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CHOICES: A Travel Account

By Roya Monajem

Walking aimlessly & losing myself in
“Sightseeing” around
Los Angeles
Practicing to stop the mind its habit of
Depriving the heart and body
Of taking in all the freshness & novelty that unseen can offer...
In hope of a break-though out of the mental prison of everyday life
When every today appears like every yesterday and one just
“Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded Time
When all our yesterdays have lighted Fools
The way to dusty death...

Reaching the line
... Life is a walking shadow...”
A cool breeze graciously cuts through the threads of Macbeth’s above words...
Taking a deep breath or perhaps a sigh
For once again finding the mind taking the reign this time with the
Memory of the scenes from an Art-Show:
Reanimation of Out-Of-Print Books...

Bursting out laughing inside
At the idea that I could participate in that group show
By hanging myself from a wall
With a placard on my chest reading
Live Collection of the translations of some out-of-print Books
Not included in the collection displayed in their
Reanimation Library...

With a sustaining smile
The mental photograph of a miniature sculpture
A beautiful brooch of a snake
Caduceus, the serpent
Adorning with its Mirror-Image
The Staff of Hermes
Apparently often mistakenly used as a symbol of
Instead of
The Rod of Asclepius
Crosses the mind & reanimates upon the back screen of the eyes
With a crazy craving to open and glance through the little black book on which the golden little serpent is standing telling of the content of the book it is animating, like a book cover...

Distracting myself lest to surrender to the crave
Thus do what we are not supposed to do
Begin to stare at the animation showing an
Infant taking its first lessons in Walking
So guessing that the corresponding Out-of-Print Book must have been about some scientific views on human locomotion system
Get absorbed in the way it leaves the impression that as though the infant is walking up some steep slope, as the animation repeatedly rolls on and on...
Associating the painful myth of Sisyphus...
Now thinking
What a metaphor for life
Or the search for the meaning of life
A boulder rolled up a steep hill
Rolling down just before touching the top
Maybe in the very moment we think we made it
And thus unknowingly loosen our hands in pushing that little bit further

Turning my eyes towards the Serpent
I notice that it has fallen down
And burst out laughing inside
For the association it brings:
Just like
Fall of Man from the Garden of Eden

Feeling once again the rise of that burning curiosity to glance through the little black book
I dare to open it while turning it upright
It seems to be a blank book...
But surreptitiously hear a spectator telling another
“The book is full of miniature drawings
I wish we were allowed to glance through it”...
Proving that my eyesight is not as sharp without glasses

To forget the bitter taste of truth filling my mouth
Look at the next artwork
A beautiful miniature microscope
Hidden under a glass-jar-like-lid
With a tiny little book & the word
Printed on its little cover...

And wonder:
Wouldn’t this be the imminent Fate of
All Books
Going Out-of-Print?

Feeling choked by the grief of that idea
Hear myself crying:
The Revenge of Handwriting!
And immediately burst out laughing inside

Not knowing what book the musician-artist was trying to reanimate
His performance sounded
Sooooooooooo LA-ian
To my Islamic Republican ears
That I let Macbeth continue :
“It (Life) is a tale
Told by an idiot
Fully of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.”

And leave the show-room
To catch the last minutes of the evening twilight
While lighting my newly found favorite cigarette, American Spirit
Taking a deep puff
Out of the blue
The movie: Fahrenheit 451 sparks in the mind
With its catch phrase
“Big Brother is Watching You!”
Echoing in the ears
Followed by the scene
A handful of human beings
Walking in a forest
Reading loud the books
They had learnt by heart...

After all
Visual reanimation of Books is in more harmony with our
Time-Pressed-Age than
Learning them by
To keep the
Memory of
Books and Libraries
The Past

Sounds like:
Back to Stone Age.
No! No!
We should give it a new name,
What about...
Trans-Post-Modern Stone Age?
And start writing books now on
The Work of Art in the Age of “Space-Ships’” Reproduction!


Eyesight Without Glasses by W.H. Bates, was one of the first books I translated. Though it was never published, but its chart and exercises cured my daughter’s weak eyesight at childhood and my other young patients.

The title is inspired by Walter Benjamin’s influential article: The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.

... Payvand News - 05/04/13 ... --

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