‘Gemeinplatz’ from Die Paradiesmaschine (2016). by Lydia Mischkulnig Translated from the German by Jennifer Watts
Natural disasters prove that nature has to be combatted. If a pot-bellied human reclines on the beach between washed-up corpses, that’s human nature. Winter-paradise-seekers weave over the white deluge. That is also nature. I formulate sentences, perhaps natural ones. I arrogantly imagine holding the last things in my little finger, because for quite some time I have marvelled at the inability to understand that death cannot be eliminated, but has, and had, to be instrumentalized. In the mountains, blizzards rage for people with piles of money. In the hotels, promises are made of much fun to be had. Nobody asks where the go-go dancers are from, and nobody asks about the source of the money. Woke bandits fuck organic produce. That is a drop in the ocean of disasters. What next? A fire, a landslide. To channel the money towards solidarity, against a disciplinary policy, against nature, against envy, against betrayal? Evil keeps starting to proliferate, all around, or in the people near me, or in me. Who knows how I would speak if something came into the world that I had to believe in – my work. I would fall in love with it. Being in love is the most beautiful form of psychosis. And what if I lose it because writing cures me? I fell in love with the act. Writing itself. It went so well between us and now I’m sitting in the mountains and I watch a snowflake dance down and instantly melt on my hand. I’d like to paint it but my brain sends the wrong movements to my hands, translates what I see not to my hand but to my mouth. It even occurs to me that my brain doesn’t look at the image my eye has made at all – my eye is useful only as an organ of inspection, confirming the preconceived judgements to which my mouth testifies. In other words, my gaze says: hand over the evidence. What I see, before I see it, I want to see – not to keep letting the confirmation of my suspicion dissolve on the tongue, that’s paradoxical. Reality is physical, social and atheistic and everything is atheistic and yet there is ungodliness. Is that not true? Writing is an attempt to realize a world without cannibals – I can honestly say I’d be glad to have done good in the world, then I would sit on my little cloud and look down – benevolently? – on the world of good intentions.