Violet, Horseradish, P.S.-s

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I decided to buy a horseradish and a bunch of violets to give my day some taste and colour. The funny thing about both the horseradish and violets is that they aren’t easy to define. You could think about the colour violet that’s actually a mixture of red and blue, two states of a soul that are contrary in such a way that the final result can’t be explained in an easy way. It’s almost dangerous to mix the passion of red with the sadness of blue, it creates an explosion which is just as strong as the perfume of these violets. As strong as the horseradish taste, which is too strange to be defined: is it bitter?… is it sweet?… It’s violet. Just like life.

P. S. 1. I wrote this little article at the Arvon Creative Writing workshop back at the end of August – if you follow me on Facebook, you know about it already. The very first exercise we received was to choose two random words that we like or we find interesting. Easy. Mine were ‘violet’ and ‘horseradish’, violet because of this and horseradish because of this. But actually both of them come from Lemony Snicket, with Violet and the word horseradish that I first encountered – in English – in one of those amazing books. But anyway, while the first exercise was piece of cake, the second was to write a sentence containing both, and the next one to just immediately continue writing and see what you get. That’s my result.

P.S.2. I didn’t have the chance to post it until now. I actually didn’t have a chance to post anything, not even another piece of writing from the workshop, or something related to one of the many, many ideas I have. It’s been a long time, I know, and I thought that starting a new job, moving into the capital city and getting used to everything that’s new could be good excuses. Guess what, they aren’t. I had a chat last night which made me realise they aren’t. Made me wake up in the morning and write this before work, and I’m thankful for that. Everyone knows that if you really like doing something, you’ll make time for it. So I hope I’ll manage to find a timeslot in my busy-or-not-so-busy-but-lazy life for writing on the blog 🙂

P.S.3. I haven’t forgot I promised myself I’ll create my own website for the blog. It’s there, in a very early version, but again, it wasn’t in the top of my priorities recently… Same as in P.S.2, I’ll make time for it, at least until I decide it looks good enough to be publicly announced, even if not completely finished.

P.S.4. I GOT PUBLISHED!! Or actually, I will this Saturday 😀 One of the articles written at Arvon was chosen to be included in an anthology for young people, which is launched this Saturday in Winter Gardens, Sheffield, UK. (Facebook event here). I will post it here as well after that. I know it’s probably not much, but then again, it makes me a little more motivated to continue with all this, which can’t be bad at all.

P.S.5 I realised that instead of P.S. I could have used ‘Note’, as P.S. is usually for ending letters. But perhaps all this was addressed to whoever is reading, so it makes a little bit of sense. I know it wasn’t the usual type of posts, but those will come pretty soon. It’s a promise.

The Book, the Bucket and the Challenge.

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If you are a social media addict (unlike me, of course!), I’m pretty sure you’ve heard about a new type of challenge, which followed the hype of the ice bucket one (which I haven’t done and I have no intention of doing it). The book bucket challenge, however, is not about throwing a bucket full of books in your head and then nominate some others to do the same. Well, the second part is true, and you can also try to throw some books at yourself if you think that makes you smart. But the book bucket challenge is about simply telling the world (or your Facebook ‘friends’) a list consisting of 10 books / authors that either changed the way you see life, or have a special place in your heart. I myself have been nominated to do this challenge – a few times actually – but I simply ignored it.

First of all, I doubt anyone is really interested in these lists. I mean yeah, X likes that, Y likes this, but in terms of raising the awareness for reading good books, I’m not sure it really works as intended. Well, perhaps some people will indeed read a book just because they’ve seen it in one of those tops, but let’s be honest, most of us just read the list and keep scrolling. Plus there are some who haven’t read those books they have in their list, but they just want to make an impression (on who, I don’t know). I detest that, pretending to have read a book just for showing off.

And about lists, indeed I have one. I’ve always enjoyed reading, and when the literature teacher asked us at the beginning of high school what books we read, I was surprised I hadn’t thought about such a list before; I’m into numbers and lists and keeping everything safe, so I realised I needed to keep a list of all those books. So I spent quite a lot of time searching for all the books I had read, in order to create that list and ‘impress’ the teacher. Then years passed and I continued the list without trying to impress anyone else except myself, cause after all reading for pleasure is more important than reading for quantity. But I do have lots of books on that list, and I still haven’t found anyone with more books read per the same amount of time (I haven’t actually searched for such a person, although to be honest I’d like to meet someone like me).

You may think I could easily create a top 10 and post it. But how could I…? How could I choose 10, out of so many? That’s the challenge, you may say. To try and reduce the number. I could for instance talk about 10 books just by Agatha Christie, starting with And Then There Were None, Endless Night, After The Funeral, The Murder of Roger Akroyd, Murder on the Orient Express, and then continuing with Five Little Pigs, A Murder is Announced, Appointment with Death, Cat Among the Pigeons, Evil Under the Sun, Hercule Poirot’s Christmas… and much, much more, in no particular order (actually there are 11 instead of 10, but oh well).

See? It’s hard. I like them all, but indeed some remained in my memories more than others. I’ve always said that some of them will always have a special place in my heart. Then why can’t I just post that top?! Well, to be honest I’m a little concerned about what people would say. I know I shouldn’t care about their opinion, I mean it’s my personal top 10, right?… But when I see so many posts which include such well known books, like, I don’t know, by Tolstoi, Dostoievski, etc etc, I kind of feel a little bit, just a tiny little bit ashamed with not having them among in my list – cause yeah, I’ve read lots, lots of books, but none of those… The thing with reading is that I’ve always read for pleasure. And I avoided difficult books, cause I read in order to escape from the ordinary life (clichĂ©, I know), and I don’t really care if most of my list consists of fantasy books for teenagers. Yes, I did enjoy them. I enjoyed reading about assassins, detectives, dragons, Jules Verne’s adventures, kites, nannies, sorcerers/spooks, star-crossed lovers, Terry Pratchett’s world, tunnels, Ursula K. Le Guin’s fantasies, wardrobes, wizards, writing (and something else by Guillaume Musso), young women with specific problems… (this time, alphabetically sorted; and yes, you can hover them to see the specific titles – except the last category, which includes way too many, i.e. Jane Eyre). How could I choose, when all these and much, much more, are simply tangling inside my mind and represent the whole essence of what I enjoy about reading? They tangle until they all get lost, and I suddenly wonder what was that book about a magic forest, or what happened in The 35th of May anyway?

However I know that you really, really love some books when you decide you want more people to read them. But you’re just a middle school girl, you’ve started reading that series of books in your mother language, then, frustration, you have to order the rest of them in English, cause apparently they’ve decided to stop translating it after only 4 books. So, after finishing the series, what other better thing to do than starting translating it by yourself? And that’s what I did. I’ve managed to translate only two other books – obviously not for selling them. So another unfortunate event was added to A Series of Unfortunate Events: not all the 13 books are in my mother language… If, instead of Top 10, the challenge was about 13 books, I would immediately add Lemony Snicket’s series without thinking twice. What other better proof is needed than the choice for my profile picture? I’m not sure I can say those books changed my life, though. But they played with my imagination, and for me that’s the most important thing when reading. To open your mind for new worlds, new ideas, new perspectives, new types of people / characters (who didn’t find themselves really liking some character, as if it was a real person?), new adventures, even new words… They’ve all changed me, as a whole.

…and now about nominating. Should I use a clichĂ© and say “I nominate YOU, whoever’s reading this right now”? Should I use kind of a paradox, and say “You’re nominated if and only if you haven’t read this”? Should I nominate the only person I know who could easily add some of our childhood favourites which I missed in this article? Or should I perhaps nominate myself, to try and create a proper top 10 for a proper participation to #thebookbucketchallenge?..