Tag Archives: arts

Afterthought

I didn’t anticipate her response, let alone her thanks. After all, she’s a celeb in the constellation of high stars, a goddess in the pantheon of divine knowledge, and a grand master in alchemy of literature, Or in recognition of her self-titled epithet, she’s the Comma Queen who will not/does not suffer from the grammatical benightedness of ambitious literary proclivity. But it happened, and she did; Mary Norris, author of Greek to Me about which I wrote a review, responded thereto in the following fashion:

Well, it’s nice to be complimented for my work by someone who is famous, and I certainly wouldn’t mind being rich and famous if I turned into an overnight sensation in literary firmament. Yet, I do not write to make a living nor to be popular with hundreds of likes. Writing to me is an act of sovereign remedy for the existential ills, of personal treatise on the workings of the mind and of sheer egotism of relieving the creative urge from within. Come what may, a little tweet from the celebrated writer will not turn love of the book into worship of the writer. For it is the work of her intellect manifested in her literary craftsmanship, not the person herself. Whether or not the author liked my review does not/will not/should not affect my reason for and act of writing with a million dollar memento from Kurt Vonnegut: “To practice art, no matter how well or badly, is to make your soul grow. So just do it.”

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.

‘A Harlot’s Progress (2006)’, directed by Justin Hardy – review

71+BMGiROqL._RI_Throughout human civilization, prostitution has been arguably something of a necessary evil, intentional or unintentional, an institution of erotic bartering between a client and s prostitute for wants of flesh and fortune. For a client, it’s all about releasing his rapacious libido in a brothel, whereas for a prostitute offering a pleasure of the flesh can be a means to a social mobility in a period when women’s place was confined by biological determinism. But that social mobility would be possible with the intervention of Goddess Fortuna. ‘A Harlot’s Progress’ follows a life of an unfortunate prostitute named Mary through the eyes of William Hogarth, an English painter and social critic renowned for choice of his subjects crossing the strata of the social class system for inspirations.

The painter Hogarth chooses Mary as his unofficial muse for various paintings depicting modern moral subjects as a series of picturesque statements of social criticism on the oppressed conditions of the poor whose lives are already determined by their biological and social statuses. Likewise, Mary’s downfall from a beautiful courtesan to a common, over-the-hill backstreet slut is already a foregone conclusion for the nature of the profession. Besides, she’s not exactly cut out for a fine prostitute with artful plans to forward her rank and condition; she has a pride but no courage. She yearns for a polite society, but her frailty of character prevents her from advancing in her career to a mistress of a high-birth man. In other words: Mary chose a wrong job that ruined her life.

The film is said to be based upon a true story with references to the famous figures of William Hogarth and his friend Henry Fielding, the author of Tom Jones. It gives the veracity of the event with a charge of authority, rendering the story of lachrymose life of Mary emotionally powerful and factually unchallenged in the veneer of historicity. Yet, in terms of objectivity of the stance that the film takes, its view on prostitution in the 18th century London is clearly askew on the side Mary because she is cast as being a victim of the social evil with her purity of the soul torn apart by men’s rampant animalistic sexual desires as presented by all uniformly unattractive and perverted men on screen. In fact, the only pitiful character in the film seems to be Mother Needham, who is mercilessly abused on the pillory for three consecutive days and nights of stoning, defiling, and cursing from the public who were once or twice her clients and neighbors. The sight is sufficient to incite pathos because of her plea for life authentically delivered by the excellent performance of actress Geraldine James.

No one can throw stones at Mary for her life of “sin and depravity” because there’s no one who is immaculately cleared of guilt and sins to judge her character as arbitrator of morals. But then she is responsible for her own life with her own free will to choose to be a harlot. For not all destitute women driven by abject economic conditions are succumbed to the trade of the flesh. Nonetheless, this film is a good period drama that resurrects the ethos of the time with the parlance, habits, and costumes of different classes peculiar to the 18th century, well executed by a cast of classically-trained fine thespians.

beautiful mind

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The image of Aeneas in her eyes awakes
the primal senses in the thalamus,
lights the vision in the occipital cortex,
decides that she loves what she sees
as the sensation becomes consciousness
on the high altar of the prefrontal cortex,
and then on the funeral pyre it all becomes
her dolorous memories in the hippocampus.

Author’s Note: The subject of neurogenesis and neuroplasticity is multidisciplinary, ranging from literature to history, fine arts, and sociology, because it analyzes how the mind works by conceptualizing raw senses into consciousness. That said, I wanted to incorporate the bullet theory of how the brain works in connection with the operation of cognitive faculties called “the mind’ into my favorite unrequited love story of Dido, the beautiful queen of Carthage who hopelessly felt for the wondering Trojan hero Aeneas, who left her at the behest of of Juno (Zeus in Greek mythology).