Category: Miscellaneous


I will do something now that I normally never do: I will tell you just at the beginning, that this is quite a long and tedious posting. I bet you will not like it. Better find a different blog. This one is really lame. If you are not interested in reading anything truthful, yet serious and about waylaid sex, about love and lust, pleasure and pain, mixed up sex orientation in teenagers and twens, then, don’t read this post. If you are willing to read it, get in, and enjoy the ride.

Sometimes I am being dragged, whoosh, all over the place since our teeny weenie dog Cedric is no longer so teenie weenie like before when we first had him in August. Actually, he makes sure that I get out a lot and get a good share of long walks which is just fine by me. He eats and sleeps a lot, but mostly he is full of energy and wants to play a lot. Our little garden patch did not last long under the new garden architecture that he introduced. He either loves or he hates lavender. I love it and I am kind of sad that he dugged out all the little plants. And he developed a good hunting instinct, also he is now a force to be reckoned with, and I do have to run after him since my natural authority somehow seems to wash with him only in connection with little yummy treats (ehem). Well, still, we are working on that one.

So, as I was saying, when I am walking alone which does happen lots of times, my mind just wanders and I really start to forget about the daily grind. My mind is immersed in so many unfiltered thoughts, I am sometimes amazed at what thoughts I come up with. Like I said, I truly and deeply relax as others might relax doing an apple cake with cinnamon, driving a motorbike, diving a coral reef, having a karate training, trying out a new lipstick or having a bubble bath or swimming naked on your favorite beach or reading a book you really like. Last time I was out on my own, it really came to me that I should sometime start and write down a bit of an autobiography, you know, the stories, the people, the things that made me the person I am today. It is not that I am so much in love with myself (working on that one, too) that I think I need to have a keepsake of my oh so important life, no, nothing like that. No. To me, it is rather a quest to understand why I am sometimes really exhausting, a bit eccentric and so hard for others to understand. I know this might sound a bit weird, but in a way, I tend to be proud I am different. But then again, in other moments, I just wished I would have had a different background, a different youth and a diferent set of cards right at the beginning. But then again, what can you do?

That’s water under the bridge now.

Some say this is karma. Some others don’t give a toss. I tend to belong to the others. The point I very awkwardly am trying to make here is that we are who we are. No matter how much we hide it, no matter how much makeup powder we put on, no matter what our aspirations are, no matter how much we try to turn ourselves into others and try to appear in a different light, we still are what we are.

Again, where am I going with this train of thought? I guess, I am trying to say that even though I can sometimes demanding, I can be pretty egoistical, sometimes even a bitch at times (there, I said it), perfectionist to the point of a mild obsession. My husband would now laugh if he would read this, mild??? You must be joking.  I can even hear him say it right now. Ok, scrub it, so instead: a wild obsession. That better, honey? Ok. For the sake of avoiding any marital dissonance, so it is.

Anyway, while I was out with the dog, I asked myself, if I would be me if I hadn’t had all these ups and downs, experienced all the things I did, enjoyed, suffered and lived through a great many, wild, crazy, and sometimes really not so funny situations. Would I still be me? Sure I would. Silly question. But the “I” of the presumed presence would be different to the “I” of the really historic “I” and therefore, we shall never know. So, again, in terms of a philosophical and also psychological perspective, we need to view things from an empiristic point of view. We humans are all unique, because of our genes but more so because of our experiences and our senses. We have our little traits, we all have our talents, and for sure we all have our flaws, we all have our fair share of virtues, but also of vices. Life would be damn boring, if it wasn’t like that.

Will you show me yours, if I will show you mine?

That is probably one of the oldest games between children of the opposite sexes. Why are we so damn attracted to look at the genital region of the opposite sex? Well, yeah, I know, there is quite an obvious reason, but honest, I swear I did not mean that. Anyhow, as children we hardly knew anything about it, so that cannot be the only reason for it either.

I truly have no remembrance of such an encounter (there was something, but it looks kind of blurred, hahaha), but I imagine that this is something we all try to understand, why are we humans built in two different models. Why did life itself come up with a set of two different sexes, why are there boys and girls, men and women? I haven’t got the faintest clue to be honest. But it sure is fun, isn’t it?

To be dead honest, I have always been interested in this topic, ancient as life itself. Listen up. I have a thesis. If we were equipped with all the same standard material, it would a) be not any fun at all unwrapping christmas presents if you get me. It would just be like, oh yeah, I know. I got the same. Nice meeting you. Bye bye. b) there would be no mystery involved. I have the theory that love itself is about overcoming the difficulties of understanding the opposite sex. Half of it is trying to make yourself understood, and the other half is chemistry.

But since we happen to have been blessed with such a funny equipment, we tend to be more adventuresome. We tend to be proud of what we are. Are we?

Are we really?

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Well, I guess it really depends. Which part of the world you were born in. Which family you had the luck to be born into. If your parents wished for a boy / girl (vice versa). These are all criteria that can make life easy for you, or it can make life hard.

I remember that when I grew up, I had a strong sense that being a girl was only second best. I had two brothers. I was the middle child. I was the odd one out. I remember now that I quite seriously wanted to be a boy. I mean don’t get me wrong, I was not transsexual. Only thing is that I did not feel at ease being a girl. I never knew my lines being a girl. Do you get me? That my mother gave me always the trousers that were quite worn out from my older brother, did not make this any better. I was always a bit of  a tomboy. I climbed trees, I was very good at short distance running. I wanted to learn judo. I tend to get into a fight for nothing to show off my strength with the other boys in the  streets.  But as the years progressed, boys started to look at me wondering who I was. That was pretty weird. I kind of felt I was somewhere in the middle. I felt like a girl but something within me shouted “let me please disguise as a boy”. I wanted to make myseld invisible since I felt so insecure.  I even looked quite boyish by nature, my features were kind of unisex, which did not make things easier at all for me. Kids I had never seen would shout at me in the bus and ask me if I were a boy or a girl. Some others would call me names. I would not answer. One part of me happy I was not easy to figure out, the other part of me was afraid my voice would give me away. Then, when a sturdier boy would came after me, trying to beat me up, I would run for dear life. Like I said I was always very good at short distance. Childhood for me was not a safe place. My parents were both working. They were hardly at home. But one thing they always made sure was to show me that girls were not allowed as many fun things as boys. Don’t get your clothes dirty. You should be home by that time. You are a girl. Girls don’t do that. That was such a screaming injustice that I now know that it really wasn’t a sexual identity thing at all, it was a mix up alright, but rather all mixed with the thought of a child who came to understand that girls don’t get as much freedom as boys. So, that was the natural solution. I wanted freedom and be able to do all the nice and wild things boys were allowed to do. So I needed to act and look like a boy. Nothing else.

 

Looking back on it now, this might seem an odd memoir, but what I really wanted to say is this. What ever you wish for, be it a boy or a girl. Whatever your tradition is, please don’t let your children suffer the same shit as me. I do believe, that life could have been easier if I hadn’t had this twist in my personal history. Much much later, I got to understand that I was really a girl. And that it is nice to be a girl. I did come to like it. That much is true. And it does not necessarily have to be defeat if you start crying, or if you feel helpless and you admit to it. I grew up in a weird testosterone dominated environment where girls did not count at all and boys were everything.

Right now, I think that I have overcome it. Ten years ago, I was still quite unaware of it. It was dormant, hard for me to admit it, to even to speak about it, let alone give it away that I felt insecure being a girl/woman. Today, I can rationalize it, I can vocalize it and I can understand the patterns of behaviour. I can even laugh about it.

At university, this drama of a mixed up identity or a missed female coining, kind of persisted. Due to my sexually confused behaviour, I was often dubbed the ice princess. I came over being aggressive and yet still kind of unattainable. The talk was I might be bisexual. God, even I did not know this rumour. I spelled trouble. I got many dates, many of them with really sweet boys, but I just could not bring myself to find the right tune. I did not know the right key to hit a strike. At night time, I went out a lot. I tried out a lot. Sex, drugs and rock´n´roll. Yes, I had between 19 and 23 my fair share of madness and mayhem. I somehow tried to win back all the time, and the experience my peers seemed to have achieved in their late teens while my Greek father was watching over my every step. Moving out at 18, I plunged head over heels into life, an unknown source at the time. For me that was a very intense period where I was rarely left on my own. I did not want to be alone. But most of all, I wanted to see what I had been missing.

I craved life itself. It felt like I had been living an ascetic life. Something which is probably true.

So, I did it all. I kicked and screamed. I kissed and scratched at the surface. I drank from the golden cup. I did not leave out one foolishness. No. I guess I did them all. Sometimes I dug my nails in deeper. Those were wild nights. Filled with sheer, mindless and directionless energy that only youth possesses.

prisoner_by_eoloperfido-d2y9zk4

While I was 20 I fell very much in love with one guy. Then fate would have it that I came to be a grant student at Trinity. So I would be gone almost a year. The wide world was beckoning. We hadn’t gone all the way until then. When the last day before my journey to Ireland approached, we finally decided we would give it a go. It was in his parents home. That was such a silly thing that happened. Yeah, guess what, his parents, no, his father suddenly opened the bedroom door while I hid under the covers. I was mortified and still I laughed because it seemed to be taken from a French teenage movie. The next day, he brought me to the trainstation which would bring to Frankfurt. I flew to Dublin, via Paris. It was an adult thing to do. To say goodbye. I felt so immensely mature and aloof. Little did I know.

We wrote each other tons of letters. It felt good. Then I noticed that he had fallen in love with another girl. I tried to talk myself into thinking that it did not matter. I was away anyway, why shouldn’t he have some fun? When I came back, I found out how much fun he had had. My little heart became yellow. I was so jealous, I could hardly stand myself being that way. When he touched me, it was like a fever that consumed my whole being. But still. Our time window had closed. We both moved on. It was a shame. But it was over. So over.

At 21, turning 22, I fell for a gay guy. He was so unattainable. So provocatively sexy and really mature, mind you he was 26. I guess that I was deeply and madly in love, or to put it in other words, I was infatuated. Maybe I was just not ready for love, I wanted to have a boyfriend, but one that would not get too close, one that was right because he was not right for me. Got it? So, we dated. But to be honest, let’s face it. Girls and ladies, have you never dreamed of turning a gay guy around? Never? Liar! It was a kick. So we talked. He was nice, intelligent, good looking. The only strange thing was that he fucked a gynaecologist. That was pretty weird. And yet, whenever I was with him, I felt so safe and so cared for. With him was like being protected. While I had a cold, he would mother me until I was good to go again. I felt home. The real trouble just started when we finally landed in bed with each other. Yep, that’s when the real problems started. I was so unexperienced, so green. It really hurts even thinking about it now how inexperienced I was. I was wax in his hands. Let’s face it. I never had a chance. He knew fully well what he was doing. This guy, let’s call him Francis, was bisexual. And all of a sudden, I was amidst a bizarre love triangle. That was way more than I had bargained for. His gay love interest was so jealous of me, he wanted to punch me. I was 22, Francis was 26, and the other guy was 29 I guess. We both shared a love for music, whenever I was with him, his guy would make sure, we would run into him. He would push me aside, so he could kiss Francis right before my eyes. I was so devoted to Francis, I kind of did everything he wanted for him. Christ, I even hid out at school so I could help him pass his Latin exam at his evening school. I guess there is not much I would not have done for him. He was in a theatre company at the time and played a very modern type Hamlet. I trained him speaking english with an english accent. I spent all my money just being with him. I took a train all across the town only to be with him for a couple of minutes. I had it really bad. I had become a dumb muppet of his. My glasses were so deeply pink in their shades that I hardly noticed when someone slipped them  off.

This someone happened to be my gay roommate. He invited his and my friends all over to our place and I had to witness that Francis was just keen to torture anyone who had been foolish enough to fall for him. Ok, that someone happened to be me. That was not so much fun. My roommate tried to warn me. He knew that Francis was only in love with being the centre of attention. He asked me why on earth did I have to pick a gay guy when I knew so many cuties.

 

But if you loved once, you know how difficult it is to stay sane if you are deeply and madly in love. I saw them kissing, trying to avert my eyes, intending not appear too keen. I wandered, kissed and being kissed by other men. I felt icecold and burning up. Sometimes I was approached by other women. I no longer cared. If he could have men and women, why shouldn’t I try and go for the same? I have to admit it. I really tried it out only once and went all the way. I was with a gorgeous female co-student and her boyfriend and we decided we would have a threesome. Hm, no, it basically just happened. It was winter. We were in this tiny little student appartment. We were cold. All soaked wet from the snow. We undressed and huddled up on the sofa beneath a blanket. It kind of just happened. There was a mutual consent between us three. I must admit, it was not bad at all. But I really prefer men to women.

Francis was better than me at this game. I only teased him. He knew how he could torture me. He knew how he would drive a stake through my heart. And he did. After that night, I was suicidal. And I really did something really stupid. I took some strong hallucinogenic drug. I was all on my own, I was also offered heroin. Luckily, I did not take that but LSD instead. I should have known better really. Lucky me, though, I only ended up having a bad trip. That was a long, long night that one. And when I was coming to my senses again, I knew that the gay guy was out. The ridiculous thing was that as soon as I did not act as devoted as before, he kind of showed more interest. However, whatever you see in a trip is somehow a sign that can be translated into normal life. I just knew I should forget about him, so I moved on, he moved on and he looked out for a fresh victim. There are people like him. After that I took an HIV test, the first one I ever did. Back in those days, 1992/3, it was kind of shameful to have a HIV test. A HIV test said that you had been a bad girl/boy. They tested you, give you a handful of condoms and brochure in four colour print. But I wanted to know.  I needed to know to continue life. I had to wait for one whole week. You went there anonymously. You had this little piece of paper. I knew he had really had so many affairs. He always said that condoms were not made for him. Of course, we did not take one. That week I swear to God, I hardly slept a wink. I felt that if fate has me then I would be HIV positive. But I wasn’t. Glad I survived my own stupidity.

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A couple of years later, I met him. He had put on a lot of weight and lived in an open gay relationship. He still loved me in a way I guess. He was super friendly and it felt right for a very short moment.  However, I no longer loved him. How did it feel for him to hold so much power over someone. How was it to have an innocent love to a young woman while having a gay relationship? Cos that is what it was. I had loved him no matter what. Something I don’t know what had been there, a tie between us. Maybe he did not know what he did to me. That was one moment I will never forget. I left and did not look back again.

At 22/23 I was pretty much disillusioned. I felt as if I had seen it all. I was alone and I wanted to be alone. I studied a lot, and relationships left me feeling disgusted. However I still felt the urge to continue my quest for sex, lust and some more extremes. No strings attached. I wanted nothing but sex. In its purest form. I wanted sex in a very masculine way. Somehow. On a deeper level, of course, I yearned to have someone as deeply fascinating and still someone who was sane enough not to be the apex of a love triangle. I dated no-one. I had one night stands. Fair enough. I did not try to be something I was not up for. I just wanted to have some fun. I once more fell for the drugs I had started taking while I was 15, 16 and had given up in between. Only now, I also started taking speed again, and some other amphetamines to really make it through the night and afterwards be able to study and go to my parttime job in the city. I really did not care. It was quite a hedonistic era, 1993, 1994. I did anything I wanted. I danced the nights away. I stumbled out from the disco and into some seedy clubs. I would sniff speed and go back home at dawn.

Shortly after I had started taking amphetamines, a friend of mine warned me, that I was already pretty hooked, it was true, there was not many nights I did not take it. I was on a large dose of speed already. I had upped and upped the dose since enough was never enough. Coming down was the hardest part. Normal life seemed so excruciatingly slow. It felt like I was trapped in a slow motion picture. Life was only real when the pulse hit you with a feel that you knew the grip would not let go of you until the next morning came. Speed just felt too good. The great part was you were left with enough energy to go to uni and study. Only in the afternoon I would go home to crash and wake up around midnight again. How was I supposed to live life when things were so damn slow? To be honest, speed was the drug that was cut out for me. My heart rate increased, I had slight arrythmic moments from taking drugs. I never really thought about the things that could happen. It wasn’t LSD, it was just speed, it was the cheapest drug you could buy. Cheaper than pot and marijuana. My only concern would be if it had been cut with some washing detergent. I remember I had this small little mirror cosmetics box where I hid a small paper fold, a naked razor blade and a cut up mcdonald’s straw. That was my personal tool kit. Perfect to prepare a line when you were out at night. Anyway, so this friend of mine told me not to take it anymore. She made me promise. I was a bit fucked up then. Who was she to tell me what was right and what wasn’t. Of course I did not keep my promise, I got the stuff somewhere else.

Shortly after, still 23, I met my future husband. I did not expect anything. But everything was suddenly there. There was a sudden feel of being innocent again and being able to fall in love again. And it happened just like it was meant to be. He saw me, I saw him. Thunderbold and lightning. It was in the uni library. We exchanged phone numbers, I left. He called. We met. We talked most of the night. Touching the hand of the other shyly. A gaze from the sidewalk. We walked by foot a long long way. At my appartment, we did all sorts of things until we passed out. It had to be that way.

Now, at 41, almost 42, I look back upon that girl… That girl that was afraid of love. That girl who wanted to trade in sex for love. That silly stupid and sweet girl. I am so damn lucky to have survived so many bad moves, and to have found the man I am with, the love of my life.

I cannot undo the harm that was done. But what I can do is to let it go. I do not need the scars of the past anymore. They are what they are. But most of all, this is the past. That was then, this is now.

If you have children, please make sure, they identify with their sex and don’t let them think that one sex is better than the other. Children are very susceptible that way. They will believe anything. As absurd as it might be. Be sure to tell them you love them. Children want to and need to hear this each and every day. This is much more important than a pint of milk. Love is much more nourishing in so many ways. I would go back in time if I could do something to change my childhood and change the past. Help myself with the knowledge I have now.

If you have children, make sure they understand at an early age, but not too early, what drugs are and why they are dangerous and can seriously fuck you up. I still have that one speech ahead of me, and I hope that I will find the right words to tell my children that I did take drugs but that I am not really proud about it and that there are way more fun things to do in life than doing drugs.

I need to forgive my parents that they never accepted me being their daughter but instead treated me like an invader, like an outsider all my life, and that they still give me the feeling that I am the persona non-grata. Including my two brothers. Actually, they treat me like I would not exist. All that matters are they. I seem not to belong to this family. Lucky me. They are like the mafia somehow, and sadly, I don’t belong, I am the girl outside. Fuck you. I am me. And I can live, and love without you!

Some people need to be 42 to grow up, to make peace, to let go of their past. That is the case with me.

And I won’t let this destroy my life.

Brendan Kennelly who was my English teacher at Trinity College Dublin, once told me something. And I swear to God the way I am recounting it, that is a true anecdote.

(Me, looking really beaten and crushed. Boy trouble.)

“What kind of a face are you pulling? Smile. This is a beautiful day.”

(Headstrong, and still crushed, a bit angry)

“How can it be a beautiful day? It ain’t.”

(He starts to laugh uproaringly and looked at me provocatively with his laughing piercing blue eyes.)

“You have been kicked in the teeth, ain’t ya?”

(I look on the ground, even more crushed. Shit, why can people always tell when I say nothing?)

“Chrys, you know what? Never mind that boy.

I am telling you something and that is going to bug you most.

You are a survivor.

(I looked at him with a big question mark in my gaze).

Yes, you are. And you know it. Get out there, Chrys, get some air, the sun shines.”

(He shoved me gently to the open door, turned around and left me smiling)

He is such an irreverant character but he kind of pinpointed the exact situation without knowing anything. So, is he psychic? No. I was just such a child back then that it did not take much to read my mind and to see what’s going on. Still. Five out of five for that quote, Brendan. Have a pint on me. You are the most amazing English teacher I have ever had. Maybe a bit of a father figure.

Brendan Kennelly used to be English professor at TCD until 2005 and is also a well loved Irish poet.

But luxury has never appealed to me, I like simple things, books, being alone, or with somebody who understands.

– The Lover (Daphne du Maurier)

… forget it. No words today except for these copied ones.

I’ve been keeping away from this blog for a while. Some of you guys who know me personally know the reason. I’m doing twelve things at a time, it’s a crazy busy phase right now. Soon, I will be doing my first ever exhibition here in Ibiza, or to put it more correctly in a place called Can Jeroni, a little gallery in Sant Josep. Together with a photographer friend, Oliver Janssen who contributes his wonderful black and white photos.

https://www.facebook.com/events/440385366024045/?ref=ts&fref=ts

It starts on November 23rd so that’s why I kept things low profile around here with blogging and stuff.

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This here, by the way, is the first page of our flyer. It contains a stupid typo. Those of you who can speak catalan, can surely spot it easily. Why is it there? Cos I did not see it. While I was knocked out with flu, I really should not have done the proof reading… This is what happens. You miss out on a stupid mistake which is right on the frontpage. Lesson learned.

http://www.dark-vila.com/

With the link above, you can download it.

http://tinyurl.com/dxgargr

This here, above, is the first ever online link which mentions us. It is by the website www.ibiza.com a portal catering for English speaking as well as Russian speaking community (!) who featured us in their event calendar. They did not use my press text, but hey, that’s up to them. And they wrote our names right which surely is something. Plus they were professional and nice. That certainly is a plus.

So, I do want to keep blogging it is just for the simple fact that I have been running out of time quite recently. There are still many many things to organize and stupid, mundane, last-minute stuff to rectify and getting things ready. But at the same time, it is a very vivid, and fun thing too. You do learn a lot. First of all, you learn to get a grip, a good grip on yourself, otherwise you simply turn nuts. You learn new ways with which you handle things that go wrong, things that don’t work. It does toughen you up a bit. At least, that was the case with me. First, of all, so many things ocurred that went wrong, I could not believe it. Secondly, I somehow decided to take things easy and just go with the flow. Maybe, that kind of saved me.

Eventually, things evolve differently than you thought before, but the good news is THAT they evolve. And you learn to appreciate it. To remain flexible and you get to learn things like straightening things out that were blundered.

As well as it somewhat changes the way you look at your own output, and also on the way you want to be perceived as an artist as well as how you perceive yourself. Ok, you see, I don’t really like calling myself artist, although this might seem strange. For myself, for my own self perception, I am a writer, no more, no less. I write. End of story. But I see myself differently now than before I started out doing the Dark Vila thing. You get to think about yourself a lot, but not in a narcissistic way, in a more adult way, I guess. At least, that’s my story, and I will stick to it. 😉

But since I had to write up so many news, so many press release bits and pieces, writing emails to people I did not know and still be talking about myself, making myself clear as to what I wanted to express with this exhibition, it somehow clicked. This is not about me at all.

This is something bigger than me. This is a joint thing, an idea that was developed by two different people, it is something beyond personality. Plus, we were lucky enough that the universe made us cross paths somehow with each other and find each other interesting and nice enough to muster the energy and push forward. Of course, an artist is also a bit narcissistic in a way. So, hey, yes, it is also about me and Oliver Janssen, the photographer who does the expo with me. But at the same time, the thing that is our joint output has morphed into something beautiful. It is bigger than both of us. It is like a wild chemical experiment. Imagine you’re this guy in a lab. You have two test tubes with two wildly different ingredients a.k.a. people. And a brave scientist decides to throw these two guys in test tubes together. Bang, there they are in a pot. Sometimes, it works. Sometimes, it ain’t.

That to me is the essence of art, it is the excitement of creating something new, something that has not been there before. Maybe, that’s why I tend to be experimental at times. I just love experiments. And when they work, even better. 😉

I am happy so far, although the sizzling excitement remains cos I can’t know for sure can I? Please guys, keep your fingers crossed that everything will work out, and I will try not to mess it up. 

Now I shut up and try to be a bit less chatty and a bit more productive. Thanks everyone. 😉

Ok. Admitted, I like wild story turns. The wilder, the better. Today I am going to talk about an old story topic, Amor and Psyche.

I have to go back a little bit for this. I grew up immersed in the world of Ancient Greece and Rome, with books about Mars, Apollon, Zeus, Artemis, Hera, and all the others. My passion for Ancient Greek and Roman mythology and its surrounding culture was kindled early in life since I attended a classic grammar school from age 9 and started out with Latin as a first second language to be followed by Ancient Greek later on, and some more languages. Through the love and passion of my Latin teacher who also happened to be my class teacher (thank you so much, Mrs Elisabeth Lebek), this passion grew and spread like a wild fire. And I was not tyhe only one. All of our class were the same, we all kind of fell in love with the ancient mythology and the world of gods and godesses, heroes and heroines. We explored all the myths, looked at the tales, discussed them, perused all the school library books, we acted in plays, we re-enacted scenes on the playground, we devoured all the writings where immortals and mortals would mingle. It kept us enchanted, we looked at its beauty wide-eyed, mystified and with immense awe. And what’s more, we would always hope for a good story ending, set alight by the story, it was a feverish and never ending wish, we would pray for one good story ending, and go on to read the next one straight away… and rarely we were deceived. All the ancient mythologies have a good ending or at least an ending that can be called “fair” to some extent.

I can safely say that this was a strong impression and it somewhat reflects the classic mindset that the good has to win and the bad has to yield and / or has to be destroyed. The inherent order of the golden age could and must not be destroyed. All sounds pretty naive when you think about it from a post-post-modern point of view. But as children, we could not tear our eyes away from these tales. I remember many nights spent with a torch underneath the duvet so I could read on and would find out if my heroes would fare well. And so they did. In most cases anyway.

I will now share one of my favorite tales with you: Amor and Psyche by Apuleius.

“Amor and Psyche” is a tale about Amor, the beautiful son of Venus, and the immensely beautiful but mortal (!) daughter Psyche who happens to be a king’s daughter. It is a very early version of Romeo and Juliet in my book only this one ends differently. Mortals and immortals don’t mix. So, where is the punchline? I would say the punchline is that because this love is so utterly and immensely forbidden, it is a red-hot searing and all consuming love. The one where your knees go weak. And that’s the nice bit of this story. Somehow, because a more adult theme is played, and because the protagonists don’t exactly do as they’re told (they both don’t, Amor does not obey his mother and Psyche does not do as told by Amor) and so you don’t really expect a good ending.

You think that Amor and Psyche have tried the patience of the ancient gods a little too hard and therefore, they might be punished and they might be cast asunder. But this does not happen, stop, it does – but the ending is still one that unites the couple, never mind the hair rasing twists in this story: This tale ends well. And the reader is amidst the action. He is carried with the frenzy, it is not boring, not in one moment. It simply works. The reader wants the couple to reunite, even though they have been playing against the rules. And they do reunite.

But it does not end where all our children’s fairy tales end, in a dreamy, soft coloured, plush, marshmallow, sugary sweet candy world. It ends well, it is a nice tale, but a twisted one. So far so good. No?

The thing is… Lately, I have been thinking about the need for logic, for exactness, for accuracy, for a plot which is logical and also for authenticity. In terms of being a writer, I really prefer to go a long way to be pretty accurate to being so-so and wishy-washy. But when it comes to artistic freedom, I also like to have a fair portion of that too. So, isn’t that a bit too much to ask for? Can you have both?

Can you have authentic tales with a fairy tale ending? Can the human imagination take this or is it simply too long a stretch? I think it can. I will show you how this one goes.

First, I would like to come back to Amor and Psyche which is a fantastic example of how a tale can manipulate the reader as long as the underlying story or the concept is a good one. The concept underneath the story is pretty clear cut: immortals don’t normally mix with mortals. Don’t mess with Venus. She is one to dish out straight away. An enraged Venus always spells BIG trouble back at the Olymp. But there is something that can overrule this.

What could that be? What concept could be overriding Venus if not LOVE itself?

Yes, of course, Amor falls for Psyche as well. He does not obey his mother, whose plan was that she wanted to marry Psyche to an ugly and horrible demon. Only because Psyche was a wee bit more beautiful than she was and therefore Venus basically wanted to get rid of her. Sounds all too human? It certainly is. The depiction of the gods and godesses in ancient times bear witness of the nature of a perfectly human character. So, in effect, Venus wants to get her throne back as the most beautiful goddess and as a woman. How so? Since Psyche was so incredibly beautiful, people stopped being devoted to Venus, worshipping her. This in turn of course did not wash well with her.

Seeing Psyche, all these people adored and worshipped her instead, this mortal child, which enraged her.

Amor, Venus’s son, with an order by Venus sets out to obey his mother and tries to marry Psyche off to an ugly demon so she would be basically out of the picture. What did Amor do? …

He spoke to the god of winds and had the trustful and obeying Psyche (about to marry the demon) swept away by winds and brought to his little hide-away where he could meet up secretly with Psyche since her beauty had also swept him away. … Because he did not want anyone to know about his little tête-a-tête he only saw her at night when she would not see him at all. Um, so far, so good.

He hid away with Psyche at night, not disclosing his identity to her in fear she might talk to other people and they would be found out.

However, Psyche’s envious and down right bad sisters tried the naive Psyche by telling her into thinking that she did not marry a man but a snake instead. Accordingly, she waited upon him one night and held an oil lamp and a sword above his body to find out who he was. A drop of hot oil fell down and burned Amor who woke up and in turn was enraged with Psyche who did not do as told. He went away and left her alone which made her desolate and only added onto her feeling to miss him awfully. So far so bad.

Venus also found out since the sisters were also present and blabbered out the secret. I don’t want to record the whole story here but the tale continues with some really hair-raising story turns…  And yet, it ends well. Even though there is a long way around, there are some severe obstacles, the thorns indeed help to make the rose more beautiful. And so, I guess, Amor and Psyche is a typical example of why some stories even though they are not credible, in a strict sense, may still work for the reader.

There is a huge twist needed here to reunite our lovers again. But it does happen… Read for yourself. This is a link to an English translation of the Latin original by William Adlington http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/cap/index.htm

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And guess what? Now I am totally intrigued. Could this concept also work the other way around?… Can you imagine to have a story that ends really badly for a hero and still have lots of hair-raising story turns without losing your readership and / or losing your credibility? How much can a reader take in terms of wild story turns or why do some stories work and some others simply don’t?

(To be continued)

Show me an angel Mr. DeMille

my little friend

do ya get close?

I am your damned dirty ape

they build the towns so well

I’m not your perfect stupid Romeo

here’s no place for your stinking paws

ask yourself too

the wrong week – he’s got my pajamas

we’re gonna need a bigger boat

and they will never know

it means we got a perversely good life

we’ve got stinking badges

and a Royale with cheese

the force is going to be with you

frankly my dear, the king got into sniffing glue

walks into all the gin joints,

he can’t take it anymore

can’t handle the truth anymore

I’ll make an offer

together 3 times, round up his job

so you’re off home, huh?

Freeze

Show me an angel Mr DeMille.

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I read this book in the finals days of July I think and I must admit I have been wanting to write a review about it for quite some time. It is not a book one can read and just put away. This book gets you hooked. But at the same time, the book really defies being typecast, it is hard to place your finger on what it is. It is a very unusual book, quite different to anything I have read in quite a while. I picked it up again and again and really immersed myself in its otherwordly charme and recently re-read it.

First of all, it really contains ingredients for a pretty rough ride, and that’s what the story really is, at least for its protagonist, well, I would say for the reader as well. But that’s a good thing. It is a fast paced story, full of twists and turns, and it does not let you breathe properly until you know what the end is like. No spoiler alert here. To me, this is a mixture of genres, a horror story, set in present day, containing social criticism clad in the institutionalisation of “difficult teenagers” as well as a classical drama. On the surface, we are introduced into these summer camps, which are basically the cheap way out for rich parents not able or not interested in facing up to their own educational failures.  Here are a handful of teenagers locked up in the outward idyllic of a secluded college for socalled juvenile delinquents. But that is just the surface and the setting.

The author is particularly strong with dialogues. They are pretty short but very poignant. When you read passages like in the beginning the discussions between father and son, you get the idea that inspite of being set in an affluent family, this youngster Vicent has not so much he could laugh about. Of course, he is rebellious and you (as a reader) wish for this dialogue to continue in spite of the youngster being sent away. There is an undercurrent of father-son relationship gone really bad, there is a huge conflict going on there. That to me was a shame that this dramatic potential was kind of wasted. All the reader was left with is a sort of background information. But nevertheless, since the speed keeps you on the edge of your seat, this is not a major set back at all. The book is just really well written and you kind of wonder why the authors would not dig a little deeper here to make the character a little more emphatic and a little more three dimensional.

The central conflict of the book is the fight between the owner of this institution and Vincent’s daily trials he has too undergo which get more cruel, wicked and grim as the story progresses. Little by little the reader gets to understand that an escape may be the only possible solution left for him. There is a deep sense of enclosure in this book which I found amazing. Trapped in the woods with some ego tripping headmaster? But what can you do when even the inmates start to disappear and you hear howling sounds and inexplicable noises and see weird things that make you guess you must have dreamt.

Ullals (Fangs) is a book that teases the reader into believing it is very easygoing, it starts pretty offhand, almost lightly, it welcomes you, it offers you a chair, but then as the chapters progress, you feel that the climate gets rougher and rougher. This is a very clever thing I never saw before in a book. The way the book is written also reflects the situation of the protagonist at the same time. The story quite literally straps you onto the chair while you try to stand up and search the exit door. But hey, it does not exist. You are trapped as well. The reader gets to peak into a scenario that has pretty dark shades and sometimes Kafkaesque touches. It gives you access to a world unknown to most of us. The sheer physical violence of some scenes lets your adrenaline rush. A very clever thing is that the reader feels quite involved through the immediacy of the dialogues and that there is not so much in between left that could clear up or free you from the menace of the damocles sword, which is not only inside the instition personified through the headmaster but also outside, in the woods, through something else, something more ferocious even.

There is this trait in the book where you feel quite uncomfortable that you are witnessing something that really could have been avoided.

Even at the end when you think you already know the end, the author manages to insert an unexpected turn and you are left with eyes wide open, your pulse racing and possibly a hand clapped over your mouth.

The book won a Youth book prize in 2010. Absolutely deserved, I think. Ullals moves you. And it does a lot more than that. An intelligent, fast and furious book, a tour de force, lots of cinematic images, very well written. If you haven’t read it so far, go and buy it. It is a modern classic.

 As far as I know, the book Ullals is being turned into a movie and is currently in pre-production.

I guess there are times when we feel magnetic. Not literally but in a figurative sense. Times when we seem to attract so many different vibes, so many different thoughts are brought upon us that things might get a little blurry at the edges. Why am I saying that?

Basically, because we need to seek balance in a world that is overriding the constraints that were given to us right from the start when we were born. There are things that are possible, and some things that are not. Simple as that. However, things are different in the 21st century. We are all hyper connected. See? You are reading my blog even if I don’t have the faintest idea of who you are and you don’t know who I am. We all get a funny idea of how the world should be, seeing all the things that are possible at the far end of this world, and we constantly seek to outdo the other, in a sense that may be a relict from a time far gone. A time when we could barely stand on our two feet and ate every other day when our clan’s strongest could kill a byson and would die roughly speaking at 25 if we were lucky.

In our lives today, so many things are there, i.e. they are “present”, in a physical as well as in a metaphysical way: and all of these aspects are somehow accounted for. We are mothers, fathers, children, students, employees, volunteers, hobby divers, fans of a certain music bands, we may be blond, we may be brunette or red heads, we may have freckles and a scar on the left shin because we recently fell badly. We may be single children, we may be the firstborn, or the lastborn or the one in the middle… It all has an explanation, in this world and in the times we are living in.

What am I getting at? Well, the point is easily made. The world has come to be a place where our life is so extremely specialized like it has never been before, and that’s why… we all tend to be specialists of some kind.

Sound like a good news? Read on, it may be, but it does not necessarily have to be.

The thing is there are so many different currents in our lives, we may have to start choosing and lead the life we always wanted. And in some other ways, we need to stop choosing before it is too late.

Examples?

Why do we get older and older before choosing a partner for life and settle down and have children? Is it really a matter of being more evolved or is it simply the thought “why do I need to choose now…? I could carry on trying to postpone this decision. Better specimen of the opposite/same sex might come along”? That is just one example. Another would be the impossibility to have life long employment nowadays. I bet you a thousand dollar that in my generation you will find no-one who is able to live his/her life on a lifelong employment unless he/she is a government official and even their days are counted. Another example would be that today nearly everyone is not content with what they have. Why the heck have we become like that?

Ok, that was the example of not wanting to make a decision because it could turn out to be wrong in the end. Well, that is just the illness of the modern man. We cannot make decisions. We are like Hamlet… We procrastinate. And yes, that is a very bad thing. Talk to Euro finance experts and they will let you know how bad this ailment of procrastination really is.

Right, the second argument was that the other times we are too diversified that we lose ourselves or get lost in the most minimal differences… And for what, may I ask? I sometimes feel like a stone age person when I hit a drugstore. Back then, you were lucky to have a shampoo that did not sting in the eyes when you were little. Today, we have shampoos for dry, greasy, dandruff, baby, 40+ or gray, colored, curly and what not hair… It is (mildly put) insanity. To be honest, that is the world we consumers wanted… We helped creat this nightmare. But when I look around now. The thing that really makes me sad is the thing that the immense variety we offer in shampoos, or in dog food, or in piercing studs or whatever… We kind of lose the ability to be just a man, a child or a woman… There are too many labels, standing a mile in front of us. We are labelling everything and being labelled by each and everyone. To me, I must admit, it seems as though that the material or better said the product world has taken over.

I’d much rather have it if we stopped to diversify that much and go back to being people… God, where are the times when you could hit a bar or any place really and simply sit down and chat with someone? Maybe I am an anachronism, but I really sorely miss those times. People are too conscious these days of who they are, and to which group they consciously or subconsciously belong. Makes real communication much harder I think. They kind of stick to their peers much more. It is harder to enter certain circles. It is harder to move sideways in society. The vertical line is open. But the horizontal line of movement surely isn’t. And that is kind of weird for me.

Freedom fighters … Intellectuals united …  Wallstreet journalists … Al Qaeida … True, these are just labels but then again, but they just go to show that it would be better to lose these labels and came to talk much more personality.

I don’t care for celebrities. I want people. Just people. Like you and me.

So, what did I learn today. I prefer people to hollow shells. I like people with their flaws. With their idiosyncrasies. With their own personal style.

No, let me re-phrase that. It has been a successful week. Be it as it may.

PS: I guess it is fair to say that this blogpost was triggered by reading literature and creative writing stuff I had been writing when I was 17 – 25. The way I wrote showed me the current of that era, let’s call it the zeitgeist of that particular era, and it just made me shiver when I look back on the way we were. The world has changed so much and sometimes I just wish that people would just go back to being people and not be so easily lured into the trap of falling for the craziest hype. Today everybody diversifies that much that sometimes the overall, the general notion gets lost on the way.

Sound like bad news. Yes. Read and understood the idea. It is well bad.

If we hadn’t made the move to diversify that much we would all be much more aware of all the things going on around us. The ignorance is on the rise. The refusal to demand transparence from politicians and from public administration is one of the things I would introduce straight away. It is something that I find hard to believe…

We live in an age of information but still … ignorance is on the rise.

The level of real knowledge can be measured easily. The most fun way though is to get someone you absolutely don’t know, to talk to you about politics. Or about prices. Or education. Or any subject that is universal. Try it out.

You will find that most people stopped being just “people” and started being “individuals” which is upsetting sometimes.

My plea, therefore, please go back to being just “people”. Just normal, current, everyday people. No tags required. This theme is universal.

This might sound trivial but how many days do we spend like this? Get up, sweat, take a shower, sweat some more. Get ready, get into the car, take a dive into the massive traffic overkill that haunts Ibiza each and every year, ok, let’s skip the part with the traffic congestion that is painfully palpable anywhere you go. So, you made it to the library. You pick up a few books, you sit down at one of these tiny desk and you thank the Lord for small mercies, like e.g. that the people from the Ibiza Consell haven’t forgotten to fit an air condition. Well, that may sound awkward, but this is the one thing I really miss in my own home. Ok, so you are there. You start doing your stuff. And all of a sudden, you think oh my god, it is already this and that hour. I need to go back. So you think. Right, one little pee, then I’m off. And guess what. In the probably under 3 minutes that i was away from my desk someone actually put his things in between my stuff and the person beside me, and starts working away…

Ok, I don’t want to sound too petty. I allow other people to be working just like me. But does it have to be in less than 30 centimetres of space? The guy and me were maximum 1m apart. Since the library desks are so small. But for someone to really be that stupid and also kind of rude to kind of squeeze themselves into such a small space, … Ridiculous.

Needless to say, that afterwards I did not get any more decent work done. It really distracts me when people sit too close by me. It is hard enough to blend out the background noises, the sneezing, the rustle of paper, the squeaky chairs over the squeaky floor, but this person… That was just beyond words. I did not really have the heart to tell her my mind. But it did feel like a perfect intrusion.

What did she think I would do? What did I think I would have done had I not been in the perfect summertime madness state of mind?

I know that people tend to do crazy things now in summer. They have the perfect excuse for almost anything. The heat, the heat, and … also the heat.

What crossed my mind when I stood up and packed up the pencils, the highlighter, unplugged my laptop and stuffed the writings into my backpack and silently put on my Ray Ban glasses and left… Well… I should tell you, shouldn’t I? But then again, this is my secret. And it is a summertime madness secret…

Nobody will ever know. Can you keep a secret? (Whispering) There you go. Wasn’t that bad. 🙂

By the way, the picture below has nothing to do with it. I just saw it today and thought it really captured the mood right now. Every one is a little weird right now. A bit overworked maybe as well.  Or maybe just too Catholic… 😉

 

Just another usual scene: the summertime madness in Sa Penya.
The discoteques try to top each other with a bit of foreplay 😉

 

I simply love this little minimalist comic strip, and it holds true for so many situations… It just depicts reality.

Chryssula's Blog

A male - female thing - what was it again?

Let’s be clear about it: I know the situation, and I bet you do as well… 😉

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I must admit I have been lagging behind with everything. I was tied up with things, organizing stuff, tearing myself up with wanting too much at one given time, I tried to do many things at a time and got caught up with the some areas that made me think things over and over since I kind of have the tendency to overload easily since I cannot say no. No seems to be the one word, I have not learnt in years, and not after learning so many foreign languages. No does not stick with me. Therefore, I had forced myself to go and override my own emergency signals, like not getting enough sleep, being erratic, being highly strung, being a bit like as if was on drugs, which I wasn’t but then again it does not matter. Basically, I had to summer-clean my mind (too late to call it spring-cleaning now), admit that I made a mistake in my conception of someone, still I don’t need to beat myself up about it but … relax, calm down, get some fresh air and sit back and enjoy the simple things again. Now, I reckon, the worst is over. Writing can begin again.

So, what about today. Jun 21st, summer solstice, does it mean anything to me? Um, yes and no. There you go. Opting for the ambiguous answer… almost always. 😉 I guess a lot of semi-sciences want this day to be special since it marks the longest period of sunlight in the northern hemisphere, and hence the shortest night as well, whereas in the southern hemisphere it is all reversed, it happens vice versa, shortest day and longest night.

For me it is somewhat special in the way that I think, woah, shit, and now the days are slowly getting shorter again even though we haven’t even reached the peak of the real summer heat. But then again, I guess we all know that summer is not an endless period of time. As a child, it feels like and it also seems like an unlimited, endless amount of afternoons: it is like a huge adventure coming your way. You could spend these afternoons in the park with your friends, sitting in the shade of a tree, or riding a bike, or playing football, going for a swim, playing hide and seek, or reading hundreds of books, or collecting things or whatever tickles your fancy… And then, after the first weeks, you get bored, you start to roam about, when you’ve met up with all of your friends, you suddenly feel weird, you look at the calendar, and think, my god, and it is still roughly one month or even one month and a half to go…

When you grow up, this feeling of unlimited time of having time on your hands often gets lost. But guess what? There is a chance to recuperate it. I am serious. You may just try to think again like when you were 10 or 11. You think of all the nice things you might want to do and just simply do them, not thinking about tomorrow. And then you may just spend one whole afternoon watching something, some silly little animal or merely hiding in a tree, sitting still, so no-one may find you. That people might think that you’ve gone lost and they start to run around, and you just sit there, maybe musing, maybe sniggering a little too… watching the bright blue sky above you, not a cloud to watch. Just bright blue skies. Sometimes you wonder where the hours go when you really enjoy something you are doing but it does not matter when time flies, being yourself and being with you, hoping to take that crazy pace away.

Take away the rushing to and fro, forget about the have to’s, need to, the should have been’s and start to linger… Really, I mean it. Start lingering and you will see that your own spirit will return quickly. If you feel overwhelmed, or haven’t been so sure about a certain thing, the part of your heart, of your brain, of you, whatever name you got for it, where you need to make decisions, it will feel ready to unfold, to relax, and decompress like a deep-sea diver who needs to adjust the oxygene level bit by bit. Yes, it does help you get back to being yourself again and cos it makes you see things differently, more clearly.

I wish you guys all to have more of that wonderful magic and beautiful summer time that streches out before all of us.

When I, some hours later, had climbed down that tree and would sneak back home, you could bet that my smile went from one ear to the other. And even if my parents would be mad at me I would not tell them where the heck I had been.

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The more scratched my knees and elbows were, the more proud I would be that I had been coming through the wilderness and made it back home, to a bathtub, a bar of soap and scratchy towels. It had a weird sense of victory.

Wishing you a hypnotic summer, and one to remember!

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