Archive for the ‘book; books’ Category

Sweet Friend,

For the first time, I’m going to Nevada. I dislike gambling, but I’m looking forward to seeing the opulence of the casino. I wonder what changed since those old Hollywood movies and now. How is luxury displayed? How are women or men dressed? I’m looking for my tuxedo.

Wise Friend,

I flew once to Reno Nevada for a conference. During the flight, I sat next to a beautiful American woman from Reno, who told me the Hilton hotel has a great shopping centre under the hotel, a grand casino at the entrance and a great night bar ‘The Garage’ in the lobby. I was so excited! While passing through Los Angeles, I had time to buy a gorgeous blood red woollen dress with a turtleneck.

I entered the hotel, and in the lobby, I saw tens of poker machine, an image I distaste, and I forgot what she told me.

I went to a party of the conference. Those attending were aged hippie-computer-geeks with body postures affected by sitting twenty-three hours a day in front of their computers, and not enough hours dedicated to fitness—movements and behaviours frozen in the sixties, looking sad, trying to catch up with times. I watched them dancing.

There was something so grotesque about their sense of dress and dance. Everybody was keen to pick somebody up for a night of “romance.” I didn’t want to see any of them undressed. Among them, there was one dancer who knew how to move. He looked better and fitter. I watched him and with my passion for dance, I enjoyed the only graceful person on the dancing floor.

Sweet Friend,

Anybody in a tuxedo?

Wise Friend,


By the evening, I understood that the poker machines were the casino (duh!).

Nevertheless, I put my red dress on and was ready to walk through the casino. I was looking very well, but I expected to be the most modestly dressed woman. I expected glamorous women with gorgeous evening dresses, with naked backs, great low cut fronts, and men in tuxedos. Everybody was dressed in jeans, sweatshirts and pants. Some colleagues, who liked me, told me I was looking like a model. The ones who never liked me asked why I dressed up. From modesty, though in red, I was the glamorous one. Disappointed but flattered.

I gave in and gambled $20.00. I won a bit in between, lost it all by the end – my tributes to this world of strange fun.

The next day I visited the shopping centre—a lousy array of cheap shops.

Later, I decided to go the ‘The Garage’, I in red, they in jeans. A colleague of mine joined me. I ordered a virgin Marguerite (which I found out means without alcohol, duh!) and then I had a great time watching the locals. They came in couples and danced ‘western dancing’. I’m not crazy about non-couple dancing such as line dancing. I watched only the couples, and I had such a good time. The western swing is so gracious and requires great skills. I loved it. My colleague left. I didn’t want to go to bed. Imagine, being alone, watching couples dance and being happy. Not bad!

Take your jeans and a t-shirt. Leave the tuxedo at home.

Sweet Friend,

Ruined it for me.

Sweet Friend,

Lately, I thought about my son a lot. About the sheer experience of bringing up a child. About him, only a few days old, looking so beautiful. About his first night at home after his birth when suddenly I heard him hiccupping and when I looked at him. He kicked away his nappy, and he was naked. We took him out of his bed unto ours. I stared at him amazed by his beauty and his happy eyes wondering around with a sparkling twinkle and the unique calm of Caesarean born babies.

Then as always, my thoughts drifted to the time when he was two. At that age of my son, I was aware daily how much I loved him and liked him and how amazed I was every day by every little change. It was the age of what I’d call qualitative jumps.

I thought back to the last events during the previous two years before I went to work across the oceans. To the night when we had a fight, he left the kitchen and then came back and with a strangled voice told me: “I love you so much!” He stopped touching and hugging us when he turned thirteen. For the first time in six years, he approached me very timidly and hugged me.

Wise Friend,

I remember well when my son turned nineteen. He didn’t yet develop into a grown-up man. His friends did. When they visited or called on the phone, they had those bedroom looks and voices and talked in a flirty manner with me. I felt like laughing at them and ignored that. It meant nothing. They were playing their games.

When they gathered four-five of them in our little apartment, I always went out for a walk, as I didn’t want my son to notice his friends’ game.

Sweet Friend,

I’m reflecting more and more on what my son is becoming. He is maturing, and I even can seriously consider his opinions about some areas in my life.

He tells me about his decisions. I try so carefully to let him free, to let him take chances afraid he might hurt himself, so willing to let him try while he is young and with no family to support yet.

I so much don’t want to cut his wings, and so much I’d like him to be wise and measure everything.

There is nothing like this experience of bringing up children and wanting to learn from them and through them learn what dignity, life, and healthy freedom are about.

As they grow and become our friends, we forget that at their age we had our maturity and in the process of accumulating years, we might have thought arrogantly we took the wisdom with us, and we left nothing for the generations after us.

Wise Friend,

I’m also discovering that people close to my son’s age are becoming serious conversation partners, so I guess they are growing up.

Lately, when these young people (older, however, than my son) show to be wise and in their ways, mature and charming, I’m taken by surprise. Their talk shows wisdom and kindness, and I am relating to them like to equal minds and souls. I have to remind myself, and I have to remind them I could be their mum.

They enjoy talking with me, and they ask me to forget my age. I can’t and I shouldn’t and I won’t. Some things are not right if one crosses the boundaries.

Sweet Friend,

Exactly, these young men enjoy conversing with us, and I love it!

Wise Friend,

Currently, I’m at a stage when much younger men court me. I rule them out for a serious involvement.

It is much better than before when I was attracting men at least 70 years old. No way!

However, I ruled out a charming twenty-nine year old, as it feels too funny. Pity, though.

There is another man, thirty-six years old, who wouldn’t need ruling out, hadn’t he been such a bore. I’m just slightly older than he. He is reasonably well read with a so-so sense of humour.

However, when he talks he sounds like a schoolboy doing his homework and trying to impress the teacher. I tried a kiss, which was so bad that the rest wasn’t worthwhile trying further, anyway. He also has no children, and he would wake up in a few years he wants to father. By then I would close shop, and I don’t need these aggravations.

Sweet Friend,

Interesting transitions, aren’t they? How would we sense them this way without having the experience of bringing up our own children?

Wise Friend,

No way!
Meanwhile, I enjoy my dance lessons, and I’m passionate about them. It’s fun, romance in a bottle, but they do an excellent job for me.

Wise Friend,

I met a few people today, and we talked about how we felt at the turn of the millennium. By now it’s such a non-event. It saddens me a bit.

Sensitive Friend,

Before the turn of the millennium, I met a guy who used to lead regular millennium-related get-togethers. The Millennial Café.

They analysed similarities between theories or conspiracies developed before years 2,000 and 1,000.

I joined that group once, if I remember well. It was what I wanted and was looking for in my peregrinations around the world: interactions with intelligent and fun people and a great theme. I wasn’t sure whether I was supposed to beep or to be quiet.

Wise Friend,

Yes, there are many such groups in US universities. Are they challenging? Fun, too? Is there a lot of interaction? I wonder.

Sensitive Friend,

It quite surprised me when I entered the small room. I expected a large group of people where I could get lost and listen. I love watching people interact. I took a while to accept that such an eclectic small group can be in the position to influence policy.

Wise Friend,

The strange world of political decisions in a super-power!

Sensitive Friend,

I raised that question, and the group leader told me that at that moment, their impact on policy was fairly circumspect.

How many such amazing little groups sprout in these great universities as ‘secret organisations?’

Wise Friend,

I don’t know, but all those strange voluntary organisations are one of the marvels of the modern world.

I hope you didn’t keep quiet. That would have been a waste of your intelligence as far as I’m concerned. In such groups, you speak when you have something to say or ask. It’s a free for all.

Sensitive Friend,

They wanted to replace the word ‘superstition.’

I was thinking about the tendency of superstitious people to ‘collect’ additional superstitions as their ‘knowledge’ gets richer.  Something like ‘globalisation or integrating the faiths, rites or traditions’.  I became obsessed with finding a word.

I told him. Ouch! “Integrating the faiths” was hardly one of his “superstitions.” Quite the contrary, he didn’t think there was a real tolerance if you can’t accept that the “other” really is “other.” He wanted to take upon the task, to present the group “with an irreducible other, which would drive control freaks crazy.”

Wise Friend,

When you talked about the “integration of faith or ritual”, did you refer to the willingness of people, whose religions are based on many superstitions, to adopt Western habits or rites as part of their superstitious makeup?

Sensitive Friend,

Yes. Had I conveyed it any other way? If yes, Ouch!

I asked a dear friend who had a PhD in linguistics. Clearly, I wanted to impress. She jokingly suggested – “routinised premonitional intuition” – or RPI !!! Quite a mouthful! How are you going to explain such a mouthful expression to non-English speaking superstitious whoever? The intention was not to offend them. This group leader had to use the term in the media and in his communication with people involved in cults or religions.

To my astonishment, he liked the expression. He replied quickly “Why premonitional? Apocalyptic beliefs — the cosmic transformation is happening now — is a condition of heightened (hyperactive) and improvisational premonitional intuition.”

Somehow, I never followed up. What a pity! Life took over my life.


Wise Friend,

The intensity I’m feeling now in enjoying art again is so soothing. I feel that I’m looking after myself when I make time for art and for the other silly things I like.

Last week, I drove to New York to attend a ballet performance. I drove back in the snow for the first time in my life-scary.

During the last few days, I was angry with men.

Sweet Friend,

Don’t tell me you are now thinking of them as a sub-species?

Wise Friend,

Not at all and especially not nowadays. Not when having you as my wise friend. I know so many good men. I have a son, siblings, a father – these are all beautiful people, strong, manly, loving husbands, fathers and friends.

Today, I had a few frustrating experiences; not romantic, only professional, but annoying beyond belief.

I met a whole group of men so fragile emotionally. I was staring at them, telling myself I might give up on ever having another marriage. Not with such types. I want a relationship free of weak men. I had this fleeting decision, and I was serene.

Sweet Friend,

I know atrocious women, and I know atrocious men.

Once, Michael, our mutual friend, wrote: “Probably, I belong to the group of men ‘unable to assume responsibilities.’ However, we should not rush here. Sometimes, assuming responsibility requires cutting into “living” flesh. Other times, the hesitation might signal fear to not wound (oneself and others), or just lack of confidence in a specific moment. Whichever you turn it, you can explain why and how each time.”

Would you call him a weakling?

Wise Friend,

No, I wouldn’t.

Sweet Friend,

Your calculations of positives (you’re now serene) and negatives (giving up something you want and need) would end up (please don’t reproach me for writing these) being false, as nothing is sadder than being alone for decades. To go to bed and wake up alone and not spending your life with somebody you may share emotions, sufferings, would be very difficult. Don’t wish yourself such a life. Trust your stars. If you end up alone, as life might be, I trust you know how to enjoy it anyway. This is who you are, enthusiastic and full of interests. Still, without sadness, try to find a man. Don’t lose your enthusiasm.

Wise Friend,

It was just a short moment that lasted 24 hours.

As irony would happen, as soon as I took that sudden decision, quite a few men invited me out. Another uninteresting lot. I must convey something as, at the end of the dinner, they say we are friends with such an emphasis it makes me smile.

They don’t know who rejected whom. In the name of friendship, they ask me to not feel uncomfortable calling them. Would they know how much they bored me? Why would I call, then? Last night, one of them phoned, still in his courting stage. I returned his call and finished in a matter of minutes. While talking with him, I felt suddenly exhausted. I wanted to go to bed and read. I took a shower, my energy returned, I read for an hour, and it was so comforting. I don’t want to become a recluse.

I’ll not give up, though I might never search as I used to do a few years ago.

Wise Friend,

Last night I had a strange dream. I was with my ex-husband (both of us looking much younger), and I was trying to rekindle our broken marriage.  I was seductive and trying to be endearing while talking. He responded to that. How? I can’t remember. Nothing extreme.

Then the dream moved towards a public space, and for some reason at that moment I understood my ex-husband was cheating me with a woman who happened to be there. In the dream, I knew she had been trying for a long while to seduce him.

I approached them, and I talked angrily to both, telling her she should be ashamed and stop immediately.

Another scene followed. I saw the same woman again, looking very religious and wearing a wig. I pulled her wig off the head, wanting to shame her in public. While dreaming, a thought crossed my mind they could sue me for this. That made me turn to him, and I told him I was leaving him and this time it was for good.

It was very intense. I woke up, and then I thought about Jungians, and post-Jungians, Gestalt, psychotherapists, and psychoanalysts. What a golden dream for them to explain all these mysteries of my probably turbulent soul, the hidden unknown of me to me.

Imagine Gestalt—me wanting to be a good wife and loving, the seductress and the one getting angry and violent, me the religious and both getting mad at myself. Funny, I believe none of this is true.

My Sweet Friend,

Years ago, I attended some Gestalt workshops as the trends demanded of us, and brought in my dreams to share at workshops. I felt so ridiculous in front of the therapist and others. I felt embarrassed when others went through their exercises; for them and for myself being there.

I couldn’t accept I was the street on which I was while dreaming, the tree at the corner, the grass in the meadow and the meadow itself, the table in the room, the six chairs upside down. After that, I read so much about dreams, and I can’t agree with anybody. I quickly, carelessly, developed a theory of mine, never shared.

We let our imagination run amok during the day, and we try to control it, while awake.

At night, while we sleep, we have little say and we are too relaxed even if in our dreams we are agitated.

Certainly, the dreams represent us. However, a lot of the details happen as we see others. I refuse to accept that every aspect is part of who we are, though they result from our mind combining our perceptions of what others did and our imagination in a sleeping state.

Wise Friend,

Indeed, we daydream. Do they Gestalt daydreaming? Why not?

My Sweet Friend,

What have you unleashed?

Wise Friend,

A new stream of income? A new frenzy of workshops?

Wise Friend,

I work in a speciality I thought, when young, I would like computers. How wrong I was. However, here I am with a beautiful family, with a sense of responsibility, earning reasonable well, without being rich as others assume about those working in IT.

Supporting myself and my family offers them and me so much dignity. Freedom, independence, self-reliance are essential for my soul.

To me, IT is soul-destroying. There’s no question that my keen interests in people and in other many subjects offer me some richness during the day (I manage people, others manage me) and especially outside of working hours. So contrary to popular beliefs, I don’t work in my dream profession, but I try to love what I do. The vast majority of IT people aren’t nerds or creative. Why do they build these myths around IT?

I acknowledge knowing how to code, understanding IT architecture and other related subjects taught me useful skills to help with the part of life I cherish – finance, being with children and mainly writing.

Not-a-Nerd Friend,

This utopian “life and executive coaching” trend of asking billions of people to work in the professions they dream is unrealistic and poisonous. Many people work in the profession for which they have skills as that’s where they started.

Many thought they would like a specific profession. Sooner or later they find out that their work is tedious, repetitive, and not even challenging, despite being an intellectual kind of endeavour. This is so true for IT.

There are so many important jobs! All of them beautiful?

Wise Friend,

After 20 years of hard work, I reached a conclusion that people in my industry are completely mad. Why do I think the same happens in many corporate professions?

When I use the word “corporate” I mean any organisation, private or government.There are many common characteristics of team interactions.

Why am I now thinking many in IT are mad people?They are revengeful, hysterical, ego-maniacal, obsessed with status and to be some kind of leaders, and unable to accept responsibility.Overall, these are signs of character weakness.

Until now I dealt with numerous wretched people though I’ve resigned to the fact that individuals can be wretched. Today, I reached the end of my patience. For years, I didn’t generalise, even when such behaviours were there in my face, close to my eyes. The fragility of these people astonished me. Today I generalised (most) not universalised (as in all), but generalised. Men and women alike.

Not-a-Nerd Friend,

I find many people nice and weak. Two of us might be strong though we can’t deny our own weaknesses. I have no doubt that during some of our interactions we came across as mad, weak, etc. And we will.

I love when people distinguish between generalisation and universal. Love it Love it.

Wise Man,

Your stories are real stories. We are made of our emotions.

Lovely Friend,

We are made of emotions and mind. The latter needs drilling to hang around.

You don’t have to apologise for making me worry. Your news saddened me and I wanted to get in touch with you.

You have to share good and bad news. If friends feel for you, you don’t withdraw to save them those feelings. Unless…

Wise Friend,

Unless what?

Lovely Friend,

Unless their own anxiety overcomes their ability to listen well and support you emotionally. If that happens is better to retreat.

Wise Friend,

How do you assess that?

Lovely Friend,

You need support at a specific time, you share, and suddenly you feel you need to address the anxiety of the other. Your problem got replaced, pushed aside. Change the subject or politely leave the conversation.

Indeed, you are tired. Nothing exhausts us more than the struggles of the soul.

When I sense that demon tormenting my soul and I tell myself  “here comes again”, and I become an observer and a bearer of the torment. I split.

Wise Friend,

I don’t like these moments. They are not as tragic as they sound though they preoccupy me.

Lovely Friend,

It’s true. Others seem to think we are on the verge of disintegrating when we want to talk again and again about what happened and how we reacted. Find the rare ones who know better.

We want to look into the issue to become clear and understand why the torment started.

If there is a chance to find a solution, I let it be. The moment I sense there is no solution, and it’s only a torment, I peruse my body and my main points of personal history to find the disturbed button and then I distract myself. I never deny, but I don’t want to waste any more time. I do force a smile even if alone.

Yes, it’s easier said than done. It takes time, and it’s doable.


Sensitive Friend,

Unlike before, you’ve sent me many quotes about our preent times. They were all critical or sarcastic.

I believe, in many ways, we live a world better than previous generations. In reality, we don’t know how it was for them. Maybe, they complained about their own times. I am wary about those following us.

I miss the manners and a level of deliberate and desired cordiality and the control of one’s fury and anger.

Our generation started to denounce self-control and encourage us to manifest rage and fury with more ease.

It has been like a full speed snowball effect. The generations following us turned this to maximum intensity and confuse necessary and essential honesty with sheer and, in my opinion, wilful hurt.

Daily, we witness hysterical behaviour, and resilience (the new mantra) is gone. How can anyone be happy without self-control? How?

We, our generation, bears much blame for these outcomes.

Wise Friend,

Becoming actively aware not to expect from somebody who can’t offer in some areas we need support happens as part of the painful ways of personal deceptions. Hence the expression “follies of youth.” That’s why you like repeating “This is the last thing I need!”

Sensitive Friend,

You digressed. Yes, I learned to not expect the same. I’m sure, in turn, many times, I fail to give or support others, and I don’t even notice. We might think we provide a lot. Some do more than others. Some give nothing and have no doubts about their generosity. I hope many non-givers are at least honest with themselves.

Nature gifted us with a variety of optimism we call “instinct of conservation”, which doesn’t allow us to despair. “La tristezza nasce quando la speranza muore.” Google is of no help here. “The sadness is born when the hope dies.”

Though, we have our limits when nothing can be justified this way, when terrible traumas happened. We both have been spared.

Wise Friend,

I’m re-reading your last letter (I know, it’s an email) and I have some observations. How else?

It doesn’t surprise me that, at some stage, what I wrote would have infuriated you.

However, I prefer if you let me know straightway because for me it’s crucial to read your true reactions, and some “official” or “correct” response.

Frequently, I feel that my thoughts and opinions might be inopportune towards you.

However, you stay steady on a “terra firma” and follow a line of irreproachable correctness. Only once, you hinted that I project nonsense and that I mix reality with abstract images. So what, as if I don’t know…

What I would not like (though I have no way out) is to see that you boxed me as well into one of those “subjects”. I wish to believe it is not so.

I envy your ability to feel good around people you don’t socialise outside of specific events. I feel comfortable only with those I could meet and be open anywhere and at any time. Maybe that’s why I became a misanthrope, and I’m not social. I’m not good at acting. At the same time, I’m avid to communicate, to ventilate opinions and perceptions and when I have a partner who is truthful, not superficial, and this is one of the essential components of the dialogue with you.

Sensitive Friend,

I assume you refer to the letter about tabulation. I think, and I might be wrong, you fear the box-in (such a vapourware term!)

We both know, I would refrain from discussing some subjects with you. In turn, you would also avoid addressing everything with me. How else?

People do that in many of most successful intimate relationships. They protect each other unless they need not do that at all, and they protect some deeply hidden parts of themselves.

We are good friends. Common, be honest with yourself and if you wish with me.

I accepted a long time ago I don’t need to understand everybody and everything. I don’t need to know everything either. What a relief! There’s a personal balance for friendships or relationships to allow for that and still be strong.

Sensitive Friend,

We choose tough subjects for discussions. Perhaps, this friendship would not last face-to-face, as many of our values and interests diverge.
Wise Friend,
You smashed me! Let alone, that it would be even possible to have such dialogues because of millions of reasons!
What’s there to surprise?
Please tell me precisely what “heavy” subjects of mine infuriate you, so I try to avoid them.
Renouncing the dialogue doesn’t seem probable from my end, even if spells of silence would follow, mainly depending on you (though not only).
Sensitive Friend,
What can I say? One thing is sure. I like this country though my stay here might be shorter than I would want to.
I lived in four countries for long periods of time, each. Many define one of them as the happy country. I found that a misnomer. Too many of people there drink a lot, much too much. They lack a joie de vivre I see here. I’m not talking about my close friends. Would find here within this vast country too many people who never read a serious book, never heard a classical music performance, unless when watching a movie? Yes, indeed.
On the other hand, I cherish the concert halls, the museums, the incredible variety of discussions on so many radio stations. I also meeting local people, just finding out about their life. I have a lot in common with them, and sometimes I feel as if I have nothing in common with them. Right now I lived in an odd confused state, mixed with a bit of madness and a lot of serenity. I might fear it’s temporary; I push that fear away as it gives me no help or support.
I’m in contact with people from everywhere. Something strange happens with my heart. I like others more and more, and I feel as I care for many. This is even though I would be reluctant to spend endless time with most of them. I find myself, thinking about what issues I can raise with each person and what can I share intimately about those subjects, but not about anything else. This is a selective friendship intimacy, Two subjects with one friend, three different ones with another.
I can’t be alone going through life like this, am I? When I say goodbye, I miss each person straight away. An odd state of mind.
Certainly, many others leave me cold or lost my trust (do they care?).
What were we talking about?
Wise Friend,
Are you tabulating friends and intimate conversations? If yes, I think you might be alone, doing that.
Sensitive Freind,
I sensed you’d answer this way. Maybe because I migrated so many times, and then moved back, I ended up with this tabulation, as you call it.