All right. I started this post with “And so it is (almost) Christmas….” I went through “And so it is Christmas….” and I hope to be able to finish it and post it as “And so it was Christmas….” which I’m sure I will as the whole 2022 fits that description. And all this time I kept the question below unchanged.

And what have we done? It’s a good question and one that is constantly asked at this time of the year. Every year…

Even if some think talking about Christmas is politically incorrect, it’s a significant discussion and especially question and most people understand exactly that it is meant not as an offense, but as a moment of truth, evaluation, looking upon what happened with the thin hope of learning something to avoid in the future.

So, what have I, or rather we, Ana y Ram, done during 2021? The order is based on my memory, therefore random and possibly frail.

  • Discovered the beauty of life at the young age of … going on 70! The pundits from all walks of life and science tell us that this is the most creative and productive decade of human life. If we are lucky to make it! I therefore thank the universe, the force, God, Jahve, the Buddha, Allah, Krishna and so many others whom I respect even if I cannot name for allowing me to live my life and enjoy my family and friends who are still here and remember the ones who already left this world. I feel so blessed!
  • Traveled a lot. Online – mostly and offline – around the country.
  • Participated in conferences. Online.
  • Read online and offline.
  • Supported my 24 Poems book with reading tours. In real life.
  • Started to work on my new book.
  • Delivered my regular courses in the ASE/Bucharest University of Economic Studies and the University of Bucharest.
  • Developed and delivered tailor made courses for some amazing professionals.
  • Wrote some articles, some reviews, some posts and countless emails. Saw some of the older articles finally published.
  • Had the most amazing gift in a long time – my third grandson! He’s five months old and he already is an awesome young man with incredible powers of gathering a truly international crowd for his baptism. This in itself deserves a novel!

Probably the most humbling experience of all comes from the people who still think of me although I’m no longer part of their daily lives. I never thought I did anything special for them and they somehow still remember me. And then the same is true for some of my former students.

A bit of self-promotion.

And of course, there are so many things I didn’t do, though I really wanted to. But either my time management, or … who knows?!? So many books that I read and wanted to review, so many people I wanted to connect with. Maybe in 2022.


Articles or books? Articole sau cărți?

My dream has always been to write “the book”. What it was going to be about – that was/still is to be decided. People would be reading mostly books in my world. It seems they still are – in some worlds. I’ll keep this short. With a lot of the writing and publishing, both fiction and non-fiction, being done mostly online, I seem to see around me, my university, my small community of colleagues, mostly the tendency to read and write articles.

This article is good reading for more than one reason. For the content – obviously. And the comments are as interesting and sometimes as long as the article.

For me, however, it’s mainly because the author refers to books. Not articles, but books. While the constant claim and pressure on Romanian students/academics is to read/write articles. Books are slowly dying out in the mind of Romanian university decision makers. And so do Romanian journals. Why do I say that? Because books get little value in the promotion grid.  Obviously there are more reasons than this. It would need a book to explain. In other words, I’m basically saying that our system encourages fragmentary, simplistic, linear thinking. This is relatively all you can do in an article that needs to focus on a single aspect, describe the methods, discuss the results and compute some fancy data in a highly sophisticated equation or, even better, regression, which will generally tell you what you already know.  But it will get you, usually, published. And this is all that matters.

Books on the other hand synthesize and analyse info and give you time to reflect – both as a writer and a reader. They take more time to write and to read. They are, excuse my oversimplification, the luxury of intellectual life. Not in terms of costs – sometimes an article may be as expensive as a book both as production and as purchase costs. But in terms of the realization of the necessity of reading books written by your own community’s members.

I think we are missing out on the reflection side in our world.

Reflecting … to discuss.


Instant article publishing


Visul meu a fost dintotdeauna să scriu “cartea”. Despre ce urma/urmează să fie … încă mai reflectez. În lumea mea oamenii obișnuiau să citească mai degrabă cărți. Se pare că încă o mai fac – în unele locuri. Nu mai lungesc vorba. De când o parte importantă a scrisului și publicatului, atât de ficțiune cât și de non-ficțiune, se întâmplă online, parcă observ în jurul meu, în universitate, mica mea comunitate de colegi, tendința de a citi și scrie articole.

Această lectură este bună pentru mai multe motive. Pentru conținut în mod clar. Și comentariile sunt la fel de interesante și, uneori lungi, precum articolul.

Dar pentru mine articolul este interesant pentru că se referă la cărți. Nu la articole, ci la cărți. Și de ce-ar fi asta interesant? Pentru că există o linie de gândire și presiune care se pune pe studenții/universitarii români de a citi/scrie articole. Cărțile dispar încetul cu încetul din gândirea decidenților din sistemul universitar român. La fel cum dispar și revistele românești. De ce spun asta? Pentru că standardele minimale de evaluare academică, și da, toată lumea scrie cu ochii la ele, nu mai punctează decât foarte puțin cărțile. Sigur că lipsa de interes pentru a scrie cărți are cauze mai complexe. Ar fi nevoie de o carte pentru a le discuta. Cu alte cuvinte, sistemul nostru încurajează gândirea fragmentară, simplistă, liniară. Cam asta poți face într-un articol care trebuie să se concentreze pe un aspect bine definit al cercetării, să descrie metoda de cercetare, să discute rezultatele și să prelucreze datele obținute prin ecuații sofisticate sau, mai bine, prin vreo regresie bine gândită, de obicei de alții nu de autor/i, regresie care-ți va spune, probabil, ceea ce deja știai sau măcar anticipai. Dar cantitativul ajută, de obicei, la publicare. Și asta e tot ce contează.

Pe de altă parte cărțile sintetizează și analizează informațiile și îți oferă timp de reflecție. Atât ca scriitor cât și ca cititor. Durează mai mult să le scrii și să le citești. Ele sunt, cu scuzele de rigoare pentru simplificarea exagerată, un lux al vieții intelectuale. Nu în termeni de costuri – uneori un articol poate costa mai mult atât ca producție, cât și ca achiziție. Ci în înțelegerea importanței necesității cititului de cărți scrise de membrii ai comunității în care trăim.

Cred că în lumea noastră ne pierdem capacitatea de a reflecta.