Tuesday, 23 February 2010
i sleepwalked to school for a morning class and was not able to think straight because of a massive headache. the top floor of the school feels like the waiting room of a dentist. it smells like one too. on the walls there are three or four posters of famous movies. as i was waiting to enter my class, i kind of blanked - staring at mel gibson looking back at me with his trademark mad eyes.
every man dies, not every man really lives
it said, behind mel's left shoulder.
i read and repeated in the blur my head was.
it is fascinating how hardly anything can sound impressive and glorious when you are tired.
sleepheart, really...that's me.
p.s. btw...allegedly, we almost had a coup d'etat in the country a couple of days ago.
i asked my students what they knew about this and they did not seem to care that much. they sounded as affected by the news as i would be by some impossibly lengthy explanation on quantum theory.
no allende around here any time soon - i am afraid...
Tuesday, 16 February 2010
with very abrupt, sudden sentences - yet uttered with the sense of benign bravado and comradery of someone who is telling you with pride he has just killed a wild boar with his bare hands.
i nodded - looking up at his square face through my foggy eyes.
Monday, 15 February 2010
Spent the afternoon reading "A Fortunate Man" (The Story of a Country Doctor) by John Berger.
It is a very unusual, mesmerising book that uses beautiful, journalistic photographs and a very direct, unheroic style of writing to offer a memorable portrayt of a man, a doctor - that leaves you feeling immersed into thoughts of how precious life truly is - even through its most devastating, painful and inexplicable aspects.
I keep on going back to its pages and think that, any young person reading it would be enlightened, moved and motivated to become a doctor.
And not because of any fake mythology created around gp's and their daily life.
On the contrary.
I found "A Fortunate Man" an extraordinarily deep reflection on human ideals, hopes, downfalls and failed expectations.
This is a short book, modestly described by the author as an ‘essay’. In it a GP working in the Forest of Dean in the mid-1960s comes to life. We read about his encounters with patients and his struggle to respond to their illnesses and lives.
The demanding and fallible humanity of John Sassall, the doctor, is described without holding back any detail. As if this were not enough, the book's photos by Jean Mohr are the visual equivalent of a choral passion. They are nothing short of exceptional. With their silent black and white tones, they portray Sassall at work and in conversation, his patients as individuals and in groups, and the ever-changing dialogue between sky and landscape, both beautiful and full of foreboding.
Sassall began as a blood-and-guts "one-man hospital," performing emergency appendectomies on kitchen tables. He had contempt for distress he judged not real. Gradually, his work made him rethink his values. Sassall began to attend to psychosomatic illnesses. He underwent his own crisis, read Freud, and held his office open evenings, when he offered psychotherapy. Sassall was what Berger called a "master mariner," Odysseus, perhaps, a man with broad curiosity about the nature of the human circumstance - armed with diverse skills and ready for all adventures. The general practitioner was, in Berger's telling, the existential man, facing down death and his own demon.
I found this book astonishing and am only waiting to read it again.
Saturday, 13 February 2010
Friday, 12 February 2010
Uninvited, the thought of you stayed too late in my head,
so I went to bed, dreaming you hard, hard, woke with your name,
like tears, soft, salt, on my lips, the sound of its bright syllables
like a charm, like a spell.
Falling in love
is glamorous hell; the crouched, parched heart
like a tiger ready to kill; a flame's fierce licks under the skin.
Into my life, larger than life, beautiful, you strolled in.
I hid in my ordinary days, in the long grass of routine,
in my camouflage rooms. You sprawled in my gaze,
staring back from anyone's face, from the shape of a cloud,
from the pining, earth-struck moon which gapes at me
as I open the bedroom door. The curtains stir. There you are
on the bed, like a gift, like a touchable dream.
(SONG - FRANK O'HARA)
I am stuck in traffic in a taxicab
which is typical
and not just of modern life
mud clambers up the trellis of my nerves
must lovers of Eros end up with Venus
muss es sein? es muss nicht sein, I tell you
how I hate disease, it's like worrying
that comes true
and it simply must not be able to happen
in a world where you are possible
nothing can go wrong for us, tell me
(ABSENCE – STEPHEN DOBYNS)
If these lines that I
see appearing on my face
were the lines of a map,
I would be with you now.
If the distance between us
were as tangible as the ice
that I feel, you would see me
sliding toward you, full of
joy at having found you, sorrow
at having been gone so long.
If my memory had the body
of a servant or thief
I would pursue it until it
returned what it had stolen:
already it blurs your face
with the faces of strangers.
hooked on two great singers:
great music - about as quirky and different as their names!
cannot believe it is already thursday...
days go by so fast i hardly realise it.
house was turned into a bit of a sick bay this week - hope the e.r. mode will disappear soon.
check these out:
"man with a thousand faces" (r.s.)
"hide and seek" (i.h.)
Monday, 8 February 2010
found out that to say "pen" in turkish - you use a term meaning "everlasting pencil"...which i consider a little linguistic gem!
it does not make learning turkish any easier - but it does make me smile...
and think of willy wonka's Everlasting Gobstopper!
getting very damp, rainy and cold weather.
went to urla, a tiny fishing village outside of izmir on saturday night and ended up in a tiny wooden hut by the beach. there was a fireplace and a traditional band playing.
it was quaint - and looked like a randomly executed cross between a sirtaki school, a skying lodge up in the mountains and some fuddy duddy diner in texas.
i guess the most exciting bit was the actual drive to reach and leave urla.
it felt like one of those illegal night races they organise outside of naples. pitch dark all around and a rather interesting average speed of 180 km/hour.
luckily i was far too tired to be scared!
Friday, 5 February 2010
beautiful, perfect day out - crisp air, wind, the bluest sea, clear sky, bright sun.
i found this quote from mason cooley and it made me smile...
"beauty is the outside of a dream"
he is the same author that said:
"everyone values the good nature of a man with a gun"
"failure makes us envious. success makes us greedy"
"to understand someone. find out how he spends his money"
"the egg is the symbol of perfection...do you want an egg??"
"the bathroom scale knows nothing of extenuating circumstances"
time to go out for a long walk!
one of the students came out with a delirious theory on why women in mediterranean countries are "inferior" to men.
"it is because of the weather. we have warm weather.
instead...people in the north... the weather always cold...very cold there... so the men are cold... the women are cold too... everyone is cold... and the women are stronger... they are like men".
good old claude levi strauss was listening from his grave, i think!
as i was taking in my student's infos - i thought back at my university years. in our linguistic anthropology book - the chapters i enjoyed best were the ones quoting eccentric scientists who had conducted tests on the effects of different climates on the phonetics and pronounciation in different languages. some experts basically claimed people enduring cold weather kept their mouth less open to let in less freezing air.
needless to say i loved reading about these experiments and bizarre theories.
problem is that...
going home from my class i started to conduct some mental equations on the effect of different climates on myself.
my reasoning kind of started from phonetics and then it sort of derailed...
dilemma number 1 -
had my cellulite increased since moving from singapore (equator) to izmir, turkey (southern mediterranean)?
dilemma number 2 -
yet - why had my skin been so bad in auckland, new zealand?
objection number 1 -
still - i had experienced less circles under my eyes when we were in holland.
dilemma number 3 -
and what about my hair?
well, i guess everyone prioritises in very different ways.
and lots of kisses to mr. claude!
Thursday, 4 February 2010
great lyrics too:
God that was strange to see you again
Introduced by a friend of a friend
Smiled and said 'yes I think we've met before'
In that instant it started to pour,
Captured a taxi despite all the rain
We drove in silence across Pont Champlain
And all of the time you thought I was sad
I was trying to remember your name...
This scar is a fleck on my porcelain skin
Tried to reach deep but you couldn't get in
Now you're outside me
You see all the beauty
Repent all your sin
It's nothing but time and a face that you lose
I chose to feel it and you couldn't choose
I'll write you a postcard
I'll send you the news
From a house down the road from real love...
Live through this, and you won't look back...
Live through this, and you won't look back...
Live through this, and you won't look back...
There's one thing I want to say, so I'll be brave
You were what I wanted
I gave what I gave
I'm not sorry I met you
I'm not sorry it's over
I'm not sorry there's nothing to save
I'm not sorry there's nothing to save...
sounds like fun...! (i know at least eight people who are definitely suffering from this)
In Münchausen syndrome, the affected person exaggerates or creates symptoms of illnesses in themselves in order to gain investigation, treatment, attention, sympathy, and comfort from medical personnel. In some extremes, people suffering from Münchausen's Syndrome are highly knowledgeable about the practice of medicine, and are able to produce symptoms that result in multiple unnecessary operations. For example, they may inject a vein with infected material, causing widespread infection of unknown origin, and as a result cause lengthy and costly medical analysis and prolonged hospital stay. The role of "patient" is a familiar and comforting one, and it fills a psychological need in people with Münchausen's. It is distinct from hypochondriasis in that patients with Münchausen syndrome are aware that they are exaggerating, whereas sufferers of hypochondriasis believe they actually have a disease.
Tuesday, 2 February 2010
INT. CHAS’ BEDROOM. DAY.
Chas’ room looks like a businessman’s office, except it is
very small and has bunk beds. There is a desk with an Apple
II computer and an electric coffee pot on it. There is a
water cooler in the corner, with a paper cup dispenser.
Chas stands talking on the telephone while Etheline brings in
his lunch on a tray.
Chas Tenenbaum had, since elementary
school, taken most of his meals in his
room, standing up at his desk with a cup
of coffee, to save time.
On a shelf in an alcove there are ten cages connected
together by plastic tubes. White mice with tiny black spots
all over them race around outside the cages. Chas feeds one
of them a drop of blue liquid from a test tube.
In the sixth grade, he went into
business, breeding dalmatian mice, which
he sold to a pet shop in Little Tokyo.
There are twenty-five pinstriped suits in boys’ size twelve
and an electric tie rack hanging in the closet. Chas pushes
a button on the tie rack and the ties glide along a track.
He started buying real estate in his
early teens and seemed to have an almost
preternatural understanding of
There are a small weightlifting bench and punchbag in the
corner. There is a set of exercise charts neatly drawn with
felt-tip pen tacked on the wall. Chas bench-presses about
fifty pounds on a small barbell.
He negotiated the purchase of his
father’s summer house on Eagle’s Island.
EXT. BACKYARD. DAY.
Monday, 1 February 2010
when we are not sure, we are alive.