truth lies

What succour, what consolation is there in truth, compared to a story?
When fear and cold make a statue of you in your bed,
don’t expect hard-boned and fleshless truth to come running to your aid.
What you need are the plump comforts of a story.

Yesterday I was watching, again, the Nobel lecture by Mario Vargas Llosa,
a celebration to reading and writing, an ode to literature.
But more than that it made me think about the importance of dreaming
What is literature if not lies, escapes, parallel universes?
Those stories, those lies are what helps us cope with that other world that we like to call

Who thought of this word, reality?
And when did it start to become mandatory to live in that world only?
When you are daydreaming you are told to stop being silly and face the facts.
If we have "unreal" ambition people will tell you to be more pragmatic
Artists are constantly seen as a rare group of people not quite commonsensical.

Why are we so obsessed about truth, reality and homogeneity
as if they were universal absolutes, when they clearly are not?
If stories, make-belief and pseudo-truths are the things that make life endurable
why can't we let ourselves indulge?
Better than happy-pills, therapy and breathing exercises;
what the world needs is more fantazising, daydreaming, story-telling.
And story-making.

Poetry, Alfons Mucha

These are the special times

Big city life
nothing compares.
or perhaps really great Friendship.
So the two of them together; fireworks!

/To avoid discovery I stay on the run,
to discover myself
I stay on the run./

Merry Merry Christmas to
old and new friends,
near and far away,
past and present

These are the special times, treasure them.

Ancient /σοφία/ (aka Sophia means wisdom)

In praise of reading and fiction

Let us defend the liberal democracy that, with all its limitations, continues to signify political pluralism, coexistence, tolerance, human rights, respect for criticism, legality, free elections, alternation in power, everything that has been taking us out of a savage life and bringing us closer – though we will never attain it – to the beautiful, perfect life literature devises, the one we can deserve only by inventing, writing, and reading it.

Mario Vargas Llosa

The point here is not to reiterate how I for the first time guessed the correct Nobel Prize winner (which I did :) but to consider for a moment the importance and influence of language and fiction.
Reading Mario Vargas Llosa's adress to the Nobel gathering I can't help but thinking about the importance of language in my own life. And the huge impact that fiction has had on my personal development.

Llosa describes learning to read as "the most important thing that has happened to him" because it changed his life into dreams and his dreams into life. And this is exactly the point. This is the thing with language, with the written word that makes it into magic. It blurs the borders between reality and surreality and makes everything possible.

Similar praises of the qualities of literature have been expressed by Helene Cixous and Jeanette Winterson. Cixous writes "I don't write to keep. I write to touch the body of the instant with the tip of the words." Because the conglomerate of words transcends their separate meaning and becomes something otherwordly. And this is why metaphors are not to be trifled with, cause as Kundera said; a single metaphor can give birth to love. Because once language is created, it can't be held accountable for what it causes. Or, in the words of Albert Camus:

Truth, like light, blinds.
Falsehood, on the contrary, is a beautiful twilight
that enhances every object.

And although I am not a famous writer, I think I can say without the hint of a doubt,

that I, too, would be nothing without the art of language and literature.

our burden is our blessing

Amidst the high ideals and ambitious plans of De Gaulle that I have been concerned with lately,
I started reflecting over my own ideals and ambitions.
Now, I am only at the beginning of my life (mashallah...),
but I think I've managed to gain some useful experiences and insights along the way.
And I suddenly realized that the common denominator  of those is hard work.
All the important things I've done in my "real life" have been really hard work. A few examples:

I slaved away for years at McDonald's for a bad salary and without gratification
I worked day and night as an au-pair in Italy for a very modest compensation
I definitely slaved for months as an entertainer for lazy Italian tourists and their spoiled Neapolitan brats.
I sold my 24-hour-day to the United Nations during my internship while simultaneously taking courses.
Now, this is not a bragging post.
Hold your horses, contemplation, analysis and conclusion will follow.

Just because I worked my ass off in a slave-like manner, that doesn't mean there were no benefits.
My UN internship was the very most rewarding time of my life, no matter how long my working days were and how tired I was in the morning. Getting dressed up and singing for a bunch of sunburnt Italians might not be the dream of my life, but the time at La Serra gave my self-esteem an enormous boost and I met some amazing people. As an au-pair I not only became immerged in the Italian culture, met my first love and mastered the Italian language; it was also- up until then- the best time of my life. And although it is difficult to see the clear positive side of working at McDonald's, it was my first real work experience which over time gave me some sort of work ethics, pride and even professionalism.

I don't want to go through life the light and easy way. I want to remain faithful to difficulty, because it makes us noble. But the trick is not to expose yourself to suffering and difficulty intentionally. For me, the most important thing is to find the positive parts. They say that if you can't do what you love, you must love what you do.
And maybe you can't love all of it, but they you better find that tiny part of it that you can love, because it is going to make all the difference. And even though I never consciously thought about this before, I think I just have that capacity to fall in love with whatever thing I have to do and it helps me be fully satisfied with whatever that is.


The heavier the burden,
the closer our lives come to the earth;
the more real and truthful they become.
Milan Kundera.

In vino veritas.

There is something braver than dying for the truth;
living without it.

Every step leads closer to reality and simultaneously further away from the past.

Finding all my previous motives growing increasingly unclear.

I've been thinking. All this business about the breaking.

"If he broke her, where would the pieces go?"

And I figured it out.
The breaking happened a long time ago and the pieces were scattered all over.
Flying about, dissolving into the air without me noticing it.
And not until now have they begun to gather again. Crawling back.
Every day I am finding more and more of them and the puzzle is getting big.
Bigger than before, stronger than before.

So, yes it's true.
All those silly things about getting better and not getting killed.
The clichés about creative destruction.
I am a revolution....

Jacques Derrida; We are all mediators, translators

Once we use language to refer to reality, that reality is linguistically formulated and therefore indeterminate. Meaning is not something preexisting in the mind that we struggle to express.
Like the main analytical schools of language philosophy from Hume onwards, and contrary to Saussure, Derrida does not regard words as the expression of ideas.

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