Saturday, April 16, 2016

At The Beginning Of A New Day

Another one of those days which begin as I like: stories with friends in sunny places on a working day. You get the feeling of an unauthorized get away and you feel the freedom of chit-chat without the interruption of phone calls and emails. 

I was gonna meet up with a friend and I chose this place I have only visited once before. It was hidden on a street where you can hardly find a parking place, but this was a lucky morning where they had free parking places right in front. I decided still to leave my car on a parallel street and to take a walk on the lovely street and enjoy the beautiful houses in Floreasca. I reached the place and a very friendly Italian accent voice greeted me with "Good morning!" sitting at a far away table. That smile makes the sun come out and makes one feel extremely confident to greet the world.  It doesn't even matter if you know that person or if he just broke a few moments of his time to start your smile. I sat at the table and ordered a hot chocolate. Small tables all over the place, friendly atmosphere and together with the cultural diversity I can say this is a place to come back to.
Then the stories started and from there on we could have been anywhere because we forgot about space. That kind of conversation that takes from time to time and place to place and starts your engines with unloading your ideas, exploring initiatives and future plans from different cultures. 
This is how all mornings should start. With a coffee, hot chocolate, tea and drunk during a story with beautiful people and cultural diversity shared to the max.  
The place was called Grano, downtown Bucharest, and the talks were about Cricket, education and religion. All these can be so easily explored that I am beginning to believe we don't know how to make our mornings beautiful. I would love to start every working morning with a tea with a dear friend and to expose our new ideas so then I can start working and putting my plans into action.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Our Old Dacia

Today I watched the same accident happen as last month with the same type of car: old Dacia in big smoke in the middle of the day on a main street and boulevard. The diver pulled the wheel and hit the limiting pillars in the middle of the road and stopped. He was carrying windows and had printed on all sides of the car a company's name and the phone numbers. Maybe the driver was hired or maybe he was the owner, anyhow he was driving a car older than 15 years and  which had little investment lately. I wonder if the revision was made for this car or the technical inspection. He got out of the car, slightly panicked, and threw his lighted cigarette on the cement turning it off by stepping on it. Then two policemen on bikes passed by, but none of them stopped. I am thinking that the rest of us, the drivers in the traffic, could have jumped with a fire extinguisher, but I didn't know very well what happened to the car just like the rest of the people next to me. Anyway the whole preoccupation with smart phone leaves few eyes present to witness the smoke. I moved on under the invitation of the green light. Further on, I met other 2 police cars with policemen and they were just standing there quietly. I am curious if this time they have not put something on the news.
Last time I was coming out on the parallel line of Aviatorilor boulevard and got stuck in traffic. It was funny that the main boulevard was empty of cars and looking back I noticed an old Dacia smoking heavily. Then I got out of the car to see what's going on in front of us. A driver in front of me on the only line had stepped down to give a helping hand with a fire extinguisher. Obviously the owner of Dacia didn't even have that in his car. I wonder if he had the technical inspection. And I have asked for some explanations to the driver in front of me about how he imagines that it's smart to stand by and block all of us there and be sure victims in case of an explosion. Then he moved and they gave up the staring. In the evening I watched the news to see if there was any word. Nothing. 
They keep feeding information about Romanians loving second hand cars. I am sure many could get new cars through "RABLA" and a small loan from the bank, but the Romanian people loves leaving things unfinished. And that's what's killing us often. This "leave it for tomorrow", "don't fix it yet", this ignorance to the problem we pass by and stare and the lesson that has no effects. Each time we wait for the fateful "bad luck" to explain indolence, not caring and greed.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

On Literature

For a while I have done some book translations. And because the only language I master as good as Romanian is English, I cannot translate other than American authors, very sough for these days, because these are the ones who are intensly awarded/published/promoted. It looks like they are the ones most translated in Romania also these days. And I like to believe that I have made a pretty accurate idea about that they write and about the american society. So I have decided to put a few ideas on paper about this literature. 

First of all, most sought for are motivational books. Being a population with a major historical challenge, without any homogeneity and culture, and this thing is noticed in their constant need for guidance and idolatry. I cannot say that these books are not good or well written, but there is obvious truth which myself, as European born and raised under the sign of a century lasting culture which is running through my blood, I notice them even before reading them in a book.

Second goes fiction novels. These ones merge into the same themes depending on what’s good to sell and what’s catchy. I don’t believe this is how you build literature. You need a diversity of themes because otherwise you limit the reader to read only about these themes. Then he will try more in his real life. Also this way posterity will not get a real idea about our society’s life/culture/mentality. The fact that now there are many people fascinated with the new imaginary and that their passion for vampires is so high and deeply marketed that they come to identify themselves with the characters, without realising that the beauty of fantasy literature lies in the ability to expand your imagination beyond reality without even noticing the expansion into that world, doesn’t mean that this is what our society is about. I like to read fantasy literature with a higher degree of difficulty than the one with supernatural characters living like humans, but it looks like we are somehow merged into this mass literature.

It has also it’s good sides this literature. If you read an American recent novel you will notice the vocabulary exercise you are exposed to. It looks like the authors make an effort to use as many synonims for the same word. And this thing leades inevitably to a development of your vocabulary as a reader without even noticing the effort.

Scariest thing is that I find in the present fantasy literature influences from writers who worked over a century ago and who out of the great mass of American writers should have been long surpassed. Don’t get me wrong because I don’t believe all is new is better than the old one or that new presumably means evolution. But I strongly believe that ourselves as human beings and society evolve and therefore the culture should do the same. But if now you get writings like Asimov, what will there be left for anthropologists to analyse about our times? Almost nothing, we will probably be stuck all in two centuries of Postmodernist Medieval Times and the authors we now read and praise so highly will be forgotten. 

In my opinion we need to outbound our horizons and we need to pick better to stimulate the authors to give us more out of their imagination. 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

How To Be Free

This is the second book I read from the same author which impressed me a while back and which changed my perspective over my life completely. It’s true that I have become more lazy after reading How To Be Idle, but if the world knew how good it feels not to burn energy for every insignifiant thing happening around you, that’s how everyone would deal with panic, stress and fear. Nothing is forever and as long as we are exhausted by the thought that working as hard as we can to make God knows what “interesting” deed, we will miss out on important moments of our lives, we cannot even react. But if we still hang on to this rhythm, we will wake up alone one day, friendless, depressed and suicidal. And because I don’t want to end up like that, after reading the two books (How to Be Idle, How To Be Free), I have started practicing the “preaching”. This is how I have discovered that it’s true what they say: the world doesn’t collapse if I don’t work madly against time from 9 to 18 or 9 to 23. Because, after all, you don’t work for your good life, but against your health. Moreover, you don’t even realise when you lose track of sleepless hours and when you have become a slave. This is not the way you should continue existing. We are humans and we have the right to take a break and do something we like with satisfaction of it. So I encourage you to start doing so while you have the chance. Throw out the watch and make things as good as you feel it’s right and so in time all will turn out great. After a while you will become free and you will realise time passes much harder if you stop watching time and it’s passing...

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Bucharest, my city

I love this completely upside down world we live in. 

Every day I pass by new wholes on the streets, but net to them, most of the times, there are new buildings rising up, whether for offices or for living. And no one seems to cross their minds that the problem is actually this: we are certainly sinking, the paradox is through the tall buildings we are helping speed up the sinking process. 

And there are also the street borders, constantly renewed, while the green spaces remain untrimmed and the wild plants growing from each old building left for no use. And the parks which are also new released or not cared for. We live in a world of contrasts which we digest daily with its ups and downs. 

Walking is also a challinge, cause we have borders but no pathway. But I love this city, I love it because I can take as many steps as I want without worrying no one is watching. I like it that when I get home, I have some eyes watching over me from an upper floor. I am glad even that a person from above is watching me, otherwise I would feel too close to the sky.

This is my city and I love it as it is. I am glad to have been born in this sand and dust crowded place. I am glad to have learned to beautify it with irony and sarcasm. Otherwise I would have definitely gotten sick... of it...

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Form 112

I took part one day in an initiative to help a young person sick of cancer get it’s help from the Romanian state to treatment in Europe. And after we have all gathered there at the Health Ministry with many, many, many signatures for the cause, we left without a solution. But out of all this experience I have personally realised that there is a big mistake in the approach and response. I don’t believe this 112 or any other form should stop you from your fundamental right to live free as long as you have to live. And if you are sick of cancer and you have to take medications you have just lost many years of life and many moments of the days left (the tiredness afterwards, the sickness and not to count the hours spent in the doctor’s office). So 112 or whatever its name is should be unlimited signed off. 
Let’s be serious! What are they afraid of? It’s not like a Lazarus would rise from the grave and come spend hours in the European hospitals just to charge the Romanian state.

Fantasy Literature

A visit at the Carturesti Bookstores and you quickly realise that the world is still fascinated with fantasy stories. Maybe because the reality we see every day seems so dark that it’s hard to face it without a story with a bit of hope. Instead of facing the bosses, you enjoy reading about heroes you admire them for standup to the evil forces from a distance. And that is how fantasy becomes highly appreciated. 
And still why is our reality so dark that all of us prefer fantasy?
Why do we like naming the bad, the dark and dress-up the kitsch? Why not trying to beautify everything towards a fantasy we love?
These are questions I cannot answer. Maybe just take the fact that people buy books because of their covers and use them for their covers. And then it explains the lack of interest in bettering our lives. 
But maybe people still read books and there are dreamers out there who can make our lives more beautiful every day...
I am looking for a dreamer or more to share dreams about a beautiful world we could have around us?


The Age of Selfishness

In a world where information becomes more accessible every day, people learn to self-educate themselves. So each one of us will be an artist, critic and in the same time we will continue to be a consumer. Our taste is cultivated through a tradition hardly transmitted with some communist infiltrations and a western dream which is still alive. And our taste seems to influence somehow the true and educated creators. This fact cannot help lowering the world culture, interest and implication. We develop an age of selfishness, of independence, of individualism. This proves we haven’t learned anything from the world history. People have come to evolve in the moment they have united, the moment they have overcome their city limits and the moment the cultural conflict has given birth to a medium or long term compromise. 
Sadly we can evaluate we are in a reiteration of Medieval Age. Luckily, hope is still alive, that even after us, there will be some brilliant minds who will know to judge our times as a preparation for the next humanity jump. 

Our selfishness may head again towards humanity together with the realisation that individually we are nothing. And our art will then be considered as a step to a future age of powerful feeling as we cannot meet at this stage.