Etel Adnan
Etel Adnan
Further on...


As for oceans, I sailed a few, then flew over, over my own story, to a little town in Mexico where a sailor was particularly good looking, and discovered a bar and met in there a woman caught between two people, a foreigner who was drinking too much and a young girl, both attracted to her and to the soft wind, outside, with the sound of the ocean touching the beach.


There are days when the storm refuses to break out and in those days pains are born within my limbs and behave like spirits with a will of their own, and leave me helpless against this invasion.  Once I was crossing a garden, a huge one planted with tulips whose color was red-wine and they were dispersed among iridescent blue flowers whose leaves were still retaining the dew.  I thought: on a day similar to this a historical figure to whom I’m particularly attached was looking at this space and welcoming this kind of weather.  She was a queen exiled in France amid brutal surroundings.  She was banished, later, and died in Cologne.

My house

Often I buy books on houses and start, page after page, to move into different apartments or dwellings that make one wonder if glass walls separate us from nature or if they are meant to make us feel at one with the trees.  My favorite trees around houses, cabins, shacks, are oaks.

A person

People seem to be here to betray.  There’s a person who loved me to death; she meant to the point of interfering to a fatal degree with my life.  By the time she had grown old my resentment had grown totally unforgiving and I let her know it.  That was punishment enough.  I wonder who invented the ugly word “punishment”; it’s probably God who established the Word, and the deed.


A straight line, I was taught, was good for hanging clothes, but I saw wires which were crooked and used for crowns of thorns.  I also saw a cage with wires which were intended to protect a canary from predators, the cat and the dog.  One morning I found the bird dead from lack of water. I had, the night before, watered the garden thoroughly, but had forgotten to fill the little can with the precious water it demanded.

The churches

On Sunday bells toll and women in black are swallowed by a white structure that I never enter.  These creatures come out of the church with, on their faces, the same expression that they had previously, and they smell of incense and wax.   That’s how it is on this island, and elsewhere.

My house

Hotel rooms hold a fascination:  there’s a sense of loneliness that I have sometimes experienced in them that still haunts me.  How did I survive that feeling of void, of  rootlessness, of uselessness, that possessed me more than a few times in cities such as Paris and New York?  How did I climb that wall of nothingness to attain a perspective from which a next day was possible?  But houses can be much worse, they can be pierced baskets from which one’s life oozes and reaches the gutters. I discovered, by chance, in a book, that Thoreau’s attention was transfixed by permanent structures. The forest, the boat, the fresh air were not enough to give him serenity . . . he was constantly looking for a house!


Television works differently from cocaine: it dumbs the spirit and creates a kinship with cartoons.  Children grow tails and ask to perform in Disneyland and the parents hurry to agree.  Governments have no trouble running the planet.


Sound research has proved that people pollute the world and, as they’re part of it, pollute themselves . . .  Immaterial people probably exist on other planets, and we’re eager to get in touch with them.  They won’t need olives, bread, or a Mercedes sport car . . . and I doubt that our ideas will be of any interest to them . . . they may have better ones, or none at all.  Who knows?

Vital data

I have established a sound relation with the universe.  Of that, I’m sure. I move freely between the sun and the moon, I go further; I plunge into black holes and merge intact, I ride on comets, I count galaxies, I’m on speaking terms with light-years, all this since I travelled in a matter of seconds to the universe’s edge and suspected that the strange movement that I witnessed, once there, was the beginning of an abyss.