Sunday, September 10, 2006


Sometimes the whiff of a change in scenery is all I need.

I’m reading about the sensuality of work, the unsubstantial, half-hearted nature of play, and considering how I earn my dough, how I like to play. Elaine Scarry writes, “It is not simply the surface of the body but the deep entirety of its interior that is in work put at risk.” Yes, yes, I know.

And the e-mail arrives. There’s a job posting for two scopists (that’s me) to fill a seven-month (with possibility to extend) position in criminal court at The Hague. Meal and housing allowance provided. It’s vague, but it must be World Court work, that’s what happens at The Hague. I cannot possibly go, couldn’t think of applying. Seven months away from home! The Finlander says, It’s a chance of a lifetime. You must apply.

The inquiring e-mail is sent and we’re all left to dream. I go back to reading Scarry, who is talking about Dickens’s Pip, “If life had required Pip to learn the distinction between the artificial and the real, he might not have had such a difficult time; but he is instead required to make the much more difficult and interesting distinctions between failed artifice and successful artifice, between failed work and successful work, between irresponsible imaginings and responsible imaginings.” Yes, yes indeed.

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