Tag Archives: creative story

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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.

 

dare to be an egoist

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Charles Lamb (1755-1834), an English essayist and a clerk in the Accountant’s Department of the East Indies Company, rhapsodized about a solipsistic ritual of mealtime. “Oh, the pleasure of eating my dinner alone!” Seraphina also liked to have lunch by herself. No, she’s not antisocial or misanthropic into the bargain. It’s just that after enduring what with blaring tempers of her lawyer bosses and what with her worldly wayward female co-workers who shared none of her character and interest, a solitary lunchtime was her much-needed lull before the second part of a daily drama or comedy at work. However, these days Seraphina’s lunchtimes had been punctuated by almighty workloads and ceaseless insipid tweets of her co-workers, whereupon Seraphina wrote a letter to Wise Mary for motherly advice and received her heartwarming and feasible reply promptly.

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Dear Seraphina,

What I gather from your account is that you yearn for romantic independence and existential freedom in the sense that this reality of daily life is unbearable to deal with to your introverted self that longs for pure selfhood defined by a proud indifference to social convention, forced socialization. I see your dilemma: whereas professional artists who earn their living by their pictures and letters achieve grace through their oeuvres, you can’t live your life like theirs that seem far-fetched, abstract, and impractical to lead a solipsistic life. Today’s world of hyperactivity and self-promotion has made an outlaw of silence. Hence, the contemporary culture pathologizes sui generis individuality, contriving a perfectly sane person into a classic basket case. Notwithstanding all this public animosity toward your deposition, you can still keep your studied solitude and sovereign independence by keep focusing your creative spirit on your reading and writing and making it as your primary reality, while fulfilling demands placed upon your daily tasks at work as an existential means to your ultimate cause for self-confidence and self-esteem. In this regard, modus vivendi is needful to make your life easier; you compromise your way of life with existential needs of life without losing your personal independence. And think simply and act smartly. Have patience with all things but first of all with yourself. Refrain from anxiety, turn from impatience. Do not fret, for it only leads to trouble. Hope this helps.

Yours in Love,

Wise Mary

fe8e1396fdfe9fd607d647a2fce31842Upon reading this thoughtful and caring reply of advice from Wise Mary, Seraphina’s doldrums were cast away in her emotional course charted in the sea of unknown tomorrows. And her blithe, proud rendering of reclusiveness and independence encapsulated in her refrain of “Let it be me.” She recited that her wallowing egotism and studied aloofness were not toxic traits of punishable narcissism but a manifestation of human nature to glory in the sacredness of solitude to distill things heard, seen, and experienced in the world into her own realm of consciousness to construct a reality of the world from within. Dared to be a proud solipsist, Seraphina would make sure that she would enjoy her lunch alone reading and writing with a cup of coffee no matter what.

Jay’s Angels – fiction

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Move over Charlies Angeles. Here come Jay’s Angeles. (from l to r: Stephanie, Gwen and Monica): Illustration by Gwen B.

Director/Writer/Producer: Stephanie S.

Illustrator: Gwen B.

Ambiance Coordinator : Monica K.

Stars: Stephanie S. (Legal Assistant), Gwen B. (Accountant), and Monica K. (Legal Assistant)

Synopsis: Three ladies who are recently hired at a downtown LA law firm by a top notch  lawyer Jay C. sometimes get together during lunch hour to share their flattering hopes for their futures, remote but not that far-fetched anticipations of meeting white knights on steads, picky valuations of Mr. Rights, and other simple vignettes of their romantic adventures in Love El Dorado, all under the pretext of helping Stephanie to morph into a seductive la femme fatale, so to speak, to elevate her status to that of Irresistible Aphrodite in Pantheon of Love.

The Ladies get kick out of their funny raillery about all and sundry, ranging from a best face washer to their erstwhile significant others or would-have-been, from the pros and cons of their de facto bosses to their next best wishes and wishful thoughts about their better tomorrows. But who can deride their maiden dreams as pettifogging idleness indigenous to womanhood when they are hard-working women fulfilling everyday demands placed upon their daily tasks from within and without?

Mind you that due to their innately highly whimsical and capricious nature laced with covert extraordinary spiritual prowess, they sometimes change themselves into the Witches of the Biltmore. So it’s a league of their own, and it’s members exclusive, and it’s highly selective. But don’t you let them scare you away, my dear reader, for they are also mortals whose blood is red and hot and heart is warm and pumping. They are Jay’s Angels.

 

Author’s Note: Working in office requires lots of social skills: diplomacy, adaptability, modus vivendi, persona, euphemism… It requires a sense of humor, a handmaid to productivity imbued with can-do attitudes and stoicism to accept misfortunes and fortunes as they are – but with lovely smile all for the love of yourself – . Be it ever so naive or gullible, but one thing is certain that although my life at present is attuned for the office life as my primary reality for livelihood, which is why I lag behind my list of to-read books, this new kind of reality has called my attention to its adventurous digression from my textual existence rooted in reading the worlds of others. No, that does not mean that I trade myself for recklessly rash frolics, but it might help me to widen a social horizon to encounter a panoply of unknown characters, as piped up by  Shakespeare thus: “There are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

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French Dinner, Lords’ Supper

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Getting ready for the dinner

Nice Christmas office dinners are all alike. Any not-so-nice Christmas office dinner is boring in its own fashion. It all depends on a venue and invitees, and a host of the occasion that create an ambiance and conjure up a spirit of the minor revelry. That said, this Christmas office dinner Seraphina attended last night was a nice and delicious revelation of characters, personalities, and tastes served with a fashionably delicious Haute cuisine at a fashionably cultural restaurant in downtown nearby the office. It was an unusual raillery of lawyers – the lords of the firm as Seraphina would like to think – whose stiffness seemed to be temporally suppressed by the intoxication of prime red wine. All of this became a valuable empirical addition to Seraphina’s quest for a meaning of her life, a voyage into the heart of the world, the terra incognita, charting her emotional course according to the winds of her unknown destiny.

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The course menu designed for the lords’ banquet

The dinner began at La Boum, a new European fusion restaurant in town, at 6:30 PM. As Seraphina wended her direction toward the restaurant, she bethought herself of Somerset Maugham’s adage: “At a dinner party one should eat wisely but not too well, and talk well but not too wisely.” It was one of the best sagacious and elliptical advice on how to conduct oneself at such occasion, thought she. Or was it just a universal principle to be a civilized guest at a social event? It’s just that when such common sensible etiquette is uttered by a notable person like Maugham, it carries a tone of authority, power of significance. Come to think of it, the Little Prince in the eponymous novel by French aristocrat, writer, poet, and aviator Antone de Saint-Exupery thought the same when a Turkish astronomer dressed in the traditional costume presented himself at an academic convention, no one paid attention to him but belittled his outstanding scientific achievements. It was not until he changed his costume to a well-tailored suit that his fellow astronomers took him seriously and attended to his remarkable scientific contributions. Well, that’s one of the human foibles and follies that we all stumble upon no matter how educated and good-hearted we are, contemplated Seraphina, Lady Philosopher, as she was approaching near La Boum.

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The marvelous chef and proprietor of La Boum Monsieur Randy Beaver

All the partners of the firm had already been expecting Seraphina’s elegant entrance into the restaurant. Always a principled, reliable, and capable assistant, Seraphina was their sine qua non, and they all could not exert their years of expertise on their areas of law, ranging from corporate to litigation, without her existence at the office. So they could not help but beam with smile at her beautiful presence into the dinner table that would have been rather drab and dreary without her graceful presence like Beatrice serving as Dante’s guide through Hell and Purgatory in Virgil’s Divine Comedy. So the course of dinner commenced with a glass of red wine made in 1986. It was amazing to see how just one sip of wine making a person agreeable and sociable quite contrary to his usual stiff and standoffish self. That might be the reason why Dionysus, the god of wine and anything relating to intoxicating spirits, was indiscriminately revered by all regardless of status, sex, and age in the antiquity. And the cult is still going strong all over the world.

Amid the intoxicated euphoria under a glowing chandelier, Seraphina was observing the faces of the partners, the purveyors of her sustenance, her daily victuals, her existential livelihood. In the dusky glow, her minor and major bosses seemed full of amiable qualities. Seraphina liked their polished frankness, their intelligence, their sense of humor, their lack of snobbishness. Even the occasional moroseness and astuteness which sometimes were so like abrasiveness now seemed the natural sign of social ascendancy belonging to the station. They were lords of the world she now decided to care for, and they were ready to accept her only if she was willing to make it her primary world, not the secondhand, which had been that world she was now beginning to turn herself in. Or so it seemed at the moment. But one thing was certain that she felt within her a secret allegiance to their standards, an acceptance of the demands imposed upon her unavoidable obligations, a scornful pity for the people who would put their ideal ideas before existential needs and adhere to abstract abracadabra of metaphysical philosophy of life. Now she began to despise all such feckless rabbles, the starving intellectuals without the gumption, the proud egoists who put forward their own doctrines of life in which Seraphina would not want to find herself. Already she was beginning to feel like a new person at the denouement of the dinner. And her qualms about leaving for her imago bespoke a vestige of her abstract self that only lived in a textual world.

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On keeping a journal

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Frau am Schreibtisch (Woman at writing desk ) by Lesser Ury

Keeping a journal is, I believe, a vehicle for creating myself, my sense of selfhood. Every page of my dairy is to be breathed with my heart that does not have to entertain anybody but myself.  It’s also proof that I have lived situations which today would seem uncertain and fretful, that I have climbed up the paths of my life thus far to reach the peaks so ambitious, so adventurous. Above all, I want to bring out every treasure that is buried deep in my heart. So writing day in and day out in my Midori Traveler’s Notebook is my daily ritual to remember what it is to be me, which is always the whole point of doing it.

I carry about my traveler’s notebook  everywhere I go to write my journal and reading pointers from books I read, and some occasionally attempted drawings for practice. There are three notebooks: One is used categorically for my freedom of thoughts, feelings, and just about anything that is to be kept only for myself. It’s not to be shared by anyone, so my soul can rest herself there. Another one is for notes I take from reading that I need to refer to when I write book reviews. And the last one is reserved for jotting down anything out of brainstorm, from devising storyboards for my short stories, to scratching some images of my poems, to making bullet lists to do, and to practicing my newly inspired drawings for more balanced nourishment of my soul. Most of the times – that is 5 days a week – before heading into my job, I usually go to a coffee shop and write in my beloved Midori. It is during this writing time when I feel creative and special out of the melee, out of the existential horrors of every day, and out of the humdrum of daily life.

I love combining drawings and a variety of crafting to my writing to heighten the expressions of feelings and deepen the depths of thoughts in the way I want them to. The only obstacle I have to huddle is drawing. As someone whose aesthetic standard is as high as that of Pope Julius II, who commissioned Michelangelo to fresco the Sistine Chapel,  I only wish I could draw things I see to its exactness with fine details. But then I always remind myself of the adage: “A flower does not compare itself to other flowers. It just blooms.”

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In the Garden by Celia Thaxter

Therefore, keeping a diary is a veritable record of myself, a personal treaties on the breadth and depth of being who I really am. It sounds grandiose, but writing in my Midori gives rise to the elevation of my weltanschauung in reflection of contextualizing concepts and beliefs kept in me and also helps me unearth hidden treasure in the realm of unconscious mind. And by creating a kind of work relating to the crafts of the arts, I like to think that I am fulfilling my purpose of life to live a meaningful life, for the sake of ego qua meaningfulness. That said, I like to cherish Kurt Vonnegut’s advice that the arts are what makes the human life bearable and livable in dealing with existential matters of daily lives, for practicing any form of the arts – however clumsily or amateurishly done –  is a noble means to attend My Secret Garden of Mind full of Begonias of Fancy, Roses of Beauty, Tulips of Passion, Lavenders of Devotion, all blooming and bountiful around Spring of Eternal Youth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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