Sicily, 1860: “Voluptuous Torpor”

Self has been swooning over the language of Giuseppe di Lampedusa in The Leopard.  She hopes never to finish the book.  Never.

It’s overdue at the library, the second time in a row she’s been overdue (Sister Carrie, the book she finished just before starting this one, was two weeks overdue)

Oh, her summer 2013 reading moves at such a languid pace.  Never has she read so languidly.  Not, anyway, since she began making regular trips to Bacolod, a few years ago.

She finds the book cover very interesting:  on the upper left-hand side of the page are the hind legs of a leopard:

The Leopard:  Cover Detail

The Leopard: Cover Detail

At the bottom, and slightly to the right, is an image of an upturned crown:

More of That Cover

More of That Cover

Self didn’t realize what it meant until she got to about halfway through the book.  The Leopard of the title is The Prince, of course.  And his family, while still proud, still wealthy, still in possession of vast tracts of land, is on the decline.

In the chapter self is reading, The Prince is having a conversation with a man named Chevalley about the general state of Sicily.  Chevalley is good-hearted and sees much good in Sicilians in general:  he cites a young man named Crispi, who he feels is emblematic of the new generation of Sicilians:  energetic and forward-thinking.  The Prince dismisses Chevalley’s assessment:

As for this young man Crispi, not I, certainly, but you perhaps may be able to see if as an old man he doesn’t fall back into our voluptuous torpor; they all do.  I’ve explained myself badly; I said Sicilians, I should have added Sicily, the atmosphere, the climate, the landscape of Sicily.  Those are the forces which have formed our minds together with and perhaps more than foreign dominations and ill-assorted rapes; this landscape which knows no mean between sensuous slackness and hellish drought; which is never petty, never ordinary, never relaxed, as a country made for rational beings to live in should be; this country of ours in which the inferno around Randazzo is a few miles from the loveliness of Taormina Bay; this climate which infects us with six feverish months at a temperature of a hundred and four; count them, Chevalley, count them:  May, June, July, August, September, October; six times thirty days of sun sheer down our heads; this summer of ours which is long and glum as a Russian winter and against which we struggle with less success; you don’t know it yet, but fire could be said to snow down on us as on the accursed cities of the Bible; if a Sicilian worked hard in any of those months he would expend energy enough for three; then water is either lacking altogether or has to be carried from so far that every drop is paid for by a drop of sweat . . .

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

“Portents,” Part 3: In Which Our Heroine Wends Her Lonely Way Around Makati

Backstory:  Filipina is pregnant.  And unmarried.  Not exactly A Fate Worse Than Death, but close.

All the taxis were taken, and the buses were so full people were sprouting out the windows.  I could see the passengers crammed together like fillings in an enormous sandwich, bumping and rubbing against each other with every lurch of the bus.  Maybe if someone asks who my kid’s father is, I could say I took a really crowded bus and got knocked up.

By the time I got back to my apartment my feet were throbbing.  A menu from a pizza parlor that delivered had been shoved under my door:  reading it I had a sudden wild craving for anchovy pizza.  Pregnant women are supposed to have these wild cravings, but I was slightly worried.  I’ve heard old people say that what you crave during pregnancy determines how your child will turn out.  For instance, if you crave guavas, your child will be stubborn.

Which sets self to wondering:  that word, guavas.  How long has it been?  How long has it been, self, since you’ve tasted one of those?

Back to the Jessica Zafra story:

I switched the TV on.  There was this soap opera about a little girl whom everyone maltreated.  The actress who played the little girl was so good at being a martyr, it was as if she had a sign on her forehead that said, “Kick me.”  The soap was interrupted by a news broadcast:  262 more Filipinos had fled Kuwait.  A middle-aged woman told a reporter she had been raped by Iraqi soldiers.  Why should I be ashamed, she said, I didn’t want it to happen.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Nostalgic (Already) 4 Summer 2013

Concert # 4 in Stafford Park was today.

These concerts are held every Wednesday, throughout the summer.

The music this evening was Country.

Self, standing next to The Man, both of us chowing down hot dog with dill, felt already a kind of creeping nostalgia for this summer.  We are almost halfway through July!  How did we get here?

Stafford Park Today

Stafford Park Today, During the Concert

Oh how self loves these Wednesday evenings in the park!

Oh how self loves these Wednesday evenings in the park!

Quick where does one send a story about a castle?  Self wrote one this morning.  Big surprise!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.


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