back from the dead

It's been two years since I last posted something here. And of course, as it normally happens every new year, I've been hit by a bout of nostalgia that led me into googling my name and finding my old blogs (including this one, in portuguese, that goes back almost 10 years), which led me into a whole night re-reading several years of blogging, which, well, led me here. I miss writing these mostly pointless diaries. If I should follow the right order of things, I should start blogging again somewhere else, for ritual sake (and not to risk readers linking new phases into cringe-worthy-old-phases), but since this one already holds my name and not some silly uninspired of-the-moment name, I decided that I might as well start again here.

For tradition sake, I should also say that I don't know how long this new-found enthusiasm will last, so I'll lower any possible expectations of continuous updates (I have a tendency to disappear from time to time), but I won't. Let's live in the present.

Hello, again.


Wetlands by Charlotte Roche

For a couple of weeks I've reading all over the british press about Wetlands, a novel that will be taking the country by storm this month, and I can't bloody wait to get my hands on a copy. It has already done the whole brouhaha in Germany, where the author Charlotte Roche - born in England but raised in Cologne - has originally published this little controversial volume. Apparently, the novel is about an 18-year-old girl who has been hospitalised after a shaving episode gone wrong - which is kind hilarious - and goes on about her sex escapades while still in hospital - which made me raise an eyebrow - to her weird hygiene habits which include rubbing her genital parts in public toilets - NOW, that's got my attention.

In terms of books and films revolving about sex, I've always had this feeling that it would take a LOT of creativity to make me interested (full-on porn, animal and scatological fetish need not apply - they belong in the "yuck" category, which means I will look at out of curiosity before scrunching my face in distaste. Pedophilia is absolutely out of question). The last films I remember being attracted by were Bitter Moon and Last Tango in Paris, maybe Eyes Wide Shut and The Dreamers. Books... I can't remember much other then Susana Moore's In The Cut, Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer and maybe some of Anaïs Nin's work. I was never interested in that french bestseller written by a certain Catherine M, nor the real-life sex adventures of ladettes and middle-class girls turned strippers.

I think my taboos have been broken quite early in life.

But THIS book is something else.

The author says she started with an idea to comment on society's obsession with female cleanliness and it evolved into an altogether study of all things supposedly stomach-churning for the average individual: hemorrhoids, "smegma", "slime", and other detailed description of bodily fluids and Helen's (the protagonist) straightforward relationship with sex and her own body.

I suppose doctors won't find any of this too out of the ordinary, but I'm quite interested in what kind of impact this book is going to cause now that so much visual information is available and so many moral values don't stand their worth.

I'm ordering my copy right now.


This idea goes hand-in-hand with my new approach to life

The point, as [Virginia] Woolf suggests in Orlando, is the thrilling experience of the present moment. Everything else is a sort of dry dust that falls away, insignificant and distracting. Many of Woolf's famous works move fro character to character, moment to moment, attempting to capture and renew the sense of wonder that exists apart from and inside of social, cultural, and political arrangements. Woolf is, in this sense, apolitical. But in another sense she is very political, because the logical outcome of her method is a radical democratizing of the novel. No consciousness is privileged. No class, no degree of virtue or talent, no amount of money, no uniqueness of perspective gets to own the depiction of consciousness. [...] The author's job is to preserve exceptional moments, no to award them to exceptional people.

J. Smiley, 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel


Happy New Year

I had one of the best end of the years in a very, very long time. It probably was the best, considering the level of general optimism radiated by me. I worked hard, felt that I was being (reasonably, but not sufficiently) rewarded for it, and finished the month full of energy and ideas and plans for the new year. I finally made my peace with Christmas, throwing a lavish party for 18 close friends and family with all the expected treats: an enormous turkey, lots of alcohol and chocolate, two whole days of eating and watching It's A Wonderful Life. And then, four of us went to the Scottish Highlands, as north as it could ever be, to hide away in a beautiful cottage and do nothing other than rest, read, drink, eat, take long walks and baths, and think about what's coming next.

Then, I realised I wasn't prepared for what was coming next.

On Saturday the 3rd I sat down to write New-Year resolution and To-Do lists, and felt sick inside. Suddenly, the carelessness and the freedom I was enjoying for the past 10 months did not feel right anymore. It seemed like 2008 had kicked me out of the house, like a loving but tough parent, and shut the door, leaving me alone in the street and the cold. It's like it was saying to me,"It's all nice and fun, darling, but this cannot go on. You better make some decisions to move forward, and you better do it now."

On Sunday the 4th, my mind was racing the entire drive home. Thirteen hours of restlessness. When we got home, still inside the car, I looked at my boyfriend and my new great friend, and said: "Guys, I don't know what's gonna happen to me this year". They burst out laughing. "Oh god, here we go again," they said, and I laughed with them. But inside, I was suffocating. I felt the shadows of my previous crisis creeping up, whispering in my ear: "Did you miss us, hun?"

I didn't. I don't. I thought I was the one who had shut the door, locked it and thrown the key away. No more sleepless nights, no more crying fits, no more distressed, desperate conversations in a bed that felt, at times, too big and empty. I got out of the car and thought to myself, "We'll deal with it tomorrow."

Then, Monday, Black Monday, arrived. My first conversation with the boyfriend ended outrageously in tears, followed by his arms around me saying we were gonna work something out. It felt like déja vu. I half-expect his hand pulling my hand, my whole diminutive body under his weight, whenever I finish a spectacle of self-pity. It was a pattern that repeated itself one, two, three times, and then at the remain of the day we worked something out. We set up a plan that will certainly soothe my mind for next months ahead, but it won't be enough to silence The Shadows that insist on throwing me off balance.

So we're gonna go away. Again.


a brief note about the end of the year

So, the end is nigh. This is my last week of official work, then from the 22nd to the 4th of January I'll be away from my regular duties, worried only about Christmas preparations, and then off to the remote cottage we've rent in the middle of nowhere in North Scotland. I'm already anticipating the many reflections and wonders that will certainly happen, as for the first time in years I have managed to accomplish, if not all, most of what I've decided to do this year. The strange thing is, although 2008 was the "No-plan Year", it gradually became the "Decision Year", as month after month I had to make decisions to climb steps, but only when they appeared at my feet. I loved living like this, wanting more from life, but waiting for it (her?) to point the directions. I can probably count the days on one hand when I wasn't happy to wake up and go about my day, doing what was expected of me. Of course, my errands and general routine were probably not ideal, nor were they amazingly satisfying, but the consciousness that they were results of my choices certainly made everything else easy.

I'm starting to find that happiness is partly created by being approved of by surrounding peers and loved ones, but on the other hand, if you're convinced that your acts and choices are the right ones, the idea rubs off on people, and approval becomes not a possibility, but a certainty.


And 2008 was definitely a good year for books (and almost no gigs or clubs). There was the beautiful Siri Hustvedt's What I Loved, then Donna Tartt breathtaking college novel The Secret History. There was the sweet and heartbreaking Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees, the memorable and relevant To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and the surprisingly enlightening A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu Guo. And now, having just finished the masterly written and romantic Austen novel Persuasion, I felt I'm finishing my year in style.

I've read many others that I can quite remember just now, but most of them were books that I grived after turning the last page - a sensation only replaced by the thrill of reading the first page of another great novel.

It feels great to know that I'll have to choose the next ones to take with on my holiday away from civilization.



years, today.

That's how long we have loved each other for.

It doesn't feel long. It feels timeless. And with each year, the thought of a life without you seems more and more unbearable.

te amo.


Let Joy Be Unconfined

It's the challenge that makes me adore this city. Not the kind of defined ones that we set for ourselves (as in "I'm gonna learn how to play the banjo" or something similar - although i do DO that all the time, just for the sake of having a taste of it), but the daily challenges, visual challenges, thrown at your face constantly. Only yesterday, I saw this lady, mid-30s, fully clad in spandex and gym gear, jogging WHILE pushing her baby pram. The baby was IN it, of course. And she was going up the steepest hill near my house, the muscles on her tights bulging out with every pounding foot, while I was walking down the same sidewalk, feeling slightly out of breath. I grinned to myself - that sight was not only hilarious, it was also humbling. Until I went to the bus stop and saw two old men sitting at the bench, both mumblings haste remarks and sighing to each other whenever the wrong bus showed up at the bottom of the road. One was a tiny, meager Chinese looking little man; the other, an enormous, protuberant and heavy Black man, his hair and beard a blend of grey and white. When the bus arrived, the small one climbed up and offered to hold the big one's plastic bags, as he tried to negotiate the step at the entrance. It wasn't my bus, but I've got in anyway, if only I could observe them for a few more minutes, sitting next to each other, the big one nearly crushing the small one with each road curve. On my way home, I saw this Indian looking man stepping in. He had the appearance of any other Asian man, moustache and all, except he was wearing, unselfconsciously, an Indiana Jones sort of hat and sturdy, pointy, brown cowboy boots. He looked like he had just dismounted his horse and got on the bus, all imposed respect and expertise. It wasn't a costume, they were very expensive looking pieces. He looked to the floor without bending his head down, in the manner of a soldier. I had never seen anyone like him before, and neither those three other people, all on the same day. It warmed my heart, and although not in a immediatly significant way, it changed my the way I look at life forever.

And this is just a glimpse of what happens here, everyday.



But of course, tired as I am, my eyes shut at about 2am. Watching the little map of the States flash blues and reds every hour on about five networks' and newspapers' websites, I just felt pangs of anxieties. As Juno would say, that red colour is so unholy - and at first, it seemed to cover one stretch of land too big. Then, at 3:52pm, I jumped awake, sending the laptop flying to the wall next to the bed. It landed on top of a half-drunk glass of red wine, shattering it to pieces, spilling dark liquid and shards of broken glass in every direction under the bed. I stood up swearing (lost another f*ckin' wine glass - I manage to break one per week) to clean the mess up, and then I hear the BBC presenter: "It's 4 o'clock, UK time, and Barack Obama is the new president of the United States." Damn. It felt like Brazil had won the World Cup. I shouted "Holy SHIT," getting a harsh "SHHHH, AMOR, it's 4 AM!" back from the boyfriend, who was pissed off at being woken up by the noise of laptops-hitting-walls-broken-glasses-BBC-man-announcements. I whispered back : "I KNOW! Isn't it amazing?"

As the Kung Fu Panda would say, there is no secret ingredient. All you've got to do is believe.


Obama all the way

I'll just say this: I'm tired. Really tired. I haven't slept properly since friday, and that's certainly not due to too much parties. Working really hard. But I won't go to sleep just yet. It's 11:45pm, and I'll stay awake as long as my eyes don't close involuntarily, following the American elections through the blogs (I don't have a TV). I even texted the Americans I know, in an effort to make them vote. That's my little bid for change there.

Tomorrow things will be different. For good.


From the Urban Dictionary

deja moo

The feeling that you have heard this bull before.

Katie: " How come you guys didn't go out and celebrate your anniversary?"
Nicole: " We were going to, but he had to take care of his little sister again."
Katie: "That sounds like deja moo to me."