“I am glad I have discussed the Nostalgic Fallacy at the
beginning of this book as a warning to myself….it is difficult to resist a
tete-a-tete with the charming ghosts of Vienna, difficult not to indulge in
memories of summer nights in the vineyards of Grinzing, of picnics on the
Danube, of sitting with a book in the sunbathed public parks, of nocturnal
processions with lighted candles along the “Ring.” Of Richard Strauss first
nights at the Opera or Alexander Moissi’s performance in Hamlet; and above all,
to pass in silence a gallery of smiling portraits of sweet Vienna girls,
Friedls and Hansls and Christls and Bertls, who seem to curtsy with tender and
mocking glances, as in the ballet scenes by Degas…
That Vienna is as distant from us today as the lost continent
of Atlantis. The stars which shone in its firmament are extinct without having
been properly charted on the maps; who, in the West knows, and who in the East
remembers Karl Kraus, the most brillian satiririst in the German language;
Peter Altenberg, the Dr. Johnson of Vienna’s café; the early Werfel; Anton Kuh;
Egon Ervin Kisch; von Hofmannsthal’s books for the operas of Richard Strauss?
The opera and the ballet and the repertory of classics in the Burg Theatre; the
concerts and the Philharmonic Orchestra were a permanent festival, the last
display of fireworks before the clock struck twelve and closing-time arrived
I was on a street corner smoking
Surrounded by people reading similar books on iPads
Listening to music on similar iPods
All walking the same
And I saw little birds playing and darting around singing
their little song to each other
And a voice said:
Don’t be like everyone else.
Follow your secret dark mystery
Whatever that may mean to you
Friendship and solitude are both a part of that.
Inspiration doesn’t come with mechanical artistic consumption
It comes from the lonely-god-secret.
And why choose gloomy darkness when
You have all the time in the world
To be a life-lover
And a dream-speaker
so caught up in it
When will you listen to yourself?
Offers always come, they need to be refused
Don’t be so fresh to the world
You’ve been around long enough
You know where the secret lies.