This is the scenario: I am lying in bed in my bathrobe and I am trying to write my ideal story. I don’t know what happens in the story yet. I just know that Balzac used to write in a robe and presumably could only write in the robe. And not just any robe, but a white cashmere Dominican monk’s robe that was tied around his waist with a silk belt, from which hung a pair of scissors and a golden penknife.
Written in 1922, and later translated to English in 1951, Siddhartha is a seminal work by the German author Hermann Hesse. The cultural influence of Siddhartha reached its apex in the context of the Sixties, in the burgeoning hippy era of the time, but the book has lasting resonance as a point of reference of early contact for the West with the alternative philosophies and narratives that became increasingly popular to experiment and explore with.
The day dawned bleak and chill, a moving wall of grey light out of the north-east which, instead of dissolving into moisture, seemed to disintegrate into minute and venomous particles, like dust that, when Dilsey opened the door of the cabin and emerged, needled laterally into her flesh, precipitating not so much a moisture as a substance partaking of the quality of thin, not quite congealed oil.