FRIDAY, 11 FEBRUARY 2005
I just thought: I live and think and work (meaning write) in a brilliant teacup. My world must be almost perfect to be conducive to the kind of thinking I surrender my mind to and the kind of material I produce.
Fine if it is so, if a certain environment and other related factors are important to make certain things possible. I am just wondering what I would have done if a part of my life had been lived on the kitchen table, outside the enabling boundaries of my beautiful teacup. (Do I need to remind myself that monasteries are not exactly oversized coffee mugs or Taiwanese hot pots?)
Two articles I read in the Time magazine are what inspired this thought. One was about all rights being suspended in Nepal – including the right to express what you think, the right to criticise the government, and the right to privacy. I wondered: Could I survive in such a situation? The second article referred to Shanghai’s mostly Western businessmen in the nineteenth century – all the wheeling and dealing, greasing of palms, etcetera. Again I wondered: Could I survive in that kind of world?
Do these uncertainties really have any value, or are they just interesting speculations?
Point remains: monasteries are also teacup environments that are conducive to significant results. Plus, I don’t exactly live and work in a monastery.
The land of my birth is spotted.
Date: 11 February 2005
Location: Seat 29K on a Boeing 747 at a height of 11,887 meters above sea level
Clothing: Black jeans, a green short-sleeved shirt I’ve been wearing since yesterday morning, (clean) blue socks, 2002 Merrells
Emotion: Neutral excited. It was a bloody long journey, and I was bored most of the time, although the Time magazine did help. I have been sitting in a very narrow space for almost 10 hours, and I have an emergency situation developing because of all the rich foods I’ve been eating the last eight hours. I am almost constantly thinking of a certain female character with whom I have spent a lot of time the past few weeks. I am also thinking of my parents, my two sisters, their firstborn children …
One Greek salad, one pasta salad, half a potato salad, half a pecan pie, and two cups of green tea later (oh, and a three-hour nap and a hot bath), the following: it was a bit of a shock to my inner organisation to be alone in Melville, the battlefield from where I had retreated just in time, seriously wounded and injured a few years ago. It is also amusing to appear as “Brand (you know? [X])”.
On the subject of people who have children in the conscious or unconscious hope that it will give meaning to their lives, the next piece of advice to myself: consider the possibility that there are aspects of the matter that I (still) do not understand. Maybe this – to hold your own child in your arms – is the element that unlocks great things, beautiful things, in some people. (And in other peoples’ cases, it might be something else.)