Effects of Natsuo Kirino’s Goddess Chronicle

How do you go about your day after you write a story such as The Goddess Chronicle? What did Natsuo Kirino do after she wrote the last full stop of the novel? How do you go about your life while you are working on such a literary gem? What thoughts lull a writer to sleep the whole while of rethinking mythological beginnings?

How do you go about your day when you finish reading such a story? I for one made myself a strong cup of coffee and mixed it with a large quantity of chocolate syrup. I suppose I simply needed a shot of sweetness after the non-comforting meditation on human destinies. Did Natsuo Kirino also have to vacuum clean the house after her manuscript was over, just like I did today after the book reading was done? What kind of dwelling did she use while searching for the right words to describe the islands, the gods, the intensity of despair, the depth of the darkness? What dreams did she dream the whole time she was creating the spinning yin-yang life cycle of the characters in the book?

Did she loom about the sea, the coral, the shores, among the crouching sunburnt women gathering weeds and snakes while shaping her stories? Did the stories form in her mind like small, individual tornadoes, joining one after the other as in a ravaging-tempest-film?

How do I go about choosing the next book to read after just finishing such a strongly lingering one? Do I wait for an omen? Do I chant a prayer? Do I write a Thank-you note to the author for delivering such a wonderful narrative? Do I wait 29 days before doing anything else?



Where to go when in Sibiu

I live in a small town. A nice town, with a little history, a few beautiful spots and a tiny area we call ‘downtown’. Some might say it’s a wonderful city. To be honest, it’s far from fitting the generous term ‘city’ and there are quite a few reasons why the locals don’t see it as all that wonderful. It is, however, the very centre of the country and that bestows a particular aura upon the region. (Look for Sibiu on the map below for reference.)Sibiu

Image source : http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/images/map-romania.png

I like going out, I enjoy trying out new cuisine, discovering drinks and flavours, I love pegging new restaurants, bars or summer parlours – it is always a unique experience. Not necessarily a rewarding one, but always unique. How is it then that I end up a steadfast customer of very few places? The reason is simple: because I usually go out with the expectation of good service, good food and good drink.

True, when I drop my bag of bones on a rugged bench in a hood joint or sit down on a crippled stool to sluice my throat with whatever is cold on tap, I have no expectations. That happens seldom, though. I usually do not let my self-esteem slip through my fingers quite easily. So then, when I choose a newly opened esplanade café in the ultimately central centre of the centre of the country, and several things twist my lips into angry muttering, I will of course go back to one of my old places.

Here is what I am not willing to gulp down as a humble, unprotesting client: the waiter cleans my table by brushing the crumbs off onto the wooden-plank floor, turns the table map upside down, and then smiles contently ‘All set up, table is clean.’ He then brings one menu for two customers, leaves me gasping for a glass of water half an hour without a glance towards our group and … when I finally ask for the ‘Crunch Frappe’ presented in their poorly organised, incorrectly written and black-ball-point-pen corrected two-page menu, and I hear ‘We only have normal Frappe, not the other two.’, I have the unprecedented reaction of standing up, thanking for their efforts and going back to one of the cafés I actually know and enjoy.

Why would anyone put up with sheer disrespect, unsupervised personnel, inadequately conceived menu and make a complete waste of their Saturday evening by sitting quietly and uneasily, drinking what the bar has, not what you like or what the offer advertises and tipping waiters who are clearly not suitable for the job?! Is that modern wooing of loyalty?! Why would it then come as a surprise that I remain a loyal client of the few restaurants, pubs and bars that provide excellent service, great dishes, interesting cocktails, exquisite wine and superb deserts?

What is the difference between these two worlds-apart places? Their staff selection. The investment in menus that don’t fall apart upon opening them. The pleasant music instead of a loud continuously bumping noise. The fact that you can order anything they list on the menu and you won’t get a bored ‘Sorry, we’re out of that!’. The flattering satisfaction that you do not wait for half an hour before you are asked for your order. The gracious recommendations of waiters who are comfortable doing their jobs when inquired about restaurant recipes, wine details or extra cream for your black coffee instead of retorting ‘Dunno’ and ‘Can’t do that’. The fact that they maintain the same food quality, the same courteous approach for their clients for years on end while not going berserk on their prices. Those are the items on my personal checklist when pinning my favourite hangouts.

To conclude with, here’s where you can spend a few amiable hours when visiting my town:


 Image source : http://goo.gl/lSFHgb

*** I promise to update the list in keeping with new discoveries and/or experiences.


Coffee Fanatic

I have felt coffee to be my ally for years now. I haven’t actually considered it an inspiration-triggering device, but I have come to indulge in larger and larger daily quantities.

I have grown interested in coffee’s literary history, entailing my own fascination with the drink. It was impossible in my mind not to be able to find worthy strings of thought on its benefits, cynical retorts about its heart-acceleration effects or odes dedicated to its magical aroma. I imagined lines going on and on about the enticing touch it has on the human being who engulfs in the scented vapours floating above hot cups of coffee. I wondered if any famous writer had ever been indelibly charmed by a spiced coffee drink, as I was won over by the first ever tasted cinnamon coffee. I asked myself more than once if any scientist had ever attempted to identify the alchemy inside the brewing that has allowed coffee to become the most popular drink. I even went as far as to question humankind history for crimes committed over a hot pot of java. I ran through the quotes that I came across, I caressed some with my own train of thought, I dispatched others on account of superficiality and I appreciated quite a few for their seasoned wit. I have a personal collection of tiny scraps of paper, bits of old calendars and an archived folder with electronic documents, all related to coffee remarks.

Although I am quite aware that my searches are not exhaustive – I will keep digging for coffee-tributary material –, I was predominantly thwarted by what seemed to me too little, too light, too timid. I am still waiting for a pièce de résistance to crown my findings. I suppose I am waiting for somebody to put in writing precisely how I feel towards coffee. And maybe, just maybe, I should be the one doing the writing instead of expecting an unknown figure to read my mind.



Disappointing things in life…

  • When you leave a café thinking “The coffee I make at home is better”.
  • When your child wants a cheap ugly toy ‘made-in-China’ and you give in, buy the damn thing and once unwrapped, you discover there is a piece missing, rendering the contraption unusable.
  • When you run into the house to get some bread and meat and the stray dog you wanted to feed has suddenly vanished from the street.


You become a mother. Suddenly, all the concepts you were used to, develop different definitions.

What does it mean to dress up for a party?

To manage to leave the house without stains on your improperly ironed clothes.

What does it mean to do your hair?

To have succeeded in washing and combing your hair both during the same day.

What does it mean to go out for coffee?

To carry a periphernalia of toys and objects that you hope will keep the youngster busy long enough for you to order and pay for your coffee. Actually drinking it is never a certainty.

What does it mean to watch a news bulletin on TV?

To crouch on the carpet, set a car track set, play with plastic animal cars and listen in on the news when the kid manages to keep silent or not tug at your sleeve for 30 seconds. Actually glancing at the screen is never feasible.

What does it mean to have time for yourself?

To have an hour a day during luch nap when yoy cook, wash dishes, fill the washing machine, answer the calls missed during the morning, gather the food crumbs from around the house, clean the tables and the wipe color marks off furniture and floors, bite a couple of times from a sandwich you prepared out of your kid’s leftovers and get in the mood for another 6-7 more hours of fun and play.

What does it mean to celebrate your birthday?

To feel guilty for leaving your child at home with his parents and go enjoy a dinner date with your husband in a quiet restaurant in between phone calls giving instructions about how much coughing syrup to administer before bedtime or where the hidden chocolate bars are placed in the pantry.