Jack London “To Build a Fire”
following the doctor down the deserted place. 54.
“And then it struck him what lay buried far down under the earth on which his feet were so firmly planted: the ominous rumbling of the deepest darkness, secret rivers that transported desire, slimy creatures writhing, the lair of earthquakes ready to transform whole cities into mounds of rubble.” 59.
“We take it for granted that the earth beneath our feet is solid and stationary. We even talk about people being ‘down to earth’ or having their feet firmly planted on the ground. But suddenly one day we see that it isn’t true. The earth, the boulders, that are supposed to be solid, all of a sudden turn as mushy as liquid.” 68.
“From now on, little by little, you must prepare yourself to face death. If you devote all of your future energy to living, you will not be able to die well… Living and dying are, in a sense, of equal value.” 77.
“‘What you need now more than anything is discipline. Cast off mere words. Words turn into stone.”” 78.
“As Nietzsche said, the highest wisdom is to have no fear.” 90.
“As Joseph Conrad once wrote, true terror is the kind that men feel towards their imagination.” 92.
“Apparently Frog was very fond of Anna Karenina.” 94.
“But as Ernest Hemingway saw so clearly, the ultimate value of our lives is decided not by how we win but by how we lose.” 98.
“”Fyodor Dostoevsky, with unparalleled tenderness, depicted those who have been forsaken by God… the ghastly paradox whereby men who had invented God were forsaken by that very God.”
Dostoevsky White Nights (1848).
John Updike‘s short stories.
Last night we were filming at an old elementary school near Munhyeon. I guess it was built in the decade after the war. It looked like a hoarder of cardboard squatted there. There were bundles of cardboard everywhere. One of the PAs told me the school had been abandoned for about a decade in the 60s or 70s. A lot of things were hidden under black dust covers. As we were shooting in the small atrium, I heard unusual noises. I walked down a dark hallway and entered the classroom from where I thought the noises were coming from. The classroom was empty except for chairs and desks. The noises seemed to be coming from the ceiling. Water pipes most likely.
I leave the location after 11 to catch the train home. Once in bed I fall asleep quickly. I am back in a boulder field in the Andes, with the laguna behind me. I meet my oldest brother and he makes a remark that upsets me. I sit and wait and look towards La Posada. My old dad appears and then we’re in his taller (the one he had by the big window before the one he built by the white higuera). He asks me to follow him to the backyard. The old adobe walls are now brick and elaborate. They remind me of the columbarium walls of Cementerio General. White squids hang to dry like sad socks beneath red brick Gothic arches. There’s a staircase, and he tells me there’s treasure if I follow it down to the catacombs. I wake up con corazon pesado. Outside is drizzling and gray.
Concrete tetrapods in Gwangan, Busan, South Korea.
guerra civil chilena del 1891 (revolucion de 1891) congress and the navy revolt against president balmaceda and the army. congress wins, and balmaceda commits suicide. vicealmirante jorge montt assumes power.
steve maccurry and the afghan girl (npr audio).
dream. june 27/28-2015. z swarm.
we live in a white house by the sea. from the window i see a bay like that of gohyon. flags line the waterfront. the sky turns golden as dusk begins. i hear the warning sirens go off on the warships anchored at the mouth of the bay. i tell my dad we need to buy bottled water in case the taps go dry. i feel we should board up the windows too but he doesn’t think it’s necessary. i go outside. it’s peaceful and many people have gathered quietly on the road next to the ocean. they seem to be waiting for something exciting, beautiful or terrifying like an eclipse or the end of the world. the sky turns purple and blue but there are clouds to the west that remain bright. the lights are out in every house. i’m told the flags will change soon. i look at the white navy destroyers assembled at the edge of the bay and they look deserted and lifeless. i go home to wait. there are no lights on inside my house. my dad chops garlic in the dark with his back to me. his head is bowed so low he appears decapitated. the window blinds are shut but some blue light filters from the bottom of the window frame. then i hear the window glass crack as if a bird had kamikazed it. more things start crashing outside and cracking the windows. the cracking of the glass is followed by the fluttering of scaly wings and things trying to get in. little mutalisk break through the glass and rip through the blinds. some of them get tangled on the blinds and drop on the floor and crawl toward us using their wings.
나는 은행에 갔다. 나는 아이스아메리카노를 마셨다. 나는 학원에서 일했다. 나는 강변에서 자전거를 탔다. 나는 책을 읽었다.
my old house in los andes.
i walked to the corner where the opuntia with the peace symbol carved into one of its pad used to stand. when i was a boy i didn’t know if it was a modified mercedes logo or a satanic mark made by the mariguaneros that loitered on the other side of the brick wall. i turned the corner and found my dad’s red pegaso truck burnt and destroyed. he was next to it. he seemed distraught. we walked to his taller where he began making a great roughly carved wooden eagle like the aquila that rests on the standard of roman legions. then he built a sign as large as the wingspan of a condor. he carved into it the english word “war” in rugged letters. woke up.
I speak to old classmates. We talk about my upcoming bday. I show them a slideshow of photos from a long train trip.
Now we’re on a train. We pass a cemetery. I point it out.
The main gate of the cemetery sticks out from the forest like the doors to Jurassic Park.
Behind the cemetery a city of blue and dark blue skyscrapers.
I say “El Cementerio General.” Of what city? Santiago? There are houses near the entrance. The houses are walled with white adobe like a huaso pobre’s hacienda.The walls stand shoulder high. There’s a tall ancient oak tree with roots clawing the ground like a mangrove. We see four figures loitering outside the closed hacienda’s gate. They have long, thick necks and mullets. They’re anthropomorphic hyenas.
A few of us get off the train and approach the creatures for a quick picture. The place is humid like June in Ithaca. The hyenas appear to be small men dressed in costumes, walking on two legs and grumbling. They scramble away through a hole under the hacienda’s gate. Rising from behind the wall, two columns painted with red, green and yellow Buddhist motifs. The columns hold a Korean temple-style roof. The hyenas stick their head out from a gap on the wooden gate. The three or four heads seem to belong to one body like the guardian dog of Hades.
Before we can get close to the hyenas we’re intercepted by two nuns with black veils and habits. As they approach us, an arrow flies in front of the older nun. We look up and see four or five metalhead youths on the second floor of an a-frame house. Their terrace extends to the branches of the oak tree. The teens have long black hair and lounge about on sofas and bean sacks. Some sport black iron maiden tshirts and ripped jeans. The mother nuns reprimands them. She turns to us. She’s ancient, small and fierce. The nun looks at the first one of us. She says to him “Ud. es perfecto.” and touches his arm. To the next guy she says, “Ud. esta gordito. Mire, su polera le queda chica.” The guy’s belly bulges and sags over his waist como un saco de harina blanca. I’m nervous. I don’t want to be made fun of. She looks at me and says “Necesita un poco mas de trabajo”. Then moves onto the last guy. To him she says “Esta muy flaco.” I wake up.
a nightmare. i’m in my old house in los andes. it’s dark and there’s something wrong. i’m not sure what. i walk down the empty rooms expecting to find it. the clouds outside the house reflect the orange streetlights of the city. i wake up in my bed in korea. something heavy on my chest. a large dark cat. i can’t move. it’s growling. i can see it’s red-yellow eyes reflected on a window next to my bed. i can feel its grumble on my chest. i struggle to move until it stops growling and then i’m free. scared. ~4 am.
the cat from jagalchi market. i shall finish a picture book by the end of january.
oliver jeffers talks about working on picture books.