Autumn by Karl Ove Knausgaard – digested read
‘Jackets have two sleeves. One for each arm. That’s probably all you need to know’
Sun 27 Aug ‘17 17.00 BST
Letter to an Unborn Daughter: As I write this you know nothing about anything as you haven’t been born yet. That means I have your undivided attention and you can’t interrupt me, which is the way I prefer my relationships. You will have two sisters and a brother, all of whom will be older than you because they are already born. In this book I would like to show you some of the things that you are going to see in the world.
Apples: Between you and me I rather prefer oranges but they don’t grow in Sweden. Apples have a much thinner skin than oranges and are green. When I was small I used to always eat the core, but now I have learned to love myself I only eat the nice bits.
Wasps: Sometimes wasps look like tiny Fabergé eggs and at other times they don’t. They can also give you a nasty sting so it’s probably best to avoid them if at all possible.
Plastic bags: When you go shopping and forget to bring anything in which to take your purchases home, you are usually offered a plastic bag. Some plastic bags can be quite pretty but on the whole they are a bad thing as they pollute the planet. I dug up a plastic bag when I tried to plant a shrub the other day.
Teeth: You will be born without teeth but they will start to grow when you are about a year old. Your adult teeth will remain part of you until the day you die unless they have already fallen out.
Piss: At the last count, I reckon I must have pissed about 75,000 times in my life. I can’t remember my first piss and you won’t remember yours either. Piss is usually yellow. The last time I pissed myself was when I was 15. Luckily no one noticed so I wasn’t as ashamed as I would have been if everyone had laughed at me. Peeing yourself can be quite nice.
Blood: There isn’t quite as much blood inside you as you may think. Most people have about nine pints. A small cut can produce what may look like a lot of blood but in reality isn’t very much. Be careful of losing too much blood though, because then you might die.
Letter to an Unborn Daughter: You are a bit bigger than you were last time I looked. I hope you aren’t too bored by what I am telling you.
Rubber boots: If you look at a pair of boots they can look a bit like detached feet. That’s because the boots are shaped to fit over a pair of feet. Otherwise they might fall off. For the same reason, jackets have two sleeves; one for each arm. Rubber boots are rubber so you don’t get wet in puddles. That’s probably all you need to know about rubber boots.
Badgers: I have often wondered whether badgers have black faces with a white stripe down the middle or white faces with two black stripes down the side. In my opinion, badgers aren’t nearly as interesting as bears, but I guess you may feel differently.
Cars: Lots of people used to laugh at me because I didn’t drive a car until I was 39. I just didn’t feel ready for the responsibility. Now I feel OK about driving.
Van Gogh: The thing you have to know about Van Gogh is that for much of his career he wasn’t a very good painter. He only got good when he started thinking a lot about death. Something you might have been thinking about now, were you able to think of anything.
Experience: Some experiences are good and some are bad. It’s up to you to decide which is which.
Letter to an Unborn Daughter: I will be 45 by the time you are born. That means we are only likely to have 30 years together at most before I die of some hideous wasting disease. The upside is that I will be able to get a 12-volume series out of my final illness.
Tin cans: Mostly, though not always, tin cans are round and are used to preserve foods in an airtight environment. In some ways we are all tin cans eking out an existence of moderate futility.
Dawn: There is something quite special about a sunrise. Once the sun is above a certain height in the sky it is no longer dawn. Halfway through the morning it is time for elevenses.
Chimneys: If we didn’t have a chimney, our house would fill with smoke every time we lit a fire. Chimneys are weird things because you can never see all of them at once because part of them are inside the house and part outside. Weird.
Flaubert: My favourite book is Madame Bovary. As far as I know, Flaubert didn’t write any children’s books so you probably won’t get round to reading him for a few years.
Eyes: I have never properly understood eyes. Are yours open or closed, I wonder? Closed I suspect. One day you may use your eyes to read this. Though probably not.
Digested read, digested… Book: words between two covers.