Be Drunk by Charles Baudelaire


They say ignorance is bliss. I agree. So did Hemingway.
“Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.” – Ernest Hemingway

Why is that? I think that the more we know and the more we understand, the less content we become with ourselves and society. This is because we learn that life could be different and we can afford to provide everybody with their needs and contribute to global happiness. The saddest part is most of the people with this view fail to act on it. Instead they choose to be blinded or to focus on the negative. They need the motivation and the drive to do something. When people are truly passionate about a cause, that passion in itself intoxicates them.

We used to say in school: “I don’t need drugs. I’m high on life.” Not everyone can do that however, so some of us will choose a glass of wine. The point is to be and stay drunk. If it doesn’t fuel you into action, at least it will place a hazy wool over your eyes so that you cannot see and you drown in your own ignorant bliss.

I am in no way encouraging alcoholism and drug use, but I hope this somehow makes sense. Here is the English translation of one of my favourite poems.


Be Drunk by Charles Baudelaire:

You have to be always drunk. That's all there is to it – it's the
only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks
your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually
drunk.

But on what? Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be
drunk.

And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of
a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again,
drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave,
the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything
that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything that is
singing, everything that is speaking... ask what time it is and
wind, wave, star, bird, clock will answer you: "It is time to be
drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be
continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish."

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Maja Dezulovic

11 Good Quotes by My Famous People - Revisited


Prior to publishing Expressions of Humanity in 2013, I put together a collection of quotes from people in my life that I have remembered and kept with me. These cover various aspects of life.  I hope that sharing them again here will add value and meaning to others.  Thank you to everybody mentioned below.


1. “You’re on the right track, but heading in the wrong direction.” – Iva Corak, English teacher
I wrote this down during class sometime in 2006. For me, it means head forwards rather than backwards and don’t give up.

2. “It’s easy to make money.” – Mr. Wu, friend
Perhaps it gets easier after you learn how to do it in the first place.  Every time I worry about money, I remember this.

3. “Keep healthy, keep looking good.” – Cleopatra Dezulovic, mom
Look after yourself and love yourself.

4. “Charity begins at home.” – Cleopatra Dezulovic, mom
Everything begins with you. Once you’ve helped yourself, it’s your duty to help your loved ones, community, country and world. Start from within and expand into your surroundings. It makes no sense to help strangers when your house is crumbling.

5. “How will you know what you like if you haven’t tried anything?” – Cami-leigh Kennedy (paraphrasing what her mom said), friend
Sometimes you have to try a lot of different things before you discover your passions.

6. “Whatever you do you will be a success... (if) you do everything with a whole heart.” – Cami-leigh Kennedy, friend
Give it your all and you will reap the benefits.

7. “Take the route of least resistance.” – Hardie van Niekerk, friend
Take the easiest, simplest route to where you are going or what you are trying to achieve. Explore proven methods and don’t make life too complicated and difficult.

8. “You can’t call a samoosa a cake just because it came out of the oven.” – Michelle Dezulovic, sister
Don’t prejudge or follow stereotypes. Regardless of shared backgrounds and interests, we are all unique.

9. “Pamet u glavi.” (Keep your brain/mind in your head) – Matko Dezulovic, dad
Think before you act.

10. “Love and light. Love and light!” – Toi Waner, friend
Do everything with love and light because that is true heartfelt intent.

11. “What you need is a bottle of guts.” – Ronnie Carelse, friend
Have the courage to face your fears and just do it!

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Maja Dezulovic

Blue Daisies and Purple Grass


The title of this blog is taken from a poem I wrote a few years back.  The poem was inspired by negative images I'd created using my photographs.  The imaging effects turned the yellow daisies in my parents' back garden blue, and the green grass and leaves became purple.  One of my photographs is the one above.  I liked the look of this alternate reality and so I wrote a poem about it.

Blue Daisies and Purple Grass

I

Let’s pick our autumn daisies
they’re in full bloom.
Before they cut the grass
and send them to
their doom.

Let’s run wild in the sunshine
before it surrenders to the ever-nearing moon.
Sing in the drying rain
and count the seconds passing between
sparkling lightning and thunder-roar.

I’m going to arrange
those little flowers
into a miniature bouquet
that’ll make a child smile
because when she receives
them,
she will know
that because somebody loved
her,
the day was worthwhile.

II

My life was spent
rushing
and pursuing inauthentic passions
of the misplaced type of
material green.

I no longer need a shrine
of accolades.
Of false achievements.
To guard my dreams
with two-metre palisades.

Aspirations are fairies
that turn into demons
if you lock them up too
long,
because your lifetime goes
by-and-by
and you’ll ask:
“What went wrong?”
“Why didn’t I give them a try?”

III

Oh, you dimwit!
Why do a bit here,
a little there
when you know it won’t
come together?
You simply don’t care!

Why surrender to mediocrity
when you know that greatness
is your top priority?
You ignore dreams of old
and passions strong
to waste hard work on
frivolity!

Fears are unreal.
They’re illusions in your
mind.
The joy that’ll come will be
beyond any emotion you’ll
ever feel.
So, stop gawking and wondering
if those old dry wounds
are ready to peel...

They’ve fallen off!

...
Maja Dezulovic

Tug of War



Our first children's book under Noskin Books was published in Kindle eBook format on Amazon in 2014.

Tug of War is a tale about two puppies that play a game of Tug of War.  This is a photographed short story, ideal for reading to and with young children.  In nineteen pages, we follow their cute but intense game and learn that we don't always have to be the strongest to win.  Perseverance and determination go a long way.

One of the puppies, Leeto, is our very own Cocker Spaniel.  We enjoy watching him grow up, learn and interact with others.  We are passionate about animals and want children (and people in general) to gain a better understanding of them.  Animals are not a threat to us nor are they subordinate to us.  They are furthermore not mere toys or play-things but can make good friends and companions to us.  Each animal is unique and has a personality and needs of its own.  The key to better interaction between us and other species is understanding.  It often starts with a little bit of observation.  This book provides that to young readers by giving a sneak peek into the life and playtime of two canine friends.

We hope that people will you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed putting it together.

*Tug of War is currently unavailable for purchase as we are updating the book, ahead of publishing more books under the Noskin brand.  I will update this as things change.  Please contact me if you have any queries.

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Maja Dezulovic

The Importance of Reading to Children


One of my fondest childhood memories is of my mother reading bedtime stories to me.  Leisure reading has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and it’s a habit I intend on promoting.  I’ve seen some parents fail to introduce reading as a fun activity to their kids.  They tackle reading school assigned books with their children as a chore.  Kids learn from their parents.  If they learn that reading is tedious and boring to the adults around them, they in turn view it in the same way.

The cycle has continued for generations with low-income families tending to read less and a general decline in the number of readers per population.  Public libraries are empty and have become an anachronism in some communities.  Middle and high income earners buy their books from bookstores and a small percentage of people from lower income households read at all.  It’s startling because poorer families need the information and learning the most in order to progress but fail to take advantage of government funded resources.  Reading is also not perceived as “cool”.  Reading or owning many books is not an indicator of wealth as much as owning a big screen TV and wearing the latest fashions is.  That is a very misleading message, especially to children.  If knowledge is not valued by our culture, it won’t be valued by the children growing up in our society.  Literacy rates are low among prison inmates because people thought it wiser to steal goods that would make them seemingly wealthier rather than to educate themselves.

Up to the age of five, kids learn primarily by imitating adult behaviour.  For this reason, it is important that we read as well.  Children who are taught that reading is important to their growth by parents who do not read themselves may find it somewhat confusing.  Are parents hypocrites who make their children read when they themselves find it boring?  Or is reading merely a learning aid to help us grow in childhood that no longer becomes necessary when we’re all grown up?

Reading or not reading is habit forming.  Children who learn to read at a young age are imaginative and develop the ability to focus.  These kids also tend to do better in school as they learn not to view studying as a tedious task.  You can tell when a child is a slow reader or learner in school.  Classroom peers will notice, possibly to the detriment of that child’s social interaction, and teachers are also aware.

Educators cannot be expected to be the only ones contributing to the kids’ education.  The parents play a vital role.  I remember reading with my mom as a fun pastime we’d share.  Although she was not an avid reader, seeing her enjoy reading books and magazines reinforced the message of reading as a fun activity.  It is easier nowadays with e-readers, the affordability of eBooks and access to thousands of free books online.  We have more resources to encourage us.

Statistically, one in five people are illiterate globally.  Two thirds of illiterate adults are women.  98% of illiterate people live in developing nations.
It is also distressing that literate people in developed countries take their skills for granted.  In the UK, 35% of adults never read for pleasure.  Statistics in the United States are somewhat controversial with some results showing that a third of high school graduates never read books again in their lives versus others who claim that 76% of American adults read at least one book per year.
In the words of Mark Twain, “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”

Globally, we need to find ways to increase literacy and reading rates in order to decrease poverty and ignorance.  Teaching our children is a good start.

Take a look at these two articles about the benefits of reading:
http://www.best-books-for-kids.com/benefits-of-reading.html
http://www.rif.org/us/literacy-resources/articles/reading-with-your-child.htm

Statistics about reading and literacy:
http://www.readfaster.com/education_stats.asp
http://readingagency.org.uk/news/reading-facts003/
http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/01/16/a-snapshot-of-reading-in-america-in-2013/
http://www.uis.unesco.org/literacy/Pages/data-release-map-2013.aspx

For the love of Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_literacy_rate

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Maja Dezulovic