I've saved my favorite part of the Sunday Times:
The puzzle is too easy. With a predictable holiday theme, the trick glyph is detected right away, and the long down entry in the center is guessed without a glance at the clue. I scribble away. The puzzle's done and the cappuccino's not. I flip through the rest of the magazine and become mesmerized by Deborah Solomon's interview with Peter Handke.
What are we to think of this man -- this brilliant writer -- who spoke at the funeral for Slobodan Milosevic? Handke was loved, and now must he be shunned? What does he have to say?
I think [Milosevic] was a rather tragic man. Not a hero, but a tragic human being. But I am a writer and not a judge. I'm a lover of Yugoslavia — not so much Serbia, but Yugoslavia — and I wanted to accompany the fall of my favorite country in Europe, and this is one of the reasons to be at the funeral.Handke too seems tragic. Look at that picture of him. And read on. Handke takes Solomon's interview format -- always short and trenchant -- and makes it sublime.
[Handke, noting his objection to novels as social criticism] Language is language, and language is not for opinions.I fall into a reverie. Partly, I'm thinking is the most real dialogue for me when I am alone, blogging? Partly, I'm wondering if Handke's enigmatic sayings show he's a true artist or if this is exactly the way evil men speak. ["What is truth?"] That sets me thinking about the documentary series "The Staircase," which I've been watching over the past week. There, we see what a man chooses to reveal and accidentally reveals about himself: can we tell if he is a murderer?
[Solomon] What is language for?
This is the question! This is a big question, and there is no answer. Language exists to become language in the great books.
Aren't we using language now in this conversation?
The most real dialogue for me is when I am alone, writing.
I pack up and walk back to my car. I'm thinking of driving over to Borders and reading some Peter Handke. I've got the windows rolled down and the radio set to the 70s decade. At the light, some guys are trying to get my attention. They're smiling. Is it me or is it the quite strange song on the radio, "The Americans"?
I can name you five thousand timesThe song's a guy -- Byron MacGregor -- talking, with "America the Beautiful" playing in the background. The next song is disco, so I pop back to the 60s channel. It's the Monkees. Davy's singing "I Wanna Be Free." The gas tank icon buzzes on, and I change goals from Borders to the BP station. Filling the tank, I remember how thrilled I felt the first time I gassed up the car. I find I'm humming "I Wanna Be Free" to myself.
When the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble.
Can you name me even one time
When some one else raced to the Americans in trouble?
I don't think there was outside help
Even during the San Francisco earthquake.
Our neighbors have faced it alone.
And I'm one Canadian who's damned tired
Of hearing them kicked around.
They will come out of this thing with their flag high,
And when they do they are entitled to thumb their nose
At the lands that are gloating over their present troubles.
I hope Canada is not one of these,
But there are many smug self-righteous Canadians.
I wanna be free,Somehow the road out of the gas station leads me not to the bookstore, but over to the lake, and I park the car and walk all the way to the end of Picnic Point. Why has it been so long since I've done that?
Don't say you love me, say you like me
But when I need you beside me,
Stay close enough to guide me,
Confide in me, whoa-oh-oh
Looking east, toward downtown. (See the Capitol?)
Looking down, contemplating the Althousian hiking shoe: