teisipäev, detsember 06, 2011

zoinks

A screen capture from Scooby Doo or just another old house in Viljandi?
On a warm summer's day, Viljandi looks like a pretty-as-a-picture northern European town, on a wet December day, it looks like a dump, some sort of Dickensian slum of crooked dwellings spewing smog, one-legged tramps hobbling down a busted road, one third puddles, one third cobblestones, one third dirt, little bratty pickpockets without parents rustling by to congregate at the local sweet shop. I should dislike it, pining for a cheeseburger in paradise, but instead my interest is piqued, because this is prime real estate for a novel.

Not only does Viljandi have the scenery down, but the characters, the characters. My pal Sten (name changed), a Vietnam vet with an expanding roster of offspring who lightens his load by doing flips on a trampoline. The school master Leivo (name changed again), who is like some kind of cross between Santa Claus and DIY painting guru Bob Ross. The local handyman Benno (another name changed) who is friendly on most days but especially friendly on the days that he drinks, and who I once saw collapse in a parking lot.

Then there are the poets and musicians: Kristiina (name not changed) writer of earthy poetry and her husband Silver (name not changed) whose talents include playing the bicycle tire. The motorcycle enthusiast (wait for it) who bought a sticker so that his yellow "Jeep" reads "Peep." Ruslan (name unchanged) the Ukrainian trombonist and Sofia (name unchanged) the Swedish folkie, plus the Armenian restaurateur and the Roma lady who told me she liked my books and then asked me for money (both names unknown), with all of whom I speak only Estonian, as if it was the only language in existence. It all adds up to something, an extravaganza, on ice, sometimes literally, but the only problem is that I just can't find a story line.

A madcap comedy? A murder mystery? A tale of passion and betrayal? Dangerous Estonian liaisons? An epic struggle between good and evil? Some modern-day rewrite of a Biblical parable? After our two cats disappeared, right in the neighborhood of a Chinese restaurant, I began to suspect that some kind of serial cat killer could pick up in Viljandi right where he left off in Kafka on the Shore. That one had no legs. The excitement over the discovery of a corpse in the lake after last winter's thaw (and there's always one or two) didn't lead me anywhere either. There's a haunted house around the corner too, but, who cares?

Fortunately, I've got plenty of other stories to write. But, for now, I am living in a book without a plot.

14 kommentaari:

Hannele ütles ...

You are absolutely right (about the spookiness of Viljandi). Couple of weeks ago at an event Karl Martin Sinijärv told that Viljandi looks perfect for hiding lots of corpses. Oh well... :)

And, I will avoid the Chinese place until you find your cats. It would be hard as I live atop of the restaurant...

Giustino ütles ...

I seriously doubt that Miisu and Triibu wound up as honey chicken. But where do all the stray cats go? If they are not in the pound, the they are either taken in by strangers, murdered, or living on their own.

Christine ütles ...

If cats like yours are disappearing from Viljandi then someone there in your town is taking them.
We over the years had 5 cats... they all died of natural causes.
Although one committed autoside by running in front of the second of three fast moving cars.
My theory is that didn't get there in time to run in front of the
1st car, his distorted thinking was if he didn't catch the 2nd one, the 3rd would do the job.
Helen & Velcro lived here till they were very old and we were sad when they died. No cat I have ever owned has simply left and not come back for dinner....
Sound like you could be the Stephen King of Viljandi...

Eppppp ütles ...

"My Estonia 3"...

Liivimaa parim ratsutaja ütles ...

Dreaming of a book without a plot ... Sounds like somebody is ready to join the autobiography fetishists. Wink-wink.

Simo ütles ...

We always find the things we never look for. Your in Viljandi after all. A story will come. We trust you. We TRUST you. No pressure.

Marko ütles ...

You're not there yet. Viljandi has inspired many famous writers, Kitzberg for example took his narratives from folklore. Character that has always baffled me is Alber Kivikas. I mean he used to live in Kantrekyla, a slum with a capital S, and has written epic, idealistic novels - so far from his everyday realities. And read some Juhan Liiv's poetry - how miserable, yet enchantingly beautiful - sooo Viljandi. Oh, I know - write us an international modern version of the Boatman of Viljandi!

Liivimaa parim ratsutaja ütles ...

I imaginge the Boatman would have mad rowing skills which he uses to neutralize unruly drunks and chase the litterers.

What he'd also do is to help old ladies accross the puddles and such other good things. Like make sure all the sewage wells have covers and the the trash collection monopoly would not charge citizens unfairly. Viljanders would depend on him keeping the city civil during folk festivus. He'd be rowing everywhere all year round.

Kristopher ütles ...

The cats are going to Finland and the UK to work.

notsu ütles ...

What has Liiv to do with Viljandi? He was decidedly East Estonian.

Meelis ütles ...

"What has Liiv to do with Viljandi?"
Juhan Liiv worked 1887-1890 in editorial board of "Sakala".

Pablo mira al mundo ütles ...

I guess the question is can all this people really live together? There's your novel :)

Liivimaa parim ratsutaja ütles ...

Yep. Comic novel would be the best. In this world of twits ... ahem ... tweets, who has time to read a real book?

karLcx ütles ...

or a script?

if it's a beautiful place that can be framed well, an estonian language movie? mmm