Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘beauty’

A Torturous Affair

The Glass Mask: Monsters Lurk Beneath by E. L. DuBois.
Reviewed by Gabriel Constans.

516I5azkDzLThe Glass Mask is a painful book to read. It is an important book to read. It is a well written story about partner abuse, and the intimate torture that often takes place in abusive relationships. If you’ve experienced anything remotely similar in your own life, you will identify with the protagonist, called “Beauty”. If you’ve been fortunate to not have gone through any such trauma, you will be rooting for her survival, and insight into how to escape “The Beast” that threatens to destroy everything she loves, and life itself.

Ms. DuBois notes in the beginning that, “It was Hell. Let me reiterate… a living Hell. Nothing was sure then, except fear. Life was uncertain, death always loomed, and instability was the norm.” She is not exaggerating. It is apparent that the author has lived through many of the scenes described herein, and they are conveyed with honesty, agonizing detail, and perspective. All the mental and emotional things victims believe, and tell themselves (which are reinforced by the abuser), make sense and come to light.

The chapter headings also match well with the contents of that section. For example, “I knew who I was this morning… But I have changed a few times since then.” Happiness is displaced by despair and fear. Loving acts hide brutal retaliation and control at all costs. Someone believing they “own” you, and can do whatever they want with you, are not a fantasy, but too often a reality. Beauty’s boyfriend is aptly named The Beast, and his sister (The Drama Queen). Beauty’s daughter is appropriately known as The Princess.

Anything awful you can think of happening to another human being, is inflicted on Beauty. When you think that there is no way she can keep going, she meets a man (Mr. Knight). Thus, some light returns. Or does it? Not everyone is able to escape, let alone meet a supportive, loving person to help. It is possible, but rare. Many people are killed, or reduced to ruble before they are set free. Others take solace in drugs, or other numbing acts. You’ll have to read The Glass Mask to find out what happens to Beauty.

P.S. A similar book you may find of interest is Kellsey, by Stacy Kells. The primary difference is that Stacy’s is nonfiction, and The Glass Mask is fiction. At times, it is difficult to tell them apart. Read my review of Kellsey. It’s called A Gradual Awakening.

An Exquisite Essence

51YvQiYIkfLProspect Hill: A Romantic Short Story by Bibiana Krall. Reviewed by Gabriel Constans.

I could write a short story about this exquisite short story, but for brevity, simply say that Prospect Hill is one of the best stories I’ve read in a long time. I’m not sure if there are enough accolades for this occasion, but here are a few. The prose is not only fitting, and well-crafted, but also languid and lyrical, with a sense of poetry in motion. Though its intention is not erotic, it feels very sensual. The words drift through space and hit the heart like a lonely spirit.

Merely is a bodiless spirit, who is imprisoned in a cask by a witch, and falls in love with a human named Nino, when she is released. Her original name was Ayanna Dovet Blackwell, who was buried alive. Here is a glimpse of Ms. Krall’s writing. I hovered like a dragonfly next to my Nino, wishing to offer comfort. Then from the shifting melancholy of my imprisonment, I was called to sing once more. Murmurs of life and light, golden moments that remain hidden away from a place like this.”

The tale moves between the seen and unseen world with ease. Everything is real, and can be sensed, or felt, by the disembodied and the bodied. Their mutual awareness makes Nino feel uneasy and scared, and Nino’s presence creates long forgotten memories, and sensations in Merely. This interaction, and of others that enter and leave, are all told brilliantly from Merely’s perspective and experience. Though she cannot be seen by those living, she herself feels liberated and renewed.

There is subtle beauty and grace in the language, thoughts and feelings that overtake Merely, and they are described with great eloquence. If you have not yet absorbed, or understood, my adulation for Ms. Krall’s Prospect Hill, the following lines will surely take you over the edge. “Essence of night Jasmine, tea rose and salt escaped from my brilliant spiral. With one last desire my hands reached across time. Caressing Nino’s cheek lovingly from the other side, my fingertips dissolved into raindrops and fell away.”

 

The Kindness of Strangers

My Forgotten Path Home
41KTXR9-obLA Novel by Tim I Gurung
Reviewed by Gabriel Constans

This novel is all about the 2015 earthquake in Nepal that killed over 8000 people and injured over 20,000, and, it has very little to do with the earthquake. Mr. Gurung dedicates My Forgotten Path Home to the dead and survivor’s of the quake in the acknowledgments, and the story revolves around May Andrelina Applehouse, who is found in the rubble by an Australian couple, but the essence of the story is about Nepal, its people, and finding a “place” called home.

When May returns to Nepal at age 27, for the first time since leaving at age 3, she discovers that it is not what she had imagined, and finding her birth parents will be much more difficult than she had anticipated. Helping her in her search are Inspector Raj Komartamu and his assistant, Officer Mangale Magar. Even though she is not familiar with anyone or anything, May feels like she is “at home”. The journey begins in Kathmandu (the capital), and then extends to the countryside.

May is amazed with the beauty outside the city. “The morning fogs around the valley had not dissipated, cobwebs of gossamer and the nearby jungle were visible, and birds were still reluctant to fly away from their warm nest.” With the help of her new friends (Raj and Mangale) May looks near and far for her parents, and eventually makes a decision which brings her even closer to the Nepalese and her understanding of what life is like for those in the capital and farming the land in small villages.

My Forgotten Path Home is similar, in some respects, to the storyline for the wonderful film Lion, in which a young orphaned boy in India is adopted by an Australian couple, and then returns as an adult to try to find his mother. Mr. Gurung’s story however, takes place almost entirely in Nepal and feels almost like a personal memoir, though it is not in the least. My favorite aspect of this tale is the genuine kindness and gentleness of all those involved. Everyone treats one another as family, whether they are related biologically or not. This is a novel written with heart, that touches the heart.

That Is A Good Question

images-1An excerpt from the spectacular Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.

There is no difference between one life and another. All beings share the same essence and spark of energy. To punish one for looking ugly and award another for its beauty is just plain mean. Worms are essential for the soil. Soil is needed to grow our food. Rain is necessary to nourish the soil. Plants are vital for us to live. Human life completes the circle. You may ask how humans contribute to this circle of life and that is a good question.

The Buddha said, ‘Have compassion for all beings.’ When he was seeking enlightenment the snails shielded him from the sun and provided shade. He didn’t stick them on hooks and feed them to fish or chickens. No, he honored them for who they were and used their assistance in his search for truth and true compassion.

Footnote. Page 19. Speaking of Holiness

More irresistible koans, stories, & tales, at Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.

Expand Yosemite

Dear Gabriel,

CAE_EY_Birthday_Action-Button_v1It’s almost Yosemite’s 150th birthday.

And we have a chance to give the park something great.

What do you get Yosemite, the park that has everything — from stunning Yosemite Falls and Half Dome, to black bears and Giant Sequoias?

Help us expand Yosemite National Park by hundreds of acres.

By taking action now, you can help pass a bill through Congress that would expand Yosemite by 1,600 acres. That’s 1,600 more acres of Giant Sequoias, meadows with snowmelt creeks, black bears, and memories of camping under the stars for our kids and their kids. It’s also the 1,600 acres that John Muir, the man who championed the idea of Yosemite National Park, intended to be part of the park in the first place.

But long ago this land was stripped from the park and given to loggers, miners and the railroad industry.

That’s why I need you to email Senator Feinstein right now.

Tell Sen. Feinstein it’s time to expand Yosemite National Park to its original vision.

The boundaries of Yosemite National Park haven’t been adjusted for the last 70 years. This is our shot.

Your action right now can help better protect Sierra red fox, Goshawks and wolverines from the threat of future development. Yosemite’s 150th birthday is around the corner. If enough Californians contact Congress, we can see to it that we give the park that has everything 1,600 more acres of beauty.

Thank you for being with me. Let’s leave Yosemite better — and bigger — than we found it.

Sincerely,

Dan Jacobson
Environment California Legislative Director

The Sun’s Garden

Some recent photos of the garden life we are tending in our backyard. Sweet sun spirit of smell, sight, sound, sensation and soul.

Summer Garden Peace

Ah, sitting in our summer garden, surrounded by life and beauty.

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