“a writer is a foreign country”—Marguerite Duras
I am having fun imagining the countries that I am, the half-forgotten languages spoken—or scratched onto stone—there, the lofty unexplored mountains in the interior, the seaports bustling with traded goods from all around the world, the grand old trains that run between the picturesque stations, the untroubled inhabitants (old as Methuselah, wise as Merlin, perky as Pippi Longstocking flipping pancakes while her pigtails bob).
There are swans there, erasing slowly their own trace on water as they go. Filagree butterflies, onyx burros. And in some whitewashed doorway on one of the islands I can’t quite make out the name of, a bent-tailed cat named Saturday.
Bookstores with windowseats, schoolbuses, Roman roads. Affable seamonsters in the margins, seen in the harbors in months without “r”s at low tide, rambunctious until lulled by sea shanties or roots reggae or sometimes local monks perching themselves on the seawall and offering a sequence of Gregorian chant. Peppers strung down terra cotta walls, and inner patios luscious with shade where artists paint away their afternoons, after a lunch of grill-striped vegetable slices with cold harissa.
Pull out your passport; come explore.
image: Yehuda Edri Collection