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About heroes

June 30, 2012

“I never appreciated ‘positive heroes’ in literature. They are almost always clichés, copies of copies, until the model is exhausted. I prefer perplexity, doubt, uncertainty, not just because it provides a more ‘productive’ literary raw material, but because that is the way we humans really are.”

Jose Saramago

I agree wholeheartedly with Jose Saramago. Nothing annoys me more than the positive, enthusiastic and all good hero. D”Artagnan,  James Bond, Sir Lancelot and Luke Skywalker are not on my top list.

If it has to be a heroic hero, give me Don Quixote, give me Hamlet or Paul Bäumer from “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque. They all face a struggle from within, to which the reader can identify himself/herself with. I do not mind Ulysses, he is torn apart by two worlds: by humans and Gods.

I like also the tragic hero, the character that knows that will have a bad end, or, if he/she doesn’t, than the reader is the one who sees it coming: Orestes and King Lear – for example. It is even better, when the hero lives moments of happiness, like Yuri Zhivago in Boris Pasternak book, Doctor Zhivago. This is when the reader hopes foolishly that some miracle will happen and save the character.

And how about the self-destructive hero, like Byron’s Corsaire, or The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo, Goethe’s Young Werther. I, the reader, feel compelled to do something, but I am unable and helpless, the hero has taken his/her decision and the end is dramatic.

My favourite though, has to be the anti-hero – the one that has flaws, breaks the law, the imperfect soul that in the end has a noble motive: Winston Smith from 1984 by George Orwell, Cal from East of Eden by John Steinbeck, Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, just to mention a few.

If I brought up this subject, how can I not mention the ones up to no good, the villains and the antagonists from Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Shakespeare’s Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, to Humbert Humbert – Nabokov detestable character in Lolita.

However, there is no standard, no scheme,no arrangement and no easy formula to create a hero. I am sure that any human being can be a character that stands defiant to all the classic rules and can be transformed into a piece of literature.


A carousel at crossroads

June 29, 2012

There was an awkward sensation of detachment. As if, while climbing down the stairs of the hill, he had somehow diffracted in two, and had separated his soul from his body. He had the bizarre sentiment of watching the world from a higher perspective than his height would actually permit. It was like he was sitting on his own shoulders and his body was just a vehicle of his self, mechanically performing the walk. It did not bother him a bit, on the contrary, he was analyzing it as a curious phenomenon that was happening to somebody else, and to which he was a simple observer.

   He started to look around to see if anybody was noticing, however, there was nobody to be seen. Therefore he decided to study attentively the streets that he was passing by. No difference whatsoever. He had walked thousands of times on this route and knew every detail, from the deciduous trees mathematically aligned along the streets to the flowery vines climbing in anarchy on the walls and to the garbage cans abandoned empty on the side of the road. It must be Friday, he thought, the garbage is picked up on Thursday morning. He wondered if he was to make a jump from his body and separate more from himself, would he watch his own body left abandoned on the street, just like those empty cans? He imagined being liberated and a part of him wished he could do this.

He was walking for about 15 minutes when he suddenly realized that it was taking him too long to get to the bottom of the hill. He must have changed the route at some point as he did not think he was ever in this part of the town. He remembered how he used to take Nadia with him on his walks, escaping the mundane and very small apartment that they were living in. She used to point at all the big houses along and they would try to imagine them painted in crazy colors of chartreuse and magenta.

His mood changed and he became angry. Stupid life! The image of Nadia’s corpse in the morgue rushed up to the surface. He never cried, not a bit. Left there, on the cold steel table, her body was laying in an obscene position. He refused to recognize her. Simply refused. And was still searching for her. There were moments when he believed that he would see her blue dress fluttering somewhere in the crowd, just for a split second, or he would distinctly trace her honeysuckle perfume and her presence in his empty apartment.

He falled back into his own body and felt heavy. He was a whole again, a dark and lonely whole. His feet were dragging on the asphalt and he wished he could summon the lost feeling of dissipation that he had before.

At the end of the street there were shadows moving. Probably the street cleaners, sweeping the road in their blue uniforms, it must be early morning now. As he drew closer he could distinguish amalgamated forms, reduced to their geometrical appearance, a Cubist painting that he was still trying to decipher. There was a faint sound, like a broken mechanical pianine left in the middle of the street. The metallic screech of the chords woke him up and raised his interest. Something to do or see, anyhow, something else to think about. Speckles of light welcomed him through the fog.

   As he approached the crossroad he realized that in front of him was a carousel, which somebody probably set it up during the night. It worked, but nobody was around it. The carousel was spinning slowly, as if only the wind would move him in a concentric direction. He jumped on and he seated himself on a wide bench. Due to the whirl of the machinery, the feeling of detachment came back to him. On the walls of the carousels there were paintings of trees carefully planted in rows, of streets with lampions, that he was sure he walked them by, of houses painted with bright Caribbean colors and somewhere, in the back of the scene, the silhouette of a woman in a blue dress.

“Jack, run! Turn off the machine. Somebody got inside!” the worker shouted.

“What happened?” bellowed his colleague, running to the carousel, that gave a last spin.

“I cannot feel his pulse” the other man said.

    The honeysuckle vines growing on the city walls were sweating profusely their heavy perfume.   

by Elena Cochia – Vochin

Politiki Haiku

June 28, 2012

art inspires art.

My inspiration – 08001 Vorágine :

My result:


Fortified, virulent, violent,
Prepared, persuasive, equipped –
These are the ways I strive for peace.

In the jungle of Khalimanstar

June 27, 2012

In the jungle of Khalimanstar the leopard women used to rest lasciviously on the grassy grounds, reflecting over the eternal question of life: “Who are we?”. From time to time a clown monkey would miss a tree branch and leap down, to their death, right between the paws of the above mentioned contemplative beasts.
It was forbidden for men to enter the forest. So many times, they have been enticed to follow these mysterious creatures, seduced by their voluptuous breasts and wide, yellow eyes. They tried to talk with them, feed them fresh slices of meat. Some foolishly believed that they have found true love. Throwing themselves at their feet, they allowed the she-leopard to digest them slowly, in a promiscuous sadistic and pleasurable way. And others, crazy enough, tried even to mate with them, because man-leopard had never been seen and the intriguing glare of the half women beasts made them believe that such sexual acts were possible and even forgiven by God. None of them succeeded as, poor bastards, poets, idealists and criminals alike were equally devoured with no discern. And later, purring loud enough to be heard two villages away, the she-leopards went back to their philosophical siesta. The curvaceous monsters were again satisfied and were again daydreaming about the reason of existence.
There were rumors in the village, of course. People were talking, yes! Some said that the girls disappearing lately were just the she-leopards. They ran away from their families, deep in the forest and came back at the edge of it, transformed, now half wild and half civilized. And mothers would swear that they could recognize their daughters and it was said that some were able even to stroke their golden furs. And truth, being told, women had never been attacked.
“It’s a conspiracy” some newspaper writers cried. “Women want to get rid of men. This is a government experiment.” but no proof was found pro or against it, either. So this theory was left suspended on the internet, books and newspapers without a way of approving or disapproving it. And there were other theories equally debated.
However, in spite of legends, myths and stories around the she-leopards, in the past few months, a very strange phenomenon occurred. Men were not eaten anymore, but treated with mere indifference and slight bore, if the beast could have such a feeling.
Dr. Handisharmun, the eminent zoologist and anthropologist was interviewed on the 9PM news on Sunday, August 8, 1993 in order to explain the weird behavior of the she-leopards. Amazingly, noticed by all viewers that evening, he could now sit at a comfortable distance to them and be filmed at ease by the cameraman. With a deep breath and adjusting his voice with importance he said:
“Ladies and gentlemen, the simple explanation of it is that the creatures have become vegetarian.”


by Elena Cochia – Vochin

First words

June 26, 2012

I have started again. After so many years… I have started to write on notebooks, books, recipe cards, sticky notes, to-do lists, message boards, my computer, work computer, any computer. I have started to write poems, haiku, reflections, short stories and pretty much anything that comes to mind.

But, I do not have structure and I procrastinate. So much! This is why I decided to blog. I will post my writing attempts and exercise, exercise, exercise.

Dear friend, avid reader, fellow blogger or occasional voyeur, please give me your advise and let me know  your opinion. Be gentle, be tough, be straight, but most of all, be truthful. And keep in mind only one thing, English is my second language – so pointing any of my mistakes is welcomed, too.

Thank you for stopping by.