Tag Archives: essay

#ShakespeareSunday

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“My gracious silence, hail!… Ah, my dear, Such eyes the widows in Corioli wear, And mothers that lack sons.” (‘The Tragedy of Coriolanus’, A2 S1). “And all my mother came into my eyes, gave me up to tears.” (‘Henry V’, A4 S6). Thereafter, “my thoughts were like unbridled children, grown too headstrong for their mother.” (‘The History of Troilus and Cressida’, A3 S2)

 

P.S.: This week’s theme is “Mothers and Children”, and the above is what I have found to be fit for the subject. In order to incorporate the quotations into one coherent paragraph of a drama, I have also slightly adapted the original texts to create a smooth flow of the narrative. 

 

dishes and books

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Agatha Christie once said: “The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.” So did Jane Austen, who used to write before preparing a meal for her elderly father and after washing the dishes. And there was Laura Ingalls, an incredible pioneer woman tenaciously grasping on her aspiration to write while guiding her poor family to the long and winding climb to long-term financial security.  Then there was Lucy Maude Montgomery working full time as a teacher and writing full time to arrive one day as an established writer. Now enter Christine De Pisaner, a single mother of three children and mother, employed as a full-time supervisor at a scriptorium in the Late Middle Age France. What they had in common was the inexhaustible self-discipline and the independent will that drove them to spur their creativity on the craft of writing while juggling with their existential needs of life.

In fact, the figure of Christine De Pisan stands scintillating amid the somber Gothic spheres of cathedrals and gargoyles in the Late Middle Ages. She was the first professional woman writer making a living out of writing to support her three children and mother on her own against the custom of remarrying as a widow. Pisan was a precocious, voracious reader at a very young age, wallowing herself in books, soaking up in knowledge gained from hours of reading at the royal place of the Louvre. Upon her husband’s death, Pisan worked at a scriptorium where she supervised the works of calligraphers, miniaturists, and bookbinders while writing in her spare time. It was during this time of employment Pisan began to write for livelihood under the aegis of King Charles VI, attracting European royal patronage of Phillip II of Burgundy, Queen Isabella of Bavaria, and England’s Earl of Salisbury, despite the fact that England and France fought against each other during the Hundred Years’ War. But Pisan’s feats of words and erudition triumphed over the vortex of the war and communicated to Taste and Reason universal in humanity by which her love of France and admiration of the Virgin Maid of Orleans were sublimated to the epic romantic poem “The Tale of Joan of Arc”.

Pisan, Agatha Christie, Jane Austen, Laura Ingalls, and Lucy Maude Montgomery are soul sisters bound by the ambition, fortitude, and talents to express their inner voices in the peculiar alchemy of literature with a burst of pep in spite of their dealings with the existential world hostile to their sensitiveness. They were writers who knew how to strike the chords of readers with their artistic craft and admiring independent spirits that are contemporary with our time. For they write despite life’s challenges with a resilient sense of purpose in search of a meaning of life by actualizing dreams, hopes, and values in an expression of will across a blank page in divine madness of art. You see, washing and writing are not apples and oranges.

The Poesie by Titan: poetry in painting

 

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Europa by Titan

Although art is territorial, it’s never divisional; it crosses over the branches of art and begets a hybrid of wondrous beauty that spreads through the mind of the beholder and lingers there in alterations, evoking an arch of endless imaginations and a well of inspirations, appealing to our human faculty that is rather physical than metaphysical, sensual than intellectual. It’s a mating of the Senses, a marriage of Reasons perfected in letters or paintings, all in the mastery of stories, colors, and forms begotten by divine madness of artists copulating with a sensation of the flesh in putting a method of expression to its love bed of paper or canvas. Such a love child of arts results in Titan’s riveting masterpiece the ‘Poesie.’

Titan (1488-1576), one of the most celebrated artists of the Italian Renaissance, created the ‘Poesie,’ a cycle of 6 mythological paintings inspired by Ovid’s ‘the Metamorphoses,’ stories about famous mythological figures in poetry, which was the very reason that Titan chose it as his subjects. Originally commissioned by Phillip II, the life-sized portrait of whose father Emperor Charles V catapulted Titan to stardom in European courts, the ‘Poesie’ gave him the artistic freedom to experiment with different styles of painting incorporating secular subjects that attracted the welcome attention of intellectually ambitious aristocrats. The ‘Poesie,’ meaning poetry in French, is a hexaptych of human emotions expressed in mythological figures that are all too familiar and universal common to all human creatures. It displays the vagaries of human emotions, ranging from euphoria to anguish, passion to regret, and greed to pain, all the artistry in each of the paintings. Titan wanted to create the visual equivalent of the poetry in which Venus burning in passion for her young object of desire Adonis, Europa ravished by Zeus in a bull’s hide, Actaeon chancing upon Diana’s bath and other divine and mortal beings, such as Danae, Perseus, Andromeda, and Calisto intermingled in sensual pursuits were to be translated by strokes of a brush, plays of colors, and dramas of human feelings and emotions. In fact, it is this Titan’s talent both as a storyteller and a painter that sets him apart from his contemporaries and renders the work immortally enshrined in the atrium of universal arts.

The ‘Poesie’ is currently on display in London’s National Gallery exhibition for the first time in over 4 centuries, following an example of Vatican’s concomitant display of Raphael’s tapestries at the Sistine Chapel. Notwithstanding the thematic and geographic differences, the works of the masters delight the eyes of ours as harbingers of art as artifacts of human civilization consisting of the standard of taste and reason universal in all human creatures as regards the principles of judgment and sentiment common to the eyes and minds of all mankind.

thank-you from author Ian Mortimer

Although Abraham Lincoln said, “Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition,” it’s always delightful  to hear when a writer whose work you value highly and like very much appreciates what you have done in connection with the work. For recognition is a great motivator for a dilettante, especially an amateur hobbyist writer, to keep it going in the awareness of her abilities that are in many times smoldered, undervalued, and simply ignored.

So naturally, I am pleased to find my review of The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan England by Ian Mortimer gets noted and even quoted on the author’s Twitter today.  Mind you, my dear reader, that I am not an autograph hunter, chasing that usual Thank you- I really- appreciate-your -kind -reviews- on-my-book facade, which I find conceited and empty even, nor do I canvass any such vain cajolery from authors of books like a destitute attention-seeker. Rather, I am glad to know that there are people who appreciate my works however humble they may be, and the happiness becomes twice when such recognition comes from those whose works I like. So it’s a mutual respect between a Reader and a Writer, and vice versa.

On writing, Stephen King and J.K. Rowling advised in harmony that a good writer requires disciplines and perspiration. True that some of the best writers are natural with their craft bestowed upon them by a supernatural being. But I also believe that many of the great writers work hard by writing continuously and reading copiously. That gives me a ray of hope, and so should you.

on #ShakespeareSunday

Great works of geniuses are contemporary with their time and ours; they transcend a great divide of time and space across cultural and racial boundaries and apply the universality of objective truths to any era of our human civilization. That is why William Shakespeare, an Elizabethan workaday dramatist and poet who also acted on stage himself, is a Universal Writer whose works are still widely read, told, re-told, and reenacted that magically resurrect the time he lived that seemed remote yet surprisingly familiar. For Shakespeare is all about humanity that continues to appeal with his rhetorical utility. Hence, I participate in a weekly #ShakespeareSunday on Twitter with different themes as provided by the host. Last Sunday’s theme was ‘ITALY & TRAVEL,’ and this is my tweet that I want to share on my blog with my Readers whom I also encourage to do the same.