Different etudes found their writing origin in a café. Already the first one happened like this in the open space café in the terminal of airport São Paulo, in September 2013. A lot of the etudes have been born in these unique meeting rooms. Sartre wrote once about café’s: I never stop liking to sit in chairs of nobody (or, as you wish, of everyone) at tables from nobody: that’s the reason I like to work in café’s – so I get a certain loneliness and abstraction.”That’s exactly what you need for writing, loneliness and abstraction, however you write visualy and concrete. You need to lift the concrete to another plan. The café fits to that process. It’s a come and go of travellers, the world in front of your eyes, to let your view going on and on between the growing stream of words and what’s there in front of your eyes.
An important part of my novel A winter heart (still not read yet?) plays in café Le Vézelien in Vézelay in France.
“Lunch was in full swing at the café. The woman from the garden house was sitting on the wall bench. There was a spot free next to her and he asked if he could join her. He was pleased with the seat, not having to face her nor having to turn his back to the space. Sometimes a conversation went more smoothly when you were looking the same way, rather than facing each other and constantly having to look each other in the eye. He would become ever more entrapped within her and possibly lose his way.”
The crowd is anonymous but your eyes are looking at this, as if they have to take place completely or in their parts in your memory. They help to unfold the layers in your mix of memory, lust, fantasy and imagination. Their unexpected coming and going is strengthening the feeling of a continual voyage. The café means a stop, a transition, within these basic needs of food, drinks, news, seducing and quietness. Those who serve are on their best when they feel subtle what you need: some space and if possible from time to time: ‘as usual’?
The right seat in the café is crucial. Never facing a blind wall. Also in a restaurant I hate such seat. Sometimes you enter a group just too late, ending just too late on that wrong seat. Even with this nice person in front of you, you need beside its ears a view outside, otherwise I get mad.
A lot of the etudes are playing in a café, a bar at the Bosporus border where you hear Fazil Say playing, Café Levinas with the pianiste and the small wooden blocks, the Japanese pianist in Café l’Enfer in Rue Daguerre in Paris, Loustal’s piano in a bar on the highest floor of an hotel with a view on the metropolis in the night, the red high-heeled shoes, the woman in front of the window… or Bar Léo in São Paulo in the last etude. Why not?
The café is also the meeting point of lovers, secret or not. The place for a date… The stop on a travel, a part of the rite de passage. A lot of the etudes are travels. L’Invitation au voyage, the harbour of Istanbul, Deruta, Louise Lobatto…
The coming five blogs contain a short story in five episodes of a ‘travel’, titled: Inner Court. First appearance and publishing in São Paulo in 2013, presented at the exhibition Internal Affairs, together with photographer Marcelo Greco in Espaço Ophicina. The origin of Inner Court in the Amsterdam café’s De Balie, Stanislavski and the café upstairs in the Stedelijk Museum, is a continuation of a tour guide, written by me as composer and ‘guide’ for the opening of the exhibition pays/paysage/land/landscape of friends artists Awoiska van der Molen & Rob Nypels, in Groningen, 14 September 2012 with musical compositions from Jan Voster, performed by himself on the guitar. These short texts are inspired for sure also by the book Almost Invisible from the Canadian poet writer Mark Strand, published in 2012 by Random House publishers.
photographs: Leo Divendal, Bar Léo, São Paulo 2009