Category Archives: friends

“If you happen to pass by 84 Charing Cross Road, kiss it for me?” Helene Hanff

I’ve just read this delightful non fiction book and I absolutely loved it! It consists of the two-decade long correspondence and friendship between the reserved Frank Doel, an employee at Marks & Co. Booksellers at 84, Charing Cross Rd in London and the New York based writer and bibliophile Helene Hanff. She is an avid and enthusiastic reader looking for rare second hand books who doesn’t like the dirty, broken editions she can find on NY stalls so she prefers buying them overseas. From the start we can appreciate the contrast between her American informality and Frank’s British professionalism, but as long as the story goes she establish a friendship with him, his family and all the employees of the library and the correspondence becomes informal and heartfelt. We gradually see Helene becoming intimately involved in the lives of the shop’s staff, sending them food parcels during England’s post-war shortages and sharing with them details of her life and career.

I’m grateful that this book had been published in the 70s and that it’s a true story, a modern fictional writer would have inserted a love affair between Helene and Frank who was married and had two daughters, ruining the spirit of the book. Because the magic of this book it’s in its innocence. The rare and pure friendship established between people who live so many miles away thanks to letters.

That’s so relatable to me: I feel so unloved and underappreciated by everyone I live with, while I feel like I’m another person when I’m virtually or in person, with my overseas friends.

I recommend this read to all the book lovers, those who like to browse little bookshops or used book stalls and, like Helene, love “inscriptions on flyleaves and notes in margins”, like “the comradely sense of turning pages someone else turned” and are fond of “second hand books that open to the page some previous owner read oftenest”.

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The Marks & Co book shop located at 84 Charing Cross road has closed, but the street, located in the Charing Cross district at the west end of the Strand in London, is still renowned for the variety of the second hand books shops and independent book stores. The biggest and most known one is for sure Foyles opened more than 100 years ago, but the main road and also the side streets are full of little gems.

The road is named after the homonym district, where, in front of the railway was placed one of the twelve crosses that marked the route of Queen Eleanor funeral procession. It is in central London, very close both to Oxford street and Leicester Square, so with countless of shops, theatres and places to eat.

A little curiosity: in the Harry Potter books, The Leaky Cauldron pub is in Charing Cross Road.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Friends will be Friends – Queen

 

” A friend who dies it’s something of you that dies” Gustave Flaubert

This day is never easy for me. Whoever said that time heals all wounds, was lying because each time I walk past the place where my best friend was involved in a car accident, I still close my eyes. And honestly I still wait for her to pop out from behind a tree how she used to do in our games or to hear her voice when the phone rings.

If the bond was strong, friendship never fade despite death, time and having new friends. We were 17 when it happened, we grew together, we had a special place where we used to play with dolls or Barbies, the same place that has witnessed our secrets and confidences about our first crushes. It hurts sitting there alone.

When a friend grows their wings it’s hard above all because it’s about someone like you, around your age and in the following years, at every milestone of yours, you ask yourself how your friend could be. Alessandra. Would she be a mom? Would she have a job? Would she be happy? Would us still be friends? I don’t know, I just miss her.

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This is a personal blog, so don’t look here for a way to cope with grief for a friend’s loss. Personally the only thing that works for me is music: artists can express what it means better than any so called “expert”, their words may caption perfectly how you feel. Look for your grief song, the one closest to your experience and play it on repeat, there also are dedicated playlists on Spotify. It helps a lot, above all on days like birthdays or anniversaries.

Mine is “Never Fade” by Josh Devine and Ollie Green: JD experienced the premature departure of one of his closest friends who was very young and put in music his feelings. Those above are the words I held in my heart, unable to express them until this song came out. I’m playing it since this morning: I’m sure Ale likes it, she loved music so much!

I love you my friend: you will be always missed and never forgotten.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Who knew – Pink

“Some people make the world more special just by being in it”

I’m poor in money, but I’m rich in friends. My health is horrible and my future dark, but no matter what happens, I can always lean on special people who know how to comfort me and help me to focus on what’s good in my life.

Three days ago it was JD’s birthday: he never fails to inspire me and to make me smile, that’s why the anniversary of his birth is so important to me. I wish he could get back all the good things he spreads in the world and above all everything he does for me. My doctor says he should be bottled and sold as a lifesaver medicine or as the most effective painkiller.

So this is for him. (don’t look at my miserable numbers on Instagram: I’m not popular on there, I’m not popular anywhere, but honestly I don’t care. Unless you make money from social media, being famous on there is like being rich at Monopoly).

And I want to end this post in my best friend’s words, he once said that with money you can buy everything, you can buy even a friend, but a best friend is something valuable you don’t need money for. Seeing that this post is about wishes: I hope you all are millionaires.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Millionaires – The Script

“I like good strong words that mean something” Louisa May Alcott

As I stated in my previous post, this blog doesn’t contain any sponsored content: everything you will find here comes to my personal tastes.

I got to know MyIntent thanks to JD because they engraved the word Evaride, that it’s his band. I was curious to know more about this project so I started browsing the web and visited their site. First of all it’s not a jewellery company but a service project whose aim is to encourage people to share more truth and inspiration with each other.

How? Simple: you have to choose a word that represents you or the one you need in your life or something you need to look up to and fill the form. Words are engraved on a round token, you can choose between silver, gold or black (I chose this last one because it’s my favourite colour). You can have it as a twist bracelet, adjustable necklace (like mine) or chain, dainty or bead necklace. There is also a keychain option. If you want you can share your story not only with the person who’s going to make your jewel (in order to put more commitment in the process), but also with the community through social media.

MyIntent motto is “What is your word?” because words are very powerful, not only in a negative way ( “loose lips sink ships” or as we say in Italy “tongues kill more than swords”), but also in a positive way. Wearing your word may be either a powerful reminder or a daily inspiration; it can also lead to productive conversations: you will be amazed in finding out that everyone has an intent for their life and how many interesting, inspiring, moving stories are behind a simple word. It also helps you to question your life asking yourself:

You can also choose to make a gift to a friend or a relative, offering them the word they need the most.

Here’s my necklace, my word is quite peculiar since it’s an acronym.

F8 stands for many different things.

-It’s the FATE I can’t choose.

-It reminds me to have FAITH because things can eventually get better.

-It’s a daily reminder to FIGHT.

 JJD are the initials of a person who daily inspires me, gives me strength, pushes me to look for the light in every situation, reminds me I’m loved and worth.

Check MyIntent site for further informations, more inspiration, models and prices.

https://www.myintent.org/

So: What’s your intent?

TRACK OF THE DAY: More than Words- Extreme

“It’s a recession when your neighbour loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose your own” H.S. Truman

Let’s be honest, sentences like “money doesn’t count” are sensible when you have enough of it to live and you don’t have to struggle to pay bills or say no to everything you like because you can’t afford it. Of course: family and friends are more important than money, I always say that I’m a millionaire if I look at the friends I have, but even if they’re beyond important with their support and love, it doesn’t bring food on my table.

My life was already bad due to health, now it’s going to get worse, because in two years my family will lose its fix income and all my ideas of earning money working from home, crashed against stupid Italian internal revenue system, according to which you need a VAT for everything and have to pay a fix tax even if you don’t earn nothing. (I still doing researches about home based jobs because I need something I can manage  according to bad and good health days).

In the blink of an eye all the things I’ve built, planned, worked hard for, are going to disappear due to economical interests that thinks that a factory that is not productive enough, has to been shut down, no matter how many family this will affect.

Pope Francis recently said that closing factories and businesses and taking work (and dignity) away from men and women is a grave sin. If there’s a life after that, they will probably pay for that, but at the moment we are those who are having a living Hell on Earth. Words are uplifting, but aren’t enough.

The sad thing is that I sacrificed my happiness, dignity and self esteem for stability. I chose an abusive but stable relationship over a happier, but uncertain one. And now? Now all is gone. I’m starting having anxiety attacks and depression is stronger than ever. I tried, but never be able to commit suicide because of my loving one, at the moment, the only thing that stops me is the fear to fail, believe me, killing yourself is not as easy as you think and there’s a lot of things that can go wrong.

I wrote these last lines not because I’m an attention whore who needs pity and nice words, it’s a self reminding of how strong I am. Next post will be different and more useful, I promise: I have so many things to say and I will run this blog until I can afford internet connection.

I would say to those who lost their job to stay strong, to use this experience to start a new life, to be positive, but these are words that you can find on life coaches blogs. People who have money and don’t have to look into their children eyes telling them “I’m sorry, we can’t buy this”. I’m only a broken creature with no magic spell who’s trying to see the light even in the darkest times. Someone wrote that I’m a fighter through the fire: I should wear off my cape of self commiseration and take my sword.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Stressed out- Twenty one Pilots

 

“We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams” Arthur O’Shaughnessy

It is said: don’t wash your dirty linen in public; what wise advice to follow! But it is inapplicable when it’s up to International music competitions where Italy has to show out her artists. I’m always ashamed to show that my fellow countrymen listens and what there’s on the top of Italian charts: it’s time for Eurovision Contest again, this year the Italian contestant is a nice guy with a catchy song named “Occidentali’s Karma” which won Festival di Sanremo 2017.  I can call myself lucky after past years critics regarding the Volo trio (“Oh. Italians never age! Those old men look so young!” or “Who are those mummies?” a few of my friends’ kindest comments) or singer Emma Marrone (“Where are her clothes?”).

My foreign friends seem to like Francesco Gabbani, they find his dance funny and his song pleasant and easy listening. So, what am I complaining about? That everybody wants me to translate “the dancing ape song”. And it’s a quite difficult task since there are a lot of unusual terms; in the end I made it, but the song lost a bit of its wit.

Will he win tomorrow? Hope so: somebunny owes me to dance and sing “Westerners’ karma” via face time.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Occidentali’s Karma- Francesco Gabbani

“People leave strange little memories of themselves behind when they die” Haruki Murakami

My laptop suddenly died with a lot of unsaved stuff in it and I’m currently writing on a borrowed computer which is probably power supplied by dinosaurs, but as it’s said: it’s better than nothing.

It has probably been a good thing for you all, since I had a terrible time, suffering chronic pain, frustration and an insane amount of emotional abuse. It hasn’t got better to be honest, but my wingless angels from this side and from the opposite side of the pond, supported me and both told and demonstrated me that I’m worth loving. Whenever I feel like complaining about how it’s always raining on me, I should remember that I have big umbrellas, some of them are even limited edition. And JD, well, JD always plays a big part in my happiness; I even finally found the answer to the question “Describe him in two words”. I’ve never been able to choose among his infinite qualities, but now I know how to portray him: “nothing compares”.

I read a lot of books as usual, I indulged in Sylvia Plath’s works and that’s something I should avoid, above all when I’m depressed, if I don’t want to end with the head in the oven like her without having written anything notable.

I thought a lot about death lately, suicide, of course, but also about what happens to our beloved stuff once we die. I was in a thrift shop where a friend of mine volunteers and a woman came with a garbage bag full of collectibles, knick-knack and books, saying that her mom died, so she had to make space in the house. I looked at the object thinking about which sentimental value they may had for their owner. We only see a little value decorative item, but maybe it was a present of an ancient lover, the souvenir of a long desired journey, the memory of a funny trip. And it’s sad to think that one day my kids will do the same; they will put my beloved books, my cherished vinyls, my precious signed CD and all my stuff in a black trash bag and bring it to a thrift shop or throw it into the bin.

So, in case someone will put their hands on the drumsticks JD gave to me, please, treasure them, not only because they’re the only pair used for Heartless video, but because they’re my magic wands: I hold them whenever I feel shit and my mood changes because they say “you’re loved!”. They mean more than what they are, love them as I did. Thanks.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Good Riddance- Green Day