Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My love for 'The Great Gatsby'

I first came to know 'The Great Gatsby' in my sophomore year. It was on the reading list for the world literature class in my university. And now it's been my all time favourite. The impact this work has on me is unexplainable. Sometimes I still find myself in tears when turning the pages. I try to find the reasons but cannot, even when I was in my most contented self, I would tune into the energy of that Jazz age era and got 'depressed'. 

photo belongs to the movie 'The Great Gatsby' 2013

The cup I can think of to match the Jazz Age is this cup by Royal Albert. The gold band at the edge is like the head band the flappers wear. The hot pink is a rather flamboyant color. It's the color of the new money or those rebellious second generation of the old money.

Now back to the book. 
It takes little to get me hooked to this book:

'In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.' --- 'The Great Gatsby'

The opening is simple yet powerful. I got a strong feeling that I must listen to the protagonist for he--Nick Carraway must have something important to say after learning life lessons.

We got to see the old rich Daisy and Tom and their restless lifestyle from Nick's perspective. 

'The had spent a year in France for no particular reason, and then drifted here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together.' 

And then Gatsby appeared in a mysterious way:

'Something in his leisurely movements and the secure position of his feet upon the lawn suggested that it was Mr Gatsby himself, come out to determine what share was his of our local heavens.' 

In search of Daisy, Gatsby holds parties often hoping that Daisy would one day stepped into his parties. 

'In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.' 

It is a simple love story, the theme is almost cliche. It's about a man Gatsby who cannot forget his first love--Daisy years after Daisy's marriage, thinking that now he is rich, he can turn back time and changed history, to win Daisy's heart once again. Failing to notice that things change and fate throws them in different circumstances, Gatsby hurt himself at the end and pays a great price. Yes, love is there but the people, the surroundings are different. Daisy is used to the status her husband can give her, not to mention that she has a girl already. Yes, Gatsby can offer her the comfort of life but his wealth also comes not without scandals. 

Story line is simple but prose is very powerfully written.
I finished it in one sitting, I could not wait to see the story unfold, so page after page I read on till the end and by the time I finished it, it's way passed midnight. 

At the height of the story, I found myself crying like a baby. It's a touching story indeed, in reality, how many men can still think about first love/past lover when he has all the wealth and all the girls in the world? How many of us can at least believe in the illusion of love? 

Fate is a funny thing. It takes people, timing, place, a bit of magic to make a relationship work. Reading the book, I truly tuned into the energy of the book and felt things the characters felt, I felt their pain, sorrows, anger and all those that make up a tragedy. 

What if you love and lost and found love again with the same person? Do you start over again or do you let it slip away? If love gives you a second chance, are we brave enough to embrace it once again? Maybe things have changed, but love never will. 

But whatever we do, 'we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.' 

I am joining Tea cup Tuesday with Terri and Martha 

Monday, May 13, 2013

English roses--Do you always play by the rules?

I am not the kind of person who likes to break rules especially when I think the rules are reasonable. But when the rules are set just for the sake of setting them, then I have to find ways to get around them without stepping on others' benefits. 

Years ago I visited England, and Cambridge and its colleges were on the top list. Before I got there, I imagined myself sitting on the long bench and reading my favourite book and paying tribute to one of my favourite Chinese writers who studied there 80 or 90 years ago.

I had no idea that the colleges were not shy from shutting all the tourists out saying that all colleges were closed during exam period--- early June. The first day I was in disappointment. That evening I tried to talk it out to my roommates in the hostel. Then I found out that most exams were held in the morning so basically afternoon visit would not bring such inconvenience to students. I received all kinds of suggestions. 'Hide your camera, try to look like a student.' 'Tell them that you study here.'  'Just break in.' 'Carry a few books then walk in.'  

Next day, I did carry out my plans. First I tried to get in from the back door telling the porter that I travelled a long way to get here and I was not able to stay till the colleges were open for visitors again. She asked me if I study there, being an honest person, I must say no, I am just a visitor. Of course she gave me another chance, again I told her no, I am not a student. So, honesty did not get me far. I must try to be smart.

(The stone was engraved with the lines taken out from the poem written by my favourite Chinese writer who studied in King's college 80 years ago)

For the next few hours, I just took photos outside and I stopped a Chinese student asking him how to get in. His answers surprised me. 'Well, just get in, you dont need to talk to the porter, I doubt if they would stop you as long as you look like you study here.' So he told me to follow him and see if they will stop me. It's true, no one asked for my student ID. After showing me the college he was in and me saying thanks to him. We parted and I continued my own little adventure. 

I used this method again and again, college after college, no one said a word. I remember when I was entering the door of King's college and looked straight at the eyes of the porter and wore a big smile, she remained calm and still. Yes, I got in, leaving others scratching their heads wondering how I did it. 

'I dont know how they let her in.' was the thing I heard when passing a group of students. I dont know either, I guess luck plays a big part, of course courage to take the first step is important as well.

It's worth taking a risk when I got to see the English garden and its roses. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Mother's Day Special--- Morning Glory in Royal Albert's cup

Mother's Day is approaching, I wish every mother in the world a happy mother's day.

If there is one tea cup that reminds me of my childhood memory with my mother, it's this set with morning glory all around the cup by Royal Albert.

I remember when I was a child, my mother took me to school everyday in a bicycle. It's a 10--15 minutes ride. There was a small path that we passed everyday, the path was always decorated with wild flowers that had no names.

One morning I saw some purple flowers peeping out from the green leaves, the petals were in light purple gradually faded into the white. My mother told me that the flowers were called morning glories. It's said that they open in the morning and close at night. So I had to wake up early and passed that little path to see the blooming flowers on the way to school.

Now I have not seen morning glory for a while, I do miss that little path that leads to school.

Happy Mother's Day!

I am joining Terri and Martha for tea cup Tuesday.