Saturday, June 12, 2021

The "sad nostalgic humming" of "Mack the Knife" in Doris Lessing's "The Golden Notebook"

In Doris Lessing's "The Golden Notebook", Anna Wulf recalls in the mid-1950s how during World War Two, the German refugee Willi Rodde, her wartime lover in Southern Rhodesia, "would tunelessly hum" Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's "Mack the Knife". When it became a hit in the mid-1950s, Anna felt a "sharp feeling of dislocation" on hearing it in London. For Willi in Africa, with his "sad nostalgic humming", it was a song from his childhood in Berlin; for Anna in London, it recalled her young adulthood during the war. I feel nostalgia now, too, re-reading "The Golden Notebook" three decades after I first read it in the early 1990s – in Berlin. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 12 June 2021)

Friday, June 11, 2021

Living in infamy with Dylan, Roosevelt, and Shakespeare

Bob Dylan's "Murder Most Foul" begins by connecting the Kennedy assassination to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's speech after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941: "Twas a dark day in Dallas – November ‘63 / The day that will live on in infamy." Although it's now permanently associated with Roosevelt's "a date which will live in infamy", I wondered if the phrase "live in infamy" predated his speech – and discovered that it goes back to the seventeenth century. The most prominent example I've found is in William Shakespeare's "Henry the Fourth, Part II", when the Lord Chief Justice addresses Falstaff: "Well, the truth is, Sir John, you live in great infamy." (Andrew Shields, #111words, 11 June 2021)
Robert Smirke, Falstaff Rebuked, 1795. Folger Shakespeare Library Digital Image Collection

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Don't change any orbits, Representative Gohmert. Instead, reduce the use of fossil fuels

On Tuesday, 8 June, 2021, Republican Representative Louie Gohmert of Texas asked  whether the National Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management could "change the course of the moon's orbit or the Earth's orbit around the sun? Obviously, that would have profound effects on our climate." Perhaps he was being ironic, as Philip Bump of the Washington Post suggests. But whether he meant the remark seriously or not, such proposal responds to the climate catastrophe with a grand technological solution that would be far more complicated than the simple technological solution of reducing use of fossil fuels. The grand solution that we need is not technological, but political and economic. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 10 June 2021)


Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Translations of a line from Wallace Stevens into Spanish: "It was evening all afternoon."

The Spanish word "tarde" can be translated into English as either "afternoon" or "evening", depending on what time of day is being referred to. This just made wonder about a line from the last section of Wallace Stevens's "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird": "It was evening all afternoon." With an internet search, I found two translations, one by Raúl Gustavo Aguirre: "Toda la tarde fue de noche." And one by Andrés Sánchez Robayna: "Toda la tarde era crepúsculo." The latter seems better to me because it avoids "noche", the Spanish word for "night". I also just like "crepúsculo" ("dusk"), though my preference for it is from French, not Spanish. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 9 June 2021)


Note: In my lipogram version, I render the line as "It was dusk for hours past noon."
A selection of Stevens translated by Andrés Sánchez Robayna.


Tuesday, June 08, 2021

On getting the same vaccine for the second dose of my coronavirus vaccination

I went to get the second dose for my coronavirus vaccination this afternoon, and I was surprised when the purple-haired young woman preparing to give me the shot mentioned that I'd be getting the same vaccine as before (BioNTech-Pfizer) – I'd unconsciously assumed that it went without saying that the vaccines couldn't be mixed. But when I asked her whether they could, she said that while there haven't been studies, the two mRNA vaccines available in Basel (BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna) are similar enough that it's reasonable to assume that they could be mixed, but the AstraZeneca vaccine, for example, is a viral-vector vaccine that may well not be compatible with the others. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 8 June 2021)

Monday, June 07, 2021

Senator Hoar sees how "hateful" Senator Miller's espousal of "Anglo-Saxon civilization" is – in 1882

In his discussion of Asian Americans on last night's episode of "Last Week Tonight", John Oliver quoted Senator John Franklin Miller, a Republican from California, from the debates in the in 1882 about the Chinese Exclusion Act: “We ask of you to secure to us American Anglo-Saxon civilization without contamination or adulteration with any other." I found the quotation in a recent article in "The New Yorker" that also cites Senator George Frisbie Hoar, a Republican from Massachusetts, who criticized "the old race prejudice which has so often played its hateful and bloody part in history." Even then, the "Anglo-Saxon" ideas behind the exclusion of the Chinese were identified as "hateful". (Andrew Shields, #111words, 7 June 2021)
Senator George Frisbie Hoar


Sunday, June 06, 2021

Senator Manchin, protecting the right to vote is only "partisan" because Republicans are engaging in partisan attacks on it

The For the People Act was reintroduced in 2021 by Democratic Representatives and Senators to expand "voter registration [...] and voting access" and limit "removing voters from voter rolls." As no Republican Senators support the Act, Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia, announced yesterday in the Charleston Gazette-Mail that he will be voting against the bill. Manchin begins with the claim that "protecting [the right to vote] should never be done in a partisan manner." However, in states across the country, the Republican Party is undermining that right in the most partisan manner possible. Manchin's refusal to be "partisan" surrenders to Republican attacks on the right he claims to stand for. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 6 June 2021)


Saturday, June 05, 2021

Mentioning the "native" in a poem while still erasing them

Jeff Daniel Marion's poem "Playing to the River" takes place in the moment of waiting "for the traffic light to change", as the poem's first-personal plural speaker ("we") sees and hears a woman playing bagpipes beside a river. This brief moment of present time fills up with "past lives:  fishermen / and riverboat gamblers, tugboat captains // and log raftsmen, pioneer and native / slipping through the eddies of time." These images of the people who stood beside the river in the past repeat a version of American history which may be willing to mention Native Americans but does not address the violence done to them by all those other figures. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 5 June 2021)


Friday, June 04, 2021

Rowan Ricardo Phillips, T. S. Eliot, William Blake, and police violence

Rowan Ricardo Phillips's two-line poem "Tradition and the Individual Talent" takes its title from the title of an essay by T. S. Eliot and its first line from William Blake's poem "London": "I wandered through each chartered street / Till I was shot by the police." I wondered if the second line was also a quotation (perhaps of a song), but an internet search for the phrase led only to references to Phillips. While Blake's London is full of people with "marks of weakness, marks of woe" and Eliot writes that "poetry is not a turning loose of emotion", Phillips turns emotion loose as his speaker is "marked" by police violence. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 4 June 2021)

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Paul Celan, handshakes, smiles, and poems in the pandemic

Before the pandemic, we shook hands as greetings or congratulations. Often, handshakes were accompanied by smiles. Now we've learned to do without hands and smiles, except when we wave to and smile at each other on Zoom. In retrospect, there was an element of trust in the handshake and in the open smile, which can only be safe in the absence of an infectious disease. In a 1960 letter to Hans Bender, Paul Celan wrote that he could not "see any basic difference between a handshake and a poem". In a world without handshakes and with smiles hidden by masks, the poem remains as a sign of trust in the other. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 3 June 2021)

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

"I am very angry with you": Anne Elliot and her disobedient nephew in Jane Austen's "Persuasion"

In Jane Austen's "Persuasion", when Anne Elliot tends her injured nephew Charles with only Captain Wentworth and Charles Hayter in the room, Charles's little brother Walter enters and "fastens himself upon" Anne. Her orders and entreaties with him are unsuccessful, and he climbs on her back: "'Walter,' said she, 'get down this moment. [...] I am very angry with you.'" While this is directed at the boy, both men respond: Charles Hayter speaks to Walter, and Captain Wentworth silently removes Walter from Anne's back. She speaks as an aunt to her nephew, not as a woman to the two men, but they react as if she had spoken to them directly.  (Andrew Shields, #111words, 2 June 2021)

Vor dem Gesetz steht ein Torhüter

Vor dem Gesetz steht ein Torhüter. Zu diesem Torhüter kommt ein Stürmer vom Lande und bittet um Eintritt in das Gesetz. Aber der Torhüter sagt, daß er ihm den Eintritt nicht gewähren könne, bis er ein Elfmeter schiesst. Der Stürmer schreitet selbstbewusst zum Elfmeterpunkt und bereitet den Ball vor, während der Torhüter auf der Linie in aller Ruhe wartet. Der Stürmer läuft an und schiesst; der Torhüter macht einen leichten Sprung und pariert den Schuss. Der Stürmer versucht ihn durch Finten zu verfuhren; der Torhüter rührt sich nicht. Mit einer augenblicklichen Gewandtheit tritt der Stürmer den Ball in die hohe Ecke, für keinen anderen Torhüter wäre so ein Ball haltbar, aber dieser Torhüter macht einen leichten Sprung und pariert den Schuss. Der Ernst des Torhüters kommt hinzu, dem Stürmer die Fassung zu rauben, Schüsse und Finten wechseln sich, ihm trieft der Schweiss: umsonst! Nicht bloss, dass der Torhüter alle Schüsse pariert; auf Finten (was ihm kein Torhüter der Welt nachmacht) geht er gar nicht einmal ein: Aug in Auge, als ob er die Seele des Stürmers darin lesen kann, steht er, die Handschuhe erhoben, und wenn die Bewegungen nicht ernsthaft gemeint sind, so rührt er sich nicht. So geht es Tage und Jahre. Der Stürmer wird kindisch und da er in dem jahrelangen Studium des Torhüters auch die Flöhe in seinem Trikot erkannt hat, bittet er auch die Flöhe ihm zu helfen, um den Torhüter zu überlisten. Schließlich wird sein Augenlicht schwach und er weiß nicht, ob es um ihn wirklich dunkler wird oder ob ihn nur seine Augen täuschen. Wohl aber erkennt er jetzt im Dunkel einen Glanz, der unverlöschlich aus dem Tores bricht. Nun lebt er nicht mehr lange. Vor seinem Tode sammeln sich in seinem Kopfe alle Elfmeter der ganzen Zeit zu einer Frage: „Alle streben doch nach dem Gesetz,“ sagt der Stürmer, „wieso kommt es, daß in den vielen Jahren niemand außer mir ein Elfmeter versucht hat?“ Der Torhüter erkennt, daß der Stürmer schon an seinem Ende ist: Das ist das letzte Kapitel von der Geschichte der Welt.


Tuesday, June 01, 2021

17-year-old Mohammad Recep juggles for children in Beit Hanoun, Gaza

An article in The Intercept ("With Thousands Left Homeless, Gaza Reconstruction Faces Familiar Obstacle: Israeli Siege") includes a photograph taken by Abed Zagout in Beit Hanoun, Gaza, on May 25, 2021, of a 17-year-old Palestinian, Mohammad Recep, juggling three colorful clubs to entertain children against a backdrop of bombed-out buildings. On Twitter*, there are more of Zagout's photographs of Recep in his orange T-shirt, juggling clubs, balls, and rings for the captivated children. One photograph captures a moment when, with two red clubs in his hands, Recep is balancing a green club by its handle on his chin while the setting sun illuminates the remaining walls of the ruins behind him. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 1 June 2021)


*Tweets with the photographs are here, here, and here.

Detail of photograph by Abed Zagout

Monday, May 31, 2021

Repetition and imperatives in villlanelles

The villanelle's repetitions make it effective for going around in circles. Dylan Thomas's 1947 "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" repeats imperatives to the poet's father; Elizabeth Bishop's 1976 "One Art" uses them to talk herself into not feeling overwhelmed by loss. Responding to 9/11, Jay Parini's 2002 "After the Terror" saves its imperatives for the beginning of the final quatrain: "Believe in victory and all that jazz. / Believe we're better off, that less is more." The after-effects of 9/11 come up in Tracy K. Smith's 2011 "Solstice", but its single imperative question is not one of the repeated lines: "Remember how they taught you once to pray?" (Andrew Shields, #111words, 31 May 2021)


Elizabeth Bishop
Elizabeth Bishop receiving the Neustadt Prize in 1976


Sunday, May 30, 2021

Pidgins and creoles as products of collective linguistic creativity

In their Language Log post addressing the concept of the "native speaker" of a language, Devin Grammon and Anna Babel mention that creole languages, like many "marginalized" languages, are often "not recognized as legitimate varieties of language" by speakers of more socially validated languages. Yet the creation of pidgin and creole languages at points of contact between languages is amazing: with elements of the languages they know, people with no common language create a pidgin, which turns into a creole as their descendants learn to speak it. Instead of being decried as illegitimate forms compared to "standard" languages, pidgins and creoles deserve widespread recognition as incredible realizations of collective linguistic creativity. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 30 May 2021)

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Returning in thought with Adam Zagajewski to a concert by Hildegard Lernt Fliegen

One reason for praise in Adam Zagajewski's poem "Try to Praise the Mutilated World" (translated by Clare Cavanagh) is the experience of listening to live music: "Return in thought to the concert where music flared." Of the hundreds of concerts I've attended in my life, those who know me might expect me to think of one by The Grateful Dead (and if I did, it would have been 22 July 1984 in Ventura, California), but the one that comes to mind took place on 18 July 2018 at the Stimmen Festival in Lörrach: Hildegard Lernt Fliegen (also still the last band I have seen live, in Freiburg on 11 March 2020). (Andrew Shields, #111words, 29 May 2021)
Andreas Schärer of Hildegard Lernt Fliegen, photo by Barbara Ruda

Friday, May 28, 2021

Adrienne Rich's "Rusted Legacy", Hermann Hesse, and Ilya Kaminsky

Adrienne Rich's 1997 poem "Rusted Legacy" begins with "a city where nothing's / forgiven [...] but almost everything's forgiven", "a city partitioned" where a speaker remembers what she can: "I finger the glass beads I strung and wore / under the pines while the arrests were going on". This string of beads is not for prayer or meditation but to remember the time when she made it and kept herself out of the city's conflicts. While those "glass beads" echo the Hermann Hesse's 1943 novel "The Glass Bead Game", the image of living one's life during a conflict re-appears in Ilya Kaminsky's 2013 poem "But We Lived Happily During the War". (Andrew Shields, #111words, 28 May 2021)



Thursday, May 27, 2021

Ideoplasty in Porphyry and Goethe

In my listening to the podcast "The history of philosophy without any gaps", I have just finished the set of episodes on the third-century philosopher Plotinus and then another on his student Porphyry. Porphyry had a theory of ideoplasty: he thought that whatever the mother or father is thinking about at the moment of conception will influence their child's appearance or character. Though I have never heard the novel connected to ancient embryology, I only know this idea from Goethe's "Die Wahlverwandtschaften": Eduard and Charlotte conceive a child while they are both thinking about Ottilie and Otto, respectively, so the child ends up looking like the latter and not the parents. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 27 May 2021)


Porphire Sophiste, in a French 16th-century engraving

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

The end of Toni Morrison's "Tar Baby"

Toni Morrison's 1981 novel "Tar Baby" ends with Son Green being rowed between islands in the Caribbean by Thérèse, a nearly blind woman. She leaves him on a rocky shore on the opposite side of the island he wanted to reach, and after struggling to solid ground, he runs "lickety-split" into the woods, "looking neither left nor right." While "lickety-split" alludes to how Brer Rabbit runs away at the end of the story of Brer Rabbit and the Tar-Baby, the crossing of the river and the escape into the woods recalls what runaway slaves in the United States did when they crossed the Ohio River on their way north to freedom. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 26 May 2021)

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Material and dream in Adrienne Rich and Seamus Heaney

Adrienne Rich's poem "Dreamwood", which is one of the works I recently memorized, describes how the surface of an old wooden "typing stand" can look like a "dream-map" in which "the material and the dream can join / and that is the poem". Today, I memorized Seamus Heaney's poem "The Rain Stick" (which was not hard, since I once wrote an obsessively detailed close reading of the poem) and noticed the same figure of the joining of matter and mind when you "upend the rain stick" to hear its singular sounds: "Who cares if all the music that transpires / Is the fall of grit or dry seeds through a cactus?"  (Andrew Shields, #111words, 25 May 2021)


Seamus Heaney with a rain stick

Monday, May 24, 2021

Memories of Bob Dylan live: For his 80th birthday

I have known the songs of Bob Dylan since I was very young, but I only began listening to him seriously after getting into the Jerry Garcia Band, especially their roaring version of "Tangled Up In Blue" – and the first time I saw Dylan live was in Oakland on the 1987 Dylan and the Dead. I only saw him again in Konstanz in 1996, but since then I've seen him several times in Zurich as well as in Freiburg and Basel. Many listeners complain about how he rearranges his songs (I'm convinced he does so to keep people from singing along), but I've always enjoyed the variations and his brilliant unpredictability. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 24 May 2021)

Sunday, May 23, 2021

"Prosto plakat. Osvobodi sedya": The figure of delay in C. Dale Young's "Portrait in Nightshade and Delayed Translation"

In C. Dale Young's "Portrait in Nightshade and Delayed Translation", the speaker goes to the Hermitage with his family, wanders off by himself, and sees a painting he once studied in college, Rembrandt's "The Return of the Prodigal Son". After his physical response to the painting causes him to fall to his knees in tears, a guard tells him: "Prosto plakat. Osvobodi sedya". Only years later does a friend offer him the title's "delayed translation": "Just cry. / Free yourself." That delay is doubled by the time between his study and his experience of the painting, as well as by the delay in the prodigal son's story between departure and return. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 23 May 2021)


4096px-Rembrandt_Harmensz_van_Rijn_-_Return_of_the ...
Rembrandt, "Return of the Prodigal Son", c. 1669


Saturday, May 22, 2021

Instead of praying, Senator Manchin, get rid of the filibuster

As a bill to establish a commission to investigate the storming of the US Capitol on 6 January 2021 goes from the House of Representatives to the Senate, Senate Republicans have threatened to filibuster it, so 10 Republican Senators would have to vote for the bill for it to pass. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, "one of the filibuster’s strongest supporters in the Democratic Party", told Politico: "I’m still praying we’ve still got 10 good solid patriots" among the Republican Senators. It's almost as if he's sending out the proverbial "thoughts and prayers" to his Republican colleagues; instead, he should drop his resistance to getting rid of the filibuster. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 22 May 2021)



Senator Joe Manchin in an anti-NRA ad, 2013

Friday, May 21, 2021

Adrienne Rich and Bertolt Brecht in Rich's "In Those Years"

Adrienne Rich's 1995 poetry collection "Dark Fields of the Republic" begins with "What Kind of Times Are These", which, as an endnote mentions, alludes to Bertolt Brecht and Osip Mandelstam to explore the relationship between poetry and politics. There is no note for the next poem, "In Those Years", but it also echoes Brecht's "To Those Born Later" ("An die Nachgeborenen") as it considers how the present willl be remembered: "In those years, people will say, we lost track / of the meaning of we, of you." While Brecht appeals to future readers to "think of us / with forebearance", Rich anticipates later criticisms without asking for any forgiveness or understanding. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 21 May 2021)


How to pronounce Adrienne Rich - PronounceItRight
Adrienne Rich

Bertolt Brecht - Wikiwand
Bertolt Brecht

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Computer security with "two-step authentification" – which takes four steps

The University of Basel computer center now requires "two-step authentification" for email accounts. This is an important security procedure, as over 100 unibas email accounts have been hacked via phishing in the last twelve months. I've registered for it now and used it for the first time – but as my wife Andrea pointed out after signing up for it a few weeks ago, it actually takes four steps: signing in with my password on the website, unlocking my phone with its passcode, unlocking the Authenticator app with my passcode, and then confirming my login on Authenticator with the passcode again! I'm all for security, but "two-step authentification" is a misnomer here! (Andrew Shields, #111words, 20 May 2021)

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Emma Woodhouse and "the wonderful velocity of thought"

In Jane Austen's "Emma", when Harriet Smith tells Emma Woodhouse of her affection for Mr. Knightley, Emma's response is quick: "A mind like hers [...] made rapid progress. [...] It darted through her, with the speed of an arrow, that Mr. Knightley must marry no one but herself!" Emma's quick thinking reappears when Mr. Knightley proposes to her: "While he spoke, Emma's mind was most busy, and, with all the wonderful velocity of thought, had been able [...] to catch and comprehend the exact truth of the whole [...]." While she often jumps to erroneous conclusions, in these scenes she is right, first about her own emotions, then about Mr. Knightley's. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 19 May 2021)

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

My courses for Fall Semester 2021

Yesterday, the University of Basel published the course schedule for Fall Semester 2021, which runs from Monday, 20 September, until Thursday, 23 December. I'll be teaching three sections of Academic Writing I, a course on poetry for future middle-school teachers, and a creative-writing course on poetry and songwriting. My MA Seminar will be on "Novels of 1962", which began as a reason to teach James Baldwin's "Another Country" again, and now also features Shirley Jackson's "We Have Always Lived in the Castle", William Melvin Kelley's "A Different Drummer", and Doris Lessing's "The Golden Notebook." I'm glad to see that, at present, all the courses are scheduled to be held in person. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 18 May 2021)


Another Country : James Baldwin : 9780141186375


Monday, May 17, 2021

With Shultz and Gromyko in Geneva in 1985

On Monday and Tuesday, 6-7 January 1985, US Secretary of State George Shultz and Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrei Gromyko met in Geneva for arms talks, so I went there, mistakenly seeking an anti-nuclear demonstration. Instead, I went with Frank, a young American I'd just met, to the bar of Shultz's hotel, where we asked a man sitting alone if we could join him. The arms talks only provided a few minutes of conversation, but for several hours this Dutch journalist told us about himself – most memorably about his lifelong post-war aversion to Germany. He'd never visited the country – something quite unusual for the Foreign Editor of a Rotterdam newspaper! (Andrew Shields, #111words, 17 May 2021)

Sunday, May 16, 2021

From Manhattan to Kassel to Basel: My life with Jonathan Borofsky

After I saw Jonathan Borofsky's show in Manhattan in 1985, where I had the sense I'd been in the exhibition even before I went inside the museum, I didn't think about him much until I saw his "Man Walking to the Sky" at documenta in Kassel in 1992. That was my first visit to my future wife's hometown, so since then I've walked past that gigantic work many times, which people in Kassel have dubbed "Der Himmelsstürmer". Then, when I moved to Basel in 1995, I discovered Borofsky's equally gigantic "Hammering Man" at Aeschenplatz. So it's as if my life keeps taking me back to that vivid and memorable Whitney show. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 16 May 2021)


Man Walking to the Sky
"Man Walking to the Sky", Kassel
"Hammering Man", Basel

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Jonathan Borofsky at the Whitney in 1985

In Manhattan in February 1985, I saw a Jonathan Borofsky exhibition at the Whitney Museum. Before going in, I noticed a shop with what I took for its telephone number on its awning. Inside, my numerological bent appreciated Borofsky's practice of constantly counting and then numbering works based on how high he'd counted when he finished them. After admiring a gigantic bubble-wrap figure, I read the label on the wall and noticed another beside it that read "Awning at ..." – and from a window I saw the awning outside with that number on it. I loved discovering that I had been in the exhibition even before I had entered the building. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 15 May 2021)

Friday, May 14, 2021

Crossing the border to shop in Germany

For years, we've done our primary grocery shopping at the Hieber supermarket in the German town of Grenzach, five kilometers from our house in Basel. We have family stories, such as how my daughter Sara and I went there for breakfast and shopping every Monday morning when she was three. But we only worked out how much we saved shopping there during last spring's lockdowns in Germany and Switzerland, when a comparison of credit-card bills showed we spent a little over 1000 CHF more a month when we only shopped in Switzerland. But today, for the first time since December, Sara and I again had the pleasure of going to Hieber. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 14 May 2021)

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Walking with my laptop case and channeling Forest Whitaker and Adam Driver

Since lockdown began last year, I have carried my laptop case up and down the stairs in my house several times a day. And often, I remember how Forest Whitaker as Ghost Dog in Jim Jarmusch's 1999 movie walks everywhere with his briefcase. Like me, he is carrying the tools of his trade – but as he is a hit man, they are guns, not a computer. Today, coming downstairs with my computer, I also remembered how Adam Driver as the bus driver Paterson in Jarmusch's 2016 movie always carries his lunch box – with lunch in it, of course, but also a book of poetry and the notebook of his own poems. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 13 May 2021)


Ghost Dog - Jim Jarmusch
Forest Whitaker with his briefcase in Ghost Dog


New York Film Festival 2016: Main Lineup Announced | Collider
Adam Driver with his lunch box in Paterson