Friday, April 27, 2018


FN 4-6 & 13 from my piece on FRUIT THIEF
THE Focus is on writing autobiographically and thus on some lies Handke has committed in the process.

About twenty years ago, in the mid-90s - contemplating how Handke had begun a second stint in Paris, at NO-MAN’S-BAY Chaville that he may have discovered while living in the LEFT-HANDED WOMAN’s Paris-Meudon - it occurred to me that in his prose works – overall – via his various autobiographical tacks -  and the “part objects” as which one could describe figures as different as Bloch of GOALIE and Alexia – who are more than projections - was creating a kind of Yoknapatawpha  County of his many-faceted self – {while showing us and teaching us his many developing mettles as a writer]; and that, thus, you could assemble a biography by selecting the significant sections from the growing oeuvre and make the most interesting multi-faceted portrait ever. You would need to do some bridge work by annotating with some standard biographical writing of the kind that Herwig and others and I have done, and add some of my or other psycho-analytic insights - such a portrait, then, would need to point out a few “warts” [to put matters mildly and unprogressively] and correct Handke when he lies; of which lies I happen to be aware of about half a dozen.

1] As we know from Herwig’s biography, there was no graduation trip with Handke’s real father, Schoenherr, as Handke foolishly claims at the end of SORROW BEYOND DREAMS – why? To injure that man, payback for his abandoning his mother, forcing her to find that dreadful surrogate, Bruno Handke? Gratuitously? What is strangest is the fear that Handke projects into the father during that imagined trip - that he and his son may be regarded as a homosexual couple – Handke’s homophobia??? Handke’s homophobia would be well justified based on his experience in his mother and stepfather’s bedroom. - Upon his first daughter Amina’s graduation Handke takes her on that kind of standard pater familias trip to Portugal – what fear accompanied that expedition? –

2] Libgart Schwarz did not leave Handke in 1971 to return to her career in the theater, which she had never left, but because life with her husband, of which I got a good whiff while the couple and Kolleritsch were in New York in 1971, had become entirely impossible  - the only surprise is why Libgart waited as long as she did.

3] Handke has not a congenital heart valve problems, the official reason  why he ended up in a Paris hospital in the early 70s - he did for panic attacks that I attribute to his mother’s suicide and his wife leaving him: someone as beloved by his mother as Handke, suddenly bereft of all mother figures, is bound to start fugueing if he has Handke’s kind of sensitivities, as he describes in the three long poems of NONSENSE & HAPPINESS {from ALS DAS WUENSCHEN NOCH GEHOLFEN HAT] –

Valium then calmed the nerves – and what a surprise that someone who had victoriously conquered fear as a kid and played with fear and demonstrated it’s conquest during his “I am  new Kafka period” should then succumb to panic.

 4-6] In Handke’s AFTERNOON OF A WRITER the “former once friend” – yours truly – does not cross one sierra after the other while sending the writer postcards that sign off with ‘as ever’.
While translating WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES - the best translation he had ever seen, and the best work I had ever done, and under extreme conditions - as its postscript recounts - I entirely forget that Handke once had taken possession of one of my previous wives, the Great Fondness, an act with consequences for our relationship [see anon].
Now I had a new wife, had won the first of several big lawsuits against a former partner, thought I had found a publisher, PAJ, for WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES and could leave town and regain my sanity and health  and so I and the new wife cut out to American Southwest - where the two of us did a lot of traveling and loving all over the place and ended up living at 8,000 feet in the Sacramentos in Billie the Kid country. However, the only, the one single solitary Sierra that we got near to was the Mexican Carmen Range adjacent to the southern Rio Grande – but while traveling, also in love with the Handke who could write something as magnificent as WALK ABOU THTE VILLAGES, I sent a postcard at about each of the many hamlets we stopped at. Including Marta, Texas where one of my favorite American authors, of the Devil;s  Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce is said to have met an unhappy end.
AFTRNOON OF THE WRITER, thus, contains a host of lies, just concerning yours truly, and how many others? Subsequent to writing the book Handke fled to Paris, leaving manuscripts behind.
Why by the time of writing AFERNOON I was regarded as a former friend, see anon footnote 13.  

6] Then, in MORAWIAN NIGHT, Handke lies about the reason why he became physically violent with Marie Colbin, not he first woman that he  hit – and why the writer of SORROW BEYOND DREAMS – who would seem the most unlikely man to hit women - does so nonetheless my guess has been the subliminal influence exerted on Handke during the decade of being exposed to a physically violent stepfather especially during primal scene settings. See my HANDKE, WOUNDED LOVE-CHILD. [fn-2]

Passages from other Handke acquaintances will be needed – to arrive at this kind of multi-faceted portrait, a few warts and their explanation; nearly saintly just not quite! Such a tome would also be a great lesson in how Handke’s approach to writing changed, or did not change.

Fn # 13

Subsequent to the Spring 1966 Gruppe 47 meeting at Princeton Jakov Lind (Soul of Wood), and „beautiful and beguiling American Panna Grady, whose self-effacing generosity to artists and writers in her New York apartment in the Dakota building had been on an epic scale”,     and I gave a party for the Gruppe and for American writers at Pannah’s splendid Dakota apartment, and that is where I then saw Peter Handke for the second time whose famous Princeton statement had intrigued but scarcely shocked someone who had been in American writing classes. So when I spotted the Beatelish fellow in his small-checkered - yellow and brown -shirt - a pink carnation [?] - in a button-hole, I approached him to know whom he had in mind as being dscriptively impotent. For I didn’t imagine he could mean Grass. Uwe Johmson Siegfried Lenz or Peter Weiss – but who could tell? Perhaps the fellow was a fool. Though among other matters I was doing, I was an Amerian scout for Suhrkamp Verlag I had not heard of the fellow. I myself had beome half-way well-versed in post-war German literature as reader for a variety of American publishers, had spent a year scouting in Germany for Sam Lawrence at the Atlantic Monthly Press [which led to the publication of Peter Weiss’s and Peter Bichsel’s prose], had read a lot of things in German galleys, had been the first Amerian scout to do so in East Berlin with a famous – Uwe Johnson apprised - visit to err Kaspar at the Aufbau Verlag; introduction to Rowohlt had acquainted me with avant-garde Austrian literature - I would even sign a contract with Ledig on a napkin at Harry’s bar for Ossie Wiener’s Die Verbesserung Mitteleuropas

and within the year dip the napkin in a glass of whisky soda, which is why Ledig became my favorite publisher. I had founded and edited, with Fred Jameson, the magazine Metamorphosis which had foundered when its publisher Michael Lebeck had started to lift imaginary rocks in his head as he joined a Sufi sect that received all his money. I had met Hans Magnus Enzensberger at Ruth Landshof York’s in 1961 and found him to be congenial and a good listener, had interviewe Grass, for The Atlantic, Uwe Johnson for Metamorphosis, and Peter Weiss for Partisan Review, had met Hans Werner Richter in Berlin but we had not been impressed with each other.
I was feeling my way, was insecure but not completely and trusted my judgement in literary matters – to close friend Frank Conroy’s query what all this German-American stuff was about had replied that it was about joining separated halve - and was about to get my first steady job as editor for German matters at Farrar, Straus – and without even asking. Asking, I had been turned down by Viking Press the publisher with whom – courtesy of a tip from  code-cracker Ladislas Farago – I had a contract for a biography of the German resistance figure, Colonel Grosskurt of Canaris’ Abwehr. I had translated three Hermann Hesse novels for Roger Klein at Harper & Row, of the three DEMIAN made an impression and did not seem as aniquated stylistically as did Peter Camenzind & Beneath the Wheel to someone who had gone dead in graduate school at the prospect of a lifetime in a German Department, and who had not completed his thesis on Robert Musil but for translating The Portuguese Wife – a text which taught me that a life can hang in the balance of a comma.

Upon my second attempt to engage Handke in conversations - in the center of Pannah’s spacious living room – Alan Ginsberg approached us - whom I had never met and of whose presence - or that Pannah had a thing for the Beats or that they sponged off her I was unaware – or that these would be the American writers who were meant to mingle with the Germans and who at the end of evening would smash her Persian vases - as Ginsberg addressed me with the request to translate that he „wanted to fuck Handke” and that I was meant to translate.
At that point in my young life I had never heard of anyone saying anything of the kind directly not even of a man to a woman much less a woman to a man, although within the course of the next twenty years such direct requests, gestures and meaningful contacts became anything but rare - and so I did not even reply to Ginsberg who seemed not to be aware that few if any German writers did not know English, and - if in fact his presumption was correct and the fellow assented to the translated request - he would be fucking someone to whom he could not or perhaps preferred not to talk. However, upon Ginsberg’s repeated request in a more peromptory fashion the Prussian in my blue eyes shot several daggers and Ginsberg backed off, and we would meet only one more time, about 15 years hence, as members of USA Pen’s executive committee. And a good thing, too, that he backed off. I loved being a protector! In this instance of a fellow the expression on whose face during my and Ginsberg’s inter-action had become „haemisch”, a kind of sadistic grin that told me that the fellow’s orgins were in village ways – and I gleaned this not only because it takes a least a quotient of sadism to glean sadism - but because I had spent ages 5 and 6 at the village school of Vornbach am Inn and then a few years at the Volksschule in my home-village Schoenebeck [see the Vornbach chapter in my Screen Memories]. I had smelled the village sadist and as Handke himself has written, „the smell sticks.”   [The chief memory of the sadism of my village school was a fellow who enjoyed fame for dropping a stocking full of dung on a passerby – the perfect image for Freud’s stage of anal sadism – except it is not meant to persist after age 2!] – And so I did not find out that evening whom Handke had in mind with his Princeton statement. - However, it then turned out that Handke had misunderstood whom Ginsberg had wanted to fuck; he thought I was the intended object - a misapprehension that we failed to unravel until the last time that I saw the fellow, on the Moenchberg in Salzburg in 1980 – by which time a fair amount of water had flown under and over the Handke-Roloff bridge that I established when I translated and published KASPAR & OTHER PLAYS at Farrar, Straus and GOALIE and the second volume RIDE ACROSS LAKE CONSTANCE & OTHER PLAYS, INNERWORD and NONSENSE  & HAPPINESS.

The misunderstanding made the well-remembered sadistic expression on Handke’s face apppear even less pleasant; whereas I had read it as complicitous and derisive it now struck me as in pleasurable agreement with Ginsberg’s wishes. - I had no idea whether Ginsberg had been at Princeton but I connected his wish with a comment I heard there about Handke: „Ach, ein Maedchen!” – someone had mistaken the Beatles haircut for effiminacy. However, the misunderstanding of Ginsberg and failure to notice the blue daggers that had shot out of my eyes may have created a memory in Handke for something he would say to me the next time he was in New York, in  Spring 1971 - by which time we had met in Berlin – in Spring 1969 - to discuss my translation of his KASPAR, and Baby Amina had been shown to me  who loved babies, unlike other revolutionaries who it appeared did not [vide A CHILD’S STORY, for me his weakest book for its defensiveness and unawareness and the fact that I could not help but notice how deathly quiet the little girl was when I saw her in New York in the mid-70s, and that I read, carefully, Weight of the World].
   Upon Handke’s and my second encounter in New York – on the ocsasion of the first public premiere of several of his plays at B.A.M. which coincided with the three person package Handke, wife Libgart Schwartz, and Freddie Kolleritch’s Austrian cultural tour - see SHORT LETTER LONG FAREWELL - I gave a small party for Handke to which I invited the first two positive reviewers-backers of KASPAR & AND OTHER PLAYS - of its printed version, a rarity - Richard Gilman and Stanley Kaufmann. – I also was no longer at Farrar, Straus but had succumbed to Siegried Unseld’s imprecation to become the Suhrkamp agent in the USA, working  out of the Candida Donadio–Robert Lantz Literary Agency. During the party Handke escaped Gilman/ Kaufmann’s literary interrogation by squatting down by my record player and put on one of my Beatle’s records - a retreat into the Jukebox as it were -  but squattted in such a way that I could not but help think „Just like a woman”; as his forever surprsing first words - after the small group of guests had departed and he had resurfaced -„You are gay!” - which saying – coming apropos what? – came as much of a surprise as Ginsburg’s proposition five years earlier. Moreover, once again no one had ever said anything along those lines, was entirely disconnected from the topics of the party, and not just insulting but about as wrongheaded as he could be under the there and then context – had he read my mind thinking that the way Handke squatted was like a woman? –
I never enquired what brought out that comment but I expect the explanation for the mutual misapprehension is that both Handke and I had very beautiful mothers who influenced the way we behaved in so many ways – the way Handke squats and the way I used to hold a cigarette, just like my mother, and both of us lacked imitable emulataeable fathers, though mine at least behaved most courageously as a Hitler opponent but in few if any other ways was exemplary but as a driven upwardly mobile businessman who left me a great unread library to peruse during my childhood but terrified me and my cousins.

As to the wrongness of the context: instantly upon Handke’s comment wife Libgart Schwartz  piped up and cited my girlfriend of the time, the flaxen-haired Saraw Lawrece Professor Renate Karlin, who had to leave early to care for her two kids - a polite way of setting her husband straight for, if she had wanted to be direct she could have said. „Peter, if Michael had money and didn’t have to be the Suhrkamp agent and translate your stuff we would have run away together the first night we met at the premiere in Brooklyn and at Elaine’s when we were doing all these sexy things with each other under the table cloth while you and Freddy, as you have been the entire trip, were all involved with each other and neglecting me as you have for years while having no end of affairs.” - And Libgart would not have been far off. At Elaine’s, after a lot of hanky-panky under the table cloth, I had slipped her one of those big yellow Elaine’s matchbooks with my telephone # written on the inside and the suggestion „zum Friseur?” – she glanced at it and nodded – when she called saying „ist da bein Friseur” I planned to say „Frauelein Sie sind das Glueckkind - heute als Premium lecken wir Schamhaare.” I was positive she would call, someone who evidently had not had a loving for a long time and we would consume each other on an afternoon. She was so rasant!
As we stepped out of Elaine’s I wanted to walk to the Algonquin and hoped for some time with Libgart on the way – Fitzgerald’s Hotel to which Handke had tranferred from the dull Third Avenue one where the Austrians had put them up - Handke said he was too tired to walk the two miles but took a photo of Kolleritsch, Libgart and me and as I placed my right hand on Libgart’s ass, just the way she took my hand from her ass and placed it on her right hip told me what a clever beast she would be in bed – she had enchanted me the way she descended the staircase at the Austrian cultural house playing RIDE ACROSS LAKE CONSTANCE. „Rasant” was the word I would forever associate with her. – Then Libgart and I both thought the better of the assignation. - Or you can just read SHORT LETTER LONG FAREWELL where the wife is a threat to the husband and the husband seems deathly afraid – it appears Handke was not unaware of her rising anger but failed to do anything about it or change his ways, until decades later and a second runaway wife and he reconciled.
The threesome’s return from their 21 dates in 28 days USA roundtrip madness had Kolleritsch’s tachycardia collapse on my once marriage bed while Handke rushed out to buy foreign newspapers and magazines at the nearby Rizzolis and Libgart and I [liebaeugelten] regarded the couch in my workroom for a quickie... but again thought the better of it.
But what kids they were too! „Whom,” - what evdidently famous person -  „had they seen on the plane?” they asked me.
Stumped does not describe my unwillingness to even guess.
„Cassius Clay.” Or was he alrady called Muhamed Ali? – on the flight to Atlana.
 Libgart’s and my flirting however, elicited Kolleritsch’s famous statement „Libgart du bist so anders.” [!] - And here am I who really likes my Renate, very much at least my equal, later I even ruined what was a relationship that made sense by becoming crazily jealous – a feeling that came out of the blue! I had just broken out of a rather staid hard-working marriage to a first rate illustrator artist who was not much interested in my interests nor in the Big Bright City or  then its demi-monde as exemplified by the restaurant Elaine’s. – I wasn’t in the least faithful to her being the usual state of affairs though I liked her best while hopping into and out of a lot of other beds while she was out of town.
At that point Handke and I were not friends and I don’t think we ever were, although he -despite what he then did with „the great fondness” – see anon – seems to have been under the misapprehension that we were. – The split between liking the work and feeling dubious about its creator set in early. I was his translator who knew quickly that he was a genius and I thought his work was extraordinary as I still do, but it came to deeply affect me only with the translation of WALK ABOUT THE VILAGES around 1981-2 and subsequently with quite a few other works, including Fruit Thief.
  Since Handke and I were not friends my usual inhibtions not to make a pass even at a friend’s ex so as not to endanger the frienship did not come into play, a resolve I have never broken no matter that just about every male friend had made passes at my girlfriends ever since highschool. – In Mexico I then spent time with a tribe in the Copper Canyon where the men chase each other’s women and all the women try to steal each other’s men while drinking a beverage brewed from the Agave! An all year office party as it were.
   I did not see Handke again then until he had relocated to Paris in the early 70s... desultory meetings at Rue Montmorency where a city walker then never was offered as much as a glass of water and which never lasted long as Handke writes Kolleritsch „Der Roloff is so angenehm langweilig” - Handke saying I should come by soon again and I failed to say why don’t we play chess – it was the time of the Spassky-Fischer matches and the last time that my chess was up to snuff and I think I saw a chess board. One time an Austrian Backfisch was present – „huckable” as the Mick has it.  Again I was asked to leave soon after arriving – and asked to call soon. Subsequently when I did call Handke mentioned that he had exposed himself – that he had these moments when he was a little develish - as I would think he also might have as a kid have exposed himself competitively during that continuous exposure to the primal scene – he said that the girl blushed. What did he expect? -Thus I knew that he was also an actual exhibitionist not merely as a more or less sublimated writer. Another time we went to the Bois de Boulogne with the actual Austrian Paris cultural attache – Esterhazy [?]-  who died young, who had a daughter Amina’s age, and whose acquaintance may have given Handke the idea to make Gregor Keuschnigg of A Moment of True Feeings and No-Man’s-Bay a cultural attache. Yet another time I brought friend Jerry Leiber along who was meant to write the lyrics to the music I thought we might introduce at a few moments for the prospective  Yale Rep premiere of my translation of Handke’s THEY ARE DYING OUT – and Handke uttered the famous phrase „I don’t do Singspiel.” – He had much liked Leiber/Stoller’s early work with The Coasters. After Leiber and wife Barbara Rose left Handke remarked how ugly she was he could puke – the second time he had said something along the line, the first being in referenc to the translator Joachim Neugroeschel whom he had met in my company in New York – ugly physically and in nearly every other way I might add, not beautiful ugly, say like J.P. Sartre.
   In 1974 the small publisher Urizen Books was founded and the then girl friend „the great fondness” - as distinct from a half dozen great passions - went off to Denmark and Africa to do research for a biography and I told her if she stopped by in Paris on her way back to look up Handke – she was impressed by his work; and upon the „great fondnesses’s” return to the Big Bright City from her biographical labors I felt we needed to debrief the degree to which our libidos had to defray their interim needs. I had had several of the briefest of flings, one with a British friend of hers that I might have explored further had it not been that fondness and our commonalities carried the day, and one great lewdnes - for  intents and purposes the „great fondness” and I were living together but for being sensible and having seperate work spaces. I realized that she, too, had had something but it was a molar extraction. And once it did come out it turned out that the Pasha of  Rue Montmorency had taken posession of her for a week or so. If they had fallen in love - fine with me.
The great benefit of this occurrance was that the „great fondness” then described in great detail what had transpired and I received a far more intimate view of what life was like at Rue Montmorency than I had had from my own visits. She had been taken hard, the daughter had expressed extreme jealousy – standard among young children I was discovring during affairs with divorced or single mothers with young children – and, most valuably, that Handke said his wife Libgart leaving him had been the worst thing that had ever happened to him. – It was not a statement with which the translator of the three stormy poems in NONSENSE & HAPPINESS could disagree, and it validated the panic attack and the fuguing that had landed Handke in the hospital in the early 70s. The statement of course failed to indicate the slightest awareness that his own behavior was in any way connected with the wife’s disparu. – The worst thing that happened to Handke, I would say. occurred when his pregnant mother felt she needed a husband to legitimize her child and she married the child’s married father’s - a Herr Schoenherr’s - buddy Bruno Handke of the German company stationed in Griffen-Voelkermark in 1942, Bruno Handke, a goodlooking fellow who also wanted to sleep with her, then again was sought out in Berlin in 1942 when the fellow, now a wounded ex-soldier tramway driver, was already cohabiting with another woman - and there ensued those many years of  abuse as we can read in SORROW BEYOND DREAMS.

   Absent the inevitable but at the very least subliminal absorbtion of the example that the dreadful Bruno sets I would doubt that Handke would ever have hit a woman in anything but self-defense.
   However, let us not let Maria Sivec completely off the hook. She continues to mourn and be depressed that the love of her life, Herr Schoenherr, did not marry her – and what does this do to Bruno’s feelings? A marriage of convenience commissioned by the hell of convention. These psychological ramifications remain unexplored in Handke’s work and I imagine cannot be fit into his great family drama FOREVER STORM

Later we find out that the chief reason the depressed Maria Sivec took her life was the prospect of having to live once again with Bruno who was just returning from a tuberculosis rest home – and no one has heard of divorce or separation in that part of darkest Austria .
When Handke shows up next in New York in 1975 [accompanied by Amina] I give him my one bedroom apartment on the 25th floor of Independence Plaza in Tribeca which I was renting for the very reasonable $ 450.00 a month 

I am  already living with my psychotic composer passion in our loft on Duane Park

half a block away. I don’t think the great fondnesse’s tryst with Handke has anything to do with my ultimately choosing the composer after singing I have two lovers for about half a year [FN- why I might have preferred to become a pianist.]
   However, Handke stays in the apartment just one night – where might he be? I call the Algonquin - of course.
   Why did he move out?
   „Suicide apartment.”
   The great view of downtown New York Harbor and Jersey seemed not have compensated. Though I lived in the area for a decade I never heard of any suicide from those towers.

I am interested in a meeting where both Handke and „Fondness” will be present and arrange for tea at the Algonquin, and what a shock: Handke scarcely recognizes the Great Fondness and I am forever spooked. [Her acquaintance with Handke is mentioned in Gewicht der Welt as someone who goes to the trouble of learning several languages to write a biography.]  We make small talk! After he leaves first I suggest – slyly! - to „Fondness” -to whom I remain close for another half dozen years - that she contact him. She demurs. No retrospective love for him has set in.- And what a shame, that spookedness, there came a time, during the Alaska episode, that he really seemed to want to be friends. I had taken him up to my loft with rooftop and we were leaning on its barge-like balustrade and he noted „how hard” New York was – he had just installed himself in the Hotel Adams in a wealthy area – and I – who had gathered quite a bit along that line of hardness - and who felt lonely, too - with a partner who turned out as „very dark” or „at least very German as Handke had assessed him within minutes of their encounter after the B.A.M. premiere.-  

Back to the Algonquin -
What if I had said, „Don’t you recall making love to this woman and telling her such and such ?” – What if I had been a Renaisance prince? - Such a confrontation would have been interesting. -Great Fondness herself I recall seeming a tad awkward, none of her customary shmoozing. - But spookable me is forever spooked and makes sure to be as little as possible alone with this overly forgetful or schizophrenic [?] fellow no matter how much I care for his work; and usually manage to interpose Michael Brodky, who became a Urizen Book author for Handke and Patricia Highsmith sending him to me.

   From what I gather from the Great Fondness and other biographical accounts and of Handke’s often autobiographical work: by age 30 he had committed the combined sins of both his real and his stepfather. He had fathered an illigitiamte child  [see MORAVIAN NIGHT], he had hit a child [vide CHILD STORY], had hit not only Maria Colbin but Jeanne Moureau, and how many others? And he had exposed his daughter who knows with what frequency to the primal scene.

As few people know, in the mid-70s Handke was thinking of living in a New York suburb. I took him and Amina in my MGB on an exploratory trip – it made sense that he would live in a suburb with his sensitivities and his life plans - no doubt the leaf blowers in Nassau or Suffolk would have bugged him as much as they do in Chaville – I  knew about Shelter Island, between Long Island’s North and South Fork

a future rest-stop escape of mine and I might have taken him out there to its preserve and true wilderness.    I did take Handke and the photographer of the cover of NONSENSE & HAPPINESS to the Rockaways where I lived for three years for its good air after my freighter trip half way around the world and back, 1972-75 and where I worked well as editor and translator for Continuum Books and would have continued to if the publisher had not turned out to be a shit. Handke and his notebook – it was late afternoon and the sun was just sinking near Staten Island and reminded me of the WW II account of the sinking of the Graf Spee in South America during which she was said to have become molten as Handke pulled out his notebook and scribbled something – and I failed to ask what.
   During the expedition to the suburbs I recall Amina as a frighteningly intimidated child and checking out lycées for her – who then would have been raised on French and English and German. – I expect that Handke’s unhappy stay in the Hotel Adams at 86th and Madison and Fifth in the later 70s on his return from Alaska - where he wrote the novel part of A SLOW HOME-COMING - extirpated any thought of living in New York or this country. “Very hard” was his instant comment on having contemplated the street scene for just a few days as I recall while I was still I think trying to avert the City’s extreme brutality, well on its way to becoming Kalkota on the Hudson, and the situation I found myself with my partners at the firm sinking in.
I would have asked Handke to join me when I stopped working between 10-11 p.m at my Tribeca office and hit my downtown bars and music clubs CBGBS and MUDD and SCREECH where the pretty ones told you up front when they wanted you, love making was like breathing and night life reminded me when the living had been easy at the Timberline in Fairbanks, and it happened to be the rare time that I had not a main squeeze, and Handke, had he wanted, would at least have a bit of a good time to look back upon and not just how “hard” NY struck him and A SLOW HOMECOMING not working out, a NY period that then disabused him of his once explored idea - to live in Manhattan or its suburbs and for his daughter Amina to attend a French lycée.

   I dropped him off at the airport and noticed boarding the same plane as the third partner Oberon N.V. but did not introduce the two – Feldsberg had near instantly become a huge embarrassment.
   Thus, no 2nd Paris Period, no moseying around the Picardie.

It is while Brodsky and Handke and I are at BARNABUS REX, a bar with a real Handke juke box,on 1977, that [1] the Great Passion, the crazy composer - whom I had left after two years - enters, sees me among friends, and feints, and Tim Burns, an Aussie sheepfarmer’s son anarchist revolutionary, carries her back to what is now just her loft in Duane Park, half a block near.
   And [2] that Handke tells me that if Urizen Books needs $ 10,000 he would be willing to lend it to me. – How does he and two other friends know that I am $ 30,000 shy of my renewed committment to a firm that I own one third of? But two friends, both lovers, offer 10 k at about the same time. Mindreaders? And I accept the offer despite the fact that we are not friends. That event is memorialized in Die Geschichte des Bleistifts with the notation that he saw someone who was as playful as he was serious.
   Handke’s next appearance in New York is in 1978 in preparation for his trip to Alaska and he leaves a green leather – patent leather [?]– satchel with me at my office  before he heads out, and I stash it in a corner behind my swivel chair.
   Upon his return we have our one and only hike, it is across the Brooklyn Bridge, a light snow if falling on the way to Michael Brodksy’s. I inquire what he is doing – he is writing a book about Alaska. The mother hen in me becomes fearful at the prospect of someone writing a book about such an immensity after spending just a few weeks. Have you read McPhee’s book? Yes he has. I want to share some of my experiences but Handke says that he is full up – and I understand.
   We see each other maybe once or twice more, I take him and Brodksy to Elaine’s. I pick him up at the Hotel Adam’s and notice the view to Central Park that comes with that room.
   Later I hear from Nancy Meiselas, a fine editor of his at Farrar, Straus, that he told her that he had fucked up the Alaska book. [as to LANGSAME HEIMKEHR’S significance to me, see the main text @

   Though I spend a fair amount of time with the newest wife-to-be in Paris in 1979 she and I only go to see the one other author I have living in the Clamart-Meudon quartier, the formidable war-correspondent Wilfred Burchett and his darling very peasant Bulgarian wife. The newest wife-to-be who and I have just returned from Spain retracing her parent’s wedding trip, also likes Handke’s work, but is anything but a chaste 18 year old and I don’t want the Pasha layabroad to interfere with yet another important relationship.
   Thus, I don’t see Handke again - and it is in Salzburg - for the last time – until 1980 during my return trip from my month as a piece of cultural exchange from Bulgaria.

Im Herbst 1980 hatte ich vor der Abreise nach Sofia in Handke in Salzburg aus Wien oder Frankfurt angerufen, und beim zweiten mal fragte ich ob die die da das Telefon am ersten Mal beantwortet, ob er sich vielleicht eine Sekretärin angeschafft hätte: nein, das sei die Libgart [Schwartz]- was mich um einiges erstaunte, und nach vier Wochen Bulgarien und einigen Wiener Erholungs Tagen kam ich dann - um einen Zug verspätet - mich königlich fühlend [als einer der wenigstens ein bisschen Kulturfrieden in Bulgarisch-U.S.A. Beziehungen gebracht] in Salzburg an; fragte den Portier des Mirabellen Hotels wo denn der Moenchsberg sei. Da Leben die Grossen Tiere, sagte der, und dieses Gefühl hatte dieser Irredentist auch irgendwie schon wohl seit langem; und erzählte dem dann, dass er doch mal den Simmel den er gerade schmoekerte lassen sein sollte, denn da oben lebe ein Schriftsteller, der schreibe auch ganz einfach aber besser.
Dem Herrn Handke, wie ich es dann später in seinen eigenen Worten lesen würde, ist's eines der schlimmsten Sachen, dass man ihn warten lässt, und seine Reaktion auf die lese majeste war sofort zu bemerken wie er da auf mich in den herbstlichen Park Anlagen des Mirabellen Hotels mit den Blättern zuwehte - "Na du altes Arschloch," war ja eigentlich recht freundlich - ich ihn dann aber schnellsten beschwichtigen musste mit der quid-pro-quo Lüge, die man ja immer in der linken Tasche haben soll, er sei doch selbst nicht immer gerade pünktlich, er schuldete mir viel mehr als pünktlich zu sein!

Er sagte er hätte es erwartet dass ich in solch einem Hotel absteigen würde, was mich verblüffte, da er nichts über meine Hotel Vorlieben, die billigsten abseitsliegendsten Pensions, außer dass ich eben jetzt auch aufs Schwimmen aus war,  {und die USIA die Rechnung beezahlte ] gelernt von dem allergrößten Verlagsschwimmer überhaupt, dem Siegfried Unseld.

Dass er wohl von seinen eignen Hotel Präferenzen sprach sagte ich ihm  nicht, dem Algonquin in  New York, oder The Adams, wo er die Langsame Heimkehr verfasst, ausgeschwitzt hatte. Sein bemerkbar verletzten Eitel ein wenig beschwichtigt, stimmte er auch emphatisch zu als ich mich  enthusiastisch über die Bulgarier die ich da getroffen hatte  ausließ, [im nachhinein haben wir also beide eine Vorliebe für Einbaum Fahrten].  Als ich ihm  die schöne Sammlung verdeutschter moderner Bulgarischer Dichtung, eine weiterer Beschwichtigungs Versuch, vorzeigte  - "Ja, von hier," vom Müller Verlag in Salzburg, deutete mein Finger - riss er mir ihn fast aus der Hand als ich  auf Levchevs grosses langes Gedicht deutete und er es in einem Zug sofort las und auch ausgezeichnet fand, die herrische Geste - nie zuvor von ihm, der in New  York, zuletz vor so ein oder zwei Jahren, mir manchmal ziemlich zahm, und teilweise "down" [bei der Zurueck kunft aus Colorado, wo ja scheinbar wirklich ein alter Freund als Schieleerer umgekommen sein muss - [3te Kapitel von Langsame Heimkehr,]  ja irgendwie imponierte mir diese Geste schon. Levchev, wahrer Dichter und Mitglied des CK, hatte der Kultur seinem Geheimdienst gegenüber schon ein wenig Raum verschafft. Ich war während der vier Wochen ein wenig entpropagandiert worden, trotzdem ich mich selbst vorher doch einigermassen gegen die Propaganda gefeit gehalten hielt. [Was dem Gehirn Schwamm eitel Wahn in diesem wie wahrscheinlich jedem Jahrhundert ist.]

Wir kamen auf Langsame Heimkehr zu sprechen. [Es ist möglich dass ich das Buch in der Jackentasche oder meinem Maultiersack bei mir hatte].

Der Anfang des Gesprächs ging ungefähr so:
"Auch du liest mich nicht mehr?"
Na ja, es gab das Buch seit einem Jahr, er hätte es mir auch in New York als Manuskript geben können, und mir hatte niemand eins geschickt sagte ich nicht. Was ich sagte, und was auch sicherlich ziemlich stimmte, war: "I  wasn't ready for it."
Das Jahr 1979-80 war schon teilweise ein sehr Ereignisreiches gewesen, Liebschaften, Reisen, der ewige Kampf mit dem Verlags Partner, the downtown life.  Aber ich hatte auch nicht irgend etwas besonderes von dem Buch erwartet: noch ein Alaska Buch, zwar vom Peter, ich dachte mich ja in Alaska und der Literatur  schon auszukennen. Ich hatte ihn auf die Winter da aufmerksam gemacht als er sich darüber erkundigte, schon ganz früh während unserer Bekanntaschaft, so um 1970 herum,  aber er sagte daran erinnere er sich nicht. Weiteres über Alaska wollte er nicht von mir hören als ich es ihm während wir unterwegs zu Fuss - leichter Schnee - über die Brookyn Bridge zu Michael Brodky. "Ich hab schon zu viel",  so ungefähr, was ja dann schon stimmt wenn man dieses grosse Kapitel liest. Aber ich war jemand der wirklich eine Zeitlang - 9 Monate, aber immerhin - da als geologischer Gehilfe gearbeitet hatte. Aber wie gesagt: Handke kann Erleben und das wiedergeben von Erlebnissesen ein Erlebnis für den Leser machen. Ein grosses Glück solch Erlebnis gehabt zu haben und dass es dann so was gibt das jemand es ausdrücken kann.
r hatte nichts weiteres über das Buch gesagt, 1978 oder so in New York  und auch nicht über Alaska, und wenn‘s ein Roman werden würde, fragte ich schon besonders nicht. Auch von dem bösen blöden Empfang des Buches dann in Deutschland hatte ich nichts mitbekommen, interessierte mich auch nicht zu der Zeit.  Also hatte ich es erst auf der Rückreise von Sofia in Wien gelesen, eine Schauspielerin in Wien sagte ich sähe so aus wie sie sich den Sorger vorstellte: ich selbst hatte keine Vorstellung dann oder jetzt wie der aussieht, und auch Handkes angebliches Gesichts Tabu spielt da ihre Rolle, besonders in diesem auch "namenlosen" Buch. [Aber warum jemand mit solch einem Gesichts Tabu sich dann dauernd photographieren lässt?  fällt mir im jetzt ein.]
Er sagte darauf, dass er nur einmal während des Buches an mich gedacht hätte, wonach mir sofort der Gedanken-[Fehl]-Schluss durch Gehirn schoss, dass jemand der sich an jeden Gedanken den er über oder an einem Buch gehabt hat erinnert - dass ich gegen ein so buchmessengelaendeartiges Gedächtnis-Vermögen nicht ankommen könnte.
[Außerdem hatte ich schon länger es vorgezogen eher ein "Laufer" [dem "Sorger" sein Gehilfe] zu sein, was zur Zeit dieser  früheren Existenz schon der Fall war.

Ueberwaeltigt von dem noch ziemlich unverdauten Buch, dass ich so alle fünf Jahre wiederlese, besonders seinen ersten Teil, welcher mir eins der wichtigsten Erlebnisse meines eigenen Lebens artikulierte, sagte ich: "Sehr viel Pathos."   Das bejahte er emphatisch.
Dies könnte der Anfang, Anbruch, Einbruch  zu einer Dissertation sein.

Dann kamen wir auf dies und jenes, oder es schienen dies und das aus beiden von uns hervorzustürzen. Vielleicht waren es Versuche endlich ins Gespräch zu kommen. Das Briefe schreiben ging ja wunderbar. Ich wollte auch irgendwie über diesen unsern wunden Punkt - Punkte eigentlich - weg kommen. Er erzählte mir von Valium, ich machte dazu eine erbrecherische Miene, meine Traumarbeit hatte damit schlechte Erfahrungen gemacht. Angesichts irgendwelcher Natur, erzählte ich plötzlich von einer Kousine die im frühen Alter immer nur die Baueme umarmt hätte. Dazu sagte er "ja, natürlich." Das muss irgendwie mit dem Pathos zu tun gehabt haben. Ich sprach also in   Ashantiartigen Rätsel-Sprüchen. Ja auf diese Art waer es schon gegangen. Also im Schmerz verstanden wir uns schon.  

Er sagte, dass er von all dem was er bis dahin geschrieben nur den Kaspar bereute. Ich antwortete darauf hin nichts, überlegte nur huschend was denn an dem Stück denn auszusetzen sei - wohl sein Nihilismus und dass es, trotz seiner musikalischen Struktur, irgendwie so ein randalisierend lautes Stück ist? so wie die Analytiker den Nachhall des Kastration Komplexes beschreiben: noisy. Was über die Identitaets Sucht und Politik und Sprache da ausgesagt wird hat für mich aber in der Zwischenzeit an Wahrheit nichts eingebüßt. Aus dem Blauen kam ein wütender Angriff auf ein mir unbekanntes neues Gedicht von Hans Magnus Enzensberger. Ich war schon ganz erschrocken, des Tonfalls wegen, der Vehemenz, so bin ich immer noch, und sagte auch nichts dazu. "Wenn ich so'n Art Gedicht lesen wollte, dann konnte ich mal..." Dies war nicht das erste mal, dass solche Urteile aus ganz unerwarteten Himmelsgegenden kamen... aber die Vehemenz war neu. - Vielleicht lag diese Attacke daran, dass ich viele Enzensberger Essays waehrend einer langen Schifffahrt übersetzt und in New York verlegt hatte? Vielleicht hatte dieser Enzensberger Hass, wie ja auch jetzt bei Jugoslawischen Angelegenheiten, mit Handkes Neid zu tun, der damals noch so genialen Essays? und wo dann wegen dieser besonders vehementen Art besonders viel projiziert wurde? Ich selbst hatte den Enzensberger, den ersten der Nachkriegsgrossen, schon 1961 by Ruth Landshoff-York in New York kennen gelernt, vertrug mich aber nicht mehr mit ihm, wahr auf ihn boese enttaeuscht: er hatte sich unerwarteter Weise als zu aalartiges Wesen entpuppt, die Lage war gestört und wurde auch nie wieder richtig-gestellt werden. Falsche Hunde, Disloyalitaet, außerdem interressiert mich- nach der Psychoanlayse - was er, auch die Susan Sontag, all diese Brillierenden schreiben - weniger als zuvor.  
 Was Enzensberger betrifft: am Anfang als Handke bekannt wurde hatte er es mit Handke versucht, aber Handke schon von Anfang abgesagt;  

Ich sagte aus irgendeinem anderen nirgendwo: Man muss ja alles selbst schaffen; und meinte damit den Verlag.
Und er so etwas wie: Die Dichter müssen aber Zeit zum traeumen haben. Oder vielleicht: Die Welt wieder zusammenzutrauemen. Dagegen hatte ich nichts einzuwenden. Jeder ging auf seine Art Grandiositaet zu Grunde.

 Dann lud er mich zu einem Schoppen ein und wunderte sich ungeheurlich darüber, dass ich im Schneidersitz auf der Bank sass, als ob das etwas ungeheuerlich ungewöhnliches wäre, was bei mir nicht der Fall ist, trotzdem ich an diesem siegesreichen Tag ["Trunkheld."] schon etwas lockerer als sonst war - das Trunkheld sein hatte sicherlich mit den mir in Wien verschriebenen Magenpillen zu tun; Bulgarische Schwarzmeer Energie - tief eingeatmet in Plodviev [wo angeblich 10,000 Jahre Macedonisches und Thrakisches oder irgendwelches exotisches Blut in die Bulgarische Adern floss! So hieß das schon damals in 1980!] - strömte aus mir heraus; ja wenn dass wirklich der Fall ist würde ich mir schon gern davon eine tägliche Transfusion geben lassen.

Dann gings bergauf und zum Tarok spielen; und es freut mich zu berichten, dass Herr Handke unter mehr als vier Augen beim Tarok leicht auszuspielen ist, dass die Leute die mit uns spielten, diese anderen angeblich Grossen Tiere, auf ihre Weise alle hoechst gescheit waren, und dass wenn Handke im Felsfenster schreibt er hätte während seiner Jahre in Salzburg keinen einzigen intelligent Menschen da getroffen, es vielleicht auf die Schrifstellerei, aber auf nichts sonst zutrifft; was dann ja zu  Wanderungen des Verwundeten durch Salzburg fette Mitte den Stadträndern zu und an blanken Trauemen sich selbst-heilenden Buechern wie Chinese des Schmerzen und Der Nachmittag eines Schriftsteller fuehrt  und dass Herr Handke wahrlich nicht richtig verspielt sein kann, und jedes verlieren - wie er's ja in Über die Dörfer zugibt - von ganz früh an nicht vertragen hat. Kein Wunder dass er's so hasst wenn's scheint, dass sich ein anderer breitmacht! Ich selbst gewann nur vollkommen verspielt, ohne geringste Anstrengung - und nicht nur in diesem Fall, sowie ich mich anstrengte hatte ich schon verloren. [Mein, im allgemeinen, viel ambivalenter ausgestatteter Oedipus Komplex wie ich dann erfuhr.]
Bevor es aber zum eigentlichen Spiel in dieser Bischöflichen Umgebung kam erzählte   Handke in seinem patentierten hoehnischen Tonfall, dass er sich da umgesehen habe ob es noch eine Kopie von dem Buch von früher, gemeint war die Kaspar and Other Plays Übersetzung, herumliege, er aber keins finden konnte. Eigentlich handelte es sich ja nicht um ein Buch, sondern derer fuenf, und insgesamt so um die dutzend Stücke, auch ein Roman, und die zwei Gedichtbaende - ich spüre ein damals weit unterdrueckteres Outrage au Handke jetzt nach, so leicht fiel diese Arbeit mir doch nicht, ein wenig Anerkennung ging
bei mir schon sehr weit, wahrscheinlich war's mir schwerer gefallen als die Original Arbeit, und es ist anzunehmen, dass mich das dann als er mich von sich weg zu dem Dermatologen setzte    schon schön zum siegerischen Spiel angestachelt hat [und noch was, dass wohl im tiefsten Hintergrund lag].   - Ja, es fing damit an, dass er mich neben sich setzte und mir - der Skat seit Kind auf von dem Großvater gelernt, der Bridge, Poker und noch so eine paar andere Sachen kann - brav das Spiel mit seinen vielen Jokern erklärte. Ich lernte es wahrhaft im Handumdrehen, aber als ich ihm wahrscheinlich zu Energie sprühend war, setzte er mich neben einen Dermatologen, und der Dermatologe sagte ganz erstaunt: Ja, so geht's auch! und wir droschen schön weiter - dass das Handke irgendwie ärgern konnte, dieses absolut ihn übergehende unhöfliche Benehmen seines Gastes, kam mir zur Zeit überhaupt nicht in den Sinn, taucht mir erst jetzt aus der Tiefe meines Unterbewussten als haarsträubende Möglichkeit auf! - Irgendwann kam es auch zu einem vorverhandelten Anruf von Unseld, es muss ein Sonntag gewesen sein. Dieser Sonntag Abend wahr wahrscheinlich auch die Zeit die Handke sich eingerichtet hatte eben mal nicht allein sondern in Gesellschaft zu verbringen. Unselds Sonntags Anruf; er war eher wie ein Geschaefts Gespraech; und ich fragte den Dr. Dr. auch etwas Geschäftliches, da ich nach vier Wochen Bulgarien etwas in Vaduz vorhatte. Aber Unseld tat sich unüberzeugend unwissend und war nicht behilflich.

Im nu hatte ich eine dritte oder wars vierte oder fünfte Dimension ins Spiel gebracht, und der Handke verstand leider nicht diesen Spass. An diesem Abend jedenfalls war ich auf keine Weise bereit einer von diesen statischen Kartenspielern in dieser Cezanne Szene zu sein. Diese Szene wird auch nicht als mögliche Verspieltheit im Chinesen des Schmerzens erwähnt, wo das Tarok Spiel mir ein bisschen mystifiziert vorkommt, eine Qualitaet - der Koans - die er mir dann spaeter sehr geraten hat bei der Übersetzung vonÜber die Dörfer zu vermeiden. - Hie und dann huschten Hausfrau und Tochter dazu und bedienten die spielenden Herren [Ich konnte die Bemerkung "Sie spielen Karten" mir im Hintergrund gesprochen vorstellen] und machte Handke auf das mir, der bedient aufgewachsen bin, unangenehm bedienende der Frauen aufmerksam. - Dieser Abend mag wohl dann irgendwie verärgert in einem der Tagebücher erwähnt werden.
Das war aber noch bei weiten nicht alles: das Spiel vorbei, war Handke scheinbar wütend, jedenfalls sagte er mir, dass er mir jetzt nicht die Libgart Schwarz vorzeigen würde. - Da sank mein Herz schon um einiges tief in die Stiefel, Libgart wegens, scheinbar re-importiert, der Bergheld musste auch eine Frau haben, zum vorzeigen, und ich denke daran was Vim Wenders mir vor gar nicht so langer Zeit hier in Seattle erzählte, dass Handke diejenigen die ihm am naechsten stehen oft verwundet ja, da is ja viel diesartiges im Gewicht der Welt vorzufinden. Die Frau existierte zum vorzeigen, wie ja auch vielleicht jetzt wieder, so ein Kaerntnerischer Citizen Kane, was wird das Motto auf seinem Schlitten heißen? Die zweite jetzt auch weggelaufene Frau, kaum eine Schauspielerin, zwar schön, und mit Französischen Accent, wurde dem Peymann als Schaulspielerin oktroyiert bei der Uraufführung des Jugoslavien Stücks in Wien
Dass sich dieses doch in ihm beruhigen möchte. Wieviel Anerkennung braucht denn dies verwundete Kind um endlich sich zu beruhigen und zu heilen? Let it Bleed.] Ja, wenn ihm wirklich damit geholfen wäre, wäre er ja schon längst geheilt und nicht wie ein wilder Keiler so auf die Pilze aus in der Niemansbucht, ein schöner Konflikt zwischen Friedensucht, Liebe und Hass weilt in dem Kerl.

 Blasiert wie Goethe möcht er, aber wird's glücklicherweise nie sein.   Der Wutanfall scheinbar schnellstens vorbei - war's von mir erwartet  auf das unangeforderte Vorzeigen der Libgart zu bestehen? Als sie Ritt Ueber den Bodensee am Geländer des Oestreichischen Instituts in New York spielte, das hatte eigentlich genügt; aber wenn ich bedenke in was fuer einer Verfassung ich an dem Abend war, und über die Verfassung von Libgart zu diesem Zeitpunkt wusste ich nicht geringste [im Vergleich zum Jahr 1971]; und meine schon wieder zahme Nachgiebigkeit bedeutete ihm wohl, dass der Anflug nebenbuhlerischer Bergbesieger zu sein wieder verflogen? Jedenfalls: waer dieser Abend eine Party gewesen: all die strikte, disciplinierte Arbeiterei der vorigen vier Wochen war sehr im Begriff sich bei mir aufzulösen in einen brautraueberischen Rausch, der sich dann am nächsten Tag, auf der Rückfahrt aus Vaduz und im Schwellenbad des Hotel Dolder ausleben würde.

Er fragte, wieder freundlich, ob ich denn vor haette ewig Kind zu bleiben, und als ich darauf - es muss so ziemlich der Ort sein an dem der berühmte Stein im Chinese des Schmerzens geworfen wurde, oder war's wo ererzählte dass sich da schon viele Salzburger hinabgestürzt hätten? - wieder so ein Selbstmord Ort - dann in die stille - Mond in der Erinnerung ab ob das stimmt - Nacht Bergluft mein eigentlich ziemlich verzweifelt protestierendes "never" hinausschrie, war es schön, so wie ne Segnung, als er sagte, dass das auch in Ordnung sei, und was wohl stimmt wenn man es mit mindestens ein bisschen mehr Diskretion anfängt als ich an dieser Nacht... Eine ziemlich kaligarische Stadt, so kam mir das vor, dieses Salzburg und seine gewundenen Gassen in so einer Mondnacht beim Abstieg - nachdem er mich, den so leicht disorientierten der sich nur durch das Wegverlieren zurechtfindet, den Weg zurück nach unten zu den kleinen Tieren gezeigt hatte. Ja, so bugsiert er auch die Leute die ihn in der Niemandsbucht besuchen noch herum. Das Despoten Gesicht hat er ja angeblich bei der Ueberpruefung am Ende der Langsamen Heimkehr nicht vorgefunden.
Aber im Nachhinnein der Gedanke: du kriegst die nicht zu sehen weil du - dieser grässliche sadistische, deutsche Tausch/Bestraf Gedanke - es ist als ob er selber nichts von seinen eigenen Sachen, z.b. dem Bodensee oder dem Muendel gelernt hatte.  

Am Morgen danach war noch das Oestreichische Staats Schwimm Team mit im Olympia Bad der Mirabelle, versuchte den Handke anzurufen um mich zu entschuldigen, aber er kam nicht ans Telefon, und ich flog ab zum naechsten Schwimmbad. Nach einer Zuricher Nacht ein unglaublich wilder Tal Flug einer neuen, fruehmorgentlichen Verbindung Zurich-Frankfurt, mit einem Piloten der seine 727 scheinbar mit einer F-16 aus Vietnam verwechselte, um dann in New York noch das letzte Mal Jimmy Carter zu wählen, der angeblich, so die Botschaft in Sofia, meine Stimme garnicht brauchte, die hatten sich auch in irgendeinen Dornröschen Traum eingewickelt.

Einer Oestreichischen Regisseurin der ich die Tarok Geschichte in Los Angeles erzaehlte, sagte: Ja, dass kann er nicht vertragen. Aber auch: Er kann schon groß sein. Und dann erzaehlte sie mir Handke - Colbin Geschichten da sie bei der Verfilmung des Duras Romans dabei gewesen war.Diese Frauen Sache, die Colbin Kaempfe, kommen auch eher mystifiziert im Chinesen des Schmerzen vor.

The three important takes from the Salzburg visit are [1] the discovery that Handke had misunderstood in 1966 whose ass the hideous Alan Ginsburg had wanted to nail – which made Handke’s then expression appear retrospectively that much more sadistic.

[2] That Handke cannot lose at games as he himself so wonderfully describes as being unable to even in early childhood, in the great WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES... that he, in person cannot be truly playful... dommage. And [3] that if he loses he won’t show - as compared to showing off Amina baby in Berlin in 1969 - I was being punished by NOT being - shown the briefly re-imported Libgart – and what a wise move that might have been, too, considering the conquering mood my visit to Bulgaria had instilled in me, so if she had been willing to run away as she had been in 1971 in New York we might have spent a marvelous night in the Hotel Mirabelle .- As the son of a courageous counter-spy my libido had controlled itself for four straight weeks while being offered Bulgaria’s best temptresses, but then had to wait one more day for a beauty and myself to pick each other up on the way back from Vaduz – the ravishing beauty that was meant to meet me in Vienna had gotten cold feet, and if she hadn’t I expect I would have been more than one train later than I was.

After the return from Bulgaria I
gave Urizen Books one more big try

but during a vacation from my exertions had spotted shrimp dock on Jekyll Island in the Marshes of Glynn and felt I could live happily in just a single big room in one of the robber baron’s so-called „cottages” – mansions - and knew the time was nigh to pay obeisance to the Einsiedel side of my heritage as the firm then went down for which I had staked my life and got myself into a lot of trouble because I failed to shoot the dark partner in time whom Handke had described in 1971 as „very dark” or „at the very least very German”

Handke once mentioned that I didn’t seem to have much luck. Well, you too wouldn’t either if you worked for conmen like Roger Straus, Siegfried Unseld, Werner Linz and then picked a partner like Schulz-Keil and be a bit of a wus.

However, with all that bad luck what seemed like a Godsend reached me in 1981 in the form of galleys for UEBER DIE DOERFER. After being made very happy by the work I wrote Handke that translating it would test me to the utmost. But it then took me a while to get to the work which was completed in the early 8os while my  analyst was on a Festivus with me shouting the text out in my loft all by myself – the newest and neglegted wife and I were apart. When Handke saw my final he wrote it was „the best translation he had ever seen” and that it was „cutting” as indeed it was bound to be not only for it being a translation for voice, to actors to SPEAK it, but for the state of mind recent events had induced in me – it wasn’t just that a piece of butter might not want to come in my way at that time.
   However, after that brief interim, bad luck, where there was no luck, would be the best I could get. What if the drip who had opposed Handke at the start at Farrar, Straus, the fellow who had opposed all and killed some of my projects who had killed off my Adorno Reader with its promised Susan Sontag introduction, a true drip children’s book editor, should not be editor in chief! I kept Handke apprised of the correspondence and he was astonished at my persistence.

    I then found a different publisher, PAJ, folks whom I had given work prior to their starting their own small firm. The significant excerpt from Handke’s and my correspondence - especially his extremely valuable suggestions - can be found in my long postscript as it was then published in the 90s by Ariadne Press.

In the early 80s while still in my Tribeca loft a Berlin artis and I picked each other up at Le Zinc, one of those uptown off-shoots – from Un Deux Trois – that had started to sprout in the gentrifying quartier, a brasserie with a real zinc bar in what had been one of many shoe stores on Reade Street, run by three Parisian musketeers, and the Berlin artist and I got along as well as I had ever with anyone – she was my equal what a nice feeing, and my age. Once I mentioned guess-who she confessed to having had an affair with him while he had been in Berlin which he had broken off because she had another lover – I won’t soon forget the touching way she explained that this had been a period during which she had been „geil” – telling which confirmed the suspicion that my man was a pasha who even as a married fman felt that all women were his. A recent communication from Elisabeth Borchardt is truly touching showing that he could excercise politesse in the matter - he appears at her door and ask her partner whether he will allow him to sleep with Elizabeth

An einem heißen Sonntag – es geschah zu der Zeit, als Borchers mit dem Autor Claus Carlé liiert war – kam Peter Handke zu Besuch, offenbar mit starkem Drang in der Lendengegend. Borchers berichtet:

"Erlaubst du, dass ich mit ihr schlafe, fragte er Claus. Er solle mich fragen, er fragte mich. Ich war aber noch nie für dergleichen Gastfreundschaft zu haben. Dann doch lieber eine Tasse Tee."

I was meant to join the Berlin artist and then fly with her to Tokio, but clearing up the Urizen mess and the pursuit of the law suit against the former partner and then finalizing collection once I had won took longer than she could wait. I could hear the  leaving in her phone voice, and subsequently had a dream where half of my head flew off – like a flying saucer – to Berlin I suppose, a dream that also contained in that respect memories of the very earliest event of its kind.

To resume the theme of „lying” - while writing autobiographically - of pages 4-6 of the Notes section of

that initiated this huge footnote that has footnotes of its own:

In Handke’s AFTERNOON OF A WRITER the “former once friend” – yours truly – does not cross one sierra after the other while sending the writer postcards that sign off with ‘as ever’.
While translating and subsequently for a few years upon translating WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES  I entirely forget that Handke once had taken possession of one of my previous wives, the Great Fondness, an act that even now - that part of me not only loves much of the work but even its originator nearly as much as my mother - will suddenly lurch up destructively from below like a forever lurking grumpy shark – it was an act with consequences.  
Now I had a new wife, had won the first of several big lawsuits against a former partner, had found a publisher, PAJ, for WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES and could leave town and regain my health, and the new wife and I cut out to the American Southwest - where the two of us did a lot of traveling and loving – say in White Sands

and then ended up living at 8,000 feet in the Sacramentos in Billie the Kid country, Simcoe County adjacent to Lincoln, New Mexico with goats and dogs and horses. However, the only, the one single solitary Sierra we got near was the Mexican Carmen range which is adjacent to the Rio Grande – but while traveling also in love with the Handke who could write something as magnificent as WALK ABOU THTE VILLAGES I sent a postcard at about each of the many hamlets we stopped at. AFTRNOON OF THE WRITER, thus contains a host of lies, just concerning yours truly, and how many others? since subsequently to writing the book Handke fled to Paris, leaving manuscripts behind?

Walk About the Villages became my „Heart test” and few if any passed it, and perhaps Handke had good reason to be so forgetful and negligent of the Great Fondness and never contacted her  in New York, for her sole reaction to the manuscript was to quote its line about „hefty taxes,” and by the time she did she had already had two reactions that made me think that my idea of a „great fondness” was not appropriate to her but that I was glad that I was capable of such a feeling which makes for a better partnership among artists than those many passions that do a lot of burning.

Upon returning to NY PAJ decided not to publish VILLAGES and earned themselves a mallet on your toes kind of letter – I had really had it, nearly everyone I had been good to had turned on me, and PAJ – unbelievably - while doing so asked me if they could reprint something else of mine!
I sent Handke a copy of the letter – the year is 1986 – and for a reply had a letter that started „that it was good to hear from me again” – as though the postcards did not count! – and that „one could not do something like that letter to him” and that „if I persisted it would be the end of our friendship.” – It never was a good time to threaten me as it is rarely to threaten anyone without eliciting an unpleasant response, but especially me in particular and partcicularly in the frame of mind I was in at that time in my life – but was not too surprised to read in Herwig’s biography that Handke threaten’s others as he did Kolleritch for publishing a negative review of one of Handke’s book in Literatur.
 And so I wrote back „as to friendship „arent we lucky about your taking posession of the Great Fondness” – and detailed how close Libgart and I had come to running off together! – which must have really hurt, and I wouldn’t have written that jibe now that I have given thought to the injury that her leaving caused him. – And, as a matter of fact, I was quite willing to laugh the matter to smithereens and chuck it off to „one of those things, but no the Lord Pasha of the Moenchsberg who quickly got another translation of VILLAGES by Ralph Manheim and no longer answered letters. But I had really found out something in the course of this correspondence and relationship – and that was the inviolability of Handke’s self-image - which also explains a lot of the lying at which he is not particularly ingenious so that he might as well not. The only time to lie as I learned from my mother is when the Gestapo has entrapped you and confronted you with the utensils you have provided a fellow conspirator and you say „yes, of course, don’t you know that I am working for you” and have a clever code name for yourself that they can’t trace.

At about the time that WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES was finally published, by ARIADNE PRESS, I heard from the then mutual friend Erich Wolfgang Skwara, two of whose novels I translated, that Handke thought of me „graesslich” – while really liking my work on Skwara’s Plague of Siena!...and he refused to anwer letters inquiring whether it was all right to quote at length from his part of our extensive VILLALGES correspondence for my long postscript account [Daviau got the  o.k.]. But anyhow, at least he allowed the work to be published – that no one knows of it is due to Ariadne’s Donald Daviau breaking his word that - unlike other Ariadne titles - he would submit VILLAGES to Publisher’s Weekly & Library Journal, the barest minimum to let the world know that a title exists, which is why the Austrian marvels, that Ariadne Books pblishes, are never reviewed.

WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES is also a great plea for peace – and just look at the all around misery that ensued upon the best work Handke and I had done; how unaffected everyone had been, starting with that swine of cultural swine Roger Straus – you could stuff all the Nobel PrizeS winners he published into him and you wouln’t get a gram of foie gras.

Here in Seattle, what if Wim Wenders does not show up at the University where I am visiting scholar and he asks whether Handke and I are still friends – and I don’t say that I don’t think we ever were personal friends, but explain why we are not and Wim nails the coffin shut saying that „Handke hurts all those closest too him” which means that Wim, too, was injured, but nonetheless ctd. to work with the great artist.

Also in Seattle, at the time of EINBAUM I find that I can do a production of it at Cornish and inquire via Petra Hardt as to its disposition – Petra writes back, puzzled, that Handke said „ich sollte das akzeptieren.” Perhaps the fellow is slightly off his rocker. But his decision not to let me do the translation was just as well – Cornish turned out be liars as just about everyone in theater here turned out to be.

and in American theater, all those alleged Handke enthusiasts who fail to come through to do the mature work.

Scott Abbott then did a fine translation of EINBAUM – and what do you know PAJ published Handke’s most Brechtian play, not that any of the creeps in American theater has seen dit to put it on.

Upon publication of Malte Herwig’s Handke biograph MEISTER DER DAEMERUNG I receive an e-mail from Marie Colbin asking whether I wilL put her review on my blog – Herwig has threatned the Austrian  publication that published it with a lawsuit that will cost them dearly and have taken it down. I oblige and Marie and I marry and will stay married forever because we will never run out of amusing Handke anecdotes.

A few years ago friend Zejlko in Chicago asks me to translate Handke’s THE BEAUTIFUL DAYS OF ARANJUEZ and it appears Handke has no objections and I do so with the help of fellow Handke translator Scott Abbott

It seems these two layabroads know  the pornographic heart of the world where the erotic fixes and possesses and forever arouses and forever churns.  - Thus, I regard Handke as a great writer, a bit flawed in his younger years, for reasons that I  understand, and so - while the work is venerable - I find the author less so. Ditto for venerators. What might easily have been a great friendship has left me in a position where I feel free to admire and propogate and express occasional reservation. Hell, we could laugh off what transpire between us!
Most amusing is that the once lay-a-broad - now on the road to sainthood - regards marriage as a sacrament! Ah the lessening of libido... most of the dancing girls of yore have become staid maids too & no longer slip into our beds in the dark of night!
Only a single lie!


1] Handke is said to write autobiography and use his valuable notebooks for that purpose, as I assume he did for this so imaginative hike [s] through the Picardie that are the basis for the adventures then assembled into Alexia’s; and it will be of scholarly interest to compare the final m.s. – in this as in other instances - with the notebooks

2] Let us not forget the other statement, less well known, that Handke made at Princeton, to friend Ted Ziolkovwky, a Hesse scholar, that he „was the new Kafka” which has a certain truth if you regard his anxiety riddled and inducing and conquering early texts such as DER HAUSIERER, RADIO PLAY I, MY FOOT MY TUTOR, and which becomes comprehensible once you contemplate the  continuous exposure of someone with Handke’s nerves to violent   primal scenes during his formative years; [by he time that Handke around age 12 says to his mother that Bruno cannot be his real father the damage is done] nor I would entirely discount the „hormigas” of his first novel, the war time bombers – one of my first traumatic screen memories is of the first bonmbing attack on Bremen, in 1940,

He would understand what transpired and what effect it had on him to be exposed for a decade - not just to the presence and example of his dreadful name-giving stepfather Bruno Handke but the effect of the decade-long exposure to the primal scene with the male a rapist beater - which leads me to suppose is how “the devil – at least during his early years – slipped into Ms Jones of a genius who in many other respects is one of the great generous darlings.” -  Those infamous “dark sides” that are mentioned with such frequency of writers having them - derivatives which I don’t think are genetic or existential but can be specified in each instance, those wound out of which writers write as Handke – in the ART OF ASKING – confesses that he does.


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