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Dangerous Game

Greene and Botton on Seduction


Maybe it’s December coming soon, I am growing softer after all, even if I can’t feel it that much, on the contrary, I feel more and more my extraverted thinking side getting ahead of everything, with all its intolerance and self-righteousness. Not sure, even though December is indeed creeping in my chest. I am definitely getting into December mood.  All I know is that I needed to have a break from Greene’s Art of Seduction, cheating on him with Botton.

At times, I thought you had written it.

Or, at least, studied it very deeply, learnt all the manoeuvres, mastered them, and applied the concepts. On me, C. and God only knows on how many more women before, during, and after me. You graduated magna cum laude on this one, I can tell you that.

Felt it back then, feel it now.

Saw you on those lines, in almost every single one of them. Got tempted, tried to convince myself I would not fall down that rabbit hole again, almost texted you. Fortunately, I drew back every time, recalling that while I am still starting to walk, you are already running marathons. Too attached and still too hopeful to play with fire.

It was all becoming so intolerable, me feeling so helpless, I had to take a break.

Don’t get me wrong, Robert Greene is a genius. Love the way the book is written, the historical and literature examples, not so much his matter-of-factly way of putting things, sounding like a psychopath at times.

Fascinated and horrified, I could not stop reading.

He writes to people like me, I do believe he might be an intuitive introverted feeling type. He speaks to us, the hopeless romantics, the ones without malice, the believers, the dreamers. The fools who most easily fall for the D. Juan’s crap. Vague promises, empty albeit beautiful words, not so grand gestures, good intentions, gentleman manners, all pose, but no actual and proper attitude, initiative, manhood, even. He is so blunt one has to believe it face value. Backed by a life full of examples of such types, the ones you see from a distance and think: Who would fall for such BS, and end up falling hard and fast in love with them.

Not being the only one, you were by far the best of them all.

Because of your skills, the wisdom with which you craft and master the noble art of seduction, but, above all, because you had it all. A perfect fit. At least, in my imagination, fantasy, and projection.

After the last one of your kind, I ventured: Hope I got rid of the D. Juan types for good, this time. A month later, you reached out, we wished all the best for the holidays and, by Spring, I could not stop thinking about you. Again…

The Art of Seduction is a big book and I love the graphic design as much as I like the main text. The shapes of the text at the beginning of each chapter are, themselves, the ones of seduction. Almost finishing. Then, I need to go back, to the beginning, and read all the side notes. He tells loads of little stories on the side notes. About myths, fiction stories, with quotes from other books and insights from other authors.

A Seduction bible.

Pisses me off a bit that he speaks about seduction when he should be talking about plain manipulation. Even though they are both manipulative, at least seduction should have a higher purpose, morals, aim to more elevated and noble spirits. Instead of resuming them both to power and control, without a shred of mightier feelings like love, intimacy, and connection. Aiming at the soul, instead of the ego, the shadow or the persona.

Definitely written by a man, regardless his psychological type.

Trying to assimilate it all, wishing I could stick every bit of it inside my forehead, I saw you, me, and the seduction dance you led so masterfully. My brain telling me to believe it point blank. That was all there was and nothing else. Making the main character a narcissistic bastard with absolutely no feelings for me whatsoever. Whilst another side of me was wondering, and wishing to know, if any of the things you said were true, heartfelt, sincere. If there was a little and unique space of my own in your heart, mind, long, and busy life.

Now that I think of it, it has been my question since the day we got apart. I feel there’s room for me in your heart, I fill a particular crack in your life, where I stand alone. Not always present in your immediate thoughts and memories, but there, nonetheless. That, before you die, you’ll remember me. Despite reason, objectivity and logical telling otherwise. I can’t conceive it… Feeling and intuition guided me all my life, I trust them. Even knowing you’d say anything to seduce me, like a professional, would not stop until I fall again, just to go MIA right afterwards. Leaving me crushed on the ground, incapable of moving. Even so, even if I’d never ever know the truth about you.

Other times, I just think you can’t even remember I exist. It is the only justification for “the way we never write”.

Greene writes from a position of power, unattainable, out of reach.

A professor from a pulpit. Lecturing. Brilliant, like a guru, a master, a mentor. Otherwise it would be a guide, a text book, even worse, a self-help one, God forbid. It is far from it. Greene is a psychologist. A very Junguian one.

Whilst Botton writes from a more mundane position, as brilliant, though, albeit from a human perspective. Vulnerable, blunt, as only men can be, God bless their brains, but closer.

Relatable, like a confession from a friend.

After listening to a lecture on romanticism, I got very curious about him. Having bought two books, decided to start with Essays on Love. I was delighted. Finished it in three days and was astonished to find out that he had published it at 23 years old. Absolutely loved it and am starting the Course of Love right after that one.

Greene’s other two books will have to wait.

I am punishing him like women do, giving him the silent treatment, ignoring their crying for attention, a space in my life. I’ll get there…

The best of unrequitted love and passion is the amount of books you find out and get to read. It helps you to understand the object of your obsession and, above all, yourself.

It also reminded me of our story, if I can call it that. I should say: It reminded me of my projections… Therefore, reassuring to read as well. Finding out I am not that special after all wasn’t as bad as I thought.

Misery loves company, they say.

Hate that sentence, it means that we are miserable on purpose, perpetuate the victim mood just to get attention. Not the case. It is rather a matter of not feeling like an idiot all by myself. All romantics are fools, I am glad I am not alone on this one, for a change.

If on Greene I saw you, on Botton I saw me.

Greene is distant, cold, inaccessible, a thick wall, he is there to teach you a lesson, warn you, prepare you for battle. Once that’s done, he’ll be gone. To his special and spiritual world, where there isn’t doubt or anxiety, because he is a master and knows it all, so spiritually high. Leaving you in a crowded and silent arena, with no room for questions, just for thought, digestion, sinking in. No proximity between master and pupil. You being eager for more…

Botton is just around the corner, he is the guy in the cafe, speaking directly to me, as if I was his best friend, a sister, almost, non-judgmental, just listening, holding his thumb if need be, embracing his words, feelings, despair, and incomprehension. His frustration, his puzzlement, his confusion, his disbelief. Understanding every single bit of his mood-swings. Doesn’t even need to wait for 5pm, to get into a somber pub and start drinking, to let it out. Can’t be bothered, not worried about how he’d look, what others might think of a man opening up his heart in broad daylight. Nothing else exists anyway, he’d better get it out of his chest.

Greene fascinates me, Cotton is relatable.

Fascination exerts its power and influence over me, it leads me to dazzlement, making me stick around, wanting to get it, enjoy a bit of it, grab it to myself, have a private and intimate moment alone with it. Suck it to the bones. Since that never happens, it only leads me down one road: loads and loads of pain.

I already had a lot of that from you.

Relatable means possible, a life with, for the good and for the bad. For dreams but above all for reality, for disease and death, sickness and mood swings, meals and bills.

I think I am getting old… And being old requests relatability, with adventure, but relatability.

Maybe it’s just December. Coming closer and closer…



We must learn how to endure existential solitude. Seeking other people for a quick fix is just the same as looking out for drugs, drinks, shopping, sweets, work, whatever takes your mind off your existential solitude… It is not even a quick fix, as it fixes nothing, it just postpones dealing with the matter, which will strike even harder next time. We are not always strong enough to endure in existential solitude, but we must try, whenever we are strong enough, to stay there, look it in the eye, and manage not to run away from it. Just cry it, as simple as that, cry it. It is not a matter of playing the victim, it is actually respecting the bit of you that is suffering, in need, neglected. Seeking other people for a quick fix is even worse sometimes, people can’t take their own existential drama, you can be sure they won’t take yours. They will not listen to you, they will offer some piece of advice not to deal with their own stuff, leaving you even lonelier. It is fair enough to believe they would honestly want to cheer you up, that is fine. What about when you don’t need cheering? What about when you only need someone to listen, to embrace whatever you’re dealing with without falling into the ego trap of giving you a solution. Or fake it with chocolate, cigarettes, joints or a beer. That is most likely the worst kind of loneliness. When you are not seen, considered, appreciated for who you are, your moment of existence, crying, sadness, impotence, confusion, fear, anger. And not even the biggest chocolate in the world would mend it. Chocolate not always replaces an embrace. Sometimes you just need someone to listen and hold you in their arms without a word, any sort of embarrassment, awkwardness, so that your split parts can be brought together. And there’s not that many people willing or able to do that for you.



Tenho pena de não ter escrito diários, relatos, de viagens, dos dias de tédio, tormenta e paixões tórridas. Fotografias não chegam, por não dizerem tudo…

E de não ter guardado todas as cartas, apenas postais.

Diários, cartas e postais são excelentes repositórios de memórias, que tendem a confundir-se umas com as outras e com a forma como percepcionamos acontecimentos, momentos, sensações.

Diários, cartas e postais, muito mais do que objetos que trouxemos de viagens ou lugares especiais, ou fotografias, nas quais não pusemos datas muito menos identificámos os lugares de onde as tirámos, às vezes nem dos nomes que lhes escrevemos nas costas nos lembramos, mesmo que tenhamos uma cara para lhes associar, são o instrumento de trabalho de qualquer escritor que se preze.

Ainda que nos sirvamos da imaginação, da perceção, da sensação, das palavras, que manejamos a nosso bel-prazer, para compor uma história.

Ando obcecada com a verdade, quero saber a verdade sobre a minha história, esta em particular, que ando a contar há ano e pouco. Uma história cheia de devaneios, ilusões, fantasias, delírios, e pouquíssimos factos. Não por não querê-los, mas por não me lembrar. Não me lembro da ordem dos acontecimentos passados dois meses, o que fará passados 20 anos. Agarrar-me a factos sempre me protegeu, a verdade objetiva está nos factos, mesmo que não lhes conheçamos as razões. Contra factos, não há argumentos, subjetividade, perceção, vontade, projeção, ilusão.

Arrependo-me de não ter escrito diários.

E desta minha impulsividade furiosa, que faz que deite fora documentos da minha história. Preciosos, que agora me ajudariam a pôr a cabeça em ordem e a dar tino a algumas emoções. Uma impulsividade de quem quer deter algum controlo sobre a vida, as emoções e o poder que estas têm sobre mim.

Para não voltar a sonhar.

O problema de deitar fora documentos da minha história é precisamente voltar a sonhar com o que e quem não devia. Numa tentativa de não cair em tentação, elimino vestígios do passado para não recordar, não voltar a sofrer, a enlouquecer por não saber, não entender, não viver, não esquecer.

O que acontece é precisamente o que quero evitar.

Como não me lembro, volto a cair no mesmo erro, na mesma conversa, nos mesmos velhos truques e armadilhas, orquestrados pelo meu próprio cérebro.

Num raro momento de discernimento, guardei cópias do que escrevi e tive o rasgo de inteligência de não as juntar a outras memórias, ou teriam tido o mesmo fim, o lixo. São esses bocados de memórias escritos em papéis aos quadradinhos, e cópias de cartas que enviei há mais de 20 anos, que agora me ajudam a pôr os pontos nos is, a conseguir enquadrar o tempo cronológico no mental e na perceção que tive de acontecimentos e das memórias que deles guardei. Era um tempo em que, achava eu, escrevia pouco e nada, apenas vomitava impropérios para conseguir ter alguma paz na cabeça e esperança no coração. Leio relatos em que digo que sim, escrevi imenso, no Verão de 97, mas não tenho quais quer registos físicos, exceto meia dúzia de páginas A4.

Queria que os olhos de quase meio século de hoje, ao ler o que as mãos de um quarto de século escreveram, fossem sábios o suficiente para não entrar em delírios românticos e ganhassem juízo. Quando me dei conta de que nem os olhos do ano passado o conseguem, assemelhando-se mais aos olhos sonhadores, esperançosos, puros, de uma miúda de um quarto de século do que aos de uma suposta sábia de meio século.

Como diria meu santo pai, não tenho juízo nenhum…

Ando a preparar-me para o meio século há uns três anos ou mais. Contente por ter uma idade que começa com um 4. Essa década em que ainda podemos permitir-nos iludirmo-nos um bocadinho em relação à vida e a nós mesmos. Tem sido um horror. São-me sempre muito dolorosos os anos que antecedem a entrada nas décadas. Estes conseguem ter sido os piores de todos. Quando chego lá, passa.

Já só faltam três meses e pouco…

New Book – Livro Novo


About the New Book:

At least I know you exist, are real and not a fantasy, an illusion, a character. Even if rationally knowing I don’t know who you are, have become, what you want. But deep down in my bones, I know. With my aching body and my longing soul. That you exist and for that alone it is worth living.

Knowing I was not dreaming, did not read far too many novels or watched too many movies. 

We are in touch, although we cannot touch each other, feel each other’s heartbeat, look each other in the eye, so that our souls could speak without words. We cannot be together, spend time together, sleep together. The majority of times, it’s not enough, but at least it’s not an hallucination.

A Case of You


Woke up with you today, in my head, Joni Mitchell’s tune: “A Case of You”, from an album, released the year I was born, called Blue. A state of mind I am in so many times I could call it my very own: With the Blues…

Got to know Joni Mitchell late in life. It was love at first hearing…

Replaced Last Time I Saw Richard by A Case of you.

As the first makes tears roll down my face and I don’t feel like crying lately. I’d rather sing.

That’s what I did the whole morning, with the lyrics in front of me, until I knew it by heart, while trying to tune my voice with Joni’s. A handful. Joni has this delicate voice whilst mine sounds more like a thunder sometimes.

Felt like singing it to your ear.

I’d say Oh I am a lonely writer; I live in a box of books and would leave the rest as it is. Sadly, you are very far away, and this song doesn’t call for screaming and shouting.

“Love is touching souls”
Surely you touched mine
‘Cause part of you pours out of me
In these lines from time to time

Oh, you are in my blood like holy wine
You taste so bitter and so sweet
Oh, I could drink a case of you, darling
And I would still be on my feet
Oh, I would still be on my feet

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