It was hard to come down from the mountains this year. I was so close to ditching everything and getting myself a job there, that I even surprised myself. I thought of one of those jobs that fascinated Kafka – he always fancied being a waiter; the perfect position for someone interested in following closely other people and their conversations while assuming an incognito status. Back in Denmark, I imagined answering my boss: “sorry sir, it will never happen again; I will remember henceforth to put the soap in the bathroom.” Of course, the job I’m talking about is cleaning the cabins up high on some plateau in Norway.

On the way back to Roskilde, I made a stop in Aalborg for a lecture. One of those wonderful survey lectures that takes you from Shakespeare to Nella Larsen in 6 hours. I anticipated it, because I thought that it would make me think nothing other than put me in an admiring mood for all that creative genius that has managed to survive throughout centuries. But as the two lecturers kept emphasizing one word, “transgression,” I got ideas. All the authors discussed, it seemed, managed to create what they did, not because they followed rules, but because they transgressed them. Nothing new in that. However, the thought that I got was rather interesting. It hit me as paradoxical that the people who have been rather disturbed, both mentally and socially, (think of Blake or Virginia Woolf and all the others worth mentioning between them), were also the people who were unusually capable of trusting. And it’s not only their readers that they trusted. Ultimately they trusted themselves to be able to receive the gift of their own creativity. For why does one create, in the end? Surely not because one wants to be remembered? Good writers don’t fall for stupid assumptions.

As the reality principle kicked in, all I could think about – after allowing the mountains to mess with my head – was that I should get serious about how far I should stretch my elastic bottom lines. It occurred to me that it would indeed be very transgressive if I approached the most boring, yet also the most prestigious publishing house, and convince its editors that my writing is the most exiting shit they’ve ever seen since Blake. For a while, that should keep me away from the temptation to compare my own paradox: Norway is a fantasy, but stems from real desire – to that of a supertask: La Norvège, mon amour, Le-shanah ha-ba-a b'Yerushalayim.


Bent said…
Remember Blake (who was considered MAAAAAAAD by his contemporaries), who wrote:

I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.

OK, so he got the country wrong, but still he poured a prophetic cup for Elias...
do you have an obsession with transgressions?
Camelia said…
Yes, Bent, it's all rather pathetic. But have you seen a mountain that doesn't make you a little insane? (OK, this a fallacious rhetorical argument, but I'm sure you'll forgive me - like I said: it's pathetic, not reasonable). If there should be some reason in it, let me address Mana's point. Mana, I can't believe you ask me such a stupid question. Of course I have transgression on my mind - shouldn't we all, unless of course we're all dying to die from boredom. I like transgression because it's seductive, and if it's properly done, it can do marvels for one's sense of oneself, first, and then for one's sense of others. On the other hand, I don't want to dismiss boredom all together as there is something appealing about it: it resists completion - so it acts as a kind of a fragment. And fragments are obsessive - like the 5th cup that the Jews insist on pouring for Elias when celebrating the Passover. It's excessive, transgressive, and marvelously silly in a good way. It instructs us not about following tradition, as everybody stupidly thinks, but about alternative ways of thinking about that which is not present but is to come.

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