José & Pilar

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I used to try to shake off my mother whenever she tried to make me look more presentable. She’d try to clean a smudge of dirt of my freckled nose and I’d push her away yelling “Leave me alone, Hermione!” She’d try to button my shirt properly and I’d push her away, “I’ve missed a case, but I like it this way.” And I’d walk out the door with one collar near my ear and the other close to my chest. My mother no longer cares how messy I look, or simply learned to look as if she doesn’t care. Ironically to me, inevitably to her, now I’m the one who asks her for help to straighten out a sweater and make sure my shirt peaks out evenly underneath it.

“… the best way of killing a rose is to force it open when it is still only the promise of a bud.”

That was an excerpt of José Saramago’s The Cave. Saramago is a Portuguese writer and Nobel Laureate, who was born in Azinhaga, Iberian Peninsula, in 1922. I learned about his writing in high-school. One of his books was part of the curriculum so, naturally, due to my very cool rebellious teen spirit, I proceeded to ignore it, which was my mo. with any book I HAD to read. A few months after finishing high-school, after I could do nothing to change my paltry grades, I decided to read it. He slowly climbed up the ladder of my favourite writers to the top. It was a small ladder, Enid Blyton was there, as was J.K. Rowling and a Maxim Magazine erotica writer, whose writing helped me a lot in the pre-adsl days. It was still, by no means, a small accomplishment.

Saramago deals with daunting subjects. His most recognized work is Blindness. It paints a vivid image of violence, chaos, and Continue reading “José & Pilar”


Herzog’s Grizzly Man

Timothy Treadwell with his pet fox and his bear friend
Timothy Treadwell with his pet fox and his bear friend

Timothy Treadwell has spent the last 13 summers living among grizzly bears in Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Reserve. For the last 5 years he has filmed 90 hours of the wilderness, the bears and himself. In one of his last recorded statements he seemed confident that he had found a way to live among them.

It’s understandable the appeal that this story had for Werner Herzog. He has no interest in ordinary lives, at least as a subject. His work dwells on the verge of death, where life finds its deeper expressions. He filmed humans in the South Pole, indigenous people living in the heart of the Siberian Taiga, death row inmates with weeks to live, a visionary air traveller  the sole survivor of a plane crash, etc. He says: “If I had a chance to venture out with a camera to a planet in our solar system, I would go, even if it were a one-way ticket only.”

Treadwell does what no man before him had done, he proclaims and there’s truth to that. He lives in constant danger and if he didn’t love the smell of death in the morning he certainly grew accustomed to it. He has a pet fox, to the extent that foxes can be pets. In his footage he is often a few feet Continue reading “Herzog’s Grizzly Man”