Θυμάρι

So long, and thanks for all the fish !

Ask The Dust – John Fante

  One night I was sitting on the bed in my hotel room on Bunker Hill, down in the very middle of Los Angeles. It wasask_the_dust_godine an important night in my life, because I had to make a decision about the hotel. Either I paid up or I got out: that was what the note said, the note the landlady had put under the door. A great problem, deserving acute attention. I solved it by turning out the lights and going to bed.

**************

  The lean days of determination. That was the word for it, determination: Arturo Bandini in front of his typewriter two full days in succesion, determined to succeed; but it didn’t work, the longest siege of hard and fast determination in his life, and not one line done, only two words written over and over across the page, up and down, the same words: palm tree, palm tree, palm tree, a battle to the death between the palm tree and me, and the palm tree won: see it out there swaying in the blue air, creaking sweetly in the blue air. The palm tree won after two fighting days, and I crawled out of the window and sat at the foot of the tree. Time passed, a moment or two and I slept, little brown ants carousing in the hair of my legs.

************** 

   ..(Hellfrick’s room) was madness, pulp western magazines over the floor, a bed with sheets blackened, clothes strewn everywhere, and clothes-hooks on the wall conspicuosly naked, like broken teeth in a skull. There were dishes on the chairs, cigarette butts pressed out on the window sills. His room was like mine except that he had a small gas stove in one corner and shelves for pots and pans. He got a special rate from the landlady, so that he did his own cleaning and made his own bed, except that he did neither.

**************

  The hallway was deserted, sinister in the red light of an old electric bulb. I walked deliberately, without stealth, like a man going to the lavatory down the hall. Two flights of whining, irritable stairs and I was on the ground floor. The red and white Alden milk-truck was parked close to the hotel wall in the moon drenched alley. I reached into the truck and got two full quart bottles firmly by their necks. They felt cool and delicious in my fist. A moment later I was back in my room, the bottles of milk on the dresser table. They seemed to fill the room. They were like human things. They were so beautiful, so fat and prosperous.

**************

  Ever south, we followed the beautiful white line. I drove slowly. A tender day, a sky like the sea, the sea like the sky. On the left the golden hills, the gold of winter. A day for saying nothing, for admiring lonely tres, sand dunes, and piles of white stones along the road. Camila’s land, Camila’s home, the sea and the desert, the beautiful earth, the inmense sky, and far to the north, the moon, still there from the night before.

**************

I was a young man, starving and drinking and trying to be a writer. I did most of my reading at the downtown L.A. Public Library, and nothing that I read related to me or to the streets or to the people about me. It seemed as everybody was playing word-tricks, that those who said almost nothing at all were considered excellent writers. Their writing was an admixture of subtlety, craft and form, and it was read and it was taught and it was ingested and it was passed on. It was a comfortable contrivance, a very slick and careful Word-Culture. One had to go back to the pre-Revolution writers of Russia to find any gamble, any passion. There were exceptions but those exceptions were so few that reading them was quickly done, and you were left staring at rows and rows of exceedingly dull books. With centuries to look back on, with all their advantages, the moderns just weren’t very good…

(foreword by Charles Bukowski)

Advertisements

Single Post Navigation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: