The Edge ~ Céline, de cinq à sept

To the edge (di George Christakis) Diary of Céline Jeurève, February 12, 2048

Charles: how I miss him this maverick husband of mine, he who sends me those erotic little messages that never fail to affect me (in a sweet way)! He has to be away when I am getting more and more anxious – is this how I feel? – about our friend Monica. What are her intentions? Indeed what are Charles’ intentions? Am I becoming paranoid? Is this what the absence of the object of desire does to the ageing woman? Smiling to myself writing this “ageing woman”…

Well, maybe thirty years ago, but not now! Ah the marvel of medicine!

Charles’ last message, when was it? This morning at about three my time! Fortunately I muted the pad so I found those soft words of him at breakfast time, a couple hours later. He said Kyoto was cold, and estimated his return this coming weekend. I want him. Badly.

London, where I was yesterday, is drenched, the whole island is sinking, metaphorically for now, into the sea. Despite the gigantic efforts to control the planet temperature, over the last thirty years, this maybe where our science hits a solid wall, and, this time, not of our own making. Human activities we have now got under control, a development of a mere couple of decades, mind you, and that took a few disasters and a lot of tough work (as well as the disappearance, real this time, of a few “dinosaurs” on the right of Gengis Khan)… But planet engineering still escapes us, redirecting sunlight, recovering the deserts, all this is moving forward but at a slow, far too slow, pace. In the meantime we will soon be mining Mars…

I am lecturing at the Sorbonne, dear old lady, this morning. Will continue tonight. Writing is good for the soul.

Message from Charles Jeurève to his wife Céline, February 13, six am, Tokyo time

The conference went extremely well. It looks as if preparatory work for a formal protocol between the Federation and the Pacific Alliance should start soon. The North-American Union will have an observer too. I confirm my return this Saturday, not sure of the time yet, the shuttles are very busy, and I am privileged to be booked on one of the official European Federation special flights. Still working on the Azymuth article. I miss you too, and no, I do not lust after anyone else, silly girl. Consider yourself well, better than well, loved, by me.

Transcript of video call from Monica Ross to Céline Jeurève, February 14, seven am, Johannesburg

– … I’ll be back to Milan tomorrow early evening… 

Okay, staying there or?

– At least for a day, stuff to reconcile with the local office, but when are you free?

– Charles only coming back on Saturday, don’t know when yet…

– Do you mind if I land on you earlier?

– Of course not, I’m still lecturing today but will finish early – call me when you know will you?

– O yes, I am so pleased, kisses…

– Take care Monica, kiss.

Image: Copyright All rights reserved by George Christakis

#FiveSentenceFiction: Moon

1Q84 Aomame lifted her sight to the skies above: the crescent Moon started appearing behind the clouds, a silver ghost emerging from another world.

Tengo thought his lover had turned into a hopeless romantic, but he also felt the pull.

Soon the second Moon would appear, to confirm they had crossed the frontier between reality and their dreams.

A surge of memories invaded their souls, and slowly the smaller Moon appeared, shrouded with silver mist.

“You see, my love,” said Aomame in a whisper, “Anytime we are about to die, she appears, she’s our destiny…”

Inspired by Haruki Murakami’s immortal novel: 1Q84.

#AtoZChallenge: April 29, 2013 ~ Yalta (Conference)

Yalta Conference, February 4-11, 1945

Yalta Conference

Yalta Conference in February 1945 with (from left to right) Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin. Also present are USSR Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov (far left); Field Marshal Alan Brooke, Admiral of the Fleet Sir Andrew Cunningham, RN, Marshal of the RAF Sir Charles Portal, RAF, (standing behind Churchill); George Marshall, Army Chief of Staff and Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, USN, (standing behind Roosevelt).

It was their last meeting, the last Allies Conference of the War, that was to reorganise Europe in “peace-time”.  WWII was drawing to a close: soon Hitler would be dead in the ruins of Berlin, soon the USSR, and her martyrs, would win the war, at last, at the price of 25 million dead.

Soon President Roosevelt would die.  The former Allies would become the enemies of the Cold War.  Atomics would be dropped on defenceless Japanese cities.  When they meet again in Potsdam, in August 1945, Truman is President, the dice are down, and the Cold War has started, in all but the name.  But still, in this cold month of February, 1945, it was possible to hope… against all hopes.  German refugees were flowing through the ruined roads and cities of central Europe, in their millions.  For the next 45 years Germany would be a divided country.

In the US Roosevelt’s New Deal would survive in the guise the warfare/welfare state till the late 70’s, then other demons would take over.

Britain was a shadow of her former self, then a hopelessly indebted country, the country soon of  Orwell’s “1984” –  of food rationing perduring till the 50’s, still a colonial power, although not for much longer.

The long night of Stalinism would last until 1954, the year a French army was defeated in Dien-Bien-Phu in what would be soon called the Republic of North-Viet-Nam, and was still then “l’ Indochine”, and the United Nations (chiefly the US and Britain) would stop bombing what was already North-Korea.

#AtoZChallenge: April 19, 2013: Q = 九

1Q84 In the Japanese numerals system the number “9” is 九, and its name is kyū, or ku, or kokonotsu, identical to the letter “Q”, so that ichi-ku-hachi-yon, 1Q84, Haruki Murakami’s masterpiece, is also “1984”, a reference to George Orwell’s masterpiece.

There are three main alphabets in Japanese: Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji, plus the phonetic version of the western alphabet: “romaji”.  Hiragana consists mainly of Chinese syllables, and until the 10th century AD was used solely by women.  Katakana is a subset of Kanji, originally developed by monks from the Chinese syllabic alphabet.  Kanji is the written alphabet of 5,000 to 10,000 symbols.

1984

Images: 1Q84 ~ © Julien Pacaud Art & Illustration, 1984 ~ © A-GC.com

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#AtoZChallenge: April 16, 2013 ~ Naoko

norwegian_wood_by_himekavya-d3hn542 “It takes time, though, for Naoko’s face to appear.  And as the years have passed, the time has grown longer.  The sad truth is that what I could recall  in 5 seconds all too soon needed ten, then 30, then a full minute – like shadows lengthening at dusk.  Someday, I suppose, the shadows will be swallowed up in darkness.”

So speaks Toru, the narrator of Norwegian Wood, Haruki’s Murakami’s immortal love story.  This harrowing tale of desire, impossible love and loss lingers forever in the reader’s memory: what could have been, the search for reasons, the desperate hope.  This is a romantic heroine, doomed, condemned to a personal hell: “Don’t you see? It’s just not possible for one person to watch over another person forever and ever.  I mean, suppose we got married. You’d have to work during the day.  Who’s going to watch over me while you’re away?”  As for him, Toru, there will be no peace, those fleeing memories do not reduce the pain, so there is only one choice:

“Once, long ago, when I was still young, when the memories were far more vivid than they are now, I often tried to write about her.  But I couldn’t produce a line… Now, though, I realize that all I can place in the imperfect vessel of writing are imperfect memories and imperfect thoughts.”

The thought of Naoko, for us who have met her only in the book, fills us also with an unbearable sorrow.  So is the power of great literature.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/dec/06/winter-reads-norwegian-wood-haruki-murakami

#AtoZChallenge: April 12, 2013 ~ Kafka

In the world of this blogger there are two of them: a writer of genius, who died in 1924, wrote The Trial, The Castle, The Metamorphosis and a host of stories and plays, and Nakata “Kafka” Tamura, hero of “Kafka on the Shore”, the novel by Haruki Murakami.

Kafka statue in Prague Franz Kafka, the writer, inspired Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre, among others.  To the love of his life, the writer Milena Jesenská, he wrote passionate letters. Milená died in 1944, murdered with so many other women at Auschwitz.  He is the lead writer on the Absurd of the beginning of the 20th century depicting the insanity of the bureaucracies of his time.

The other Kafka is a growing young man, who discovers love in the person of the unattainable Miss Saeki.  When I go to Japan, I hope I will meet them both.

#AtoZChallenge: April 11, 2013 ~ Japan

Byôdô-in When I was a very young man, a boy still really, I imagined Japan as a beautiful and mysterious – hence unattainable – woman.  For at that age, one looks at countries one has not visited, let alone lived in, as one does those unfathomable creatures of the opposite gender, with a sense of wonder.

Assiduously I frequented the local dojo, which was run by the departmental GPO, in that far away antiquity before those marvellous public organisations were “privatised”, that is plundered, and perfected my throws.

I thought of the 1,800 islands Japan is made of, learnt about the Way of the Warrior –  the Bushido – admired films of kids of my age practising Kendo the way we kicked the ball at my school.  Then I learnt about the long history of a sea-faring and proud people who kept their country closed to the rest of the world for centuries. I learnt about the Tsunamis,  Mount Fuji, the bombs, the geography. I dreamed of Shikoku, the island of the 88 temples, of the mysteries of Kyoto, the imperial city, of the hero-Samurais, Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu, of the art and magic of the swordsmiths.  I even considered buying myself a Katana…

Katana Then I learned about Seppuku, read Mishima.  One of my judo coaches was a Vietnamese expert who had studied at the Kodokan: I resolved to go there, sometime.

Much later I discovered Haruki Murakami who wrote – still writes – like a Westerner with the elegance and poetry of his country.  And I fell in love – metaphorically – with Naoko (Norwegian Wood), Miss Saeki (Kafka on the Shore) and Naomame (1Q84)…

Japan is the third largest world economy by GDP, and the sixth military power by budget.  After Singapore she has the lowest homicide rate in the world.

Next year – 2014, or 1Q84 plus 30 years – Gorgeous and I are going to Japan, and she said she would come with me to the Kodokan, provided I visited the 88 temples of Shikoku with her, which I promised.  We will look for the second moon.