About the Heart.

The Tale is about the heart. About the heart that is no longer there. Reportedly, that heart was there, once upon a time, a long time ago, but it got lost, died, was taken away by someone or given to someone. Withered, devoured, wasted. Anyway, it is gone, but there is a wound – a gaping wound on the left side. But the heart is needed. It is not essential – the world continues to spin without it. In and of itself it is an interesting and somehow disturbing element of that story. But the heard is necessary if certain undertakings are to succeed. Not only good undertakings, also quite despicable ones, but in any case, such undertakings that require major changes.

On the other hand, it is not all hard to have a heart. It is inherent to begin with, so we simply have it by definition. One can dispose of it, nurture it, and enter into a kind of a barter trade with it. But it is also easy to neglect it and miss the moment when the heart is lost. And winning it back is much more difficult. One needs to take great pains, to get dirty, to immerse oneself in excrement and corpses; to accumulate merit and to pass to the other, dark side. And even then there is no guarantee that the heart will be won, or that one will succeed in returning to the right side. So, in short, the heart is troublesome.

I heard somewhere recently that the boundary between good and evil runs through the heart. Not in some abstracted, symbolic heart of the world, God, god, gods, or whatever you prefer, but in every single heart of every single human being. Truth be told, I wasn’t all that thrilled about that thought, initially. It seemed rather shallow, too pious, simply irritating in its indisputability on the one hand, if we let ourselves engage in that metaphorical-symbolic sensitivity, and in its utter triviality on the other. But somehow I cannot let it go. In the context of The Tale, but also, I think, more in the context of the history of life on this planet, which is once again confronted (it should always be confronted, but it is easy and nice to forget all about it) with a vision of its own demise, which is perhaps not very real, but nevertheless more imaginable than a week ago. We are all Ukrainians today and/but we are all Russians too, today and forever.

Meanwhile, The Tale is growing, finally a little faster and easier. I still hesitate about casting, but I’m getting there, closer and closer. The image of the entire piece slowly solidifies. I’m running it through back and forth, again and again, and I’m noticing more and more details. As to Leśmian – this time a hiatus.

And next Saturday Baczyński in the version with an orchestra will be premiered in Gdańsk. Unfortunately, far more a propos than might have been assumed. Oh man.

(transl. Magdalena Małek-Andrzejowska)