Motto: “If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start…
It’s the only good fight there is.” Charles Bukowski
Today is a gift. I am grateful to be here, feeling alive. I breathe in. I listen to a ring-dove singing in the tree next to me. I take in the air, the light, the smell of yesterday’s rain. Bumblebees come out sleepy trying to make up for the food they could not collect yesterday, hovering over lavender bushes and peppermint flowers that wave gently in the breeze. God smiles over us. The sun shines through the branches of the chestnut tree, my flowers bloom in the garden, their colours vibrating live a song in my eyes. Maybe they are, just like me, a part of God’s dream. Or maybe they are just a form of different frequency than the one of my soul. Maybe they are just strings that God plays with , like one plays a harp. It all makes sense, even though often my mind cannot even grasp the beauty of it all.
I drink a glass of water and contemplate life, like I do every once in a while, like we probably all do. Some people think that knowing that time is precious can make you lead a better life. What would I tell you if this would be my last day?
I’d say I’ve lost many things in this life, and sometimes it has felt like I’ve lost it all. Friends, time, love, children, relatives, sometimes even my mind. I’ve eaten too much or nothing for days. I’ve eaten my own bitterness and I drank the poison of my own ink-black thoughts. I’ve been freezing in train stations and on park benches thinking of why certain things happened in my life, feeling sorry for myself. I thought I was sometimes carrying too much luggage, but I think that was more the burden of my own life. Yet I have found out later that many of those things I’ve never really had, that they were never meant for me.
I have seen derision. And it was not the one coming from strangers that has hurt the most, but the one seen in the eyes of people I have helped out of their own ditch and considered friends. They say in my language that “the ones you don’t let die, will not let you live”. It was painful to find out what character some people really had. it has been gutting at times. Now it does not hurt any more, I have come to terms with all my experience. I have become older and hopefully wiser. I have learned not to regret things and I am mostly good at it, even though I can still catch myself doing it sometimes. I’ve often done my best and I know now that what people give is certainly what people will receive later in life.
Isolation? It is not a monkey thing. It feels sweet. It is not for everybody, I know it can be torture for others. But solitude is my gift. After all the pain induced by many things coming from the outside, my isolation meant discovering myself and finding peace, listening to my own soul tuning in with the one of the universe. And that is bliss.
Rejection? Yes, I felt plenty of that. I was one of those people that can feel like outsiders. Until I realised that I would have never belonged in certain circles of people or in the toxic environment that comes with them. So actually this was not a rejection, it was a discovery. It took me years to see that God had better plans for me , that He was opening me the right doors while I was trying like a stubborn child to open the wrong ones, again and again.
This is my path and you all have your own. Life is a journey. Some people learn from it, others get to the end of it not understanding anything, feeling bitter and angry. It may not be easy to walk on your own path, but it’s your quest. It all depends on how much you want it. And if you want it truly it will be better than anything you have ever imagined. It will equal conquering all your fears, it will mean finding your true self and facing God at the same time. Your days may be hard, but your heart will flame with the fire of all the passion you have in you. It will not be life that breaks you, but it will be you riding your own life.
I am only a tiny soul in an immense ocean of souls. All different, yet all the same. When I think of this I imagine a sky full of stars. The universe is immense, but we all have our own space, our own inner light and our own trajectory. I am trying to grasp what this life experience is all about, maybe just like you all. I’ve seen a lot and I still know almost nothing. But one of the few things I know now is that we should not be afraid, we should not let worry dry out our soul. Life is joy and we should experience the joy of being alive, the experience of our soul having a material body and interacting with others.
There’s no path, make your own. Be bold, be strong, be yourself. Try it, go all the way, it’s the best thing of all.
900 words, memyselandela, August 2015
Photo: Lavender, Adela Galasiu, August 2015
The beauty in God’s dream
slowly blooms, petal by petal,
watched quietly by the whole being
in a breath of silent bliss.
Frumusetea din visul lui Dumnezeu
Infloreste incet, petala cu petala,
privita tacut de o intreaga faptura
intr-o rasuflare de beatitudine fara zgomot.
22 words / 22 de cuvinte , Memyselfandela – Adela Galasiu, August 2015
Photo: Memyselfandela – Adela Galasiu, August 2015
In a far away land there is a city with hundreds of wise houses. Each house has a roof, a soul and an attic with two windows. Eyes scrutinize the birds that get back to their nests late at night, the grannies that bake homemade bread, the blatant children playing outside, the flowers raising their heads in the sun, the cats that purr in hidden corners, the dogs hiding their precious bones, the women that dream of the return of their husbands and the husbands dreaming of other women.
Every day opens a new color, a new hope, ends a life and begins others. Every evening sends to sleep all the rippled memories of the day, all the children and cats and birds and wives and husbands. Some of the grannies will sleep longer, other babies will get born out of the dreams of past nights. Some of the flowers will grow seeds, others will bloom, the stars will seem to rotate on the sky awaiting the rays of the same sun that has opened the eyes of all the children and women and cats and husbands and grannies and birds.
When morning comes the smell of coffee invades the streets. It fills up the sky and the staircases of all houses. As eyes open life vibrates, noises clash in the air, birds sing again, cats lick meticulously their paws and wash their furs with slow movements on the edge of wide open windows, dogs inspect every corner of their territory, children moan instead of waking up, wives pack lunch for their husbands, husbands go to work hoping that the day will be better that the other days. And even though life seems the same, it is always different.
In the city where houses have eyes life can still flow in unexpected patterns. Houses have eyes in Sibiu, Romania.
Intr-o tara indepartata exista un oras cu sute de case intelepte. Fiecare casa are un acoperis, un suflet si un pod cu doua ferestre. Ochi privesc cu mare atentie pasarile care se intorc la cuiburile lor noaptea, bunicile care coc paine de casa, copiii galagiosi care se joaca pe afara, florile care isi ridica frumosul cap in soare, pisicile care torc in colturi ascunse, cainii care isi ascund mult iubitele oase, femeile care viseaza cu ochii deschisi la intoarcerea barbatilor lor si barbatii care viseaza la cu totul alte femei.
Fiecare zi deschide o noua culoare, o noua speranta, sfarseste o noua viata si incepe altele. Fiecare seara trimite la culcare toate amintirile ondulate ale zilei, toti copiii si toate pisicile si toate pasarile si toate nevestele si toti barbatii. Unele bunici vor dormi mai mult, alti copii se vor naste din visele noptilor care au trecut. Unele flori vor face seminte, altele vor inflori, stelele vor parea ca se rotesc pe cer asteptand razele aceluiasi soare care a deschis ochii tuturor copiiilor si femeilor si pisicilor si barbatilor si bunicilor si pasarilor.
Cand vine dimineata aroma de cafea napadeste toate strazile. Umple cerul si casele scarilor. In timp ce ochii se deschid, viata vibreaza, zgomote se ciocnesc in aer, pasari canta din nou, pisici isi ling meticulos labele si isi spala blana cu miscari foarte tacticoase pe marginea ferestrelor larg deschise, caini inspecteaza fiecare colt al teritoriului lor, copii gem in loc sa se trezeasca, neveste impacheteaza pranzul pentru barbatii lor, barbati merg la lucru sperand ca ziua va fi mai buna decat alte zile. Si desi viata pare la fel, este mai totdeauna diferita.
In orasul in care casele au ochi viata poate inca sa se scurga in tipare cu totul neasteptate.
Casele au ochi in Sibiu, Romania.
300 words / 300 de cuvinte,
Story and Translation / Poveste si Traducere : memyselfandela / Adela Galasiu October 2013 / July 2015
You can reach from your distant world
my caged sea of dreams
and my head resting on your sands, in a thought.
Hungry eyes gaze full of unspoken stories
lost in this wind, flying, diving, jumping
in this phase of time that belongs to us.
Memories, white and blue
embrace your bones, fill up my breath
dissolving in this finest infusion of light.
Poți atinge din lumea ta îndepărtată
mare mea de vise incuiate
și capul meu rezemat pe nisipurile tale, într-un gând.
Ochi înfometați privesc plini de povești nespuse,
pierduți în acest vânt, zburand, scufundându-se, sărind
în această fază a timpului care ne aparține.
Amintiri, albe și albastre,
îmbrățișeaza oasele tale, umplu respirația mea
dizolvandu-se în aceasta minunata infuzie de lumină.
63 words, memyselfandela/ Adela Galasiu June 2014
Photo: Adela Galasiu, May 2014
“The earth turned to bring us closer,
it spun on itself and within us,
and finally joined us together in this dream
as written in the Symposium.
Nights passed by, snowfalls and solstices;
time passed in minutes and millennia.
An ox cart that was on its way to Nineveh
arrived in Nebraska.
A rooster was singing some distance from the world,
in one of the thousand pre-lives of our fathers.
The earth was spinning with its music carrying us on board;
it didn’t stop turning a single moment
as if so much love, so much that’s miraculous
was only an adagio written long ago
in the Symposium’s score.”
Eugenio Montejo, The Trees
I’m tired of pretending
That my soul didn’t pulverise over you
When you betrayed me.
I’m done with dreaming of deliverance
After you’ve been one side and the other
Of my love universe.
Keep my stolen trust
And the dying smile in the corner of my eyes,
I’ve been only one in your big jar of hearts.
Dazzling pain struck me
I should have never loved you, stranger,
You who’ve never been and will never be true.
Withering days will pass, light will pierce this night
In another life where it will be
Your turn to wander in the dark.
Photo: Mal Smart
Today I offer you a rhapsody from my heart. An effusively rapturous and extravagant discourse. My expression of enthusiasm and praise for a musical piece that I absolutely madly deeply adore.
Whoever has read my blog in the past knows that I am passionate about Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. I have written about it in the past and I listen to it every once in a while when I am happy or when I recharge my inner batteries. Yesterday, as I read one very surprising comment on my blog, I have realised that I have never taken the time to put together all the reasons why I love this musical piece so very much.
The comment came from a BBC Radio 4 producer who is researching for a programme about Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. I was first of all completely surprised that my post about Gershwin even showed up in an online search. But it was even more exciting for me when I had the joy to discuss on the phone with the producer and I was asked what feelings this particular piece of music awakens in my memory and heart.
If I want to explain what I feel about it I need to rewind my whole life. My memories of it start in childhood when I heard this piece on the radio and have simply fallen in love with it. Coming from a family that loved music, I have listened to both classics and modern music as I grew up. I have fed my spirit with opera played on old magnetic cassettes, with Chopin and Beethoven, with Ravel and Vivaldi, just like I have fed my soul later on in my life with the music of the 80’s and the rock music. When I was a child music was a great joy for us, as in the communism we did not have access to all the variety of entertainment that one can experience now. It was only natural that I fell in love with this piece that infuses Jazz, Impressionism and classical elements molten in a 20th Century romantic theme offered with brittle and quirky interruptions.
This appreciation for the Rhapsody in Blue has continued throughout all my life. Every time when I was defeated and low I have sat and listened to it. Unlike other people with linear lives I have been through many changes, I have witnessed a lot of pain, loss, death, suffering, but also love, joy, sacrifice and hope. Wherever things were worst in my family I was present. Throughout this all, whenever I have listened to this piece of music I have added another pearl of feeling to what has become now a very long string. To me it is now not only music, but a masterpiece and pure beauty. And because it has been with me through it all, happy moments, sad moments and great changes, it has become a part of me and a symbol of life itself.
When I say life I don’t mean only good things. Life has many layers, ups and downs, just like the human mind and heart. There are many shades and colours, numerous moments of darkness and light that create the clear image of our multidimensional reality, a rich kaleidoscope of feelings, moments, images and sounds that create a whole.
Many people don’t know that this piece of music was a commission and that it has been written in a train. This may sound uninteresting for some, what is a train you may say. Well, for me a train means volumes. My father has passed away in a train. I have loved travelling by train all my life. Even now the train is my favourite transportation to wherever I go. It brings memories, it revives moments in my past, it is also (for those who believe that dreams have a meaning) a symbol of change, passage and novelty in one’s life. Gershwin says himself: “It was on the train, with its steely rhythms, its rattle-ty bang, that is so often so stimulating to a composer – I frequently hear music in the very heart of the noise… “. He is right, it often happens to me too to hear the tune in the noise…
Rhapsody in Blue was a challenge because it was created in a very short period of time, against the clock, by a young and ambitious Gershwin that didn’t want someone else to steal his idea. This speaks volumes for me again. Under a similar pressure I have left Romania and started a new life in a moment when I felt I must do and I can do more with my life. I was young, ambitious and a bit unaware of what life may bring. But I didn’t care, I had only one thing in my mind- I wanted to make it. I think it is out of such moments of determination that meaningful things get born.
Did you know that the original title was “American Rhapsody”? In the end the title of this piece was inspired by two famous paintings of James Whistler of which one, “Nocturne In Blue And Green of the Thames at Chelsea”, has been rejected and misunderstood in the beginning because it was too modern for the moment when it was offered to the public. There are people who, despite of being rejected for their ideas or passion, carry on and believe in their dream until one day that dream proves to be an extraordinary thing. They may not see all the staircase, but they go up step by step, they simply have faith. It is not easy to believe in your own value when maybe nobody else does, yet being consistent in your efforts brings great results in the end.
Gershwin was not conservatory trained, an awareness of which he carried with him to his grave, and something his arch critics would never allow future students of the piano to forget. Yet, no conservatory teaches talent, so nothing can stand in front of Gershwin’s unique style and genius. Pianists have consistently interpreted Gershwin somewhere between the classicism of Chopin and the 20th Century romanticism of Rachmaninoff, but when it comes to Gershwin’s strict rhythms, what is not heard is more important than what is, for it is the magic of the split-second spacing between the notes that brings Gershwin’s Rhapsody to life in a melodic thread woven itself into a masterpiece.
The Rhapsody, with its composer as soloist, was premiered in front of a packed house that included Rachmaninov, Kreisler, McCormack, Godowsky, Sousa, Heifetz and Stokowski. Even the ones that later did not like it when it was first presented to the public and said it would have been “structurally flawed” have categorised it as a “sentimental” piece. It is as melancholic as my Romanian soul and it is full of feeling and light. It is sad at some points. It is happy, rhythmic and improvised too. Through all these characteristics it is ALIVE. If you would listen to only a part of it, if you would take a bit out of it, if you would listen to it all it would be just as alive, and that is amazing. It is a series of stories put all together, a series of songs that match perfectly in a single, uninterrupted composition of continuous and extravagant enthusiasm.
I have listened to it through various moments in my life and I have understood it in different ways. It speaks to me of happy childhood years. The first clarinet trill reminds me of a new beginning, of a new day, of sunrise. I am an animation movie lover, so when I have seen it translated into image by Disney’s Fantasia 2000 I have added even more meaning to it, as I thought that the animation is a perfect illustration for the hope trapped inside this fabulous piece of music. And I will always remember how I danced on this piece with the man I love. In a moment in time, in a quiet evening, in a quiet flat, in a quiet neighbourhood in London he has taken my hand in his hand and we have danced on this wonderful rhapsody. Our souls were dancing too, we were happy, the heart was full, the world was in the right place and we were in the right feeling.
I love Rhapsody in Blue for many reasons, for the sweet sentimental parts, for the crescendos, for the vivid pace, for the epic dimension of it, for the jazz veins and the classical bursts. My interpretation of it is perfectly subjective, I see it through the lenses of my own soul, maybe different than other people. But for me it represents life itself seen through the eyes of an optimist. Unflawed and tightly woven, with its early 20th Century innocence and brilliant musical statements taken in and out of the performers and listeners souls, Rhapsody in Blue is for me a personal stairway to paradise.
Photos: “Blue”, Adela Galasiu 2013
1500 words, memyselfandela, January 2014
More about Gershwin : Gershwin plays Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue – posted in April 2012
BBC Radio 4 – Soul Music – The stories behind pieces of music with a powerful emotional impact. http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/soulmusic