myreadingexperience

When I picked up The Seagull by Chekhov and wondered if I should buy it or not, the opening lines made it clear: 

MEDVEDENKO. Why do you always wear black?

MASHA. I’m in mourning for my life. I’m unhappy.

The play is beautifully written and it was a pleasure to read. I finished it yesterday, in the park, not completely realizing how it all adds up: the symbol of the seagull changes throughout the play, and it means different things to each of the characters. The themes are unrequited love, the life of an artist, existentialism and self-conscience. Each of the main characters go through all the main themes, for example: Medvedenko loves Masha, but Masha loves Treplev, Treplev does not love Masha back, he loves Nina, who loves Treplev but then falls madly in love with Trigorin. Arkadina loves Trigorin but loses his affections to Nina. Paulina loves Dorn though she is married to Shamrayev. And ultimately Masha ends up like her mother, Paulina, married to a man she is not in love with. Both Arkadina and Nina praise life as actresses, Trigorin writes down every idea he comes up with, Treplev is shadowed by her mother’s success and friends, and so on and so on. 


“If ever you have need of my life, then come and take it.”

Osho is a big voice on the subject of spirituality and I think someone interested in such stuff should try at least one book by him.

I didn’t read “The man who loved seagulls” just because it came to me, but also because it contained stories, myths, and I love those. I can safely say one of my favourites is exactly the last one. It preaches laughter and life, detachment from it, but living. It’s about the Buddha Hotei, who went through villages with only one bag of sweets, giving it to children. He always laughed - he is known as the laughing buddha. Being asked what was zen, he put down his bag. Then, he was asked how do you act on zen, so he took his bag and went on.


The stories are absolutely beautiful and Osho’s view is interesting, sometimes obvious, sometimes surprising and sometimes almost scandalous. He begins by explaining his philosophy as one about life, of living, of truly enjoying, and he doesn’t trust or believe in ascetism. He also explains that faith today is rather a set of beliefs than what is should be, a true feeling of religiousness. He also explains that dealing with life is about balance and consciousness is more of a thing that you have to win again and again. Calmness, detachment and not knowing is best: since all life is a dream, whatever we learn about it does nothing but dip us father into it. All knowledge is truly useless, it’s rather feeding the ego and taking us away from the truth. According to zen, consciousness is something you reach in a moment, a second. There is no preparation for it. To Osho, all you can do is prepare a context good enough. Another story shows that it is important not to be possesive, that all love is free and the desire to posses kills it. Also, whatever you think of, life will give you: this is what Osho explains as a rule of energies, something that is probably more largely detalied defined in The Secret. Conclusion is, embrace life with consciousness, love, be free, laugh and dance to the music.

I’ve been reading stuff for my coursera class, The Fiction of Relationship. Barbtleby by Herman Melville, whose style vaguely reminded me of Kafka, by whom I then read The metamorphosis and A country doctor, both interesting, from eerie to terrifying. Today I finished the first volume from Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin, and, although I knew what would happen, it still kept me hooked. I’m a bit down though because I would have liked it much more if I hadn’t seen the TV series first, but I don’t know if or when I’ll have the time to read all the other chunky books.  

Sartre and Beaver’s relationship is quite amazing, one of those that only happen rarely and is the result of unhuman amounts of trust. They have not only loved each other, deeply, but they have BEEN each other, they have referred themselves to each other and understood themselves through each other. They have had other relationships with other people, some solely erotic, others that meant more: for example, when Sartre fell in love with Dolores Vanetti and, consequently, Simone loved Nelson Algern, deeply. This has been probably the biggest adversity they have faced as a couple. Before that, in the war years and in their youth, they have had numerous relationships, with many of their students, Simone being bisexual, they have also exchanged parteners. According to the book, their sexual encounters weren’t very satisfying, but this, however, has not been an obstacle in their life, as they had always found erotic stimulation in other people. They walked through life together, and this is what the book is about. Well written enough, it discusses Simone’s work as a feminist, their influence on each other and even Sartre’s character of traitor, in love and life.

Finished The Epic of Ghilgamesh: It’s a beautiful ancient legend, carrying some of the ideas that humans still have about life, and death, fear, ego and friendship. It’s sad how much of it was lost and amazing how much was found. 

Rushed to the library, brought it back, took “Tinerete fara batranete si viata fara de moarte”, a Romanian fairytale that would translate something along the lines of “Youth without old age and life without death”. In in, a prince is only born if his father promises him youth without old age and life without death. When he grows up, with the help of a magic horse, he travels and fights witches to find it - and eventually does. However, he ends up missing his family and wanting to go back. In the end, when he gets back, hundreds of years had passed and only Death waited for him in the ruined castle. It is, as some say, the only sad fairytale in Romanian culture. I also read “Calin Nebunul” - “Calin The Mad” - to pass some time while waiting in Fischer’s. 

On top of the fairytale book there is “Viata. Amorul. Moartea” (Life. Love. Death) by Schopenhauer, which I started reading long ago and will restart now and finish. 

Ah, and last week I also read “Chirita in provintie”, one of the first Romanian scripts for stage, by Vasile Alecsandri, but I forgot completely to photograph it because I read it during classes. 

Finished Ultima noapte de dragoste, intaia noapte de razboi by Camil Petrescu. While I read the beginning and most of the second part shallowly, I really, really liked its middle and the last few pages almost made me cry. The book tells the story of Stefan Gheorghidiu, in the first part dealing with the years before the first world war and his love story and in the second part with war only. Most of the book is made up of thoughts and there aren’t many concrete events, instead there is a lot of analyzing anything that happens. The most interesting part was, to me, his continuous uncertainty about his wife cheating on him, his ability to find evidence for fidelity just as well as for infidelity and his living in a world of ideas, of absolute.