Sunday, 14 October 2018

‘The Last Witnesses’ – Svetlana Alexievich


A friend of mine, having another citizenship than mine, once told me that he would not want to fight in a war, that people are all the same no matter the country they come from and that, at a higher level, efforts should be made in order for human lives not to be endangered anymore and that hatred between nations should be eradicated. As far as I can understand, looking around me, such efforts are rare. Moreover, hate speeches are being heard more often and it seems they always have listeners and supporters. We love to find scapegoats among those that we do not understand and we prefer to marginalize them in order to keep us safe.

By learning from the mistakes of the past we can avoid tragedies from happening again. But for this we must find an interest in the past, and we must be willing to accept that we do not know it all just for being at some years distance from the past.
‘The Last Witnesses’ by Svetlana Alexievich is not a book that you can leave with on holiday or read while enjoying a cocktail. Somehow, it needs a different setting, and even a different state of mind. But reading it is essential. Not just for us, individuals, but for the entire humanity. Adults reminisce about the World War II when they were children and their stories are shattering, but relevant for nowadays adults that can make efforts so that the history does not repeat itself.
One story impressed me a lot. A woman confessing that the war caused her not to understand the notion of strangers. Becoming orphans, she and her brother were saved and helped by strangers and all were ‘of our kin’.

The meanings of country and people fade in the face of war and transcend hideous nationalisms.
I advise you to read this book and to teach your children to be tolerant and curious regarding the past of humanity. Only in this manner can we offer them a better world, which they can inherit. 

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Corncob


There are words which one easily learns due to adults that are patient enough to explain the meaning of them. And, as it goes, every time that one pronounces those words, inevitably, one will live the moment when one found out the meanings.
I learned the meaning of corncob during one fall, when I was dazzled by the metallic smell of must and my fingertips were smeary because of the black grapes. A couple of buckets were full of yellow corn and right next to them, other buckets were full of corn without grains. The tool making the difference between the two stages had metallic teeth, on one side, and a belt, on the other side. My grandfather's hand was artfully using it. 
'Please bring me that brush over there, next to the bucket of corncobs', my mother asked.
'Next to what?'
And so I found out about the meaning of the word corncob.
Usually, when one learns a new word, one eagerly repeats it, getting ready for future moments when the word might be used. Until now, I have no idea how many times have I used this word. But today, when I saw two men carrying buckets with corncobs, I had it clear in my mind. It was just like reminiscing a poem I had to learn for school celebration. Words seem to have sometimes a greater force than we'd expect and also seem to hold the key to time travel.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Heath

Everyday we search for signs. The human race has detective inclinations, we must admit to that. Ever since yesterday, we have put everything under thorough analysis. We are searching for signs that fall is coming. Or even more, that it had fooled us all and has already arrived for a couple of days now. The sun does not shine as powerful as it used to, the leaves play a metallic jingle every time the wind blows, and the day got smaller.
Meanwhile, others could not care less. 'It's very hot, my dear!'. Still.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Cătălina Florina Florescu – Theatre



I was present at the launch of the ‘Theatre’ volume written by Cătălina Florina Florescu, an event that took place in Carusel. It was wonderful. Three actors, two ladies and a gentleman, brought to life for a couple of sublime moments the characters from two plays written by Cătălina. I really enjoyed the fragment ‘put on stage’ from the play ‘Mia’ (and the idea of bringing actors to read for the launch is absolutely brilliant), but I was going to fall in love with the play as soon as I got home and started reading it. I was bewitched with the way it was written, with the topics presented within it, with the overt approach of realities (for there are more than one in this life – and not just in Cătălina’s plays – the reality within a couple, the reality of the society that weaves expectations around us, the reality within friendships, family and even that which we set between us and total strangers that we met only once but the experience deeply carved into our souls – whether through the goodness or viciousness they had shown us).

One of Cătălina’s invitees highlighted the fact that it is rare that we find ourselves reading/ seeing/ talking about plays written by women. And so it is. I do not want to search for more meaning into this, but the utterance striked me as revealing.

The other two plays also provide us with an interesting approach. The ambiguity of the framework within which the play ‘What is left there after life?’ enrolls reminded me, from time to time, about ‘Waiting for Godot’. But, in the same time, this ambiguity seems to have a ‘human’ side to it – if the lack of precision can be seen as human – a side that is searching for answers, for resolutions, but does not force the process of it.

A talking dog is the main character of the play ‘The suicidal dog and Laika’. A dog that seems very gentle and has a keen spirit of observation and so I understand the authoress’ mention that it seemed to her that certain things can be uttered more gently and with more tact by a dog than by a human being. The play is also interesting for it has provoked me into thinking about Laika in a different way than I have ever imagined I would.

The authoress’ stage directions indicate her skillfulness and also her love for theatre. In a world that is constantly looking for new values to align with, a world that is searching for its identity but also wants to reinvent itself, theatre is among the few forms of art (or literature) that can easily direct us towards the answers we are looking for. It is, if you want, a different type of mirror in which we can take a glance.
Define your reflection in the mirror held up by the theatre written by Cătălina Florina Florescu. You do need this!

Thursday, 14 June 2018

The Myth of the Eternal Return - Mircea Eliade


The title is provoking enough and the book won't definitely let you down. This coming from a profane, with no studies in the domain or pretentions to understand much.
When I was a child, I never asked myself about the issue of repetition. It was nice how the Easter Bunny kept coming, bringing me new shoes, and Santa Claus pampering me with gifts, among which the chocolate was queen. Years after that, I found myself wandering about the purpose of this cyclicity. Well, there was a sense to the seasons, but why did we have to go through with the whole festival with the bunny and Santa Claus?! And finally, any Christian must suffer psychical and spiritual torments regarding the birth, the death and resurrection of Jesus. What's the point in that?!
Mircea Eliade beautifully described this urge of the humanity, written in its DNA, to find purpose and meaning for anything in this world. To make the time seem less ephemeral, less implacable and more at our disposal - for it always comes back; again with the Christmas, again with the Easter and again with the New Year. And more, he exquisitely explained and described as it appeared for the Indians, where karma comes from. The idea that no matter what you have to endure, one day you will be recompensed. Or that you will be punished for your misdeeds. This serious need of the human being to find an explanation for everything. Or a balance. How scared we are of the things we cannot explain!
While reading this book, I realized that 'an eternal return' is found in the relation child-family. We desperately search in the new member of the family something that will represent us in the future, to live on, to live another life through them... to go back.