Categories
Creative Life

The nostalgia of the faraway

Sunny sky. Small town in Dorset, England. A park. And a book. The book, Milan Kundera’s Les testaments trahis. In it, I read two sentences that make me think.

L’homme désire l’éternité mais il ne peut avoir que son ersatz: l’instant de l’extase. (Man longs for eternity, but he only can have its erstaz: the instant of ecstasy.)

Kundera defines ecstasy as the absolute identification with the present instant, oblivion of past and future. It is outside time and independent of it. Therefore it can be compared with eternity. Man [human beings], thus, cannot have the latter, even though he wants it. Ecstasy is its replacement.

[O]n pense toujours à la douleur de la nostalgie; mais ce qui est pire, c’est la douleur de l’aliénation; le mot allemand die Entfremdung exprime mieux ce que je veux désigner: le processus durant lequel ce qui nous a été proche est devenu étranger. (We always think about the pain of nostalgia; but it is worse the pain of alienation; the German word die Entfremdung expresses better what I’m referring to: the process through which what was close to us becomes foreign.)

There is another German word that has stayed with me since I heard about it on Spanish TV. In German homesickness is Heimweh, but German romanticism coined the opposite Fernweh, far-sickness, the longing to be far away. The nostalgia of the faraway.

I have thought so many times about this word. I mentioned it to so many people. It defines me. The search for this faraway, which one will never reach, is similar to the search for eternity. Travelling is no more than a series of ecstasies. It is the only replacement we have in the search of the impossible we are longing for so much, in our alienation of what was closed to us, but became estranged: home and time.

Categories
Network World

Blogging to death? No way.

UPDATE: You can sign a petition for his liberation here.
A very good friend of mine has just written me a message on Facebook. A bit more than two years ago she met Hossein Derakhshan. In 2008, Hossein, a Canadian-Iranian well-known blogger was arrested at his return to Iran after two years of absence. Now, he could be facing the death penalty for writing freely about his ideas.

Can we stay silent in front of this blunt provocation to our liberties? Should we? No!

My friend met Hossein when she was studying at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) in London. Hossein is a young guy who believes that our free ideas bring a better world. His defence is the defence of these same ideas.

Help us spread the word, and break the shell that villains all around the world try to build around all of us.

Categories
Creative Life Stories

Some Kind of Life (4)

Recently, she had thought many times of quitting. When she started, it was as she had imagined. She fondly believed she was using her female attributes for a greater good. She lived in movement and dangerous liaisons. She worked for her country, doing what she believed to be good at – mischievous seduction and meaningful action. Now she was still doing it, even though she didn’t know whether it was for a greater good anymore. Carla joined the Spanish secret service pushed for a very personal interpretation of idealism, which now seemed to have crashed into the ambiguity of reality. Her teenager doubts about her future were back again in her early thirties. Yet, the inertia of her work kept meaninglessly pushing her.

Sunday, Madrid, morning

After her early morning jog, Carla was glancing at the online newspapers, sipping green tea from her Caravaggio mug in her flat in the wealthy Calle Lagasca in the centre of Madrid, when her work Blackberry rung. After her ‘¿Diga?’, Jorge, her colleague at the Centro Nacional de Inteligencia, talked hastily about the murder of someone very close to Carla. He said that Dario’s body had been found in the centre of Moscow. The preliminary forensics indicated that he had been strangled with a thin rope. Carla was in anger. Last week, she had warned Dario about travelling to Russia again. She knew they were going to find him if he did. Find him and kill him.

Categories
Creative Life Stories

Some Kind of Life (3)

‘Michael? Michael?’ big blue eyes were looking at the sleeping face, lying on the soft cotton pillow, ‘Michael, a phone call for you. It seems important.’ Michael woke up. Half still in dreams, replied ‘Yes, yes. I am taking it.’

Sunday, Brussels, early morning.

Michael raised up slowly, letting his blood recirculate through his veins and get speed pulled by the gravity. Feet seeking the slippers, when found and feet comfortable inside, Michael stood up. He picked up his mobile phone in the living room. He didn’t want it in the bedroom, health and noise reasons. A good sleep is a sleep without technology around, he thought.

‘Hello? Yes it’s me’, silence and phone whispers , ‘no I never worked with him,’ phone whispering continues, ‘sure, sure, I understand, I’ll do that,’ just silence. ‘Silvie?’, Michael called his wife. Silvie appeared through the door connecting the kitchen with the living room, ‘yes?’, replied looking towards a Michael still holding his mobile phone in his right hand. ‘I’m leaving tomorrow to Moscow. Someone that worked in our unit was killed yesterday night.’ Silvie gasped, ‘who is he? do I know him…or her?’. ‘No, you don’t. I don’t, either. We don’t have much information, but they want us to help in the investigation.’ ‘Michael, You don’t seem surprised.’ ‘I know. It’s strange, but I was expecting it. Don’t ask me why, but I knew something like this was going to happen.’

***

Categories
Stories

Some kind of life (1)

Twenty-three steps. This was the number he had to go up to get to his office on the second floor of a three-storey building on Brussels’ expensive Avenue Louise. There, his personal assistant always waited for his arrival in the morning at 8.30 am to brief him on the day’s agenda and remind him of the most important commitments of the week. His PA’s name was Jean-Marc. Efficient. Handsome. Young. Single. French.

Forty-three years. This was his age, not Jean-Marc’s, Michael’s. Black hair. Grey eyes. Handsome. Intelligent. Ambitious. Rational sometimes. Emotional often. Bored easily. Married. Two daughters. British father. Italian mother.

Fifteen as a corporate lawyer. He was good at his job. Clients appreciated his work with expensive fees and gifts. He gave them back one of the best lawyers in European competition law the European education system can get. That is why he could afford having his own firm. Alone, against the Baker & McKenzies or the Freshfields, Bruckhaus, Deringers that populated the trade. Big law firms with dozens of lawyers. He, only him.

Seven days a week. If Michael would have been just a lawyer during all this time, he would have probably killed himself. He had not. Nothing of the sort. He had another life besides being one more puppet of the multinational legal system in which he navigated in his dull life. A life that provided him with the thrill he needed to keep his body and mind on this earth. A second life that was going to change his first life forever.

***

Categories
Stories

Some Kind of Life (2)

Moscow, Saturday, late night.

The drunk man stumbling and running into anything that was slightly vertical. In contrast with its day buzz, Arbat street was at this time empty. The man’s linen, light brown jacket on his shoulder. His beard white with strokes of black. His body fumbling from left to right, from right to left. Until he rose his eyes and saw a figure turning the right corner of the next street. He gasped, turned first his head, then attempted to turn his body, and fell for the speed of the movement onto the ground. The whole of himself on the pavement, he extended his arms and hands trying to get enough surface to push himself back on both legs. Unsuccessfully, he fell again, hitting his cheek. He could hear the steps of the person he knew very well getting closer to him. ‘What can I do?’ he thought, ‘sooner or later I had to bump into him’.

Steps closer. A thin voice breaks the street light silence. ‘Dario, shouldn’t you know better?’. Fast and short breathing from the drunk man. ‘You know you shouldn’t be in Moscow, streets are dangerous at this time of the day, especially for a drunk man.’ This drunk man raises his eyes and sees him. The person he didn’t want to meet again. ‘Why did I come back to Russia?’.

The standing figure kneels down next to the drunk man. Puts one hand in each side of his neck, movement over the drunk man’s head. A thin string between his hands. Pulls towards himself with force. The drunk man feels the threads cutting his skin. He can’t breath anymore. He gasps, moves his arms, hands and legs. Resisting with all that’s left in him after a night of vodka, rum, beer, wine and more. His sight is blurred. He is saying his goodbyes, for he can’t resist anymore. His face hits the pavement. The figure’s face approaches the drunk man’s face. Listening. Feeling. Stands up. Leaves.

***

Categories
Uncategorized

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Categories
Stories

Some Kind of Life (3)

‘Michael? Michael?’ big blue eyes were looking at the sleeping face, lying on the soft cotton pillow, ‘Michael, a phone call for you. It seems important.’ Michael woke up. Half still in dreams, replied ‘Yes, yes. I am taking it.’

Sunday, Brussels, early morning.

Michael raised up slowly, letting his blood recirculate through his veins and get speed pulled by the gravity. Feet seeking the slippers, when found and feet comfortable inside, Michael stood up. He picked up his mobile phone in the living room. He didn’t want it in the bedroom, health and noise reasons. A good sleep is a sleep without technology around, he thought.

‘Hello? Yes it’s me’, silence and phone whispers , ‘no I never worked with him,’ phone whispering continues, ‘sure, sure, I understand, I’ll do that,’ just silence. ‘Silvie?’, Michael called his wife. Silvie appeared through the door connecting the kitchen with the living room, ‘yes?’, replied looking towards a Michael still holding his mobile phone in his right hand. ‘I’m leaving tomorrow to Moscow. Someone that worked in our unit was killed yesterday night.’ Silvie gasped, ‘who is he? do I know him…or her?’. ‘No, you don’t. I don’t, either. We don’t have much information, but they want us to help in the investigation.’ ‘Michael, You don’t seem surprised.’ ‘I know. It’s strange, but I was expecting it. Don’t ask me why, but I knew something like this was going to happen.’

***

Categories
Creative Life Stories

Some Kind of Life (2)

Moscow, Saturday, late night.

The drunk man stumbling and running into anything that was slightly vertical. In contrast with its day buzz, Arbat street was at this time empty. The man’s linen, light brown jacket on his shoulder. His beard white with strokes of black. His body fumbling from left to right, from right to left. Until he rose his eyes and saw a figure turning the right corner of the next street. He gasped, turned first his head, then attempted to turn his body, and fell for the speed of the movement onto the ground. The whole of himself on the pavement, he extended his arms and hands trying to get enough surface to push himself back on both legs. Unsuccessfully, he fell again, hitting his cheek. He could hear the steps of the person he knew very well getting closer to him. ‘What can I do?’ he thought, ‘sooner or later I had to bump into him’.

Steps closer. A thin voice breaks the street light silence. ‘Dario, shouldn’t you know better?’. Fast and short breathing from the drunk man. ‘You know you shouldn’t be in Moscow, streets are dangerous at this time of the day, especially for a drunk man.’ This drunk man raises his eyes and sees him. The person he didn’t want to meet again. ‘Why did I come back to Russia?’.

The standing figure kneels down next to the drunk man. Puts one hand in each side of his neck, movement over the drunk man’s head. A thin string between his hands. Pulls towards himself with force. The drunk man feels the threads cutting his skin. He can’t breath anymore. He gasps, moves his arms, hands and legs. Resisting with all that’s left in him after a night of vodka, rum, beer, wine and more. His sight is blurred. He is saying his goodbyes, for he can’t resist anymore. His face hits the pavement. The figure’s face approaches the drunk man’s face. Listening. Feeling. Stands up. Leaves.

***

Categories
Stories

Some Kind of Life (2)

Moscow, Saturday, late night.

The drunk man stumbling and running into anything that was slightly vertical. In contrast with its day buzz, Arbat street was at this time empty. The man’s linen, light brown jacket on his shoulder. His beard white with strokes of black. His body fumbling from left to right, from right to left. Until he rose his eyes and saw a figure turning the right corner of the next street. He gasped, turned first his head, then attempted to turn his body, and fell for the speed of the movement onto the ground. The whole of himself on the pavement, he extended his arms and hands trying to get enough surface to push himself back on both legs. Unsuccessfully, he fell again, hitting his cheek. He could hear the steps of the person he knew very well getting closer to him. ‘What can I do?’ he thought, ‘sooner or later I had to bump into him’.

Steps closer. A thin voice breaks the street light silence. ‘Dario, shouldn’t you know better?’. Fast and short breathing from the drunk man. ‘You know you shouldn’t be in Moscow, streets are dangerous at this time of the day, especially for a drunk man.’ This drunk man raises his eyes and sees him. The person he didn’t want to meet again. ‘Why did I come back to Russia?’.

The standing figure kneels down next to the drunk man. Puts one hand in each side of his neck, movement over the drunk man’s head. A thin string between his hands. Pulls towards himself with force. The drunk man feels the threads cutting his skin. He can’t breath anymore. He gasps, moves his arms, hands and legs. Resisting with all that’s left in him after a night of vodka, rum, beer, wine and more. His sight is blurred. He is saying his goodbyes, for he can’t resist anymore. His face hits the pavement. The figure’s face approaches the drunk man’s face. Listening. Feeling. Stands up. Leaves.

***