Tuesday, December 09, 2014

My Utopia and the Time Machine

I am in the French language class again. We read samples of Utopias. Our teacher asks us to write how our own Utopia would look like. I spend a week confused not knowing how my Utopia would look like. In the last moments before the class is held again and we are ought to present our Utopias I write fast my Utopia. It is a village.  Agricultural. People travel by the speed of light. And they had a time machine. They can go back in time.

Ideas not so well linked. Explanations not perfectly given. The time for our class ends. I go walking and thinking why exactly I thought of Time Machine! Is that really Utopic to me?

The other day I am in the kiosk receiving my newspaper when I hear one man, who comes searching for "Le Silence de la Mer" of Vercors, saying: "Sometimes a movie kills a novel by adapting it". I keep thinking of what he said while I am on my way to the restaurant.

I return home after lunch. I sleep for long hours. My body is still in convalescence from that long influenza that caught me lately. I wake up refreshed. I hold the short story of Fitzgerald and head to the kettle in the kitchen to make more tea. "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button".

When I first began reading the short story before days it seemed so silly, with no wisdom behind to find. But as Benjamin was getting younger, passing through the life cycle in a reverse way, I remember my time machine, and my Utopia.

This morning the sky is grey. Washed clothes hanged for drying in the balcony are still wet. I go back to my cup of tea. I finish the short story. Its end is so beautiful. So grand. Like a closing of a Jazzy grand piano rusty riff from New York. So Fitzgerald. I didn't like Fitzgerald when I tried to read "The Great Gatspy". I didn't like neither editions of the movie, the Great Gatspy. I don't like much DiCaprio, because he is so sweet like a candy. And sometimes he looks mean. I hope I am not practicing prejudice. Still I feel one is little free to say even toxic things about celebrities. Anyway, I don't like candies and cakes. I like olives and garlic.

But how Benjamin Button ends is grand. Grand not candily or cakely, but grand olively and garlicly. Like a wine fermented by a demented witch who has bad breath. Now this is rambling. This is called "post-reading rambling", and this occurs when you read something good and try thereafter to write and you are not that good. You ramble, garlicly. Like an olive that grew out of a cactus in an autumn that widows itself bravely.


I go back in memory, in time, to the French lesson. The last one. Our teacher mentioned Tahar Ben Jelloun and how he imagined a village full of children. All but children. An alluring to innocence. Our French teacher asked us if that can be a model to a Utopia.

Now that I end reading Fitzgerald short story I head to Tahar Ben Jelloun novel our teacher mentioned to us before days. I find that chapter. I read. It is like anew to me. Like never read before. I discover. I discover that the novel "The Sacred Night" is narrated by an elderly woman who says in the first lines of the novel: "I have now, that I am an elderly woman, all the serenity to live. I will speak, I will reveal words, I will testify time".   She then goes talking her childhood including when she visited that secret village of children.

I remember that I have bought a new book by Jelloun named "Sur ma mere" translated to Arabic to حين تترنح ذاكرة أمي which means (when the memory of my mother sways). It is thus translated because it talks about his mother's days with dementia and how she started seeing things anew.

Benjamin Button, the movie differs much from the short story of Fitzgerald. That starting scene of a dying lady in her bed narrating the past. That blind man who fabricated a watch. A watch that goes backwards. Then his saying that he did that deliberately. Benjamin being raised in elders house, by a black woman. That adds. I think Fitzgerald would agree on those additions. Fitzgerald is lucky.

Let us go back to Benjamin Button last days in the book, as written by Fitzgerald, and read:

"There were no troublesome memories in his childish sleep; no token cam to him of his brave days at college, of the glittering years when he flustered the hearts of many girls. There were only the white, safe walls of his crib and Nana and a man who came to see him sometimes, and a great big orange ball that Nana pointed at just before his twilight bed hour and called "sun." When the sun went his eyes were sleepy - there were no dreams, no dreams to haunt him." p.86

The sun sneaks on from between the clouds. Hope that will help dry up my clothes.

1 comment:

tracy said...

Hello Dr. Sami,

I didn't like Hemingway when I read him....so much psycoloscoly pain and real pain in his stories...........I have enough to deal with, you know? Don't we all? (sorry, can't spell!)