Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Someone else wrote it

Many of the experiences I have needn't be recorded by me...someone else wrote them better.

Someone whose work I was devouring before I left and who I can't seem to stay away from now is Somerset Maugham. His collected stories--I bought it used and discovered it on my bookshelf and that was the end of many hours.

He wrote much more clearly about what legal prostitution is like than I can--although I'll probably make an attempt at some point.

"Iwelei was on the edge of the city. You went down side streetsby the harbour, in the darkness, across a rickety bridge, till you came to a deserted road, all ruts and holes and then suddenly you came out into the light. There was parking room for motors on each side of the road and there were saloons, tawdry and bright, each one noisy...There was a stir in the air and sense of expectant gaiety. You turned down a narrow alley, either to the right or to the left, for the road divided Iwelei into two parts, and you found yourself in the district. There were rows of little bungalows, trim and neatly painted in green, and the pathway between them was broad and straigth. It was laid out like a garden-city. In its respectable regularity, its order and spruceness, it gave an impression of sardonic horror; for never can the search for love been so systematized and ordered. The pathways were lit by a rare lamp....Men wandered about, looking at the women who sat at their windows, reading or sewing, for themost part taking no notice of the passers-by; and like the women they were of all nationalities. There were Americans, sailors from the ships in port, enlisted men off the gunboats...They were silent and as it were oppressed. Desire is sad."

From Rain


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