"Once in a while it vanishes - in the sense that I become deaf to beauty for a week or two or three. This coming and going of the inner life - because this is what it is - is a curse and a blessing. I don't need to explain why it's a curse. A blessing because it brings about a movement, an energy which, when it peaks, creates a poem. Or a moment of happiness."
- Adam Zagajewski (via Whiskey River)
The underground food court is filled with the sounds of voices and cutlery and plates and plastic trays reverberating against the low ceiling, but this is where there's WIFI so after finishing my lunch of Indian fast food I call my father, who's been trying to call me, and after we talk I go up the escalator and decide to visit the English-language bookstore a few blocks away. When I walk in I'm greeted by a cheerful woman who asks me if I know about today's special. No, I don't. Buy any three items and get the fourth free, she tells me, gesturing at a display of colorful pillows and decorative throws behind her. It can be anything, she says. Books, gifts...Thank you, I say, moving away and looking around with dismay; every time I come here it seems like there are fewer books and more housewares, soaps, candles, and expensively-packaged cookies and chocolates. Worse, there's hardly a book I want to read. I do one circuit of the second floor, and stand for a few minutes in front of Poetry, a small display of two book cases at shoulder height. On the endcaps are a recent collection of essays by James Wood, an edition of the Odyssey, and a volume of poems by local hero Leonard Cohen. I'm looking for the latest Adam Zagajewski, but it's not here; none of his books are. Instead I pull out the new Anne Carson, Red doc>, and recoil at the price. She's Canadian so most of her books are on the shelf: Plainwater, The Beauty of the Husband, Autobiography of Red, NOX,translations of Euripides and Sappho. The price for the new hardcover is just too high, I'll probably buy it in paperback later online or used -- the irony of which is not lost on me -- and then I think about having a coffee and sitting down in the cafe for the forty-five minutes before rehearsal, but decide against it and walk out, rather sad and annoyed, but tell myself to let it go, and I do.