Tag Archives: novella

the changeling

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If she is pretty, she is never lonely because she is wanted and loved. This much is truth, no? Beauty works a miracle in the eyes of a dull man without imagination and of a cruel man without tears. Oscar Wilde, who always had something to say about beauty, affirmed that it’s better to be beautiful than to be good because beauty captures your attention. So, if you are bereft of beauty, then you must work very hard to get people to know who you are. Beauty is indeed a joy for all seasons, rain or shine, and is also a privilege to be loved first before loving.

Judy always must be in love with someone who didn’t even know of her existence because the feeling of love would transform her from a plain Jane to a sultry Cleopatra as if a pixie had cast a glamour spell on her, pitying her denied sense of pleasure and detachment from a constellation of lovers. Judy, despite some flattering feedback on her appearance from onlookers, was always discontent with what she saw in the mirror that seemed to reflect her what she didn’t want or couldn’t see in her true self. She felt that her features were in want of spectacular beauty that would make herself loved, and her solitary disposition dipped in an exclusive flavor of selectiveness doubled the inaccessibility of the worldly sensuousness that even not so pretty or homely women were allowed as their feminine rights.

Judy was sitting like a pillar of melancholy at the dinner table embarrassed by the ordinariness of her appearance in the presence of handsome Fred who made Judy feel like an awkward wallflower that nobody would pay attention to. You would say she obviously lacked self-confidence, but self-confidence is also built upon the kind of feedback you get from others. Judy was a firm believer of existentialism which says that experience exceeds essence and of Robert Cooley’s sociological theory of “Looking Glassed Self” that you become the way how others treat you. Or you might say what she lacked in appearance could be compensated by her intelligence, wits, or those other “inner” qualities, all of which she did possess. But let’s be honest, my dear readers. Beauty is the power and the wisdom of women regardless of leaps of times, distances of places, and differences of races. Any man- rich or poor, bigoted or liberal, young or old- loves a pretty woman and will act on his best behavior with kindness. Likewise, Judy, who was not drop-dead gorgeous, always kept herself guarded with a stern look at the sight of a man who might be unkind or curt. However, Fred was different. He was being very affable to her with a genuine smile. This time Judy wanted to claim her right of happiness and make her existence visible to her figure of love, so she secretly wished for a glamour spell to change herself from an insignificant wallflower to a beautiful rose that would make Fred crazy about her.

 

good bye to sunday

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Sunday is the saddest day of a week because it heralds a start of another week that brings unknowns to all mankind: employed/unemployed, men/women, affluent/impecunious, and educated/uneducated. Every minute of Sunday hastens to its end like as the waves make towards the quicksands. For Paul Collie, who works as a manager at a supermarket, is an imperturbable person hardly under the weather, Sunday means constructive solipsism in which his artistic sensibilities and intellectual proclivity are manifested in such forms of gardening, reading and writing otherwise smothered under the pretext of financial needs and familial responsibilities during weekdays. Gardening, because it gives him a sense of being a master of fine arts akin to Michelangelo; reading and writing, because he it teaches the styles of writing he can employ in his own writing. On this late afternoon, Paul is having a jovial time with his like-minded friend Hans Cow, a senior librarian at Tolkien Library and a part-time private investigator, who called on him to talk about the current affairs of the week. This week’s topical subject of the Sunday talk: “Elitist Art exclusive of the undesirable”

Hans: “Did you read an article about Snotty Museum turning down an annually pledged largess from Johnny Mojo, the chairman of the cleaning company Mojo? The reason for the rejection was said to be of moral, ethical standards because Johnny Mojo was a one-time drug addict and affiliated with some kind of money-laundering scheme. But you know what? I think it’s all about posturing, gestures of some kind of uneducated, former jailbird upstart trying to hobnob with the big wigs and the celebs that these so-called “Guardians of Fine Artsimg_0458” do not want to approve of. For Mojo – let’s be brutally honest – does not meet their standards of impeccable donors. What they want is immaculate man without original sin!”

Paul: “Yeah, I read that Mojo guy. You are right in saying that Snotty Museum’s decision img_0457was rather foolhardy and rash, groundless in their a priori reasoning that a donor should be also morally and spiritually immaculate to support artistic causes. Which is a supercilious stance on the puritanical touchstone of sponsorship. That a company doing a dubious business should not contribute its munificence to the museum is a hokum, nothing but a supercilious illustration of elitist art exclusive of the populace. The museum do not want to be involved in moral money-laundering, or “art-washing”. I want to think that Mojo’s intention to donate his wealth to the museum was bona fide because art is open to all, not a prerogative of the moneyed. Besides, art is for art’s sake and not should be used as a tool for political campaigns or social dogmas. Lucy Maud Montgomery expressed the same sentiment, and W.H. Auden also concurred that art should not be trapped by political and social systems. The museum’s decision shows that even a realm of art has been a domain of social Spencerism…

Pleasure and activity make the afternoon hours seem short as the discussions seem to have no ends. There’s nothing like a merry heart that goes all day when talking and listening to a kindred spirit who understands your mind’s world and encourages to continue cultivating your mind’s garden. The sun has moved closer to the horizon, and soon the evening will come. Then this Sunday will become a part of the memories of the past as a new Monday comes. Then it all seems legit to chime the timeless Latin phrase: “Tempus figit”. So it does. Times flies.

Will to meaning – chapter 9

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All strange and terrible events were welcome, but comforts she despised. And there was nothing left remarkable beneath the visiting sun. It was just her wish that was father to the thought; the thought that the man would be interested in her and talk to her. But it was just a foiled dream, vain hope, blind passion, and cruel deception. Iris was left all alone again. Francis Bacon regarded anyone delighted in solitude as a wild beast or a divine being, and Iris wanted to think of herself as a divine being because she could not bear to accept the fact that she was left out of warmth and love of humanity, and that she was perching on the brink of social isolation as a recluse. It was safe that way to protect her already bleeding heart and bruised soul from the acknowledgment of reality. The world had never seen so perilous and cruel to Iris, who began to doubt that human nature was selfish and violent.

Sitting at her desk at home, Iris was watching the chariot of Apollo moving toward the grand horizon to return to his celestial palace. She wanted to put her soul into the world of writing, but the words became all hodge-podge in bottomless chaos. Now all the forces of darkness were unleashed from an abyss of her inner world and trying to infest her mind with all lies that began to gnaw it till she collapsed in despondency. The age-old self-consciousness felt renewed and resuscitated, egged on by the diabolic echo that everything was set to work against her and that all things would end in naught. Her intention to write was about to be erased from a tablet of her mind, as well. ‘What good will it be when my writing will always reverberate with sighs and more sighs because it is not as polished as her admiring writers?’ Then all of sudden, Voice of Reason began to speak, breaking the silence of gravitas: “Iris, let nothing disturb you, let nothing disparage you because you are indeed a good writer who writes the language of the heart and the mind. Forget the supercilious rabble raving about immaculate textual aspects of writing, for they are blind to see the essence of writing that possesses the soul and the mind of the writer. Remember Tolstoy, who was himself poor at grammatical respects of writing. So was Jane Austin, who was a weak speller. Focus on opening up the treasures kept in your Wunderkammer in writing.”

Whether it was just an imagination or a last thread of will to write was open to a myriad of questions. But Readers, that was what sprang from her mind when Iris wanted to surrender herself to the end of hope, to the abandonment of everything she had tried thus far, and to the killing of her near-forsaken self. And yet, it alleviated acrid heartaches that tormented her like a huge carbuncle and saved her from falling into a bottomless pit full of fire consuming her everything to ashes without mercy. Iris wanted to preserve a sense of purpose and a tenacious grasp on her hopes, thinking that present fears were less than horrible imagining. Then she ceased to die.

deer hunter – chapter 7

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5:15 PM to Florencia. Iris looked at her iPhone clock and felt secured because the time was working nicely with her wish to stay longer until the train departed. The cappuccino was still pleasantly warm in her hands, and she loved the aroma that enveloped her tall slender figure like a shimmering halo of rainbow sunshine. The iridescent mist of instant euphoria was clothing her with a veil of poised status that fused mysterious confidence with graceful humility. Emboldened by this sudden transformation, Iris pulled herself out of her glass castle and lifted her beautiful deep liquid brown eyes to the outside the world of her own. Into the sea of her diamond eyes, the images of love and beauty were cast like magical apparitions, bewitching her senses and sensibilities which were otherwise harnessed like a pair of tamed horses. Iris felt that she could forgive all and love all at that moment of euphoria. It showed that a cup of good coffee could do wonder to anyone as it had done to Johannes Sebastian Bach, Albert Camus, Napoleon Bonaparte, Jonathan Swift, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

In this caffeine-induced euphoria, Iris did not know she was radiant with her pretty smile. The smile was her most prized jewel. When she smiled, she was sweets to the sweet. It was like a flower blooming around an oasis in a desert, and everyone liked it. It’s as rare as a pearl found in a clam, and it’s this rarity of her smile that kept herself distant from the melee who demanded of her frequent smiles. And who would have known that her pearly smile would have caught the sight of Hector? Yes, it was Hector, the mysterious man with a Byronic face and Olympian physique sitting three seats away from Iris, the smile enchantress. Reader, you should understand that Iris was usually a skillful driver of her Chariot of Mind, keeping a tight rein on the always recalcitrant Horse of Appetites. But at that moment, Iris’s chariot was shaking, and the impudent horse was not responding to her stern command to behave. The harder and more she hit the horse with a goad, the more and harder the horse rebelled against the pain until it became mad with a wild cry of agony. It was the cry of the restrained nature. For the nature of the impudent horse was to act according to its beastly desire, the primal cry of the wild. The ancient Greeks regarded love involving man and woman as the most passionately sensual emotion in which only Eros dominated because it was primarily physical, encompassing carnal pleasure. Was it that Eros and Eros only that reigned in Iris’s entertainment of this rebellious chariot of the mind with the wild cry? Iris did not think so and liked to believe it wasn’t. After all, Iris was chaste, and she believed that she would live as a living goddess like Artemis or Athena, independent of men, of children, flying outside the boundary of marriage and attachment.

Hector was watching this curious woman all along. He did not know why, but something was telling him that she was different from other women whom he had known and lived with. She looked both woman and girl in her tall thin body. She was beautiful with her chiseled face and large dark brown eyes that looked rather serious and dolorous. Her high-bridged straight nose gave her an impression of a patrician woman whom no one could easily be jovial with. The beauty and the grace of her were not in want, and yet she wasn’t exactly the fairest of all the women he had met. Besides, there was a touch of beyondness to her, which was oddly attractive with her rather sophisticated urban demure. The graceful estrangement emanating from this unknown girl/woman reminded him of a deer that lost a track of her kind in a deep forest. Or did she look like a she-wolf voluntarily detached from the pack? Whatever it was, he was hooked on it and wanted to know more about it. It was in her, and she was in it. He wanted to be in it, willingly and madly. Was it an illusion or just a whimsical mood of a bored artist? Hector was all for the adventure, and he’s up for it like Odyssey in preparation for his adventures between the sea and the devil.

chapter 4 – hunter

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Cumae.

Whoever denominated this city must have been either inspired by the ancient Roman spirit or just plain high, having a momentary kick of phantasm just as Cumaen Sibyl had experienced in the cave filled with hallucinating gases and vapors. But this Cumae was nothing of the sort. 4 hours of drive from Rome, populated by yuppies, young technocrats, and artists of all kinds, it was typical suburbia that middle-class liberals would like to claim as their permanent residence. No wonder liberal politicians took their winning of votes from Cumae for granted. Which was quite a symbiotic relationship between the constituents and the politicians because young people with money and artists tended to subscribe to liberalism. It was not because they were particularly zealous for the liberal causes, but rather because it suited their modes of life.

Into this largess of liberality, Hector was driving fast. Driving was never an annoying drudgery, but today it was. He needed to think about his next oeuvre which he did not even have the slightest idea of what it would be. Yet, the image of beauty, that mysterious entity formed by the midsummer’s moonlight sonata two nights ago was keeping him restless, making him breathless, and turning him resistless.  The passion dashed him to the finale of his journey as he was trying to think deeper about his secret imago. ‘Finally, I am at home.’ Hector felt safe and relieved at last when he entered the studio. It was well-kept by Mrs. Maria Martinez, who came to clean on a weekly basis. The paintings and sculptures of his creation welcomed him silently, but that was even more liking to Hector. He felt free from a leviathan of stress, obligations, morality… He was intoxicated with a sudden urge to sing a hymn to Dionysus and wanted to be among the cult of his temple. Out of the bliss of solipsistic presence came his ritual bath filled with an aromatic fragrance and warm water that would melt any man of steel or wood into a captive of euphoric oblivion; it smeared Hector’s manliness with an enchanting perfume of calm and soaked it in Sea of Forgetfulness. So much so that Hector wanted to proclaim such euphoric moment to be part of his Eleusinian Mysteries by hollering “Eureka,” just as Archimedes had done. My dear reader, it all seems that taking a bath would lead one to brilliant enlightenment.

It was almost 6:00 PM when Hector decided to take an evening promenade. He was a perambulator, taking delight in walking a long distance, which put him in a league with Henry Thoreau, Edgar Allen Poe, and Robert Browning, all of whom walked with pleasure for hours. He could walk far and wide without specific destinations. Wandering like a cloud across the vast skies, Hector returned to his true self as a hunter. He was a hunter again, and he was a want of fresh blood that gave him vitality for life in which he with wife Moira and little daughters had given hostages to fortune. So, like a lone wolf that intentionally broke away from its pack, into the dusky horizon Hector started to walk as his instinct ruled over his way.