vineri, 11 decembrie 2015

human = selfish

"We rolled up the pain, assigned it to a shelf, left it there, with a certain self-congratulatory sense of relief at our own good fortune as we looked the other way [...] and soon, we forgot we had ever felt any discomfort." (Denise Chávez, "The Last of the Menu Girls")

We are human, thus we are selfish. There is no other way.

marți, 24 noiembrie 2015

my world

my world is such a conflicting world that at times even I can't stand it. it is both full of orange and death, too much and too present. of hatred, tons of hatred, and joy of living.

luni, 2 noiembrie 2015

How I came to choose feminism

“The woman who checks her makeup half a dozen times a day to see if her foundation has caked or her mascara has run, who worries that the wind or the rain may spoil her hairdo, who looks frequently to see if her stockings have bagged at the ankle and who, feeling fat, monitors everything she eats, has become […] a self-policing subject, a self committed to a relentless self-surveillance. This self-surveillance is a form of obedience to patriarchy. It is also the reflection in woman’s consciousness of the fact that she is under surveillance in ways that he is not, that whatever else she may become, she is importantly a body designed to please or to excite.” Sandra Lee Bartky, “Foucault, Femininity, and Patriarchal Power”

marți, 1 septembrie 2015

Giannina Braschi, an epiphany

It was a difficult book to read. A test at times since I can honestly say that it was all but a pleasant reading experience. Yet, once you finally understand what it is about and you finally agree to let go of your expectations - the expectations of a reader unfamiliar with postmodernist fiction -, to stop looking for a plot and for definite characters, you see how powerful and intelligent the author is. Once you agree to leave your comfort zone, you realize how great and profound is the truth that Giannina Braschi's voices (I can't call them characters) speak of. 

Hence, Yo-Yo Boing! is a series of conversations with no beginning and no ending, on as various topics as metafiction, art, immigration, discrimination, multiculturalism, language, dreams, censorship, food, war and so on. When you realize you need to stop trying to name and genderise the voices, and you free yourself of all conventions, you can read the novel as a flow of thoughts that highlight the condition of humanity in contemporary society. Yet, the best way to describe the book is by quoting one of the voices from this book: “allegory of lost souls”.

I felt most at home in this book at the end of the ‘novel’ when reading a short text entitled “Canned Sardines”. It is so about my past few years that I cannot help quoting from it:
If they bring you down, put you down, keep you down in a can of sardines – my question is the following – why did you let them pack you into a can of sardines – if you are not a sardine – and your boss and other sardines who are sardines don’t realize that you are not a sardine? You’ve been so conditioned to act like a sardine – you think your canned existence is your sole existence – and you can’t tell yourself apart from the other sardines that oppress you because you’re all stuck together in one big clump […]. If you let them pack you into a sardine can, it’s because you are a sardine – just like all the rest – made of salt and oil, scales and tails, slimy and thick.

joi, 13 august 2015

sprit de vara

ce ramine dupa ce traim o perioada de timp intr-un anumit loc? ramin amintiri doar pe jumatate amintite; restul il impopotonam dupa placul inimii si, de cele mai multe ori, fara sa ne dam seama. amintiri care ne revin in minte fara sa le chemam si fara sa le asteptam; si ne revin pe nesimtite in pragul singuratatii noastre cotidiene. 

marți, 11 august 2015

Esmeralda Santiago's memoirs

I enjoyed reading the first two volumes of Esmeralda Santiago's memoirs. The second more than the first since she has so beautifully and stubbornly evolved from a Puerto Rican little girl to an American "almost a woman". Her life is spectacular and while reading the books I felt not once that it would have lacked this exquisiteness had she not lived in USA. For instance, I doubt that a young woman living in Romania can meet as many colourful and interesting people as appeared in Negi's life. Is it that trully colourful and interesting people do not live in Romania?!  

However, among all the interesting people, food, family life, love, hardship, discrimination  and intense feelings, the lines that I liked best are not in the books themselves but in the acknowledgements  that end the second volume (which can be easily considered as part of the memoirs): "And finally, my husband, Frank Cantor, and our children, Lucas and Ila, have figured out when I need to be alone and when I need a hug. You make me sing (But don't worry, I won't do it in public.)"

sâmbătă, 25 aprilie 2015

I love Joyce Carol Oates! However,

And so I read another of Joyce Carol Oates' creations, after I found  Mystery, Inc. by chance on NetGalley. These almost 50 pages are like a short and warm summer rain. So short and warm that it's not really as refreshing as one would want it to be.
It was published by The Mysterious Bookshop as part of the Bibliomysteries series, which features mystery short stories, and the only reason why I chose it was Oates' name on the cover. However, Mystery, Inc. is nothing when compared to the author's other novels. While it is true that I could easily depict in this little short story some elements that I had found (and loved) in Daddy Love, such as the thorough psychological insight, this book was a disappointment, especially the ending! 
I would gladly recommend it, though, to my students who want to practise reading in English and to those of you who spend long hours in the bus. 

duminică, 19 aprilie 2015

vers 8, Ileana Malancioiu

Cânt pe inimă ca pe-o frunză de fag
Stau oamenii-n drum să m-audă cum cânt,
Se uită unii la alţii tăcuţi
Şi se-ntreabă ce pasăre sunt.

E prea mult cântec împrejurul nostru,
L-ascult cu ei şi nu-l mai înţeleg,
Parcă m-aş fi temut să rup o frunză
Şi am cântat dintr-un copac întreg.

As vrea
As vrea sa ma duc undeva sa nu mai stiu de nimic
sa ma intorc atunci cand voi fi uitat tot
sa-mi amintesc cu greu cum ma cheama si cine sunt
si sa invat ce mai pot

sa aflu spre a trai pana la capat
si a ma bucura ca sunt inca vie.
As vrea sa ajung undeva unde nu stie nimeni
nimic din tot ce se stie

si din ce se inventa inca
fara nici un fel de pretentii
impotriva mea si a tuturor
in lumea asta plina de inventii.

Dar unde e locul acela senin ma intreb
si plang in tacere si nimeni nu stie
mi-e frica de tot si de toate si-as vrea
sa ma bucur din nou ca sunt inca vie.

Intreg orasul era plin de morti
Iesisera pe strada principala
Asa-mbracati in hainele de gala
Pe care cat esti viu nu prea le porti.

Treceau razand si nu-i puteam opri
Pareau ca nu mai inteleg deloc
Ca sunt prea multi si nu mai este loc
Si pentru cei care mai suntem vii.

Ne-nfricosa grozav fantasticul delir
Dar stam si ne uitam uimiti ca la parada,
Caci fiecare-aveam pe cineva pe strada
Si n-am fi vrut sa fie inchis in cimitir.

Gravitatia disparuse 
Gravitatia disparuse de multa vreme,
Lucrurile cadeau din ce în ce mai sus,
Oamenii ajunsi pe alte orbite
Strigau cât puteau ce aveau de spus.

Cei ramasi pe loc, se tineau fiecare
De câte un copac foarte gros
Si-n linistea în care asteptau
Totul era cu capul în jos.

Daca s-ar fi putut aduna într-o piata,
Daca si-ar fi dat cineva foc
Poate ca unul dintre cei desprinsi de ai lor
Ar fi reusit sa cada la loc

Pe pamântul de care s-a-ndepartat
Odata cu neobisnuita rotatie
Si poate ca s-ar fi ajuns din nou
La gravitatie.

Si toate caderile ar fi fost în jos
Si toate înaltarile ar fi venit de la sine,
Dar nimeni n-avea curaj sa se mai desprinda
De copacul de care se tine.

joi, 9 aprilie 2015


From Betty Friedan's "The Feminine Mystique" (1963), the reason for my always-wanting-to-be-different attitude:

"The image of woman that emerges from this big, pretty magazine is young and frivolous, almost childlike; fluffy and feminine; passive; gaily content in a world of bedroom and kitchen, sex, babies, and home. The magazine surely does not leave out sex; the only passion, the only pursuit, the only goal a woman is permitted is the pursuit of a man. It is crammed full of food, clothing, cosmetics, furniture, and the physical bodies of young women, but where is the world of thought and ideas, the life of the mind and spirit?"

miercuri, 8 aprilie 2015

I remember

From Esmeralda Santiago's When I Was Puerto Rican because I remember: 

"I wondered if it were true, as Mami claimed when she and Papi fought, that he saw other women behind her back. And if he did, was it because he didn't love us? My eyes watered, my mouth filled with a salty taste, but if I cried, Abuela would hear me and think I didn't want to be with her. From the stoop, I could hear the rhythmic clicks of her rosary beads and the soft hum of her voice reciting prayers whose music was familiar to me, but whose words I'd never learned. And I wished that I knew how to pray, because then I could speak to God and maybe He or one of His saints could explain things to me. But I didn't know any prayers, because Mami didn't believe in churches or holy people, and Papi, even though he read the Bible and could lead novenas for the dead, never talked to us about God. 
I determined not to cry, because if she asked me, I didn't want to tell Abuela why. But the pressure was too much, and as the tears came, I looked around for something with which to hurt myself so that when Abuela asked, I could show her a reason for the tears. I put my hand in the doorjamb and slammed the door shut. 
The pain burned across my knuckles, through my fingers, and a scream, louder than I intended, brought Abuela to my side. She hugged me, walked me to the sink, where she poured cool water over my hand, dried it with the soft hem of her dress, rubbed Vick's VapoRub on the pain, and held me against her bosom. She half carried me to her chair, pulled me onto her lap, and rocked me back and forth, back and forth, humming a lullaby I'd never heard." (pp. 92-93)

marți, 17 februarie 2015

Sweet memories

Because I've been there too...

"I wrapped my legs around her and buried my face under her chin. It felt good to have Mami so close, so warm, swathed by her softness, her smell of wood smoke and oregano. She rubbed circles on my back and caressed the hair from my face. She kissed me, brushed my tears with her fingertips, and dried my nose with the towel, or the hem of her dress.
'you see,' she murmured, 'what happens when you don't do as I say?'" (Esmeralda, Santiago, When I Was Puerto Rican)

miercuri, 28 ianuarie 2015


Cind eram mica uram sa dorm. Voiam sa fac orice altceva numai sa dorm nu. Voiam sa ies afara, sa ma joc cu sor-mea sau sa joc Mario. Voiam sa fiu. Acum cred ca nu exista senzatie mai grozava ca atunci cind pui capul pe perna, cind stii ca ai mai incheiat o zi haotica si ca acum ai in sfirsit timp sa te odihnesti, chit ca in 5 sau 6 ore iar suna dracia de ceas. Cum asezatul capului pe perna a ajuns momentul cel mai asteptat din zi, ma intreb daca tot asa o sa imi astept si moartea, sa stiu ca am incheiat o viata haotica si ca am in sfirsit timp sa nu mai fiu.