My satirical short story “Der Impfpass”, based on Kafka and on current events, has been published at the New English Review, here. I’ve been collaborating with them since last year, mostly with fiction.

Also, remember that my personal blog with longer non-fiction articles is now found at contrarium.substack.com. Here at the site I will be posting mostly updates about our books, magazines or other projects, and occasional shorter texts. Thanks for reading!

This is me playing (very badly) “In the Bleak Midwinter”, a wonderful Christmas song with lyrics (actually a poem) by Christina Rossetti, and music by Gustave Holst. However, I am still learning and I play really badly. Check for other versions for a better experience. Hopefully, one day I will learn to play it…

Here we are at 2022, but it feels more like 2020, a dejà vu feeling with “lockdowns” and new restrictions popping all over again. I was hoping for a less mad 2022, but I am not sure it will happen.

That said, here at Contrarium we have many plans. New upcoming books and a new Geist magazine coming in May.

NOTE: here at the website blog, from now on I will be publishing mostly news related to books, literature, film and other cultural projects. For longer and more interesting texts about culture, society or just personal thoughts, please head out to our Substack blog, contrarium.substack.com

Happy New Year!

Recently, I received many corporate emails from different companies wishing “Happy Holidays”, “Happy Season”, but curiously enough not one of them was wishing “Merry Christmas”. One of them had the outline of a Christmas tree, but it only wished “Happy New Year”, even though it was sent on Christmas’ Eve.

And yet, it is Christmas. No one can stop it.

I always loved Christmas. I always liked the imagery, both Christian and pagan, and I enjoyed the festivities, the music, the food, and of course, most of all reuniting with the family. Once more, due to the current surreal regulations, it is not possible for me to be together with my extended family, but I am having a great time nevertheless.

It snowed during the night and now we have a wonderful white landscape outside.

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Today, even though it’s only early December, there was a lot of snow. It had fallen the previous night and all the streets were white.

So I went out for my morning walk and I saw this little girl walking all alone, with a “Frozen” bag and a huge “FP2” mask covering her face. She said “Hallo”. I smiled at her. I couldn’t see if she smiled back because she had her mask on, but she kept staring at me.

Then she kept on walking, and a little later stopped to play in the snow.

It’s always sad to see children with masks on, not only because they are basically immune to the disease, but because it teaches them to see the world, and the very air we breath, as something bad or dangerous.

Yes, apparently there is a disease out there. But how about treating the sick, giving the vaccine to those who want it, and stop this whole charade of trying to use the pandemic to remodel society?

I notice people now are talking about “yearly boosters” and “health passes forever”, but no one seems to be talking about “ending the pandemic” anymore. I suppose at this time they have even stopped pretending that this is more about “health passes” than it is about controlling a disease. They just want their damn passes. And of course the vaccine has to me made mandatory, as it is being made in some countries, because who would volunteer for a new injection every six months? An injection that doesn’t even stop spread, much less “end the pandemic”.

Is this the world we want to give our children?

I haven’t posted in a while, with all the world apparently going insane, with all the nonsense of “health passes” and mandatory vaccinations. I didn’t think we would live in a technocratic sci-fi dystopia in my lifetime, but it is here. Honestly, anyone that after more than two years of failed policies still believes that all this is done for “health reasons”, did not understand anything. The “health passes” and constant tracking are an end in themselves. Of course they will outlast “corona” and whatever the next pandemic is declared to be. They may even be used for unrelated reasons such as CO2 consume, or anything really. Twenty years after the sole “shoe bomber” attempt, we still have to remove our shoes before boarding a plane, so I doubt that the useless “health passes” (useless to contain a pandemic, useful for other reasons for governments and big corporations) will be removed any time soon. Unless people fight. But, I don’t see much fight. Anyway, I am here. I will try to post more often from now on.

My latest short story, “Letter to Mack“, was published in the July issue of the New English Review. It is part of the collection “The Sphere“, available through Amazon. I have been publishing at the NER since January this year.

I was away from here for a little while, working and concerned with other stuff. But now I am back, and so is Geist magazine, in a beautiful Summer edition, that you can read online or purchase in print from our shop. Since I prefer reading in paper, I recommend the print version, of course.

It took a while, but I think it’s worth it. Let me know your thoughts.

I would like to wish all readers and whoever visits this website (it can’t be too many) a Happy Easter. It’s a nice sunny day here, I hope it is too wherever you are.

As a Easter message, I give you here Strindber’gs words from a book I recently edited and published:

“All the errors and mistakes which we have made should serve to instil into us a lively hatred of evil, and to impart to us fresh impulses to good; these we can take with us to the other side, where they can first bloom and bear fruit.

That is the true meaning of life, at which the obstinate and impenitent cavil in order to escape trouble.

Pray, but work; suffer, hut hope; keeping both the earth and the stars in view. Do not try and settle permanently, for it is a place of pilgrimage; not a home, but a halting-place. Seek truth, for it is to be found, but only in one place, with Him who Himself is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

(August Strindberg,The Blue Book“)

August Strindberg, by the way, also wrote a wonderful little play called “Easter”, it’s one of his least known works, but it’s very good. It’s one of his least gloomy plays, even with some humorous moments. You can find it at Gutenberg.

People who know me know that I have been very critical almost from the very start of the whole global reaction to “Covid” and the unprecedented use of authoritarian measures such as forced masks and “lockdowns”, among other measures which have proven to be not only useless, but harmless.

I am also very wary of this strange mass vaccination campaign with a new technology whose long-term effects we do not know, and ideas such as “vaccine passports” (to my mind, vaccinations should be optional and never forced, directly or indirectly).

Now, many people are hoping that as the pandemic eventually subsides, things will get back to “normal”. But will they? Hasn’t “normal” already changed by the imposition of such norms and such technology?

Let’s say the pandemic ends, everyone is happy, we don’t hear so much about “Covid” again. Great. But then, some other virus comes up, or perhaps it’s “global warming”, or “bio-terrorism”, or some other natural or artificial accident. Won’t governments and authorities immediately go into the same, or perhaps even worse, measures?

Once they have been deployed, things like constant surveillance, almost total digitalization of money, education and entertainment, imposition of “social distancing”, etc, won’t go away. Just like having to take off your shoes or not being able to bring a water bottle before boarding a plane have never gone away, even if there was only one (very suspicious) case of a “shoe bomber” and, as far as I know, no cases of “water bottle” bombers.

So, no, I don’t think we will go back to “normal”, we are already in “normal”, this is “normal” now. Whether you like it or not.

(For more about where this “new normal” can take us, read my short story “The Great Unvaxxed” published at the Off-Guardian.)

My short story “You don’t know what real loneliness feels like” was just published at the New English Review, April 2021 edition (they shortened the title to “Loneliness”, which I don’t like so much, but it’s OK). The story “The Great Unvaxxed” was also recently published in the Off-Guardian (March 29).

Both stories are part of the collection “The Sphere”, available at Amazon or at a cheaper price on our shop. It is a book with just a few short stories written during the ‘pandemic’ of 2020/2021.

I may be publishing other stories and articles in the near future, so keep a look for that. I will post the links here.

P. S. Also “Scenes from 2030” was published now at the Off-Guardian. That one is more humorous, check it out.

We recently had a little event commemorating the first edition (Winter) of our “Geist” magazine of literature and art, which was very nice. The magazine is still available for sale at our web shop (we already had a few orders!) in the print version, or to be read or downloaded in pdf format for free here.

We are now planning a second number for Spring, to be published by the end of May, so if anyone wants to send either texts (short stories, poems or articles) or art (paintings, photographs, illustrations), just contact us at our email.

The theme is free, although it can be related to Spring, either directly or indirectly. Contributions are unpaid, but you get a free copy of the print magazine (There will also a free web magazine available for all).

Thanks! Happy Easter!

A new book of original short stories is now available. All the stories (except two) were written during the recent “pandemic” that started on February 2020 and is still going on. A few of the stories are thematically related to current events, but others are not. Some are science fiction, some are humorous, some are a bit dark. Still, they all seem to match together somehow. The book can be purchased on Amazon in both print or ebook format, or at our own little shop.

We are creating a new series of one-minute videos to promote our book “Our Pets and Us” (available at Amazon and at our shop. The first one is about the domestication of dogs. Enjoy!

I am not usually a great fan of contemporary poetry, but here’s a pretty nice poem by American poet Christine E. Black about living under lockdown. Republished from here.

Ragamuffins in Lockdown Time

I want to be the child
In my neighborhood,
Kicking a ball down a wet street,
Dirty snow and ice crusting cars,
Paint-chipped wagon
And a pile of bikes in the yard,
His little brother
And a gang of more children,
Trailing behind. One bangs a stick
On the ground, all their clear
Brown faces shine, eyes dance
In the cold. His immune system
Wrestles earnestly, playfully
With wondrous germs of the air,
And on the skin of his little brother,
In the slobber of the dog,
The grime on the ball
From the corner of the basement
Next to the crumple
Of his father’s work clothes,
His mother’s nurse’s aide uniform,
Blood splattered on a sleeve.

I want to be their parents,
Gathering at a neighbor’s house
For Holy Communion.
They made a hand-lettered
Church sign for the yard,
Invited the priest to hold Mass
In the living room
For all the neighbors.
And after taking the body and blood,
Those words made flesh
By breath and speech,
I kiss an old aunt, press my cheek
To hers, smell her hair and skin,
Remembered from childhood.
My breath deepens, quiets the cells,
Bathes them in strength and health.

I want to be one of the Boys and Girls
Club children, still driven
To the closed school
Because her mother has to go work
At the chicken factory each day.
The mask they make the girl wear
Drags her chin while she plays
With twenty or so other children
In the abandoned school gym
Or outside behind the vacant building.
She sits in the grass across from a friend,
Clapping patterns, telling stories,
Their caretaker, reading her phone.

I want to be one of the children,
Following behind their father,
Who can’t have them inside
One more day this winter, playing
Video games, watching TV.
They head into the trampoline park,
Dark for months, but now somehow
Open, a few cars in the lot.
Inside, high school and college students,
Who have to have the job
Are face-masked seven or eight hours,
Like all the others, delivering Dominoes
Or Grub Hub, waiting tables
In half-capacity restaurants,
Stocking Walmart shelves, scanning,
Bagging at grocery stores, their glasses
Fogging, acne worsening, minds dulled
From low oxygen, wondering what
In the world may happen next.

I want to be a child piled in the family car,
Driving narrow, steep West Virginia roads
To a mountain cabin, where they’ll meet
Maybe a dozen or more family and friends.
Some will forage for mushrooms
Or bow hunt, they’ll tell stories,
Wade in cold streams, build a fire
To cook meat at dusk. I want to be
One of their parents in a sleeping bag
With my husband, by the fire
After everyone else has gone to bed.