#quote : Esslin on #Beckett

I was reading through a chapter on Beckett from Martin Esslin’s The Theatre of the Absurd and I found a very interesting quote:

Visual images, what we actually see and what appears to us in dreams and memories and the non-verbal consciousness of pure emotion (which, to follow Schopenhauer, one of Beckett’s favourite philosophers, is most perfectly expressed by the non-verbal art-form of music), are as vital constituents of our awareness of ourselves as words are – the words which run in an endless stream through our minds and which can be perceived as a sort of endless story we tell ourselves about ourselves.


‘Manifesto for Translation’ Signed by Adonis, Ahlem Mosteghanemi, Sonallah Ibrahim, Others


More than twenty prominent writers laid their signatures beneath a “Manifesto for Translation” aimed at Mediterranean states:

The signatories incude such prominent authors as Adonis, Alaa Al-Aswany, Mohammed Berrada, Sonallah Ibrahim, Khaled Al-Khamissi, and Ahlem Mosteghanemi.

translation4dialogueIt has been translated into several languages and can be signed online. The English version:

Languages are like Ulysses: they travel. There are translation roads, just like the silk and spice roads of long ago. Works travel, with varying amounts of baggage. But without translation, books and other works become cultural left luggage. The language of this journey, the traduction of the text, is translation itself.

Umberto Eco once said that translation is the language of Europe. Translation is the language of the Mediterranean. And yet, all the studies show that there is an extraordinary lack of translations and an unequal, asymmetrical exchange of languages in the Euro- Mediterranean area. “Mare nostrum” it may be…

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thoughts from the front

I’m supposed to be poring over my copy of Jean-Paul Sartre’s Huis Clos (or No Exit as it’s known in English) but there are so many thoughts in my head that I feel I need to unload, I can’t actually focus so I thought I’d put them down. Hopefully, that will unclog my brain a bit.

The past two days have felt like they are dragging on, no matter what I do – watching TV for hours really hasn’t helped my mood. I enjoy watching series and all, especially right before I head to bed, but I feel like these past two days have just been an overdose of TV.

Before I spent these days frying a couple of brain cells, I was reflecting on things. First and foremost, I quit my therapist. I keep asking myself whether that was the right thing to do (right thing for me, I mean) but I just keep coming to the same conclusions I did when I told her I wouldn’t be going any more:

a) My current concerns don’t seem to be something I can discuss with a psychologist. Not to say she’s not qualified or intelligent, but the questions I have at the moment seem to be of a more existential/philosophical nature.

Sure, maybe talking through certain things would help me – for example, the psychologist was really keen to talk about my mother, or how I feel about being adopted or trans – maybe I’ve rationalised this too much, but those didn’t feel like practical concerns I can handle right now. I’d love to have the luxury of wondering about the possibility of transition-related surgery or hormone treatment, but I feel like me focusing on recovery is actually a bigger concern. I’m not saying I don’t think about it, but I have, as the expression goes, bigger fish to fry. (Mmmm, fish!) Transition is important to me, but not as important as other things. Besides, I get the feeling that kind of thing – especially surgery – is something I ought to discuss with my doctor, to see if it is actually possible, not a psychologist.

b) Going to her office felt like a waste of time and breath for everyone involved.

c) I realised that regardless of whatever I talk over with her, I’m the one who has to live my life. Whatever advice she gave, and whether I chose to follow it or not, I’m the one who would have to deal with any consequences. My decisions, my responsibility, right?

d) Writing actually feels better than therapy. Getting absorbed in creating a story, building an entire world of words – whether entirely imaginary or grounded in reality – seems to be my way of understanding and dealing with the world. Yes, it’s antisocial, but that’s how I function, apparently.


In other news, I really miss dancing! Should add it to my ‘bucket list’ of things to do when I get a transplant.

Meanwhile, my cousin’s cousin (I have no idea what she would be called – a cousin twice removed or something?) informed me that her 9-year old daughter is “genuinely star-struck” to have an author in the family. I have to admit, that really cheered me up. Apparently, the family is expecting me to get published someday… not sure what I think of that.

Also, my theatre course is ending, so I’ve come up with a bunch of things to do during the summer. That includes:

  • Camp NaNoWriMo
  • studying some FutureLearn courses
  • getting back to my audio project – just a few words left to complete my collection, actually, then I can get to editing… yay!
  • starting my second audio project (I might put a call out for that…I’ve had a ‘bright’ idea)
  • write up some Edinburgh Fringe previews (hopefully!)
  • finding a monologue to start learning for when I do get a transplant and can go to Epidaurus
  • reading (hopefully lots of it!)
  • participating in a writing competition or two…
  • creating a text-based, interactive fiction game – currently researching labyrinths for this very purpose!

What about your summer?

Well, that’s all from me, at the moment. Thanks for listening, whoever you are. 🙂


The word of the day, chosen by moi:

bruttezza (la) 

Accent on the ‘e’. The double ‘z’ is pronounced like the ones in pizza. It’s the Italian word for ‘ugliness’ but, in my humble opinion, it manages to sound both elegant and vicious at the same time. D’you recognise any English words that may have been borrowed from this word in Italian?

This is what dictionary.com had to say about ‘ugly’, which I found very interesting:



mid-13c., uglike “frightful or horrible in appearance,” from Old Norse uggligr “dreadful, fearful,” from uggr “fear, apprehension, dread” (perhaps related to agg “strife, hate”) + ligr “-like.” Meaning softened to “very unpleasant to look at” late 14c. Extended sense of “morally offensive” is attested from c.1300; that of “ill-tempered” is from 1680s.

Among words for this concept, ugly is unusual in being formed from a root for “fear, dread.” More common is a compound meaning “ill-shaped” (e.g.Greek dyseides, Latin deformis, Irish dochrud, Sanskrit ku-rupa). Another Germanic group has a root sense of “hate, sorrow” (see loath ). Ugly duckling (1877) is from the story by Hans Christian Andersen, first translated from Danish to English 1846. Ugly American “U.S. citizen who behaves offensively abroad” is first recorded 1958 as a book title.


Boost your creativity by writing at your local coffee shop


If you like to hang out at a café to write, you may have instinctively figured out that the ambient sounds of a coffee shop can inspire creative twists and revelations for your work in progress.

It turns out that a modest level of background noise creates enough of a distraction to encourage more imaginative thinking, according to research led by Ravi Mehta of Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia.

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glory: time to #write #prompt

[I took on Rachel’s prompt: “It was the best moment of my life” and this was the gruesome result…I’ve titled it ‘Glory’.]

It was the best moment of my life.


Past tense.

It lasted about as long as it took the fire to spread.

“Excellent work.” A pat on the back.

Screams erupted everywhere in the night’s darkness, mixing with the crash and thud of things being knocked over as people scurried away from the blaze. Like rats… But we were ready for them; those that escaped the hell-sent flames were soon brought down by other means.

The massacre didn’t last long. After all, they were unarmed. Mostly women and children. I suppose I should be relieved. Proud even, since this was all my idea. A wonderful idea to end it all.

The pungent stench of burning flesh – the aroma of my excellent work – floats into my nostrils.

I did this.

It’s over. Relief seeps into my veins. The fighting is over. In one night. The tension disappears, as if all this never happened.

I want to throw up.

Day breaks, providing an unhindered view of the most glorious sight: our enemies have fallen. Smoke spirals skywards from the ruins.

It’s all over. Isn’t it amazing? Isn’t it glorious? This is how you will be remembered, the man who ended it all. Overnight.

The new day’s beams bounce off hacked-up body parts, scattered among hot piles of ash. These were once mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children, lovers.

All come to dust. 

I did this. 

Their blood encrusts my pores, already drying under my fingernails and stiffening my weary muscles. Their lingering souls accuse me. Sleep is henceforth banished.

Be careful what you wish for.


#CampNaNoWriMo July 2016: The depths

Somehow, I’ve signed up for my second Camp NaNoWriMo for this year. And of course, I discovered I lost the ‘winner’ banner I got for the April’s Camp (must have saved it somewhere though). No matter! I didn’t feel like I deserved that particular banner anyhow, because, at some point, I just gave up on my original story idea and surrendered to the more powerful call of my Medea story.  Well, this time, I’m going to try and follow through and actually finish something.

The good thing is, I won’t have any courses to deal with then, so I can focus exclusively on my writing. Well, I actually have one course – a teeny tiny Japanese philosophy course on Futurelearn- which I signed up for in January or February I think, but it doesn’t seem like a pile of work (unlike, say, my current courses). Not to say I can’t leave it if it gets too much but I get annoyed when I have to drop things. Also, who knows, it might inform some elements of the story!

So… I’ve decided I’m going to finish my Medea story.  I have a basic idea of where I want it to go, I just need to write it down and figure out how to connect the scenes/events I have in mind between them. I’ve listed it as a fantasy novel (but I doubt it’ll end up that long!) and titled it ‘The depths’. I borrowed part of the title from Maxim Gorki’s play, The lower depths, which I’ve not read yet – I probably should get round to it before I start the July camp. Also, dabbling in mythology is considered fantasy, right? 😛 We’ll see what happens… In any case, I already owe a great deal to Rachel, Rosie and Pola (and well… everybody!) for their helpful comments!

Taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo? Comment below!