I recently left a city I now long for. This happens when you leave home for a place that you know will be home for just a handful of days as this new place most often promises respite from the burdens of your always-home. In this city, I could feel all the longings of my body, my soul, pulsating wildly.
To this city, I took with me Ana María Shua’s book Microfictions, which was translated by Steven J. Stewart, and I read a handful of these microfictions every night before going to sleep. (Thank you for putting this on my radar, José Angel Araguz!) Many of these short pieces read like poems to me. I dreamed about this one while in Barcelona:
The Last Coffee
The woman’s hands were uselessly shredding the paper napkin: this is the last time, she said, in a quiet voice. His hands were dark and hairy and he was caressing one of her hands atop the bar: this is the last time, he repeated. And though both of them knew it was a lie, they looked at each other with genuine anguish, because they also knew that emotion stimulates desire; it establishes memories and justifies, more than anything else, sadness.
While this made me think of this Peanuts strip almost immediately: This song always depresses me, I kept turning these three sentences around in my mind. Days later, a friend emailed me with a lovely video of Nancy Campbell briefly discussing her book How to say ‘I love you’ in Greenlandic.
One of the pages in this beautiful book then introduced me to the word “qiippoq” meaning “she yearns for something; or, she dies of longing for a pleasure which cannot be obtained.” (And in reading that MIEL Books created 175 postcard books of this very book, I feel this very sort of yearning because, alas, it has been sold out for a couple of years.)
Longing. And then a day later this quotation from David Foster Wallace appeared in my Tumblr feed: