marți, 3 martie 2020

What I've been reading lately

In the spirit of the "New year new me" idea, I've decided to return here, as I still believe I have something to say. More than for any other purpose, as I don't quite hope I'll get famous through this site, I am writing for me; like a recording of thoughts and ideas that give me pleasure or puzzle and fascinate me. And yes, because, after all these years, I still haven't given up the idea that someday I will publish a book. Someday.
Until then, this is an exercise, and should be taken as such.
Turning back to the title, and subsequently the subject I chose for my first article in such a long time, I'd like to share some of my latest reads and some of the books I bought or received and still haven't managed to read yet. I would have to mention that I've been buying a lot of books lately, so I have a lot of material.
I received a wonderful gift last Christmas from my boyfriend:
and I have to say I was delighted. While I wanted The Witches for a long time, I coveted a deluxe edition of Sherlock Holmes ever since we were in our holiday in Prague and have seen one there in what was to become our favorite bookshop: Budget Books. This edition however is beyond my dreams, as it's deluxe, and when I say this I really mean it. Look at those gilded pages:

and cover art:
I have to say, I was enchanted by this edition, it is wonderfully made. Even Jackie loved it:

I've read and read and read from it, but as the paper is extremely thin and beautiful, I haven't even reached the middle, so I guess I'll be reading until next Christmas.
In the meantime I've also read Promethean Horrors and I loved it. I guess my literary taste has changed over the years, and as other people after a certain age go for more "mature" books, like self-improvement for example; it seems I started to gravitate in the last 6-7 years from Fantasy towards the Gothic Novel. I still adore Fantasy, it's just that now and then I like it with a twist.
Regarding The Witches, I'm still in the beginning with it, I have to say it's not that thrilling as I expected it to be and that's why I could be sidetracked by other books. Yes, I am that sort of person who starts reading several books, before finishing any, and I'm not afraid to admit it.
I can't say I don't like The Witches, Schiff has a sort of sarcasm that I do enjoy, it's just that the subject is in the beginning just as interesting as the Puritans can be. I will persevere though, and I do hope I'm coming closer to the "juicy" part.

To shortly exemplify my new "penchant" for Gothic literature, here is a recent acquisition, of which I'm really proud:

The only downside for some might be that it's a Romanian edition, but a wonderful one, nonetheless:

It's a hardback deluxe edition published by ART, and the illustrations are by Fernando Vicente, and I would say (pun intended)  he did a terrific job:
The translation into Romanian is exquisite. I have to say I was a little afraid, translation being a  very important aspect for me, and that is why I prefer reading the books in original, because I have stumbled upon translations that are really dissatisfying. This one I think will satisfy even the pickiest readers, I dare say. Just one last beautiful image, although this edition is full of them:
I enjoyed re-reading this book, and there's no denying the illustrations really intensified my pleasure. Reading such books you fully understand the power of images over a mind influenced by the text. It's easy to guess what my dreams were about in those days. This particular edition is for the skeptics, those who say "Oh, not yet another edition of this one!". It is the proof that a wonderful book never ceases to surprise, and with the right amount of care and artistic genius, it definitely lives on as gloriously as in the beginning.

Do you know that feeling when, walking into a library, you see a book related to another cult one that you've already read, by the latter author's nephew, and just walk past it? Neither do I....
So I went into Carturesti last year and saw Dracul by Dacre Stoker, and couldn't help myself.
I have to say this was an interesting read, I could say I liked it very much, as it gives another perspective on Bram Stoker, transferring him into his own tale. If this doesn't convince a Gothic novel enthusiast to read this book, I don't know what will. Maybe only the small detail that Stoker becomes some kind of a Van Helsing in this satisfyingly long tale.

I will conclude my spoilers here, and also my post, since I want to let other books for some other time. Until we meet again.

miercuri, 8 martie 2017

On doors and...doors...

I've always seen myself as a fighter. Seldom looking back, I keep a steady pace going forward. If you would ask me my destination, I don't think I could give you a straight answer, because I rarely know myself what I intend to do. But who does? Do we really know for sure what we want? Or is really life what's actually happening to us while we struggle for schools, careers, family and fortune?
I keep myself proud of the fact that I'm shaping my own destiny, one mistake at a time. I never stop more than a second to see if I'm doing right or wrong, all I know is that I can't afford to look back too much, or else I am lost. Sometimes I'm exhausted by the sheer struggle of keeping it all as real as possible around me, other times I'm too exhausted to get out of my own head. But I do guess we're all the same up to some point, so I'm not making a big discovery. There's one thing though, I realized right now, and it's the one that makes all the difference. It's my choice of never believing I can't. There's always a way, when you're tough enough to take it. I've never let anyone tell me I couldn't do something. I mean, they said it, but I always felt the need to prove them otherwise. I'm that stubborn!
This attitude works wonders in school, career and life in general. Only when night falls, and I find myself alone with my own thoughts, and I'm not that blinded by my ambition, do I realize this only applies to me and my own will. You cannot make people bend to your will when it comes to their feelings towards you. You have to earn trust, not convince them that you are trustworthy. Earning is way more difficult. You have to charm people into believing what you say, and you cannot do that without a significant amount of charisma. You have to love yourself more if you want to make somebody love you for who you are. Here's where struggling for more comes in. If you think somebody will trust, respect or love you for exactly who you happen to be right now, you might be right....up to a point. It takes more, it takes an effort, it takes a will to grow out of your comfort zone to improve and become even better, so that people can see you are good, going on better.
And still, sometimes, even better is not enough. It might be easier if I said it's not you, it's them, but that would mean I would have to lie. It is you, it is your fault, because first of all, you need to see with your eyes wide open. Sometimes there is no compatibility. Sometimes it's not the question of why not, but of how much.  How much of the pieces fit? Is it truthfully that what you really need? Or is it just a whim? It's not giving up if you finally realize it's not for you. It is a proof of maturity to let go and move on. Move on further away, as far away as possible, and you will find the opportunities you were too engrossed in your own failure to see until then. When one door closes, it only does so so that another will open for you. Life is a set of frightening, colorful doors; sometimes you need to knock to make yourself heard, and at other times you should put in the shoulder and knock the damn thing down! And at other times, you just need to pull it after you, and just make sure it won't hit you on your way out.
Clive Baker

  So, after knocking on every possible door, making sure you loose as few occasions as possible, if you find yourself in trouble, just think of all this as a lobby towards another path that will lead you exactly where you need to be, as long as you are not afraid to raise your head up and look life straight in the eye.

vineri, 26 august 2016


What do you do when you realize you are a control freak? You either freak out even more; or you push the breaks.
 Well, I'm doing that right now, with all my force.
"Creatio ex nihilo" by Estellium

Let me tell you a short story. When learning to ride my bike, I used to make use of my back tire break mostly, which would often lead to my butt "dancing" when breaking too hard; and the only thing that kept me from falling down really hard was the knowledge that my bike's butt was about to wiggle, and me holding my position for dear life. Finally, after 5 years of driving more and more, starting to go off on my own for longer and longer distances, I started using the emergency break, which is on the front tire. I used to hate it because it would turn all my weight up on the front part of the motorcycle, and as my arms are my weakest point, the whole pressure was on them, which scared the hell out of me. With lots of experience came the moment when, from a pretty high speed, I could finally use both my brakes in such a way that my bike would stop without actually putting me in danger, or freaking me out; which would subsequently lead to even bigger danger.
Drawing a line here, I think that only with lots of practice experience will be gained and a better life experience can be reached. Growing up as I did, mostly alone and trying to make a way for myself in life, I had to set a "few" rigid rules to help me get through. The most important rule was that nobody else will decide in my place what will actually happen to me. I've been struggling to hold that rule up as a shield for ever since I can remember my first decision; so this is pretty much engraved in my personality, willing or not. If that doesn't make me a control freak, then I really don't know what does.
All fine and pink; getting older (and wiser, as I would like to think), I had come upon situations and people who would not bend to my will. Now, I'm only referring to such people and events as are important to me, excluding thus a big chunk of what's happening around me; as I am actually pretty notorious among my friends for being an ace when it comes to not giving a rat's ass about things and people I don't like, or I'm not interested in. In these delicate cases when I do care I use to take initiative, arrange outings, keep everybody in touch, and usually I am the one making the reservations. I guess that being the assistant at my workplace makes me want to be the one organizing things; that just to put it mildly that I am the total control freak.
Of course that, as a measure of self preservation, I would try to control every aspect of my life. It is one thing to organize the way you are going to meet with your friends, and completely another to try and control a special person's life, just so that they will bend to your will and make you feel in control of the situation. Guess what? There comes a time and a person who will not accept that, who will not let you control the action, no matter how much you want and try to break them. And it's not that they don't care about you or your feelings, but because some things are not acceptable, no matter how much you want to interfere in their lives.
And you know what? It is ok! You can't and by all means you shouldn't be able to control everything around you! I know control gives you a sense of security, of a safe heaven, but it's just an illusion. The real, important things in life can not be controlled; just like life and death, or love. Just as I can't control what is about to happen tomorrow in the world, just like that I can't really control if I like a person or I don't. And exactly like that I can't control somebody's feelings for me. And I'm starting to understand and accept this.
Just like everybody, I'm in the full process of learning... learning to live, learning to love, learning to hit the breaks and let go...for the first time in my life not being in control and letting it go makes me feel more powerful than ever. I can bet that the right person, the one that's going to love you no matter what is not the one you can bend to your will, but the one who wants to do everything for you from the bottom of their heart, and without anybody suggesting it.
So yes, I am prepared to let life get to me, show me what it's like to be surprised, and I'm about to live every second of what's coming and enjoy it the best I can. Just learning to be.


luni, 21 martie 2016

on self-sufficiency...

I've read somewhere that life is that which happens to you when you're not paying attention. It might well be so; as I am terribly trying to live my life to the max and have as many experiences as possible, before I find out it is too late. And isn't this what life is made up of? experiences, happy moments and hurtful times; love and hate?
All these are for me the result of interaction with people around me; either the ones I love and would protect with all my being; or of people I come into more ore less of a collision with; depending on the outcome, obviously. I don't include work here, as that is for me a whole different planet; a place I feel isolated and alone; but at the same time able to be in my own world, which is a more than ideal situation, I must admit.
I've been obsessing over the concept of self-sufficiency for some time now: I've already gathered so many thoughts on it that I could actually write a short book; and the more I think about it the more it scares me. At some point, when deciding a new direction in my life, I thought about this as an attribute that could define me; but then I realized that I was fooling myself, I could never be that type of person. I am addicted to my friends and my circle; and only thinking that it might come a day when I will have nobody to call for a drink on the town makes me shiver.

And then, of course my train of thoughts derails and I dig deeper into the issue. There are people thinking they are self sufficient; and this piece in particular is inspired by such a person I've recently met. Isolated, alone, but kidding oneself with the illusion that computers, movies, games and such can replace the void only deepens the gap. You don't find insight by looking into your misery, you have to find the root of that misery and pull it out. Unless, and I am more and more inclined to believe this, you can only feel alive when you suffer. Everything else is just too superficial, too little for you. Don't tell me that being alone all the time, and even with people you are in your own world; locked up in your own mind, you will pursue happiness, because I won't believe it.
Ok, I might be over-social; a social butterfly if you wish; but the exact opposite of me won't give anyone a full and happy life. And although I know that a happy life is an abstract notion; we're basically and deep inside all just cut out the same way. So, yes, I do believe that we all strive to love someone. Please pay attention to the fact that I said love; and not be loved. Only by loving you can really feel existence; as only then you have the certitude that nothing is certain or lasts forever, and you might get hurt at any time; but you're still doing it.

So, you might say that happiness is somewhat tangent to self-sacrifice. Just as you feel very warm and fuzzy inside when you're doing a good deed.
When you condemn yourself to self-sufficiency you absolutely lose that warm feeling; but there is still a sort of self sacrifice and a good dose of resignation; which kind of gives you the same taste; and so you live off those truly intense emotions. At some point; they may replace loving someone; but they also leave you  utterly alone. Inside and out.

Self condemning; and self-flagellation, like I like to call it; through self-sufficiency; may hurt people around you whom would like to get closer; but you are the one hurting the most in the end. And yes, it is a bitter and attractive taste; I know; but even that is not something you'll taste forever.

The sadness of it all strikes me when I think of how we all get old and die. Only we can choose if we live our lives or not. The problem is that nobody can make us; and time(that same notion that's been obsessing me for a while) just slips away.
This self-sufficiency deal is so slippery that at times even I wonder if I'm getting it right. It's not about the others at the end of the day; it's deeply about you, the one condemned by a mere notion that sometimes in the past rooted in a vulnerable mid. And don't tell me now that it has no roots, or motive; or it doesn't keep residence in your mind; because I dare say that every shrink out there would raise a brow.
Well, reaching the turning point, where you will probably hate me; I have to state that most of us got hurt sometimes, maybe once, maybe several times; but what can I say? some are bolder and try again; and some...just quit.
I dare say this self-sufficiency idea comes from the hidden fear of not being sufficient enough. Any shrink out there to applaud me? Have you any idea how much it took me to realize this? And do you think it helped?
But, hey, I get it. It is much safer to hurt yourself by isolation and loneliness, than to be hurt by others! I really get it!
Even I am afraid to ask why I understand all these. I am not like this at all; I hate being isolated; I love noise around me at all times; everybody knows me as an extroverted type of gal'.
Last but not least so to speak; I get why the need for it; all the isolation and the necessity to hurt; but I don't understand the weakness; that is something I was not equipped to accept. And even the resignation, the giving up part, that is something alien to me, and I pray to all gods out there that I won't be forced to accept resignation as a way of life; for that would truly be the only time when I would be ashamed of myself.

Derailed, but still in love with the world,

sâmbătă, 19 martie 2016

on the passing of placid Time...

Has it ever happened to you, that when you hear a song you can only think of one person during the time it is sung?
This is the song I'm obsessed with currently:
I find that Italian is one of the most romantic languages on this if it has been given to make love to it; as if all persons in love should sing in it to each other; as if you needn't know what it says; the love message is more than obvious. Top that with an excessive romantic mood, a writer's imagination, a little bit of hurt feelings...and you're in my boat altogether.
Looking around me I can see people rushing by, towards actually nothing. They struggle to get a good job, get a house and a car, and top it all up with a beautiful family. Is anybody really happy? can anybody say "Stop! I have everything I want right now!" ? And you know what scares me the most? The fact that time doesn't give a rat's ass about us; little ants that we find ourselves in a hurry towards some imaginary important goal.
Time, this placid Chronos, just dances his slow but steady pace by us; leaving us behind; giving us the illusion that we're actually alive. Do you know when I think we really feel like we're alive? I believe the only moments when we actually feel alive are the ones when we hurt; the ones that would make us scream inside.
Can't we see that this life is only worth living if we are happy? But instead, all we do is anything but being happy. Struggle doesn't mean happy; and it might look like we're getting there; but we're not.
Happy is like when I'm listening to this song and it hurts; it makes me want to be near someone I like very much, someone that makes Chronos look like a fool; someone who can hold me tight until it hurts; but I'm laughing with tears of happiness in my eyes. That someone passes his fingers through my long hair and caresses my face in such a way that my hearts stops for just a second; the same person whom, when he laughs, my breath catches in my throat, for the wonder of seeing the fine wrinkles circling his eyes.  That same person with smooth hair and seductive silver at his temples; the only person dancing always to my rhythm. What better image to evoke the passing of time than the silver in our hair?
 But instead of having his arms around me, and my head resting on his shoulder; dancing to our own song; made up of our own two identical and scary compatible minds; we are struggling each in his own universe; and the magic of our two beings brought together for a short while is mercilessly cut down by the distance we alone have managed to put between us. Still, I feel like I'm alive; and although our time might have passed us by; I am grateful for the feelings that proved I am very much alive, very much able to be cut and bleed out until I can come to understand a small part of the real meaning of life.
So, Master Chronos, spread your wings over us, put us to your test; hurt us and leave us breathless, bleeding and aching all over; but don't you ever dare to pretend that you can take from us that which is so deeply ours: our need to love and be hurt; no matter the challenges you and your friends, the Moirae think of throwing our way.

A mere mortal...

marți, 20 octombrie 2015

Randomization....on cowardice

We all have a penchant for suffering, for stress, for making our lives more complicated than they should really be. When we're feeling o.k., secure, loved;  we're wondering why is that, or how is it possible; when we're not....just the same.
I understand everybody's need to feel a little suffering, it is absolutely normal; it makes us feel alive; I'm no exception to that rule; but when that melancholia starts to get the best of me I start kicking and screaming and run like hell.
I'm really not the one to preach, as I tend to hover over things, and it takes me a period equal to forever to take a decision; but once I decide on something, there's no turning back.
I admire people who see what they want, or whom they want, and just put themselves out there, vulnerable at times, and grab for the object or person of their desire. There's no place for cowards in my philosophy of life; and cowardice often actually means a weakness of character. Any woman will tell you that she prefers a straightforward man to a coward. It is flattering to show a woman that you want her; but your indecisiveness will drive her away, away to another man's arms. And quickly; because we're not known as the most patient of our species...
On the other hand, it is the duty of a woman (I sounded just so Austen-like; didn't I? :) ) to encourage, up to an extent, the intentions of a man she admires. I find it inadmissible to encourage a man just for sport; just how I find it disgusting to hold on to a man whom has had enough of you. Yes, we're not all lucky in our choices of men; but holding on to him for dear life doesn't make us any more lovable. At best, we achieve his pity; at worst, he will end up despising us. Although, I kind of feel that there's a certain amount of despise in pity as well....
Furthermore, when the object of interest is hesitating; I see two choices: either try or give up. It is not a shame to try; but it is a shame to try over and over again, until you exhaust all hope. In love and war everything is allowed, up to a point; after which there's no return from the path of shame. I don't know about you, but I have no intention of going that way; as experience has taught me that if it's not going the second or third time; it wont. It will absolutely and undeniably not work! So it's better to save yourself some heartache and shame and all together give up in due time.
To be a second option is no option at all. And to humiliate yourself won't get you anywhere, except in the land of utter disappointment and regret. Of course I'm speaking from experience, and I'm curious if there's any woman out there who hasn't been through this same experience as I did.
Actually, it is very simple; we only like to complicate our lives as much as possible. I know that what I'm about to say may sound pragmatic to the bone; but there is plenty of fish in the sea. And if the first one doesn't hook, there's always the next. As most women in my situation, I am very romantic; so excuse me if I believe in a match...not necessarily a perfect one; but as perfect as possible; with a guy respecting and caring for your well being and safety. Because that's what we, women, are all about.
Life can be beautiful, and it is our own choice and our willpower that will do the rest. And time. Time can heal any wound. Just wait and see...