Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bitesize fiction. Soap bubbles

He stood leaning on the fence, watching the world go by about him, in no hurry to go anywhere and with absolutely nothing to do. The mild autumn sun was beginning to set in the distance, still sending golden rays over the world.

A plane was tracing a white line on the sky, looking like a little ant with a tiny reactor on its back. He followed the trail upwards, tilting his head back until his hair tickled the back of his neck, shading his eyes with one hand. The plane soon reached the rich foliage of a tree and disappeared behind the yellowing leaves.

He sighed deeply, as if that little incident had been very disappointing and started tracing the outlines of the clouds instead. The edges towards the sun were a bright white, while the outer rims were a bit darker. They almost looked dirty and he smiled, wondering if the cloud janitor was slacking off again.

Suddenly, a little soap bubble drifted by. The world looked distorted reflected in it and for a few seconds, there was a swirling rainbow on its surface. And then a silent pop and all was left of the bubble was a few soapy droplets.

Soon enough, an entire flock of bubbles of all sizes came dancing and colliding in the breeze. "Isn't it funny, that they all turn out round, no matter what shape you use to create them?" he commented.

"Indeed," came the reply and a hand slipped into his. "Friendship does that to people."

He smiled and closed his eyes.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bitesize fiction. "I hate you"

"Are you going to go already?" He kept pressing the keys on his keyboard lazily, killing monsters in a video game. He didn't even glance at me and I was growing impatient.

"You're the one who should go and apologise. You were a right ass back there!" I waved my hands emphatically towards the door.

"I'm sure I did nothing wrong. She really deserved every word." he commented, not bothering to raise his eyes from the computer screen.

"Did she? Those words were very hurtful, you have no excuse." I began to pace the room, fuming. The monsters in the game growled and the keys clicked.

"I don't like a whiner for a girlfriend. If she can't accept some things about me and won't give me some time out, I really don't want anything to do with her anymore." His tone was flat, as if he were just talking about what a pity it was that it was raining tomorrow.

"Are you that selfish? I thought you really loved her." I grunted, glaring at him.

He simply shrugged. "I guess I didn't."

I strode up to his chair and gripped his collar with one fist and drove the other in his nose. His head snapped back and a small trail of blood started trickling from his left nostril. He finally looked up at me with unreadable eyes. "So you were just playing games with her? She's my little sister, you know you will pay for it, right?"

He wiped the blood off his lips with the back of his hand and offered me a small smile. It wasn't friendly, it was a little sad and disappointed. "I know you don't really care about your ditzy sister, so stop the theatrics. You and I both know I only went out with her as a favour to you." He paused for a few meaningful seconds. "So, basically, it's your fault too."

My eyes went wide. In a hidden corner of my mind, I had to agree with him. I didn't want to show it though.

"She wouldn't flinch a finger for you if you were in danger, but I would. And I know you would do the same for me. So, really, leave her be, she'll be fine." His eyes were honest and he spoke calmly, despite the blood staining his face and shirt.
 
I felt my grip on his collar falter. "I hate you!" I spat for good measure and let go. I handed him a box of tissues I found in his room and sat down beside him, defeated. He was right, absolutely right and I was a fool for denying it. With all his flaws and arrogance, I realised looking into those eyes that I said "I hate you", but in truth, I meant something completely different...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bitesize fiction. Street fights

My hands were burning and trembling and I had the desire to clench them into fists. I felt utterly helpless and I knew it showed in my actions. I was afraid to speak, knowing I'd stutter as soon as I opened my mouth.

"What's the matter? Cat got your tongue?" They all laughed and it sounded like a hoard of hyenas. They didn't know any better, I was smarter than all of them put together, but they were simply too many. My heart was racing and wild plans flashed in my mind.

"Oh, are you going to cry? Little baby, you will make your pretty face look ugly!" More laughter and a few catcalls. They started edging towards me, as if cornering a prey. In truth, I was their prey and they just wanted to play with me a little before...

I lifted my eyes to the one standing right in front of me and spat "Good thing I'm not both ugly and stupid like you."

The thug's expression changed to one of surprise. "Oh, my! An attitude! Our little mousie has a voice. Let's run before it gets too angry!" The same roar of laughter.

"Gentlemen, let's not get too excited, mm?" A new voice resounded behind me. Everyone turned towards the newcomer. "I don't want to beat you all into a pulp. Please, let's be reasonable."

"Who are you?" The biggest thug inquired with suspicious eyes.

"A friend of mousie's here." He winked at me. "You'd do better not to mess with my friends."

The leader of the band tried to grab his collar but missed and hit the pavement with his face instead. Another suffered a similar fate and by the third thug crouched on his knees holding onto his belly, the rest decided to scatter, leaving their friends behind.

"Come along, let's go."

I looked at my friend incredulously. "I didn't know you could do that..." I was obviously gaping, because he just laughed.

"You learn new things about me every day, don't you? Now, let's get to the restaurant. I got extremely hungry waiting for you to show up. And beating bad guys for you sure worked up an appetite..."

I punched his arm lightly and chuckled. He took my hand and we headed to the restaurant, listening to the poor hurt thugs cursing and groaning in pain behind us.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bitesize fiction. The wild west

"Once upon a time, long looong ago, when I was still young and had just met your grandmother, I used to be a sheriff. Everybody in our little town respected me and knew better than to cause trouble when I was on watch." The grandfather paused to take a long drag from his pipe and to look at his grandchildren with sparkling eyes. The little ones were all ears.

"Really, Pa? And the bad guys? Did you catch any of them?"

"Sent them to jail? And shooting and horse chases and...?" the smallest of the three was getting very excited about the story, flailing his hands around as if shooting imaginary bandits.

The grandfather laughed holding his belly. "Yes, yes, there were lots of adventures. Have I ever told you the one about Jack One-eye?"

The children scooted closer, shaking their heads. "Tell us, we don't know that one!"

"Well" the old man sat back comfortably and blew a few smoke rings. "Jack One-eye was a very bad man who always tried to steal money from the bank. He never got away with it, of course" he added full of mirth. "One night, he gathered a few of his friends and planned the robbery of the century, according to him. Unfortunately for him, I also have good friends that help me. And one of them heard them discuss their attack at the pub."

If the toddlers' eyes could have opened a little more, they would have probably looked like little saucers.

"They had heard that I was going to go away for a few nights to visit my uncle and aunt in the next village. So, they thought the time was just right! But I outsmarted them. I pretended to leave, took my horse and bid everyone goodbye so the thieves could see."

"And then?" little Timmy blurted out.

"And then I went and waited in a valley close by and came back in a carriage with a friend before nightfall. We gathered men with guns and clubs and waited for them hidden in the bank." The grandfather was pleased at how attentive the children were listening, careful not to miss any word. "And when Jack and his band busted in the bank, we surrounded them. They were trapped inside and outnumbered."

"Did they try to fight, Pa?"

"They were not that stupid. They knew we were three times as many. So they surrendered and we took them all to jail. The town was quiet and safe again."

"Wow, you were so smart, Pa! I want to be a sheriff like you when I grow up and catch bad guys."

"No, I'll be the sheriff and you'll be the deputy." the oldest argued.

"Now now, don't fight or I lock you all up in your rooms tomorrow and we can't go on a picnic. I will teach you how to ride a horse, do you want to miss that?" The grandfather gently scolded them. They all went quiet. "Now, give grandpa a kiss and off to bed."

After the little ones have left, he sat back down and smoked his pipe. The children were happy and loved his stories. When they might have grown a little more, he would consider telling them them that he had been a simple farmer.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Broken Pencil Poetry. Licking the blackboard

Ambition can make us break any barriers that might stand in our way, but it can also make us break ourselves in the process. Obsession is like a vehicle that drives us when we believe we are in control and it literally runs on illusions as fuel.

It also gets rather boring at school, staring at the blackboard all day long.

I believe I've said enough about the next piece. Enjoy!


Licking the blackboard

He's licking the blackboard,
Always licking the blackboard.
The blackboard is full of chalk
Making his tongue white,
And still he's licking the blackboard.
The blackboard is cracked,
His tongue is smeared red with blood,
But he would keep on licking the blackboard.
The blackboard grows thin
And his tongue meets the wall behind it,
And he continues to lick the blackboard.
The wall grows thin and erodes into void,
Yet nothing could ever stop him
From licking the blackboard.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bitesize fiction. Rupture II

I crush the cassette in my sweaty palm, hearing the plastic bending, but stopping before cracking it. "So... it's over. You're gone and I never did anything to stop you. If anything, I just pushed you into it, little by little, until you just leaped into the abyss yourself."

My head probably hurts from crying, but the only feeling I can still perceive is the burning hole in my chest and the sickening feeling in my stomach. "You idiot! Why? Why..." I don't even know anymore. The world is trying to spin the other way around and all my words have run dry.

"Come back? I promise to help you, we'll get over this together. We will talk about it like adults, figure out a solution, so you can restore your sanity and be happy. If only we'd have given it a try when we still had the time..."

***

"I don't even know how the hours and days have passed by. I vaguely remember crying my eyes dry and attending your funeral. I remember your friends and family in black, I remember them glancing at me, whispering among themselves. I know they blame me. I blame myself too, but there is nothing I can do now.

I'm sitting here in front of your grave. Are you there, under that pile of soil? Are you here, an unseen ghost? Can you hear me calling out to you?
I'm sorry! I wish I might have opened my eyes and seen your suffering. I wish I could have returned your feelings."

On your grave, I set down a withering red rose and the bullet you've shot through your heart. "I'm sorry... I'm sorry I can't follow you over there. I would only break your heart again. So... sweet dreams."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bitesize fiction. Rupture

"I want to crush you like an ant." A long pause, interrupted by the sound of grit teeth. "Do you know how evil you are, how heartless?" There was no answer. "You drag me after you on an invisible leash, always tugging a little harder when I try to get away. Always ready to prove to me that I can't live without you."

The silence grew heavy, like a dusty old blanket thrown over reality. In the distance, a bird sung a few tentative notes, then went quiet.

"How can you have so much power over me? If you said 'leave everything and follow me', I would without hesitation and without question." The voice trembled, weary and defeated. "Every day, I wait for a clear, honest answer from you. I never get any... Only smiles, sweet nothings that probably mean nothing to you."

Footsteps, hurried, sounding as if they might have had a purpose, but instead, stopping and turning around, treading over the same spot over and over again.

"Don't, I know what you would say. You would be reasonable and calm. Tell me I should take care of myself and not worry over such nonsense. That you want me to be happy." The steps quickened. "Then you'd turn around and turn my heart inside out again. Just like you do every single time. I can't work, I can't eat, I can't sleep and when I do, I dream of you. Sweet dreams where life is so simple, where all my questions have answers and where I don't let myself get dragged around by you. And after that? I wake up and reality feels even colder."

The pacing stopped. The bird started chirping faintly outside. A smile.

"I want revenge, I want to break free. I want all my dreams to come true and finally be happy. I wish I'd never woken up this morning. Right after that part when you said 'I love you'."

Silence. Even the bird stopped singing. The world lay in expectation. And then, a gun shot.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Questions greater than ourselves

I went to the bathroom to wash my face after a few long and tedious hours of staying up a bit too late. I look in the mirror, but the image looking back at me is somewhat alien. I am aware of every move I make, wondering if maybe someone else is doing everything and I'm just an observer.

There are a few questions that have troubled me many times before.

Are we identical with our bodies and with our minds? Is there a unity within us or are we a strangely put together puzzle? I often feel that these parts of me are somewhat strange, only brought together by accident and not really fitting. Not fitting to one another and not fitting to my needs.

This might sound odd. But let me continue...

What is the connection between body and spirit (and mind, if you'll accept it)? Why do they need one another? What is this individuality?

I often imagine myself being someone else, living their life. Sometimes I become hyper aware of my own individuality. And that is when I begin to question its purpose.

Why are we who we are? What factors dictate that?

And also, the fundamental questions: who were we before being born and who will we be after we die?

There are beliefs that we are part of a greater spiritual organism (I believe some call it Gaia), sort of like a primordial soup. We get out of the soup, live our lives and return to the soup and enrich it with the new flavours of our experience.

Could this hold any truth? What sort of beings are we in reality? What is the purpose of our lives?

I guess we will only find out after we die. I hope... It would be really dreadful if we didn't.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

See-through

For those of you who don't know, my favourite literary genre is science fiction. "Literary genre?" some might ask. Despite rather popular opinion, science fiction is not a subgenre, it is a supergenre. Many writers deal with more complex issues than alien invasions and such popular themes.

Lately, my laptop has been broken, so I took out my two favourite books and started re-reading them. They were written by the Strugatski brothers during the period of the Russian communism. The stories are full of satirical portrayals of the situation back then and philosophical issues.

In one very interesting and amusing episode, the main character travels into the future described by literature. However, everything in that place was as real and credible as how well the author had described them. Most characters were transparent, some were doing very ridiculous things. Some were wearing only the few articles of clothing the narrator had mentioned. The entire atmosphere was very comical and unrealistic.

Imagine that for a while. Now imagine all the cardboard characters you have noticed in some less well-written books and stories. Writers, imagine your stories in such a world. I also wonder how see-through my own characters are.

It makes you think though. How about us real people? Would we be solid and believable or transparent ghosts?

Friday, August 26, 2011

A little free talk

I have been afflicted with chatterboxy and I'm afraid it's pretty bad. Which is why this post will be delayed (because I want my new chapter to have enough time to be noticed; I don't get 100+ views and comments within the first hour) and why you might not want to read it, unless you have time to waste... I mean, spare.

I have been working hard translating a book (about Hitler, mind you) and even went over my deadline, doing 10 pages a day every day... If I took a couple of hours off to nap, it felt like a sacrilege :D

I posted a few funnies on facebook about the war, based on the information in the book. Here they are, for your entertainment:
'French troops march 11km into Germany "We support you, Poland! We are doing this symbolic diversion for you."
Poland army being destroyed by the Germans "Thanks, we really appreciate it ^^" 
Meanwhile, Britain was scattering some flyers from a plane. They were also trying to help Poland... I think.'
'Yugoslavians under attack by the Germans...
"We bought these planes from the Germans."
"Ah, it means they must be good ^^"
"But now our own artillery won't know who's who..." 
"Uh-oh..."'
  
'British armies going to help Norway. "Yay, we're here to help!" "Did anyone bring skis and maps?" "We needed those? o.o`" 
British armies going to help fight in the African desert. "We're here to help too ^^!" "Sir, our tanks are breaking down because of the sand." "Oh... just leave them, we'll go on foot." "Look at the funny Germans, hauling theirs around on transporters :D"'

As you can see, my humour is pretty rotten. War is a very sad thing though... It's not like you see in films, with great strategies and acts of heroism. It's a big mess, where you struggle to survive or to win a crazy gamble. But enough with the philosophy.

I just finished the book last week and now I'm unemployed again (it's a project-based sort of thing) and with too much free time on my hands. I've been playing some poker and catching up with one of my favourite bands. You might notice a change in the "song of the day" section. One of the main singers, Cho Kyuhyun, has a divine voice. I feel like such a fangirl :D I'll definitely have to dedicate a post to this. Soon.

I rarely ramble like this, but I've had a lot of vocal energy building up and no way to let it burst. Plus, this is my personal blog, but I don't really talk about myself. And I don't have any friends either :P I'll have to talk about this too, but maybe later on.

As you can see, I live in a tiny world, but my dreams are infinite. Hope everyone is well.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Chapter 3. The only way back is walking forward

The gatekeeper walked towards another wooden door, with intricate carvings on its surface. I could make out strange landscapes and symbols I had never seen before. I didn't have much time to study them though, because the old man opened the door and stood aside, waiting for me to walk out first.
I was however unable to step beyond the threshold. The view in front of me took my breath away. The sun shone over rolling hills covered with short grass. Here and there, a few groups of trees and bushes. In the distance, the horizon was lined with a mountain range, grey and jagged at the top.
But what made my eyes go wide was the sky. The sun was still high, but the light was dimmed, almost tired. The sun itself looked swollen.
For once, the gatekeeper offered to explain something before I could even think up the question in my mind.
"This is not the world you are used to. Our sun is old, giving its last rays of light over the land."
I remembered the strange occurrence in the bar and had to agree. Definitely not the world I was used to.
"Then what world is this?" I blurted out. I stared suspiciously at the giant sun, wondering what sort of trickery that might have been.
"I have already told you." The old man went back to his cryptic answers. I knew that was a dead end, so I didn't press the matter any further. "Please, after you."
I stepped outside and got a chill. It was rather cold, like an autumn day. Remembering the gatekeeper's explanation, I just buttoned up my shirt over my blouse and gave myself a big hug. Summer was far, far away now.
The old man followed me out, closing the door behind him. He started walking on the narrow path that began in front of the door and wound upwards on the slope of the hill in front of us.
"Come along."
"Will you take me there... wherever I have to go?" I trailed along, shivering under the swift wind.
"No. You must go by yourself. Follow this path, it will be your best guide."
I felt a wave of disappointment and a bigger surge of anger, ready to flood my reason.
"Do I even have any kind of motivation to do this? I was tricked into coming here, yes, I was a fool." I stopped and crossed my arms. "Is there a real reason why I can't go back the way I came in? Or just wake up from this stupid dream?" I almost screamed. The old man was a good twenty paces in front of me.
He turned around. "This is not a dream. However, you cannot go back from where you came. The only way back is walking forward." Again with the riddles! "My hut is on the way. I will give you some supplies and warmer clothes."
He started up the path again. I planted both feet in the ground, telling myself that I will not be led around like a dog on a leash, not knowing where I was being taken to. He reached the top of the hill and disappeared from view.
It sank in then. I was alone. His help was limited and his advice confusing, but even these small things were better than sitting there like an idiot in an unknown world.
I sprinted after him, yelling from the top of my lungs "Wait, wait for me!"
I reached the top, huffing like a steam engine. He was waiting patiently. I looked down towards the valley. A small cottage stood between the hills, looking like it was protected from the wind. It seemed like a cosy little home. We walked towards it in silence.
Reaching the door, he asked me to wait outside and went in alone. After a short while, he returned with a small leather backpack and a thick, heavy hooded cloak.
"This will be good as blanket and should protect you from the wind. I packed some food and water for you."
"Thank you. Forgive me if I'm blunt, but do you happen to have a map as well?" The cold had dulled my rage to a murmur.
"Maps are useless here. Stay on the path. And stay true to yourself."
Defeated, I put the cloak on and the backpack over it. Together, they immediately made my back warmer. I pulled the hems about me, thanked the old man again and we bid our goodbyes.
The path swayed gently in front of me up another hill. Well, every journey begins with one step, I thought, and off I went.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Chapter 2. A theatre of illusions

My eyes widened. What kind of an answer was that? A thousand dark thoughts crossed my mind at once. I studied the man carefully. He was rather old, but did not seem weak at all, quite the opposite. Was he in his right mind? His attitude and speech were clear, but his words made no sense.
Before I could ask any more questions, he called out to me from the other end of the room "Come with me. I will tell you what you need to know."

Eager to have some answers, I hurried down the length of the room after him, glancing around me. The walls were covered in a rich purple wallpaper, with paintings from place to place. The people portrayed looked surprisingly real and I felt chills down my spine, thinking that, if I were to turn around, I would catch them staring at me.
My host was waiting for me by a massive wooden door. He gave me a short, piercing look, and opened it. "After you, Miss Olivia."
I hesitated, but gathered my courage and entered. The view was unexpected. I entered a small bar, with little round tables and round chairs and a stage to one side. There were many people inside sitting at the tables, drinking wine and chatting amiably with one another. On the stage, there was a small band, practicing and warming up.
The atmosphere was a big contrast to the room I had just been in. It was more animated, less tense and the conversations created a comforting background noise. However, I was still tense.
My companion showed me to an unoccupied table in a corner. "Please, have a seat."
I sat down with my back to the rest of the people and the stage, trying to gather my thoughts. The old man sat opposite me.
I considered my options. Should I be demanding and angry, or polite and patient? After one look at the other person, I realised that brash actions would have no positive effect.
"Please, tell me about this place." I asked, trying to disguise my anxiety. "Also, if you don't mind my asking, who are you?"
"I am the gatekeeper of this place. I also guide and teach young people, such as yourself." His voice was calm. The band started playing in the background, accompanied by a singer. I digested this bit of information for a while, then asked my next question.
"How can I get back?"
He paused for a while. "You will have to take a journey. At the end of it, when you see the new sunrise, you will be able to return home."
The words 'the new sunrise' echoed in my head. They were the very same ones on the little note that had been the cause of all this. Somehow, everything was getting more and more suspicious.
"How will I know when I find this 'new sunshine'?" I tried. Maybe the old man was really nuts.
"You will know when you see it." Another cryptic answer. I felt that I'd had enough of riddles for one day.
I got up quickly and glared at 'the gatekeeper'. He remained annoyingly calm, staring at me quietly.
"I don't believe you!" I yelled. "You have done nothing but told me a lot of gibberish. I want a clear answer from you." I was trembling with rage and took hold of the edge of the table for reassurance.
Despite my fit, he simply pointed behind me. "Look around yourself." he said simply.
I turned, expecting to see the same people sitting and laughing at the nearby tables and the band playing in the back.
Instead, to my horror, the room was eerily quiet and everything was still. More than that, the people had all turned into mannequins. Sitting in the same positions, with the same expressions, yet lifeless. I stared in awe for a few seconds, then turned back towards the old man.
"What is the meaning of this?" I couldn't disguise the tremour in my voice, but this time, it was from shock.
The gatekeeper gave me a half smile and replied "Look again."
Already expecting some other horror behind me, I glanced back. Surprise! Everything was back to the way it was before. The people talking, drinking wine, no longer cold lifeless mannequins. The band were gathering their instruments, chatting and making jokes.
I sat back down, defeated.
Before I could voice any of the questions swarming in my mind, the old man asked casually. "What did you think of the singer?"
 
I gave in, thinking it would be best to play his little games. "Quite good, actually. Why?"
"He kept looking at you while he was singing. Quite a handsome young man." I had a feeling of deja vu. "You should go after him."
I looked behind me. The stage was empty. "No, I want to go home. Please show me the way, Mr guide."
He nodded his head, then stood up. "Come then. You have to leave right away, while the sun is still up."
I also got up and followed him, taking one last glance towards the stage.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A journey without a proper destination

"The first of many." he said. I looked almost incredulous. Could one of my craziest dreams be allowed to roam free?

That was my first book. A collection of poems. Publishing it was like flinging a piece of my heart out to the universe.

And after that, a new step into the unknown, guided only by my fingers on the keyboard. It used to be a pencil on an old notebook page, eraser close by, just in case. There are no mistakes in poetry though. Just a flow of words.

Now, I must think cautiously before unveiling this new world to you. My yet unnamed story. Of "great adventures, unforgettable". A world of dreams, a search that will eventually lead back to the one most important place in the world.

I am still struggling with my ideas, who run amock like they always do. I'm still afraid and very uneasy. Will the journey be as good as the guidebook says? Will my readers be honest? Will I be honest with myself?

I guess we'll just all have to start off on this path together and see where it takes us.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Chapter 1. "Great adventures, unforgettable"

"I can't believe you managed to take me out to town."
"Correction, I dragged you out of your gloomy little den. You were covered in spider webs and a thick layer of dust." My friend laughed at her own joke. I managed a grunt, trying not to give in to her attempts at shaking me out of my melancholy.
"No, Melinda, I was working." I narrowed my eyes. Of course she wouldn't know, she lives with her parents, who always dote on her like she is a little princess. She didn't notice my quick glower and carried on.
"Work work work. Can't you have a little fun from time to time?" I was about to protest, to tell her my time was precious, but she cut me off. "Please, Liv, live a little." She chortled at her new joke. Her laughter was clear and spoke of carelessness and summer.

We couldn't have been more different, Melinda and I. She was always outgoing and popular, her clothes were always in fashion and the boys always noticed her. Her long blond hair and blue eyes surely helped.
I was her shadow, always trying to hide behind her glamour. It was as if I was afraid of being seen by anyone. I somehow always managed to make a right fool of myself in front of strangers. Especially good-looking strangers. I wasn't as lovely as Melinda. I was rather short, thin and pale. My hair and eyes were dark, but I always looked at the floor. I wasn't very attractive, nor quite fashionable. I barely talked to anyone, while Melinda was the soul of the party. And my best friend. Which is probably the only reason I let her try to "socialise" me.
The waiter came to bring our orders, which disturbed my train of thought.
"Thank you!" my friend beamed up at the waiter, while I just nodded, looking at the table the whole time. I did notice the waiter's hand though, white and delicate, with long elegant fingers. A young woman, perhaps?
The waiter left. "Liv, you should have seen him, such a sweetie!"
I raised an eyebrow in surprise. So, a young man? I glanced furtively in his direction, but he was just disappearing behind a door. From the back, he did indeed appear to be a tall, lean young man. I remembered that hand and regretted not looking at his face.
"This is exactly why you're still single." Melinda rolled her eyes. "A nice guy walks by and you don't even glance at him."
"He wasn't interested in me anyway." I waved my hand to dismiss the very idea of it and picked up my drink.
I couldn't even take a sip, when my friend pointed at something that had been covered by the glass. It was a slip of paper.
"Oh, but maybe he is!" She smiled teasingly and unfolded the note. She looked at it for a while, then handed it to me, looking puzzled. "I don't know, it makes no sense."
" 'Great adventures, unforgettable. Find your prince charming and the new sunrise... 24 White Street, basement.' " I read. Was this a joke? "Do you think maybe it's for you?" I tried, looking at Melinda.
"No, silly, it was under your glass. It sounds like fun though. You should go."
"No, I have work to do..." I protested.
" 'No, my work, my deadline!' " she mocked me. "This is officially your day off. Maybe it's a cruise, wouldn't that be exciting? I'll come with you, let's go!"
She grabbed my arm, left some money on the table to pay for our drinks and led me out of the coffee shop.
It was a lovely day and I almost felt like agreeing with her about taking the time off. Almost.
We reached our destination quickly and found a little door with the address written on it. I hesitated, so Melinda knocked for me. The door opened slightly, but it was too dark to see inside.
"Yes?" a deep raspy voice asked from behind the wooden door.
"My friend Olivia is here to meet her prince charming." Melinda chirped. I gave her a scolding look. The man might think we're crazy. I immediately felt sorry that we'd come and was about to turn around and leave.
The next few moments happened extremely quick. The door opened and a strong hand showed up from the darkness and pulled me inside and then the door closed after me. A thought crossed my mind. Melinda was still outside and I was probably trapped in there. The street sounds died out as soon as the door closed and I found myself in a dark and quiet place.
Alarmed, I tried to reach for the door, but, even if I fluttered my hands towards it, I couldn't touch anything. I took a step further. And another. Still, there was no door, not even a wall around me. I bitterly berated myself in my mind. I'd been too naive.
"Help! Get me out of here! Is anyone there?" I yelled, my heart racing.
"You don't have to shout, you know. I'm right here." the same voice that greeted us at the entrance said from somewhere to my right. I followed its sound.
"I want to get out, please." I tried.
The man flicked a match and lit a candle on a table, then several others. As the place lit up, I began to distinguish a large room, elegantly furnished, full of candles, on table tops and shelves. The man continued to light them, one by one.
"You can't get out. Not yet. And not through the same door that you came in." he replied, not turning to look at me.
"What is this place?" I asked, more and more frightened.
A short pause. "Some people usually call it purgatory. Others call it wonderland. But you can call it whatever you like."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Reaching out to the abyss

A muse is... What is a muse?

Most of my love interests have been far away, unreachable in one way or another. Often, in distance. Other times (most of the times, in fact), the person was simply not interested in me.

Could there be some truth in the cliche saying that "art is created through suffering"?

This has certainly been the case with my poems. But not the usual kind of suffering, no. An emptiness in my heart, missing something or someone I could never have. And the accursed too vivid imagination to fill up the gaps with illusions.

Muses are meant to be so enticing, they elicit tears. Untouchable, unreachable... perhaps even impossible. And, to the enjoyment of the audience and to the woe of the artist, imaginable.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Imaginary foes

A military leader talking about teaching his daughter that their enemies were lowly and deserved being hated and hurt. The reason for the war might have sounded righteous in the ears of some:  the people were poor and hungry and the war spoils gave them food. The prisoner of war commented "Her belly might be full, but her spirit will be empty," referring to the indoctrinated daughter.

This is a scene from Star Trek, but even if the series is science fiction, this fragment struck me as depicting a very real issue.
War is a matter of perspective. The side that you're on is in the right and the other one is wrong. Maybe from all points of view.

This is why the devil was created, so we could have an embodiment of evil to hate and fear. Likewise, many artful leaders have led their people to war against make-believe foes. See the crusades, Hitler's wars and possibly others.

It doesn't only happen in war either. We see it in everyday life. It's called discrimination. It's when we think one person or one group is bad just for a single trait we might not like or simply don't understand.

Sadly, these fallacies can cost lives and the happiness of many people. It only starts with one small misconception.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bitesize fiction. Normality

"Ok, why exactly are you here?"
"Because I thought my intelligence would get the better of me."
"Oh?"
"My intelligence... You see" and he looked left and right, then leaned in to whisper secretly "I'm almost certain my mind is a lot smarter than I am."
"And you see that as a problem?"
"Well, yes. Especially when it's trying to take over my life." The look on his face was very serious.
"Go on."
"The situation is getting out of control. People are looking at me in strange ways. They are starting to ignore me. My girlfriend complains I'm trying to make her look stupid."
"And you would like to change all that."
"Yes, I want to be a normal regular guy all the time. No spark of genius, no sleeping on the couch."
"I understand what you mean. We have had several cases similar to yours. I will prescribe you a medicine that will suppress your neural paths. You will be an average Joe."
"Thank you." He smiled for the first time since the meeting.
Sometimes, too much of a good thing can have harmful consequences.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The winner

The contest is over and the winner has been found.

Congratulations to Desiree! To everyone, thank you for participating! I wish I had more coupons to give away.

But, if you still want to get my book, there is a 20% off discount you can use on Blurb, code BLURB20.

I'm sorry I had to choose the winner without a live audience, although I waited for a while. I can assure you I was 100% fair.

If you want, here is the recording. The sound isn't as good as it was live, so there are subtitles. Click on the "CC" button to enable them.


Again, congratulations to the winner and I hope everyone had a good time. Also, don't forget, your dreams and ambitions are waiting for you to fulfill them.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Choosing a winner

The book giveaway contest entry period is over. Now it's time to find out who has won the $75 book coupon from Blurb.

First of all, here is a list of everyone who entered, in the order of their comments:
  1. Desiree
  2. Practical Parsimony
  3. Carol Wyer
  4. Odie Langley
  5. Felissa Hadas
  6. Vicky at PPCT
  7. Justlittlecajunme
  8. Juanita
  9. Storycollector
  10. Georgia Little Pea
Your ideas for your own books are varied and very interesting. I hope you do grab the chance and make your dreams come true.

Thanks to everyone who participated!

As mentioned before, I will choose the winner randomly. I will use a random number generator to generate a number between 1 and 10 and whose number comes out is the winner. That sounds simple and fair enough.

Also, to make it even more fair, I will run the program live. In this post there will be a live broadcast video and everyone is free to come and watch. There will even be a mini chat. This will happen at 7PM GMT.


I know not everyone will be able to see the live broadcast, but I'll wait for some people to gather, so we can have an audience. I will also post the recording afterwards, for who wants to see it.

Good luck everyone!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Book coupon giveaway contest

As you might have heard, my poetry book, The relativity of a corroded mind, has been published! But don't rush to buy it just yet, since you might be able to get it for free.

The people at Blurb, who published my book, have given me the opportunity to give away a $75 coupon to be used on their site. That would allow you to get even several copies of my slim little book. Maybe you want to give some as gifts to your friends, who knows?

However, first I will be holding a little contest to find the lucky winner for the coupon.


Here are the rules:
  • To enter, please specify that you want to participate and answer this question: If you decide to make your own Blurb book, what would it be about? (let your imagination run wild, I know I did)
  • Just one entry per person, please, and no cheating.
  • All entries are accepted, provided Blurb can ship to you. Please check the regions here. Don't worry, though, they can get almost anywhere.
  • The contest ends on the 6th of July, at 0 AM GMT. I have included a counter to make the Maths easier.
  • To be fair, I will choose the winner randomly.
You can tell your friends about this, all entries will be considered. You don't have to follow the blog to participate, only if you like it.

If you have any questions, by all means, ask them. My e-mail is daftline @ gmail . com

Good luck everyone!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

"As a memory"

He sat down on the chair in the middle of the kitchen and tilted his head back. His hair was wet, hanging in long curly strands above the floor. He caught it all in one fist and then the other. "About this much."

The scissors made several scrunching sounds, hungrily biting at the curls. The strands fell limp on the floor.

I looked a bit sad towards them. Half frightened that maybe it was too much, maybe he'll regret it after seeing himself in the mirror. He was very proud of his long curly hair and hated to cut it. He did it about once every two years, always careful not to have too much trimmed off. I looked at the floor. Half of the thick mane was gone.

He got up and went to the mirror and looked at his hair. He ran his hands through it, turning left and right to capture all the angles. "I like it." he smiled. Some of my worry dissipated. "You do?" "Yes, it's nice and bouncy."

He played with it a little more, trying out the new, smaller pony tail. He then went back to the heap on the floor and picked up a thin strand. I eyed it curiously.

"I want to keep this. As a memory." he explained. A memory flashed through my mind. Last year, I'd watched his mother cut his hair for him. She had also kept a strand, telling me she always did that. "As a memory."

He smiled at me, playing with the strand. I think for a moment, he turned into a little boy again.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My poetry book has been published

Good news, I have finally published my poetry book! It took a lot of hesitation on my part and a lot of encouragement from my friends. I was about to give up, when my fiance said "You have everything, right? Just go ahead and publish it." He helped me with the cover and so, it's out in the world: "The relativity of a corroded mind".

 
Here is how it all happened...

I have over 100 poems typed up on my computer, written over the years. I have posted a few of them here and there on the internet and I have received generally good feedback. Last year, I decided to publish some of them on the internet on one of the self-publishing sites.

After an unsatisfying experience with one site, I chose Blurb. It looked professional and their book making software was very easy to work with.

I had the poems, I had the means to publish the book, my fiance would help me with the cover... All I needed was the courage.

So, one day, I decided to make the book, working my way through all of my poems and choosing the best ones. Since I could add my own fonts, I used a nice elegant one I had on my computer. I liked it so much, I redesigned my blog with it, as you can see.

The cover image is an old drawing of mine, which I had edited in Gimp. My fiance helped me with it, fixing some technical problems (the nose was too big and the eyes askew), added the title and author name and, voila! I had a cover.

I must admit, putting the book together meant a nice trip down memory lane. I was sometimes amazed at how interesting some poems were and how bad others sounded. I asked myself if my readers would enjoy them, if they would understand. I hope they will.

I want to thank everyone for all of their own contribution, in one way or another, to the making and publishing of my book. I might not have done it without the support and kind words of my friends and occasional readers.

"Come with me into my Train of Wonder,
The only one that comes from Nowhere
And leads back into Void."

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Broken pencil poetry. Non-poetry

I used to hate poems. School made me believe that all they were ever good for was memorising and then reciting them in class. They were invariably syrupy and whiny. And they often rhymed too much.

When we got older, we had to explain the poems we learned. Some were easy, straightforward. Some were extremely intricate and we could almost feel the poet's ghost standing behind us, grinning at us racking our brains to solve their mysteries. I got pretty good at it. I started liking it. I even found a poet whose writings I really liked.

One day, I thought I'd do it myself. My first poem had a simple paired rhyme and consisted of a lot of clashing elements. To put it simply, it was horrible. I hope I've come a long way since then...

This is my one experimental poem about poetry, which they call "ars poetica". The whole poem is a protest against the daunting white paper and against all the expectations people have of poetry. There is a rhyme, but it is covered. It's my little "rebel piece" and I'm rather proud of it.

I wonder if you'll guess whom it is addressed to...

Non-poetry
25th October 2005


It's cold. This paper I'm lying in
Is burning inside my skin and this
Enormous pencil descends, about
To tear my mind to shreds, impaled
Into my skull with all the words bled out
Of my screeching heart, my brains scattered about on
That immaculate white surface to be written upon. I
Lie there, watching my ideas die, something
I never had, yet to which I fought to cling, the mind
I thought had been my own, that time my eyes were blind. Standing
In front of me you watch me straining, the wreck,
You watch as the rhyme slides around my neck, slit,
A trochaic rhythm for a heartbeat, grinning
At your contempt; my helplessness marring this pure,
Pure image of perfect, sweet and demure poetry.
You sneer and turn away from this cavity, appalled,
You're me, you're black, I'm mad, we're cold. See,
You have no more place to flee to -
I hurl my existence at you and hit
You with it on your head, hear your shell split in two,
See you fall dead, smile and drawl 'you innocent fool'.

Epilogue: Maybe now I can get some work done...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bitesize fiction. "No"

"No..." she said politely when he offered her a drink.

"No, no..." she argued when he brought her chocolates. He looked at her slim frame and tried again. The answer was a nervous "No", emphasized by a shake of her head.

"No!" she hung up the phone annoyed. She thought to herself that, if he were to call her at work one more time, she'd have to call in sick for a week. Maybe even request a transfer.

"No." she stopped him a few metres away before meeting on the street. He looked morose, turned around and walked away.
"No!" She slammed the door in his face and he was left alone on her doorstep, a rose in his hand.

"No!" she laughed drunkenly. "No." she repeated with a smile, but still kissed him.

"Nooo..." Her head was throbbing with a bad hangover and the lights were simply blinding. He gave her a pill and a glass of water. "No..." she protested feebly, but took the pill anyway. He rubbed her shoulders gently and let her sleep.

"No!" her cheeks were red as she vehemently protested to any innuendo made by her workmates and friends. Of course she wasn't dating that guy. They just kissed at a party, that was it.

"No..." she tried to protest tiredly when he called to ask her out again. She could do better than that, couldn't she? "No!" She hung up.

"No..." the flowers fell from his hands. His mouth fell open. She was with another man, looking quite happy. "No no no..." he trailed off, realising he had had no chance to begin with. She noticed him and tried to call back to him as he was darting away angry and frustrated. "No!" but he was already out of sight.

The phone was quiet for a few weeks, so was the doorbell. Nobody to say "no" to anymore. Tears started pouring down her cheeks when she realised she missed him, missed saying "no" to him.

"No" he turned away from her, pretending to go back to work. "No!" he said firmly against her explanations and excuses. She left. He raised his eyes and watched her go.

"No" she said when he ordered champagne. He had decided to accept her apologies and asked her out to dinner. He nodded as the waiter poured the champagne, a glint in his eyes.

"No" he stopped her before she could take a sip. He got down on one knee and retrieved a small box from his pocket. Her face turned a bright red and a tear trailed down her cheek. Her answer this time though, was no longer the dreaded "no".

Friday, May 13, 2011

Give yourself a pat on the back, a hug, a slap on the face. Be your best friend.

I have been a very stubborn person, ever since I was small.
I would set my own personal rules and abide them strictly. There were things I didn't like and wouldn't do under any circumstance - eat certain foods, listen to certain music, wear certain clothes that were in fashion.

Sometimes, I applied those rules to other people as well and also pointed out to them that they were doing "wrong things" and that I would never do that.

I was so happily perched on my high horse, I didn't realise I was often a nasty person and a very difficult child. Just ask my mother.

I eventually started changing. I had the tendency to do things that would break my dear rules. Unfortunately, there was a huge battle going on between who I was supposed to be and who I wanted to be. I began to notice that I had few friends and even they thought I was a bit too much at times.

I believe that my ego went to smaller and smaller pieces after each person I fell for. I learned that not everyone should play by my ridiculous rules, not even me. I learned to listen and try to understand others' point of view too. I learned that love has no boundaries and no price and nor did I.

I still have a few nose turns here and there and have set a few new rules for myself. Self-discipline is often in order, so I don't become a stupid useless sloth. But I hope I'm a more bearable person overall.

My fiance is ready to put up with me for a very long time. My mom is also putting up with me. I made a few friends over the time too. Lesson well learned, perhaps?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How do I put this...?

Spring - rejuvenation. Fire - passion. Hercules - courage. Romeo and Juliet - love.

Symbols are the root of our language. If we remove the little connective words between them, we would still be able to understand one another at some level. Some meanings have been lost, some altered. What once meant war now means peace. Each day, with the people and events that become important to our society, we gain more symbols. Communication is dynamic, but it is also strongly related to our culture.

We send little "messages" into space, hoping that, whoever out there might receive it, they will understand. Who we are, where we come from, that we wish to communicate. We might be successful in being understood or we may not, but we certainly hope so.
 
Even within our own minds, some notions have different meanings. Some are afraid of clowns, while some are amused by them. Childhood traumas can turn into phobias that would mean nothing to other people.

We each have an opinion and our own feelings on every subject imaginable. Still, we are able to communicate and understand one another, partaking in a bit of the other's own inner vocabulary.

Maybe one day, when the time comes, we could establish a fruitful means of communication with cultures very different than ours, as humans.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Spring green

I like spring - it is my favourite season, when everything suddenly turns green, the flowers explode on the tree branches and the birds start chirping outside.

Spring is nature's season; everything wakes up from hibernation and starts a new year. There have been a few showers these days and we're expecting sunshine next week, with a few plans of going out to the park, doggie and all.

One of grandmother's guard dogs. The petals are from a big pear tree in the garden.
A few years ago, actually, many years ago, an old man from our village told me this saying "Who hasn't planted a tree in his life can't call himself a man". Of course, in Romanian it sounds nicer and it rhymes: "Cine n-a plantat un pom nu este pe lume om".

So, dad and I decided that we should both plant a few trees in grandmother's yard. We bought a few young trees from the market and armed ourselves with spades.

Dad planted a couple of apple trees and a quince tree, but only one apple tree survived (we've always had huge piles of construction wood in the yard; my grandfather used to make barrels for a living). I planted an apricot tree and a linden tree.

When I was a very little girl, my grandparents had a huge old apricot tree in front of the house. It made sweet little apricots which I loved, but had to be cut down because it could have fallen on the house.

My linden tree was incredibly tiny and crooked. Grandmother always laughed at it, but I did find it propped up with a stick on a later visit. She tried to water it and make it grow tall and straight, but it died quickly.

My apricot tree thrived and grew this way and that. It eventually started making a lot of apricots, but these were the big kind and were often attacked by parasites. Still, I'm very happy to say I planted my own tree.

My apricot tree in the back garden. To the left, the goat/sheep shed, to the right, some scallions.
And I do hope to have the occasion to plant more trees.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Beyond the canvas

What if the human body were elastic like a membrane? What if we had to change our appearance more drastically than the mere phases of age?

There is a theme common to several science fiction stories. One being living in symbiosis with another, which provides it with a body, a voice, transportation. The "parasite" would be the actual soul and personality.

I have seen a very interesting Star Trek episode, where love endured through several of these body changes. The conclusion was though that, as humans, we have difficulty seeing beyond mere appearances.

Are we? What if your lover were to become ugly, completely different, change their gender in an instant?

We make ourselves look more handsome or beautiful. We try to stay fit and young and we wear nice clothes. There are many doctrines that say we should love others equally, yet they look at homosexuality as a sin.

Are we appearance-biased? Some of us a lot, others, maybe just a little.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Petty crimes

Appeal to the sympathy of the public and they will feel that your opponent has committed a crime against something they hold very dear. Make your enemy look immoral and unethical in other people's eyes and they will stone him to death. You will not have to throw a rock even.

It sounds cruel and strange and dreadful. Yet, it happens everywhere around us, often without us knowing it. Sometimes, we're the public, we're throwing the stones, judges in a subjective courtroom. Sometimes, we're the ones pointing the finger.

There is no conclusion to this. There never is.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Broken pencil poetry. Diving into the sun

I've always looked younger than I really am. I've often acted half my age as well. Somehow, though, I feel that I've missed out on a lot of the madness of childhood while I was growing up. Things are rarely the way we imagine them to be and we keep holding on for a dream until long after we've woken up.

I've also always been fascinated by the energy of youth, by people who live with passion rather than just live. I have constantly seen children younger than me who had more talent or knowledge than I did at their age or even when I was older.

I have also seen a crazy little film in the crazy way I often like to see them. Fragment by fragment, seldom starting with the beginning and almost never reaching the end. A perpetual story, where you can enjoy any part of it over and over again. Isn't that how youth is like as well?

This poem was inspired by that film. I hope you'll like it and that it makes as much sense to you as it does to me.

Diving into the sun
7 October 2006


Take the smooth jaws of destiny
To bite from your skin -

In twilight shivers a smile
You've poured in a hole in the road,
It's something cold and dark
Until you can no longer see the stars.

There is pure madness here,
In the shallow charms of youth,
Here you see the white bone curling
Around a blackened sliver of wood,
Doves love each other
And yet not quite.

Partake in this swirl we call life
Where nothing worries over blood,
Bestow upon us incantations
That hide behind the sun.

It pains me so that such sweet incense
Should be burnt on the altar of stain,
Yet what was once born white
Will be reborn again in marred reality
And altogether all the more pristine.

And of the times that were
Naught will be left, but the shiver.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A garden in a pot

Ever since I was in school and living with my parents, I've always had a small potted plant to take care of.

Little plants with big stories to tell

I had a colocasia, a plant with big leaves, also called "elephant's ear". It barely had two or three leaves and was quite sturdy, but I did take good care of it and enjoyed seeing its vibrant green. I can't remember very well, but I think mom took it for the balcony plants once and it withered a bit soon afterwards.

Another plant I had was a small hanging plant with long stems and small leaves. It grew so long that I had to keep it in the bookcase and the wooden shelf swelled with water. I noticed an interesting trick: if I took a small piece of the stem and replanted it, it would grow roots and become a happy new plant.

Once, we were asked to bring plants to decorate the classroom. Not wanting to part with mine, I just bought a new pot and soil and planted a few stems in it. The poor thing looked tiny and everyone laughed at it. Even if I tried to explain that it would grow, they wouldn't listen. So, I took it back and brought the other pot, with the long stems. Needless to say, they still laughed at it.

One of the more intriguing plants I've had was a cactus. It was perfect, since I didn't have to water it too much. I used to keep it under the clothes drawers and, on numerous occasions, it tried to snatch my clothes away from my hands. Just as it was growing its first flower though, mom decided that she would like it for her office. And there it went.

Failure after failure?

When I moved to the big city, my mom bought me a little plant, with orange flowers. It was the first plant that had flowers (except maybe for the cactus), so I was happy. Unfortunately, the flowers withered fast and in a few months the plant itself, despite my attempts to save it.

A couple of years ago, mom and dad bought me another plant, similar to the previous one, but with yellow flowers. I tried my best to care for it, but it never bore flowers again. It did however have huge lovely leaves at one time. I used to say it was my cute giant radish. Alas... This one withered too within a few days. I was baffled.

The yellow hibiscus and plotting a new potted plant...

Our last flatmate brought his own flower to the house. It is a yellow Japanese rose, or hibiscus, as they call it. It had just one stem and had been kept in the dark, but we managed to liven it up. It even tried to have a few flowers, but they fell before blooming.

The little rose had two problems: one was the tiny pot (and I know the huge one mom kept her own Japanese rose in) and the other was the small bugs it had on it. At first, I thought I would find some repellant to get rid of them, but one day I got ambitious, armed myself with a couple of damp paper tissues and cleaned them off, leaf by leaf. I was amazed to see that after this there was no more bug in sight.

Now, our friend had to move out when mom moved in, but he left the rose in my care, saying he'd be back for it when the weather got warmer. I would love to have a house plant again and thought about using a stem from the original rose to grow my own. I'm not very sure how I should do this and, since there is just one secondary stem, I would have to do it properly the first time.

The little hibiscus and, behind it, my poor withered "radish"...

I wanted to ask my visitors who have had the patience to read this far to help me with some advice. Mom said I should keep the stem in water for a few days, until it grows some roots. I wonder what my chances are with this little rose...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The light

The church bells tolled solemnly, filling the air with a metallic sound. No matter the event, this sound has always been ominous to my ears and I usually hurried along, head low.

This time, I wasn't in a hurry to go anywhere. I was standing among the mass of people, huddled around the church in the street, in the parking lot. We were all listening to the bell, waiting.

A little after midnight, the little flickers of light started moving out of the church and spread among the crowd, passed on from person to person. Soon, everyone had a lit candle in their hands.

The wind was blowing in gusts, making the tiny flames dance and shiver. We tried to cover them with plastic cups, with our hands, not letting the light go out. Some succeeded, others had theirs blown out and had to ask their neighbour to help them light theirs again.

Slowly, the masses started dissipating, each on their way home, carrying their prized candles in their hands. Walking home, with one hand over the plastic cup we had improvised as shelter for the lights, I could feel the heat on my palm. That heat was very familiar.

Every year, on Easter, I would go with my family to a nearby church at midnight, to get some light. Every year, the same nervousness, joy, worry about the little candle in my hand. We would sometimes stay for the mass too, singing Easter songs and saying to one another the traditional words "Christ has resurrected" and "Truly he has."

This year, I looked at my little candle with new eyes. Harder eyes, thinking that all of this was a cute charade, but nothing more. The only thing I had left was walking home, taking care of the candle. The little symbolic light of hope that I somehow needed to keep alive.

Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Dream shards. Harley Davidson eggs

Last night I dreamt I was staying at a hotel of sorts with my mom, my fiance and a few other people. My mother's room was very elegant, with antique beds, tall mirrors and it was all extremely clean.

Out to find my friends in their other room, I met the little fat boy, who had a bunch of scallions in his hand, going to lunch. I started talking to him, to maybe get a couple of scallions myself. My dad and I always used to have them with almost every meal in spring.

"Of course you can have some. But first, I have to leave one here." We got to a classroom, where, on a bookcase shelf, there was a big bowl full of wilting scallions. The boy put one of his own in the bowl and said "Earth day".

Getting a bit late, I left the boy and his scallions and went to my friends' room. It was nothing like mom's room. It was dark, crowded, with a sense of familiarity. Everyone was huddled in front of a tv set, playing video games.

After staying a while and chatting, I got hungry. One of my friends ordered something for me, saying the food there was great.

Soon enough, the cook herself brought me the food on a plate. She was a stocky woman, of mysterious Russian-Spanish origin and her otherwise good English was sprinkled with a few Spanish words.

She carried a plate with three fried eggs and some fried meat. They were all so well fried, that the eggs had a crust underneath and on the sides, which was very close to a burnt shade of black.

Trying to stay nice, though I like my fried eggs without the crunchy crust, I tried a compliment towards the expectant cook. "Thank you! The eggs look very... sturdy." She seemed pleased with this and stayed for a chat.

Quite amused at all this, I turned to Scorp and showed him the food. "Look, Harley Davidson eggs!" He smiled and continued talking to the cook.

Unfortunately, just as I was about to dig in, mom called me for some important matter she had to discuss with me.

I went back to the other room, but everyone was asleep already. Mom woke up and started trying to persuade me about some nonsense she found important, like she always does. Losing my patience, I turned to leave saying "Mom, that's what you called me for? My Harley Davidson eggs are getting cold."

Of course, mom didn't get the joke and just grumbled something behind me. I left her to her own device and was on my way back to the other room and my lunch.

On the way, I met the boy with scallions again. I asked for some, thinking they might be good with my eggs, but this time he didn't want to. I ended up trying to wrestle one from his hands, while he kept arguing "It's for Earth day. They're for Earth day, you can't have any."

And this is where the dream shattered...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bla bla blo blog

I thought it would be interesting and quite fitting to talk about blogs. This is a blog and you, dear reader, are quite likely also a blogger, since one knows best how to be patient and read another's posts.

Extra, extra, read all about it!

A few months ago, the pet blogging community started a challenge: what did our blogs mean to us and what was our "schedule" or lack thereof?

There were a few interesting answers. Some came from professional journalists, who felt blogging was like a job to them and the blog - a publication which should be taken seriously. "Would you like it if your favourite newspaper or magazine was only issued on a whim?" There might be a point in that, but probably only for some blogs.

Companies and individual professionals offering a service or product might get more visitors to their online shops if they had a blog. Offer and product/version updates are always welcome to the interested customer.

There are also the blogs that are a lot like newspapers, republishing news and other "hot topic" stories. The hotter and more controversial the topic, the more intense the discussion in the comments section.

I don't really mind those blogs. To be fairly honest, I don't really read those blogs either. They are the kind of things that I find while searching for information and are very useful, but might not get a second visit from me.

Footprints on the "Welcome" rug

Now that I've bored you to death (and most probably annoyed a few of you as well), I will jump over the fence and hop in the neighbour's garden. Because that is how the more personal blogs feel like.

They are like open diaries, where you are invited to take a peek and say your opinion. The host isn't always home, but the door is always open and the tea is on the table.

This is how inspiring and pleasant are so many of the blogs where people not only use words, but use them with feeling.

I remember a question about bloggers getting writer's block. Well, if you ever lose inspiration about being yourself, go and see what your friends have said about you in their comments. Moreover, it is quite hard to have blogger's block. Your blog is your own little corner, where you can be as yourself as you like. People will appreciate the effort.

Thank you for visiting! Take a seat. I make some mean hot cocoa, would you care for a cup?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Broken pencil poetry. Clay

I used to live in a small, quiet town with my parents. Wherever you needed to go, it would take you about 10-15 minutes to get there. The streets were clean, there were chestnut trees on the sidewalk on the main street and you could really feel at home. The centre of the town was a long street, only for pedestrians. The forest was within walking distance and I used to go there every week for karate lessons.

Most people would say it isn't paradise city, nor extremely fun. It is my home town though.

Three and a half years ago, I moved to the big city to go to university. The place is a huge shock compared to what I was used to. Before, coming here for just one day exhausted me. The neighbourhood I live in isn't too great either, since it's right next to a big marketplace. It's dirty, crowded and loud. Public transportation is often ruled by the law of the jungle during rush hour.

The worst part about a big city is that you get lost in the crowd. You lose meaning, you have less chances of bumping into friends in the street. I used to be one of the "favourite" students because of all my school achievements. Nothing like that mattered anymore in university.
 
When I was still new in town and also still very homesick, I wrote a little poem about all my frustration at being in such a crowded place. One thing led to another and I found myself wallowing in it. I still miss home, but now my family isn't there anymore. It's easier to be away.

Clay
December 5th, 2007


I live here.
In this old domestication,
I live here.
And feel like I'm collecting dust,
Day by day,
Night by night,
With each passing second.

We are a mass,
We are a substance -
When all our dust gathers,
It moulds together
Until there is no individual.

There is no backspace,
No hidden illusion,
Everything is there, another part of us,
We are like molecules,
We are sticky, sweet and hard to swallow.

We go to this place or that
By tram, bus, tube, plane,
In masses, one huge wonderful army
Marching to its destiny,
To die for a common noble cause,
To be decorated and then forgotten
To rot,
To rot together...

Behold! There, in the corner,
With hidden eyes and gloved hands
Stands Procust with his tools,
Ready to pluck you from your soil
And throw you into a great pot
Of primordial soup.
We are the salt and the pepper,
That he whispers,
But when tasted
We still have no flavour...

We are all food for the worms though,
Why need we be so tasty?
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