The book submitted to the editor, and everything on the best way, I've been participating in the feast of the sales. In my own tiny way, of course, but the sensation is there. Sharing the lot of abundance, on the top of the planet. Yeah, the Scandinavian countries and a couple of Arabian beauties are notoriously the richest according to the indexes, but it is here, in the smooth plains and valleys of western Europe that life is on the top of its quality. Even now in January, there is at least one sunny, warm day a week, as well as sweet smelling bushes in bloom, and I can't imagine what it will be in a month or two.
Less than five months here, and against all my ascetic habits, the flat is full of all kinds of delightful property (things, at least, that delight someone like me, including a porcelain bowl that delights me by its exquisite simplicity, purchased at the price of solely one euro), and I can't really fathom what my life might be, one day, in Amsterdam. A life, so sorry indeed to say, I've seen at just one step away, before it vanished. But of course, there are new deadlines ahead, and I do not doubt I will be there, with all the terrible passion and perseverance that there is in me. I've developed a remarkable attachment to the Low Countries, and I miss them here in France, as if, culturally, the country was not enough for me. La France, she is sweet, of course, but I live her as a countryside, not sufficiently stuffed with culture. Even if I can touch flamboyant sculptures as I pass in the streets, here in Tours, and even taste the Middle Ages (this morning, as I was enjoying myself strolling through Auchan, conscientiously filling a plastic basket on little wheels with all kinds of delightful property, I saw a big kettle of fuming aligot on a stand, and I ate a bowl of this dish once served to the pilgrims on the way to Compostela). They also have a splendid choice of Orientalist and Africanist stuff, gathered in their colonial times. But on the other hand, it is sometimes hard to find a book in English in the library, as if they were living their intellectual life a bit apart, in their own universalism that is not the one of other people's. The Dutch also had colonies, and they do have their pride today, but they've got English books for everyday use as well... They are resuming the world much better than the French do. But in the meanwhile, I'm glad I've stopped here on my way, to lick the cream from both sides. And I had a moment of silliness, this morning in the kitchen, when I've suddenly burst into tears at the thought that indeed I'd been so lucky and wise to make myself a Romanist. I've always thought it was a mere circumstantial choice, a path that just happened to be available in my modest beginnings, but sometimes I do fathom how much I might actually identify with this, deep down. Even if I have to be much more than a Romanist in my everyday work. It is something that perhaps I see as a kind of root, or an origin. Hard to explain. But somehow I am as much a Romanist as Edward Porębowicz, -- as a kind of root, or an origin, so to speak.
In the meanwhile, I try hard to fathom what my life might be, at the end of a year or two, if I go like this gaining 3 or 4 thousand euros a month, thinking about nothing but my books and research. This multilingual library I dream about, with its armchair covered with genuine leather and its ladder sliding on little wheels, would be bursting at the end of nine or ten months, because I would have no heart to spend on anything else. As soon as I would see myself back to the sedentary life, I would probably even cut down food and alcohol, and buy nothing but books, books, books. And as soon as my apartment would be paid, and no need to think about savings any more, the world would be too small for all my travels.
All these dreams are just one step away, just one more deadline away. There is a couple of things I need to solve, and I'm heading so clearly towards the solution. ERC, of course, but I'm on the way to it, and to find a good editor that might serve me for the entire lot. Verso would be my number one, and I need to approach them again. And then, what else, to choose the flat, to acquire the nationality, to join the friends of Rijks Museum, to plant my tulips, to switch the candles, to put my African masks and extravagant ethnic clothes on display. And then, what my dream shall be? To be and continue being this extravagant scholar, author of insightful books, on the top of the planet. And to keep my place on the shelf in all the decent libraries, East and West.
That's such a simple life. Takes time to get there, but after all, has there ever been any doubt?