The last stormy Sunday of the summer. I went to the centre, and ate at Miód Malina. They changed the interior design; I didn't even finish my food. Why is everything worse, in Poland, these days? It sounds like a peevish obsession of mine, some sort of complaining menopause syndrome. But the flamboyant interior of bygone times, with the folkloric vibrant abundance of crimson flowers, is no more. Now the colours are dusty brick and an asphyxiated hue of ashy green.
I entered that usual bookshop of mine with instinctive intent of searching for new erotic literature that might fill my secret corner bookcase. I went out with a copy of Povidky o manzelstvi a o sexu by a Czech bestselling author Michal Viewegh, as well as Rozważnie i romantycznie, a manual for single lady travellers by Marzena Filipczak. Which I started to read in the tramway on my way home, laughing as few people laugh in Poland. At least not when they are single ladies of a certain age, alone in a tramway. Basically, I agree with the author on one point: anywhere is safer than Poland. At least as safe as Poland. But, admittedly, I didn't go to Iran, as the author did. The smoothly mannered Persians I knew in Leiden may not be like the real Persians somewhere in Khorasan. Or they are?
But overall, the reading made me remember not just my travels, or that I need to buy a hand-made Afghani carpet for my little erotic flat. First of all, I suppose, it made me muse on my fellow Polish ladies, scared with the world, bearing their femaleness like a bondage. Filipczak describes them closed in a riad in Morocco, not daring to go anywhere outside on the medina. And somehow, I remember in a glimpse the man, various men, who guided me through the labyrinths of the world. They never asked me any money, nor accepted, although I tried to pay only once, for a car drive in Albania. There was sometimes something vaguely erotic in this. Taking care of a lone woman in a Muslim country always is. And one thing I may be sure, this chivalry is tremendously reliable just anywhere, from Damascus to Borneo. But I should understand that most of my fellow Polish ladies hardly pass under the category of respectful Islamic scholars travelling in search of knowledge...
Here they are, our destinies in a country that recovers its true nature, increasingly grey and oppressive. I stay in the company of my books, of my poetry, of my erotic novels translated flatly into Polish. After all, gdzie w Krakowie mogę zutylizować powieść Beatrycze, nie narażając się na zarzut seksualizacji młodzieży? I'm afraid to just throw it into the container. What if any young boy finds it, reads it? Yet the cover is far too thick to enter my shredder. Powodem utylizacji jest bo powieść jest zła. Even worse than Margański's Jak podrywają szejkowie; that one at least was funny. Anyway, it went awfully outdated: we don't have any more mares for sale in Janów Podlaski.
Being so, should I finally complete my own erotic novel, Only in Saudi Arabia? It starts precisely this time of the year, between late summer and early Arctic autumn, at rough sea, when Amnesia, a former icebreaker transformed into a luxury yacht, almost arrives at the Vestmannaeyjar islands on the southern coast of Iceland. On board, there is Talal, a chivalrous Saudi millionaire, his newly wedded wife, an Oxbridge art historian Anya, and the beautiful Somali slave, Mina. Which is another anachronism, for sure. No one has Somali sex slaves in Saudi Arabia these days. Firstly, slavery has been abolished almost half a century ago; the last slaves of Arabia are distinguished swarthy ladies in their sixties, seventies and eighties. Secondly, the fashionable love women are Moroccan, not Somalis. Yet somehow, I cannot get rid of the juiciest of my literary personages ever invented.
Perhaps I should put them, and only the two of them (i.e. the millionaire and the art historian), on a little white motor yacht crossing the Mediterranean from Genoa southwards at the leisurely pace of eight or nine knots. Visiting museums and galleries, sort of erotic variation on Dan Brown for women approaching their menopause. Dining romantically at expensive restaurants, putting bouquets of lilies and peonies in heavy crystal jars, taking baths in a jacuzzi tiled in natural travertine mosaics. Because it's time to get more reasonable, ponderous, mature. And the autumn comes falling page by page, like in a haiku.
But I still cannot forget the rough seas at the Vestmannaeyjar islands.