Posted in Miscellany

a league of their own

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Reading a section featuring a small, pleasant Q&A type of interview with a writer in The New York Times Book Review on restful weekends gives me a kind of voyeuristic fillip to be privy to the life of the writer; moreover, the usual question of whom to invite for dinner is the gist of such small pleasure. I’ve found it quite stimulating to think about my own list of people to have dinner with. Therefore, I have herein drawn up my own list of invitees to confabulate with. Here’s my list of guests:

  • Eleanor Roosevelt: The paragon of the First Lady of the United States with Intelligence that ministered to her moral character, she put her philosophy into action by actively participating in social services. Besides, Mrs. Roosevelt possessed a polished but common sense of humor and wits communicative to people of all social strata with her timeless adage: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
  • Joan of Arc: The Virgin of Lorraine, The Patron Saint of France… Such are the epithets of this patriotic French maiden who was burned alive on the counts of witchery and treason, which was of course conspiracy concocted by the French ecclesiastical dignitaries collaborating with the English against whom Joan of Arc fiercely and courageously fought to victory. She was neither a religious fanatic, nor a hallucinated mooncalf, nor a certifiable schizophrenic. She might be a simple peasant woman but a courageous, headstrong, and smart woman of faith who did not even protect her face during battles with the English amid the attacks of sharp arrows, axes, and lances. No wonder did Mark Twain praise the Virgin Knight forthwith: “Whatever thing men call great, look for it in Joan of Arc, and there you will find it.” Besides, her simplicity of faith excelled the pomposity of ecclesiastical knowledge by saying thus: “About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they are just one thing, and we should not complicate the matter.” I can learn many things from Joan as a True Model Woman who embodied Intelligence, Femininity, Courage, and Faith.
  • Marilyn Monroe: Born as Norma Jean Baker, she was not a blonde bimbo whose physical attractiveness belied her ceaseless pursuit of knowledge concomitant with her pursuit of the meaning of life she desperately wanted to ascertain. Monroe enrolled in evening college courses in New York City when she had no schedules during the daytime. Behind her pretty persona of a movie star, there was a profound shadow of existentialist. Also, Monroe’s down-to-earth personality and kind nature would make her a lovely company striking up a convivial conversation at the table full of strangers.
  • Jane Birkin: Her bohemian look – that effortlessly sensual but charmingly delightful facade with simple French Chic style is always timeless and boundless, appealing to Womankind imbuing with a sense of emulation of the style. In fact, such qualities of Birkin had one time convinced me that she was French. She seems to wear sexuality like she’s wearing her favorite set of perfumes, which is never vulgar nor degrading. Once a shy English girl is now a sensuous cosmopolitan woman demonstrating admixture of art and individuality in the most fashionable way. She will be a delightful addition to my lunchtime table.

In view of the above, my guests of honors are an eclectic company of women, past or present, surprisingly and strictly non-professional authors who make a living by writing only, although I did not intend it to be that way. Or maybe my preconception of professional authors – especially women – as highly volatile artists with inflated egos, dazzling intelligence, divine beauty, and impressive achievements might have played a vital role in excluding unconsciously any of them from my circle of companions. But so did Michelangelo; he was never befriended with his contemporary Leonardo Da Vinci, who in fact lambasted his untidiness as a sculptor in comparison with a baker. Nor did Michelangelo make friends with other famous artists. Instead,  he was a friend of some obscure artisan who helped around various artists by doing sorts of drudgery. It all boils down to the fact that having a good company of kindred spirits can do a favorable service to your soul, making you feel charitable and magnanimous, so much so that you can- to quote the swashbuckling Oscar Wilde- “forgive anybody, even one’s own relatives.”

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Posted in Miscellany, Novellas

Songs of Lady Egoist

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Time is like a fashionable host that greets its guests with a variety of hues and styles depending on occasions: for weekdays, it welcomes the guests with professional attire and proprieties perfected in workmanship. But for its festive weekend guests – especially the divine sabbatical Sundays, the host and the guests are all dressed in delightfully comfy clothes to lounge around their homes free from dress codes. On this beautifully leisurely Sunday afternoon, Seraphina, a full time secretary who also sometimes moonlights as a ghost writer, decides to indulge herself in a banquet of music given by the fashionable host in celebration of the divine rest all to herself alone at home with her fluffy canine sister Nena.

Seraphina’s eclectic taste in music is worth the telling: a mixture of classical standard of beauty and her pleasant quirkiness and feminine queasiness stylishly fashioned with a modish streak is her trademark, which makes her belong in her own class by herself. During her totally off-guard hours, she goes for a parade of modern day troubadours of catchy melodies and good lyrics. “Good music is to refresh the mind of anyone after her studies or work, isn’t it?” is the question Seraphina asks to herself and Nena lying prostate at her feet in defense of music she listens to as she writes down a list of the five songs in mind as follows:

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  • Bigmouth Strikes Again – the Smiths (It’s rather surreal and dismal, but the mood created by the lyric is then betrayed by the upbeat, and melodious tune and mellifluously sonorous voice of Morrissey, who sided with Joan of Arc.
  • Wouldn’t It be Good? – Nik Kershaw (The song emits pathos of human life tantamount to a brevity of Greek tragedy – or comedy? It’s about a person whose life seems to be in the rut of life. Seraphina remembers reading an article about the singer having worked at an employment agency, so maybe it might have resulted from his encounter with one of the unemployed about whom the singer felt a touch of humanity.
  • Just Me and you – Jane Birkin (Seraphina’s fashion icon Jane Birkin sings a triumphant love in secret that gives no care to anybody but to her and her lover only.)
  • Yesterday, Yes A Day – Jane Birkin ( J. Birkin is all femininity personified in a mixture of delightful sensuality and sultry sensuousness, which she wears like her favorite perfume. It’s never lewd or slutty, but stylishly and poetically intoxicating. Seraphina is emulous of her favorite icon’s style to all appearance.
  • Daisy Bell – Blur (One day Seraphina accidentally found a retro but fabulous English sitcom “Mind Your Language” on her Kindle Fire for free thanks a lot to her Amazon Prime membership. In one of the episodes, amiable teacher Jeremy Brown, wonderfully played by the unforgettable Barry Evans, sang the song with his adult students at evening classes. Its tune so charming and catchy, Seraphina listens again to the song by the band whose CDs she had once collected.

IMG_4046Then she realizes that it is now almost late afternoon, the end of the restful day has come closer to the end of the meridian sun. And so has her afternoon respite from the existential dealings of the world. “Indeed pleasure and action make the hours short,” says Seraphina while glancing at her canine companion Nena taking an afternoon nap at her feet under the desk. “But with you my dear Nena and all the things I can think of to take care, I guess it’s not altogether bleak to live every day.” Seraphina smiles at Nena, gently caressing her fluffy body. It seems that to Seraphina and Nena at that blissful moment, God is in heaven, and all’s well with the world.

 

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