“Esa noche, mientras trabajaba en la puerta del bar, se entretuvo en pensar en un tiempo de dos velocidades, uno era muy lento y las personas y los objetos se movían en este tiempo de forma casi imperceptible, el otro era muy rápido y todo, hasta las cosas inertes, centellaban de velocidad. El primero se llamaba Paraíso, el segunda Infierno, y lo unico que deseaba Archimboldi era no vivir jamás en ninguno de los dos.”
Roberto Bolaño; 2666, p. 1001-1002, Anagrama, Collecion Compactos, Barcelona 2009.
[My English translation: "That night, whilst he worked the door of the bar, he whiled away the time, thinking of time at two speeds, one of them was very slow and persons and objects moved in this time in a way that was barely noticeable, the other was very fast and everything, up to and including the non-living things, was moving with scintillating speed. The first was called Paradise, the second Hell, and the only thing Archimboldi wished for was not to live in any of them."]
Why is Paradise slow? I guess because it gives you the time to think things through, and to appreciate what happens instead of merely playing along.
Why is Hell fast? Presumably because its speed is unforgiving. Shit happens - and you are a part of ‘that shit’. No time to write about it. Nor to expand on it.
Why doesn’t Archimboldi want to live in either? I haven’t got the faintest of clues, as I do not think Archimboldi is one of the best worked out characters in this (or indeed in any other) regard, & whether that’s a good or a bad thing you will have to work out for yourselves. But I do know that Paradise is boring and Hell is painful. And therefore that neither is better than reality, even if reality cannot truthfully be spelled with this or that capital letter (which is an interesting application of truth, said in passing).
“So conceived and supported, the Test of Time is nevertheless made ineffective by the intractable naiveté of its assumptions. For isn’t it naive to suppose that history will allow only the best to survive? (..)
(..) Considering the frequency of natural calamities, our treatment of warfare as a seasonal sport, and the insatiable squirrelliness of human greed, it should be an occasion for surprise when anything excellent survives.”
W. Gass, Tests of Time, The University of Chicago Press, 2002, p. 110-111.
As is his habit, Gass approaches his topic as one who out of curiosity approaches a body lying on the ground only to skirt it and skid away at a 90° angle from his incoming trajectory without even having ascertained whether the person whose body was near inspected was still alive.
The question isn’t whether what survives is excellent but whether who excels is, or can be, mortal. The answer is that the excellent cannot perish. Read more »
He flat out forgot what he wanted to write about. The only thought that came to him was that ‘flat out forgot’ had quite a nice ring to it but that ‘that ‘flat out forgot’ had a quite nice ring to it’ didn’t (have a nice ring to it). That thought was disappointing he thought. “Keep it simple!”, so he was told; and he wondered whether that was what they said to his son’s friend, who killed himself the other day. It must have gone splash. That would have been simple enough, comic book simple. Not that it wasn’t well meant advise or anything. He was sure it was even good advise. Like ‘show, don’t tell’ which he got from some literary agent website advertising master classes for aspiring writers. He was an aspiring writer but he didn’t want to be taught, let alone recognize a master.
Maybe they both overcomplicated things. Maybe only one of them recognized it was due to aspirations that they couldn’t possibly fulfill. He felt like a one armed pole vaulter but he knew this was just complex self-deception covering up simple self-deception. Diversion was needed. Like when you are in a moving vehicle and you wonder what the person living over yonder in that house beyond the grazing cows is feeling like. She could have talent without aspiration. It was easy for him to fall in love with her because she Read more »