At the moment of my birth, a dog howled in the yard. I was conceived in a rickety barn in June or early July. Some nine months later I came sliding down my mother’s uterus, exactly eleven days after the planetoid Coltrane had been discovered. It was the year in which the Russian swimmer Vladimir Salnikov set the world record in 1,500-meter freestyle at 14:56.35. Glenn Gould died at the age of 50, and Thomas Bernhard published the last volume of his autobiography (“eine Wortwelt, Imagination, Erfindung”, as a reviewer observed). A theropod fossil was discovered in Alabama. Words jumped like monkeys from tree to tree (but in the dark region, where one is rooted, one has to do without their kind mediation). A dog howled and my mother thought it a bad omen.

Steven de Joode