Category Archives: passion

Reputation Management and Appropriation, Lessons in Ethics from Edmond Dantès

My study of communications and public relations was taught by passionate adherents to Ivy Lee’s Declaration of Principles – that it is the ethical responsibility of a public relations practitioner to offer uncompromising truth to the public on behalf of one’s clients. Perhaps because of this, and despite working in high tech for 16 years, it should be un-surprising that I view the use of technology in the form of bots exponentially deployed during the United States 2016 presidential elections, let alone anywhere else, as abhorrent.

My various social media accounts address the complexities of my person; Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram serve as outlets for my professional existence while Pinterest and Facebook are more intimate expressions – at the intersection of these social platforms is my blog. While I have a blog I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself ‘a blogger’ (it is not a commercial venture). Yet my writing on this platform, having gone viral, has had impact – in part responsible for shifting public policy and the proposed exploitation of the pristine waters of the Adriatic in 2015/2016.  While building my own Instagram presence I admit to being thoroughly perplexed as to how (with the quality of photos and nominal content offered) fellow travel specific accounts could possibly have earned followers approaching 100,000 in less than a month. Thus, the clarity offered in reading Jess Gibson’s Dear PRs post referencing ‘bot-gate’ was genuinely appreciated, and it’s also why I take a particular delight at the failure of Instagress.

The truth has always found a way to be revealed, in our connected world discovery of appropriation, fraud or illicit behavior comes down to days, minutes or even seconds with a few keystrokes and keen intelligence. Throughout history there have been individuals whose jealousy, ruthlessness, greed and sloth have risked fortunes and reputations for (perceived) gain or retribution – Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo anyone? Just as Edmond Dantès took full advantage of his time falsely imprisoned to learn every skill imaginable in developing a faultless reputation and re-branding himself, every effort in thought leadership and in garnering a dedicated follower base, and fostering epic levels of engagement takes considerable patience, skill and acuity.

Beyond the Instagram bloggers’ ‘bot-gate’ other more widely known unveilings of deceit relate to appropriation of the resistance movement by Pepsi and State Street of New York City’s iconic bronze sculpture created by Arturo Di Modica.

The Tate Modern offers this essay on appropriation,

[…] to create a new situation, and therefore a new meaning or set of meanings, for a familiar image. Appropriation art raises questions of originality, authenticity and authorship…

All great art is subversive, a commentary manifest with physicality. Co-opting the passion found in resistance to injustice in its many forms, feminism, racism, environmental stewardship, and its related arts for commercial gain by the advertising industry has a vast history in the United States.

Fearless-girl-vs-arturo-di-modica

I don’t like what Fearless Girl ‘is’ specifically because she is contrived by Mad Men to gender-wash their clients’ bottom line. The $2.5 trillion (under management) State Street Global Advisors opted for a publicity stunt on International Women’s Day of instead of doing the long overdue ‘hard work’ of creating a work environment of equality and gender partity or proactively investing in education for girls on a global basis. For the unaware allow me to point out that advertising (in which both Pepsi and State Street engaged) is only related to public relations as it is a part of the greater communication functions in general. It seems to me if you are retained to represent the interests of a seven or eight figure client your responsibilities should include candid risk assessment to any proposal you present. Ultimately this all comes down to proactive reputation management versus putting your client in the rather costly position of damage control through crisis management.

With so much to lose why take a chance in the first place?

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

 

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Dalmatian Echoes

rain drops, sun-bleached stonedalmatia

darkened seas tossed in violence

terrifying gods ignite the sky, scream angry words in unknown languages

windows shuttered, stories bidden

flickering light, something held at distance, now in proximity lovers

decay, renewal, one – or both

kneel, clutch, embrace, drowning that rescues

her shuddering response beneath his surrounding, burrowing warmth

discovery of self in the other

parched. hungry. greedy – like the earth

primal continuation, cognitive exploration, Tantric at-one-ment

in waves, nourishment came – yet again and again

fingering Spanish chords, his thoughts echoed through her body

a thousand years of her words stilled, caught, unexpressed

fingers entwined

racing hearts in syncopation, quieting to soft harmonies

with hair like Samson, he anointed himself with their sex

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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What lovers do

“White Lace” – Jeremy Mann, oil on panel

I have been lending a new girlfriend here in Croatia the collection of books about love, famous lovers, courtesans, geisha, and, of course, seducers I brought here as reference materials for my second book. She is engaged to marry a lovely Dalmatian man in his mid-fifties. Evidently the content, shared, is producing some much appreciated surprises, (for both of them), in the bedroom; exchanged words have always been powerful aphrodisiacs. I hope all my writing efforts have the same net effect on all its future readers.

I don’t think romance is necessarily about seduction, I believe romance is about bringing ourselves and our partner delight; a heightened state of anticipation of mutual pleasure.  Small things not grand expressions – just as it is the small things that build up unchecked will also destroy love. When? why? did we stop being ‘romantic’?

“It isn’t possible to love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.”                                                        ― E.M. Forster, A Room with a View

1770 Billet DouxI recently discovered Billet Doux because of Musetouch on Facebook and I do not mean the French lingerie company nor from the “1670s, “love letter,” French, literally “sweet note,” from billet “document, note” (14c., diminutive of bille; see bill (n.1)) + doux “sweet,”. Rather the small exquisite masterpieces of handwork used to transport the letters which lovers used to write to one another. I am charmed. At some point, the right man, will understand that his words tucked into one of these would make me swoon more effectively than any diamond worth a hundred times what the average price of these archaic treasures sell for.  Let us consider, for a moment, the circumstance of receiving such in an age before telephone, television, the Internet and all of the immediacy offered to lovers today… the anticipation of waiting for words, the promise of reuniting or escape to be carried by a courier (a stage coach or private hired rider) or, even left at a point of rendezvous frequented by lovers and unknown to others. A touch point of words, scrawled upon a small piece of paper with a fountain pen – or quill, perhaps scented, sanded, sealed and rolled into the carrying tube represented by the billet doux – private words, words that excite. Franz Liszt (1811-1886) sent Europe ablaze with his love letters – to a great many women – but, for example, I think none finer of precise use of language (as well as his music) to create longing and desire, to mark his lovers’ heart as his own (for however long or short).

Thursday morning 1834

My heart overflows with emotion and joy! I do not know what heavenly languor, what infinite pleasure permeates it and burns me up. It is as if I had never loved!!! Tell me whence these uncanny disturbances spring, these inexpressible foretastes  of delight, these divine, tremors of love. […]

This is to be — to be!
ink
Marie! Marie!

Oh let me repeat that name a hundred times, a thousand times over; for three days now it has lived within me, oppressed me, set me afire. I am not writing to you, no, I am close beside you. I see you, I hear you. Eternity in your arms… Heaven, Hell, everything, all is within you, redoubled… Oh! Leave me free to rave in my delirium. Drab, tame, constricting reality is no longer enough for me. We must live our lives to the full, loving and suffering to extremes!…

Franz

One does not ‘need’ a billet doux to make your lovers’ heart race – one needs to actively contemplate the path to ‘un-doing’. None of us could actually use language like this today and be taken seriously. But the intent, the intent is something anyone can put into action.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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The shifting trajectory of kisses

“You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart.”
— Louise Erdrich

For the first time since 2005 I am dating again. No, I wasn’t in a long term relationship. No, I didn’t have a traumatic (or tragic) experience. And no, I don’t hate men. I have been on OKCupid for a bit shy of two years now. But in the last two weeks, finally being in Croatia after a year of deliberation, I have migrated from online and video Skype conversations to actually sitting with a man face-to-face over hot chocolate, over dinner, and going for walks.  I have kiss quotekissed all four of these men. Nine years is an awfully long time to have not done so, some I wanted much more with, with some, perhaps the kisses were actually too much to have shared.

This morning the (very loving) husband of a dear girlfriend, in the most subtle way imaginable, expressed his energetic protection for me. In my new life’s chapter, taking place far from practical intervention and rescue should such be necessary, David’s love is not the kind of love I am unaccustomed to having in my life; at first I was puzzled by why he would choose to Tweet the content and Cc me on such.  This dating thing is fraught with perils that every woman experiences, even when you are in a committed relationship rape happens. David’s genuine concern expressed for both myself and my best friend (as we were both mentioned in the Tweet and are both now actively dating again for the first time in many years) is soft focused and filled with light in a world with harsh realities. So David, I am sending you a huge hug, and a slightly insufficient thank you – message received.

Back to the dating thing.

In the last year a very wise man, and an equally wise woman, have both expressed the same thought about applying caution to sharing our physical space, and (any kind of) our energy with others. Every encounter with another (physically and energetically) leaves residue on the participants and in the domain of space inhabited, as such it’s incredibly important to understand this before sharing either with another. I suppose, if I am truly honest, protectingintentions myself from giving too much of myself away, harming another against their future or having the negative energies of others zap me has kept me from dating, and eventually becoming intimate, for so long. Because I noticed, boy-oh-boy have I noticed, how I have felt after each encounter with these four very different Croatian men. Not that it is all important but it is of merit to note that each of these men is at least 14 years younger than I am.

With the first man it was like ‘coming home’. Safe, protected, a sense of continuity that felt ancient, comfortable in both silence and in conversation, with him (and this is hard to explain) I kiss youfelt an extension of my greatest self, perhaps, because in many regards we are both rather unconventional. And when it came to expressions of passion, the kiss I will remember and draw energy from for the rest of my life seemed ripped from a romance novel. The second man to win my kisses had, by his own admission over the Thanksgiving dinner table, not kissed (or done anything else with) a woman in six years. There was considerable alcohol involved and some energetic ‘egging on’ because another man nearby was being dismissive of the former man’s rationale and (what I sensed) deep pain and his own admitted fear on behalf of his son. And so, initially I shared three, not passionate, kisses with him to remind him of the pleasure that can be had from such. He seem both confused, delighted and ‘warmed’ by this – eventually taking the initiative and seemed to enjoy himself to the point that he asked to have me spend the night with him. (um, no.) Man number three, one of my two dates yesterday, is exactly half my age – still a man in chronological years, and sufficiently so to have actively pursued a date with me. We had fun. Enjoyed amazing hot hot chocolatechocolate together on the Riva in Grad Trogir. He (easily) agreed to my request to rescue the remaining pomegranates on the tree in front of the abandoned house in Trogir in which I have fallen in love.  I now have a lovely bag full of these jewels which otherwise would have found themselves rotting on the ground as a result of yesterday’s Bura and todays’ rain storm.  He is very sweet, and earnest, but in many ways he really is too young in terms of life experience for this to be ‘anything’.  My second date yesterday is 18 years my junior, but sufficient experience to not feel any lacking. His candor and overt sexual interest in me was palpable from moment one.  He kissed me within 15 minutes of our meeting (and he was really very good at it). The best kiss of the evening took place against a 400 year old stone wall in a narrow alley of Seget Donji – his hands both cupping my face and then in my hair (where, as a great many terrific lovers know the nerve endings in our scalp make us particularly sensitive to erotic stimulation). His sexual energy is very much like that of Mickey Rourke in this scene from 9 1/2 weeks too dangerous to maintain one’s sanity and certainly not sustainable.

One thing is for certain, I need to recalibrate as I can tell that my trajectory has been influenced by the sharing of this tender intimacy in ways that are very uncomfortable to who I am. Like a hangover for my energy I have allowed myself to get swept up ‘in the moments’. Making up for lost time? Squandered resources? No, not either. I feel very much like the meme above about kisses being like drinking salt water. I can’t undo this, and some I most certainly would not change because in these experiences have offered me a greater cognition, and with such I come closer to completion. Still, a little discernment going forward would be a very good idea and a practical consideration worth embracing.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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Lunch in Dalmatia “triumph of simplicity”

Let me just say I was not being a tenant, I was being a neighbour. I had made ratatouille (mitigating my normal level of spices our of respect for my landlords tastebuds) and brought down a quart for them. I was invited for lunch an hour later.

Lunch in Dalmatia is a vastly different thing than it is in, say, New York City. First everyone enjoys the same leisurely pace as “the 1%” but the cost for an extraordinary meal with good wine and great conversation is different, it is democratic in its accessibility.  No matter how fresh what is on your plate in Manhattan might be the lettuces weren’t picked an hour before a simple dressing of vinegar and the sublime extra virgin olive oil is applied, and it would be safe bet that it wasn’t swimming in the clear grilled fishaquamarine waters of the Adriatic literally less than two hours previous.

And contrary to the Dalmatian concept of pòmalo, at Ivanka’s table lunch is served when she says it is going to be.  Let’s talk about the fish. Slightly larger than a rainbow trout but based upon the taste I would say sea bass. Cleaned and gutted, drenched in a lemon juice and Extra Virgin Olive (EVO) oil and then grilled, whole, outside over olive wood cuttings. I took an extra measure of a 1/2 of a lemon to drizzle over my fish (each of us with one gorgeous specimen on our plate).  Then like a child I was patiently guided on how to use my fingers to remove the dorsal fin and bones, to suck gently on the head to remove the yumminess (I drew the line at eating the eyeballs staring back at me). The last time I ate with my fingers with such dedicated passion was over a plate of awaze tibsbeef Awaze Tibs in 1999 in a ground level Ethiopian restaurant in a section of Boston’s Massachusetts Avenue that fell, like so much, to gentrification.  Bit by delicious bit I left the cleanest plate I have ever left for any meal, ANYWHERE. I paced myself because each mouthful was heaven. I was thoroughly committed to making it like Tantric sex, only eating. The crispy skin, the oil and lemon infused deep within the DSCN9895moist flesh of the grilled fish itself.  In New York this would have had a $60 tab plus taxes and tip. Here the fish was 8 kuna per kilo (yes, $1.30). While I have always been a ‘foodie’ you will want to cry (I did mist up) over the absolute perfection of it should be so lucky to have someone prepare such for you. Anthony Bourdain missed something amazing on his trip to Croatia because (having watched the episode twice) I KNOW that this particular bounty did not pass his lips.  Truly Dalmatian cuisine is, as you will hopefully hear in watching this episode, a “triumph of simplicity”.

Marko’s family, like so many Dalmatians, have been here since  before the Ottoman Turks occupied in 1540. His legacy, the connection to the land, also includes skills at wine making that would be enviable (and medal winning) at wine competitions. I must also offer than given the addition of sulfates to most commercial red wines (offered in the United States) I can no longer drink them because I will wake in the middle of the night with painful leg cramps – Marko’s wine poses no such issue and is astonishing in its body and on the palette.

We don’t share language per se. Some German, some English and on my part some Croatian and yummy noises. In the two weeks I have been here there is usually someone who speaks English to help convey my thoughts and emotions – we went without that benefit over this meal. And what happened was magical. BECAUSE WE WANT TO UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER. Because we are trying to discuss food, and life, and wine and what is authentic. Because over a shared meal, regardless of where we are from we are all the same.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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Can a grocery list be erotic?

My friend @KenHerron paid me a backhanded compliment about my writing yesterday. In an exchange about the timing of my publishing he wrote:

“I hope it’s not wrong to eat lunch while reading smut, as your posts always seem to pop up right about lunchtime!”.

And I thought about that because the latest blog posts aren’t erotic at all – at least I don’t view them as such. And responded,

“no smut. Ha. Think of them as dessert. Love you”

To which he replied:

“Oh please. You could write a shopping list, and it would be “smut”!   :)”

So as I made an emergency batch of double chocolate and walnut brownies (sans measuring cups, measuring spoons and no absolute knowledge of just how hot the oven actually is here in the apartment I am renting in Croatia) this morning I thought about attempting to make a grocery list erotic as a writing exercise. This is also for my girlfriend Deborah who affectionately refers to me as a “sexy cupcake”. So here goes (an over-the-top-list to support the most sublime evening of love-making imaginable, select site, add lover, some preparation required).

100 tea-lights, white soy and unscented, in glass votives

oyster plate2 bottles of Veuve Clicquot Grand Dame Champagne, Moroccan tea glassestea glasses for Champagne  

4 dozen, fresh Loch Fyne oysters and antique Majolica oyster plates

For Zabaglione:

1 dozen certified organic, free range, eggs (preferably brown, blue and green shelled)

1 kilo small mill, Fair Trade, organic cane sugar

1 liter of Marsala wine, from Sicily, bearing Denominazione di Origine Controllata designation

1 kilo each of fresh, organic, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and currants

Lady fingers

mimosaNight blooming jasmine, mimosa and peonies

Maybe it isn’t the grocery list itself as the possibilities such a list presents…

How did I do Ken? 😉

If you enjoy my blog please consider sending me the value of a cup of tea in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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Intimacy found in fingers entwined

I write this for friends whose lover reaches for them daily and who might take for granted this tiny intimacy – Amy and Chris, Farrah and Abdullah, David and Alison, Deborah and David, Nancy and John, Kanikaa and Anubhav a gift for you.

There are hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people whose definition of intimacy is sexual. entwined handsIt’s not. Truly. Real intimacy is won through fingertips touching for the first time. It can be fleeting but in those precious seconds we are offered a union where anything and everything is possible and can be overcome. The spaces between our fingers offer us structure and function, when devoid of anothers fitting into our hand we don’t think about it. Ah, but when laced, entwined, in the simplicity of companionship or the intensity of passion, the gift of renewal, of safety, of promise, of all these and more are, quite literally, in the palm of our hand.

I recently had the opportunity to find my fingers so connected to those of a man. An exquisite, and both ordinary and extraordinary, man. If there is a single regret to have it is that in time the memory I carry in my head will fade to shades of sepia – like a daguerreotype – and then, eventually and sadly, this will only remain something of exquisite beauty existing at a cellular level held by neuron synapses and chemical impulses. It will be one of those things that as my physical being ceases to have purpose will flash before my eyes (if you believe such things happen before we enter into the pure white light) and I will remember how perfect those seconds felt. I write of this experience now, at the distance of a few days, because I fear that if I don’t something important to my life’s journey (and perhaps your own as you read this) will be lost.

There have been in the past men whose hands perspired to a point of being icky who held my hand. There have been crushing hands and wimpy hands clutching my own. There have been hands so exquisitely formed as to be a creation of chiseled of the purest marble come to life that felt inhuman and lifeless. There loving fingershave been hands that sent shock-waves through my body threatening to destroy every sense of stability I possessed. There were, for nearly seven years, a pair of strong, beautifully masculine hands belonging to my former husband. This man’s hands were none of those. There was no anticipation of it even happening but when it did the nature of my hands being held, and my holding this man’s, could not have been any more perfect (to me). An extension of who I am, who he is, and who we might aspire to be together. Fleeting though it might have been suddenly the world felt ‘more’ of everything precious. There was a physical strength that the slender shape of his fingers did not give a clue to his possessing – his are capable hands, that know both hard work and the ability to express tenderness. If you already know that you love someone for the energy which they share liberally with the world, can you actually fall in love with them because of how your hand feels in theirs? The question of why now echoes in the void between my fingers. The answer hangs both on soft currents of salt air breezes and mountain air crisp with winter offering time to process and decide on a course of action (or inaction). I have no expectations. The memory of these hands is enough. More than enough.

holding handsI found a wonderful meme about holding hands, two lines stand out in perfection – I wish I had written them.

“To take a hold of anothers hand is to break from individuality. It is to link yourself to another being, to momentarily entwine your life with anothers, to promise, for a moment, that you need not face the world alone.”

Tonight, if you have neglected this tenderness, or passion, reach for the one you love. Take their hand in yours, entwine your fingers, clutch their hand to your heart as you look into their eyes and know that sense of renewal in possibilities – the perfect intimate gesture.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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