Thursday 30 November 2017

Discovering Wildt's work

Today I wish to make a digression from the usual literary post. I have come across a comment I had written in the occasion of a visit to an art exhibition in Forlì (Musei di San Domenico). The artist presented was Wildt, a sculptor who was active in the first half of last century, and who wasn't given his fair share of importance in the following years. I was astonished by the quality of his work, that moves me even now, when for some reason it pops into my mind. For this reason I have decided to post this piece of writing anew, in the hope it might light up someone else's curiosity towards this artist too.

Wildt: The expressive hermeticism of synthesis.

I will start by saying that I know almost nothing about Wildt as a person, everything that is written here only wants to express the flood of emotions that the work of this artist has aroused in me, regardless of the context in which he operated.
The first thing that hits you like a shock wave is the impression than Munch's soul has dressed in Canova's clothes. In Canova’s work the translucent smoothness of the marble represents a further step towards the harmony and perfection sought by the Classics, so lightly offering, if need be, something more of sweetness and softness also in tragedy. That same quality, in Wildt’s work, clears instead the way to the explosive interior stream that blazes mute and black from those empty eyes, just like the soundless scream tearing the soul with its shrieking. The smoothness is mortal pallor or pure essence of the soul, pure but earthly, soul not spirit, super nos but not rarefied.
Pain is physical, muscular and writhed, but melts into a dry, gnarled twig that climbs, like a soaking rag, to a new life. It finds its harmony in the two splendid figures hand in hand and in perfect balance onto a futuristic oblique disc, almost a flying carpet overlooking all that remains, so square and obvious.  In Wildt's work the sentiment that overwhelmingly pours out of the figure, is in contrast with the cold detachment of the figure itself from everything that is outside it, and here a thought goes to Leopardi...
Just then, though, the act of tenderness is revealed when the abyss in the bottom of the eyes is hidden by closed lids, so light, as a soul delivered from torment; or again in the faces of the children, so beautiful.
And what can be said about St. Francis's head, hanging in between asceticism and irony; I'm under the impression that the relationship between the artist and religion was somewhat trying, if not even troublesome, this has hit me on different occasions. I don't mean to suggest that he refused or sneered at it, rather that he reputed the Church not up to its divine purpose and the Divine too distant from human suffering. From this premise, the bitter (or wry) smile on the face of St. Francis, the most saint among humans; or, again, the tragedy of the “Adoptive Mother”.
Wildt is not just an immense sculptor, he is also a man of great concept and with an extraordinary ability in the use of words, the titles of his art pieces are remarkable and represent a great added value to his work.
As we proceed along this path we become evermore aware of just how scholarly Wildt's work is, how rich with references to sculptures and paintings of all ages. There is so much classic in these angular and stylized figures, I must say this aspect has moved me deeply and I believe it to be the very core of Wildt geniality: the specific weight of the classic in a style that teaches to the future, how marvelous! But again, in his work we find the middle ages - in those bony heads wrapped in veils, we find Klimt's golds and his disjointed geometrical positions, we find contrasts of full and empty volumes and shapes that are part of the sci-fy imaginary of our very days!
Finally, a whole section has been dedicated to the drawings, so slender yet filled with significance, they make me think of a Klee fallen into Hades.
It has been an enlightening progress that among the rooms of this exhibition, impeccably arranged in this environment, which, on my opinion, is particularly apt to the purpose.

Monday 20 November 2017

Essere genitori non è cosa semplice: ecco un libro che può aiutare!

La review di oggi riguarda un libro volto ad aiutare i genitori a costruire un rapporto ottimale coi figli, per aiutarli a crescere nel pieno delle loro potenzialità e per rendere la vita familiare armoniosa e piena di momenti significativi.

Titolo:  Quando Comunicare Diventa Semplice
Autori: Floriana Bertucci e Davide Bombarda

Si tratta di un libro molto gradevole, volto ad aiutare i genitori a costruire un rapporto solido e costruttivo con i propri figli. La forma è quasi quella di un ricettario, nel quale i due esperti accompagnano il lettore lungo un cammino di comprensione dei propri atteggiamenti potenzialmente deleteri e di come poterli migliorare per andare incontro alle necessità dei figli. Andare incontro alle necessità dei figli non significa dar loro sempre ragione, significa riuscire a comunicare con loro in un linguaggio che possano capire, solo così è possibile educarli in modo proficuo, dando loro delle regole ed aiutandoli ad esprimere appieno il loro potenziale. Naturalmente questo richiede impegno da parte del genitore, impegno per comprendere prima di tutto come migliorare se stesso, impegno nell’essere un esempio per il figlio ed impegno nel dedicare parte del suo tempo al rapporto con il figlio.
Da qualche anno mi interesso all’ambito del pensiero positivo / motivazionale e credo che questo libro possa porsi in questa area. I suggerimenti sono espressi in modo semplice, sotto forma di ‘pillole’ pronte per essere messe in pratica, ma che possono essere assimilate un po’ alla volta quando l’ostacolo è difficile da superare. A volte siamo noi stessi che abbiamo bisogno di tempo per metabolizzare una variazione nel nostro comportamento, prima di poter mettere in campo una nuova strategia di approccio con nostro figlio. Il valore del libro sta proprio nel fatto di evidenziare in modo molto semplice ed immediato quale sia l’approccio più produttivo e quello che dobbiamo cambiare nel nostro comportamento per poterlo mettere in pratica. Inoltre, si tratta di un volume molto grafico, il che rende più piacevole e spedita la lettura.
Quello che trovo interessante è che i suggerimenti dati, che qui sono volti ai genitori, in realtà possono spesso essere di aiuto anche a chi non è genitore, oppure ha figli già cresciuti. Insomma, c’è sempre spazio per migliorarsi, per capire certi errori e lavorare su certe debolezze e comunque non è mai tardi per rendere il rapporto coi figli più pieno e ricco.
Ho trovato particolarmente interessante il capitolo riguardante le frequenze di comunicazione VAK, forse spinto un po’all’estremo per i miei gusti, tuttavia ci sono spunti che non avevo mai preso in considerazione ed ai quali farò più attenzione. Toccante è invece la preghiera del bimbo che vorrebbe diventare una TV, purtroppo non è così distante da molte realtà. Infine due concetti a me molto cari e propri anche di quelle discipline di cui mi interesso anch’io, come già detto: l’Ascolto Attivo ed il Qui e Ora, il primo l’ho riscontrato proprio tra gli insegnamenti del pensiero positivo per il miglioramento personale; il secondo è, tra l’altro, il fondamento delle arti marziali.

Clicca su questo link se vuoi acquistare il libro!

Thursday 16 November 2017

Race with the devil in the Salish Sea

Today I'm presenting this book that was a true discovery for me. It has introduced me to a new world, which is something to be said, given that I live in a location by the sea... Anyway, it was interesting to learn something about boats and sailing, in an ambient that seems on the border between the world of pirates and that of ordinary people.

Title:      Nefarious: A novel
Author:  Antonio J. Hopson

The novel is set in the scenario of a non professional boat race lasting a week. Most characters are rough sailors, looking for a good time, away from everyday life, fully immersed in alcohol, sex and fun. Nonetheless, within the kaleidoscope of characters pictured by the author, there is also space for love, poetry and a reflection upon the significance of life.
I am not passionate about boats and I am not familiar with the boating environment, so it took me a little while before being able to dive into the narration, also because I have very little in common with many of the people populating the story. However, my perseverance has paid off. In fact, this book has many layers and many stories interweaving. The action is carried on by everything happening during the daily races, the rivalry between the two stronger skippers, the side stories of the various fleet members. There is also the precarious love story between the indomitable pit-girl and the romantic writer. But my attention was stolen by three characters in particular: the two tacticians, Ortun and Kevin Jonson and, of course, the devil. Kevin Jonson represents mystery, what is ancestral, immutable and powerful, regardless of all the transient and trivial everyday situations. Ortun represents poetry, music, grace. He is the depth of the ocean and the lightness of a feather. While the devil needs living beings beside him, to fill his eternal hollowness, Kevin Jonson and Ortun are whole, they are one with all the existent, therefore they stand above the circumstances in which they choose to act. The devil is a masterpiece. The author makes a truly original portrait of this figure. He features as himself, relating to the people around him in the most natural way. There is nothing threatening surrounding him; of course, some prefer to keep him at a distance, avoid his ambiguity. Nonetheless, I would say that more than cunning he displays a sort of cynical sense of humour which is rather enjoyable, especially when it is considered in the light of his inner speculations, about his own nature and the nature of his dealings with living beings. This philosophical/psychological aspect of the book is the one I prefer. I delight in stories exploring the essence of things and the inner thoughts of people, and in this novel I found some valuable pages to kindle my interest, pages that are also written in a very poetical style. One of the passages I have preferred is the conversation between the devil and a snowflake, a moving sparkle to ignite a reflection upon the intimate value of beauty and the overwhelming power of life. Another memorable passage comes at the end,  in the last conversation between the devil and Dan, the skipper of Nefarious. I leave it for you to read and enjoy.
I would like to conclude this review with a recommendation: read this book at least twice. It is a complex book, not a simple and linear one. There is so much to it, the language is rich and there are many characters to be discovered, besides a little final riddel. Too much to be fully taken in during the first read. Follow my advice and you’ll see there are some gems to be found here.

Click on this link if you want to buy the book.

Friday 10 November 2017

Tuffo in una Napoli affascinante e misteriosa.

Per i miei lettori italiani, presento un libro che ho letto un po' di tempo fa e che mi era piaciuto molto, nonostante alcuni difetti che ho menzionato in fondo alla recensione. Voglio proporlo adesso perché ne è uscito il seguito, che ho appena acquistato e che recensirò a breve.

Titolo:      I Guastatori
Autrice:   Bernadette Capone

Sullo sfondo di una Napoli sotterranea, dove forze misteriose sembrano in grado di plasmare il destino dell’umanità intera, si avvicendano le vite di molti personaggi in un arco temporale che va dal diciottesimo secolo ai giorni nostri, fino ad una terribile realtà alternativa. Tocca a tre giovani amici, Nico, Tommaso e Giorgia, riportare ordine nel caos e restituire alla propria epoca storica i suoi connotati originali. I tre ragazzi, proiettati in una versione del mondo spaventosa e piena di pericoli, dovranno fare i conti con i propri difetti e le proprie paure; saranno messi alla prova nei loro sentimenti e nelle rivalità nascoste, ma avranno anche la possibilità di far emergere i tanti punti di forza di ciascuno, rivelando doti che né loro né altri sospettavano e, soprattutto, capiranno il valore di tante cose che quotidianamente si danno per scontate.
La storia narrata è avvincente, piena di colpi di scena e cambiamenti di ambientazione e di realtà temporale. I personaggi sono delineati molto bene; in particolare ho apprezzato la capacità dell’autrice di rendere percettibile il grosso divario esistente tra la mentalità ed il modo di comportarsi dei tre protagonisti e l’umanità presente nel mondo alternativo. Nico è il personaggio che ho preferito nel romanzo, non vi è nulla di scontato in lui e la sua intelligenza e sete di conoscenza lo rendono a mio avviso il più intrigante dei tre protagonisti.
Mi è piaciuta anche l’ambientazione, in una Napoli piena di mistero che ora sono curiosa di conoscere più a fondo. Particolarmente suggestiva la descrizione delle strette gallerie sotterranee scavate nel tufo, materiale che assume connotati soprannaturali, quasi di essere vivente e partecipe delle sorti del popolo con il quale da sempre condivide quella parte di mondo. Ho trovato molto interessante e toccante anche la parte che riguarda l’armistizio dell’8 Settembre, con una prospettiva sulle successive vicende non così consueta.
La storia in sé è dunque molto meritevole, tuttavia il romanzo scivola un po' sullo stile, eccessivamente ampolloso per i miei gusti e infarcito di una stravaganza di aggettivi che appesantiscono la narrazione. Anche la formattazione non è sempre impeccabile.
Un romanzo che consiglio comunque di leggere per la sua originalità.

Chi fosse interessato all'acquisto o ad un'anteprima può fare click su questo link.

Sunday 5 November 2017

Learn how to make little improvements in your attitude with this book!

Today I'm introducing a book that has proven very useful to me.

The title is: First Fired, Last Hired
Author:       C. Edwin Gill

Do not be taken aback by the subtitle, this book can be useful to many people for different life situations, not only for job seekers.
I read a review on Amazon saying that the content was not of great benefit to the user because it just reported very simple, common sense notions. I'm not sure that that is completely true, but even so, don't we all need, from time to time, to be given a little shake and be shown back to that simple path of common sense we might be unwittingly leaving? Sometimes it happens to become so embedded in one's habits that those behaviours seem to be the most straight forward, logical and sensible way to universal truth. We can all learn to do a little better, not in an obsessive way, naturally; it just takes a little bit of good humoured self-irony to understand one's defects and try to improve on them. No sense of guilt involved for any mistakes of the past or not being able to achieve everything in the blink of an eye.
A few years back, finding myself in a rather rotten situation, I have embarked on a positive thinking path (not in a fanatical way, I'm too distractible for that kind of constancy). Many, many times, not seeing the results, I thought to myself it was all crap, one great illusion for gullible people. Nonetheless, I never completely left that path, even in the worse moments, I kept hanging on that thin thread, telling myself that even if it didn't solve my material problems, still, it made me feel a little better than just moping every day for being such a failure.
So, where does this book fit into the scene. In fact, a few weeks back I had the chance to read it, I quite enjoyed it and it also amused me to find some of my own behaviours reported in it. Not so much as far as my actual job is concerned, but in my strive to achive my personal goals, that are way beyond the job I do for a living. A few days after finishing the book, I was still thinking about it, in particular about the idea of writing 'to do' lists. I have been doing this for some years now, but with limited results, then suddenly what I was doing wrong dawned on me . I was just building general long lists of every single task I had to complete. A monumental job! Obviously, I couldn't keep up with it all in such a way as to make it tangible for me that I was fulfilling tasks, achieving results. Following the book's guidance, I started making small daily lists of things that it was feasible to complete, and that, little by little, would allow me to complete the bigger task. Since then I have becomed much more efficient, I feel I have concrete things to do, so I do not allow myself to sit for ages making abstract plans or weeping over my own shoulder for things that I'm missing. I feel I have my daily mission, and it gives me satisfaction to tick off one by one the things I had set myself to do. With this very simple suggestion, I have achieved many results: I feel better, more energized, because I can see clearly what I have to produce during that day. That is also good for physical health. I am slowly but surely making progress on all the many activities that I hope some day will be my bread winners. Still, even if that shouldn't happen, I have found anew the dimension of enjoyment when working on them, whilst before they had become a sort of heavy load that I needed to carry, in order to reach a promised land that never appeared at the horizon.
All this to say that I'm grateful to the author, and I'm grateful for the chance I had to read the book. I invite many others to read it too, with no prejudice, only a good dose of sense of humour, and not hoping to find a recipe for miracles. Such a recipe doesn't exist to my knowledge; but with willpower and a little help you can build your little ordinary, daily miracles and maybe one day you will wake up and discover you can touch the stars.

Click here if you're interested in the book!

Thursday 2 November 2017

New course

Being very busy as an author and songwriter (and my ordinary job, naturally) has made it difficult for me to make a good job out of this blog. However, I have recently started reading quite a few books from indipendent authors, this has triggered a thought. Why not use this blog to share some of the reviews I have written for these books.
As usual, some of my posts will be in English and some in Italian, according to the content; also, I shall continue, every now and again, to post about art exhibitions, concerts I might have particularly enjoyed or any extemporaneous topic that may pop into my mind and which I feel like sharing.

Just to start with the right foot, I will share with you the review I wrote for a book I recently read.

Title:     Green Fever
Author: JC Amezquita

Mark Cervantes is a good natured, young family man who falls victim to a false accusation of violence during a pacific environmental protest interrupted by the arrival of anarchic groups. Meanwhile, the boss of the biotech firm for which he works, a young, vane and rather careless guy, gets involved with a shady underground organization who has promised him new business and whose actions he naively finds exciting and brave. His lack of judgment will have heavy consequences for many members of the company.
I got very much into the story and was reading nonstop. Great character description and the right amount of suspense, supported by a well chosen pace, make of this a very pleasant fiction book. There are some violent scenes, but always described avoiding useless splatter details. It also makes you think how easy it could be for a perfectly normal, easy going and honest citizen, to get caught into a vicious net, from which it can be very hard to escape unscathed, physically or morally. A very pertinent topic, given our present day situation.