vendredi, novembre 24, 2006

WE ARE ALL JELLY DONUTS



Among the confections favored by sweet-toothed Germans is a jelly-filled pastry called "the berliner." Now, in the German language, articles such as "a," "and," "the," etc. are never placed in front of nationalities or other nouns that designate persons according to their place of origin, although articles, quite naturally, are placed in front of pastries. So, strictly speaking, when President John F. Kennedy intoned on that historic day in 1963, "Ich bin ein Berliner," what he actually said was, "I am a jelly doughnut."

I'm for writing that is willing not merely to record but to transform, writing willing to wrap itself in the chiffon of dream and the goatskin of myth, writing that cannot be intimidated or usurped by any ideology, writing that has the wisdom to admit that much of life is indisputably goofy, and that has the guts to treat that goofiness as seriously as it treats suffering and despair.

I'm for writing that sings in the shower. I'm for writing that shoplifts lingerie at Frederick's of Hollywood, and searches the clear night sky for UFOs. I'm for writing that quivers in your lap like a saucer of jello and runs up your leg like a mouse.

I'm for writing that knocks holes in library walls.

I'm for writing that calls its own number, on a telephone line made from the nose hairs of Buddha.

I'm for writing that shall fear no evil, lo though it walk through the valley of the shadow of lit crit.

I'm for salty writing, itchy writing, steel-belted, nickel-plated writing, that attends the white lilacs after the heat is gone.

I'm for writing that rescues the princess and the dragon.

I'm for writing that runs with the women who run with the wolves.

I'm for writing that glugs out of the deep unconscious like ketchup from a bottle, writing that can get drunk on ketchup as well as on champagne, drunk writing, intoxicated by beauty and ugliness alike —but as scornful of mediocrity as if it were a hairball coughed up by a poisoned cat.

I'm for writing that resembles alchemy. I'm for writing that has an
appetite.

I'm for writing that works all year on its Mardi Gras costume, sewing on feathers and bottle caps with a silver thread; writing that hums the notes that Miles and Dizzy and Thelonius hummed, that combines the motorboat scat that babies sing with that ongoing chirping requiem that some attribute to the central nervous system and others to the angels.

And lastly, I'm for writing that slips into hand-tooled Italian shoes, knots a fine Harvard Cravat about its neck, buttons on a heavy black cashmere and wool topcoat, climbs from a bullet-proof limousine onto a privileged podium in a beleaguered city, and with dignity, and with pride, and with compassion, says to an entire planet that is hanging on to every word, "I am a jelly doughnut."

Tom Robbins

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