Sketching

Twenty-Four Are Enough

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When people say, “I wish I had time for this or that,” it usually means they don’t really want to do this or that. Yes, time given to us is limited, and every day contains only 24 hours, no more, no less. But the way we use these hours shows what really matters to us and what doesn’t.

When I don’t find time for something it’s because I am not interested enough to squeeze it in, and even if another hour or two were added to every day of my life I would still spend them doing something else. I would choose to do what I love, not what I claim to love.

Many years ago, when I studied at the university, one of the professors told us about a scientist whose name I unfortunately forgot (but it’s still a true story). That man never lost a minute of his life. If he had to spend fifteen minutes on a bus he would open a French vocabulary to learn some new words. If he had to stand in line in the post office he would read a book about insects (he was a physicist, but flies and cockroaches were a sphere of his interests too). When he had five minutes or even one, he always used it for some meaningful purpose, he read, wrote, studied and so on. And, as a result, he achieved a lot in many different areas of human knowledge.

The professor told us about this scientist to impress and force us to follow his example, to read and learn and improve ourselves nonstop, every minute of our lives. I don’t know if anyone took it the way the professor expected. Many students decided the scientist was just a cuckoo, and nobody expressed a wish to follow his steps. I was intrigued by the idea of not losing time and convinced that 24 hours can be used in a very productive way. But come on, do you really want to live like this, keeping a textbook in every pocket? I don’t. You can add a hundred hours to every day, and I still won’t find time for so much learning because no matter how I claim I want to know everything the truth is I don’t really care.

Twenty-four hours are enough for everything I do, now, today, in my life. And when I don’t do something it’s not because ‘I don’t have time’. It’s just because I don’t really want to and I need to have a solid excuse.

 

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Sketching

When It’s Time to Talk…

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The more the merrier, they say. But I’m not sure they’re right. The more the noisier, that is a fact. When a big joyous group gathers around the table and every its member talks at the same time, impatiently interrupting others or simply not listening to anyone but themselves, that is fun, maybe, but surely it’s not a conversation. It’s a polyphonic or rather cacophonic concert for a well-trained ear. I witness this once in a while when it’s time to celebrate someone’s birthday.

l prefer more intimate meetings when in a small circle, over a cup of tea, you can discuss for hours whatever it is the area of your interests, from the latest fashion news to the nuances of semantic difference between comma and semicolon. Believe me, the latter can happen. I even remember that I myself talked about it once.

Inner monologues are also a good example of informative pastime although they are not a conversation, technically. They are pure rambling and blabbering (this post is not an exception). And what else could they be if there’s nobody to interrupt you or object to your flawless arguments? You are always right when you talk to yourself. And you are also the best listener ever because you wholeheartedly agree with yourself, no matter what. And if suddenly you hear another voice inside you that has doubts about something you have just thought it means a monologue turned into a dialogue, your mind is split and you are a bit of schizo. It’s probably time to visit a shrink, or two. The more the merrier. Or that’s what they say.

 

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Flash-fiction

Rebelling in the Rain

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Image Credit: lesley-oldaker@Deviant Art

It was his fourteenth birthday, and he didn’t want to go home even though he was all soaked through. Since he never listened to the weather broadcast or his mother he wasn’t prepared for this sudden, though predicted downpour that now was hitting him with its big and heavy drops.

He didn’t care. He stood in the middle of the street and watched people hide under umbrellas and hurry away to get under the roof as soon as possible. They ran to their safe spots, to their dry worlds.

He looked at a couple that shared a small umbrella and, huddling, tried to speed up the steps, but instead of walking faster they waddled clumsily and stumbled every so often. “One shelter for two never works,” he thought. “That’s how they feel home too. Their love is as awkward as this run in the rain. It’s all a big lie.”

He looked up at the grey sky. The water flew down his neck, and he felt its cold touch under his collar. “You are bullies!” he cried at the clouds. “Why do you make us suffer?” The clouds ignored the question. “I won’t let you win!”

A man, scurrying by, threw a scared glance at the boy and then immediately looked away.

“Keep running!” the boy yelled at the man’s back. “He thinks I’m crazy. But I’m the only one who is not,” he told himself. “I’m right, and I won’t leave. The rain makes all of you hide in the stuffy cages you call apartments, in the small worlds with annoying routines you call life.” He lifted the collar of the wet jeans jacket and shivered.

“I’ll stay outside. Yes, I’ll get wet, so what? No big deal, I won’t get cold. And even if I die of pneumonia it still will be better than pretending that I’m happy.”

“It’s better here, outside,” he kept convincing himself. “I’ll walk along the streets, I’ll be among people, and I won’t feel lonely. I’m one of them even though they don’t realize it, they don’t recognize me in their blind haste.”

“I’ll stay. Maybe the rain is not a bully at all, maybe it’s just a reminder that you can’t hide from what’s inside you, from the pain that eats you, no matter how strongly you wish to avoid it. I’ll stay. I won’t go home. Nothing that waits for me there can help me. I don’t want to see their false smiles. I don’t care about their stupid cake. I don’t need their fake love. I don’t care because they don’t care.”

The rain let up. Passers-by kept running past a small wet figure frozen in its desperate try to prove the point.

 

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Photo Challenge #29 “Passing Through”

 

Bookworm, Sketching

The Tank Travel Dream

 tank
When I was a kid I read a lot of sci-fi, and one of the books impressed me so much that I wanted to repeat a trick described in it. The idea of the story (the author’s name and the title escape me now) was that if you find a building that has not changed at all and has stayed untouched for a certain period of time you have a door leading into the past. All you have to do is enter this place, convince yourself that you are in the chosen period (the book’s character was hypnotized for first couple of times, and then he learned how to put himself in trance on his own), and go out to the street some years ago. As simple as that.

The protagonist made several trips to the end of the nineteenth century, fell in love with a beautiful girl and decided to never come back, even knowing about all the dramatic events of the twentieth century that lay ahead of him. Love was worth it, he thought.

I wasn’t looking for love in the past. I was only amazed with the idea that a simple building can be a door into another world. I shared this thought with a friend of mine, and then together we started running round the city and looking for a place that might suit us. We weren’t lucky. There were some old buildings, of course, but they were reconstructed or half-destroyed. They wouldn’t work. Finally we found something. It wasn’t a building, it was a monument. A real tank that stood in the middle of the square as a reminder of the Second World War.

“We should get inside,” a friend of mine said. “The tank is the same as it was fifty years ago. We can go to the sixties and have fun.”

I agreed, we could have fun in the sixties, and I already started thinking what I should wear to look modern in the past. But we still had to find the way to get inside the tank. I suspected that the hatch cover might have been locked, but we couldn’t be sure until we checked. The problem was we couldn’t climb up there, the monument was too high. For a couple of days we walked around the tank like hungry cats smelling fresh fish, trying to figure out how we can bring a ladder and get in, not attracting anyone’s attention. Should we do it at night?

Then suddenly doubts crawled in. I thought that yes, the tank is exactly the same, nobody disturbed it for years, but the dust inside must have changed. Every molecule matters, the book said. Can the new dust be an obstacle on the way to our adventure?

A friend of mine had her fears too. “What if we just get insane?” she said.

“What do you mean?”

“What if we get in the tank, convince ourselves we are in the past, then go out to the present, thinking we are in the past because we’ve gone mad?”

This was a very complex concept for me. I was only preoccupied with the possible dust disorder. Still, the magic was ruined: I knew she didn’t truly believe it was possible, and I, deeply inside, didn’t believe it either. We walked around the tank for another day, and then dropped the idea to climb in. Our doubts won over. Plus, we never found a ladder. But I still think it would be cool to go to the sixties or just to see what’s inside the tank.

 

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Sketching

The Dog City

I live in Santiago, Chile. When I first moved in here I was shocked by the amount of street dogs. They are big and small, they are everywhere and they seem to own the city.

If I ride my bicycle and there is a dog, sleeping on the road right in front of me, he won’t move. He won’t even open his eyes to see who is it coming to run over him. He knows I will have to go around trying not to disturb his sweet dreams. He’s sure of his power, he knows his rights.

Dogs here, almost all of them, remind me of Dude Lebowski, so relaxed and lazy they appear. They don’t even seem to seek food, ever. They just wait for it to be brought to them. Once I witnessed a funny scene. A woman was staring at a dirty spaniel and repeating in surprise, “He won’t eat bread! He won’t! And he’s a street dog!” The simple truth is that dog lives at the corner next to a Chinese restaurant. He thinks he guards it and thus earns a living. Why should he eat bread as if he were a panhandler?

Santiago is full of restaurants, and, apparently, every dog has its feeding spot. The owner of the green grocery where I buy fruit told me that the huge black dog that lives at their corner eats apples and cucumbers. Obviously, some dogs in Santiago are vegetarians. Maybe they even organize meetings and manifestations to attract attention to the high level of cholesterol in the dogs’ blood. Who knows what they talk about when they gather in groups and run around the city?

In general, dogs are friendly or simply indifferent to people. Only once a dog barked at me, and it wasn’t a street pooch. It was one of those hairless angry pets that are so small you can hide them in the pocket; they always show off to impress their owner. Thank god, he was kept on a short leash.

The street dogs are not like that, they are usually peaceful like Tibetan monks. They have some quarrels between them, of course, but they don’t provoke conflicts with humans; they don’t mind us to live near them. And they teach us to look under our feet, constantly, since their shit is everywhere, and if you don’t want it on your shoes, you have to be careful.

 

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Bookworm, Sketching

My Blog Is My Selfie

“Concentrate on what you want to say to yourself and your friends. Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness. You say what you want to say when you don’t care who’s listening.”

Allen Ginsberg

My blog is one big selfie. It’s all about me even though I don’t post any photos and don’t share any details about my current private life. Still, it’s all about me, my thoughts, my feelings and ideas that attract or bother me. I’m in every word here.

Truly, I believe that’s how it has to be. This is my personal blog and this is why I have it: to think out loudly and, if I’m lucky, receive somebody’s response. I’m here to say what I want to say to myself and to those who care to listen.

The first thing I want to see whenever I go to someone else’s blog is the personality behind all the words. I don’t seek useful information or good advice on how to buy property in Miami even though there are many helpful web pages and I respect them. It’s just not the area of my interests.

I look for people. I know that some enthusiasts who get into blogging put aside reading books completely and only read blogs. I’m not one of them, but I get it. Books tell you stories that end sooner or later, and you have to move on to another book. Blogs allow you to meet real persons, listen to them and see how they cope with their life journey. If you like their voice and way of thinking you want to check on them every now and then as if they were your friends; and the great thing is none of them has the back cover saying ‘the end’.

As you can see, I’m a fan of selfies, but not all of them, of course. I like ones that are sincere, true and full of inner moonlight, and I don’t mind a bit of madness in their shine.

 

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Bookworm, Sketching

Sad Roots of Comedy

I am reading Craig Ferguson’s American on Purpose, and I enjoy it. I love his writing style and sense of humor. The most interesting thing about my reading choice, though, is that I recently developed taste for stand-up comedians’ memoirs. Not just anyone’s memoirs attract my attention, an author has to be a comedian. I’m still looking for roots of this reasoning myself, but so far, without finding any, I created a whole list of books of this kind I plan to read. And I’m good at making lists, you know.

So far I read only a couple of books. First I went to the boarding school for boys with Stephen Fry (Moab Is My Washpot), then accompanied Steve Martin on his lonely journey (Born Standing Up), and now I am in Scotland, with Craig, whose teachers beat 5-year-old kids on the hands with the belts created and used for this purpose only.

I remember my days at school and many teachers being rude or mean or offensive, but at least they didn’t beat us. I’m so glad that the standards of education changed and keep changing. If they didn’t I would probably have to be a comedian to process all that crap that the gentlemen mentioned above came through. It looks like the laugh is truly the strongest defensive mechanism our brain develops so that we can stay sane, no matter what shit is happening to us. But does the comedy have to come from pain? (This is Jim Carrey’s belief who, I hope, one day will write a book to complete my list of comedians’ memoires). Can’t it have another source, like pure joy, for example?

I think I need to go through all my reading list to find the answer. And if I don’t find any I still will have some laughs. After all, these guys know how to make a joke.
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Sketching

From Be to Move

moveon

I am, these are two words that express me most precisely. Usually I’m Ok with everything that is around me; whatever it is I’m able to adapt pretty easily. I am, and that’s enough. But recently I started feeling the urge to move, to change, to learn, to create, to be more than I am. I don’t know from where this shift comes, but it’s here and I have to deal with it, even though my sloth nature protests and slows me down. Yet, I’m moving forward, and the verb that describes me today is move.

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Sketching

Nobody Needs All the Truth

Once upon a time there was a research (I can’t tell where, I can’t tell when, and not because it is a big secret, but because I read about it long ago and don’t remember details) the aim of which was to find out if spouses wanted to know what their better or worse halves want, dream or think about. The question wasn’t about a short-term clear-sight experience, it wasn’t about understanding someone right now or in any other particular moment. The question was if respondents wanted the thoughts and wishes of their husbands and wives to be transparent once and for all.

The majority of the research participants responded to this generous offer negatively. People who usually complain about not understanding their life partners or not being understood by them didn’t want total transparency of thoughts. They wanted to keep the brain spots private.

Does it make sense? Absolutely, in my humble opinion. It’s not that people usually have a lot of dark or dirty secrets we might be afraid to reveal, even though it can be true in some cases. What’s more important, I think, is that we have enough troubles dealing with that infinite chaos our own brain contains. We are not able to absorb a whole world of somebody else’s mind, and we believe, perhaps correctly, that it would be too much to get in touch with every doubt, every little concern and inner conflict of our life partners, relatives and friends. It would break any, even the most stable, relationship because an angel’s patience and compassion would not be enough for such a task.

It doesn’t mean we can’t share anything at all. I am sure that we have to share out thoughts, feelings and believes, this is the point of being in a relationship. But there are limits, and everyone needs a private corner and has a right to have it. Nobody wants to live with the Big Brother or play this role themselves. I don’t want to know anything a person is not wishing to share with me. When he or she is ready to open up I’m there to listen and help if I can, but before that, I don’t want any truth serum injected into their veins. Let them keep their truth to themselves.

 

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Bookworm, Sketching

It’s Not the Genre That Matters

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“What do you read for fun?” This question sounds very strange to me, as if normal reading implied an obligation and hard, hard work and only sometimes you could allow yourself to read something for pure fun of it. Almost everything I choose to read I read for pleasure. As for the genre, I don’t limit my choices. Fiction, non-fiction, who cares? A book in any genre can be a jewel or disaster.

Many years ago I read Ingmar Bergman’s memoirs, Laterna Magica. I still recall some scenes from that book as if I saw a movie or witnessed a real-life event or maybe even lived through the Swedish director’s experience, so vivid was his writing, so palpable were his joys, pains and fears.

Some fiction books, on the other hand, can be pretty boring even in their attempt to entertain. I remember how once I borrowed a ‘humorous crime story’. It was the most tedious read in my life. I noticed the author’s desperate efforts to make a joke here and there and to leave an intriguing hint about the big question, ‘who stole the apple pie?’, but I couldn’t squeeze a smile out of myself so flat and tasteless was it all. I don’t remember anything about this story, not even the title, the only thing that stayed with me was the regret that I opened the book.

It’s not the genre, I assume, that makes a book good or bad, exciting or deadly boring. It’s all about the talent an author has or, unfortunately, hasn’t. That’s where the big border lies that divides reading into fun and disappointment. All the rest is insignificant; at least, that’s how I see it.

 

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