands, wondering that there is not some use for them. I can’t imagine any work I could undertake sufficient to repay my debt to nature, or to people. Banks, on the other hand, can go fuck themselves.
The first thing we brought to the apartment, even before furniture, were two plants, one a Ficus Benjamina, and another a Pachira Aquatica. Both of these species, the internet has told me, can be made into Bonsais. I haven’t thought very much about Bonsais before, and when I did, the concept seemed repellent. Things should grow, in all and every direction, as far and freely as they can. Cutting a tree down, binding it, to make it seem older than it is, seems like horticultural indoctrination. On the other hand, pruning (I have since learned) stimulates growth, and living in a city apartment, in conditions of limited soil and sun, isn’t it better to have a stunted tree than none at all? In the process of shaping and caring for it, isn’t it possible to internalize through microcosmic study basic principles of nature and of growth, mutability and survival?
There was one shop in Vieux Lyon with amazing bonsais in the window, and since I couldn’t afford any of them, instead I bought a poem. I decided to never to write it down, so it would learn to use only the limited soil of memory. Tending to it, wrapping it in the wire of language, I will see how long I could keep it alive. Ask me about it when you see me, and I will show you.
Another thing that that bothers me about bonsais is the extent to which they require new soil and fertilizer. This seems like cheating. Yet doesn’t that make it more appropriate as a metaphor, for life in a city? Most fertilizers are petroleum based: even our trees we feed with gasoline. To survive, nutrients have to be brought in from the outside. Couldn’t I make my own fertilizer? I’ve decided to have a bonsai compost bin, a little coffee-tin where I put scraps of scraps, a tiny little incubator for nutrient-rich soil.
Cities, it seems to me, are like bonsais, generation after generation of pruned, confined growth on a little tray of land. A seemingly self-contained micro-ecology, requiring constant chemicals imported from outside.
There was a line in The Radiant Dome, where the alien Khrest, looking at the Gobi desert, says “this landscape reminds me in some ways of my own home planet, at least the way it must have looked a long time ago…But then we became the focal point of a galactic empire, and we could no longer permit ourselves the luxury of a genuinely natural environment” (114). Rewatching the Star Wars movies, I noticed that Coruscant, too, the seat of the Galactic Republic, is also an entire planet turned into a city. That, it seems, is sufficient explanation for how the Republic became an empire. How can the Jedi Temple understand the force, which flows through all living things, when there are so few living things on the planet where the temple is situated? Looking at the sprawling, dystopian city-scape, I wondered where they grew their food, and then the obvious solution came to me: they didn’t. They must import it from other planets. At the heart of every galactic empire is a dead, parasitic rock.
Outside our window, a new bridge is being built. At least it was, until the floods. A construction crane lifted up like the arm of a giant from the Saône, holding a string. A couple nights ago, I went for a walk, and a heron showed me where I could find stones to put in the pots of plants.
I didn’t think I would finish Dostoevsky’s Devils while writing this post, but I did. The terror of Dostoevsky’s novel comes from incredibly large ideas and events actually becoming understandable, translated into personalities and events. Reading it, I had the uncomfortable realization that things like revolutions actually do happen, and they are brought about by people, insignificant individuals acting in concert. At the time of writing, there are protests in the Ukraine, against the president Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to accept financial help from Russia, rather than integrating further with the European Union.
When the forces of history become knowable, or palpable, they tend to be horrible. In Death and the Penguin, Viktor is told that as soon as he fully understands the conspiracy he is involved with, he will no longer be needed, and so will be killed.
In Star Wars, Padme is frustrated by the Senate’s slow-moving deliberations, not thinking that perhaps the business of ruling a galaxy would necessarily involve some complexity. The emperor is able to take command because he guarantees expediency. The nihilist revolutionaries in Devils are devilish because they think that something must be done, immediately, to change things, and they are the ones to do it. When political or civic involvement becomes incomprehensible or unthinkable agency is reduced to two choices: either obedience or destruction.
This is my tentative conclusion: as soon as a democracy (at the scale of nations) becomes understandable, and able to be influenced by individuals, it ceases to be a democracy. I am humbled and comforted by complexity, both in natural and social systems. The idea of super-heros, and super-humans, needs to be rejected. At the same time, reading Devils causes one to become aware that historical events, even at the largest scales, can be reducible to human stories. You don’t have to be a nihilist or a murderer to participate in change. Just pull leaves from a bonsai tree, and cultivate some soil.
Good Things, Time
“…But of course The Great American Public has a handicap which my friends at La Ferte did not as a rule have–education. Let no one sound his indignant yawp at this. I refer to the fact that, for an educated gent or lady, to create is first of all to destroy–that there is and can be no such thing as authentic art until the bons trucs (whereby we are taught to see and imitate on canvas and in stone and by words this so-called world) are entirely and thoroughly and perfectly annihilated by that vast and painful process of Unthinking which ay result in a minute bit of purely personal Feeling. Which minute bit is Art.”
–The Enormous Room, 307
I take too long to do things. Writing a throw-away novel in November reminded me of the pace at which I could and should be working towards completion of the book I really care about, as crazily complex and unfathomable it is. Time is a conspiracy I can never really grasp. My past and future selves are a wide republic I will never be able to control. They brought me here, somehow, to the banks of this river, and I wake, stunned, and try to make some small sense of things at a keyboard. I spend too long writing these posts, and read too many books in the meantime, so that they lose focus, becoming crude and impressionistic.
The last book I’ll include in this constellation is Wild Abandon, by Joe Dunthorne. It does not live up to its name. Tracking the decline of an idealistic commune in the Welsh countryside, Dunthorne’s gimmicky and unambitious novel is similar but inferior to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Blithedale Romance (1852), in that it evokes the possibilities of an agrarian utopia and alternative to ownership-based ideologies, only to contain them, and defuse any revolutionary possibilities. Dostoevsky’s Devils, although they are nihilistic murderers, have more pathos than Dunthorne’s half-hearted communalists, who end up unable to withstand the siren song of establishment ideas and economies. The pre-determined defeat is evident in the way the book is written, with none of e e cummings’ stylistic buckings and imaginative convulsions of phrase and form. Wild Abandon abandons the wild, being, thoroughly, a commercial and mainstream novel.
Next time, I’ll report on a novel by Thomas Pynchon, Against the Day. I’ve started it, and am awed by the first few chapters, how casually he inflates every scene with a perverse, dramatic bouyancy. Like Dostoevsky, Pynchon is a master. There are writers of aptitude so far above my own that they enable me to write, by forcing me to abandon all aspirations of being “great.” Ecologies are made of little things, fields of transference and magnetism, drawing and being drawn to certain shapes. Landscapes and language. I will try and grow my own poems, and feed linguistics back into the grid.
Neither a post-structuralist nor a nihilist, I do believe that literature/art is only meaningful through participation, which is why I’ve been trying to write about everything I read. In my view, we need more penguins, and less superheroes, more Blake’s 7 and less Perry Rhodan. I’ve tried to make this website a traboule of unexpected text, with bonsais growing beneath enormous rooms. Take away whatever you like.