Two for Tuesday: More Pebbles

Today, I’m sharing even more pebbles to make the River of Stones. Not just two, I mean.

10/01
The storm just hit
Accumulated anger and aggression –
happily not I, the target.
I am relaxed, although alert.
And then – the drama entered –
both concerning cats and human children.

Where is the counsellor?

11/01
Have we made for the clear exit of our tiny muddle?
Not sure we have.
What I’m sure of is the weekend’s here,
so, I don’t care,
and my plan is to comply.

12/01
It’s joyful I have yoga.
It’s nice I have a masseuse.

Is it dramatic?
Is it enough?

I seek relax and solitude
so that I recharge
for new exhausting battles.

Today, I think not of that.

13/01
I love Sundays, in general
and, in general, distaste them.

Today’s the same –
void, therefore giving me
a sense of loss.

Especially disliked
are afternoons.

14/01
Just cold. And nothing else.

15/01
I don’t look out, I’m simply wondering
as usual.

What will tomorrow bring?

###
Accomplishment and recognition
received from an unexpected source
Make up for some of my tribulation.

Tribulation and unrest
mark the day as I expect the rest.

16/01
I suffocate
My own words are my burden.

I can’t breathe
Emotions twerking in and out impede air.

The day, no matter good or bad,
just passed unnoticed.

17/01
Heavy load
Hanging on
To it – new load
is added.

Sleep will not come.

18/01
Spring-like day –
azure the sea, the air fresh.

We speak of love –
as is the norm in crisis.

The door slams
Regret remains.

19/01
Free from turmoil
comes the grey morning
which, nonetheless, seems
like endless sunshine
and brings me up and standing,
almost running
just for joy.

Small Stones in January, Pebbles

On a Friday, there are many things to do which are relaxing and appealing. Today, I chose to form a small rivulet using the pebbles below.

3/01
Tension is crawling back
slowly, but deftly.

Slowly, but deftly, too,
I’m defying it
For the time being, at least.

Wine in the evening
brings joy.

4/01
Snow – only not here.
Only wind and cold
roam here.

That’s our winter.

5/01
I do yoga
hoping to fight extra weight
Yoga brings me joy
It’s kilos that emburden me.

No pressure in that fight
Thus, no results expected.

6/01
The day –
amazing with its sweetness.
Outside –
so freezing, that we stay indoors.

To love and hug each other
and be loved and hugged
into a tenderness of heart.

7/01
Today, I felt frustration bitter
speculating what is and what might have nee, or was…
In short, things I shouldn’t muse over

Coming back to the flatness of mood is tough
(reading back here, I see repetitions)

How come all my journeys back are hard?
Is it with age that I’ve become so slow?

You know, the day, it started off so well –
I read promises of books and hugs and whisky.
(I’d discard the whisky)
And also forest walks in sparking snickers
with obviously painless knees.

8/01
No more bitterness –
Today is only satisfaction
and fulfillness.

9/01
Did I ask too many questions?
Was it too late when I asked them?

I expected craziness
But was met with calm

Apparently, the storm will hit another day.
###

Monday Mentions – 21 January

Today, I chose to blog about two notable men of Russia – Rasputin and Lenin. The reason is that the former was born on this day, 21.01.1869, while the latter died on that date, in 1924. There is also a connection between them, besides the fact that they are both Russians. While Rasputin was close to the Tsar’s family and part of the court, for better or worse, Lenin was the leader of the Revolution that finished off the remains of the Tsarist rule in the country and its echoes. Some even say that Rasputin’s influence over the Tsarina and the royal family, in general, was detrimental to their reputation and popularity.

Rasputin was a mystic, he had spent years pilgriming to various holy places and living in monasteries. Lots of people in the Russian court believed he was just a charlatan who had managed to ensnare the Tsar and, especially, the Tsarina by healing their haemophiliac son.

Grigori Rasputin was a Siberian peasant who was illiterate until his adulthood, which was normal for that time. He married his wife who would be loyal to him until his death, the two had seven children, 3 of whom survived to reach adulthood. Most of his married life, however, Rasputin spent away from home, either on pilgrimage or at the Russian court. Although his family was formally introduced to the Royals, they didn’t move to the capital and remained in their village.

On several occasions, Rasputin ‘helped’ the Tsarevich, although it is hard to say how. The Tsarina was convinced that Grigori is a holy man who could bring recovery to her son. That contributed greatly to his power and rise of status. His stay at the top of his reputation was marked by a huge change in him. Formerly, he had sworn off alcohol, but now he would drink and accept bribes freely. He had numerous affairs with his female followers and indulging in his sins, yielding to temptation, was seen as the path to defying sin and getting forgiveness. That doctrine, like the one that was mostly preached and practised by Rasputin at his hey-day in the Russian royal court, made him look more cynical than holy.

History shows us that it is natural for such a path of life to end forcefully, and so Rasputin was assassinated by a ring of people close to the royal family who believed he was putting a black mark on the reputation of the Tsar.

While the country’s economy quickly declined, as a result of WWI and bad political decisions (made not without Rasputin’s influence), a senior Marxist ideologist rose to prominence, determined to overturn the Tsarist regime and take Russia to a new road to liberty and equality.

Lenin was a competitive and bossy child, doing excellent at school, born in a middle-class family. After his father’s death, the boy, then a teenager grew erratic and renounced his belief in God. His elder brother was arrested and hanged for capital treason, as part of the group to put a bomb in the Tsar’s palace. We don’t know if that played a role, but during his late adolescence and university life, Lenin read more and more anti-capitalist and pro-socialist literature, forming his hard and fast opinions about how society must change and develop. He successfully, though not without obstacles, graduated law at St. Petersburg and sought a career in the profession.

While we were at school, Lenin was presented to us as a soft-hearted humanist who rejected his own convenient life for the sake of society’s improvement. We read about Red Terror, and Cheka, of course, but those were simply examples of the necessary measures to be taken against the enemies of the people. When I was reading my history lessons, I never imagined what a historical event means for the average person and who those enemies could be. In our minds, they were always greedy, fat and cruel owners of factories and land who harassed workers and peasants and treated them like trash. So, when one day my father, irritated by my neverending praise of Comrade Lenin, told me he was a ‘cut-throat’ and it didn’t matter that he never killed anyone personally, I was in shock.

I suppose that without the Red Terror he wouldn’t have managed to throw the cloak of Marxist-Leninist ideology over all of Eastern Europe. Plus, history is full of violence, that is the normal way revolutions happen. His frugal lifestyle and his self-discipline turn him into a charming and inspiring character even now, I suppose. The relentless determination with which he worked towards his goal, socialism, also speaks tones about him. Perhaps it’s sad, but history, like nature, doesn’t do things in vain. Even though the division of the world by ideology devastated lands, lives and people, it is part of history – along with its effects and lessons.

Myths about Introversion, Part 3: Rudeness

Here we go with another blog post in my #SavageSaturdays sub-series concerning Introversion. To check the previous posts in the series, you can see here and here.
This post is going to be on one of the most popular myths about introverted people – Introverts are rude, impolite, selfish or arrogant, depending on the situation.

Do you remember the last party you went to? Was there at least one person, a man or a woman who didn’t mingle with the group? She seemed aloof, kept at a distance, didn’t laugh at your jokes and, generally, didn’t make nice talk to anyone. Oh, except for that very weird neighbour of your friend, the party host. Or, the pet. Or, did you see her reading a book in the hallway? Playing or chatting on her phone all the time? But mainly what set her apart was the fact that she never laughed. Not even at the host’s jokes. She wasn’t a teenager, she wasn’t dressed as a Goth, so the only thing you thought was: rude.

In fact, introverted people don’t like small talk, they are never prepared to chat about shoes, cooking, the town gossip or the weather. Neither would they try to solve the problem of poor education or healthcare in the country at a party. They don’t see a reason why they should be prepared for such topics, actually. Small talk seems a waste of time to them. When it comes to jokes, you need to be really funny to make them laugh. That doesn’t include the “banana-skin” sort of funny.

In addition to the above, we must keep in mind that often introverted people are more scared to socialise than others are insulted by their lack of socialising. That lady kept to the side not only because your topics are boring. Even when they are interesting, she might keep away. She is too self-conscious. She imagines that stepping closer will move a spot of light onto her, all eyes will be on her, and in their lame attempts to make her feel ‘at home’ people will stare and start interrogating her. That is exactly what it feels like – interrogation. However, introverted people don’t have ready answers for even the simplest questions, apart from, perhaps, their name, age, family status and job. They need to think, then they need to phrase and re-phrase, and re-think and re-phrase again. In short, they suck at promptness. To avoid all this, which might not take place, at all, they choose not to risk getting into the spotlight of attention.

I hope, more of us would find the time to think about that when we see someone looking or walking away just to avoid us.

Quotation Marks – Basic Punctuation and Peculiarities Rules

When writing I am most often puzzled by punctuation rules. That is why, whenever I think of this blogging topic, #WriterlyWednesday, I turn my view towards punctuation. Today’s matter of discussion is quotation marks, a.k.a. inverted commas. The use of quotation marks in English is a tough topic for me, not only because it’s different in my language, but also by the complexity and variety of cases that are present.

First of all, let me say how indignant I am at the fact that there are two types of quotation marks – single and double, and, of course, British and American English go completely opposite each other in the way these are used. There are also two names for the same thing, and namely, you can either call them “quotation marks” or “inverted commas”. Such diversity is unnecessary, IMHO. Let’s move on, though.

In British English, you would use the single quotation marks. They are very hard to see and distinguish, partly because they look like the apostrophe, and this is a good reason for me to give up using them after years of poor attempts. You see, I naturally go with the British English version of everything, but typing ‘said he’ quickly gave way to “said he”. Did you see that? Visibility and certainty that these commas are in fact marking a quotation.

The Americans use the double marks for the same cases. Why then the other marks exist? Very simply, they are used when you need to put some quotation inside the main quotation. This is also the reason why our language doesn’t need a second pair of quotation marks – we don’t put dialogue in inverted commas, so if we want to use them in dialogue, we simply use the normal ones.

One of the huge puzzles for me personally is where to put the full stop – inside or outside the quotation marks. No wonder, that also depends on whether it’s British or American English. In the latter, the full stop (which is called “period”) goes inside the marks. I prefer the logic of the British writing style, however, where it depends on whether the ending punctuation mark of a sentence is an integral part of the quote. Thus, if it isn’t, it will stay outside. Here is an example:

I wonder what would be an appropriate use of the phrase “point blank”.

Do you think he’ll say it’s “long overdue”?

See what I mean by logical? This is the way I use quotation marks. Where I step away from American style is the type of the marks – I tried to use single, but this simply doesn’t work with me, so I turned to double and plan to stick to them.
Do you follow the British or American style? Which one seems more intuitive for you?

Flash Fiction: Ritual

Today it’s #FridayFlash time, and here is a 120-word piece, entitled Ritual:

Andy wakes up, a quick dash to the bathroom, toothbrush, cold water on his face, then back. Wardrobe opens, slick suit out and on. Business swoosh though bedroom. Therefore, inappropriate.

Margaret flips the eggs, flops them in the plate. Juice in the glass, ice cubes rattle. Soft sounds and smells of the kitchen. Totally suitable.

Suddenly, the building is rocked by the shock of the waterjets attacking it. No, no waterjets, they are waves. The word is tsunami, the cause is earthquake deep in the ocean, far off shore. So many small items crashed, floating, broken, floating through kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms. Floating. People scream, float, fight the stream, float, get lost.

Sounds, smells, movements – all in strict observance of their ritual.

The Future of Jobs

And the Jobs with no Future, or Who Will Work That?

As an HR, I’ve attended not one or two conferences where the future of jobs was discussed. Not only that, but I’ve also watched the news and read some articles of interests in various media that also dealt with how work and employment will develop and change in the near future.
First of all, most repetitive and monotonous jobs will be filled in by robots. We don’t imagine complicated androids with dreamy eyes, perfect skin and the ability to discern between good and evil, in addition, to express emotions and empathy. We have to imagine simple non-humanoid machines which execute operations and manipulations that don’t often need creativeness and intuition.

That leaves open the question of what will people do when they can’t execute such jobs. The answer: people will do other jobs. What other jobs? Answer: programming and maintaining the said robots.

We get to understand that there will not be people on cooking, cleaning, data entry, accounting, payroll, and other similar positions. Machines will be doing that. The people who are taking these jobs at present will be re-qualified to maintain the new workers. That notion poses several questions at least. Let’s start somewhere.

First, the educational systems and food industry are continuously producing half-witted adults, semi-intelligent at best. Children finish school hardly literate, they eat junk food and synthetic drugs are their best pals since early teenage. That may be a good thing if we aim at producing idiots who are easy to rule, control and kept in submission. Their addictions to good life, easiness and love of sensation make them an easy target. New adults are lesser and lesser human beings, much to the disappointment of thinkers of old.

Second, these future jobs although they sound cool because there is the word “robotics” in them, sound to me maintenance thing. The majority of these new positions will be simple repairing and adjustment stuff, not higher level coding, programming, design or creative projects. There will be creative jobs, naturally, but I don’t expect them to be so many. The rest? Instead of cooks and cleaners, the rest will be maintenance staff for robots. This doesn’t sound prestigious, for sure. Plus, when so many people do this, there is hardly a reason to consider the jobs anything exclusive or special.

Third, I don’t believe all people will be able to do jobs such as those described above. There is a reason some people end up as cleaners. I know, some law graduates choose that profession for themselves, but the majority of cleaners do it for lack of better options. And for lack of patience and study skills. That is one group – those with lower intellectual abilities. How will they do the engineering jobs? The other group are people of artistic inclinations – poets, musicians, artists, various performers, athletes. How can we expect the artistic mind to bend around mechanic and engineering thinking and action?

Thinking of all that, conclusions are hard to draw. Thinking of all that, I wonder what the future holds. Not that I’m personally curious. It’s just… that human thing I’m thinking about.

Throwback Thursday – You’re so Vain

For today’s #ThrowbackThursday I turned to music. Number 1 Hit in the US Billboard Chart on January 3, 1973, was Carly Simon’s song that afterwards had numerous covers and reprises – You’re So Vain.

I’ve always enjoyed this song even though I have no memory when was the first time I heard it. It is, at that, highly probable that I heard one of the more recent versions and not the 70s original.

It’s attractive because of its tease to the song’s subject. On many occasions, Carly had to answer questions about the specific man or men she aimed at with the lyrics. The fun part is that some men in her life definitely thought “this song was about them” which would both confirm their assurance and expose their vanity. Considering they were no shy guys, I don’t suppose any of those consequences would affect them as negative. There is no bad publicity, you know.

Less talk and more art! I say, let’s go to the video and the lyrics. Enjoy!

###
Son of a gun
You walked into the party like you were walking onto a yacht
Your hat strategically dipped below one eye
Your scarf it was apricot
You had one eye in the mirror as you watched yourself gavotte
And all the girls dreamed that they’d be your partner they’d be your partner and
You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain (you’re so vain)
I bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you don’t you?

You had me several years ago when I was still quite naive
Well you said that we made such a pretty pair and that you would never leave
But you gave away the things you loved
And one of them was me
I had some dreams they were clouds in my coffee clouds in my coffee and
You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain (you’re so vain)
I bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you don’t you don’t you?

I had some dreams they were clouds in my coffee clouds in my coffee and
You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain (you’re so vain)
I bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you don’t you?


Well I hear you went up to Saratoga
And your horse naturally won
Then you flew your lear jet up to Nova Scotia
To see the total eclipse of the sun
Well you’re where you should be all the time
And when you’re not you’re with some underworld spy or the wife of a close friend wife of a close friend and
You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain (so vain)
I bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you don’t you don’t you?
You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain
Probably think this song about you
You’re so vain
###

I hope you enjoyed the piece today as much as I do.

Small stone for 2nd January

I seem to remember having identical thoughts on the second day of the year. I usually check the weather, which is still fine; I try to come back to my regular sleeping habits, and I also think about having to go back to work on the following day. Here is my small stone for today:
~~
Slowly falling in
daily orderly routine.
No sleep or too much.

~~

Бавно се връщам
към ежедневието.
Сънят е проблем.
~~

A River of Stones, January 2019

Years ago, I followed a blog challenge, A River of Stones, where I tried to contemplate and write one small piece each day in January. Although the stream was interrupted and the original blogger discontinued the tradition, over the years, I have seen many of my poetry friends do the same every January. After the very first time, 2012, I have had many fresh new beginnings, with each New Year dawning, but I, too, discontinue very easily.

This year, I will write small stones for as many days as I find them. No promises, no tears lost. Here is the first stone in this 2019 January River:
~~
Без сняг пред портата –
поле от сивота
и сухи съчки.

~~
No snow –
the field is brown and grey.
Just windy.