«Canada este delimitată la nord de aur, la vest de orient, la est de istorie şi la sud de prieteni.» ~ Frances Shelley Wees

Pentru a doua oară în această lună, călătoria de marţi are loc miercuri (!): imaginaţi-vă că Istoria Literaturii Universale este doar o hartă uriaşă, desfăşurată pe “peretele” Zia®ului de la 5. Misiunea mea de călăuză se va reduce la a îndrepta indicatorul spre diverse puncte de pe această “hartă”, lăsându-vă agreabila plăcere şi deplina libertate de a comenta propunerea, dar mai ales de o completa cu alte “obiective” din regiunea/ ţara vizitată. Etapa precedentă: Elveţia.

Asasinul Orb, Margaret Atwood18 noiembrie 1939, Ottawa. Zi norocoasă în familia lui Carl Edmund şi a soţiei sale Margaret Dorothy Killam, când li se naşte cel de-al doilea copil, o fetiţă tare plângăcioasă. Hotărăsc să o boteze Margaret Eleanor. Astăzi, copilul smiorcăit de atunci are în palmares 13 romane, 9 volume de nuvele, 8 volume de eseuri, 18 volume de poezie, 4 cărţi pentru copii şi două scenarii de film; a devenit o scriitoare cu talente multiple şi cu o forţă creatoare ieşită din comun. Deşi căsătorită de două ori, Margaret a ales să-şi păstreze numele de familie cu care s-a născut: ATWOOD. Da, cu ea ne întâlnim în această etapă transoceanică a călătoriei noastre.

Deşi vă recomand să citiţi atât “Povestea cameristei”, cât şi “Asasinul orb”, astăzi vreau să vă propun un poem al doamnei Atwood: “E periculos să citeşti ziare”, publicat în anul 1968. Dacă de pe atunci era periculos, ce să mai spunem despre 2010?! Traducerea îmi aparţine, stiu că mai are nevoie de unele finisaje pe ici, pe colo, de aceea vă rog să fiţi îngăduitori şi să nu o desfiinţaţi prea tare:


E periculos să citeşti ziare ~ Margaret Atwood

În timp ce ridicam castele
simpatice-n lădiţa cu nisip,
gropile se umpleau
cu hoituri scoase de buldozere

şi pe când mergeam la şcoală
spălat şi pieptănat, călcând
pe crăpăturile din ciment
explodau bombe roşii.

Acum că-s mare
şi învăţat şi stau în fotoliu
la fel de calm ca un detonator

junglele-s în flăcări, şi sub-
desişurile-s înţesate de soldaţi,
iar nume de pe complicatele hărţi
se prefac în fum.

Eu sunt motivul, sunt un depozit
de jucării
chimice, trupul
îmi este un mecanism ucigaş,
cu dragoste mi-ntind braţele, dar mâinile îmi sunt doar puşti,
iar bunele mele intenţii – cu totul mortale.

Până şi
ochii mei indiferenţi prefac
tot ceea ce privesc în cicatrice
în alb şi negru ca o fotografie din război,
cum
să fac să mă opresc?

E periculos să citeşti ziare.

De câte ori apăs vreo tastă
la maşina mea de scris electrică,
şi spun ceva despre copacii paşnici

mai explodează un sat.

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7 comments so far

 1 

Am avut de curand un examen care consta in realizarea unui eseu critic pe baza unui “short story” la alegere. Optiunea mea a fost “Happy Endings”, de Margaret Atwood. Am incercat sa stabilesc daca scriitoarea inclina spre “brutalitate” sau “realism” prin modul de abordare a temei principale regasite in povestire. Inca nu m-am decis. Poate ceilalti cititori vor fi mai inspirati decat mine:

“Happy Endings”
by Margaret Atwood

John and Mary meet.
What happens next?
If you want a happy ending, try A.

A.

John and Mary fall in love and get married. They both have worthwhile and remunerative jobs which they find stimulating and challenging. They buy a charming house. Real estate values go up. Eventually, when they can afford live-in help, they have two children, to whom they are devoted. The children turn out well. John and Mary have a stimulating and challenging sex life and worthwhile friends. They go on fun vacations together. They retire. They both have hobbies which they find stimulating and challenging. Eventually they die. This is the end of the story.

B.

Mary falls in love with John but John doesn’t fall in love with Mary. He merely uses her body for selfish pleasure and ego gratification of a tepid kind. He comes to her apartment twice a week and she cooks him dinner, you’ll notice that he doesn’t even consider her worth the price of a dinner out, and after he’s eaten dinner he fucks her and after that he falls asleep, while she does the dishes so he won’t think she’s untidy, having all those dirty dishes lying around, and puts on fresh lipstick so she’ll look good when he wakes up, but when he wakes up he doesn’t even notice, he puts on his socks and his shorts and his pants and his shirt and his tie and his shoes, the reverse order from the one in which he took them off. He doesn’t take off Mary’s clothes, she takes them off herself, she acts as if she’s dying for it every time, not because she likes sex exactly, she doesn’t, but she wants John to think she does because if they do it often enough surely he’ll get used to her, he’ll come to depend on her and they will get married, but John goes out the door with hardly so much as a good-night and three days later he turns up at six o’clock and they do the whole thing over again.

Mary gets run-down. Crying is bad for your face, everyone knows that and so does Mary but she can’t stop. People at work notice. Her friends tell her John is a rat, a pig, a dog, he isn’t good enough for her, but she can’t believe it. Inside John, she thinks, is another John, who is much nicer. This other John will emerge like a butterfly from a cocoon, a Jack from a box, a pit from a prune, if the first John is only squeezed enough.

One evening John complains about the food. He has never complained about her food before. Mary is hurt.

Her friends tell her they’ve seen him in a restaurant with another woman, whose name is Madge. It’s not even Madge that finally gets to Mary: it’s the restaurant. John has never taken Mary to a restaurant. Mary collects all the sleeping pills and aspirins she can find, and takes them and a half a bottle of sherry. You can see what kind of a woman she is by the fact that it’s not even whiskey. She leaves a note for John. She hopes he’ll discover her and get her to the hospital in time and repent and then they can get married, but this fails to happen and she dies.

John marries Madge and everything continues as in A.

C.

John, who is an older man, falls in love with Mary, and Mary, who is only twenty-two, feels sorry for him because he’s worried about his hair falling out. She sleeps with him even though she’s not in love with him. She met him at work. She’s in love with someone called James, who is twenty-two also and not yet ready to settle down.

John on the contrary settled down long ago: this is what is bothering him. John has a steady, respectable job and is getting ahead in his field, but Mary isn’t impressed by him, she’s impressed by James, who has a motorcycle and a fabulous record collection. But James is often away on his motorcycle, being free. Freedom isn’t the same for girls, so in the meantime Mary spends Thursday evenings with John. Thursdays are the only days John can get away.

John is married to a woman called Madge and they have two children, a charming house which they bought just before the real estate values went up, and hobbies which they find stimulating and challenging, when they have the time. John tells Mary how important she is to him, but of course he can’t leave his wife because a commitment is a commitment. He goes on about this more than is necessary and Mary finds it boring, but older men can keep it up longer so on the whole she has a fairly good time.

One day James breezes in on his motorcycle with some top-grade California hybrid and James and Mary get higher than you’d believe possible and they climb into bed. Everything becomes very underwater, but along comes John, who has a key to Mary’s apartment. He finds them stoned and entwined. He’s hardly in any position to be jealous, considering Madge, but nevertheless he’s overcome with despair. Finally he’s middle-aged, in two years he’ll be as bald as an egg and he can’t stand it. He purchases a handgun, saying he needs it for target practice–this is the thin part of the plot, but it can be dealt with later–and shoots the two of them and himself.

Madge, after a suitable period of mourning, marries an understanding man called Fred and everything continues as in A, but under different names.

D.

Fred and Madge have no problems. They get along exceptionally well and are good at working out any little difficulties that may arise. But their charming house is by the seashore and one day a giant tidal wave approaches. Real estate values go down. The rest of the story is about what caused the tidal wave and how they escape from it. They do, though thousands drown, but Fred and Madge are virtuous and grateful, and continue as in A.

E.

Yes, but Fred has a bad heart. The rest of the story is about how kind and understanding they both are until Fred dies. Then Madge devotes herself to charity work until the end of A. If you like, it can be “Madge,” “cancer,” “guilty and confused,” and “bird watching.”

F.

If you think this is all too bourgeois, make John a revolutionary and Mary a counterespionage agent and see how far that gets you. Remember, this is Canada. You’ll still end up with A, though in between you may get a lustful brawling saga of passionate involvement, a chronicle of our times, sort of.

You’ll have to face it, the endings are the same however you slice it. Don’t be deluded by any other endings, they’re all fake, either deliberately fake, with malicious intent to deceive, or just motivated by excessive optimism if not by downright sentimentality.

The only authentic ending is the one provided here:
John and Mary die. John and Mary die. John and Mary die.

So much for endings. Beginnings are always more fun. True connoisseurs, however, are known to favor the stretch in between, since it’s the hardest to do anything with.

That’s about all that can be said for plots, which anyway are just one thing after another, a what and a what and a what.

Now try How and Why.

June 30th, 2010 at 1:46 am
 2 

Parerea mea este ca aici avem de-a face, mai degraba, cu o mare doza de Realism. Si inca unul extrem de cinic, dublat de spirit practic, dar si de o buna cunoastere a vietii de cuplu moderne (se pare ca a scris acest eseu prin 1980!? cand era deja recasatorita). Tind sa-i dau dreptate autoarei, conform variantei F.:
«The only authentic ending is the one provided here:
John and Mary die. John and Mary die. John and Mary die.»

June 30th, 2010 at 1:47 am
Mica
 3 

June 30th, 2010 at 5:56 am
Mica
 4 

June 30th, 2010 at 6:26 am
 5 

June 30th, 2010 at 6:27 am
 6 

Poezia e foarte actuala.
Ca sa parafrazez :
De câte ori apăs vreo tastă
la laptopul meu electronic,
şi spun ceva despre copacii paşnici
mai explodează un sat.
🙁

Multumim pentru traducere !

June 30th, 2010 at 12:14 pm
 7 

Parafraza e si mai actuala.
Multumim pentru “modernizare”. 🙂

Ma intreb, totusi, oare pe ce «vom apasa» peste alti cativa ani, atunci cand si laptopul va fi devenit desuet?

June 30th, 2010 at 12:15 pm