4 November 2008

Letter 4.12

So Vanity Fair is back in bizness, eh? Enjoyed the Marquez piece even more than '100 Years of Boredom' -- much more to the point and less 'diffuse, despite the horror-drawings. Looks like a high-class spread, some competition for the New Yorker.

Your WHAT [1] (me worry?) is obviously in a class of its own, without competition.

In the ethnic riot department competition is fierce on a worldwide scale, and Sri Lanka has little chance of carving out more than a minor niche for itself; but this is provincialism if anything is -- in that department Sri Lanka stands high above every place I've ever seen, as the most non-significant country to care deeply and intensely what everyone is saying about it (nothing at all, usually) -- and so there is a feeling of mixed dismay and pride that for a few days, at least and at last, they were able to get some play in Europe and U.S. rags. They believe, like Nixon, that the press is kicking them around; on the other hand being ignored totally -- the usual case -- is hardly an improvement. Ella, however, was unaffected save for the razing of one Tamil -- owned tourist lodge, which sent the tourists fleeing in their nightclothes through the tea bushes. Nearby towns -- Bandarawela, Badulla -- were among the most seriously affected.

For reasons entirely unrelated to the riots, I must move. A site about ½ mile away has been tentatively selected, and provided the villagers get it together, work should start soon. I will be surprised indeed if I'm out of here before the end of the year, but early next year seers a reasonable bet, I thus will involuntarily maintain my record of never (in adult life) managing to stay in one dwelling for as long as 2 years. I'd be perfectly content to stay here -- the owner wants the land back to build a house -- and hope that with the next move I will live long enough (and that, in one place) to break this pattern. The move will put me several steps closer to the edge that I generally live on. (I may name the new kuti 'The Center for the Study of Peripheries'.) Like you, I'll have a river below me, but in my case it will be about 500 feet below, so fetching water would be s difficult task.

Meanwhile, I design an ever-increasing number of kutis only one of which (at most) will become reality. Higher than actuality stands possibility.



[1] William Head Amateur Theatre -- a long narrative poem of mine about a night out at a prison production of MacBeth. -- Hūm.

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