Monthly Archives: February 2013

I, etcetera.

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I met Susan Sontag.

I was absolutely furious with the fact that the library where I have access to books in English hasn’t purchased a book since… 2000? (when they bought let’s say… 20?) Moreover, they don’t offer ANY English writer because there only waves the Star Spangled Banner.

I met Susan Sontag within a battered paperback from 1979. I grabbed it as a last option among anything else because I recognized her name. I’d picked it some years ago when I had heard somebody on TV announcing her passing.

I had always known I was going to meet Susan Sontag, eventually, when I heard the announcement of her passing in 2004. Something in what they said about her (that I can’t recall at all), set my intention towards her encounter.

I’m delighted to have finally met Mrs. Susan Sontag.

A book is a blend of many things, not that I’m saying anything new. Balance is much appreciated in a book. But to those that read there’s usually something that outstands over the rest. A masterpiece would be a piece where every aspect outstands.

I like Susan Sontag very much.

Most times you fall in love with a story like with Follet’s “The Pillars of the Earth”, Horvath’s “The Canning Season” or Rothfuss’s “The King’s Killer Chronicles”. Sometimes you fall in love with a character like Kvothe from “The Name of the Wind” or Dr. House if you make an allowance for characters in motion stories; and sometimes you fall in love with the brains of an author like with Asmivov’s or Crichton’s or King’s. Very few times though, you fall in love with the way a writer writes like with Jonathan Safran Foer’s writing in “Extremely Loud, Incredible Close” or Susan Sontag’s “I, etcetera”, specially in “Project for a Trip to China”.

I simply get joy out of her lines and paragraphs, savouring the words and thinking how I could use those words myself. The beauty of those words lies in their superb accuracy and simplicity.

You should read this book. You’ll find an extremely clever, articulate, honest, humble, and precise mind with a mastery of expression.

I don’t like to quote, but I’ll make an exception because I can’t stop folding page after page to mark passages I want to copy later on a piece of paper and keep for myself forever.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you some Susan Sontag.

“Somewhere, some place inside myself, I am detached. I have always been detached (in part). Always.
-Oriental detachment?
-pride?
-fear of pain?

With respect to pain, I have been ingenious.”

“What People Are Trying to Do.

All around us, as far as I can see, people are striving to be ordinary. This takes a great deal of effort. Ordinariness, generally considered to be safer, has gotten much rarer than it used to be.”

“People are trying not to mind, not to mind too much. Not to be afraid.”

“Sometimes it helps to be paranoid. Conspirancies have the merit of making sense. It’s a relief to discover your enemies, even if first you have to invent them… Julia however, doesn’t think she has any enemies -as, when her current lover again refuses to leave his wife, she still doesn’t understand that she isn’t loved.”

HAPPY ANIVERSARY…

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… to me!

Today, wordpress reminded me that I started this blog one year ago exactly. I had no idea but that is understandable since I’m so bad with birthdays and aniversaries. Anyway! The reminder brought me great joy and I can’t let the occasion pass without thanking again and again to  my dearest friend Natalia who not only opened this blog and posted my first piece for me while I was just simply paralized, but encouraged me to continue writing with that soothing way of hers.

I’ve already told her some things I want her to say in my name at my funeral which I’m expecting she will actually say or I’ll be forced to come back from the grave to haunt her and make all her cakes and breads and pies go flat. Therefore, I’m asking you, on my behalf, that if my passing comes unexpectedly, to please thank her for this great opportunity.

However (God! I’m using all the connectors good girls use when they are sitting for their first certificate degree), as a present thank you gift to her – who was the godmother of this blog, I found a song we used to listen to when we met 10 years ago in Germany. It kind of stood just in the middle of our age differences since it was at that moment a new version by the band she loves of an old song I used to love by a band I used to worship when Natalia was just a toddler or so. The astonishing voice of Tom Jones’s is just a super bonus track since he’s the ultra-coolest among the not cool singers in the world.

Welcome to the party and help yourselves to music. Ignore the delay 😉

Rowing in the Sand.

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I’ve been blocked enough for years not to even remember I am,  essentially, a writer.

I’ve been willing to write but found myself without what to write about.

I’ve been lazy enough not to write at all for months, even when I had an idea to write about.

But it had never happened to me before to have the  idea, a minimum conviction of my being a writer, and a certain will to write, and not being able to push it ahead further than  two sentences at a time. It’s quite annoying and frustating!

I started writing this piece  “Akashic Records” (you may look for its first draft in a previous post) a year ago perhaps. I started with an idea and I wrote the introduction pretty swiftly, but then I realized my writing had taken me to a completely different plot from the one I had in mind when I started and I didn’t know how to continue it. Then, more  or less six months went by in blackness.

However, this wonderful summer a spark stroke me and all of a sudden I had the whole layout!

Imagine my exhilaration!

I set myself to write and moved forward for two chapters or so; but then… nothing.

Don’t get me wrong! I really want to write! I know what I want to write about, but I can’t do it!

I wake up and tell myself I have to write today and I accept it willingly. I sat at the computer and get ready to do it and then I just diverge! I don’t understand why it’s become so unattainable! Now that I came to think of it, I’m wondering if it all comes to the simple fact that this piece doesn’t have a soundtrack. All my other writings have had a song or couple of songs that helped me to focus. I played them endlessly while I wrote and didn’t stop until it was all done. I even include the tracks when I present my pieces because I think it important for the reader to listen to them along with the reading because they let’s say, summarize the mood or the piece.

But this orphan doesn’t have a voice on its own and I don’t know if I can adopt one for it now because all my other children were conceived simultaneously with the finding of some music that captured me for a period of time and it just didn’t happen this time. I’ve tried to present it to some music it might like, but it’s been useless. I  get distracted or the music just bothers me. It’s as if I can’t pay attention to more than one thing at a time anymore.

This is my mute child.

But as all different children, it will prove worth the extra effort because I suspect it hasn’t found its sound yet because it dwells in a much more extensive universe than its older siblings.

Please reader, talk to me. Be the voice and music that carries me through this delivery.

Mission Accomplished.

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vamp chr

Oh boy, I finished reading it at last!

Last November, after watching the last instalment in the Twilight Saga a former colleague of mine told me that if I wanted to read a good story about vampires, I should read Anne Rice’s; so I set myself to that on my summer vacation leave and here are my impressions about the trilogy.

First and foremost, I proved to myself I definitely DON’T LIKE  vampire stories. I pushed myself to reading in spite of feeling constantly sick to my stomach just because I’m this type of guy who’s thorough in everything she does. I definitely got caught into the spell of Twilight because it has so little to do with vampires.

I finished it just out of  a sense of duty and at some point because after more less 1,200 pages,  I wanted to know the end; but never because I was excited about it. It may be argued that reading the three books of the trilogy (Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat and The Queen of the Damned) on a row could’ve been too much because I remember that happening to me with Ender’s Saga by Orson Scot Card which I read enthusiastically through the first two books, but later on I was just in the “come on!”  mood. However, I can  argue back that I read Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind and specially the 1,oo0 pages of The Wise Man’s Fear suffering because every turn of the page implied one page nearer the end.

Rice is great describing scenarios! I also  admit the author made a great effort to give to her stories substance. She dealt a lot with the duality of the human versus the monster in the vampire and provided the text with much philosophical discussion. However, six pages trying to justify cannibalism don’t make any diference and left me with the impression that Rice was either underestimating me as a reader or being too cautious  not to damage her vampires’ reputations.

But the thing that annoyed me most was the female characters she presented. Apart from being very scarce (only four potential ones) they are the worst possible stereotypes. Two are the epitome of  selfishness and self-centredness (does this word exist?). The other was vaguely presented as the ONLY ONE who could make a vampire love a woman just to be mistreated later by that same former lover after she almost dies trying to rescue him. But all prices go to the Queen of the Damned! What a despicable, conceited, mean person! I mean, it’s not that I wanted all women to be cool and great, but I’m talking of balance and diversity as the male characters try to have. It seems that in Rice’s universe the only ones who can love each other deeeply and be eternally together are men gays.

Summer Vacations Are Over.

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In eight hours I’ll be back at work to start a freshly printed new year, but I’m not going to brood on all the pettiness that earning a living implies or on how much I’d like to stay on vacations.I’m just going to say that this was a pretty cool vacation leave which I really enjoyed. One of the best I remember actually. I had plenty of things I didn’t have before and they helped to enjoy my time and myself. However, what summarizes it better is that I truly, really rested. I can’t believe I was so deeply tired.

Well then! 2013 here I come. I hope you’ll be kinder and smoother than your older brother who rewarded me well for everything in the end though it put it pretty difficult in the meantime.

Happy New Year people around the world, whenever you start it!