Some call me Priscilla DePrimo (comtefabu) wrote,
Some call me Priscilla DePrimo


Wandering around Hanoi, there are always beautiful ladies selling baskets of fruit in the dappled sunlight and gangs of people sitting curbside with cups of coffee in their hands. Conical hats pop up in the crowds doing their afternoon shopping. Some people are even smiling, and it's scenes like this -- with the throngs of women in ao dais and slippers, the smell of the flower markets, the macho boys with delicate hairstyles on their motorbikes and fabulous coffee on every corner -- that make me so glad i ended up here, even if it's just a pit stop on the way to someplace else. It's like a small flash of serenity that vanishes at the blink of an eye, leaving only the exhaust fumes and cat calls and general rudeness behind. Turn the next corner and there it is again for a few more seconds... another corner has to be turned and another and another. I spend my time chasing tableaux. It's a time-consuming effort, but i'm obsessive.

I've been thinking about a lot of people lately, mainly people i've randomly bumped into on my way... they're sending messages and emails en masse and out of nowhere. Some of these people i haven't heard from in well over a year or sometimes more, but it's a message i got from K that shocked me... like a missive from another world. And it was another world: budapest 2005, snow on the ground, music pouring from the old habsburg conservatory and cigarettes and literature and parties and galleries and strangers and everything under ice. It was a perfect harmony; it was a tableau i've never seen anyplace else.

K is special because when we met he was about 18 and very unsure of what he was doing with his life... very passionate and anxious... it turns out that he's also a fan of the one-way ticket experience and made himself into an expat lodged in buenos aires for now. Here's a part of the message (you dirty voyeurs):

"I do remember that chance meeting in budapest when I sat with you and my cousin Petrus in a sheltered garden bower and talked with you about the great beyond with candles and cigarettes and frigid air. I am a little surprised you remember me, but not too surprised, because I remember you too, and something specifically you said. That when you feel all pent up inside and your mind is chaotic and moving a million feet per second that you turn to art and artistic creation and let all the energy flow through and into this like a great release. Like a great cycle then life seems to be. Ever since then in times of mental struggle I have thought to turn to art to ease my soul, but I find that I lack the confidence required to even start. I find solace then in knowing that you and others have that great ability, and so I know that art is not dead. Some day perhaps, farwhen, I might finally connect my creative energies and some artistic materials to blaze away and create something truly beautiful, but...."

It was a snapshot of a part of my life spent in the company of novelists, unemployed circus performers, painters and winos... most of whom would later leave their countries in the hope they'd find something more striking somewhere else. I guess that's why i left too, in a way... that's also why i never stopped leaving. There's always something more striking just down the road, and i've spent the last couple of years chasing the glitter and acquiring a host of issues along the way (mental struggle as K calls it).

It's changed me. I tend to wander around and get lost constantly (and preferably), i have no direction whatsoever, i take daydreams more seriously than personal advice, i can't be bothered with organizing anything, and there's incredible tension when i do settle down (or try to, in the case of saigon). All i care about are images and sensations, and in my experience those are richest when found along the way, randomly as i turn a corner or step off a train. Little unexpected discoveries, and they're everywhere but where you're headed.
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