One of the pleasures of dedicating myself to writing (once more) is that I am rediscovering old friends whom I haven’t seen in years, and whose creative talents have matured like good wine. Our lives have taken such different paths, we are scattered all over the world, we may struggle with small talk and yet…
Our love of words unites us: in some ways, we are perhaps closer now, sharing the best of of our thoughts, than we were when we were living together side by side.
Let me introduce you to just three of these. First, Paul Doru Mugur, a friend from high school, the only one who kept pushing me (sometimes ruthlessly) to write. Here is a beautiful and rich essay of his about time, published in an online journal which he co-edits. He also translates Romanian poetry into English, has published several volumes of short stories and poetry, and is generally very active in the arts world – all while holding down a demanding job as a physician in New York.
Secondly, I have a niece who used to pull my hair as a baby, but whom I have barely seen since. She is now all grown-up, has just graduated from university, writes searing prose in Romanian and occasionally in English. We barely speak to each other at the big family reunions, but have grown close through our online love of writing. A facet of ourselves well-hidden from the rest of the family. Here is a poem in English, but I think her real talent lies in flash fiction or polemical pieces. Here is a lovely example called Tutus and Cigarettes.
Finally, a friend from university who writes like an angel. Her blog House of Happy has made me just that: profoundly happy. I think she has a direct window into my heart and head at times. Here is one of my favourite recent entries. I wanted to reblog it, but our different platforms means I will cut and paste instead (oddly appropriate for this poem):
Get some paper
Chop it up into small squares (a hundred freckles-wide by exactly four snails)
Retrieve bits of your life and write down trigger-words on the shell-and-freckle paper: trigger words are those words that drag behind them large, live memories, the type you can still see, feel, count, smell (but not always spell…); the kind that roll off the shelf, jump out of the bottle and burn your eyes.
Put them all in a hat, shake well.
Watch them settle inside, now still but still whispering their burnished secrets, a lake of life inside a hat.
Clutch the trigger word you caught tightly inside your fist.
(eat it up if you must – chew well, swallow carefully; this may be helpful but remains entirely optional)
In any case, hold that word, smell it, consume it or, better still, let it consume you.
Then write about it. Write as if your next breath depended on it.
Prose, verse, a picture, anything that would help you understand
why your heart still roars
although your life, bruised burden
and time itself
Oh, all right then, here is a terrible picture from those days, to counteract all these lovely words! And no, I’m not sharing which one of the wild-haired people was me!