Posted in Poetry

Wanderlust

For one hundred and twenty years
Trapped in the maze of this mirage,
Where I began, I can go back never;
Here I stand and face the bare fate
Or is it nothing but the illusion ever?

As Aurora releases the first dewdrop,
I go high over, down under
From one end of the horizon to the other
Across the five continents and six oceans
Above the heavens, below the abyss
Far into the milky ways and back to earth
with the jewel of hope in beatitude.

Posted in book review

live to tell

I just read an article from the January 2021 issue of BBC History about a British family’s real-life experience in China during the Chinese Cultural Revolution in the 60s. It was so engrossing a read that prompted me to put pen to paper.

Kim Gordon’s live-to-tell childhood memories during the turbulent times in the country where he and his parents had believed to be a model communist haven as accounted in his diaries and letters put it on the same pedestal with Louise Malle’s Au Revoir Les Enfants and Anne Frank’s Diaries in the context of regarding political turbulences through the eyes of the tender age and the lasting impacts on the minds of the young.

Gordon’s writings are a prime example of historical records, which George Orwell called a reason to write in his “Why I Write.” In fact, reading Gordon’s account of his memories of forceful detainment in Peking gives me an association with reading one of Orwell’s war correspondence and his first-hand experience as a voluntary tramp in London to report the reality of homelessness and unemployment.

I think his writings deserve far higher recognition and broader readership in the publication of a memoir, for which I will read forthwith.

Posted in book review

Spirit Away: ‘The Sentence’ by Louise Erdrich

The Sentence by Louise Erdrich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Sentence by Louise Erdrich is about the power of words, spoken or written, awakening the spirits of the author, storyteller, characters, and readers, all adrift and luminous as the boundary between the real and the ideal collapses. It’s a polyphonic work of trauma narrative, cultural studies, social commentary, and philosophical memoir interwoven in multiple strands of a joint account.

The story evolves around Tookie, a doubting bibliophile who thinks books have everything you should know except what actually matters. Books are no more than a portal to mental escapade, a world of make-believe in the likeness of truth or reflected in the highest ether of reason and sentiment, which makes no defining impact on her checkered life as if it were her sentence from the judges of this world and the beyond. So much so that when Tookie finds that the newly deceased soul of a regular customer haunts the bookstore, she works at, she laments her fate of chaos that seems ever to stalk her small wish to live a quiet everyday life. Is it her sentence to live In perceptual existential malaise? And yet, Tookie ends up living daily life with a loving husband and daughter in a house of their own with a steady job as a bookstore attendant. Isn’t it what is considered an everyday life? So why can’t Tookie let the ghost alone when ghosts refuse to depart for the other until they finish their businesses in the world as part of their spiritual sentence?

I decided to read this book after reading a review from the NYT Book Review a couple of months ago because of Tookie for being exceptional wanting to be ordinary. I felt for her, which was valid until the middle of the book. But as Tookie became settled with her husband in their own house burgeoning as a knowledgeable employee at a local bookstore, she began to lose her fabulous, unique luster. Indeed, I was all high fives for her happiness that I felt deserving, but the further I progressed to pages, the more my heart parted with Tookie’s existential frustration, except the touching moments of love between her and her husband. Also, unlike the book’s general introduction as a ghost story, It is not a supernatural book that will fulfill your cravings for an intelligent horror story. Instead, it is an extended short story featuring a ghost as a fire-starter of narratives connected by bibliophilia. The author believes bibliotherapy is a recipe for the existential malady to quiet the anxious mind. There is no more enchanting than a book, electronic or bound. The lifeless words become alive as the reader awakens the book’s spirit by entering the world of make-believe through the labyrinth of stories leading to the secret garden of truths that the author has fruited.



View all my reviews

Posted in Miscellany

the sentence

Order tends toward disorder. Chaos stalks feeble efforts. Normal is not default, and sadness is nature. I see it all a gift of the fates that I have to grin and bear with stoic charm like a Sisyphus rolling up the boulder on a hill in Hades. So much so for the morning’s episode that shadows the remains of the day.

I had to cancel my counseling appointment for tomorrow at 7:00 pm due to training at my new prospective job after work. Should I have rescheduled it instead of canceling? Anyway, the counselor could have asked about such an option if she had been a caring and considerate licensed listener. Writing usually shows a person’s character, however brief it is, as proven by my text communication with her earlier today. Her response was curt and short with a timbre of haste, artful courtesy of an empty reply to her client. I know it because of my divine ability to look through people’s psyche by the mode of speech, writing, or twitching facial muscles. Depending on how you look at it, you can call it a blessing or cursing, but I call it nature. For what’s worth, my extrasensory perception tells me that it’s high time that I prepared a slow parting with her with the pain of disappointment and resentment for betrayal.

In retrospect, she has never provided me her feedback on my mental state since the onset of counseling sessions. Once I had asked her opinion, she was obliged to tell me reluctantly that I had traumas due to an unfavorable family environment, interacting with lots of missed lucky opportunities and debauched aspirations. Then was heard no more. My understanding of counseling is active communication with constructive feedback about the client’s mental state and what to do. However, she only listened, smiled, said goodbye, and continued. Although my heart is weeping for the loss of paid listener whom I could turn to for talks, sorrow will dissipate into the currents of time. Goodbye to you, Ms. A____. I may see and talk to you again, but my spirit will not welcome you again with all my heart and all my mind.

Posted in book review

autocracy of writing

Woman Writing Letters 1911

As a hobbyist blogger with the temerity to write in English on her blog, it irks me to realize the pomposity of literature and the hypocrisy of classicism, especially in American writers. Take, for example, my ambivalent opinion on the book introduction about ‘Essays Two’ by Lydia Davis I read from the 12/11/2021 issue of The New York Times Book Review.

Knowing another language certainly gives you a unique insight into the world with a subtle but more caring timbre of sentiment and reason common to all human creatures. But the magical ability is not a prerogative of a brilliant professional translator of a high literate/academic echelon. Davis’s Marcel Proust is undoubtedly impressive, but Proust is not for everybody, showing that the literati excludes general readers. On the other hand, there are would-be, potential, or unclaimed writers whose narratives are to be reckoned with, from a refugee to an immigrant. Take Nobel Literature Prize winners Abdulrazak Gurnah (2021) and Kazuo Ishiguro (2017). Both used English as their literary tool to articulate their narratives with the images seen through their poetic “third eye” sense.

Davis and other translators-turned writers speak languages of the same language family. So, of course, the perspectives are similar. But, in all fairness, I want to see writers (and former translators) of all social classes writing about subject elements of particular views from a platform where they become universalizing, striking the chords of our human life. Isn’t that what literature is about?