Posted by: Corri van de Stege | April 27, 2009

A visit to Leipzig

Well yes, I’ve been a bit preoccupied.  With life. Not with books.  Or reading.  Or commenting.  Life, work, waking up and going to bed and trying to fit in everything that needs to be fit in – everything that life is really about.  So yes, I worked, I pulled weeds in the garden, I moaned about how hard everything is and that I cannot fit all the good things into my 24 hours a day, and other things.  But who cares?

So I took a few days off, no telephone, no laptop, no television, no radio, no … nothing.  Just visiting.  They don’t believe in keeping in touch with the world, with the day to day existence that seems to make my life and routine overfull.  None of that.  I’m visiting.  I sleep on the couch – well, it does pull out like a bed.  I watch my granddaughter, nothing else to do.  I read books and stories to her, endlessly.  The telly does not work anyway.  I’m not interested in trying to read a German newspaper.  My book is very unsatisfactory.  You wonder which one?  Well, yes, it was the other one that was nominated for the Booker Prize, that many people hoped would win, but it did not. I’m actually glad it didn’t, because I felt utterly exhausted with the jargon, the seafaring jargon, the words, the effort to ‘evoke’ through a language that I did not understand and simply had no inclination to try and understand.   I wanted the story.  In English.  Or Dutch. or whatever language I can read, but not one that I would have to try and master before I could read the book, the jargon.  Yes, I’m talking about Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh.  I felt impatient: there were too many characters and I could not really associate with any of them.  It did not create another world that I could lose myself into.    Not really.  They were creations, artifice.    Not real.  Even if I wanted to know what happened to them,  these characters, for some reason or other.  But perhaps that was a perverse kind of stubborness, born from the fact that I did not really have anything else to read either, before going to sleep.  Apart, perhaps,  from stories for my granddaughter.  So I read loads of stories, and they were lovely, because her eyes went bigger and bigger and you could hear her draw in breath.  So much better than the Sea of Poppies.

And then we went to the zoo.

I felt sorry for the elephants who seemed to be stuck in the backyard of some run down, closed factory site, and turned their backs to each other – fed up with it all.p1010022-compressed

Better to go and look for something elsep1010017-compressed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are much more at peace with the world and their environment, even if there is nothing green, they make up for it in their own way, and their own colour:

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The giraffes on the other hand have got it all sorted – spring is here, definitely, and someone in that zoo has thought about their environment, their living space:

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Yes, it was spring.  And now I’m back in the real world and newspapers, and news on telley and flue pandemics, and budgets that don’t work…. Oh well.

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Responses

  1. A break from technology is always a nice thing! I enjoy when I get the chance for it.

  2. Glad to hear you enjoyed your break, although sadly not your book. I sympathize with feeling there aren’t enough hours in the day!

  3. I enjoyed this post. Spring is in the air. Lovely. Here, in the southern hemisphere it’s rain and autumn which is sometimes beautiful. Enjoy your season. Pity about the book by the way but glad you found enjoyment with your grand-daughter.

  4. It’s wonderful, doing the thinks that really matter. Sounds like you had a great visit. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy Sea Of Poppies, I loved it.

  5. Kim: After a few more days of being inundated with day to day news and boxes full of e-mail you appreciate it even more!
    Sarah: no, unfortunately, never enough hours…
    Joanne: I’m always glad to see you around and I must visit you a bit more often! On my way now.
    Gavin: yes, I’m sorry about the book – perhaps it was the wrong book at the wrong time? Perhaps it’s one of those books that you need to spend time with?

  6. I’m so glad you were able to get away for a bit and see life through the eyes of that special little girl 🙂

  7. Oh, your travels read wonderfully. Sounds like a wonderful bit of time off for you.


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