DOWN THE COAST
an essay by Derek Walcott
I looked out through the freezing window, homesick. The idea of Manhattan, the stalagmite towers, faded into the distance of fantasy. There was not a stronger contrast than that fabled, metallurgic landscape with its rivers of molten lead and this real volcano with its infernal stench. The city’s fantasies were mechanical, its liturgy of titles came from the ceaseless spin of machines, of spools and tapes and meters, thousands of stories poured from it, finished and eager to be consumed. Film, reel after reel, from the intestines of the city.
I could imagine, seated in an armchair, staring at a bush for a long time until it brought me peace. Its waxen green leaves and the shadow of the leaves and that would be all of the labour, no more needed than that, for a slow joy to begin. At the edge of that joy would be the faint reek that came from the volcano, a reek with health, with the curing properties of sulphur, not the white world outside.
In the dry season the pasture turned Flemish, a spreading tree that I had painted emerald green against the burnt whitened grass burst into leaves of pale gold as tan cows moored themselves in the parched grass or moved slowly on the wide field under a blue enamel sky. Only a windmill was missing to make it as brown and dry as an old Dutch painting. Could the Dutch ancestry in me be so shallow as to recognise something some bastard ancestor knew before sailing to the West Indies? Why assert only one side of my racial mixture? Wasn’t the Dutch in me as valid as the African? And my other Dutch island, Manhattan? Read more >
GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ
‘I prefer being a journalist’
by Henry Akubuiro
How does it feel being a journalist again, after having written novels for so long? Do you do it with a different feel or a different eye?
I’ve always been convinced that my true profession is that of a journalist. What I didn’t like about journalism before were the working conditions. Besides, I had to condition my thoughts and ideas to the interests of the newspaper. Now, after having worked as a novelist, and having achieved financial independence as a novelist, I can really choose the themes that interest me and correspond to my ideas. In any case, I always very much enjoy the chance of doing a great piece of journalism. Read more in the Daily Sun.