Saturday, December 1, 2012

Aimless Reading: The W's, Part 24 (Edmund White)

The Beautiful Room is Empty
White, Edmund
The Beautiful Room is Empty

Given to me by a former friend, R.

It has a long inscription in it that says that she liked the epigraph of the book because it reminded her of a conversation we had had when she visited me in Ecuador, something about the accidental nature of life. Apparently something I said during her visit struck her as reactionary and she thought she needed to remind me about this conversation because she didn't feel the comments that I made were actually who I am (or was).

I have no recollection of this conversation, so I can't comment either on what I said that she thought was reactionary or what we discussed regarding the nature of accident. I do remember her giving me this book and telling me she loved the epigraph, which is by Kafka. It reads:

Sometimes I have the feeling that we're in one room with two opposite doors and each of us holds the handle of one door, one of us flicks an eyelash and the other is already behind his door, and now the first one has but to utter a word and immediately the second one has closed his door behind him and can no longer be seen. He's sure to open the door again for it's a room which perhaps one cannot leave. If only the first one were not precisely like the second, if he were calm, if he would only pretend not to look at the other, if he slowly set the room in order as though it were a room like any other; but instead he does exactly the same as the other at his door, sometimes even both are behind the doors and the the beautiful room is empty. 

I think this epigraph probably says more about the unrequited romance between myself and R. than it does about the accidental nature of life -- but that's another story altogether.

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