Glitter and Tears

The reason why I don’t blog much these days is that I am writing a book. Haha. No shit. It’s called “Glitter and Tears” and in the future, I’d like to share bits of it on my blog. Before I do so, however, let me introduce this little attempt at a book of mine.

Why “glitter and tears”?

The title not only represents the two poles of the main character’s personality but of life as it is. I often think about how sad it is that the world is black and white. You’re either happy or sad. Healthy or sick. Good or bad. Alive or dead.

But I don’t think the world is black and white. Or should be. It strives to be full of colours, only us – people – turn it either black or white with our one-sided thoughts. For more than a year now, I’ve had this thought in my head. If everybody has a purpose in life – a trace he or she leaves on this planet – what is mine? Usually, our genetic codes, beliefs, thoughts and memories remain embodied in another person – our child. But I don’t believe having children and helping save the population is our only purpose. We should also attempt to make a change. And if I was to contribute to a change – it would be the change of people’s black and white thinking.

I want to do so via this book.

The main character’s life, in fact, is black and white. She suffers from the bipolar affective disorder, she’s bisexual, has both feminine and masculine features, her whole life revolves around extremes. 

Her life is like day and night. During the day, she’s worried about the night, at night, she doesn’t see the day coming. In the night, she’s wallowing in the darkness unable to get up and turn on the light.

People tag her as weird and unpredictable. Being happy and cheerful one time and sad and miserable another time makes her look immature, unpredictable, unstable, pretentious, deceitful, suspicious, fake… And yet, she doesn’t let her bipolarity define her.


In a nutshell, it is a story about a girl who fights stereotypes, judgements and close-mindedness by living a life on the edge. It is a story that is – just like her life – both amusing and fun but also painful and sad. But more than anything, it is a story about finding love. Not only a romantic kind of love but love in the purest sense of the word – love as the fundamental principle of the human race.

I do not know whether I’ll ever finish it. I don’t know whether someone will ever publish it if I do. But if the book ever hits the shelves of bookshops, I think it’s only good it will happen in Slovakia. Because I think that people here need a scapegoat. Someone who would challenge their moral philosophy. Someone who would sacrifice their reputation to open their eyes. And I want this to be Mila, the main character of the book.

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Edvard Munch

Today I took a day off at work just to go and see the Edvard Munch exhibition in Albertina, Vienna (I didn’t want to go over the weekend – too many people).

The exhibition was called Edvard Munch: love, death, loneliness. And no other three words could describe the Norwegian painter’s life better than that.

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“Like Leonardo da Vinci studied the inside of the human body and dissected corpses, so I am trying to dissect souls.”

I love his painting for the excess of emotions running through the paper or canvas. He was the master of emotions, even though he didn’t experience many positive ones throughout his life. Like I said in one of my previous posts, the negative, or sad emotions for some reason tend to be the strongest. And this is very true with Munch. He could beautifully play with dark emotions. He often painted or drew several copies of the same motif in different color variations just to play with senses and emotions of the onlooker.

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His art revolves around one question: what is life? That’s why he titled his body of work “Frieze of Life”. By the end of the 19. century he started sorting all his to-date works by theme into separate cycles. The Frieze of Life is his own account of life as observed via love, jealousy, sexual desire, depression, anxiety, melancholy, angst…

Edvard Munch led an unhappy, yet rich and thoughtful life. He was melancholy and depressed most of the times but his mind was beautiful. And his life was full of love. It was a destructive and painful love, but that’s how love often is. That’s the kind of love that inspires the most beautiful art.

“My path led along an abyss, some bottomless depth. The angst has been with me for as long as I can remember.”

“I was given a singular role on this earth: a role imposed upon me by a life full of illness, hapless circumstances, and my vocation as an artist. It is a life that does not even know the semblance of happiness, in fact, does not yearn for happiness at all.” 

Munch was not only a painter, he was a poet, too. When painting, he used to write down his thoughts. They’re leaving me speechless (and I think they’ll do the same to you).

“Like a star rising from the dark and meeting another star that flashes up for a moment only to disappear again in the dark, so man and woman meet each other. They are gliding along together. They light up in love, a brief flame – and disappear again in different directions. Only few find themselves together in a large blaze in which they can be fully united.”

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“He lay down, but could not sleep. Her image – in the bright summer night, with the pale moon above – stood before him. Her eyes in the shadows. And yet – the way she looked at him. Like she was waiting for something. Should he take a chance? Should he kiss her? Wasn’t she expecting it? He had never kissed before.”

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“When my eyes look into your big eyes – in the pale moonlight, with delicate hands weaving invisible threads that are tied around my heart. They are guided by my eyes and by your big dark eyes. And around your heart. Your eyes are so big, now they are so close to me. They are like two big dark skies.”

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“The ancients were right to compare love to a flame, for like a flame, love only leaves ashes behind.”

“I know the mystic look of the jealous. It is a searching look, full of hatred and full of love.” 

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“The picture is a warning. It says that love goes hand in hand with death. And yet, it is only a woman kissing a man on the neck.”

“Togetherness has a price: the loss of individuality.”

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And there’s a reason why his painting “The scream” became one of the most popular paintings of all time. Even though the three color versions of “The scream” were painted by Munch some years before, the drawing became acknowledged during the interwar period, for which it became a sort of a symbol. The despair and fear coming out of the painting served as a representation of the era.

This is Munch’s note on the Scream:

“I was walking down the road with two friends when the sun set; suddenly the sky turned as red as blood. I stopped and leaned against the fence, feeling unspeakably tired. Tongues of fire and blood stretched over the bluish black fjord. My friends went on walking, while I lagged behind, shivering with fear.”

IT crowd

I never knew many IT people. And those few I knew I used to call nerds or geeks or just weirdos. You know what this is all about: stereotypes. I saw them on the telly, in films etc. where they were pictured as unsocial, boring and geeky, so I naturally built this image about them in my mind…

This reminds me of my grandma. She used to force me try new meals when I was little and whenever I refused she asked me: Have you ever tried it before? I said I didn’t. And she always replied: Then don’t judge! Try it first and then decide whether you like it or not.

This is so true. I never had a real IT nerd for a friend. Yeah, I knew several people who studied computer science but it was different when we were students. I never experienced what it’s like to be inside the environment. So I kept on nurturing this stereotype until I got this job.

And I found myself right IN the environment: it’s just five of us in this little startup – three software developers, one designer and me. Aside from these three “nerds” I closely work with I got to know lots of others because we sit in a co-working space of more than 40 people and there are so many of them! (Actually, I feel like a weirdo most of the times – not understanding half the things they’re talking about.) I always thought that I, as a computer anti-talent, can never get on with these people. I thought our opinions, lifestyles and sense of humour are worlds apart.

It turns out they’re NOT. I realised this thanks to these two people: Milka and Juraj (in this picture we were preparing breakfast for our fellow co-workers, which is a Monday tradition).

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To put it simply – I love them. They’re so good, kind, genuine, honest, funny…  I can’t really describe them without having to use superlatives. I have absolute trust towards them. I know that when I tell them something they won’t pass it on. I know that when I’m in a bad mood in the morning they’ll cheer me up during the day. We are so different, our lives outside work are so different… but for an unknown reason we click. I’ve found great friends in these two in the time when I really needed a friend and it makes me so happy I could die.

This might be a huge generalisation, but I’ve found out something about IT people: They’re pure souls. They seem somehow unspoiled by the world outside. Isn’t it odd? I feel more corrupt and rotten by 21st century than people who basically live off modern technology and development. But I am merely a consumer, internet and social media user, online shopper etc… while they are the scientists behind all this.

There are plenty of other “scientists” in our co-working space who inspired me and still inspire me every day (they have no idea of course). It’s strange but there’s one thing they all seem to be giving off: tranquility. For me, due to my turbulent past couple of months, that’s something I am very thankful for.

I consider myself so lucky that I can work with such good people. No fake, no schemes, no malice. I wouldn’t want to work in a place where there’s no trust, where relationships are iffy, where people are afraid of saying something out loud in fear someone might use it against them one day.

I love going to work. On Sunday evenings I’m all excited that it’s Monday tomorrow. It’s quite a paradox, that one of the reasons I like my job so much are the very people I was so worried I’d never get on well with. That’s the irony of life 🙂

Anniversary

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It’s Katka on the Shore’s first birthday!

Well… time flies. It feels as if it was just a week ago that I was sitting at the table in my old London house, writing my first post. My housemate Chris was at his laptop in front of me, editing some video, when he told me: “So you’re starting your own blog, awesome! Can I read it?” And I was like: “Oh please don’t, I’d be embarrassed. After all, it’s nothing really, just my random thoughts.” Overcoming the initial self-consciousness about showing my thoughts to the public was hard, but in the end I learned not to be ashamed of showing my emotions, sharing my opinions, even confessing some of my secrets.

It had been a year full of lessons. Good and bad. And I am very thankful for them.

On this special day I would like to express my greatest gratitude to all of those who’d been reading my posts and supporting me with their nice comments.

I always thought: “Who’s ever going to care about what’s on my mind?” But… to my surprise, there are some who care. To this day I have published 134 posts and gained 192 followers. That’s more I’ve ever hoped for.

And even though I was kind of neglecting Katka on the Shore lately, I’m planning to keep on going. I hope I’ll regain my motivation to write so that this blog can live and flourish again.

THANK YOU! 

Sziget festival pt. 2

Sziget is one of the biggest summer music festivals in Europe and unlike most of them, it is a 7-day festival, which is huge!

And it’s in Budapest, which makes it even more cool.

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Or Udapes 🙂

Today I read a couple of realities about Sziget on Wikipedia and this made me giggle: “Being located on an island, some festival goers have tried to enter by swimming across the Danube [river] or by paddling across in an inflatable raft.” Well I wouldn’t exactly call them “festival goers” but something like “festival intruders”. But the thought of somebody actually trying to get in by swimming across the river is hilarious. I can also imagine someone slightly intoxicated trying to swim from the island to enjoy himself a little Budapest trip in the middle of the night.

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Sziget is also known as the island of freedom. Some people took it too literally if I may be honest, but all in all I was surprised how lovely and nice everyone was. Many times I got in a conversation with someone – like on a toilet, at the bar, in the crowd – and that someone turned out to be a really nice and positive person. I guess it’s the reality thing. Everyone’s literally left the reality behind and enjoyed oneself.

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All around the island were these little surprises like decorated trees, passage of umbrellas, flowers installed on bars and stalls, art pieces… Sziget was just a full audio-visual pleasure.

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Even some bins got to be decorated!

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Speaking about the audio pleasure. The main highlight of the Saturday evening – Kings of Leon – was a bit of a disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, they were good and everything but definitely not a highlight. For me, Major Lazer was the best. They stole the whole evening!

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So thanks Sziget for a beautiful weekend. Thanks to my friends as well, of course! It’s not about where you are but who you are with!

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So what I learned this weekend:

  1. You’re never too to rock’n’roll.
  2. But you might be too old to go watch the show from the middle of the crowd of 20,000 people.
  3. Hungarian “palinka” (meaning spirit distilled from fruits such as cherries or plums) is the best! Especially the cherry one!
  4. Never wear a new dress to a festival.
  5. If something costs 1,500 it does not necessarily mean it’s expensive (that’s approx. 5 euros).

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See you next year Sziget!

“Liebster Award” nomination post

Thank you bookloverbabbles for nominating me for the Liebster Award. 

Until now I didn’t quite know what this award is about but now that I looked into it a bit I think it’s a nice idea to bring recognition to newer blogs.

The rules of this award are as follows:

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11 QUESTIONS BY BOOKLOVERBABBLES:

1. Booktubers or Book bloggers? 

Until now I didn’t know “Booktubers” existed, so I guess I’d go for Book bloggers.

2. What’s your favorite stand alone?

This is a bit awkward but I have no idea what stand alone is. Once I find out, I’ll decide which one’s my favourite 🙂

3. The longest you’ve gone without reading?

Not sure… If I’m not reading a book, at least I go through some blogs, news and such, so I guess I can say I read every day.

4. Who’s your favorite fictional villain?

Tom Marvolo Riddle a.k.a. Lord “nosey” Voldemort.

5. What’s a genre you’re beginning to like?

A “virtual literature”. By that I mean blog posts and all other beautiful short pieces I sometimes find online.

6. What novel would you most like a film adaption on?

It doesn’t really matter. It will end up a movie anyway. I’m sure of it 😉

7. Your favorite book as a child?

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

8. Which book are you always recommending to others?

Haruki Murakami – South of the Border, West of the Sun, or Richard Yates – Revolutionary Road.

9. A book/series you think is underrated?

Young Hearts Crying by Richard Yates.

10. Do you prefer reading a book with just one POV or multiple?

Multiple most definitely.

11. Do you write?

Yes. I’m writing a novel which I’m gonna finish maybe in like 10 years (judging from the pace of my progress).

ELEVEN RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME:

  1. I frown a lot which is why I’ve recently discovered a wrinkle in between my eyebrows.
  2. Talking about eyebrows, I’m pretty proud of mine.
  3. My favourite colour is black (and white).
  4. I love British accent.
  5. I’m a huge collector. Or you call me a hoarder. I collect/hoard everything.
  6. My favourite english words are rain, river and willow. I love how they sound and what they represent.
  7. I admit I sometimes buy a book only because I like the title.
  8. I fell in love with the Lord of the Rings when I was 12 – year 2000 (before it was cool). I started reading it only because I liked the title.
  9. I am a huge Potter fan too. My mum bought me Baby Jesus got me the first book for Christmas which I regard as an important milestone in my life.
  10. I sometimes like to refer to myself in third person.
  11. I like putting stickers on everything. Look what I’ve done to my poor old laptop.

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I NOMINATE THESE BLOGGERS:

I was going through the list of those who follow my blog and those who I follow and I genuinely thought I’m easily going to pick 11 of them. But it wasn’t that easy. Why? Because I’m kinda weird, I don’t know. I couldn’t pick anyone because I have this block inside of me that doesn’t allow me to ask or to suggest anything to people I don’t know personally. I don’t want them to feel obliged to answer my questions or whatever. Hard to explain.

So I therefore nominate anyone who:

1. Reads this post.
2. Has ever read anything on my blog and it’s obvious I know of his/hers blog – meaning that I’ve liked or commented on his/hers posts.
3. Wants to answer my questions and keep this Liebster Award going by nominating other people.

So go ahead and think of this as if I’m nominating you 🙂

MY 11 QUESTIONS TO YOU: 

  1. If you could have one superpower what would it be?
  2. If you were to describe yourself via any literary character, who would it be?
  3. If you could invite your favourite author or any other artist for a coffee or tea, who would it be and what would you ask him/her?
  4. If you caught a goldfish, what would be your three wishes?
  5. Who’s your favourite poet?
  6. Do you have a passion for collecting something (like, say, postcards, clippings, dvds, vinyl records…)?
  7. If you had a time machine, what place or time from the past or future would you like to visit?
  8. What in your life are you most proud of?
  9. What’s your favourite quote?
  10. What’s your favourite book?
  11. Has any book ever made you cry? If so, what book was it?