Is there a way to express this unmediated experience? What we are looking for is a description of the places we visit “as they are” or at least as they appear to the newcomer. Playing ignorant, peeling off the layers of knowledge that have shaped our world. So I want to be able to describe the swelling crowd walking slowly on a big avenue here in Rabat, without knowing they came from the afternoon prayer. It was about one o’clock and the sight was magnificent. Uniformed men, businessmen, men with boots and men with sandals, some carrying a little carpet, parading back to work. I was the only one heading in the opposite direction, towards the Gare Rabat Ville to have an afternoon coffee and write these lines, and I had a peculiar feeling of unlawfulness as I walked up against the stream and smiled forth at everyone.
|In the Kasbah of Tanger.|
Even though these tales are not intended to behave like a guidebook, and I am embracing imperfectionism more than ever, some coordinates are needed to keep the reader’s eye. Isn’t this part of a “travel blog”, an account of what I did, where I went, and how I felt in the process? One of the most rigid, hence boring, literary forms – and what is my sputtering protest against it? Does it make any difference being a protocynical countercultural literary snob guising as an adventure traveler embracing larger than life?
It is precisely because these lines don’t need a reader, they are detached of pretensions feigning detachment even of intentions, that its author can breath in the moment. C’est maintenant: les sonnes, les couleurs.
We are going to live in Rabat for a month or two, or in a city within a one-hour radius (that includes Fes and Casablanca) – writing. And never will I sell my soul to the wish of the publisher (sell anything to anyone?) much rather I keep lacing the words into traces of the absurd, the enigmatic that is perhaps our only intimate connection.
Well done, boy. Où sont mes copains, Nietzsche, Dostojewski, les maîtres d’intensité dans l’écriture?