Sun. Jan 26th, 2020

Nobel Prize editorial preview Olga Tokarczuk

Spanish translation of Agatha Orzeszek, for Anagrama.

Catalan translation by Xavier Farré, for Rata Editorial (this version is followed by an informative translation into Spanish).

I'm here

I am few years old. I am sitting on the windowsill, around me there are toys scattered on the floor, towers of collapsed cubes, dolls with bulging eyes. The house is dark, in the rooms the air, little by little, cools, weakens. No one; they have left, they have disappeared, more and more faint can still hear their voices, their dragging of their feet, the echo of their steps and some distant laughter. On the other side of the window the patio appears deserted. The darkness glides smoothly from the sky. It perches on all things like a black dew.

The most annoying thing is the stillness: thick, visible; the cold twilight and the dying light of the sodium vapor lamps that submerge in the dim light just a meter from its source.

Nothing happens, the progress of darkness stops at the door of the house, the eclipse's spokesperson fades away. A thick cloth is formed, such as milk when cooled. The contours of the houses, with the sky as a backdrop, lengthen to infinity, losing their sharp angles, edges and edges. The light that goes out takes the air: there is nothing to breathe. Darkness penetrates the skin. The sounds have curled up and thrown back their snail eyes; The world orchestra has moved away until disappearing into the park.

This afternoon is a border of the world, I touched it by chance, while playing, without wanting to. I have discovered it because they have left me alone for a while at home, unattended. I have certainly fallen into a trap. I'm a few years old, I'm sitting on the windowsill watching the cold patio. The school kitchen lights have gone out, everyone has left. The cement slabs in the patio have soaked the darkness and disappeared. Closed doors, blinds and blinds down. I would like to leave, but I have nowhere to go. Only my presence adopts sharp contours that tremble, wave, and that hurts. I immediately discover the truth: there is nothing to do, I exist, here I am.

The world in the head

I made my first trip through the fields, on foot. For a long time no one noticed my disappearance, which allowed me to get far away. I toured the entire park; then, through dirt roads, crossing cornfields and meadows covered with marigolds and furrowed by drainage ditches, I managed to reach the river. The river, however, was omnipresent in the plain, soaked the earth under the grass, licked the fields.

As I climbed onto the embankment, I could see an oscillating belt, a road that winded beyond the framing of the world. And, hopefully, you could see on it a flat barge moving both ways without repairing on the banks, or in the trees, or on the people who were on the embankment, considering them, surely, unstable, unworthy orientation points of attention, mere witnesses of his graceful movement. I dreamed of working in a boat of those when I was older or, better yet, to become one of them.

It wasn't a great river, just the Odra, but by then I was small too. He occupied his own place in the hierarchy of the rivers – something that he would later check on a map -, second, though notable, as a viscount of provinces in the court of Queen Amazonas. However, it was enough for me and I had enough, it seemed immense. It flowed at ease, unregulated for a long time, overflowing friend, untamed. In certain places, next to the margins, its waters swirled upon encountering the occasional underwater obstacle. It flowed, paraded, true to its reasons hidden behind the horizon, somewhere remote from the north. Impossible to pose his gaze on him, he dragged her beyond the horizon to the point of losing balance.

Occupied in themselves, the waters did not repair me, traveling, changing waters, which could never be entered twice, as I learned later.

Every year a good tribute was charged for bringing the boats on the back, since there was not one in which someone did not drown, whether it was a child when bathing during the hot summer days or a drunk who, to know why, had staggered on the bridge and, despite the railing, had fallen into the water. The drowned were always searched for a long time and riding a lot of fuss, which kept the entire territory in tension. Teams of divers and motorboats of the army were organized. According to the stories of the adults I spied, the rescued bodies appeared swollen and pale: the water had sucked every trace of life, blurring their faces to such an extent that those close to each other were barely able to recognize the bodies.

Planted on the anti-flood embankment, the gaze fixed on the current, I discovered that – despite all the dangers – it would always be better to move than the static, that the change would be more noble than the stillness, that the static was doomed to crumble , degenerate and end up reduced to nothing; the mobile, on the other hand, would last even eternity. Since then the river became a needle stuck in my secure and stable landscape of the park, the greenhouses where the rows of vegetables timidly germinated and the cement slabs of the sidewalk where hopscotch was played. It crossed it completely, as if vertically marking a third dimension; it bore him, and the children's world turned out to be nothing more than a rubber toy from which the air escaped by emitting a whistle.

My parents were not entirely a sedentary tribe. They moved many times from one place to another until they finally settled for a time in a provincial school, away from any train station and any road worthy of the name. The mere fact of crossing the border to go to the small county town became a journey. The purchase, the paperwork in the municipal office, the usual hairdresser in the market square next to the town hall, dressed in the same apron washed and bleached again and again, without success, because the hair dyes of the clients left in it Calligraphic spots, Chinese ideograms. When Mom dyed her hair, Dad was waiting for her at the Nowa Cafe, at one of the two tables they set up outside. I read the local newspaper, whose most interesting section was always that of events, with its chronicles of theft of jams and pickles from the basements where they were stored.

Those vacation trips of his, a little bit cowed, in a Škoda loaded to the brim. Long prepared, planned during preprimaveral afternoons, the snow barely melted, but the earth still did not return itself; we had to wait until he finally delivered his body to plows and hoes, to let himself be inseminated, then he would have them busy from morning until night.


The cap to the mon

Vaig studied psychology in a large communist city, llbrebre, the meu apartment was in a building that during the war was still in the division of the SS. He had also built that part of the city of the ruin of the ghetto, it was easy to bargain when he observed (tot el barri was a meter per damunt of the rest of the city). A meter of rune. Mai no m’hi vaig feel bé; Among the nous blocs and les placetes esquifides semper bufava el vent, i l’aire glaçat was particularly painful, in the face. In the fons, in spite of tota that one constructed, it was a lloc that pertanyia als morts. In the face of the somiant l'edifici departament, els seus passadissos amples, such as s'haguessin perforat a la roca, llisos pels peus de la gent, the most expensive expenditures of the stairs, the pollen barana per les mans, the grave marks tot l'espai. Potser was per això that feared l’aparició d’esperits.

Quan deixàvem anar rates in that laberint, always there was one that contradicted the theory and to the one that was equal to our enginyoses hypotheses. It is posava dreta dues potes, sense to be interested in the premise at the end of the experimental tour; In contrast to the privileges of Pàvlov's condition, he stares at a glance, and then turns on what is the sense of sense presses to examine the labyrinth. Look for something in the passadissos laterals, try to raise l’atenció. Esgüellava disoriented, and aleshores les noies, against the rules, the three of the labyrinth and l'agafaven in braços.

Els musculs d'una granota morta, tota estesa, is corbaven and is straight ahead of the dictation of the electrical impulses, but in a way that it faces, there is no stature described in our manuals, in fact, and in the extremities of the obvious gestures. d'amenaça i de mofa, the thing contradicted the sacrosanct faith in the mechanical innocence of physiological reflexes.

Here they are going to show that mon is pot describiure, i fins i tot clarify amb l’ajut of senzilles responses to questions intel·ligents. That in the sevance essència impotent i mort, that the governen unes lleis força simple that lime clarify and present, I wonder if it is possible to serve a diagram. Ens demanaven experiments. Formulate hypothesis. Check They will introduce into the mysteries of statistics, tot creient that thanks to it is able to describe perfectly all the regularities of the world, that one hundred per cent is more significant than zinc per cent.

But I know one thing: who seeks ordre to avoid psychology. Millor, which is decided by physiology or by theology, almenys tindrà a suport sòlid, either in the matèria or in l’esperit; will not relliscarà in the psyche. The psyche is an objecte d’investigació molt insegur.

It was rare that those who are not tria that race to assemble a feina, per curiosity, or for the vocation d´ajudar els altres, but per simple motiu molt més. Molt em I fear that you had some defecate profoundly amagat; In the face of Ben Segur Fèiem, the impression of being young people, sanes, intel·ligents, was a defecte dissimulat, camuflat destrament in els exàmens d’ingrés. A fardell d’emocions estretament entrellaçades, siphoned out with those strange tumors that in vegades are troben in the humble cos and that can be veure in the museums that followed digatological pathology. But it could also be that the examiners fossin persones de la mateixa mena i in realitat sabessin que feien? Així nosaltres seríem els seus hereus. Who are going to deal with how the defense mechanisms work and will discover the admiration of the power of our psyche, we will begin to understand that if you exist the rationalization, the sublimation, the elimination, all those strategic strategies that we will offer to us, mateialos, that if it is pogues to look at the mon sense sense protected, honestly and daringly, aleshores ens slaves the cor.

Let us know in that career that there are defense constructions, escuts i de cuirasses, that érem ciutats on l’arquitectura is reduced to the world, the towers and fortifications; bunker stands

After all the tests, I interviewed them and told them that they were mutually high and after the third time, I knew how to say badly; it was like discovering the secret secret between the first time.

It will not be gaire temps exercint that professió that there was après. During one of the few sortides, in which sense diners remain in a large city and hotel rooms d´hotels, Vaig began writing a book. It was a story about the viatge, but to get to the train, a name that was common if you wrote to my mate. A llibre com a canapè, per empassar-se’l de cop, sense mossegar.

He was able to concentrate on me, for a period of time to become a monstrous orella to escort the xiuxiueigs, the echoes and the strawberry; you see them coming from darrere d’alguna paret.

But not in vaig to arrive to turn mai into an authentic writer or, moreover, into a writer, because this paraula amb the genre masculine sona molt més important. Life is always m’esquitllava. Només topava amb les seves marques, amb unes miserables pells mudades. Quan pointed to the seventh position, it was on a high floor. So sols trobava signes, with what is deixa a l’escorça dels arbres als parcs: «I have been here». In the new scripture, life is transformed into incomplete histories, in dreamlike rondalles, in confusing stretches, it is one of several in some incredible perspectives displaced or in transverse talls, and it is difficult to invent some conclusions that lead to totality.

Qui hagi tried to write a novel·la sap that is a tough molt, that sense cap dubte one of the pitjors ways of having a feina per a mateix. Tot el temps cal stay in a mateix, in a single cell, in absolute solitude. It is a controlled psychosi, a paranoia amb an obsessed hooked to the feina, per això s'han d'eliminar les plomes, els mirinyacs i les venetian masks amb ambè les coneixem, and a davantal of carnisser and boats of aviat rubber, and a ganivet per act to enter them. Des d’aquest soterrani de l’escriptor penis is veuen les cames dels vianants, sat the soroll dels talons. Of vegades algú s’atura per ajupir-se i dona-hi una ullada, aleshores is pot veure a human face i is able to interchange fins and tot some paraules. In reality, however, the ment is occupied with the joc that is going to be a terme davant d'ell in a panotic esbossat amb presses, collocant les figures in a provisional setting: l'autor i the personatge, the narrator and the reader, who described it and described it; Peus, Sabates, Talons and Cares later or more days now are part of a joc.

No em sap greu haver tingut affects this particular tasca: it did not serve per psychologist. It was not capaç d’aclarir, of traure of the fossil of the ment family photographs. Les confessions dels altres molt sovint m’avorrien, which I reconnect amb sad. Parlant sincerely, I used to passar that I preferred to capture our relations and began to talk about my mate. Havia d’anar amb molt de compte but not to overdo the pacient per la màniga and interrupt the mitja phrase: «Però què diu vostè, senyora! Jo ho sento a way of tot diferent! I the one who jo somiat! Escolti, escolti … »Or:« Què en sap, vostè, de l’insomni! I will say if there is a panic attack! Go, no faci joke. The one who jo vaig have last, there it was … »

I didn't know how to escort. Do not respect the borders, move the things. I didn't believe in statistics and the verification of theories. Semper m’ha semblat massa minimalista the postulat d ’« a personality: a person ». He had a tendency to expel evidències, to pose in doubtless irrefutable arguments: there was a vici, a ioga pervers of the beer, a subtle plaer to experience the internal movement. Posing in dubte each opinion, tasting-la sota la llengua and finally the expected descoberta that Cap d’elles was not authentic, but false, and that came from a manufactured brand. I did not have a formal opinion, haurien stat un equipatge innecessari. A discussion of the band in a band, of l'altra, I know that I would not like the speaker. Vaig will be a testimony of a phenomenal estran that the chapter will grant: with more arguments "in favor" Trobava, the more I come "against", the more I hold on to the primers, the more attractive it is for the second time.

I could have examined the altres, if it was difficult for me to solve this test. A personal qüestionari, an enquesta, a column of questions and a multi tria response in the most difficult field. Ben aviat em vaig adonar d’aquesta deficiència meva, per això to the race that in examinàvem fent pràctiques, donava respostes casuals, the first one in vingués. Then, from tot això, in sortien uns profiles molt estranys: unes corbes dutes lines to l´eix de les coords. "Did you think that the million decided what is the easiest to change?" Quina decided? Canviar-la? Quan Com, easier? «When entering a room, do you occupy aviat the central lloc or the peripheric?» Who did you live in? I who? Is it buida, l’habitació, or arrambats a les parets hi ha sofàs de pelfa vermells? I finestres, who do they donate to? Question about els llibres: Do you prefer to arrive in Lloc d'anar to festivities, or do you have a lot of free time that the festival followed?

Quina is this methodology! Suppose silently that l'home is not coneix to yes mateix, but if you ask them fans, enginyoses, is that mateixa person who inspects. Ell is fa ask them if mateix, and ell mateix will answer them. Sense think-hi, is revealed to mateixa a secret that disconnected from tot.

I the second one supposed, deadly perillosa: that som constants, and that our reactions are predictable.

Informative version in Spanish

Head in the world

I studied psychology in a large, gloomy communist city, my apartment was in a building that during the war had been of the SS division. They had built that part of the city from the ruins of the ghetto, it was easy to perceive it when you watched it well (the whole neighborhood was one meter above the rest of the city). A meter of rubble. I never felt good; the wind blew between the new blocks and the small plates, and the icy air was particularly painful, it cut my face. Deep down, despite all that construction, it was a place that belonged to the dead. Even now I still dream in the building of the floor, its wide corridors, as if they had been drilled in the rock, smoothed by the steps of the people, the worn edges of the stairs, the hand-polished railing, the engraved marks on everything the space. Maybe that's why we feared the appearance of spirits.

When we released rats in that maze, there was always one that contradicted our theory and our ingenious hypotheses were exactly the same. She stood on two legs, without being at all interested in the prize at the end of the experimental tour; contrary to Pavlov's conditioning privileges, he stared at us, and then turned around or gave himself in no hurry to examine the labyrinth. I was looking for something in the side aisles, trying to get attention. She screamed disoriented, and then the girls, against the rules, took her out of the maze and held her in her arms.

The muscles of a dead frog, stretched, curved and tensed to dictate the electrical impulses. However, in a way that had not yet been described in our manuals, they sent us signals, and the limbs made obvious gestures of threat and derision, which contradicted the sacrosanct faith in the mechanical innocence of physiological reflexes.

Here we were taught that the world can be described, and even clarified with the help of simple answers to intelligent questions. In essence it is impotent and dead, governed by fairly simple laws that need clarification and presentation, and even better if a diagram is used. They asked us for experiments. Formulate hypothesis. Check. They introduced us to the mysteries of statistics, believing that thanks to it all the regularities of the world can be perfectly described, because ninety percent is much more significant than five percent.

But today I know one thing: whoever seeks order to avoid psychology. Better to choose physiology or theology, at least it will have a solid support, in matter or spirit; It will not slip on the psyche. The psyche is a very insecure research object.

Those who said that they did not choose that career were right to secure a job afterwards, out of curiosity, or by the vocation to help others, but for a simpler reason. I am very afraid that we all had some deeply hidden defect; although surely we gave the impression of being young, healthy, intelligent people, it was a disguised defect, camouflaged skillfully in the entrance exams. A pack of closely intertwined emotions, frayed like those strange tumors that are sometimes found in the human body and can be seen in museums that are worthy of pathology. But it could also be that the examiners were people of the same type and actually knew what they were doing. Thus we would be his heirs. When in the second they discussed how defense mechanisms worked and discovered with admiration the power of our psyche, we began to understand that if there were rationalization, sublimation, elimination, all those strategies that we offered ourselves, if we could look at the world without any protection, honestly and boldly, then our hearts would burst.

We knew in that race that we were built of defense, shields and hearts, that we were cities where architecture was reduced to walls, towers and fortifications; bunker states.

All the tests, interviews and investigations we did each other in each other and after the third I already knew how to hurt; It was like discovering the secret name itself with which one enters an initiation.

I was not long exercising the profession I had learned. During one of my trips, when I ran out of money in a big city and worked cleaning hotel rooms, I started writing a book. It was a story about the trip, to read on the train, a book that was as if I wrote it for myself. A book like a couch, to swallow at once, without biting.

I was able to concentrate when necessary, for a while I became a monstrous ear to hear whispers, echoes and noise; the distant voices that came from the other side of some wall.

But I never became an authentic writer or, rather, a writer, because this word with the masculine gender sounds much more important. Life always slipped out of me. Only collided with their marks, with miserable changed skins. When he pointed to his position, he was already somewhere else. I only found signs, such as what is left in the bark of trees in the parks: "I've been here." In my writing, life was transformed into incomplete stories, into dream stories, into confusing plots, it showed itself from a distance in some incredible displaced perspectives or in cross-sections, and it was difficult to invent some conclusions regarding the whole.

Anyone who has ever tried to write a novel knows that it is a very hard task, it is without a doubt one of the worst ways to work on your own. All the time you have to stay in yourself, in a cell of one person, in absolute solitude. It is a controlled psychosis, a paranoia with an obsession with work addiction, so you have to remove the feathers, miriñaques and Venetian masks with which we know them, and better put on a butcher's apron and rubber boots, and a knife To open the bowels. From that basement of the writer you can barely see the legs of the pedestrians, the noise of the heels is heard. Sometimes someone stops to bend over and take a look, then a human face can be seen and some words can even be exchanged. In reality, however, the mind is occupied with the game that is taking place before him in a panoptic outlined in a hurry, placing the figures on a provisional stage: the author and the character, the narrator and the reader, to whom describe and described; feet, shoes, heels and faces become, sooner or later, a part of that game.

It doesn't hurt me to have had affection for that particular task: it didn't serve as a psychologist. He was not able to clarify, to take family photographs out of the darkness of his mind. The confessions of others very often bored me, I recognize it sadly. Honestly speaking, it used to happen that I preferred to change our relationships and started talking about myself. He had to be very careful not to suddenly grab the patient by the sleeve and interrupt her in a half sentence: «But what do you say, madam! I feel it in a very different way! And what I have dreamed! Listen, listen … »Or:« What do you know about insomnia! You will tell me if that is a panic attack! Go, don't kid. What I had recently, that was … »

I didn't know how to listen. He didn't respect borders, he moved things. He did not believe in statistics and in the verification of theories. I have always found the postulate of "a personality: a person" too minimalist. He had a tendency to erase the evidence, to question the irrefutable arguments: that was a vice, a perverse yoga of the brain, a subtle pleasure of experiencing the internal movement. To doubt each opinion, to taste it under the tongue and finally the expected discovery that none was authentic, but false, and that it came from a manufactured brand. I didn't want to have formed opinions, they would have meant unnecessary luggage. In the discussions I now stood on one side, now on the other – and I know they didn't like me as a speaker. I witnessed a strange phenomenon that came to mind: the more arguments "in favor" I found, the more they came "against me", and the more I clung to the former, the more attractive were the latter.

How could I have examined the others, if it was very difficult for me to solve any test. A personal questionnaire, a survey, a column of questions and multiple choice answers seemed too difficult for me. I soon realized that deficiency, so in the race, when we examined ourselves in practice, I gave answers without thinking, the first thing that came to mind. Then, from all that, there were some very strange profiles: curved lines taken to the axis of the coordinates. "Do you think the best decision is the one that is easier to change?" Do I think so? What decision? Change it? When? How easy? «When entering a room, do you occupy rather the central or peripheral site?» In which room? And when? Is the room empty or close to the walls are red velvet sofas? And the windows to which part? Question about books: do I prefer to read them instead of going to parties, or does that all depend on the book that is and how the party is?

What is that methodology! It silently assumes that man does not know himself, but when asked the right, witty questions, it is that same person who inspects himself. He asks himself the questions, and he answers them himself. Without thinking, he will reveal himself a secret he did not know at all. And the second assumption, mortally dangerous: that we are constant, and that our reactions are predictable.

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