Coinciding with the period of intended book work, over the course of five months I travelled throughout a severe stretch of Portugal, the Andalusian recesses of Spain, a tad of Brittany (France), and, for three months of that period throughout an impressive portion of Morocco.
It was largely there, in Morocco, that, be it for severe emotional and physical burden or a self-fulfilling prophecy, I mostly halted editing work on the book. Most was already written, but the endless editing and formatting effort generated severe fuel for procrastination.
That Moroccan experience overwhelmed me quiet so that I’ll have to dedicate a separate write-up not only to that but those other travels, which, in retrospect, felt more original than what I’ve done in recent years.
Beyond that, I finally advanced my French facility to a respectful enough, conversational extent, owing in part to a severe amount of French reading (my reading faculty already somewhat developed from before); in part to the YouTube natural content; obviously the ten days of Bretagne; but predominantly due to the relentless intent of speaking French throughout the three Moroccan lunar cycles.
Morocco, a former French colony, French still makes for the dominant second-language (third rather, following the vernacular Darija and then classic Arabic, discounting the Berber languages), but English rapidly seeks to take the crown and makes for the more ‘politically popular’ option. Yeah, I was quiet severe in my pursuit, as far even as frustrating many interactions and persons with whom I may otherwise have developed a more amiable connection.
French was the priority, and as far as languages go, priorities must be adhered to, and sacrifices be made in ways not everyone is willing. It was a bit ruthless on my part, but the results, not too shabby.
Literature-wise, in contrast to guided production, the consumption of it demands no discipline on my part. Tons of milestones:
Dante’s Comedy, and this, ~ third time around, a (side-by-side) reading of the original Tuscan Italian with English to supplement the affair. Well, read as far as Paradiso Canto XX before again parting for travel without a paper copy. So most of the Comedy. Followed the Julio Jorge Borges dual-reading approach. Will address separately.
French poetry: heavy immersion into the world of Baudelaire, then handfuls of Rimbaud, Verlaine, Mallarmé (the symbolists) and select others. In the very initial stages, I must have reread Rimbaud’s Bateau Ivre upwards of a hundred times. This was monumental.
French drama: Racine’s Andromaque, read super slowly twice.
French prose: Balzac’s short novel La Maison du Chat-qui-pelote, Andre Gide’s L'Immoraliste and, the main course, Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. The latter I will separately address. The former, perhaps superficially. That is, more superficially.
At a high level, the rest does not warrant commentary. Otherwise, will fork and descend accordingly.
I have inexhaustible topics that piled up during the last eight months. I’ll have to explore them slowly by means of diligent retroaction.
To be haste is to have that re-encounter with an old friend over the respectively stimulating, depressing or even mind-altering beverages or herbs, after much time amiss, and attempt to wedge a basketful of disparate experiences into that frolic encounter, expecting anything but superficial hubbub. I’m not fond of those encounters.
Questions, comments? Connect.