Monday, July 26, 1999

The note that Beirut tags on at the end of ‘Akká, I think it should say that there is no morality without a surplus. I don’t know how Beirut would put this. Despite everything he’d gone through, Pasha somehow had more than he needed, and to his credit was struggling to give some of it to others. Beirut, on the other hand, is just sorry and falling far short … there’s a note of belligerence in her admission, though—she knows that as soon as she hits her stride she’ll blow him right out of the water.

– Radio-Guinée plays voodoo music 24-7

I feel like I’ll have little to say during the weeks I spend at Farhad’s. Very little genuine stimulus asides Disney movies. Strikes me as funny, though, that when I go to foreign countries, my notebooks always fill up more with my own fiction, &c., then with material on the place I’m actually in. I must be pretty oblivious. I see everything through a filter of my own imagination.

[Missing a half page: sketches of paintings for The Patchwork Girl of Oz, and the beginning of my description of Risson]

with a chip missing from his front teeth. Streetwise: he took perfect care of me on the trip up and now that we’re here he makes jokes about me in Creole for his friends. He always enters a room singing at the top of his lungs.

Fanfan is quieter, drooping eyes and a long nose somehow commensurate with his being a brilliant drummer. He slides his forefinger around the hide as he plays, making the tamtam talk. He always sits beside his walkman, and this morning I turned around to see him and Winzeler with their hands to their hearts for the national anthem.

[Fanfan in a “Mr. Dope Manners” T-shirt, and a half-erased sketch of Myriame]

Myriame has the backswept profile of an ancient Egyptian child. She’s the intelligent, capable, sweet older sister of an obnoxiously beautiful girl, Christelle, who in turn wears prim glasses and shoulder pads at the age of 18. 2nd generation Bahá’ís. I don’t really get it.

There have been no sweeping landscapes to draw here. The school has a soccer field like any in Canada, except that the goals and rough poles crooked in cinder blocks, and the whole thing is lined with palm trees. I like it out there, but a second away you come to the road, and it’s broad and parched and with goats. The same icing-sugar grit coats everything, kids on the street have their legs smudged all over with the same dry white dust. The road goes on, there’s the odd breaking-down pickup, and then only crappy buildings with flaps in front for shade and no trees at all, anywhere. Level and eventless.

For Ichiban Woman: the opening rock song has Ava knockin back apple brandies, trying to work up the nerve to go up to the alien elegant stranger, or else get so blasted that she thinks he’s coming over to her. Already multiple.

For Patchwork Girl: what is it with black men and moustaches?

[Mathieu pontificating with maracas in his hand, and Édriss writing in a book]


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