Thursday, January 26, 2012


Chance has played such a strong role in my life, that I feel no amazement when I reflect upon the remarkable manner in which it presided over my birth.  One could say that this is everyone’s story.   But not everyone has the opportunity to tell their story.

          And if everyone did, there would be no great harm in that.  Each person’s experience is the treasure of all.


Text:  Gerard de Nerval,  Walks and Memories IV (Juvenalia)(1854), (trans. Marc Lowenthal), published in Aurelia and Other Writings, Boston, Exact Change,  1996.

Picture 1:   Ellsworth Kelly, ‘Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard (A Throw of the Dice Will Never Abolish Chance)’, New York Limited Editions Club, 1992.

Picture 2:  Mr. and Mrs. Mike Todd and Michael and Christopher Wilding. This picture was taken on my fourth birthday.


  1. It's been a long time since I read Nerval, and I do remember liking him. But now I only remember that he walked his lobster in the park. Which of course, is a reason to admire him and go back and read his work.

  2. Nerval's wonderful -- very surprising and moving. He came to a terrible end. The Exact Change edition I took this passage from is terrific and has a beautiful cover image, an autochrome photograph of a girl doing a handstand on the beach taken by Fritz Paneth, an important German chemist (and enthusiastic amateur photographer) who settled in England after fleeing Nazi Germany. The girl was his daughter Eva. You may recall that Nerval's earliest success was as the French translator of Goethe's Faust. Goethe said of it (this is a paraphrase) that he never understood himself so well as when he was reading Nerval's translation. Curtis

  3. The picture of Mr and Mrs Mike Todd and the two boys is extremely powerful. Where did your birthday party take place?

  4. Chris: On the Queen Mary, apparently. I could page through the scrapbooks in the name of research. I'm pretty confident I could learn this information. On my fourth birthday, my parents were probably still pretty pre-occupied by the recent birth of my brother. As the old American expression goes, I didn't pay it no nevermind. The Todds look great. How was Israel? We should talk. Curtis