Lives Journal 13

Rajko Shushtarshich

 

PARALLEL REALITY

(II)

 

P.S. I.: (PARALLEL REALITY: ONE)

The Game-spoilers’ Sense of Gratitude and their Lengthy Philosophising

(Still or already aboard the Slovlandia I. flagship) 

 

Shus: Hey, Franci, listen, where’s Hanzhej?

Zagorchnik: He’s consoling Maras, poor man is completely beside himself. They took him by Wauchar’s boat.

Shus: Yes, that shipwreck was no picnic.

Zagorchnik: Not just the shipwreck, Krokar the poet also chewed him out about how he was portrayed in the SRP journal (On Petko’s dramatics).

Shus: But he only read two words of the whole journal: one – his first name and two – his last name. Well and the paragraph surrounding the two.

Zagorchnik: Well that’s exactly what was too much or wrong. He yelled failing his hands that this is outrageous, how he’d said a long time ago that the journal should be banned. That it’s the most harmful phenomenon of the time in Slonovenia. In short, that it’s a cultural scandal and they’re writing untruths, also about him.

Shus: Too bad.

Zagorchnik: What for?

Shus: That the three of us game-spoilers, two of us stowaways, can’t just waltz onto the flagship.

Zagorchnik: What did you invite us for anyhow, nobody told you to?

Shus: Didn’t it pay off?

Zagorchnik: It is right now, sure.

Shus (grinning like the Cheshire cat): P! P! the last letter in SRP is P for pluck!

Zagorchnik: Enough of this horseplay, tell me: What do you say about all this?

Shus (grows serious, ponders for quite a while and asks): You mean about all this?

Zagorchnik: Well yes, indeed.

Shus the Chronicler: I was always haunted by why Plato ran the poets out of his Republic.

Zagorchnik the Writer: Didn’t my former colleague, editor of the Problemi journal (after me of course) Jasha Zlobensen explain this to you years ago?

Shus the Chronicler: Sure, sure, but…

Zagorchnik: But – what?

Shus: Well, at the time he was a poet and editor of a journal, he even helped us charge the Bastille, and now he is Slonewvenia’s ambassador to Brussels. He loved Latin sayings so much, most of all the one that goes: »Tempora mutantur et nos mutamur in illis«.

Zagorchnik: Once a very insolent hippy in jeans, now a polished diplomat in a tuxedo, and nicely rounded out, a pleasure to behold. But what difference does that make to his reply. A reply is a reply and stays as it was; wasn’t it good enough?

Shus: Yes, sure it was. It’s not the same anymore. The meaning changes retroactively. He changed it himself.

Zagorchnik: Again with your parapsychology, like there’s no time. Everything is now (he corrects him).

Shus: Not mine, Henry’s (H. Bergson) if anybody’s: There’s no time, only duration. Direct facts of the subconscious permeate themselves; that’s all there is to extemporaneous communication, more precisely, to concurrent communication with people outside or out of time. For example, he sees freedom as »fact«, and among the facts we can discern, there are none clearer (surer).

All the issues arising from this problem and the problem itself stem from this… the idea of freedom cannot be said using language, to which it is untranslatable.«

Freedom is unsayable. We can’t gainsay it. If our self denies it in favour of our »us«, it gainsaid it to us. Our »we« is facing the same problem as our self.

And if you will, it’s also by John the Evangelist and a few others I know about (in theory by anyone who truly wants it).

Want it or not, I have to agree with your immense care for the Slovenian language; it’s a truly formidable commodity, trait. But it’s dying out, rare as a drop of water on a hot stove. If only anyone at MIKS (Ministry of Cult-ludism of Slonewvenia) would think like Scharfman did last year, I would rather be out from time rather than outside it.

Zagorchnik (jests): You could work a little harder on your literary Wendish.

Shus: Do you know how hard it is for me? You wouldn’t believe it.

Zagorchnik (purposely skips over the discussion on language, jests): Exactly, your out-of time conversation partners caused quite a bit of fun. You really talk to ‘em?

Shus (grinning again): If I just remember that secretary at Kapucyn’s MITS (Ministry of Truth of Slonewvenia), when I came to negotiate at the Ministry of Subsidising of the Treatise on Freedom. I’ll never forget it. She was in the middle of her lunch, gaged on her sandwich from laughing so hard at me coming in. It was the boss himself saved her from choking (he laughs).

Zagorchnik: What did the minister say?

Shus: The minister? I don’t know, probably that they really don’t have any money for such haberdashery. I never came close to seeing the minister.

Zagorchnik: Who then?

Shus: The secretary of all the ministers at that ministry, Fabrinc, good guy. He yelled at her right there, like she was a puppy. It was the fear that saved her from death by sandwich. We knew each other from the time of Minister Stanyslavski and before, when we clashed with the reds for Ljubljana’s »Bastille of communism«. We chatted a bit, more as a matter of protocol.

Zagorchnik: Serves you right, the way you praised the minister during the war for Slonewvenia.

Shus: But he really was brilliant. I just said it to him, wrote it (he corrects himself).

Zagorchnik: That reminds me, how come he’s not part of this?

Shus: These trench-buddies will never drive together again. One of them will always be somwhere else.

Zagorchnik (again in jest): Exactly, your out-of time conversation partners caused quite a bit of fun. You really talk to ‘em?

Shus: Yoe mean ridicule? You think I didn’t know. I knew already when I attached my list of conversation partners to the back of the Treaty.

Zagorchnik: Are they all there, is nobody missing from the list?

Shus: All of them can never be there, there are less and less of them all the time.

Zagorchnik: When are you talking to them, then?

Shus: When I have nobody else to talk to, and if they’re up for it.

Zagorchnik: In what language?

Shus: No language, its in internal speak (endofasia).

Zagorchnik (incredulously with slight provocation): Get out?

Shus: You read it, you even published the second revised edition. Endofasia is a strange thing. What, how, and why: I establish a dialogue with the living outside time in a congested literary fashion, in my own way. We each have our own.

Zagorchnik (corrects him): With the dead.

Shus: With the living, there are no dead.

Zagorchnik: Yes, yes, there in the beginning everything also was, how does it go? Everything was before there was nothing.

Shus: Joke all you want; read for yourself, if that’s what you want; I also have to, sometimes. Why do you think I keep dragging it with me? Here’s your edition. (With a trace of anger he waves a book in his face, hesitates a bit, unsure if it’s the right time for it; then decides to give him the book anyway): Read. A strange opportunity, but I think this is a good time for it.

Sourgorchnik (reads): In the beginning there was everything,

and everything was in everything,

and everything was itself Everything.

Everything was itself in itself at the beginning.

Shus: There you go. Here lies the answer to your question. Only, this is not my revelation, it’s the revelation of John! I was just the scribe, today we call it minute-taker, or more refined – the mediator in communication with him.

Zagorchnik: Whom?

Shus: This is where you lay in wait, is it? John the Evangelist, if I can say so.

Zagorchnik: What if a team wrote this Gospel of John of yours collectively?

Shus (surprised): Well noticed. It’s true, they kept interfering in our communication. Sometimes it was a real pain dealing with them. Other times, I debated them as well. Only he really knew what its about.

Zagorchnik: Who’s gonna believe that?

Shus: No need, I don’t want them to believe. Everyone gets it on their own. Live instead of believing it, then you’ll see for yourself, then you’ll be able to feel everything now. But let’s move on.

Zagorchnik: And this wreck (shipwreck), will you write about this too?

Shus: No need, it's written already, I'll just need to remember it as precisely as I can; especially the failures and fouls of the creative protagonists.

Zagorchnik: But if this is how it is, than everything was fixed, what's the game?

Shus: 'Everything' also includes free will, which people don't like. Except the Few who know what they want, or at least think so. Even if it didn't, if events would be predetermined, at least two questions arise: How and why did it happen this way?

There's a difference, a matter of taste (aesthetics) and decency (ethics). When one circles the drain, the end in sight, it matters how they give in and why they give up.

Zagorchnik: Who are They?

Shus: Propagandists, spiritual leaders and pimps agitators, who know damn well what they want. They know, not through forethought but from experience, that they can turn men into apes anytime they want. Just 'cause man-people don't like freedom. They prefer voluntary slavery.

Zagorchnik: And they don't?

Shus: They like having oversight. They insert themselves right in-between fate and freedom, where they can conduct the most beautifully. They aren't free, because they have people above them – i.e. in-between. And so on and on. Wasn't the oldtimer's main mission propaganda – the promotion of »cultourism, cultludism«?

Zagorchnik: And religious, political, peddlers’ agit-propaganda?

Shus: Exactly, only the order is a bit different. This is how you see it, because you dislike them in particular.

Zagorchnik (wouldn't discuss religion, his hair stood on end): Where were we, who were we stuck on again? How does this change things?

Shus: It changes a lot, practically everything. We were stuck on Plato, who ran poets out! From the Republic, from the state.

Zagorchnik: What, all poets?

Shus: Not all of them, he was a poet himself, even though he counted himself a philosopher. He only cast out those who were just playing poet, and those who lied... (pause) that they speak the truth, that they are (in)dividual.

Zagorchnik: Who did he leave there, those who counted themselves poets, who played real poets, did they count as poets at all?

Shus: Some so much that they fell for their own rouse. Others put themselves forward to the lie of power with such fawning it was hard to watch. Keep struggling, it’s simple which is why it is not easy to see. It pained me for years.

Zagorchnik: Now you finally figured it out.

Shus: I didn’t at all, they told me themselves, one after the other.

Zagorchnik: Come on, what are you saying, not face-to-face?

Shus: Not face to anything; they told me in their actions. There is no one-fits-all answer.

Zagorchnik (stops making fun, his interest is beginning to be piqued in earnest, he listens in silence.)

Shus (continues in a slightly witty tone, a sign things are getting serious):

Politicians lent themselves, took themselves back; now they feel the call of conscience or homeland or the devil himself to lend themselves again. Just look at those in SAN – Kosich, Dzhavoski, and friends. It’s just clearer what needs doing: set the riffraff on the carnage of war for a grand cause only grand in their minds.

Zagorchnik (cuts him off): Then the tally hasn’t been settled yet. And you remind them, you keep reminding them, that they were borrowed by politics, then un-borrowed – that is driven out where they belong.

Shus: Now you’re getting close. Let me finish: they failed politics, politics failed them but they can’t bear to be without it; they can be without poetry and writing anytime. Look at them, together we fought for freedom of thought and writing, not just babbling, and now They are our worst persecutors. They thwart journals, hate free thought, despise free sailing. This equilibration from Antigone to Creon and back and a bit across makes me sick, particularly because the sea is dead and I have work below deck. (He doesn’t let himself be cut off.) I’m almost done. Today, Plato wouldn’t just cast out lying poets, he would cast out those who say that for them poetry isn’t a way to power while they serve it: its fame, power! You can’t overlook or fail to see – not outwardly even less inwardly. Isn’t it simple?

Zagorchnik: Couldn’t be simpler; but everyone know this.

Shus: Could well be, but they pretend they don’t see it. At least not in themselves their friends and comrades, and in those esteemed, respected, acknowledged and awarded, or those with concrete names and surnames, especially the latter. They are in power, in its key positions and say they have no ties to it. His party wanted him to be leader and he said it has nothing to do with him that he doesn’t know anything about it. Could well be, but how come they didn’t know it?

Zagorchnik: Like the man who said to his psychiatric doctor: »Doctor, I know that I am not a grain of wheat, I’m just not sure the chicken knows it too.

Shus: The same thing went down with Petko’s head and the Rebel party.

Zagorchnik: What would you do about them, if you were in his place? Wouldn’t you run them out, if you could?

Shus: No, I’m sure I could never do it. I’d never want power like that.

Zagorchnik: Let’s say you had it anyway. Like you say – imagine it hypothetically.

Shus: Then I’m sure, I’d strip them of their command of old-timers. I’d depose them in time, before they could screw up and we all got soaked. Let them write and compose whatever they want! Let Him stop foaming and driveling! A poet in power is a mightily dangerous creature (especially to poets who aren’t at his side).

Zagorchnik: See, and you’re surprised when they want to abolish and annihilate us.

Shus: But I don’t want it, not even hypothetically. Surely we won’t let ourselves be abolished by every tyrant just because we don’t want power? Always the same, because they’re all the same.

Zagorchnik: Do you think anyone will believe this? Just to be safe, so you don’t change your mind. If anyone even heard you, it would be too much.

Shus: Well they could’ve let us breathe a bit, the stinky air.

Zagorchnik: Ok, they aren’t stopping us. They’re just dragging us into their game.

Shus: They just don’t get that there can be parallel writers that don’t want power, happy if they can think and write in their own way. And if they actually know this, they pretend it’s just a weakness of the feeble.

Zagorchnik: Aesop’s tale – the fox realized it can’t get to the grapes and decided that they’re sour anyway.

Shus: And the rationalisation by that Freud guy who caused more damage with this than all that Libido malarkey. Anyway…

Zagorchnik (with some curiosity): Anyway?

Shus the Chronicler: Let ‘em go where they want to go, each to their own. Travellers accompanying their leaders, pimps, agitators to the mighty, propagandists to people with coin. But they still have to be unmasked, revealed, dissasembled, bared, scattered,…

Zagorchnik (jumps in): In short – crucified, lynched, or at least spat at?

Shus: Hell no, don’t fall for it, that’s how They describe it: Criticism yes, lynch no. And they sing songs of reconciliation and non-hate against reprisal and that, and they appear convincing to the outside observer to boot. Actually, they’re poets – or poets above poets; they mounted Pegasus and rode to court. Pegasus itself changed (transformed) into a battle stallion. So they’re dangerous as hell.

Zagorchnik (alluding to Shus’s latest debate with Orwell): In short, court scribes with squires in battle gear, and we with beasts of burden. »I will work harder« said Boxer and stomped his hoofs on the floor. Meanwhile, the clover withered of sadness as they honoured the worker with a wreathed monument posthumously.«

Shus: Yes, in a nutshell, but not in short. What you just said wasn’t very short, was it. You can almost never say very much in short. You can’t say epigrams are verses of wisdom. Don’t fall for it, when they say: »Too many notes, too many letters.« Go after them properly, with names and surnames!

Zagorchnik the Writer: To each their own. (It was clear that this debate would not end well, or probably at all. To calm him down a bit he changed the subject): Why are you getting all flustered? What brand do you smoke?

Shus had a similar thought; for a bit they were almost on the same wavelength. He would peer melancholically into a brand new comely cigarette box: OK, I used to smoke a pipe – a peace pipe, with indulgence. Now (he reads):

 

Kim,

ultra slim,

light,

New York, London, Paris.

these are missing: Berlin,

Vienna, Budapest, Roma,

and of course Pirano.

 

Zagorchnik (added a tad triumphantly): Didn’t you bring me that second edition of the Revelation in Wordstar format?

Shus: It's in MS Word now.

The crew of the Slonewvenian navy's special Maris brigade, the guests of the Atlantis Pact and castaways are all watching CMN TV together. The Atlanta Olympic Games were on and Slowland (a new name for Slonewvenia, which was increasingly coming into general use) was represented and promoted by the best athletes our money could buy.

Al the main protagonists assembled in the exclusive viewing box, the Ship Godfathers: Joseph Kavel, Jonni Davos and dog Artur, Janez Dolinski (also Mirandolski) and President Küchanosh himself with his wife Stephy. Petrini Svetokrishki and Wauchar Polihitsky weren’t missing either.

They were snacking on hamburgers, drinking Coca-Cola with added coca.

They were discussing profoundly important matters, they were developing a script for a play that would be put on via two satellites for all living Slonewends (of the United Slowland) as well as for the North-Atlantic and Eurasian public. The lead promotional tourist mission will be assumed by Slovenika 1 and 3 (rebuilt from the sunken Slovenika and Kornpop I-II. The play was a communal effort – that is written together, i.e. unanimously. It was titled: The Path to Yurope.

Zagorchnik the Writer (a specialist also for Wendish or Slonewspeak or Slowspeak and of course Oldspeak as well also used living languages in his vibrant life. He provocatively asked Shus the Chronicler): What do you say now, Chronicler? What do you say about this?

Shus the Chronicler: You’re not trying to say I’m surprised? I’m not even sad. What I’m saying is that they won’t succeed.

Zagorchnik: Oh dial the shit down a bit. That’s all.

Shus the Chronicler: Too late! Germanisation from the north, Romanisation (Guinneasation) from the west, Hun(gar)isation from the east. See that crusader on the horizon? Tit Brionski the II even blocked your access to the open sea.

Zagorchnik: See, not only are we going to Yourope, it is making the effort to get here.

Shus the Chronicler: Especially with the Jugo (north-eastern wind on the Adriatic).

Zagorchnik: Just for what is it too late here?

Shus the Chronicler: Uncle Sam is beating them to it, with the Oceania Fleet both from the left and right side and from the stern (with the Jugo wind).

Zagorchnik: Could it be you’re exaggerating a little?

Shus the Chronicler: Not in the least. If I did I would still tell the people who are tackling Italian in the textile factory, German in the tobacco plant, or love-saleswomen and waiters trying to speak Hungarian to teach the managers the Uncle’s language in stead.

Zagorchnik: And the American Way of Life.

Shus angrily threw the empty Coke bottle into the sea and noted: We already know how to do that. We just need some money – Sam’s capital.

Zagorchnik: I’m sure we’ll get some, more than we need for sure.

Shus: It all began in Atlanta.

(»We know,

the pen is mightier than the sword,

but Coca-Cola

is stronger than everything else.«

Zagorchnik added: Yes, yes, little Kiku the Bushman knew why he had to take this damn Coke bottle and the spirit living in it to the end of the world.

Shus: OK, OK.

Shus (further adds): But we’re still gonna have to discuss that part about the language some day. The literary language is not a living language of a nation, it’s the construct of its institutions; it’s vulnerable and subjected to autocracy and power, especially in Slonewspeak.

Zagorchnik (fed up, he was tired): Another time, then.

 

_______

Author’s note: Another time came precisely a year later. Only, they didn’t argue over literary language, but something more significant. According to Shus’s one-sided explanation things were like he described them in P.R. (Parallel Reality). He temporarily and probably forever gave up finishing the Games of the System without Borders or End. Oldtajmer (or Oldtimer) – The Happy Barge Slovenika was adapted for TV as a six-part series (The Series of the SRP Journal or the Nuisance of Game-spoiler), which is again not what it is, because it can also exist in the abhorred or also naval SRP journal. As stated above, the series (with the exception of the first – commencing part) was never finished and probably never will be. More and more, and ever more frequently (he felt) fate would intervene (fate perceived as politics) so that something always intervened. With intervening occurrences Shus grew weary of any further writing of sad comedies in poor adaptations. He particularly loathed stringing a series to the theme of From Here to Eternity and Back or stepping or descending to Rhodos (solid ground). Suddenly it seemed so insignificant…

But as a chronicler he was unable to help himself, he would still occasionally record events or stories he thought significant, of course only if he thought them important.

 

 

 

P.S. II.: (PARALELL REALITY: TWO )

(The Spell of Captain Petko or a Cockfight between two Game-Spoilers)

 

Set: The SRP editing office (Opera bar on Cankarjeva 12). The bar is nearly empty, Shus is sipping on his quarter-pint of beer as Zagorchnik enters the scene in the Opera bar (i.e. editing office).

Zagorchnik: Hi Shus, here you go, recensions of Chankar’s book, Mladina’s article naming it book of the year, and last but not least, the bibliography of the Funds Ory Pal and Gozd to which a part of the SRP journal also belongs.

Chronicler Shus nervously tugs on his beard and leafs through the sizeable pile of titles such as: Best Books of 1996; Interesting Discovery in the Dialect of Written Poetry, Vital Klabus; Rural Nightingale, Jozhek Shtucin; Striptease. Instead of Kim Basinger, Franci Zagorchnik; (again) Striptease. instead of Kim Basinger, Mihael Bergant. Shus get’s the feeling trouble is afoot.

Shus (asks carefully): No doubt about it, truly impressive, fascinating efforts. Another famous poet, Zagorchnik’s discovery, gets a sip of transient earthly fame. But why bring it to me? »Your poet to Slonewvenians a new wreath weaves.«

Zagorchnik (officially): I am putting all of this forth as an expressions of the literary reception of my editorial work vis-a-vis your extra-literary decisions concerning the work of poetry at hand, which you first rejected, and later decided to stay out of the literary editing decisions at SRP (i.e. my ‘Concept of Editorial Manipulation’ - Koncept urednishke manipulacije – 8. Pontsko pismo, introductory note of the first issue of SRP, Ocober 1993).

Shus: Hanzhej Lumski is the managing editor, only he can reject a contribution, which he did both in the previous issue and this one (SRP 21/22). And above him a majority of the editorial board (i.e. editors) decides if an author or their representative invokes it. You won’t get my vote for the publication of Chankar's Anecdote on Jesuses, and I told you why not. Must I tell you again? ...

Firstly the devaluation of values and nihilism don’t mix with the SRP journal’s value system, and I also don’t support these types of poetic provocations.

Zagorchnik: such lack of comprehension of the arts. You completely missed the point that it’s about reality »in place of some art« It’s a striptease, the disclosing of hypocrisy, which in addition to the popular sense also mentions in a poetic context the baring, uncovering of absolute truth, honest confession or spiritual striptease.

Shus: Why don’t you explain, so I can grasp it at least a little bit?

Zagorchnik: Just face it, it’s really about »baring« and »absolute truth« of our mortality and manners of death. It is also the truth of our speech and writing, the truth of the living language, for which we know is growing ever more endangered.

Shus: Sullied by newspeak. But this is not the topic of our conversation. Come on; tell me (explain) an anecdote in your own words, for example the one about Jesus’s fairness.

Zagorchnik: You really don’t understand at all. It’s not about explaining. Everyone can interpret it for themselves. I am not an interpreter.

Shus: I’m afraid you are; you and your kind appraise, promote, and also rank poets.

Zagorchnik: Who do you have in mind?

Shus: You and the other authors you assembled in this pile, weighing me down with their judgment.

Zagorchnik: Do you doubt their assessments?

Shus: It’s not about that. I have my own view of this poetry. That is the most deciding factor for me, for my attitude towards it.

Zagorchnik: Which is?

Shus (pausing slightly): Which is, that it upsets me personally. I abhor it.

Zagorchnik: I see; why is that?

Shus: As you know, I make daily visits to the Tabor old people’s home. On nice days I go to the park with birds and old people on benches, and my mother Ema. And there are birds and flowers and wind and the ether, and old people in cages, slouched and waiting to be set free. Some have faith, some hope, and some have nothing at all.

Zagorchnik (sarcastically): Some with truth, some with freedom and some with love, and fear, and courage.

Shus (very seriously): Don’t forget those who put it off at any price, following house rules and the teachings of modern medicine; and those, who detest others for having their own personal views. Now imagine me going to the park, sitting on a bench, or better still, climbing a stone table and reciting, for example, just the hard-line Chankar motto: »Religion: This summer smells of birds, and the birds of cages. And old people sit on a bench and smell birds. This is your religion!«

Zagorchnik: So, you perceive Chankar’s hard-line poetry completely personally? You ruminated on it in endofasia.

Shus: How could I comprehend it better?

Zagorchnik: But you forget that your endofasia (internal discussion) crosses from the field of creativity including poetry to political practice. First by stepping down as managing editor of a journal and then through editorial acting in the name of your literalised value system of »liberty, verity, love«, which you even composed in poetic, that is decidedly aesthetic, form, as a work of verbal art and not as a system of conducting (yourself or others) and authority.

Shus: It appears we’ll never be on the same page about this. For me endofasia is the right, or at least deeper reason to write; and poetry, if that is what you call this particular doing, is merely a mode of expression, making it easier to say some things, think them through even, express to oneself. If it is to mean something to others then it is probably right that it is published. And if not, then not, perhaps another time, and by someone else. But I am not setting this understanding of values as a norm for others. Anthologies and encyclopaedias and works of the year and particularly a poet’s fame are beside the point for me, quite bothersome, though unavoidably present, inevitable. I was once a sociologist of culture after all. It would be hard for me not to see the sense of singing praises to the system – its control of those yearning for fame. I find your compliments superfluous.

Zagorchnik (slightly threatening, almost angry): You forget you already caused damage, even moral damage! And if you step down as »literary« editor, don’t forget you should fix the damage yourself, not pass the burden on to other editors.

Shus (angrily): I’m not passing anything to them or taking anything from them!

Zagorchnik: When I was chief-, then managing- and finally a mere co-editor, I never thought of myself as just a literary editor. The same should go, at least in principle, for all other editors.

Shus: That’s the second time.

Zagorchnik: What second time?

Shus: The second time you’re using »should«. It’s a mark of the detractive values of the system, institutions.

Zagorchnik: I’m not saying it can’t be different, but editors of SRP are not assigned fields, neither in principle nor for appearances. The same goes for you. Particularly, as you already pressured literature, even if merely a journal editor and in an extra-literary way, as censor in the name of your own literary system, which transformed from the sphere of creative thinking to the sieve of the authority.

Shus: Hard words, truly harsh accusations. Whom did I censure, on whom did I impose my system of values, which is, by the way, not a system. I am also not forcing my values on anyone, let alone imposing their rule; I value individual value orientation, I place distinctiveness of the individual against institutional values of the system; particularly those declared, proclaimed – false. I have no interest in power at all, I am not even fascinated by it. I don’t want to be a sieve of power. Get the majority of the editorial board to publish Chankar’s poetry, and it will get published in the SRP Journal. But I repeat, don’t expect my vote.

Zagorchnik: You know full well that I can’t get a majority without your vote. The sieve of power is yours, isn’t it now?

Shus: Listen to me now. I am not voting to publish Chankar’s poem ‘Anecdote on Jesuses’. Although it’s none of my business, I’m still wondering why you’re so forcefully trying to get him into SRP, where he doesn’t fit at all, while he goes nicely with the much wider, nihilist (values) of the New Atlantis and the Forest or your Oberkrainverbund.

Zagorchnik: Just you leave New Atlantis alone, it’s none of your business, nor is the autonomous Oberkrainverbund.

Shus: You’re absolutely right, I went too far; it’s realy not my business. Still, I never vetoed the publication of Chankar’s Anecdotes on Jesuses; and if I had the power you claim I have, I could have. Meanwhile, you vetoed my ‘Oldtimer – Happy Barge Slovenika’ play in SRP 15/16, almost exactly a year ago. And I didn’t get bent out of shape or made a big deal about it.

Zangerichnik: It wasn’t even finished.

Shus: Don’t make excuses, it was finished, and concluded. Twice. The second time, because someone put me off it.

Zangerichnik: Who? What do you mean?

Shus: The series was actually not fully finished, but I never meant to publish the whole thing. The play would’ve been enough, maybe even to much for Cpt. Petko.

I would leave the selection of parts or excerpts to the editorial board. And then I would publish the entirety to be ‘documented’ in the POGUM (Spirit) supplement. And I’m in no rush whatsoever. It’s true though, that it’s my own fault. This always happens if you let the uninitiated in to early.

Sourgorichnik (visibly enjoying his power almost disdainfully serves the final blow): What was, was. The Carnivalisation in the case of the dramatic text about SRP (Sailing Released but Poorly, or whatever it is?) goes against my – as I imagine it – serious work or collaboration. But, as I said; what was, was. But now, after your endofasia, the passing of a genre from literary fiction to tangible editorial reality, I’ve had enough. I simply insist on all further indisputability of given editorial reality and its autonomy in this field. I won’t think about what’s on the other side of the alternative, as that would be against (my) non-discussibility.

Shus (hurt): You mean autocracy, literary tyranny, your personal legitimacy. Don’t you see it in yourself?

Zagorchnik (ignores this and continues): This is exactly what would induce unnecessary dialogue – ‘dialoguesing’ i.e. the establishment of a genre in which I want no part or to be exploited and dragged somwhere I don’t feel like being.

Shus: Unnecessary dialogue, you say?

Zagorchnik: And of course this would have consequences, which would stop the very collaboration that is based on spontaneity.

Shus: Just the opposite; dialogue opens the door to spontaneity and shuts it on your despotism. The subject of our present dialogue are greatly pertinent matters (»values« - he corrects himself) to our coexistence.

Zagorchnik: You are missing the point again. The way you understand it is that I am striving for a strict duality of the journal, that I view literature as separate from other parts of the journal. In fact, I am sooner striving to overcome its two-part make-up both in content and form – editing each individual issue. It’s visual-arts part, pictures and comics play a role as well. And if I am separating literary fiction from the other realities of the journal, I am thinking about the journal’s multi-disciplinary character and that sometimes certain things really shouldn’t be mixed.

Shus: No, what I understood was that you are striving towards authoritative decision-making at the journal. You purge literature and aesthetics of all but pure fiction, invention, and most of all truth.

Zagorchnik: If you don’t understand, let mew rephrase; in short – I do not condone the »carnivalisation« of my work – collaboration (he corrects himself). I already mentioned the necessary respect for my work as editor.

Shus: Don’t you think you are overusing this possessive pronoun – »my«?

 

 

 

Zagorchnik: I simply wouldn't dedicate my life to just anything. It's probably in my nature, a sort of discipline I've been submitting myself to from the very beginning. I was born old.

Shus: Well, this is another difference between us, I’m childish even in my old age.

Zagorchnik: Enough joking. This here is real poetry. Book of the year – Do you know what that means?

Shus (even more nervously, visibly annoyed perhaps even repulsed, leafs through Chankar's hard-line poetry): I say again, you have to get five »yeses«, that is the majority of editors, and the thing will get published.

Zagorchnik (incredulously): And you'll just stand by and look?

Shus: It would be premature to say how I'd look on it, because I don't know yet – or at least I'm not sure – and also you'd triumphantly say »looky here, an attempt to influence the editors.« Though, isn't every editor answerable for their decisions to themselves only? We are autonomous individuals, aren't we?

Zagorchnik (firmly): As editor, I have no intention to turn into a negotiator and create fractions within the journal, pull anyone in or fight against anyone else. And so, I'm irrevocably stepping down. This is also something I won't negotiate about.

Shus (visibly fed up): Oh, come on!

Zagorchnik: No need to tell me what to do with this statement. I am giving it to you, and you know what it means, don't you?

Shus: Not entirely.

Zagorchnik: No need to burden the other editors with this, or the President of the Republic Küchanosh.

Shus (inhales deeply, i.e. orders another beer): This will not fly. Editors must be informed in writing if a colleague is irrevocable stepping down; in cases when this is a contributing editor it must be done by written clarification of their irrevocable withdrawal. I don't know what Küchanosh has to do with all this, though?

Zagorchnik: You and Hanzhej Lumski shoved the Regulation on Printed Publications in my face as proof that my publishing house cannot be a co-publisher of the SRP Journal, which it had been ever since it was founded.

Shus (takes a long sip): Of that's what it's about. According to the new Regulation on Printed Publications, which was signed by President Küchanosh himself, all chief and managing editors were stripped of the functions of chief and managing editors, including Tito Dedalski – if you want an example. The period of adapting or transition to the new regulation was two years, and we were actually a bit late. Afterwards, you could only be managing editor, which you refused at the editorial meeting at Opera Bar.

Zagorchnik (cuts in): I find it simply puerile and untenable to be managing editor of two journals. I accepted it as a temporary situation, under constant protest.

Shus: It wouldn't be puerile or unfair if you were chief editor of both journals.

 

Zagorchnik: For me, being the co-founder of the journal is enough and no one can take it away from me, whether it's written down somewhere or not. So it doesn't need to exist in writing.

Shus: And no one is denying this. Nobody is pushing you out of the editorial board either; we can continue to collaborate.

Zagorchnik: We can, under my conditions.

Shus: Go on.

Zagorchnk: Chankar recieves his rightful space in this issue (21/22). My editorial work will be non-discussible.

Shus: No chance, you can tell them there’s no place in our journal of romantic sea-voyage for a One and Only, even Adolf Zagorchnik himself. We don’t accept non-discussibility. In any case, I can’t believe you have such a problem with the Order of the President. President Küchanosh signs and decrees in the Official Gazette all public and secret laws including those about the rearing of small animals, this is written in the Constitution of Slonewvenia. It shouldn’t be taken personally, being that this here (in the official gazette and page 1 of SRP) is obviously about the game of the system’s institutional roles. Your co-publication, as you know full well, was a matter of our kindness and tolerance for you peculiarities rather than actual co-publishing. Furthermore, we found out there is no such thing as the Funds of Ory Pál and Forest, to which you are consigning a part of the SRP Journal. At least at that time they didn’t even have a bank account. On page one in the colophon of the SRP Journal we want to stick to the letter of the law, or else they’ll say we don’t officially exist, when we apply for funding with MIKS. It’s true that it didn’t help us very much so far, still one page in a Journal adhering to the letter of the law is not such a terrible thing. After all, there are two hundred pages left for poetic licence. Still, you’re so unyieldingly poetic on page one, that your creativity in the colophon always gave me proper headaches. First it was Ory Pál Funds then Forest (Foreign Establishment), then Atelier Otilijia etc., now Bela Collection in the Bibliography. SRP’s only publisher is Lumi ltd. with an official address and bank account. It’s all dry, official, and not poetic at all. And SRP is not one of two journals also published by Zagorichniki, and it never was.

Zagorchnik: And don’t forget the RTVL/Slo Service for Programming Research.

Shus: No, I didn’t forget. It was only in the colophon of the first issue of the journal, when we were rightfully expecting to be co-founded by RTVL/S. Now it’s at the very end, in the »poem« about the Distinctiveness of the SRP Journal: »This is the intent of the editorial board of the SRP Journal, a continuation of the SSP’s (Service for the Study of RTVL’s Programming) Bulletin, which was cancelled in 1983.« This was and remains the value orientation of the journal from its foundation until today. However, value orientation is not a legal norm. I presume that you, being a SRP contributor, are clear on the difference between value orientations and the dictate of institutional norms. You’re just pretending you’re not.

Zagorchnik: Everyting was fine until you got spooked by Slonewvenian President Küchanosh's Regulation on Printed Publication. This incurred your forgetfulness. But don’t worry, everything is in keeping with orders, which I’m not really too interested in, as you know. And you can imagine, if I tell you we dispensed with such waving of orders thirty years ago and we didn’t let ourselves be self/intimidated. This was what actually made it possible for art to be deemed as the opposition to the regime at all.

Shus: You think it wasn’t allowed, even cultivated both as opposition to art and culture of the regime?

And also, I’m not entirely sure you dispensed with it completely.

Zagorchnik: It’s true that a part of it was positioned in power. It’s the same way today. We have two poetic (republics) »states« one – mostly epic, which is in power, and the other poetic »non-state«, mostly lyrical, that is perhaps still becoming, but is certainly not penalized in advance and sentenced to some lyrical power. As such, it would be disbanded in advance and it isn’t power-mongering; it is already anarchic due to those in power.

Shus: Anarchic maybe, but tied to power, authority. Whether it’s about a lyrical or epic work, parade horses, or state-forming poets is not really vital here. Still, your description of the lyrical non-state was so beautiful that it would be a shame if you didn’t write it down, if you won’t, I’ll do it for you, or for posterity. We find ourselves at Plato again, who ran poets out of the Republic. More concretely we’re at Kulturbund – Oberkrein and New Atlantis, and Emil Milan Marie of Loka, the shadow prime minister (of the »poetic state«), who has and will install poets as editors in the »poetic non-state«.

Zagorchnik: What’s wrong with that?

Shus: Only, that they didn’t install themselves, being that we had self-management.

Zagorchnik: I went to him myself and told him I wanted my own journal. Did I install myself or didn’t I?

Shus: You didn’t, he did. They did. You just caught yourself on their hook, which is called inflated ego. Are you still dangling from their line (of the »Fishermen of Human Souls«), Haven’t you freed yourself yet?

Zagorchnik: For sure, I edited according to my concept of editing manipulation.

Shus: In a poetic »non-state«.

Zagorchnik: Don’t be like that, not in that tone. As you saw, I don’t avoid any sweeping. My co-founding of the journal is also in the past for me.

Shus: And now you’ll put on a nice act of an offended and hurt, played, deposed man, and all will be beautiful.

Replace a cleanse (catharsis) with a purge, and that’s it.

Zagorchnik: Come on don’t be afraid. Everything is beautifully arranged, both at the level of the journal and state.

Shus: But not on the individual level; it isn’t between us.

 

Zagorchnik (ignores him and recites a pre-prepared quote): So we find ourselves on a new stage of eternity. There is no past and no more present. There is only beautiful future. And that is as it should be. After its long insufferable absence, the beautiful future is on the horizon again; let it shine beautifully. The more beautifully it shines, the less need we will have for the past and also present. In time, these two categories of time can disappear from eternity. Farewell, greetings from the New Former Managing Editor Sourgorichnik.

(Zagorchnik victoriously exits.)

Shus (angrily to himself): So that’s how it is. He conducted the debate to a pre-prepared scenario, and I had no idea. And when he realized it won’t go for it twice, he wasn’t even offended but actually relieved. My jaw dropped, I was dumbfounded. What an arduous disputable discussion; I thought, I flattered myself, that I was leading it. And what an exit, he closed by throwing one of my favourite out-of-time conversation partners in my face and then went and just left.

Chronicler Shus (offended, visibly hurt murmurs to himself): No, this can’t end like this, or I am no chronicler.

»A truly peculiar company« (Shus commented to himself), »yet we collaborate, quite freely and even spontaneously. But some minimal institutionalization is still necessary, it’s unavoidable.«

(For now Shus had no better idea than to immerse himself in endofasia once more, the very thing that was so annoying to Zagorchnik.)

Author’s comment or note: Other unavoidable spoilers of the game in the SRP circle were missing the meeting again: Managing Editor Hanzej Lumski was at a sociological symposium in Portoroso (holding a visibly noticed paper on the facts of social re-stratification, orally of course, he even commanded interest at the Cabinet of President Küchanosh himself, but there’s a slight concern they wouldn’t be overly thrilled to read it in the journal. But he’s late with his submission again); the withheld and expelled emigrant writer Löwen Detel (also Löwenmut) was a corresponding member anyway and didn’t attend meetings; he was also very busy preparing Kocbek’s book – for the foreign audience of course (the expelled writer is still not ‘withheld’ enough at home in his native land; in accordance with Their – Slonewendian wise men(gnates)’ opinion he had to stay abroad, just because they are infallible); the engraver and archaeochronos Juraj Demitrov, who had so much work computer-scanning texts and images as well as designing the journal, that he worked through nights (we called the engraver ‘archaeochronos’, because he archaeved (archived) the journal and kept and disseminated it through time, i.e. to potential future audiences, who will not focus merely on its marketability), deonthologist Dubl M. Fegoshy, who was abumlatingly – this time hobblingly ironing out a new interview (he could only do it walking, rambling around; he will find a deonthologist bomber on the street or in a park or hospital. He gained fame through blowing up or scares he caused in the dependent Non-Archetincture journal.

For a small country like Slonewvenia, he was able to dig up an incredibly great number of non-persons, i.e. personalities, who were timely and thoroughly denied by the important Slonewvenians in the name and for the benefit of all others. At one of his creative hikes, he took such an unfortunate fall that he fractured his hip); free author Ant Ivich actually made it but was very late, he had been watching tele-vision and jutting down the accomplishments for TV notepads, and he hadn’t quite finished coining the final epigrams (generally, he was very dedicated to Slonewvenian graphic novels, and he had to make a living somehow; who could blame him, even if free artists need very little to survive); eminent critic Maras Kremplgauner (Kernmauer) based his collaboration on the single mandatory condition that he never, but truly never ever, be called to a meeting (he was entirely fed up with them, but he did promise to pay the free contribution); the only defender of the constitution (of the const(op)itutional court) Misha Krovic was hard at work the entire night before and the previous one and the one before that, writing a separate opinion. To call him in for meetings for such matters would be truly inappropriate; he will visit the non-president, i.e. defender of the constitution in his home on Sav. (They called him Non-president, due to the fact that he would be president in Samo’s Empire and Carantania but not in Sloneveina or Slonewendia because he was too principled or too distinct); expelled Atlantian (or Atlantian in exile) Andreas Luman, disliked meetings at inns or bars, he preferred corresponding with friends of both genders (they’ve had it with only receiving advertising and propaganda of all sorts in their mailboxes in the morning when the day starts, so they opted to exchange poetry and short prose instead, something living and personal). Shus was moved when he thought about the golden age of Mesing-bar, who unloaded boxes and sold bicycles and tube patches in Vôlanverkaf Blue along with valve rubber tubing that was always too short and bicycle pumps that were returned by women saying they got too hot during pumping. He was tired, sure, but beer tasted better to him then than now.

Important co-conspirators, or to put it better, co-supporters of the game-spoilers: romantic printer Vitalus Div, scenography painter Jovani Spacolini and everyone who took at least two runs on the slippery scene of parallel reality never took part in these games of the circle or their like; or they did only when there was something concrete on the agenda (some tangible business) for them.

All other contributing collaborators from the circle of the hated journal kept clear of the editing office, i.e. Opera Bar, most out of fear they would be roped into the editorial board immediately; it’s true though, that some did so because they couldn’t tolerate cigarette smoke or alcohol fumes and general bustle of the bar.

 

 

 

_______

Note: An Endofasian epilogue follows: To Rhodos; Back to Ordinary Reality, which is summarized in the contribution titled 'On Values (of) Things' [O vrednotah (v) stvareh.].

 

 

Ljubljana, October 1997

 

 

Translated from Slovenian by Jaka Jarc 

 

 

Slovenian (gajica)

Slovenian (bohorichica)