Monday, May 6, 2019

Letters from Taipei




I prefer Taipei in the rain, even typhoon rain. Even rain that shakes your windows at night and floods your dreams. Taipei in the sun is unrecognizable to me. I can’t look up. I can’t be outside. Everything shines so brightly I’m appalled by it.. Like too many diamond rings on one hand. The heat Is bad enough but it is the sun that is positively oppressive.
Today I began reading The Magus on an old wooden stool sitting in front of a fan in the corner of my bedroom. It is not how I envisioned reading here. I’m not sure why I imagined a quiet house, lying son a comfortable couch, the sound of rain outside. Instead the furniture is miserably hard, the house is oppressively hot and humid, and the TV is always blaring Chinese news. I retreat to the wooden  bench in the corner of the room where I can position the fan right in front of my face and the sound of the Tv is blown away, and my legs are so long I can’t even fit under the table to have a proper reading desk. My position is most uncomfortable. Yet somehow, it feels the perfect place to begin The Magus, uncomfortable as Fowler was in his hot Greek island.
And even as I write this I’ve retreated to a cafe, an unexpected diversion from Taipei station since there was nowhere to sit and the mall depressed me. Jonason needed time to read his books too. We both just wanted to be inside ourselves for a while.  The cafe is no place and every place. Mostly students on laptops with headphones, like every cafe in the world. Only this one has the beloved AC, the sound of clanking china, inaudible music, Chinese conversations, mismatched wallpaper and an old TV.

- Excerpt from my diary, September 17, 2018

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