Resolutions

19 Jan

Thank you to Sean Mckenna for this stunning photograph of New Years over the Plaza de Armas, Cusco

Thank you to Sean Mc Kenna for this stunning photograph of New Years over the Plaza de Armas, Cusco

HAPPY NEW YEARS AYLLU! 

Last night as I was out and about for the first time in Aberdeen – back in Scotland ! – a friend asked me about Qayqa. He had asked if he could read the manuscript, and over an odd-looking pisco sour, we chatted about my novel. The main things we spoke of weren’t about the content of the book; he said: “People are waiting. Get her out.”

I will be back in Germany for Easter, and publication should move into its final stages by then. I just got off the phone with Mark, discussing the illustrations. Our collaboration deserves a blog entry of its own, so suffice it to say that it’s not always easy.

4 months into university life and it’s official: I have begun to miss my artist life “back home” (definition of “home”: not the geography; the era). I had a lot of time in Perú; enough time to start reading books again, to consider poetry again, to fill up the pages of my diary (in which I have been doing an appalling lack of writing). For the first time in months I slipped back into the artistic mindframe of How would I respond, as an artist, to this? Would it be a poem, a short film, a short story, a blog entry?

My first New Year’s Resolution is to find a way to balance ART with university LIFE. Of course uni has a ruling priority, but I NEED to have more art in the future than I did in the 1st semester.

More! Art.

New Years' mask

my New Years’ mask for pure joy in 2014

In my last post, I proposed publishing extracts from Qayqa for your critical consideration. Thank you so much for your positive & excited feedback! I am very excited to have you, my ayllu, as my literary critics, so … LET THE GAMES BEGIN.

from me to you

from me to you

THE FIRST EXTRACT of QAYQA 

The following extract was pulled out of the 2nd chapter and has never been read publicly before. Although I am terribly nervous to publish this one first, I think it’s exemplary because it’s a part of Qayqa that I consider wobbly, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Is it wobbly? Boring? Weird?

Here are my QUESTIONS TO YOU:

1.  You’ll notice that it slips between first-person and third-person narrator. This remains true throughout all of Qayqa; in fact, sometimes it will slip to Ochoa the potato as the narrator, and then back to Damian. Do you find this confusing?

2.  There’s a short monologue in which I, as the writer, speak. Is this weird or bizarre-but-okay? I needed it at the time to continue the writing flow, but I don’t know if it is still necessary.

3.  I’ve never almost died of thirst. I have no idea how to portray thirst. So I read Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, because he almost died of thirst in the Sahara, and he does an excellent job of portraying thirst. Any comments on my portrayal? I find it very Walter Moers (for you German-literarture-lovers).

4.  Anything else? (Oh, and there won’t be little * in the book. That was just to make sure the blog layout keeps the paragraph spaces.)

ENJOY . . .

desert

The emptiness around him could hardly be understood by one with a head so full of knots. Emptiness and silence chased each other in circles around Damian, innocently creating an ever increasing space of nothing. The horizon of the desert faded into a fog, giving Damian the thought: “If falling over the first edge lands you in a desert as empty as this one, then to go over another edge would be to disappear entirely.” That was when he decided to never again walk so close to the horizon.

After the bizarre twist of silhouettes he had languidly mouthed words to, after having ridden inside the coils of a worm, Damian accepted his new situation in the desert as the most natural turn of events. It was as though the magical tea had numbed his perception of reality, and his right to demand it. It was also quite pleasant to be alone after that ordeal. Or perhaps it was that his knots itched in the sun, combined with the sudden heat, that left Damian with greater problems than to protest the desert around him. His thirst was bigger than reality.

*

Ritti Soncco. I’m stuck.

I’m stuck in the desert with you, Damian, and I hate it as much as you do. Cluttered abundance, rootless thoughts I find the ends to immediately – an infertile head. I want to lead you out, because as long as you are there, so am I. We are tied together with ropes of distraction and rivers at a standstill. I admit: I cornered myself. You are my creation and we both ended up with knots. I have mine in my writing, and you, I put them on your head for all to see but only for you to carry. Like you, I want a familiar face, the flowing of the world again. But we’re both trapped in the desert and I am doing all I can to get us out.

I drove myself mad in a bookshop today, but just a minute ago, I got up and ran. Try it, Damian! It’s liberation. You can’t expect the words to flow if you stopped moving as well.

*

Women. A flash of light. Women in my head. More light. Women who wanted me to spend the night with them. My eyes were fully open now. It had seemed so important at the time. If only all that lust could quench my thirst now. Dragging my feet never felt so good before. All this cracked earth. Sand you could dig your fingers into. Sweet earth I used to plough with Ti. Sweet seeds sleeping inside, gently opening their shells in a yawn, stretching their baby tendrils out, whispering a blind movement in the warm earth. Not stenching heat that rises to slap your senses. Not like here. How I wish I were a seedling. How I wish I were at the beginning. Not a grown man in a desert, its rising and sinking heatwaves. How I wish Ti were here to tell me what it all means, to take me as a seedling with her in her hand and describe what my colour means, what my qualities are, what I can be used for. I know nothing about myself that can help me now. I am as dry as this desert.

Water. Water. Water. Water. Water.

I run in my little cage.

Dripping thoughts of water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water. Water.

Hours passed without any sign of shade. I walked the cracks of the desert. Blind eyes with nothing to look at but the heat. My knots itched. I hated my mane. It had trembled so nicely in the wind, but without any wind, it was a coat of fur.

Something spotted in the desert. I couldn’t move any faster. It wasn’t moving either. I dragged my feet. Tried not to think about things that quenched my thirst – like water – like women. The sun seems to be balancing on my shoulders. Beads of sweat onto my back, collect at my spine, sway there like impatience.

I inched towards the dark figure in the desert. It was a stained purple. Pale from the sun. Washed by the heat. It lay isolated before me. I stared down at it in disbelief. Miles of sand rushed from the horizon towards me, paused under my feet, and then ran on. It all made me quite dizzy. And this sofa in front of me wasn’t helping one bit.

I squatted before it, placing one hand on it. Cheap material. I couldn’t decide if I cared that I had found a sofa. It didn’t seem important. Just a sofa. I dragged myself onto it. Collapsed into a cave of sleep. My head buzzed on. It lapped the words water water water water water water water water water water water water water water water water water against one another in a tide of thirst.

*

Pacha Mama peered up at her sleeping gift and sent a shudder of clouds sprawling in all directions. She sighed a cool breeze at how frail humans can be and lowered her eyes into the sand again. She was quite curious as to why she had been sent this one of all ones. So far, each one had made for an interesting blossom, but this seedling showed no sign of hatching. It just wandered about in an endless stupor. She knew seeds that slept through winter before they began their growth, but she was old, and she liked a snappy beat in her songs every now and then. 

Photo on 2014-01-19 at 17.53

guess what I’m trying to say

As usual:  comments, facebook (Ritti Soncco), twitter (@rittisoncco) or email me your thoughts:  rittisoncco@gmail.com

 

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