Archive for January, 2011

How others think, or not think

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Stockholm Paris 2010 072

Yesterday I discovered that there were problems with my blog. Now I have been told that it has been hacked into. Not purposely, by a person. No, randomely by a roving code. Who engages in the construction of such things? And why? What satisfaction can there be in interfering with little people’s homemade blogs and websites about pets and knitting? I can understand the creation of means for purposeful destruction or interception of information, though I would reserve my opinion as to which I would support and which I would abhor. But anonymous, meaningless desctruction?

I can understand the use of technology to expose secrets. I may not condone such use, by I can understand it. Just as I can understand the killing of a somone who has murdered a child, for example. I can put myself in the perpetrator’s shoes and I can understand. We have laws to protect us from acting on our promeaval reactions. We have handed over to the law the power to exercise justice. But even the law usually considers the purpose behind a criminal act. Weighs it in when it determines the punishment. But how do we deal with the kind of anonymous, senseless crime that surrounds us today? Remote, elusive terrorists with no clear purpose and acting through others. Self bombers that leave no clues as to what they hoped to achieve with their senseless destruction. Internet hacking that is released and left to wreck havoc at random. It is as if destruction has become a purpose in itself.

Tomorrow I will return to the cemetary behind my building and explore it further. The totally neglected resting place of the pioneers that settled in Auckland lies in sad , undignified silence, just beyond the very busy streets of the center of the city. The tombstones are purposely damaged or just crumbling from lack of maintance. The names are mostly illegible. In some cases it’s hard to make out where exactly the graves have been. The pathways are overgrown, and there is litter everywhere. The only people who come here are the homeless that seek shelter under Grafton bridge during the night. Shame on Auckland City for allowing this to happen the memorial over its founders.

Somehow, this feels as another side of the same thing. A lack of respect for the hard work of those that came before us. It is as if by erasing our history we can be free to live in the present only. With no regard to the past and no regard to the future. Hedonistically only here and now and free to engage in purposeless destruction.

Further cheerful reports from the cemetary tomorrow. Or the next day…

A new way of thinking

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Sonata Israel

While our outlook on life seems so very set, it can be changed in one swift moment. Something unexpected happens and abruptly all that we took for granted is swept away. And in hindsight we can see clearly how flawed our previous perception was. How privileged we were, and how unappreciative. It’s very sad to realise that it often takes a tragedy to remind us of our good fortunes.

On my way back to New Zealand in November a dear friend came up from Provence to meet me in Paris. We had dinner, we laughed. And we made plans to meet again in Paris in April. On December 30 he died after a short illness. And abruptly my outlook on the past and the future changed. I am able to relive the past and I bask in the warmth and light, and the many happy occasions. But the future is hard to envisage.

This year, I have made no New Year’s resolutions. I celebrated the first New Year’s Eve ever with no company but my own. I was reminded of the deadly quiet summer weeks that my family used to spend in the city while the neighbours disappeared for their summer holidays. I remembered the feeling of abandonment. A sense of being the only ones left behind. But now that was a fleeting feeling, quickly dissolved. Today, I am where I am because of my own decisions. If I am alone on New Year’s Eve it’s because that is how I have arranged for it to be. I did have some champagne – or quite a bit of champagne. I looked at the stars. And I did not feel abandoned, rather strangely connected. And the only New Year’s wish I made was for my ability to retain this perspective to persist. I do want to be able to feel in charge of my life. Inevitably, things will happen that will be beyond my control. But my reaction to these things is mine to develop. So, if there was a resolution it was about perspective. About refusing to become a victim.

Often, when despair looms and I struggle with negative thoughts, something positive seems to happen. And the other day as I was – again – packing to move (having lived out of a suitcase for a year now, I resent this), I received an e-mail from my agent with the cover of the Israeli edition of ‘Sonata for Miriam’, which is due to be released in Israel next month. I think it is a sensitive and very beautiful cover and I wish my publisher success with the book. I hope to be able to visit Israel on my way to Europe in April. It feels strange not to have met many of my publishers and not know the people who bring my words to the readers.