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Letter to my younger self

Letter to my younger self


If you can read this, then the time machine worked. Also, it’s really me. I mean you. On your first summer holiday, you found that knife with the shiny red handle and there was nobody around to see you take it, but you put it back anyway. See? It’s really me. That is, you, but twenty years older. So listen.

First and foremost, stop worrying so much about all that petty crap. Everything works out fine in the end. Laugh some more, relax, live a little. Your good friends will remain your friends twenty years down the line. The assholes will be virtually forgotten by the time you get to college. So there.

Also, the cute little blonde girl that you fell in love with in 9th grade? Just have the guts to tell her outright – the sooner, the better. Sticking around like a love-sick puppy never solves anything. You’ll end up telling her anyway – right before you leave for college – and she’ll laugh it off and you’ll stay friends. The only thing unrequited love is good for is poetry. And your high-school poetry sucks.

Let your hair grow just like you always wanted. There’ll come a time when sadly that won’t be an option any more.

Go see your grandparents while they’re still around. They love you and your sister more than anything else in the world. You’ll be out of the country soon, and you don’t get to visit much. No, I’m not telling you where you end up. Spoilers, you know.

Spend more time with dad. He’s not going to be around for much longer. Get him to quit smoking, if you can. Also, stop talking and start listening every once in a while. Not everything is a contest of wills, and you don’t need to get your way every damn time. Might even be better in the long run if you don’t.

Be fair with others and treat them with respect, even when it’s so tempting to do otherwise. Don’t forget that people that love you get hurt the most. And when that time comes when you have no idea where you’re going (I promise you, you’ll know), just figure it out by yourself. Don’t take other people along for the ride. They only get hurt in the end.

Did you know that the metabolism slows down in your twenties? Neither did I. Now you have no excuse to stop exercising. Get a bike. Trust me, it pays off.

Hope this little letter won’t change our lives so much that the created paradox blows me out of existence. Or ends the universe as we know it. I tried to keep it as spoiler-free as possible; I’m only telling you things that you’re going to figure out by yourself later anyway. Well, duh. Have a nice life, mate. See you in twenty years.

* * *

Oh, what the hell. BUY GOOGLE!

The shadow of a doubt

The shadow of a doubt

shadowHello there. Hi. Remember me?

It’s been a while.

When I’ve started this blog, a few years back, I didn’t really know what I wanted to write about. It was (mostly) a place for me to jolt down bits of ideas and stories that I find interesting and/or worthwhile. Its other (not so) obvious purpose was to provide me with a sandbox where I could mock about in the English language – which I’ve come to know and love almost as well as my native Romanian.

That was then.

I’ve changed, but then again, so do we all. I’ve started reading a few blogs, and then a few more, and found out what a blog really is. Entertainment. Humour. Opinionated editorialism. Gossip. Snark. A platform for one’s interests, or hobbies, or ideas. A chariot from which one could spear one’s enemies – metaphorically speaking, of course. A never-ending source of funny-faced cats speaking in cutely misspelled sentences. And oh, so much more, all fresh and new and updated regularly, in order to keep the reader’s interest alive.

And by those measures, this is not a blog.

I was away on holiday for the better part of last month, visiting relatives and friends back in my country of birth. And as chance would have it, I happened to run into Loridani version 1.0 – an old journal of mine, started way back in 1991 and rarely updated. Handwriting and language aside, it bore a striking similarity to my present style (and frequency) of writing. My younger self was writing down wild ideas and speculations about anything from religion to quantum physics, or any other topic that got me mesmerized at that time. Not for any honours or illusions of achievement, but merely to allow them to settle down and crystallize on page.

I am a firm believer in serendipity – I owe most of my present life to fortuitous coincidences, as friends would surely testify. And this particular bit of time travel couldn’t come at a better time. I’ve been pondering for a while now whether to keep on writing here on Loridani. Over the years this site has gathered an audience which, although rather small, is still large enough to trigger my sense of guilt for neglecting to make time for updates. Which reminds me: thank you so much for reading me.

On the other hand, this is who I am, and this is how my brain works. I don’t want this site even to seem like work; I do have a day job, and that’s more than enough for me. Updates will still be posted every Random(30) days, give or take. And if you really REALLY miss me, just give me a sign, and I’ll see what I can do.

I hope you will enjoy reading this journal at least as much as I enjoy writing it.


The fast food culture

The fast food culture

Fast foodThere is this myth that circulates among the finer circles of art aficionados nowadays. It amounts to ancestor worship, really, and in a nutshell, it can be described as this: it’s the classics that really matter; only the classics are worthy of our attention. It shuns the current crop of art as it were a bothersome itch after a rowdy row with some alley girl. Modern art is rubbish, pop culture is neither (at least in our circles it isn’t), my dear boy, have another helping of Strauss or Yeats or Hugo and ponder on the woes of those of us endowed with a yearning for the finer things in life. Comparing those with the artists today? Why, it’s like comparing La Noisette with McDonalds.

Fast food culture. That’s what it’s being called. That’s what it boils down to for some people, this powerful, all-encompassing current that sweeps around the globe, this accumulation of creative potential unlocked in people that are better fed, better educated and with more free time on their hands, all thanks to the industrial revolution. And then there came the telegraph, the radio waves, and now the Internet, information links that ultimately brought people together, allowing them to see and hear what other minds have created in lands they only ever dreamed of.

Take photography, for instance, which evolved so much in a decade thanks to digital imagery that now a mere mortal with some time on their hands can create what masters of half a century past could only ever dream of. Sites like DeviantArt and Flickr allow anyone to showcase their work for the world to see, art galleries and critics be damned. And its so simple that even a 3-year old could do it, provided that a 3-year old would take enough time off from writing the next great American novel on his blog to indulge in such menial activities.

Of course there’s lots of bad art out there. There’s bound to be. For starters, there’s so much more of it. It’s bound to happen that people become fed up with the abundance of cat pictures over the Internet (or cat porn, as it is endeared by the fans of the genre). They can’t stand another overweight, yet not-that-cute Dutch teenage kid dancing away on some obscure Romanian hit song. Or yet another writer wannabe bashing them away on his blog. So they turn to the classics, the true artistic values, the ones that stood the test of time.

Ah, time. The great equaliser. Let enough time go by and Homer will stand next to Shakespeare, Aristofan next to Lev Tolstoi and Handel next to Debussy and no one will question this unnatural closeness. Yet they are centuries, even millennia apart. They were the finest of their generations, of their cultures, and they endured through the ages, so that we learn of them today. Is it fair then , I ask, to compare them with all of the artists in the world today? Is it not a bit hypocritical to conveniently forget that some of those artists were never a la mode in their time – indeed, some were discovered after they passed away – and compare them with the whim of today’s art consumers? It is my firm belief that we’re unfair.

For time is also the great filter. It gives us Mozart and takes away Salieri. It gives us Baudelaire and Robert Frost, but buries the thousands of poets de salon that bundled pretty rhymes together to win the hearts (and more) of frivolous demoiselles. Keats died of consumption, attacked on all sides by his critics, only to later be enshrined as one of the greatest that English Romantism has to offer. Where are his critics now? Their words are dust, subjects of dusty papers written by dusty scholars. We’re left with Endymion and a nostalgy of ancient, happy days. But ancient as they may well be, they were never that happy.

Who’s to say that not the same will happen in a hundred years time? Perhaps people will look back fondly towards the 20th century and say: “ah, those were the days”. The birth of rock’n’roll, ah, what I wouldn’t give to see those times. The rebels, the bards, the poets, baring their souls, burning their lives away on the altar of artistic expression. The great pioneers of information technology, the first feeble expressions of Web culture, that led all the way to the full sensorial sharing that we have today. Which we don’t like, there’s so many people sharing sensyms of them banging their heads to the walls on, all in the name of art. Art? Garbage I say. Now give me the 2010’s… ah, those were true artists then.

Because it’s oh so easy, can’t you see? With classics we don’t have to judge, because they’ve already been judged. We don’t have to choose, for they have already been chosen, and so they stand before us already validated by the hands of time. None of our friends would dare comment on our taste, because we stand on the shoulders of generations that valued the same art. Not to say that there are no true admirers of the classics. But its such a convenient hiding spot for the snobs of our time.

I dare say: there is no real fast food culture. There is no real fast food art. There is just man’s drive to create and express his innermost feelings and desires. There may have been performers with greater talent than Beethoven, wasting their life away between one fair and the next. Born in the wrong place or at the wrong time, not lucky enough to win the patronage of nobles, dying in squalor and misery because those were the times. And for every one of those there were hundreds of thousands of mediocre dabblers, which are best left forgotten as far as The Art is concerned.

And you have the unique chance to have a real understanding of today’s artistic manifestation. You live here. You have the background knowledge, an unique understanding of the environment that fosters and nurtures today’s art. Don’t be ashamed to be drawn by your contemporaries’ artistic manifestations. Enjoy it. It’s history in the making.

Time, the great deceiver. Indeed.