Tag Archives: courage

The Sandcastle – Iris Murdoch


As far as I could find out, this novel has not been published in Italian. And I wonder wich kind of copyright reasons prevented it to be published in the USA too… maybe because the author was a friend of Sartre? It seems that all of her books have not been published in the USA. Very odd…

Anyway, let me say that this writer was a great surprise to me!

It doesn’t happen so much in this novel that takes place at the end of the  Fifties: the main carachter is a middle-aged school master (I think between 40 and 50) falls in love with a young artist and all his life is endangered, his marriage, his two children, his political future… At the end the young painter goes away and Mor, remains with his family and embrace the candidature as a member of the Parliament.

Iris Murdoch was so great in depicting the feelings and the faults of this man! It is not easy to take the part of a member of opposite sex, for a writer. She show us how Mor is just a man, who is not able to face the conformity of his environment, and she describe it very well in few lines here, when the lover is going away and he doesn’t manage to follow her because he is surrounded by his colleagues and friends:

(…) although Mor struggled in his seat he could not bring himself to get up. A lifetime of conformity was too much for him.

A counter-hero, at the end, who is incapable of telling his wife his reasons, a man who postpones explanations and who prefers to talk about silly issues to avoid more important and deep discussions.

He hardly takes a decision to go with his lover, and he immediately feels light-hearted, but this is just a sandcastle, because he is not able to go on accepting the consequences of this decision.

A very immature man, therefore. But we all have a bit of him in ourselves. This is why I suggest to read this book.



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Rejection Proof – Jia Jiang

imageDo you lack in self-confidence? Then you must train to get rejections. You have to do like Jia Jian, a young chinese who left his country and came to live in the USA. He got a very well paid job and abandomned it because he wanted to become an enterpreneur. Then he noticed that he could not become the new Bill Gates because he was too afraid to get… rejections. This fear blocked him and made him tremble.

He therefore started a strange journey: he decided to do odd requests to people, so that they would tell him “NO!”: in this way, he would get accustomed to rejections. Yes, self-confidence can be trained like a muscle.

Some of his requests were really strange: for instance, he asked to play football in the garden of an unknown man; to welcome passengers on a plane; to borrow some money from a warden; to teach in a university class; and so on. But stranger than his requests, were the answers of people: some of them said “yes!”, and this was a total surprise to him.

Actually, he learned a lot of thing about rejections. Not only he learned not to desperate; but also how to handle the requests or the following chat to obtain a positive reaction.
Instead of being too shy to go on with discussion, for instance, he learned to ask the reasons of the naysayer. Or not to bother about results and to do nevertheless his best.

A negative answer is rarely a rejection of your personality. It is often due to moment or personal story.
Anyway, although I understand what Jian did, I think… Well, no, I would never find the courage.
I already have my problems in asking the colleague of purchasing department when we can despatch some products, and this is my job! You can imagine the color of my face or the tone of my voice if I had to ask the postman to deliver the post on his place…

But try to imagine: what could you do if you had no such fear?
You could do almost everything.

I could start inviting some of my beloved Writers to come dinner here! Oh, well… I think it would be rather difficult to convince them to eat plant-based. Ok, I got it. Let’s go to next book.

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It’s What I Do – Lynsey Addario

imageI sometimes feel the need to remind me how the Worldwide women situation is much worst than mine. Because I claim that my life is, day by day, always the same: I get up at the usual time, go to the usual job, hear the usual quarrels, do homeworks… The bigger sense of adventure is listening to a friend who tells me how his dog won a prize.

I should’nt claim, I know that I am silly if I do it, but I really realize that only when I read books like the Addario’s one.

She was in Afghanistan first time in 2000, when she could not imagine what would have happened just one year later. And she saw the women, there: separated from male world, covered from top to toetip, without the possibility to work, study, go out without the male relative shadow; with the duty of giving birth to children. Without books.

What strucked me is that Linsey doesn’t tell you about the fear of entering such a country, unless she is under a gun or among a group of sexually excited males who touch her from every side.

The comparison with Obama’s memoir The Audacity Of Hope is due.

My copy of Obama’s book is a used one. Among the pages I found this US metro ticket:


On one side, a lonely woman who travels in Afghanistan and try not to feel fear.

On the other side, a big and powerful country whit the constant fear that some terrorist lets it blast. A fear that cannot be forgotten, because you do one of the most normal things in the world, like taking a bus, and you are immediately reminded that it could be the last thing you do.

A woman who let the fear starve and a country wich feeds it.

Different ways to employ own energy.

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