Cannonball Bingo – Landscape
Robert Walser was a Swiss writer of miniatures, with works dating from 1905 to 1933. As the title indicates, his earlier pieces are primarily short descriptions of the villages and forests of his youth. And the man loved to walk. “The Moon” describes a night stroll as he leaves his village and its Christmas market and climbs up into the forests and mountains. I wished I could stand in the moonlit night forever and surrender to old dear thoughts, to stay like this forever and think back on the past. The dark-bright sky with its cottony clouds appeared to me like a beautiful, beloved, lush meadow. . .” Really lovely stuff.
There’s an occasional short tale as well, such as the time he, at the age of 23, strolled from Münich to Würzberg to hang out with a fellow writer for a week or so. He was especially resplendent in “a suit that would have been impressive in Naples. In well-thought-out, well-measured Germany, however, it seemed to arouse more suspicion than trust” and his buddy persuades him to ditch it. The theme of this story could be “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Idiot”, and it really is delightful.
Unfortunately, the later pieces start to become more nonsensical and Dadaistic, and it turns out that the author spent the last decades of his life in an insane asylum (as apparently did all the rest of his family save one sibling). It seems that he became frustrated that he couldn’t get published anymore, but really, my dude. But thumbs up for the first two thirds.