February 7, 2008

I’ve been studying German for about a year and a half, and I can hold a pretty decent conversation. There’s a conversation group I go to on Saturdays, and the German artist lady who runs the group sends us articles to discuss, and we the students end up arguing about them–you’ll find a lot more vocabulary within your grasp if you’re getting passionate about making a point.
I’m scared that, facing this long year of touring, which of course I’m very excited for, I’m gonna lose track of my studies. I’ve been doing some side reading–a Deutsch/English side-by-side translation of Faust, translating a 12-step text that I know very well for myself. Keeping those muscles fit.
One fascinating thing about German is its gender pronouns. The pronoun for “she” and “they” are the same: sie. Not only that, but Sie (capitalized like that) is the formal pronoun–you address your elders, and people you don’t know, with Sie. You can only tell which sie is being used by the context.
(I once freaked out an older German woman in a museum; I was trying to get change, held up a banknote, and asked: Hast du zwei Euro bitte?. I unthinkingly used the familiar pronoun, and she gave me the harsh stink-eye)
So: the female = the formal = the multitude.
There was a woman I had an on-and-off affair with, a couple years back. She died, very suddenly, of an undiagnosed brain illness. One day she felt fine, the next she was gone.
Her MySpace page is still up. Her profile’s headline is “Life is delicious!”
Her age keeps ticking upwards as the years pass.
There was a guy who did interviews with celebrities/writers/artists/musicians for I didn’t know him, but you could tell he had a boundless enthusiasm. His interviews were perceptive and funny.
He, too, died suddenly. The last entry on his profile page, still up, is one sentence: “I’m so sick it’s not funny.”
I’m working on some stuff that’s sort of Spoken Word. Actually, it’s more like Yelled Word.