There's something so eerie and unspeakably sad when a lot of your young Facebook friends are presenting a black box of mourning as their profile photos. I asked a friend who had died and he said a friend from Prizren who now lived in Prishtina. He was 24. I won't go into the particulars of what happened mostly because I really don't know except through hearsay, and to honor the family's privacy.
I then pick up a book a friend lent me a while ago and began to read the author's introduction. Many people ask me what Kosovo is like, what does it feel like there, how is it? And I can always come up with some sort of articulation about it, but that's all it is is an utterance, an answer to a question pulled from the flotsam floating on top of my brain. In other words, not very meaningful.
The following excerpt describes New York's Greenwich Village in the 1940s. The book is Anatole Broyard's memoir called Kafka Was the Rage. He wrote this intro in April of 1989, 24 years ago. The age of the man who died today.
I think there's a great nostalgia for life in New York City, especially in Greenwich Village in the period just after World War II. We were all so grateful to be there--it was like a reward for having fought the war. There was a sense of coming back to life, a terrific energy and curiosity, even a feeling of destiny arising out of the war that had just ended. The Village, like New York City itself, had an immense, beckoning sweetness. It was like Paris in the twenties--with the difference that it was our city. We weren't strangers there, but familiars. The Village was charming, shabby, intimate, accessible, almost like a street fair. We lived in the bars and on the benches of Washington Square. We shared the adventure of trying to be, starting to be, writers or painters.
American life was changing and we rode those changes. The changes were social, sexual, exciting--all the more so because we were young. It was as if we were sharing a common youth with the country itself. We were made anxious by all the changes, yet we were helping to define them.
That feels a lot like Kosovo to me.