I hope you read the blog before this one, as it is a continuing story of me on my way to Russia (or Russland, as some seem to call it).
‘ I was considering taking a backpack with me for food, drinks, tickets, and other belongings that might need to be within reach during my trip. Things like my toothbrush, toothpaste, tickets, and a towel. The towel is especially important for a man has got to know where it is. If I were to take a backpack I wouldn’t have to open up my suitcase all the time. The bag would probably get lighter along the way as I would be eating the food and drinking the drinks. Unfortunately I won’t be able to bring my old schoolbag for this purpose. When I asked Mum where she had put it she brought it to me and told me Grandma had been using it ever since I left secondary school some two or three years ago. I opened it up and was greeted by the stench of a dozen dirty panties that had been worn for at least four days and hadn’t been washed for several months (or were it years?) thus instantly attacking my central nervous system and nearly knocking me unconscious and bringing me to tears. I threw it into a corner of the room and made a beeline for the toilet. Instead of my old schoolbag I am now taking Grandma’s incredibly expensive designer backpack she said she had gotten from an Italian lover. Guess what will be in it when I get back?’
That was the first entry into my traveller’s log that year and also one of the more coherent and cohesive ones amongst them, which meant I didn’t really have to edit it and was able to leave it more or less the way it was and the way you have read it just now. Many more entries and many more logbooks would follow after that even though it would often not be more than just some hundred odd, yellowed pieces of paper tied together with a strand of string that looked like as if I had to have torn a sock apart for it. Incoherent scribbling that must have seemed very intelligent at that time, but made no sense to me anymore when I quickly read through them after I had found them in the attic. Most of them would be my rants and raves on insignificant details and personal matters that had little to do with my travels and everything to do with life.
Many a night had been spent reading all those writings, trying to make sense of it all, trying my best to put every little piece back in its place till each and every little note made sense. I’d work my way through it during the night and in the morning I’d go to work looking even worse than something that the cat had dragged in. I’d take naps in the lounge chair behind the counter during the quiet moments and fill myself up with strong mugs of the darkest coffee during the busy hours. Back at my apartment I’d crawl behind my desk, the writings in front of me, a little candlelight, a cigar and some wine while time would be ticking away on a clock that hadn’t told the right time ever since it fell off of the wall shattering the glass when bouncing of the small coffee table that stood underneath. Music playing in the background to cover the screams of agony or pure pleasure coming from either the neighbours’ living room or bedroom when they were at it again, whatever ‘it’ may be.
Now, after days and days and weeks and weeks of reading through my notes, I have just come home from work, I have lit a candle, poured myself a glass of wine, taken out an old Cuban cigar that I saved for the occasion and crawled behind my desk once more, though not to read through all of the once forgotten memos to make sense of it all, but to string the tall tales together making one incredible story that I am going to hurl into the world when it’s finished. In the background the wonderful melodies of Tom Waits’s Big Time can be heard; Red Shoes has just started playing. In front of me I have not got one of those modern electronic sonic boxes of wizardry and magic with their bright-lit screens, feather-light casing and fragile keyboards, but my trustworthy sturdy steel Underwood typewriter. There’s nothing like the touch of the metal, the sound of the lettered hammers pounding and pounding as I press the keys tormenting the piece of paper that is trapped in the steel casing behind a tape lint that leaves behind stains of black blood telling my tales. If I were to listen carefully, I could swear on Ivor’s grave that the paper was telling me to stop, but I’d never.