Author Archives: Stephanie Suh

About Stephanie Suh

I read, I think, and I write purely out of pleasure of doing the acts. All of my writings are original, and I want to see if any of my writings can chime the thinking and emotional bells of readers in their hearts.

small simple sweet

A merry heart goes all the day, warding off evils of everyday existential life. The Bard said, “Frame your mind to mirth and merriment, which bars a thousand harms and lengthens life.” Which also strikes the biblical chord of “Refrain from anger. Turn from wrath. Do not fret; it leads only to evil.” It all fits Sally’s way of fulfilling demands placed on her daily tasks in life and enjoying small pleasures in the simple and sweet novelty of it all.

Author’s note: with my new iPhone, nothing is impossible 🙂 I hope to make a short film, using a series of stop motions, in future.

notice of errata to the caveat emptor

George Mallory, a Himalayan mountain climber perishing on Mount Everest three decades before Sir Edmund Hillary reached the highest peak of the selfsame mountain, gave the simple reason for doing what seemed to be impossible to an inquisitive interviewer: “Because it’s there.” The answer echoes Leonardo Da Vinci’s axiom of “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” It also chimes the bell of my reason for writing: “Because it’s my pleasure.” It is what I like doing for the sheer egotistical practice and for the aesthetic pleasure expressed in my literary world. Hence, my blog is my library, a kind of the Mathom-House in the Shire, inhibited by Hobbits.

Here’s caveat emptor to using this library: (1) Frivolous subscriptions to a catalog of my writings without legitimate appreciation results in deletion; (2) Tramping by unidentified readers with fake accounts and cretin marketing websites to peep into the words of the mind is a violation of privacy; and (3) Whimsical changes of like and unlike of my writings for reasons clandestine are to be curbed. Since I do not write to cause a traffic jam in my statistics of posts, I don’t pursue a high number of the melee or rabble intent for awards or thousands of comments or fans for their “blogs”.

Writing is an act of translating one’s inner world into a textual reality in which others can pass over to the world of the author as members of Humanity. As William Wordsworth would have agreed, I fill my paper with the diamonds of my heart. Therefore, I write. Hence I deem it fit to conclude this post with the following axiom by C.S. Lewis: “You can make anything by writing.” Ditto.

P.S. One never learns. After I published this post, those lumpish ones kept following my Blog without even appreciating it. Woe to those who plague my sovereign library! Hark! I monitor my Blog every time I get notifications via e-mail and suss out the profiles of readers of my Blog. Deletions are, therefore, purely subject to my discretion. What else can I say? Albert Einstein speaks for myself: 

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”

‘Cat Power: A Good Woman’, by Elizabeth Goodman – review

Cat Power: A Good WomanCat Power: A Good Woman by Elizabeth Goodman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I first saw Chan Marshall singing in 2007 Chanel Haute Couture, while models were swanning around like ethereal fairies in gorgeous Chanel wardrobes. Better known as her stage name “Cat Power,” she was the Queen of the Show in her graceful poise whimsically mixed with her super cool urban retro chic fashion singing a soulful and powerful melody of ballads like a stylish bohemian troubadour. So I downloaded her songs from iTunes and loved her solitary lyrics imbued with Southern blues soul and offbeat timbres probably as a result of her elbow room in the beloved New York City. To top it all off, Chan Marshall became one of My Nine Muses.

Cat Power: A Good Woman by Elizabeth Goodman is a beautifully written memoir of the enigmatic singer as a result of Goodman’s own adoration of the singer as a fan. Of all other books on Chan Marshall, this book is par excellence in the context of regarding the beautiful play of words, the elliptical table of contents, the journalistic efforts to sleuth for buried truths, and the audacity to publish all of it against her adored heroine’s own disapproval thereof afterwards because the book seemed to lay it all bare in public. But Ms. Marshall’s worries could have been rest assured, for the book makes her all the more human and real, imparting a sense of empathy and sympathy because all her frailties and foibles, in one way or another, strike the chords with ours as well. Does every body not have a dark registrar and think the cold star on a wide sea seems to betoken one’s life? Goodman whose writing feat had achieved grace in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and NME (“New Musical Express”) knew the universal ethos of such human conditions that had also enveloped the beautiful musician in the person of Chan Marshall. The title of the book is a summation of Goodman’s reality of the star.

In sum, the book is a comprehensive memoir of Chan Marshall, who reminds me of a cross between Francoise Hardy in style and Patti Smith in music. In the peculiar alchemy of literature, Goodman wielded her writer wand to conjure up the image of Chan Marshall in the book that also appositely strikes the cover of the book. Pace the criticism of the book as a rip-off from Ms. Marshall’s privacy and of the author as a jilted ex-friend for the reason unknown, it is worth the reading by the sheer enjoyment of good writing and Goodman’s affinity for popular culture, especially in music.

‘Dog Man: Brawl of the Wild’, by Dav Pilkey – review

Dog Man: Brawl of the Wild (Dog Man, #6)Dog Man: Brawl of the Wild by Dav Pilkey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Half humanoid, half canine guardian of justice and humanity in league of his unforgettably formidable allies saves the city from evil villains set out to plague it in as much annoying way as fleas on a poor dog’s body. Hip, Hip, Hooray for Dog Man, our unlikely but likable hero that deserves of our heartfelt hoot and hollow. To contradict the usual glorification of hero-worshiping façade, Dog Man is none of your familiar super heroes in Marvel Comic Strips, nor is he like Batman, Superman, or even Iron man who seems to possess vulnerable human traits, and yet is equipped with wondrously technological gizmos or alien superpower. Contrariwise, Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man wonderfully embodies all things related to our unfavorable human tendencies that cloud our wondrous potential abilities – insecurity, disappointment, loneliness, and diffidence as deeply felt by Pilkey himself as a child diagnosed with Dyslexia and ADHD at school.

Pace the generalization of the book as being intent for children, this book is inclusive of literature, philosophy, and sociology contextualized in the story and delineated in the characters without gravitas of the academia. Take Dog Man, who finds himself estranged from his colleagues at his police station except his boss, Chief. Dog Man cannot talk for the reason because he’s a dog with a human body used to belong to his K-9 policeman killed in action. As the title “The Brawl of the Wild” adumbrates, Dog Man is in a way reminiscent of Buck, the sled dog in Jack London’s classic The Call of the Wild that comes to term with his fate and even reconciliation with a treacherous human in the person of Thornton. Then there are Petey, who is supposedly a sinister jailbird, but in fact softy inside, his cute young son Li’l Petey, who never gives up on his jail- bound father Petey in his joint collaboration with Dog Man in rescue operation of the city, and stern but benevolent Chief, who seems to defend Dog Man against unjust and unfair treatments from his fellow policeman/policewomen and the pompous judge. Wisecraking and heartwarming, hilarious and sentimental, intelligent and vivacious, each of the chapters is smoothly linked to the next one with amusing in-between intermissions that deserves of the separate theaters of appreciation.

The book is an enjoyable parade of laugh and compassion wrapped up in delightful amusement of vivid colors and elegantly profound dialogues, which can be made possible by an insightful and observant author who stands with the reader and sees hope and goodness mired in the despair of hopelessness and wickedness at the heart of humanity. I recommend this book to all who want to spend their time reading something jovial and funny after a long hard day or just to fill their minds and hearts with a fresh breath of air. This is a scintillating read that evokes a wide arc of thoughtfulness and imagination in the minds of readers both young and old, and the young at heart.

 

untitled episode

img_0162All lawyers are educated, expensive mercenaries of fortune with a high chance of variable expediency in allegiance to whoever employs their burst of legal pep, or “intelligent drudgery,” so to speak. Lawyers know no fear but lots of hubris that can move heaven and earth because of their Napoleonic credo of “There’s no word for impossibility in my dictionary.” To Sally, it’s a real case of Sartre’s existentialism which dictates that “Experience precedes essence.” And yet, the images of gentlemanly lawyers in the characters of Atticus in To kill a mockingbird played by Gregory Peck and Kavanagh QC portrayed by John Thaw are hard to be disembarrassed from Sally’s abstract ideas of fine lawyers.

img_0164Sally’s position of legal assistant wears many hats: secretary, paralegal, accountant, receptionist, calendar person, and whipping girl paid to do a one-man show at a high price. You may yoke the concept of the position into that of a pricey maid, sort of an upgraded modern version of educated head maid you may see in TV period dramas, such as Upstairs and Downstairs, Berkeley Squares, and The Duchess of Duke Street. Accordingly, like a dutiful head maid in a manor house, docile Sally exerts all her efforts to fulfill incredibly hectic demands imposed upon her daily tasks with graceful patience and her very pretty smile.

img_0163“It’s all a mind game, a sort of mental Tetris in which I have to find out a way to accomplish my tasks without being jammed with constantly generating tile blocks to be upgraded to the next level. And I want to win in this game.” Surely, as consciousness is the foundation of the universe, marshaling self-discipline and courage to perform her tasks to the fullest extent possible is the sine qua non of her happy metier. After all, the nature of lawyering turns its practitioner into a professional inquisitor of wickedness of mankind as observed by Arthur Schopenhauer.