Nothing is more exhilarating than ending a day’s work with a gorgeous fugue of uplifting melodies. In sweet music is such art, moody food of me and my cat.
Before calling it a day to say hello to a new tomorrow on a hard day’s night, to happen on this comic strip of my all-time favorite Peanuts seems almost too pat. Provident, even. It chimes the bells of my heart and soul that are dented with the shrapnel of existential vertigo in the most impressively elliptical way: that none other than simple tenets of life are needful to live a less stressful life.
As Sally elegantly puts: Life does not end at one fell swoop even if I stumble into an imbroglio of misadventures; any such mistakes or misdeeds betray that to err is human; and that I should not fall into the bottomless pit of worries and anxiousness, for tomorrows are always new with their own unknowns.
What Sally blithely professes strikes the chords of Logotheraphy, a 3rd Viennese school of psychotherapy founded by Dr. Viktor E. Frankl based on existential analysis focusing on ego qua meaningfulness, a purpose of living a meaningful life. With these simple but potent tenets of life in mind, I can say good-bye to this spent day with the alacrity of departure for nightly dreamscapes to rest myself.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
I have been writing profusely and religiously almost on a daily basis since I created the blog a month ago. I love the process of writing my thoughts and feelings publicly in hope of communicating with the people who can share them and appreciate my writing. Although I don’t have a huge fan base, nor do many people leave comments on my posts, I am not dispirited because even David Hume, the author of Human Understanding received a total lack of recognition upon publication, nor did Athony Trollope’s The Macdermots of Bally Cloran gain any readership. Nary a one bit. What a comfort.
While reading Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, I have been getting many invaluable tips on how to write a story, what to write, and what to possess to write. King’s advice is down to earth, straightforward, honest, and friendly. Also, he is very humble to share his own craftsmanship in reference to his own personal experience which I am greatly appreciative of. Before I read the book, I felt a great distance from the contemporary American writers and their works because they seemed to belong to another world where I could not find myself comfortable with and connected to. However, King with his book On Writing has kindly and warmly invited me to the world of modern American literature and his personal/professional world in a very American way.
His writing style is precise, perspicuous, scintillating, and personal. There are no belle lettres, no plum words, no grandiloquence, no priggishness, and no platitudes therein. Just a straight story-telling as truthfully as possible. It’s both intellectual and entertaining. Besides, the facts that (1) he went to a state university; (2) he’s not from an affluent or a typical middle class family; (3) his writer wife, who also went to the same university as he did, worked at a Dunkin’ Donuts’ to support their family; and that (4) he plays the rhythm guitar in an amateur rock band consisting of his fellow writers have drawn me closer to appreciate his world of literature, his brilliant creations.
Furthermore, King seems to have read my mind in regards to my arrested development of writing stories I want the world to read. To write good, I have to read a lot consistently. Also, setting up a writing routine on a daily basis is highly recommendable. He suggests any aspiring writer write at least 500 words per day. So here I am writing this long-forgotten online journal. And the most important thing to keep in mind is that I should not lower my level to expose my writing to any external feedback by publicizing it in expectation of receiving praise or even the smallest comment, unless my writing is complete and reader-friendly after satisfactory re-draft of the original. Besides, I will not canvass for readership because I don’t want my blog to be tainted by internet marketers of dubious origins and their ilks. In fact, the satisfaction results from writing a story that is honest to myself, that is easy to write about, and that is vivid in telling a story abstracted in my brain. Thus, I have decided to publish my blog post upon thoroughly circumspect review thereof. And I will keep this journal diligently and write a short story per week.
I will let go of myself in the world of armature writing and see how far I will get to. And if this is not my thing to pursue, then I will toss it to find another avenue in my life. But for now, I will stick to this writing plan.
*Having done this entry, I have realized 699 words were written! There I go! I have already written a short story of mine!
P.S. Sir Francis Bacon once said, “Reading makes a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man.” How rightly so.
The rare equanimity of this Sunday evening (also in celebration of denouement of the senseless Daylight Savings Time in the States) allured me to trace back my bygone days, and hence this entry of my interior monologue I wrote on Tuesday, December 8th, 2015, several days after starting my blog on wordpress.com. I have always liked to write since I could read and write, no matter how amateurish it may be.
Although I can’t imagine myself earning the bare necessities by means of writing, an act of writing emboldens my otherwise timid self under the aegis of anonymity. Well, I have my name Stephanie Suh manifested as the author of the writings on my blog, but other attributes of mine are protected by stealth, and it will remain so in fear of losing a magical sense of writing as a ghost writer. (Or sometimes, I feel like Artemis, a divine huntress who vehemently protected herself from the leers and jeering of mortals in terms of her fierce guarding of noble independence. ) After all, writing is an act of discovery of a self, ego qua meaningfulness, a search for sense of purpose in life. It’s also a sanctuary, an elbow room of a restive, lost soul on a life sea. It’s also a cultivation of plants and flowers and trees in your Secret Mind Garden.