Category: love


Suicide and bullying / The breasts of Angelina Jolie – truth and nothing but the truth please

This is going to be an article that is dual. I wanted to write about suicide and bullying, so I will. But another thing that has recently been on my mind was the case of Mrs Angelina Jolie who showed some breast cancer awareness or at least tried to shock people out of their lethargy by communicating about her drastic move to have both her breast glands and breast tissue removed to prevent a very rare form of hereditary cancer. I will get back to that later. I promise.

Suicide and Bullying will come up soon. There is a sad reason behind it. Very recently, a Young man of 20 was found dead (I won’t go into details out of respect for the relatives of this Young man) in the Sant Mateu / Sant Miquel area. This is a very quiet and rural area. You can find sheep here, orange and olive trees. You can walk through some wooden areas, climb some small hills, but one thing which is really difficult in that area is to feel not at ease when you step outside and take a walk. It is the best anti-depressant I would say. The more shocking I found it when the Young man first was missed… Then his friends organised a search with GPS and what not, but then his lifeless corpse was found. It is very sad indeed. Rumour has it that he was suffering from heartbreak. This is a very typical age, and a very typical reason to commit suicide. Don’t think I was making fun of this. I am dead serious. I have had the bad luck to be around suicidal people quite often, and some of the early signs, some of the things they say before the go, this is something you never quite forget. THe thing is… Suicide is something nobody likes to talk about.

suicide

And it is true why should we? We are the winners, we are the survivors. We are the ones that keep a brave face, keep a stiff upper lip until sometimes that lip starts to tremble and we fail in life. And some of us feel more lonely, more lost, more caught up in their situation than others. And yes, you guessed right. How can she know? Yes, I have been in the situation before. I too have been contemplating it more than once. The thing with suicide is you don’t do it at one. There are very rare cases that people have a very short fuse and they have something bad happen to them and they go out and kill themselves. No. It does not work like that.

You have one bad thing happen to you. You keep going. You have the second thing coming. You swallow. You keep going. THere seems to be a collection of bad things that may happen to you. And each and everyone is different. But depending on your personal pain and suffering threshold you may react differently. And that’s human. THe thing is when people talk, when people tell you that they are contemplating suicide it is high time to keep a good eye on them. Chances are that this is not the first time they have thought about it. Then, you start to think about how to kill yourself.

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I don’t want to make this a macabre dance of death blog post. I do believe that we need much more awareness on suicide. I remember that when I was 10 I was first confronted with a a-level student who threw himself before an incoming train. That was gruesome, traumatic and the teachers just told us because they were taught to be honest with us. I of course never quite understood at the time why this always smiling nice and educated student killed himself.

So, there is another thing. Suicide does not mean, that there is a person wearing black, it can just as well be someone you would not in the least suspect to be suicidal. It all depends on their coping mechanisms.

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Suicide does not mean you are weak.

It basically means you have been strong for a way too long time.

There are lots of boring statistics about suicide. That most suicides are committed by men. The highest suicide rates we have in adolescent males, followed by Young men. Young women are right behind men and now catching up. Sad story.

Please. Whenever you see someone who is shutting up. Who does not talk anymore. Who does not play his/her favourite band, who is giving away things, and saying goodbye to people, who is telling things like “… would be better without me”, do take that serious.

Lastly, I can only say. Even an area like the Sant Miquel or Sant Mateu area is just another microcosm of the big macrocosm earth, so of course, we have suicides too. Maybe not as many, because the absolute numbers are much smaller, but then again, a human life is a human life.

And if you can save one life, do it.

Do it now. Do it tomorrow. Do it whenever. But do it.

Be there for someone. Be someone who is listening. Be someone who is not turning away.

Today I wanted to start a new series of blog entries. They are called pagan rites.
Specially with this entry today, I wanted to give the love of my life, the father of my girls, my beloved Berno, the opportunity to at least fucking once get me a may tree as it’s tradition.

Now, well. After this bizarre introduction I shall concentrate on giving you the facts, and the facts only. It’s a very nice tradition. And it is also a good idea if you want to get involved with someone.
Truth is that this rite is very old and has many meanings. Apart from that, it is super nordic because it is celebrated specially in all the countries where you won’t find the sun during the winter months. It exists in Sweden, many northern countries, the Baltic, in Germany, in England and in Scotland.
Now I will explain you: the providence, the tradition etc.

The tradition of a may tree has something to do with Beltane, which is a Celtic fire festival, and also of fertility, of life and new beginnings. This festival is absolutely pagan. It is the eve of May Day. April 30th.

There is a legend that says that during that night all the witches and wizards come around to gather in a witch meeting on the mountain “Brocken” which is the highest mountain of the Harz mountains in Germany. This night also is called Walpurgisnacht and also is celebrated on April 30th.

BRITAIN SCOTLAND FESTIVAL

The interrelation between may tree cutting and giving the may tree to the beloved girl, the may pole, Walpurgisnacht that also is called witches night (just a Little like the Saint John’s night celebrated in Catalonia), and the indisputable connection to a phallic rite and fertility rite is evident. Walpurgis night, the night between 30th and 1st of May is also the night of pranks, also “Freinacht” the night of freedom, because here everyone could show their desire – with fervor – to the lady of their dreams, no matter which status he or she had, wherever she might be, just as she herself.

The idea is that a guy who has fallen in love with a girl, goes out and wants to give her sneakily and stealthily (very important, she must not know anything about it) a may-tree, which is traditionally a birch tree, place it in front of her house, in front of her bedroom window. This birch is usually adorned with many, many colored bands which means basically the variety of life and strength of love and the interrelationship between life and love.

This tradition has to do with the socalled May pole as well but whereas putting up a may-tree is a very personal thing, the May-pole is something official, something done by cities and villages to mark the start of the summer season. Of course the May-Pole also contains the phallic notion in order to remind us of the carnal desires that we should have.

Fine. So far, so good.

Beltane (Scottish Gaelic), May Day (England), or Calan Mai (Welsh Gaelic), has to do with life but at the same time with fire, and death. Here is a brief description of the etymologies and is a member to the languages ​​and traditions of the Celts, the Slavs and the Balt. Basically it refers to the beginning of the summer where a struggle between winter and summer is staged, but it also contains the idea of burning the old and the liberation of oneself for a new era. Very interesting is the linguistic nexus with the Indo-European gelH the Lithuanian tenth Beltane, which means gelH “death and suffering.”

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Since the early 20th century it has been commonly accepted that Old Irish Bel(l)taine is derived from a Common Celtic *belo-te(p)niâ, meaning “bright fire” (where the element *belo- might be cognate with the English word bale [as in ‘bale-fire’] meaning ‘white’ or ‘shining’; compare Anglo-Saxon bael, and Lithuanian/Latvian baltas/balts, found in the name of the Baltic; in Slavic languages byelo or beloye also means ‘white’, as in Беларусь (White Russia or Belarus) or Бе́лое мо́ре [White Sea]). A more recent etymology by Xavier Delamarre would derive it from a Common Celtic *Beltinijā, cognate with the name of the Lithuanian goddess of death Giltinė, the root of both being Proto-Indo-European *gʷelH- “suffering, death”.[32]
According to Dáithí Ó hÓgáin[year needed], the term Céad Shamhain or Cétshamhainin means “first half”, which he links to the Gaulish word samonios (which he suggests means “half a year”) as in the end of the “first half” of the year that begins at Samhain. Ó hÓgáin proposes that this term was also used in Scottish Gaelic and Welsh.[citation needed] In Ó Duinnín’s Irish dictionary (1904) it is referred to as Céadamh(ain) which it explains is short for Céad-shamh(ain) meaning “first (of) summer”. The dictionary also states that Dia Céadamhan is May Day and Mí Céadamhan is May.

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Yet. The tradition of giving a tree, a birch, full of colored bands to your girl is a very German one. It came up in the 16th century in Germany. Truth is today it is very connected with the region Cologne, Bonn, the Rhineland but also Bavaria. It must be a birch tree. It should be on the night of April 30th to May 1st. And there is also the possibility of rivalry between two boys because two guys might have chosen the same girl and so one wants to steal this tree because the only girl encounters his tree and not the other one.

The truth is that I find this tradition very sweet and fun although only once I got a branch of birch … During my punk days everyone knew that I wasn’t as focused in traditions;) So I hope that this year will be a start to feel more loved, and more pagan.

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I wish you one night of a witch and a wizard, one absolutely unforgettable and enchanting night. With the boy or the girl of your heart.
Their charm for crazy and mad ones out of love. Love is like that, a challenge, a maze and a treasure.

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Happy Beltane! Happy May Day!

P.S. One piece of advice for the boys/men among my readers. A girl/woman can never have too many signs that she is being loved. Fact, not fiction. 😉

Badass girls rule!

Badass girls rule!

The title might sound a bit juvenile to some but I need to come clean. I have a question. Why are not more people badass? Why can’t I be bothered with non-badass style?

Ok, science and fact books are exempted. I am talking fiction and fiction only here.

I came to notice that the authors I do tend to read and like to re-read are essential badass guys.

– E.A. Poe – William Shakespeare – Charles Baudelaire – Arthur Rimbaud

There are heaps more and also quite a number of more recent ones and this whole post would be pretty tiring if I started enumerating them but it really struck me why I get such a kick from desasters, chaos, mayhem, destruction and real bad story endings. Why instead don’t I feel the same intensity and need to reach for serene books, for happy endings, for nice, politically correct people, for something light, for something that does not end in death or in chaos, or in both, for that matter.

Triggered by a friend’s post (http://networkedblogs.com/Htmkc), I thought about which books we get to read in our lives, and which ones we happily skip reading and why we choose them. I guess, after all, when you take off the mask of being more or less academic and the natural question of whether or not you like a certain style of writing,… you end up with what?

Yes, that’s right. It’s a purely biological question. You end up with the same choice as on the playground, at school or at uni or at work: Are you going to be enchanted and swayed by the cultivated and silent guy with the sweet smile or are you deep down a little bitch, yourself a little badass (guy or girl) who wishes for something darker, something a little menacing, with a little bit animal inside?

The kind of guy who is not such good marriage material and who you’d rather seeing and enjoying for a short while, have the time of your life, and cry when he’s gone. Ok, ok, I got you. The one who is cultivated and clean, that’s the guy you date, you present your parents with, the one you keep at home. The other one that’s the one who have the dirty dreams about. I totally get it.

In fact, it is not so uncommon at all. You don’t have to be ashamed to have made this decision. And that is so understandable. Cos when you have kids, you need someone reliable, plus in the current climate and the world pretty much being a pretty fucked up place, you’d rather just muse about than head for the badass guy in real life. That could be pretty tiresome.

So, what are we after all? Cowards? Dreamers? Sentimental beings who always want what they can’t have? Are we simply acting according to a great master plan, being the cornerstone of the mere biological necessity of reproduction, that lets us women believe that the badass guy will be a good breeder (sorry guys), and that the good guy would physically not come close to the animal?

Hmm, tricky question that one. I guess that is something I cannot entirely answer myself. Of course, we are governed by biology, but there is also the intellect and some other factors which make this whole match-making thing all the more exciting. Plus there is always the chance of development.

I guess you c-a-n eat the cookie and keep it, but that’s another story. Let’s stick to topic.

I don’t know. To be perfectly honest, I do believe that we – both men and women – are really way more biologically governed, and way more badass than some of us care to believe. Deep down inside, there is this want for something raw, something essential and archaic. Something you lose your breath for, something that keeps you panting. That lets you smile because you hardly have the power to turn over after having had the sex of your life, because you just gave it all and feel totally wasted and empty.

So what’s the story?

The recent heyday of books like “50 shades of grey” is a nightmare, no, sorry, it is just one of these polished books that I refuse to read. Even held at gunpoint, I would not read it. Well, ok that one might do it, but still. Nothing I believe in will make me read it voluntarily. Not because it is “too dirty”, not because I would be “shocked”. No, I can safely rule that one out, as far as I am concerned. I just can’t be bothered. I just don’t like books which have been hyped too strong. And 50 shades of grey seems to belong into the category “one size fits all”. Well, let me tell you what. It ain’t.

I read a lot. A lot. And a lot of different books. What I do like is when sex is a minor character, when sex comes in as a kind of bonus, something unaccounted for, something casual. Something that happens and where you are utterly led astray. When I read a sex scene, which I would love to do more often, I end up mostly being bitterly disappointed. Some scenes may be too decorated, too rehearsed, to fancy, too overly clean or too kinky-hip… When I read about sex I want things to be worth my while. I want to read about the real thing. I want to be get the feeling, that there are two people (man/woman, man/man, woman/woman, I don’t really care) who are really engaged with one another. The ultimate climax (sorry for the pun…) for me as a reader, but also as an author is that the reader is led to a moment where he/she can imagine something which turns on.

Things can get too visual. Therefore, the treatment of sex in books is something which is difficult to achieve plus a tension which makes the scene believable.

I want to be able to find the words prick, pussy and fuck in a mature and modern way, grown up sex without the excuse of being kinky, and without having to hide like a six-year-old having used a four letter word. I don’t want to be afraid that someone puts a piece of soap in my mouth to have it washed.

Sex is a beautiful thing. So why waste it with the authors who act like mental wankers?

Sex is one of the never-out-of-date and never-out-of-style topics. Why is it so damn hard to get it right in the picture and in the book? We show so much flesh, so much skin in every goddamn commercial, but we get so prudish and Victorian about something that is surely more human than other things that get spread each and every day.

So. Basically, sorry I got carried away for a moment. The main topic: Is badass style something we need and if so, why?

To me, it is a necessity since it is part of human nature. There have always been the good heroes without a flaw, the badass guy, the antihero, the essential lost boy and the lost girl as a topic. If you look at literature, even the most classic ones, you will find it. No doubt. And it does tend to be the badass character, who is more interesting and more three-dimensional.

So, whenever you get to choose, think of my words: The badass character is the more interesting one. The one that lets you dream. The one you lose your tightened grip on reality for a small moment and paints a smile upon your face, thinking what if…

Long live the badass characters. And the authors who are brave enough to create them.

Long live the badass guys and girls out there.

I can just see myself from an angle, others might have seen me from. When the words popped out of my mouth. I had been trying to keep things quiet over this one since I knew this would end in endless questions…

“I am going to live in Ibiza from December onwards.”

It is so funny, it feels even now as if it had happened yesterday. First, the opening: These stares of disbelief. These questioning gazes. Like I had really completely lost it. Then, the main course: the inquisition. I felt like I was either a woman accused of witchcraft and to be burnt at a stake or a heretic. As for dessert, there would still be the worst, those ones who pat you on the back, congratulated you on your decision and then were bitching behind your back. This is so remote in a way, and yet still so near in another.

It is weird. To the day, these are exactly five years I have been living now in Spain, or more specifically, in Ibiza.

When I decided to go all the way, the scenario was really tough. So many questions, so many doubts. It made me doubt too, that much I have to tell you. I was not all too sure I would be a winner. All of a sudden, people thought that at 36 I needed some mollycoddling, or worse: a nanny, someone to watch over me so I would not be a fool in bringing up two innocent children. Obviously, I was not to be trusted. It was ridiculous. My kids were 2 and half and five and a half when I left our home in Cologne. I went away in a dark and cold December night. It was all well planned. I thought I would start to cry cos surely I would miss my husband, but somehow, I knew that this was the beginning of something good. Something that required my highest level of concentration. I was so poised. So keen to experience something else beside bringing the kids to kindergarten and being at a dull office job from 9 to 5, only to be kicked out since I was just not used to some hen fights in the subterranean office hierarchy. I felt such a failure. It was not right. I had had a real career before and now I was being kicked out like I was no good. I wanted to prove myself. I wanted to conquer the world once more. Luckily, Berno knew how much it meant to me that I did not have anything to keep my mind busy. I could not sit around day in day out. I truly felt such an emptiness inside. I had given up writing years before. I seemed to exist as a mother, a bad example of a mother. One that does not rejoice in simply bringing up the kids. One that needed a career. God, I felt so empty inside. A void that nothing, but really nothing could fill. Nothing except for a huge challenge. Time for change. Change of habits, change of lifestyle, change of surroundings. But do you tend to say these things to your friends? no, I guess you don’t.

And in fact, I did not either. I felt out of sorts, out of place. I felt cheated. Someone had pushed me off the big ferris wheel they call job market. I went on about the bad situation for mothers who want to return to a job, the slim market chances of a mother of two in Germany to find a qualified job.

If I am being perfectly honest and true to myself the situation is this: I could have done the same thing that I do now in Spain, much easier in Germany, but honestly: I did not want to stay in Germany. I had grown bored somehow. Boredom is the worst disease of all, You start taking things for granted. So, in the end, I threw all things out the window, and I called it a day. I did not have the guts to go through with it in the old country. I was fed up. Maybe, I needed the kick, the extra challenge. The adrenaline rush. Maybe. But there was also this strong yearning for Ibiza. There was this island, like an energy source that had some incredible magnetism for us.

Berno, my husband, was staying put in Germany cos someone needed to keep working, keep the money coming in, while I would be testing the water and also be trying to find a job which I did, after only two months and being a “single mother” for all the Spaniards knew at first sight. See if living there would prove to be the right decision.

What can I say. It did. It was the right decision.

Despite all the initial problems we encountered, we somehow did it. We are still here. And we don’t want to go away. Despite the bleeding crisis.

I feel that for us as a family but also for us as individuals, Ibiza has given us plenty of good things. So many good things that happened to us. I see this whole journey as a means to finally do the things we wanted to do while not feeling observed all the time.

People thought so many things about all of this. It was kind of amusing. But then again. If people have nothing to bitch about, that’s what makes them angry. So, once I’d find out what they needed, I’d give them just enough to keep their mouths busy, and just enough to keep the wolves at bay.

“How could you do that?”

Ah, how many times have I heard this utterance? Like it was my fault or something.

“But what about your children? What about your home, your flat? But what about your marriage?” These questions were not simple questions. They were dum dum bullets.

Guys, you don’t really listen when I say things, no? I did not say I was leaving my husband, I did not say we split up. I simply said that I am going away for a while and see if it’s a viable option to go and live in Ibiza. And so, of course, I took the kids, since Berno would stay in Germany. How else could we have done it? We did not have any savings so it was the only way to do it.

And yet… Funnily enough, this here happened:

“Ibiza? You mean this party island where all the youngsters go to make a night of it with all the parties and drugs, the free love and the hippies?”

“Ibiza, yes. Well. The drugs and parties is only half of what is true. But yes, Ibiza.”

People would then tend to take a good look at me then. Some of them would even look at my kids like they were sorry for them cos they had such a lunatic mother. Many people were looking at me like I had completely lost my mind. And some of them even spoke out what some of them must have been thinking.

“So, Berno stays here?”

“Yup. Stays here. For the first time. And then, we will see how things go. And we will take things easy. Work it out step by step.”

I really hated those inquisitive looks. These insinuating seemingly harmless questions… They were the worst to my mind.

But fast forward to now… What has happened in between?

Was it worth it?

I would say: Heck yes!!!

I am still here. Actually, I seem to free myself finally of so much mental baggage it is just incredible. Berno is learning Spanish, he is holding down a job. I a, learning Catalan, and I am kind of doing three different jobs and projects whenever possible and so we keep our heads above the water somehow. Of course, in Germany we had much more money. But we were not happy with the life we were living. Yeah, maybe that’s true. The fat years are over, but that’s not just for us, it is basically for everyone. But that’s ok by me. Honest to God, I sometimes wish, we would have more money for travel and that, but other than that… I could not be happier if I tried. We have everything we could want for.

We live in Ibiza.

We are happy, we are sane and we are healthy.

Our marriage is still not down the drain despite the fact that so many people believed this when they saw me driving away in a car with two young kids. Of course, Berno seemed to be the poor husband left behind. Well… If people want to believe shit, they just do that, no matter what. So I don’t care too long about what these people say. I learned that the hard way. Sometimes, it is better not to know about these rumours.

To be honest. Ibiza was probably the best decision I could have come up with in terms of mental freedom, and personal development. Here in Ibiza, I could just do what I always wanted and be what I wanted to be. I kind of made a quantum leap. Ibiza gave me the protective shield and the energy to do that. Everyone here is so flipped out, so creative, the truth is that in Ibiza, anything goes. If you are “normal”, you are boring, so that is Ibiza’s secret how to get you going. It is a haven for people from all walks of life, so many different nationalities, so many artists and also craftsmen.

Ibiza really inspired me to become “me”. I know this sounds weird. But that’s the way it happened. And this is just the beginning of a process. I can feel that I am developing right now. As a person. As an artist. As a writer. For in the past I used to be someone who would be my own worst critic. I was always holding myself back. Always thinking: no, cannot do it. You are not good enough. Always putting my foot on the brake instead of the accelerator. Instead of trial and error, I was hiding beneath the kitchen table. I was so afraid I could fail.

Now, it seems I found the accelerator. And that is not bad at all. I seem to have matured. At last. At long last. Bloody hell. 41 is a quite an age to see yourself become slowlu but surely an adult, to be coming of age. But it is true. That is exactly what these 5 years were good for.

What else is there to tell?

5 years have seen stumble into a deep deep recession. The world is no longer the same after the downfall of Lehman Brothers Bank and the banking crisis in October 2008. Ever since then, they have been trying to get back on track. But it becomes worse and worse. The terrible thing is that the people in Spain don’t have any faith in the future now. The only thing that keeps them going is the independence of Catalunya which is something I could see on the horizon.

—–

The little girl lost finally woke up and rubbed her eyes to see the world in its whole beauty and also with its neverending cascades of possibilities. And I decided. I no longer procrastinate.

Ok, I gotta explain this. Procrastinate. That was a term we used a lot at uni when we were discussing Hamlet and the way he tarries. He is consuming time. He is biding his time. When he stops procrastinating, the drama is put into action. The real action begins here.

So, back to the topic. Ibiza and 5 years of my life. What does it feel like?

It is a good feel. I guess I belong here. I can relate to the people here on the island. Some of them are so incredible and so friendly it is hard to believe. You need to wait a while until they learn to trust you, but once they trust you, that is a moment like an epiphany. It is like belonging to their big clan. It really feels like home. Island people always seem to be like that. Caring and somehow a bit like the godfather thrown in. 😉

Anyway, we are happy here. And our kids could not be happier for all we know.

Even if we are no longer rich and well off… If we just scrape by. I kind of enjoy it.

Before, I admittedly, panicked here and there. And then I kind of started to think. What is the worst that could possibly happen? You run out of money, and you go back. That’s all. Maybe with the tail between your legs, but hey, at least you tried.

And guess what, that kind of triggered an enormous will to survive and to make us somewhat more resilient, so we do not ever take things for granted anymore. And that is something we should have learnt a bit earlier in our lives.

But maybe, we were all just spoiled brats back then. When I look upon my old life, I seriously, I really don’t want it back. And I don’t even want to have the carelessness with money. I hate that today. So many people are out of a job and they are struggling just like us. But hey, somehow, you always make it till the end of the month.

—-

I think I might be baking a cake with the kids. One that has a big fat 5 on it. And they will know why.

PS: One thing I feel kind of bad about is that we – even though we are all Europeans – cannot vote in this country not even on a communal basis. The only thing we are allowed to vote is within Sant Joan (one of the five districts of the tiny isle of Ibiza… I personally find this insulting and humiliating). I would love to be able to do just that. To vote. I always voted.
Right now, it is a hell of an important time. It is a historic moment. Catalunya could really break away from Spain. What would happen with the Balearic Isles then? I wonder. But that is a question I will answer in some other blogpost.

Ok. Admitted, I like wild story turns. The wilder, the better. Today I am going to talk about an old story topic, Amor and Psyche.

I have to go back a little bit for this. I grew up immersed in the world of Ancient Greece and Rome, with books about Mars, Apollon, Zeus, Artemis, Hera, and all the others. My passion for Ancient Greek and Roman mythology and its surrounding culture was kindled early in life since I attended a classic grammar school from age 9 and started out with Latin as a first second language to be followed by Ancient Greek later on, and some more languages. Through the love and passion of my Latin teacher who also happened to be my class teacher (thank you so much, Mrs Elisabeth Lebek), this passion grew and spread like a wild fire. And I was not tyhe only one. All of our class were the same, we all kind of fell in love with the ancient mythology and the world of gods and godesses, heroes and heroines. We explored all the myths, looked at the tales, discussed them, perused all the school library books, we acted in plays, we re-enacted scenes on the playground, we devoured all the writings where immortals and mortals would mingle. It kept us enchanted, we looked at its beauty wide-eyed, mystified and with immense awe. And what’s more, we would always hope for a good story ending, set alight by the story, it was a feverish and never ending wish, we would pray for one good story ending, and go on to read the next one straight away… and rarely we were deceived. All the ancient mythologies have a good ending or at least an ending that can be called “fair” to some extent.

I can safely say that this was a strong impression and it somewhat reflects the classic mindset that the good has to win and the bad has to yield and / or has to be destroyed. The inherent order of the golden age could and must not be destroyed. All sounds pretty naive when you think about it from a post-post-modern point of view. But as children, we could not tear our eyes away from these tales. I remember many nights spent with a torch underneath the duvet so I could read on and would find out if my heroes would fare well. And so they did. In most cases anyway.

I will now share one of my favorite tales with you: Amor and Psyche by Apuleius.

“Amor and Psyche” is a tale about Amor, the beautiful son of Venus, and the immensely beautiful but mortal (!) daughter Psyche who happens to be a king’s daughter. It is a very early version of Romeo and Juliet in my book only this one ends differently. Mortals and immortals don’t mix. So, where is the punchline? I would say the punchline is that because this love is so utterly and immensely forbidden, it is a red-hot searing and all consuming love. The one where your knees go weak. And that’s the nice bit of this story. Somehow, because a more adult theme is played, and because the protagonists don’t exactly do as they’re told (they both don’t, Amor does not obey his mother and Psyche does not do as told by Amor) and so you don’t really expect a good ending.

You think that Amor and Psyche have tried the patience of the ancient gods a little too hard and therefore, they might be punished and they might be cast asunder. But this does not happen, stop, it does – but the ending is still one that unites the couple, never mind the hair rasing twists in this story: This tale ends well. And the reader is amidst the action. He is carried with the frenzy, it is not boring, not in one moment. It simply works. The reader wants the couple to reunite, even though they have been playing against the rules. And they do reunite.

But it does not end where all our children’s fairy tales end, in a dreamy, soft coloured, plush, marshmallow, sugary sweet candy world. It ends well, it is a nice tale, but a twisted one. So far so good. No?

The thing is… Lately, I have been thinking about the need for logic, for exactness, for accuracy, for a plot which is logical and also for authenticity. In terms of being a writer, I really prefer to go a long way to be pretty accurate to being so-so and wishy-washy. But when it comes to artistic freedom, I also like to have a fair portion of that too. So, isn’t that a bit too much to ask for? Can you have both?

Can you have authentic tales with a fairy tale ending? Can the human imagination take this or is it simply too long a stretch? I think it can. I will show you how this one goes.

First, I would like to come back to Amor and Psyche which is a fantastic example of how a tale can manipulate the reader as long as the underlying story or the concept is a good one. The concept underneath the story is pretty clear cut: immortals don’t normally mix with mortals. Don’t mess with Venus. She is one to dish out straight away. An enraged Venus always spells BIG trouble back at the Olymp. But there is something that can overrule this.

What could that be? What concept could be overriding Venus if not LOVE itself?

Yes, of course, Amor falls for Psyche as well. He does not obey his mother, whose plan was that she wanted to marry Psyche to an ugly and horrible demon. Only because Psyche was a wee bit more beautiful than she was and therefore Venus basically wanted to get rid of her. Sounds all too human? It certainly is. The depiction of the gods and godesses in ancient times bear witness of the nature of a perfectly human character. So, in effect, Venus wants to get her throne back as the most beautiful goddess and as a woman. How so? Since Psyche was so incredibly beautiful, people stopped being devoted to Venus, worshipping her. This in turn of course did not wash well with her.

Seeing Psyche, all these people adored and worshipped her instead, this mortal child, which enraged her.

Amor, Venus’s son, with an order by Venus sets out to obey his mother and tries to marry Psyche off to an ugly demon so she would be basically out of the picture. What did Amor do? …

He spoke to the god of winds and had the trustful and obeying Psyche (about to marry the demon) swept away by winds and brought to his little hide-away where he could meet up secretly with Psyche since her beauty had also swept him away. … Because he did not want anyone to know about his little tête-a-tête he only saw her at night when she would not see him at all. Um, so far, so good.

He hid away with Psyche at night, not disclosing his identity to her in fear she might talk to other people and they would be found out.

However, Psyche’s envious and down right bad sisters tried the naive Psyche by telling her into thinking that she did not marry a man but a snake instead. Accordingly, she waited upon him one night and held an oil lamp and a sword above his body to find out who he was. A drop of hot oil fell down and burned Amor who woke up and in turn was enraged with Psyche who did not do as told. He went away and left her alone which made her desolate and only added onto her feeling to miss him awfully. So far so bad.

Venus also found out since the sisters were also present and blabbered out the secret. I don’t want to record the whole story here but the tale continues with some really hair-raising story turns…  And yet, it ends well. Even though there is a long way around, there are some severe obstacles, the thorns indeed help to make the rose more beautiful. And so, I guess, Amor and Psyche is a typical example of why some stories even though they are not credible, in a strict sense, may still work for the reader.

There is a huge twist needed here to reunite our lovers again. But it does happen… Read for yourself. This is a link to an English translation of the Latin original by William Adlington http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/cap/index.htm

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And guess what? Now I am totally intrigued. Could this concept also work the other way around?… Can you imagine to have a story that ends really badly for a hero and still have lots of hair-raising story turns without losing your readership and / or losing your credibility? How much can a reader take in terms of wild story turns or why do some stories work and some others simply don’t?

(To be continued)

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