Arrogance is the Biggest Sin

Last night, I should have worked since two deadlines are nearing rapidly. However, I couldn’t stop watching the news about protesters charging into the Capitol building. It was shocking, disturbing, to say the least. The photograph of members of Capitol security aiming their guns at people behind broken windows was particularly frightening. I couldn’t help wondering where the reinforcements are and will those doors hold. And I definitely couldn’t find any silver lining in those events. I do believe that every government should be aware of what an angry mob can do and keep in mind that they serve the people, not the other way round, but Wednesday events ‒ no excuse.

This morning, I read that Marco Rubio wrote: “This is 3rd world style anti-American anarchy.” Okay, Senator, pride, personal and national alike, is positive and welcomed. But this is arrogance. And not only that, it is unfounded. Not to mention that this is an insult to all third world countries.

I think that America is a great country and a visit is definitely on my list one day. But America isn’t only educated, kind, open-minded people. America isn’t only Manhattan. Protestors waving the Confederate flag are also America. People who actually voted for Trump are also America. Snake-handling pastors are also America. As well as barely literate, inbreeding communities. Not to mention the Ku Klux Klan. Not to mention the people torturing prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. Not to mention the police officer who killed George Floyd and the ones who watched. Senators whose words make me ashamed on their behalf…

All that is America. The good, the great, the beautiful, the inspirational, but the bad, ugly, and appalling too. Just like any other nation. As I said, pride is good, and you should be proud. But arrogance makes you look ridiculous and unfit of being a representative of the people – even in most third world countries.

Wednesday Food For Thought

The Best Relationship Advice

“Of course, since she is unwilling, I want her more than all other women.” ‒ confesses a character from my short story collection, Slaves to Desire.

There are so many books about relationships out there, so many courses, so many dating couches… Thus, it surely can’t be that simple. Right?

Well, if I wanted a cupcake and had to do five squats to get it, I would probably choose a brownie, tart, or cherry crumble if they don’t require effort. Of course, soon I would be bored with them and wish to try something else. And I would start to think that the cupcake is much tastier since I have to make an effort to get it.

In another story from this collection, James Joyce is nervous before his first date with Nora and muses: “It is understandable that I am more eager since the prospect of seeing her after that initial disappointment seems like a prize, like a colourful candy that a mother first refuses to her child and then thinks better of it; that candy is always sweeter than the ones obtained without pleading and effort.”

This is my dog Simba. He is so tired that he can’t keep his eyes open after three days of trying to take advantage of the neighbor’s dog in the heat. Since she is much bigger, his heroic attempts were unsuccessful even though he did his best, stayed out in the rain the whole night, wailed, and didn’t eat. On the other hand, a larger dog got what he wanted and never came back. All guys are the same, eh?

Sorry, but no. All human beings are the same. We need a bit of a challenge to spark our interest. And it is as easy as that. Simplify, modify, gratify.

Ever heard of the Karakondžula?

I thought that Halloween is a great time to introduce my favorite Serbian monster ‒ karakondžula. I dare you to pronounce it! The karakondžula is an ugly, squat, goblin-like creature that roams the forests. It comes near human settlements to torment drunkards, gamblers, and adulterers. So think again before indulging in that extra glass or infidelity! The karakondžula jumps on their backs and forces them to carry it through forests, scratching them the whole while to make them run faster. When roosters announce the dawn, it releases its victim and runs away.

Since I moved from Belgrade to the countryside, I have met quite a few people who claimed to know someone who had a merry encounter with the karakondžula. All of them couldn’t get out of bed for three months after that incident. And their hair turned completely white during that nocturnal run through the forest.

In Serbian tradition, the Twelve Days of Christmas were called the unbaptized days because all kinds of demons are more active than usual. That is why people avoided going outside in the evening during those days.

Book recommendation for Halloween:

Black Friday Halloween Special ‒ The Saga of the Chosen Historian

Seymour is a high-school history teacher who decides to sue God on Halloween. Soon, Eve, Lilith, Red Riding Hood, and the giants join him… Crazy, hilarious parody that will make you laugh so much that your stomach will hurt!

Photos: My sister’s funny comic with a karakondžula. A baby karakondžula was on the playground when she spotted a drunken guy and decided to make his Mummy karakondžula proud. At the end of the experience, the guy promised never to drink again and only listen to his good, beautiful wife. But the wifie is angry and doesn’t want to cook for him anymore…

Tuesday Food for Thought

Does Free Will Exist?

Sometimes, I read the news on my phone while waiting for the water to boil in the morning. And today, I saw that half the planet is angry at David Beckham for kissing his daughter on the lips while the other half defends him. The comments explaining both attitudes are hilarious since they can also be divided into two groups. The first one is: It’s perfectly normal to kiss your children on the lips, we always did that in our family. The second one claims: That’s gross, I would never do it.

Why is it hilarious? Because of its simplicity: My family has its opinion about that; of course, I share that opinion; and different views are, at the very least, strange. Or unacceptable if you are more radical. Almost all misunderstandings and arguments, and even some wars throughout history, can be broken down to ancestral beliefs.

Just think about it. You think your tastes and points of view are your own, right? Think again. Is the music you enjoy a copy of the one your parents like, or quite the opposite ‒ which means that you are consciously rebelling against it? The football team you support? Beliefs about religion, human rights, misogyny, racism…? Your ideal job? Your perfect partner? The food you love and hate? Are your beliefs a positive or a negative of the ones your family taught you during your upbringing?

Free will is one of my favorite topics. In my short story collection, Slave to Desire, Anna Karenina finds herself on the other side and muses: Are they even my own ethics or were they imposed and instilled in me with the wet nurses’ milk? In another story, Hamlet and Ophelia escape Shakespeare’s scroll: All his thoughts, memories and past are planted in Hamlet’s mind against his will. Everything he says, everything he believes, is as a personality which William created. The sense of duty to his father, suspicion towards his mother and uncle, love for Ophelia ‒ William implanted all that. Hamlet wants to escape from these imposed attitudes and feelings as much as from the fate that the writer has in mind for him, but he is completely powerless. The bond between the writer and his character is unbreakable.

Or shall we say, the bond between the family’s beliefs and a person who likes to believe his thoughts are unique is unbreakable.

What do you think about that? And what would your parents think about it? Are there situations that, no matter how much you try, can’t be simplified like that?

And since I mentioned my book, can you vote for my beautiful cover? It would mean the world to me! What can I say, my parents liked to win in all contests…

https://allauthor.com/cover-of-the-month/9445/

Slaves to Desire

LITERARY TITAN

Slaves to Desire is composed of 11 short stories that are as insightful as they are erotic. By weaving fictional tales around some of the most successful European artists of all time, she manages to find that storytelling sweet spot between fact and fiction.

The book talks of George Sand, Salvador Dali, Antonin Artaud, Anna Karenina, Romeo and Juliet, and even Hamlet and Ophelia as if they were here with us today. The poetic and emotional way in which this book is written left me with a deeper understanding of what it means to be an artist.

As I progressed from page to page, I was confronted by melancholy, mania, and deep love. Great was the love of one character that they cared for their ill lover till death took them away, leaving her without enough strength to attend the funeral.

Another character, crushed by the pain of being separated…

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Monday food for thought

Gender equality and sex

Sure, I write about sex, among other things. And sometimes my writing is raw and explicit, say when Rasputin experiences an existential crisis in the middle of one of his notorious orgies. You can’t expect the Mad Monk of Russia to mince words, right? But if you are thinking 50 Shades and similar books, boy, are you wrong. My erotica is thought-provoking as much as arousing, dark, ironic. It raises some questions which are too sour to digest without some hot spices.


In that spirit, do you believe in gender equality? If so, do you know a guy who agreed, very reluctantly, to a threesome only to prove to his girlfriend how cool, daring, adventurous… he is? No, me neither. Why do women agree to stuff that makes them feel uncomfortable? Why do they feel the need to prove something to their partners? They shouldn’t be proving anything to anyone, let alone their partners. Please share your thoughts about this.

The monster called aging

“Thirty-one and alone. Knowing the assumptions people make about that number. The wilting pair of ovaries they see. The desperation they smell…”

This is a quote from a book I am translating. The book is good with a positive message since the end shows that we shouldn’t think like that. But it makes me wonder what is wrong with this society if thoughts like that are common among women. I didn’t think like that as a thirty-one-year-old or a forty-one or a fort-eight-year-old. And I hope that I won’t feel like that as a fifty-one-year-old or sixty-one-year-old. My girlfriends don’t feel like that either. Or they are better actresses than all the Oscars winners.

Sure, I notice changes on my face and body, but I don’t feel ugly, unattractive, or old because of them. Of course, I was always dissatisfied with several things about my physical appearance ‒ the occasional breakouts, the thin hair, the longish forehead… but who isn’t? That’s normal, but we learn to accept and love those imperfections with time. Even the supposedly frightening several silver hairs.

When I look at my photos from my 20s and 30s, I don’t even notice the things that stressed me. No, I marvel how beautiful I was. But what will I think about today’s photos in ten or twenty years? That I was perfect, of course, and that it’s such a shame that I didn’t enjoy myself more instead of wasting time on examining my eyes or hair in the mirror.

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So, please stop fretting because you are getting older. It isn’t a failure. No, it’s natural. And you are beautiful. Accept it and embrace your imperfections. Stop having god-like expectations from yourself or worrying what others think. So, they don’t like what they see? They think we look older? Well, sod them.

How many people didn’t get the chance to grow old? What would they think about people who worry that they are doing a split over an open grave as soon as they hit thirty? That they are fools and already dead in a way, wasting so much time and energy that could be used for smiling, laughing, loving, and fooling around. And fretting gives you wrinkles, mind you!

These are not the Middle Ages when unmarried nineteen-year-olds were considered spinsters, and life expectancy was lower. So, wouldn’t it be logical to rejoice the fact that we can get old? And have more time for all the marvelous things life can bring our way? What do you think?

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Where did your dreams crash?
Where did your yearnings fly to while
waiting for that nocturnal whisper?
Where did your hopes for that glow
when his eyes spot you melt?
Where did your desire for those
gentle yet adamant touches smash?
Where did your beauty seep away?
Like love, they never die. They mutate,
reshape, transfigure, metamorphose.
A new coat of paint or attitude works wonders.

Feed an author – leave a review! Readers choose books based on recommendations. After 25 reviews, Amazon includes the book in the “also bought” and “you might like this” suggestions. After 50 to 70 reviews, Amazon highlights the book and includes it in its newsletter – which is HUGE for an author. The review doesn’t have to be long, a simple “I liked it” is enough, and not only enough – it means the world for most of us!

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Just random thoughts

I have always hated the cliche life before and life after something. And now I am living the cliche life before covid and life during it. Only 7 days ago, I was looking forward to many things, obsessing about marketing my book, sending emails and asking for reviews, thinking how to make friends to give me reviews on Amazon on my b-day, 24th…
Now, 8 days as a mild case home-patient, I am happy that I don’t feel a knitting needle going down my chest when trying to take a deep breath, no more night fevers… and I have an appetite again! True, I still don’t have the strength to change the bedding, wash my hair, cook… but that doesn’t seem important when you are finally feeling better snd wonderful friends and neighbors leave food in front of the gate.
However, some changes alarm me. After reading anti-maskers’ravings on fb, I can’ help rethinking the right of free speech. Something I am very passionate about, mind you. If I had a magic wand, I would probably permit people whosr unresponsible behavior endangers others to voice their claims on social media. Yet, I always claimed that absolutely everyone has the right to express his opinion. Not so sure now. And then someone on FB tells me that I’m a globalist slave manipulated by the media to think in terms us versus them. And I wish for that bad SF story to get the hell out of my life.
Have you ever felt a similar dilemma? Were you ashamed of such tyrannic thoughts? How did you resolve the dilemma?
jabuka