Category Archives: Novellas

good bye to sunday

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Sunday is the saddest day of a week because it heralds a start of another week that brings unknowns to all mankind: employed/unemployed, men/women, affluent/impecunious, and educated/uneducated. Every minute of Sunday hastens to its end like as the waves make towards the quicksands. For Paul Collie, who works as a manager at a supermarket, is an imperturbable person hardly under the weather, Sunday means constructive solipsism in which his artistic sensibilities and intellectual proclivity are manifested in such forms of gardening, reading and writing otherwise smothered under the pretext of financial needs and familial responsibilities during weekdays. Gardening, because it gives him a sense of being a master of fine arts akin to Michelangelo; reading and writing, because he it teaches the styles of writing he can employ in his own writing. On this late afternoon, Paul is having a jovial time with his like-minded friend Hans Cow, a senior librarian at Tolkien Library and a part-time private investigator, who called on him to talk about the current affairs of the week. This week’s topical subject of the Sunday talk: “Elitist Art exclusive of the undesirable”

Hans: “Did you read an article about Snotty Museum turning down an annually pledged largess from Johnny Mojo, the chairman of the cleaning company Mojo? The reason for the rejection was said to be of moral, ethical standards because Johnny Mojo was a one-time drug addict and affiliated with some kind of money-laundering scheme. But you know what? I think it’s all about posturing, gestures of some kind of uneducated, former jailbird upstart trying to hobnob with the big wigs and the celebs that these so-called “Guardians of Fine Artsimg_0458” do not want to approve of. For Mojo – let’s be brutally honest – does not meet their standards of impeccable donors. What they want is immaculate man without original sin!”

Paul: “Yeah, I read that Mojo guy. You are right in saying that Snotty Museum’s decision img_0457was rather foolhardy and rash, groundless in their a priori reasoning that a donor should be also morally and spiritually immaculate to support artistic causes. Which is a supercilious stance on the puritanical touchstone of sponsorship. That a company doing a dubious business should not contribute its munificence to the museum is a hokum, nothing but a supercilious illustration of elitist art exclusive of the populace. The museum do not want to be involved in moral money-laundering, or “art-washing”. I want to think that Mojo’s intention to donate his wealth to the museum was bona fide because art is open to all, not a prerogative of the moneyed. Besides, art is for art’s sake and not should be used as a tool for political campaigns or social dogmas. Lucy Maud Montgomery expressed the same sentiment, and W.H. Auden also concurred that art should not be trapped by political and social systems. The museum’s decision shows that even a realm of art has been a domain of social Spencerism…

Pleasure and activity make the afternoon hours seem short as the discussions seem to have no ends. There’s nothing like a merry heart that goes all day when talking and listening to a kindred spirit who understands your mind’s world and encourages to continue cultivating your mind’s garden. The sun has moved closer to the horizon, and soon the evening will come. Then this Sunday will become a part of the memories of the past as a new Monday comes. Then it all seems legit to chime the timeless Latin phrase: “Tempus figit”. So it does. Times flies.

Will to meaning – chapter 9

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All strange and terrible events were welcome, but comforts she despised. And there was nothing left remarkable beneath the visiting sun. It was just her wish that was father to the thought; the thought that the man would be interested in her and talk to her. But it was just a foiled dream, vain hope, blind passion and cruel deception. Iris was left all alone again. Francis Bacon regarded anyone delighted in solitude as a wild beast or a divine being, and Iris wanted to think of herself as a divine being because she could not bear to accept the fact that she was left out of warmth and love of humanity, and that she was perching on the brink of social isolation as a recluse. It was safe that way to protect her already bleeding heart and bruised soul from the acknowledgement of reality. The world had never seen so perilous and cruel to Iris, who began to doubt that human nature was selfish and violent.

Sitting at her desk at home, Iris was watching the chariot of Apollo moving toward the grand horizon to return to his celestial palace. She wanted to put her soul into the world of writing, but the words became all hodge-podge in bottomless chaos. Now all the forces of darkness were unleashed from an abyss of her inner world and trying to infest her mind with all lies that began to gnaw it till she collapsed in despondency. The age-old self-consciousness felt renewed and resuscitated, egged on by the diabolic echo that everything was set to work against her and that all things would end in naught. Her intention to write was about to be erased from a tablet of her mind, as well. ‘What good will it be when my writing will always reverberate with sighs and more sighs because it is not as polished as her admiring writers?’ Then all of sudden, Voice of Reason began to speak, breaking silence of gravitas: “Iris, let nothing disturb you, let nothing disparage you because you are indeed a good writer who writes the language of the heart and the mind. Forget the supercilious rabble raving about immaculate textual aspects of writing, for they are blind to see the essence of writing that possesses the soul and the mind of the writer. Remember Tolstoy, who was himself poor at grammatical respects of writing. So was Jane Austin, who was a weak speller. Focus on opening up the treasures kept in your Wunderkammer in writing.”

Whether it was just an imagination or a last thread of will to write was open to a myriad of questions. But Readers, that was what sprang from her mind when Iris wanted to surrender herself to the end of hope, to the abandonment of everything she had tried thus far, and to the killing of her near-forsaken self. And yet, it alleviated acrid heartaches that tormented her like a huge carbuncle and saved her from falling into a bottomless pit full of fire consuming her everything to ashes without mercy. Iris wanted to preserve a sense of purpose and a tenacious grasp on her hopes, thinking that present fears were less than horrible imagining. Then she ceased to die.

two by two – Chapter 8

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He wanted to talk to her but didn’t know how to begin. He did not want to look overtly anxious, and yet he was obviously anxious. Part of it was his urge to find out if she was the right one that matched his gossamer imago, and more of it was his untamed machismo that even his arete, the harmonious combination of moral integrity and physical discipline, could not surmount. In the age of Amazonian resurgence of matriarchy on the crest of #MeToo campaign, the subject matter of indomitable feat of virility could be highly volatile, incriminating even. But Hector was being none other than a man himself and going against the nature would turn him into a closet monster or a spectacular hypocrite.  Besides, Hector was an artist who was unafraid of following his heart according to the True North of Nature. He belonged to the race of the untethered, the bold and the beautiful, and he knew it. All of it, all that he had was working toward his wish to speak to her, the mysterious woman sitting three seats away from him.

 When it reached the zenith of the urge, Hector couldn’t hold it any longer, and it finally erupted from his lips: “Excuse me, miss. I forgot to bring a pen with me. Do you have a spare one by any chance?” It was the best excuse he could think of because the woman was writing in her notebook. She seemed startled at first by a strange man’s request for a pen, but soon her fear of a stranger relented at his polite manner handsomely juxtaposed with his sonorous voice and beautiful eyes that radiated both warmth of the soul and allure of the flesh. Iris was always sagacious of people’s characters, which was her gift and curse of the Fates, and she saw genuineness in this strange but beautiful man’s eyes in an aura of charisma, a mythological power ascribed to the Olympians and select hybrids of mortals and immortals. In a phantasmagorical display of the Greek heroes and gods, Iris was filled with mysterious confidence that gave her a status which fuses the capricious power of a fairy with the sensuous charge of femininity. She finally fished in a pen from her pencil case and gave it to him. “Thank you, Miss. These days people do not seem to carry around a pencil case.” Hector thought that he talked too much and instantly regretted it. But it was a reflex of his heart that knew better. It was working slowly, the kindling of the amber that was beginning to grow. No, my dear reader, it wasn’t that usual playboy’s antics, that sleek glib of a smooth operator because Hector wasn’t the sort. Nothing namby-pamby about Hector’s sensitive nature, nor the supra-abundance of the embryonic courtship that might not even develop with fanfare. But nothing could be further from the truth – the truth that both Hector and Iris were votaries of aesthetic pleasure, the cult of Psyche and Eros, the seekers of Eleusinian Mysteries in their own rights.

Iris wanted Hector to go on, to take her on, to lead her on. Despite her instant bestowal of confidence, she was still wrapped up in her own clock of anonymity and invisibility like a fairy who was visible to the mortal eyes when she wanted to. A fairy whose sentiments were different from the mortals and who could be both impish and angelic according to her whims and caprice. For a fairy by nature was amoral and could fashion in whatever forms she would prefer. Thenceforth, Iris was lamenting that a fairy at the time of her birth did not bring her a gift of beauty that could captivate a man of her heart. Surely, she was told beautiful, sultry even, but her resemblance to Cassandra was the sine qua non of her solitude, although she would like to insist that it was her voluntary choice. The grace and the harmony of her features would make a beholder think that they were aesthetically proportioned, yet she wasn’t exactly a Helen of Troy for whom Paris, the prince of Troy, left his nymph companion in distress and for whom thousands of ships launched to win her love. Alas, poor Iris! I knew her, my dear reader. I commiserated with her spiritually. I should have cast glamour spells on her so that she could be instantly gorgeous at that time. But would it be a kind of beauty she really wanted?… I wondered. I questioned: then, would Iris- a lesser beauty, a confused fairy, and a distressed Cassandra- make this mysterious man interested in her soul until they became two by two and about went they? In this fey meditation, her spirit was pivoting ecstatically from the mind’s castle and swiveling in wonderment. Iris was secretly invoking the power of all the fairies in the limine spheres, the slice of seacoast between low and high tides, a deepening foliage between field and forest, and the slope-land between plains and mountains.

deer hunter – chapter 7

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5:15 PM to Florencia. Iris looked at her iPhone clock and felt secured because the time was working nicely with her wish to stay longer until the train departed. The cappuccino was still pleasantly warm in her hands, and she loved the aroma that enveloped her tall slender figure like a shimmering halo of rainbow sunshine. The iridescent mist of instant euphoria was clothing her with a veil of poised status that fused mysterious confidence with graceful humility. Emboldened by this sudden transformation, Iris pulled herself out of her glass castle and lifted her beautiful deep liquid brown eyes to the outside the world of her own. Into the sea of her diamond eyes, the images of love and beauty were cast like magical apparitions, bewitching her senses and sensibilities which were otherwise harnessed like a pair of tamed horses. Iris felt that she could forgive all and love all at that moment of euphoria. It showed that a cup of good coffee could do wonder to anyone as it had done to Johannes Sebastian Bach, Albert Camus, Napoleon Bonaparte, Jonathan Swift, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

In this caffeine-induced euphoria, Iris did not know she was radiant with her pretty smile. The smile was her most prized jewel. When she smiled, she was sweets to the sweet. It was like a flower blooming around an oasis in a desert, and everyone liked it. It’s as rare as a pearl found in a clam, and it’s this rarity of her smile that kept herself distant from the melee who demanded of her frequent smiles. And who would have known that her pearly smile would have caught the sight of Hector? Yes, it was Hector, the mysterious man with a Byronic face and Olympian physique sitting three seats away from Iris, the smile enchantress. Reader, you should understand that Iris was usually a skillful driver of her Chariot of Mind, keeping tight rein on the always recalcitrant Horse of Appetites. But at that moment, Iris’s chariot was shaking, and the impudent horse was not responding to her stern command to behave. The harder and more she hit the horse with a goad, the more and harder the horse rebelled against the pain until it became mad with a wild cry of agony. It was the cry of the restrained nature. For the nature of the impudent horse was to act according to its beastly desire, the primal cry of the wild. The ancient Greeks regraded love involving man and woman as the most passionately sensual emotion in which only Eros dominated because it was primarily physical, encompassing canal pleasure. Was it that Eros and Eros only that reigned in Iris’s entertainment of this rebellious chariot of the mind with the wild cry? Iris did not think so and liked to believe it wasn’t. After all, Iris was chaste, and she believed that she would live as a living goddess like Artemis or Athena, independent of men, of children, flying outside the boundary of marriage and attachment.

Hector was watching this curious woman all along. He did not know why, but something was telling him that she was different from other women whom he had known and lived with. She looked both woman and girl in her tall thin body. She was beautiful with her chiseled face and large dark brown eyes that looked rather serious and dolorous. Her high-bridged straight nose gave her an impression of patrician woman whom no one could easily be jovial with. The beauty and the grace of her were not in want, and yet she wasn’t exactly the fairest of all the women he had met. Besides, there was a touch of beyondness to her, which was oddly attractive with her rather sophisticated urban demure. The graceful estrangement emanating from this unknown girl/woman reminded him of a deer that lost a track of her kind in a deep forest. Or did she look like a she-wolf voluntarily detached from the pack? Whatever it was, he was hooked on it and wanted to know more about it. The It was in her, and she was in it. He wanted to be in it, willingly and madly. Was it an illusion or just a whimsical mood of a bored artist? Hector was all for the adventure, and he’s up for it like Odyssey in preparation of his adventures between the sea and the devil.

At the coffee house- chapter 5

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There was nothing mattered except the oracle of the witch at the moment. Iris was confused and terrified in the amalgamation of the sacred and the profane. It was part a realization of her premonition and part a prescription of her destiny, if there was such thing as predestination. The heavenly revelation thus transpired: she was born with powers ascribed to the lineage of the ancient priestess; her Tread of Life was so thin that it was likely to be cut off by mortal dangers, such as attending funerals where ghosts and ghouls were always roaming around to recruit new ones; and she would not have suitors because of the invisible aura surrounding her to protect her from impurity of Eros or caprice of Aphrodite or anything even remotely like it. Reminding all of this, regurgitating the words of the witch while working toward the coffee shop around the corner, Iris’s mind was so laden with the unbearable prophecy and irreversible revelation that she then knew how Atlas felt when he was sentenced to carry the Earth on his shoulders as celestial punishment.

The coffee shop was large and spacious with a few customers scattered around doing what they deemed appropriate to while away their time. Some were talking on their cellphones; some on their laptops; and others confabulating about trifle things. With her freshly brewed cappuccino, Iris took her seat by the window where a man in a casual attire who looked to be in the early fifties with headphones and a laptop was sitting. Usually, Iris would not sit near a strange man because of her shyness of a member of the opposite sex. Yet, today she was feeling strangely comfortable sitting near him. Yes, Him, that is. Not Any Man, and This Man Only. Like a somnambulist in her nightly trance or a crewman of Odyssey mesmerized by Song of Ceres goddess, Iris was drawn to the seat close to the man. She looked at him discreetly: a crown of rich black hair was gloriously placed upon his shapely manly head. His slim chiseled face was lavishly adorned with large dark brown eyes deeply set between his high but slightly bumped Roman nose. His full lips were closed but looked as if nothing vulgar would come out therefrom. His posture was lean and tall and straight. To add another layer of Golden Laurel Wreathe to this Grecian statue, there was something about this unknown beautiful stranger: intelligence magically interacting with sweetness of the mind creating an aura of a Byronic mysterious artist, all in the artistry of nature so radiant and fatal. Iris was secretly absorbing all this intoxication of deadly charm and feeling guilty at the same time.

Pleasure of Guilt, as it were, became bigger, harder, and taller in Iris. The more she tried to concentrate on reading her unfinished book, the more violent his figure seemed to rebel in front of her very eyes, the eyes that were also as big and brown and beautiful as those of the homme fatal sitting three seats away from her. ‘Perish the thought!’ was the command of Iris to the Wild Horse of her Mind Chariot, but she knew it better that it was futile. My Dear Reader, who can decry Iris at the door of her infirm will, secret entertainment of her fancy, or illegitimacy of her fantasy when our faculty is rather instinctive than reasoning, rather physical than metaphysical?  Irresistible, Irresponsible, Irreversible, irrespective of Reason, Iris loved the sensation that anesthetized her burdens of fate and willingly lost herself therein. It was a secret lovemaking, and she loved it.