It’s early in the afternoon as I walk through Malá Strana once again—it’s only been four years, but it seems like a lifetime ago. The past few days have been a startling reminder of how memory often feels less like memory than knowledge you can’t account for. The Prague I’ve seen in dreams doesn’t look exactly like the real Prague—but the Prague I’ve imagined since leaving doesn’t either. I could see boats go by from the window of my old flat, and the moon rising over Vyšehrad, but now there’s an enormous building blocking the way—and it’s been there long enough to where it doesn’t even look that new.
I’m glad I walked this route today instead of taking the tram: it seems that one of the coffee shops I had given up for lost has simply relocated. I’ll be paying them a visit later on, but there’s somewhere else I want to visit first: Shakespeare & Sons, the English-language bookstore. I head to the poetry section first.
It’s an impressive poetry section by most standards, with many works it would be hard to find other places. I pick out Jerusalem Delivered—the masterwork of Torquato Tasso, and one of the largest books there. Pretty much everything I know about Tasso comes from Goethe’s play rather than this sizeable book. It was counted among the greats once, but I’ve so far neglected to read it, as have most people for the past century. It wouldn’t surprise me if this were the same copy that was sitting on this shelf four years ago. I flip it open to a random page and read:
And if you were on land to perish, vain
Would be a victory on the bounding main.
Expect updates here to be scarce, if not totally nonexistent, until October. I have a great deal planned, some of it already half-finished, but real life going to have to take precedence for a while—that’s real life in contradistinction to both dreams and writing and any combination of the two. You’d be surprised at how many there are. In the meantime, please take the time to enjoy what’s already here, or to explore some of the resources I’ve included in my bibliography. Or get to work on your own dream journal. Or just go out and get some fresh air or something.
That’s October at the earliest.