Thursday, 15 February 2018

We are different, and this bestows charm upon us and our world.


A beautiful campaign has started in Romania. A campaign that has education at its center. I was invited to write and proudly accepted the invitation.
I pondered about the perspective; whether to write from a teacher's point of view (given the fact that at a certain time in my life I was proudly called Miss - teachers know the meaning of this) or a pupil's. I chose the second perspective. We were all pupils once and we know better than anyone else the issues in education. Especially because now we get to understand some from a different approach. I am amongst those who believe that experience can make opinion.
And my opinion is stated below:

When you are a child, you do not understand why people stress on the importance of plain writing. If one is ambitious, one tries and tries until managing to obtain something acceptable. If not, one remains with a heavy heart, knowing that one has not fulfilled the expectations. One tries to master the letter a, but something does not add up. It's true, the letter written by one is a little bit edgy, it has irregularities and some erasures. But one can understand it. I have understood it, my mother has understood it, and even my class mate, Mircea, has understood it. 
Mircea is appreciated. He has a plain writing. But the numbers give him headaches. Sure, he can write them, but he finds it hard to calculate them. I have tried explaining my method to him, but I clearly saw on his face that he did not understand me. Hm, maybe the ability to make calculi is just like the plain writing! People having this skill boast about it; and the people that do not, hide as much as they can in order not to be discovered.
My name is Ana. I have both skills. I have a plain writing and I am great at calculi. It's harder for me, though, to rest silent. I like to talk. Actually, I have just found out about it, from a friend. But talking calms me down and helps me focus. When the class is silent, and we have to write and make calculi, I find myself reprimanded. Would you believe me if I told you that I don't even realize when I start to talk?! It happens, somehow, without me. Just as it happens to Miruna when she tries to write plain. She puts her tongue out. I have told her that it is not nice to do that. Ok, theoretically, no rule of good behaviour is breached, but it is not nice to put one's tongue out to someone. The notebook does not mind. How could it mind?! Well, maybe it does mind when she covers it in ink stains.
The ink is blue. Actually, it also comes in red and black, but we, the pupils, are only allowed to use the blue ink. Sometimes, the heaviness of this rule makes us rebel. And during those times, we find red ink and write with it on the last pages of our notebooks. The bravest of us all keep those pages. So what if the teachers or parents find out that we have used another color of ink?! We wanted to see how it is to write with the ink reserved for adults only. We wanted to feel adults. It did not last too long, but we liked it. We, the pupils, we reckon that it is not a great offence to want to write like an adult. If we write like an adult, maybe our suggestions would be taken more seriously. Maybe even encouraged. We, the pupils, are hard-working and we want to learn. And we write now in red ink so that you can take us seriously: we are different, and the differences between us should not be used in order to make us compete with each other. Maybe you could encourage us to obtain results out of pleasure and not because 'Maria has a writing that is plainer than yours'. We do not like this. We have signed in red. We, the pupils.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

'Fifty Shades of Feminism'


To openly state nowadays that one is a Feminist seems to me a deed of great courage. And that because one must face public contempt. When hearing the word Feminists, people envision angry and harry women that hate men.
The book 'Fifty Shades of Feminism' tries to debunk prejudices regarding Feminism. Not only that Feminism takes various forms, but it continues to self-update itself year after year, whether we realize it or not. Fifty women give their opinions regarding this movement, idea or way of living, if you wish. Fifty opinions that make one realize that one did not know, actually, everything about Feminism. Opinions that make one wonder and start cleaning the dust upon one's own prejudice.
A book that must be read by women and men, boys and girls, teenage girls and teenage boys and everyone being under the impression that they have understood the entire spectre of their existence.

Friday, 26 January 2018

A Writer's Journal

The Handwriting Day was celebrated a few days ago, and I have been thinking ever since about its significance for me. I grew accustomed to hitting the keys of my laptop (as if they were one of Vlad Mușatescu’s Erikas – typewriters), but I still enjoy taking notes on paper. When inspiration takes over me, I do not hurry to write in my laptop; instead, I prefer to take notes on a piece of paper.
Surely, I have ideas that were written down. I even boast about a journal. Or an agenda. 
A very special agenda, actually. It was bought from a stationer’s in Tulcea. A stationer’s that was located near the printing house were my father used to work. Now, in that building there’s a supermarket that brags about small prices. I wonder if that stationer’s still exists. Maybe this is the reason why I am so selective about the notes I make in my agenda. I try not to fill it with my bagged and hieroglyphic writing. So that it could last longer.
I opened the covers to see my notes. And here’s what I found.

No, I don’t have a drinking problem. I just collect quotes that seem to have a mantra value. 
And the squirrel … . Well, the squirrel guides me as much as it can. 

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

"The Sewing Club", Emilia Muller's First Novel


Communication issues nowadays, taboo topics, denied needs and philosophical discoveries. All are chained in the action of the novel “The Sewing Club”.

It is the story of a man who disguises himself as a woman and finds out, by joining a secret club led by his former girlfriend, unsuspected aspects of life.

When reading the title, one might think that it is a novel about and for women. It is definitely not. Actually, it is a novel for men, too. Namely, for those men who are still looking for answers to the questions “Why do we love women?” or “What is going on in that head of hers?".

And because I am also a fan of crime novels, I must recommend “The Sewing Club” because it also piques the reader’s curiosity with mystery and a murder.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Inspiration


A lot of people believe that inspiration is a gentle feeling that takes hold on one while sipping a hot coffee or while watching the raindrops trickling down the window in front of one. All is calm and favourable around one and it is then the inspiration appears. Quite possible, maybe. For some. I, instead, have a different relation with inspiration. The best way to describe it – a raptor and its prey. Me being the prey.
Many people believe that the things I make or the majestic sentences I write appear before them as they initially were, in their finite state. If you were inspired, here’s the result – they say. I disagree. And not because I got out of bed today on the wrong side. Certain things must be polished. And since things are things, they get stubborn. Sometimes, more even than the artist.
How does inspiration appear? Like it follows. I go to sleep at night. I read a couple of pages, before sleeping, from the book sitting on my nightstand. Then, I close the book, I turn off the light and silence unfolds. I close my eyes and I try to thin the number of thoughts rebounding upon my forehead. So much silence around! Sometimes, this silence deafens me. Once the triage is done, I only have to deal with a couple of small insurgent thoughts, determined to show me who’s in charge. There, I chased them away. The coverlet swooshes. It’s a sign that I’m falling into sleep. My head sinks a little bit more into the pillow. And my eyelids no longer flicker. It’s quiet, very quiet. Bang! The beast has thrown itself upon my pillow. I feel it around my pate. I lay still. It is going to feel that I take no regard to it and it will leave. Yes, yes, it will leave. Stillness. A couple of long moments that make my pulse rise. Maybe it left. Oh, it would be wonderful if it left. In this case it would be easy for me to fall asleep. Yes, I am free. I try to keep my lids closed. I won’t open them. I never make this mistake. Yes, it left. I manage to push the door over the leg of a thought wanting to use this moment of carelessness and pour in. But no! I am lost. The beast’s paws advance, causing unevenness in the pillow. I feel it. It slowly blows over my cheeks and gently lowers its muzzle in order to catch the exact moment when I open my eyes. A great force attracts it to the door where I just succeeded to cast away that impish thought. Very easily, the beast breaks open the door. It got in. But it’s ok. I hear the growl of the beast and it seems to be something I can resist to. The growl repeats. And then once more a little louder. And then louder. Yes, I see. It’s clear to me. I’ll think about it tomorrow. I repeat the growl a couple of times, just to make sure I can reproduce it the next day. I fall asleep while repeating it to myself. I wake up the next morning. Nothing. Nothing has stayed with me. And it was so simple. So clear. But no, not even a trace. What a pity!
When the same think happens again, I no longer repeat the growl in my head. I run through the house, searching for a piece of paper and a pen. I must take notes. Otherwise I am going to forget. I’m sure I will forget. After writing it down, I can go back to bed and fall gently into sleep.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Age is just a number. For others!

Lately, I’ve been having fun discovering. Or, better written, rediscovering. A start to a new year can be stressful. Plans for the new year, ambitions, fears. But especially, fears. Fears regarding the passing of time. As we grow older, we become more aware of the passing of the time. I had forgotten about that!
I forgot that, when I was myself a child, the people around me had an age that defined their identity. Uncles, aunts, grandparents, parents, they all were big. And in my vision, as a child, they had always been like that.
I remember the first time I realized that even adults had, at a certain time, been younger. It was right after I had pulled a trick that left me with my head rolled in a bandage. While visiting an old lady, I sat in an armchair slurping from a very fizzing bottle of Brifcor. Mom and the old lady were talking, and I – not totally swept away by the wonderful refreshment – was looking around. Suddenly, my eyes were caught by a framed black-and-white portrait on the chest of drawers. A young lady with the look of a movie star was smiling charmingly.
‘Mom, who’s she?’ I interrupted their conversation, pointing to the photograph.
‘It’s not nice to interrupt people while talking’, my mom said and continued by telling me that it was the old lady, in whose house we were then, when she was young.
I couldn’t believe it. The old lady did not look at all like the woman in the photo. It was a bit too thick! What could have happened to her? Why didn’t she look like the woman in the photo anymore?
‘I was beautiful when I was young, wasn’t I?!’ the old lady asked me.
‘Yes! Very’, I had replied in a rather gracious manner.
Actually, maybe mom had not lied to me. She used to show us pictures of her from the old times, but we always failed to see a great difference. For us, back then, mom had always been and continued to be young. With an implacability similar to the one of the feeling that we were never to grow old and remain children forever. Maybe this is the source to the children’s great wish to grow up. Today, I know that age is just a number. But only for the child. The adult has another perspective. For it is the adult that gives age such importance. On the contrary, the child plays with numbers as it knows best. On an abacus. The child moves the beads around, from right to left and from left to right and hopes that all its wishes will come true. At the age of fourteen, to receive a Husky dog as a birthday present. At twenty, to become an aviator. And at thirty, to become the president of the country. And after thirty, the numbers become unavailable. It’s the peak of maturity! And the peak of calculus.