Connections, Coincidences (and naivety)

(photo credit: Thomas Hodges)

 

WARNING – I’m in a strange mood.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote down a few things in a little notebook, and I’ve slept with it under my pillow ever since, hand resting on its smooth cover as I drift off. In the notebook, I wrote about going to Iceland, preferably in March, and then maybe Paris on the way home. That was about a week before I even came across the Gullkistan Residency that I wrote about in my last post. If you’ve read that post, you’ll know that I am, in fact, going to Iceland in March to work on my novel.

A few days ago I found a musician that I really liked, called Keaton Henson. His music is so beautiful, and as I listen to it I let all my anxieties about what the hell I’m doing with my life come to the forefront where I can deal with them properly.

Today I was researching places to submit a personal essay that I wrote, and came across an article on Rookie Magazine about “Tumbleweeding”. Tumbleweeds are the writers that volunteer and live in Shakespeare and Company in Paris for free, for a short period of time. All you have to do is ask. This search brought me to a blog post in which tumbleweeds were being interviewed. One of the questions was “what is your favourite song?” The girl responded with “You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are”, by Keaton Henson. Not only the artist that I had just recently found, but the very first song of his that I heard and fell in love with.

I’ve been looking into flights to Iceland for next year, and it seems that I’ll have to make a stop in Paris. I know it’s incredibly naive of me to think anything of these coincidences, but they still make me wonder. I think that once I stop wondering, I won’t be myself anymore.

Anyway, thanks for listening to me ramble on. I hope you have a great day.

– Tamara

 

Christian Bök at the QUT Literary Salon

“Many artists seek to attain immortality through their art, but few would expect their work to outlast the human race and live on for billions of years. As Canadian poet Christian Bök has realized, it all comes down to the durability of your materials.”—The Guardian

This evening I attended the last QUT Literary Salon of the year, where Christian Bök was set to read from his book, “The Xenotext”. Bök is a Canadian poet who does a lot of experimental work. I’m a big fan of his book, “Eunoia”, where he dedicated each chapter to using only one specific vowel. His latest project is something I had never heard of before – he has encoded a poem into a strand of DNA and then put that DNA into the genome of a living, and unkillable, organism. This organism’s proteins then respond to the poem, and spell out the subsequent lines, creating a never-ending, living, and unkillable poem. This idea absolutely fascinates me, although I’m still a little confused about how it all works while I’m writing this. I feel so privileged to have heard Bök read out the first words that the organism responded with. The “Xenotext Experiment” means so much more to me than a fusion of science and language; it shows that language can live forever.

I’ve always looked at books as time capsules. I have a book in my bookshelf about Leninism, and I love it not because I’m really interested in its content, but because it was published in Russia during the second World War. It has seen so much, and has been passed through the hands of so many. Bök’s “Xenotext” is an extension of the notion of language as a time capsule, as this poem will continue on long after humans have gone, or until, in Bök’s words this evening, “the sun itself explodes”.

Christian Bök was the final reader of the evening, and there were three student readers before him. Each of them had their own specific style, ranging from prose poetry to more traditional, rhythmic verse. I always love to hear the work of other young writers, and be inspired by the uninhibited risks they take. Hopefully next year I’ll be reading some of my own work at the literary salon.

The salons are held every month at the Menagerie, an intimate café/bar in the QUT Creative Industries Precinct. For more information on the salons, and videos of the readings, check out their official blog at: https://qutliterarysalon.wordpress.com/

Thanks so much for reading,

Tamara Drazic