✍🏻 100’s (#01)

written in red and underlined twice for emphasis

100-words---01

Opening Lines

"One hundred words, one hundred words." He played those words again and again; six only but, all voiced by his incarnation of Mrs Robinson (her tone, and oh how he wanted to believe, her sultry undertone)  He spent the night with paper and pen. It was, when all was said and done, futile, for too fixated he'd become with seeking to create a 'hidden' vertical passage. It ended up with: thirty two times "I really want you." The following morning he fully intended to deliver it but, ended up transferring from English Lit to Civil Engineering.

‘Clutching at straws’

= to be willing to try anything to improve a difficult situation, even if there’s little chance of success.

The etymology of the phrase, clutching at straws, is thought to have originated in the work of Thomas More called, Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation (1534).


See More’s Utopia on this blog.


The idiom clutching at straws is therefore meant to refer to a drowning person grasping for anything, even a straw, to save their life (straw, like wooden logs, floats on water but, whereas a log wouldn’t sink if a person were to hold on to it for dear life*, straw probably would sink). Nowadays, the phrase has come to mean something like this:

to act or make a decision, usually in desperation, without there being much hope of success.

desperate
Desperate, I am.

p.s.
* British English 🇬🇧 is full of references to the sea because, being an island, have a deep relationship with the seas and, if you were at sea and had fallen overboard (off of a boat or a ship) you’d hope not to end up in, Davy Jones’ Locker
.

Davy Jones’ Locker is an idiom for the bottom of the sea: the state of death among drowned sailors and shipwrecks. The phrase then is used as a euphemism for drowning (at sea) 🏴‍☠️.

📙 Love in the Time of Cholera

(Gabriel García Márquez | 1928–2014)

The power of love is limitless.
A poignant meditation on the nature of desire, and the enduring power of love

It is enough for me to be sure that you and I exist at this moment.

In Love in the Time of Cholera, the protagonist, Florentino Ariza, is a hopeless romantic who falls passionately for the beautiful Fermina Daza, but finds his love tragically rejected.

Instead Fermina marries a distinguished doctor Juvenal Urbino, while Florentino can only wait silently for her. He can never forget his first and only true love. Then, fifty-one years, nine months and four days later, Fermina’s husband dies unexpectedly.

At last Florentino has another chance to declare his feelings and discover if a passion that has endured for half a century will remain unrequited, in a rich, fantastical and humane celebration of love in all its many forms.

“The nearest thing to sensual pleasure prose can offer”
Daily Telegraph

“A celebration of the many kinds of love between men and women”
The Times

Gabriel García Márquez was born in Colombia. He is the author of many novels, including One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) and The General in His Labyrinth (1989). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.

Think of love as a state of grace; not the means to anything but the alpha and omega, an end in itself.

There is always something left to love.

They were so close to each other that they preferred death to separation.

📙 The Secret Sharer

(Joseph Conrad | 1857–1924)

The Secret Sharer portray’s a young men at sea confronting a turning points in his life.

Joseph Conrad was a Polish-British writer who is now regarded as one of the greatest novelists to write in the English language. Conrad’s exploration of the human condition as reflected by the men who toil at sea — or deep in jungles — can be considered as profound as most philosophical works and musings.

The Secret Sharer is a tale about a new captain who is piloting a ship in South East Asia. He is not very popular with his crew. To complicate matters, he willingly shelters a stowaway, a chief mate of another nearby ship. This stowaway is accused of killing another sailor. The captain develops an affinity to him, sees himself in him, hides him from search parties, and eventually steers his ship to a small uninhabited island so as to let the stowaway — the “secret sharer” — silently swim away and escape being punished for a murder that he was adamant was an act of life or death self-defence. The deep point is this: does the stowaway actually exist at all! Or is he but a figment of the young captain’s imagination?

We live as we dream – alone…

“I had immense plans,” he irresolutely muttered.

📙 I, Claudius

(Robert Graves | 1895–1985)

On Rome
A brilliant account of the madness and debauchery of Ancient Rome…

I, Claudius brings the ancient world of Rome to life with startling clarity and meticulous realism. The book focuses on Claudius who was despised for his weakness and regarded by his family as little more than a stammering fool. Claudius quietly survives the intrigues, bloody purges and mounting cruelty of the imperial Roman dynasties. The novel is written as if it were Claudius’s own autobiography. He watches from the sidelines to write down about the reigns of its emperors: from the wise Augustus and his villainous wife Livia to the sadistic Tiberius and the insane excesses of Caligula.

The book’s author, Robert von Ranke Graves, was a British poet, historical novelist, critic, and classicist.

On other writers:

The remarkable thing about Shakespeare is that he really is very good, in spite of all the people who say he is very good.

On love:

Love without hope, as when the young bird-catcher
Swept off his tall hat to the Squire’s own daughter,
So let the imprisoned larks escape and fly
Singing about her head, as she rode by.


p.s.
Here is a wonderful article by Brad Leithauser in New Yorker magazine that compares Graves to E E Cummings:
“A poet of piercing valentines.”

📙 The Outsider

(Albert Camus | 1913–1960)

Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.

Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is.

The laconic masterpiece — The Outsider — by Albert Camus is about a Frenchman who murders an Arab in colonial Algeria. The work is famous for the way it diagnoses the state of alienation and spiritual exhaustion which sociologists sat summed up the mood of mid-twentieth century Europe. To this day, the book continues to be relevant and remains one of the most widely read and influential works of the 20th century.

Albert Camus won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. He was also a philosopher and journalist.

His other notable works include:

* The Rebel is a philosophical exploration of the idea of ‘rebellion’ that ooks at artistic and political rebels throughout history, from Epicurus to the Marquis de Sade.

** The Myth of Sisyphus is a summation of the existentialist philosophy threaded throughout all of his other writing. Camus poses the fundamental question: is life worth living? If human existence holds no significance, what can keep us from suicide? As Camus argues, if there is no God to give meaning to our lives, humans must take on that purpose themselves. This is our ‘absurd’ task, like Sisyphus forever rolling his rock up a hill, as the inevitability of death constantly overshadows us.

✍🏻 Sun, Sand &

“Searing saudade”

Six is 6 and 6 means sex
6ting is short for “sexting”
But 6 is also for sin and the
Devil is 666, or so they do say.

He asked, “but for what purpose was the earth formed?” “To drive us mad,” she replied.

Numbers. Numerical patterns are key to all the ridged poetic forms.

e.g.,

  1. Dactylic hexameter
  2. Ghazal
  3. Ottava Rima
  4. Petrarchan sonnet
  5. Rubai
  6. Shakespearean sonnet

But forms such as “Free Verse” ain’t restrained by such straight jackets. And let’s just say poetry that’s raw emotion, that’s gone off timbre, is potentially more profound, meaningful and therapeutic than that that conforms religiously to rigid line and length conventions (ain’t the latter somehow more to do with demonstrating one’s linguistic abilities e.g., versatility with vocabulary?). But you reply (or “dear reader” as you would write it J), if you don’t conform, the ‘poem’ becomes prose. Well—mon amie—you’ve got me there; you’ve got me there.

You can rightly be impressed by a wordsmith and their rhyming and rhetorical skills &c. but what degree of meaning would one really want to sacrifice in the name of syllable count or in deference to a given meter, if a certain combination of nonconformist words far more closely expresses one’s heartfelt sentiments? Would we really wanna forsake the perfect articulation of description just to adhere to archaic convention?

But we humans are compelled it seems to seek numerical patterns and paste these onto everything around us. Numerology it’s called. We’ve created time, we’ve created numbers for every aspect within each field of the sciences, for commerce, communication and everything else too. Numbers are abstract but we ultimately are just numbers (strings of zeros and ones) we are nothing but statistics to 99.999999 per cent of all others who are alive today.

666 was a Biblical reference to the Roman ruler Emperor Nero, or possibly the Roman Empire itself. Many under Rome’s rule didn’t exactly like the way Rome ruled so, the author of the Bible’s chapter, Book of Revelations, 13:16-18, compared Nero to a beast (cryptically by way of numeric innuendo) and this beast, over the following centuries morphed into Satan (a.k.a., Lucifer the Devil 😈). We just love to demonise don’t we, we love to roast, we love to vilify, we love to scapegoat and we just love playing the ‘blame game’ do we not? And, lest we forget, Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day (Genesis 1:31).

  There’s a thing more than sex
  It’s nothing too complex
  It’s at nature’s apex
  It’s a natural reflex
  It’s nothing to perplex
  It’s love: love’s above sex


p.s.
The “4 S’s” – sun, sea, sand, and sex – is a familiar catch-phrase from the colorful world of tourism studies. See, e.g., The Economist (1997, May). “Sun, sea, sand and ?” Retrieved from, economist.com/1997/

p.p.s.
Sin
noun
An immoral act that transgresses ‘divine’ law.

Titillation
noun
The arousal of interest or excitement, (especially, but not exclusively, through sexually suggestive images or words).