I’ve always loved this passage. An old friend once surprised me with a package and tucked into the parcel was a handwritten note saying that it was a piece which in every respect was a true description of who I represented in his life.

I will forever be flattered.

She will have none of that. She is quick, mercurial, intemperate. She has a big mouth, a rash heart, a generous nature (always a liability, in my view), and if my way is always to opt out, to sit in the window seat with a book in my lap, pressing my face against the pane, then her great weakness, indistinguishable from her great strength, is a fatal, manic aptitude for saying yes. She gets herself and us, and me into trouble: into noble causes and silly disputes… into journeys and strange hotel beds and awkward situations, into putting my money where my mouth is and my name on fund-raising pitch letters for things that I believe in but otherwise, I don’t know, haven’t gotten around to yet. She is the curse and wolfman charm in my blood, calling me to shed my flannel shirt and my pressed pants with their sensible belt and lope on all fours into the forest.

Michael Chabon, Manhood for Amateurs

Paintings by Stella Im Hultberg.

Continue reading


I have always been afraid of the dark. It’s an embarrassing phobia for a girl of twenty-four, but it’s real nonetheless.

The one place that reminds me of this fear most is a long and straight walking path that leads from my grandfather’s house to my most favorite hiding place in all the world. This path, shrouded by a wood, seems to stretch with every step I take. The trees, which always look so beautiful from a far, grow tall and menacing as I draw near, casting dark and cruel shadows that tease and mock me as I struggle to place one foot in front of the other in search of my salvation.


Nous n’avouons de petits défauts que pour persuader que nous n’en avons pas de grands.

François de la Rochefoucauld (1613-1680)
Maxime 327, Réflexions ou sentences et maximes morales

* * *

We confess our small faults to persuade others we have no large ones.

François de la Rochefoucald (1613-1680)
Maxim 327, Reflections or Aphorisms and Moral Maxims

une belle chanson

La complainte de la butte de Cora Vaucaire

En haut de la rue St-Vincent
Un poète et une inconnue
S’aimèrent l’espace d’un instant
Mais il ne l’a jamais revue

Cette chanson il composa
Espérant que son inconnue
Un matin d’printemps l’entendra
Quelque part au coin d’une rue

La lune trop blême
Pose un diadème
Sur tes cheveux roux
La lune trop rousse
De gloire éclabousse
Ton jupon plein d’trous

La lune trop pâle
Caresse l’opale
De tes yeux blasés
Princesse de la rue
Soit la bienvenue
Dans mon cœur blessé

Les escaliers de la butte sont durs aux miséreux
Les ailes des moulins protègent les amoureux

Petite mendigote
Je sens ta menotte
Qui cherche ma main
Je sens ta poitrine
Et ta taille fine
J’oublie mon chagrin

Je sens sur tes lèvres
Une odeur de fièvre
De gosse mal nourri
Et sous ta caresse
Je sens une ivresse
Qui m’anéantit

Les escaliers de la butte sont durs aux miséreux
Les ailes des moulins protègent les amoureux

Mais voilà qu’il flotte
La lune se trotte
La princesse aussi
Sous le ciel sans lune
Je pleure à la brune
Mon rêve évanoui




The Sad Song of the Hill by Cora Vaucaire

At the top of St. Vincent Street
A poet and an unknown
Fell in love for a moment
But he never saw her again

This song he composed
Hoping that his unknown
Will one spring morning hear it
Somewhere around a street corner

The moon too pallid
Laid a crown
Upon your red hair
The moon too red
Splashes glory
Upon your tattered dress

The moon too pale
Caresses the opals
Of your jaded eyes
Princess of the street
Be welcomed
In my wounded heart

The steps of the hill are hard upon the wretched
The wings of the mills protect the lovers

Small beggar
I feel your tiny hand
Which seeks out mine
I feel your breast
And your delicate waist
Forgetting my sorrow

I smell upon your lips
The feverish smell
Of a malnourished child
And beneath your caress
I feel an intoxication
Which destroys me

The steps of the hill are hard upon the wretched
The wings of the mills protect the lovers

But look now, it’s raining
The moon drifts
And so does the princess
Beneath the moonless sky
I cry at dusk
For my vanishing dream


L’amoureuse de Paul Eluard

Elle est debout sur mes paupières
Et ses cheveux sont dans les miens,
Elle a la forme de mes mains,
Elle a la couleur de mes yeux,
Elle s’engloutit dans mon ombre
Comme une pierre sur le ciel.

Elle a toujours les yeux ouverts
Et ne me laisse pas dormir.
Ses rêves en pleine lumière
Font s’évaporer les soleils
Me font rire, pleurer et rire,
Parler sans avoir rien à dire.


The Lover by Paul Eluard

She stands upon my eyelashes
And her hair is in mine
She has the form of my hands
She has the color of my eyes
She sinks into my shadow
Like a stone upon the sky

She always has open eyes
And will not let me sleep
Her dreams in full light
Make the suns evaporate
Make me laugh, cry and laugh
Speak with nothing to say