Friday, January 29, 2010

A Sorta Fairytale With You

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be.
Now put foundations under them.
Henry David Thoreau

Bonjour all!

Firstly I have to mention that while I was sick the past weekend (mini colds I blame for this dreadful weather- I really want winter to diminish), I was able to stumble upon BBC's newly adapted version of Emma (played by great actors as Romola Garai, Johnny Lee Miller, and Michael Gambon) and I must say, it literally revived me during a time when you are feeling blue and down under the weather.

I can't emphasize enough that I found Romola struck a perfect line in portraying Emma wonderfully and Mr. Knightly...oh Mr. Knightly. I must say that Mr. Elton is quite handsome in this one... almost too handsome...

I can gush on and on about the costumes, the cinematography, the score (which I purchased the album, it was worth it), the lovely scenarios where they shot, and the Austenian bliss of it all. It seriously made me wish for summers in the English countryside.

Recently I had a bit of free time to clean out my room, and go through my bookshelf and re-organized them, ouu-ing and ahh-ing about the many titles or certain editions I own which I pride on having and so forth, when I came across a collection of fairy tales.
( John Bauer, God Kväll, Farbror! Hälsade Pojken (Good Evening Old Man! The Boy Greeted, 1915)
When I was young, I used to be enthralled by fairy tales. Don't get me wrong. My fellow friends and I still talk about fairy tales. And Prince Charming ( although I think my version took an altered way after watching BBC's Emma- Mr. Knightley has stolen my heart) So when a handmade scrapbook fell out in between the books, I turned it over to its front ,and what do I see but my own collection of fairy tales that have left me in awe.
(John Bauer, Julbocken (Christmas Goat), 1912)

I had always been a fan of Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and all that jazz, but there had been others that have gripped me as well and that is Scandinavian Folklore.
One of them was the Swedish " Prince Hat Under the Ground" (Prins Hatt Under Jorden), "The White Dove", a Danish fairy tale, and a particular favorite one- a Norwegian tale called " The Three Princesses of Whiteland"

I have always been a long time fan of John Bauer's work, who is a Swedish painter as well as illustrator, but more than that, his one-of-a-kind artistic outlook is so stunning that when I was young and even now, can still blow me away with its strangeness and wonder. I was so fond of Princess Tuvstarr, with her fairy-like elegance and I used to wish I was a part of her world.
Of course, who doesn't love Andrew Lang's Fairy Books? The fact that a book was ranged according to color filled with tales from all over. I particularly like the Blue, Red, and Green, although all of them are just as marvelous.

( John Bauer, Princess Tuvstar Still Stares At The Water Looking For Her Heart, 1913 )
(John Bauer, The Golden Key )
The Golden Key is probably one of my favorites. To me, it always held such a powerful and meaningful message, that light would always overcome darkness through times of tribulation.

(John Bauer, Titta På Dem, Sade Trollmor: Titta På Mina Söner! Vackrare Troll Finns Inte På Denna Sidan Månen. (The Princess and the Troll Sons), 1915.)
There are much more that Bauer has done which each of just as delicate and delightful to see. You can observe more of his works at Artsy Craftsy.

Speaking of Hans Christian Andersen, I remember reading up on the life behind the man who wrote such beautiful stories, and I'm surprised how no one (that I know yet so far) that has made a film on Andersen's life. It could be a very interesting subject to ponder on. Okay I will blush now that this following excerpt is from Wiki, but I couldn't have said it better myself:

Hans Christisn Andersen often fell in love with unattainable women and many of his stories are interpreted as references to his sexual grief. The most famous of these was the opera soprano Jenny Lind. One of his stories, "The Nightingale", was a written expression of his passion for Lind, and became the inspiration for her nickname, the "Swedish Nightingale". Andersen was often shy around women and had extreme difficulty in proposing to Lind.
When Lind was boarding a train to take her to an opera concert, Andersen gave Lind a letter of proposal. Her feelings towards him were not mutual; she saw him as a brother, writing to him in 1844 "Farewell... God bless and protect my brother, is the sincere wish of his affectionate sister, Jenny."
A girl named Riborg Voigt was the unrequited love of Andersen's youth. A small pouch containing a long letter from Riborg was found on Andersen's chest when he died. At one point he wrote in his diary: "Almighty God, thee only have I; thou steerest my fate, I must give myself up to thee! Give me a livelihood! Give me a bride! My blood wants love, as my heart does!"

I honestly think that he could be the runner up next to Keats when it comes to the way he sinks into love.

Regardless of what our favorite fairy tales are, what really overcomes us in the end is often the truth and morals that usually takes place behind the meaning of these stories. It was a way that allowed us to overcome our own reality if but only for a moment, and at the same time, it inspired us to see the best of what's to come in our own lives- that is, our own real fairy tales.

And that's all for now, ciao!

(Note: Pictures not titled were taken courtesy of British Vogue, BBC, and Tumblr)


Thursday, January 28, 2010

No matter how far I walk, this path always leads me to you

When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.
Helen Keller
Bonjour everyone!

Gosh, things have been crazy busy while winter still persists, but the world still keeps turning and as such, inspirations in our everyday world does not stop to cease.
The littlest things in life can sometimes be the brightest. Oftentimes many would walk by without ever knowing how wonderful such small things can enlighten a day.
Particularly on a beautiful day, there's something about taking the time to look at one's surroundings. Even old buildings have such characters, a story behind those walls.

Taking a trip down an unfamiliar street and you never know the little surprises that may come your way.

Take for example, something I encountered upon walking on the sidewalk one day in the city. The sky was grey, the cold clung to your skin...a perfect recipe for just another drabby weekday. As I walked forth, I found my pace slowing as I saw such an adorable work of art lying soaked after a small rainfall.

As I bend down to examine it further, I thought about what sort of child created this- was it for a school project, was it meant for a loved one (perhaps a grandmother who was recovering from an illness, or a best friend that needed some cheering up) and it made me realize that what others may find as insignificant, I found dear.
It artist of the moment: Basia Bulat
Listening to her album Heart Of My Own brought the inner Lula girl in me. Her songs makes you want to venture out and do what one's heart wishes: skip down the sidewalk, sleep under a tree, dancing in the kitchen while baking macadamia cookies, kiss in the rain. Write a letter to yourself. Sleep under the stars.
Better yet, she's a Toronto gal like me!
Beautiful songs: I Was A Daughter (from her previous album Oh, My Darling), Heart of My Own, Once More, For The Dollhouse) - even her song titles are just as scrumptious.
Lately I've been hiding in my Fine Arts Library on campus. It's one of my favorite spots there. It's quiet and peaceful, and like Holly Golightly in Breakfast At Tiffany's - nothing bad can happen to you here it seems. The best part: the books.

And the many little interesting things they have throughout.
To me, art is life. Whoever says that art is not as important as that of mathematics or science, is a nuthead. Art is just as important, and should always remain an integral part of the school curriculum in schools. That is how we open our imaginations, that is how life becomes more than we can ever hope.
Some interesting titles I found and went through:

And that's all for now, hope you're having a fantastic day.


Friday, January 22, 2010

This city and its little treasures- v.1

Do we not all agree to call rapid thought and noble impulse by the name of inspiration?
George Eliot

There is truth in the notion that just when you think you've seen it all, a whole new door opens and leaves you a bit reawakened.

Well that's what happened yesterday night as I greeted my friend Sufia, who arrived back from her Europe trip.

As we got together for dinner, we headed to a place where it was inevitable to grab comfort food- Futures. Suffice to say, our dinner was literally all carbs, but at this point, who seemed to care about such things when there's the love of perogies, mashed potatoes, wings, fries and pasta salad?
It was there that we caught up on each other's life and it felt great... it was those sort of conversations that was long overdue and the type that was just the embodiment of what life was about- collaboration of great company and the instant excitement and bliss of what was going on in our lives.

We then decided to explore our love for the Annex, and as we went further down Bloor Street, it was then I found out the amazing areas waiting in store.

We arrived at Markham St, where my friend remarked about how there's all these little interesting restaurants and shops. Never the one to turn down such opportunities, I then ventured forth.

As we walked down, I found this delightful shop called Coal Miner's Daughter (587 Markham Street) that greeted my eye, and like little girls that we are, we half-skipped, half-ran towards the door.

As we entered inside, we were embraced with interesting light tunes and a room where it literally seemed like something I would construct out of my head.

As we wondered through, glancing at the clothes and accessories, I found a particular one which really caught my eye: beautiful headband accessories with MAJOR floral patterns on top! Of course I couldn't help myself but to try on each one and on top of that, tried the ones with beautiful feathers...who doesn't love feathers and floral!

What a great way to reuse old tapes, but to turn them into coin purses! I picked one up and on one of the tapes, was a Mike Jagger. It was too ingenious.

Great vintage-inspired dresses were at bay, and as I headed towards the jewelry display, I found out from one of the owners of this store (who was super nice) informed me that this store welcomes a collaboration of all designers from everywhere. With the necklaces (which there was a line of them that she had actually made) there were designers everywhere from Halifax to Winnipeg.

Personally I thought it was more than amazing how here was an example of a great community coming together and for me, this is why I love doing what I do- to really reach out and touch this city in a way that I can attempt to bring out the inspiration and extraordinary within.

I shall most definitely return to this magical store. I didn't think that we would have such stores like this in the city, but it has surged my love more for Toronto.

Even as you step back out, the atmosphere around this street is nothing short of fantastical.

I have a fond love of old houses and interesting architecture. It was here that I found my eyes wide with wonder at the collaboration of unique houses. As we went across the street, we found more stores and as we stopped to glance at one, my friend instantly jumped and exclaimed that there was an old typewriter in store.
You must know that there is nothing more that I would love than to get my hands on an old typewriter. I need to go find the perfect one and it is from there, I think my days would be just a wee bit brighter.
Of course, the inevitable lights and display of Honest Ed's were abound.
Even better, we passed by this small alleyway between the store that were strung with lights all the way down. We then strolled onwards, and it was there that they had such interesting old-world signs that were really amusing to read out loud.

Shortly afterwards, a dash to grab hot chocolate and a mocha at Aroma was in session. It was there that in between chats, as I looked out the window seeing people, predominantly students, walking by, I couldn't help feel that there is nowhere else I would rather be but here. I mean, I keep writing how I love the St. Lawrence and all its grandeur, but now there's another little love.

And that's all for now, ciao!


Friday, January 15, 2010

Preface of "Memories of an Evening"

I have spread my dreams beneath your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
-W.B. Yeats

Hello all!

Alright so this is just a blip, more of a preface to how Memories of an Evening would unfold. Of course, I welcome all thoughts!

This small project of mine has become my little love. I hope you enjoy it as much as I took to time to write it. I will continue to post some extracts from it whenever I can. :)


A day can split into hours, hours succumb into minutes, and minutes cradling seconds.

When day turns into night, a new element slips through.

The sky an open canvas, where deliberate and lingering sweeps of colours in dark undertones orchestrates its endless song; it is where it captures the world in a new light as it slowly spins away.

The sun begins to drown, the ground like the ocean, waits patiently as it swallows it whole and through this course, it is where life whispers out its endings or beginnings.

It unravels; streams forward, pushes out its blinding light and just as suddenly, fades into nothingness just before the stars opens its eyes.

Through this dimension we experience something unexplainable.

Words, thoughts and emotions begin to etch upon the shores of time.

And through it all we realize:

These are the grand hopes, the undying love, and the endless gulf of happiness as beautiful as a summer’s day and can be as small as the most delicate bud of a tree.

These are the lost dreams, the dying dreams; dreams that soar into the very clutches of the heart, the ones we take until the day we eternally shut our eyes.

These are memories of an evening.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Ode to Literature

Life is like a library owned by the author.
In it are a few books which he wrote himself,
but most of them were written for him.
Harry Emerson Fosdick

Bonjour all!

Never the one to miss a chance to pick up a good read, I know that being a bookworm, it means searching for books that can really be riveting and leaving you hanging in thoughts about it long after you've put it down.

Speaking of which, these are early days and there are longer days ahead for such a project, but lately, I've been itching to start writing, collecting all these thoughts I have written down on my journals, waiting for these thoughts to turn into action. I've gathered an idea for what to write on, and who knows (early days!) i would hopefully wish to get it published maybe...? haha, now that would be my dream if that ever happens!
It's called "Memories of an Evening" and it intertwines in capturing the stories of certain characters and their lives owing up to either a tragic event or something riveting and inspiring as first-struck love, in which its conclusions and endings all fall symbolically under the depths of Evening.
Right now, i just have certain essence of what these characters are shaping into and the bigger picture of their lives.
I was thinking probably once in a while upon completion, I would then extract it to here and ask for thoughts on it. It would be a great support. I'm very much excited for this, an eagerness that I have not felt for quite sometime.
Personally, I am very much a book collector. Sometimes being in my favorite bookshop, there's so many to choose from, let alone great authors and poets, I feel I want to grab them by the handful. I've been quite picky in terms of what I prefer, such as wanting titles to be hardcover or rare/first editions, if possible.
Also, I never leave home without a book in my hand. Go through all of my bags and you'll bound to see either : a Moleskine/ notebook I jot my thoughts in as well as writings, and a book.
Lately I've been reading some interesting reads, so here are some I would like to share with you.
Currently, I'm reading "Art As Experience" by John Dewey for my Issues in Aesthetics class. I didn't think much about this book, but given that I had to pick it up, I glanced through its pages, read a couple of chapters and I was really taken away.
Some interesting lines I've found had an impact:

"In order to understand the meaning of artistic products, we have to forget them of a time, to turn aside from them and have recourse to the ordinary forces and conditions of experience that we do not usually regard as esthetic."

"In order to understand the esthetic in its ultimate and approved forms, one must begin with it in the raw; in the events and scenes that hold the attentive eye and ear of man, arousing his interest and affording him enjoyment as he looks and listens: the sights that hold the crowd; the fire-engine rushing by..."

"Ultimately there are but two philosophies. One of them accepts life and experience in all its uncertainty, mystery, doubt, and half-knowledge and turns that experience upon itself to deepen and intensify its own qualities- to imagination and art."

Bright Star- The Complete Poems & Selected Letters of John Keats, was my first book I purchased in 2010. I shall never forget that. I am in a complete Keatsian phase where truth is beauty becomes valid in my reawakening of how I view life now where poets, writers, and others have come before us and spoke of such aspects during Romanticism.

Sometimes I would drift off , ravine walks to nowhere, alongside beautiful music as Ludovico Einaudi or Arvo Pärt, especially his Für Alina.

Für Alina struck a chord with me somehow. As I dug a bit into the story behind such a beautiful simple piece, it turns out that this piece was dedicated to a family friend's daughter who set out to study in London. Within its piece, there was a rendering of the feeling that one was off to explore the world.
I played this piece over and over again, the first time brought slight tears to my eyes in a bit of sadness for recollecting memories in my head. The second time came to a conclusion that this piece was to be what i call my "centrepiece" that I would listen to when I start writing.

There are some books that in one's lifetime, leaves you spellbound. This was one of them. It's incredibly cinematic, very provoking and deep. I could not put this book down.
There was an instance where taking the train, I arrived at the beginning of the "U" that is the main train line, and I began to read it. The next time I looked up, I was on the other side of the "U".

And that's all for now, ciao!



Related Posts with Thumbnails