li[s]tless lu [Chronicles of Dis–Infection, midJune2012]


 

The thick heat of summer proper has set in. Thick is just one of an array of idoneous attributes: slimy, sticky, unyielding, dense, tropical, discombobulating, etc. There are certainly many more terms that could go where the etc. stands, e.g.: sweltering, vicious, viscous, lurid, paralytic, somniferous, scorching, calescent, inhuman, temporary and so forth. You probably by now get the idea of what the temperatures are like here presently and for the forecastable future. And if you are quick on your neck you might have any number of hypothesis going as to why I’m layering on the hyperbole as clumsily as I am, among others four of them being: b) pathetic, old bluster–bear t) not too many brilliant things to be said about the meteorological conditions so you might as well go ahead and aggrandize, bloody aggrandizer l) LU’s spoiled citizens’ now too are experiencing the charms of global climate change  e) […zzzzz…..zzz…..zzzzz…]

As far as I can see [in my brainbox] all of these above apply to a certain degree. Just as important is the fact that I’ve been partially successful in rewiring my well–conditioned attitudes concerning precipitation and cloud-coverage. I’ve quit resenting grey skies and rain and I’m rejecting the frightfully peer-pressured dictum of cloud-free, sunshiny days as necessitating at least an hour or two in the sun for any self-respecting, tan-aware, outdoorsy-conscientious Swiss citizen. The people who give you the grave eye if, on a day of zero overcast and 25plus degrees, you so much as hint at the possibility of staying indoors [for reading, DVDs, whatnot] or a night out at the movies – a veritable sacrilege in the eyes of the deities of iced macchiatos, a gob of phlegm spat in the temple of the body/epidermis. You cannot, you must not.

But I do, that is, I don’t, I don’t any longer want to be a bimbo of meteorological conditions; I was at the gym yesterday with a few other outcasts, the sun battering the living shit out of everybody outdoors, I stayed indoors today [almost] and the other day, when it rained, I was outside getting my 10k on [which of course was heaven with the cooling spray from above]. Nothing special, a trifle in the run of the world but still, to me, in the endless, phantasmic universe of my subjectivity, a victory over my fucky habits. Yipyip, hurrah!

• • •

I might be wrong about this and I hope I am in some desperate sort of way but today I came to a harsh realization: as much as I like LU, the town does not seem to be worth the bother, from a purely literary perspective that is. How so? I am not referring to the dearth/absence of good literature from LU for which I am responsible as much as any other writer from this town has ever been. A dearth which in itself seems to ominously point towards a paralysis of the imagination, a smothering of all writerly talent. No, this sore point [by which I myself am much afflicted] is not what I have in mind at present. What I refer to is simply the book I bought yesterday: “Luzern, Luzern…”. The title alone with its meager reference, its absolute absence of sonority is nothing if not a coprolite augur of the writings to be found therein. Nor does the subtitle leave all too much room for interpretation: “Literarische Spuren”, literary traces. Though it rather should be titled “Literarische Spurensuche”, a search for literary traces, desperate and ruinous. The statistical foretoken is that the very generously font-sized book of 230 pages contains the footling fragments of over five dozen writers….hmmmm…. the preliminary deduction?  LU ≠ literary muse

The next hint can be found in some of the titles: “An exhaustion of all members” [very vivid I would say, by the author of “The last Mohican”], “Depressing beauties of nature” [this is literally not even a single paragraph long, by, who else, Dostojewski], “How to travel Lucerne” [this one depresses by the fact that Goethe actually sojourned some time in our city and yet there is only a line’s worth of reference, dang], “Anger against everything” [jup, Kafka, he goes to the Casino and ends up feeling about his day here as described in the title] and let’s not forget Schopenhauer “A tiny, ill-constructed city”.

Each one taken by itself would perhaps not cast such a dire light of literary-eminence-despondency-in-face-of-Luciaria but then taken together they do paint a somewhat unfavorable panorama, as opposed to what the mountains limn against the dark colors of Lake Lucerne. Perhaps the most pedestrian point: Thorwaldsen’s stony leo, zenith of clichés, is routinely mentioned as one of the city’s shining high points. Equivalent to picking out Time Square’s Micky D for special mention. The best spin I can put on this is that these are the views of tendentially pessimistic literati from historically outdated times and that, had Wallace, Bellow, LeGuin or Mda ever [bothered to] come round this way, they would’ve written an euphoric, anthologized travelogue, “A supposedly fun place I’ll never visit again” or what-have-you.

 

• • •

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About tmabona

writer, reader [bolano, DW, bellow, deLillo], runner, badmintoneer
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