overhaul / undertow

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

little kafka at camp

this is awesome.


an excerpt:

"June 18, 1897—I've spent the past two days lost in the woods, on what my counselors call a hike. The concept seems ludicrous and they were brutally unsympathetic to my concerns. The first few minutes are bearable, but I begin to sense that we aren't going anywhere, that our destination is the same lonely, rat-infested hut where we begin. I wonder aloud about the necessity of it all, asking why we couldn't just stay in the cabin and cut out the middleman.
"It's called a hike," they say.
"But why are we doing it? What's the purpose? We end where we start. We start where we end."
"You can look for birds and flowers and stuff," a counselor says.
"I don't understand what you are saying."
"It's nature!" The counselor roars. "Stop being such a freaky weirdo."
I ask questions to get closer to some unknowable truth. The distance just seems to grow.

- - - -

July 1, 1897—My Birthday. I have not told anyone and now that it is approaching midnight, I will not have to. The days are nothing but struggle. Struggle to survive. Some boys had to be stripped down. Whipped in front of everyone. They did not understand how wonderful Camp Schelsen could be. They spit on people. They threw rocks at squirrels. I could not look away. The cruelty was too beautiful. It opened up the universe.

- - - -

July 10,1897—In Arts and Crafts, that humid hut, the teacher stops. He looks down. I look up. I am working on something intricate, something simultaneously nothing and everything. It is made of paper.
"I always wanted you to admire my origami," I say.
"I do. I do admire it."
"Well, you shouldn't," I say.
"You're a weird little dude, Franzie."

hee hee hee hoo ha.....


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