Mural of Venus from Pompeii.
This week, please read from page 90, "The horror came quite unexpectedly, one day as he was returning from school," to page 103, the end of part one, "I tell you my three souls are all sick ..." That's only about a dozen pages, but I think it's logical to conclude part one. We still haven't gotten that far, so perhaps other readers can still be persuaded to join us.
Part One ends with some surprising revelations. I don't want to put any spoilers here.
But perhaps I can point out an interesting reversal of expectations: One of the "bad guys," the blonde man, sounds like RAW:
"Every national border in Europe marks the place where two gangs of bandits got too exhausted to kill each other anymore and signed a treaty. Patriotism is the delusion that one of these gangs of bandits is better than all the others." (Page 95).
The drug that Sigismundo is given is belladonna, about which RAW has a lot to say about in Email to the Universe, in the chapter "La Belle Dame Sans Merci."
It begins, "The four weirdest and scariest drug stories I know all involve belladonna, a chemical for which I now have the same sincere respect as I have for hungry tigers, earthquakes, floods, wildfires, the IRS and Dr. Hannibal Lecter."
What follows are four very frightening stories, three involving friends (one is William Burroughs), and one involving RAW himself, when he made the mistake of taking belladonna as a tea while living on Ohio.
It really sounds like something you shouldn't mess with. "Bella donna" means "beautiful lady" and Wilson's title comments on the seductive and destructive power of the drug by referring to the famous John Keats poem.
Oz Fritz has been posting many comments to these chronicles. I recently read an article in the New York Times about classical conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, and a quote from the article about how concerts have "the power of the ritual" reminded me of some Oz' writings about music on his blog.
The full quote: "There’s a certain moment when you go off line and someone curates a space, with a piece, and the power of the ritual. You have this moment, along with many others, but still a finite experience. It happens in real time, but it will never happen again, and you were there. You can let yourself go. And I think that’s actually a real liberation. We are going to need that more than ever before.”
Of course, that "finite experience" in the moment was the only way to listen to music in Sigismundo's day.