Recovered piece of correspondence from my archives

Dear ________,

On finally re-entering the wreckage of the conservatory this morning I came upon a charred but salvageable copy of the pencilled notes I had previously made for an important message to you. Of course, by now I haven’t a clue what they were all supposed to mean, or how they assemble to form a creature (I am the sort of chap who can barely remember why I came to a room half-a-minute after I arrive in it, so there was never much hope on this front). I am therefore sending them “raw” and trusting that you can string together these discordant scraps to conjure some sort of well-crafted and genial missive. I am sorry I only ever send you lists.

Transcription of Found Notecards (reflecting minor errata and emendation):
[my own present comments in brackets]


  • need update on the progress of collectivising the Midwestern automotive plants; not a full memorandum with subparts and appendices, but obviously an “It’s done!” or a “We’re workin’ on it!” would give useful guidance with which to direct my own [unintelligible]
  • now alarmingly apparent that I ought to have been spending more time teaching small children about participatory economics and far less time looking at waistcoats in shop-windows and pretending to study the laws. Goodbye slowly, my twenties!
  • had touch of the melancholies today because think I accidentally atheized a Jehovah’s Witness who showed up on the doorstep. Whoops.
  • politely declining bomb threats and the like
  • a professor who once told me that “Brazilian history is written from the hammock.” What does this mean??? [sic]
  • deep mistrust of horses
  • suggestions for a new kind of social fable (narrated by an affable jerboa?)
  • new plan: depart the quadrangles, travel by rail, Patagonia, purchase a Trabant and paint it like John Lennon’s Rolls
  • with which she once led a counterinsurgency, though she would herself have described it more casually [out of modesty? why?]
  • feel as if it would be best to die either in a shootout with reactionaries or be eaten by whales.
  • still unsure from where moral values derive; allowed to pluck them from the cosmos?
  • the man who mistakenly wore his cravat to a gymnasium. [note: this appears to have been the proposed title for a collection of similarly-themed stories about (predictably) a gentleman mistakenly wearing his cravat in various unacceptable places — see this rough proposed piece of cover art which was recovered near the site of the notes: ]
  • increasingly favour abolition of colleges (not the edification chamber advertised in brochures, but a pen for keeping the young until all willpower wears off)
  • yes, best to spend some time in Latin America, but could I even pass an ideological competency test for the Diplomatic Service??
  • “treating your adversary with respect is giving him an advantage to which he is not entitled.” Discuss.
  • “solitude is the playfield of Satan.” Discuss.
  • the three kinds of regicide – (a) colloquial [bottom half of notecard smeared in lipstick]
  • whether vanguardism is a fit subject for poetry

[remainder of notecards too scorched to decipher]

As I said, unclear how the fragments were all supposed to come together. A portion of them may not have actually been intended for you; they were mixed in with a folder marked “Insurance Papers,” so likely some of this pertains to insurance instead.

Finally, here is a quotation from Rosa Luxemburg’s Selected Political Writings:

“Business is flourishing upon the ruins. Cities are turned to rubble, whole countries into deserts, villages into cemeteries, whole populations into beggars, churches into stables. International law, treaties, alliances, the holiest words and the highest authorities have been torn into scraps. Every sovereign by the grace of God is called a cretin, an unfaithful wretch, by his cousin on the other side; every diplomat calls his colleague in the enemy’s country a crafty scoundrel; each government looks upon the other as the evil genius of its people, worthy only of the contempt of the world. Hunger revolts in Venetia, in Lisbon, in Moscow, in Singapore; plague in Russia; misery and desperation everywhere. Shamed, dishonored, wading in blood and dripping with filth–THUS STANDS bourgeois society. And so it is. Not as we usually see it, pretty and chaste, playing the roles of peace and righteousness, of order, of philosophy, ethics and culture. It shows itself in its true, naked form–as a roaring beast, as an orgy of anarchy, as a pestilential breath, devastating culture and humanity.”

I trust that you are cheerful and well and so forth.

From a Buick 6,
Nathan J. Robinson


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