My and R.’s citizenship documents just came in the mail from Luxembourg. I was a teenager when I learned my last name came from one of those tiny dots on the map that no one had ever been to; and I carried it around as a cute fact for 25 years or so until J., who digs around on ancestry.com, discovered it was possible to apply for citizenship by descent going back to the Congress of Vienna, so long as that descent was exclusively through the male line prior to 1969. One of those interference patterns between past and present law, of course—so, thanks, patriarchy?
It’s a castle in the sky, a tax shelter, an extremely expensive crystal globe bobbing on the waves. I’ve never been, we don’t have money to go, I’m not good enough in any of the three official languages and because of my birth certificate I’m currently inscribed in the national registry as a man. So, things to work on. But from afar it feels to me like some kind of Euro-Berkeley. The world comes in to study and work and can’t find anywhere affordable to rent. There are restaurants. You can grow up to four cannabis plants in your home or garden. The prime minister is gay (odd that Serbia shares the distinction). The minister of justice, whose office has been handling the citizenship stuff, is a year older than me and presents like junior faculty.
Also because of my birth certificate, it occurred to me no one in Luxembourg would know how to pronounce “Schenectady.” Schenectady to Schengen.
I’m sorry that it took a war for me to pick up the long-on-deck Ukrainian book in the house, Your Ad Could Go Here by Oksana Zabuzhko. Something about the title and cover art made me think it was going to be frivolous, but it’s not, it’s fantastic.
So she went to the European Parliament. What’s a writer supposed to do.