It’s a good day to be in Poland. I did not go to the Conrad festival–traveled out from the Lublin-Łódź-Wrocławaganza of last week, plus I had the opportunity to observe some rehearsals here in town. However, I have had an excellent 24 hours. Right here in Warsaw. It is nice to stay in town for the weekend for a change.
12:00-4:30: A long lunch and discussion with friends at the Cafe Kulturalna within the PKN, including one Varsovian who I haven’t seen enough of, and one Krakowian who I haven’t seen since orientation. We discuss our future theatre plans: the Teatr Na Woli play Nasza Klasa, based on Jan Gross’s divisive book Neighbors. We also began some nebulous plans for a Poland theatrical event; a community-based event, a story circle from which nothing more might ever come–an exploration of diversity in Poland, cast in the broadest possible light. I solicit their assistance, as historians of Jews in WW2 and postwar Poland, in conceiving and executing the project. They were off, after our conversation, via bus, to a weekend festival/gathering of secular Jewish cultural exchange, in the Warsaw suburbs. We say our adieux outside the PKN, and vow that when the weather turns, we will make snowmen here.
7-9 PM: I was able to observe rehearsals for the choir at the Praga Cathedral. I got to stand in the back, behind the altos and adjacent to my friend, the tenor, as they rehearsed the Mozart Requiem. This was a wonderful experience, and I can see that watching some Polish choirs / choral rehearsals / choral conducting would be a very good thing for my project. Hearing them sing is inspiring; I go home and write until I fall asleep.
7:00 AM: Abruptly and righteously awake. A sign. A sign of ambition. I am going to get dressed. In Fulbright Formal clothes, otherwise known as “Thank you for this grant, I will repay you by wearing an ironed shirt every day, even on weekends. It may be an ironed shirt from H&M, but it is still an ironed shirt.” I will go somewhere and write all day. I send a couple emails to friends requesting hangoutage, later, and decamp.
7:30 AM, przyst. Namysłowska: My, the #28 is crowded at this early hour.
7:45 AM, przyst. Wybrzeże Helskie: A woman on my tram is reading and rereading a handwritten statement on a white piece of cardboard. Blue loopy ballpoint cursive. It occurs to me, for no reason, that it is an eulogy.
8:00 AM: The Ratusz Arsenal Starbucks does not open until 9 on Saturdays.
8:30 AM: But the McDonalds at Świętokrzyska is open. Here, I will attempt to write, but am importuned by a bored mechanical engineer/rugby player who wants to know what I think about Poland. I tell him the theater’s great. “Idziemy na spacer?” Er…
I eat my McMuffin Jajko, and leave.
9:00 AM: Decamp, inevitably, to the Bibilioteka Uniwersytecka we Warszawie. I write there for a few hours, until my free Internet dies, and dine sumptuously in the basement cafe where you can get an enormous meal for 10 zl. Kotlet z ziemnakami and enormous amounts of kapusta. I will miss this kind of thing the next time I’m on an American university campus.
1:00 PM: And the Cafe Kulturalna. Where I am. Writing. And waiting for another Fulbrighter friend to join me, and write some more, and then do something else besides writing.
I have now brought you, and myself, up to the present. Until I do something else, I have nothing more to say. This is an awkward position in which to find oneself. I hope that something happens so that this post can end before