By Viggo Mortensen and Fabián Casas - translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
30 September 2013
Today I´ve tried to determine what time we are playing on Saturday but I couldn´t find it. On Sunday morning I´m leaving until Thursday for a literary festival in Chile and I hope to watch the match tomorrow before leaving. Today, while I was having lunch, a boy carrying vegetables came into the bar; he was wearing a very strange CASLA jacket I had never seen before. A pity not to have a camera with me because I would have asked him for a photo and I´d have sent it to you. Afterwards I went to the Parque Chabuco area because in front of the college of philosophy is the headquarters of the Santiago Arcos publishing house that publishes some of my books. I was there for some time and when I was coming out, walking towards the underground, I passed a young man in a suit who was holding in his hands - he was looking at it while walking - a CASLA emblem inside a piece of transparent paper, as if he was going to give it as a present or was trying to preserve it. This seemed like a sign to me. Ever since I got up and read the papers, I´d started thinking that it´s hard for us to win on our own field and that this is a pending issue for the team. The thing is that, near the subway, I entered a house that sells second-hand clothes - I love these shops - and, incredible, there was a long rack with six azulgrana t-shirts. As if someone had sold those clothes from some club leftovers. I took this as a sign, like when Doctor Jung said that the unconscious begins working together with the self which is external but communicates with the unconscious through the archetypes. I thought that the accumulated manifestations of signs in a single day were indicating that CASLA is going to win the next two matches on our field: magical thinking they call it. Now, while I´m writing to you, I´m in the midst of an allergy attack because of the dust the trees release in spring. It´s funny how we go on changing with the years. I wasn´t allergic and now I am, I wasn´t bald and now I am, I wasn´t a father and now I am. As Jung also said, fate is everything I don´t know about myself. Anyway, I hope your parents are all right and, since I don´t travel with a laptop, I´ll see if I can grab some machine in the hotel and write you things from Chile. Cuervo hug!
PS. The photo of the moon you sent is great. I remembered a sentence someone says on the Pink Floyd CD : "There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it's all dark."
I hope that the trip to Chile is good. Are you going to give some lectures there? You are going to see spring next to the mountain range - how lovely!
Your signs previous to the match were quite right, Cuervo. As you know, we just won forcefully 3-0 on our field against one of the candidates in this tournament, Gimnasia
Piatti scored two goals, the second with exquisite control. The first was the result of a great get away by Verón who came speeding down the middle of the field breaking the defence, but had the good sense and generosity to pass the ball to his teammate at the perfect moment so he could easily score. This time not only did San Lorenzo play with their accustomed collective harmony, but they could also solidify what they were putting together on the attack, tapping the ball. If the team keeps realizing the majority of opportunities it generates, nobody will stop them. It was a relief to see our players playing without inhibition at home. The most important thing was to see that Pizzi seems to have solved the problem of how to defend against the set play. CASLA could have scored a couple more goals (Correa, for example, didn't know how to take advantage of several clear opportunities in front of the Lobo net) but 3-0 was a great result, a victory that was more than deserved. I liked to see Alvarado scoring, who almost never does. Recently he scored that decisive penalty in the semi-final of the Copa Argentina, and today he scored the 2-0 that almost determined the final outcome with one great individual move. People have criticized him a lot lately, so good for him that now he's contributing to the resurgence of San Lorenzo.
Later, I saw the Madrid "Derby." After not having won a league match against Real Madrid in more than 14 years, Atlético de Madrid left Bernabeu Stadium with a real triumph. The 1-0 should have been a 3-0 but the rojiblancos [tr.note: nickname for Atlético de Madrid] missed several times during a match that they dominated from start to finish. Like Elche last week, Real Madrid didn't play at all. The conservative approach of Carlo Ancelotti bears a large part of the blame. He doesn't take advantage of the multiplicity of talent that his opulent team has, just like Mourinho did - who, among other idiocies, continues sowing confusion and bad results at Chelsea, denying the first team position to a player as key as Mata. The same thing that he did with Real Madrid, keeping essential players on the bench in order to mark his territory - and losing points as a consequence of it. If it weren't for the mediocre starters in almost all of the strong teams in the Premier League, Chelsea would be pretty far from the top. At least it's possible to say that, as opposed to his predecessor, Ancelotti seems to know how to lose without crying and kicking up a fuss, assuming some of his responsibility for the poor planning of the matches. So he could progress as a coach without completely destroying the team's spirit, like the Lamentable One did.
Cholo Simeone won the hand in everything against the Real Madrid head coach last night, above all in passion. The team that most wanted to win, won. The Colchoneros fought for all the loose balls as if they were playing in a Champions League final and won almost all of them. As is the case with San Lorenzo players, the "Atleti" believe in themselves. Self-esteem is a wonderful thing, but ephemeral. It's difficult to get and to keep, but these two teams have it and continue cultivating it collectively, in part thanks to the composure and controlled passion of their coaches.
Diego Costa and Cholo.
Speaking of how to cultivate self-esteem in the face of challenges that we set for ourselves, a quote from Facundo Cabral comes to mind:
"Don't say, 'I can't,' not even in jest, because the unconscious doesn't have a sense of humor; it will take it seriously and remember it every time you try."
Hello, Cuervo. It's two in the afternoon and I'm in a downtown hotel in "Shile." I don't say "Chile," I say "Shile," which is one of the countries where I've been many times and possibly, along with Germany, and above all Berlin, is the one I like the most. It could be because in both places I have great friends. Yesterday I flew while reading "Ole" to relive the great game we had against Gimnasia. Rarely does an Argentine first division team manage to show such command, fixing it in the net. I think if we continue with this timing, we'll be champions, something that the Cuervo supporters are already beginning to envision, because they began with the canticle that tells about a gypsy who told us that we're going to be crowned. I hope that's the case. I'm in Chile to participate in the international literature festival FILBA, and to be at some tables speaking about the Colombian Andrés Caicedo (a writer who died young but who wrote well and a lot) and another about Bolaño and Cortázar. I'm going to return in February to Isla Negra to spend my vacation with my Chilean friend, Sergio Parra, along with Anita and Guada. If you have free time, it would be great if you could come to this place with the family; it's beautiful. Parra rented a big house that's attached to Neruda's. Here they gave me a beautiful book by Nicanor Parra, who, to me, is one of the greatest poets in the world. It's about his visual poetry. Parra is like an old child surrounded by toys. I walked along the Alameda, went into the cafes where herbal tea is drunk standing up, perused the bookshops of San Diego street. Well, when I come to "Shile," I reclaim the rhythms of when I lived here. A while ago, I finished having lunch at La Union Chica, a bar that seems frozen in time, with the regulars standing at the bar, drinking their aperitifs and chatting on and on, one of those images that make you thankful to have been born on earth. Cuervo, if we win the one next Sunday, no one can stop us.
The poet Jorge Teillier in front of the Bar La ….
How nice that you are enjoying your stay in Santiago so much! I'm imagining what the ambience of the La Union bar would have been like in the 70's and 80's, for example, during the hard years of the Pinochet dictatorship, with the poets speaking in low voices, always watching out of the corner of their eyes at any stranger that entered. You're lucky, brother, knowing so many talented artists - and they're lucky to know you and your work, too. Of course I'd like to come in February to see you and the women in your life. Thanks for the invitation! Let's see if I can.
Yesterday I watched the Newell´s against Argentinos Juniors match on my laptop. I would have liked a tie, to remain first, but on the other hand it´s all right that the other teams stay well behind us and La Lepra [tr. note: Newell´s ]. I see that Boca won again, keep your eye on them; their team doesn't play a thing , and Bianchi doesn´t seem to have any ideas, but the Bosteros luck always has them within the dagger´s reach. Remember 2008, when they got up 8 points on us in the final stages for the Triangular [tr. note: a tournament where the championship has to be defined among three teams] and finally, unbelievably, got to be champions of the tournament. It's difficult to fight against the shady maneuvers of the AFA [tr. note: Argentine Soccer Association] and doubtful refereeing, but we have a very strong and well coached team. We have the satisfaction of being very close to the top and of having been there for the whole tournament. We continue on with luck on our side. We have to continue by adding threes in all of the matches we can until we confront Newell's. We don't need miracles, only the consistency that we've been showing lately. I just returned from France, where I went to work a little on the pre-production of a film that we're going to shoot in Morocco. It´s called Loin des hommes (Far From Men) and it´s based on one of the last short stories Albert Camus wrote. As you know, I´ve been reading and learning things in Arabic and French for this project. I already spoke a little French, but I had to lose the slightly "quebecois" accent that I normally have from having learned the language in part by listening to the French Canadians. I had to learn Arabic from scratch. I like the sound of that language, but my head is in a bit of a mess with the latest changes they put in to reach the final version of the script. I will be able to do it. I have to do it. There´s no other way. There´s already so little time left before the beginning of the shoot, but I´m confident that we'll all get to the first day of filming just fine.
I continue reading Camus and the Spanish, North American and French writers that he liked. I'm also reading newspaper reports from Algeria, France and Spain from the 30's, 40's and 50's (our film's story takes place in 1954), and also Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian poets. The history of Algeria, for thousands of years, is very rich and very long-suffering. Sometimes I think that that country, because of its geographic location on the African continent and because of the constant invasions and wars through which it has lived, is the equivalent of Poland on the European continent. The multiple cultural crossroads, so much beauty and so much blood.
René Char was the last great friend of Camus. He was a poet from the south of France, from Provence, with whom the Algerian author had a very strong connection because of the shared ways of being and writing they had, being such "Mediterraneans" in their tastes those two men. Take a look at this Char poem that I just finished reading in Spanish. I already knew and liked it a lot in its original French, but it seems to me that this translation, done by the Spanish poet, Jorge Riechmann, is very lovely:
From what do you suffer? As if in the noiseless house a face fused to an acrid mirror were to emerge. As if the high lamp, its radiance inclined above a blind plate, were to lift to your clenched throat the old table with its fruit. As if in the morning haze you were reliving your forays, your discovery of the beloved revolt which knew better than all tenderness how to rescue and delight you. As if condemning, while your lover sleeps, the sovereign portal and the path leading to it.
From what do you suffer? From unreality intact within devastated reality. From their bold tricks ringed with cries and blood. From that which was chosen and left untouched, from the shore of the leap to the coast attained, from the thoughtless present which has disappeared. From a foolish star which came too close and will die before me.
-- English translation from the French by Susanne Dubroff of "Rémanence" by René Char in This Smoke that Carried Us.
Last edited: 4 July 2022 10:03:23