When I first read Murakami's Norwegian Wood, it was right when I graduated from high school. I finished it in the span of a day. One thing about Murakami's books is that they flow well. It's less because they're gloriously gripping and all, and more that they're easy to read, and the narrative style somehow holds you. At the time I was dealing with depression, so it was only natural I connected to the melancholy so intrinsic to this book.
“In the kitchen she reached behind the stove and felt the water tank. It was full of hot water from the noonday cooking. In the bathroom she tore off her soiled clothes and flung them into the corner. And then she scrubbed herself with a little block of pumice, legs and thighs, loins and chest and arms, until her skin was scratched and red. When she had dried herself she stood in front of a mirror in her bedroom and looked at her body.
What a powerful painting, of which a fragment is shown on the left. “Heatwave” as I would like to call it, although Bashkim Alushi, the magnificent painter he is, keeps it simple and sticks to the basics by just calling it Landscape. Why this gorgeous painting of his attracted my attention, I can’t tell for sure - the most obvious reason (I wrote this text this summer) might be this unbearable heat that leaves me breathless most of the time. The burning colours, the fire in the leaves of these trees and that purplish red and orange, ignite you just like a heatwave, straight into your head by burning your sight. Another reason might also be the connection that I have with this painter. Yes, of course he doesn’t know me, but I know him and his family. I know them all, because I have had the luck to have met them. His wife was my literature teacher in high school, and let me tell you something about her.
Have you ever fallen in love with someone you are sure to never meet again?
I have. Plenty of times. It happens so spontaneously, maybe I'm crossing the street, coming down the stairs, or just standing on my balcony. It doesn't happen all the time nor even everyday. But it does happen. The others who I tell about it say that it's just an attraction or that it's just an uncanny attachment as the result of my loneliness. I disagree. It is love, I know it because I feel it.
Much Madness is divinest Sense - To a discerning Eye - Much Sense - the starkest Madness - ’Tis the Majority In this, as all, prevail - Assent - and you are sane - Demur - you’re straightway dangerous - And handled with a Chain -
This poem echoes in my mind and has stuck with me since the first time I heard it. I was attending a poetry seminar and we were presented with Emily Dickinson. Our teacher, with smooth features and curly warm-coloured hair, was standing in front of us with sparkling eyes talking about Emily. I recall her face every time I think about Emily, even these days, despite being mostly blurred by the nonsense of monotony. I remember that I was rather disinterested in poetry because I considered myself too rational and strong to be moved by sensitive poetic words. ‘Nonsense’ I would think while sitting bossily on my chair and holding my pen with curled lips.
I believe the happiest people in the world are those who have travelled extensively. Since I was a little girl I have dreamt of far off places, imagining myself running around continents without stopping. So desperate has been my wish that I have begun to view every opportunity in my life as a journey. Right here, right now, the only thing that comes to my mind is how this blog post is going to travel across the world and come in contact with people from different places, whom I have always longed to meet. Therefore, this post conveys my greetings to you all.
Amidst my desperate longing for travels, I have realized that any journey that encourages a search for the new, simultaneously conceals a loss of that which is familiar.
An epilogue to Father’s day, dear friends – because everyday should be father’s and mother’s day. A text - a letter to her dad, actually - written by Kristen, Utah, US. Since Tammy Wynette and the Golden 60s we all know that “sometimes it’s hard to be a woman”, but, damn, more than once in a while it’s hard to be a dad too.
Dedicated not only to all the struggling fathers out there, but – maybe even more importantly – to everybody who has lost, or is about to lose, a hero, a Dad.
"Happy Father's Day to all the father's, including the wannabe father's and men who step up to mentor or care for a child that isn't their own. I am lucky. I had a father who loved me and taught me many good things.The truth is, he was far from perfect but he was the perfect father for me. It's not always the big things that matter the most.In the last year of his life as I was chatting my head off telling him all the things I had learned recently, he paused for a moment, looked at me and said,"You know, you're very interesting to listen to." That simple statement meant a lot to me - still does.
Wildlife is the story of an ordinary family in which everyone decides to escape. Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal) loses his job, too proud to admit his own mistakes, he leaves his family overnight to fight mountain fires. Jeanette (Carey Mulligan), in the face of another disappointment within her own life, gets involved in an affair with an elderly man. Only temporarily finding her old spirit of a cheerful young girl, now only a shadow appearing on her tired face.
I learned to cycle when I was around ten years old, I don’t quite remember the time, it’s vague and mostly vanished. Instead, I fill the memory with my own creations that probably never happened, or, are a misunderstanding of my own conception:
My cousin would come to our house in the village during summer breaks, and he always had his bike with him. I begged him to let me give it a go, but, in my family, I was the smallest of five sisters and I wasn’t preferred by most. So he always said no and played with my sisters instead. (Except once, when he gave me the bike and I fell, because of course I didn’t know how to ride it. After a good laugh he said: “that was the reason I didn’t want to give you the bike”.) Then they would go upstairs where my mom had prepared lunch for everyone. Since I was small and mostly dwelled in my books I was rarely seen at family gatherings, so my mum would always reserve a plate for me. My soul longed for freedom, and that freedom could only be provided by that bike. So I had to learn. When I could hear their laughs from upstairs, I snuck out, took the bike, and tried with all of my heart to ride.
Let me, for a second, unashamedly talk about myself. While I might be young, impressionable, and generally a bit of a loose cannon, I was not brought up on the “mean streets”. In fact, far from it.
I grew up in a small cluster of buildings, near a small village, near a slightly larger village, near a small town that is relatively close to a mid-sized city that some of you may have heard of. While not rich financially, my family was rich in culture. I grew up with a pre-raphaelite painting on my bedroom wall, over dinner I was told stories of the ancient gods (one of whom lent me his name), and I was sheltered from the systemic onslaught of advertising via a lack of television until my mid-teens.
There are very few downsides to being brought up around art and culture; however, if I have to really search for one it would be that after a while nothing really grabs your eye anymore. That brings me to the feelings of joy, longing, pain, and jealousy that I feel every time I see someone in a nice (and I mean really nice) pair of trainers.
Agoraphobia is an emotionally-immersive, long-term project which explores the domestic intimacy in the world of a woman with whom I am most deeply connected: my granny, now aged ninety-four, who suffers from agoraphobia and thus has been confined to her flat for over ten years.
I’ve always called my grandmother Wanda, although that is only a nickname and her real name is Morgantina, a rather unusual Italian name, probably originating from a Greek colony in Sicily. I am particularly attached to Wanda as she has been a source of unconditional love and support throughout my entire life.
1963 was a big year. It was the year US President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I have a dream” speech, Hurricane Flora took over the Caribbean, The Soviet Union launched the Vostok 6 spacecraft carrying Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman to enter space, ZIP Codes were implemented in the US, and Beatlemania took over the world after the release of “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Meet the Beatles!” In the same year, an ordinary thirty-three-year-old man made a very simple film which went on to become "the greatest work of art produced in post-war Europe". That man is the auteur Jean-Luc Godard, and that film is none other than Le Mépris.