on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2017 3 Jan

Fortune Cookies

von: Martina Weber Filed under: Blog | TB | 2 Comments

Did you ever buy a fortune cookie, as a New Year´s present for friends? Few years ago I did so. I thought of charming translation mistakes caused by google-translation programs and sentences like “Wenn Sie einen auto besteigen wird wunder” with their wiggle room. So I should have bought the cookie carton in a Chinese shop, but I thought of the quality of the cookies itself and made the mistake to buy them in a health-food shop. Logically the sentences were a bit innocent, tame and devoid of fun. “The way is up – follow your heart.” Or: “Say clearly what you mean and everybody will listen to it.” Buzz: no matches.

Adrian Tomine´s awesome graphic novel “shortcomings” starts with a movie´s closing scene, presented in an asian-american film festival. A woman, who had most of her life felt distant from her grandfather, enters his aging fortune cookie factory and realizes the connection between her grandfather and his job. The old man picks one of the fortune cookies from the shelves and gives it to his granddaughter. She breaks the cookie and reads the wisdom aloud: “Your love live will be happy and harmonious.” She´s touched, hugs her grandfather. The audience applauds zealously. Still Ben Tanaka, the main character, is bored. Actually I could imagine that kind of sentence in a cookie-box bought in health-food shop as well. So, how spotting really good fortune cookie sentences? There´s a poem by Frank O´Hara titled “Lines For The Fortune Cookies” that consists of about 30 lines you could find in a high class poetic fortune cookie box. A lot of people in this room wish they were you. Or: You are a prisoner in a croissant factory and you love it.

It´s a funny idea to build a poem that way, but it´s like William Carlos William´s Red Wheelbarrow. The merit is the poetic approach, and each copy or variation of the idea is – just a copy. Oh, but Lajla had a great idea for the fortune cookies she produced by herself for our first manafonistas meeting at Sylt island 1 ½ years ago. She picked sentences from the blog itself and we had to guess who wrote it. Next time you get in a car to drop by a friend, something strange´s gonna happen.



This entry was posted on Dienstag, 3. Januar 2017 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Michael Engelbrecht:

    What a beautiful, far-reaching text! But the first Manafonistas Meeting, has it not been about five years ago? Possibly not, I don’t count years anyway …

  2. Rosato:

    A marvelous story for the 3rd of January and many more days

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