Happy Birthday to Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Willis Wilde!
Mr. Wilde would have been 158 today and I’m sure would have still looked fabulous.
…Okay maybe not SO fabulous but a flower and some fur for sure!
I’ve already posted many of my favorite Wilde quotes so, I was at a loss of which to post today. Usually, I post his immortal guidance for writers: A poet can’t survive a misprint and one should never fear being over educated! Oscar relished in being talked about in society. Wherever he went his biting wit followed. His life ended in suffering, but his life is celebrated in glory.
In Honor of Oscar’s life and great understanding of the world around him, here are a few of my favorite words of Wilde wisdom:
One should absorb the colour of life, but one should never remember its details. Details are always vulgar.
The Picture of Dorian Gray
- We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
- Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan, 1892, Act III
- Who, being loved, is poor?
Oscar Wilde, A Woman Of No Importance, 1893
- All sins, except a sin against itself, Love should forgive. All lives, save loveless lives, true Love should pardon.
Oscar Wilde An Ideal Husband
- Cheers to you Mr. Wilde! Thank you for inspiring me everyday!
“Hey man, I’m beat.” Joe leaned back in his chair stretching his arms behind him. He closed his laptop in defeat and began to pack up the books, papers, and pens around him. Joe and Auggie were the only students left in the basement of their college library.
“Really, bro? How far did you even get?” Auggie barely lifted his eyes from the computer screen. Auggie was a dick. His senior thesis was on Mark Leyner.
Joe only studied with him because Auggie’s dedicated work ethic was motivating on a primal level of competition.
“Not very far, I guess.” Joe shrugged on his leather backpack and pulled his cell phone from his pocket. It was dead.
“I don’t know how you do it. Victorian detective fiction puts anyone to sleep. It’s too trendy and completely irrelevant.” Auggie’s attention never left his work.
Joe wanted to say more. He wanted to defend the great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his influence in modern fiction and detection. Joe’s swollen eyes and foggy mind stopped him.
“Yeah, well, see you in class.” Joe languidly waved knowing that Auggie wouldn’t see the gesture anyway. His shoulders ached and his brain pounded against his ears. Joe gave an awkward nod to the student worker behind the counter enraptured by her trashy erotica novel. Every week she had a new paperback with the same brand of a cunning cheesy title. This week it was Lingering Tingles.
Finally leaving the library behind, Joe wearily crossed the sleeping city street. The neon lights glowing “STRAND” refreshed Joe for a brief moment.
One drink, he directed himself.
The door was a heavy oak that took all of Joe’s strength to open. His gangly arms were even more lanky and awkward after weeks of sleepless nights and writing.
Joe shoved his bag between the bar stool and foot ledge. He sat on the heavy bar seat made of the same oak as the door.
“Sam, how’s it going tonight?” Joe always called The Strand’s late night bartender Sam. Joe had no idea what his real name was and calling him Sam didn’t seem to bother anyone.
“Slow. Bourbon again?” Sam’s voice was deep from years of smoking reds. Sam constantly had a burning cigarette in the ashtray at the corner of the bar.
“No, Gin and tonic with a twist.”
Sam chuckled and hesitated getting the bottle. “You know kid, you drink like…like an old guy.”
Joe just stared unable to respond. He never ordered drinks he liked. He ordered drinks he thought he should like. As Sam began mixing, Joe leaned both elbows on the metal bar top. He pinched the bridge of his nose to alleviate the pounding in his head. He cracked each knuckle methodically. He adjusted the collar on his jacket.
Sam placed the tall bubbled glass in front of Joe and went back to the corner of the bar to drag the end of his cigarette.
The first sip almost gagged Joe. The second was a bit better. The bitter sting woke him up.
As he replaced the cold drink, a sharp R.P. dialect jarred his hazy mental state. “Invigorating, is it?”
Joe looked at the man next to him inhaling the smoke from a large cigar. The stranger had piercing black eyes and hawk-like features.
Joe blinked, twice. “Holy shit!”
“Please calm yourself and do choose your words with more finesse. You’ll never be a writer if you don’t learn to expand your vocabulary.”
Sherlock rolled his eyes in impatience. “Yes, you’re shocked. Your pupils are dilated and your shallow breaths are exhibiting signs of panic. You’re asking yourself: How is this happening? Don’t fear, much. It’s not a brain contusion. You are, also, not drunk. You haven’t even ingested enough to put a child to sleep. However, your particular level of exhaust has granted you with hallucinations. A stroke of luck if you ask me.”
Joe released the air he was holding in his lungs and stuttered, “I’m Joe.”
“Unnecessary detail but a pleasure I’m sure. My dear Joe. The young writer, overwhelmed by school and under stimulated by life. You haven’t slept more than four hours a night for at least the past two weeks. You are living off a measly income or none at all judging by the poor diet of fast food and non-perishables you use to sustain your meesly existence.”
Sherlock leaned in and whispered the rest, “As a mate, you should really start increasing your dose of cologne to better mask the odor of stress and probable failure you’re emitting.”
“Should I even question how you know all of this? I’m so glad that even my hallucinations think I’m inferior. I couldn’t have imagined up Mrs. Hudson I suppose.” Joe whispered the second half to himself fearing further scrutiny.
“Imagination is cultivated and precious. Hallucination is a gamble.” Sherlock retorted with perfect candor. He took in a large puff of his cigar blowing out the smoke across the room.
Tapping the ash, Sherlock muttered, “American tobacco is so much heavier than English. Don’t you see?”
“Both are equally detrimental for your lungs.” Joe removed his jacket and rolled up the sleeves. He looked across the bar. Sam was deeply attentive to the sports highlights on the television mounted in the corner.
“I’m a figment. Your lungs are at risk.” Sherlock grabbed the bottle of beer in front of him and took a short swig.
Sherlock uncrossed his legs and got up from his stool. “You know what you really could use?” He paused, not for reaction but merely for drama. “Some seven-percent solution would do you good.”
Joe scoffed and thought how perfectly predictable Sherlock acted. “I’m fine, thanks.”
Sherlock’s mouth turned up into a smirk, “You’re going to turn down an opportunity to transcend with The Sherlock Holmes? I must be a bit rusty because I deduced you were a somewhat intelligent lad.”
Joe furrowed his brow and shrugged. Alice took solutions down the rabbit hole. Maybe, this was a hallucinatory norm. He slipped off his stool, “Fine. You’re just a figment anyway.”
Sherlock latched his grip to Joe’s sleeve and began dragging him to the back door. Joe left his book bag behind and flung out the door into the alley way.
Sherlock removed a kit from his lengthy formal jacket and pulled out a syringe and tourniquet. He ripped up Joe’s sleeve and fastened the belt tight.
Joe was too confused and exhausted to resist.
As the needle plunged into Joe’s pulsing vein, Sherlock locked eyes with Joe. “I said I was a figment. The solution is not.”
Joe’s mind was flooded with ecstasy. His body felt revitalized and light. His mind raced with unlinking thoughts and desire for action.
“Much better.” Sherlock leaned between the dumpster against the brick wall. He pulled out a pack of cigarettes. “Take one,” Sherlock commanded.
Joe knew it was too late to refuse anything. He grabbed the cigarette with an unsteady hand and lit it from the flame Sherlock had waiting. Joe inhaled the drag and rubbed his head. What a fucking night.
Sherlock seemed to respond to Joe’s thought, “It can only get better. Now, let’s go exercise the mind.” Sherlock took off down the alley. Joe threw the burning cigarette and ran after him.
Joe skidded to an abrupt stop almost hitting the narrow shoulders of the detective at work. His sharp eyes darted from side to side. Sherlock had an air of stimulation and excitement, “Do you hear that, Joseph?”
“It’s just Joe…and hear what?” Joe closed his eyes for a moment to listen. He heard the faint scream of a woman in the distance.
“Now you do. One must always be alert. Remember that. Let’s go!” Sherlock took off again. Joe could feel his heart pounding against his chest as he ran behind.
The two men bolted down the quiet city street for three blocks. Joe wanted to rest but felt synthetic energy pumping through his veins.
Sherlock stopped at a corner in front of a well lit bank. A woman was crumbled on the sidewalk. Her face was swollen and the contents of her purse were spilled out around her.
“Oh my god!” Joe bent down and touched the unconscious woman’s face. His fingers instinctually traveled to her neck. He felt a faint pulse. “She’s alive! We need to call an ambulance.”
“She’ll be fine, just minor wounds. She’ll wake up with nothing more than soreness and a headache. Clearly her boyfriend didn’t find it necessary to phone the authorities.” Sherlock studied the pieces of the puzzle strewn around her. Joe saw an ipod, headphones, a bedazzled wallet, lipstick, a mirror, a small can of hairspray, and a tube of mascara. Sherlock picked up and examined the glittery wallet.
“No bank notes,” mumbled the detective. Joe surged with excitement. Sherlock was about to work his deducing magic.
“Hmm, and this is?” Sherlock held up a small plastic silver rectangle.
“It’s a credit card. You go to the bank, put in a code, and get out money from your account.” Joe pointed toward the ATM behind Sherlock.
“A code?” Sherlock beamed. He turned and inserted the card as if he were already familiar with the process of modern banking.
“What about the girl? We need to get her help. What are you doing? Are you trying to use her card?” Joe stood up and approached Sherlock.
Sherlock stopped, “Please don’t speak at this moment. It is of great importance.” Joe shut up. Who was he to question Mr. Holmes?
Sherlock briefly turned to look back at the woman then shut his eyes tightly.
He chanted, “Dark thick make up, tight clothing that accentuates her upper torso, and dangerously high expensive heels, what do you make of this Joseph?”
Joe shrugged. “I don’t know. She’s high maintenance?”
Sherlock stared coldly at him. “Not just high maintenance, she is obsessed with her appearance. That nose is not found in nature.”
Sherlock turned to the ATM screen. It was flashing, waiting for her pin. Sherlock spoke at the machine, “It wouldn’t be the year of her birth, she despises thinking of her age.” He entered in a four digit number slowly. His fingers hovered over each number before they plunged down. The screen ceased blinking and opened up to the next prompt of action.
“How the hell did you guess that?” Joe knew he would regret it as soon as the words left his lips.
“I never guess young man,” Sherlock scoffed. “It is obvious that the four digit number this woman chose is her bra size and shoe size, 3611. Her vapid values have awarded us enough money to continue the night!”
Sherlock grabbed the stack of twenties that shot out of the ATM. He replaced the card into the woman’s wallet and took off down the street.
Why can’t he walk somewhere, Joe thought as he trailed behind.
By the time Joe caught up, Sherlock was waiting out side of a club still thumping it’s base. The bouncer of the club stood at the door, arms folded, apathetic to his surroundings.
“Really?” Joe had nothing else to say. The night was spiraling out of control. He couldn’t imagine Sherlock fist pumping with the hooligans behind the door.
“You need to loosen up Joseph. A night of adventure will do you some good.” Sherlock smirked again. Joe still felt the solution working it’s way through his system. Protest would be pointless now.
Joe moved to get in line for the club but, Sherlock pulled him back by the shoulder.
“Joseph, are you familiar with the Napoleon of Crime?”
“Professor Moriarty,” Joe stated.
“Precisely! Very good boy. The solution did your mind some good. I don’t mean to alarm you but, he, the napoleon that is, is across the street in that not-so hansom yellow cab.” Sherlock remained completely calm.
“The taxi?” Joe questioned.
“Unnecessary details! He has been following us this whole time. It was all a set up. How could I have not seen this? He wants a quarrel!” Sherlock ripped off his coat and began rolling up his sleeves.
“Wait! This is probably a really bad idea. You don’t even know that it’s him.” Joe’s voice cracked. “What are you going to do?”
It was too late Sherlock approached the taxi cab. Joe ran up behind him. The night had consisted of too much running.
Sherlock knocked politely on the window, “Roll it down, Jim. We all know you’re in there.”
The window hissed as it lowered. Moriarty was just a leather glove as far as Joe could see, a leather glove that griped an old Webley. The gun pointed first at Sherlock then moved to Joe. Joe put up his hands without thinking.
“How banal of you Jim.” Sherlock rolled his eyes. Joe could feel the sweat starting to run down his back. He couldn’t run anymore. He had to face the barrel and trust that his detective hero would solve this final problem.
Sherlock’s authoritative voice spoke again, “Jim, come out and fight like a man. These silly operations will get you no where.”
Moriarty’s voice was higher than Joe expected, “Get in to the cab, Sherlock.”
Sherlock and Joe looked at each other. Joe raised his brow utterly confused.
Sherlock resigned to Moriarty’s command, “My dear new friend, may we meet again someday. Best of luck to you. Remember, a good detective is always honest.” Sherlock yanked at the cab door and bent down. Flicking his coat back, he flashed the butt of a metal revolver to Joe.
Sherlock got in the cab and shut the door. “Honesty and clear perception!” He shouted as the cab drove away.
Joe stood in the street, alone. His headache returned.
Loula paced the landing, clacking her sandals with every step. She fastened the silk scarf tighter underneath her chin. The morning wind came swirling up from the harbor to her door blowing about Loula’s perfectly done hair.
“Hurry Tsoula!” Loula hated the idea of making Panos wait. She fixed the summer shawl around her fleshy shoulders and checked herself in the reflection of the window.
Tsoula finished throwing her thick black hair up and scurried to Loula. Her thin white blouse and navy slacks hung loose on her thin frame.
The metal door clanged against the house. Their mother yelled from the kitchen at the sound of the slam. Tsoula flew down the stairs to the street as Loula carefully followed behind her. The summer heat began to rise as the sun climbed above the mountains before them.
Loula’s floral summer dress billowed in the air as they silently rounded the corner past the old church. The morning bells were just beginning to ring.
“Can we stop at the bakery first?” Despite Tsoula’s tiny figure, she always had an insatiable hunger.
Loula clicked her tongue in disapproval. “It’s rude to keep him waiting.”
“Okay, so I’ll go get a pie for myself and you two can starve together,” Tsoula teased.
Loula looked away from her sister.
She never had to tell Tsoula how she felt about Panos. When they were just children playing together in the olive tree orchard behind their house Tsoula knew that Loula and Panos loved each other. Tsoula remembered how easy it was before and thought about how strange Loula acted now when they went out with Panos.
Plathea was still quiet. A morning hush controlled the streets. A woman was sweeping the entrance to her jewelry shop. Two tired fishermen smoked on the bench looking out to the water discussing trade and business. The large ferry boat that connected the island to the mainland waited with the impatient sound of the engine ready to set sail.
The bakery’s wafting scent of sweet bread and fresh cooking grew as they moved toward the open door.
Loula refused to enter as Tsoula ran in to get three pies and some drinks. She knew the heat from the ovens would make her start to sweat. She took another opportunity to check her appearance in the window. Loula could hear her sister chatting inside.
Tsoula flew out thanking the baker and tucking the bag underneath her arm. Loula slowly removed her scarf and forced it in to her purse.
“I don’t know why you bother with your hair. Two minutes out on the boat will ruin it anyway.” Tsoula twirled a finger around a piece of Loula’s perfect curl.
Loula pulled away and adjusted the lock of hair. “Leave it!”
She could see Panos waiting in the water. The small wooden row boat bobbed gently with the waves against the port. Loula smiled and pulled back her shoulders. Morning trips on Panos’ boat
Tsoula waved and sped up to the edge. She tossed the bag to Panos in the boat and climbed off the pier.
Loula approached the boat and assessed the descent. Panos balanced himself and held out a hand to help her. Loula lowered into the boat fixated on the his rough warm hand that enveloped hers.
Releasing Loula, Panos unraveled the rope and pushed off the dock. He pushed his linen sleeves above his elbows and began rowing against the current. A light sheen of sweat swept his brow after only a few minutes at sea. The late June sun radiated heat. The glittering ripples of water danced passed the oars. Once the boat traveled far enough from the shore, they rode the gentle water.
“Shall we?” Tsoula removed the warm baked pies from the parcel. “I have spanokopita, turopita, and kotopulapita.”
Panos grabbed one and immediately began to eat. Loula shook her head at the remaining pies.
“Oh! Loula mou! You have to eat or you can’t have any of this.” Tsoula revealed a wine bottle from the bag in true showmanship fashion.
“Tsoulaki! You’re a genius.” Loula frowned at Panos for praising her sister.
Tsoula saw Loula’s reaction, “I can’t take all the credit. It was Loula’s idea.”
Panos smiled and rested a warm gaze on Loula’s breathtaking face. Loula smiled back and pulled out a square yellow pack of cigarettes from under the scarf in her purse. She removed one for herself and offered one to Panos. He removed a book of matches from his front pocket. Careful not to rock the boat, Panos leaned in to light Loula’s cigarette. Loula was careful not to blow out the match with her rapid breath.
“That doesn’t look right for a girl, Lou. You look like papa when you smoke.” Tsoula swigged the bottle and set it on the floor of the boat. Tsoula openly disapproved of Loula’s new hobby. She reached to grab the cigarette from Loula’s lips, but the boat dipped toward the water at the movement. Panos moved to steady the boat and grabbed the wine before it tipped over.
“Tsoula! Are you crazy? I could have fallen in.” Loula stared at her sister angrily. Panos knew better than to get in between their fights. He took a swig from the wine to ease the tension.
“Oh no! And get your hair wet?” Tsoula giggled. Panos couldn’t help but laugh. He knew Loula could take herself too seriously at time.
Loula grew angrier watching them. She pursed her lips and clenched a fist against her thigh. Tsoula continued to mock her. Panos laughed deeper and deeper. Loula wanted to leave. She felt the heat rise through her as she felt completely ridiculed.
Loula couldn’t take their laughter anymore and stood up to yell, to be heard over their roaring taunts. Before she realized what she had done, Loula was going head first into the shimmering sea. Tsoula shrieked and as Panos and she splashed into the water. They tumbled under and around the capsized boat until three heads bobbed up to the surface gasping for air.
Loula’s anger washed away and she couldn’t help losing herself in the moment. She laughed with Tsoula and Panos as their half eaten pies and wine bottle danced around them in the water. Tsoula threw back her arms and floated in the water soaking in the moment.
The once pristine curls were drenched black waves spiraled around Loula’s face. Panos couldn’t stop staring at Loula glowing between the sun and the sea. She was completely free and could not have been more beautiful.
Anthony Robert Kushner Tony Kushner Tony,
How do I address in writing a writer whose words I have poured over in the past five years? May I begin by stating the obvious? I am clearly a devout fan of yours. Prior Walters was my late goldfish’s name and I truly believe I can get through anything with “wee little fistfuls of Valium.”The only thing better than Brecht is a Kushner Brecht translation. Changing mediums hold no obstacle for you, as your screenplays have shown (and in the future are sure to show).
I, I, I, consider myself to be a humble reader and most of my celebrity idols have been dead for centuries. You, however, I have a chance of meeting. A 1,402,367,253 to 1 chance but, an opportunity no less. Though I doubt I would be capable of constructing an intelligent sentence in your presence, my desire to shake hands with you and remind you that through your writing you touch peoples lives everyday overwhelms any insecurities I may have.
It is possible that, for me, you represent all of my literary idols. Your social relevance and philosophical commentary rival any author that has inflated from antiquity. Your one liners of inspiration have become mantras. Your characters have become personifications of the shades of society.
You have given the underdogs hope and the afraid courage.
Through this, at times, painful progression of the literary world with nothing but longing for what is left behind your writing embodies the dream ahead.
Thank you for inspiring me as a writer and as a human being.
To anyone that may come across this and read this, I share with you a piece of Kushner’s writing. It is out of context but, the most spiritually uplifting and motivating plea for life I have ever read:
I’ve lived through such terrible times and there are people who live through much worse. But you see them living anyway. When they’re more spirit than body, more sores than skin, when they’re burned and in agony, when flies lay eggs in the corners of the eyes of their children – they live. Death usually has to take life away. I don’t know if that’s just the animal. I don’t know if it’s not braver to die, but I recognize the habit; the addiction to being alive. So we live past hope. If I can find hope anywhere, that’s it, that’s the best I can do. It’s so much not enough. It’s so inadequate. But still bless me anyway. I want more life.
Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes – Part Two: Perestroika.
I am a thief. I stole this. It is not mine. However, I love it so much I want it to be mine.
We all know this feeling. We all have that book that we loved that became a shitty movie. We all have a movie we hated so we refused to read the book.
Movie is to book as Facebook Profile is to human being.
I do not want to fuel the frenzied fire behind the recent success of a sensationalized work but, I need to get this out. Perhaps other people feel this way. Perhaps I will stop glaring at people pool-side and telling them they are destroying literature one page at a time.
Hoping this helps….
Pornographic literature has been around for ages. If you think this new thing is steamy try The Miller’s Tale from Canterbury Tales or Gilgamesh. Serious heat and raunchy descriptions galore.
My only problem with this new devolved formation is that the writing is less than intelligent and the blatant content lacks real passion. Granted I only read about 20 pages before I grew tired or killing my brain cells at the syntax and diction of such an undeveloped writer.
Yes, this is extremely judgmental. Yes, I am jealous that this housewife has made the best sellers lists I only dream of. But, truly it is more than envy and pride.
I feel that this kind of writing that has swept the masses is a dangerous development in society. The same species that once anticipated the next edition of Household Words for the next installment of relevant Literature (note the capital L), is now clamoring the shelves at local mass production marts to get their unfulfilled fingers on the pages of garbage writing.
Fuck it. It’s not entertaining unless someone outright says something.
This work is utter garbage. It is the twinkie of the English writing world.
If you have the need to read about sex to replace the fact that your not actually having it, read Playboy, or rather to match the correct demographic, some type of Playgirl. Plenty of blatant visuals and, to be honest, the writing is actually superb.
It’s not a case of I can write better (despite the fact that I am of the delusion that I can). It’s that I know good writing. If nothing else I have a talent for knowing talent. This is probably why I identify with Prufrock….
Anyway, I am of the opinion that this sensation is bad for the future of literature. If nothing else, I hope that this poorly written novel can inspire some to read a well written novel.
Ever the optimist, even in such times as these…..
This blog is new, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. No, this is not a forum for pot culture as the name may suggest. (For that you can follow my other blog called “i’mtoohightothinkofsomethingcleversocheckbacklater”)
I digress. This blog is for me to chat about the books I’m reading and the ideas I’m having. If it entertains other people that’s wonderful! If it gets me in an FBI watch list….cross that bridge later.
If people ever come here and see this…POST! Don’t just let me ramble. I like it too much.
If no one comes, then, well, that would suck.
So, I’ll be posting about books and essays that I read. I’ll be posting about lit nerd things.