April 8, 2011 by Marcus Speh
first week of term: no literary output but plenty of imaginary input. done: the usual flashes each night, penned with eyes closed. one in german, one in english, 200 skinny words each, written in my 3.5 x 5.5 inches moleskin, which i love so much that i swear the little thing finishes my stories at night when i sleep, or try to sleep because what i do is churn and burn like a kiln, a teaching, managing, coughing kiln, yes, i think i’ve become a place where stuff turns into other, more valuable stuff, but it happens without my doing anything consciously. i fall from one sentence into the next, i can barely keep my shoes on. i’m on a low-literature diet now. i still buy books but when i buy them i feel bad and on the way home i tell them “i got you not to read but to have, to own, to cuddle, i hope you don’t mind, i am sorry i am that way and i hope you can forgive me.“ sometimes, when a book’s too mad (one would think the little buggers are just plain grateful to have been bought in the first place! but no!) it won’t open when i want to look at it. as if you stand in front of a house and have mislaid the entrance. happened to me with thomas bernhard’s “the loser“ only yesterday, would you believe it. my ideas get more insane, not less. today, in the car, while listening to a radio france broadcast on edition gallimard (the great and glorious), i conceived of an entire language course for geniuses, the ultimate one. it wasn’t hard because, you see, the course doesn’t have to have any content: these are geniuses, they learn by osmosis. you motivate them by withholding. instead of text and pictures and so on, all the course is and does is make the genius feel warm and welcome and less worrying about the place of geniuses in the world, which is, we imagine, not a sunny one. in the introduction to the course, i’d proselytize:
“the makers of this course know that you, the genius, are a lonely creature. we know that you can learn this language without effort. that’s the problem. what’s the point of learning if there’s no effort. you could just as well have been born dead. the makers of this course know this, you can trust us. open this course and relax into your own experience of learning by being.”
and so on. given the small numbers of geniuses on this planet, this idea is never going to produce a commercially viable product, hence i have no problem mentioning it here. if you, however, dear, highly esteemed reader, manage to monetize “The Ultimate Language Course For Geniuses“, do give me credit. you know where to find me: in my moleskin-covered twin peaks. now, i do feel better, thank you.
distractedly yours, marcus speh –
but you can call me unseasonally, surreally, ‘yves‘ this whole week long.
MS works as a lecturer, who has just survived the first week of teaching after a sabbatical of seemingly infinite length. he bears little to no resemblance to Yves Montand, who was a great French chansonnier and actor with fantastic hair. Except perhaps elements of his voice. Not when he sings. After MS’ last two outpourings you can look forward to an upcoming guest post by michael j solender next week…