Articles in English

Wolves of the Past

The beginning of the novel – traducere realizată de Florina.

Testimonials:   

„The temptation to abandon that world, in which not even love can be saved anymore, is a common reality. However, Natașa Alina Culea does not do this, but describes it with anger, with despair, with passion, with the meticulousness of a jeweler, with the sisyphean patience of rolling his huge boulder up the mountain, not taking into account, at any moment, that in the next second it can collapse…

   The wolves of the past portrays that underground colony, brought to the upper level, in a setting surrounded by the chimerical brilliance of the rich, full of anguish and with masks firmly set on their already deformed face – mask on top of mask – meant to hide the void or the inner desert.

   Anxiety, passion, reason, fine humor, obsessive words, carefully drawn characters, with savory precision for every detail. The physical and the moral are intertwined in a psychological undertone and in a crude reality, of the everyday reality. A life in chaos. An atmosphere reminiscent of Giovanni Boccaccio, of the wicked fortresses of the Old Testament, of the imbalance created by the lack of human communication, by the imminent alteration of feelings; a strange atmosphere suddenly brought into a seemingly sophisticated world.

   A painful, comprehensive, deep book, in which truths brutally juggle with dreams, hiding behind all the rebellious words, loaded with the characters’ tense eroticism. Age is the psychological threshold, impediment and ingredient, the key to unraveling mysteries.

“Underneath the earth worms wandered in darkness, above it, the larks cut the sky into strips through which the sun penetrated from time to time. Between worms and larks were the people, living on top of each other, mourning and loving. […] People were finding new activities, trying to fill the void inside them with something; they drank their failures, smoked their minds and debauched, doing whatever they could to avoid looking inside their hearts and seeing that God’s unity of measure is the infinity.” (Quote from the book Wolves of the Past”

   Sofia – Salomé, what a pagan transfiguration of the senses! Burning fire, choked after burning in feud ashes! Hell? Fetishism? Sin? Blasphemy? Resignation? Everyone is free to relate to them, as he believes or as he can, while the innocence of childhood is cowardly defiled.

Love? Does love remain the eternal promise? Does it become a quest? Does it turn to a cry?

   A hand to hand combat with The wolves of the past, with our illusions”

Amalia Elena Constantinescu Doctor in Philology, writer, member of the Writers’ Union of Romania.

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Foreword – the Author:

   “The wilderness dwells deep inside us. We call it unconscious, because we have no control over it ”(Carl G. Jung).

   Although wolves generally live in packs, the wolf who chooses to live alone, in exile (an unexplained choice for ethologists) becomes much stronger, smarter, surpassing the instinctive patterns of wolves left behind. In splendid solitude, the wolf only follows its own rules, it’s the living metaphor of the mind detached from the group spirit, an archetypal symbol of freedom, of disobedience, of authenticity, but also of shadow. The path of the wolf is the path to finding one’s personal purpose, a difficult road through wild darkness and cold nights, until all you have left is yourself! And then you will walk fearlessly on the ground, having discovered the truth of your being, the golden key that has always hung around your neck.

   This fascinating animal is a living lesson, reminding us that one day we’ll have to cut off our attachments and go alone through life and death.

   “The wolf is that animal that looks like a dog, but is a Great Spirit,” according to a North-American Indian saying.

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The beginning of the novel

Anniversary of resignation

I still wonder why my wife insisted on coming here, even for a weekend; I know she wants us to be among our friends, they soften the echo between us, but Ben and Ana? Our relationship has cooled down quietly, I think that’s what Carina was thinking about, inviting more couples. The remnants of our connection gave birth to endless silence, but it was not the same silence for both of us, even the silence we keep separately, each on his side of the bed, each on his corner of the sofa.

…. may this placing of the rings and Your angel guide them through all the days of their lives, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

I feel my wedding ring twisted like a snake around my neck, though I stopped wearing it for nearly two years now …

unto the ages of ages…

Automation and so much silence …

It is sad to end a relationship, but infinitely sadder to hold on to it only because we made promises we believed in for a while; both hungry and drained, like two ogres who continue the race when there is nothing left to lose, much less to win.

Today marks thirteen years of marriage. Thirteen years beaten like nails in me, years that passed by patting my face with dried white springs, silvering my temples.

Years of resignation.

In the morning I drove to Sinaia to buy her a bouquet of flowers, which I left on the bed, along with a box with the bracelet she admired a few weeks ago. Some might say I’m an extraordinary husband or at least thoughtful one. But what do I even know? Is this life? Is this happiness? Is still all there is to it? This is what I lived for these 40 years? For another anniversary, another car, another company bought? I do not expect to climb the mountain of happiness and stay there, this utopia is for the naive, but this cannot be it, this numbness that drips from my mind to my limbs and makes them hard to move; no, there has to be more, there must be!

   My thoughts roar like the restless birds that no longer find their way to the flock that splits clouds and shatter dreams. My dreams. Life took over and took vengeance on me because I didn’t know how to dream big; I was awakened early by their flapping of wings; they revolved around two concerns: the metamorphosis of my marriage and the gift for Carina. Last weekend we were in Maldives, where we jumped in the pool from the highest trampoline; not that it caused me any pleasure, everything is indifferent to me, and if life would have a taste, I no longer have taste buds for it; I jumped to wake up from my apathy, to feel something, anything, at least for a moment. Wet and angry, I returned to Carina as bored as I  left. What else could I do? What if I am ill and my doctor is incompetent? I don’t trust doctors anyway, except surgeons, of course. Off … so much peace… Why do I always have to receive wishes for peace of mind? Who the hell wants peace of mind? Did I ask for it, without realizing it? Will I not have enough peace of mind when I die? I want to feel like I’m living, I want to live! I want to want!

   I can’t even sleep for five hours a night; I wake up every day with the first rays of sun and have thoughts that even I find amazing.

   I remember the wedding day, Carina’s illuminated face; she was dressed in a white, translucent dress, I was stuffed in a black suit, with my tie matching her bouquet of flowers. I felt like a penguin accessorized with the centerpiece, the future bride who will rub this moment in the face of the bridesmaids. I was doing the right thing, I had kneeled before her after several years of relationship, after a few humorless hints from her and I had decided after a suspicion of pregnancy that had turned out to be false. I was not excited to get married, but I thought this funfair of ceremony will pass quickly. I was stubborn, refusing to do the first dance, a frightening moment, an absurd combination of classic waltz that was supposed to end in a turbulent rock; I had listened to Carina’s dance instructor’s proposal with an indescribable terror; Carina’s enthusiasm was inversely proportional to mine. Sweating on the dance floor like a turkey was my last wish. I managed to convince my future wife that I was completely untalented, and if she wouldn’t have believed me, I would have resorted to an appendicitis crisis, if the joke had thickened, only to get rid of the blody thing. Uff… that’s a thing of the past… and so are others…

   Another anniversary of resignation.

   I can breathe easily, Carina’s gift is ticked, I have completed my husband’s obligation in a satisfactory manner. Here is where love ends, right here, when pleasure becomes obligation, when in the photos your partner takes of you, you see a person you do not know, although you recognize the sadness gathered in the naked eyes, a face that lacks any trace of enthusiasm.

I close the door, noiselessly, and descend to the ground floor, in the huge living room where the brown eco-leather sofas rest in front of a wall-mounted TV. A large, muted piano relaxes in one corner, flanked by two Greek columns, carved with mythological scenes. Everything is too voluminous, sumptuous, but also artificial, the designer tried a bit too hard, managing to flabbergast, and this is not necessarily bad, but not necessarily good either. It smells of fir tree and of archeology museum. Above me hangs a brass metal chandelier, with a Gothic pattern, like a threat coming from somewhere beneath the massive wooden beams.

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Articles in English

The beginning of MARAT (a novel by Natasha Alina Culea)

  

Isn’t it amazing that my first trip abroad is to China? That far-off land, with winged dragons, large rice fields and wind chimes, that land I often dreamed of, as a child, my imagination giving birth to nomadic desires. In my mind, China smells of jasmine tea served in delicate porcelain cups and has the color of the red silk road; it is a country of contrasts, where civilization and tradition intertwine, in a song too subtle for the ears of the Europeans; its incredible progress resembles pure alchemy; the speed with which China adapts to modern times overwhelms us, and yet it is the same country where the  rickshaw is pulled by one man carrying another, the same country where families have 3 members or less, the only child, as dictated by law, the one who does not know the meaning of brother, nor sister, being either a solitary child, or having the whole world as its family – hard to tell…

   I see China as being drowned in the present, but feeding on a past that does not pass.

These are my thoughts on that evening of December 5, 2000, holding the ticket of certainty in my hand, a blue ticket, winged with the Tarom logo. I am exalted at the thought that tomorrow I will sip my coffee in China; animated by the natural enthusiasm of my just turned twenty-two years, I reflect near the packed luggage. It seems like I have everything I could desire, I tell myself and I recap: a relationship of about two years with a handsome young man who loves me – Denis Dumitru by his full name -, a comfortable and relaxing life, I’m young and I’m about to head out to China! I also have a collection of CDs from the 60’s-70’s, a dressing room packed with clothes and shoes, a dog, which, theoretically, is more Denis’s than mine, a crystal globe, where it snows if you give it a good giggle, a library with old books, bought from fairs, which I love with all my heart and… a wooden spoon, with strawberries painted on it, which my grandmother gave me, before leaving and never coming back.

   But am I what I have? Am I happy or do I just think I am? There was no cloud on my sky, undisturbed by world`s turmoil; there is nothing missing from the peaceful happiness landscape in which I live. What else is there to find in this world that I hold in my hands?

Enough about me, let’s talk about Denis, my boyfriend, a practical and organized young man, dedicated to tangible things, a guy who does not let himself be dragged into sentimental outbursts, these being my exclusive concern. Denis has an innate sense of measure, doubled by common sense, acquired through the severe education given by his parents. Denis always knows what he wants, and two years ago he told me he wanted me, and I was happy because I never imagined a better partner. He is now twenty-six, four years older than me, though his seriousness makes him seem more mature than he is. Denis may at times seem a bit demanding in his expectations, in general, but to me he shows a great deal of indulgence. Over time I tested his patience, like those times when I was taking money from home and going out to buy something for dinner, coming back with a poetry book or a painting that inspired me at the time.

  “Food for the soul, Denis!” I used to tell him and jump in his arms, thus avoiding being lectured for my ignorance.

   Denis manages various businesses inherited from his parents, including a chain of clothing stores, and, for the first time, sends me to China instead of going himself, to supply the stores with new merchandise, especially as December is a very productive month, and what he had bought was quickly selling out. Anyone working in the field of trade knows that this is the most prosperous time of the year. Of course, this trip is not very creative, because I have the route already set by Denis. I took note of the places where I need to go, the people I need to contact, the phone numbers I will need and so on. In conclusion, I have everything planned in advance. The plane ride will go directly to Beijing and will take about nine and a half hours. Once there, I will stay at Jing Lun hotel, where I have a room booked, and I will get in touch with Mr. Li Hua Chen, also known to the Romanians as Max, so it’s a bit easier to pronounce and remember. Like when you’re an artist and you get a stage name, even though Mr. Li is not an artist, at least not from the information in my notes. I check my agenda again, taking my responsibility of a blonde Bucharest-Beijing and Beijing-Bucharest emissary very seriously.

  “Did you memorize everything I told you?” Denis asks me. He seems a little worried. “Anyway, if you have any questions, call me on Luana’s phone, as I still haven’t been able to understand what’s wrong with your roaming service.”

   I hug Denis instead of nodding, still holding the agenda with black covers.

   “It’s time to go, right? I can’t wait to get on the plane, Denis! I will miss you so much!” I exclaim and open the door to the cold outside, which immediately whips our faces.

   We both leave the house, and Rex, noticing the agitation going on, jumps with its big paws on my white coat.

  “Rex, sit, Rex!” I shout at the dog who refuses to get down. Although well trained, he still does not accept directions other than the ones given by its big heart, as he weighs a lot for his size, I worry. “Denis, I think you should start running through the park with Rex, isn’t he a bit chubby?” I ask him without actually waiting for an answer.

  “Alina, let’s get in the car!” laughs Denis. “We’ll talk about Rex’s increased cholesterol when you come back.” We both laugh and Denis gets behind the wheel, while I sit on the right seat, which is slowly starting to warm up. I never liked leather seats, they are freezing during winter and too hot in summer. Yes, this is what I do whenever I have a task to fulfill; this trip had blocked me, so I clung to all the useless details like Rex’s weight, the buttons on my white coat which I now count for the first time, the texture of the car seats, even the weather in Guatemala, although I don’t intend to go there. Some people that are faced with a concrete fact mobilize quickly and become efficient; not me though, on the contrary, I spread my attention in all directions with great care. I am super excited, like a bow that has little more to burst from its most vulnerable spot. I can’t wait to take off. With all the thoughts going on in my head, I do not focus on the journey itself, but on the emotion of the important event about to happen in my life…

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A novel by Natasha Alina Culea

The novel can be bought on:

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Arlechinul, Articles in English, Cărți scrise

Excerpt. The begining of my 6th novel „The Harlequin”

Wide open windows to the sky

The gloomy November morning gathered a flock of crows on the little patch of burnt grass, settled in the Primăverii neighborhood. The buildings, still moist after a light, but persisting rain, like multicolored pieces of Lego, merged unexpectedly, rise defiantly on the tongue of the street.

The windows begin to light up one after the other, illuminated in hues of dirty yellow and silver; with curtains, with blinds, others are just bare windows inviting you to discover their loose privacy.

With a step forward and one backward, always between yesterday and tomorrow, we live in a question without answer: does the night end or the morning begin? And if it is a day when we can change everything, why don’t we see it, although our eyes are wide open?

Bucharest wakes up. The arteries of the city gradually begin to be crossed by cars with drivers who are searching for something, half asleep. Their automatic gestures reveal the monotony in which they bath like in a warm muddy puddle, like a drop of water in the fractured asphalt, sometimes dreaming of being a drop of ocean.

Every man tells two stories: one to himself, and one to the others. Most of the time, these two stories do not bare resemblance to one another. Most of the time, we wake up and wish we were in another story.

This is how the story of The Harlequin, yet untold, begins…

Book Launch: The Harlequin, Natasha Alina Culea (author)