domingo, 22 de mayo de 2011

What I found.


My brother was a whopping eleven years older than me, so I don't remember much of when he was still living with us during his university years. I was only thirteen when he moved out. But he was always weird. His self-professed hobby was to watch people. I remember there were times when he would pick me up from school, and, as we drove home in the afternoon sunlight, we would see something, like a group of children walking home in their uniforms, and those little mundane scenes—old ladies feeding birds, shops closing down for the day—were heartbreaking to him. He took pictures of seemingly innocuous things. He was very nostalgic about things that had never happened to him.

I distinctly remember that on a weekly basis he would sit in a corner of his cramped room and scribble into an old notebook that he used for school. Sometimes I would ask him what he was drawing or writing. He would of course tell me to leave. He kept it well-hidden when he wasn't writing, because several times during my childhood I looked for it while he wasn't home, and never found it.

I don't remember a whole lot else about my brother. He mostly kept to himself, but was willing to oblige when I asked him to play video games or something with me. He wasn't very much for sports, and he had a small but recurring circle of friends. They were generally as weird as him and Mom didn't like them around the house. But he didn't seem lonely or hurt, he got good marks and generally he appeared satisfied with his life. He was the opposite of my sister (seven years older than me), who has always been socially adaptable, self-confident and outgoing. Whenever my brother went out, it was either to take pictures of the seedier parts of the city, or heading straight to a friend's house, probably to listen to music. He was big on music, especially anything that used "found sound", i.e. recordings picked up from somewhere else.

My brother died in a car crash last year. We have made our peace with it by now. My parents decided to keep his room as it was when he left. But I haven't been able to contain myself. For years the mystery of the notebook had settled in the far back of my mind, but months after his death it resurfaced. I needed to find it. I scoured his room again. I checked under and inside everything, with meticulous care to make sure my parents didn't notice I had been moving things around. And finally, by sheer luck, I came across a loose floorboard under where his bed used to be shortly before he sold it off.

It was a clever hiding spot, and I never would have found it as a child. I pried the board loose with anxious expectation, hoping that this was, at last, where I would find the notebook. And I was right.

My brother kept loose documentation of his feverish scribblings. By now, time, humidity and insects had taken their toll on his writings, but most of it was entirely legible. It was kept in a pile of unassuming school notebooks, lined paper, ring-bound, bland black covers. There are marks on the cover that indicate that they were once covered with something, possibly labeled, but those aren't there anymore.

For the past couple days I have been poring over my brother's lost oeuvre with unbroken interest. What he wrote (and occasionally drew) there is of extremely varied nature. It includes lists of people he "loves", but these are populated with people like "7:30am cleaning lady, Bolognesi Av., Millennium Hotel, wears pink ribbon" or "kindly old doorman from childhood house". These are people who, I assume, he only knew via his personal brand of nostalgic voyeurism.

There are also interviews with people from the city about varied subjects. My brother would sometimes do this; he would pretend to be a Communications or Journalism student of some sort and interview strangers on the street about various things.
Many of the interviews are recorded here.

And then there are also personal (or sometimes impersonal, stated as if they were fact) accounts of strange things that go on in the city, written as if they were the most mundane things in the world. Yet they are anything but. Sometimes his friends pop up in these writings.

After reading most of the material, which was originally discovered on May of 2011, I began to post excerpts of the notebooks on 4chan's board /x/, as it seemed like something that would pique their interest. (It apparently did.) Now I have decided to start this blog in order to keep the entries in one, easily readable place as I continue to transcribe them. English is not my native language, nor was it my brother's, and these notebooks aren't written in English, either. So I have to translate and transcribe them as I go.

In order to preserve everyone's anonymity and be on the safe side, the names of all people and places involved have been replaced with pseudonyms. Originally I also planned to change any dates mentioned, but after some deliberation, I have decided to keep those as they are to avoid confusion, as these notebooks are written in a non-linear manner.

After initially browsing these texts it has become apparent that this project was not only my brother's, but all or most of his friends were in on it and contributed regularly. The entries are usually not signed by specific authors, which adds to the documents' inscrutability, but suffice to say many of these excerpts were not written by my brother, who will be referred to as B. whenever he appears in transcripts from the notebooks.

I came across one particular document while studying these books. Apparently the project of recording or writing these entries into the notebooks was known among my brother and his friends at some point as "The Books of Sand", which alludes to a famous short story by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. Hence the title of this blog.

These notebooks are considerably thick, and jam-packed with writing, which varies greatly in terms of legibility. There is also the occasional crude drawing, map or diagram. Whenever I have time, I will continue to post new transcripts on /x/ and then post them in this blog as new entries. In any case, I hope that you will enjoy reading.

3 comentarios:

  1. Thank you for putting that stuff in this blog here. chanarchive.org is down and the thread on /x/ will be gone when i get home tomorrow!

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  2. I found a bunch of screencaps of one of your threads, and as I didn't know that you had a blog for all of these, I posted what was on the images on my creepypasta blog.

    Hope that's okay. I've linked the post back to this blog.

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