Monday 1 August 2011

dawn, as viewed from my Berlin attic window on the 24th of july, at about 6 o'clock in the morning, more precisely 5.39, after a long sleepless night

as an exception, two personal notes:

1. i couldn't sleep and at about 5 in the morning i decided to stand up and go make some tea and read. i sat on the sofa, the tea bowl was hot and soothing, as it always is. the book was about memory and history, and it was everything but soothing. i thought of Benjamin's angel of history: This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe that keeps piling ruin upon ruin and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed.

then at some point, as if summoned by an unheard voice, i looked up to the window and saw the sun rising through the blue curtain. with the suddenness of that which others might call "revelation"

[if only i knew the meaning of such words and how they are supposed to be used - yet they are useless anyway, since grace only dwells in the living fabric of being]

the world fell off me: the terror of history, my long sleepless nights, my past, my life, time itself. myself, too. i simply was, then, light and whole, until nothing was, any longer.

[some of you might argue that i wasn't whole until i reached toward the camera and took this photograph, and they might have a point there :-)]

2. while discussing with Michael about the possibility of publishing our collaborative project, The Beautiful Foolishness of Things, i said at some point, inspired by the long and challenging comments i had received on my post with the curtain flowing in the wind, which some of you might remember: i wish i would write a book about just that, the wind in the curtains, in literature and arts, instead of writing the one i have to write now (accidentally, and very much against my nature, about the Angel of History).

Michael was enthusiastic about the idea and soon set up a blog which was intended as an archive where we would gather all the related information we would come across, in time, for this future (very improbable) book that i might write someday. while i am only interested in curtains&windows, more precisely in this particular moment of the wind blowing in the curtains, Michael's interest is wider and he intends to document everything related to windows in both European and Asian cultures, particularly Japan. i thought i would let you know about this archive-blog, Towards a Future Tome, so that you may give it a thought, whenever you find something of interest, please let us now. who knows, i _might_ even write that book someday, though this would mean to bring to a stop the endless movement of unfolding-into-an-open-future which lies in that toward, and that would be such a pity, wouldn't it ? ...



  1. You got me at "Berlin attic window." I can only imagine. It sounds impossibly romantic. Here in the land of rock and sand, during a simple walk in the foothills looking at the harshly lit strata of exposed rock, one can't help think of the remorseless passage of time and monumental upheavals. It is almost too much! I know the terror of which you speak.

    "the world fell off me..."

    Those words I will Never Forget nor the accompanying image. Both led me the odd feeling of being absolved by myself to myself. Pretty awesome!

  2. 1. i couldn't sleep and at about 5 in the morning i decided to stand up and go make some tea and read. i sat on the sofa, the tea bowl was hot and soothing, as it always is. the book was about memory and history, and it was everything but soothing.

    1.1 I must have proper tea next time.
    1.12 and biscuits (very soothing)

    2. [if only i knew the meaning of such words and how they are supposed to be used

    2.1 Kierkegaard: Cavell: must we mean what we say?

    3. yet they are useless anyway, since grace only dwells in the living fabric of being]

    3.1 no, I remember fish can also be suspended in grace.

    4. the world fell off me:

    4.1 it was noisy.

    5.the terror of history, my long sleepless nights, my past, my life, time itself. myself, too.

    5.1. the last bit surprised me!

    6.i simply was, then, light and whole, until nothing was, any longer.

    6.1. like murakami.

  3. I came, I saw, I left enlightened...

    May your curtains contain revelations most profound, as long as you may breathe...

  4. As is the case in your work, your thoughts and feelings are provocative and call up many thoughts or images.
    The way the curtain flutters by the open window as though some spirit, invisible - but felt - has come to find you.
    The way the Berlin Wall came down.
    The swaying of the drapes around the canopy bed in the drafty open vacuity of a cold castle.
    The way one is open to an experience, or tries to filter it, or shut one's self away from it altogether.
    The disappearance of the public man into a private place.
    The loneliness of privacy.
    The shroud of Turin and the gauze that wraps a mummy's face.
    The temple veil torn down.
    The bride's veil fluttering to the pulse of her rapid heart.
    A blouse slowly opening.
    Marilyn Monroe's dress flying up.
    The towel that fell from her body.
    The way the long black satin glove slowly peels down her arm and is tossed to the wind.
    The wet burden of the linen sheet hanging helpless, then fluttering, and blowing on the line until it is freed to fly.
    The works of Christo.
    The widow's unbearably heavy black veil wet with tears.
    The fluttering of the eyelids on the window of one's heart.
    Eyes that see; but don't.

  5. da,pentru mine nu este doar o (re)confirmare,ci si un sporit sens,regasit in itele perdelei intretesute atat de fin,pentru ca:de cand mi-ai spus despre perdeaua albastra,asa mi te imaginam:citind,pe o dofa ingusta(?),in timp ce razele diminetii,albastre,desigur,isi regasesc reflexele in pletele tale e ca si cum,acum,as avea o fotografie de acolo cu tine,cu starea ta,transparent-albastra.
    e minunat gandul tau si al lui Michael,e ca o dimineata desfiintata prin insasi ideea de "no morning",cum spunea el intr-unul dintre versurile mele,daca perdelele mele,in plutirea lor,vor aduce unduiri neasteptate,vi le voi povesti,proaspete,pe toate.

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  7. Mereu am zis ca nesomnul ajuta! Iata, ce idee minunata de proiect! Te pup si te imbratisez, orice proiect ai incepe sunt atat de sigura ca va iesi minunat...

  8. such a pity . . . it would be.

  9. She, witnessing a blithesome sunrise from her cockloft, sleepily grabs her camera, that mechanical apparatus which operates wantonly at her behest. Strange this relationship between near-awakedness and the cold touch of a camera. And when i say near-awakedness, i also mean that rarified close-to-death aura which can overtake a bristling photographeress. And when i say bristling (being a glorious reader of the dodgy Lewis Carroll), i mean inexorably youthful.

    This passage may have cured her of her curious habit of installing herself in cramped, purblind attics to write books about cramped, purblind history (still, writing a book about history!, an unlikely story: i would rather believe that she is working on a cure for the common cold).

  10. i love this photo and the story that goes with it more than there are any words to say (i can only make this inadequate gesture) ... there are moments when the light touches one with this kind of grace, so often, it seems, at the end of some sleepless night of anxiety and turmoil ... and the only thing is to fall open and be annihilated (having, perhaps, longed for annihilation but unable to command it, the angels are not like that) ... and yes, i think you are complete when you reach for the camera and take the picture ... but this is both beautiful and a form of grief, for this (necessary) decision to take the picture is also a limit, a term, to the eternal moment of selflessness, a fall back into the self, into process and will and memory ....

  11. my beautiful friend Roxana, thankyou for another beautiful masterpeice.

    I went to our Heritage Day festival in edmonton Canada where we celebrate the diversity of cultures in our city-each culture with its own pavilion and heart of cusisine and dance and costume and all this spread across our gorgeous river valley and to me this festival is a breathtaking beauty of a beast that ravishes all cultures.
    I explore my four nationality pavilions-french italian german and irish and I extend myself to all pavilions.
    I went to the german pavilion to purchase the fairy tales written in german that I bought last summer but gave away too many but unfortunately they were not available this year.
    Instead I picked up a beautifully illustrated travel book"destination germany".and how I admired the photographs of the modern architecture of Germany. I'll describe only one that I came across-the New Synagogue in the Rhine city of Mainz by architect Manual Hertz and as the book defines-
    "its jagged exterior walls glitter in the sun and spell out the shape of five Hebrew letters for the word kedushah, which means holiness."
    and for me the architecture scraped the sky line in its jaggedness with an aching esoteric beauty that cannot be defied by an eternity of wars.

    and oh my beautiful friend, such gorgeous architecture in BErlin and an extravagant night life but you choose to define the most beautiful architecture of all- the architecture of the soul.

    sending you berlinesque kisse. In case you wondering that word is my invention haha.

  12. ah my beautiful friend I regret that you were reluctant to write an historical novel but I know that even though it is not a book of poetry your poetical spirit will shine through the printed page and will be a guiding light for those who were not there.

    sending you soft summer kisses and be good to your summer lover berlin....

  13. ps and yes a guiding light for those who were not there and for those who can understand your suffering...

  14. ach, das Bild ist zum "Einatmen", wie ich es liebe, diese Farben am frühen Morgen und den zarten Sonnenschein...!
    Die Sonne scheint auch bald für mich!
    Alles Liebste, Prinzessin!
    ... die anderen Blogs - wundervoll, ich muss mir auch unbedingt Zeit nehmen für diese wertvollen Lichtpunkte!

  15. ah, Stickup, your desert also seems to me impossible, an utter otherworld, so mysterious and breathtakingly beautiful. and yes, it is a different perspective upon the "remorseless passage of time" than one gets in a city so marked by human history, as is Berlin.
    i thank you for the "pretty awesome", that was a pretty awesome comment as well :-)

    anonymous, you got me with these scholarly notes, haha. can i invite you to some tea and biscuits so that you can satisfy my curiosity as to _why Murakami_??? you must be warned that i don't think high of him :-)

    Owen, ah then i could perhaps advertise the Bridge as a Bridge to Enlightment and make some easy money for those world travels i would love to do (and new camera!) :-)

  16. but, myth, you wrote a poem here, and not only that, a poem which compels me with every line to see more and more images, i can't help that, you have thrown me to the lions of Imagination like this :-) they are alive now in my head, these images, all working their secret ways into more images or even video...
    right now i think of: The way one is open to an experience, or tries to filter it, or shut one's self away from it altogether, and how important, essential this is in the process which shapes us like humans, this openness to experience, or shutting one's self away from it... i think the Bridge is very much about a kind of openness to the world, the visible and the invisible...

    also, i would like to thank you very much for coming to the Tome and taking part in that window and curtain adventure (and awesome suggestions!!! :-)

  17. da, Cerasela, canapeaua este îngustă, cum altfel, şi mai mult decât atât, un intens roşu închis, aproape bordeaux. vezi acum, totul, mai bine? acel roşu, acel albastru, acea lumina unică a dimineţii...
    şi draperia ta, da da :-)

    Michael T., you are puzzling me more and more! after the conversations with the shinto priests, now long discussions with Cherubims and Seraphs??? i must confess my ignorance in the topic, though a friend wrote a thesis about Angelology, now i regret not having used the chance to take a glimpse at the celestial paths. but i must resign myself to my ignorance, since:

    "Often celestial visions of descending Angels compass you about with songs of praise; then, tearless, uncomplaining, must you watch them as they reascent the skies! To murmur is to forfeit all. Resignation is a fruit that ripens at the gates of heaven. How powerful, how glorious the calm smile, the pure brow of the resigned human creature. Radiant is the light of that brow. They who live in its atmosphere grow purer. That calm glance penetrates and softens. More eloquent by silence than the prophet by speech, such beings triumph by their simple presence."
    (from Seraphita)

  18. since you offer with such kindness, how can I refuse? but no, first tell me, is your hair straight or curly?

    satisfy sure if that's possible!

    murakami? what does it matter? should books get in the way of friendship?

  19. ah, Simona, ce bine îmi pare să te aud!!! mulţumesc mult pentru încurajări, deşi nu se poate numi 'proiect', e totul mult prea nebulos deocamdată şi sunt deja atât de obosită cu scrisul la cartea asta că am jurat să nu mă mai apuc de alta. plus că nu prea mai am timp de poze!!!

    Dee, a pity, about what? if i don't write the book after all? :-)

    ah, Prospero

    you put this so lovely: that rarified close-to-death aura - that now i will forever fear i can't be at the height of such expectations (in fact i know i cannot!).
    so better return to my History scribblings, how i would love to be able to give this up for a cure of the common cold. helas... i think you are much better equipped than me to find it, you are the gardener-alchemist after all :-)

  20. James, once again you expressed every one of my thoughts, and much more beautifully than me. if i ever publish a photography book, you have to promise to write the Introduction for me :-) amazingly, though, taking the camera and looking through the lens still allows me to be in that state, the eternal moment of selflessness, the fall back into the self only happens after i took the picture and put the camera aside. or so it seems to me now, i must ponder this...

    Madeleine, you made me laugh when you wrote: and I extend myself to all pavilions - this is so cute somehow, and yet true, always when we open ourselves to something, we extend ourselves toward the world too, it is a growth and and enrichment to be able to come back into one's self, the opposite movement. Goethe talks a lot about the systolic and diastolic movements of the universe...
    and i love berlinesque kisses too, i am sending them back, together with my gratitude :-)

  21. ah, Wolkenprinzessin, wie schoen du das gesagt hast, ein Bild zum "Einatmen", das macht mich ploetzlich so gluecklich, kindlich gluecklich :-)
    bald bald bald :-)

  22. anon, can't you see that in my profile pic? :-P
    i thought you would ask about my tea, if it is sweetened or not...

  23. the saving grace of dawns indeed .... tabula rasa ... the world & our soul made anew
    the world fell off me: the terror of history, my long sleepless nights, my past, my life, time itself. myself, too. i simply was, then, light and whole, until nothing was, any longer

  24. (& Berlin? travel or new residence?)

  25. actually Roxana I was focusing on other things here but this is a very beautiful quiet image the golden transfusion of the moment,where the past and the skin of all tension is shed, the empying as in zen but not the void only the luminosity of being the sunlight of our souls.
    I often feel that way when I do sky meditations...

  26. Berlin. You were there?-and I did not know that. But of course you were there, as you had to be, in order to live out a sleepless night and fulfill -via awesome image- the reason for that window ever having existed.