[ilds] Just Being, Unsullied

Denise Tart & David Green dtart at bigpond.net.au
Sat Jun 19 16:19:43 PDT 2010


Greetings from the antipodes.,

Came across the following in Robert Dessaix's Arabesques:

"And, if I am honest with myself, I dont even much like North Africa, I always leave disillusioned: one oasis begins to look much like another after a while, one stretch of sand dunes is indistinguishable from the last, the cities, even Tunis, are for the most part chaotic, grubby and dangerous, the religion is too all pervasive for my taste, the unrelieved maleness of every encounter tiring, the disdain for almost every value I hold dear numbing after a while.....yet I go back. To disentangle myself from the educated clutter of my everyday life. To be naked again. To relive that moment when for the first time what had been kept invisible began to show through. For many Europeans with a veiled second self North Africa is still the perfect vantage point to let this happen. For some it might be an ashram in India or some remote village in Borneo, even a Greek Island might fill the bill for others, but for me it is North Africa. " (Dessaix, Arabesques, Picador, p 237)

When I read these words I could not helping thinking Lawrence Durrell and his island narratives; places of escape after trauma, clutter & failed relationships: Corfu after Pudding Island and the English Death, Rhodes after World War Two and the 'apes in nightgowns' of Egypt, Cyprus after the relationship with Eve Cohen went pear shaped. On the islands Larry could just be, unsullied, absorbing the sea and sun and tangerine tones, the wine and timeless culture as he saw it, another self showing through and to me the real LD despite the fictionalisation of these places and characters. The island book are so enchanting because they are the veiled self speaking, the other Larry pouring through, not the tortured Larry of the Quartet and Quintet, a purer one - the one wrote This Unimportant Morning and one who would appreciate the lines:

"How can men be so stupid as to clamber about galleries

 when one can just stand above Klima in Milos

 and feel the centuries where the shepherd is the artist

 and the goats make the music with the wind?"



Cheers



David



16 William Street
Marrickville NSW  2204
+61 2 9564 6165
0412 707 625
dtart at bigpond.net.au
www.denisetart.com.au

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