memories of the future

Side trip to Moscow

p68: A city knows nothing of separations–that never dispersing crowd, music without pauses–the people in it are too close together to be close to one another. The narrow streets along which you and I are now wandering, Sonata, are forever knocking into each other for want of space, physical or otherwise // The person who doesn’t want this soup rattles his spoon and pushes the plate away; but people with no appetite for each other tend to rattle on and on, unable to push away what is unnecessary

p67: I recognized the restrained sorrow of the first movement, Les Adieux // but then Stuart Mill was right: to understand is to transgress // unable to take my leave of the sonata of leave-takings // so I invited the sonata, as it alighted from the keys, to walk with me along the muddy cobles in the lanes across the river. In exchange for the emotion the music had given me, I offered to help it finish what it had begun. Happiness, I argued, doesn’t like to oblige people because people don’t give it (happiness) any holidays. If people knew how to live like the sonata, in three movements, interspersing meetings with partings, allowing happiness to go off for short spells, for a few bars at least, they mightn’t be so unhappy

side trip to irreality

p100: Pascal was the first to separate the world of reality from the world of dreams. ‘Reality,’ he asserted, ‘is constant, whereas dreams are flimsy and variable; if a man always dreamed the same dream, and if he woke up every day among new people and new surroundings, then reality would seem to him a dream, while his dream would have all the qualities of reality.’ // reality since Pascal’s time has lost much of its constancy and invariability // nearly every day the morning papers give waking up a new reality, whereas dreams … haven’t we managed to unify dreams?

side trip to resignation

p109: Resignation to one’s fate takes practice. Like any art. Or so citizen Shushashin maintains. He begins every day–after putting on his shoes and washing his face, before throwing on his jacket–with an exercise. Again, the expression is his. This exercise works like this: he walks over to the wall, puts his back up against it and stands there in an attitude of utter resignation. For a minute or two. And that’s all. The exercise is over. He can begin to live.

pico iyer on ondaatje

Quotes from

as if to say that the losses and divisions of the present can begin to be healed by looking at a completely different story in the past

The best way to see what Ondaatje is attempting in every novel he writes is to look at the occupations he highlights. // In Divisadero, the two main characters are a historical researcher and a gambler. And this is no stray detail, I think, because the book takes a great gamble itself by attempting to do things with narrative that have seldom been done before (leaving two major stories up in the air, in the hope that they can be imaginatively tied together by a third).

Claire links the main characters to a “three-paneled Japanese screen, each one self-sufficient, but revealing different qualities or tones when placed beside the others”; the word “adjacent” comes up at least three times, as if to suggest how, in bringing two of the characters together, we are implicitly evoking a third.

we are reminded that Ondaatje has always put his faith, more than anything, in the imagination, and the way we have to step away from the world to make it whole again.

365 grateful project (count=91)

  • Brunch inspired by petitekitchenesse. Yes, romantic morning of self.
  • Preceded by ravine walk with Tanya.
  • Followed by hotpot with Haina, Steven and Albert. Sesame tofu ice cream versus Häagen-Dazs.
  • The Double. Exactly how I imagined Dostoevsky’s funny. First time at the studio, which is more intimate than the main stage. Love love Factory Theatre.
  • Preceded by Sense Appeal Americano to go. Last timehe got Americano and I got Cappuccino.
  • oxford comma

How to imagine St Petersburg in Toronto

Image from

Steven and Haina decided to visit St Petersburg this year.

I decided to find the best guide to St Petersburg.

Why this site is so disorienting // Most websites and city guides try to make things easy for their users. This one does not. // In fact, it deliberately sets out to lead its visitors astray, to tempt them down unknown paths, to plunge them into the thick of the St Petersburg fog. In short, to get them well and truly lost.”

It is not hard to name a film that leaves too little to the imagination. Can the same be said of traveling? Maybe the only thing better than visiting St Petersburg is not visiting St Petersburg.

How to imagine St Petersburg in Toronto
+The Double (play & film)
+Russian Revolution Reenactment
+25 dollar tickets to Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11 “The Year 1905
+Does throwing a shot of vodka into an Americano make it a Russo?

365 grateful project (count=85)

img src=Guy Laliberté

  • On the coast of Kazakhstan
  • On our second date, post Melancholia, post Fred’s Not Here, we looked at the menu at Obikà. We thought about checking out the mozzarella this week but I had last minute craving for takesushi. They have a sushi special for two for the entire month of February. It’s like their v-day special but better priced!
  • Free Wednesday at PowerPlant courtesy of BMO (photography/film/deconstruction/reconstruction galore)