lunes, 30 de abril de 2007

Writings and translations III: Slumberland

Once upon a time there was a boy who liked to read a lot. In fact, it was not only that he enjoyed reading, but that reading was the authentic and true life for him. He read here and there and everywhere; seated in a chair or standing up; walking along the street or waiting for the arrival of the bus. Every day during the school year, when he left school at lunchtime and he arrived home, he couldn’t wait even a single minute to take the book that he was reading at that moment and continue reading. One second after he had arrived home, he was sitting in front of the table reading. When his mother shouted: “dinner’s ready!” he went, grumbling, ate very quickly, believing that it was a necessary but boring obligation, and after eating went to his room and continued reading eagerly and without stopping till he had to go to school for the afternoon lessons. When he left the school after his last lesson, he got excited by the mere thought that when he got home, he could read for the rest of the day (excluding, of course, the boring time that he needed to do his homework). Thus, reading and reading without stop, he built a fantastic world all around him, in which he lived with the most amazing and unusual beings. Roderick Usher, Long John Silver, Bilbo Baggins, Elric of Melnibone and a lot of other characters were his greatest friends.

Those were happy and memorable times for him. Perhaps those were the happiest times of his life.

It was during those times that he fell sick and had to remain at home for more than a week. It was almost Christmas. The week before the beginning of the malady, he had taken a book from a shelf of the library that was near his home. It was a book he had not read yet. Its title was: Dracula, written by Bram Stoker. He didn’t know exactly what the plot of the story was. But he had seen a film that had struck him: Horror of Dracula, with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing as Dracula and Van Helsing respectively, and directed by Terence Fisher. During the first week of sickness he couldn’t read anything. He only could sleep and think mistily about Christmas holidays which were coming soon. But during the second week of his sickness, when he was a little better, he could read again. And this was when he read Dracula.

Alas, that reading would mark him for life.

He never knew why that book made such an impression on him. Perhaps it was the feeling of adventure, and the gothic and misty setting. Perhaps it was the deep and rich symbolism in sexual insinuations, so attractive for a young mind like his. Or perhaps, indeed, it was that the illness increased, as rainy days do, the pleasure in what he was reading. He has never known. But the truth of the matter is that there was a before and an afterwards time in relation to the reading of that book. It marked a frontier in the life of that boy and in his personal conception of the world.

London is the city of gardens, of bookshops, of museums, of theatres. In it there are unique objects of incalculable value, like the Rosetta Stone, Leonardo’s Virgin of the Rocks, Westminster Abbey (in which rest the mortal remains of Newton among other important scientists and writers), the reliefs of the Greek Parthenon. But for me London is the city of fog and mist; of the haunted streets in which live the ghosts of those who were hanged in the Tower of London; of the Victorian cemeteries and the Victorian houses in which lived the most memorable personalities. It is the city of Jack the Ripper and Oscar Wilde.

On the 11th of may I will go with my girlfriend and my friends to London. We will stay there only a couple of days. But I hope to go to Highgate cemetery. It was there that Bram Stoker conceived and pondered a lot of passages of his Dracula.

Figura 1: de la obra Little Nemo (1991), creada por Winsor Mackay.
Figura 2: cruz del cemeterio de Highgate, London.

No hay comentarios: