Monthly Archives: March 2014

Review: Arctic Summer by Damon Galgut

Arctic Summer coverThe publication of every new book by Damon Galgut is a literary event par excellence. Two of his latest three novels were shortlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize. He is the recipient of many other accolades, including the local CNA Prize for The Beautiful Screaming of Pigs (1991) and the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book from the Africa Region for The Good Doctor (2003). Galgut’s beautifully supple prose, his mastery of narrative forms, and his feel for characterisation always offer a rewarding literary experience. Arctic Summer is no different.

Like Galgut’s last novel, In a Strange Room (2010), Arctic Summer is partly set in India. Galgut’s descriptions of the places his astutely drawn characters traverse are as always a feast for all senses. In many other respects, however, it is a great departure from Galgut’s previous work. Evoking the early life of the British novelist E.M. Forster (1879-1970), Arctic Summer is a biographical novel, focused on its protagonist’s travels to India and Egypt as well as the relationships he shared with his mother and the few men who stirred his love and desire.

It is the time after Oscar Wilde’s trial and exercising caution in the display of one’s sexual longings is paramount to one’s survival. For most of the novel, Forster’s yearnings remain unfulfilled. The struggle to articulate what is one of the greatest taboos of his time and to put his desire into practice – whether in life or his work – takes centre stage in the novel.

Arctic Summer opens in 1912 with Forster on board a ship heading for India where he intends to visit Syed Ross Masood, a young Muslim man to whom he had been a tutor in England. The two men developed a deep, yet often unsatisfying, relationship, which is clouded by Forster’s love for Masood and his heterosexual friend’s inability to respond to his unwanted advances. The trip unfolds in unexpected ways. But it is Masood and the stay in his native country that eventually will inspire Forster’s masterpiece, A Passage to India (1924).

It is only in Egypt during the First World War when Forster volunteers to work for the Red Cross that at the age of thirty-seven he is seduced by a recuperating soldier. Then he meets and falls in love with Mohammed el-Adl, a tram conductor, who despite being also heterosexual and later happily married, allows Forster certain sexual liberties and appears to share his affections.

During Forster’s later sojourn in India he becomes embroiled in a relationship with Kanaya, a barber at the court of the Maharajah Bapu Sahib to whom Forster becomes Private Secretary. Devoid of feelings which he so desperately craves and blackmailed by Kanaya, Forster feels lonelier than ever.

Galgut brilliantly describes not only the precarious situation in which gays, or “minorities” in Forster’s terminology, found themselves at the beginning of the twentieth century, but also the pitfalls of power relations across race and class that accompany Forster’s ventures into the land of mostly unreciprocated love. The subtlety with which Galgut imagines the shifts in Forster’s psyche and the way his discoveries impact on his work, especially A Passage to India, the posthumously published Maurice and the unfinished Arctic Summer from which Galgut’s own title derives, is remarkable.

Even though with this novel Galgut enters the well-established field of fictional author biographies (locally, Michiel Heyns’s The Typewriter’s Tale or J.M. Coetzee’s Foe spring to mind), there is a great risk with imagining the lives of real people, especially well-known historical figures. Reading Arctic Summer, I often had the feeling that it is a novel where it should have been a biography and a biography where it should have been an autobiography. It is specifically Galgut’s dedication of his novel which echoes Forster’s original dedication of A Passage to India to Masood that makes one question the real inspiration and background of Arctic Summer. The parallel suggests that at least some of the emotional and psychological texture which Galgut ascribes to Forster’s and Masood’s relationship in Arctic Summer might have an autobiographical source.

Judging from the acknowledgements, Galgut’s research into E.M. Forster’s life must have been extensive. But like most readers, I’m neither a Galgut nor a Forster scholar, so it is impossible for me to judge where and to what extent the lines between Forster’s life and Galgut’s imagination and own experiences blur. Even more difficult is to define why such “untidy borders”, in the words of critic Ellen Rees, trigger occasional twinges of unease when reading the novel.

And yet, there is no doubt that this meticulously crafted book is a tribute to an intriguing man and his work. A deeply felt, melancholic novel which charts the subliminal links between creativity and desire and brings to life a fascinating literary figure, it is another bright feather in Galgut’s literary cap.

Review first published in the Cape Times on 28 March 2014, p. 32.

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10 Questions

Invisible Others1. What question are you asked the most frequently?
How does one pronounce ‘Szczurek’? People usually remember me as the one with that weird name and hardly ever get it right. But I don’t mind. I know they mean me.

2. What is the question you dread being asked about Invisible Others?
It wouldn’t be very wise to give it away here… Officially, I don’t dread any questions about the novel.

3. Invisible Others is your first novel and at first you wanted to publish it under a pseudonym. Why?
People engaged in criticism often misinterpret their own role in the literary community. I wanted to avoid having to deal with those kinds of frauds, but I realised that a pseudonym wasn’t the answer.

4. Do you think being André Brink’s wife can count against you as a novelist?
Perhaps, but it will count against me with people who base their judgements on matters which have nothing to do with the real me or the real André, and definitely not with my work, so I can’t really take that attitude seriously.

5. You write about sex without the shackles of Calvinism. Are Polish women more open to talk about sex than South African women?
Not at all. My open approach to sexuality has nothing to do with my being Polish. Sexuality is such an essential part of who we all are; it is important to me to write about it as a lived, not only an imagined (and thus often distorted), experience.

6. In Invisible Others you describe Paris in a sensual and cinematically evocative way. Why are you so drawn to this city?
The story demanded being set in Paris. My role was to try to do justice to the city which has been written about so widely. I focused on the spaces which have personal meaning for me, like the Polish Bookshop.

7. You and your family fled Poland when you were still young. In what way has this shaped the Karina you are today?
In every way. A migratory background marks people the way gender, class and race do – it influences everything you do in life. We fled the then-communist Poland in 1987 when I was ten years old and settled in Austria where my parents still live. They wanted a life of freedom and opportunities for us. They certainly succeeded!

8. What is your favourite thing about South Africa?
Multiculturalism – it is what made me feel at home here the moment I stepped off my first flight to Cape Town a decade ago.

9. And your least favourite thing?
Fear.

10. You and your husband André are both masterful tellers of love stories. Will you ever write about your own romance in fictional form?
If we ever did, our love story would not need the veil of fiction to be told. In a way we are telling it already, in bits and pieces of our non-fiction writing.

First published in Afrikaans in Beeld.

Book mark: Crossing Borders, Dissolving Boundaries edited by Hein Viljoen

Book mark_Crossing Borders_small copyThresholds, frontiers, or bridges can function as barriers or points of access, and they can represent opportunities or risks. They are indispensable in our way of perceiving and categorising the world, and make for a fascinating topic of creative endeavours as well as their interpretations. Focusing on diverse genres from different places and time periods, the twelve essays collected in this volume offer insightful glimpse into this area of research. The topics range from a reading of borders and abjection in the film version of Marlene van Niekerk’s novel Triomf (1994) to ideas of insanity and transgression in Thomas Harris’s thriller The Silence of the Lamb (1988). Read as a whole, the collection calls out for a bridging concept of borders, their crossing and dissolving in such farflug places as Lappland, the Karoo, or the human mind.

Book mark first published in the Cape Times, 21 March 2014, p. 10.

Crossing Borders, Dissolving Boundaries
Ed. Hein Viljoen
Rodopi, 2013

Liesl Jobson on the Book Lounge launch of Invisible Others

With Sally, photo by Liesl Jobson

With Sally, photo by Liesl Jobson

With my Mom and André, photo by Liesl Jobson

With my Mom and André, photo by Liesl Jobson

“At the launch of Karina Szczurek’s debut novel, Invisible Others, at The Book Lounge last week, this most welcome addition to the South African literary canon received high praise from those in the know. ‘It is a beautifully written novel,’ said an Mervyn Sloman, ‘in a spare style that is simultaneously lavish – it must be the French connection!’ Sloman said the characters are fully drawn with the author sustaining a ‘wonderful novelistic tease’ that keeps one turning the page. ‘This book is an absolute gift to us!’ he said.

Szczurek was joined in conversation by the talented YA novelist, Sally Partridge, who confirmed Sloman’s assessment of Invisible Others as ‘beautiful’. She introduced Szczurek as an author who wore many hats – an academic, editor, essayist, poet and an award-winning playwright. She said the book is an intense study on the nature of damaging relationships and asked Szczurek why she chose to write about this topic….’

Continue reading…
Report by Liesl Jobson

For more photographs click here.

Conference: Writing the ‘Rainbow Nation’?

poster_klein Early next month, I’ll be attending an international conference “examining 20 years of post-apartheid literature” in Regensburg, Germany, where I’ll be giving a paper on cityscapes in recent South African writing. Other participants include Crystal Warren of the amazing National English Literary Museum in Grahamstown and Willie Burger of the University of Pretoria with whom I edited Contrary: Critical Responses to the Novels of André Brink.

Conference brief:
“In his controversial essay “Preparing Ourselves for Freedom” (1989), Albie Sachs warned against seeing literature (and culture more generally) as merely a form of propaganda for ‘the struggle,’ arguing instead for texts that display “ambiguity and contradiction”. What road did South African literature take after this critique of ‘struggle literature’?” Continue reading…

As part of the conference there will be a panel conversation and a reading featuring Mike Nicol and Angela Makholwa.

Click here for the Provisional Programme.

ITCH e.12 – Taboos

Taboos by Francois Smit

Taboos by Francois Smit

The latest issue of ITCH e.12 is out. The theme: TABOOS.

I acted as coordinating editor for e.12 and contributed the following:

Review of Way Back Home by Niq Mhlongo
“…And it seems that what Mhlongo is telling us is that we need to confront that past again, not in the ways we have been doing in the last decades of our flawed transition, but in a more holistic, accepting way that combines the best of all our problem-solving tools, whether indigenous or Western, modern or traditional, black or white.” Continue reading…

Review of Untitled by Kgebetli Moele
“…But this is no story of a teenage romance which will end for the heroine with an unforgettable First Time with the Boy of Her Dreams. Instead, Untitled is a devastating chronicle of other unforgettables: the abuse and violence – emotional, psychological and physical – that girls face in South Africa.” Continue reading…

Q&A with Helena S. Paige
“…Finding new words for vagina, penis, groan, thrust and pant. At one point Helen suggested that after this we write a sex thesaurus. As in sex, so in writing sex, variety is the spice of life. We tried very hard to keep things original and not use cheesy terms like lady garden, or throbbing manhood. And we banned all lip-biting, by way of homage to Fifty Shades.” Continue reading…

Q&A with S.A. Partridge
“…All these broken lives would have been so different if they had just communicated properly with each other from the start. James and V’s promised love story, which held so much potential, was sabotaged by their inability to say how they really felt about each other.” Continue reading…

First steps

Invisible Others is making her first steps in the world. These are some of the questions I have been asked about the novel during the launch last Tuesday (interviewed by S.A. Partridge) and during the Woordfees event (interviewed by Ingrid Winterbach) on Thursday. A rough reconstruction of my replies follows.

How does it feel to hold the novel in your hands?
It still doesn’t feel real. I think it will take a few weeks to sink in, to properly realise that something that has lived on in my head for so many years is finally out there, contained in an object that has turned out to be so beautiful. I am grateful for all people involved in the production process of the physical book, especially Hanli Deysel and Danél Hanekom, whose ideas, designs, guidance and the willingness to cooperate were exceptional. It isn’t a given that an author is included in the decision-making pertaining to this part of a book publication.

How did the novel begin?
As a short story, and with a single image. For a long time I’d thought of myself a short story writer, but I was curious whether I could write in the longer form. To test myself, I went to a writer’s retreat in Calvinia and began writing my first novel there. In the course of my stay in Calvinia I realised that I could do it, but the story I was writing (a more typical first novel about growing up) was too autobiographical, too close to the bone, and I was not prepared to share it with an audience, at least not yet. So the manuscript ended up in my drawer. I then picked up an unfinished short story I was working on at the time. It began escalating into something longer and eventually resulted in Invisible Others. But it all started with an image of a woman and a man having a picnic in a park I knew in Paris. That scene is still in the novel. I knew that they were somehow trying to reach out to one another, but it was not easy for them to connect. The novel became an exploration of the reasons behind this difficulty.

Will there be another novel, or are you returning to the short form?
I am working on a YA novel, and I have a half-finished speculative fiction novel waiting on the backburner. But I love short stories and will continue writing them. I am intrigued by the challenge of the short story, of having to make every word and gesture count. Sometimes I feel that everything I write is about gestures, tiny imperceptible things like a glance or a twitch of a finger can change the course of a story. Capturing these moments in fiction fascinates me.

How does an academic background inform your writing?
I am aware of trends, patterns, some theory which is a good and a bad thing. As a writer, I would like to build on existing developments, but not be trapped by them. Having a very individual and specific migratory background, and yet being thoroughly shaped by my knowledge of local literature, I believe I can contribute something different to the scene. At the same time, very often being aware of what is happening can be limiting and discouraging.

Carolina's park

Carolina’s park

You write about Paris with a clear sense of place. Do you know it well?
I wrote about a deeply personal side of Paris – the spaces I know and love in the city, like the Polish Bookshop or some of the restaurants and parks mentioned in the novel. But I don’t want to claim that I know Paris well. It is a city which constantly eludes me no matter how eager I am to grasp it.
I was also very much aware of the fact that Paris is one of the most written about places on the planet, and that I did not want to compete with such a significant body of work. Trying to do justice to the setting, I concentrated on a few familiar, intimate spaces. I worked from memory, but also took photographs, drew little maps, made many notes, and used Google Maps for verification. But there was a moment where imagination took over and the descriptions in the novel do not always correspond 1:1 with reality. Also, I discovered that during the time it took me to write the book some places I used as settings had changed: a restaurant I mentioned disappeared completely; the bookshop changed its layout and expanded. In that sense, the Paris of the novel is at times a purely imagined space.

Both Cara and Konrad find refuge in Paris – why Paris as a runaway place?
For Cara, the reason why she chooses Paris becomes obvious as the novel progresses. For Konrad, it is a place that is essential to his research. From the first, Paris was always part of the story. The story chose it. On the one hand, I persisted with the setting because I liked the idea of it being an unusual place for a contemporary English-speaking South African to emigrate to. It used to be much more obvious for Afrikaans speakers to travel to Paris in the 50s, 60s and beyond. A whole generation of Afrikaans writers were shaped by their Parisian encounters. On the other hand, I did not want to write another novel about an exiled South African returning to the country of their birth. Cara and Konrad do not emigrate because of socio-political or historical circumstances, but for purely personal reasons. I wanted to write about a different migratory experience which reflects a different aspect of the reality of our globalised world – one where people migrate and choose to stay or even move on, but do not return to their country of origin. In that sense, I wanted the novel to defy expectations.

What about other research?
My characters know a lot more than I do about art, history, typesetting or geography. They have different passions and fears from mine. I wanted to make things which originated in my head come to life for others. I had to read up enough on all these subjects in order to make them believable.

And national identity?
There are two ways in which I wanted to engage with issues of identity in the novel: as an everyday experience without necessarily political or historical connotations; and an academic pursuit where these connotations matter strongly, but are nearly entirely confined to the research Konrad does, they do not spill over into his own lived experience. But on the whole, I wanted to remain on a rather superficial level while handling these issues by concentrating on the nostalgia for one’s country of origin in daily life which manifests itself in preferences for certain food, music, art, reading, drinks, proverbs, or customs. It was important for me to show that despite these obvious and natural longings, like so many people in today’s world, Konrad and Cara can make a home for themselves away from the places of their birth.

In the novel, you come across as an authority on art. What is the role of visual art in your life?
To be honest, I know very little about visual art apart from my own responses to some artists’ work. I have a deep love for beauty and objects. There is something about the timelessness and reliability of an object which fascinates me. I surround myself with objects which have meaning for me, some of these are art pieces – hardly ever of any general value, but always of enormous personal value to me. One of the reasons I fell head over heels in love with The Book of Happenstance (by Ingrid Winterbach) is the portrayal of the relationship the main character has with her collection of shells. It is one of the most, if not the most, accurate description of what I often feel for objects which matter to me, and what their loss means to me.
I am a huge fan of Siri Hustvedt’s work as a novelist and as an observer. Her books on art and looking at art are inspiring and moving. The theory is just as important as the response, and the clarity of her presentation of both is astounding.

Which artists, if any, inspired the art in Invisible Others?
These might seem like completely incompatible influences, but for Lucas’s work I thought of Francis Bacon, Egon Schiele and Tamara de Lempicka; for Dagmar’s work I thought of William Kentridge and Renée le Roux. But no specific real image inspired any of the imagined paintings which appear in the novel. It was more like the combined mood of these oeuvres that I tried to capture in the art featured in Invisible Others.

Invisible Others is a timeless story where technology takes a backseat – was this a conscious decision?
Very much so. It also reflects my own life and attitude towards social media, media in general, and the internet. I love the opportunities technology and media offer, but I have also become very cautious in using them. The internet provides us with enormous advantages; it can enrich our lives, but it can also be a dangerous tool with a sting. The exposure to media nearly destroys Cara’s life. She consciously tries to hide from it all. Konrad is weary of the pitfalls of the internet and yet can’t resist its temptations. To his credit, instead of speculating, he tries to keep an open mind and find out what he needs to know from the only person who can tell him the truth about what happened.

Why the attraction of love triangles and dysfunctional relationships?
When we are honest with ourselves, most of us will have to admit that there are many things – essential things – in our relationships with others which we cannot articulate – such as our fears, desires or passions. I have always been fascinated by this inability to communicate between people, and personally, I have worked all my life in my relationships to conquer it. But often instead of communicating, we end up falling into triangular relationships – not necessarily with other people, a hobby or work can be such an escapist third party – to satisfy what cannot be brought to light in the relationships which truly matter to us. We are mostly suckers for suffering. We need to suffer to feel alive. There aren’t many people out there who are happy without drama, who can appreciate the simple, good things in life.

Do invisible others doom relationships before they even happen?
They do. For better or worse, we carry around the memories and ghosts of people who have shaped and influenced our lives and very often we are either unaware of their presence or not courageous enough to admit to it or face it. These invisible others can interfere with our present relationships if we allow them to haunt us. Finding a way to see and understand these spaces and figures makes relationships possible, or not, if we fail. This is where fiction comes in for me: writing is often an attempt at trying to penetrate those spaces.

What drives Cara into the affair?
A powerful attraction. She falls for the wrong man and persists in the relationship. It seems to me that we often stay in relationships because we believe that we have already sacrificed so much for them, we simply have to make them work, even if the only sensible thing to do is to cut one’s losses and walk away.

Why should the reader identify with her?
I hope readers will travel a journey with Cara similar to my own. When she appeared to me in that picnic image in the park, she started off as a puzzle, a mystery, one I did not particularly warm to, but one who intrigued me. I wanted to understand her, to see what made her tick, and almost inevitably I started caring for her in the attempt. Cara defied me. She showed me that sometimes people do terrible things not because they are terrible people, but because they can’t help themselves. One can appreciate or forgive a lot as long as one understands the reasons. This is part of what Siri Hustvedt refers to as “a call for empathy” and the reason why I chose the passage from one of her essays which explains this phrase for the epigraph of Invisible Others.

The ending of the novel was puzzling – can you comment?
The ending somehow surprised me as well. It has everything to do with the fact of how Cara took over her own story, how she did not allow me to leave her entirely in the lurch (as I was keen to in the beginning). It is an open ending. It is wonderful for me to see how some of my readers are beginning to interpret it. Deep in my heart I can feel what happened to Cara, but I still want readers to decide for themselves.

In the novel, Cara turns to reading for solace or guidance. What would you like readers to take away from this novel?
I suppose a bit of both, but mainly solace – I don’t feel that I have the right to guide anybody. But if readers find a moment of truth or revelations in the novel which penetrates their own invisible others and inspires them to explore, communicate, understand these spaces, the magic of fiction would have happened, and that would be more than I would dare to hope for.

You are married to one of the most important contemporary South African writers with an overwhelming oeuvre to his name. Isn’t it a bit intimidating?
Not at all. In the beginning, when I started getting to know André I was a bit scared of his creative process. I know that for many it can be a process of solitude and exclusion and I did not know how I would fit into, or around, it. But then I discovered how open to sharing André was, how generous and supportive, and I relaxed completely. Our studies are at the opposite ends of a passage in our house. There is a lot of communicating going on between them, and invitations to tea.
André’s body of work is enormous, and I am its greatest fan. It doesn’t intimidate me because I have no intentions of competing with it – that would be ridiculous. My writing is very different, the stories I want to tell are my own. I am grateful for all of André’s support and expertise, but I also know that it works both ways. I offer the same to him. There is no room for intimidation in our personal and literary relationship.

The image with which Invisible Others began

Carolina by Marcello Tomassi

Carolina by Marcello Tomassi

He repeats the endearment and she seems to relax. “I like the Italian translation of my name better,” she tells him and agrees to meet him for lunch.

Konrad arrives a few minutes later with a basket full of goodies. He is wearing a simply cut blue linen shirt which makes his eyes shine. “I want you to meet someone today, someone very special,” he tells Cara.

“I’m not sure I am up to company.”

She is on the verge of changing her mind about going when Konrad reassures her, “I promise you’ll like her, a lot. Please don’t spoil the surprise,” he begs. She follows him reluctantly.

He takes her to a nearby city garden, the size of small backyard. They enter through a low iron gate. A clochard is sleeping on one of the few stone benches, the sun on his back. Some of the benches are formed in the shape of open books, Cara notices, and suddenly remembers that she’s stopped here once before on one of her walks when the granite books were covered with cushions of snow.

“I know this place. It was even charming in winter, but now it is …” She throws her hands up into the air and swirls around her own axis a few times. She is wearing a long flowery dress that hugs her hips and a dark grey cardigan which suddenly reminds Konrad of his mother. “All the pink blossoms,” she says and motions with her arms as if to embrace the trees. “Spring is definitely my favourite time of the year.”

“I thought you would like it here. Come,” he puts their basket on the nearest bench, but before Cara can sit down, he leads her away to a corner of the park.

“Cara – Carusia,” he corrects himself and lets go of her elbow, “this is Carolina.”

Cara finds herself facing a black statue of a young girl, with a firm look in her stone eyes and a certain defiance in her posture. The weight of her body rests on one leg; both her hands are carelessly placed on the curves of her small but already rounded hips, the left hand clasping one hip, the right leaning against the other with the back of her palm. With her shoulders pulled back, the young girl exposes her budding breasts without any trace of shyness or shame.

“Sculpted by Marcello Tomassi in 1968,” Cara reads the inscription and walks around the statue, touching the fingers of the hand turned away from the body, palm up. “I haven’t noticed her before,” she says, and continues after a brief silence. “While Paris was on the barricades, Signor Tomassi was living out his sexual fantasies.” She lets go of the girl’s hand. “I’ve got an idea.” She moves away to search for something in the basket, finds a red apple, and places it in the girl’s open palm; the colour of the fruit in stark contrast with the black body of the statue. “Now, we can call her Eve,” Cara proclaims and returns to their bench to unpack the rest of the picnic.

Konrad picks some magnolia petals off the ground, holds them in his fist, looking at Cara, busying herself with the food he’d prepared.

“A wonderful treat,” she says and motions for him to come over, biting into one of the other apples.

Konrad releases the petals from his hand, and watches the crushed flowers slowly fall through his fingers before he retrieves the apple from Carolina and joins Cara on the bench.

So many things left unsaid. Konrad feels the weight beginning to crush him while Cara continues preparing their meal. Weeks have gone by without him being able to ask anything that he truly wanted to know and not daring to talk about his own past. My train keeps on somehow departing without me, Konrad thinks. But every time he wants to bring things to a head, Cara either vanishes without explanation, or she is there, with all her abandon and joy – like now, chatting away about the flowers she has planted in the pots outside her window and about the latest word count of her novel – and it does not make sense to disrupt the moment. Sharing these simplest things with her makes all his anxieties dissipate. He is scared to push her away, of losing what they have, even though he cannot define what it is. He only knows that it is not enough, and the desire for more is gradually becoming impossible to bear.

“Solve problems, make art, think deeply.”

What I have learned from and liked about Susan Cain’s Quiet – The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, a highly rewarding read:

~ It is fine to just be, you don’t have to act all the time.
~ Being an introvert does not make public speaking an easy experience.
~ “…how did we go from Character to Personality without realizing that we had sacrificed something meaningful along the way?”
~ Substance and thought are much more important than presentation.
~ Solitude and creativity are happy bedfellows.
~ Open-plan offices and brainstorming are not as great as some make them out to be.
~ Patience and persistence are underrated.
~ “We fail to realize that participating in an online working group is a form of solitude all of its own.”
~ Sensitivity to novelty can tell you a lot about yourself.
~ We are becoming less empathetic – some suggest that “social media, reality TV, and ‘hyper-competitiveness'” might be responsible.
~ Without sensitive people “we will, quite literally, drown”.
~ “The trick for introverts is to honor their own styles instead of allowing themselves to be swept up by prevailing norms.”
~ Conviction and caring might be more powerful than dynamism and charisma.
~ Acting out of character can pay off, if done for the right reasons.
~ Ask yourself what was important to you when you were a child, what kind of activities do you perform with a passion, what do you envy, and you might recognise the right reasons for you.
~ Good ideas don’t always come in eloquent packages.