Category Archives: Literature/Writing

Retreat

Presenting below – some blog-cuttings by SARSPARlllA – a blogger who ‘approaches Borges’ as one of his followers has noted.

Brilliant, thoughtful writing from someone who looks like the contemporary James Cook.  And the entire world seen in fractals – incomprehensible, awe-inspiring, hurtful… A place to run away from – or rather, like in a vertigo trap – to escape to by retreating from…

You go to that house and work it like a Chinese gymnast: wear  something tight, force a smile, and lie about your age

Woken by five phone calls a night. Panicked, jealous.
The heat so enervating, my toes burned.
‘What do you think of Belen?’ Unable to lie.’It makes my heart hurt.’
Prehistoric turtles with diamond heads. With leaf heads, floating. Ayahuasca. A capuchin tied by the penis.
The attention Is gets, and that I’ve grown too old for; and the pleasant feeling of not resenting it.
The tiny frogs in the rain outside a sushi restaurant.
Slipping through black silt faeces in the floating village,dry season on the orillas of the Itayo river.
Everyone looks like Josue – delicate noses – when the Iquito tribe were wide-nosed.
Wanting desperately to do something to help lift them out of this poverty.
Well, we've done it again. We still haven't finished the story. How  extremely careless of us. But I promise you on my honor the truth will  be out next time. I've excused the actors until we return when they will  present the final act of our play. Unfortunately, since you are all  accessories after the fact, I cannot permit you to leave the room.

It’s beginning to hurt him more than it’s hurting me.

Partly, that’s because raw terror is making me block all thoughts of future, or of change, out. (it’s a coping mechanism, leave me be).

Partly it’s because running away is always the easier role than being run from.

I can’t help him much with that. He’s the one who made me choose. I could have managed half my life not choosing.

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Few words on communication and loneliness…(Whilt 15)

Don’t know why, yet I don’t feel like writing. Don’t feel like using words at all… Words are unnecessary stains on silence…That’s S. Beckett’s…

Out of sentiment probably, I’ve watched once again ‘Lost in Translation” by S. Coppola. An intelligent effort portraying deep loneliness among crowds and despite ‘having a relationship’. All because the most important gets ‘lost in translation’ – lost because of words which are not to be spoken out loud; lost because of time, space, fate. Found only in order to be ‘failed’ at the start… And all those witty understatements, subtle clues and games… Intense emotional bound ‘doomed’ to be lost in all that unexplainably, undeservedly cruel ‘logic’ of life… This movie makes me think more about my work in terms of the difficult art of using ‘low-key’ yet eloquently ‘charged’ messages…

And I’ve seen an interview with Noam Chomsky, the great old man, one of the greatest intellectuals alive  – he sounded so humbly ordinary that it touched the uncanny quality. He talked with tender care and respect as if the words, the language were special beings that he gave life to and took all the responsibility for it…Communication – it takes profound intelligence, good will and struck of luck to happen, to exist on its own and to develop inwardly loosing all the casual simplifications and gaining the meant depth… Do we think enough about the way we communicate (if at all)? The quality, quantity, sense, purpose?…

And the last random thought – fancy words used by some of the more initiated members of the Art World, critics and thinkers-on- art – they’ve been annoying me for years – now I’m becoming a sort of a collector of those – I actually keep a rapidly growing list of expressions, which affect me in a strange way – they just strike a certain string, resonating with elegance, creativity and literary potential. Here are some of them:

nascent (adj.) –‘being born’, just coming to an existence, yet – with a potential

redundant (adj.) – superfluous, unnecessary

portent (n.) – omen, auspice, prediction; with weight/future significance

subversion (n.) – undermining the power of authority, sabotage

resolution (n.) – determination, perseverance, dedication, bravery, purposefulness

intricate (adj.) – complex, baroque, confusing

It’s interesting how one expression can be enriched and illuminated by few others which are meant merely to ‘define’ it. It’s great to sense that interweaving of meanings and an economy of some of the words as they seem to contain the entire concepts in them… Fascinating… I feel a bit more like writing just now…

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Are you the “Witness to my life?”… (Whilt 10)

What have I learned today (Whilt)?

That our public ‘persona’ (if we can afford to have one being popular, charismatic and/or famous) may be completely different from the ‘face’ we have and show to our closest ones. And – that possibly makes the true ‘professional’ – the private, ‘self-contained’ man/woman of riddles, who can be truly discovered as an individual only after his/her death (providing, there is someone being like a ‘witness’ to one’s life).

Witness to my life is a series of letters Jean-Paul Sartre wrote to his life-long, romantic and intellectual partner – Simone de Beauvoir… The correspondence has been edited by de Beauvoir herself, which is especially important considering the private, in moments even intimate contents of these…

That’s the fascinating point – that this generously sized volume shows rather that ‘romantic’ that the ‘intellectual’ side of the relationship between those two brilliant thinkers. One is charmed, amazed and ashamed at the same time joining the company, which – clearly – enjoys perfectly to be left on their own. Hence the obvious question – why did Simone consider to publish all this – de Beauvoir we all know – the sharp, fiercely independent Muse to all the feminists?

The answer to the mystery may lay simply in the title – being ‘a witness’ to somebody’s life, bearing that responsibility to ‘tell the story’ from the perspective, which illuminates and enriches – that’s more important than petty  self-protection017 (‘what would they say reading this?’).

Whoever has in mind the image of Sartre as a dry, stiff -looking genius with the cynical smile wandering on his lips, someone who famously had said: Hell is Others… may be forced to modify it reading something like this:

– “What is this very beautiful way you have of loving me, my dear little girl? It’s your tenderness I’m particularly fond of…”

-” My dearest, you cannot know how I think of you every minute of the day, in this world of mine which is so filled with you…”

And – the years later?:

– “I love you passionately, my love. I long to hold your skinny little body in my arms. And I want to see your coat… Goodbye, my little flower..”.

And so on…  so gloriously ‘on’ for over four hundred pages! Who of you there, my dear ladies, doesn’t feel a bit jealous?… Just imagine,  such an explosive mixture of the razor-edged intelligence with the emotional intensity and a sophistication of an artist, all made even more inflaming by the sheer beauty and the depth of the personality… All simply radiating in countless confessions, all the glory of the genius that got drunk with passion… And Simone made a right (out of love I bet, couldn’t be otherwise) step – whoever reads this book will never look at Sartre as a philosopher in the same way… She has told her story extremely well, being – indeed- the witness to an exceptional life – the one, who anyone would dream to have…

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All fragments quoted: “Witness to my life, The Letters of Jean-Paul Sartre to Simone de Beauvoir 1926-1939” , edited by Simone de Beauvior, translated by Lee Fahnestock and Norman Macafee, Hamish Hamilton. London, 1992


Baudelaire’s lesson of French… (Whilt 7)

L’Homme et la mer08

Homme libre, toujours tu chériras la mer!
La mer est ton miroir; tu contemples ton âme
Dans le déroulement infini de sa lame,
Et ton esprit n’est pas un gouffre moins amer.

Tu te plais à plonger au sein de ton image;
Tu l’embrasses des yeux et des bras, et ton coeur
Se distrait quelquefois de sa propre rumeur
Au bruit de cette plainte indomptable et sauvage.

Vous êtes tous les deux ténébreux et discrets:
Homme, nul n’a sondé le fond de tes abîmes;
Ô mer, nul ne connaît tes richesses intimes,
Tant vous êtes jaloux de garder vos secrets!

Et cependant voilà des siècles innombrables
Que vous vous combattez sans pitié ni remords,
Tellement vous aimez le carnage et la mort,
Ô lutteurs éternels, ô frères implacables!

Charles Baudelaire

Forever love the ocean, free man!
For in its eternal unrolling of the power
You can contemplate your soul as if in a mirror;
Neither less bitter is the abyss of your spirit.

You would plunge into your image emerging there,
Ready to dive your eyes, arms and heart into it
And if something makes you to forget that vanity of yours,
It can be only that wild, untameable lament of waves.

You both tend to be dark and mysterious:
Man, no one has ever searched through your gulf;
Ocean, no one knows your hidden riches,
So jealous you are of your secret depths!

And yet, for countless ages, remorselessly and
Without a pity, you have fought each other,
For so strong is your fascination with carnage and death,
Twin wrestlers, for ever in a struggle!
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Interesting, how we tend to translate the same poem differently in different decades/generations zooming in on, digging into varying tones and shades of meaning…  There is something really truthful in what Matisse said that: Each age brings its own light, its particular feeling for space… – it brings also its very own understanding of what has been written/said decades or hundreds years ago.

I’ve bumped into Baudelaire’s “Flowers of Evil” 1857 (so gorgeous this title is!) on this well-edited site, yet the four various translations provided there had annoyed me so much – I just had to try my own ‘voice’. Interestingly again, I’ve found the oldest version from 1931  the most appealing, maybe due its naturally (time-wise) closer sense/feeling for the author’s intentions. Maybe… My attempt (can be read as a joke, I wouldn’t mind) is meant to care much less for the literal deciphering word after word, yet – it aims at capturing the sense of freedom, the dark power and the combat spirit of the both – ‘free man’ and the ocean. This is my light, my feeling of space as I marvel over this 19th c. French poem in this first decade of 21st c. – seen through the English-shaded glasses put on my Eastern-European eyes…

Any comments?… You are all pretty silent out there. Sometimes I feel like writing for myself and my Muse (if she is available) only…



Studying Art – Diary (12)

There is never enough of them – do you know this feeling? Books. Books. Books. You would spent your life in the libraries and your savings on purchasing yet another title with a delight, that an art collector enriches his ‘stable’ with yet another beautiful, desirable piece of an artwork. It usually starts very early in a childhood – once being firmly and passionately ‘hooked’, one can sense it over time, that there is hardly any w07ay/chance of escaping (and rarely one is attempting it either) from this quite unique, vast world of words, stories, concepts, titles, authors.

I remember time of a pure addiction when I had to have my room filled in tightly with the piles of books and I would never read one at the time, but four or five of different titles enjoying the interweaving of the themes, stories and styles the way the cocktails aficionado marvels at the minute transformations in taste/smell/colour of a drink once the one or another ingredient contributing takes over the rest. But there was also a rebellion time when all the questioning of the written word (or ‘word’ at all), its sense and purpose took place – I believed that one casual conversation is worth more than a dozen of invented stories. That was obviously a passion-boosting fight between two lovers and quite quickly I found myself simply unable to keep my hands of the printed pages and my mind of that very strong, existential need to devour their contents feverishly and with a wild enjoyment.

What is more important in terms of a self-discovery and my artistic research  is that I’m becoming increasingly aware of a strong link between my condition of being a still-born writer (or – never truly born yet, from different reasons) and my ambition of pursuing an artist’s path. It seems that I’m trying to approach and master that beloved universe of the human spirit – described, analyzed, transformed, invented anew and ‘written down’ in all the books I read (and tried to write in vain) from another – the visual aids-based angle. In this sense I share that struggle with many other artists/painters, who chose (or have been destined to) the liminal/boundary and cross-disciplinary spaces to function and work in, rather than to focus mainly/predominantly on the purely aesthetic, fine-art based exploration and display.

When I look at paints/art materials I see ideas to be embodied, when I listen to my work on its way of a development and a metamorphosis I sense its intense desire to become, to come to existence, to get the ‘face’ and a very distinctive, believable story – just the way, the would-be characters of my fiction have had… “Give birth to me”! “Help me to be!” – they would haunt me in a sweetly-sour manner, the same is true to my paintings now… the blessed curse, the cursed blessing of the life-giver, a creator – to be a midwife, a womb, a medium and to be entirely and for ever responsible for what has been helped to happen…

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Alice, L. Carroll and their land…

I’ve promised her a little post some time ago… Then I excused myself due to the flood of other ‘important’ things to do… Yet, she has been waiting patiently, the way kids do when their intelligence and understanding of human issues surpasses our own…

Alice and her Wonderland – not that long time ago I would adopt that name and – the entire worldview and life-view having a temptation to tease someone (including myself), who tended to cultivate rather his/her own world than to contribute  to the physical, objective reality in a ‘typically’ intense, engaged way.

Yet – Alice is an entity on her own — a timeless authority on the essence of childhood, dreams and imagination… and not a sort of a Barbie- toy our grandmothers would amuse themselves with. It’s enough to reach for Lewis Carroll’s masterpiece again and read it with a fresh mind, with enthusiasm and with a playful manner, as it was meant to be read. It is a compelling lecture and a fascinating adventure – all ages/stages in life allowed! What I find especially impressive and adorable is the writer’s ability to create the entire, nonsense-based world which is perfectly functioning – no character, event, even a sentence/expression is out of place. That powerful, seamless and convincing, if not enchanting integrity of a created/invented ‘reality’ is always a trademark of a great artwork, either literary or in visual/audio arts. It’s there to be believed in because it makes sense – it ‘sounds’, ‘looks’, have a ‘feeling’ of being sensible/born to exist – even if this ‘sense’ is as no-sense you know living day to day, here and now.

I like also the potential of very different, possible interpretations – the whole hermeneutic schools of reading the Alice compete and contradict each other with passion and inventiveness, which one might have thought to be impossible, when most of the contemporary more/less successful fiction was considered. Similarly to the Nutcracker‘s story, there are basically two versions circulating in the audience’s memory – the sugar-coated for 7 years old, which entertainment(money)makers have managed to exploit to a mind-numbing degree, and the original one – complex, slightly dark and sinister with multiple and always ambiguous layers of meaning. And ambiguity is a key-word here, especially when one is aware of the modern witch-haunt which sees Carroll – predominantly and without a trial – as a monster writing stories for little girls out of the ‘friendship’ and the general ‘affection’. It’s been always unreasonable and cowardly for me – to send a great artist/writer/thinker on a stake, post mortem and with a little regret – due to his/her ‘crimes’ against humanity committed few decades or hundreds years ago, accordingly to our contemporary – advanced, illuminated and never mistaken grasp of things…

When I look at Carroll’s beautiful photographs of children (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, as he was born, was an accomplished photographer as well as being a scientist – mathematician and logician) I see the great effort and tenderness to capture the solemnity and loneliness of the little individuals, facing the challenge of growing up in a reality programmed by adults and for adults. Yes, these children are ‘individuals’ – independent, intelligent and troubled,  little masters of their own world – just like Alice is… Seen as that, they stay in a radical opposition to the modern, popular portrayal of the youngest generation –

‘cute’-doll-like, carefree and subjected to a constant supervision and guidance.

Here are my favourite quotes from Alice in Wonderland:

I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night? Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is ‘Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle!

If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?

An author doesn’t necessarily understand the meaning of his own story better than anyone else.

Photos above in an order of appearance:

Lewis Carroll, Alice Liddell,1858 (prototype of Alice)

Lewis Carroll, Fair Rosamond, 1863

Lewis Carroll, Mary White, 1864


Ble, ble, ble… (Whilt 5)

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Ble, ble, ble, what, ble, ble ble bleeeeee…

Bleeeee, are, blee, ble, ble, ble,ble, bleeeeeeeeeeeee…

Bllleeee. blllllleeeee, you, ble, ble. BLE.

Bllllllllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, bbbbbbble, staring,  bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbblllllllllleee: ble, ble, ble.

Blllle, ble, ble, ble, ble, ble, ble, ble, ble, ble, ble, ble, ble, ble, ble, ble, ble, at, ble, ble, ble, ble,bleble, ble, ble, ble, bleblebleblebleblebleblebleblebleble?

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Happy New Year everyone! Enjoy the new Time, live it as if it was the last one of your life…. After all, who can be sure it is not?… Ble…


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