554

I cannot stop. I cannot stop thinking and reflecting. I am seldom in the present. instead I am constantly floating in the past, going back in time, comparing, analyzing. at this moment the migraine from which I have been suffering for the past two days is at its peak. my head is spinning, I have to be careful not to move too suddenly or too fast, standing up is a process. my cheeks, my teeth, my entire face is hurting. I’ve turned down the lights; sounds; everything is still and dark. I should try to fall asleep as that would slow everything down, relieve the pain a little. but even when I am asleep, I feel it.

but no. I’m siting here, watching the academy awards for the second time, writing. I have come up with a few short film ideas and a couple of photography projects for the next few months. I am writing it all down I’m afraid I would forget everything. it happens. because every day, as I walk around the city, I keep noticing things around me and thinking, I wish I had a camera right now but when I try to return to them, I am not able to see it anymore. I am feeling miserable; I am inspired. is that what it takes? you need to be miserable in order to be creative? sometimes I think I’d rather have an eight-to-five job and nothing to think about, instead of carrying around this endless burden of thoughts and ideas.

I wish everything was simpler, I wish I was simpler. maybe then we would be able to find a way how to communicate instead of pretending we don’t know each other.

and tomorrow is already march.

list one: books that have made a difference

1. white oleander, janet fitch; I first read this book when I was twelve, the same age as the protagonist and narrator of the novel. the book has changed my life. influenced my writing style, my interests, my need to know and explore art, my love for california and the absurd that are human lives. I have two different copies, one in czech and one in english that I had stolen from the high school library. I felt the book has been through a lot with me as I spent most of my junior year in the library and it wouldn’t deserve to be left in a shitty high school library. so I stole it.

2. paint it black, janet fitch; I waited a long time for this book. I remember when I read an interview with janet in a magazine, and then at the end of it, it said, a new book coming up. I was so excited, so happy. then the book came out, I went to the first bookstore and bought it right away. and then, paint it black was put on my bookshelf and left there for almost a year, untouched. I was afraid to read it, in case I didn’t like it. I thought it would affect the connection I feel towards white oleander. but eventually I picked up the book and didn’t put it down until the last page. janet fitch would never disappoint me. her writing style, her characters, the narrative. I can never stop reading.

3. the history of love, nicole krauss; I would have never bought the book had it not been for tumblr. I know this sounds insane but it’s true. I kept reading through quotes and passages from the book on various pages and each time I thought I need to read this entire book. I feel connected to the main character because of her heritage; many languages are used in the book including russian, french and polish. being able to understand each and a few others makes me feel related to the characters. and the first few lines must be one of the best in the history. when they write my obituary. tomorrow. or the next day. it will say, leo gursky is survived by an apartment full of shit. reading this book is pure happiness.

4. on the road, jack kerouac; I started reading this book on the plane when I first flew to america a few years back. I fell in love with the freedom, the people and in general, what it means to be on the road, wandering but not lost. I think when I finished reading, that’s when I was able to decide what I want my life to be. I decided always to be on the road. also this novel began my never-ending love for the beat generation. I’m planning a road trip somewhere this year.

5. the unbearable lightness of being, milan kundera; I think some of you are not even surprised this one is on the list. although I lived in czech republic for almost fifteen years of my life, I only read kundera’s novels while in hong kong. this was another one of books I had taken away from my school library. (yeah, maybe you were right. I was the reason there weren’t any good books left.) but I have lost that copy a while ago. the ways in which this book is touching and swallowing are impossible to list. more than a love story it is a philosophical text. I found that I enjoyed the book much more on the second and third reading. perhaps because it takes time to absorb every aspect of it.

6. human traces, sebastian faulks; I bought this book randomly. I just picked it up and without looking at it, I decided to buy it. turned out to be one of the happiest accidents. a fictional story about the true beginning of psychology and its first serious experiments. well-developed characters and insights into a broken mind combined with the complexity of human relationships. the amount of research that has been done for this book by the author almost qualifies the novel as a textbook for psychology students. also made me conduct my own research in a different way.

7. beloved, toni morrison; I think I was the only student in my entire year to enjoy this book. and when it comes to literary techniques; symbolism, non-chronological order, repetition, characterization and all of that; I am familiar with it inside out. two years of IB made me read the novel ten times. but that was in the classroom. even when I was outside, I would still pick up beloved and read my favorite pages. I’ve done a lot of additional research about the geography of the area and the history in general. when I visited the african-american national museum in washington dc, beloved was on my mind the entire time. I think as a piece of literary work, beloved is one of the most important ones in the american history.

8. heavier than heaven, charles r. cross; I don’t have to explain this one, do I? biography of kurt cobain. one of the best biographies ever written. there was a time when this was my bible, I read it every day for months. eventually I had memorized entire paragraphs without even realizing it. this book went everywhere with me during my first year in hong kong. it was all I was reading; it was the only thing that would get me through the day. eventually some of the negative slowly started disappearing, but the book has remained as one of the most significant I have read.

9. a million little lies, james frey; I first opened this book in a bookstore in dubai and after reading the first pages whilst standing I was hooked. addicted. but I didn’t have enough dirhams to pay for it. but it was an airport bookstore, so as soon as I landed back in hong kong I bought my copy at the terminal. an honest (well, maybe not) account of drugged out, crime-ridden years, but mostly an insight into an addicted mind and the sacrifices and consequences that come with such choice of lifestyle. this book entirely satisfied my addiction to addictions and everything that goes with it. again, my own writing style has been influenced by frey’s and I’m thankful for that. my friend leonard and bright shiny morning also belong to this list.

*

I just like writing lists.

the dead sea is the lowest place on earth

we sat shoulder to shoulder. “maybe one day I’ll bring you to russia,” said misha. “we could go camping in the ural mountains,” I said. “or just the kazakh steppes.” our breath made little clouds when we spoke. “I’ll take you to the room where I lived with my grandfather,” said misha, “and teach you to skate on the neva.” “I could learn russian.” misha nodded. “I’ll teach you. first word. dai.” “dai.” “second word. ruku.” “what does it mean?” “say it first.” “ruku.” “dai ruku.” “dai ruku. what does it mean?” misha took my hand and held it.
the history of love, nicole krauss.

the loneliness is beginning to catch up with me. I noticed today as I sat outside my favorite starbucks for over two hours, reading the history of love, indulging in a cup of cappuccino. beautiful, warm day. the light lasted until almost seven. I walked past strangers, passed everyone by, remaining ignorant. but at the same time I was somehow aware of everything. especially the silence that has taken over my phone in the last few days. one gets easily used to a constant flow of messages and half a dozen missed calls each night. but now, nothing. I’m on my own. I’m on my own but half the time I am somewhere far away. on a different planet, distant. I bought a new journal tonight. maybe I could use it as a chance to start something distinct. start over, maybe.

550: coffee and popcorn for breakfast

there is nothing better than waking up in the afternoon on a sunday. last night, instead of going out with friends, my father and I sat at the roadside bar for almost five hours, talking, watching people, catching up. the last time we spent some time together was in november. I’d be lying if I said I don’t miss it. I sent a couple of emails, hoping at least some of them would make sense. it only takes one word for me to start doubting everything and last night there was one of those. I am tired of having to figure people out, trying to understand them. I wish everyone would be at least half as straight forward as I am. just say it. ignoring my question, or even entire sentences, playing games. there was never time when that interested me. but it always kept me there. for once in my life, I just want to know where I stand. I wouldn’t be able to handle another fake hope. it’s simple really.

are you in or are you out? yes or no?

we talked about this. and other things. films, music. people passing us by. I like spending time with my father; we always end up talking about psychology, drugs, medicine. it fascinates me how much he misses it, how good he was at what he used to do. sometimes I wonder whether I have some of those genes in me, too. I went to causeway bay in the afternoon, to visit an orphanage in the middle of the district. it’s ironic when you think about it, because some of those children will have better a future than my generation. but then I was also reminded of my trips to vietnam and cambodia, meeting those people. some of the kids that we had visited will be blessed to live until the age of ten. I thought about this contrast as I walked into a starbucks and bought yet another cup of insanely over-priced coffee.

hypocrisy.