2020-07-06 Five Questions

@cosullivan is trying to bring some interactivity to Gemini-space and has asked “five questions” in her gem-space in June, and five more in July.

This post attempts to answer the earlier questions from June. I’m late! I’m late.

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is drive with my window rolled down and the music turned up. What is on your summertime playlist?

I have an old iPod Classic hooked up to a loudspeaker in the kitchen. I loaded it with a few dozen GB of music and that’s it. I hardly listen to new music anymore. These last few days I’ve been listening to Evanescence. It’s some sort of soft metal: emotional and not raging. Most of the lyrics are about failed relationships, guilt, care, loss. I’m a melancholy person and I have to take care: must not approach the abyss. I hardly ever listen to The Sisters of Mercy, God Speed! You Black Emperor, or The Cure anymore. If I do I’ll wallow in misery for a day. And thus, Evanescence it is.

Other bands I’ve listened to in the recent past: The Gaslight Anthem. Bruce Springsteen.

I recently moved back to the area where I grew up. Tell me about where you grew up - has it changed? If you left, what would induce you to return? If you’ve always lived there, what would induce you to leave?

Many years I lived in Kleindöttingen – a small village across the river from Döttingen. “Klein” means small. It’s the smaller sibling of an uninteresting town. The newer parts of the village are big apartment blocks. We lived on the fifth floor of a seven floor building. Stepping out of the elevator, our entrance was to the right. That’s how I learned to tell left from right. My stepmother still lives in the flat. I don’t think I’d ever want to go back. Too provincial without being rural. There’s an old power plant in that river, resulting in a lake that’s famous among ornithologists. Who knows. I do like birds.

What tree is your favourite and why?

Larches make me think of hiking in the mountains. When I was younger I liked willows, maybe because the intro sequence for Ultimate IV involved a weeping willow. That extra “weeping” struck a chord in me. Later, when I lived closer to the sea and learned to love the smell of it, and the cries of seagulls, the roaring and crashing of waves on rocks, when I read about the elves

What were you afraid of as a child? Are you still afraid or did you “grow” out of it?

I have always been afraid of dark rooms, dark cellar passages (in Switzerland these used all to be bomb shelters with subdivisions for all the tenants made of a wooden grate), because I kept imagining shadows growing, vampires emerging – and I still have remnants of that. These days I know I have to control my imagination, talking to my inner child about the task at hand; but sometimes I sit on the toilet late at night, in the semi-dark such as not to wake myself up and suddenly I’m imagining cockroaches or spiders on the wall or under the toilet seat and that old sense of dread comes back. When I switch the light on, will I see a dead person hanging from the ceiling? I don’t know where these images come from and I can keep them at bay, but the seeds of panic are still there.

Who are some poets that you enjoy? What is it about them that speaks to you?

I like Georg Trakl’s wild melancholy sadness. I found some English translations in this PDF: Twenty Poems of Georg Trakl, translated and chosen by James Wright and Robert Bly.

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