At The Cretan Writer’s Grave

A timely photo maybe, but this wasn’t taken at a religious site-rather it’s the grave of Nikos Kazantzakis, author of such novels as Zorba The Greek, The Last Temptation and, my favourite: Christ Recrucified.  I visited it when we were in Crete in 2008.

The epitaph, taken from one of his works, reads:

 ‘I hope for nothing, I fear nothing, I am free’.

image

 

Advertisements

In The Deep Night, An Extinguishing Flame

Our local church, on the night of Maundy Thursday, turns its chapel into the Garden Of Gethsemane, decking it out in many candles, surrounding a cross placed upon the chapel floor in front of the altar.

There is much emphasis on a night of waiting. Of watching.

I enjoy the meditative, reflective time spent in the softly illuminated darkness. I was there last night, thinking of family and friends who have passed before me.

There was another cross standing at the end of the candle-lit channel. For my previous generations, my most closest ancestors, the cross was the symbol of hope and strength as their inevitable end drew near.  They would have approached the great unknown holding on to that image. I pictured those once dear to me drawing near to it, reaching out to grasp its arms, before passing on beyond the marker. Imaginatively speaking.

A time of waiting. A time of preparing.

There were some family members whose passing was sudden and unheralded, but for the majority they knew that their time was approaching.

How do you prepare for that moment ?  How do you reach the point where the only control you have left is to let go?

I thought of my father. After his heart attack, he informed me that the doctor had told him he could have another one “like that” with a click of his fingers. How did he cope with the thought of that time bomb ticking away inside of him? He died from the detonation a few days later.

Some of my family have approached that cross with a calmness and strength that I can only hope to emulate when my time comes. There was one person who particurlarly came to mind, though.

His passing was quite recent. He returned home to die, his life ebbing away due to the cancer that ravaged him. As the moment inched closer, while his awareness of it remained, he muttered: “I’m frightened.”

His wife, Alice, said to him gently “You’ve no reason to be frightened. Say hello to your father and to Stephen” (his brother) “for me.”  With that he succumbed, sent over by those strong words of faith.

In the deep of the night, gazing silently upon those flickering flames, I thought to myself that, when the time comes, we could all do with an Alice standing alongside us, whispering into our ear.

image

 

 

Of Brains, Beauty And Suspicious Wives

I was reading a biography of Hedy Lamarr. For a while my wife, Jen, showed no interest. She thought it was a book about a man named Eddie.

image

Then she glimpsed the close-up of the face on the cover.

“Have you got that book to perv?”

“Of course not. I picked it up at the library. You know I like old movies, and I was intrigued that she was also an inventor.”

She picked the book up, immediately confronted by the title:

Hedy Lamarr: The Most Beautiful Woman In Film.

“Hmmm . . .” 

She seemed prepared to give me the benefit of the doubt. But it seems the Fates were working against me.

She opened the book, and out of 281 pages, she happened on the very one that informed her that Lamarr acted out the first female orgasm on screen.

“She was a porn star?”

No, I explained. She was an actress, adding weakly (again) that she was also an inventor.

“Well she didn’t invent the orgasm.”

She flicked through the book, pausing on another page.

(Goddamn you, Fates!)

She decided to hit me with a verbatim quote:

Aged 52, she accused a business-machine repairman she had known and dated for six months of raping her at gunpont. In court, a macabre interest was revealed: he liked to keep people in jars. He told the judge “I don’t know why she was shocked, no one else is. I have a five-month-old baby and a foetus that I got from a hospital in the east; a mummy, and also a unicorn.”

“What the hell is this crap that you’re reading?”

She got the impression that Hedy Lamarr was an orgasm-faking floozy who was raped by a man who collected foetus’, dead babies and unicorns. Easy mistake to make.

I immediately sought out something that might paint Lamarr in a more positive light, such as the invention that she worked on to aid the war effort, the technology which we encounter today whenever we use mobile phones or Wifi.

I thought that this might win her over:

Lamarr worked with a man called George Antheil on the invention. His wife came home one evening to be told that her husband couldn’t dine with her, as he was expected at Hedy Lamarr’s, (you know, the most beautiful woman in film), and she was not invited. They were too busy working on something.

“Oh, so you’re going to be busy! ” Böski, his wife, exclaimed. “What doing, dare I ask?” She was a trifle sarcastic.

“We are inventing a radio-directed torpedo,” he said.

“Indeed,” said Böski frigidly.’

Jen snorted: “Oh, that old chestnut. Inventing a radio-directed torpedo. Try a line like that with me and you’d be copping for a head-directed missile.”

Think she prefers Meryl Streep.

On The Creative Cusp

Nordland Publishing shared this yesterday:

The second of the Northlore series, Mythic, is in the works. Submissions are interesting, and varied and there will be a strongly unifying aspect to the entire collection. This makes it unique, as anthologies go.

We are currently editing and assembling the stories and poems in order.

No release date just yet, but soon…Soon!

image

I have a short story included in this, and, going off the previous volume, it should be a quality book. Something to look forward to.