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When I talk to people I often mention Amanda Palmer in a number of various situations. Those who know me, usually know who she is after a while. More often though people ask - who is she? And why does she mean so much to you?

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So I caught myself several times babbling weird shit which altogether sounded as if I am a member of some cult and didn’t deliver the message. I realised also that actually I don’t know the answer myself. I decided to take a dive into my brain and soul and answer it - for myself mostly.

Hello, Vera. I am Vera, I am 30 and I live in Moscow, Russia. I do photos, videos and letters to make a living.

And Amanda Palmer is 39 and she lives in the US. She does music and all kind of art for a living. She also wrote a book, did an awesome TED talk and an endless line of crazy artsy projects, has the awesomest fan crowd and her husband is Neil Gaiman. She also has a cute baby-son now.

Well, one can simply says Vera is Amanda Palmer’s fan. I took part in her Kickstarter campaign, I am her supporter at Patreon. I have a book signed by her. I was at some events she held. So I am. But when it comes to the concept of being Amanda’s fan, things become complicated in a very weird way. Fuck, no, we are a weird company. And I like it.

Amanda talks to her fans for a start. So they are not a nameless crowd, but a bunch (quite big) of individuals. And she hears them, she sees them, she makes them feel real  and human. She connects with them.

Often people just enjoy it. Often they give her hugs, tears, smiles, words, things, ukuleles whatever. Sometimes they tend to mistake this connection for friendship and start seek for attention or throw accusations and stop being fans. Sometimes people shyly and silently marvel from shadows. Sometimes they collaborate with her. Sometimes they really become friends. Well, it’s just life, many layered, thick, full of surprises and spontaneous turns.

I just watched another video with Amanda on Patreon, I showed it to my friend who interviewed me before. In this interview I told my friend about Amanda, book, TED, art, real-ness, death, stuff. My friend got extremely inspired with all that, so she read a book, watched ted and recently she interviewed Amanda herself for her online-artblog-project. Amanda calls this “connecting the dots”. I feel that I was connecting the dots all my life. Connecting myself with people, people with people, people with books, movies, art, thoughts, whatever, recognising patterns, marvelling at coincidences. Usually it goes smoothly. Though I had some ugly experiences when I was younger and more maximalist kind of a person. Dots didn’t connect and I felt guilty.

I also just watched a 1999 interview of Amanda with Lee of Cloud Club. It is so funny, Amanda is 23 there, so young, so different, but so the same.

My copy of the Art of Asking was read already by several people here in Russia who borrowed it from me. The book is in Thailand now, a friend borrowed it for vacation.

We also have a Russian edition which is good of course, but translation is poor and it makes the book quite unreadable. Also there is a typo right away on the first page of the book (in the word “love”, duh). I wanted so much to gift people I love but who don’t speak English with this book for New Years Eve. But this is not happening.

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(A couple of days ago I came back home from a three weeks internet-less journey in Cuba. Among many books I read during this retreat was “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown. First two days I fought with e-mail inbox monsters. Today I read through all those new posts on Patreon which Amanda wrote during those weeks.

And I felt so overwhelmed with feelings of all different kinds. So I decided it is a good moment to just sit and write something.)

This paragraph above was written in Semtember, so you see, this message was in the pot for quite a while. Now it’s Christmas Eve, but I sit and write it, because we don’t celebrate Catholic Christmas here in Russia.

So who is Amanda Palmer to me?

I still don’t know but I have some ideas. It is weird. But beautiful I think.

So she is not my role-model, not my guru, not the ideal person, not my hero on the pedestal, not my friend, not someone whom I want to be. She is just Amanda Palmer.

Amanda Palmer to me is inspiration and endless provider of questions which are sometimes uncomfortable and answers that are sometimes scary.

Amanda Palmer to me is the one who is not afraid to hug and look into your eyes. And smile. Or cry.

Amanda Palmer to me is someone who goes fiercely right into the heart of all life, death, love, fear, art, self-search and all that shit.

Amanda Palmer to me is someone I learn from a lot.

Amanda Palmer to me is someone who makes me respect and love and admire Neil Gaiman even more (my humble opinion is that those two seriously pimped up each others art in a very unique and gaimanesque-afpesque way).

Amanda Palmer to me is a reason why I met people who have a huge place in my heart now. And a few of them I have an honor to call friends.

Amanda Palmer to me is a person who has a courage to change herself and wholeheartedly change her opinions. In Russia we have a saying: People who never change their mind on things are fools or dead.

Amanda Palmer to me is the person who connects dots and makes me weeee happy when she connects with other people whom I admire like Neil (obbbbbviously), another Neil (the one Degrasse Tyson), Chris Hadfield, Brene Brown, Maria Popova, Jason Webley and others.

Amanda Palmer to me is a person who writes the blog which is perfect for me - flow of all stuff possible, questions, discussions, ups and downs, doubts

Amanda Palmer to me is a person who lets me be… well me, my very own imperfect self. And to be ok with the idea that me is me, she is she, other person is other person.

And for about 4 or 5 years I am grateful to Amanda for being herself and sharing lights and darks of her journey. Thank you, Amanda. With all my heart.

I still feel that everything I wrote above is kinda nonsense and babbling, but I did write it anyway.

And… if you are Amanda and you read it. I want to specifically thank you for letting me meet Anthony. I miss him too.

Merry Christmas to you. Hope we will meet again some day. Love.

Also.

Here is a list of things I decided to attach to everything I write above. Read it or at least scroll through. It may be interesting for you, whoever you are.

- open letter by Amanda to a worried fan (published at Medium) 

- how I met Neil Gaiman in Stockholm

- how I read Anthony’s book

- how I wrote the tribute to Anthony Martignetti

- how my friend interviewed Amanda Palmer (in Russian and English)

- how can you also join those who love Brene Brown researches

- how you can listen to Maria Popova of brain pickings talking to Amanda about stuff from “The Art of Asking book”

- how I shot almost a whole night long book pre-release signing parade mayhem thing in Cambridge

- how I shot 11/11 book release gig event in Boston

- here is a couple of pictures of Amanda and Jason during the Bed Show afterparty at Summinski Innski

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In Russia we have a saying which goes kinda: “If you want God to laugh - tell hime about your plans”.

So in June I planned to go to the US to be at my friends’ wedding. Of course, I had the Greater Boston on my mind. And we planned to meet with Anthony.

He wrote:

“UNE!! I plan to be much stronger in June, able to drive my car again, go places with other people in them, visit the hospital far less frequently, and be well into building some (muscle smile here) lost muscle…..and, of course, hang out with you (Pauly, Ron, Nivi, Nicolas and the of the of our friends) whom I’ve been sorely missing. Sending my hopeful heart to Russia with love, xAntoniox”

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That never happened. I came to Boston late at night because of terrible flight delays (never expected US domestic flights are so fucked up actually, huh). That was the night when we learnt that Anthony doesn’t have much time actually. Amanda and Neil headed back to the US from England at the speed of sound and light. All the closest people took a constant watch at the hospital. So I never met him again. Obviously I was not a closest friend to him, though our short acquaintance influenced me deeply and gifted me with another person whom I am proud and humbled to call friend.

I got a message about Anthony leaving us all here when I was boarding airplane to go home to Moscow, Russia. All the week I spent in Boston I tried to be of use, I tried to comfort and support nice people I met and fell in love with during my first visit (when I actually did meet Anthony). Pauly, Ron and Nivi. I do love you, seriously, I hope we will meet under some merrier circumstances in some not so distant future.

I met Anthony Martignetti once, it was a year ago. A year and a week to be precise, it was 14th of November. Days before that day were full of Art of Asking activities, it is a book Amanda Palmer wrote about life, dearth, love, hate, art and stuff. It is good, I tell you. But this is another topic. So Amanda just left Boston and went to a book tour.

WD4B5915Pauly and Nivi helped to arrange my meeting with Anthony. I felt like I am going to throw up because I was over-full with excitement and fear that I won’t be able to say anything - maybe not smart, but at least something not dumb.

We started talking from time to time via twitter and later whatsup somewhere in 2013. After Amanda explained to the world things about Anthony as the reason she cancels the tour. I wrote a blog review of the Beloved Demons. Good for me, I could get the e-book, shipping to Russian is sometimes a tricky thing.

WD4B6275Maybe it was me getting older or maybe Anthony used right words and images, and I read them at the right time, but his tales of demons and lunatics based on his own life got me deeply. I might say that before I was more a person of fiction, I considered non-fiction kind of boring thing. Not anymore, for sure. I realised that any fiction is actually a kinda costumed non-fiction. Level of this costume fanciness might be different, but still something that happened to you or not happened you re-work inside of your brains or soul and voi la - you have song, novel, poem, self-help quide, whatever.

Ah, yes, we also had a plan of a photoshoot. Anthony liked my works and wanted me to make portraits of him. We were not sure if it is going to be possible because he had this whole in his head - of medical reason. Who would want to be photographed this way? So plus to my excitement I was also nervous. Will we be making it? Or not? And if yes, will I be able to see through the sickness to his soul to make right pictures? It seems that I might achieved something, if one of the pictures from that sitting is a poster to the Memorial Evening which will be held today in Lexington. If people think it's Anthony's kind of picture and they chose it, so it means I nailed it.

So it was wonderful day. We did make pictures. We talked and asked each other questions. Anthony smiled. I even did a small special voice over with Russian accent for one of the stories. Anthony liked my Russian accent which is funny because of course I am shy of it.

We decided to make another session when I come back to the US in June. I did come back. But the second meeting was didn't happen.

My one and only meeting with Anthony Martignetti is a beautiful gem I hold close to my heart. I keep thinking if we could be friends if there was more time. I keep thinking that those people who were close to him for longer time and have more of those memory gems are extremely lucky.

I will come back to Boston, hopefully many times. This place weirdly gives me peace. It’s like a retreat secret garden.

I am thankful to Anthony for that.

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Today I sent love and prays to those who gather in Lexington for a Anthony’s memorial/tribute evening.

sorry for typos, with love,

V.

In the end of 2013 I realised that during my first year of freelance I read unnaturally small quantity of books. I was not commuting daily to the office and didn’t have a habit of reading cozily at home. While you do freelance work you home is your office and you always have so much things to do there besides cleaning and cooking which go on top. I still suck with reading-at-the-sofa habit, but I set myself on a plan to read at least 24 books in 2014. Two books per month. I could do it. 

I also promised myself to keep a list of what I read. Because I realised that life is so fast that some books got lost in memory or in folds of time. The fucked up thing that it doesn’t mean that the lost book was a bad book. And I hate to forget things I enjoy. 

I managed to read 27 books. Maybe I forgot to write down 1 or 2 books. I also didn’t put on the list those long current readings which you read in small bits from time to time. Because you can’t read them in one piece, your mind will explode if you do. I think I will make an additional list of those. 

So here it comes.

Books I read in 2014:

  1. Stephen Chbosky “Perks of being a wallflower”
  2. Victor Hugo “Les Miserables” (book 1)
  3. Наталия Аникина “Кошка, которая умела плакать” (книга 1, книга 2) (Russian author, read in Russian)
  4. Anthony Martignetti “Beloved Demons”
  5. Anthony Martignetti “Lunatic heroes”
  6. Philip Pullman “The ruby in the smoke”
  7. Елена Хаецкая “Мракобес” (Russian author, read in Russian)
  8. Peter Hoeg “Borderliners” / Питер Хег “Условно пригодные” (read in Russian)
  9. Mike Rohde “The Sketchnote Handbook: The Illustrated Guide to Visual Note Taking”
  10. Austen Kleon “Show your work”
  11. F. Scott Fitzgerald “The Great Gatsby”
  12.  George Fraser “Flashman”
  13. Reinhold Messner “The Crystal Horizon: Everest - The First Solo Ascent” / Рейнхольд Месснер “Хрустальный горизонт” (read in Russian)
  14. Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett “Good omens”
  15. Susan Collins “Hunger Games” (all three books, the first book I listened as audio book)
  16. Марина Москвина “Учись видеть” (Russian author, read in Russian)
  17. Bernhard Schlink “The Reader” / Берхард Шлинк “Чтец” (read in Russian)
  18. Mark Helprin “Memoir from Antproof Case” (read in Russian)
  19. Paul Berna “Le Cheval sans tête” / Поль Берна “Лошадка без головы” (read in Russian)
  20. Stephen King “Carrie” (read in Russian)
  21. Amand Palmer “The art of asking”
  22. Philip Pullman “Once upon a time in the North”
  23. HP Lovecraft “The Call of Cthulhu”, “Dagon”, “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” (audio)
  24. Terry Pratchett “The Colour of magic” (audio)
  25. George Mann “Ghosts of Manhattan”
  26. Дмитрий Глуховский “Метро 2033” (Russian author, read in Russian)
  27. Marcos Mateu-Mestre “Framed ink”
  28. Феликс Шайнбергер “Альбом ваших идей”

Long time reads:

  1. Jurgen Wolff “Your Creative Writing Masterclass”
  2.  Clarissa Pinkola Estés “Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype”
  3. Hayley Campbell “The art of Neil Gaiman”
  4. Susan Sontag, David Rieff “As Consciousness is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks, 1964-1980”
  5. Stepehn Kind “On Writing”
  6. Grete Weitz “Run your first marathon”
  7. Mark Williams “Mindfullness: A Practical guide to peace in a frantic world”

Current reads which I started in 2014 and didn’t finish yet:

  1. Mikhail Boulgakov “Master and Margarita” (reading in Russian)
  2. Ksenia Anske “Rosehead” (just finished it, so it is the first one I read in 2015, I highly recommend it btw)
  3. Neil Gaiman “Fortunately the Milk”
  4. Alan Moore “Watchmen”

Mostly I read in English because translating is a subtle art and we seem to lack of good translators today in Russia. My faith is a bit restored though, but I am still quite sceptical. I try to be more open minded. Besides I got interested in Russian classics and contemporary writers. Enough of being so snobbish.

If you got curious about any book in my lists you are welcome to poke me and ask. I am too lazy and hungry to read further. 

Also you are welcome to throw books titles you read and like into my face. It will be highly appreciated!

Back on blog. Jet lagged after coming back home from the US to Russia, but full of energy to press on with all the shit. Most probably I will go to swim and jog now, but before that I'd like to do some blogging.

I backed up pictures I shot during last 3 weeks. There were some videos as well. It's way easier to share uncut videos. You basically upload them and you are done. So that's what I am about to do.

Below are the videos of performances that touched my heart deeply during my time in the US.

Before parading to Porter Square books we came together at the Harvard Sq. And Jason Webley sang, and Amanda Palmer sang, and we sang and laughed.

Crazy band named Too many zooz I witnessed once on Union sq. They are just fantastic, aren't they?

Amazing Beat Travellers performing during the Lost Marble Salon in the Cloud Club.

(I worked on this blog a bit, so I upload it a bit later then it was written)

It is one month before I visit the United States for the first time ever. Next week I turn 30 (huh!), so I think it is a majestic way to start another decade of my life. Yesterday I’ve read new blog post written my Amanda Palmer. You can read it HERE. The thing that amazes me about her is how she can talk about complicated things. A lot to learn from Amanda.

She wrote about many things in that particular blog. First about blogging and writing a book. Go and read it, my retelling will be not as good as her own words. I thought like wow, how come that I enjoyed blogging so much for many years (those years when livejournal was at its best). I wrote about everything. I didn’t need a purpose. There were always words to write and thoughts to explain.

But then digital world changed in a very special way. Blogging became kinda profession. Serious shit. And livejournal kinda died. I lost my habit to write easily on the blog. 

Somehow I got a BLOG WRITER’S BLOCK. Dammit. Weird as it is. It felt like my blogs should be meaningful, to deliver message, to have a theme. As if blogging was not for everybody. Yesterday I read what Amanda wrote and thought - fuck that, blog should satisfy the only person in this world and it is… me. Yes, I promote my art through it. But blog is freedom, it should not BORE me to death to write my own blog. Or SCARE me. 

The other two things Amanda wrote about were her tour (book tour and the bed shows) and Anthony’s situation. For me it is inseparable in a weird way. Through Amanda's music I get to know Anthony and his books. 

There was this live webcast by Amanda. Anthony read a story there (at 1:04:20 in the previous link). I made this print screen, how I wish to be there with my camera. It was deep night and then dawn wee hours in Moscow. My beloved man slept peacefully in our bedroom. I stood on the balcony in the living room with headphones and iPad and listened to webcast. 

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I bought e-book of Beloved Demons on the first day of release. I wrote a review on it and blogged it HERE. I wanted more people to read Anthony’s stories. Somehow we started writing to each other from time to time. Sometimes people just happen in each others lives. It is truly amazing. One day you don’t have this person close to your heart and then you do.

Anthony sent me paper copies of his books. I think I am the only person who has got Anthony’s books in Russia. I should make a picture of them on the Red Square I suppose. 

(done it - went to the Red Square and make a picture)

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Once Anthony told me he’d like me to make portraits of him. I said yes, of course, portraits is my favourite thing to do. I love human beings, through camera I discover people and say them they are awesome. Through camera I see beauty of people, their strength, their fragility. 

Also Anthony is such an enigmatic person to make portraits of. 

I thought well, yes, I should come when I have money. But one day I will do it. For sure. Later. Blah-blah-blah. Then I learnt that Anthony’s remission is over. He was about to go through chemo again. 

I applied for the visa. Got it. Bought tickets to NY on the dates when I don’t have shootings here in Russia. 

We decided that we will meet and talk no matter what. As with portraits, we will just see. 

Next day after I bought tickets Amanda tweeted that the release date of her book is the 11th of November. A bit later she informed the twitterverse that there will be a few Bed Shows from 5-8th of November.

My tickets to the States I bought the day before were from 2th to 16th of November. 

Now I have tickets to the Bed Show and to Boston book tour event. And I plan to come to Porter Square books as well. 

But honestly I can’t call this luck or anything. Because initially I got visa and tickets, because Anthony’s conditions changed. It is “weird poetry of life” as Amanda tweeted. Endless ifs, buts and whys and wtfs.

Life is complicated. Everything is connected. Endless dots. Dots. Dots.

Fuck the writer’s block. I needed to bring all this together. I feel too many feelings at the same time. It was always my thing.

Soon I will be in the United States. 

P.S: Somewhere in-between I went to Stockholm. Thanks to wonderful Neil Gaiman, I managed to give Anthony a book as a gift (HERE is a big blog with pictures). It was Master and Margarita by Mikhail Boulgakov, which is a brilliant Russian novel. HERE Anthony talks of Pilate and Jesus trial after chemo treatment and reading M&M.

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(tl;dr - I went to Stockholm and met author Neil Gaiman there)

For now I have only an English version, it is long and full of details. And to answer your question - yes, I did fly from Russia to Sweden to see Neil Gaiman. Why? Because why not?

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29 may 2014

I feel a bit philosophical right now as I fly back home from Stockholm where I spent several quite intense days. Yesterday I met Neil Gaiman who is one of my favourite authors and one of the most  beautiful human souls I ever knew.

...continue reading

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(English version below)

Как мне тут верно заметили в комментариях, я все сообщаюсь и сообщаюсь о том, что я собираюсь сделать, но мало пишу о процессе или о результатах. О процессе писать категорически некогда, хотя я очень хочу. А вот о результатах попробую. На улице стоит одуряющая жара, и я все равно ни на что более продуктивное не годна сегодня. Поэтому буду писать слова. Главное, не забывать сохраняться:)

Вы пробовали дистанционное образование? Я вот весной наконец-то решилась попробовать, что это такое и с чем его едят. Как всегда, моей ошибкой было то, что я как-то на все сразу накинулась, в результате до конца довела всего один курс, но обо всем по порядку.

Во-первых, мне понравилось, знаний действительно дают много, выбирать можно на любой вкус и под любые цели.

Во-вторых, главное трезво оценивать объем времени, который реально будет выделить на обучение.

В-третьих, да никаких третьих, учиться можно и нужно, бесплатных вариантов много, платных - еще больше.

Нужно только учить языки. Моего уровня английского вполне хватило, чтобы слушать лекции, читать дополнительные материалы и делать задания.

Что я попробовала?

Coursera

Live!: A History of Art for Artists, Animators and Gamers

The California Institute of the Arts 

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Курс по истории искусства на сайте coursera.org.

Пришедшее мне недавно письмо говорит о том, что с курсом я справилась на 70%. Честно признаюсь, что сдулась под конец и заленилась делать последнее задание. По этому курсу за небольшую денежку можно было получить официальный сертификат. Возможно, если бы я его оплатила, то это подстегнуло бы меня не поджимать хвост на финальном аккорде.

Но вообще курс был очень классный. Он состоял из видео-лекций, заданий, дополнительного чтения, общения с сокурсниками и пары тестов в середине и в конце. У меня нет художественного образования, есть какие-то разрозненные знания. Было интересно и приятно следовать за мыслью преподавателя.

Кроме знаний по искусству, преподавательница очень много времени уделяла критике - что такое критика, с чем ее едят, как ее выдавать, как ее воспринимать. Очень здорово, освежает и углубляет видение своей собственной работы и работы других людей.

Кроме того, недавно мне прислали письмо энтузиасты coursera, которые назвали себя Global Translator Community и активно работают над созданием субтитров, чтобы люди со слабым знанием или без знания языка могли также участвовать в обучении. Вот их страничка https://www.coursera.org/about/translate.

Также страничка курса на фейсбуке.

В общем coursera я рекомендую всем, там представлены курсы в совершенно разных областях. По техническим наукам даже есть что-то на русском. Меня интересует больше искусство, поэтому я пока встала в очередь на курс по американской поэзии и на курс по комиксам и графическим романам.

Двигаемся дальше.

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World Press Photo Academy - connected learning

Курс по мультимедиа журналистике под руководством куратора DJ Clark.

Об этом курсе я узнала на фейсбуке от своей подруги Лиды.

Вообще интересно, что и это курс, и предыдущий очень много времени уделяли тому, как рассказывать историю, так называемый storytelling. При этом типа медиа совершенно не имел значения. Историю может рассказывать и картина, и книга, и фотография, и видео, и последовательность изображений, и одно изображение, и что-то объемное, и что-то плоское.

В рамках этого курса я училась формулировать историю, рассказывать ее, расставлять акценты, собирать фотографии в серии, составлять вопросы для интервью, проводить интервью. Это единственный курс, который я довела до конца, доделала проект, который разместили на страничке академии, дала интервью о том, с какими сложностями я столкнулась в процессе. Чувствую себя ужасно гордой по этому поводу.

Форма обучение была похожей на coursera - интервью, статьи, задания, общение. Здесь мне очень понравилось, что нас было не очень много. Куратор устраивал google hangouts, и мы обсуждали свои проекты. В такие моменты ты чувствуешь, что будущее - это сейчас. Это так здорово. Да, иногда нам мешали сбои связи и качество видео изображения оставляло желать лучшего, но это совершенно неважно.

Покажу тут свой проект и интервью. Это было кстати мое первое интервью, и я ужасно волновалась.

Что еще я попробовала?

Вот тут был бесплатный курс для писателей по построению своего присутствия в интернетах. Слава богу материалы просто приходили на почту, потому что я поняла, что этот курс я совсем не успеваю и просто стала откладывать письма от куратора в отдельную папочку, чтобы прочитать попозже. До осени я не планирую ввязываться в новые онлайн-курсы, так что как раз успею за лето.

Еще пару курсов я прошла на kelby. Посматривала на lynda, но так и не начала там пока ничего.

 

И еще наконец-то я начала учиться рисовать. Поначалу начала сама, но тут поняла, что лучше таки с преподавателем - сообщить ему свои цели и под его руководством двигаться вперед. Как-то так само собой получилось, что преподавателем стала моя подруга. Занимаюсь я тоже очень удобно - чаще всего по скайпу, иногда вживую. Скайп экономит время, не нужно куда-то ехать час-полтора. Камера, интернет и вуаля.

Пока что у меня сугубо практические цели - мне нужно научиться делать наброски для планируемых фотосессий и раскадровки для видео. Поэтому мы изучаем анатомию человека, технику наброска, массы, пятна, контрасты, композицию и перспективу. А там уж посмотрим, куда меня это заведет.

Пока я выкладываю то, что получается вот тут.

Летом я планирую продолжать заниматься рисованием, а осенью посмотреть в сторону каких-нибудь новых курсов.

А вы что пробовали?

Делитесь опытом и ссылками:)

 

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I was miserable and heartbroken while I was in London. Sometimes people just don't have enough balls to tell you the truth. Ugh. So I roamed the streets zombielike and shot with my camera a lot. Now I feel stable enough to dig those archive and cleanse it from pictures of people I don't need in my life, no, thank you very much. Instead I'd like to collect good memories and pictures from those days. It seems I made quite a lot of interesting pictures. London is shameless model. And I was a shameless photographer as well. When you are shallowe and suffering as hell you don't actually care if street-folk sees you making pictures of them. Most of Londoners didn't give a fuck themselves anyway. It was fruitful combination.

Bookstore were like meditation centers for me. I didn't have much money, but most money were spent guess where? In the bookstores of course. Here in this store somewhere in Camden I got a used copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert M. Pirsig.

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It is the second assignment for Cal Arts course at coursera. The whole course is called Live!: A History of Art for Artists, Animators and Gamers. Each week we have materials to study and assignments to do.

The first assignment was also very interesting, I think of posting it here as well.

The second assignment is Mental Map

"In your sketchbook, assemble ten (10) images, books, films, or even music/songs that provide a history and context for your current work or interests in art, animation and/or gaming, whether as a practitioner, viewer or player/participant. Choose works that are important to the way you think, and just as importantly, works that inspire you in ways that you can’t always perhaps put into words. Reach back into your childhood (where you may perhaps find some unexpected sources of inspiration) and look around you to collect some contemporary resources"

I felt that my blog will be the most convenient way to expose my assignment as it appeared to be quite big.  Also it is comfortable for me to take care of source links and to organise the layout.

1. Pink Floyd “the Wall”

(source)

I mean both the movie and the record.

I had a VHS with the movie. I remember watching it for the first time. It was mind twisting. Then I re-watched it for more than 20-30 times, I guess.

Each time I discovered something new, some idea, some thought. As I was growing up different pieces of this epic work touched my heart like a hot iron. First of all, like all rebellious teens I muse enjoyed “We don’t need no education”, then the love theme caught my attention, then the society and individual controversy, then the role and influence of mother.

Doing this assignment I came to conclusion that I need to watch it once again after maybe 7 years break.

 

2. J.R.R. Tolkien “The Lord of the Rings”

(source)

Low bow to they book, to Professor and to my mother for my love to reading. My mom read pieces of “The Lord of the Rings” to me and my little sister before sleeping time. But she read in little pieces - she was tired after work and we needed to sleep too. I was too curious to wait, I wanted to know what will happen next, so I grabbed the book and tried reading in on my own. It was a huge impact. That’s how I fell in love with fantasy and and imagined worlds. And with books in general. Books are like diamonds for me. Now I have a very wide range of interests in literature, but that book will always be a fire-starter.

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What if I finally would start writing a review for Anthony Martignetti book titled “Beloved demons: confessions of an unquiet mind”? I might say that I have never written thoughtful pieces about books I’ve read. But I guess it is a right time to start doing so.

I will start with a little pre-info. C. Anthony Martignetti, PhD, is a writer and psychotherapist with a private practice in Lexington, Massachusetts. Anthony is not well-known author, but he definitely is known by some people. I would love more people to discover his books. Especially that now there is a chance to purchase an e-book which solves problem for most non-American readers.

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(that is a print screen I made while watching live stream of Amanda Palmer's salon)

“The world isn’t created of atoms and molecules, but of stories. Maybe I wanted to create a world. A new one… where I, and we, could be happy and safe.

Making stories from memories… I think it has something to do with looking back and fabricating meaning in events that, at the time, just happened” 

(from a touching and powerful story “Sign”)

“Beloved demons: confessions of an unquiet mind” is the second book of Anthony Martignetti. The first one is “Lunatic Heroes: Memories, Lies and Reflections”, I’d like to read it as well, but there are no digital copies.

To be honest I suck at using clever words and making an analyse of a literature. But that book was a profound read for me. Both like an intimate whisper and solid punch in a face. It takes you into a poignant and dark journey deep through the lanes and alleys of a human soul. A soul brave enough to let guests in without cleaning up and hiding certain things.

(it is a video from the release event of the "Beloved demons", here Neil Gaiman reads an introduction he wrote for the book and Anthony reads the story "Sign")

Did I say that “Beloved demons” is a memoir? It is a collection of stories which happened to Anthony during his adult years. It is a collection of feelings that fought with each other deep inside of his soul. It is a collection of mind twists and hungry thinking. It is a collection of people Anthony met on his way. It is a collection of things that people usually prefer to hide and pretend they are normal in a way that is acceptable by a society in general.

Thing is that each one of us (no exceptions really) is more complex and twisted from inside than rules of morality let to identify and legalise. We can’t shrink into humanity-approved size without pain. We need to be really gentle to each other. And try to get rid of assumptions and fixed schemes. Otherwise we will continue to breed demons inside of us and inside of our beloved ones.

“She had become human in the worst possible meaning of it. She shrank into life. It was the greatest example I’d ever had that the death is real. She, the mad one… she, who was always and only young… fell under the deflated world… the weight of years… money, marriage, children and cocks gone old and cold” 

(from one of my favourite stories “Mad”)

Anthony spills out his feelings, his fears, his thoughts, his regrets, first it’s suffocating. Then you start to give names to your own demons. And reading becomes painful, but very honest and cleansing. The crucial point for me was that Anthony doesn’t accuse anybody. He accepts. And shares.

I would say that we all should read such memoirs. Maybe we should privately write our own. We need to spend time thinking what excites us, what makes us go on with our lives. What made us who we are, how should we deal with who we are. We need to be curious and searching. Unquiet. Always. Otherwise our life will become “a cheerless case of utter domesticity”. It is not that I am against building families. I am against creating a family and then ceasing to live.

“And then I began to learn too much, have too much in my pile; that’s when I found one of the great rugs under which I could sweep all of it. 

The magic carpet of fantasy.

And a new life began, a secret one. And it’s been grinding in my chest and groin ever since.

A 100 percent pure life. The very best. I know, I write it myself.”

(from a very observing story “Swept”)

From birth to childhood, from childhood to teenage, from teenage to adult age we deal with everything inside us and around us. Anthony’s book spoke to me about the issue I see too much here and there lately. It is an issue of child abuse and humiliation. I never thought how deeply our childhood influences our adult life. Sometimes it is unbearable to think about. Those connections and consequences are so much bigger than us. And we go on living nevertheless.

I would say that “Beloved demons: confessions of an unquiet mind” is a song glorifying life and humanity. But it is a song from a B-side. Not everybody is patient with life and continues to listen so far, because they got stuck on the juicy bestselling tracks of an A-side.

In the very end I would love to share this indie short film after another story "Box" by Anthony Martignetti. I don't know if it was published. But I meditated over it for quite a while.