Category Archives: Bolaño

Llamadas telefónicas

“Me gusta variar, le dije. Si follo en la misma postura dos noches seguidas me quedo impotente. Por mí no lo hagas, dijo ella.”
Llamadas telefónicas, Roberto Bolaño, Editorial Anagrama, 1997, p. 137.

Is variety the spice of life? Is change what we need? My translation is as follows: “I told her I like to mix things up. When I fuck the same way two nights in a row, I become impotent. Don’t do it for me, she said.” The thing is: we force the issue, and that is the issue:

  “En su corazón, Leprince ha aceptado por fin si condición de mal escritor pero también ha comprendido y aceptado que los buenos escritores necesitan a los malos escritores aunque sólo sea como lectores o como escuderos.”
ibid., p. 35

The truth is that impotence isn’t caused by repetition. Lack of acceptance of how things are causes the frustration that causes it. Since I understood and accepted with Leprince that  I am a bad writer, I know good writers need me, if only as a reader or a Sancho Panza. Since then I also stopped reading, in particular writers that are still alive. One of the main reasons for me liking Bolaño is that he allows me to read contemporary literature whilst avoiding that I thereby help anyone’s actual career.

But I don’t give up on writing. Neither did I give up on fucking. I just give up on expecting something historical to come from it. Instant and delayed gratification combined is what it is because when I do it, it is done knowing that that’s that and that there is no reason for any complications like these.

“Mi padre, por entonces, tenía un alto puesto en el gobierno de Allende y su preoccupación mayor, pobre viejo, era que la prensa momia desvelase los afanes en que andaba metído su primogénito.”
ibid., p. 85

In my case there would no hostile right wing press that would want to reveal what my eldest son was involved in because there would be no left wing power to be broken with it. Being a nobody not only creates opportunities in the area of privacy but also in the area of remaining uninfected by the illness of opinionitis, the condition by which an opinion swells and breaks open in the public whatever the subject is.

Take me to be B and A to be one of the many people who, once famous, if called always express some opinion, then the following is true:

“Para B, en resumen, A se ha convertido en un meapilas.”
ibid., p. 52.

Which has brought me to where I wanted to be: famous people want to fuck us in a constant variety of ways because they need it to continue to feel their power. It is to them I say: you don’t need to do it for me. Not that I’m going to try to stop you or something, no. Go ahead, I’ve been fucked in so many ways I don’t really mind it.

La parte de Archimboldi

“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.

[Re-posted from the Old Site, original dated 13th December 2009. I am breaking the chronological re-posting order for the unattractive reason that this one is very google-popular.]

(amateuristic 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 & everything, up to and including the non-living things, was moving with scintillating speed. The first was called Paradise, the second Hell, & the only thing Archimboldi wished for was not to live in any of them.”)

[To be honest: I am kinda proud of that translation!]

This will probably be the most recent thing (that will) ever (be) quoted here. As such it is an exception in much the same way that I hope all entries are an exception. As a rule, one would not want to write things that are unexceptional, would one?

Why is Paradise slow?

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