Of Fred and Sarah, #quote from Julian Barnes “Levels of Life”

Sarah Bernhardt photographed by Félix Nadar 1865The next evening, he watched her performance, came to her dressing room, and saw many of the same faces. He made sure to pay proper attention to Mme Guérard: having been in foreign courts before, he knew to recognise the power behind the throne. Soon – much sooner than the fiercest optimism could have imagined – she came across, took Barnaby’s arm, and bade her coterie goodnight. As the three of them left, the scrimmage of Parisian dandies took care of not to appear put out. Well, perhaps they weren’t.

From Julian Barnes, “Levels of Life, On the Level” (© Julian Barnes 2013)

Image: Sarah Bernhardt photographed by Félix Nadar 1865

#DailyPrompt: All or Nothing?

Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.” — Sylvia Plath

TemptationWe met in one of the new high tech shopping centres that opened in the city in recent times. I could not help noticing her, a tall, attractive red hair, with the most remarkable angel face, who was looking around the same cameras I was interested in.

But it’s her who started the conversation. She enquired if I was a professional, presumably meaning “photographer”. At that instant I was looking at the new Nikon, an amazing masterpiece of optics and electronics, far too sophisticated for my modest talents, and priced well above what I could afford. I told her so, she was amused. Her crystalline laughter surprised me.

She said she was a model, which was plausible given her looks and body, although something in her poise, and her choice of words, made me wonder. We chatted amiably about cameras, modelling, art and finally she invited me for a coffee just over the alley, a shop full of glass, leather and stainless steel.

“You know,” she said as we settled down in uncomfortably deep armchairs made for another species, “You can have that camera if you want…” She was serious, and I misinterpreted her words. “O no,” I replied, “There are more important things I want about now…”

Again I was disconcerted by her smile, enticing and a little too provocative for my taste. “I meant you could have what you want, all that you want, and maybe I can help you see how?”

I froze: once again I had been fooled, almost by surprise, the devil adopting the form I would be most likely to let close to me. I was an idiot. I looked at my companion straight in the eye, seized the little crucifix that I never leave behind, and of course, (s)he had disappeared.

I wanted nothing, other than forget this encounter: Satan is everywhere, spying on our desires, waiting for his time to strike, in whatever form. I want none of it.

All or Nothing?

#DailyPrompt: Buyers, Beware?

Dora Maar, Double Portrait, 1930I saw her eyes probing the object, a black square with no apparent feature. Behind the long eyelashes the green globes turned to me:

– “And may I ask what the content of this thing might be, if any?”

– “I cannot be absolutely sure… You see, like so many, I died in 2084, a while back…” smiling at the very beautiful young goddess in front of me… “and I lost track of all this. But what I can tell you is what it contained back then, before the fall…”

Hesitantly she said, as I remained silent: “and so… what was it, if this is not intruding?”

“Not at all, this old technology held millions of pictures, everything I could catch, wherever I went, in the days I could still roam this world… Pictures of people, trees, buildings, animals, objects…”

– “This must be worth a fortune… How can I be sure that those pictures are still there though?”

– “Well, this might be pricey, you see no-one is left today who really understands how this sort of thing works. I’d need to search for other items, cables, power boxes, that sort of thing…”

But I knew this was meaningless to her. The amazons had only very primitive technology, and their main weapons were all psychic. Still she was so attractive, for an old fleshless ghost like me.

– “I’ll tell you what. I propose a deal: I get this working and open the content for you, if you allow me in your village. How does that sound?”

I could see she hesitated, deep in thoughts. Of course she would have to consult with her coven. But I had plenty of time.

After a few hours of silence, she finally said: “We have a deal, I had to take responsibility for you… Will you find the other things you need?”

– “Sure,” I replied, “in my days I would have climbed mountains for you…”

Image: Dora Maar, Double Portrait, 1930

#FiveSentenceFiction: Flowers

Alpine bells Immersed in the city we missed you, and at times, a shimmer of light in the sky, a reflection in a girl’s hair, reminded us of you.

We know that soon we will go back, to the solitary trails, to the sound of our boots on the hard rock, to the smile on her face that says: “I want to hug you at the summit”.

And there you will be, in an unexpected corner, lurking in the light, seemingly innocent: but you know how to recognise lovers who wish to flirt with the mountains, cheating the Enemy, dreaming of becoming angels…

For season after season you survive the floods, the ice, the fall of stones, the shoes of men.

For year after year we seek you, as we seek each other, in the palm of God, in the light of His Grace, where you shine, immortal.

Daily Prompt: Opposite Day

If you normally write non-fiction, post a photo. If you normally post images, write fiction. If you normally write fiction, write a poem. If you normally write poetry, draw a picture.

Opposite In your eyes I see the fire, and I,

must keep my soul steady and cold

for your judgement I fear

as much as I seek your presence

and you may enjoy mine…

The opposite we are,

as the walls of the Roman stadium are

to the bright steel and glass buildings

of our cities…

Yet the river flows and

I cannot detach my mind

from the dream…

Is it yours?

 

Daily Prompt: Earworm ~ #WritersWednesday ~

Write whatever you normally write about, and weave in a book quote, film quote, or song lyric that’s been sticking with you this week.

My chair

Ma chair on chair ©K.rine Burckel

As Gorgeous and I finalise our summer plan, the lyrics of the Bravest Man and the voice of Bobby Womack are following my steps through the day…

“In the universe
Is the one who has forgiven first
he bravest man in the universe
I got a story I want to tell
Gather round me
Gather round me boys and girls

I once was lost
But now I’m found
Whe I beer uṗ so high
I always know how to come down

The bravest man in the Universe
Is the one who has forgiven first
Yeah
Shame on me, shame on you
It’s up to us
What we say and what we do

Would you stay in the sun
Would you stay in the sun much too long
You try to find the shade
Shade that makes you feel at home

The bravest man in the Universe
Is the one who can forgiven first
The bravest man in the Universe
Oh ah
The bravest man in the Universe”

I find the words inspiring, his voice enthralling. So, how about the plan? Well, soon we are free. Just one more week and she’s free to go… Cool evenings and endless nights will be ours. We attend our son’s graduation first week in August, one birthday party, and then we are off to Northern Germany, and endless photo shoots. No, dear readers, not all the pics will be made public!! But you’ll see some. Then Berlin, our city, with Sarah, and later, Elsa, who I hope will be my model for the Melissa book. What a prospect! In the meantime, more work on the synopsis for Elsa, more writing on the novel, and some pics!

Let’s enjoy this late summer…

And still the bravest man in the Universe…

#FiveSentenceFiction: Flight ~ #photography #longing

Heron in flight We saw you, in the immensity of the skies, soaring, oblivious of us.

A perfect geometry, beyond human skills, but not beyond our hearts.

We wished you farewell, my lens failing to seize but a fraction of your beauty in flight.

Then we turned to each other, smiling.

And she said: “I know how to make you fly too…”