Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Glass Wing Fairies

Somebody has sent me these images today and, when I saw them, I felt instantly transported from the dull winter that greys this end of November day to a magical world of fairytales. I imagined the vast grounds of an immense castle, all blanketed in thick snow. No colour anywhere but the over encompassing lack of colour of a perfect white. A frozen realm, inhabited by frozen souls. But wait, lost in the middle of this park, there is a point, a speck of brilliant green. As I approach it, fearfully and eagerly, gliding on my white fluffy wings of a bird-princess, I notice it’s a tiny glasshouse, itself shaped like a castle. Inside it, there resides an entire world of flowers, their petals the most luminous reds, and yellows, and blues; and each of these flowers has its minuscule fairy, a glass fairy, of infinite beauty and grace - I watch it for hours, while the ice of my heart melts away with the happiness given me by the delicate flutter of their glass wings.

The glass wing butterfly lives in South America. It seems that its presence is used by rain forest ecologists as an indication of high habitat quality while its demise alerts them of ecological change.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I believe there comes a moment in life when you realise that “that’s it!” These are the cards you were dealt. You did your best with them, or your worst, but there’s no reshuffling of the deck, no second chance at a better hand. Nothing will fundamentally change. None of the great deeds you were going to accomplish will happen. The miracle you’ve always thought to be just around that next corner has never come and will forever elude you.

Certainly, you continue to fight, and dream, and build, and cry, and hope, and create, and love, and dream some more, but somewhere deep inside you, where the harshest of truths are held, sometimes unrecognisable even to yourself, lurks this cold fact. Maybe you’re living your perfect life, you’re happy, you have a great family, a good job, maybe you’re a published writer or whatever else meets your fancy. It doesn’t mean you have to be sad – you could be perfectly content - it’s just a fact.

Look around you. Look inside you. That is the place where you were born and this is your family; these are the choices you’ve made; this is the person you’ve married and not somebody else, this is where you live, in this house, in this town and not in another, this is what you do, these are your children, or maybe you don’t have any, by your choice or nature’s. I’m not saying that you’re not happy with your spouse or that you’re not content with your life. But, could you have done everything – or at least some things - differently? How would your life have been had you taken another decision at some crossroads? Do you wonder?

It’s not true discontent that I’m voicing, but a nostalgia coming from the idea of closed (or drastically narrowing, to be more optimistic) possibilities. Others are eighteen now, not you, others are starting their lives.

But when you have a relatively “normal” life, all this sounds trivial in the end compared to the tragedies that devastate other people’s lives. Just an example from yesterday’s newspaper: In 2006, after being forced to squat on the floor for three hours, 19-year old Private Andrei Sychyov, from the Russian army, developed gangrene and the doctors had to amputate his legs and genitals. And his future, of course. Talk about a bad hand…

And another pespective: On the drive home to my older daughter’s school, I sometimes catch a glimpse of a man or a woman; I see them because there is an old people’s home there and they get out for a stroll or just a breath of air when the weather’s permitting. Not together. He is thin, frail, wears huge round glasses, and has a walking cane. She is diminutive and needs a four-legged metal support, just to stand. I’ve rarely seen them move. And I think of them that they just exist, enduring each day, or maybe enjoying it and hoping for the next one. Yesterday, I saw the man and thought, what about this man, how was this life of his that brought him here, how good, how bad? Does all this existential angst mean anything to him?

* * *

That’s probably one of the reasons why writing means so much to me. When I plunge into it, everything else is erased. I have a clean slate. I can start a new life every time, without discarding my “real” one. I have myriad possibilities, all waiting for me. I can open a new deck of cards and even cheat…

Thursday, November 22, 2007

First Snow

Edward J. Bierly - Early Snow

Unseen hands of giants
have started shearing
these grand sheep of the sky.
Their wool
dances in the wind’s skirts,
flows gently over my face,
drops melting pennies
in my upturned palms,
just before
weaving a quilt
of green and white
with the bold parsley.

In the bedecked garden,
I lie,
eavesdroppping to the
quiet lullaby that
the bulbs of garlic
hum to themselves
while awaiting for spring,
tucked away
in Mother Earth’s bed.

On it I lie,
in the form of a snow angel
for the squirrels’ intrigued curiosity
and the children’s sweet delight.

Copyright © Vesper L. All rights reserved.

And a very Happy Thanksgiving holiday to all my American blog-friends!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Seven (Random?) Things About Me

John Eaton was very kind (or not?!) to think of me for this meme. These are the rules, copied from his blog:

1.Link to the person’s blog who tagged you.
2. Post these rules on your blog.
3. List seven random and/or weird facts about yourself.
4. Tag seven random [?] people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog.

Hmmm, suddenly I find it very difficult to come up with one let alone seven things about me. But here we go:

1. When I was about four years old and had just learned how to write in capitals, I heard on the radio about a woman who spoke thirty languages. How wonderful that seemed to me. I immediately started making a list - in my huge, clumsy letters - of all the languages I wanted to learn. Regrettably, I’m very far from getting anywhere on it, beyond the first (very) few.

2. Another scene that stuck to my mind happened at a party. I don’t think I was older than five or six and we used to have these family parties, for various occasions, with relatives gathered around a bountiful table. Oh, I liked them so much, I was all eyes, and ears, and taste buds! There was this uncle by marriage who had a beautiful voice and used to sing these beautiful songs, but they were all very sad, very melancholic. I remember listening to him while huge tears were rolling down on my cheeks. Well, years have gone by, he’s moved to Germany, and – for no particular reason, just life - I haven’t seen him or talked to him in more than twenty years. But just a few weeks ago, an acquaintance of mine has met him in Europe, at a baptism, and he wanted her to give me this message; he said he was still sorry for having made me cry with his song at that party of such a long time ago…

3. One of my earliest memories is the following: I was probably three or four years old and my grandmother was taking me to a lady who ran a sort of morning German day care/school in her home. Auntie Flora, I was calling her. I was walking with my grannie on the street and, as always, I had my head full of the stories and the fairy tales that she was telling me. At some point I said, “What if I were a white peahen…” The gentleman who was walking in front of us turned and looked at me. I was so embarrassed, I guess, that this moment forever remains imprinted upon my mind.

4. I much prefer salted or sour things to sweet things, when it comes to food.

5. I like to cook and I’m good at it – no false modesty here. I like to experiment and I’m not afraid to try new exotic ingredients. Unfortunately my family is rather conservative as far as food is concerned, so I’ll just keep the octopus salad for myself.

6. One of my favourite painters is Hieronymus Bosch. His bizarre infernal visions go intriguingly well with the labyrinths of my mind.

7. I love perfumes. I wear them according to my mood, my colours, and the colours of weather. My favourites, right now and in no particular order, are Bvlgari by Bvlgari, Rock’n’Rose by Valentino, Pure Poison by Christian Dior, and Sicily by Dolce & Gabbana. I was shocked to find out that they’re not making Sicily anymore. I have one unopened bottle and probably will be very reluctant to open it when its time comes.

Now it’s my turn to tag a few people:

1. Bernita
2. Colleen
3. Jeff
4. Minx
5. Pearl
6. Shameless
7. Taffiny (when you have the time)

I have to run and hide now...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bag of Chemicals

There is this guy at work, this very funny, kind-hearted, obliging guy, who, sometimes – at least once a month – when asked how his weekend was, laughs and says, “I survived my wife’s PMS!” It’s a guys’ thing, a rough conversation to which I only eavesdrop occasionally, when their loud voices draw my attention. The first time I heard this I was outraged, pissed off, upset, barely able to keep my mouth shut.

Then, I thought more about it.

What are we, in fact? I know the tendency is to give all kind of noble definitions, good to tickle our endless self-pride. But, inside us, neurons work with electrical signals through chemical and electrical synapses; chemical messengers called hormones regulate physiological activities including growth, mood, metabolism, and preparation for a new activity or for a new phase of life; glands secrete all kind of other chemicals… Nothing like some endorphin to give you a sense of well being. And serotonin regulates anger, aggression, body temperature, mood, sleep, vomiting, sexuality, and appetite! And how about those nice sex pheromones? Forget the notions of romantic love. My darling, your chemicals and mine seem to be attracted to each other. Often, a little sunshine can work miracles on your mood.

So, is that what we are, a bunch of chemical and electrical reactions? How outrageous a thought, some might say. We, the mighty human beings, (almost) slaves to this?! Unconsciously, women tend to dress better when they’re ovulating. Is that humiliating enough?

And that little something that’s called soul or ka or thymos, what is it? We’re proud of it, we put our hopes in it, and maybe, just maybe, it is what makes us different from the rest. Is it also the product of these reactions or is it a true link to transcendence? I couldn’t tell. There are days when I feel my “spirit” soaring to the skies and others when I’m just a bag of chemicals…

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Nothing Like a Roar...

Nothing like a roaring lion to shake me and wake me up from the darkest of melancholies. I have Vanilla to thank for this! She always has the right words, so beautiful, so powerful, so considerate, so soothing. The words she wrote about me, humble me. Oh, how I wish they were reflecting the (harsh) reality. But, I’ll tell you what I can do – I can try to live up to them, I can do my best to give a good purpose to this roaring lion…

The Roar was initiated by the tamer of the literary lions of Lyon, who writes (at) Shameless Words. He’s launched this project aiming to celebrate good and powerful writing in the blogosphere, which is often very good despite what some say in the mainstream media. The recipients have to list three things they believe are necessary for good, powerful writing, and pass the award on to five blogs they want to honour.

Shameless says:

“Let's send a roar through the blogosphere!”

So, here we go…

1. Talent – Not everybody can write, just as not everybody can paint, or compose music, or take wondrous photographs. You have to be blessed (or rather cursed?) with this gift, together with a consuming fire that will not allow you to relent from spilling your soul, in black marks on screen or paper, again, and again, and again. Craft can be learned through diligent exercise, but no one can “teach” you the talent.
2. Imagination - A vivid imagination is what allows you to live and write about lives that you couldn’t possibly reach otherwise, due to obvious limitations. In your imagination, you could go anywhere, be anything, and experience everything.
3. A love for the language - You have to read, read, and read. Drink from the fountain of others’ phrases. Revel in the discovery of beautiful words, taste their fullness on your tongue, listen to their songs in your head. Play with the words, break grammar rules, use the Thesaurus, do not go for the laziest choice, for the commonplace option. (Of course, plenty of exercise is needed for that too.)

And now, in alphabetical order, the roaring lion goes to:

Canterbury Soul at Doors Left Open
David at Witnessing Am I
Ello at Random Acts of Unkindness
Jason Evans at Clarity of Night
Jon M. at Writing in a Vacuum

Your words enthral me, move me, amaze me, and make me think. You definitely “roar”!
(You can choose your Roar Award image here.)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Dark, Late

The overwhelming sadness
snows over my eyelids.
Its tiny kisses of death
chill my heart
to a lasting winter.
The grains of sand
scrape my soul
as they fill the hourglass,
Nothing can console me
for the lost gold of my youth.
Time is a cheetah,
a cheater,
a mischievous lord of naught.

Copyright © Vesper L. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Few Good Films

I don’t particularly seek horror movies, nor do I reject them unconditionally as I’ve heard other people doing. What I like is a good movie, well directed and well acted, with “something” to interest me. What is that little something? A twist, an intriguing idea, an unusual story or character, an element of atmosphere, etc., etc. It could be any genre. Give me a good horror movie and I’ll go for it anytime.

Probably the ultimate test for a movie is that of Time. How well does it age? Does it still ring true after its context has dissolved in the corresponding ‘ties? That is the fifties, the seventies, etc… There are some that do and some that don’t. Those that do can be seen and seen again for they will not loose their freshness; they will maintain their capacity to make us feel, be it joy, fear, sadness…

Moreover, what matters most is not what various reviewers have said about a movie, but how it appeals to you, what chord of your soul it strikes.

The images I’ve shown over the last four posts come from three movies and a TV-series made just for my heart…

Gliding along the wall in the dark, this is Cesare, the somnambulist, obeying again his master’s orders in “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1919) a masterpiece of German expressionism, by Robert Wiene. Here’s a closer look at Cesare…

And this is Mina Harker (or Ellen Hutter as she was called in this movie) awaiting her husband’s return (or does she sense another’s call?…) in “Nosferatu – A Symphony of Horror” from 1922, another masterpiece of German expressionism, by F. W. Murnau. Count Orlock (played by Max Schreck – what a perfect name! – Schreck means fear in German) remains, in my opinion, one of the best vampire figures in the history of cinema.

In “The Host,” episode 2x02 (the second episode of the second season of The X-Files) which aired on September 25th, 1994, Mulder and Scully are chasing the Flukeman through the sewers of New Jersey. A classic! And this is who they’re up against:

Finally, “Sleepy Hollow,” the 1999 film directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci, is another one very much to my liking. A bit gory at times, with all those heads chopped off and all the blood that keeps spurting into Ichabod Crane’s face, but with plenty of the right “ingredients”. I simply like it! And I was watching it again, late on Halloween’s night… Delightful!