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Not A Morning Person

19 Aug

“Much to my mother’s eloquent alarm, I became quite industrious with the pen and developed certain habits to which I have adhered ever since, namely sitting up to write late into the night and making up for that by lying in bed the whole morning next day, a shocking let-down to the wisdom that associates early rising with health and wealth, not to speak of the catching of worms. (Let us on no account speak of the catching of worms.)

My tendency to this excellent mode of life is in fact constitutional, since I am always suicidal in my feelings when I get up, so choose to get up at, or after midday on the very good grounds that the afternoon is no time for suicide.”

(Robert Nye, The Memoirs of Lord Byron, Abacus, p 53 – 54)


A Hesitant but Accurate Definition of Feminism

14 Oct

“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is. I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.”

-Rebecca West



On the Existence Of Magic

18 Dec

My daughter has a few recurrent questions. Some are very easy to answer (“Can I have chewing gum today, as an exception?” -No), others are more of a challenge (“What happens after we die?” -Eeeeh…).

A thought-provoking specimen in that last category is “Does magic really exist?
This is of course a logical query for a 4-year-old. She sees all that Bippety-Boppety-Boo stuff on tv, but none of her own magic wands work. Not the ones mum made out of chopsticks, not the wooden ones she found in the park, not even that impressive plastic one her aunt sent over. Pushing its button will make the star at the top flicker like a pink stroboscope, but no magical conversion of spinach into pasta takes place.

To make matters worse, at the end of the Magic Project they´d been working on in Kindergarten a magician came to give a performance. My daughter, who had eagerly been counting down to this encounter with what she hoped would be a real wizard, observed that the magician seemed to have no magic in him at all. He simply used “mechanisms”, she said. How disappointing.

Hence the question: does magic really exist?

Below you can find a delightful answer from Roald Dahl, but I´m also very curious to hear what you think…


Magic - Roald Dahl

Why It´s Never Too Late

16 Oct

I wonder if it is possible to read the text below without having your perspective changed. It´s not fictional, it´s a true story that I picked up from Elizabeth Gilbert´s latest book on creative living. Read and enjoy:

“I knew Winifred back in the 1990´s, in Greenwich Village. I first met her at her ninetieth birthday party, which was quite a wild bash. (…) Winifred was the most vividly alive woman I had ever met in my young life, so one day, looking for inspiration, I asked her. “What´s the best book you´ve ever read?”

She said, “Oh darling. I could never narrow it down to just one book, because so many books are important to me. But I can tell you my favourite subject. Ten years ago, I began studying the history of ancient Mesopotamia, and it became my passion, and let me tell you –it has totally changed my life.”

For me, at the age of twenty-five, to hear a ninety-year-old widow speak of having her life changed by passion (and so recently!) was a revelation. (…) But as I learned more about Winifred´s passion, what struck me most was that she was now an acknowledged expert in the history of ancient Mesopotamia. She had given that field of study an entire decade of her life, after all –and if you devote yourself to anything diligently for ten years, that will make you an expert. (That´s the time it would take to earn two master´s degrees and a doctorate.) She had gone to the Middle East on several archaeological digs; she had learned cuneiform script; she was friendly was the greatest scholars and curators on the subject; she had never missed a related museum exhibit or lecture when it came to town. People now sought out Winifred for answers about ancient Mesopotamia, because now she was the authority.”
(Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic, p 144 -145)


5 Oct

“Of all delectable islands the Neverland is the snuggest and most compact; not large and sprawly, you know, with tedious distance between one adventure and another, but nicely crammed. When you play at it by day with the chairs and table-cloth, it is not in the least alarming, but in the two minutes before you go to sleep it becomes very nearly real. That´s why there are night-lights.”

(J.M.Barrie, Peter Pan, p 7)

A few days ago my daughter said: “I want to go to Neverland. And to Cuenca.”

So for her even by day the Neverland is a real as, well, Cuenca.