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published: 2008-09-03

I went to a reading by a fellow writer whose work I appreciate. He's very well known in Holland. His reading was about his antics as a publisher, years ago. Basically, all of that was motivated by something the Dutch call 'eerzucht' and I suppose can be translated as 'aspiration', or 'a strong drive for success.' It's considered a flaw in Holland even though it's a virtue anywhere else in the world.
He also mentioned he desired to become invisible.
After the reading, I went up to him to say 'hello'. We had, after all, had drinks together in the lobby of his hotel not long ago. He looked at me and said, "remind me would you?"
On leaving, I told myself I wasn't quite such a fool because ultimately I was something he aspired to be: invisible.
That evening, I wrote a note to myself saying – despite being Dutch, thou shalt have aspirations. One of them being to win an international literary prize. Should this writer then come say 'hello', I will respond by exclaiming, "how lovely to see you again!"

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