Posted in Novellas

a story of a plain girl – one

It came again. The premonition that it won’t work and that she has to find out another job looms large in my daily life. She thought this time would be different. She believed this time was a tide in her affairs. But then the curse returned, and demons and ghosts appeared with Pan’s fanfare.

Daniel Kahneman, in Thinking Slow and Fast, voiced that the acquisition of skills took three elements: (1) a regular environment, (2) adequate time to practice, and (3) rapid constructive feedback. While the first element fits the requisite, the other ones do not relate to her situation now. The young associate whom she closely work with bypasses the other two elements only to show his disapproving acceptance of no more mistakes and rash disappointment in her performance of work. It has been over a month now since she started working, but my hopeful expectation to succeed in right her ship seems to be at stake because, once again, she is unlucky with partnerships with other people, especially at work. The associate is short of temper and not ashamed of displaying an ingratiating attitude toward the department manager. He knows that she is inexperienced in drafting legal letters and agreements, but the past mistakes conditioned him to regard me as a good-for nothing woman who fumbles and appears to be servile. Now she has lost her faith in the people she is working with. She should find and secure a better job before the probation period ends.

She deserves to work in a suitable environment where she is treated well, taught with patience and understanding, and appreciated for who she is.

Posted in book review, Novellas

The Truth About Horror

Stephen King, the King of Horror, said we make up horrors to help us cope with real ones. Some people drink themselves to numb their existential maladies of daily life, or some abandon themselves to unguarded sensual or psychedelic pleasure. But I seek refuge in the stories about the supernatural world that have to be the actual, not the second-hand replica of the author’s imagination that I find hard to be connected. That said, to descry the headline title ‘The Horror’ from a recent issue of the New York Times Book Review delivered on my kindle seemed too pat not to feel psychic about it with a jolt of fillip bolted to my neural circuits. Reading it allowed me to reflect on my affinity for supernatural scare about whys and wherefores.

The article posits that horror movies scare us through exteriority with image and sound to create the illusion of danger, whereas horror fictions are more sophisticated and cultured to understand the complex interiority of the characters by passing over to the creator’s mind. But why do I have to play an amateur psychologist to analyze the inner world of an author when I try to find a niche for my battered spirit in a supernatural realm where no bullies, despots, or melees would follow me? My kind of horror has nothing to do with overtly thought-provoking fictional narratives that are more like psychological thrillers than supernatural ones. That is why I favor the Japanese ghost stories bereft of bodily fluids and materials but full of silent terror in the presence of a sorrowful dead refusing to depart for the Otherworld. Fear is universal. However, its expression is nuanced in the ordinary landscape of daily life, with the undead still among the living in their everyday attire as if they were still alive, not least because Japan is a country of spirits and gods dwelling in nature among the people.

The article is correct in saying that a love of the horror is a part-time love with a mysteriously eerie beautiful parvenue in Howl’s Moving Castle. By wallowing myself in the supernatural, I feel anxiety loosened, nervousness coaxed, anger diverted, sadness halved, and depression diluted to a certain degree. You may say it is another form of a psychedelic illusion of escapade from reality, then let it be. After all, aren’t we all addicted to something to that effect to relieve ourselves from existential frustration in a socially acceptable way?

Posted in Novellas

Freya’s Chariot and Toro’s Aspiration

Freya rides in her new celestial chariot driven by two Norwegian Forest cats named Bygul and Trjegu. The Norwegian forest cats came from a single-fathered family when their father felt unsure how to raise them after their mother left the family. So the father asked Thor for godly help. Thus Thor gave the kittens to Freya, thinking that they might be helpful to her as companions or messengers.

But the intelligent and beautiful Freya has a better idea: they could drive her divine chariot to travel across the skies and seas, not to mention land given proper training and times of experience. So rather than smothering their natural agility, unfailing alertness, and admirable persistence, all of which are excellent traits for hunting prey, Freya finds the most brilliant way of a beautiful kind to let her cats drive the chariot. There’s no need to goading or hollering to spur Bygul and Trjegu because such application is unnecessary for performance when the cats love their roles with all their hearts, souls, and minds. When in doubt, read Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, and you will soon believe me. If you have cats, see for yourself, for they do when they like, not what you want them to.

Toro, aka the Curious Tabby, is contemplating joining the team, imbued with high hope of running Freya’s chariot from sunrise and sunset, flying from one end of the horizon to the other, over the ruffling waves of the deep cobalt seas. As one year and three months old, Toro thinks he can apply for Freya’s training school, where Bygul and Trjegu are instructors. At the thought of it, euphoria envelopes his body in a vista of the magnificent chariot, and his spirit now soars up in the garden of ether, intoxicated with the weightless levity. No more boring days, no more need to call the attention of Judy, his human sister, to let him out to the living room, which is always and ever tiresome.

It’s not that Judy lacks care and affection. Hardly so. It’s because of her cantankerous elderly mother, who doesn’t like him to roam around the living room where she usually stays, watching the repeats of talk shows on YouTube. Toro understands Judy’s dilemma between her willingness to let him out and her submission to her mother’s scolding because otherwise, she knows that the mother will discipline Toro with her walking stick. Toro loves Judy, but his curiosity doubles up with aspirations, whetting his desire for driving Freya’s chariot at least just for once. But then it would mean leaving poor Judy alone behind with the horrible old woman. Hence Toro is thinking hard again.

Posted in Miscellany, Novellas, Poetry

New Possum’s Book of the Curious Cat

 

There’s once a cat name Romp Pomp Bunter, aka the Curious Cat,
who liked to romp with pomp and bunt his head against
his guardian, the woman with the beautiful but lonely heart.
She named him in rapt contemplation of the thought, of the thought
of his name; his ineffable, effable name, debonair and extraordinary.

The Romp Pomp Bunter has a secret that no one knows it:
The Romp Pomp Bunter once saw a grand statue of Bastet
In a book on the history of cats originating in ancient Egypt
And was so impressed with the splendid grace of the goddess
That he wanted to emulate the mysteriously beguiling poise
Even if he was a Californian moggie tomcat of Los Angeles.

But the Romp Pomp Bunter, ever the Curious and Adventurous,
An orphan kitten whose parents nobody knew or cared even,
Felt that he was originally from the Ancient World with a reason
That he looked nothing like the ordinary domestic short-haired,
The insignificant, the common, the trite, the obsequiously tamed
Breed of Cats that contrasted the Egyptian Mau, the First of Firsts
Endeared to Pharaohs, Queens, Priests, Soldiers, Farmers, and Artists.

So, the Romp Pomp Bunter believed that he was the Royal Descendant,
The indolently elegant, adoringly capricious, the inscrutably alluring
Egyptian Mau, the paragon of the goddess Bastet, divinely beguiling.
You see, that is why his name is the Romp Pomp Bunter, the Curious Cat.

 

Posted in Miscellany, Novellas

they come to her at night

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The night was a strange paradox of light and dark. It was too dark to invoke images of the bright beautiful things. It was too light to provoke imaginations of the blissful obliviousness. The night was a white heat of the sleepless senses that kept taking in all seen and heard even after the provocateurs were long gone out of sight. This was maddening and becoming madder and striking the notes of all madness. Iris couldn’t sleep as the night was getting deeper and darker, and it was consuming every part of her in a great white incandescent flame like a funeral pyre that once engulfed Dido’s forsaken body and unfortunate heart. The senses that kept her awake besieged her glass castle without mercy and started to screen the scenes of sadness and more sadness as an apparition of the past narrated the story buried in its tomb without an epitaph. She was wide awake at the bewitching hour, and she was helplessly defenseless against the force of the hour.

Since she was a little girl, Iris has been going through the same nocturnal rituals of waking up at 3:00 AM on time, precisely, continuously, as always. Every single night was every single rite of this uncanny performance of sleeplessness – that is, exactly at 3:00 AM. When she wakes up, the electronic digits always show 3:00 AM with glows that seems to grow lighter the more she looks at it in fearful awe. Fearful because Iris has learned that it is the hour when the gates of the underworld, the netherworld, the world beyond are open, and the regions of faeries and wandering spirits roam the earth as witches fly to the devil’s banquets. Hokum it may be, but the bewitching hour also seems to include Iris as a coterie of the supernatural for what’s worth. This secret is hers and hers only in fear of being branded as a weirdo or a witch’s apprentice even. Yet, because Iris’s soft heart cannot bear a secret too long for its painfully tender fullness of emotions and feelings to keep it to herself, it now agonizes her sense and antagonizes her sensibility. And it was this night that got her to a paroxysm of inquisitiveness, inadmissibility, and ineffableness, enveloped in the mysterious veil of incredibility so enigmatically eerie that it almost felt infatuating with the unknown.

The magical hour was now in possession of the waken Iris with wide eyes, and the effect was smeared into every part of her body without a miss like ink instantly and ferociously diffusing in a glass of clear water. She did not like it, but her opinion was useless under the power of the supernatural hour. Iris wanted to break the spell and doing so would require her of facing another unknown mysterious force. Her Catholicism would defy her magical assumption on the incredible symptom, but Iris knew that her religion itself entailed the magical qualities of belief and that it was only natural for her to connect the dots between the two belief systems as a solution to her ghostly malady. That’s it. She can’t take it anymore, she can’t have it any longer. Forget the religion, and think primal. Iris has made up her mind to start her investigation of the supernatural phenomenon that she has been going through to find whys and wherefores.