Wednesday, September 30, 2009
What nature can she find?
In the empty body of hers
Hollow she is, hollow as a cave
And imprisoned in a cave she feels
In here where no sunshine will get in
She does not feel comfortable
Like the bear does
When it's lying warm and cosy in hibernate
Just waiting for the spring to come
Its eyes deep in dreamland
Not noticing and fearing the darkness or the cave
Dreaming of spring and of warmth
Looking forward to it
- She wants to experience it, she wants to see it, but she can't!
She is jealous of its nature
She is jealous of nature
The bear is nature
She loves nature for its clearness
As a human she acts with her emotions
The bear does not think twice, it acts
Her stomach is hollow and her mind is too full
The bear does not speculate, it's just there
She envies this nature, because her body is not just a cave now but also a cage
A cage filled with too much and not just it
She can't escape her hibernate nightmare
As far as he knew he still had a long way to go. He looked down the valley in front of him and could just barely make out the village through the morning fog. He thought as he did every morning: Not again - but there was nothing he could do about it.
The logs from last night’s campfire were nothing but burnt out coals by now, but there was a distinct burnt smell in the air. He was happy however – full from the delightful meal he enjoyed last night. He had caught a wolf in close combat at noon. After an intense battle he had managed to give it the kiss of death – teeth boring into its neck, just as he could have feared it would have done to him.
At least he was enough of a man to have roasted the raw meat on the fire once the moon was seen and he morphed, but his inner animal still made him devour instead of eat, and it sure was not a pretty sight for anyone with a craving for sophistication. He never did fit into the human world – no surprise. None of the werewolfs did.
*Two women are looking out the window. Snow on the window and the sound of a blizzard is outside.*
Elisabeth: Oh I think this is so nice, stand here with a cup of hot chocolate,in a warm house and just look out at the blizzard.
Diane: Yes, yes it's nice (annoyed tone)
Elisabeth: Yeah I wouldn't want to be out there now (small laughter), I'd die (she shivers)
Diane: Don't say something like that! (angry tone)
Elisabeth: Jeez Diane. What was in that cup of yours? or wait... is it that time of the month? (She pats Diane on the back- small laughter)
Diane: (turns towards Elisabeth) Are you really that thick! Can't you figure it out by yourself? (angry tone)
*Hail starts banging on the window and the sound of the wind becomes louder. Diane turns back towards the window.*
Diane: James is out there (sad tone- little sob)
Elisabeth: (subtle surprised look) Oh my god. I'm so sorry. I thought he quit working on the boat? He applied for a job in land right?
Diane: He didn't get it
Diane: Yeah, which is why he's out there right now. Fishing for that god damn money greedy tyrant! (aggravated tone)
Elisbeth: Now! (angry tone) There is no need for that! That's my man you are talking about.
Diane: No... He's nothing but your late night visitor! (bitchy tone)
*Diane looks at Elisabeth with a smirk*
Diane: I doubt his wife would say he's your man...
Elisabeth: (Angry look, that soon turns into a smirk)No. I guess she wouldn't (small pause)... or would she (bitchy laugh)
*Both women laugh*
Diane: No she wouldn't. But that aside (small pause) It's like he doesn't even care that he's sending men out in the storm. It's not men's lives, it's 100% business. Who cares if he's risking the life of eight men (sarcastic tone). As long as he gets fish to sell, then who the fucks cares about the fishermen and their families?? (angry& sarcastic tone)
*Elisabeth puts her arm around Diane, who starts sobbing.*
Elisabeth: Common now. It will be alright
*Diane pulls away from Elisabeth*
Diane: He hasn't even called (sobbing)
*Diane becomes frantic, pulling on her hair a bit. Stops all movement. Puts her face in her hands.*
Diane: (gasping for air) Why hasn't he called!?
*Elisabeth moves towards Diane and holds her*
Elisabeth: It will be alright, he will call and let you know it is...
The woman placed herself on a chair by the desk, adjusted her glasses, sharpened the pencil - which was ridiculous since she was about to write a letter on the computer - smiled complacently to the screen and commenced writing. She intended the tone to be cultivated and sober and the content incontestable. The letter was actually a nitpicking complaint about what she thought was extremely important, although it was just a trifle that should have been shrugged off. While writing she imagined cocksurely how the body she adressed would be floored by her irrefutable argumentation and herself crowned with the laurels of malicious glee.
Then, awkwardly enough, she happened to press the magic-mysterious vanish-button and zip - the geniously serious letter of complaint had melted into the air ! She turned pale and began shivering. As if her constitution atomized, she trembled like Frankenstein's monster during creation with anger, cold, excitement, fear, rage. Her husband, poor man, came running to rescue her, hearing her screaming like a madman, but when he arrived, he found a potential mass murderer, with a green and ugly face and a smashed computer at her feet. She showered him with abuses, quite undeservedly.
Life is unjust, and electronics can turn people into raving monsters.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
When I was seven I moved to Brazil with mum and Gael. I still remember when we landed, I remember the brightness and the suffocating and humid heat.
But before mum met her Brazilian boyfriend in a place called “Poco Loco” and decided she wanted a second chance in life we lived in a small town called Durham near to Newcastle. I never met my biological dad, he run away as soon as he found out mum was pregnant, probably because he was sixteen and mum fifteen.
It has been twenty years since then, now I am a Brazilian woman with memories from a little British girl in my mind.
One of my firsts memories of Foz de Iguazu comes from a Saturday morning when I went with mum to the mercado to do the shopping: there was three young women standing next to the road.
I thought they should be going to a party or somewhere nice because of their colourful clothes and high-heeled shoes. But then I rose my head and I saw mum´s face: she was peering at those women with a disgusting look in her face. Immediately after, she said : they do not know what decency means! And we continued our way to the market. But while mum was discussing prices with the shopkeeper I was feeling worse and worse. DECENCY . I had not got a clue about what decency meant but I could not tell mum because she would hate me then, like those women next to road!
Now twenty years later, I think: They knew what decency means. They knew better than any other woman there. Decency is an abstract notion. But we were unaware of a concept which was well known by them: POVERTY.
(Written by an scribbler pretending to be a novelist)
This is what my father written on my back as reminding me of my mission, and this should be the way of life of every human being. From the time of Enlightenment, human beings enlighten themselves, and rejected the religious way of thinking. They fight for meaning of their life through civilization. Truth that animals don’t know and human can only find through understanding knowledge. My father always proofs me how intellectual life should be and his passionate search for truth, he reads me continually until he finished every pages of me, and he rereads me again and again, this made me feel full of life, and everybody should enjoy this kind of bliss. Although I am 582 – pages thick, every pages had being explored by my father thoughtfully, I can see his eyes were delighted, and his mouth was dancing like waves when reading over me. And for me, as an entity of knowledge - my intellectual pursuit guides me to teach truth clearly and wholly with full confidence in knowledge’s power, and I hope I can inspire people as the way I did to my father. Until I’ve sent to this library by my father for the mission of inspiring the new generation with knowledge, I found out how banal the real world is, and how the new generation is far away from our world of knowledge.
On the first day I arrived to this University library, once I entered, the essence of the paper was missing, and all I could hear was the tapping sound of the computer keyboard. Following the footsteps of the librarian, on the first floor, the lobby is placed with computers in the centre, and shelves of books on two side; second floor with a big plasma television occupying the centre and side by side with computers and TVs, as well as electronic shelves of VCDs and DVDs, the books are missing; and when I come to the last floor, I understand why the books are not the focus on the first two floor, as the third floor is indeed the most important part of the library, which is full of books, with few computers to assist people to search for us. Once I had been settled down on shelves by the librarian with my code and label well pasted on my cover, I couldn’t wait to start my job immediately. Since this library is full of people all the time as I saw on the first and second floor, the computer seats for searching books are always being occupied and the circulation of DVDs and VCDs is very high, that the “librarian” is always being busy with checking in and out of the discs. How excited it is, that this library is in high usage! Interestingly, my colleagues laughed at me and claimed that people here are indifference of knowledge, and only taking knowledge as an instrument towards practical usage. But I am in faith of my mission, so, I wait, waiting for my first job and I wait, wait, wait…Finally, I had waited for nearly a month to meet my first customer – a teacher assistant.
This teacher assistant brought me back to his office, and his office reminds me of my father’s study room – full of books on shelves and on the table, and notes side by side. And he could not wait to read me once he was back to his office, he turned to my content page and screen in the topics, and immediately turned to my third chapter and started to read. He studied me precisely lines by lines, words by words, but could he really understand my ideas by starting with the third chapter? I wondered, but I still could find his eyes were sparkling like my father, and this vision made me warmth. And when he came to the last line of this chapter, he opened a machine with its mouth open and put me in, a slice of light sweep over me, and this repeated on my every pages of chapter three. The light was too strong and it wasn’t like the sparkles from the eyes, this light hurts. My body was like burning after the torture of the machine, and he putted me back to the shelves for me to rest. And on the next day, he returned me back to the library without linking the chapter three’s idea with the other chapters.
I felt so uncomfortable that the first time for somebody without finish reading me and left, but then I realized this is a nowadays practice. As my second customer act like the same and even more impersonal, so as to disregarded me until the night before the expired date of return. And my nightmare came on that night, a cold and rainy night. She was reading her book on computer which called “Facebook”, and with my content page opened. After she had update the content of her facebook, she started to read my content page, and flipping over my pages, and stopped on my conclusion part, she read, but without any sparkles in her eyes. The rain was so heavy outside, and her eyesight was as cold as iceberg, when she finished my conclusion part, her finger tips pressed on my body, and using another hand to flip up my conclusion pages, and intentionally tease my pages off! I tried my very hard to hold my body tight, so not to let her take away any pages, it was killing me, my strong will won, and I relief. But then, a sharp slashed over the edge of my pages, and my mind fell apart. It was raining outside, I was crying out loud. My tears and pain interweaved, my knowledge and mind was being divided. There is something missing from my mind, but I cannot remember what it is and who am I anymore.
I sit on my seat quietly, with my pain carried on and no one knows I am hurt. I am no longer a book, no longer an entity which teaches truth wholly. Even though there are other customers come to me, but no one read the “whole” of me, and so no one knows I am missing something. I had tried to review myself and try to picture the whole idea of my main argument, however, I cannot. There is no way for me to know the focus of my argument with my missing pages, and the sense of inanity continued to prey on my mind. How can that student understand my argument only with that few pages? Even for me, only losing a few pages, but already cannot capture the whole argument with the rest of the pages! And I become conscious of why I am on the third floor, not because this is the most important floor, but the most remote part of the library: students come to library for their books in the computers; the real books are only the supporting role here, the meaning of “library” had changed. Truth is being divided from its inner content, without intrinsic value; people here are banal and regarded things and mind can be fragmented without coherence!
Dear father, my mission had failed, I cannot pass on the knowledge that I process to the others, as I am no longer a complete book, and if I am, there will be no one willing to explore my world thoughtfully like you. Their indifference attitude towards knowledge intimately devalues the role of intellectual, as well as the intelligence of human being. But what can I do? All I can do is to sit here quietly, and wait; or maybe one day, I will be transformed to the words on screen, then being popular visit by so many readers like the facebook. And after all, libraries will have no books, and only electronic resources, the real technologic era will come.
Then the task is to remediate and/or rewrite one of the four texts you have read for today:
1. Tom Wolfe's example of New Journalism: excerpt from The Right Stuff - click the link to download...
2. A.S. Byatt's 'review' of the Harry Potter phenomenon - this text from The New York Times runs over two pages - don't forget to read the last page too!
3. The blog post from 3QuarksDaily on sex and the religious right - click the link to download
4. - or finally the Hemingway short story Hills Like White Elephants - which you have to copy from the master shelf...
Illustration above: Douglas Adams' typewriter....
Below are the dudes and dudettes whose texts you can choose between for your genre-specific re-write:
A.S. Byatt - all bundled up...
Hemingway - passport, 1921...
Tom Wolfe - dandyfied
Dagmar Herzog - history professor, City University of New York...
Click the links to learn more about the person whose text you will be fiddling with!
The Battle by the River Side
Setting: A forest of maples, oaks, and pines. A river is running throught the forest and suddenly ends in a waterfall. Two groups of birds, the Bluebirds and Robins have been fighting for the land near the river bank for many seasons.
Act I. Scene I.
Sharpbeak: Hark! Strongwing, what is the report on the west fronts progress?
Strongwing: Sir, The battle dies not go well. We lost a fourth of our troops today but I hear it goes well father up the river, Sir. (Strongwing salutes Sharpbeak)
Sharpbeak: In two hours the Blackghost fighters will arrive here for the siege on the river bank. (Sharpbeak flies away towards the east) (Scene fades black)
Act I. Scene II.
Setting: Longwings, Sharpfeet, and Shorttail are sitting in a tree talking)
Longwings: I heard ol’ Greenlegs lost his nerve and made the troops fall back when the Bluebirds sieged the river bank. Didn’t he fight bravely in the last war, what happened to his nerve of steel?
Shorttail: Don’t you remember the Blues captured him and he was tortured for weeks until he escaped. They say he screams every night in his sleep and jumps at the sight of anything that is blue.
By: Cinthea L. Comer
Monday, September 28, 2009
The divine power of God showed itself to me as the light of Heaven shone upon me and I was filled with joy. He spoke to me through the unyielding voice of the winds and it was not a voice of joy or of sorrow, but a voice of impeccable truth. The world is upon immense disarray as the fundamental and essential voices of love, harmony and altruism have been drowned by the sound of war, hatred and selfishness. The only saviour for this pending purgatory is through the spirit of the heavenly redeemer of Jesus Christ. The Last Judgement will be called upon the sinners no later than on the second day of the seventh month, three years from today. The heaven will light up as a rain of fire will thrash upon the sinners and the demons of Hell will ride the earth, slashing the bodies of those who have not accepted the word of God and they will recieve the eternal torture of Hell. As the world comes to an end, God will show himself and the saved shall be lifted to the heavens and live for all eternity in the perpetual bliss of Heaven with the Holy Trinity by their side.
(It is close to midnight. Melina is standing outside in the back yard, observing how the drops fall from the leaves of the trees. Sebastian goes outside home, looking for her)
Sebastian: " What are you doing here? It is cold, come in"
(Melina does not make any movement, she just lean her head to one side. They remain in silence for a few minutes. Sebastian does not seem impatient)
Melina: "It is so peaceful...the only sound that can be perceived is our breaths and the crickets. Dont you like it?"
Melina: "Before, it was raining...Since I was child I got the feeling that when it starts to rain, time stops. As if the passage of time were stopped. I know that is a lie. Raining always put me in the mood of thinking,you know? Suddenly I start to ask myself what is life about? What is what I am looking for? Is there something eternal?"
(Sebatian approaches Melina and puts his arm around her waist)
Sebastian: "Are you looking for immortality?...If life were never ending, it would not be worthy of living Melina"
Melina: "I am not talking about immortality, but rather about eternity...the existence of something eternal?Is there any kind of love that never ends, or are all they condemned to die down? Or any eternal feeling?Is there any landscape that will remain forever? Is there any person who will be remembered forever? Is fidelity an eternal matter? Do you think human thought is everlasting? Will be life forever on Earth?....I would like to have a longer life, there are so many things I would like to learn, to see, to life, to smell, to touch, to experience, to feel, to hate, to love..."
(Melina turns around and embraces Sebastian)
Melina: "Hold me tight because I dont know if this feeling will be forever. I dont know if I will be alive tomorrow. Solitude is so horrifying, it is like the eternal darkness. I do believe. I believe in eternity, simply because I can feel it while I am standing alone in a crowded street and I feel like the most lonely person on Earth despite being surrounded by people. I feel it when I am in the middle of nowhere, when the rain soakes me, when I gaze at the daybreak, when I smell the land...when I touch you.
(It starts to rain again, but now a soft mizzle)
Alone in the dark:
A little girl lost in the dark woods trying to find her way out – both out of the woods and out of her own thoughts. Talking to herself trying not to get carried away by the desire to let go and fall a sleep wanting to escape to the happy place that is her dreams.
‘Why is everything so dark and cold? What has become of the sun?’ she cries out into the woods
She walks further into the woods as she wonders why she suddenly is all alone in this empty place with only the sound of her own breath to be heard.
‘Alone’ she thinks to herself
‘Why am I always alone and lost in the dark? she quietly asks herself as tears find they way down her cheek
She finds shelter under some small trees in the middle of nowhere feeling more and more alone in the dark and she gets carried away in the memories of what used to be.
‘What has become of me and all my dreams and desires?’ she asks herself
‘I want more of this life than to be stock here in the emptiness of my heart with no will to carry on fighting’ she says sniffling as she slowly falls asleep
The sunrise shows up on the horizon and shines on this beautiful woman lying as a bundle in the woods with a crying little girl inside her heart.
So when do you think we should tell them?
I’d say not any time soon. Everyone has enough to deal with as it is. Right now we need to forget this happened.
So I’m supposed to go back pretending? You can’t be serious? I’m supposed to go back to Mark and just forget about you, about this? That’s not fair for either of us.
I know none of this is fair. Do you think I asked for this to happen?
Oh, and you suppose I did? (Sarcastic) ‘Let’s see, how can I persuade Jeremy into bed today?’
You know that’s not what I meant.
I know. I just don’t know if I can do it. I can’t just forget this happened.
Neither can I. But we have to. You have no idea how much I wish it was the two of us walking down that aisle next week. But it’s not.
Not yet anyway.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
World of Warcraft is an online computer game which enables people to (role)play together in a fantasy world. The players can either choose to be part of the Alliance (consisting of the races: Human, Dwarf, Night Elf, Gnome and Draenei) or part of the Horde (consisting of the races: Orc, Undead, Tauren, Troll and Blood Elf). These races can then be chosen to belong to a certain class (the classes that one can pick are: Mage, Shaman, Warrior, Hunter, Warlock, Rogue, Paladin, Priest, Druid, Death Knight). Each class has its own set of abilities and skills to master. But what precisely is it that draws people into this "reality"? This question was asked to a Danish student at the University of Aalborg, called Heine Christensen:
Heine Christensen: "Yeah, well, what I, like personally, like the most about WoW - best game EVER! WoW ftw btw! YIR! And you can quote me on that - is that it is so damn IMBA. Seriously, you can have fun with your IRL mates online and chat, and chill, and whatnot, and you can own biii-atches in BG ftw. Last night I was like in WsG, and I was like: Don't go fucking stealth om MY ASS, n00b rogue, and then I was like "Consecration" and "Judgement of Light". AND POW! Right in the kisser. And then I was like "Hammer of Wrath"! Yes pls. Win. "
And thus one gets an answer to why some people enjoy World of Warcraft.
-Britta N. Osey
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Already I fear the day my son will come to me and ask:”Why was it decided that alcohol and sex would make an important research topic?” All I will be able to say is:”Just because!!!”. In that respect I really envy my parents. Should I ask them about things from their time, I would have to ask why they rebelled against the government to obtain influence in the schools, the political stage and other important places? And that question has already answered itself.
That is why I think the world has come to an end. Throwing money out on non-essential research is just a small part of the changes that started with the year 2000. Another thing worth mentioning is the countless amount of money spend on non-essential administration. And the best part of it – we are currently experiencing a financial crisis, not that that mean we need the money for other thing!!!
At first I wanted to pretend to be a journalist, but I quickly found out that it is not easy to be a journalist writing about an abstract topic. I simply lacked the possibility to put a source on my findings. Perhaps my opinion of journalism is just to narrow.
He wanted to control her
But she did not agree
Nor did she turn bluer
She thought life was her own
Now all she has is a gravestone
All that is left now
The only prove that she ever existed
Is the picture on the wall he would allow
All because he thought she was too crowded
Because boys wanted to please her
His rage turned deeper
He could not understand
Why she would not change
When it was his only demand
What, was not within his range
Instead she walked high with a smile
Celebrating her own style
Now he looks toward the next
Expecting she will not cause trouble
Hoping he will not need his pretext
To make his actions count double
It is time for him to find happiness
With a woman who is not faithless
She had that special look in her eyes while saying it. Like when she wants to make a point, but was too afraid to say it straight out. He considered his options. Should he play along or ignore her. On the one hand he was afraid to ignore her. She could be so angry, and he was rather looking forward to returning to the house. Today was their special day. No kid to interrupt them. Just them. On the other hand he had already given in to her. He agreed to take a walk in the forest with her, even though he wanted to play on the computer. There definitely is a line, and she probably crossed it years ago, but he didn’t know for sure. And what if she got mad.
- Alright, let’s have it then. What’s on your mind?
He gave in, the moment he said it, he knew. And even worse, he knew that she knew. She had him exactly where she wanted him.
- It is just out here in the forest… You know… It is like the spirit is allowed to unfold itself in a special way during the meeting between mankind and forest. In this brief meeting everything goes quiet, and my soul is brought back to the beginning of times.
He looked at her. What did she mean? Maybe it really wasn’t a game for her. Maybe she really did care about him, and wanted to share this special experience with him. And he wanted to play computer games. He felt a bit embarrassed. He was trying to incriminate her, and he turned out to be the bad guy.
- Enough emotions, she interrupted him, it time to go home. You have to cook me a good meal, remember.
The bold part is the chosen line.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
I write again tonight, as I have done so many nights. Again I lie alone while my husband is tending to his duties, while I am bored in my room. I cannot express my feelings to anyone but you diary, but if I do not tell anyone how I feel I am afraid that I will explode. I often think about that I had so many dreams when I was younger and I had so many expectations to what my life would become. I had imagined myself as a proud woman, a woman who married for love and not out of respect for my family. I imagined myself as a good wife, and yet I am now in doubt. It seems as though my husband is not satisfied with my ways. His look, when looking at me, has changed. I try to look glad when I am presented to something, I try to show him that I appreciate what he has given me, but I am not convinced that he understands this the way that I want him to. I had dreamed that I would make a difference in the world through literature and my writings, even though deeply affecting myself I am not convinced that this will become popular amongst others, or that they will feel the same when reading my literature. I am only a simple woman trying to coexist in a world where women are lesser thought of than men. I am only a woman who is also a person with feelings, who is also a writer and who is also a wife. I am not sure that I have my priorities in order and maybe that is the reason why I fail to obey some of all of the duties that come with being a woman. I am not sure what this life will bring me in the future, however I hope that my life as a wife as well as a writer will develop and grow into something more fruitful and enjoyable for both me and my dear husband. I must leave you now, diary, but I will return soon.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
The smoldering air changes his mysterious perspective
The red October happily runs the sloping sun
The beautiful sunshine makes the best May
Its purple appearance always reminds me sweet springtime
The beautiful flowers dance the sweet melody
The mesmerising song always ligtens his aching heart
Her angry parrot usully flies the green cage
The amazing zoo has the largest animals
My soft friend often flies the high wall
Our precious time struck the unknown future
The garden was very colourful
The sky should turn into blue in a few minutes
As the minutes pass the vegetable grow
Grows he does, the dear little boy, my precious little one
Once I had a dog and a cat living together
Together we were free from hurt
But I don’t know who did it
A fine day it was indeed
Indeed I love this handsome man
It is better to be a woman than a man
By Lasse, Licia, Lisa, Anette, Maria – Corpse writing exercise/surrealism, class 3.
but sometimes she miss.
It does it with a huge gun.
After cleaning the gun, she usually goes out to play with the neighbor kids. However the kids don’t like
his slow cat always evoke the worst intentions.
The bloated tiger obviously sang the worst parallel.
Me sweet friend sleeps on Sundays.
It is always nice to drink coke.
The dark coke deliciously runs down the throat.
Her old doctor usually recommended the pink antibiotics.
The dead pavement took the stupid pills.
By Mikkel, Robert, Tinna, Lena and Niels
The first word in every sentence is the linking word.
The first sentence is our start sentence.
My lovely teacup usually do a flattering weekend
but I am not always sure that it is the
positive blue flowers in the garden that bloom every morning
as sunlight came in through the
window and seemed like a mirror
today I feel
blue as waves are drawing me to
them what they did was unthinkable but at the end of the
day and night, night and day that is our
lives which were lost during the
war and that makes the world sad
By: Solvej, Jeanett, Michelle, Louise & Hawkins
"How dare you, you old, smelly bastard, like you did not have women on the side too!" No, not women. Girls, you fooled around with only to find yourself bored whit them after stealing their innocence!"
She was standing behind a hidden door in the dark castle, looking into the room where her husband was entertaining his guests with a enormous fresco of her. She had posed for what seemed like years for that painting, her mind collecting more and more dust for every single time. How she hated that painting, it stood for everything she despised and everything her husband cherished. For he did cherish her, as she had cherished him once.
When she first laid eyes on him, she became mesmerised by his eyes. There was something wild and untamed behind the blue brightness, which she instantly felt drawn to. He had been beautiful and when he laid eyes on her she had felt like the luckiest girl in the world, for that was what she was when they met - a girl. Her body and mind were still innocent, until she met him. He had taken that away from her, he had stolen it. He had extinguished the fire that burned inside of her, which she had fought so hard to keep. He had taken her life from her, leaving her an empty shell only to find her beauty fading every day.
She could feel the bitterness an hatred building inside her every waken moment, like the fire once had.
As she stood there behind the wooden wall, listening in on something that was not meant for her ears, she chose which side to stand on. She could no longer stand her husband and his heavy breathing on her face and neck every night when they shared a bed, leaving her feeling empty and like a piece of meat. She would have to be quick about it before he would turn on her as he had done his former wife.
Tonight, when the castle will fall silent and all that is heard it the heartbeat of a woman and the very last breath of the castle.
Night came and her husband visited her bed, as he did every night. Although he lay on top of her breathing heavily, she did not flinch. She felt a strange calm run through her body, a convincing feeling telling her she had made the right choice. She lost track of time, evening turned into night and the castle was eerie still. Her husband was still in her bed, fast asleep, his eyelids moving slightly as he was dreaming.
She went to a cupboard where three bottles were hiding in the back. The bottles were filled with a golden thick liquid, which she knew would close the gaping whole in her heart. Slowly she pored the liquid around the bed, she soaked the soft linens and her husband until there was nothing left. She went to the fire burning at the window, picked up a burning piece of wood. Slowly she turned around, takeing one last look at the man she had once almost loved, who had taken her life away from her and left her with wrath roaming inside of her. She could feel the revenge inches away, all she had to do was take one step and let the piece of wood fall. She took a deep breath, she did not look but her body moved. Suddenly she felt an insane warmth hit her face and body, she heard the fire screaming and demanding more, and then she heard it. She heard her now burning and dying husband scream for his life, begging for mercy, begging for his life to be spared. She did not move, she felt at peace. She watched as his flesh started to burn and turn blackened, a disturbing smell filled the room and her nostrils. For the first time in a very long time she felt free. Just before he felt silent she looked into his bright blue eyes one last time, her tormentor was gone from this world.
She smiled and felt the fire in her return...
When I look from my limbo up to my worldly life, I see an innocent girl happily occupied with whatever I saw around me, a chaffinch, a lizard on the wet fresco, a lovely tessellated floor, the music of a vielle, the happy laughter of a maiden being flirted with.
Fourteen years and recently married with a man whom I looked up to because of his aristocratic and noble manners. I felt as if in Paradise, flattered by his vigilant attention due to my beauty and the sweetness of my character. My cheerful and easy-going disposition, an openmindesness towards what happened around me made me sing and smile. Life was a bliss. My senses were tickled when I rode that dear little mule of mine, when I touched a dainty dog with the skin as smooth as silk, or when a beautiful boy bowed low and gave me a bough of cherries.
I was brought up to be complaisant, and my mind did not know any other way. Discovering the stiffness and cynical harshness of my beloved one, I withered away. He disapproved of spontaneous joy. I was meant to be a work of art, dead, idealized, representative. That cold froze life out of me.
Here now, in the realm of bleakness, with the wisdom achieved by the loss of bliss, I wonder of this dimmed perspective is an for ever blind-folded one. Will I stay here, will I rise, will I die, will I live?
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
When I looked into his eyes, I can tell he is not reading me at all, or he didn’t even try to read me. I smiled to him, and he took my hand and kissed on my face. He was cold. That is all I remember on the first day I met him.
But I have to live with him, for the rest of my life. I had no choice, and only to live with my emptiness. On the table, food and drinks are always there, but never being finished. In the bed, there is no conversation, and only pain and tears. I got nothing to do, and just waiting. I wait for the chance that he allowed me to go to the nature, into the flowers, the trees, the sun, and everything that makes me feel free. The wind touches my face, sunshine warming my skin, that is the only moment that I feel I am alive and happy.
One sunny morning, a young gentleman came to me and gave me a brunch of flowers, flowers were so beautiful, and I could smell the sense of freedom. I was so happy, as I hadn’t go out for a week. But then he locked me up, and forced me to live with the darkness. And I lost my words and I started to sink into the dark.
Love is always something far away from me, and the one in front of me is the only “love” in my life. His hand with his knife is on my breast. He keeps on asking me why I always smile to the other men, and why I thanked for the gifts from the men. Well, did I smile to them? And did I really smile to him before?
He is holding my hand, and tasting my blood, this is the first time I feel warmth from him.
MY LAST DUCHESS
There she is, the last Duchess:
Tiny, insignificant, powerless.
The one who beat me so often when I was tiny too
When I was ,as she is now ,helpless.
Still looking as if she were alive
Like when she was coming upstairs
Shouting and swearing at me
Just like she usually did when she was going to punch me
The duke? he never knew
And I do not blame him, I can understand.
She was all smiles whenever there was any audience
Oh girl, she smiled, no doubt
Even now when any friend come visiting
They look at her painting with pity: what a kind woman!
Yes! I exclaim energetically,she had a heart – how shall I say?
A mother´s heart !
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A teardrop landend on the letter and the writing around this tear began to shade. She was surprised by this reaction. She looked up from her letter. She was staring at her reflection - she looked horrible.
Her eyes went from this canvas to the next. A painting of her, not yet dry, was standing on her desk. As she studiet the painting she felt depressed. The girl who was staring back at her looked different. She looked so happy and her eyes were glowing. SHE had a future.
But what future did she have now? She found herself being jealous and wanting that happiness to project over to her, knowing that she would never feel like that anymore.
She had been trying for so long and was given nothing in return. She was tired and in dismay.
What else could she to do? Nothing would change. Why?
Her eyes once again moved to the mirror. She hated this canvas.
A great crash filled the room as the mirror shatteed into thousand pieces on the floor.
No one was coming - and for the first time she was thankful for that.
Her letter was done now and all that was left was her last supper.
Was the Duke the cause of the Duchess’ death? My soon-to-be husband, she thought with a shudder, if my father is succesful today. She crossed the sunlit bedroom and sat by the mirror, studying herself. The maids had described the late Duchess as a carefree, young girl with a ready smile for anyone. Golden hair and green eyes. Lovely. The daughter wondered if those smiles had always been sincere or if they had only been a mask, hiding an inner sadness. Like my smiles do, she thought, as she studied the curve of her own lips and the angle of her jaw. The maids had whispered in corners about the Duke’s severe disapproval of the Duchess’ welcoming nature. The daughter surmised that he was of an easily jealous nature, if it took nothing but a few misguided smiles from his wife to result in such gossip. The daughter awaited the return of her father with trepidation.
-‘What do your master have in mind?’
- ‘A mare for his fiancée. As you are renowned in the area of breeding noble riding horses, it is in your stables he is looking for a warmblood. Do you have any Rijpaards from the finika-line?’
-‘Indeed we have. What an excellent choice! This fine bred mare-line has provided the country with many prominent dressage horses. The good character and soundness will please the Duke.’
- ‘Blue blood yield a reward in itself. It is a favourite saying of his.’
- ‘Indeed it does. Please follow me sir. Here you see our finest Dutch-bred mare, Azarah. She was broken in late but broken in well. Azarah has been shown at every level of dressage and has won numerous championships. As you must know, it is important to break a warmblood in thoroughly. Some resistance is excellent, as they will obey your will even stronger after surrendering to it during the breaking.’
- ‘How are her bloodlines and studbook? Are you able to account for her granddams and grandsires and is she suitable for breeding?’
-‘Indeed sir, she is. Azarah has an impeccable studbook and the vet guarantees she is fit for breeding.’
-‘I will discuss the matter with the duke. You will hear from me as soon as dowry has been negotiated.
- ‘Off course, will you bring my greetings to the Duke? I congratulate him on his choice of wife to be.’
-‘Thank you, Sir! We are all looking forward to welcome her noble blood to the estate.’
Hello dear friend. I thought I would never see you once again. Let me tell you of what have happened to me three years ago. How I am doing? Very well, thank you. Now listen:
Two years ago, I rode out in the forest, not far away from here. There I found the body of a young man. Not much of him left I would say. Must have fallen victim of the wolves haunting this place. Anyhow, on him I found a wallet. It contained a few dollars and a note. Nature had taken its told and the note was only half readable. It read as the following, if I remember correctly:
My Dear Duc(…) Your sweet heart and actions makes me smile and (…) Just seeing you spinning around, alive and well (…) Be aware. I think he is on to you. (…)
I never figured out who he was or why he had not taken better care of himself. You know, how strange it is, that I never figured out why he died. Almost as big a mystery as to why I felt the urge to tell you this story before we even shook hands! So enough about me. How are you? And what in earth is the awful picture doing on your wall?
I was always told I had a gift. That the brush when guided by my movements created art. Especially my recently deceased parents were enthusiastic and supportive - but now the compliments and approvals are merely something vaguely hidden in my memories. I have stopped painting.
I wonder alone in the hallways - looking at the faces of my parents staring emptily back at me from the canvasses. I am surrounded by the portraits of my ancestors who could tell tales of a tremendous family history. But these faces, this home – the memories which make up this huge castle’s history - does not comfort me. I am alone now.
I have reached the end of the corridor. That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall. Looking as if she were alive. She had not been my first love. Some had proceeded her, but she was the only one who made me feel whole. Only yesterday had I for the twelfth time retreated to the dark room on the west wing to mourn. Oh, how this pointless yearning can eat a soul and kill a spirit. So real to me is this imaginative character in front of me that I have often found myself wandering this hallway late at night to talk to her - as if her presence in my mind made her once again stand next to me - gently caressing my hand.
I remember when I made her eternal - my last painting. She sat still, gently smiling, looking intimately at me, and waiting for me to get everything right. I remember the split of emotions – infectious love and tranquil, deep concentration – necessary emotions to be an artist.
She passed away all too soon. I could tell you the story of the unfortunate events that happened when she fell in love... again. But I shall leave that tale of misery to the poets who might despise my actions. She was my love, my life, my inspiration - therefore she has to be the last Duchess. No other woman, not even a muse of poetry could replace her.
I broke the brush and tore apart my remaining canvasses and retracted myself from the world. The castle gates – now tightly shut – hold me in… and the world out. Now all I want is to wander the hallways and nourish my solitude and deprivation. But still she hangs there, frozen forever with an affectionate gaze which soothes the soul. An image of her… but also an image of myself.
My last duchess - the reason why I will live on, once another artist dies.
Monday, September 21, 2009
How are you lately? For me I never feel so good for years. Erevything seems undercontrol now and I would love to invite you to visit my last Duchess painting. Surely you remember her, right? She simled to you last time when we met, yes, she was always so happy, smiled to every man. But now she can only smile to the one I allowed since there's a curtain I put for her and can only be drawn by me!
Do you remember last time we met? We were riding round the the trrrace. She was so joyful, liked whatever she looked on and her looks went everywhere.Just before we met you some officious fool broke the bough of cherries for her, she was over-joyed and thanked him, oh she thanked everyman and treat their stupid gifts as the same as my nine-hunderd-years-old name, I cannot stand for that, I wanted to lecture her what she did disgust me, what she had missed and what she exceed! But I didn't, it's such a shame for me to lucture her! Then you passed, she smiled to you, to everyman passed, here I was overbared, I commanded, the smile has to be stoped!
Then it stoped, here she is under my full control as an image on the wall. She cannot play the coquette; she cannot protest or disobey my commands; she cannot do anything except smile out at me and to anyone else I allows to view the portrait. Please come and visit the painting and she will smile to you again!
My last duchess (new version)
Flavio looked at the picture,biting his mouth lower lip with anger. His precious Ferrara appeared so absolutely wonderful in that photograph. She was smiling at him, Francesc Padol. Deep down a burning pain started to spread again.
He was madly in love with her, but he could not defeat Francesc.
At the beginning Francesc was just one more among those foolish men who tried to seduce her without success. However, he was different...he always seemed to know what she was thinking, what she wanted to listen, what she long for...what she needed in every single moment. She was not able to resist him, she could not contain herself anymore and she lost all her strenght. She even allowed him to paint her.
She was always a lovely creature, she liked whatever she look on, she was always satisfied...so easy to make happy. That was the only thing Flavio hated about her; her constant happy mood.She never got angry, she never complained about nothing...she never got bothered...she smiled at anybody trying to comfort everyone...trying to cheer them up...
Flavio did not like her behaviour, her constant delight by anything...because he wished her smiles and naivety to be just for him.
Clearly, the finest smiles were dedicated to Francesc, her most charming ogles were for him, her passionate sighs...all was for Francesc not for him, her true fiancé.
Full of hatred and unable to endure his sorrow, Flavio took his dagger and left home. His steps went along the pathway that just a few minutes ago Ferrara and Francesc had crossed. With his blood throbing in his temples, and all those images torturing him...he smiled, smiled...a terrifying and deformed smile ripped his face.