Monday, June 13, 2016



michael roloff

 Seattle 13 hours ago

I agree with Ms. Prose and friend Ben Moser. As the child reader of a yuppie father’s uncut treasury of the world’s fairy tales and living in a rural fairy-tale world I turned – e.g.- the B-17 that nearly crashed into our house, as it approached screeching, into the fairy tale bird Griffen. By age 11 I was writing fairy tales of my own, they grew inside me like dreams, and so no wonder that I so much love the early Guenter Grass fairy tale novels & Walter Benjamin’s essay on fairy tale writing. I did not anticipate that emigrating into a different language and culture would deprive me of the soil out of which I wrote, or that something wrote me. I wrote a lot of stories in college, only one of which approached the quality, and then concluded that I needed a lot of experience to write again. 25 years as editor in New York provided that experience in spades, and then some. Like Benjamin I have written a biography, of Peter Handke whose work I introduced into this country and translated and of course I continue to read his work. Ah, what would I have done the past thirty years without Handke and Freud! But I lack the time – while writing – and ability or willingness  to read much else. I had hoped to be done with my work a decade ago and get on a tramp steamer as I had once before, with steamer trunks full of books, so as to become well- read again. I started to read at age four, my mother gave me a magic writing tablet of wax, and if you rubbed it, magically letters turned into words.

Saturday, June 04, 2016




 “Sour/The good and bad of it”
The first blackberries are late this year - it was a late Spring.
The blackberries will be that much more plentiful in fall - most will rot in the early rains.
Most did."

“Senor Heron” is the best* of me, which, however, in that respect, manifests itself rarely – the only other “still still” poem an incidental poet like myself recalls trying to perfect is entitled “Ras-a-Tanura” and was composed with the Hellenic Splendor at weeks-long anchor at that oil-loading station adjacent to Bahrein, Saudi Arabia

I observed those huge, ocean-going cows, the tankers, arriving high out of the water, gradually sinking, so that little of them remained above the water line. 
I no longer have a copy of Ras-a-Tanura, but recall Phyllis Seidel much liking it, Fred Seidel’s former wife, who seems to have retired as far away from Fred as possible in the South of France! I quite understand! The Ferguson girls did not luck out with their talented writer husbands Fred and Frank Conroy!
Even experiences that might lead to poetic moments of that kind are rare, although the Persian Gulf afforded yet a second one. A few days before arriving at Ras-a-Tanura the Hellenic Splendor passed through Straits of Hormuz, a famously tricky passage:

at half speed, say 7 knots, and at night, on a full moon, the sandy cliffs on all sides looking memorably ghostly, the silver sheen on a windless gulf, the 12 thousand ton vessel’s metal hull suddenly far less vibratious, and the porpoises surfing on the bow wave! Nirvana!
“Sour” and “Heron” are from my completed collection of chiefly - occasionally long and demanding - prose poems STEEPED IN SEATTLE [better than in an old tea bag anyhow!] 
With quite a bunch of them now pre-published, I need to make the entirety accessible - it certainly has found some splendid endorsements – fine pieces about the weather and my fine feathered friends here.

Seattle has the best summers. We are having one this June!

Summers are best in Seattle.
It’s just that you can never get all of the winter sadness out of the local noggins!

The greatest of discoveries at Urizen Books, the author and “accredited hermit crab” Michael Brodsky came briefly out from under his rock and another major novel in the making & me, merely hoping that he might like me “Heron,” he responded at lovely length:

"Michael--I've read your poem a few times. Anything I can say will immediately sound false, flat, anthologizable in the worst way.

In any event--Fact is, I found it very moving: I have the softest spot for niche birds, evidently. Am haunted by the phrase "adapted beyond all recognition". Of course a poem is infinitely more than the sum of its memorable phrases. 

Sorry--I cannot write too coherently about poetry although "I know what I like" (Dickinson, Hopkins, Mallarme, Trakl). Though by the same token I think poetry-specialist gasbags like Bloom should keep their hands off prose.

Liked, too, the split between complete fusion with the bird and delicate distancing.

I hope you continue. Hope you have many more such niche creatures up your sleeve.

I also have a set of SEATTLE SKETCHES drafted, though - with novels & one other Memoir, and the second half of The Devoloping Account of Time in Baja in need to be tied down [a la “Tie me Kangaroo, down!”] - I doubt whether the sketches will ever be more than that.  

With SCREEN MEMORIES, the memoir of my German childhood & American youth done – it was meant to be last thing I’d do, but I then figured “what if you drop dead isn’t SCR.M in some ways most important?” I realized I was tempting fate once more by shooting ahead in that manner. “At least get that done!” I told meself while continuing to noodle over the huge novel project. And so I did – but for one more revision I suppose prior to publication. Here a few Links to a few parts that I have put on line:

The Handke project

is in fair shape but for the

part, which could afford contributions from the wealth of scholars devoting themselves to that fine wrinkle in time-space that the Kid from Griffen, the Griffen Kid, “Kid Griffen” has introduced into the Logos;
and but for the

part of the Handke Project that has material on each and every one of Handke’s approximately 100 publications, withal that… who would have thought he would be so immensely productive and diligent!... 
and so you find me, too,going back into monkish mode after indulging myself by taking a month-long look at Handke’s latest play DIE UNSCHHULDIGEN & ICH, or as I might have it in Amurrcian THE NOT SO INNOCENT INNOCENTS & I BY THE SIDE OF THE COUNTRY ROAD: below link will lead you to a complex result and what the German reviewers say. 

Aside last June’s premiere of Scott Abbott’s and my translation of Handke’s THE BEAUTIFUL DAYS OF ARANJUEZ

there have been no further productions. With Seagull Books Kolkata now Handke’s chief publisher, we are far back in the que there & I am looking for someone to do it now while I am still around and need my share of the royalties. Friend and  novelist Jim Krusoe had a fine response to Aranjuez:

"I found Aranjeuz nearly unbearably beautiful and sad, though I suppose I find a lot of beauty really sad these days, like a farewell to the world. Not so much for me, though that’s coming of course, but for the dumb human race. In any case, as much as the liebestod it was the odd turns it took along the way that were also masterful."

I also need to assemble the variety of pieces I have written about Handke’s theater work into a single publication. The feat there is to have figured out how these pieces work on an audience.

Thus this finds me 
in the position tocomplete HEART-ACHE: BREAK-UP UNDER ANALYSIS; ANNOTION OF A STORY  which is a part of the huge DARLINGS & MONSTERS SPIRAL that was one reason why I left NY City in the mid-8os, and that then proved insuperable for someone who has his moments of genius* but not on as extensive and continuous a scale as the initial grandiosity required: the ball of wax I found I had written myself into, with my truly ancient Austrian-American narrator Fritz von Habsburg and his cast of patients. Thus all there will be of DM SPIRAL is a quite marvelous 50 k opening section- to continue at that point would have required total undisturbed concentration for years on end, one pointillist point an hour! In the same mode in which I composed GRADUATION BOOGIE, which took on year of living with a bee-keep, in the St. Monica Mts, just below Bony Ridge right next to the Preserve, and became the one successful legit screenplay of mine - amis ancienne George Malko, who took a close look at the original Fellinesque DARLINGS  & MONSTERS outline, suggested that if I elaborated on one extended scene it would do the trick of having a complete minuscule version of what I had in mind, and he was right.

In the process of fleshing out the DARLINGS & MONSTERS SAGA, in addition to HEART-ACHE, the Story, I have managed to accumulate and draft most of what I need for BREAK-UP UNDER ANALYISIS (B.U.A.0, but I am not going to slap slap just slap it together!

I wrote up my analysis and analytic training about ten years ago as A Patient’s Experience of his Analysis and I tell myself that the complete regression that adjudicated the event must account at least in part why me amygdala is as freshened  as a newborn billy goat’s:  Memories - especially now that I have done the memoir Screen Memories (of my German Childhood & American Youth) are so rich that I feel if I did a memoir of my 25 years in New York (which I am titling ALWAYS THE WRONG PEOPLE… and the really were during far too many crucial moments) it could be done one volume per year. There Knaeckebrod~ eat that! Not kidding! 

Reason that I am so late are not simply that I am slow and a slow digester & dreamer, and that I, a Proustian writer with a very small p,
knew as of my senior college year – with the then stories about the past written, that I needed experience of this country and the world. I then got experience in spades, up the gazoo during my 25 New York years. 

The delay is due in part, about ten years of it, to financial reasons. The small stipend I had when the carnally weak left a so distracting New York in 1985 disparu in Mexico about 20 years ago, I got the analysis and training and about 15 years of freedom out of it. I have been un-able to collect on my judgments in the many hundred of thousand dollars against an ex-partner in Urizen Books, in Palermo - not being the King of Spain, do not feel it wise to turn my King’s ransom of  judgments over to the Cosa Nostre; and, Roger Straus, culture vulture monster par excellence, dancing it then turned out on the verge of bankruptcy all those many years, managed to trick me out of three quarters of my participation in royalty-generating 20 Hesse books, chiefly there, that I brought the firm in the 1960s and that made millions for him; and his successors have been just as dastardly and not made good on the contract

and what a difference in my life and in the life of small Urizen Books

those moneys would have made during the time that these titles were really earning in the 70s through the eighties, these several hundred thousand dollar that I am out. Same set of brutal mouth on Donald Trump’s I just noticed the other day. It costs far too much to sue, especially from afar, and the titles still earn, but a pittance of what they used to. New York, city of thieves, is not for those brought up too trusting and over-protected, in my case even with bombs falling all around. Get an agent or at least a lawyer as soon as you venture into these fields. Actually, I was warned about Roger (“The Crook”) cherry-picking Straus, by Cecil Hemley, the founder of Noonday Books which he sold to Straus, and to whom friend Paula Diamond introduced me: and even so he managed it. Also, beware of the physically nauseatingly ugly – beautifully ugly is another and very interesting matter.

Also, I haven’t hustled the hustleble work of mine as I ought to have! I am not sure if anything positive derived from suddenly finding myself impoverished in Mexico. I was going to move from the so comfortable rural Mulege to Michoacan (the Mexican Michigan!) to the tribe that worships the Monarch Butterfly in the tropical conifers at 8,000 feet. The drive, the urgency with which I had left New York subsided under pastoral circumstances, a lot of Handke work had already been done, as well as my analytic education.   During those three Mexican years I translated two Erich Wolfgang Skwara novels, among them the marvelous The Plage of Siena; wrote a few Handke lectures for the annual  Austrian shin ding at U.C. Riverside, and recall working forever on the shaggiest of long shaggy screen play stories about a huge bird that is created using ancient DNA, it its incidents were amusing the hell out of me and my producer; and reading and walking and swimming a lot, and riding my mule, Durango! The work I then did in Seattle that produced Write Some Numb’s, Bitch! [link below] is priceless.

HEART-ACHE: BREAK-UP UNDER ANALYSIS: ANNOTATION OF A STORY will also be a bitter-sweet sweet and bitter memorialization of Downtown Manhattan, Tribeca of the years 1975-1985. It incorporates the gist of my “Downtown Stories” Jim the Pioner, The Fighting Building, Betsy’s Fridge, etc., and I note, now that I am well into the book, shades, at its edges, of Alan Silitoe’s Saturday  Night & Sunday Morning. I could do a lot worse than doing half as well as that. It will also most certainly the second most sex filled book by a Haverford author, which probably is not saying much considering Haverford would be a lot if we acknowledge Nicholas Baker as the current champion in that field, not just as Haverfordian. Here links to a few things along that line at Literotica:

You will not hear much from me until year’s end when friend and fellow Handke translator Scott Abbott and I will conduct an on-line discussion on the occasion of the U.S. publication, ten years after the German one, and many a year after the its publication in most major languages, of Peter Handke’s MORAVIAN NIGHT

and then when BUA comes out of the oven, or I emit one last fart as I descend into
The so-called “best of me” as someone through whom the fairy tale teller speaks too rarely, age twelve with the tale how a hill acquired the name Duevelsberg; or Sandro  freshman year, or the HEART-ACHE: THE STORY and can be, has been accessed, dragged out of me via a few translations, the sixty-five poem I translated for my edition of OH THE CHIMNEYS that I put together in the 60s for Farrar, Straus; the translation of Handke’s WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES experience left me a husk, it accessed every part of me, ARIADNE PRESS in the 1990s

And Josef Winkler’s FLOWERS FOR JEAN GENET. 
I won’t mention here those texts that dragged me down. I also knew early on that I would acquire considerable satisfaction on being an editor helpmate, servant, and the most amazing work along that line is briefly described here:

also see this:

June 5, 2016

The City named after Chief Sealth.

Saturday, February 20, 2016


Let me approach the conundrum from the perspective of a once NY book editor  who lacked both feel for even the ability to read “commercial fiction” and who not only published his share of  literary novels - Hesse’s GOLDMUND, Nossack’s THE IMPOSSIBLE PROOF, Christa Wolf THINKING ABOUT CHRISTA T., Bataille’s STORY OF THE EYE & BLUE OF NOON, Peter Handke’s  GOALIE’S ANXIETY AT THE PENALTY KIC, Innerhofer’s BEAUTIFUL DAYS, Michael Brodsky’s DETOUR, Ilja Ehrenburg’s THE LIFE OF THE AUTOMOBILE being weakest on that list yet most amusing for it being politically so parti pris, but who also translated Robert Musil’s novella THE PORTUGESE WOMAN, Hesse’s DEMIAN, Handke’s THE GOALIE’S ANXIET AT THE PENALTY KICK, Erich Wolfgang Skwara’s PLAGUE IN SIENA, Edgar Hilsenrath’s NIGHT, Josef Winkler’s FLOWERS FOR JEAN GENET, Robert Schindler’s WHEREBBORN and edited the translation of the amazing and unfortunately forgotten great novelist Uwe Johnson’s THE THIRD BOOK ABOUT ACHIM, and thus can be said to have a smidgen of knowingness what fiction and its truths can convey.
When I drifted into publishing in the 60s I felt halfway well-read and appreciated a wide range of novelists – the major writers in the Anglo-Saxon, German, Russian, French tradition – to have a sense of the truths that novels could convey, and remain amazed how the traditions keep delivering fascinating off-spring, but for John LeCarré I found myself quite unable to read beyond a few pages the so-called commercial fiction, and that has never changed and is unlikely to at this late date. I regard Le Carré’s truths those of non-fiction deriving as it does from a world that - much of an adventurer that I might be - I happened to get enough of a whiff of to know I wanted no part of. Thus it is not surprising that I never had a “commercial” novel submitted to me, yet most surprising that I had the most extraordinary editing experience with what was meant to be a commercial venture, Robert Kalich’s THE HANDICAPPER, the true life novelization of a millionaire handicapper’s involvement with the mob, eventually published by Crown, where I then met each colorful  figure of the book – imagine editing a manuscript and its figures materializing as though you were schizophrenically fantastic! – quite a few indistinguishable from more legitimate folk, one of them Abe Costello’s best Jewish friend; and quite a few others of that ilk from associated mobs! And there I had thought to stay clear! And of course I pretty much did but for that one stimulating experience.

Rober Kalich, a serious writer who went on to write the partly very powerful TWIN LIFE and other books, straddles the littoral of commercial and metaphysical ambitions. Serious fiction leaves its many different marks in different ways upon the spirit – avails itself of very differing in-roads, and my most extraordinary fiction experience was when I opened the satchel with five manuscripts that Michael Brodsky – who had been sent to me via Patricia Highsmith & Peter Handke – and looked at the first page of each and realized “this is it, the real thing,” a serious writer, the raison d’etre the pay-off for being an editor.

Thursday, January 14, 2016


a stub that will increment but not be completed until the Heartache: (B.U.A.) Breakup under Analysis & Revolutionary Road sections of Darlings & Monsters Spiral & the New York memoir, Always the Wrong People are completed, in about three years!

Moi: Michael, reading Screen Memories brings to mind the question “will there be a sequel?”

MêME: The Postscript, not completed, indicates as much. There will be two sequels, one for the 25 years in publishing and theater in New York City, and a third and last for the subsequent years back on the West Coast, in earth-quake country, chiefly in Seattle. I have the opening for Part II which allows me to link up with the problematics indicated in Part I, it is called Always the Wrong People.

Moi: What do you mean by “problematics”?

MêME: The childhood trauma, the effect of the abandonment at age 9 months and that weird imprisonment by the governess that was so debilitating while yet over-protective, and has resulted in a life-long need to be as free as possible, aversion to being helped, the fortunately only occasional unhappy relationship with a denigrating father, which produced  insecurities & disorientations of all kinds, the dithering I note retrospectively, say in the Oakwood section of S.M. persisted in New York; and nonchalance which derives from having my grandfather Werner von A. as a model, both its fortunate derivative, that I can or used to be easy-going, but also that I become involved with all kinds of people that it would have been better of not to, a lack of discretion I call it, and that though I was brought up as though I would have money, which I then didn’t, I didn’t learn the importance of greed in this culture. Nonchalance again. That led to a series of menial jobs in adolescence – S.M. cites them - and the only good thing to be said for them was that they Americanized me and taught me the spoken language, which came in handy in translation work, taught me the common touch. I continue to feel positive about the general run of Americans, as I did as a German kid about American G.I.s. post 45 to 1950 when I shipped out of Bremerhaven on the USS Maurice Rose.

Lack of necessary obsession with money – this has to be instinctive as it is with every real New Yorker – but for the children of the upper class -
and understanding the need for it,  characterized stretches in my life in publishing, and had consequences.

I can see where the trauma effected some of my decisions later in life, and in a deleterious way. As indicated in S.M. and also on-line at
though I imagine having someone like Wieland Schulz
for a partner is scarcely typical, one of the two major, the second of the seriously “wrong people” in my NY City life, and I blame myself for letting Schulz get to me for a stretch and to frazzle me as did so many others, for not going to a lawyer sooner, this is something that ought to have been done on principle as soon as I got wind of what he was up to!  There are certain chances that you don’t get twice. Not as bad as my grand-dad Werner von Alvensleben not poisoning Hitler when he had the chance, but the matter will gnaw at me until my dying breath. At least I caught on eventually and as it says in Handke’s Walk About the Villlages “freed a bit of blue sky”, at least in New York. If I’d know what a great and deep shit detector Handke had at the time that he communicated to  me how dark he felt Schulz was….b but I didn’t, took it too lightly.

MOI: What do you mean, by Always the Wrong People?

MêME: This only changed once I had done the psychoanalysis. And I did not take psychoanalysis non-chalantly at all! And you won’t be really be able to conduct the interview until I have completed part II or have taken a look at the Urizen & Schulz matters & some other matters that are online, about Roger Straus, about the restaurant Elaines, but see below I have the opening of Part II, and define what I mean by the “wrong people”, and also ran in a few of them in Seattle.

Moi: Overall, it sounds as if you regret coming to the U.S. as a kid?

MêME: I would not come a second time. But I was seduced by the Americans that then surrounded us, that OSS/CIC troupe that protected the anti-Nazi villa where they could party, but chiefly by The Declaration of Independence. I would visit & at length, but check out other options around 1949/50 where to go. Canada would have been preferable, it is not an imperialist country, but is also a new country, which is what I wanted. I wanted not just out of Germany at the time, but out of a forever warring Europe. The reading of Karl May’s 70 novels of course introduced a lot of geographics into the romantic adventurous imagination. No Baluchistan, but certain South American countries, Mexico, Argentina, the Pampas, would have come under more serious consideration. Mexico I came to love being in later in life, and felt much more at home at than I ever did in the U.S., although toward the last decade of my life in Seattle I would not have minded living in Paris, or London, or Madrid or Lisbon. I started to feel very European and missed being there. The lack of a past in the U.S. began to bother me. The same same of so much of it. On the other hand, the sudden prospect of the U.S. turning socialist, in 2016, gives me optimistic pause.

Moi: But haven’t you become quite American in all these years?

MêME: I suppose so. But I still don’t chew gum or flounce about. On a more serious note:  a few years ago I had a a moment when I realized how American I was. A song by Al Greene came on, a gentle r & b soul, might also have been by a few other folks, Otis Redding, and it hit a spot that said, “you are an American”,  I too sing the blues, for childhood’s sake, and thus identify with American Blacks more than with any other folk, I heard that music first in 1945, in Spring, AFN Bremen. I am hooked on a few other utterly American matters, Baseball which initially was the substitute for childhood soccer, Brooklyn Dodgers, the Boys of Summer instead of Werder Bremen. American literature, a lot of it. But I think I have far more aversions than attachments. The landscape yes, of course, nature, but that was never linked to a nation for me,  Alaska was a major experience, so was the South West. The people are friendly, as I experienced them as G.I.s, it’s just that only at the rarest of moments have I felt to be an American. The disappointment set in not just in Sour Orange as that first American Chapter of S.M. is called, and which was a shock that I often felt I never got over, but continued to, politically, at Oakwood when I got a good whiff of the McCarthy Hearings, of American paranoia; by the Bay of Pigs in 1961 I was ready to be an insurrectionist. By 1968 I wanted to find a troupe for the insurrection. All this was seen very much through the eyes of a descendant of 20th of July opponents of Hitler’s, through what I learned of the failed opposition. And Revolutionary Road (Sentimental Journey # 3! the second novel part of the Darlings & Monsters Spiral project is about someone a bit like myself who believes “the revolution” must break out at any moment and who lives and behaves like that and does all kinds of things to further such a happening, it catches the mood of the period until it devolves into the absolute impossibility of anything of the kind, although, as in The Man with the White Suit the “revolution” keeps ticking away, somewhere underground.
Moi: But you have no regrets about leaving Germany?

MêME: No, none at all.

Moi: In that case, why a life-long preoccupation with German literature?

MêME: Disappointed in the U.S., as you can read in Screen Memories, I decided to check out where I had come from with that 1956-57 Junior Year Abroad, and but for theater and literature was once again disappointed in Germany, the country still spooked me as it had as a kid. I tell myself that if I had stayed in Germany I would one way or the other have had something to do with German literature, as an editor, perhaps as a writer. I might easily have become part of a theater, more easily than in the U.S. Back in the U.S. I sought to stay attached to what I liked in what I had left behind, to import it, make it part of my life, to stay whole.

Moi: And in that respect you pretty well succeeded, no?

I got lucky with a few things, especially Handke, what came as a surprise, at least until I realized again what a garbage heap of a culture this is, that what had been created could so quickly disappear and that there was no continuity. That has to do with the institutions, the Cult of the New, and the people that manage the culture industry, certain matters persist at the universities, but the universities are divorced from the culture at large, are their own special world.



ALWAYS THE WRONG PEOPLE…” is what I said, it slipped out, when the firm went under in the early 1980s, said to someone whom I regarded as “the great fondness”, though, I imagine, I might have confided as much to a few other people I was close to; the realization had evidently been building up for some time, yet the statement begged quite a few questions.
For one, who might have been the right people? Did the even exist? Actually, I had met a few, more than a few, I wasn’t misanthropic, it just so happened I didn’t have sufficient truck with them, but ended up in bed, also literally, with a lot of the wrong people.                    That that might be the case the overly, fantastically optimistic part of me could truly not have known, imagined, or been able to assess at the time that I took my headlong plunge, in Alaska, at a McCabe & Mrs. Miller’s type orgy on Chena Ridge, outside Fairbanks, in November 1960.                                              The current into which I dove in New York, where I gradually oriented myself, did not appear egregiously wrong, not until you took a close look. But that I had not done as I would in the future for indigenous pests & illnesses when setting out on a trip to a third world country, take a close enough look at the individuals, as I did as of the mid-80s, and still made some mistakes, who, after all, withstands a truly hard close look, the messes you found there. Experience would teach me, it did teach, at the end of college I realized that I needed American experience, and I certainly have it now, the darkest past of New York, and in the early 80s I seemed to have sufficient experience to reach the conclusion that it was always the wrong people, or had been so far, or at crucial moments. At least I now had experience, I told myself, which I knew I had not when I stopped writing stories during my senior year in college, bruised now, an aging Tom-Cat with a nip bit out of each ear, and a split lip. Is that what I had wanted? A lot of experience of all kind? Yes, it must have been. You had to take your chances, or - I don’t know - become a quietist, work for the post office. I could even see myself doing that if settled with a brood.                                       On reflection I began to doubt whether the “great fondness” had been the right woman for that confession (see anon for justified reservations), although “great fondness” was, I concluded, a stronger foundation if permanence I wanted than passion. Passion blinded and subsided. “Great fondness” was a rare position in a firmament where love was meant to win the day but never did, which left me heart-broken or which I elided at the last moment, apparently not wanting to be permanently bound. What did I really want?                                     I wanted to toss these thoughts, they seemed garbage, out with the day’s garbage and go have a drink at the Raccoon Lodge, and perhaps Happy Hank would be there and he and I could hook up and hold the pool table against all comers, as we had the last time that I had I had been in my preferred “happy go lucky” state of mind.           The only excuse, or excuses I had for myself, could come up with - no stopping these thoughts it seemed - was that however wrong these people had turned out to be I had had not the faintest. Well, but that was not entirely true either. I had had warnings, inklings. However, I had not necessarily have a choice… but to hold my nose? There were times that there was very little choice indeed. Thus, the “wrong person,” so it occurred to me, might even be myself, in which case the over-all equation became absurd: how does the only halfway right person, (I allowed my vanity to accord that much to myself!) then venture forth with others who turned out to be the wrong persons.”                 I had had some warning, and not only from mutual acquaintances. Even my own senses had been alerted, but I had chosen to ignore the advice of the acquaintances and of my eyes and nose. In a few cases there had been no choice. It had been as on wintry river where you quick-stepped from one ice floe to the other. Thus the “great fondness’s” reply to my statement that always the wrong people was “destiny” was an assessment that applied even more generally than to me: it was wrong all around, was it, a fool’s ship? I had mounted a fool’s ship with blazingly optimistic eyes. I was the super fool. It was foolish to try to live the “right life” in the wrong life, as I recalled I was not the first person to conclude.
If the “great fondness” had really been also the “great confidante” we might have sat down and examined the specifics of the matter, the dirty half dozen most eeegregious – oh how I love that word whose eees screamed -  as I did with a confidante who, however, was not the great fondness but a former lover with whom I secretly hoped to re-align as we examined night after night the evil carnivorous spider web which entangled her firm.              The half dozen really wrong people with whom I had become involved, what qualities, if any, did they share in common was one way of approaching the problem to make it less abstract. Each and every one of them had been immediately physically ugly, and since I did not, could not ignore as much I decided to look past that physical ugliness, it wasn’t denial, I congratulated myself on not being unduly, as I put it, influenced by physiognomies. Eventually I learned that such physical ugliness was an expression of something inside these people, however it had got there or developed                          I said “wrong people” in some puzzlement and unhappiness for so much effort having been spent on such a great venture, such a cause; and the “great fondness”, actually I had only had one other, who was not entirely ignorant of some of the people I had become involved with, thought my predicament “fated.” She might have been analytic, descriptive, enumerative as I will be, as indicated, if she had also been my confidante.        Fated since when? I thought back on my childhood and earlier life than coming to the big city.  Indeed, there were a few of the “wrong people,” perhaps it was the mark they had left on me that had destined me to encounter, to be at the mercy, of that half dozen that had left their mark on my life now? However, being born stupidly preternaturally optimistic, not fatalistic, and unreflective in these terms, I can’t say that I had been apprehensive that I might meet some “wrong people” or, on being warned, imagine how “wrong” they could be. What a concept after all! What if all the “wrong people” held a convention how many of them would there be, what would they do to each other, how had they become “the wrong people” (WPs… wropeapes) In what respect where they wrong? Were they wrong to all people who encountered them? In the case of the half dozen I am thinking off, the answer is actually yes, they left an ill odor, a mark on each and every one they harmed, but they were not monstrous criminals were they? Criminals yes, to one degree of another. They were not gangsters, they had intentions, they were unusually selfish, they  were unusually, preternaturally… greedy aside being unusually physically ugly, those were the chief features that each shared, that marks them, and yet: each of them, nearly, must not have been ugly as children? They had become ugly, something ugly in them had started to manifest itself in them physiognomically - I had to stiff upper lip in their presence, look past their ugliness, to ignore that feature. I had one friend who just about vomited each time he had met them, and by chance he had met each and every one of them, if only briefly, and if I had not suppressed that impulse… the thought completes itself. How could you allow the impulse to vomit free reign, wouldn’t you vomit out your intestines during your first week in the big city? Yes, physically ugly, not beautifully ugly like Popeye the high-rise steel worker whose face was the first to introduce that category into my mind, a man whose face had become pockmarked by flying bits of molten steel, rivets flying about as he worked building high rises.           Question became whether “the great fondness” herself had been a “wrong person”, the most severe of the delusions, of self-deceptions? After all, there had scarcely been an inkling of a warning about her, yet a few people had made negative noises - “all that schmoozing”, -   and I had not inquired further., after all, there were far too many positives, the reasons for the fondness outweighed the doubts.
 “Not inquired further,” was a commonality, a refrain in my relationship with them on hearing negative comments. “R. screwed me on that deal.” “S. is very dark!” Really? “At least very German.”  German dark might be bad news indeed. I however had not noticed anything of the kind. I was taking chances, perhaps I was an adventurer? I had little choice. If I did not take a chance I would have to leave the city and fend in less dangerous quarters. Perhaps I secretly meant to get hurt? A friend suggested that being adventurous implied fundamental masochism. But I detested pain, all kinds, I plained, I could suffer it, but not gladly. Yet the thought nagged. I decided to take a close look at how I’d gotten into that fix of “always the wrong people” and what I might be able to do to cheat fate. Another novel!!!     

Friday, January 01, 2016

"feliz novedad" to but a single person,

 I said "feliz novedad" to but a single person, my amigo Antonio (Tony) Diaz, an avegado who is the go-to for local (Seattle) latinos who need paperwork done. Every evening at Burgermaster's they are lined up, often he takes them next-door to Fedex to do work on-line. There he was at BM aroud 7:30, they were closing early, with two customers - although i never see money exchanged. He looks very fatigado, perhaps the Mexican state pays him for this after-hours work. He derives from Juarez a colorfurl city I got to know somewhat in the 80s and that elicted my interest in the so lively Mexico. I mentioned to Tony that I was surprised, as I was, that I had no interest whatever in a social celebration of the Novedad, yet felt good, or at least a lot better, less disgust with the species because I realized that I still had a few really good friends, and so as long as some people are still good to each other... if you follow my thought. I have my work cut out for me, funnee thing to say as I just turned an unexpected 89 anos, and hope that the December publication of Handke's MORAVIAN NIGHT will bring fair and interesting reviews and a real asessement in this bloody country of his immense achievement in drama and in prose x michael r,

Friday, December 25, 2015


​ significant 2015 postings @

A PROVISIONAL OBITUARY, WRITTEN UPON MY 80S, as Marcia & I agree, nonetheless there is still a lot of kid in me, and the four year olds spot it at once!




Member Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society
"Sryde Lyde Myde Vorworde Vorhorde Vorborde" [von Alvensleben]
"Siena me fe, disfescimi Maremma." [?]

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MICHAEL ROLOFF Member Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society this LYNX will LEAP you to all my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS: "MAY THE FOGGY DEW BEDIAMONDIZE YOUR HOOSPRINGS!" {J. Joyce} "Sryde Lyde Myde Vorworde Vorhorde Vorborde" [von Alvensleben] contact via my website