Facing your character(s)…

No, this is not a post about confronting yourself, owning up to your issues, etc…although this is a topic that I have been known to address.  And it is one to which I shall undoubtedly return.  Today’s post, however, is about an interesting site called Need a Face for that Character?

I tend towards being a very visual person.  Thus, even when I am writing, my mind sees first images that capture the essence of my mental and emotional states or thoughts.  As such, I find it easier to have a visual of a face or place to help prompt me in my writing.  I am an avid user of Google Images, and I must say that it has proved helpful.  The Tumblr site Need a Face for that Character?, however, is a wonderful tool when searching for interesting/unique faces to represent characters.

The site is fairly straight-forward to use, allowing for users to search the database using keywords.  I am a fan of simply heading straight to the Archives page as it gives an overall visual of all the available faces.

Well, it’s a rather short post today.  I hope, however, that you will find it useful for those of you who are either preparing for NaNoWriMo, or already writing stories, or even roleplaying (I think this was the initial intention for the site ;)).

Until Next Time!

Best,

D.

Packing the playlist…

“Fragments of Freedom,” photography by Dolores Juhas (http://www.dolores-juhas.tk)

As I prepare for NaNoWriMo and am engaging in studying for exams, listening to music is becoming a more prominent feature of my daily experience.  Whether it is listening to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons or Gotye‘s Heart’s A Mess, I find that music helps me to focus my mind, and streamline my thoughts and emotions.

And so….I’ve been trying to put together  a playlist specifically for NaNoWriMo.

Selecting music for a playlist is a bit like packing a suitcase for a long trip.  You need to make sure that every item there serves a purpose.  I am still not certain of my list as it stands.  Thus,  I am looking for suggests for instrumental as well as vocal music.  Ethereal and dark sounds are welcomed.

I have about fifty selections at the moment (even though there are only forty listed below).  I would like to make it an even hundred (100).  So, make some suggestions!  At the moment, my playlist is as follows:

  1. 3 LibrasA Perfect Circle
  2. Rolling in the Deep – Adele
  3. Con Te PartiroAndrea Bocelli
  4. Moonlight Sonata – L.V. Beethoven
  5. Invasion – Bleach Soundtrack
  6. Morning Remembrance – Bleach Soundtrack
  7. Short Skirt, Long Jacket – Cake
  8. Hello AloneCharlie Winston
  9. In Your Hands – Charlie Winston
  10. Viva la Vida – Coldplay

  1. Lovesong – The Cure
  2. Makedo – Darko Rundek
  3. Titanium – David Guetta
  4. Didn’t Cha Know – Erykah Badu
  5. Here Comes The Rain – Eurythmics
  6. Cosmic Love – Florence and The Machine
  7. Trista Pena – Gipsy Kings
  8. Un Amor – Gipsy Kings
  9. Eyes Wide Open – Gotye
  10. Heart’s A Mess – Gotye
  1. Somebody I Used to Know – Gotye
  2. What Do You Want? – Gotye
  3. Now We Are Free – Lisa Gerrard
  4. Anna Molly – Incubus
  5. A Long Walk – Jill Scott
  6. Really Believe – Theo Eastwind
  7. Still Doll – Kanon Wakeshima
  8. Michiyuki – Kaori Hikita
  9. Got the Life – Korn
  10. Bram Stoker’s Dracula Soundtrack
  1. The Piano Soundtrack – Michael Nyman
  2. Little Earthquakes Album – Tori Amos
  3. Desert Rose – Sting
  4. What You KnowTwo Door Cinema Club
  5. MapsYeah Yeah Yeahs
  6. Heads Will Roll – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  7. Not in Love – Crystal Castle feat. Robert Smith
  8. November RainGuns ‘N’ Roses
  9. Live at the Acropolis Album – Yanni
  10. Lord of the Rings Trilogy Soundtrack

Vrijeme po mom satu, (Photo of the year: Cahayabox – http://www.cahayabox.net), photography by Dolores Juhas ( http://www.dolores-juhas.tk )

Photographs are by Croatian photographer, Dolores Juhas, whose work has been featured in such magazines as Italian Vogue.  You can visit her website at http://www.dolores-juhas.tk or email her: d_juhas@yahoo.co.uk.  She has her own blog at http://themax.bloger.hr

Hearing my voice again…

Suppleness Of The Moment, photography by Dolores Juhas (http://dolores-juhas.tk)

It is cold today.  The kind of cold that conjures to the mind apple orchards, pumpkin pie, and children running around in costumes.  It’s that kind of weather today, and I am sitting outside.  Perhaps I shouldn’t be.  Perhaps I should go inside.  I won’t though.  At least, not until I have finished enjoying the feeling of being outside.

Living in the moment is an art form.  Being able to say “Yes, I will acknowledge you” to the goings-on around and within you is not easy.  It takes time to soothe the fear of the unknown known, or to learn how to live comfortably with it.  I believe it is a lifelong self-dialogue.  Today, I was able to give an affirmative to myself when I felt the desire to sing and play guitar.  I worked through the fear of having others overhear me, or being disruptive, or sounding like crap, or whatever.  I am glad for it.

Singing today brought about the realization that I have long missed this mode of expression.   To find the right sound, the right words that reach within to evoke all that is so very difficult to state in regular speech, or in poetry, or in stories…

The sound of my voice has changed over the years.  It is more  melancholic, darker…still, I hear that clarity of old, which is something about which I can smile.

Now, if I could only sing like this… 😉 piano…piano

Until Next Time!

Best,

D.

 

Self-portrait by Dolores Juhas. Copyright (c) Dolores Juhas. All Rights Reserved.

Photographs are by Croatian photographer, Dolores Juhas, whose work has been featured in such magazines as Italian Vogue.  You can visit her website at http://www.dolores-juhas.tk or email her: d_juhas@yahoo.co.uk.  She has her own blog at http://themax.bloger.hr

An art to nothingness…

Angel at Protestant Cemetery, photography by Diedré M. Blake (2011).

Haunting the grounds of the non-Catholic Cemetery in Testaccio is one of my favourite pastimes.  No, it isn’t a morbid preoccupation with death.  Rather the grounds remind me more of a garden filled with statues than a place within which the dead find their rest.

There is a strange comfort there, a silence amidst the chaos and cacophony created by the permanent flow of traffic on Via Marmorata.  Amongst the blooming flowers and ripened fruit, the lush grass and aged stones, the stalking black cats and the cawing of countless birds; one can find peace. One can find joy in being and not being.

A home to artists of all modalities and various nationalities, the Cemetery captures in death the beauty of what a life can be, or rather how in death a life can be celebrated and remembered.

You may wonder why I have chosen to write about this today.  Perhaps it is because I hold this place dear and find it offers me solace during this winter that, in many ways, has been so very isolating. Perhaps it is because I wish that more people knew about the Cemetery and would visit it in order to experience its beauty.  Truly, I have no definitive reason.

"True Mirror Image," photography by Dolores Juhas (2010). Copyright (c) Dolores Juhas. All Rights Reserved.

Today a conversation with a young friend on the subject of needing and seeking attention gave me pause for thought.  It made me wonder why we sometimes desire so strongly to be acknowledged as separate from, unique, and at the same time yearn for admiration from others… so much so that we sometimes end up creating walls between ourselves and others in an effort to validate and justify our existence.  At the end of it all, is it really so meaningful to perceive of differences between ourselves and others?  To perceive of ourselves as better or worse than?  To harbour desires  for continuous acknowledgement?…

There is an art to nothingness, to letting go of self-definition, to letting go of existential crises, to opening oneself up to a connection with others that may mean a perceived loss of self, even if temporarily.  It is the moment when our combined silence is more profound than the air that usually escapes our lips in order to give shape to words that ought to give meaning but rarely do.  It is the moment when we find ourselves without need for labelling others, including ourselves, and see that the barriers we thought stood between us only existed within our minds.

The struggle to defend the “I” of who we are as individuals ends as we come to realize that we are all equally “You.”  We are created alone and uncreated alone.  What lies in the midst of this process need not be solitude bred from defense of self against others, bred from  the desire to achieve somethingness.  For what are we all to become in the end?

Until next time…

Best,

D.

self-portrait, photography by Dolores Juhas

Photographs are by Croatian photographer, Dolores Juhas, whose work has been featured in such magazines as Italian Vogue.  You can visit her website at http://www.dolores-juhas.tk or email her: d_juhas@yahoo.co.uk.  She has her own blog at http://themax.bloger.hr

Cleaning house…

"The Revenge of Pride," photography by Dolores Juhas (2010). Copyright (c) Dolores Juhas. All Rights Reserved.

Today the universe reminded me of this:  you know that you are right with your world, when you are smiling more than you are frowning… when you are feeling happy more than sad… when you are lighter in your step more than feeling weighed down by your body… and when you choose to surround yourself with only those people who bring greater meaning to your life more than those who bring devastating chaos…

I am cleaning house today, emotionally and physically.

I hope you are too…

Until next time!

Best,

D.

Self-potrait, photography by Dolores Juhas

Photographs are by Croatian photographer, Dolores Juhas, whose work has been featured in such magazines as Italian Vogue.  You can visit her website at http://www.dolores-juhas.tk or email her: d_juhas@yahoo.co.uk.  She has her own blog at http://themax.bloger.hr

The joy of people-watching… and the interesting people you meet…

All right, so the reality is this: I am writing this on March 4, 2011.  Also, I am no longer in Rome, but sitting in the comfort of my studio-like room in the house I share here in the U.S.  However, better late than never, right?

Tourists at Piazza Navona, Feb. 2011

People-watching is one of my favourite pastimes.  I am also starting to believe that it is the national sport of Italy (yes, yes, I know… there is football/soccer) as Romans, regardless of sex, seem to  naturally engage in the stare-you-down-as-I-pass-you-in-the-street activity.  Also, both Romans and tourists alike enjoy sitting outside cafes and restaurants, in order to take in the events and activities of passersby.  This is without wonder as there is so much to see, smell, hear, listen, and touch in Rome, whether it is the beautiful art prints being sold in the Piazza Navona, or the Bangladeshi street venders asking tourists to try out any one of the many gel-filled objects only for 1 Euro.

Promoter handing out flyers for La Traviata Opera at the Spanish Steps (Rome, Italy) Feb. 2011

During my stay, I have definitely engaged in my share of people-watching, which has provided me with moments of both humour and contemplation.  What I wanted to address in this post, however, are the talented people, who are fixtures on the streets of Rome, whom we sometimes rush by as tourists, because they are simple “street performers,” or “street vendors.”

Campo dei FioriSasha

I remember the first time I saw Sasha Aleksovski perform.  It was an early evening and I was on my way home.  At that time, I did not have the opportunity to stop and stay for his entire performance, but I made a mental note to look out for him.  Luckily, I found him one afternoon, and was able to take some pictures of him, and learn more about his work.

Sasha Aleksovski (Campo dei Fiori area) Feb. 2011

Sasha is a performance artist.  Upon first glance, one might merely think him to be a mime, i.e. until he truly begins to move.  The fact is, Sasha is an extraordinary dancer with a both grace and a fluidity that enchant the observer.  The storytelling quality of his movements create a sense of empathy…  And even if it is for a brief moment, one cannot help but to stop and pay attention to the story Sasha tells through the expression of movement.

Sasha Aleksovski was born in Skopje, Macedonia, and studied painting and sculpture.  He lived in London for three years, where he studied mime and dance theatre.  He began studying butoh dance in 1996 in Rome.  He continues to perform both in public and onstage in and around Rome.  You can find him on Facebook.com or sashaaleksovski@libero.it.

 


Trastevere Alex

While making a trek around the city of Rome, it is fairly easy to find your share of watercolour prints, copies of famous paintings, and a host of other image-based art, especially in the tourist-filled areas such as the Piazza di Spagna and Piazza Navona.

Alexandre Veron, photographer, Trastevere (Rome, Italy) Feb. 2011

Everyday I would take a walk through Trastevere, and it was on late weekend afternoon that I met Alexandre Veron.  Actually, to be quite truthful, I met his photography before I met him as Alex actually sat some distance away from his beautiful work. 

Art stand, Alexandre Veron, Trastevere (Rome, Italy) Feb. 2011

Alex is a black and white photographer, who takes images of Rome’s everyday life.  He does not set-up situations, or gets models; he simply photographs what he sees… and what he sees and photographs is wonderous.  I wish I had taken a picture of his pictures.  Perhaps, however, a stroll through Trastevere… or emailing him might work too.  Either way, look him up as he is quite a gifted emerging photographer.

  

Alexandre Veron, photographer, Trastevere (Rome, Italy) Feb. 2011

Alexandre Veron is a French photographer currently based in Rome, Italy.  You contact him via email at veronalexandre@yahoo.fr.

Campo dei Fiori – Taras 

Meeting Taras was one of those odd occurrences… like lightning striking the same place/person twice.  It was quite a cold and dreary Sunday, and one of those days when Rome and I were not the best of friends.  I was walking back from my usual stroll to the Piazza di Spagna.  On this day, I stopped to listen to the band that played daily in the Piazza Navona, and then made my way to Campo dei Fiori.

Band performing in Piazza Navona (Rome, Italy) Feb. 2011

Taras Bokan, musician, Campo dei Fiori (Rome, Italy) Feb. 2011

I had not really observed many musicians playing in the Campo dei Fiori area since my arrival.  Then again, I rarely came out at night, and perhaps that is when they often played.  Thus, it was a surprise when the sound of music fell upon my ears as I entered the marketplace. 

 There, sitting on a small stool, sat Taras Bokan playing guitar.  Moreover, on what was truly a grey day, he wore the brightest and most wonderful smile that matched well musical abilities.  Also, close-by stood Sasha Aleksovski, the above-mentioned performance artist, who told gave me some information about Taras.  From this conversation with Sasha, I had the distinct impression that there was a strong community bond amongst street performers, which I could only imagine would be beneficial due to the emotionally grueling nature of the work – It truly is not easy putting one’s self on display for the world and asking simultaneously to be compensated for one’s creativity.  Each day is a financial uncertainty for those performers, who do not have other means of livelihood. 

Taras Bokan's guitar, Campo dei Fiori (Rome, Italy) Feb. 2011

Taras Bokan, apparently, is amongst the fortunate, and has been able to utilize his musical talents in different arenas.  

Taras is a multi-talented individual, who is not only a musician, but also a composer (and is quite a gifted artist also).

Taras is a Russian musician and composer based in Rome, Italy.  Visit – http://www.myspace.com/chitaras

 


With Italy’s unemployment close to 9% and also its lure for artists of all kinds, it shouldn’t be unusual or shocking to see many talented, established and emerging artists utilizing the public space as a forum to display their creativity… and most importantly, to earn a living.  Yes, the ancient buildings are important, and the art of old too.  What I am suggesting is to move pass any biases, and take a serious look at the offerings of those who make up modern-day Rome, i.e. the street musicians, performers (and I am not talking about the ones wearing gladiator gear), and artists – These people are helping to build the new image of Rome, and should be equally treasured.